Tag Archives: Fashion

A Fine Line-ing

28 Feb

When we last left off I was panicking because the front of the jacket didn’t fit right.  My initial reaction was to whine about it and say “dammit, something always goes wrong!”  What I should have done before that was look in my stack of fabric because it turns out I just forgot to add the front left part of the jacket.  Silly.  In a random stroke of good luck, I could actually add this piece many steps later without taking apart the coat.  PHEW!

Once that was fixed it was on to the lining.  I started by attaching the lining to the front closure parts of the jacket, where the buttons will go.  The white part on the fabric is the interfacing which will keep the fabric stiff since we don’t want it to droop with the weight of the buttons now, do we? Drooping fabric is so not in this season.

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Let’s take a second to look at something not so cool, stains.
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While I was ironing the lining, the iron leaked water onto the fabric.  I thought nothing of it because this has happen a million times before and the fabric always dries with no harm done.  Not this time.  A big honking stain, that goes through to both sides of the fabric so there’s no hiding that bad boy.  At least it’s on the inside of the jacket, right?

Next step was to sew the rest of the lining together so it mimics the outside of the jacket.  Sew the two back pieces together then sew those back pieces to the front.  Here’s how it looks put together, like it’s own little jacket.

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Since I focused more on getting the plaids to match, rather that matching the raw edges, I had a bunch of trimming to do to even things out.  This hopefully shouldn’t make much of a difference except maybe the sleeves or hem are a little shorter…I think?

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The fun part comes now!  Pin the lining to the outside of the coat, right sides together, making sure to keep the collar free, and stitch away!  By keeping the right sides together the seam will be hidden, so that once you flip it right-side out, it will look all snazzy and professional.  Wanna see?

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Cool right?!

To summarize the next few steps: A whole crap-load of hand-stitching.  To the couch I go with my needle and thread…

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4 P’s

28 Jan

P #1 – Pockets

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It could have been that I got a little overzealous with my pocket skills.  It could have been the drinks I was having while sewing.  It could have been that I was watching Downton Abbey at the same time.  Whatever excuse I choose to use this time, the simple answer is I that simply wasn’t paying enough attention and put one of the pockets on backwards.  Whoops!

This lead me to discover the answer to a problem I had in the last post – the thread being so damn hard to remove.  Turns out it wasn’t my eyesight failing me, but rather that the fabric frays like crazy!!  The minute I try to remove a stitch the fabric starts ripping.  Eeek…

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I worked VERY carefully and slowly – paying close attention – and got the stitches out without too much damage.  I moved the seam in about an 1/8″ when re-sewing just to be safe, which seems to have solved any problems my seam ripper may have caused.

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P #2 – Putting it together

Finally we’re to the point where it will start looking like a jacket.  Stitch front to back at sides and shoulders.

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P #3 – Plaid matching

Here’s the moment of truth…how good did I do with the plaid matching?

Not bad!
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Ohhh, matching on diagonals, cool!
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Notice how the sleeve is very uneven at the bottom?  Right now I’m more concerned with getting the plaids to match, rather than length, so I will even everything out once I get to the finishing touches.

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Hmmmm….now that doesn’t look right?!?  P #4 – Panic.

Matching Plaids…Almost.

7 Jan

Life got a little hectic over the last year, mostly due to a 3 hour daily commute, but here we are in a new year and I’m in a new apartment…which includes a hobby room!  I’m living with the bf and share joint custody of the hobby room – half sewing, half beer brewing (common, right?).  Now I have a full cutting table PLUS a desk for my sewing machine, making things much easier than working off the kitchen table in my old place.  And the best part…a door, to keep the beast cat out! My 3 hour commute is now 25 mins each way which leaves me a lot more free time and allows me to begin the….

First project of 2013 – a jacket!  Very Easy Vogue V8861
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This pattern calls for tweed, but to be honest, I had wasn’t exactly sure what tweed was so I just went to the “Tweed” section at Mood Fabrics and got this bad boy:
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Turns out – according to the cutting guy – this is plaid, not tweed.  Whoops, lol.  Either way it’s pretty so I went with it and away from my addiction to black.  Brown…I’m going to wear brown.  Keep repeating.

Step 1 – Find out how the hell to work with plaids.
After googling ‘how to match plaids’ I found this little gem that saved the day.
http://sewaholic.net/matching-plaids-a-step-by-step-guide-on-plaid-matching/
Cliff notes: basically using 1,000 pins, line up every box of the plaid and pin each corner.  Then cut one piece at a time, marking the lines of the plaid on the tissue paper and matching it to the next pattern piece you are going to cut.  Tedious, yes, but better than mismatched plaid.

Step 2 – Cut out pattern pieces
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6 pieces = 1 coat.

