Happy May, everyone! It’s been a busy several weeks, with work, teaching a very fun seminar (“The Pressinatrix Live!”) for ASDP, and all sorts of things going on. One of the biggest things that is coming up is that DS the Elder is about to graduate from college.
Oh. My. God.
And of course, I had to make something to wear. I made my Butterick 6446 Dress for Easter, but Easter here in Boston was 87 degrees, and we had dinner out on the deck, so rather than sweating in my new dress I decided to save it for wearing to the graduation. Now, since mid-May Boston weather is notoriously fickle, I wanted to make something to wear over it, and after some thought I decided to make a spring version of Paco Peralta’s V1527. I’ve made this before in a heavy wool crepe, so I didn’t make any major changes. I’ll highlight the few differences. First, I shortened it by about an inch.
I made this version from a twill satin from Gorgeous Fabrics. That is long since sold out, but you can find Similar Fabrics Here. It’s got a lot of body, and it stands away from the body. It’s not heavy but it has a pretty stiff hand. This fabric, while lovely, was NOT interested in easing.
It doesn’t shrink and while it didn’t catch and get tucks under the stitching, it also wouldn’t ease into the armhole smoothly. If I were to do it again, I would probably do a slightly different sleeve-head treatment – maybe a darted sleeve head. As it is, it turned out okay, but I’m not really happy with it. You can see why in the detail shot of the shoulder:
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
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.
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.
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:
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.
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!
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:
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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
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.
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.)
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.
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.
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.”
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
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…
One 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:
I 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:
Jacked Up Jackets
A 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:
With 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.
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!
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!
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.
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.
I used two pennies as weights in the back cowl.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.