Tuesday, July 26, 2011

Tom Sweat Jacket

Another bit of fallish sewing before I get back to some summer things. Alex pored over patterns and fabric with me to finalize this sweat jacket. Are 9 year old boys normally so interested in fabric and patterns? Maybe he'll be a designer some day.
I really like the contrast between grey and navy here. The two piece shoulders are nice, too. They're only a bit of extra work to stitch, but they definitely add shoulder shaping.

I'm certainly not impressed with the zippered welt pockets, but they're not the most wretched things I've done. Happily, the dark color camouflages them a bit. The welt lips are made out of a matching cotton, instead of fleece. The problem is that the lips are not supposed to overlap here. I would have been better off skipping the welt pieces and having an exposed zipper. In a garment for myself, I'd do some seam ripping, but for speedily growing 9 year old, not so much.


All in all, I really like the jacket. The pockets were good practice and I'm sure it will get worn a lot.

Sources:
Fleece: Mill End Textiles and Fashion Fabrics Club
Zips: Cleaner's Supply
Pattern: Ottobre 4-2010-38 (Tom Sweat Jacket)

Monday, July 25, 2011

Some Fall Stitching in July

Swimming lessons, gymnastics, holding down the fort while hubby is away for a week, canoeing, cleaning...sewing time has been scarce around here.

But I've turned out a couple of things in the scraps of time I've found. I really like how these pants turned out. Alex needed some dressier pants, but (unlike his brother) is diametrically opposed to khaki. I think he's scarred by the pleated khaki dress pants I made him wear once. So brown it was, and with plenty of details and topstitching.

I like the shirt, except I think the choice of red for the shoulder pieces makes the shoulders appear larger than usual.
Alex has sprouted up to the next size in Ottobre (140) and, while I'm still slimming the pants two sizes as usual, I think the bigger sizes are cut a little slimmer than in the younger age range.

I added elastic at the back waist. You can just barely see the curved seams on the back legs.

The outside edge of the pocket is flat, but the inside edge is cargoed.

Sources:
Brown twill: Mill End Textiles
Striped jersey: Chez Ami
Little Buddies T-shirt (Ottobre 1-2010-24 b)
Finn Pants (Ottobre 4-2010-39)

Next up: zippered welt pockets in fleece - something I never thought I'd attempt. I'll tell you how it goes.

Friday, July 15, 2011

Nose Smudge Reduction Campaign

We've lived here over a year now, but this week a "last straw" incident finally induced me to sew up this rectangular piece of home decor.

On walking past the front door my husband felt it should be the last time he had the unsettling experience of suddenly noticing a neighborhood kid's face pressed up against the window, eyes following him. They're friendly kids, just coming to play... But why not make a curtain?

Funny enough, I have noticed one kid cupping his hands around his eyes trying to get a better view through the curtain.

Isn't this amazing fabric? Sometime down the road you will see it in a garment.

In other news...this cute scene is the view outside my kitchen sink window right now. Ironically, I'm guilty of peering into the private life of a family who doesn't have a curtain.



Sunday, July 10, 2011

Faux-Vintage in Faux-Linen

I found this embroidered linenesque at Hancock, where I rarely shop, since Mill End is cheaper and closer. But as soon as I saw it, I knew it was meant for the retro pattern waiting at home for me, already traced and altered.

I did my usual host of shoulder alterations, which I've developed using the book "Fitting and Pattern Alteration: A Multi-Method Approach" by Elizabeth Liechty. This book is worth its weight in gold. Anyway, the shoulder alteration I do changes both sides of the shoulder seam: at the shoulder and at the neck, so I had to alter the collar, too. And the cap sleeves, but I got so carried away in binding the armholes, I forgot all about the sleeves! I like the dress without sleeves.

I'm going to say it straight: I passionately dislike facings. Yet, I traced the pattern pieces, altered them, and lay them on this lovely fabric. Have you ever noticed how much fabric facings eat up? Facings are miserable; they waste beautiful fabric. Hmmm...bias binding to my rescue and I'll use the remaining fabric for something else. I bound the armholes and the back of the neck. I did face the neck placket, using a turquoise poplin.

I'm really glad my collar alteration worked out, since I didn't do a muslin. (Another passionate dislike which I may some day regret.)

Welt pockets with flaps.

Invisible zip. The top of the armhole is closed with the bias bound armhole and the zipper tape is tucked in there. Fortuitously, Trena demonstrated this method JUST before I was about to instill my invisible zip, so I took the opportunity to approximate my own not-quite-as-suave version.

The verdict? I really like it and don't think it's too outlandish for public wear. It fits well and is comfortable.

