Monday, April 28, 2008


Here are the photos of the finished garments...

First up - all the pieces made during the sewing vaca:

Here is a picture of me in the Vogue 8209 jacket and the TNT pants

A close-up of the jacket front....

The twinset worn with a TNT 4-gore skirt that's been in the wardrobe for a couple of years - actually its a skirt from my SWAP 2006 collection!

And one more shot of the dress (Butterick 5179) - that is growing on me! *LOL*

All in all it was several restful days off! I am sorry that I missed my friends in Chicago but I did sleep late, eat well, watch some of that expensive cable I pay for and spent days enjoying my hobby!

Sara Campbell on QVC

I heard about Sara Campbell on Stitchers Guild by one of the posters, Redhead. She provided a link to the Sara Campbell website and I was enthralled. This is the type of clothing that I need everyday and on Sundays! A few of her designs were placed in my inspiration folder and I thought nothing of it until last Saturday when I saw an announcement on QVC that she would have an hour show on Sunday.

Of course, I spent an hour with Sara and QVC while I finished up my Vogue Jacket yesterday evening. She didn't disappoint, showing quality, wearable, chic pieces during her hour...and as you might expect several of her pieces sold out. During the course of the hour she showed two dresses - one your basic u-neck, sleeveless dress with an a-line skirt and this amazing short sleeve floral dress made from cotton know I'm now on the hunt for a great cotton lawn...something that doesn't look like a little girl's dress.

However, it was her basic sleeveless dress that inspired my next project - Butterick 5147. I have been looking for just the right piece of fabric to make the jacket in this pattern, 'cause believe it or not I have nothing spectacular for spring...fall/winter probably but not for spring! Anyway, as I watched the show I realized that the SC dress was similar to the Butterick one and I have several pieces of fabric that would make up perfectly in this dress.

So a simple basic dress from a nice silk/linen blend is up next! See, I am trying to sew with patterns other than my TNT patterns!!!

Sunday, April 27, 2008

Transitional Sewing - Vogue 8209

I don't know about anyone else but the weather here in the Northeast has been schizophrenic...warm and breezy in the low 80s one day and cloudy, cool and overcast in the 50s - two days later! It makes sewing a bit of a crap shoot especially since I am one of those sewists who wants to wear what she makes right away!

So I started off sewing spring dresses because the weather was so warm and now I'm a little lost. Okay let me back up and explain, I have been on vacation since Wednesday. I was suppose to go to Chicago with a few friends to fabric shop this weekend, but things happen and I was unable to make the trip. However, I still have vacation days so I'm home sewing. But with a difference, usually when I schedule a sewing vaca, I have a plan. Since I am going with the "no plan" sewing this season, I am winging it...I don't think I'm winging it well! *LOL* And the weather is not cooperating either!

I primarily sew on the weekends and during the last few weekends I have started and stopped on a couple of things. Those unfinished garments ended being piled up on my sewing table. So after making the dress, I decided to finish a few of these off...I mean they are perfectly good pieces, I just ran a little short of time and attention span. I should be able to pick up these pieces, see the vision and finish them, right? Yeah, okay...if you say so.

The twinset was easy. The vision for it was still fresh in my mind but some of the other pieces...made me dredge back into the recesses of my brain to find the "original" version and for some enthusiasm for them...I know that this has happened to someone other than me! I am getting a real good understanding of how you can end up with a bunch of UFO's, but I digress.

Saturday afternoon I pulled out the jacket that I cut out from Vogue 8209. The fabric was purchased from Timmel Fabrics and it was a blend in chocolate and pink pinstripes. Now I made the pants two weeks ago. They have been hanging on my closet door waiting for its mate. I've made the jacket before so this should be a breeze to sew right! Not!

From the closet, I pull the suit I made last summer from this pattern to study it. And that's as far as I got...see its an unlined jacket and in last year's jacket I added bias binding to all of the seams. It gave it a great finish. The search began to see if I had bias binding for this version...I finally decided on a black bias binding since there was also a very light black pinstripe running through the fabric!

Can I state here again that I now have a wonderful understanding of how you end up with UFO's!

But I preservered and this is what I ended up with:


Chocolate & pink pinstripe blend from Timmel Fabrics

Vogue 8209 for the jacket - version A with the length of version B
Pants - TNT pattern

I really like this jacket pattern. I like where the darts are in the jacket which gives it definition so that it isn't shaped like a block. I love the sleeve detailing! My only issue with it for a transitional garment is that it doesn't have any buttons to close the jacket. This isn't a problem for a summer garment but I'm hoping I won't have any issues with it when I wear it to work on Tuesday!

Yes, that's right! I have one more day off from work and I'm thinking about going out to the movies and to lunch...because it's suppose to be a rainy, cold day here and the non-planning is just not working for me! *LOL* I now only have two items laying on my cutting table that are cut out and not sewn...I am making progress! So we shall see what tomorrow brings!
Oh, and I promise pictures of me actually wearing the latest finished garments tomorrow! I promise!

Friday, April 25, 2008

One more TNT twinset!

