Thursday, January 16, 2020

How fast do you sew?

The new issue of Knip mode has a pattern for a jacket that has my name written on it. One of my sewing friends posted the technical drawing in our whatsapp group yesterday and I bought the issue the same day when doing my grocery shopping. The fabric it's made of isn't showing it very well and on the model it looks a bit shapeless, but I love these lines.

It has an intriguing description: an outstanding jacket with special design lines. It needs advanced sewing skills and at least an afternoon of sewing.



In which world is this ever "an afternoon of sewing"????? Tracing and cutting will take up that afternoon (at least!). Putting it together, topstitching, single welt pockets, hook and eye closures, collar with stand.....

I'm planning to make a muslin this time, as Knip Mode has changed its sizing and now claims to be drafting to the size chart more exactly. Read: not as much ease as there used to be.
If it works out as I hope I will probably use zippers for the center front closing and pockets. I'll use a different type of fabric too.

Tuesday, January 14, 2020

A skirt

I started to write about blogging in general, inspired by Bunny's post on blogging, but have deleted it all. Too many words and I'm realising I'm mainly thankful to be part of this amazing community. It gave me real friends too, both near and far and even a group of sewing friends I share a week of sewing with each year (next one is already in the agenda!).

Bunny's post made me realise too that it's been a long time again since I posted, without intending to leave so much time in between. December is of course a busy time for most of us and January... well, I can't wait till it's over and days are getting longer.

I'm certainly not planning to put a schedule on my blog posts, but will try to document my sewing a bit more. Let's start with one of my recent makes, a skirt from the May 2012 Burda issue.


One of my sewing friends traced it for me (thanks Viv) as I didn't have the issue.
Though it looks like a wrap, initially I thought it was, it's a pegged pencil skirt with some lovely features:

  • asymmetrical seamline at the front
  • high/low hem
  • high waistline in the back, lower at front
Here's my version.

I made it in a heavy ponte knit in size 42. I ended up making it shorter and taking in the waist a lot. Think it was at least two sizes. As you can see in the first photo, which is not the most flattering, but the one where you can see the detail best, my difference in waist/hip ratio is substantial.
When I had sewn the base of the skirt and only had to do the facings, I tried it on, not having altered the depth of the darts. It looked ok and I finished it, including top-stitching.

The horror of putting it on then. It was far too wide in the waist. Probably it had set a bit lower when I tried it on. It meant taking all the topstitching out, taking the waist in by sewing wider darts AND making seam lines in the facing to remove the extra width. 
Something that would have make me throw it in the wastebin when I was younger...(my mother knows!) but now I'm really happy I didn't.


Dark blue is difficult to make photos from, It's close fitting but the ponte knit makes it quite comfortable.

Thursday, December 5, 2019

A pair of trousers, Burdastyle September 2019

This is my second pair of trousers made from the BurdaStyle September 2019 issue. The first pair was made during the sewing week I enjoyed with my friends in October and as the fit was so good, I decided to make another pair.





A few notes on the pattern and the changes I did:

  • the pattern is for tall people and while I'm not 1.76 (the lenght the tall patterns are drafted for) I'm closer to that than to the average length of 1.68 of their regular patterns. I chose the size by waist circumference, hoping the pleats would give the extra room at hip height. Without any other changes, it was a miraculously good fit.
  • in the magazine 2 variations are shown, one with the pleats folded to the center front, one with the pleats folding to the sides.
    On my first pair, I hadn't noticed this, nor read the instructions and had folded the pleats to the side because that's more common. Sewing on auto-pilot. Though fine, I preferred the pleats to be a bit more away from the center, so I moved the pleats 1.5 cm to the side on my second pair. The photos are of the pair with this change.
  • Earlier this year I made a pair of trousers from the March issue, which had a slightly curved pocket opening which didn't gape. So I used that slight curve here too.
    When sewing the pocket, I used a strip of silk organza to take out any stretch.
  • I made the legs a normal length and didn't add cuffs.
  • Almost forgot: changed the straight waistband to a curved one. Straight waistbands don’t suit me. It’s not difficult to draft a new one, but I made my life easy when I was amongst my sewing friends. One of the ladies had just traced a pattern with a curved waistband. I made a copy, adjusted a bit on the length for my pattern and that was it. The happiness of sewing friends!



