Over the years, I have accumulated quite a collection of fabrics, patterns, buttons and other ingredients. I recently cleaned out my fabric and pattern stashes and thought it was high time to go through my huge zipper collection. FYI, those are mostly 2 gallon ziplocs. 🤦♀️
Ever since I started using really nice zippers – Riri, Lampo, Excella – I’ve become dissatisfied with anything less. It’s just so easy to order what I need or stock up on my annual trip to NYC. I plant Bryan at Ben’s and head over to Pacific and Botani with my fabric swatches and buy what I think I’ll need for the coming year. If only he knew how much money was invested in those little shopping bags. 😳 I mean, the Riri room at Pacific is like a candy store for me, I want them all!
Since I’m in a purging mood, I decided that today was the day to tackle the zipper stash. Once I got going, it was pretty easy. Now, the stash consists only of zippers that I will actually use!
And the purge pile. Nothing wrong with any of them, but I know I will never use them so better to pass them on to someone who will!
Wow, I feel like this jacket went together so quickly. I’m usually such a slow sewer as I just like to relax and enjoy the entire process and not just rush through to the finish line. It’s always nice when a project turns out exactly as you envisioned. Actually, it turned out better because I never dreamed that I’d really be able to make that metallic organza behave! Yes, I made a few mistakes along the way but that is to be expected when one is a bit out of practice. Okay, maybe a lot out of practice!
Moving onto the back, I assembled the back panels, attached the back yoke and bound the seams for a little extra flash. (The front seams are mostly covered by the pocket bags so I opted for the flatter mock flat fell seams there instead)
Next I joined the front and back at the shoulder seam and attached the collar. I apologize, I somehow neglected to show the steps for finishing the front facings and the neck edge but it’s very straightforward.
The sleeve vents are pretty standard for this type of jacket. The upper and under sleeves are stitched together in a conventional seam to the dot/marking and the seam is pressed flat, then open.
Then, the undersleeve seam is clipped to the seam allowance, turned under twice and topstitched.
Next, the upper sleeve seam allowances are turned under in a mock flat felled seam, being careful not to catch the underlap. The last step is to make a bar tack – or two – to secure the small bit of raw edge at the top of the underlap. Sometimes, I will substitute a rivet but I didn’t think I needed more metal in this jacket.
Once the sleeves were set in, I bound the armscye. I did have a little trouble here and had to recut my binding yet another 1/8″ wider before it would cleanly bind the seam. I’m very happy with the way it looks.
Next, I reduced the under cuff seam allowance and bound the edge before stitching the outer cuff to the outside of the sleeve. I used a heavier interfacing on the outer cuff and a lighter one on the inner cuff. I would ordinarily use the lighter interfacing on the entire cuff but I seem to be low on the lighter weight, which is my favorite.
I stitched the ends, folding under the bound edge as gracefully as possible.
Once again, instead of clipping across the corners, I folded the seam allowances over each other and held them together as I turned the cuff right side out. This results in a good square corner that isn’t weak at the point.
The cuff is then closed up by stitching in the well of the seam from the right side and topstitching all around.
The waistband is attached in the same manner.
After making the remaining buttonholes, my favorite part: sewing the buttons on by hand and hanging it in my closet!
The inside is my favorite!
Sources: Irish linen and Cartier-inspired buttons from the (sadly) long-gone Maggi’s for Fine Fabrics in Boca Raton; Kona cotton pocketing and metallic organza from JoAnn Fabrics; fusible interfacings from my friend Pam at http://www.fashionsewingsupply.com.
Parting shot: I am so in love with this Gucci bomber jacket. I have been searching all of my favorite online fabric vendors for just the right fabric and, unfortunately, I didn’t find anything suitable with a black background. But, I did find something really fabulous with a white background so this will be going in the queue!
Before attaching the front yoke, buttonholes must be made in the pocket flaps. My beloved 1961 Singer Rocketeer was a birthday gift from my friend Greg 10 or 11 years ago. I keep her set up for buttonholes at all times because I find her buttonholes far superior to those of any of my other machines, including my Berninas.
Next, I played around with the binding. My metallic organza has a scratchy metallic face but is smooth on the backside so I decided to use the backside as my right side. It took a few test runs to get it just right.
I started with a 1 1/4” binding plate and cut my bias strip 1 1/4” wide (far right) and ended up with a lot of threads poking out. Next, I cut my bias strip to 1 3/8” (center) and that worked out perfectly but I thought it looked too wide and heavy.
I then switched to a 1” binding plate and cut my bias strip 1 1/8” wide (left) and that gave me the look I wanted.
Here’s a quick video of the binding operation. I keep this industrial single-needle machine set up for binding all the time. Sorry, I was filming with one hand and guiding the fabric with the other but you get the idea.
The finished bound pocket.
Now, it’s time to attach the pocket flaps and the front yoke.
I find the front yoke seam too bulky to run through the binder so I prefer to use a Hong Kong finish here instead.
I then topstitched 1/4” away from the seam. Next I’ll move on to the jacket back and the shoulder seams.
Now on to the fun part – assembling the fronts and installing the welt pockets.
