Tuesday, November 18, 2014

The Problem with Cutting Out

I have this box.  It is a rather unassuming box, filled with projects I've cut out in the past.  You see, I have this...thing.  I LOVE cutting out.  The anticipation, the possibilities and the dreams are still fresh at this point.  Before any issues with fitting or sewing.  But then life and reality get in the way of my sewing time, or I run out of steam, and the box remains full of unassembled pieces.  This isn't anything new for me (if you've seen my last post on the 9 year coat, you'll know what I'm talking about!)
V8593, Misses'/Misses' Petite Dress
Anyways, I have made a point of trying to work my way through the box this fall.  You've already seen a few of those garments, but on the weekend, after my pattern drafting and sewing homework, I pulled out this beauty, Vogue 8593.  I had cut it out in a medium weight ponte de roma fabric in a rusty or burnt orange collar (one of my favourites colours, I will have to admit!)

I have no idea when I cut this dress out, but it can't be more than 2 or 3 years ago.  I cut the size 12, but sewed it with smaller seam allowances to hopefully make up for the fact that I'm a tad bigger now than I was when I originally cut it out.  This is a definite downside to the mass-cutting sessions I usually like to binge on, especially when I don't sew them right away!!

The dress has pleats at the front neckline with a facing, back darts from the upper back area at the shoulder, as well as the shoulder blade area straight down to the hemline.  There is a zipper at the back.  At first I thought I wouldn't include the zipper because it is a knit dress but then I decided to include it, given the small size of the neck.  

In my recent sewing courses, I have learned to interface the wrong side of the seam allowances at the zipper, and it really makes a big difference with how the zipper is inserted.  It makes it much easier to insert, and it gives a much more of a professional finish to the garment, particularly in a knit.  Sometimes in a knit the zipper causes the seam to go a bit wavy.  The interfacing provides some stabilization in the area, and the results look as smooth as any other seam.

The pattern includes three options for sleeveless, 3/4 length sleeves and full sleeves.  I chose to make the full sleeve length.  The full length sleeves have darts at the elbow.  Since learning how to draft these in my pattern drafting class a few weeks ago, I've stumbled across three patterns I had previously cut out that ALL have darts in the sleeves!  I love this style for the shaping it provides at the elbow.

I struggled a bit with the pleats at the neckline but that was most likely because I was a little tired and trying to watch a movie at the time.  Multi-tasking isn't all its made out to be!  Once I slowed down, carefully marked them on the fabric, and reviewed what I was actually supposed to be doing, they worked out fine.  The only problem I am experiencing is that the facing seems to pop out just a bit at the centre front, despite edge stitching the facing.  It is also a touch snug for me, but that is completely my fault with trying to sew it in a smaller size than I actually measure.  :)  Good incentive to avoid the holiday treats.  I will more than likely make this dress again. This time in my size.  

Monday, November 10, 2014

Some Assembly Required

I've had this coat for a long time.  Only, if you really want to belabor the point, it's been in pieces for a long time, not assembled.  I made a version of this coat years ago for my youngest daughter, who was Cruella DeVil for Halloween, out of a faux fur in a dalamation print. (sorry, no photos of that one - I looked, but it was awesome!!  You'll just have to take my word for it!)

I loved this style of coat, and sewing it up was relatively easy.  The reason why it sat in various stages of completion for so long (ahem, I betcha I've had it cut out for at least 9 years) is a bit of a winding story that involves a significant lack of sewing mojo, picking up the pieces, sorting it all out again, noticing that pattern pieces were missing, packing the whole thing up to move to another house, another period of a complete lack of sewing mojo, picking up the pieces again, noticing that pattern pieces were missing, then having the whole mess being completely separated from the envelope, etc., etc., etc...

Anyways, fast forward to two weeks ago.  I needed winter coats.  I found the pieces again as I was looking for something else (yes, organizing L'Atelier is certainly on my list of things to do, but the impending Polar Vortex put making coats up higher on the list!).  Amazingly, I was STILL missing the same pattern pieces as I had been years ago.  I had a light-bulb moment of searching on the internet for the pattern number, and realized that I not only had one copy of this pattern, but two! (FACE-PALM).  And in my recent pattern clean-out, I knew EXACTLY where they were in my newly much smaller but still huge pattern stash.

