Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Fixing the Neckline - Pearl Necklace Style

Just off enough to drive me insane
 To my shock, horror and dismay I noticed the the center front was in fact tipped to the side while admiring my jacket in the mirror.  (I figure I can pass it off as 'checking the fit')

For a minute or two I contimplated leaving it, on the grand theory of who-else-pays-that-much-attention-to-my-clothes?  But I realized it was going to drive ME nuts, so out came the seam ripper, and away with half the seam.   I took in in about an inch at the neckline sloping down to nothing around the midrift.

even from right to left, but not up and down

As may be seen, this left the neckline a bit wonky and uneven, so I tried a technique I learned in a drafting class.    Put on a pearl necklace and pin around it, and voila! An even neckline!  Technically any sort will do, but little pearl ones tend to be close fitting and curve evenly.

ready for a collar! 

Really shows off my unevenly sloping shoulders, hunh?  Also, holy crap my neck looks long.   If giraffes made noises I would make some.   Currently trying to think of things I can eat to turn my tongue black.  hmmm....

Anyhow.   Even neckline, no fuss, no bother :)

Sunday, September 25, 2011

Things may have gone a little off the rails last night..  I decided I wanted to use my new blue gauze to make Tanit Isis' Grecian dress, however, when I got home I remembered the printer is broken, and the nearest one I have access to is further away than I cared to go.  So I winged it.     I spent a while looking at her techical drawings, patterns and instructions and then basically just re-drafted it - and by 'it' I mean an insane series of costume like things.  I still haven't quite hit her original concept.   
Now, for a while, I intended to veer off, as I thought longer sleeves would be nice (and I like them in the pictures) but IRL they weren't working for me.  The bottom right is the current incarnation, which I was really annoyed with last night, but am actually kind of liking in the picture.  So we shall see what becomes of it.

Come the cold light of day, I couldn't face the gauze anymore, and decided it might be nice to actually finish something.  Thus, I've added sleeves and a zipper to the white jacket.  It still needs a collar, cuffs and a hem and it will be done.  I fixed the odd hip curve I had on the last one - but a few more flaws are showing up in greater prominence on this version  (primarily around the sleeves)  Not sure if I set them in a different way or if green hides more mistakes.   Also, the white turns out to be just slightly transparent, so all the seams show through.  C'est la vie.   I still like it and plan to wear it, so, it becomes a great big whatever.

Oh, and my halloween costume is a surprise. :)    Mostly because I've been refusing to tell people I know IRL, as I want to see jaws drop and helpless laughter, which I think will be more likely if no one knows what to expect.     However, it will be glorious, and I will fully document the process so I can share it later.

Saturday, September 24, 2011


(There is a fabric related to point to this, I promise)   I live in a very old building - this can be both fun (servidoors) and profoundly irritating (everything is very very old) this occasionally manifests itself in the fire alarm system which cannot differentiate between steam and smoke and seems to take great pleasure at going off in the early morning hours.  Long story short (and I'd originally written quite a ramble) last night's 2:30am wake up, cat wrangling, and trip down 9 stories to stand in the wet, with adrenaline pumping and scores of pets getting nervous left me grouchy and on edge, as the last time this happened it went off three times in one night)    Anyhow, after getting back to sleep closer to 4, I woke up cranky and not in the mood to persue my usual Saturday activities, and decided that I wanted to go to the fabric store. (see! I told you!) Ostensibly, the purpose was something to muslin my coat with  and the fabric for my halloween costume, but of course, I went to Jomar.  If you aren't familiar, they sell off industrial remnants - so its possible to find lovely things for practically nothing. :)

 I ended up with two pieces of stretch lace and some white and red polka dots for undies (I seem to have caught the fever), yellow silky something and green gauzy something for my costume, a load of thick white something for the muslin, bright blue cotton gauze which screamed Tanit-Isis' grecian dress and a sparkly polka-dot rayon border print, and all for $40.75  (at a total of 22 yards, I'm pretty pleased with myself.)   I'm going to try to knock out the grecian dress tonight, as I'm still not in the mood for other people, and if luck is with me, I will be able to wear it out tomorrow when I rejoin the human race.

inevitably,  right to the fanciest one...

