Sunday, October 6, 2019

Now the waiting begins

Well, I have been working intermittently on my jacket, and it's all done but the buttonholes and buttons. machine doesn't like the fabric and won't do proper buttonholes. I have two in and both have to be removed. There is not much I despise more than ripping out buttonholes in a fabric that is basically the same color as the thread. But, I will grab my handy magnifier lighted headband and painstakingly rip out all the stitches. I found a picture of  what I use for buttonhole ripping:
While it makes things easier, it's not perfect and seems to take forever. Although taking forever is much better than destroying a jacket at the final stages! After messing up two buttonholes, I am biting the bullet and have ordered some silk buttonhole twist from WAWAK and will hand sew the buttonholes once I have the thread. If you've never done this, and/or as a reference for me, here's an online tutorial:

As it stands, everything else is done, and although it needs a final press, here's a picture:

I think it will be great for a work jacket. While I wait for the thread, I'm going to start on shirts. I have several to make!

More later!

Sunday, September 29, 2019

On the Home Stretch

Moving along with the jacket. Yesterday afternoon I basted the facings/lining into the outer shell to see if everything was working out well. Once everything is complete and it has a good press, I think it's going to be just what I wanted. Hopefully, anyway.

So far, so good. This morning before all my errands, I went ahead and selected the buttons for the jacket, so now, it's going to be full steam ahead. Don't know why it's taken me so long to get this far. I've had some gastrointestinal issues for the last week, so haven't been doing much of anything at all. My hubs thinks it's due to the flu shot I got, but who knows?

Hope to have this finished and read for a final post before next weekend. More later!

Saturday, September 14, 2019

Moving forward slowly and carefully

I am moving forward with my jacket and trying very hard to be slow and careful so it looks great once it's finished.

I am drafting the additional pieces needed as I go along, and it seems to be working pretty well. I have my lining pieces drafted and I initially cut separate interfacing pieces as the book tells you to cut off the seam allowances and I figured it would be easier before cutting.

Because this jacket doesn't have lapels, it's going much faster than it would otherwise, and because the fabric does have a tendency to ravel, I was pretty sure there weren't any welt pockets coming up. I'm using the patch pockets that are indicated on View A, so that's easier.

Not sure why, but my interfacing (perhaps too old?) is not fusing well so for the fronts, after carefully fusing everything, I went ahead and hand stitched the interfacing. For the balance, I'll sew it into the seams and then trim carefully along the seam lines.

After doing that, the front darts were sewn, and then I drafted a back stay. (Which will be refined for the next one. Although my Speed Tailoring book doesn't call for one, I remember an old sewing instructor who did alterations for many years insisting that all lined jackets need a back stay to keep the back looking nice and for stability. I didn't do it exactly correct, as after putting it in, I realized it is supposed to go to the bottom of the armscye. I'm only about half way. That will be remedied in the next jacket.

Hmmm...looking at the photograph, I may need to redo anyway as it has that fold right under the neckline.  I'll have to go check that out before moving on. It may be the way it's lying on the ironing board as I didn't notice it before this minute.

Next, I'll be sewing side seams and shoulder seams together. More late.

Sunday, September 8, 2019

Pleased at last.

This weekend has been my pattern drafting weekend. I really wanted to move forward with things and have a chance at a TNT jacket pattern that fits my very atypical body.

My favorite pattern drafting book, (probably because it was my first foray into the idea that plain old folks like me could actually draft a pattern to specific measurements and make it fit,) is the 2nd Edition of  Patternmaking for Fashion Design by Helen Joseph Armstrong, shown here:

Publication date is 1995, so it's been awhile that I've been using this book. I also have the fourth edition from a more advanced class, but this is always the one I seem to reach for and have the most luck finding what I want. 

As I started to turn my one piece sleeve into a two piece sleeve, I realized that the instructions I'm using require a darted sleeve, which my sleeve that fit me, was not. So back to the drawing board.

I was quite pleased to realize after making the darted draft using the instructions, the sleeve was almost identical to the one I made from the Threads article. That was a relief and made me feel much better about what I'm doing. If two different approaches yield the same result, it's gratifying.

I'm hoping to start on my jacket tomorrow. My lining fabric finally arrived, and one of the two I ordered will be a great match. Somewhere along the line, AHEM, a brown wool flannel and a navy wool gabardine arrived that are both excellent matches to this jacket. I am sewing from my stash also, but every once in a while, the fabric bug bites and cannot be ignored! :-)

I do need to copy off the lining pieces and get them put together also, but I think that's going to be done in and around doing the outer shell. The tailoring booklet pretty much interfaces everything, and with this silk suiting, I'm going to use a weft fusible as I think that's going to work best.

So, onward and upward! More later.

Saturday, September 7, 2019

Slight revisions required

I put together the muslin without facings, and have made a few more adjustments to the final pattern. Initial muslin shown, with sleeve hems basted, but no hem in the bottom. I have adjusted the pattern to reflect the changes I see are needed in the muslin for my final jacket pattern. I'm hoping to get a TNT jacket pattern out of this by the time I am done!

Currently, I am proceeding with drafting the two piece sleeve from the original draft, as IMO, that's the way jacket sleeves are supposed to be made.

Prior to adjustment:

Not sure why the hubby doesn't tell me to straighten out the jacket when he's taking pictures, but there it is. No head as I had just gotten out of the shower. :-)

This is Burda 6569, view A

Adjustments made initially and altered a bit more after the first muslin: Largest pattern size 20, and according to their measurement chart, I needed a 22 or larger.

