Wednesday, March 22, 2017

Random Threads # 26 - seasons, shapes and thimble questions

What? This is the first Random Threads post for 2017? Time to expand on the scribbles in my notebook and discuss.

Seasonal wardrobe

Since it is timely - at least here in alternately sunny and rainy California its timely - when do you change over from winter clothes to summer? Or do you even do that? It's commonly said that here in the bay area we don't really have seasons, but I beg to differ. As long as you are not near the often foggy coast, the summer days can be absolutely lovely or even stinking hot. So I had a childhood of switching out the winter clothes, boxing them up and placing on the high shelves of the closet, with the accompanying exchange of shorts and swimwear that had been tucked away for the winter. I love that moment when it is warm enough to wear shorts and sandals, walk barefoot on the grass and enjoy the warm evenings outdoors. We're not quite there yet - as it has been off and on rain for the last week or so but we had a spell of warm weather and I am ready for more. So I did put away some wool sweaters and cleaned up the t-shirt drawer. Bring on Spring! Do you pack away your winter clothes or have a multi-season wardrobe?

Trying new shapes and styles

I can be kind of stubborn when it comes to sewing up a new shape or style, sticking to what I like. But at the same time I am always on the lookout for something new that will still make me feel good about wearing it. Here's a dress I sewed last year that was a bit of an experiment, summer ended so I didn't wear it but I will try it this year. Recently I did some sewing for someone else and she brought me a pattern that I would never have chosen myself.

Butterick 5861 envelope

Butterick 5861 gold blouse

I sewed this version for her, and while it is not a color I would choose the shape and style of the pattern I really like. I sewed View D shown in red on the pattern envelope. This is the only pattern I have ever seen that specifies using elastic thread to create that small gathered section in the center back - a nice detail. Anyway, I reserve the right to slip on things I am making for others (for educational purposes :) and I thought the shape of this top is lovely. So I traced off the pattern pieces and will try to make one for myself later this spring. If I find a nice silk it would be really pretty. I can tell you that this one was kind of a test - and then I made another version for her in silk chiffon. eeeeeekkkkk!. All those little tucks down the front. whew. I don't know the pattern rating but I would not call it easy. I must really like it to do those tucks again!  Anyway the whole exercise proved to me that I need to try on stuff that I think I won't like, just to see. Although I did that with a cold shoulder top in a department store and almost fell down laughing as I thought it looked ridiculous - on me. Some versions look great on others. That's just the reason to try various things out.

Lining or no?

I just saw a new trench coat pattern (Deer & Doe I think) and it has no lining, just taped seams. There are a lot of jacket and coat patterns with no lining, or not even an option of lining. This is something I just don't get. I put linings in everything and the thought of doing every seam with bias tape would make me scream. Yes - sometimes it looks nice and works, mostly on casual jackets but I wouldn't wear a coat or layering piece that didn't have a lining. Mostly I like linings because then your jacket or coat wears better, less wrinkling, slips easily on over your shirt or dress. I have a Lisette jacket pattern that is really cute but I suspect it has no lining - so I'll have to give that some more thought.

European patterns

Even though I rarely buy them I like to look at the European indie sewing patterns. My pal Sewing Tidbits just did a round-up of French sewing pattern companies with lot of links. And she is starting to create her own patterns, exciting!  Pauline Alice patterns are my favorite so far, perhaps because she does unique things (not another basic top but instead very distinctive styles) I sewed her Quart coat, Saler blazer, and Alameda dress and loved them all.  Named Clothing from Finland have a lot of interesting styles - but nothing that has grabbed me. For the most part if I see an interesting detail, either in ready-to-wear or in a pattern, and if I don't already have the pattern or one that could be adapted, then I look at the BurdaStyle website and usually find something similar. For some reason putting together a $ 6 PDF pattern is way less annoying than putting together a $ 20 PDF. But they are all still annoying. Anyway I am always on the lookout for some interesting and more advanced patterns so let me know if you discover anything.

