Wednesday, March 30, 2011

V8333 - Taping the Front (Steps 19-24)

Today I completed Steps 19 through 24: Taping the Fronts.  First I marked the seam allowance on the interfacing and trimmed the interfacing to the seam allowance line.

Then I cut stay tape and placed it along the seam allowance.  After basting the tape in place I attached it permanently with more fell stitches.  Finally I removed the basting stitches and pressed the fronts into place again.

So while these have not been the most interesting of steps to complete, I am continuing my dedication to high quality workmanship... at least for this project.  I think though I may need a quick project after I finally complete this as a palate cleanser of sorts.

In other news, I have decided to move.  For the last few weeks I've been tossing over the idea in my mind.  While I like my current apartment, it definitely has it's cons... It's on the fourth floor of a building without an elevator, I have some "interesting" neighbors, I don't have parking or a dishwasher or laundry facilities, and as a one bedroom it does not provide me with a dedicated sewing space.  I've been looking around and I am confident that I will be able to find a two bedroom with parking and a dishwasher for the same price (if not cheaper).  

This evening I looked at the downstairs unit of a duplex.  While it was advertised as a two bedroom, it is more a one bedroom with a den and "bonus" room in the back.  The location is fantastic, the price is right, it has both a dishwasher and washer/dryer, and that aforementioned bonus room would be the perfect sewing room.  It is a large room off the kitchen with natural light and built in cabinetry and a desk along one wall that would alieviate the need to purchase additional furniture.  As I wandered through the rooms I had mentally moved in... until I saw the kitchen... Seriously, this is the ugliest kitchen I have ever seen.  Functionally it's fine.  The appliances are relatively new, it has a dishwasher and a garbage disposal, but the floor is that terrible laminate that is pretending to be parquet flooring and the cabinets are hideous.   These cabinets do not belong in a private kitchen so much as in a science lab in a high school.  So here is my deillemma... do I put in an application given all the pros and learn to deal with the ugly kitchen?  Currently I'm leaning toward yes, although I fortunately have until at least Tuesday to think about it because the landlord is going out of town for the next few days.  So hopefully I'll get a chance to look at some other places this weekend and better make a decision. 

Monday, March 28, 2011

V8333 - Steps 8 through 18... Not as impressive as it sounds

My progress has been particularly assisted by two references... Tailoring: The Classic Guide to Sewing the Perfect Jacket, and Couture Sewing Techniques.  These books have been immeasurably useful in helping me navigate some of the hand-stitching techniques that I have not previously had the opportunity to practice. 

So over the weekend/tonight (mainly tonight, I only worked maybe two hours the entire weekend) I finished through Step 18!  Woohoo!

I used catchstitches to secure the interfacing to the pocket foldline and then stabilized the foldline with a bias cut organza strip.

Then I cut tape from the selvedge of a plain white cotton and used that as the bridle to stabilize the roll line.  The tape is placed along the roll line.  As per the directions I first basted down the center of the tape and then secured the tape with Fell Stitches. 

My Fell Stitches are maybe not as neat as they could be, but it's the inside of the jacket and I was having some severe thread tangling issues tonight...

I then proceeded to padstitch the lapel.  My padstitching didn't make pretty chevrons, but my understanding is that it does not much matter.  The primary purpose of the padstitching is to attach the hair canvas interfacing and shape the lapel.  Short, close stitches result in a firm lapel while long stitches placed further apart create a softer result.  My less than beautiful stitching successfully achieves these my goal of soft shaping and cannot be seen from the back of the lapel so I am satisfied.

Finally I pressed the lapel, using a press cloth and everything!  Look at me being dedicated!  This has brought me through step 18.  Tomorrow I tape the front edge (steps 19-24). 

Saturday, March 26, 2011

Fun New Acquisitions...

This weekend has been fabulously 60's themed... Last night I watched Down With Love and this afternoon I went to my favorite vintage store where I purchased these fantastic patterns!

How adorable would this be in an aubergine doubleknit with fabric covered buttons... sigh...

Now none of these patterns are in a size that will even remotely fit me.  But I am willing to do the work to grade them up in order to be outfitted in these gorgeous ensembles!

Friday, March 25, 2011

V8333 - Steps 2 through 7

While it took me three days to get to step one, I was able to get through a few more steps tonight... This was an immense relief.  I am hoping to enter this project in the Pattern Review lined jacket contest which means I need to complete it before April 30.  If I had continued completing one step every three days I wouldn't finish until September... and I would definitely lose interest before then!

So today I finished marking the front, side, side back, and back (step 2) as well as the upper sleeve (step 3).  Then I began to assemble the fronts. (And I managed to take a photo where the colors are true to life... victory!)

I basted and then stiched the darts on the front sections (Step 4).  I finally got to use my sewing machine!  After several days of cutting and marking with hand-basting, busting out the sewing machine seemed fantastically efficient.

I cut out the dart from the front interfacing and pinned the hair canvas onto the front section. (Step 5)

Finally I stitched the interfacing to the stiched lines of the dart with Catchstitches. (Step 6)

Catchstitches are sewn left to right with the needle pointing to the left.  The stitches make a row of neat little x's and cannot be seen from the right side.

My hope is that I will be able to finish constructing the jacket fronts over the weekend.  This may not happen, but a girl can dream!

