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Thursday, October 27, 2011

The Coat with the Giant Buttons

This is my nod to Carolyn's photography prowess. I think she calls this something like shaded sunlight (?). I'm sure I'm missing some key photography rules here, but it was a great excuse to tramp around in our backyard a little before it's blanketed with snow.

When I ordered these wooden buttons, I didn't quite realize how gigantic they would be. However, I love their quirky giantness. It makes me think of something a woodland fairy would wear. The button maker also had similar smaller buttons which worked great for the sleeve tabs.


My photographer couldn't resist the tree.

Those who know me well know I'm terrible at following written instructions. I remember my third grade teacher making a note of that.....I wasn't reformed though, since my husband always mocks me when, in the middle of cooking supper, I realize that what I've been doing doesn't look much like what I was supposed to be doing. I guess I'll never learn my lesson, though, since nobody starves in our house, and sewing projects usually turn out all right.

I should add here that Burda's instructions are so incomprehensible for this jacket, I'm glad I didn't try harder to follow them.

I forgot to add the ease pleat and I bagged out the hem (I think the layers were supposed to be hemmed separately). I was surprised that the pattern didn't make the lining pieces (at the hem and sleeve length) shorter to pull the outer fabric in a little.

I added belt loops - I have enough things to keep track of without adding a belt into the mix.

My favorite feature of this jacket is the interesting sleeve construction. It was not my favorite part to sew, since the corner was tricky to sew without puckering (the top of the two seam intersections in the photo). It's definitely best to start at the corner and sew out, then start again at the corner for the other side.

This cut-on/kimono-like sleeve is very comfortable to wear. Even though I have the world's squarest shoulders, this coat fits great without any alterations at all.

Sleeve tab with small wooden button.

I really like the shape of the collar, too.

One dislike: I would prefer the sleeves and the coat to be a little longer.

Verdict: I'll have a lot of fun wearing this coat. It's in my favorite color and it's super comfortable.

Sources:
Lightweight wedgewood blue twill.
Plaid flannel.
Jacket (Burda 8-2010-103).
Wooden buttons: Etsy shop Wooden Artist.


Monday, October 24, 2011

Blaze Orange, Part 2

Wow, these are bright! I think they will serve their eye-catching purpose well.

As I mentioned in my last post, my husband wanted hunting gear that actually fit, hence the hunt for blaze orange fabric. And my husband found that even more fun than the fabric shopping was the opportunity to tweak the pattern to fit his specifications.

Now, I often tweak a pattern for fit during the sewing, and maybe add an embellishment, but I rarely try to overhaul it several times during the process (: Well, ours is a marriage of an idea man and a love-a-challenge junkie, and so these pants have ... several "improvements" from the pattern.

The orange fabric is some sort of non-stretchy, lightweight, microfleece(?). It feels like a synthetic flannel. The lining is quilted supplex. We found both fabrics at S.R. Harris and the total cost for the pants was less than $25, including the two zippers. We saw hunting bibs like this at the store for $130, but they didn't feature my husband's major improvement on the idea: a removable lining.

Making the lining removable meant that I couldn't sew the layers together, thus enclosing all the seams neatly. And I had to put in a zipper for each layer, since they wouldn't be connected at the zipper.

They are so huge, Molly is dwarfed by one leg.

Instead of connecting the powder cuff to both layers, I hemmed the shell, and attached the powder cuff to just the lining.

The front zippers are exposed zips. Unless there's a pattern error, my zip openings got a little too wide and I had to scrunch the fabric in a bit to get it to fit on the zipper tape.

Inside view of the bib front lining.

The layers attach by hidden buttons, two in the front and one in the back.

Since the top of the bibs are not attached to each other, I had to finish the edges some other way. I used single fold bias tape, which allowed me to turn under the edge and hide the bias tape. I was glad to avoid the crafty pot holder look visible bias tape would have given me!


Inside lining in the back with button.


Here's the full lining, which has no straps. In the fitting stage, my husband felt he wanted a lot more wiggle room, especially considering he might be kneeling, sitting, whatever you do when you're deer hunting.

I think I made one crucial error in making this pattern: I think it's meant for ski pants, and possibly they have less room in the backside that normal overalls have (you know how overalls are always super baggy?). Also, for the sake of simplicity, I eliminated the stretchy side inserts the pattern calls for. I just incorporated them into the regular fabric.

They definitely weren't tight, but hubby wanted a lot more mobility, so we added "godets" at the waist. Fancy, huh?

Thick fleece instead of the quilted thinsulate, to reduce bulk.



Lining with buttonholes.
The waist inserts are hardly visible in the blaze orange camo. Now the pants are definitely roomy enough! My main regret is not using wide enough elastic for the straps - they turned out really ruffly. I may tighten them up a bit later.

I had planned on adding ankle zippers, but the pants actually fit quite well over clunky boots without the zips.

The pattern I used is Green Pepper #105 which I ordered from The Green Pepper. I was surprised I had to fax my order since their website is archaic. But my order came in the mail very quickly and when I called them, the staff was friendly and seemed to have an organized system going.

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Blaze Orange, Part 1

Hunting season is rapidly approaching. My husband has been going hunting with his family for years and has always worn blaze orange items gleaned from the big green bin of random garments. This year he'd rather have some things that actually fit, but balked at the store prices for hunting gear.