Thimble news


Were you sad to hear that the Monopoly game is discontinuing the thimble as a playing piece? I was. That was always my choice when playing Monopoly. Do you use a thimble? I certainly do for certain tasks. Sometimes it is the only way to prevent puncturing your finger when hand sewing through very thick fabric. The metal one above is great for that. The pink one is a sort of soft plastic, with a slight grippy texture and it makes sewing quicker, at least for me. The ceramic one someone gave me, I suppose you could use it but I keep it around because it's pretty. Using a thimble does take a bit of practice but once you get the hang of it then it really helps.

Sewing Lace Fabrics

I see a lot of great garments made with lace fabric and it has been really popular on the runways for the last few years. But it's just one of those fabrics that I have no interest in sewing with, or making a garment for myself to wear. Along with scuba. Scuba fabric to me feels like wearing 7 layers of polyester fused together - not an appealing idea. But maybe I'm wrong about that. In any case, if you touch a fabric in the store and it gives makes you shudder but not in a good way then I imagine sewing with and/or wearing would be no different. Is there a fabric that is just not for you?

Not really improved

Did you take a look at the Colette Patterns reissue of their free Sorbetto top pattern? They have been revising their design work, I believe revamping their blocks and sizing. So they revised their Sorbetto tank top pattern. And it looks.....not good. I can't stand the way they do bust darts, always too long so they are too visible from the front. They seem to choose fabrics that don't match up well for what they are showing, and they never fail to have the examples fit poorly on the models. For the same $18 the patterns from Named (mentioned above) seem a lot more sophisticated.

New Fabrics

Nothing much since my trip to NY last October, and I am making progress on a few of those fabrics. But I did pick up a couple of things recently.

new fabrics stripe and metallic

On the left a couple of jersey knits, I have a this McCalls pattern which is calling my name for spring. Not sure if I will make the top or the dress, or both. And which color. But the past few years I have been sewing a lot of stripes which I find very fun. But the real treasure is the fabric on the right which is a cotton chambray with metallic silver threads. Unfortunately in this picture you can't really see the metallic and the color is slightly more blue than it appears. I didn't buy much, maybe 1 yard but that is plenty for a little sleeveless top for summer. I knew I had to buy it because I looked at it on 3 separate occasions at Stone Mountain. 😊

That's all for today. Up next, another version of Vogue 9205. my current fav t-shirt pattern. (so fickle, always a new fav which is usually the last thing I sewed).
And some work in the garden, replacing some fences, removing the ivy which I can't stand, and hopefully creating more sunny spots, for more plants! But in the meanwhile its a disaster zone.

Happy sewing and Happy Spring!

today's garden photo, more tulips.

purple tulips


Thursday, March 16, 2017

Vogue 9205 knit top and Happy St. Patrick's Day

It's just not possible for me to wear any color other than green on March 17. Of course it's St. Patricks's day and I do have plenty of things to choose from. One of my favorites is this skirt made for my green item in 2013. Or I could wear my green coat which was my most worn item this winter. But that's not very likely as it was in the mid 70˚'s today, so no coat required. A rummage around in my closet for a green t-shirt will be likely tomorrow as it's just about sandals and shorts weather. With my apologies to those of you still in the grip of winter.

The Irish family heritage goes deep - both my paternal grandparents were born on the west coast of Ireland and them emigrated to San Francisco. I've been fortunate to go to Ireland twice and would go again anytime - it is so beautiful, so much fun, and the food is fantastic (yes, really).

So this year's green outfit was finished a while ago, already worn and now relegated to the back of the closet until next fall when it will be more suitable. But it does highlight a pattern that turned out so well, I have already used it twice with very likely more to follow.

Also this fabric is a green/blue houndstooth and the green looks a lot greener in person - all these pictures make it seem more like an aqua/blue combo.

green check top closeup

The pattern is Vogue 9205 which I included in my pattern whisperer post a few weeks ago.  While this pattern doesn't have a lot of variations other than the sleeve length it sewed together really well, the darts add some fitting and shaping across the front even though they are decorative darts not fitting darts. The pattern calls for a regular jersey type knit, and my fabric was not that at all!

