Pattern Review: Vogue V1527 View B Blouse

Long one coming up! I love this type of blouse, and I have since I was young. When I saw Paco had included it as part of his Vogue Pattern V1527 I knew I would have to make it. Then this silk came across my desk and the rest is history…


Pattern Description: (From Vogue’s website) Loose-fitting blouse has collar extending into tie, back yoke extending into forward shoulder seams and French cuffs.

Sizing: 4-18, I made a 12

Available as a PDF? No

Fabric Used:

Note: Theresa pointed out that the pattern requires 3.5 yards and that seems like a lot. I pulled 3.5 yards per the instructions and I have a solid yard left over.  I think the yardage requirements are wrong. Do yourself a favor, especially if you have an expensive fabric, and measure the pattern. Realistically, on a size 12 body, 2.5 yards  of 45 inch fabric should do a blouse unless you have a very large print that you are trying to match.

White 3-ply Silk Crepe from Gorgeous Fabrics. Silk crepe is my favorite fabric to work with! This fabric is SOOOOOOO amazing. It’s got a heavy, luxurious drape to it, and it feels amazing. Swoon! I also used Wide Silk Organza – Off White for the cuffs (more on that later).

Even better, both these fabrics are still available! That almost never happens. I usually don’t get the chance to sew something until the fabric is long since sold out, so it’s a treat to show you a fabric that’s on the site. Did I mention we have our 10th anniversary sale going on right now? Get 10% off, plus US shipping is flat $10, regardless of how much you order! International peeps get a $10 gift certificate upon ordering, good for a future purchase.

Machines and Tools Used: Pfaff 2030, Juki MO654DE serger, Reliable iron and board, sleeve board, ham/stand, shoulder stand, pressing finger, bamboo chopstick, point presser.

Needle/Notions Used: Universal 60/8 needle in the sewing machine, Universal 70/10 needles in the serger. Vilene Shirt interfacing (a gift from Paco Peralta last year), pearl buttons, self-covered buttons, basting thread, thread, hand needles.

This interfacing isn’t available in the US, but any good shirt-weight interfacing will work as well.

Tips Used during Construction: Anything by The Pressinatrix, of course. Scary Silks,

Did it look like the photo or drawing when you got through? Yes.

How were the instructions? They were fine. This is not a terribly difficult pattern. The fabric choice can make it tricky to work with, but it’s a good pattern for anyone who’s been sewing for a while. If you’re intermediate level you should have no trouble with this.

Construction Notes: I made a muslin to check the fit. It went together pretty readily, but I noticed that the bust point on the pattern was really high:

What the Whut?

The pattern bust point marking is 8 inches from the shoulder line. I checked it against the printed pattern to make sure I didn’t make a transfer error. Nope. 8 inches. I don’t know anyone over about age 10 who has a bust apex 8 inches below the shoulder line.

I tried the muslin on to see if it mattered, and there was a slight drag line between the bust point and the armscye, so yes, it does make a difference, especially if you are large busted. I made a small FBA, mostly to drop the bust point down to where it should be. Drag line gone. I also shortened the sleeves about 5/8 inch, which is not unusual for me with Vogue patterns.

Vogue recommends lightweight fabrics like crepe de chine or charmeuse for this pattern. Because my silk crepe was heavier than recommended, I made some modification to the construction. They have you use French seams for the sleeve and side seams. I did a mockup to see what I thought of it with my 3-ply crepe.

There’s 4 layers of fabric in a straight seam like this.

With this fabric, that would put 8 layers of fabric into the seam at two points – where the yoke joins to the front and back. That’s a lot of bulk, so I decided instead to use standard 5/8 inch seam allowances and finish the raw edges with a 4-thread overlock.


This is a judgement call. If I had used a georgette or charmeuse, the French seam would be great, and would give an elegant finish. But my fabric was heavy enough that I think it would have been a bit of a disaster. I heartily recommend doing mockups with scraps when you are dealing with situations like this.

The pattern recommends using fusible interfacing. I decided instead to use sew-in interfacing. The Vilene that I used is nice and crisp, but I wanted to avoid bulk in the seams, so I cut both the Vilene and I also cut silk organza. I stitched the Vilene to the organza just outside the seamlines. I trimmed the Vilene close to the stitching, leaving just the organza seam allowances. Voila, less bulk!

Stitched Vilene to organza on the bottom, Vilene trimmed from the seam allowances on the top.

