Sunday, 30 June 2019

June in Review...

Ah, June. Full-blown allergy season, itchy eyes, running and stuffed up sinuses, it all has me counting down to the first frost. Allergy season really did play havoc with my sewing mojo.  


There were a few items on my wish-to-make list for June. I didn't get through it all. 

Despite the lack of sewing mojo this month, I pushed through to and ended up with three makes.  

Next Up

I really shouldn't make plans because we know how they have been turning out the past few months. Or should I?  

Have you heard of THE ASSEMBLY LiNE, an independent pattern company out of Sweden? They have a tulip dress pattern that has me intrigued.  

Along with the shirtdresses that I didn't get around to sewing, this one is also on my wish-list. Hoping for a break in allergy symptoms long enough to get through these projects. Or an earlier than expected snowfall.  

Happy Sewing!

McCall's 2447: Summertime Plaid

You're not seeing double, this is a second half of a matching mini-me set.  I made a men's and boy's version of long sleeve shirts and here is the men's version made up with McCall's 2447, circa 1999.

Yes, that's right, this pattern is twenty years old and the classic design has stood the test of time. As matter of fact, McCall's still offers this pattern for sale.

Now you would assume that since I've made a few of these in the past that I could whip this project blindfolded. Let me assure you that I'm not that talented. There were bloopers and then some and if you follow on Instagram you would have been laughing along.

My first error came just after I pretreated this fabric.  In hindsight I should have starched the fabric before cutting it out and the sad part is that I have fabric starch on hand.  This would have prevented the fabric from shifting.  I tried my best match the plaid in the front and would you believe that I even cut out the front pieces in single layers?  This fabric is a lightweight cotton and it is as delicate as silk.  I should have treated it as such. I thought that I would distract from the mismatch by cutting the front facing on a diagonal but it didn't work, I can tell.  Should have starched.

I was all excited to try the couture method of sewing the shirt yoke again (also referred to as the burrito method).  In my excitement, I enclosed the yoke before attaching the shirt front pieces. Yes, I did. I even serged the edges.

Once I seam ripped and attached the shirt fronts I noticed that I had sewn the wrong side of the back piece as my right side.  And I left it as is since you can tell the right from the wrong sides of this French yarn dyed fabric. I only noticed by the way the pleat sits. Shhh, this will be our little secret.

And then late last night when I was putting the final touches on these shirts I noticed that one front was longer than the other. How I completely missed that is beyond me! This was more serious than a seam ripper could fix. This correction required scissors and reshaping.

Thankfully, it all worked out in the end.

The Stats

Fabric:  2.4 metres

Interfacing:  0.80 metres fusible

Buttons:  9 - 12 mm recycled

PatternMcCall's 2447

Additional Tools & Supplies:  Cutting table, pins, pin cushions, scissors, thread clippers, seam ripper, sewing machine, walking foot, buttonhole foot, serger, iron, ironing board, tweezers, threads, hand sewing needle, tailor's chalk, tailor's wax and coffee.

Happy Sewing!  

Burda 9794: Summertime Plaid

First, can I just say how much I adore this fabric. This is a French yarn-dyed plaid cotton which came from Emma One Sock.  It is just sublime.  And it's a light-weight cotton that will be perfect in the summer heat. 

The pattern, Burda 9792, is a well drafted pattern and a quick make.  The instructions leaves room to want more.  The instructions for the placket left me wondering why there was no mention of outlining the cut line with stitching.  Other than that, I really didn't follow the pattern instructions too closely.  

The Stats

Fabric:  1 metre 

Interfacing:  0.60 metres of fusible interfacing

Buttons:  7 - 1 cm recycled buttons

PatternBurda 9792

Additional Tools & Supplies:  Cutting table, pins, scissors, sewing machine, walking foot, buttonhole foot, thread clippers, threads, pin cushions, tailor's wax, hand sewing needle, and coffee.  

Happy Sewing!

Saturday, 22 June 2019

The Pre-treatment: Seeing the Right Amount of Red

Do you pretreat your fabrics before you embark on a new sewing project?  

Generally, I do pre-treat my fabric with the method that I plan to launder a project once it is complete. Sometimes, I don't for one reason or another.  

My Euro Cup final dress was a last minute project when Portugal made it to the final game match. There wasn't any time to waste so I skipped the pre-treatment process and this became a one-wear wonder. The red dye bled all over the neighbouring colours. It broke my creative heart because of the memories tied to it and it was comfortable too. Lesson learnt.  