Sources:
Linen blend: Hancock
Retro dress: Burda 7-2009-107.

Another note: this Burda pattern comes in petite sizing (sizes 17-21). I'm just slightly taller than the petite sizing, but after comparing the pattern to my sloper, I felt I didn't need to lengthen it anywhere.

Yet another note: I raised the neckline (bottom of the placket) two inches. Originally, it was about even with the bottom of the armscye, ha ha.

1970 McCall's 2390 (image from Vintage Pattern Wiki)

I flipped through a bunch of 1970s and 1960s pattern to try to date the style of this dress. The A-line shape is classic mid- to late-60s (although this version isn't extreme a-line), but the split-collar-placket-unit was very popular in the mid-70s.

I found two patterns from 1970 with the basic elements: McCall's 2390 with the A-line shape and the welt pockets; and Simplicity 8711 with groovy collar and placket.

1970 Simplicity 8711 (image from my stash)

Thursday, July 7, 2011

Supplex: waterproof, cooler than twill, and naturally mosquito repellant

We love to be out in the great outdoors and the best time to do that in Minnesota without freezing to death is during the three months we call summer. One thing we like to do is hike on trails through the woods which, unfortunately, are the territory of the Minnesota state bird: the mosquito.

And so these pants were born. These were so detailed with all the piecing, pleats, and topstitching that, if the rest of the family manage to get pairs, they will be boring in comparison.

I used supplex (windbreaker fabric) which doesn't take to topstitching (or pins, or cutting, or marking, or pressing) as well as twill does. Although the fabric won't breathe, I suppose, I think it will be comfortable on warm days and still protect the legs from mosquito bites. And no need to worry about mud puddles.

The waist is elastic and the pockets close with velcro.

When out hiking, we usually take our binoculars along to look for birds. I got a binocular harness for Mother's Day (best gift ever, huh!?). Here you can see our young birder-in-training, spotting birds from her stroller.

Sources:
Supplex: Mill End Textiles
Gutermann topstitching thread: cleaner's supply
Pluto Outdoor Pants (Ottobre 6-2008-27)

Tuesday, July 5, 2011

Plaid and Khaki

We had a wonderful and busy 4th of July. Today we're recuperating from the sun and late nights. The boys didn't come into the kitchen for breakfast until about 10:30 this morning!

I've been sewing things for myself lately and neglecting my poor children. So Peter got a few essentials this past week: shirt, shorts, pants, and pajamas.
He was super excited when I showed him this plaid fabric for his shirt-to-be. It is nice, isn't it? The shirt is a classic collared button-up, but it's not supposed to be. I forgot to cut the front on the fold so I couldn't do the polo placket opening it was supposed to have. I did consider just sewing a seam down the front and doing the polo placket anyway. Good thing I got rid of that bad idea right away and cut out some full-length plackets.

It's a nice classic shirt with two pleats in the back sides below the yoke. There's no collar stand, but the neck is finished with a bias tape. Actually, I think it's easier to just do a collar stand ?!?! They're less picky than bias bindings, although I do like how a neatly done binding looks. Anyway, since the collar does not extend beyond center front, the bit of placket that does go beyond center front is not covered by the collar. I was confused by the instructions...was I supposed to the finish the top of the placket with the bias binding? Or should I have treated the placket as if it were part of a convertible collar, and fold it back on itself, enclosing the top seam allowance? I did something like the first option.

Verdict? I'd finish the collar differently next time (and actually do the polo placket), but Peter is pleased. I finished the shirt after bedtime, so I set it on his dresser. We had to get up early next morning; when I went to wake him up, I discovered him asleep in bed wearing his new shirt! And, yes, he likes to wear it buttoned all the way up.

To match the spiffy new top, we have a pair of shorts made from leftover trench coat twill.
They're supposed to be bermudas but somebody did NOT appreciate the ankle-bone-length! So now they're genuine shorts.

The patch pockets are double layered. The stitching you see near the top of the pockets is decorative. I apparently misunderstood the pattern markings for where to put the stitching because the placement of the pockets looks really off. They should straddle the side seams more evenly. I didn't remove any of the stitches to reposition the pockets, since seam ripping was causing fraying in this fabric already.

Next time I'll skip that decorative stitching part and place the pockets with more of an eye to aesthetics.

Sources:
Art Camp Plaid Shirts (Ottobre 3-2011-21)
Painter Bermuda Shorts (Ottobre 3-2011-22)
Plaid shirting (Mill End Textiles)
Khaki Twill (fabric.com)
Buttons (cleaner's supply)