I just finished reading the book, "The Friday Night Knitting Club" by Kate Jacobs and these words really spoke to my creative soul,

"...but there was something so significant about being able to make a gorgeous item of clothing from almost raw materials. It gave her a feeling of her own power, to make something practical and beautiful just by using her own skill and creativity. It inspired her."

I am inspired by many things when sewing and a good pattern that yields wonderful results is on the top of my after trying something new, I RAN not WALKED back to my TNT patterns to make this twinset...

The tie-neck tank was finished last weekend and it has been patiently waiting for its cover, so I obliged it.

I did change the cardigan up a little bit.

~ I omitted the front band and added 2 inches to the front and back neckline and hems.

~ Then I interfaced the curve and simply folded it to the back.

~ I made a curved front instead of the usual square.

~ And I added twinstitching to the front and back neckline.

~ The sleeves were hemmed at bracelet length.

...Just a few things to change up a basic outfit. Two cute pieces that will work wonderfully in my early spring transitional wardrobe. Pics of me's nighttime and I just don't feel like changing out of my pjs! *LOL*

Since I have a few days to sew (I have Monday off) I am going to try and finish up several garments that are in various stages of construction hanging around my sewing area. The cardigan was just the first. Hopefully I can clear a few more out this weekend!

One last thing...

The 2008 Timmel SWAP contestants wardrobes are up! Please surf by and take a look at the amazing wardrobes these women have created! And even though I didn't participate this year, I want to give a shout-out to Julie for all of her hard work! She organizes, encourages, sews and then posts all the pictures and texts for the participants on her site. She is a true champion of home sewing!

Back to the sewing machine!!!!

Thursday, April 24, 2008

Butterick 5179

I am pretty much the Queen of TNT Patterns. I work my TNT patterns so hard that I bet some of you think I never sew from new patterns...well that is just not the case! Sometimes fashion changes just enough that if I want to be "in" I have to set the TNT aside and work on something new.

So I present to you my version of Butterick 5179:

This is one of Butterick's new spring/summer releases. I purchased this pattern because last summer I saw a woman walking down 57th Street wearing a sleeveless version of this dress. I wanted that dress bad! Even though several of the pattern companies offered this dress in a sleeveless version, the Butterick pattern caught my eye because it had a short sleeve, which I thought would work better for me.

Some stats

A crinkled lightweight, border print linen purchased from Textile Studio.
Lining - white 100% cotton batiste from Metro Textiles.

22" beige zipper, fusi-knit interfacing, rayon seam tape

Pattern alterations

*Body of the dress
~Added 3" to the length of the dress - Tres Bon Babble (Bonnie) made this dress and noted that the dress was a little short. So I added extra length to the pattern, thinking that I could always cut it off later if the dress proved to be too long.

~I used the pivot and slide method on the front piece to add approximately 3" to the waist and hip area of the dress.

~Added an additional 5/8" to the back seam tapering from the waistline down to the hemline. Even though the pattern states the finished width at the lower edge of the size 22 dress is 57.5 inches wide, I knew that I wanted the body of the dress to be at least 60 inches around to give it a more flowy feel.

~After I flat measured the pattern, I decided to add one inch to the width of the sleeve.

~I added an additional 1.5 inches to the bottom of the sleeve. For me, the sleeves were just a little too short and would not be flattering to my bodacious arms.

~I also added a 3 inch band to the sleeve - again to give the sleeve more length but also to bring part of the border print up higher in the dress. This border was attached to the hem of the sleeve, then folded in half. Finally I stitched it flat.

I have to admit that I don't read pattern instructions anymore. Probably because I am usually making the same thing over and over again. This time, however, I had to follow the instructions pretty closely since it was the first time I was using this pattern.

The most important thing to note, is that I used a border print for this dress. So the pieces were laid on the cross grain of the fabric. This allowed me to use the border most advantageously. When I originally thought about making this dress, I wanted the yoke to be made from the border also, but I didn't have enough fabric left over to execute that idea. And I think not having enough fabric to cut the yoke from the border print made the dress look plainer than I wanted it to.

So I added a thin soutache trim to the neckline and the sleeve bands to bring some more definition to the top of the dress. I also added a flowery-type pin to the neckline again to give more life to the top of the dress.

I am sure you're wondering what that little brown piece is on the back neckline. Have you ever had a facing piece come up just a smidgeon short? Yeah, me too. So this was my solution ~ to add a piece of the rayon seam binding to the end...most of the time no one will ever know ~ unless of course you are sharing photos on the internet! *smile* Now this shouldn't have happened because the interfacing was block fused to the fabric prior to cutting out the facing pieces but things happen and I had to "Make it Work!"

I cut out a lining for the front and back pieces only from the cotton batiste. The fashion fabric while pretty was lightweight and a tad sheer so to give the dress a little oomph for early cooler spring days and to prevent everyone from seeing through the dress, (not a pretty sight let me assure you! LOL!!!) I lined it. I didn't think it was necessary to line the sleeves, however, and the lining is attached to the dress at the yoke line and at the armholes.