I used purchased pearl buttons for the front closure

I made self-covered button cufflinks. I fused a scrap of lightweight interfacing to the silk to give it a bit more support and to make it easier to cover the buttons.

Likes/Dislikes: I love this pattern! It was a pleasure to sew, and the fabric was a joy to work with. The pattern is beautifully drafted and goes together without a hitch. Do test runs of your seams to see how the French seam works with your fabric.

Would you do it again? Would you recommend it? Yes I would, and yes I do! This is another winner from Vogue and Paco.

Conclusion: A beautiful classic, something that I will wear for years to come. At some point I’ll get a shot on me, but here it is on Shelley:

Happy sewing!

Finally I Sewed Something! Pattern Review of New Look 6396 Capelet

I’ve been slowly making my way on this pattern. If you follow me on Instagram, you have seen the progress. But with the holidays, children coming home to visit, refreshing our SCUBA skills, getting ready for vacation (YAY!!!!!) and the sale (yes, The Sale!) I’ve been too busy to post, or even to sew very much. But I did finally finish this cape, so here we go!

Pattern Description: From Simplicity’s website (don’t even get me going on that), “These military style capes and classic cape and capelet are the stylish statement piece your wardrobe is looking for. For the cooler weather, view E offers faux fur collar that will keep you warm and cozy”

My take on the pattern description, “Capes and capelets in different lengths with neckline and armhole variations. I made View A with several changes.

Sizing: XS to XL. I made a Small

Available as a PDF? Yes

Fabric Used: Bouclé (sold out, sorry) lined with 4 Ply Silk Crepe left over from my Pippa Dress (also sold out, sorry again!). Silk Organza for interfacing, French cotton braid that was a gift from Susan Khalje.

Machines and Tools Used: Pfaff 2030 sewing machine, Reliable Iron, Shoulder Stand

Needle/Notions Used: Universal 70/10 needles, squared-off hooks and eyes from Pacific Trimming, Silke waxed thread (THE Best!! Never knots. I’m totally sold), thread, Clover Needle Threader (is that a tool, rather than a notion?)

Starting from the bottom left, clockwise: Hook/Eye, Thread, Silke Waxed Thread, Clover Desktop Threader.
Starting from the bottom left, clockwise: Hook/Eye, Thread, Silke Waxed Thread, Clover Desktop Threader.

Tips Used during Construction: Make the Lining First, Anything by The Pressinatrix.

Did it look like the photo or drawing when you got through? Kinda-sorta. I left off the epaulets and the (really badly done on the pattern photo, but we won’t talk about that here) closures.
How were the instructions? They seemed adequate, though I made enough changes that I didn’t use them very much.

Construction Notes: I decided to take a more couture approach to this garment. I used sew-in interfacing (the silk organza).

organza-interfacing

I thought the sewn closures that were included in the pattern had a very Becky Home Ecky… well, not the look I want, so I used large hooks that I bought at Pacific Trim, which I sewed in right at the Center Front.

4-ply-silk-liningThis pattern has straight CB seam.  Simplicity does that because they have you turn the lining out during construction through the CB seam. A straight back seam? I don’t like unnecessary seams, so I eliminated that and used one of the side seams to turn the garment. It gives a much cleaner line.

back

I hand sewed the Trim around the CF, neckline and the arm openings.

trim-detail
Likes/Dislikes: This is a cute pattern, good for non-frigid days in the New England weather.
Would you do it again? Would you recommend it? No, I won’t do it again. One (I guess that’s me) only needs one of these.
Conclusion: A cute topper that goes together easily. It’s good for anyone who has a little sewing experience. Here are shots on Shelley:

front
Front

side back

 

Okay, so here’s the BIG NEWS

I am going on VACATION for the first time in 10 years. No phone, no internet, no nothing. The site will shut down (you can still view it but you won’t be able to buy) starting at 5:00 PM on Friday. We’ll move the warehouse and then we are all heading out!!! So if you want any fabric, grab it before 5 PM Eastern on December 23. We will be back on January 12, 2017. Have a wonderful, wonderful holiday season and I’ll see you next year!

Pattern Review: Vogue V1527 Paco Peralta Tuxedo Jacket

First up, I hope all my friends who celebrate it had a WONDERFUL Thanksgiving! It was delightful to have the kids home. Both our boys were off from college all week, so we got to spend lots of time with them. Last night was really wonderful, because a bunch of their friends came over and we made homemade pizzas. The house was filled with laughter and happiness.

