Not-so-instant Replay: Deconstructed Skirt

Well, as long as I’m republishing the jacket, I figure I might as well put up the skirt I made to go with it. This pattern is based on Butterick 4614.

Pattern Description: Misses skirt variations. Straight with kick pleats or A-line with godets. I made View C.

Pattern Sizing: 6-24

Did it look like the photo/drawing on the envelope No, but that was intentional

How were the instructions? I didn’t use them because I changed the pattern and style significantly. Looking at them now, they seem very straightforward.

Likes/Dislikes? I wanted a skirt to go with the jacket I made. I thought a skirt with godets might work well, but I didn’t want to use my stash KwikSew pattern. I wanted something with larger godets so it would really highlight the contrast fabric. And I wanted something with a zipped waistline rather than an elastic waist. When I looked through the pattern books, this one jumped out at me.

Fabric: Double faced cotton/lycra.

Any changes to the pattern or design? Lots. Like the jacket, I wanted this to be deconstructed, so I changed a ton. First, I wanted to have seams inset with the contrast (yellow) side of the fabric:

So I changed the godet pattern to add a long strip of fabric coming from the top of the triangle. You can see the resulting godet here:

Next I traced the pattern pieces onto and machine basted the side seam allowances. Then I cut the pattern at the seam lines. To construct it, I butted the raw edges of the sides together, centering them over the godet/seam insert and sewed 1/4″ away from the raw edges. You can see the inside here:

I also eliminated the waistband facing and used petersham ribbon for a facing, stitching it 5/8″ from the top. I trimmed the seam allowance to 1/4″.

Finally, I stitched along the hemline and trimmed the hem about 1/4″ away so the fabric will ravel in the wash.

Would you sew it again? Would you recommend it to others? I will sew it again, more conventionally next time. I would recommend this pattern. It goes together easily and it is very au courant.

Conclusion Here is a picture of the skirt with the jacket:

It will get much softer as it gets washed. I’m very happy with how this turned out.

Happy Sewing!

Not-so-instant Replay: Deconstructed Jacket

I made this pattern three years ago, but since I’m recommending techniques that I used to make it for a double-faced coating, I thought it would be worthwhile re-issuing it.

Pattern Description: Princess seamed, semi-fitted jacket with mandarin collar and fold up cuffs

Pattern Sizing: 8-22, I made a 12.

Did it look like the photo/drawing on the pattern envelope once you were done sewing with it? No, but that was intentional.

How were the instructions? I didn’t read them, because I wanted to try some new techniques. I debated about even calling this a Simplicity pattern, since I changed it so much, but the base shell is the pattern, so let’s give them credit where it is due.

Likes/Dislikes? I loved this fabric the minute I saw it. But what to make of it? I figured a reversible jacket, kind of like Phyllis C’s Edgy Jacket would be a good choice. Now that I look at the two jackets, I think I borrowed a lot more from Phyl than I intended (my bad). Thanks for the inspiration Phyllis!

There was not much that I disliked. I liked the lines, and I liked the fact that this was a relatively simple jacket, despite the princess seams. The back has darts rather than princess seams. I removed them (more on why later).

Fabric Used: A really neat yellow and tan double faced cotton-lycra. Here is an image of the other face of the jacket.

Design Changes or Alterations? Tons. I wanted to add pockets, so I cut the pattern pieces (front, side, back) off below the waist. I added 5/8″ seam allowances to the resulting pieces, and during construction I sewed them together, leaving openings for the pockets.
I used a plain patch pocket that I copied from Claire Shaeffer’s book Sew Any Patch Pocket. I attached that on the yellow side using edge stitching. It looks kind of like a welt pocket from the tan side. I eliminated the facings altogether. Since I planned to make this reversible I didn’t need them, and I’m leaving the edges raw so they will ravel when it is washed. I cut the sleeves at the cuff and added a seam there for design consistency.

I overlapped the pattern pieces at the seamlines and did a double row of stitching on either side of the seam, about 1/4″ away from the raw edges. Here you can see the stitching at the shoulder on the princess seam.

On the sleeves, I kept the stitching much closer together to avoid bulk and puckering.

I interfaced one side of the collar and overlapped the seams with the seamline of the jacket neck. I basted each collar piece to its respective side just inside the seamline, then I sewed along the seam. I edgstitched the hem and fronts of the jacket, and in that same stitching line I sewed the two faces of the collar together. I added a second row of stitching and trimmed the hem and front. The plan is to let the jacket edges ravel in the wash.

Oh yeah, I did my usual FBA starting with a size 12. But I got all involved and forgot to add the usual ease in the waistline to bring it out to a 14 (doh!). So it’s a little snug, even though I left out the back darts.

Would you sew it again? Yes I would sew it again. In its “virgin” state, this jacket is very easy to put together. It is unlined, so I would guess it goes together quickly. It was perfect for my experiment because of its simple lines. Some hints when sewing with double faced fabrics: keep the pattern lines to a minimum, don’t use sleeves that require a lot of easing into the armscye, don’t drink too much coffee when sewing, and keep both a bobbin and a spool wound with matching threads for both sides, unless you use a contrast thread.

The jacket as I made it took about 6-7 hours of sewing time. The trickiest piece of work was sewing the sleeves. Because I overlapped the seams, I had to sew the length of the sleeve starting at the armhole. This takes time and patience (hence, no coffee), to keep from catching the fabric in the needle. But I think the results were worth it.