Then came the lightbulb moment. You can BUY blaze orange fabric! You won't be surprised that no blaze orange was to be found in my stash, so a shopping trip to S.R. Harris was in order.

Garment number one is a basic t-shirt (Jalie 2918) for the (unlikely) event that it's too warm to wear a jacket. Plain orange is a little boring, so my husband printed this logo off the web and I stenciled the design to the shirt.


And what do you do when you notice both your serger and coverstitcher have orange thread? Make orange pajamas, of course!

I ordered this bohemianesque waffle knit from fabric.com a while ago intending to make myself a shirt. When it came in the mail, I noticed the gold swirls were actually letters which said, "Apple Bottoms". Hmmm.... So Sara got a nightgown (Ottobre 6-2009-36).

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

How to Insert Eyelets using a Snap Pliers

I made these vests for my boys' Little John and Robin Hood Costumes. I really love how the eyelets and lacing looks. It's not a detail I use too often...maybe I should look for more opportunities.

Eyelets are extremely easy to install with a Prym Vario Snap Pliers. I got my plier kit a few years ago at Atlanta Thread. The kit even comes with a large variety of snaps and eyelets.

Here's a visual aid on how to do it:

Step 1: Measure and mark the eyelet placement.


Step 2: Snap in the correct plier attachments for punching a hole in fabric. The kit includes a picture diagram so you know which parts to use when.




Step 3: Center the pliers over the marking and squeeze to punch the hole.


Step 4: Switch out the hole punching attachments for the eyelet attachments.

Step 5: With your fingers, push an eyelet through the hole. It should be a tight fit. Here's the front view.

And the back view.

Step 6: Center the pliers around the eyelet (with metal attachment on reverse side, plastic on top) and squeeze firmly.

Voila! Front side.
Reverse side.

Two shiny rows of eyelets.

And laced.

The whole process should take a few minutes, or a little longer if you have a kid helping you!


Note I did not interface my fabric for the costumes I made since I had two layers of medium weight fabric.

However, interfacing would be a good idea for a thinner woven and especially for a knit, which can easily pull and stretch allowing the eyelet to simply fall out.

Saturday, October 8, 2011

Pleated Sailor Pants

I can't get enough of sailor pants and they're even more fun when they're small. (Although this small person has grown an inch since summer).

These have a really interesting construction with the functioning front-flap button closure.

The back view is fitted with darts.

Even though I put in all the functioning placket elements, I did add a side zipper to make dressing less frustrating.

Note that this Ottobre pattern runs slim. I always have to tighten the waist (even after slimming the pattern two sizes) in Otto pants, but this pair's fit is very precise (after my usual pattern slimming). I made Sara try these on about 5 times during construction, and was amazed the fit was great with no tweaking after all.


One thing I don't like about this pattern is that it'd be foolhardy to try to get the serger into the flap area. Zigzagging isn't very neat on this fraying fabric.

Here are some photos of the construction for those of you who might make this pattern. The sewing is not difficult, but it's hard to visualize from the written instructions how it's all put together.

The first step is to cut the two slits in the front.

In the photo above is the front facing, which is cut narrower than the width of the front flap. Sew the sides of the facing to the sides of the front flap, right sides together. Fold in the sides of the pants front (this is what forms the pleat) so you get a flat piece. Stitch together the facing and pants at the top of the waist, then turn right side out. Turn under the facing seam allowance and topstitch.

Sew on the back facing and understitch.

The big flaps are each two pieces, stitched right sides and turned out. Then they are stitched as a unit right sides together with the sides of the slits closest to the side seams. Keeping the flaps laying against the pant fronts, flip the back facing to the front over the flaps and stitch right sides together at the side. When you turn the facing right side out again, you will have an enclosed seam there for the waistband, but the rest of the flap edge below that will be zigzagged.

Fold the side flaps out toward the center and add snaps. Add buttons and buttonholes to the front flap. Turn under the seam allowance for the back facing and topstitch.

Verdict?

I love this style with the pleats and the wide legs. If Sara likes them, I may make another pair or two.

Sources:
Unpleasant poly/blend twill from Mill End Textiles.
Buttons: HomeSew.
High-rise Wide-Leg Pants: Ottobre 1-2011-22.


Friday, October 7, 2011

Wooden Buttons

I was making something (surprise, surprise!) but had to put my project on hold (which I never like to do) for some buttons more interesting than the ones that could be found in stash.

I had my eye on a few different button makers on etsy, but decided on these great rustic wooden buttons from Wooden Artist.

Since I think buttons are almost as wonderful as fabric, I was very excited to get these in the mail yesterday, all the way from Slovenia (which is next to Italy).

Even with shipping (in this case only $3) I think these cost less than nice wooden buttons would have cost at the fabric store. And these are handmade. Can you beat that?

Thursday, October 6, 2011

Spotted Jackets

Here I go assembly line style again - the fastest, but not necessarily most interesting, way to accumulate garments.

Every time we would walk by the Minky in our fabric store (labeled there as "cuddle fleece") the girls would lean into its softness and wish they could bring it home. One day I gave in because it was on sale and let them pick their color.

I bought only two yards, intending to make jackets for the older two, but was really pleased to see I could fit a third little jacket on the fabric. It's a good thing, too, since Molly loves her jacket the most.

Sources:
Cuddle fleece/Minky from Mill End Textiles
"Hooded Velour Sweater" from Ottobre 1-2004-14
Zippers from Cleaner's Supply
 

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