Vogue 9205

I bought this fabric at a American Sewing Guild stash sale a few months ago, it was two yards/60" wide. And kind of weird. Basically I think it was a bit on the vintage side, with very little stretch even though it looked like a knit. So there is almost no give in it, and it's a good thing the top fits. But I can't say it is the most comfortable thing I have made.

Here's proof, my super awkward looking backyard timer photo. I just got a new camera and am trying to figure out the settings, work with the light etc. Starting with a houndstooth fabric is probably the worst idea - do you have this issue where checks like this look all wrong on the camera or computer screen?   Anyway - you can see I had enough fabric to make a skirt.

green check outfit2

Which I did because it was there. And what else would it become other than just a remnant? And when I first got this fabric I thought about making a dress but then the idea of the top seemed more wearable.

green check outfit on form2

A super simple elastic waist skirt, no pattern used. Which actually has a zipper in the center back since I had very little fabric so I made it pretty slim, plus I couldn't get it on without the zipper. You can see the inside of the fabric, it looks like a sweater knit on the inside. Just without the stretch of a nice knit

skirt waist green check outfit

And a much better photo of me and Pauline at the Bay Area Sewist's Frocktails event last month. She is one of my many sewing muses - every time she posts something I want to sew it. I even bought similar fabric and the exact pattern to copy the version she did of a Vogue pattern.  Maybe I will get to it this summer.  In fact she and I buy a lot of the same Vogue and Burda patterns, and it is interesting to see how they look on different people (oh I wish I had some of her height :)  Note she is wearing Vogue 9227 which I sewed a while ago and plan to give to a friend of mine.

green top

So that's the latest on my streak of success with Vogue patterns and news flash - more to follow!

I hope you have a great St. Patrick's day if that's something you celebrate, and perhaps think about all the generations and waves of immigrants that contributed to our country, and welcome those yet to come.

Happy Sewing, Beth

Here's a closer look at the tulips - every year I plant more bulbs in November and then instantly forget what color they were on the package. Which makes it a lovely colorful surprise!

Tulips 2

Sunday, March 12, 2017

Sewing details: Vogue jacket with contrast sleeves

Before I move on to writing about my newer sewing projects I wanted to do a post with some details on the Vogue 2357 blue wool jacket with the contrast sleeves. I made it using a less than current pattern which was published in 1999, not exactly vintage but I posed the question of what to call these patterns that are not really vintage but not new. In my mind I think of vintage clothing and patterns as those items from the 50's and older. Maybe some 60's stuff also. But more recent, like 70's - 80's - 90's - those just seem old. Although I read that the Gap is bring back some of their 90's styles for an "archive collection". Really? For one thing I don't think the Gap has been a style maker in a long time (ever) and for another I would be happy to never see that faded pale blue denim again.  Please, let's not have a 90's style revival - it wasn't stellar the first time around.

However a few commenters gave some suggestions for this pattern category of not new but not vintage, such as OBG (oldie but goodie) and late-model (as in recent but not new cars) I like them both so I will now have a couple of names for these types of patterns. Good thing too as I have a few that might make an appearance this summer in my sewing.

Back to the sewing details for this jacket which appeared in my previous post. I happened to be in the mood to take pictures as I sewed for this one, mostly because it was such an interesting pattern and I thought some of you might like to see it.

Here's the jacket on the dress form.  The pattern envelope and tech drawing are pictured in that previous post so you can see the seaming and dart detail.

blue denim wool jacket on form front

Of course every new pattern starts with fitting. I looked over the pattern, did some flat pattern measure as well as scrutinized the finished garment measurements printed on the pattern (thank you Vogue patterns - my editorial comment: this is a detail that sets the Big 4/5 printed patterns on a higher level than a lot of other patterns).