First, I joined the three front panels in a standard 5/8” seam and pressed the seams open and then away from the center panel.
Next, I trimmed the under seam down to a scant 1/4” and then folded the top seam allowance over it and edge stitched to make a mock flat felled seam – less bulky in this heavy fabric than a traditional flat felled seam. I have also bound these seam allowances in really heavy fabrics like velveteen.
Next, the pocket facing is applied. To reduce bulk, I used a firmly woven cotton. I generally use Symphony broadcloth but I wasn’t able to find the right color. I serged around three sides but it’s only necessary to finish the bottom edge because the sides will be finished off by the pocket anyway. Stitch, trim, clip into the corners, turn and edge stitch.
The pocket edges are turned under 3/8 and then applied to the wrong side of the garment and topstitched into place.
I need to make buttonholes in the pocket flaps yet but you get the idea.
Now, onto the welt pockets. First, lay you pocket piece face up onto the right side of the garment. I like to clearly mark my stitching lines with a chalk pencil.
I have also added a piece of very lightweight fusible interfacing to the wrong side of the jacket front. I like to do this anytime I add a welt pocket. I’ve pinked the edges to prevent any show-through on the right side.
Then I stitch around the box, using a stitch length of 2 on the long sides, with smaller stitches around the corners. It’s a good idea to begin your stitching on one of the long sides to avoid thread buildup in one of the corners.
Then, cut down the center of the box and into the corners. Turn to the inside of the front and press.
If your corners are not perfect, it’s okay because this pocket will have a bartack across the top and bottom of the welt which will hide any imperfections. If you are scared of welt pockets, this one is for you.
Next, fold back the straight edge of the pocket back over the opening and press well. Turn it back again towards the front edge, forming your welt. Fold the garment back from the welt and secure those little triangles. I like to use a few lines of straight stitching here.
Then I edgestitch around the top, bottom and front of the welt before laying the pocket lining – again, a firmly woven cotton – on top.
The lining is attached to the pocket with a straight stitch about 1/8” from the edge. No need to be super neat about it since it will be hidden underneath my binding or enclosed in a seam at the front and bottom. You can also just serge them together, if you wish. Now, it’s time for the bartacks. My stitches are very short as I like more of a satin stitch here but you can use a longer length if you prefer.
The finished product!
Next up, I’ll be setting up the binder and buttonhole machine. I’ll be interested to see how this metallic organza works out as a binding.
Parting shot. Cattlianthe Gigi Andrae Louis ‘Maverick’ HCC/AOS. My dear friend Thanh named this beautiful hybrid for me a few years ago and I so wanted to be the first to have it awarded. The orchid gods smiled on me a year ago and awarded this flower an HCC (Highly Commended Certificate). I gave it the clonal name ‘Maverick’ because, of the many blooms of this cross I have seen, it is the only one that is not a deep red.
I love a trucker jacket and Jalie 2320 is one of my favorite patterns for this style.
I made this in red linen a few years ago and it’s been well-worn and is now ready for retirement.
For this project I chose a charcoal Irish linen and Cartier-inspired buttons. For the seam binding, I am auditioning two silk duppionis and a metallic polyester organza. I’m leaning towards the organza but we will see how cooperative it is going through the binder!
First up: all the little pieces. Pocket flaps were first. Because I want them to be twins rather than cousins, I mark the stitching lines. I often make a template out of manila paper to make it easy.
Next up was the collar. After pressing all of the seam allowances open, I graded them. Note that I do not trim across the collar points. Instead, I fold the seam allowances on the stitching line and turn the collar out over them. This makes for a nice point without weakening it. Note: this method will not work well on very pointed collars as there isn’t enough space in the point for the folded seam allowances.
I did cut the under collar slightly smaller than the upper collar before sewing but I like to roll the collar as it will be worn to see if there is any addition trimming that needs to be done. I ended up trimming off an additional fat 1/8”.
Lastly, I stitched the waistband tabs, gave everything a good press and then topstitched 1/4” from the edge. Next time, I will continue with my favorite part: the fronts and front pocket.
Parting shot. My little mini is getting so big. Jess is loving fatherhood!
I was gifted this beautiful Singer 401A (mid-1950s) about a year ago by someone who is well aware of my obsession with vintage machines. She knew that I would cherish it and that it would be a treasured piece in my collection. It’s been sitting in my friend’s shop since then awaiting restoration so I was extremely excited to finally bring her home today. Isn’t she a beauty? Aside from a couple of scratches on the back of the top cover she is as bright and shiny as the day she rolled off the assembly line.
Whenever I watch one of these old girls being restored, I marvel at the craftsmanship of yesteryear. These machines were made with pride to last a lifetime or longer – I hope I look this good when I am nearing 60!
Things have been very busy for me since I returned from Couture Boot Camp! I am still working on my strapless dress whenever time permits but found myself with a free day today so I thought I’d whip up a simple summer dress from Vogue 1224 by Tracy Reese.
