Thursday, January 11, 2018

Inside Out Chateau Jacket


One day DC and I were out shopping the thrift and consignment stores and I spotted a bed set. It included two pillow shams and a 90x90 spread. And it has two interesting sides. Score!


So of course I bought it and cut it up. Because that is what I do, right? Cut up pretty textiles.


This is my third Chateau jacket, a pattern from the Sewing Workshop. I think it's my favorite. I love the white wool one but I'm so afraid of soiling it that I rarely wear it! I do believe I'll get the most wear out of this one. 


The Chateau lends itself it a large interesting print as there are only two pattern pieces plus a back facing. It is intended for non-raveling fabric and raw edges. I was able to use two corners of the bedspread for the fronts and a another finished edge for the back.

I think that the embroidery stitch used on the edges of the bedspread is the chevron stitch.
The Chateau pattern also includes instructions for binding the edges which is what I did. I had a cross-dyed cotton remnant in purple and orange. Just right for this crazy print.



It's not really a print. Rather it is large machine-stitched patchwork on very light weight cotton that is then hand-stitched to a heavier burnt orange back. The two layers are secured with hand sashiko done in stripes of cream, blue and orange thread. The edges are folded to the inside and hand-stitched together using a chevron stitch.

The stripes are wonky, as you can see in the pic of the markings for my welt pocket opening.
The first time I finished it, I realized that I liked the inside much better than the outside.


I am quite fond of the subtle pattern of the stripes of big stitches. But then I am partial to visible sashiko. I hand-finished the raw edges of seam allowances (SAs) in the following way:

  1. pressed the SAs open.
  2. trimmed out some of the bulk
  3. folded the raw edges under, and
  4. fell-stitched the SAs open along the folded edge.

The finishing on the seam allowances accents the lines of the Chateau jacket:


I even like the exposed back facing.



As originally planned, the outside sort of wears me instead of the other way around. I sought advice from a number of sewing friends and came up with a fix that I like. It is now completely reversible though I will no doubt wear the orange side out the most.



In order to have functioning pockets on both sides, I kept the original patch pockets on the wild side and created single-welt pockets on the burnt orange side. The patch pocket works as a pocket bag for the burnt orange side.



Here's how I created the pockets: I removed the original patch pockets. Then I added a single welt pocket opening to the orange side. I omitted the pocket bag. Next I re-sewed the patch pockets in place. So on the wild side, they are standard patch pockets; on the burnt orange side I have welt pockets.


I used an older Sew Confident tutorial to make the single welt pocket openings. It is very clear and easy to follow. This is available through the 2015 subscription to Sew Confident or as an individual tutorial found here.


This is not great fabric. I've already discovered a frayed place just above one of the patch pockets. That's OK. I'll add a boro patch and be even more pleased with it!


So which side would you wear?



Wednesday, January 10, 2018

Real Man's Shirt



I love making shirts.

I even have a shirts tab on this blog, though I've not updated it in a while. I find all the details fascinating from the button plackets on the sleeves to the double row of top-stitching on the cuff. The latter is especially fun since the double row shows on the outside, but not the inside!



I guess I qualify as a sewing nerd when it comes to shirts.

Though I've made many a shirt for myself and a few for the grandboys, I had never made a regular man's shirt until last month. My guy wanted a shirt to match one the 2 year old grandson wears. We all looked high and low for a similar shirt with no luck. The obvious solution was for me to make one for each of them.

Now I knew DH would discourage me from this project, so I kept it under wraps until Christmas. This was both good and bad. The down side to such a surprise is that I could not take his measurements. The next best thing was to use one of his many existing RTW shirts. The man loves shirts and has more than a few.

Men's patterns are not plentiful so that was a challenge too. I wanted a shirt pattern with ALL of the conventional men's details. Vogue 9220 comes pretty darned close. It has the button plackets on the sleeves and the instructions are quite clear. It has a yoke and forward shoulders. It comes in three views - standard, slim fit and formal wear.



The sizing is not conventional for men's shirts from RTW. I was really hoping it would be sized by neck size and sleeve length like DH's shirts. But I guess it makes sense that the sizes are listed by chest size, as that is a good place to start fitting.

Comparing his RTW shirt with the pattern tissue, I chose size 40, standard fit. Sleeve length was easy to adjust. The neck size seemed about right.



