Saturday, 22 March 2014

More than a t-shirt

Hello again friends!

I made a t-shirt! Sort of - check it out!


I am so pleased with how this turned out - I got the idea from a couple of RTW tops I've seen around the shops, and just went for it.


The pattern is from the Built by Wendy Dresses book. This is only the second time I've used a pattern from this book, which has been languishing on the shelf for a while. It includes three basic patterns - the shift dress, which I used here, a sheath dress with raglan sleeves, and a dirndl dress. These patterns don't have a ton of ease, so I sized up to the large and shortened the shoulder seam about 1/2". This left me with the boxy shape I was looking for.

The fabric was a gift from a de-stashing friend, and it was love at first sight. I think it's some kind of blend, it's definitely not 100% wool. It's got a lot going on, and it took a while to decide how I wanted the pattern to work. I kept the dominant stripe horizontal, and managed to match the pattern pretty well.

For the binding, I chose some lovely plummy silk charmeuse, and used the wrong side. I loved the colour, but the shine was just not right, so the matte side was the way to go. I used the continuous method (or little pants, as we called it at school) to make my bias strips, and ended up with 4 strips 55" long from an 11" length of fabric.

As for the pattern adjustments and construction, the BBW dress book patterns do not include seam allowance (which I like, since that's how I draft, on the rare occasion I get around to it). I traced my pattern pieces onto the fabric, and made sure to mark a 1/2" seam allowance at the side seams. I did not add any hem allowance; since the hem is bound, that would have been a waste of fabric. For the other seams, I just eyeballed my seam allowances. Since the fabric frayed like crazy, I serged all the edges, including those that would be bound. I then used the serging as a guide when sewing the binding.

After binding the sides and hems of the front and back, I continued as normal (shoulders, neck etc.), and when it was time to sew up the side seams, I just laid the front over the back, pinned first to make sure I wouldn't have any surprises, and stitched from the right side. Presto, design feature! Then I set the sleeves in, and toyed with the idea of binding the hems as well, but decided to leave them with a plain hem. In a lighter fabric, I might be tempted to bind the sleeve hem as well.



If I were to do this again, I might move the side seams forward by adding to the back and reducing the front a bit. But that is a mere quibble, I am in love with this top, and seeing the pics again has inspired me to wear it again!

Pattern matching delight - but you can see how springy the fabric is - that seam did not want to lay flat!


In a side note, I have been reading along with the Colette Wardrobe Architect series, and this is definitely one of my preferred silhouettes. I could use a few more boxy tops in my life, and this was an excellent start.

And now to move on to some spring projects!

Saturday, 8 March 2014

Denim On Top

Hello all, and thanks for the love in my last post! I feel all warm and fuzzy. At least on the inside, outside it is still a very chilly winter!

But, the cold weather just means more sewing time, right? Here's the latest from my factory of one.



This is Butterick 5926, a jacket pattern designed for stretch fabrics. This fabric is a denim look knit, really lovely, from Fabricland. The pattern has two lengths, just above the hip and just below, and two sleeve lengths, full length and bracelet length. I prefer shorter jackets, so that was a no brainer. I usually like to push my sleeves up, so the sleeve length was a bit of a debate. In the end I went with full length.

Sorry about the lighting - I was so impatient to get some photos after weeks of cold & snow.

It was tricky to choose a size, I usually go with a 14 from the Big 4, but I sized down to a 12 and I'm glad I did. It's snug, but without much structure or lining, I was trying to avoid getting too baggy. The one piece sleeves do have a dart, and there are back neck darts as well as a bust dart in the front.



I made a couple of small pattern alterations, the usual shortening of the body (3/4") and the addition of a back neck facing. One of the other reviewers on Pattern Review suggested it, and in the end it gave a less bulky finish to the back neck. The most time consuming part of sewing this jacket was my decision to use a hong kong finish on EVERY SINGLE EXPOSED SEAM ALLOWANCE. Brutal. I'm happy, but that decision easily tripled my sewing time!


I made a couple of small pattern alterations, the usual shortening of the body (3/4") and the addition of a back neck facing. One of the other reviewers on PR suggested it, and in the end it gave a less bulky finish to the back neck. The most time consuming part of sewing this jacket was my decision to use a hong kong finish on EVERY SINGLE EXPOSED SEAM ALLOWANCE. Brutal. I'm happy, but that decision easily tripled my sewing time.


I have some indigo print Japanese handkerchiefs in my stash, and used three of them to make the bias tape for the seam finishing. I had two with the smaller floral, and used the larger floral for the hems and armholes.



Also for this project, I used my new (old) Janome 657. Instead of double stitching the body seams, as instructed, I used the triple stitch and gave my new friend quite a work out. I ended up returning to my not new but less old Kenmore to attach the pockets and stitch the hems, since the Janome presser foot has only one pressure setting.

There's something about this jacket that really says "spring" to me, and I'm looking forward to wearing it more as things warm up around here.

Til next time...