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!

Gorgeous Fabrics/Pattern Pairings for Sewing Inspiration

One of the things customers tell me they really like about Gorgeous Fabrics is our recommendations for patterns to pair with our fabrics. It’s one of the more fun aspects of my job, so today, I’ll talk about some of the newer patterns that have hit the market, and give you some suggestions for Gorgeous Fabrics that I think will work spectacularly well with them. Enjoy! -Ann

Dress for Success
cashmerette-pairing It’s heading into cooler weather here in the US, while our friends in the southern hemisphere are starting to warm up. A great silhouette that works for almost all seasons is the classic wrap dress. And one of the favorites of our customers is the Appleton Dress from Cashmerette. This great take on the look is perfectly suited to any of our ITY or rayon jerseys. It’s even a brilliant choice for some of our stretchier rayon doubleknits. Those will give you options for cooler weather. The three perfect pairings I’ve picked for this dress include, from the top:

Any of these will give you everything from work-ready to holiday party options!

Button Up Your Overcoat…
ccf-kelly-pairingOne of the hottest looks in outerwear right now is the anorak jacket. Closet Case Files just released their Kelly Anorak, and it’s got all the details you want! While traditionally thought of as cold-weather or rain gear, this jacket is more versatile – just think a little outside the box! You can, of course, make it into a hard-working, long-wearing coat for cooler weather, but it also makes a surprisingly elegant turn for an evening or dressier look with different fabrics. Try a satin or taffeta version for a fun, designer-inspired look! Check out these two options for dressing down or dressing up:

It’s Jean-etic
georgie-pairingI can’t live without my jeans. Even though I love dressing up, jeans are my go-to garment on many days. There are tons of great jeans patterns available to the home-sewing enthusiast, from classic 5-pocket versions to the more athleisurely take on the look: pull on stretch jeans. StyleArc has come out with a great pattern for this comfortable wardrobe staple, the Georgie Stretch Woven Jean. Make a “classic” take on it with:

For a bright look that will enliven any wardrobe:

Jacked Up Jackets
m7513-pairingA great jacket or blazer is a cornerstone of any wardrobe, and as sewing enthusiasts, we can make all different styles! One that just came on the market is McCalls M7513 Peplum Jacket. I really love that this pattern gives you both sleek and “foofy” options for the peplum, so you have lots of variety by varying peplum and fabric. From a tailored version with wool, to a fun animal print for dinner or weekends, to a showstopper in brocade, this versatile jacket can take you just about anywhere! Try it with:

Or for a slinky entrance-maker:

Formal Introductions
v1527-pairingWith the holidays just around the corner, let’s finish with a formal look. This one comes from my friend Paco Peralta, a couturier in Barcelona, by way of Vogue 1527. This three-piece outfit includes a lovely straight skirt, a blouse with a jabot style tie and (this is what I adore) a long tuxedo style jacket. On the pattern, they show it in black and white. But for holiday, I love it with a rich red and black print blouse. It’s beautiful, and it evokes Spain! I would make this (actually I will make this) with these three fabrics for the tux, blouse and trim for the collar. From the top:

I hope this gives you a little inspiration, and I hope you’ve enjoyed reading it as much as I have putting it together for you.

Happy sewing!

Note: I have no affiliation with any of the pattern companies mentioned here, and I receive no financial compensation for mentioning their patterns or linking to them. In fact, they have no idea I wrote this post, so click away with a clear conscience!

Felicidades, Paco!!!!

My dear friend, Paco Peralta, couturier extraordinaire of Barcelona, was just published for the first time this week in the Winter/Holiday edition of Vogue Patterns. ¡YAY Paco! ¡Congratulations and felicidades!

Paco and I were internet friends for years, but I had the delightful opportunity to meet him and spend an afternoon with him, his sister, and our friend Vera when DH and I visited Barcelona a couple of years back. He is an absolute love, and his sister, Isabel, is just as wonderful. We had the greatest time, and I can’t wait to go back and see him again. Next time I’ll brush up on my Spanish!

I have to find the pictures with Isabel and Vera. Stupid Apple Photos lost them when it switched from iPhoto
I have to find the pictures with Isabel and Vera. Stupid Apple Photos lost them.

Continue reading Felicidades, Paco!!!!