I made a muslin of just the jacket minus the sleeves, to see the fit and also where the seams landed on me. Vogue size 12 is almost always a good fit for me in jackets and this one was as well. Note that this style has NO shoulder seam and the front wraps around to the back so options for fitting are somewhat limited by that design detail.

Here are the pattern pieces laid out on the floor. You can see where I add paper to the various seams, some places tweaking the fit just a 1/4' or so, and other places (like the hip circumference) I generally have to add about 2-3 inches in total on a size 12. This pattern also has the side seams shifted below the waist, so that was kind of tricky - the pocket crosses over the side seam, wrapping around the body. Although on my final version it did not. I added about 2 extra inches to the hemline - this pattern has a faced hem (which I changed) so I added the 2 inches for hem allowance. I just put little tabs to remind me to add the extra length and then mark with chalk on my actual fabric. If you ever have a really full skirt and you want to lengthen it the same method saves you lots of taping of extra paper onto the pattern. You just have to remember to mark the extra length your fabric from the very first piece! That's why I add the paper tabs - as a visual reminder to do so.

jacket pattern pieces

Since I had done the muslin the jacket sewed together pretty quickly. The pocket was titled "the invisible patch pocket!" but it was basically a patch pocket sewn on the inside of the jacket with a flap to cover the faced opening. The pocket bag is stitched to the jacket front although on this fabric you can't see the stitching. (also my camera made it look grey not blue in some of these photos).

pocket details wool denim jacket

Here's the more interesting detail. Since there is no shoulder seam the front curves over the shoulder and then attaches to the back via a diagonal seam.  The had a pattern piece for making the shoulder stabilization piece, which you can see here in white. It is not meant to be fusible, actually maybe a lightweight hair canvas or something similar would be just right. I used a woven canvas that I had which seemed to match with weight and shape of the wool, and then I added a layer of fusible Pro-weft just to give it a bit more body. The pattern instructions had you hand stitch this into the jacket along just a few areas, you can see the running stitches. I really liked this level of detail and the result where this support piece is kind of floating inside the jacket. Note that the pattern called for a boiled wool or similar type of fabric so I was adapting a bit due to my fabric choice of this tweedy wool.

blue denim wool on form inside1

blue denim inside back view

Once I got it mostly assembled and started working on the sleeves I decided that the shoulders were too wide for me, so I moved the top of sleeve in a good 3/4". And even now that it is finished I think it is just a bit too wide across the shoulder. So it bugs me a little but maybe not enough to crack it open and do some surgery in that area. Since I was working with this sweater knit for the sleeves I hand basted in both sleeves and tried it on just to see how they looked and fell on the body.  (note those funky corner bits that are left after sewing all the diagonal seams - I always think this type of pattern piece is a trap for beginning sewers - at least it was when I was beginning and it took a while to intuit how the seams were supposed to go together, sticking out at the ends like that)

setting sleeve wool denim  jacket

And that random impulse purchase of neon green thread paid off - so easy to see this as basting thread :)
A couple more fit adjustments once the jacket was stitched together. I decided the sleeves were too wide at the wrist, so tapered them in, quite a bit as seen here. About 2 inches in total. Proportion is so important to me and if something just doesn't look right I have to baste in an adjustment and see how it looks. Sometimes doing that proves that it was fine from the beginning but sometimes the smallest adjustment will make all the difference.

wool denim jacket narrowing sleeve

Back to the jacket body - once it was sewn up I realized that I added more than necessary to the hip circumference (which is no surprise - I always err on the side of fit insurance since you can take away but not add, right?)

Here are the two seams on either side of the center back jacket, below the waist seam. I took out about 1 inch at the hemline tapering to zero at the waist seam.

blue denim jacket back skirt adjustment

Yep, it's a lot of put on, pin, take off, baste, check again, mark with chalk and then stitch. And then press!  But usually on a garment I just have one or two areas to fine tune once it is sewn together so that's not too bad. And the result means a jacket that I like versus one that I am not comfortable with.