In my opinion a little basting helps to get a better result.








I know there are still pleats in the back, it's different with every move. I think I can't get it much better than this.



Monday, November 11, 2019

Reducing bulk - serged seam

After a more complicated garment like a jacket it often feels good to do a few less time consuming projects. This time it's knit tops for me. I've cut a few and am sewing them one at a time. Not really production sewing, as they all need different colour thread. Still very instant gratification though.
One of the garments is a cardigan, cut from a more substantial fabric. Using a thicker fabric and sewing it with a serger means seams can have a lot of bulk when you have to fold a seam. In this case it's the seam of a neckband.

My solution is clip the seam at the point where it's folded, but not clip the thread that is forming the actual seam, press in different directions and fold over . The result doesn't show that much of a bump.

For comparison I made a quick sample of the result without clipping the seam too.











The version which I made with the clip is at the bottom.




Sunday, November 3, 2019

Jacket finished


The jacket is fnished. As so often there is a bit room for improvement on fit (the back mostly), in general I'm pretty satisfied though. I have to think about styling this. Because of the fabric I used it's more formal. A nice scarf would loosen the look a bit. Any thoughts?
And I love a special lining!
 I'll let the photo's do the talking:



Tuesday, October 29, 2019

Constructions - part 2

Some further construction details for the jacket. I think a lot of how a jacket looks when it's finished depends on the details on the inside. Bulk reduction, mentioned in my previous post too, is part of that.
Most of the corners of seams are therefor cut at an angle.






The seam of the facing is graded. The facing is cut shorter than the front pattern piece. In general the seam allowance that is closest to the outside of the garment is longer.
For the corner at the hem I cut back as in the following picture.

I folded the corner in the direction of the facing and gave the point a good press (only the point!). After that press I unfold the corner, cut away the facing at an angle, fold again and turn. While turning I keep hold of the folded edge.







The armhole seam is trimmed to 1 cm at the upper part, only half a centimeter at the lower part. Mostly this is 2/3 and 1/3 of the height. In this case I cut the side panels to a smaller seam allowance.

For the sleeves I use a sleevehead and shoulderpads. The smallest shoulderpads that I can find (in height), as they are not used for getting height or width (the 80's are a long time ago), but just to give the shoulder area and the top of the sleeve a bit more support.
Sleeveheads are never mentioned in Burda instructions, nor were the shoulderpads part of the construction for this jacket. I just prefer to use them anyway.




The sleeve head is attached on the inside of the sleeve. I use basting thread, very close to the seam. On a tailoring course I once took I learned that basting thread was often used on the inside, because it's not slippery.

I'm close to finishing. Hemming still to be done and of course the lining. Hopefully sometime this week.

Saturday, October 26, 2019

Construction - part 1

The closure for the jacket is in the waist seam line. This means you define the width of the buttonhole at a very early stage of construction, so it's important to know which button you use.
Though my button stash is limited (I don't stash buttons, most of what I have are taken from garments that were at the end of their life cycle) I still have four options. The good think about them is that they are all the same size.

The picture doesn't show the fabric too well, it has black, brown and dark blue in it.
Burda magazine did use a smaller button. I measured with one of my buttons and the green line in the second picture defines the new buttonhole length. The red marks are the original pattern marks.
Another thing to check when using a larger button is to make sure the button will not go over the edge when finished. That was ok with my buttons.




Reducing bulk

The pleat in the front is sewn and folded down. Burda gives no instruction how to handle the bulk that as a consequence is in the waist seam line. the inner part of the pleat is in the way of the buttonhole. 
My solution was to cut away part of the fold and zigzag the edge. After sewing the waistline seam I held it in place by a catch stitch. Not the most beautiful hand stitching, but it works and will never be seen. 

After this I sewed the shoulder and side seams and could put it on to see the fit. I think it's promising to be good. Too dark to take photos, especially as the fabric is rather dark.