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

The Thinsulate has arrived!

I'm ready for my close up.
... and I've got it in my hot little hands :) All four kinda crinkly, but not noisily so yards.   The textures and hand reminds me of nothing so much as a disposable diaper, but its going to be inside, so it doesn't much matter.    I didn't really get to judge the warmth, as there is something about its scent that really got to my cats, and they kept trying to eat it, but the quick wear it for a minute seemed okay.  Its quite a bit thinner than I'd anticipated, so I'm really not worried about puff anymore - more than anything I'm wondering if it will be thick enough or if I will need more.  
I'd expected a full centimeter of fluff

Fortunately, I got extra - I only anticipate using about 2 and a half for the coat, so I can double line the body for extra core warmth if I want to.

The material itself is composed of two parts, a fuzzy layer (kind of itchy) and a plasticky-diaperish layer (very very thin), you can see the later draping over my thumb in the picture to the left.    Next step is to actually make the muslin, and of course go and buy the fabrics.  I'm trying to be good and finish the white polar fleece first, since I know I'll wear it now (love the green one) and too many projects at once tends to result in a bit of a mess.    ("what other projects?" you say.. remember that pink modcloth dress I was in love with and for which I dyed all that muslin?  Its still kicking around, waiting for me to get over the dying process.
looks cozy, no?
There was also a failure of a red jacket that I tried to finish in a hurry for work and ended up getting irritated with.  Given patience, I'm sure I can make something work, but it too needs to kick its heels up for a while until I am willing to look at it again.   Oh, and I have another pair of jeans disassembled and ready to become a pattern for some newly washed denim.  So yeah....  being good and doing my research and thinking lots and lots of thoughts.   Although lets be honest, if I end up with any kind of free time this weekend, this thing will probably get started..

Monday, September 19, 2011

bum bum BUUUUUMMMMMMMM + Avast Ye! Yon Son of a Biscuit Eater!

Thunder! Lightening!  Other ominous things!  I may need to rethink the thinsulate interlining (which FedEx tells me will arrive tomorrow)   I was continuing my research into interlinings and methods of coat construction (a lot goes on behind the scenes here at the Fixation) and found this thread on pattern review -- specifically KY's post (7th one from the top) about her experiences using it, and I am now a little worried.    I knew it couldn't be directly ironed or dry cleaned,  but the description from the fabric store said it would be okay once it was inside the shell.   On the other hand, I've been wearing my current coat for about three years, and it may have been to the cleaners once... but certainly not more than that.   I'm very careful about not going smokey places while wearing wool, and if I intend to go anywhere dirty, I wear a ski-jacket I can throw in the washer.  So, realistically, it will probably be fine - but I'm looking for advice.   Has anyone used thinsulate and wool?  Am I better off saving it for another project and lining this with polar fleece as I had originally contemplated?  Lamb's wool seems to be the recommended alternative, but it looks a bit pricey, and I'm worried about it poking through the actual lining - wool itches, and while its warm and pretty, I don't intend to let it touch my skin anywhere.

Just remembered I have Claire Shaeffer's fabric guide (give me a break, I'm home sick today)   Anyhow, she says it can be dry cleaned.  I am feeling victorious, although I'd still love to hear from someone who's worked with the stuff.

I'd  also forgotten it was International Talk Like a Pirate Day, so....   arr and avast ye land lubbin' swine!  Be ye knowledgeable abou' the makin' o long clothes? Is be desirin o yer thoughts, ye saucy wenches and scurvy scallywags!

Sunday, September 18, 2011

white jacket progress report

Ignore the wonky lighting, both the jacket and the wall are actually white.  Microsoft photo gallery only allows so much editing.... 

Anyhow, inside out and missing sleeves, but its coming together.   I'm slowly but surely taking down all the seams so it will lie flat.  I still have to do the sides and the shoulders, and then I'm ready for sleeves, a collar and the piece de resistance, the collar.   

In other news, I finally ordered the thinsulate early last week, so lets think hapy thoughts about it arriving soon, so I can play with it and see if it will in fact be warm enough, or if I will need a second interlining.   (This coat will be WARM) (and pretty!)