Second, this is a long post, so grab a cuppa or a glass and settle in. And just to add the normal disclaimer, Paco is a very dear friend. I bought this pattern without any urging from him, and I get nothing from anyone for doing this review. So here we go!


Pattern Description: From Vogue Patterns’ website, “Semi-fitted lined jacket has princess seams, single-button closure, shawl collar, in-seam pockets, two-piece sleeves, back vent and contrast inset. Loose-fitting blouse has collar extending into tie, back yoke extending into forward shoulder seams and French cuffs. Semi-fitted skirt has back invisible zipper.”

I made the jacket- though I refer to it as the tuxedo coat.

Sizing: 4-18. I made the 12.

Available as a PDF? No

Fabric Used: Ralph Lauren Wool Double Crepe – Black for the body, Silk/Wool Satin- Black for the contrast lapels, Iridescent Rayon Twill Lining – Ruby for the lining.

BTW – we’re having a huge Moving Sale at Gorgeous Fabrics right now, and almost everything is 40% off store-wide. Just sayin’…

Machines and Tools Used: Pfaff 2030, Reliable iron and ironing board, sleeve board, shoulder stand, ham, silk organza press cloth, clapper.

Needle/Notions Used: Buttons that my dear friend Rosie brought back from Paris for me a while back. Hair canvas interfacing that was in my stash (not sure where I got that one from, sorry), 1/2 inch Tailor’s Set-in Shoulder Pads, sleeve heads that Paco sent me ages ago, thread.

Tips Used during Construction: Pretty much anything from The Pressinatrix, Make the Lining First, Using Pins to Mark Start/Stop Points, How to Use Sleeve Heads and Chest Shields, Setting a Sleeve into an Armhole.

Did it look like the photo or drawing when you got through? Yes!

How were the instructions? Not great: I had several issues. I’ll send this list to McCalls to let them know as well.

Problem 1: There are 8 pages of instructions. I got pages 1/2, 3/4, 5/6 and another 5/6. I didn’t get 7/8.

Whoops
Whoops

I understand from several friends who have this pattern that they had the same issue. Paco sent me a picture of the last two pages of instructions, and I’ll ask McCalls to send me a copy of the PDF so I have a complete set.

Problem 2: The instructions and pattern markings conflict on the front interfacing.

So which is it? Interface the whole front, or just interface the facing?
So which is it? Interface the whole front, or just interface the facing?

The cutting instructions tell you to interface the entire front piece. But the pattern piece, and the illustrations in steps 3 and 5 all indicate that you only interface the facings. The ultimate answer to the question, “Well, which is it?” depends on your fabric and interfacing. In my case, I knew I only wanted to interface the facing. But that’s because I know what I’m doing.

Problem 3: The instructions omit one small but potentially crucial step. After step 8, clip the seam allowance to the stitching line at the small dots and press open. If you construct the buttonholes and follow the illustrations as written you’ll block the hole.

Another whoops
Another whoops

Problem 4: The instructions don’t explicitly tell you to hem the sleeves. They have you baste the sleeves , then they tell you to attach the lining to the sleeve at the hem.  This will give you a wibbly wobbly hem, especially after putting the jacket on and taking it off a few times. I hemmed the sleeve attaching the lining to it. Doing this will give you a crisper finish that will withstand wear and tear better.

Much as I love Vogue Patterns, I’m going to lay the blame for this at their feet. I’m pretty sure Paco didn’t write the directions, and even if he did, someone at Vogue should have caught the discrepancies before publishing them.

Construction Notes: I Made Two Fitting Muslins to get the fit the way I want. It was pretty good out of the envelope, but to make it better I did a FBA

This is a cleverly disguised princess line, so it's pretty easy to adjust
This is a cleverly disguised princess line, so it’s pretty easy to adjust

and I added about 1 inch around at the waist, sigh… Other than that, I didn’t make any major sizing changes.

I inserted sleeve heads to support the shoulder/sleeve.

Top: inside. Bottom: outside
Top: inside. Bottom: outside

After making the buttonhole, I decided that I didn’t want a small button. Rather, I wanted a statement button, so I closed up the buttonhole and I used a snap closure and stitched the button on. (Yah, I know – it’s a men’s-style close. Sue me.)

Good lord, Black is hard to photograph!
Good lord, Black is hard to photograph!

I used the smaller buttons (which fit through the buttonhole) on the sleeves. Here’s a picture of the buttons so you can see the details.

