Pink Brocade Jacket

Since I so often wear the silver Isabel Marant jacket https://gigisewsblog.com/2010/10/24/isabel-marant-jacket-final/ that I knocked off a few years ago, I thought I’d make myself a summery version.

It’s mostly assembled, zipper installed, welt pockets done the and neckline piping is basted in.

The single welt pockets are lined with Symphony broadcloth which I much prefer to lining fabric when making any kind of inset pocket.

The entire jacket is underlined with lightweight flannel that I’ve prewashed in hot water and dried on hot three times. I like the loft that it gives to the brocade without adding too much bulk. Next, I will catch stitch all of the seam allowances to the underlining just to keep them nicely in place.

I had selected this gray and white striped silk from my stash for the lining – and have already bound the edges of my facings with – it but now I’m not sure.

Otherwise, I’ve been wanting a hand sewing project to work on so I’m collecting the necessary supplies for a Sashiko- embroidered denim blazer. That should yield many, many hours of hand sewing!

Parting shot: meet Han Solo, my newest sewing cat. He has already wrapped the big sewing room in a thread web whilst I was busy cutting cupcake toppers on my Silhouette. It was necessary to cut my way out of the sewing room but, thankfully, he has no interest in eating the thread. Anything made of paper, however, must be kept out of his clutches.

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A New Baby!

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!

401A

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Vogue 1224 Tracy Reese Dress

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.

v1224

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!

v1224a

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.

nl6429a

Instead of a facing, I bound the neckline edge – very fast and easy!

nl6429b

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New Look 6454, The Couture Version – Part III

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.

stitching

All of the seams were then trimmed, well clipped, pressed and

bodice

catchstitched to the underlining.

catchstitching

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.

zipper1

zipper2

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:

corselettehooks

corseletteopen

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.

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New Look 6454, The Couture Version – Part II

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.

bastedtoorganza

Here is my bodice all laid out in order. Looks gigantic, doesn’t it?

bodicelaidout

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.

cuttingfabric

Next, I removed each previous row of basting and hand-basted all three layers together on the stitching line.

bastetofabric

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.

frontboning

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!

dinner

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New Look 6454 – The Couture Version, Part I

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.

newlook6454

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.

frontpatterns

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).

backpatterns

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.

muslinsidefront

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.

muslintracing

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?

verawangbrocade

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Faux Mink Jacket – Final!

I stayed up last night and finished the hems and lining, bring on the cold front!

minkfinal

 

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Faux Mink Jacket – Part VI

It’s been in the mid-80s for a number of days so I haven’t felt like working on the jacket as much. But, now that I’m in the home stretch I am anxious to get it finished. We have a cold front coming through mid-week so maybe I’ll even get to wear it! I swear, my garden doesn’t know if it’s winter or spring these days. My trees are dropping their leaves and blooming at the same, sigh.

The last bit of inner construction to be finished before putting in the lining are the fur hooks. I used an awl to make a hole large enough for the hook to pass through (If you are using fur with a knit backing you could make a small snip) and then stitched it on securely from the inside.

hook

hooks2

From the outside, all you see is the hook portion.

hookoutside

The lining has been assembled and attached except for the hems. This rayon brocade practically screamed my name when I stopped into JoAnn’s for a thimble (yes, I broke down and bought one). I rarely bother to look at their fabric but there it was, right on the aisle in one of my very favorite color combinations.

lining

Rather than sewing the bust dart in the lining, I opted to simply fold it. I saw it done this way in a ready-made fur coat and thought it not only looked nice but provided a bit of wearing ease as well.

dart

Another detail that I copied from a ready-made jacket (in this case my Persian lamb) is a pleated piping along the back neck edge. I am assuming that this piping served to protect the fur from soil and wear. I think it’s a pretty and luxurious detail, don’t you?

pleating

Once I finish up the hems, I think I’d like to work on a couple of quick and easy projects before moving on to my next jacket. A palate cleanser of sorts!

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Pattern Matching Tutorial

We interrupt the faux mink jacket to bring you – by popular request – a pattern matching tutorial! Many of you are participating in the 2011 Men’s Shirt Sew-Along over at Male Pattern Boldness and a couple of my readers asked me to write about matching patterns across the front opening. It’s easy, easy, easy!

I am using a small-scale pattern to better illustrate the process. Note that I have marked the center front (and the foldline but we don’t care about that at this point) on the front of the pattern,

patternfront

and the back (very important!).

patternback

Step I: With fabric single-layer, cut your right shirt front. Make small clips at the top and bottom of the center front line (the most important step!). I have marked the center fronts with chalk for visibility.

rightfront

Step II: Remove pattern and lay the newly cut front section (right side up) onto your yardage, matching the pattern exactly (can you even see it?). Put a pin at the CF clips you made earlier.

patternmatch

Step III: Turning your pattern piece over, align the center front line with the pins (be precise!) and cut out your 2nd piece.

leftfront

Voila, that’s all there is to it! And, as you can see here, the pattern will match whether the garment will be buttoned right over left (for women),

rightoverleft

or left over right (for men or unisex garments).

leftoverright

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Faux Mink Jacket – Part V

I was finally able to get back to the jacket today, yay! I stitched the darts, shoulder and side seams and attached the collar. Because the fur is so plush I had to trim it out of the seam allowances (best done over a wastebasket!). To keep the seam allowances flat, I catchstitched them to the backing. I did the same with the darts after slashing them open.

front

seam

One of my favorite parts, the back of the collar.

collarback

All I have left now are the sleeves, hems and lining. Not too much but everything does take a little longer in fur. I hope we have a few more cold days so I can wear this at least once. Speaking of cold days, I am shocked at how much I am wearing my fur vest! It turns out to be the perfect thing to throw on when it’s just a little chilly. I think I need another one (just an excuse to sew with fur again).

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