I just love those darts and the shape of this - and am still amazed that I found the sleeve fabric. Which I have about 1 yard remaining. Enough to make a knit tee but perhaps too matchy...

blue denim wool jacket close up collar front

blue jacket unbuttoned

Since I completed this I have been wearing it a lot - you know how it goes when you finish something that can be worn with a lot of different things (meaning jeans). Although today it was shorts weather - seriously - spring has sprung - which means we will probably get some big storm around Easter but until then we are all pulling weeds and thinking about putting in the tomato plants!

Happy Daylight Savings time sewing. I hope all is well in the northeast with the storm and that your spring arrives soon too.


I always plant tulip bulbs in a rush and buy too many, so after putting them in the flower bed I have some remaining that I end up sticking in whatever bare patch of ground I can find. Including in the retaining wall. Thus this cute little purple tulip among the pansies.

tulip and pansy

Sunday, March 5, 2017

Vogue 2357 not quite vintage but current, wool jacket

When does a pattern become vintage? As that same question for fashion. Is something retro? Revived? Reinterpreted? Reimagined? Is there anything new in fashion? I often say there are no new patterns, by that I mean that clothing styles and shapes come and go with the designs and details traceable through the ages. We can see fashions that reappear in our own lifetime or across the centuries.

What brought on this philosophical musing? Recently I unearthed some older Vogue designer patterns which I had stored in a box in a spare bedroom, tucked away on the shelf where things like that stay because I can't let them go. Looking through most of these not quite vintage patterns I could see a lot of details and silhouettes I just saw in the most recent designer collections shown in NY. Also I bought a couple of patterns on eBay this year, which are not new but less than 10 years old. I'm always on the lookout for interesting details these days, a shirt with an unusual collar or neckline, or a dress with some clever pockets. Basic patterns have their place but I hope that pattern companies continue to provide the more complex and interesting ones as well.

Which brings me to my latest sewing project. I got a pattern sometime last year, probably at an ASG sale or maybe at a swap. I can't really remember, but it's a pattern that I took out and looked over at least once a month, thinking about making it. Also I had some fabric that was not at all what the pattern called for, but I really liked it, so I gave it a try and now I love the result.

It is a bit of an odd one so I will give you the dress form view first, but I do have plenty of pictures of me wearing it. Check out that interesting darting, and the seaming is unusual as well, although it is really hard to see it.

blue denim wool jacket on form front

The main jacket fabric is wool (I definitely recall buying this for $3 at a sewing group sale, score!) It behaves like wool and presses really well, crisply, almost like denim which is kind of odd for wool. Perhaps that gave me the idea to make it into something that is more casual. AND I only had 2 yards and it was 45" wide so no possibility of getting the sleeves on the solid blue. I had that idea in the back of my mind to change it up and do contrast sleeves (due to my success with this favorite jacket). So I carried a little swatch of this solid blue wool around with me for ages, knowing that whatever jacket I used it for it would need another piece of some fabric. What I found was the proverbial needle in the haystack as this sweater knit is pretty much the best possible color match. And was at Joann's, and is thick and soft and exactly what I had in mind. The selection there is uniformly terrible and then every once in a while I find a gem.

bluewool jacket on me unbuttoned

Now we get to the not quite vintage part of the pattern. It's a Vogue Marc Jacobs pattern, copyright 1999. So almost 20 years old. By the way - I have plenty of sewing and fitting details which I was going to post first - but since I have been wearing this jacket already I decided to show the jacket first and then in the next week I will do a post on fitting and sewing.

Maybe I liked it because the model has short hair 😊.

Vogue 2357 pattern envelope

No, not because of the short hair.  Look at these details - I just thought the darts and seaming were really interesting.  There is no seam at the top of the shoulder, the front wraps around to create the diamond shaped seaming in the back.

