Thursday, October 26, 2017

City Scene skirt

What do you do when you need to display a quilt panel?  Why it's obvious - you make a skirt!

picture borrowed from the Northcott site

This panel from Northcott (called City Scene) came into the store with some coordinating fabrics.  Our quilting guru was going to zip up a quilt top for display.  Unfortunately, she's been rather tied up.  Without a display piece, people just ignore this amazing piece of fabric.  I'm no quilt top maker, but I thought a skirt would look wonderful. (Actually, it would also look amazing as a quilted jacket ... but a skirt was just so much faster to produce.)

Nothing fancy ... 2 panels ... lengthened by adding one of the coordinating fabrics.  (I made this just about ankle length.)  Side zipper.  Big pleats to use up maximum width of the panel.  The other coordinate we have is used for the waistband, and because I'm thinking of this as an "evening" skirt - a belt with a big bow.
Sorry  - the picture turned out fuzzy

I think that this skirt is ready for a party - not quite yet, because it does have to hang at the store for a while.

Thursday, October 12, 2017

Pamela’s Patterns – yet again

As usual, I’m teaching classes on t-shirts/cardigans this Fall, using Pamela’s Patterns.  And since I seem to find it necessary to make brand new samples every time, I’ve now taken to just making what I want for my closet rather than worrying about being true to the pattern.   And – I hope that people will get the idea that they can use their t-shirt pattern for more than just t-shirts, and that the cardigan patterns are just a starting point for all sorts of variations.

This dress (ITY knit) is the t-shirt pattern with a boat neck, cut off at the waist with an 8-gore skirt (self-drafted) added on.  Both are well-used patterns in my arsenal.  No worries about fit.  And I have a dress for the future instead of yet another t-shirt and skirt.  I also cobbled together a belt.  Not so sure that I love the belt, but for now, it works on the mannequin.

In the store display, the dress is topped with this cardigan.

It began with Pamela’s Draped Front Cardigan.  The front was extended, a collar extension drawn on, and the bottom hem was straightened out.  Oh – and I added pockets.

Need those pockets!  (Don’t know why it took me so long, but after umpteen versions of various cardigans, I realized that a cardigan absolutely needs to have pockets.)

They’re just cut in one with the back piece, then stitched to the front.  Only one added layer of thickness and nothing flopping around on the inside of the cardigan.
Love this cream fabric – it’s a bamboo sweatshirt fleece that we had at the store a few years back.  (I have no idea why it languished in my stash for so long – probably just waiting for the right inspiration.)  Now I can’t wait for this cardigan to come home.
Didn’t finish off the edges in any way – just stitched them down with a straight stitch.

I really must step up my blog post writing, or I’ll never get through my Fall class samples, and there has definitely been more sewing than that going on!

Friday, September 22, 2017

The Verona Coat

Perhaps I should have called this the non-Verona coat.  I’ll explain in due course.

Sorry, couldn't find the Verona Coat on the Sewing Workshop website!

It was time, once again, to sew samples for classes, and I decided to make use of the opportunity to use a pattern that had been marinating in a drawer for quite some time, as well as fabric that was even more “aged”.  Lesson learned on this one – never, ever use an unknown pattern and a checkered fabric when there’s an actual deadline for getting something done.  It all worked out in the end, though another coat did have to stand in during open house at the store.
That mannequin is a little wonky - didn't want to stand up straight when I turned it to show the back!