Step 3 – Cut fabric
Here’s where all the tracing of the lines from the tutorial come in.
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Step 5 – Start sewing and cross fingers.
So did the tutorial help?  Yes, definitely.  Am I a master at matching plaids.  No.  I came pretty damn close but lines are off jussssttt a little bit.  I thought about taking the seam out and getting the lines to match perfectly, but then I realized my thread was too closely matched to the fabric and I couldn’t really see it (old people problems starting at 30).  So it stays off a little.  I’m fine with that and I doubt anyone will really notice in the end.

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The front pieces I tried even harder to match, but ended up with the same issue, off by just a little bit.  So it goes…

This past Saturday I spent the afternoon in Manhattan getting the remaining lining and notions that I had yet to buy so that I could actually finish a coat before the winter is over.

Next up, interfacing and lining….

Well, that just sucks.

2 Feb

Alright, so, where did I leave off with the lace skirt?? Pretty close to the start – pieces cut out and the interfacing attached to the waist band.

First step was basting the lace to the shiny fabric. Get this…I actually prefer to baste by hand now.  Thank you FIT class.  I find it easier to remove when it’s not machine “loose” stitches, which are, in reality, pretty tight stitches.

Making a pencil skirt is pretty straight forward, nothing too fancy. The extent of fanciness on this one (besides the lace of course) is some darting. The front and back of the skirt each got 4 darts put in.

Next was some hemming on the slit in the back of the skirt. This step, I honestly have NO idea if I did right, the instructions were very confusing. Perhaps I should ask one of the ladies in the pattern making department…oh did I mention I work at McCalls now?!? 🙂

Next up was stitching the two back panels together above the slit. Quick, done, nice.

Another easy step next, stitch the sides together. Now its looking like a skirt! A really really tiny waisted skirt…crap, I’ll check that later.

The invisible zipper went on next. I like doing zippers because they’ve always been one of the few things I find easy to work with. Great, looks purdddyyy.

Waistband on next -right sides together, stitch, fold over. Ok, now Ill try it on to see if it really is too small annnnddd…..well, that just sucks. Too damn tight! This is the first piece of clothing I have made that wasn’t huge on me. Instead of crying, I put it away, then whined to Chris the next day. He said, well can’t you just take out the seams? He’s right. And that folks is my next mission – take out the stitching from the waistband, the stitching from the sides, stitch the skirt back together all over again so its wider and I’m back to where I am now. In the words of Stimpy, “oh, joy.”

Maybe I’ll do that this weekend or more realistically when I’m done procrastinating, because honestly taking out a million really tiny stitches without ripping lace is not the most exciting thing in the world. Until then…

12 Cent Store Credit.

30 Sep

The skirt has officially been started!  Tuesday I cut out all the patterns, but didn’t take any pictures.  Really?  I could swear I did, but as of today they don’t exist, so I’ll describe it:  a bunch of paper cut out.  There you go.  Wednesday I cut out all the fabric and this time I have pictures.

I started with the tan fabric.  It took me a little while to decide if I wanted to use the shiny side or matte side, since I want to use it for a nice work skirt, but I finally picked shiny because if I’m going to make a nice skirt, I might as well make a NICE skirt!  Oh and by the way, did you know you can iron the pattern paper?  I always figured that was a bad idea because hot paper goes on fire, but apparently not this kind.  Having a nice flat pattern piece made things much easier 🙂


I had a friend helping me this time


4 pieces make up the skirt: Waist band (top) Front of the skirt (left) Back of the skirt (right, 2 pieces cut) 


Scraps of fabric make Mila happy

Lace pieces all cut out.  This is my first time working with lace and so far it seems pretty manageable…so far.  It was impossible to pin to the pattern, but luckily its not slippery so I was able to cut with just the corners pinned. 


I didn’t realize when I originally bought the fabric that I needed interfacing so I made a quick run up to the Huntington Fabric Depot on break at work.  Thanks for the quality piece lady:


I bought enough interfacing that the hole wasn’t an issue, though I still think I should get a 12 cent store credit for that.  Thursday I quickly ironed the interfacing to the waist band


And that, my friends, is step 1 of 19.

And the winner is…

27 Sep

The winner of last weeks vote for my next project was….drum roll…..Halloween Costume!!  But since I didn’t have Chris’s measurements or a good plan yet, the Halloween costumes will be next.  So the new winner was, the runner up, Lace!!

Off to Joanns I went and searched through the pattern books, well actually one book, Vogue (shocker!)  I found a great pattern and as usual they didn’t have my size.  Luckily, they had a larger size so I could at least use the envelope to get the list of fabrics, notions, etc.


I went back and forth between B or E, but finally decided on B because it looked pretty on the picture in the book.  See below.

I wanted to stick with the same colors from the Kate Moss picture, so I went with a tan/black combo.

The pattern called for scalloped lace but since Joanns had such a wide variety of black lace (2 styles) I went with a straight cut.

This is all it takes to make the skirt – fabric, lace contrast, thread and zipper.