I have always loved a peasant style blouse or dress for summer and this is such a cute casual dress that will work well with a pair of flats, don’t you think? As soon as this pattern was released I knew I’d use this jersey from Gorgeous Fabrics that has been in my stash for a couple of years. I’m such a copycat!
I made a size 8 with a 5/8″ full bust adjustment (which I really didn’t even need since there’s a lot of ease) and added 2″ to the length of the skirt. I found the skirt to run pretty large and ended up removing 2″ from the circumference to get the slim look as shown on the envelope. Since this is a very busy print, I omitted the lining. I certainly don’t want that extra layer if I don’t need it. Lastly, I allowed 1.25″ for the hem as I find 5/8″ to look very skimpy.
The directions have you stitch a separate elastic casing into the waistline seam. Since I didn’t want any unnecessary bulk at the waist, I omitted this step and simply pressed the skirt seam allowance up and used it to form the casing. I also made a belt from the leftover fabric to give it a more finished look. The belt was cut 2 yards by 6″ wide and stitched in a 1/4″ seam – perfect to wrap around my waist twice.
I’m really pleased with the way this turned out and the almost instant gratification I got from this pattern!
I also just finished another New Look 6429 which I have made several times already. I needed a summery interview dress that would work well with my white pique jacket and this fabric was perfect.
Instead of a facing, I bound the neckline edge – very fast and easy!
Once the bodice had been hand basted together and I had another fitting, I stitched the dress together by machine. Notice that I took a smidgen off the bust curve of the Princess seam.
All of the seams were then trimmed, well clipped, pressed and
catchstitched to the underlining.
The next step is to insert the zipper – yay, we are coming down the home stretch! I pinned and then hand basted the zipper opening and will now insert the zipper by hand. Notice that I included the silk crepe de chine lining in my pleats to give them additional fullness and support. The skirt is also underlined with muslin.
I hope to get back to this by the weekend. I have no a/c right now and the thought of standing over a hot iron isn’t very appealing!
Phyllis had asked about my underlining yesterday so I thought I’d go into that a little more. Since my dress has a waist seam (it’s actually slightly low waisted but that’s fine) I was able to sew the boning channels through the two underlining layers. Had I not had two layers I would have stitched separate channels to the underlining. The underlining/boning unit is then treated as one with the fashion fabric. My waist stay will exit the lining (through the use of buttonholes) a few inches from the zipper opening.
When working with a dress that doesn’t have a waistline seam, a separate corselette must be made (which will end at the waist). The corselette can simply be two layers of cotton which are stitched wrong sides together and then boning channels made through those layers. Once the dress and lining have been put together, the corselette is attached to the dress at the top edge only. The corselette has it’s own closure (I like hook/eye tape the best) and is tighter than the dress itself. Here are some photos I took of one of Susan Khalje’s dresses to illustrate:
Notice that the waist stay is incorporated into the corselette whereas mine will simply be hand-tacked to each bodice seam and is otherwise left loose.
Once all of my muslin underlining pieces were traced and cut in mirror image (so that the markings would end up next to the body) they were hand-basted to an additional underlining of silk organza. Having two layers of underlining meant I could stitch my boning channels through the layers rather than having to add separate boning channels.
Here is my bodice all laid out in order. Looks gigantic, doesn’t it?
I then used these pieces to cut my fabric. I cut from the wrong side since my underlining pieces were in mirror image. The left and right side of my body are just a little different, something that is very noticeable in a very fitted garment. The narrow rows of parallel stitching are my boning channels.
Next, I removed each previous row of basting and hand-basted all three layers together on the stitching line.
Notice that here on the center front panel, a fisheye dart was pinned out and marked. I did not stitch it in this dress but may use it on a future version.
One of the highlights of the week was dinner with Cidell. Finally, after all these years we meet! Left to right are Gretchen, Anna, Susan, Robin, Barb, Me and Cidell (photo courtesy of A Little Sewing). Great fun!
PI decided to make a very fitted strapless dress in Couture Boot Camp because a) that’s a tough thing to fit on yourself and b) I’d never done it before!
I selected New Look 6454 as my starting point because I liked the shape of the bodice.
Since I knew I was going to drape my own pleated skirt I only made a muslin of the bodice. I began with my usual size 8 and altered for a full bust on the front.
On the back, I made a broad back adjustment and added a seam allowance at the center back for the zipper. I tend to prefer a CB zipper over a side zipper because it’s easier when you have to fit yourself (since no alterations are made at the CB).
At the muslin stage, the side front was split into two pieces and more material removed through the waist (the shaded area). Notice that all of the stitching lines and grainlines have been machine stitched onto the muslin. One inch seam allowances were added throughout. The parallel lines marked with a “B” are the boning channels.
After the final muslin fitting, I traced my muslin pattern onto a muslin underlining, again marking the seamlines/grainlines (with tracing paper only this time) and adding 1″ seam allowances. Note that, since my body is not symmetrical (whose is?) I traced the pieces in mirror image so that the markings would end up next to my body and be visible from the inside of the garment.
The fabric I am using is a lustrous Vera Wang brocade from A Fabric Place (Michael’s Fabrics for you internet shoppers). Isn’t it gorgeous?