Fast forward, with a stop down memory lane. A couple of years ago I spotted this project, a festive Canada Day worthy shirt. I always admired this project, and how fun would it be to have your own unique Canada Day shirt that is not a t-shirt? Quite fun, I thought when I spotted this cotton print.  

Yes, just like the Portuguese flag, Canada's flag colours also have red. This is going to call for some careful pretreatment in case this fabric is a bleeder.  And I wasn't willing to risk it so I did some research.  

It came out just lovely wrinkled but the print is the same and the colours are in their original state. kAtheRine Tilton's Butterick 6325 is the pattern I'm thinking about using moving forward. I wonder if I can get this done in time? Next up a good pressing before this moves to the cutting table.  
Happy Sewing!

Sunday, 16 June 2019

New Coat: Vogue 9367

Sewing Vogue 9367 was a fun and challenging project.  Some of the challenges were self-imposed such as my fabric and interfacing choices.    

The Pattern

Vogue 9367 is rated as a very easy pattern.  This rating was questioned while working through the project.  Categorized as "the easiest and quickest pattern to sew" it is described as "great for beginners."  That may be if a beginner has some sewing experience sewing a two piece under collar and darts and takes the time to read through the instructions and catch the missing details. Noted on the pattern envelope description is a dropped shoulder with shoulder pads. Not noted in the pattern instructions is any mention of shoulder pads or how to include them within the basted armhole edges (26) prior to sewing in the sleeves (27-29).  This is when a sewing reference article, book, or online video could come in handy.

If you do have some experience under your belt, even if it's just a wee bit and you're looking for a project that doesn't have to worry about fitting issue, this is a good pattern to start with, absolutely.  
The pattern is a well-drafted pattern.  It offers length options along with the back neckline darts and back vent details that reminds me of a vintage 1960s vibe, circa Agent 99 of Get Smart. Très chic

I did make some changes to the pattern.  This coat is version C, shortened it to accommodate my petite frame. Of course, not being a Vogue sized model there was also some shortening of the sleeve pattern piece and raising the position of the side pockets. The back and front facing pieces were reshaped to eliminate the extension towards and around the armhole.  The shoulder pads, belt loops and belt were left off the project.  

I also changed the order and some methods of construction.  The sleeves were flat-fitted before sewing the side seams.  I finished the vent, facing and hem with seam binding. The rest of the seams were finished with the serger.

Instead of interfacing both the under collar and main collar pieces with fusible interfacing, I decided to interface the undercollar only.  I chose a horsehair interfacing instead of a fusible, it was stitched in place with my sewing machine.  

The Fabric

The fabric I chose did not come from the recommended "garbadine, poplin, or raincoat fabrics" listed on the pattern envelope.  Instead, the fashion fabric was a medium - heavy weight cotton sateen from the discounted home décor department at the local Fabricland store picked up back-in-the-day. Sorry, it's long gone. Since I didn't spend a lot of $$$ on my fabric, I didn't mind if it didn't come out perfectly so I treated this as a toile fabric with the hopes that it would be wearable. I didn't pretreat the fabric since the pattern was described as "very loose fitting." It did press well with steam and the cotton setting. And if it does shrink in the future, it's currently roomy enough to allow some wiggle room.  I could go down a size especially in the shoulders and armhole area so any shrinkage at this point won't be a concern.  

I would also recommend a denim for this coat.  If you want a lighter weight, maybe a faux denim such as tencel.  The simple design lines and inseam pockets opens this project to many fabric choices.

As previously mentioned, the pattern calls for fusible interfacing but instead I went for a non-fusible horsehair interfacing. There is fusible horsehair interfacing but I just used what was in my stash and I really don't see the convenience of fusible interfacing as justifying the cost.  Fusible horsehair interfacing is pricey.  I'm pleased with the non-fusible for this project.

Cutting the buttonholes would have been a bit of a challenge if it weren't for these tools, 9 mm buttonhole cutter and a small hammer.  Sometimes tools for sewing can be found in tool boxes.

And I really must give a shout-out to the lovely folks at Fabricland who ordered two more packages of these buttons.  Thank you, they were the perfect colour and the help was very much appreciated!