Pattern Review: Vogue 7488 Men’s Vest

Friday is DS the Younger’s senior prom. His date is wearing a red dress, and since I am a fabulous mom, I told him I would make him a vest to wear.

Pattern Description: Lined vest has low armholes, shaped hemline and back belt. A: Notched collar and welt pockets. B: Double-breasted and welt pockets. C: Angled shawl collar and mock-welt pockets.

Sizing: Men’s XS to XL. I made a medium at the shoulders, tapering to a small at the waist.

Available as a PDF? No

Fabric Used: Greek Key Silk Blend Brocade in Bright Red from Gorgeous Fabrics (of course!)for the main fabric, red silk habotai (sold out, sorry, but you can find Other Colors Here) for the lining

Machines and Tools Used: Pfaff 2130 sewing machine, Naomi the Naomoto, ham, sleeve board, point presser, clapper.

Needle/Notions Used: Universal 70/10 needle, Pro-Weft Interfacing from Fashion Sewing Supply, D-ring from my stash, buttons from my stash (from the long-ago days of Fabric Fix in NH, sigh), thread.

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

Did it look like the photo or drawing when you got through? Well, not exactly. For one thing, the line drawing omits the stitching lines on the collar/lapel joint.

Also, the line drawing and photos indicate that there is a pronounced notch. But if you look at the pattern piece, the lapel is definitely curved.

There’s no stitching line indicated, so like a good little sewing automaton I followed the lines and notches. Also, from the pictures and line drawing, it looks like I sewed the lapel incorrectly to the collar, but again, I followed the notches and instructions, and this is what I got.

There is a distinct possibility of operator error on my part, since I was doing this after work and I’ve been running on fumes all this week. The good news is that he loves it as-is, so I’m not going to squawk.

How were the instructions? Um, okaaaaay… see my comments above.

Construction Notes: I sized the vest based on his measurements. One thing I didn’t realize in advance was that this pattern runs very long in the torso. I found that out after it was complete. I ended up taking up about an inch at the shoulders, so if you make this pattern, you’ll want to measure the front against the wearer beforehand to see if you have the same issue.

This pattern goes together quite easily. I debated about interfacing the entire front, since this fabric has a fair amount of body to begin with, but I decided to use Pam’s lightweight interfacing and it adds just the right amount of stiffness.

Likes/Dislikes: He loves it, so I’m happy!

Would you do it again? Would you recommend it? I might do it again. Then again I don’t get too much call for vests.

Conclusion: He’s thrilled so I’m happy. Here are pictures on Shelley. I’ll get pictures on him tomorrow night.

Front
Back

 

And the welt pocket

Happy sewing!

Pattern Review: Vogue 1374 Badgley Mischa Gown


Pattern Description: Close-fitting, lined, pullover dress has bias neck binding, shoulder yokes, back pleated drape with weighted tab, back extending into fish tail hemline.

Sizing: 6-22. I made a 14

Available as a PDF? No

Fabric Used: Sequined Designer Mesh – Gunmetal for the outer shell, Tricot Mesh Lining – Black (sold out, sorry) for the lining, and scraps of Swiss 4-Way Stretch – Black for bindings. All are from Gorgeous Fabrics, naturally.

Machines and Tools Used: Juki DDL8700 industrial machine, Juki MO2516N industrial serger, Reliable 3000IS iron/board, sleeve board, shoulder stand, ham, silk organza press cloth.

Needle/Notions Used: Universal 70/10, Serger 75/11 needles, thread, pennies

Tips Used during Construction: Tips and Hints for Working with Sequins, Make the Lining First, And Now, a Word from the Pressinatrix, Fear Not the Fabric

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

How were the instructions? They were very good. This pattern is not difficult to construct, so I didn’t really need them.

Construction Notes: I made this dress for a photo shoot, so I made it straight from the envelope with no fitting adjustments. What a luxury! Because of that, I got to see how it sews up with no modifications, and it goes together beautifully. The upper back piece was a little longer than the lower back, which I discovered when I made the lining.

I took about 1/4 inch off the upper back at the CB fold when I made the sequined outer shell, and that seemed to fix the problem. I bound the armholes with Swiss 4-way Knit to protect the wearer’s skin.

This is better than tricot for protecting from irritation

I used two pennies as weights in the back cowl.

Just adding my two cents’ worth…
ba dum boom!