The fabric is a lovely cotton shirting from Gail K. With a plaid or stripe, I like cutting the top yoke in two pieces with a center back seam. This allows me to create a solid line where the yoke joins each front. It also creates a chevron in the back.



Plaids are such fun, especially on a man's shirt, because there are great places for bias.



The little guy's shirt was made with an OOP Ottobre pattern.



It was child's play compared to my guy's shirt. Some of the conventional details were missing from the pattern including the yoke and the sleeve placket. I think that's OK for a  two-year-old.



In the end my guy's shirt is too tight and the little guy's shirt is a bit large. But they were sweet to pose for the picture anyway.



By the time I remake DH's shirt, the little guy will have grown into his. Fingers crossed.

Saturday, January 6, 2018

Review of Gift-Making December

Or, why I haven't blogged in over a month.

Where did December go? Well, it flew by me. For the past month, I've been focused on making and buying presents for family members. The truth is that it was not all fun in 2017. And this was a monster of my own making, so-to-speak.

Next year, there will be few handmade gifts. I promise. I do love the idea of handmade gifts but I obsess over it. I don't think that fits with the spirit of giving. So unless it is zen sewing and gives me selfish pleasure, I must step back and allow time to breathe and enjoy the joy.

Here are the gifts I made, and honestly, some really were fun.


This jacket was requested by my granddaughter. It's made using Kwik Sew 3818, a medium-weight wool and lined with a medium-weight silk-cotton blend. I blogged about it here so I won't rehash it, But isn't she cute in it?

Next up were two robes. These were also by request. And they were so simple to make using Simplicity 1562, now probably out-of-print.



They are both made from polyester fleece, so easy to sew. The owls on white background is for my 8 year old granddaughter; the Clemson-themed robe is for my 11 year old grandson. The Clemson version was a HUGE success. He almost wore it into a movie theater. The owl version will be used too but did not garner great enthusiasm.

The last requested gift was this super-simple pillow case for a youth-sized pillow:


Here it is in its first use with 2-year-old grandson:


Now a sensible person would have stopped there. Those were requested and so pretty much guaranteed to please. I did not stop. Next I made these two (2!) patchwork pillows for another 11 year old grandson and his 13 year old brother (who wears glasses like these). They have two dogs of this breed.


If they look simple, then please, please look again. They took FOREVER to piece. Each contains half-square triangles no larger than 1 inch. Yikes! What was I thinking?


The pillows finish at standard bed-pillow size. I put a zipper in the back to allow for machine washing. When the 11-year-old opened it, he said, "Oh, look! A pillow." And he proceeded to unzip it and remove the pillow. Hmmm...

And then I could have stopped, yes? But for a long time now, I've had this great idea. My husband wanted a shirt to match one that the 2 year old had. Such a shirt simply did not exist. So I made each of them a shirt using this lovely cotton shirting from Gail K in Atlanta.


It took some research to find a man's shirt with most of the conventional details. I settled on Vogue 9220. Then I took measurements from one of my husband's shirts and tried very hard to make them match. In the end his was a bit too tight and the little one is too big. Of course, too big is not a problem with a two-year-old, so now I'm thinking about ways to remake the one for DH. Or maybe not.



The little one is from one of my old Ottobre magazines. I have used and used those patterns making many things for grandchildren with the enclosed patterns. I must say that was joyful to make.


I should probably write a separate blog on DH's shirt. I learned a lot about the fit of a man's shirt and I should document it before I forget.

As I reflect on making gifts this past month, I realize that the simplest were perhaps the most joyful to make. There's a lesson there.


So that was my December. I'm so glad it's January now.

Monday, December 4, 2017

Same song, second verse

Left is the new Jacket; Right is the old full-length coat!
I checked. And just now I double-checked. I made this jacket for my granddaughter almost 5 years ago. My daughter recently told me she had out-grown it. Well, yes, it had become a jacket instead of a coat and it had 3/4 length sleeves, almost elbow length. Sweet, sweet girl, she wore it way too long.

This time, I opted for assymetrical closure, rather than a double-breasted closure.
So here is a replacement. I now see that the original one was a full length coat when I made it. Over the years, as she kept wearing it, I thought it was a jacket. So this time I made the jacket length. This makes the proportions look a bit odd in the comparison, but I think she's really more of a jacket girl than a coat girl.

