Tuesday, July 31, 2018

1930s Knitwear

I just love it when a plan comes together!

After thinking about this pattern/fabric combo for quite some time, I finally went for it.

The current Pattern Review contest gave me the motivation I needed to jump right into another knit project.

(Not that I need an excuse to play with polka dots!)

And while I had to fight with my serger to get through this project, I am beginning to get over my fear of knit fabrics.

The way the skirt is drafted does not allow for pattern matching, so the cut off polka dots are driving me slightly crazy, but it is also rather freeing not to worry about those sort of things every once in a while.  And besides, the dots are so random, I don't think most people would even notice.

I do think this design works quite well in a knit.  

One of the reasons I attempted it was because the skirt is fairly slim fitting for a contemporary Butterick pattern.  I knew this because of the rayon version I previously made, and I thought it would be an interesting experiment to use a knit without making many fit changes.  The most exciting part was not having to add a zipper!

I have a fair amount of the ivory with black dots version of this fabric leftover - definitely enough to make myself a top.

I have a couple of ideas, and I could absolutely use more polka dots in my life!  So there may be more knit projects in my future . . .

Sunday, July 29, 2018

Black & Ivory Polka Dots

A couple of weeks ago, I decided it was time to make another knit dress.  Yes, my first and only other knit dress is also polka dotted.  So sue me - I have a polka dot addiction - they are very hard to resist, in my opinion.

The pattern I chose for my polka dots was Butterick 6410.  Ever since I pulled my first version of the dress out of the closet last September, I wanted to make another.  But this time, I thought I would try using the design with a knit fabric.

But then, my silly phobia about working with knits would rear its ugly head and the project was put on the back burner.

Since I had two contrasting polka dot prints in black and ivory calling my name, it was only a matter of time until I got the courage to cut into the rayon/spandex knit.  And after a bit of a hunt to find my fabric, I was off to the races.  (It's a clear sign that there is too much fabric in my home when I can't put my hands on a specific piece that I know I have.)

I used a narrow zig zag on the sewing machine to stitch the seams.  And then I pulled out the serger . . .

Yikes.  To be honest, there were some harsh words, and a threat to pitch the whole thing out the window.  You see, I decided to be a big girl and change the threads, and that's where it all went wrong.

I must have re-threaded the darn thing four times.  And it turns out, the only thing I was doing wrong was not pulling the thread taught through the tension dials (a step which is inconveniently left out of the YouTube videos I was watching - Arghhh!).  But reading the instruction manual out loud step by step finally made me realize my mistake.

At least I feel a lot more comfortable re-threading the darn thing after that ordeal!

And there is something very satisfying about sending a raw edge through a machine that comes out neatly finished on the other side.  I remember that feeling when using sergers in the costume shop in college.  Of course, I was not expected to maintain and re-thread those machines!

And while we are not best friends, I am learning to cohabitate and be civil with my serger.

One thing is for sure, using knit fabric and a serger sure speeds the sewing process up.  

But rest assured, I am never going to give up my Hug Snug seam binding.

I actually used it to stabilize seams on this dress - first, on the shoulders, and also on the front neckline opening.

There are probably more popular stabilizing options when working with knits, but I hate that clear elastic stuff, not to mention the fact that I don't have any in my sewing room, and I love when I do not have to buy any new items to make myself a new garment.  This was one of those projects, and for that reason alone I wan't about to make a special trip to the fabric store to purchase clear elastic. 

I borrowed a technique used in the Vogue 1027 instructions - adding a piece of elastic to a casing made using the waistline seam allowances.

With the help of my serger, this looks slightly more professional looking than my navy polka dot Donna Karan knock-off, but I am still going to have to work on my serger technique.

And I never really know how tight to make the elastic, so I inevitably need to shorten and re-stitch the ends together which happens to be one of my least favorite things to do on a sewing machine.

But I think the weight of this textile and the length of the garment will be served well by the addition of said elastic.  The fabric does have good stretch recovery, so I am hoping it doesn't  stretch too much vertically.

The final piece of the puzzle was the hem.  I am still not sure what to do with a knit hemline, but this time I used EZ-Steam.  It's a bit finicky to work with, but it does make topstitching look a lot nicer.  But what do you use if the hemline needs to stretch in order to get a garment on and off the body?  Because this stuff definitely would not work for one of those garments!

Thursday, July 26, 2018

The Matching Jacket

After cutting out my orchid dress, there was enough fabric left over for another garment.  My first thought was a matching jacket.

And the first one that came to mind was Vogue 9082.

I underlined the entire garment for added body.

The two layers get basted together, and I like to stitch just inside all darts to keep the two layers together during construction.  Because the stitches are within the dart legs, there is no need to remove them later.

Having made this jacket before, I was familiar with the construction, and everything went together easily.

I went with bound buttonholes, and added a piece of fusible interfacing at the opening for added stability.

I tend to use my dress form as a hanger while working on multiple projects.  It keeps me from cutting into something I shouldn't with a sewing table full of fabric - which happens to be my recurring sewing nightmare.  When this jacket went on the form, I rather liked the contrasting collar.  Not enough to go in that direction for this particular project, but I may play around with it in the future.

Ironically, I had to piece the collar facing because of the limited yardage.  Looking at these pictures, I probably should have placed that seam so I could use it to make an in-seam buttonhole for the facing, but I didn't think of it while I was cutting.

But the buttonholes turned out great, so I really can't complain.

A little catch-stitching along the hemline . . .

and a bit of hand sewing on the lining . . .

and I have a jacket to match my new dress.

[Disclosure:  My Fabric Designs provided me with a coupon code which was used to purchase this fabric, but the opinions posted here are my own.]

Sunday, July 15, 2018

Early Fall Patterns from McCalls

I was beginning to think that The Archive Collection was fading away, but we have a new pattern.  I find myself slightly confused by the styling (specifically that hat selection), but I am definitely intrigued by the design.

I do wish they included the original pattern illustrations as they do with the other vintage reproductions.  Does anyone recognize this one?  The choice is interesting, and I certainly cannot think of another currently issued pattern that replicates this look, so I am all for it!  I love the slightly Watteau-esque back treatment.  It's a similar look to the one I ended up when I modified this vintage pattern.  And I will be curious to see exactly how this is constructed!  Hooray for non-basic patterns!

My other favorite design is McCall 7805.  There have been a slew of cold shoulder designs recently, mostly blouses from all of the major pattern companies.  Of them all, this dress is the most likely to be added to my closet in the near future.

I ripped an image of this Donna Karan design from 2008 out of a fashion magazine back then and saved the picture for all these years.  And I have wanted my own version ever since - including that fabulous belt!  Vogue released a pattern from the same collection in 2009 that I have stashed away.  In many ways, I wish they had chosen this design, but I am thinking I may take a stab at recreating something similar with the help of this new McCall pattern.  We shall see what happens . . . and if there is time before the weather turns cold.  (So many warm weather patterns and fabric waiting to be stitched together!)

The other ever popular design this season is the ruffled wrap dress.  Here is another one.  I do like the additional option of the more business-like neckline with the notched collar.  But I think I prefer this one from Butterick, so I am going to pass on this particular pattern.
Only two new pattern to add to the stash is good news around here - those boxes are getting really, really full.  Do you have any favorites that will be following you home?

[Click on image for source]