Wednesday, February 13, 2013

ReSewlutions 2013 - Minoru

Oh no guyz! Karen is starting to pull people's names out of the Resewolution Jar, and I AM NOT READY to report on my progress. I only submitted one resolution (out of my list of seven), but it's the one that I have not made any progress on - finishing my blue jeans. But let me say in my defense, the walking foot I ordered to solve all my problems ... did not solve any of my problems. Until I make some progress on these, I'm going to live in fear of my name getting drawn out of the jar and having to explain myself to Karen and everyone else who decides to visit my blog.


Hey! It's me in a Minoru muslin. One of my resolutions for this year was to sew a Minoru, and I'm making progress. No, this is not the fabric I will be using for the real thing. These giant, abstract, pink and blue flowers just aren't for me, but the fabric was on clearance at Joann's, and the weight was right for coat muslin. So there ya go.

I've read so many good reviews of this pattern, and it was nice to find out everybody was right. I was dragging my feet to get started on this, but once I finally got going it went together really quickly. The instructions were very clear, all the pieces matched up perfectly, and the straight size 12 was almost a perfect fit.

I've read on other blogs that some people think the collar piece is too high. I spent some time wearing this around the house, and I decided the collar height is perfect if you want extra protection from the weather, but perhaps a little high if you're not as concerned about the weather and want people to be able to see your chin. I don't know why they need to see your chin... maybe you have a very nice chin. Anyway, I decided I would lower the collar in front a little, to allow for my chin vanity, but keep the height in back because I would hate to have cold drafts entering that way. Here's what my new collar pattern piece looks like:

I'll cut out that curve I drew along the top, and hopefully I'll end up with a collar that has a gentle slope downwards toward the front. Oh, and do you see how I've been a super responsible seamstress on this one? After working on my tailored jacket and learning a little patience, I decided it was worth it to trace off all the pattern pieces onto separate paper rather than cutting into the original. With a nice pattern like this it would be a shame to destroy the original with all my alterations. It took a lot of time, for sure, but I'm glad I did it.

Some bunching in back on the photo above, but I think this will be solved by the elastic waist. Also, it's just a tiny bit tight at the hips, which doesn't surprise me given the size chart for a size 12 (my hips are 44", the size 12 hips are 43 1/2"). I guess it's a minuscule difference, but I will add a little bit extra room in the hips on the final version. Tasia designed her coat for bike riding, and I want mine to have that same mobility.

I love the hood! Astute seamstresses might have noticed that I've sewn it on wrong. Since my final version will be in a somewhat bulky wool, I decided that it's best to avoid the little zippered stash pocket on the collar. Instead, I'm going to try to make a detachable hood using a separating zipper applied to the outside of the collar. I think this means I need to change the bottom edge of the hood a little, since in Tasia's version it gets sewn on at the base of the collar and in mine it will attach about midway up the collar. I haven't figured it out yet, but I'll show you when I do!

That's it! I'm off to cut out the fashion fabric!

Giveaway Winner!

Sorry folks! I'm a little late following up on the Sew Grateful giveaway from last week. So enough suspense! The winner of the three patterns issssss.....

our third commenter is Ellen, of Button Lover!

Congrats, Ellen! I'll send you an email and get your patterns on their way. And don't worry everyone else, I have a lot more patterns to de-stash. There are sure to be more giveaways in the coming weeks.

Friday, February 8, 2013

Underlining a Tailored Jacket

I'm a few days late posting my "tutorial" for Debi's Sew Grateful week, but better late than never! In the spirit of sharing sewing resources, I thought I would give you an update of how my tailored jacket is coming along. I'm getting pretty excited about it! I've cut out my fashion fabric, and last week I set about underlining everything. The purpose of underlining for this jacket is to give it a little extra strength and support. It also provides a convenient surface for securing things like pockets, because you can use handstitching to catch just the underlining during construction, making sure your stitches are invisible on the outside. Very handy! Underlinings, when made from something like flannel, can also be used to add warmth to a jacket. Here are a few other pages I found that explain the benefits of an underlining and how to apply one:

Since my underlining needs to add strength and stability to my jacket, but not necessarily warmth, my sewing instructor recommended silk organza. I ordered it from Dharma Trading Company at about $6/yard. Not so bad! Rather than use my pattern pieces to cut out the organza (which sounded like a pain), I decided to lay all my fashion fabric pieces out flat on the organza and cut around them. This clever tactic was inspired by something I read in one of those books I picked up last week... I think the Threads one... as well as by the good advice of my teacher. Here are all the pieces for my jacket front, back, and sleeves laid out on a double layer of the organza:

Once everything was laid out, I cut around each piece leaving a margin around all the edges. I just wanted to get pieces that were going to be big enough - they didn't need to be the exact shape yet. Then, I matched a piece of organza to each part of the jacket, making sure I was attaching it to the wrong side of the fashion fabric, and pinned the two parts together. And then I hand sewed:

I basted all of these pieces together by hand, trying to keep my stitches just inside the seam allowance. And yes, that was a lot of handsewing, because I chose a pattern that has four total pieces for the front, four for the back, and two for each sleeve... so twelve in all. You might think I'm crazy for doing this by hand, but I actually enjoyed it. There was something very satisfying about taking those big stitches and joining wool and silk together. The two fabrics just seemed to want to be together. Something about using natural fabrics is so pleasing for work like this. Plus, I got to sit and catch up on some news radio while doing all this. I did try machine basting for the very last piece, but I have to say the results were not as nice. Even though I sewed straight off the edges instead of turning corners, the fabric shifted around and I ended up with bubbles in the organza. Hand basting had a much smoother result, so I'm glad I did it. I also timed myself at the hand basting, in case you're interested. It took me between 12 and 15 minutes to do one piece - so that's about 2 hours 45 minutes of sewing altogether (although I didn't do it all in one stretch). If you truly hate hand sewing, you might not want to bother. But then again, if you truly hate hand sewing, you probably shouldn't be making a tailored jacket. Just sayin.

So here's one of my pieces after basting:

The next step was to trim off all the extra organza around the edges. This went very quickly. Sadly, doing it this way means I had to sacrifice all the little triangle notches on my wool.  went around each piece and cut a snip into the seam allowance to mark the notches first, before hacking them off along with the organza.

Rotary cutters made this part easy peasy. When I was done, I was left with this:

A big ol' pile of silk organza scraps. I was about to toss them, but then I remembered Gertie's tutorial for strengthening a neckline from way back.

Gertie's photo - silk organza strips stabilizing the neckline of a dress
I stuffed my scraps in a plastic baggy. They will definitely come in handy some day.

So that's my Sew Grateful tutorial, though it's not exactly a proper tutorial. After skimming some of those resources I posted above, I realize that I did not account for turn of the cloth when I cut my organza. It seems that you are supposed to cut the organza slightly smaller than your outer fabric - since the underlining lies against the concave curve on the inside of the garment, it covers a slightly smaller surface. Oh well, sew and learn. I will keep you updated on whether or not it effects the outcome of my jacket.

Monday, February 4, 2013

Sew Grateful Giveaway!

Yay! I'm holding my first giveaway!

Debi of My Happy Sewing Place is hosting Sew Grateful 2013 which I think is a lovely tradition - a week of giveaways, tutorials, and projects that celebrate the online sewing community and all it has given us. For me, the online sewing community is absolutely priceless in the information and inspiration shared. I am extremely grateful for all the wonderful seamstresses and seamsters out there who have taught me to sew (whether they know it or not), and who are also an indispensable part of my day in terms of the entertainment and enjoyment I get from reading about their lives and sewing adventures. So I am happy to kick off the first (of hopefully many) giveaways here on my blog as part of the online festivities organized by Debi. And this also fulfills one of my sewing resolutions for 2013. How convenient!

The patterns are a selection of 1970s styles, which I hope some people besides me appreciate (Lisette!). I'm giving all three away to one lucky person. First up is Simplicity 5341, a fantastic flow-y blouse with various neckline and sleeve options. I actually have a blouse like this already and it makes a fantastic summertime beach cover-up.

Next is Simplicity 9313. Ooh, this one is a little difficult to part with. I think the sleeves on style 1 are so interesting. Please, future pattern winner, make this version up and show us your results. Please?

Finally we have Simplicity 6157, a classic princess seamed shirt dress. I actually won this in a previous giveaway, but I'm not giving it away cuz I don't love it! I'm only giving this away because I have more than one shirt dress is my pattern collection. Otherwise I would selfishly keep it for me me me.

There you have it! Just leave a comment below (make sure I can find your email through your profile or sumthin... I've never done this before), and I will draw a winner at the end of Sew Grateful Week. Whooo!

EDIT - I'm such a noob to this. Forgot to say that I'll ship these anywhere (by the slowest cheapest method possible). And since giveaway protocol requires I ask something of you... well, why don't you post a link to something that is inspiring your sewing these days? I always like to look at inspiration photos.