Thursday, 18 December 2014

Love at First Stitch

I've been very lucky in learning to sew that I learned everything I needed to get started from the internet (Like, 80% was from reading Gertie's blog from top to bottom. I'm sure I'm not the only one!) and the library has a pretty wonderful supply of sewing books for more in-depth techniques (several of the books that I test-drove from the library proved to be so valuable to me that I bought my own copy).

But I can totally see that appeal of having a beginning sewing book as you learn to sew. As I'm finding with using two books plus pattern instructions to make my jacket, too much information from too many sources can be confusing

Just for fun, I picked up Love at First Stitch by Tilly Walnes from the library and I can totally see the appeal of this book. The projects progress from silly-easy to a lined dress, with new techniques taught along the way (OK, not the most original concept, but it's well-executed). And it is such a cute book! The aesthetics and styling of this book really appeal to me for some reason. 

One thing I really like about this book is that there are suggestions for variations on each project to make it unique and these ideas can be applied to a wide variety of projects, you build up creative options as well as techniques. Fun!

There are also little interludes or articles in the book that talk about bigger picture stuff, like approaching sewing projects from a place of fun and exploration and play, or ways to find time to sew in a busy life. I think these mini-essays add a lot to the overall tone of the book, and take it beyond just an instruction manual. Its gives you a further glimpse into the author's personality and shares some of her enthusiasm for what sewing can bring to your life beyond fun new clothes.

Sunday, 14 December 2014

Another post about the jacket I'm working on

Well, the work on my jacket continues. I've been really lucky in that I've had a lot of time to dedicate to it (although I haven't been able to get anything done in the last two days!)

Here are the hours that I've put in since my last post:

December 6 - padstitching and taping the lappels 4.5 hours
December 7 - finish taping lappels and add back stay, shape shoulder, sew side seams and fit. 3.75 hours
December 9 - attach under collar, assemble upper collar and facings and attach - 4.5 hours
December 10 - grade seams, turn and press  - 1.5 hours
December 12 - cut lining, assemble sleeves and baste lapel and front edge - 3 hours

So 13 hours from my last post, plus 17.25 hours in the last week. Over 30 hours so far!

This is what the jacket looks like right now:

When I bought this fabric, it was sold to me as wool, but I realized when I brought it home that it wasn't raveling at all, not even when it went in for dry cleaning. As soon as I started pressing I realized that there was  no way this is actually wool so I did a burn test and it's definitely synthetic. I've read up a bit about camel hair and apparently it's not uncommon to find polyester or poly blends with actual hair used for the texture on the right side.

Ordinarily I'm a snob about synthetic fibres and we'll see how this one feels when I'm wearing it but I have to say it's nice working with something that can take a lot of handling, since I'm pretty inept at the techniques and everything takes so much time. I'm still a little disappointed, though. I'm putting so much time in and I want to love the finished product!

Another issue with the fabric is the weight. It's pretty bulky and would probably be better suited as a topcoat. It can take a lot of pressing but I haven't been able to get the edges looking crisp and professional.

Well, I'll just have to keep working and see how it turns out!

I've also been spending some time re-watching this great series of videos. I'd forgotten it existed until Chris reminded me. Thanks Chris!

Thursday, 11 December 2014

Friday, 5 December 2014

Slow and Slowly

It seems like every time I finish a garment, someone asks how long it took me to make. I ususally know when I started and when I finished (in days) but I never think to count how many hours!

When I try to estimate, it ends up seeming like a crazy lot of hours. So with my jacket that I'm working on now, I'm actually tracking the hours. I'm also hoping this will encourage me to get this project done fast. I can't wait to wear my new jacket!

Here's how much time I've spent so far:

November 30 Cutting fashion fabric and pad stitching undercollar - 5 hours
December 1 Assembling patch pockets, incl. cutting lining and interfacing - 2.25 hours
December 2 Put together front and side front, attach pockets - 2.5 hours
December 4 & 5, cutting out, preparing and basting the canvas to the front - 3.25

Holy moly! More than two hours to make pockets and another two to put them on! I look at other bloggers like Lladybird and Diary of a Sewing Fanatic and I just can't believe how fast they sew. I guess I dont really mind taking so much time. I really enjoy the process of sewing so it's not like a hardship but I'm just amazing at the amount of time everything takes!