Vogue 2357 techdrawing of pattern

I do think this jacket looks best when closed. But then when closed it also has a slight Star Trek vibe  - not a look I typically go for.  Also it calls for the large snaps as closures, as opposed to buttons or a zipper, which is interesting. I don't think I've ever made something with the large snaps. Certainly fast to sew.

blue wool jacket buttoned up

I think it is a bit broad in the shoulders - and I already narrowed it a bit when sewing. But I might do another adjustment. Details in the upcoming post.

blue wool jacket  back view on me

This is one of those fabrics that looks a different color in every photo and in every light. The outdoor pictures are more accurate. I put the sweater knit on the inside of the collar so there would be no possibility of itchiness on the neckline -my achilles heel in winter wear.

blue denim wool jacket close up collar front

The pattern envelope specifically mentions these "invisible patch pockets." I didn't think they were anything super unique - but the instructions were good and they came out perfectly. And add to the sleek shaping of the jacket body, the pockets kind of wrap around the side seam.

blue denim wool jacket pocket details

This is one of those blue jackets that I think - does it go with jeans? what color denim? darker denim or close in color?  Oh well, I will probably throw it on with any old jeans as the knit sleeves make it super comfortable and the whole thing is lightweight yet warm.

blue wool jacket seated view

In a post a few years ago I posed the question of what to call these patterns that are not new, but not really old. I think I called them recent-retro which seems as good a name as any. I think we need a name for this category. Think about it and let me know if you have an idea.

I keep thinking spring is about to be declared around here, the trees are blossoming and the bees are all over my citrus trees. But today we had hail, LOTS! and snow on some nearby mountains. What? Check back with me in a couple of weeks - all will be different and I might be planting my tomatoes.

Up next, no idea. I'll see where the weather and my mood take me.

Happy almost spring sewing,

today's garden photo - the first tulip!

first tulip

Sunday, February 19, 2017

Denim-look voile shirt and a new method for the front placket

Why do I find sewing button front shirts so satisfying lately? It is a bit curious as basic shirts with a button front and a traditional stand collar are not something that played a large role in my wardrobe in past years. Perhaps they always seemed very serious - a shirt was something to wear with a suit jacket, worn to look serious and businesslike. But in the past few years I have made a lot of shirts and find them really enjoyable to sew. For a basic garment there are countless variations possible and it is fun to change up a pattern without having to start over with the fit. Fun is an understatement - who doesn't love having a pattern that fits perfectly? It is the holy grail of sewing, the TNT pattern (= tried and true).

For me it is Simplicity 2339, one of their Amazing Fit patterns that I started using in Dec. 2011. And even then I didn't make it as the pattern was designed. For that version I adapted it to have a hidden buttonhole placket. I was off to the races with this pattern, never once sewing it as it was from the pattern envelope.

Here is the latest version. As for the fabric, it is divine. A lucky find of this cotton voile at Stone Mountain Fabrics in Berkeley. Their upstairs section is now filled with an assortment of interesting things, a lot of designer roll ends, never the same things on any given week and if you find something that interests you the price is great. It does take a bit of searching - when I was last there I didn't see anything that inspired, and then tucked behind the forest of upright bolts was a skinny cardboard tube with a small amount of this fabric remaining.

blue voile 2 on form

While it was 54" wide the amount remaining on the bolt was perhaps 1 yard with a very crooked edge giving me maybe another 1/3 yard in a triangular shape. But it was too lovely to pass up so I bought it - for less than $ 3. It is unbelievably soft, slightly sheer, and vaguely denim looking. A perfect companion piece to so many things in my wardrobe.
Would you believe that I came home, tossed it in the dryer with a wet towel to shrink and then cut it out later that afternoon?  I never do that! But it was a vaguely springlike day and I was feeling ready to jettison the coats and sweaters for a light and floaty cotton shirt. Then I played around with my pattern puzzle pieces until I could just squeeze it onto the yardage available.

