Monday, October 31, 2011

A Not-So-Ugly Denim Jakcet

Using the same pattern that yielded the Ugly Green Suit I made a second jacket that's much, much better. The fabric made all the difference in the world. This time, I used a print denim from Emma One Sock with a yellow Bemberg rayon lining. The fabric is smooth, almost silky, with a bit of horizontal stretch.

I left off the bottom strip of the jacket, because it didn't look good with the large-scale print. If I had it to do over, I'd probably lengthen the jacket a bit, to make up for the lost bottom strip.

I wore it yesterday with yellow pants, but I think it will look better with a straight skirt.

I found some glass buttons at an ebay shop. I wish I could have found something similar in a periwinkle color. I do actually have 3 buttons that are exactly the right size and color, and I suppose I could have used them an put a snap at the top.

What I learned from this project:

1. When using fabrics with large or asymmetrical prints (or stripes or plaid, for that matter), carefully consider the layout before cutting. If I were going to do this project again from the beginning, I would cut out tissue patterns, omitting the seamlines and overlaps, and lay them out so I could see exactly how the pattern would match up at the seam lines and where the left and right fronts overlap.

2. I already knew this, but the project made it even more clear: choice of fabric is SO important. If one is on a limited budget, it's far better to save up and buy one length of nice fabric than to buy several lengths of low-quality fabric. However, if the high-quality fabric is expensive (which usually seems to be the case) it's also good to make the best use of the expensive fabric by making test garments first with inexpensive fabrics.

3. When setting in sleeves, I find it very helpful to hand-baste the sleeve into place before sewing it on the machine. I end up actually saving time, because if the sleeve is basted in, I don't have problems with puckered seams that have to be ripped out and re-done. Maybe as I get more experience I won't need to do this step, but for now, I'm going to hand-baste my sleeves.

4. When sewing very light-weight, slippery fabrics, such as rayon lining, always put tissue paper along the seam line when sewing on the machine. Don't try to save time by omitting this step.

Sunday, October 23, 2011

Blue Denim Skirt

This was made from stretch denim from JoAnn's. The fabric must have been sitting around the shop for a long, long time, because there was a pale line where the fabric had been folded in half. I didn't notice this until I'd already cut out the pattern, but it's OK. This is another of my wearable practice garments.

I actually love this skirt, despite the pale line down the front. It's completely comfortable, and looks tidy enough to wear in public. I used Vogue 8606 as a pattern. What I especially like about this skirt is that it has a yoke rather than a waistband, which makes it fit very nicely, with no bulk at the waist.

I'm planning to make another one in wool. Since the wool I'll use is somewhat scratchy (I have very sensitive skin; the only sort of wooly fabric I can stand to have touching my skin is cashmere or angora), I'm going to make the yoke from cotton jersey in a matching color. I'd have used satin for the yoke, but I don't have any in a compatible color. Anyhow, the yoke won't show. I'm making the skirt specially to wear with a top I bought online last year. The color of the top turned out not to be what I had expected, so the top has sat in a drawer for months. The top will look best worn outside the skirt rather than tucked in, so it doesn't really matter what the yoke looks like.

Saturday, October 15, 2011

An Ugly Green Suit

Well, I guess it's OK for a first attempt, but I'm not greatly pleased by it. In part, I believe the problem is the nasty fabric that doesn't drape well. there is also the problem of the style itself. The jacket hemline is just below the fullest part of the hip, which accentuates my pear-shaped torso. For the learning process, I will try making the same jacket in a more pleasant fabric and see how it looks.

I asked my husband to take 2 photos -- one with the jacket open and one with it closed. He says he likes it better open. I don't like it either open or closed. So I think I will not bother installing buttons.

For purposes of comparison, here are a couple of garments from my closet that are far more flattering. This one is a cotton knit skirt with a silk top and jacket:

This one is a silk dress with a wool crepe jacket:

The styles are different, but I suspect the main difference is in the fabric. In other words, you can't make a silk purse ...

Things I learned from making this suit:

1. Silk crepe makes a very comfortable lining;
2. It seems to work OK to interface just the front of a jacket, and not the back;
3. Jackets look better on me if I install small shoulder pads & make the right pad a bit larger than the left;
4. Henceforth, if a pattern calls for tiny little pockets, I'm not going to bother with them, because they are useless (I may re-think this one -- after all, one could carry a few dollars and a set of keys in the pockets of the ugly green jacket);
5. I don't like straight skirts with pleats in the front. Next time, I think I'll try darts instead;
6. Making a lined jacket takes a long time.
7. Making a straight skirt takes very little time.