Thursday, November 20, 2014

I call her "ENVY", but she was first Samantha's Jacket

The Teal Leather Jacket... they whispered at Pattern Review weekend back in May.  "Did you see Andrea's Jacket?"  "Did you see all those zippers?"   Should this be considered a late arrive to the party...  I have so much to share, but where do I start?  Should I begin with telling you about how Envy, as she is known, manifested?  For many of you, this post is the prose to the picture you have been seeing in my header for the last six months.  And I hear the cries!!! its about darn time she shared!!   Well I say to lovely she is!...
Envy!!! has arrived in blog land.
"Why, would I name my jacket a name such as that?"  Well, I say, when I am sewing, I have the need to name garments that require a lot of emotional input to get it done.  This here was an emotional roller coaster.  Sewing leather is easy, it was the pattern fitting that was the problem.  (I'll get to that more later.)   
Back to the name.... I don't suppose I'm no different than the pattern designer who finds it necessary to name their creations as well.  After a period of time, when I have taken on the challenge of constructing, or fashioning a garment from someone else's base pattern, it has now taken on a new personality, a new flare. I have essentially "adopted" that baby and now after giving it a new home and a new look, I then decided on its new name.  
No matter what the original name given by the original owner, they have essentially given me rightful ownership to make of it what I please, or to just leave it the same, as is with a car or home purchase.  "It is mine now, origins only known by me and others who have "adopted" from that same agency/pattern company."  I share it's origins to those I chose, besides, not all adoptees want anyone else to know they were adopted. Am I right?!  
But, oh'.. us sewcialites, we "want" to know the origins and the inspirations,  who's pattern we used, or who's design we copied, either a couture garment from the famed runways of Paris, or the pattern books at the local fabric store, or indie pattern company from any etsy shop.  We want to share, and we want to know, "what pattern" is that?
I put a lot of emotion into every garment I design or construct.  For me, I think I add a little blood, guts and some tears along the way. Thus is the case with Samantha's jacket here, put out by Silhouette patterns. 

A little history
Last year I was on a "pilgrimage" in New York on a fabric buying trip with Silhouette Pattern's, Peggy Sagers, when I came across this leather at Leather Impact.  Gorgeous!!! just absolutely gorgeous...! The most supple lambskin I have touched in a while.  Well not really.  lol, I have others that are just as nice, but I just don't have enough to make anything substantial.  But this stuff is still really very nice.
lambskin teal leather
The leather is extremely easy to sew.  I find it more difficult sewing on silk than I do with leather.  It has a little stretch and is very weak around the edges.  You must be sure to plan and position the pieces carefully to make sure stress points don't end up on the areas of the skins that are weak. 
I traced the pattern pieces for duplicates and multiples in order to avoid missing any "cut 2" or "cut one on fold" kind of stuff.  It could get really easy to miss something when you are switching back and forth between skins, while checking placement.
I used a total of 5 skins for this one jacket.  Whew... that seems like a lot, but with the odd shapes, and the size of the pieces, you have to maneuver each area carefully.  Also, avoiding waste is a job in and of itself.  

FIT.... you will have to get all the gory details in a separate is just too much to talk about in one post. I am so sorry to have to disclose these points about my so loved Silhouette patterns.  But, every designer makes their patterns for their own fit model.  I just don't fit this model.  My shoulders aren't wide enough.
Please stay tuned.

Wednesday, October 29, 2014

Sew-N-Tell: My New Blouse!!! Vogue 8772

Have you ever taken pictures for Sew-N-Tell that you just didn't want to share?  This post may display a few of those pics of some really weird expressions on my face.  Half the time I didn't know what the heck I was looking at, or where I was looking.  My hand wasn't communicating with my face when I pressed the remote for the camera.  But I did remember to smile.  
Pokadot blouse
Either way, I still felt compelled to share my dotted blouse with you guys.  I have been promising a few of my friends and sewing buds that I would talk about this one for sometime now.  I made this back in July, and have worn it several times.  I guess I will call this one: #LATER-Blog, since late Instagram shots are tagged #latergram.  This internet/social media language is hilarious with all the hashtags and acronyms and such.  
  Pokadot blouse
Shirts and blouses are lacking in my closet, so lately I have been really trying to fill the gap.  This is blouse part of a series of queued items I have been working to get done.  I do love button down shirts.  They are so simple to dress up or down. 