In other news, I have lost over 15 pounds!  I joined Weight Watchers about eight weeks ago with the hope that I could get back to the same size as my custom dress form.  The only problem is that by the time I finish this darn jacket it just may be too big for me!  :)

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

V8333 - Step one complete!

 Every single pattern piece is cut!  The wool is cut!  The lining is cut! 

The interfacing is cut! 

The underlining is cut! 

Every.  Single.  Piece.  And there are a LOT of them. 

I even moved on to step one in the written instructions!  Marking the front. 

So step one is complete!  Only 105 to go...  and since 1/106ths of a jacket is not all that exciting, here is a picture of my cat.

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

My least favorite step...

Today I finished altering my paper pattern and began cutting into my fashion fabric.  This is by far my least favorite step of any project.  I HATE cutting pattern peices.  HATE.  It's irrational.  I love assembly, I love finishing, I even love pressing... But I do NOT like the cutting out step.  This may be, in part, that pinning and cutting at my house a) happens on the floor, and b) is complicated by my "assistant."

Poor Ophelia often gets locked in the bathroom during this portion of any project... For obvious reasons

But the important part is that day one of cutting is complete!  All the wool is cut.  I still have to cut out the lining and interfacing.  But I decided that can wait until tomorrow when the hair canvas I ordered is scheduled to arrive as per UPS.  No need to have all my fun in one day!

To be fair though, working with this fabric has been just dreamy so far.  It is 100% wool, incredibly soft, and the most beautiful rich navy blue.  (It's darker in person than it is in my photography...)  I wanted to choose a fabric that would be a true classic.  If I'm going to spend a month working on just one project, it better be worth it!

Monday, March 21, 2011

Making a Muslin and other Responsible Seamstressing

I have decided to tackle some high end tailoring.  To that end, I have started V8333 which includes stellar instructions by Claire Schaeffer, author of Couture Sewing Techniques and High Fashion Sewing SecretsFurther inspired by a recent issue of Threads and an article about embracing the joys of slow sewing, I have decided to dedicate myself fully to technique with this project. 

This will be a change for me.  I am never one to let pursuit of the perfect blind me to the charms of "good enough."  Thus it is startling for me to realize that after four hours of work I have not even cut my fashion fabric.  Because before I cut into 100% wool suiting, I decided to make a muslin! (Cue ominous music).

I found a few yards of plain white cotton in my stash.  (I am not sure why I would have purchased such a thing and suspect I will find myself short a lining for a cotton sundress this summer.)  I only cut the body of the jacket.  Having read the directions prior to beginning my main concern was not practicing techniques, but rather perfecting the fit.  According to the pattern envelope I am a 22 at the bust, a 20 through the hip, and an 18 at the waist.  So I spent the evening assembling the bones of this classic suit jacket, size 20.

And I'm glad I did... While the fit of the garment as drafted wasn't terrible and would have resulted in a wearable garment it will be infinitely better with a few alterations. 

As per usual, I will be doing a full bust alteration.  This jacket nips in at the waist already so I don't think it will be necessary to take in the waist.  Additionally, I will be lengthening the entire pattern by a little over an inch.  While an easy alteration, it is not one I typically need to undertake for tops.  I am tall, but my height is in my legs and I have a proportionally short torso.  However, after careful consideration of my muslin, I think the fit will be improved and the jacket more flattering if it is a smidge longer. 

I started my alterations and will finish altering my paper pattern peices tomorrow.  (After I steal more scotch tape from work!) 

In the meantime I will enjoy my other project I undertook this evening... a delicious roast chicken!

Bon Appitit!

Friday, March 18, 2011

Sad news but happy purchases!

As previously stated, my local JoAnns is closing.  This is sad for a number of reasons, namely that the next nearest place to purchase fabrics, notions, thread, and so forth is almost a half an hour drive away. 

But on the upside, the entire store is being sold at some serious clearance prices...  If you are in the Cleveland area hit up the JoAnns in Lakewood on Detroit.  Most of the store, including all the fabrics, is 75% off!  And Vogue, McCalls, and Butterick patterns are 8 for $2!

I have made two trips so far.  The first day I spent $89 and took home the following:

I bought fabric for pajama pants, a lightweight polka-dot cotton for a button down, gray suiting for a pair of slacks, 8 patterns, several picture frames, votive candle holders, various Wilton cake decorating supplies, and notions such as zippers and thread and elastic and machine needles.

This afternoon I went back and spent another $81...

I picked up another 13 patterns, more flannel for pajamas, fabrics and notions for a new navy wool suit, new zipper feet, and planting pots which I intend to use for kitchen herbs.  At full price today's purchase would have cost over $400. 

So all in all I am pretty impressed with myself.  Don't be suprised if I make another trip in the next few days... The manager informed me that they are increasing the markdowns each Friday so I may pop by periodically until they close on April 11 to see what is left and pick up more deeply discounted merchandise. 

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

Bad Bad Blogger...

That's right, I am a bad blogger who has been very lazy with her postings...

And with my laziness as a theme, I bring you my latest project:  MONKEY PAJAMA PANTS!!!!

I used Simplicity 5314 which really did take two hours from cutting through completion... just as advertised!  It's a quick, easy project which I plan to make repeatedly.  My local JoAnns is closing and running some incredible sales, including adorable printed flannel that is marked down 75%!

My favorite part of this project was working with happy-making fabric:

It's monkeys! In banana boats!  With sailor hats!  What could be better than that?