On a side note, I've been developing a bit of a fixation on the gowns (particularly the skirts) of the early 1900s.  Someone needs to have a fabulous ball and invite me.

Tuesday, September 13, 2011

More sewing books

 Sewing is going slowly in this portion of blog-land.   Real life keeps happening and I only got the pieces cut out for the white polar fleece this evening - so theoretically, and following my usual pattern, I should be sewing it up right now, but in all honesty I can't bring myself to even thread the machine.  Now, we're not talking the serger (which takes maybe five minutes) I mean my regular, pop in the thread and go, 15 seconds to thread machine.   Yes indeed, I am just that lazy. (click it.  trust me.)

However, I got a couple of sewing books the other day and I thought I'd share. The first is 'Alabama Studio Style' by Natalie Chanin, who I've been a fan of for a while.   I knocked off one of her tank dresses earlier this year* , but despite the simple lines I can easily copy sans book, I like her embroidery techniques and other embellishments.   I found myself paging through whatever I happened upon, trying to fix it in my memory, when I decided I was being an idiot (especially considering my views on intellectual property and the ever growing size of my sewing library) and bought it to use as a reference and to support an artist whose work I admire.   

The second is 'Shadowfolds' by Jeffery Rutzky and Chris Palmer.   Its more or less flat, sewn down origami with fabric, except that the designs are such that when you put them in a window, they look like a mosaic.   Even without the added pizazz of illumination, I think the textures produced are stunning and will eventually make their way into my projects.  (The ones I couldn't find pictures of online are even more stunning)

*This is a link to my me-made-june post where I linked to all the construction pages, for which I actually went and reloaded all the pictures!  (Incidentally, apologies to anyone who's reader got inundated with my posts - if it did happen, let me know, because I am thinking about fixing more of my old posts, as this wasn't quite as arduous a process as I'd anticipated.)

Wednesday, September 7, 2011

Coat Concept

in yellow, I could be a jolly fisherman!
Current concept drawings for the coat.  (Its looking a little like a raincoat, but imagine it in a soft blue-gray wool with snazzy silver zippers. Not that I have found such a fabric yet, but its what I'm going to aim for.)

I've been researching insulation, and found a source for what appears to be 150g thinsulate, the kind intended for extremely cold conditions or for very light activity levels where wearer generates/builds minimal body heat through activity.  The example they give is winter hunting, but I think standing around outside waiting for a bus, or for people to get their acts together probably counts too.   While I've done lined garments before, I've never used a puffy layer (this stuff is a centimeter thick) in a shaped garment, so I'm not quite sure how much this will change the sizes of the inside vs the outside, but I'm kind of tempted to build from the inside out and just make it work.  (I figure that way there is guaranteed to be enough room for me inside.)  But  plan to read up on some coat making tutorials and my various sewing books to see what they have to say on the subject.  (advice is most welcome.)

While the I think the design for the outside is set, I'm not sure about the inside.  I want at least one pocket, but I love secret compartments, so I'll have to see if I can get extra in there.

Tuesday, September 6, 2011

Plans, Plotting and Pictures!

I got a few more pictures of the green jacket yesterday afternoon, as my poorly lit living room isn't really an ideal place for photography.  Funnily enough I was grumbling to myself about how hot and muggy it was, and this was going to end up waiting for weeks until I'd get to actually wear it -- until this morning when I woke up to a cold steady rain.    Let me tell you, it is cozy.   It also helped me decide that the white one will be identical, as the HVAC system at my office leaves a great deal to be desired, and the ability to wear this unzipped came in where the air wasn't pumping (although most of the day I was freezing and had it all zipped up)   However, last night I started on an even more fiendish plot, one that would involve all the design features I've been mooning over, without sacrificing practicality a bit. I need a new winter coat - while my current one is still in good condition, it really isn't warm enough.  As best I can tell without taking it apart, its a layer of wool and a layer of lining, and that's it.  Needless to say, the winter winds cut right through, so I layer, but its still rather frustrating.   So, since in the middle of winter I stay all buttoned and zipped, it will have a side zip.   Since I often have trouble getting gloves on with my packed full of layers sleeves, it will have arm zips.   Since I am tired of hat hair (although I do have a very cute hat to make up for it) it will have a hood -- and not just any hood, a really cool one, that I've been calling the hoodie-from-space since I saw it last year.

