Wednesday, September 26, 2012

Jacket construction - part 4

After a weekend away there were a few things to catch up to, and then today I had a lovely “sewing” day. First I met Valerie for lunch, then I had a skype chat with Nancy K this evening. Of course we talk about other things too, but there is a lot of sewing talk also. Imagine that until I started blogging all those years back (more than 5 years I believe) I had no sewing friends (or friends who sew). Apart from meeting in real life, the internet sewing community still feels as a warm friendly community that I’m grateful for to be part of. It’s nice to be able to share sewing experiences with people who know what you’re talking about.

I didn’t sew for a couple of days, but just now I interfaced the hem of my jacket. It’s not the way it’s described in the book I mentioned earlier. I used a 5 cm wide strip of fusible interfacing and fused it on the hem line. After that I I turned up the hem and pinned. It still has to be sewn with catch stitches. I took a few photographs to see how it is fitting now. Mirror shots unfortunately, but you get the idea. The sleeves are sewn, next step is to sew those in. After that it’s “only” the lining.

You can see that I changed the zipper. It’s a sand color. Thanks for the opinions on this issue. I went for what felt best to me. The off-white one was just too prominent.

And Trena asked whether you could see the stitching on the under collar at the right side of the fabric. The answer is yes, the way I did it you will see it. But you won’t see the undercollar usually in this type of collar, and certainly hard to see in my fabric, so that’s not worrying me a bit.

Would like to have this jacket finished around the weekend. Better stop blogging and spending time on the internet and get that hem stitched…..


Thursday, September 20, 2012

StyleArc Nina cardigan

Two days ago an envelope from the other side of the globe arrived: StyleArc patterns. I must “blame” Robin for this. I had a few patterns on my wish list and when she wrote this post, I clicked to the StyleArc site and ordered 4 new patterns. Add to that the free skirt pattern, that makes 5 new patterns. Must say I love the personal touch of the company, a handwritten note, and because I had indicated the hip/waist difference and asked them to send the free pattern in the size they would advice, they even sent me a sheet with information on the grading of their patterns. Great customer service.

The jacket is on hold till next week, I just had to sew the Nina cardigan yesterday evening. Took me 2 hours from cutting pattern till finished garment and part of that time was spent adjusting the serger for a rolled hem and testing what tension worked best! Other then that there won’t be time to sew till next week.

But the cardigan: it’s a great pattern, uses only 1.5 meter of fabric and is drafted beautifully. The back seams are no straight lines, they have a gentle curve. Construction is completely on the serger (except for sleeve hems), the seam allowances are for that construction method: only half a centimeter or so.

I ordered size 12 based on my bust measurement and the fit is fine. I only made the sleeves a bit narrower at the wrist, personal preference and such a minor detail to change.

Really, really like this pattern and longing to make one of the other patterns I received.

Friday, September 14, 2012

Construction jacket–part 3

Today I managed to sew the main part of the body and the collar. This is the undercollar after interfacing. Both fabric and hair canvas are cut on the bias. The roll line is stitched with parallel lines. After sewing the upper and under collar together, I turned the seam allowance of the under collar and catchstitched them to the hair canvas. It was all going so smoothly that I forgot to take photos of this step.


Now I’ve constructed the main part I think that I’ve used the wrong color zipper. This zipper is the right color off-white, but it pops out too much. A grey or sand colored zipper will be much better. Though not real fun to unpick the zipper, the jacket is still in a state that it can relatively easy be done, apart from the fact that I’ll have to go to a shop or market tomorrow to buy a new one.

What do you think? (the collar is only provisionally turned, some trimming seams and pressing to be done.


Thursday, September 13, 2012

Interfacing the front

I’m really into the jacket, have take a few hours late at night and early in the morning to work on it. Once again this book is a great reference:



I use the fusible method of interfacing mainly. Both the center front and the side panel are interfaced with a fusible interfacing from my stash. It is of intermediate weight, giving some stability to the fabric without making it stiff.

The interfacing is cut at the roll line and a few millimeters taken off at the lapel side. The opening between the two pieces of interfacing make for an easy folding of the collar. The lapel has an extra layer of interfacing too, with the straight of grain along the roll line.