Couture Buttons!
Couture Buttons!

Likes/Dislikes: Instructions aside, I LOVE this pattern! The lines are beautiful, it makes me look long and lean. It’s fabulous. Period.

The dislike is the instructions. That’s fixable. As long as the pattern is well drafted (it is!) and the fit is reliable (it is!) you can work around the instructions.

Would you do it again? Would you recommend it? I probably won’t do it again. How many of these does one need? But I am saving this in case I change my mind, and I DEFINITELY recommend it. This is one that will stretch your abilities and give you a beautiful result. Make a muslin, that’s my biggest recommendation.

And of course, now that I’m thinking about it, I do have a pink duchesse satin that would look fabulous in this design for Easter. Maybe with some of the silk satin left over from my Wedding Gown Refactor as the lapels. Hmmmm…

Conclusion: A great pattern. Keep in mind the instructions issues and power through and you be rewarded with a great garment! Here are pictures on Shelley. I’ll get pictures on me later this week.

Front
Front
Had to overexpose the back to get any detail, and still...
Had to overexpose the back to get any detail, and still…
Side view – love this sleeve!
Overexposed to show the seams
Overexposed to show the seams
And the subtly contrasting lining - love it!
And the subtly contrasting lining – love it!

I am so happy with this jacket! Hopefully I haven’t put you to sleep. And as a parting shot, here’s Hoover saying “I like the holiday season.”

It's a dog's life
It’s a dog’s life

Happy sewing!

Muslin of Paco Peralta for Vogue Patterns V1527 Coat – and binge watching

Before anything else, a disclaimer. Paco is a close friend, and I am thrilled beyond belief that he has secured a license for some of his patterns with Vogue Patterns. Bravo, Paco!!!!

That said, I bought this pattern with my own money with no expectation of recompense neither.

If you follow me on Instagram, you can see that I started this pattern a couple of weeks ago, and I want to do this right, so I made a muslin. For my first muslin (yep, there are more than one) I traced off the pattern as-is in a size 12 and changed the seam allowances to 1 inch a la Susan Khalje’s couture sewing guidance. I knew this would need some adjustments, but going with the Vagaries of Fit: Shoulders, I started with the 12. That works well with my shoulder measurement. Here are some pictures of the first muslin.
collage-shot
You can see that the bust is not right, and the waist is a little snug. The sleeves are great. Normally I have to shorten all Vogue/McCalls/Butterick sleeves by at least 1/2 inch, but these are perfect for me. So I made those changes (I’ll show them in the ultimate pattern review) and made another muslin.. Here are shots on mesecond-muslin-shots-better-fit
And here is a picture of the back on Shelley – I couldn’t get a good shot on me, sorry
second-muslin-on-shelley

So far, I am really in love with this pattern! The next step is to cut it out in the fashion fabric. For that I will use Ralph Lauren Medium Wool Crepe for the main pieces, Silk/Wool Satin for the lapels, and Silk Habotai for the lining. All from Gorgeous Fabrics, of course.

Binge Watching “The Crown”! (I’m sure my Irish ancestors are spitting on me from heaven. Oh well.)

If you haven’t had the chance, check out The Crown on Netflix.

It is totally engrossing, and the fashion is amazing!

More to come shortly. Have a great weekend, and happy sewing!

When Life Gets Ugly, Focus on the Pretty

Jesus, this month. How much heartbreak can we take?

To lighten the mood a bit, last week I met my friend Angela in New York and spent a delightful day with her. We walked from Battery Park to Chinatown, where we feasted at Nom Wah (Thanks to Rosie for sending us there. Best. Dim Sum. Ever!), then we caught the train uptown to see the “Manus Ex Machina” exhibit at the Metropolitan Museum of Art. So here are some pictures to remind us that when the world gets ugly, and God knows it’s been one ugly-ass summer so far, there is still beauty all around us.