So – the Sewing Workshop Verona Coat.  Loved the design when I first laid eyes on it.  This being the first time ever cutting into a Sewing Workshop pattern, I had no idea how the fit would work on me, and with a checkered fabric, there would be no room to fudge when sewing.  So … I made a muslin.  After much measuring and comparing I decided on the x-small.  The fit was fine everywhere but the shoulders.  I needed to add an inch.  That’s quite a lot.  The shape of the armhole is a little unusual, because the side seam is set back a little.  After much fiddling (days of fiddling, actually), I was still not happy with the way things were working out.  The armhole/sleeve seam meandered and looked just plain weird.  Time was marching on, deadline approaching.  Then I had an idea.  The Vogue coat that I made last winter had a similar shape to the Verona Coat.  Out came that pattern to measure and compare.  (You can just imagine the mess now resulting from all the pieces of two coat patterns strewn about the sewing room!)  More measuring and dawdling and time marching on.  I needed to stop figuring and worrying and just get on with sewing.  Finally I just grafted on the design elements of the Verona Coat to the Vogue coat using the highly scientific method of taping one pattern piece atop another and folding the unnecessary bits out of the way.

Some more changes I made: Redrew the Vogue sleeves to two-piece to get rid of the elbow dart, which would have messed up the lining-up of the checkers on the seam.  I also widened the sleeves a bit.   

I opted out of patch pockets (because I didn’t want to match yet more checkers on the front of the coat.  The pocket band piece became the flap for a welt pocket.

In my great hurry, I missed out on the lovely scalloped edge for the join between facing and lining, which is such a lovely detail on the Verona coat, but I had other details to deal with – like matching up all those checks!

I actually managed to line up all those checks!

The checks did make it easy to line up the bound buttonholes … just follow the lines.

And yes, all the pieces are underlined in a light cotton.  The checked fabric (wool and silk mix) is just too loose a weave to exist on its own.  I did use fusible interfacing on the black wool crepe bits.
 Oh yes, and I did lengthen the pattern by quite a bit.  I would have liked to lengthen it even more to actually cover my pencil skirts, but I ran out of fabric.  There are only a few smallish bits of checked fabric left.  Now I’m faced with the dilemma of tossing those, or keeping them in the unlikely event that I would ever want to make a small bag.  Hmmm.
Come Spring, I’ll be happy to have this coat in my closet, although I will have to think twice about what I wear underneath.  Those black and white checks will have to “work with” whatever is sticking out from underneath them.

Friday, September 15, 2017

Video addiction

First and foremost - thank-you for all the lovely comments about my bag.  I didn't have a chance to reply to each one, but ...  I do appreciate them.  I thought of this as a bag for travel, but since I have no plans for travel in the near future, and I couldn't wait to try out all those wonderful pockets, so the bag is now in daily use.  Each pocket has its purpose.

My latest sewing addiction is watching videos from SilhouettePatterns on YouTube.  (I have to do something while I eat!)  And my favourite content is ideas for variations on one pattern.  Some I like.  Some I don’t like.  Doesn’t matter.  I have bought a few Silhouette Patterns over the years – none of which have yet been so much as taken out of their packages.  That detail aside, Peggy’s enthusiasm makes me want to run to the sewing room and start cutting up patterns and fabric to quickly zip up my version of whatever Peggy just made.  Usually this doesn’t happen, because there’s already a project underway in the sewing room which really does need to be completed before anything new hits the cutting table.  Nevertheless, a few items have been influenced by Peggy.

Late winter/early spring I came across some very fine weight wool (and something) knit.  First came the “normal” tops – one colour – one pattern. 

And then there were all these scraps that were just too big to throw away, too precious to turn into swiffer rags.  Some slicing and dicing of my knit tunic pattern resulted in a two-colour tunic.

More recently Peggy added a flounce to a top.  Well, I needed one too!  Hers had a kangaroo pocket.  Mine doesn’t. I also acquired some folded elastic, and again, à la Peggy I sewed it down flat along the centre and used the same elastic to wrap around the neck edge.  The edge of the flounce is just a narrow hem on the serger using woolly nylon thread.   (Elastic would have been too bulky here, I think.)

I may dream of lovely embroideries and old-fashioned details to add some interest to my clothes, but sometimes an easy detail – like using two fabrics together or adding a simple flounce is all that’s needed to take a t-shirt from dull to a little bit more interesting.