After inserting the lining, I sewed the yoke to the dress. I arranged the gatherings on the dress front and back and then pinned the yoke piece to the dress, as the pattern dictates. Next I basted the yoke and dress pieces together. Finally I took the entire piece to the sewing machine where I placed the gathered side down on the sewing machine and sewed the pieces together. A good press caused the gathers to lay very flat.

This is the point where you put the zipper in. I have to admit that I prefer to put a zipper into flat pieces rather than an almost finished dress. Because of this I chose to put the zipper in by hand so that I could better control its application.

Finally I hemmed the lining and then after adding rayon hem tape to the bottom of the dress, I hemmed it. Another good pressing and it was done.

This is the first pattern I've made from scratch in awhile so it took me a little longer than usual to complete. Also, I had to go back and add some embellishments to take away from the "housedress" look that the dress had when I originally finished it.

I have to say that the finished dress is only okay in my book. It is not fantastic. It is not "Wow!" It is just okay. But that's fine because it's the first time that I used the pattern and I'm still getting acquainted with it. I will make the dress again using a different type of fabric, something a little bolder and making sure that the hem and yoke are sewn from contrasting fabrics to give some definition to the dress. I may even experiment with a three quarter sleeve...

Will I wear the dress...sure. It kind of grows on you! And my photographer, DD #3 did say that it looked way better on with make-up and shoes than it did on the hanger. This particular version of the dress will not be a star in my wardrobe, but it's a good starting point and a reason to make other versions to explore the pattern's possibilities.

Now to my questions for today...Has this ever happened to you? Have you had high hopes for a pattern and fabric combination and it just wasn't what you expected when you finished it? Did you knock the pattern? Did you question your abilities? Or did you realize that on any given day, what you see in your mind and what comes out of your sewing machine might not match up? Talk back to me!

More pictures of the construction process can be found in my Flickr album. I am off to work on a TNT cardigan! *LOL*

Sunday, April 20, 2008

Sewing Workshop Mission Tank

I have written entries about other TNT patterns that I've worked with time and time again. After a few questions posed about the Sewing Workshop Mission Tank, I decided to share how this one came to be a TNT for me.

This is the pattern:

I found the pattern when I went to a sewing expo in Worcester, MA at the Vogue Fabrics booth. I had just come from a class with Fred Bloebaum and she was selling her patterns at the booth. In my mind, I was going to purchase two of her patterns, and I did (which btw I still haven't sewn!) when I saw this pattern. At the time I was still on the search for the "Great Tank Pattern".

After three children, I didn't necessarily have a lithe, young body anymore and was starting to dress to cover some areas of my body rather than expose them. I had stopped tucking in tops and needed one that would give me style but flatter my larger than I liked abdomen. Thus began the search for the great tank pattern...the one that would fit, flatter and work easily into my work wardrobe.

Since I am not a huge fan of indy patterns, I kinda stumbled onto this one. I saw several made up in the booth at the expo and thought, "Why not?" Famous last words...since this is one of my all time favorite TNT patterns. I will admit that the first few attempts at making this pattern were barely wearable. I made wrong fabric choices. The fit wasn't great. I didn't really have a vision yet...but I preserved and continued to work with it.

First, the pattern contains 4 pieces ~ a front piece, a back piece which are both cut on the fold and two binding for the neckline and one for the armholes. A very simple piece...however, it contains no on a plus size woman that's like wearing two big ole pieces of fabric...making you look like you are wearing either a tent or a very short muu-muu. I ain't no muu-muu girl.

When I began working with this pattern I should have been discouraged because the first few pieces weren't that great, but for some reason I was intrigued...and then I decided to make changes to the pattern. The first change I made to the pattern was to remove the excess fabric around the dart I did not do a FBA (full bust adjustment) wasn't on my radar yet...I just sliced the pattern at the armhole and overlapped the pieces to form a dart. Now I don't know if this is "good" patternmaking or not but it took care of that excess fabric hanging out in the armhole area and gave me a better defined bustline.

This was the last version of the tank that I made with the binding at the neckline and was a part of a collection called "The Burda Six"

After that I got really bold with the pattern...I added a center back seam. I stopped using the binding pieces. I omitted the vents and added some more width to the bottom of the tank. I changed the neckline - giving it a lower more u-shaped neck. Then I started experimenting with knits because this tank pattern was designed for wovens.

My first experiment with knits was a single cotton knit purchased from Fabric Mart that I used as part of another collection and also as part of a twinset...I think this was its first incarnation as a 2 piecer...

A simple basic top with the neckline and armholes turned down and stitched, the neckline altered to have more of a v-neck, that center back seam and it cut just a little closer to the body to allow for the fabrication of the knit.

I have now made this top about 15 times. It has appeared in every SWAP collection I have sewn, most prominently featured in my last entry in the 2007 Timmel SWAP contest, the "Corporate Chic" collection.

This pattern is so versatile that I have made it in everything from all kinds of knits (single cotton knit, rayon knit & the beautiful St. John knit), to a cashmere/wool blend, silks (sueded, twill, woven), linens and embroidered cottons.