Afther the a piece of tape is attached at the roll line, at the bottom attached with handstitches, to prevent show through at the right side of the fabric. Turned out to be completely unneccessary in my fabric, as you really can’t see the two stitching lines above the handstitches at the right side of the fabric, even when you know the stitches are there you have to look very, very close to see them.

The zipper basted to the side front with large straight stitches.

Then the side and center front are sewn together. I wanted to use a shoulder stay to give that area more stability. I had to be a bit inventive, as I couldn’t sew it by machine to the facing of the front and I did not have a fusible hair canvas. So I cut the hair canvas piece and stitched a piece of fusible interfacing to it with serpentine stitches, with the adhesive side up.



Then I fused the shoulder stay to the front. I think I’ll make a few catch stitches to secure it to the front facing. The seams of the front also still have to be catchstitched.

After all this the front looks like this. you can see the shaping (pressing on a pressing ham!) and the easy fold of the collar. Hope to continue later tonight.

Tuesday, September 11, 2012

Construction of jacket - 1

Throught the comments I learned that the motorcycle jacket is still popular. And a lot of different fabrics are going to be used: leather, silk brocade and my version in a bouclĂ© like fabric. Looking forward seeing the different styles on the blogs. I’ve decided to make it not too complicated, and won’t quilt the fabric after all. I’m going to use a few techniques I used before on jackets, and even though I’ve posted on these before, I’ll show a bit again in this and next posts.

It will not be a complete tutorial, just my way of doing things in the hope the end result is a jacket I will love to wear.


This fabric ravels a lot. After marking the seam lines with red carbon paper I serged all seams with a 4 thread stitch. Of course I checked that the carbon tracing was not visible from the right side of the fabric. Not pressing too hard when marking is important.



After that I started with the back and sewed the side back to the center back, pressed the seams open and catchstitched them to lay flat.


In this picture the left seam is done already, you can see that the right seam does not lay flat, and I did press with a press cloth and water.


From muslin fabric I cut a back stay. Being very short on fabric the curve is a bit steep, I normally would have made a more gradual curve.


First I pinned the stitching lines together and then machine basted the back stay with long straight stitches.


That's how far I got, next time the front.


An answer to Karin’scomment on Walthamstow market: yes there are a lot of polyester fabrics, you have to look for nice ones. Think it depends on what the sellers have at a certain moment. The black/white was from there, as some of the prints. And most are manmade fibres, though I don’t know which fibres exactly. But I skipped the really very bad feeling polyester ones. With prices from .50p to 3 pounds a meter you can’t go very wrong. I'll wash everything first and see how it comes out. First lot is done and looked good. If a fabric won’t behave nicely, it will be muslin fabric.

Monday, September 10, 2012

A lovely weekend

This weekend I spent in the UK, visiting Pauline. I went on Friday late in the afternoon, had a lovely evening with her, her Mike and 4 former work colleagues. See her post for a picture. On Saturday we met with Clare, (Clareew on Pattern Review) who I have met before on two meet-ups last year in Brussels and The Netherlands.

We went to Walthamstow market with some great bargains for fabric and went to the Prima Magazine sewing and knitting show. We arrived late and it wasn’t very busy (any more), but had a good opportunity to buy even more fabrics (nothing so encouraging as sewing buddies, Pauline’s still cross at us for sharing the last 4 meters of a bolt of fabric between us without leaving anything for her. Just kidding of course). On the Sunday afternoon Pauline flew back with me to the Netherlands as she had to be here for work on Monday, and helped me fitting the muslin of the jacket and couture dress.


Thank you  both for a very special weekend!

Clare on the left and Pauline on the right at a stall with Vogue/Butterick and mcCalls patterns. I only bought 2!

Camera had a bit strange perspective in this one.


Though I only bought 2 patterns, I bought more fabric. It is all black/white/ sand/ivory shades. I’m a bit dull in my color choices, or lack of color.