I called around to other Joanns and none of them had the pattern in my size, so I ordered it on Amazon.com.  It was delivered while I was in San Francisco which was a nice surprise to come home to.  Another nice surprise waiting for me:

My adjustable Dressform that I can set to my exact sizes for tailoring!  An early birthday present from Chris 🙂

131 days.

14 Sep

131 days or 4 months 8 days.  That’s how long is took from when I started my polka dot blouse, way back on May 6th, until today when I’m actually wearing it to work.  Quite pathetic how long that took, but none-the-less, paired with black dress pants and red heels, it’s looking pretty cute!  I’m also up to 3 compliments which is fun – I’ll be keeping a tally 🙂

Here’s a Myspace style self portrait – complete with gorgeous fluorescent lighting – to prove I have it on.  See the cell…I mean, cubicle walls?

What to make next….??  I’ll put up some ideas later, maybe a vote would help me decide.  Or I just want to test out the poll feature on here, either one.

I’m still alive.

12 Sep

Ok, I’m back!  Time to refocus after the summer and get back to sewing…and blogging.

I actually have been working on this blouse a little bit here and there over the past two weeks but it was taking longer than expected because (pick your excuse):

  • With the boyfriend not working during the summer my Sunday night sewing time became get drunk, but not drunk enough to have a hangover at work time
  • I’m lazy
  • I promised myself I’d finish hand sewing anything I had put off tailoring before starting a new project – hence me avoiding sewing at all costs
  • Football season started
  • I’m lazy

Alas, I did actually do some tailoring and got the Polka dot blouse to fit better.

The one issue I have with the blouse is that at the bottom it opens a little, so I think I’ll add another button to close that up.  Besides that I’m pretty happy with it.  Tomorrow, I promise, promise, PROMISE to finish the slip stitching on the inside because I really want to start a new project.

In the meantime, I found out that the blouse looks really cute with the yellow skirt I made a while back 🙂

Now that it’s fall there will be more projects and more posts.  If that doesn’t happen feel free to cuss me out in my comments – but be creative at least.

Sleeveless shirts went out of style in the 80’s

10 Aug

Now that I had the two sleeves ready, I just needed to attach them.  I could have left them off but I think sleeveless shirts went out of style in the 80’s…unless you ask Chris 😉

First, I stitched up the opening I had left to get the elastic in.  Next, I started gathering the top of the sleeve to make it smaller so that it would match up with the size of the arm hole in the shirt.  Pinned everything together, stitched it up and people…we’ve got one sleeve!

That went too smoothly, which made me worried about the second sleeve.  So I tried again and believe it or not, that one worked great too. Two sleeves!

It only took a year and a half, but I finally think I can manage “Very Easy Vogue” patterns.  I’m so proud *tear*

On to the next step, buttons and button holes.  Turns out I have a button hole setting on my machine. Totally rad.  I found out how to use this from my good friend YouTube:


And I found this other cool video about sewing buttons:

Time to test this bad boy out.  The edges and right side worked like a charm, but when it came to the left side which – required my machine pulling the fabric backwards – it wasn’t having it.  I tried it a few different ways for the remaining three holes and it got better, not quite good, but better.  Hey, not bad for my first try.  Make note of that last sentence, I was optimistic!  A non-cynical New Yorker? I’ve heard that myth before.  I think everything should hold together fine. Worse case scenario, I’ll hand stitch the holes if they start to fray.

At this point the blouse should be done, but I skipped the slip-stitching steps, so I (dreadfully) need to go back and do that.  But of course I tried it on!  I took it in a little bit on the sides, but it could still use some more, it’s fitting a little funky.

It also looks a little funny because I put the buttons and button holes too far over on the one side, leaving a lot of extra fabric on the top flap.  Kind of gives the illusion that the buttons are off center; they’re not.  What I’m thinking of for a solution is just to fold the excess fabric under and top stitch, I don’t mind having a seam near the buttons.

That’s all until the next free afternoon I get.  No sewing this weekend because we’re heading to Delaware to visit the Dogfish Head Brewery.  A Beercation as my friend so eloquently called it.

Sous Chef

5 Aug

As I was sewing, I was watching Rocco’s Dinner Party on Bravo, which got me thinking a Sous Chef is an amazing thing.  They do all the chopping, cleaning, cutting, and in general terms, all the crap the chef doesn’t want to do anymore.  I want a Sous Sewer.  Someone do do all my folding, pressing, and measuring because, in general terms, I f’ing hate it!

Alas, I don’t have one.  In fact, I don’t think that job exists…but should.  Instead, I spent my Wednesday night multi-tasking between watching So You Think You Can Dance and making the second sleeve on my blouse.

Since the steps to make the second sleeve are the same as the first, I have no updates on that, but here’s a picture of me trying to balance the sleeves on my shoulders!

In other news, I’m almost out of black thread.  Need to pick up some more before I can finish the blouse.  I don’t think this is enough.

And in other, OTHER, news, I’m hoping to find more time to sew and post, and thanks to Kings of Leon being big jerks and cancelling their show Wednesday, I may have more time this week.

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