Now we come to this pattern's present evolution ~ the bow-tied tank. About 18 months ago, I switched jobs from a busy casual environment to a more corporate atmosphere. My clothing requirements changed drastically and I have spent the last 18 months sewing at a break neck pace to have enough garments to wear for all office occasions. I am finally at the place where I can stop and breathe and part of the reason is this tank top.

Somewhere and I don't know where I saw one similar to this latest incarnation. It could have been in a magazine or catalog...on a website or even on the street...but somehow the look stuck in my mind. I thought I could make one more morph or adjustment to the SW Mission Tank to accomplish this look...and it worked! Boy did it work! Here's a picture of my three latest versions of the SW Mission Tank with a bow tie:

This was a simple alteration...the neckline had already been changed from the straight u-neck to more of a v-neck.

• I added ties by cutting long rectanges 3" wide by 30" long.

• The tie was then sewn to the neckline leaving a 2" opening at the u-neck.

• At the ends of the seams, a piece of rayon seam tape is sewn to the pieces to provide some support.

• Then the seam is pressed up.

• The other end of the tie is sewn down from the right side of the fabric by stitching in the ditch.

• The 2" front piece is clipped at either ends and sewn down.

• The tie is either folded onto each other and stitched down or sewn right sides together and then pulled through using some hand stitching to finish off the edges.

That was it! A new version of the SW Mission Tank was born...and I must admit my favorite version of it so far.

A final picture of a dozen or so of the working pieces in my closet...

I know its redundant, probably a little excessive but it works so well in my wardrobe that I will continue to make more of these tanks. Hopefully, you will find a pattern that you love, that works well in your wardrobe ~ whatever your lifestyle, and will bring you as much sewing joy as this one has brought me!

Saturday, April 19, 2008

How long do you age your fabrics?

It's Saturday morning...the sun is shining and there is a nice breeze blowing through my kitchen window. I so adore the first days of spring when the weather has that soft, gentle breeze flowing through the I am up and on the computer reading all of the blogs that captivate me in sewing blogland. This phase stopped me dead in my tracks! "These fabrics don't get to age like some of my other fabrics." from Linda's blog - Danvillegirl Sewing Diary.

It sent my mind spiraling in several directions:

My first thought:
I only age basics. You know the fabrics that you buy in solid colors to always have in your collection, so that when you need basic pieces you always have fabric on hand to sew them.

Second thought:
Gosh, do I have a lot of basics in a lot of colors! *LOL*

Third thought:
I am ageing a lot of fabric, probably at SABLE proportions!!!

Which leads to this post and this question..."How long do you age your fabric?" See I never buy fabric with the intent that it will hang out in the collection for years upon years. And I never buy fabric without an inspiration or a desire to make something from it. But somehow between the buying and the actual construction, some pieces can wait years for their turn to see the light of day, or spring, summer, winter, fall! *LOL* Sorta like an airplane stack at a busy airport - where the planes keep circling and circling until its their turn to land.

And then some fabrics arrive - either by delivery or by my hand - and they go through the prewash system before the bag's warmth on the fabric is even cold. Then they get plunked down onto the cutting table and stitched and sewn right away! How do they get preferential treatment over a studier basic piece?!

Also, there are those impulse buys...some of which get stored and retrieved years later, that make me wonder, what was I THINKIN' when I bought this? Many times it just gets put back on the shelf with the hope that I will think of something to do with it in the future! Is this you? Do you do any of this, too?

Now I know there is a portion of the population that doesn't store/stash or collect fabric. Again, you are an amazing person to me because I just can't live my life without a good collection of fabric around me (sorta like the books I'm also collecting!) I'm guessing that you don't age fabric.

But to anyone else reading my ramblings this fine spring day, "How long do you age your fabric?"


And a postscript to Thursday's entry...

First thanks for all the interesting comments, but I need to amend my post to say that I haven't totally slipped over to the dark side of no planning...'cause I truly love to plan! My creative spirit is just saying, no planning this season. Let's just take the journey and see where it leads. I'm sure my reliable creative senses will reassert themselves with the first whiff of cooler air and want to plan out a fall/winter wardrobe. So don't rejoice just yet, you non-planners, I think I'm just testing the waters and taking a much needed break!

Thursday, April 17, 2008

The Year Without A Plan

I love sewing blogland! I love the inspiration it provides through garments made, techniques discussed and fabric and pattern choices shared.

Lately spring/summer sewing ideas, thoughts and plans are showing up on a lot of the blogs I read. And it is wonderfully stimulating to read about each sewist's process and what they hope to make and achieve this season.

However, all of this makes me think about my own plans...and it hit me...I don't really have any plans. Yes, there are some things written down on a piece of paper that I would like to make but if I get to them fine and if I don't fine. Also, I've noticed that when I post an entire list of plans or do a blog entry about what I want to make, it seems like it doesn't all come to fruition...almost like I was satisfied just making the list or writing the blog entry...strange...