The toughest part of this was just psyching myself up to cut into the sequins. But once I started cutting, it went very smoothly. If you work with sequined fabric, I recommend using a rotary cutter with a fresh blade, and resigning yourself to the fact that your blade will go straight to the recycle bin after you finish.

Likes/Dislikes: This is a very straightforward pattern that leaves the wow factor to the fabric. It’s rated Average by Vogue, but I think it’s easy, if you use a plain knit. I think this would also look great cut to knee length, either in a sequined fabric like this, or even in a plain knit. It’s got that “business in the front/party in the back” vibe that you can exploit with a less showy fabric. Ooo, you know what else would be cool? To make it in a subdued fabric for the majority of it, but use just one blingy or beaded piece for the upper back and let it peek out. Kind of like what I did on the bodice of my Pippa Dress. How fun would that be???

Would you do it again? Would you recommend it? Yes and yes. I would probably make this in a less showy fabric for myself to wear.

Conclusion: This is a spectacular dress, if I do say. The pattern goes together beautifully. I love the subtle sexiness of the design.

Front
Side
Back
Sexy!

This dress will be used in a photo shoot (on a mannequin), then I am going to donate it to the Cinderella Project at my local high school. Hopefully some young lady will like it and will feel like a million dollars at prom this year.

Happy sewing!

Getting Back On That Horse

This has nothing to do with sewing. Last weekend I walked onstage for the first time in more than 6 years and performed, and boy, did it feel great! It was a one-song-wonder, as part of a larger gala to benefit our high school. I performed “No One Is Alone” from Stephen Sondheim’s “Into the Woods”. I didn’t realize how much I missed being onstage. I took a hiatus due to cancer and confidence issues, but once I walked out there, it felt like home. My friend Thaïs took a video on her iPad, thanks Thaïs! The video is a little overexposed (Irish skin under bright lights, go figure) but I think the audio turned out pretty well.

Keeping it Gorgeous Fabrics-oriented, I wore the Vogue 2237 Gown and Bolero by Badgley Mischka that I made 5 years ago – as an aside, YAY! It still fits!!!

The gala was a huge success, raising a lot of money for the music program and the marching band. DH and DS the Younger did a baritone saxophone duet, but I haven’t seen any videos of that yet. They did a great job.

Afterwards, DH and I went out for Scoobies at a local restaurant. It’s kind of fun the attention you get when you show up for an early dinner at the local nice restaurant in a fabulous gown and tux, respectively.

Post Performance Scoobies
Why, yes, I would love a glass of champagne!

A good time was had by all, it was fun to perform again, it was even more fun to see all the students performing – what a trove of talent!

I think I need to start singing regularly again. Next up sewing-wise, I’ll adjust the Kwik Sew pattern so I can make my cardigan from the Italian wool.

Happy sewing!

Pattern Review – Vogue 9073, Plus a Quick Tip

It’s prom time! Between traveling and that, what little sewing time I’ve had has been devoted to others. I made a belt for my friend’s daughter using a pearl and crystal trim from M&J backed with black petersham ribbon. It doesn’t warrant a review, but I’ll see if I can get a picture on her tomorrow night.

The other thing I’ve worked on is a vest and bow tie for DS the Younger. I had an old pattern, Vogue 2826 (long out of print) that I have used many times before, but it didn’t have a vest, so we got him this one.

That’s what I made!

Pattern Description: From the website, MEN’S VEST, CUMMERBUND, POCKET SQUARE AND TIES: Vest A includes sizes S-M-L-XL-XXL and has welt pockets. View A and Cummerbund B are lined. Pocket Square C. Bias-cut Ties D,F are 3″ wide and Ties E,G are 3 1/2″ wide. Views F,G have contrast band. Bow Tie H. Pre-tied Bow Tie I.

I made the vest A and the “pre-tied” bow tie I.

Sizing: S-XXL. I made a medium at the chest and shoulders, tapering to a small at the waist. Oh, to be 17 and the swim team captain…

Available as a PDF? No

Fabric Used: Blue and gold printed quilting cotton. I know, I know. But he had a specific color in mind, and he wanted sparkle to it. This one fit the bill, so there you go. Lining fabric that has been in my stash for who knows how long.

Machines and Tools Used: Home Pfaff sewing machine.