Pokadot blouse
This one is the basic darted front top with a separate collar stand and the continuous lapped cuff with pleats.  OOH but me, with my rushing ended up putting the darn thing on backwards, oh well!!!  If you are close enough to see it, then you must sew!! Because I didn't catch it until I was wearing it the second time around.  LOL  That is so funny!!  
Pokadot blouse
The first time I wore this blouse, I had the sleeves rolled up because it was so crazy hot here.  The fabric is really cool and quite breezy, but I do live in an extremely humid climate. The pattern does run short, so if you are taller than say 5'5", you better add some inches to the hem.  I didn't add anything and I'm 5'5".  
Pokadot blouse
The back has shoulder darts, which I hate, because I always have to make them smaller.  My back is much straighter than what these patterns allow for in the upper back and shoulder areas.  I did, however, have to make a few adjustment worth mentioning:
  • Broad back adjustment of 1/2"
  • FBA of 1.5", which made for a really large dart that I have to rotate a portion of into the side seam and waist dart.
  • I extended the front and back waist darts through to the hem
  • added 2 inches at the hip
Fabric considerations call for lightweight linens, chiffon, silk types and such.  I used a Silk/Cotton Voile ETA:  My fabric is a Cotton/Linen Lawn,  I picked up in Portland this past summer.

After I got home, in my inbox was an announcement from Sew Much Fabric, called "Seeing Dots" offering a fabric with the same colors but different fiber content less the plane ticket of course!!!

Wednesday, October 22, 2014

I just want to SEW!!!!

...these were the sentiments of my student from my class last week.  "This is way too much work, if I want to do this many alterations on a pattern, I might as well take my ready-made to my tailor." 

Compliments of Palmer Pletsch Publishing
I felt her pain.  This is the biggest obstacle to sewing for yourself.  It is all fine, when you are with others that can help you tweak garments, whether it be a personal tailor or in a class setting, you have to invest time in the garment before you can have the fit you desire.  Fit is a process, no matter ready-to-wear or custom.
Not everybody has a personal tailor, or like me, love to tailor my own clothes.  That's why taking classes in person is so helpful.  You have the chance to experience the process first hand with a guide to lead you and answer questions along the way.  It's nice to have immediate access to the online sewing community to get your questions answered while knee deep in a project.

This is my take on the need for in-person instruction and training for better sewing.


Monday, October 20, 2014

A Pencil Skirt to fall in love with.

Finally, the pencil skirt of my dreams.  Sassy, yet classy, that doesn't fit like a body glove.
There are so many ways to simply draft and make a pencil skirt.  Pencil skirt tutorials are all over You-Tube and the worldwide-web.  I have made plenty on my own, but what changes the game, is the one little detail that you don't think about on your own.  DARTS!!! on knit...Who would have thunk it!!!  
I guess that's why design houses have "Creative Designers", pattern cutters, and machine operators as separate job descriptions;  so that each can specialize in one thing and not have to think about all the many details that go into a garment.

Any way, I wanted that classy look that doesn't "cup" under in the back like a body glove.  Classy yet still just a bit of sassy. 

Pattern credit goes to Pamela's Patterns:  "The Magic Pencil Skirt" is for women with "real figures" it says on her site.  So, I guess that's everyone.  Includes a choice for a 1 1/2"-2" elastic waist or the 1".  DARTS!!, did I say Darts in a stretch woven or medium to heavy knit.  No need for a split.

It's a simple straight forward multi-sized pattern, that is extremely easy to grade if you need more than the 53" hip measurement.    

Alterations:  NONE!!! Well except for lowering the front at the waist, my common change on nearly every waisted skirt or pant pattern.  

Highly recommended!!