So this spring/summer season...I am going to sew as I feel it...wherever the sewing muses take me...whatever inspires me...whatever I feel I need to have in my wardrobe THAT's what I'm going to make...I am going to be the anti-planner! *LOL*

Seriously though, I think I spent so much of last year planning, following a plan, abiding by a list that this year my creative spirit is just crying out to be sew whatever it wants! So...I will be avidly following what others are making! Cheering you on as you check off item upon item on your list! Unabashedly admiring your determination, your progress and your new wardrobes...while I will sew as the spirit moves. I will make whatever I need to fill a hole in my wardrobe. I will wander down a path I never took before because it wasn't a part of my plan...and I won't make a "sewing list!"

Yeap I'm free-stylin' it! Stay tuned 'cause I haven't the faintest idea what happens next!!!! *LOL*

Monday, April 14, 2008

Sew News Inspiration

A couple of days ago I picked up the April/May edition of Sew News. I was pleasantly surprised at home much I enjoyed this issue.

Of course the article, "One Pattern, 3 Look's" caught my eye first! This article is well written and photographed. It will encourage you to use your pattern as a jumping off point and to dream of many different looks for your pattern.

The article has great diagrams showing how to cut up and change a pattern. And as a TNT pattern fanatic, who is constantly reimagining her patterns, I loved this article.

Another article is called, "Three of a Kind" where three different Sew News staff members used the same skirt pattern but came up with three different looks. Each look fits the sewist's lifestyle and figure, but really highlights how everyone should make a pattern that works for them and not just copy what's on the cover of the pattern envelope.

Also included an interview of Carmen Webber, Season 4 Project Runway contestant was interesting especially since Carmen wasn't on PR long enough to become a fan favorite! The article was informative and showed several of her designs.

The last article worth mentioning is called, "Neckline Redefined" which gives you in-depth instructions on how to alter your pattern's neckline. Since I've altered a neckline or two on both tops and dresses this was very useful information...confirming some things I already knew and and also reinforcing some others!

Probably the reason I liked this issue so much is because it is all about encouraging you to experiment with your pattern, to dream up something new, to challenge yourself to step out of your comfort zone and do something a little different! If you are not a subscriber or you don't regularly pick-up Sew News, but you are looking for a resource that will assist you in becoming more proficient in "interpreting" and "changing" a pattern...this issue is for you!

I was pleasantly surprised and thrilled with the entire issue! So if you can, please pick one up!

Sunday, April 13, 2008

A Couple of Tops

Saturday morning dawned bright and early and I woke up ready to sew. And I knew just what I wanted to make...

See two weeks ago I had a horrible, horrible week - from Monday through Friday there wasn't one day that something in my personal life didn't go wrong...don't ask, I ain't gonna tell you! *smile* However, I did share with a good friend what was going on and a few days later this arrived in the mail!

It was the perfect gift to lift my spirits! And I had to wait until this weekend to use it! There was just enough fabric for it to become this twinset (worn with the skirt from the Easter Suit).

The pattern is my TNT Burda Cardigan along with the Sewing Workshop Mission Tank. The cardigan is made from the ribbed knit and the tank from a smoother knit. The smoother knit was also used for the sleeve bands and the neck/front bands for the cardigan.

Some 2-hole mother of pearl buttons from the collection were added to the front to finish it off. The buttonholes were a little difficult to make on this fabric. My sewing machine just wanted to eat the knit, but I pinned a little lightweight pattern paper to the back of the band. No more problems, the buttonholes sewed up great. I also made thread shanks for the buttons since they were flat 2-hole buttons. I know that this is a very simple technique but this time it worked wonderfully for each button that I sewed on.

I have fallen in love with the bowtied version of the Sewing Workshop Top. It works perfectly in my corporate work environment and it makes up quickly. So quickly that I also made another one this evening.

I used this rayon knit from

It was the deal of the day last weekend so I picked up a couple of yards because I thought it would make an interesting twinset. I do have the coordinating cardigan cut out (with a few differences from the white one) and will finish that up next weekend. However the top works well as a single piece in my wardrobe right now.

So that's what I did this weekend what did you do?

And congratulations to all of you who have finished your SWAP garments! I can't wait to see the unveiling and what has been created!!!!

Friday, April 11, 2008

Yesterday I was at Kashi's

and I came home with! Now, Gaylen who I went to Metro Textiles to meet can't say the same! *LOL*

I first "met" Gaylen, author of the blog, GMarie Sews, on the now defunct Sewing World. We met in the Sharing and Inspiration folder that started there and migrated to Stitcher's Guild. But we really bonded over what Gaylen calls "the Carolyn Skirt." I forget why it ended up being named for me but it's really Simplicity 5914.

Several of us made the skirt then, encouraging each other to use new sewing techniques or to try different fabrics...I don't know why but at the time Gaylen and I just clicked. Once Sewing World disappeared we've mainly kept in touch through our blogs, but I promised her that if she ever came to New York we would go fabric shopping together.

(Okay this really bad picture was taken by JB with my camera. And I had to use it because I only took a few shots! Hey I thought it was a big deal that I remembered the thing!!!)

