Sunday, August 28, 2011

Butterick 5567 Again

This is the same pattern I used for the cotton jacket

This time I used a fabric that identified as "light weight silk suiting." It looks and feels (to my novice eyes and hands) like silk dupioni. It was on sale for $3.99. I don't know why it was selling for such a low price, unless stripes in those colors are unfashionable. I think the fabric is lovely. It reminds me of a honey bee.

Anyhow, it was exactly what I was looking for: an inexpensive fabric I could use to learn what it's like to make something from silk fabric.

For the lining I used Ambiance Bemberg rayon bought from Vogue Fabrics online.

The silk fabric was very easy to work with, except that I had to be careful not to stretch it. But the rayon was truly challenging. Very slippery! This will make it perfect for a lining, but it's kind of like trying to sew water.

Before attempting to cut it out, I read some online tutorials. My favorite is Sandra Betzina's video, Mastering Silk  I love her book Power Sewing and have now ordered Fabric Savvy.  I put paper under the fabric to keep it from slipping while I was cutting it, and also used tissue paper under the seams as I was sewing them. This worked quite well, both for cutting and sewing. After sewing the seam, you tear off the paper. It comes away readily with no damage to the seam.

The pattern has square corners at the bottom of the front. On one of the front pieces, I experimented to see what it would look like with rounded corners. Having one square and one rounded corner makes the front of the jacket look a bit weird, unless I wear it closed. I made it to wear over the linen jersey dress that stretched and ended up too big on top. I think it may actually look better with a dark brown dress I'm planning to make after I do one more of these jackets with yet another silk fabric.

Sunday, August 21, 2011

A Pleasant Surprise

The first thing I ever made from knit fabric was a dress that looks pretty good, except that I miscalculated how much the fabric would strech, and the top of the dress is too large. I couldn't figure out any way to fix it other than to wear a jacket over it. I want to make a jacket that looks like the view on the bottom right below (Butterick 5567) , but without the extensions on the sleeves:

The fabrics I want to use are silk lined with Bemberg rayon. The silk looks as though it'll be fairly easy to work with. The rayon doesn't. So I wanted to try a practice version of the jacket before cutting into the silk and rayon.

The pattern was for an unlined jacket, but since I want to line mine, I cut a lining using the same pattern as for the jacket. I used the instructions for making a vest in Sandra Betzina's Power Sewing.

For the outer layer I used some very nasty cotton fabric I got at Jo Ann's -- it was cotton that must have been made from very short fibers. It was coarse and didn't drape well. I lined it with some soft pima cotton from an old sheet. The soft lining made all the difference in the world. The two fabrics together drape nicely, and the soft inner layer gives a luxurious feel to the jacket.

Here's a view of the lining:

I'll definitely wear this jacket.

A Bad Choice of Fabric

I tried making a jacket with kimono sleeves using tightly woven cotton poplin (Simplicity # 5046. It didn't work. The fabric is more like paper than cloth, wrinkles easily, doesn't drape well. Terrible choice for kimono sleeves, as I found out.

The jacket was unwearable, and I seriously considered putting it out with the trash. It would not even be suitable for use as a cleaning rag. But then I decided to try to save it, at least wear it once or twice. So I removed the bottom parts of the sleeves:

It's still not gorgeous, but at least it's weable. This photo shows the edges of the short sleeves pinned but not yet sewn. 

I'm going to try making this same jacket using a softer, drapier fabric and see how it turns out.

Friday, August 12, 2011

Yellow Pants

Thanks for the encouragement, Carolyn!
I love these pants I just made from Vogue # 8584. The pattern lives up to its Very Easy classification. I used a low-cost cotton fabric, since this is the first time I've made this pattern, but the pants are so cheery and comfortable ... and cute! I expect to wear them often.

These pants were easy enough to make that I have no qualms about trying them in a more expensive fabric. Lemme see ... this green cotton chambray would be nice.

I've decided to sign up for the Self-Stiched September challenge: 'I, Barbara, sign up as a participant of Self-Stitched-Sept '11. I endeavour to wear at least one self-made garment each day for the duration of September 2011.'

I haven't yet made enough public-ready garments to wear something I've made to the office every day, but I love the things I've made for wearing around the house and working in the garden.  I'd like to try to wear something I've made to the office or other public place at least once a week. 

Saturday, August 6, 2011

I Get a Passing Grade

I've finally made something that I like without reservation. It's a very simple blouse based on McCall's 8050 pattern. The fabric is not of high quality, doesn't drape well. But it's cotton, comfortable to wear in hot weather, and I'm pleased enough with the overall result to give myself at least a B+ and clearance to move on to nicer fabrics.

I'm sure I'll probably look back at this garment later and think, "How crude." But for now, I'm pleased with my work. The facing, which I made wider than the pattern, stays flat, the seams are nicely finished, and the style looks good on me.

After seeing this wonderful tutorial on Carolyn's blog I decided to use French seams on the shoulders. I went with open seams at the sides, because I didn't think a French seam would work well on the under-arm curves of the kimono sleeves.  Here's something interesting: according to a comment on Carolyn's blog, the thing we call a French seam in English is known as an English seam in France!

Anyhow, with the help of Carolyn's very clear instructions and photos, I easily made French seams.

Where the seams meet, I've pressed one to the front and one to the back to avoid undue bulk.

So now ... how exciting! ... I'm going to make this same blouse in black silk crepe.