  Lisa was kind enough to send me her patterns and directions, which ought to help this particular process.     Anyhow, I'm currently working on figuring out what else I want to incorporate, and then I will start drafting the muslin.  I'm going to base it all on V1040, since I have the fit down, but it will require a fair number of modifications to incorporate the hood, the zippers (and zillions of pockets) and to extend down to at least my knees.

The jacket  below and on the right (I think BurdaStyle, although I'm not sure) is the source of my fascination with sleeve zippers, although mine will be on the bottom.  The jacket on the left appears to have a gently curved front zipper, which is also appealing to me just now.

Monday, September 5, 2011

Huzzah to Thee, Green Jacket!

..and it zips up the front
 Which doesn't look a thing like I had intended.   Turns out there are these wacky things called "seam allowances" and just because the front lines up perfectly when one is playing with the lapels, and happens to think "hey, think would make a kickass motorcycle style jacket" doesn't actually mean there is quite enough fabric to make it work.   Who woulda thunk?    Ah well.   I have a great big pile of white, which is yet to be cut out, and may very well end up incorporating design features at a much earlier stage in this whole crazy process.  (I am still thinking thoughts, but it is going to be awesome.  Just so you know.) 

And then, there is the second "what on earth was I thinking, oh wait, guess I wasn't" aspect of this particular project, i.e.  obtaining the perfect zipper. I live in Philly, we have 4th street.   (skip ahead if you are familiar with the area)   Once upon a time the city planners decided it would be handy if all the merchants of a particular type were located in the same place so that people could comparison shop to their hearts content and generally be assured of a good deal.  Not much of this has remained over the intervening centuries, but we still have jewelers row (solid diamonds) and fabric row (about 4 blocks of 4th street south of South) on this street (which is sadly in its decline) one can find just about anything, with the exception of batik calico cottons, a particular weakness of mine, so I don't often bother.    Not long after writing the last post it suddenly occurred to me that I was an idiot, and that there was a damn good chance one of the stores would have what I wanted.  and lo and behold, I found my perfect zipper, for a whopping 95 cents.   Anyhow, thank you to those of you who got in touch with me either via the blog or IRL with sources - I have been happily perusing them and will probably end up getting some of the wackier stuff at some point (such as totally clear zippers!)

However, despite everything, I have ended up with a lovely jacket that I intended to get a great deal of use out of.   As usual, there are any number of errors - the side pulls oddly, the neckline is slightly crooked, the hips are just slightly wonky, but I get to fix them in the white version, and in all honesty, who else is ever going to look that closely?   so, I say Huzzah to Thee green jacket! welcome to my closet!

Friday, September 2, 2011

Help me find the zipper of my dreams!

I have no idea what I am looking at...
Help!!  Does anyone know where I can find an olive(ish) green 22(ish)" separable zipper?  I've found forest green and whatnot on fabric.com, but most of the other places I looked seemed sketchy... does anyone have a favorite internet based supplier? The only remotely reasonable thing I found at my local fabric store was tan, and in person, it just doesn't work.

But why do I need one?  Especially after I was going on about my nifty buttons (which look like small rocks!) well, whilst playing with it, I decided I wanted it to be motorcycle style, with a side zip, which looks kind of awesome in real life, and is much more suited for the polar fleece than the lapels.  (plus, warmer!) 

Oh, and while at the fabric store this evening (for the less than optimal zipper) I may have ended up with 2 yards of white polar fleece (I'm going to make this up a second time before it gets cold), another three of denim and 2 patterns I have been coveting.  There may have been a 50% off sale and I may have gleefully and wantonly merrily skipped about with a bolt of fuzz nearly as large as I am.   One never knows.

Thursday, September 1, 2011

because I am enjoying obsessively documenting this particular jacket

 Everything tacked down, sleeves set and sewn.... now, on to the front.   (Which actually fits quite nicely, but my face kept being awkward in all the pictures, so you will have to wait to see it.)

Also,  not officially doing self-stitched-September, but look! a dress I made!  (shocking thought!)

Incidentally, huzzah for:
Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...