So yesterday Gay and her wonderful husband arrived in New York and we met up at Kashi's (Metro Textiles). Now I know you've all heard how Kashi "knows how to pick fabric just for you" but I have to admit that I was the final say yesterday in what was shipped to Gay's house. She was starting to get that "I can't believe there's so much fabric here! I must take ALOT home" look on her face. The look that means when you get home and the clouds of fabric euphoria have faded you go, "What was I thinking buying that!?!"

She still ended up with quite a few amazing pieces and I promised her husband that I would encourage her to sew it ALL up...he was trying to give time limits but we weren't falling for that one! *LOL*

After a wonderful dinner filled with great conversation and alot of laughter, I sadly headed to the Port Authority to catch a bus home and Gay and her DH wandered around NYC before meeting up with "The Princess"! I had a wonderful evening. It was fantastic to finally meet Gaylan and to put a face with a name!!!

Thanks Gay and JB for sharing such a great evening with me and I hope that when you speak of me, you will do so kindly! *LOL* What was the word? Oh yes, lovely! ROTFLOL!

Thursday, April 10, 2008

You say...I say...

You say, I say, but most importantly the pattern says...

There seemed to be some conversation in the comments section about whether the pockets are "faux welt pockets" or "slotted seams". And there was even a mention of a "strap seam", which btw, I have never heard of! So you guys sent me on a little quest...

See I anticipated the slotted seams comment because this is the pattern description,

"The front is cut in 3 sections with top stitching detail in seam."

Now technically this sounds like a slotted seam but in the drawings and execution it looks like a faux welt that is how I described it. Because to me a slotted seam is a fully opened seam with a piece of fabric beneath it. In this version, only a small section of the seam is left open. The rest of the seam is sewn shut.

So some definitions and how to execute each seam...This information is taken from, "Modern Dressmaking Made Easy" by Mary Brooks Picken.

Slot Seam. Baste as for plain seam, but do not stitch. Press open. Cut lengthwise strip 1" wider than the seam allowances. Place strip directly under the seam, and baste it in place. Stitch each side an even distance from the basted seam line. Remove seam bastings, and the slot or "inverted slot" seam is complete.

And Summerset mentioned a Strap Seam. Stitch seam; press it open. Take true bias or lengthwise strip of fabric, twice the width finished strap is to be. Turn edges; fasten together with diagonal-basting. Use matching thread. This basting remains in. Press strap; baste over the seam; stitch along both edges. Remove top basting; press seam from wrong side.

The diagram in the book shows how each seam is sewn. However, Ann of Gorgeous Things made a perfect modern day garment with slotted seams. She wrote this post on The Sewing Divas blog about making a skirt with slotted seams. If you notice, Ann used a different color to make the slotted seams really stand out in her garment.

Need more information, Threads Magazine has a wonderful article on slotted seams called, "The Unforgettable Slot Seam" written by Jeffrey Mayer in Issue No. 75 - March 1998. In the article there is a wonderful example of a slotted seam with a pocket in it.

Now to me, the definition and how to sew explanation in the Mary Brooks Pickens book, the wonderful garment made by Ann, and the Threads article all seem to say, that a slotted seam is totally open from one end of the seam to the other with a piece of fabric sewn/basted underneath. Again, yes this is the essence of the seams on my jacket, but the major difference is that only a small portion of the seam is in my book that does not make it a slotted seam.

Please feel free to agree or disagree, 'cause I still think of the seaming detail as faux welt pockets! *smile*

Wednesday, April 09, 2008

More Jacket Construction - Faux Welt Pockets

I bought the Vintage Vogue Pattern from Lanetz Living in a size that I can't wear because I was so intrigued with the faux welt pockets. After getting the pattern home and reading the directions I realized that it was a very easy technique and something that I could appropriate and add to another pattern.

So to get the look I wanted, I took one TNT jacket pattern (OOP Vogue 2285), added a great instruction sheet from a vintage pattern, used several days to sew, had a spirit of adventure and got a wonderfully different jacket.

As the title states, I am going to share with you how I made the faux welt pockets. This is where the sense of adventure, the instruction sheet and a willingness to cut up a TNT pattern comes into play!

1. Pattern Alteration
First, I used the original jacket front piece. I altered this piece several jackets back so that it would have a cardigan type front. To emulate the vintage pattern, it required the high neckline so the original piece was my starting point.

Next, I cut the pattern apart. To get the same seaming detail, I laid the vintage pattern pieces on top of my original jacket piece. Drew a line across the pattern and cut. Then I added a 5/8" seam allowance to both sides of the pattern piece.

The bottom third of the jacket was cut at the pattern waistline which was marked on the original jacket pattern piece. Again I added a 5/8" seam allowance to both cut pieces. (The picture above shows my first attempt at cutting the pattern apart. Because it wasn't working, I then added the vintage pattern to the top and recut the pattern!)

To make the openings, I again used the vintage pattern pieces laid on top of my now cut apart jacket fronts. Using the markings on the vintage piece, I transferred them to my new pattern pieces with a sharpie marker to make dots. Once the dots were on my pieces, I made larger X's so that I would clearly know where to stop and start the seams.