Now for some info on the front closure. A while ago I copied a shirt for someone and it had a placket (button band)  that wasn't sewn on but continuous with the fabric of the front of the shirt. I don't know if this has a name in the trade but I refer to it as the one-piece placket. It is slightly difficult to see in this navy blue cotton voile version, so here's a look at it on an older shirt, in cotton poplin.

enclosed seam on placket

Now for the how-to. This is a general how-to on creating this - I may have missed some details but I think if you know how to sew shirts and have played around with various placket styles that it will make sense.

Start with the basic shirt pattern, and the front button band piece. I folded away the seam allowance and overlaid the sewn-on button band to create the dimension of the shirt when completed and the button band is sewn on. Basically you want to see the finished shape of the shirt front where the collar stand is sewn on. Trace this outline, with markings for collar, sleeve etc. I always trace to retain the original pattern for future use. Plus it is easier to mark all over a sheet of blank tracing paper.

Placket shirt band 1

Here's the traced front shirt (for this example I did it on white paper so I can mark with various colored pens. Note that this now includes the center front of the shirt, where the buttonholes will go, but no seam allowances at the center front (don't need them).  On the right I have marked 5/8' in from the center front. That inner green line is equivalent to where the seam would be if there was a sewn on button band.

Steps 1 and 2:
Placket step 1 and 2

Now I create the extra part (Step 3) which turns into a fold that simulates the edge of the button band, and creates a space where the back of this one piece button band tucks in and gets stitched.
I have sliced open the pattern on the green  line and inserted 5/8" of space. Why 5/8" when I am creating a 1/4" tuck? Trial and error has shown me that even on thin fabrics the turn of the cloth takes up some fabric, maybe less than 1/8" but it is something, and you can adjust the actual width on the other side.  The image on the right shows how this insert gets folded behind what is becoming the all one piece button band.

Step 3
Placket step 3 and 4

Next I add to the side of the shirt another 1 1/4", or equivalent to the width of the button band if you started with a different width button band. Basically this part has to fold behind the front and reach into the fold created by the inset, and then get stitched in there to make the clean finish. Sometimes I even add a little bit more just to be sure, and then trim it off after folding. In case of a thick fabric, like flannel this would be a good idea.

Step 4:
Placket step 5

Now the pattern is basically completed, here is the back side of the pattern on the left, showing the extension folded into the tuck (orange paper section). On the right showing the front with the extension folded behind.  Also I have marked the stitching that you do on either side of the center front. On the inner side, this serves to catch the extension into the 1/4" tuck, and then stitching the other side 1/4" from the edge gives it symmetry.

Placket step 6 and 7

This is the trickiest part to show, here is a view from a different angle. The extension portion fold back inside, is caught in that 1/4" tuck and if all measurements and folds are correct then you sew the tuck at 1/4" and have a clean finish inside the shirt.

Stitching tuck in one piece button band

What I have not photographed or mentioned is marking and interfacing. I have this pattern piece created and it is well worn, I mark these lines with tailors tacks and then the folding is very quick. The iron is your friend here, I just press the various lines into the fabric and then open it back out and apply a strip of interfacing to the inside of the extension portion. Most fabrics need some interfacing for the buttonholes so don't skip adding this.

One last thing to check before actually using the pattern is to make sure the collar stand matches the newly created shirt front. I use a tape measure set on its side to measure curved distances but I couldn't get it to stay still for a photo - so this is my flexible ruler. The portion of the collar stand and the shirt front should still marry up properly after all the folding and tucking. The green lines are equal so all is good. Don't forget when measuring to take away that seam allowance on the front of the collar stand - see how the green arrow doesn't go to the edge of the pattern piece but stops 5/8" from the edge.  This is why they do pattern drafting and design with NO seam allowances - so much easier to do all this and then add back when completed.