In 6 days, I've spent 13 hours and this is as far as I've gotten.

Looking pretty good I think. When I made my sweetheart's jacket two years ago, I only used Tailoring: The Classic Guide to Sewing the Perfect Jacket. but now I've also got Classic Tailoring Techniques (I ordered it Friday and it came on Sunday, if you can believe it). It's nice to have more information but it also makes it a lot more confusing. Even with both books, I'm not 100% sure I did this basting right. Classic Tailoring Techniques doesn't really explain how the bust contour works with the basting. Like, when you're basting, you're supposed to make it smooth, but there's a lot of contouring going on in the bust area, you know? That shit's not gonna be smooth, but the book doesn't say anything about it. I did the best I could and I think it'll be OK.

Sunday, 30 November 2014

Finally gonna make a jacket for myself!

I've spent a lot of time this year developing my drafting skills, which has been pretty wonderful! But lately I've been getting the urge to do something a little different. I'm not sure why I've been putting off finally starting my own jacket. Last weekend I walked past a second hand store in my old neighbourhood and spotted 2 yards of camelhair wool for $20.

I'm taking at as a sign to get this project started! Best case scenario: I end up with a super cute and very wearable jacket. Worst case: I waste a bunch of time and money having fun learning what not to do.

Yesterday I bought all the supplies I'll need, including these gorgeous bone buttons and navy blue bemberg lining. Yum!

I'll be using Butterick B4610, which is out of print but still available.

I made up a muslin in a straight size eight. It's actually a very nicely drafted pattern. with not too much ease and the sleeves are pretty perfect and the shoulder fits really nicely.

For my actual jacket, I'll grade out to a size 10 below the waist.

And, because I can't leave well enough alone, I'm going to add a centre back vent and surgeon's cuffs.

I should be finished in about march of 2015. Just in time for it to be too hot to wear this jacket.

Oh yeah, and I ordered Classic Tailoring Techniques: A Construction Guide for Women's Wear. It was like, $13 on the Chapters website. Go me!

Sunday, 23 November 2014

Silky floral shirt

I went over to Kiren's and imposed upon her to finally take some pictures of this shirt that I made a couple of weeks ago.

Now that it gets dark so early, it's even harder to take photos! Also, Kiren baked us cookies. Cookies are my greatest weakness.

I used the same self-drafted blouse pattern that I used to make this shirt and the bodice of this dress. I did lengthen it a bit, and made the curved hem a bit more dramatic. I think it's a really flattering look! A big reason for me choosing this pattern is that I wanted something with a simple shape that would be a good vehicle for the large, fairly busy floral print. This shirt fit the bill.

Though I have to admit, I'm not 100% convinced that I did the best job with print placement. I think I might have been a bit too careful about making sure that I didn't end up with a big gaudy peony on my boob. I guess it's better safe than sorry, though.

I used my new felled seam foot for all the seams (all four of them!). I tried using my new rolled hem foot but a combination of the fabric being shifty and me not having had a lot of practice with it made the machine rolled hem look terrible. I ended up hand rolling it, which I actually really enjoyed. There are facings for the neckline and armholes and the edges of the facings are finished with a silk Hong Kong binding. All in all, the finishing of this shirt is really nice. I'm very happy with it!

As I said, I finished this shirt a couple of weeks ago and I've already gotten so much use out of it! I like it because it's kind of casual (I mostly just throw it on with a pair of jeans) but still very pretty and luxurious. I used the same silk as my skirt.

I can actually wear these two together and they look like a dress (like one of my inspiration photos) but that would only be right in very particular (read: fancy) circumstances.

Speaking of particular circumstances, I got to wear my floral silk skirt out to dinner last week! It was our 8th anniversary (!) so we went out to a great restaurant. I felt very lovely wearing it.

God, did I use enough hyperlinks in this post?

Sunday, 26 October 2014

Extremely glamorous and luxurious floral pencil skirt

It seems like a lot of the clothes that I've made this year are a little more glamorous than I really need. I just...really love beautiful things! Is there a name for that?

Oh, I just looked it up and there is a word for that.

It's aesthete.

You're welcome.

With that being said...