I also drafted new front and back neck facings since my TNT pattern does not include them. I did this by just laying some tracing paper on top of the original uncut pattern and drawing out the facing. I made sure that I measured the same amount on the front facing piece as the back neck facing shoulder the pieces would fit together easily when sewn. This was done to copy the look of the vintage jacket.

2. Construction
I followed the instructions in the vintage pattern step-by-step.

a. First the darts were sewn in the middle section.

b. Then the top section and the middle section were sewn, right sides together, leaving the sections at the x's open. I reversed stitched to make sure that the opening seam edges were secure. Then pressed the seam open.

c. I followed the same steps listed above to sew the bottom piece to the top piece.

d. Since I wanted my underlays to be the same as my lining and tank top fabric, I used the pattern piece from the vintage pattern. 4 underlays were cut using my Gingher pinking shears.

e. Then on the inside of the front piece, I pinned the right side of the underlay to the wrong side of the jacket, over the opening in the seam. Then the underlay was basted into place. This was repeated on all of the pieces.

f. Next I topstitched the opening edges through all the thicknesses. I used my foot as a guide to get a well stitched pocket. Isn't it kewl how just a little of the lining fabric peeks through the pocket!

And that was it! A little pattern work, a little precision and faux welt pockets! I love this look and want to make another suit from a midweight linen for spring/summer using this same technique. Maybe a black linen with white stitching and a black/white polka dot lining!

I've already done a post showing you the interior workings of the jacket. So my next post will be about the sleeves. And then a picture of me wearing the outfit!

I have to admit that before reading Shannon and Summerset's posts about their love of vintage patterns, I never really paid much attention to them. Once Summerset started to show the instruction sheets and wrote about the detailed construction tips, I became intrigued. I was hooked when I bought my first vintage pattern from Lanetz Living and got my hands on an instruction sheet.

Now I troll the site looking for patterns with interesting construction details. It is not necessary for the pattern to fit me. It is more important to see what new techniques I can learn. And that is what this project and this jacket was all about - learning a new technique! It was a very easy process and gave a tremendous bang for the buck! The jacket also is envogue but different from what everyone else was dialing up at church on Easter Sunday and in my workplace. The pattern and instruction sheet are worth way more than the $3 I paid for it!!! And I encourage everyone to purchase at least one vintage may be surprised at what you find inside!

Monday, April 07, 2008

The Jacket is Finally Finished!!!

Yes, it is finally finished to my satisfaction and was worn to work today...

The suit stood out like a beacon in a sea of blackness...yeah, most of the women in my office wore black pantsuits today and there I stood in a seagreen jacket, coordinating seagreen striped tank top and vanilla lined tencil pants. I looked "pretty"...hopefully pretty and professional!!!

I am going to describe the construction of this jacket in a series of posts. Mainly because there was just so much that went into turning my TNT jacket pattern into a version of the Vintage Vogue pattern, that it's too much information for one post. This was one of my most ambitious interpretations but I think the final jacket and tank were worth the effort!

The vanilla skirt still needs to be constructed. As noted above, I wore it as a pantsuit today because I really wanted to wear this spring-like outfit on a dreary and dank day that is suppose to be a spring day but definitely wasn't!

However, today's post is going to be about the buttons and snaps! Might as well start at the end and work towards the beginning since this was the last thing on the jacket. *LOL* Actually, I am starting here because I haven't made a covered snap in over 20 years, so I had to relearn a technique!

Because of the faux welt pockets on the jacket front, I decided not to make buttonholes exactly like the vintage jacket. Originally I was going to add covered buttons from the jacket fabric with covered snaps as closures. Working towards that goal, I found instructions for making the covered snaps in one of my Bishop books, "Fashion Sewing by the Bishop Method."

Of course, the first one I made was very rough. By the third set I had a rhythm down and they were passable enough to put on the jacket. However, I now need to make another jacket where I can use covered snaps so that I can improve this technique.

The instructions for making the covered snaps were really simple:
  • Cut a circle of fabric the size of a small spool of thread

  • I changed this to a slightly larger spool because I was using snaps larger than pictured in the example.

  • Punch a hole into the fabric with a stiletto and place the lining over the base of the snap.

  • Sew a basting stitch around the circle of lining; draw up the thread and fasten neatly on the underside.

  • This took a lot of hand stitches on the first ones but I figured out how to draw the basting stitches tighter on the subsequent snaps.
And a hint or two:

1. Use a straight pin to find the holes on the snaps to stitch was a lot easier than stabbing the needle around looking for them.

2. I also used a double waxed thread in the needle so that I didn't have to stitch through the snaps so many times.

It is a simple technique that with a little practice gives a garment a really upscale finish. I will use this technique again soon!

The final change was regarding my button choice. As I was searching for my covered button forms, I found these amazing gold & flower buttons in my button collection. They gave the jacket a more vintagey flair so I used them instead of the covered buttons. It was like adding jewelry to the jacket and I'm glad that I went with them instead of the covered they hid a lot of the bad hand stitching that was used to stitch the snaps onto the jacket.

