Saturday, October 24, 2015

Shirt sewing

I am sorely in need of tops to wear. I seem to have the same 5 or 6 in constant circulation and they are getting very tiresome.

So I got to work making some shirts.

The pattern is Vogue 2634, which is out of print.

This is a really nice pattern, a good basic shirt. I made view C with the 3/4 sleeves. All versions have a classic two piece shirt collar and band. I had very few alterations to make, just a 1/2" taken out of the armscye area and the sleeve cap. I shortened the body 1" but after making this first version, I will keep the original length.
The fabric is a lovely fine cotton/lycra shirting from in Canada. This is a small company based in Vancouver BC, offering quality dress fabrics, and wonderful service. In fact, I just saw a wool coating on that site that is so tempting. I am going to resist as I have this boiled wool coat in the making, but if I didn't, I would be jumping on this double-faced coating asap.
 I am going out of town for a couple of weeks, but if that coating is still there, I might just get some when I return. Beautiful coat fabrics are priceless in my opinion, and I am a real sucker for them.
The other shirt I have made is an older Jalie pattern, I think it is out of print as well.
I found the cotton fabric in my stash and cannot remember when or where I bought it. Just glad that I came across it while cleaning out a box and decided to give the Jalie pattern a try. Several members of our guild have made this shirt pattern and it looked good. I was pleased with my rendition of it.

Close up of the collar, which sits very nicely
You could use Jalie 3130 which is the latest shirt pattern from Jalie. It has a few more options than the pattern I used, but looks basically the same. Jalie patterns have all sizes from children to adults nested on the pattern, it is amazing to see how many sizes they get in there and you can also see how sizes grade up from one to another. It is rather fascinating. I was pleased with the fit of this shirt and will make it again.
Shirt making is very satisfying to me. I like the precise sewing involved and it is particularly gratifying to have the collar and band go on well with nice top-stitching to show it off.
Plus with shirts, you know that you can throw them in the wash time and time again, give them a quick press and they look great for a very long time.
I have a few more shirts planned for the fall/winter season, quickie projects to sew while working on the longer project - the coat!

Saturday, October 17, 2015

Coat progress

I am really keen to get going on this coat, and today dawned with nothing in particular to do except to sew!
In the morning, I cut out all the pattern pieces, and then found some scrap fabric that would work for a muslin. It always surprises me how little time a muslin actually takes and it is so worth taking that time, in order to be sure of your fit before cutting into the good stuff.
My muslin showed that the shoulder line was too long on me, so I removed 5/8" from the end and blended that line back into the armscye. This will make the sleeve fit better, which seemed to have a little bit too much ease in it to work well.
I had already shortened the pattern in the upper chest area, and again just above the waist. And removed 2" from the sleeves; yes I have short arms.
I sewed the fronts and backs together, sewed on the under collar, sewed the facings over the collar and set in one sleeve. Up to the full length mirror with shoulder pads in hand. A couple of things were clear right away. I needed more room over the tummy and hip area, and the coat was too short.
So I added 3/8" to the seams of the center front/side front and center back/side back. The side seams were in the right place, which made me decide to add the extra at those inside seams, rather than at the sides. The overall length is easy to fix; simply cut the pattern pieces longer.
All of this was done by 2 pm, so I took the dog out for a walk; it is a gorgeous fall day here. And then back to the drawing board. Yes, there was time to cut the fabric and the lining. And whoa, what did I find in my stash?  The perfect shade of blue Kasha lining so I don't have to use the cream stuff I bought the other day.
Over night I remembered that I had a bolt of this blue Kasha from years ago, when I was teaching outerwear classes for MacPhee Workshops. Kasha lining is satin lining fused to thin flannelette, so you are basically underlining the coat when you use this stuff. It is much warmer than other linings and Canadian seamstresses are quite familiar with it, as our winters are so cold.

So here is the coat all laid out, you can see the lining at the top, that shiny blue stuff. Lovely firm lining that is perfect for this weight of wool coating.

And yesterday, I pulled some tailoring books out of my sewing library and I settled on these two reference books. The Singer Tailoring book is a dream, with lots of beautiful photos to show you just how things should look. The garments are dated, but the techniques haven't changed for what I want to do, so it will be my #1 reference. The Palmer/Pletsch book is an easy read, with some good fitting tips and some shortcuts that may just come in handy.
All of this is now packed up in a box, and the next step is to cut the hair canvas and sew that in by hand. I am looking forward to that peaceful hand stitching. And hair canvas has never disappointed me.
One year I taught a jacket class and one student decided to make herself a winter coat. This was over 20 years ago, and I had only ever used sew-in interfacings. So I recommended that she use hair canvas in her coat and I showed her how to put it in. She later told me that coat was her essential piece of clothing that winter, and she wore it for a long time. She thought the method of all that hand-stitching was a bit tedious to begin with, but she didn't regret it later when the coat continued to look good after months of wearing.
Buttonholes are a concern at this point. I could do bound buttonholes, but don't want to. I want hand-done keyhole buttonholes. But I know that mine are pathetic. Unless I get some practice in and get much better at them, I think I might just take this to a tailor here in town and pay him to make them once the coat is at that point. There are two tailors who could do this; one is Mr. Chung who makes suits for men, and another is a tailor who specializes in military apparel. Perhaps I will ask to see samples of their work before committing to them.

Friday, October 16, 2015

Project - a Coat!

I popped into our local fabric store the other day, with a firm resolve to just buy buttons for the shirt I finished, and a spool of white thread for some other shirts planned.

But wouldn't you know it, I passed by a table of boiled wool coatings, gorgeous stuff and I simply could not resist. My first choice would have been red, but there was only a burgundy colour which just seemed dull. However, there was a brilliant royal blue and, with only a brief second thought, I bought 3 metres of it, plus got the Kasha lining and thread and picked up this pattern as well. I have tons of coat patterns, and only went to the catalog to check the yardage but this seemed like a classic style that would work really well with boiled wool.

I stopped in again yesterday and bought hair canvas, as I plan on tailoring this the traditional way. A fabric like boiled wool deserves your best effort and my experience with heavier fusible interfacings leaves much to be desired. They probably would not adhere well to a nubby surface like boiled wool. So I will use hair canvas, pad stitching it lightly over the centre front piece and on the collar to make a nice curved fold over.

I am so looking forward to this project. Tomorrow I plan on cutting out all the pattern pieces and constructing a muslin. I am not going to take any chances with this one. It has set me back quite a bit money-wise (close to $200) so it is worth doing it really well. I am going to make view D, which is just above knee length and I think I will make the patch pockets, as one review said the inseam pockets are very small due to their position in the coat. I need good pockets in my coats.

It has been quite a while since I made a coat and jackets and coats are my favourite projects. I have been inspiring myself with Tany's blog, She has made many wonderful coats and has several tutorials on a variety of sewing techniques. I will be checking out her posts on hair canvas once I reach that point.

Burda 8292
royal blue boiled wool, 100% wool

Tuesday, October 6, 2015

Sewing Knit Seams

A great post by Tasia on sewing knit seams to have the look of an overlock seam. For those of us without an overlock machine, this is a terrific option.

I might even be tempted to try leggings myself now.