Conclusion I wanted to try something completely different, and this was it! I am happy with how this turned out. When you look at patterns, don’t just be swayed by how the pictures or drawings on the pattern envelope depict it. Use your imagination and see what alternative options you can come up with. That’s the beauty of sewing your own clothes. You don’t have to look like anyone else out there!


FBA on McCalls 5464

I’m working on McCalls 5464, the jumper pattern. I like it. It has a good cut for someone like me, and when I made the muslin, I was very pleased with the results. As always, I needed to do a FBA on it, but this is one of the easiest FBAs I’ve done in a while. If you look at the line drawings, you’ll see that it is a princess line dress, but the princess lines are incorporated into a dart, rather than into separate seams. This actually simplifies the process of performing a FBA. Here’s what I did to accomplish it:

First, I drew a line across the entire width of the pattern, through the bust point (I love that most patterns mark it clearly these days), and parallel to the Center Front/grainline.

Next, I slashed the pattern along this line, from the CF and up to, but not through, the cutting line. Next I slashed the dart above this line, along the dart’s slash line printed on the pattern. In effect, I ended up with three (well, 2 9/10ths) pattern pieces. Then I proceeded to do a standard princess line FBA. I spread the center front of the bodice at the slash line by 1 inch, to accomodate a D cup. I placed tissue paper underneath it and taped it down. Then I separated the side front bodice piece so that it was 1 matched the front, as you can see here:

I then trued up the darts. Sorry, I should have done my truing in pencil, then sharpied it in, but I did it in a sharpie and realized I had not done the correct job. The actual new dart legs are the ones on either side of the dart slash that are closer to the CF. I think you get the idea though. The reason I say this is an easy princess FBA is because the CF and side front are one continuous piece, there is no guesswork about where the side front slash should go.

I should be finished with this tomorrow, and I’ll post a review of the pattern when I finish. Until then,
Happy Sewing!

Bubble, Bubble, Toil and Trouble

This post could also be titled “Oil and Water”, and it refers to silk charmeuse and fusible tricot interfacing. I’m making the Cosmopolitan dress from an absolutely gorgeous Pucci-type silk charmeuse that I bought from Kashi at Metro Textiles. It is so wonderful, and I just love it – the colors, the flow of the fabric, you name it!

While cutting it out today I decided to use my fave rave fusible tricot interfacing. I use this kind of interfacing on just about everything. It really fuses beautifully. But there’s always an exception, right? Check it out:

Gah! I checked all my settings. I had preshrunk the interfacing, and I used a silk organza press cloth and a spritz bottle to moisten it lightly before fusing. This is all standard procedure and works fine on just about every fabric, including many other silk charmeuse fabrics I have sewn with. But not this one! I used my standard silk setting on my gravity feed, and it bubbled like a pan of pudding over high heat. There’s always an exception to every rule, right? And this one shows that not all charmeuses are amenable to this kind of treatment.

So in the spirit of “drop back and punt”, I took a deep breath, dragged out the ol’ silk organza (which, BTW, you can never have too much of in your stash) and cut new cuffs and facings using silk instead. I applied them using long hand basting stitches about 1/4 inch from the cut edges of the fabric. Here are the results:

Much better!

Now I just have to actually make the dress. Back to the sewing room!

Raising a Neckline

Alright, Poppets, I promised you a tutorial, and here you go! This is a fast and dirty one, hence the reason it’s living here on this blog and not at The Sewing Divas. But it works, and here’s the how.

If you ever run into a problem where the neckline of your bodice is too low, you can raise it without too much difficulty. Let’s take for example the Cosmopolitan Dress that I just finished. The mock-wrap neckline is rather low for some tastes, and if you have any kind of scar on your chest, it will bare it for all to see.

Raising this neckline to a more modest height is not terribly difficult. First, let’s have a look at the original pattern piece:

You can see that it scoops along the bustline, crossing at the Center Front. Let’s take a look at it on the dress form:

I want to raise it about 2 inches, so you see less of the sternum. Once I determine how much I want to raise it, I go back to the cutting table and get out the tracing paper. I trace off the original pattern piece onto a large sheet of tracing paper. I then mark the Center Front, in this case with a green Sharpie. I have a gridded cutting mat, so I line up my CF on this and mark a spot two inches above the original cutting line:

Using my curved ruler, I draw a new neckline (in Orange) to the marking at the CF. I then taper from the center front to the original side cutting line. You may want to experiment with the curvature of the new neckline from the CF to the side seam, to see where you prefer the wrap to hit on your body.

Here’s a picture of the new bodice piece, side-by-side with the original. The tracing paper I have curls up at the edges, so the side seams look different, but they are exactly the same length.

Once you have the bodice adjusted, you need to make the exact same adjustments to the facings. In the interest of time, I didn’t do that here, but make a note that it will be necessary in faced neckline applications.

Sew the garment together now, just as you normally would. Because you have a change of slope in the CF of your bodice, you will need to clip the neckline or facings at the CF to get it to lie smoothly:

Once your bodice is done, try it on to see that it is high enough for your tastes. You can see here the finished muslin.

As you see, it’s showing significantly less skin than the original, Depending on your fabric, you may also want to tack the CFs together at the neckline.

There, that wasn’t too hard, was it?
Happy sewing!