Placket step 8

As for the other side of the shirt. I cut out two fronts, a right and left exactly the same. Then I create the one-piece button band on one side. After that is done I overlay the other side on top, fold back the extension to create the same finished dimension as the other side. This will ensure that your center fronts are matching. Then then fold it in again to basically create three layers there and a clean finish on that side as well. The original Liberty shirt I was copying had no stitching on that side and I have continued with that. It looks really pretty and feminine with minimal stitching.

blue voile collar close up

One quick backyard photo to show how this shirt looks, although the light was not optimal. But you get the idea.

blue voile shirt on me plus daffodils

blue voile blouse back on form

Someone asked me on Instagram about the gathered shoulders. That is a case of rotating the horizontal bust dart into shoulder gathers, I wrote a post on Craftsy a while ago about that. I will have to search around to find that and show it again. And it is great for plaids since the bust dart plays havoc with the pattern for matching. You can see how sheer this fabric is - although not really see-through so kind of the best of both features.

blue voile side view on form

Fabric love on this one - and I think it will be able to be worn with so many things.

Onward to the next thing - I finally gave into my urge to try a pattern that I found some time ago at some yard sale or other, it is a Vogue designer pattern from 1999, by Marc Jacobs. A designer that I find annoying but occasionally has something really interesting. And my version will be a bit different from the one pictured. Stay tuned :)

Vogue 2357 jacket pattern

It's a rainy Sunday afternoon here, perfect for staying in and doing some sewing. I had ideas of getting out and pulling weeds but the weather said something different  - not that I am complaining, ha ha. The weeds will be there next week.

Happy sewing, and if you are in the US then tomorrow is a holiday for most. Yeah! What will you be doing with that time off?  I have a guess...


today's garden photo, this time of year what else but daffodils?


Tuesday, February 14, 2017

Catching up on my Craftsy Sewing blog posts

Recently I have written a few how-to posts for the Craftsy Sewing blog that are worth sharing here.
I think you can subscribe to just the sewing portion of the Craftsy blog, although I have to say that some of the baking ones show cakes which are just beautiful and the ideas for cupcakes are adorable. I have learned some great gardening and photography tips as well, so if any of those areas interest you their blog is worth checking out.

Anyway - here are links to these recent posts. As always, if you have any suggestions or ideas for a post that I can write please send 'em over, I am all ears. Sometimes I can't think of a thing to write about and then inspiration strikes.  I seem to get a lot of my writing ideas at the gym, while pounding away on the elliptical or stair stepper my mind prefers to think about sewing - any distraction will do!

Here is one that actually posted today,  this blouse in the photo was quite a rush job but I have plans to make a better version soon.  Sleeves are definitely the focus in fashion this year and actually they are a great place to get started with pattern manipulation. The next post is about interfacing - underscoring my sewing motto: more interfacing! Lastly a post about choosing pattern size, which can be bewildering no matter your level of sewing expertise.

How to make split sleeve

Here's the link to read about how to create the split sleeve. 

Where to use interfacing

Here's the link to read about using extra interfacing on your garment. 

choose right pattern size

Here's the link to read about choosing your pattern size. 

This past weekend I attended our Bay Area Sewists meet up which was Frocktails! Super fun evening and a great way to socialize with other sewing fanatics. Plus the handcrafted cocktails were delicious. We all are ready to make it a regular event.  A number of people were so nice to tell me that they really like my Craftsy blog posts and have used the info. Very rewarding to hear that - thank you!

And thanks for all the great comments on my last Pattern Whisperer post about knit tops. Those posts let me "pretend purchase" all kinds of patterns and I probably end up buying fewer patterns overall but do more comparison shopping when I do. As for Simplicity - I am still annoyed at their website - and while I won't swear off buying them entirely I think they are really missing the boat. Interesting about not being for sale in Canada and some of the potential reasons. I still want to do a Pattern Whisperer on interesting jackets - the next one will probably be on jackets that work with lightweight fabrics for spring/summer.  

As for sewing, I just started working on tracing a Burda pants pattern so I am giving pants a try again. 

Happy Sewing, Beth

today's garden photo, you may think these guys are cute, but I think they are evil varmints stealing my oranges. And leaving the peels everywhere. Aaaargh.  This guy was right outside the window staring me down for what seemed like 5 minutes. Not cool dude. 

squirrel in orange tree

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