So, long story short, the stars aligned correctly in my universe, and I found the pattern pieces for the lining and FINALLY cut out the lining.  I found the directions, figured out where I was in the whole process and stitched together the rest of the coat (in very short order, I might add!!).  And I love the results.

Without further ado, I give you my version of Butterick 4619, which I think is now OOP.  Both of the patterns I have are in sizes 8-14, but I think it also came in 16-22. I found a few copies on Etsy and Ebay when I was searching for the pattern images.  I used a large black and white herringbone in a heavy wool coating fabric.  As you can imagine, I have absolutely no idea where I purchased the fabric from.

The coat is has a yoke design that incorporates the front shoulder and the upper back area, which I really like.  It has a centre back seam and vertical darts in the back, as well as vertical darts in the upper front area just below the yoke seam, and vertical darts in the front at the waist area.  The design offers lots of places for easy fitting adjustments. The facings are in one piece with the centre front  pieces so it cuts down on what would have been a bulky seam in this coat, which works really well with the heavy fabric.

There are side seam pockets included in the original pattern, however, I lost the pieces that I had cut out a while back, so I continued on without them.  The coat features a one piece sleeve, but features a dart at the elbow for shaping.  This works very well with the heavy coating fabric I used.

Once I had the directions and figured out where I was in the whole process, the coat was very easy to sew together. I am most certainly making this coat again.  The fit is very flattering despite it being a bulky fabric.

I think I am ready to survive for winter weather with one long and one short coat.  I have plans for a few more because who wants to wear the same thing every day, but for the time being I think I can safely say, "Bring it, Polar Vortex!"

Thursday, November 6, 2014

Winter is Coming...

I woke up on November 1 with about 2" of snow on my car.  I have an old down filled jacket/winter coat that a friend told me at the end of last winter makes me look like I'm pregnant.  I've worn this coat for years, thanks!  Anyway, the snow snapped me back to reality and I got to work.

I searched through my stash (which I must say is high disorganized and basically jammed into unmarked boxes in my crawlspace storage area so searching is not a fun experience most of the time.  I really must take some time to reorganize!!)  Anyway...I searched through my stash and the first piece of coating fabric I came across was an olive green wool melton.  I  love this colour.

I decided on Vogue 8933.  I chose this pattern because of the fantastic collar.  When I laid out the pattern pieces I only had enough yardage for view A (but all in the same fabric, not with contrasting sleeves as the pattern suggests).
V8933, Misses' Coat

Line Art
The pattern is available in sizes 8-16 and 16-24.  I cut a size 14, which is my standard Big 4 size.  I did a 6 cm swayback adjustment in the centre back seam and added 4 cm to the sleeve length for my longer arms.  I love the final look.

 I found the sleeves to be a bit narrow, so next time I make this pattern (and I will certainly be making it again, maybe in the long length) I will adjust the pattern to make them a bit wider.  The only tricky part about the construction was inserting the collar into the back neckline. It's not difficult per se, but rather a bit piddly to get the rounded part sewn to the squared area where the back shoulder meets the neckline.  But because this was wool, giving it a shot of steam with the iron really helped ease that area.

This jacket is also lined.  I chose to line it with an olive green Bemberg because that is what I had on hand.  I'm really trying hard to only sew out of the stash!  For coats, I normally would use a Kasha lining, which is heavier and has a napped side that feels similar to a lightweight flannelette.  The other thing I normally do for a coat or outerwear jacket is to add a layer of flannelette in between the outer fabric and the lining.  I usually cut out the front, back and sleeves, but because the sleeves on this version turned out a bit narrow, I didn't want to add anymore layers.

There are pockets in the side seams - I think pockets in a coat are essential.  I added fusible interfacing to the side seams where the pockets are for a bit of extra support.  I also added fusible interfacing to the sleeve cap area and the upper back instead of a back stay.  I added a sleeve head, which in this case was a piece of flannelette about 3 cm wide cut on the bias and used that to ease the sleeve cap.  It makes the sleeve easier to insert into the body, but it also adds shaping and support to the sleeve cap when the jacket is being worn.

I used four very large antiqued bronze snaps as the closures.  I love the collar of this jacket, you can style it in a few different ways, but my favourite part is that I can wrap it right up and around your neck to beat the polar vortex we all know is coming!!