It was the last thing added to the jacket but it gave the jacket a wonderful WOW factor!!! More later on the pattern alterations and making the faux welt pockets!

Sunday, April 06, 2008

And the Winner Is...

After carefully checking the comments section, I used this high-tech manner in which to pull the winners names:

My DD#2 gladly volunteered to pull the names...and the winners are:

Emily for January 2008 and
Valerie for March 2008

Congratulations to the winners! Please send me an email at cnorman underscore 98 at yahoo dot com with your mailing addresses and I will get the issues out to you right away!

On a different note, I finished up the Easter Suit 2008 Jacket and will have details and pics either later today or tomorrow! Hope you had a wonderful weekend!

Saturday, April 05, 2008

12 on a Desert Island

Yesterday Lisa of Sew Random wrote this really kewl and fun post with these specifics:
  • "You have to move for one year to a very small space that does not have access to retail or internet pattern sources. You have only room to take 12 TNT patterns with you. So, what patterns would you take to meet any wardrobe needs in the next year?"
Okay this is right up my alley! I use TNT's all the time. Most of my wardrobe is just a series of TNT patterns rearranged and made over and over again. So I happily sat down last night to write out my list and to my surprise I only have 10 TNTs that I would take with me! Egads! You mean I have so little sewing imagination that I use the same 10 patterns repeatedly! Excuse me but that is truly a heavy revy!!!!

So here are the TEN patterns I would take with me!

This is a workhorse in my wardrobe. I have been making this little tank top for the last 4 or 5 years and have made it out of every fabrication possible, linen, silk, wool w/lycra blend, cotton. It works so well with my corporate wardrobe and makes up quickly now that I've gotten the pattern fitted. A couple of weeks ago, I even made it out of a knit and added a bowtie to it...yeah, this one is definitely coming with me!

I have worked with this pattern in several sizes and have transferred it to pattern paper after pattern paper when I've worn it out. I have altered my pattern from a smaller size to a larger size. I have sliced and diced it and used it so many times that I don't even remember which pattern it originally came from! I have made it in every fabric there yes this would be in the shoebox of patterns that I would take with me.

Take every sentence I wrote above and change the word skirt to the word pants! I even have this pattern in several pant leg widths. So this one would go too.

I actually know where this pattern originated from - Butterick 5932. However, my pattern looks nothing like the original! A have imagined this dress into everything...a Chanel knock-off, a jumper, a dress with a pleat down the front and who knows what the future holds for it! Definitely coming along!

This pattern has only recently been added to my TNT list. It is a notch collar jacket that makes up easily and has seen three renditions in my wardrobe...well one is in the post production stages...but if I needed a great little jacket for any event, this would be the one!

This skirt pattern started life as a one piece, floor length, bias cut skirt which I made at least 10 versions of before I cut it apart. After it was cut apart, I shortened it, changed the grain line not once but twice and generally ended up with a pattern that works for all occasions. It was an important piece in my Jackie Kennedy knock-off suit as well as used for my DD's Easter skirt. Definitely sticking this one in the shoebox!

When Simplicity issued this pattern and then Sew Stylish dedicated a magazine issue to its usage, I was intrigued and in entire issue about taking a pattern and making it your own! You know I had to make some garments from it! After much wrestling and pattern alterations, I have managed to make it a TNT pattern. This pattern offers so much and I haven't begun to explore all the variations yet, so this one would most assuredly make the trip!

I love twinsets and I suffered through the fitting and sewing of several big 4 patterns before I stumbled onto this one. I loved it so much that I bought two copies of it so that I would never have to worry about having it. This has been lengthened to dress length and fingertip length. I have shortened it and made from thin, thick, ribbed and rayon knits. It is a workhorse and a vital part of my wardrobe...into the shoebox it goes!

Its funny that shirt dresses are so hot this spring because this classic style has been in my TNT collection for at least 5 or 6 years. The first time I made it from a lt periwinkle blue linen, I knew I had a winner. It has subtle waist shaping, and an easy to apply collar and collar stand. The original pattern came with short sleeves but my best rendition of the pattern has long sleeves. Its been made in several fabrications and my next version will be an embroidered eyelet sleeveless version for spring. This pattern is seasonless and a classic. It would definitely go with me!

10. Vogue 2285 Jacket
Another hard-working jacket that has been altered from the original pattern! I have used it in several skirt suit outfits, it was the basis for my Easter suit jacket and it's original inception was as an eyelet jacket for spring. This pattern is another great jumping off point...I can use it and end up anywhere!

So Lisa has asked others, "What would they take?" And now I'm asking? What TNT patterns would you take, if you could only take 12? Also, do you use TNT patterns or are you a one-time only user? Think about it and let us (me and Lisa) know!!!

***Special Note***

I am pulling the names for the free Threads magazines tomorrow instead of today! So if you thought it was too late to enter the free giveaway its not! Leave a note tonight 'cause I'm definitely pulling the winner(s) tomorrow!!!!

Til tomorrow!!!


Related Posts with Thumbnails