IMG_4562
Neoprene couture wedding gown by Chanel opens the exhibit
IMG_4564
But what’s with the drag lines?
IMG_4565
McQueen metal dresses
IMG_4568
Can’t sit in this one
IMG_4566
Hussein Chalayan
IMG_4569
Dior!
IMG_4570
Crappy cell phone detail of the embroidery on the Dior dress
IMG_4572
Dior’s Petale
IMG_4574
McQueen
IMG_4575
Dior by Yves Saint Laurent
IMG_4581
This is made of plastic drinking straws
IMG_4579
Clear sequins over printed ombré silk jersey
IMG_4578
Halston
IMG_4576
Dior side by side with McQueen
IMG_4582
70s Givenchy, IIRC
IMG_4583
Iris van Herpen is one crazy lady!
IMG_4584
For those days you just want to look like a wooly bear caterpillar
IMG_4585
Valentino and Gres on the left, Iris van Herpen on the right
IMG_4586
Mummy couture
IMG_4587
Classic Chanel? Kinda sorta. That “tweed” is plastic
IMG_4588
Here you can see the “weave” of the Chanel tweed
IMG_4589
Cool idea for a shirt dress from Prada: zipper instead of button placket
IMG_4590 (1)
Only a sewing nerd would stick her camera under the dress to see the innards
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Hand crocheted lace
IMG_4593
Chanel fron the 30s

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IMG_4592

The exhibit has been extended into September. If you have the chance, do go see it.

Happy sewing!

Les Petites Mains Get Their Day in the Sun!

Photo credit: Chanel.com

In the latest Chanel Couture show, Karl Lagerfeld shone the spotlight on les petites mains who make the clothes that inspire us all. To all our Gorgeous Peeps, this is inspiration and acknowledgement of the work that goes into these amazing garments. Anyone who sews, knows this. Merci, Monsieur Lagerfeld, for showing the women and men behind that curtain!

The link to the full Reuters Story is Here

PS, the fashion world is abuzz with the rumor that Lagerfeld, who is 82 years old, is going to retire soon. We’ll see…

Happy sewing!

Lori Jacket: the Couture-ish Version

I like my Lori Jacket so much that I decided to make another one. This one is made from a really cool remnant of bouclé that I picked up in New York when I was there in December. This fabric ravels dreadfully. You should see the floor of my sewing room! I realized the standard StyleArc 3/8″ seams were not going to cut it, so I decided to use some couture techniques that I learned from Susan Khalje. I didn’t go full-out couture on this, but I used enough to deem it couture-ish.

I discovered that I have two copies of this pattern (whoops!), so I didn’t have to worry about damaging the pattern. I trimmed the pattern pieces down to the stitching line and thread-traced them on my fabric. As a side note, my friend Phyllis came up to the studio while I was doing this and helped me, cutting the amount of time to thread trace in half. Thanks, Phyllis! I then cut the pieces out, giving myself one-inch seam allowances. Given how badly this fabric frays, I am really glad I did. If you work with a really ravelly fabric like this, you’re far better off cutting wide SA. You can trim them back after you sew the seams, but it will help keep your sanity intact, and keep your project from becoming a wadder.

The thread color is so you can see it clearly. For the majority of the seams I used matching gray thread.

After sewing the seams by machine, I stitched the seam allowances down by hand. There are a lot of seams in this pattern, so that took the bulk of the time. As you can see from the picture, I used my favored organza stay method to reinforce the back corner seam. This fabric requires it. Trying to use the method in the StyleArc instructions would be courting disaster in this case.

I didn’t use any trim on the shoulder yokes this time. Instead I went for the clean finish.

In addition to the shoulder pads, I used sleeve heads to support the sleeve. I didn’t take any pictures in process, but this is the sleeve head I used. This was a gift from my friend Rosie, who brought it back from Paris. OMG – this is THE. BEST. Thank you Rosie! I need to find a stateside supplier of this.

This works beautifully!

Because this fabric is rather bulky, I tacked the facings to the outer garment at the shoulders, the center back and the sleeve openings. That keeps them all in place and laying nice and flat.

Even with the additional time and care that I spent on the seams, this jacket went together quite readily. This fabric has enough body that I decided to forego block fusing interfacing to all the pieces, as the pattern recommends. The only parts of the pattern that I interfaced were the center front bands, to give support to my closure. This time, instead of a zipper closure, I used a decorative hook/eye tape that I bought at Pacific Trim about 9 years ago. It’s been patiently waiting for the right project to come along and this was it! I thought about tucking the scalloped edges under and using the selvage of the fabric as a transition piece, but when I laid the pieces out, it was too bulky, so I went with just the tape.

Closeup of the tape so you can see the lace.

I lined it with a stretch lining from Gorgeous Fabrics (of course!). That particular fabric is sold out, but there are Lots of Others Here.