Perhaps it is time for a fabric diet? This is not even all from this weekend and I bought two (more colorful) fabrics on a fabric market in the Netherlands last week. Before I have sewn all that….




Tuesday, September 4, 2012

Next project, a jacket

Thank you for all the nice comments on my recent posts. It’s so good to read them and hear from you. Carolyn, I was thinking of you when I wrote about having/sewing more dresses than in the years before. You’re the queen of (gorgeous) dresses.

Valerie, the dress pattern is made for knits, it’s very BurdaStyle to use a zipper in a knit. The dress will be good in a woven too, but then you probably will need the zipper.


My next project will be a more complicated one, a jacket from the December 2009 Burda. Basically the one on the right, still on the fence whether to make cuffs or not, like the version on the left. The pockets are out because of the inability to get the same zipper type as the long front zipper for the pockets. Well, they would be only there for decoration mainly (I hardly use a pocket in a jacket), and the fabric would have made it fairly difficult, so no problem not to sew the pockets Knipogende emoticon.



My fabric is a bouclĂ©-like fabric with grey, off-white, sand and a little shimmer in it. The fabric goes very well together with the grey jeans of last week. The off-white fabric in the picture is a heavy cotton stretch suited for trousers. Don’t know yet which style trousers I should make. It’s a dressier fabric than denim. Would it work with a jeans pattern?

fabric jacket

When looking for patterns for the jacket, having this type of jacket in mind, I knew that I had two or three in the Burda issues over the years. What I had completely forgotten was that I even traced this pattern and made the necessary changes for me already, including an fba! When flipping through the magazines this was there ready for cutting. Which I did two weeks ago. Some minor tweaking had to be done to waist, hip and back but I’m ready to cut in the final fabric.

I have no photographer near at the moment and the self timer pictures were horrible, so I’ll post muslin pictures later.

Still a lot of decisions to make on the construction of the jacket. shall I interline it, quilt it, which interfacing etc.

More next time…..

Sunday, September 2, 2012

Burda dress

This dress is one of the two patterns I traced from the August Burda issue. I considered changing the sleeves in regular sleeves without pleat, but thought it would be nice to just try something different and do something that I wouldn’t normally do.
I made it from a very stable knit that doesn’t  need any finishing of the seam allowances. Might be what in English is called a “ponte” knit, not sure about what that exactly is, just that it’s a bit more stable than a regular knit (correct me if I’m wrong).
It was a relatively easy dress to make, the pleats on the sleeve were the only part needing a bit of extra attention . As I used a dark charcoal grey, the lines of the pattern are not very visible in the pictures. I cut the center front on the fold, the pattern has a seam there. Further I made the top part 2 cm longer and decreased the skirt length with 5 centimeters. It was a dull length on me. Definitely longer than the picture above suggests.

The dress on me, the shoes are not for this dress, or should have a blue accent elsewhere too.
I traced the pattern in a size 40 at the shoulders, tapering to 42 at the front at bustlevel and adding extra width at hip height (no surprise).
After sewing it together I took out a bit from the waist, as the 42 was definitely too big there, which I knew it would, but wanted to see how the dress was on me.  Needed a bit more waist definition than it originally had for me.
And important: the pattern calls for a side zipper. I ommitted it and initially just sewed the side seam with larger stitches just to see whether the zip was really needed. I could get in and out of the dress pretty easily without a zipper, so the seam got stitched with regular stitches.  I also omitted the stetch lining that was in the instructions. I cut the center front piece twice and made a back lining piece.
I consider making this pattern again with 2 colors and changing the sleeve to a regular 3/4 length sleeve. I did like to try the sleeve as the pattern is, but are not too enthousiastic about it, not the shape of it and not the way the sleeve “hangs” in the garment. Also important is that it makes it more difficult to wear a jacket or cardigan over the dress.
It must be the season of dresses for me. I went shopping and bought two (!) dresses as well. I needed some new work clothes and decided that it was not wise to think that I could make them all . Quite a change in perspective. I also bought a jacket recently in a special shade of green, for which I today bought fabric to match. That will be a dress as well. With the couture dress still in my sewing queu too, that will be far more dresses than I’ve had in years.