The Stats

Fabric:  3.9 metres

Interfacing:  3.5 metres

Buttons:  11 - 25 mm buttons

Seam binding:  2 packages

PatternVogue 9367

Additional Tools and Supplies:  Scissors, pins, pin cushions, hand needle, basting thread, thread clippers, iron, ironing board, collar press, clapper, ironing mitt, sleeve roll, tailor's ham, cutting table, sewing machine, serger, threads for the sewing machines, walking foot, buttonhole foot, buttonhole cutter, small hammer, tweezers, screwdriver, and tea.  

Will you be sewing a raincoat this season?  

Happy Sewing!

Thursday, 13 June 2019

Happy National Sewing Machine Day!

How to Celebrate?  
  1. Treat your machine to some tender loving care.  Maybe your sewing machine has some lint that could use some clearing?  
  2. Spend some time sewing.  
  3. Admire the quality of those vintage machines.  They've stood the test of time.  
  4. Read about the history of the sewing machine.  
  5. Watch the Sewing Machine Orchestra show.    
Happy Sewing!  

Tuesday, 11 June 2019

Back at it!

I've been on an unintentional sewing break when I just couldn't seem to get my serger working after one of the spools became tangled and broke.  

It took several attempts and days at re-threading to get it back to serging form. You don't realize how much you rely on a piece of equipment until it's out of commission for awhile.  Of course, I could have managed and finished Vogue 9367 without serging the remainder of the seam edges.  The coat is almost finished and I was working on the hems which could have easily been finished with seam binding.  

This dry spell in the sewing room made me wish that there was a place where you could rent a serger.  Lending libraries are popping up across the country and you can stop by and use a sewing machine.  But no serger.  

I'm just glad it's working.  I missed sewing on this little machine.  Now to go back to work on the coat.  Before I head back to work on this project I'm curious.  Has anyone used a lending library for any sewing equipment?  What did you think of the experience?   

Happy Sewing!

Wednesday, 5 June 2019

Very Easy, My Oh My Oh My!

Vogue patterns defines "Very Easy / Très Facile" as,
The easiest and quickest patterns to sew.  Great for beginners or the experienced sewer with limited time available.  Expect limited construction details, hand sewing and fitting.  Easy to sew fabrics are recommended.  
Hold the presses presser foot!  I'm working on Vogue 9367, a pattern that Vogue has rated "very easy" and I'm going to have to disagree with this on several points.  Yes, it has limited fitting issues to worry about since it's a very loose-fitting jacket / coat pattern.  However, it's not limited on construction details.  Let me count the ways.  
  1. There are eleven buttons
  2. And eleven buttonholes to sew
  3. There is a back vent.  
  4. Neckline darts
  5. A three piece collar construction
  6. Set-in sleeves with an interfaced front and back facing that encompasses the armhole. 
  7. Side seam pockets 
That's quite a few construction details for a beginner to handle and all of these details take time even for a more experienced sewer. And I'm saying this because this project has proven itself to be more challenging that I thought. It is certainly taking me longer than I thought it would to move this project off the sewing machine in a completed state.  

Oh and there is something mentioned about "easy to sew fabrics" like raincoat fabrics 😏.  I don't know, maybe I'm making this project more difficult than it needs to be with my choice of non-fusible interfacing, using seam binding to finish off the edges of the vent and only interfacing the undercollar after thinking about it for way too long.  

I'm going to need a quick and easy project after this one, like a dartless, collarless and buttonless t-shirt.  😏

Happy Sewing!

Tuesday, 4 June 2019

Things That Make You Go, "Hmmm?"

The current project on the sewing table is Vogue 9367, a new spring / fall coat.  

It's coming along nicely until I realized that the under and upper collar pieces call for interfacing.  

Yup, that right both the under and upper collar are calling for interfacing.  In all my years of sewing and I have a few under my belt, I never come across this recommendation.  Could it be a mistake?  The pattern calls for fusible interfacing.  I've decided to go with non-fusible horsehair interfacing that will require pad-stitches. It seem excessive to have two layers of interfacing even if I were using a lighter weight interfacing.  

And to be quite honest I don't quite see the benefit of having both sides of a collar interfaced.  I've even spend time that I should have dedicated to pad-stitching the undercollar to research and haven't come across any reference to doing it this method.  Have you come across any instructions like this?  Perhaps this is a long lost tailor technique that I'm not aware of?  All I know it that it's certainly a part of the instructions that has made me say, "Hmmm?"

Happy Sewing! 

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