A look at the inside

I love the way this turned out! This jacket is really nice and warm. It’s dressy enough to pair with a black pencil skirt or trousers, but I’ll probably wear it with jeans and boots. I really love the closure. I did all the hand-sewing while parked in front of the TV watching NFL playoffs (go Pats!) and Downton Abbey (go Mr. and Mrs. Carson!).

Here are some pictures on Shelley:

Front

and Back. Without the trim the design lines disappear in this fabric.

Oh, and remember at the beginning I said you should see the floor of my sewing room? Here it is.

And this is after I did a sweep halfway through!

Once again, I recommend this pattern. I would definitely do it again, though I think I’ll give it a rest for a while. Next on my list is a McCalls mock-wrap dress that has been sitting on my sewing machine table for a couple of weeks.

Happy sewing!

Pattern Review: Marfy 3201 Coat with Attached Cape

Well, that was epic.

But yes, folks, after a year, two months, and four days from when I decided to make this coat, it finally is finished! If you want to read the back-story, you can check out these posts:

The Muslin, Part 1
The Muslin, Part 2
Cutting it out
Tailoring
More Tailoring

And you can see the more recent progress in the last few posts. So, on to what matters… My opinions! 🙂

Pattern Description: Double-breasted trench-style coat with cape lined in tartan jersey, flared bottom, and short belt that emphasizes the waist.
Ooooookay…

Sizing: 38-58 (Euro/Italian Sizing). I made a 44.

Fabric Used: Bright Red wool flannel and Square Deal Silk Charmeuse in Red tones, both from Gorgeous Fabrics, of course. Both sold out, sorry.

Machines and Tools Used: Pfaff 2130 home sewing machine. All of The Pressinatrix’ favorite tools.

Needle/Notions Used: For the lining, Universal 60/8 needle. For the buttonholes, Topstitching 80/12 needle. For the coat, Universal 80/12 needle, Sew-in hair canvas interfacing from Fashion Sewing Supply, shoulder pads that I’ve had in my stash for a long long time, twill tape for stabilizing the roll lines, leather from my stash for the belt, belt buckle from M&J Trim in New York, buttons from Botani in New York, large snap from Pacific Trims in New York, Japanese hand needles and Sleeve Head Tape from Susan Khalje. Thread.

Tips Used during Construction: Anything by The Pressinatrix, A Tutorial on Topstitching, Hemming the Marfy Coat, a Tutorial. Probably some others that I’ll add as I think of them.

Did it look like the photo or drawing when you got through? Yes

How were the instructions? Hahahahahahaha! You’re so funny…
Seriously, Marfy comes with no instructions. You’re advised to print out the picture to use as a guide, and you are expected to know what you are doing. It’s best to have a Good Sewing Book next to you for reference when sewing Marfy. Marfy patterns, or at least this one, are beautifully drafted, and while a bit intimidating, they go together well. Just take your time, check your sewing references when you need to and trust your abilities. And if anything goes wrong? Well, fake it til you make it.

Construction Notes: I could probably write a novel, but I’ll keep it brief.

Marfy Patterns come printed without seam allowances. I used 1-inch SAs for the major seams, and ½ inch SAs for sleeves, facings and enclosed seams.

I shortened the length by about 4 inches, to make the coat less formal. I also found that there was a drafting error I pointed out in the muslin phase: the sleeve capes are not the same length as the back cape. I’ve only seen one other version of this pattern made up, and I notice the same issue on that one, so I think it’s fair to call it a mistake. But it’s an easy mistake to fix, so I didn’t get too wrapped around the axle about it. I shortened the sleeve capes and went along my way.

There are a few things you should note if you decide to make this coat. One is that if you make the caped version (there’s also a view that leaves the capes off), you must use a lightweight wool, like the one I used. Why? Look.

At one point, there are nine, count ’em, NINE layers

I’ve seen mille-feuilles with fewer layers. Be prepared to spend a lot of time grading and trimming.

For that same reason, I decided against sewing the epaulets into the shoulder seams. It would have been too much bulk, especially with the shoulder pads. Instead I finished the raw edges and topstitched them at the shoulders.

I put a large snap at the waistline on the inside to secure the under layer

Oh, snap!

I spent a long time last night testing out buttonholes. Originally I was going to take the coat to Jonathan in New York, but I won’t be able to get there before the end of the year. Instead, I broke out the trusty Pfaff and used the semi-automatic buttonhole feature to make corded buttonholes. I set the buttons so I can either close the coat all the way to the neck, or leave it open:

Note the roll of the cloth on the lapel. That’s on purpose…
Because when the neck is open they roll to the right side. Oh yeah!