Added 1/2" to front side seams, armscye to hem
Reduced dart by a total  of 2" (a bit more after this muslin)
Dropped dart point by 1 1/2"
reduced shoulder width 5/8"
After initial muslin:
raised shoulder point 1/2" for shoulder pads to zero at neck edge
dropped underarm seam by 1/2" to reduce excess sleeve ease

Narrowed back at neckline and dropped center back by 1 1/2" to zero at neckline
Reduced shoulder width to match front and dropped it by 7/8"
dropped underarm seam by 1/2" to match front
Raised shoulder point 1/2" for shoulder pads to 0 at neckline
added 1" to entire side seam
added 1/4" to center of armscye blending to shoulder and underarm
dropped back dart point 1/2"

I made several sleeve drafts from several different sources, with the best fitting choice (after more tweaking) being a print out of an adaptation of an original article in Threads Magazine. The reprint was adapted from "Add A Sleeve to Your Bodice" in the June/July 2007 issue of threads by Kathleen Cheethan (Threads #131); and the adaptation is available here:

I have also figured out FINALLY after sewing for myself for the last half century, that my right shoulder point is farther forward than my left shoulder point and I need to mark and sew the sleeve cap at different places on each side of my body to match up correctly and fit correctly into the bodice. There is about a 3/8" difference which will be used on the jacket.

The next steps will be doing the two piece sleeve, and starting work on the jacket. I have an old booklet copyright 1982, that I will be following to tailor my jacket.

It looks like there are reprints and some are available on Amazon. I'm looking forward to the process and having this jacket in rotation in my professional wardrobe.

More later,

Friday, August 30, 2019

Slowly working

I've done several sleeve drafts trying to get one that will fit my shoulder and my arms without having huge amounts of ease in the sleeve cap or having a very low armhole that restricts my movement without having a sleeve so tight around my biceps that I can't hardly move my arm.

I think I have it now after I think using 5 different programs to draft a custom sleeve. I've got the jacket part of the Burda pattern altered to fit I believe using my best judgement on what I need, and I have cut the jacket out of a canvas "utility fabric" that seems to be about the same weight as my fashion fabric.

The darts are sewn in the front and back and I need to get in and change the threads and needles on my serger before moving forward. The cotton canvas ravels quite a bit, and since it's hopefully going to be a wearable muslin, I'd like to have all seams serged. If it works out well it will be a nice utility jacket for playing.

Hopefully next post will include some photos of a partially put together jacket at least.

More later,

Wednesday, August 21, 2019

Status Report

It's the middle of August here, and we've had a lot of days with triple digit temperatures, which kind of drains every single bit of energy from your body! 

I worked on the tunic top, and then set it aside for a bit. It was necessary to raise the center of the Vee about 2 1/2" for it to look decent. I did muslin the neckline with a regular piece of muslin, but now I'm convinced I need to muslin the entire top to be sure it's going to look right on me. With the look of the top, it will need a fabric that drapes well, so I didn't want to use regular muslin and have been contemplating what I have that I can use for a muslin that won't bother me if it doesn't turn out well. 

The light bulb finally went off yesterday, and I realized I have a very lightweight cotton sheeting that will work. It's a deep garnet red, so if it works out, will be a nice top for me as that's one of my favorite colors! Hooray.

In the meantime while that has been being mulled in the back of my brain, I decided it was time to finally bite the bullet and do a sleeve draft for my particularly un-typical arms. Due to genetics, a lot of pool exercise with weights, and extra pounds, my biceps are 18 1/2" around, while my shoulders are sloping and forward. That makes it interesting to try to fit anything, so I figured with a custom sleeve draft, I'd have better luck. 

I had done the Winifred Aldred draft a while back, (Metric Pattern Cutting for Women’s Wear) but never went ahead and did the muslin. I had purchased the Craftsy class (now Blueprint) of Suzy Furrer’s sleeves, Patternmaking + Design: Creative Sleeves at the same time I got the moulage class, but it was languishing in my queue, so needed to get that started. Since I had such good luck with her moulage, I wanted to go ahead and attempt that draft before moving ahead. Now, I have the two drafts and they seem to be fairly similar. I have not yet done the draft from the Armstrong book, (Patternmaking for Fashion Design) but may do so in the future as another check.

I did muslin the Suzy Furrer sleeve, and I think it’s a win for me. I’ll be moving forward with making it into a two piece sleeve for my jacket pattern this week. Unfortunately, I can’t stand for long periods of time, so it has to be done in fits and spurts. Hopefully quickly, but who knows?

For the lapel-less jacket, I’ll be using Burda 6569, View A and a houndstooth silk suiting in camel and navy. I pulled out the invoice for that and was actually quite shocked. I know back in the day, I bought a lot of really good fabrics on sale, on close out, or as bolt ends from Fabric Mart, but now as I look at the prices, I’m in shock and in heaven! The date on the order is May 9, 2009, and I bought three yards for $2.99 a yard!

Needing Ironing!

Unfortunately, when I looked in my lining bin, I didn’t find anything I wanted to use with this fabric. I figured I needed a camel or a dark navy, and was leaning towards a dark navy. My favorite and only lining I’ve used for the last multiple years is Ambiance Bemberg rayon lining. It’s wonderful and drapes nicely, and wears well.

When I went looking for it I was horrified to see that Logantex will no longer be importing it, so most of the places I looked were selling out of the stock they have with no possibilities of reordering. Denver fabrics had some, so I ordered a brown and an iridescent bronze (along with a piece of navy wool for trousers) and hopefully one or the other will work well with the fabric.

Onward and upward. Hopefully by the time the lining fabrics arrive, I’ll have the jacket ready for the lining!

More later, and hopefully soon!