Needle/Notions Used: Universal 70/10 needle, Pro Weft Supreme Light Interfacing from Fashion Sewing Supply, buttons, hooks, eyes, thread.

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

Also, I’m not sure this is worth writing a tip for, but if you are ever working with a dark, or heavily patterned, low-contrast fabric like this one, a great way to find all the stray threads on it is to use a bright LED flashlight. It’ll reveal even the most matchy-matchy rogue threads.

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

How were the instructions? They were okay. Just to try something different, I decided to use the standard Vogue instructions way of making welts, rather than my own Tried-and-True Method for Making Welt Pockets. You know what? The standard Vogue instruction way sucks. You are flying blind for much of it, making it difficult to achieve precise results. I ended up throwing out one whole side of the vest and re-making it using my way of doing welt pockets.

Construction Notes: Speaking of welts, I decided to narrow the welt on the pocket a bit. I found the narrower width more aesthetically pleasing. The pattern calls for sew-in interfacing, but I used fusible, and block-fused all pieces. I used a 2.5mm stitch length and 17mm buttonholes (automatic).

The outside of the welt pocket

And the inside

Likes/Dislikes: This is an easy pattern. I like the vest, and I think DS the Younger will like it when he tries it on. It’s not a standalone vest – it doesn’t have a back, just a back belt and halter, but it will look great under a tux. The tie is a faux-bow tie – it’s basically two rectangles of fabric that are pinched in the middle and tacked together with a band wrapped around the middle, then sewn to the neckband. I don’t care for that method. I’ve made real bow ties and I like those better. But this will do for a high school prom. I have enough fabric left over that I may remake the bow tie the “real” way for him.

Closeup of the tie

Would you do it again? Would you recommend it? If the occasion arises, sure. This was a pretty easy pattern, it’s well drafted and it turned out nicely. I would prefer it in a nice silk, but hey, I wasn’t sewing for me. I wouldn’t make the version of the tie that I made here, though if you are in a time crunch and you need a bow tie, they don’t get much easier than this.

Conclusion: A good pattern, easy to sew. And I’m Hero Mom for making it for him! Here are some shots on Shelley, who has vastly different measurements than he does. I’ll get pictures on him tomorrow night.

It’ll fit him better than my Wolf dress form

See what I mean about not being a standalone vest?

Happy sewing!

I Am the Lorax! a.k.a. DVF/Vogue 1549 Version 2

This weekend I made myself another version of Vogue’s Diane Von Furstenberg 1549 wrap dress. As a side note, McCalls recently did a Very Good Post explaining why you are unlikely to ever see them reissue this pattern. To what they said, I’ll add that in the cases of other designers, the licensors who used to work with Vogue Patterns have been swallowed up by huge conglomerates like LVMH, Kering and the like, so dealing with their licenses can be taxing to a small to midsize company.

Anyway, back to me. I decided to make a second DVF Vogue 1549 wrap dress. I made a few changes to it, but not enough to warrant a complete review. Here are the particulars:

Fabric: I made this version from Walk in the Woods Smooth Faced ITY Jersey – Multi from Gorgeous Fabrics (of course). This is a much lighter-weight fabric than the First Version I made of this dress (a rayon doubleknit).

Changes to the Design/Construction: This particular jersey has a very fluid hand, and it is very soft. I omitted the cuffs and collar, which I thought might be too floppy unless I interfaced the bejeebers out of them. I cut the hem down to a 5/8 inch narrow hem, rather than the 3 inch hem in the pattern. I used a 5/8 inch narrow hem on the sleeves as well. I’ll probably push the sleeves up most of the time anyway. Other than those changes, I made this the same way as the first version. It went together very quickly, and this version looks a little less formal. This fabric is light-enough weight that I’ll definitely need to wear a jacket over it (Boston in January, don’t you know).

And why the Lorax reference? Well, check out the finished dress:

Doesn’t it look like a forest in the fall?

Bodice detail so you can see the print closer

And the back

The other reason is because I plan to wear it to a meeting tomorrow night where I will speak for the trees. It’s town stuff, and not what I like to do, but I believe in wearing an impact outfit in situations like this. I’m saving the really big guns for the meeting where the town takes a vote. For that one I’ll wear the Red DVF.

When I was setting up to photograph this dress, DH saw it and said, “Wow, that’s a gorgeous fabric!”
🙂

Happy sewing!