Enough of that, let’s just cut to the chase. Here she is in all her glory, on Shelley:

With the lapels unbuttoned
With the lapels buttoned up
The Sherlock look
I love the cut of this
And, the back!

Likes/Dislikes: I LOVE this coat! It will be really really warm. I love the lines, I love the drafting (that one error in the capes aside), I love the fit. Yes, it was worth the wait!

Would you do it again? Would you recommend it? I won’t do it again. This is a statement coat and I only need one. I definitely recommend it, as long as you have the skills and patience to do it well. This is a demanding coat, and it demands attention at all phases. But if you’ve got better-than-intermediate skills, and you like a challenge that pays off, absolutely go for it!

Conclusion: Love. It! I’ll try to get pictures on me tomorrow. Now I need something easy and fast for my next project.

Happy sewing!

Pretty!!!

I haven’t worked with beaded laces in a while, other than to cut them for customers, but these ones would sorely tempt me! I got several 4-yard cuts from the Haute Couturier. You know, the one that begins with a V, and whose gowns cost upwards of $5000 in places like Saks and Neimans. Yes, that one! These are so exquisite, I just had to share!

Ooooooo

4 Yards of Beaded French Lace, 50 inches wide, Chocolate

Ahhhhhhh…

4 yards of Beaded Embroidered French Net, 42 inches wide, Red

Oo la la!

4 yards of Beaded French Net, 36 inches wide, Aqua, Gold and Pearl on Black

There’s only one of each of these. Each piece has enough for a spectacular dress (or skirt or jacket, in the case of the last). These are utterly fabulous!!!!

If you want to see how I have worked with beaded laces like these, Check Out This Post.

Happy (Couture) Sewing!

The What and Why of Waist Stays

Substitute Assistant Professor Ann is in the house! And class is in session!!! So, listen up! (double claps) Eyes forward. Put your electronic devices away, unless you’re reading this post on one (oh, wait…) and give me your undivided attention! We’re about to talk about waist stays.

What is a waist stay? Anyone? Anyone? I’ll tell you. It’s a cool little device used to make sure that your garment “stays” (get it?) in the proper place. Show of hands here. Who has been to a prom, semi-formal, gala, wedding or other occasion and seen women on the dance floor waving their hands over their heads and then reaching down and hoisting their bodices up? Maybe it would be easier if I asked who hasn’t seen that.

Well, I can guarantee – them that spend the night hoisting? Their dresses do not have waist stays. A waist stay is a very simple thing to add to any garment, whether said dress is a custom made beauty or a store bought stunner. A waist stay is a piece of fabric that is cut to fit the waist (with no ease), and attached to the garment.

The best waist stays are made from petersham. Petersham is a type of ribbon. It looks like grosgrain ribbon, which you can find in most craft stores for making belts. The big difference, and this is important, is that petersham does not have the bound edge that grosgrain does. This lack of binding allows it to curve around you and hug your waistline comfortably. Also, petersham is made from rayon, which shrinks and stretches, making it ideal for shaping.

So how do you make a waist stay? Easy! Measure your waist, and cut a piece of petersham that is the length of your waist measurement plus 2 inches. Fold over each end 1 inch (double it to finish it nicely). Sew a waistband hook and eye to the ends. Tack the stay to your garment lining at the openings, and vertical seam lines, so it floats a wee bit away from the lining. Here’s a picture of a waist stay for a bustier:

Note that it's tacked at the side seams and the openings, and otherwise hangs free.

And here’s a waist stay in a gown:

It's an easy add-on to any garment.

Now, you’ll notice that it isn’t actually sewn into the waistline seam. Think about it, there’s wearing ease in the garment at the waist. There isn’t any in the stay. In fact, there’s slightly negative ease in the stay. You don’t want the stay to be the same measurement as the garment. You want to let the garment have its ease, giving the garment and the wearer freedom of movement, while anchoring the garment to the wearer’s body. And there is the key. That anchor eliminates the need to constantly pull up the bodice. It keeps the waistline in place, and it gives the wearer a smooth, comfortable experience. It’s a critical addition to a strapless garment, but you can also use it to anchor garments with shoulders. It’s a regular feature in couture dresses and gowns. So try adding one to your next project, or even to a favorite dress when you plan to do the pogo at your friend’s wedding. You’ll be glad you did.

Happy sewing!