Kwik Sew 3818
Kwik Sew 3818 is not a quick make. It has a hood, an empire waist line, a sweet belt at the back, and it's double-breasted. The fabric is wool and I chose to line it with a silk-cotton blend called Radiance. Radiance has a satin side and a flat side. I love the weight of it and find it nicer in a coat than my go-to lining, Bemberg Ambiance.



The pattern does not include a lining so I simply made two coats - one from wool and one from Radiance. I followed the instructions which are quite thorough. I used my trusty Pam Howard jacket-lining techniques from our class, Jacket-making Boot Camp. I confused myself while attaching the sleeve lining but pushed through and finally got it right.


The pattern calls for a lined hood even though the jacket itself is not to be lined. The lined hood is sewn to the jacket and then the front and back facings are attached and enclose the raw edges on the neckline and hood. This required much grading and pressing, something else that I learned from my time in Pam's class. What a game-changer that class was!


Fingers crossed that this second coat is as well-loved, or maybe just half as well-loved, as the first one. I look forward to seeing her in it after Christmas. Like I said, fingers crossed. She's 11 and almost 12 now.


Sunday, December 3, 2017

Gift 1

It is gift-making season for me. Is it for you?

It must be December. My Christmas cactus is blooming.
Each year Fiber Art Fusion, my small fiber art group, has a 5x7 challenge combined with a dinner party. Each artist is challenged to make one 5" x 7" piece of fiber art, wrap it in brown paper and bring to dinner. Each artist leaves with a piece of art from another member. I have a wonderful collection from 5x7's from previous years.



Such a small piece of art used to make me anxious, the first couple of years I participated. Now I look forward to it. It is not intended to be a master piece. Just a small gift for a fiber art friend. This year I'm incorporating my new-found love of eco-printing.

This is a red maple leaf printed on a piece of cotton sateen. I dipped the lower portion in a black walnut juice and added some darker brown with a Sharpee.

I added a slightly smaller piece of white cotton flannel to the back to give it body. The hand stitching started with parallel lines roughly 1/4" apart. Then I used size 5 Pearl cotton thread to embroider the stem and onto the base of the leaf. Next I added some burgundy French knots. Everything is better with French knots.



The backing is a piece of wool dyed with black walnuts. It is barely visible in the pictures. The cotton leaf print is attached to the brown wool at the top. Lastly I added some timtex to the back of the brown wool, securing a knotted bias tube to it for hanging.

It's satisfying to make something small.

Monday, November 20, 2017

Frankie Day 4



Frankie is done! Here are some of my final steps in my first journey with the new Frankie pattern from the Sewing Workshop (TSW).



Buttonholes and buttons, done. I'll live with these for a while. They were in stash so they needed a showing.


As Elaine on FB pointed out, the exterior of the sleeves is just right, but there is a remaining raw bit on the inside, right at the top of the vent. My French seams didn't help. I find it difficult to smoothly transition from a French seam to another seam finish. In the end I tried to fold under the raw edge and slip-stitch in place but it is a bit of a kludge.



The deep inverted pleat in the back is so pretty, I think. I decided to edge-stitch along the inside fold in the hopes of keeping it pleated as I wear and sit in it.



DH was sweet enough to take a picture of me. I guess this is how he sees me (he's quite a bit taller than I am).


So I did a selfie that may be a more accurate read on this shirt, or at least its proportions on my 5'5" frame. Or maybe it's just the way I see me.

Things I love:

  • Face-framing collar
  • Overlapping seams on the sides of the shirt, as well as the sleeves
  • Back pleat
  • Oh, my, this navy blue hammered silk!
  • The final result.


Things I love less:
  • Overall length was too much for me - I shortened it 3", making deep hems that I love.
  • I wish I had lengthened the sleeves an inch. Next time.
  • That raw bit at the top of the sleeve vent. If I had been working with sturdy fabric, I might have been able to finisse it better. Next time.
  • I should have made a narrow shoulder adjustment rather than fudging it. This pattern has wide shoulders, wider than my older TSW patterns. Next time.


This was a fun and challenging make.


Now it's time to make a few gifts.