Friday, January 23, 2015

Golden nights and dusty days: The Reversible Bomber Jacket

Well hello my fellow sewcialist. Today is the tale of gold dusted satin and dusty suede. Literally!! For this Reversible Bomber Jacket, I used a fabric that put off gold dust while cutting and sewing, and the suede is dusty, so to be more specific, dusty looking.  More on that in a minute....
It all started long before it actually got cold enough in Houston to need a jacket. I fell hard for a certain jacket. Of course, any fashion conscious person can attest to the need to acquire a garment we see on Pinterest or others wearing.  Especially, as seamstresses, we deal with this covetousness on a daily basis. This was not the case for me, at least not this time.
This pattern reminded me of a certain jacket my mom had given me when I was in my early teen years.  Except it was not reversible.  Not being one for designer or purchased clothing, I was elated to receive that BRIGHT LIME GREEN shiny satin bomber jacket, monogrammed with her local union details.
Google image.
I remember my brother was not so excited about such a "dorky" non-cool article of clothing. What would the friends think if he wore that to school. On the other hand I did not care, quite frankly, I have never "really" cared what people thought of my clothes.  "I could sew, they couldn't...I controlled my wardrobe, right?"

Being that I was my own designer, I felt I was somewhat the best dressed among any of my peers anyway.  Thus, I set out to make Newlook 6226 with one thing in mind, recreate the memory I had when I was young, although, an updated version, more adult or somewhat stylish and this time REVERSIBLE.
Newlook 6226 pattern, jacket, brown gold bomber jacket
True to my sewing nature I had to wait for a fabric to reach out to me and tell me what it wanted to become. (Que musical interlude....) I guess there wasn't anything singing from my stash. Because, while on a visit to Hancock to pickup notions for another project, a bolt of stretch satin/ suede cloth fell to the floor right before me as I was walking the isles. "I promise I did not touch it, that bolt just jumped out at me."  I tried to walk away, still I heard it singing...make the bomber!!!
Newlook 6226
So, there you have, another match made in "sewing heaven" for me as well as another great testament to my Mom for instilling in me a desire to do my own thing..."and also, to listen to the fabric!!"

Pattern Details and Notes:
The pattern is Newlook 6226.  And, if I hadn't made it clear already, the fabric is from Hancock, sometimes referred to as a STRETCH Moleskin Suede backed with satin.  Basically, it's a micro-polyester that has been made to look like suede on one side and satin on the other.  The dusty "suede" is a thin micro-fiber as well.   I washed both in the front loader and dried them on low.
Construction Notes...the gory details:
My attempts started as a simple desire to make it using the easiest, fastest techniques possible in order to finish quickly and get back to my regular sewing.
But, low and behold, I had to reinvent the wheel....And know this, I do talk to myself when I'm sewing.  So call the doctors, because, anyone standing outside my door will swear to high heaven that someone is in there with me.  The conversation went a little like this:
Irene says: "Andrea, why don't you make it reversible, that shouldn't be too hard, right!"  To which I responded...
"Oh, I don't suppose so, seems easy enough, the pattern only has your basic front, back, sleeves, and the bands for the waist and arms.  Not counting the yoke."
Irene says: "Well, you gotta remember to get a reversible zipper also.  Do you have one?"
Me... "Ahh, I should  have one, I'll check later.  Let's get this bugger cut out and on the machine."  
Irene:  "Oooh, I'm so excited!" 
Me..."I don't think I need to do much fitting, besides its a bomber jacket, and should have plenty room for ease.  But, just in case, I'll do a 1/2 FBA and add some length for good measure."
Irene:  "Yeah, that should do, lets get it cut out, I can't wait to see it finished, the fabric is so pretty."  (rubbing her hands together.)
 The conversation went own in that order the rest of the project.  And after some time later and after many alterations....

  • Lengthen the bodice 1 inch, still seems too short
  • sleeves too short, "add extra 2 inches to the cuff"
  • WHAT???!! now, the zipper isn't long enough..
  • go back to the store for a new zipper, no color that I need in the new length, which was 18, now  its 20
  • not enough elastic, back to the store...(why didn't I plan better!!!)  "sigh" 
  • months later and many alterations later, and many visits to every store in Houston!!!

I would be wrong to expect you to read this entire blog post without giving you a least a few closeups...besides, isn't that what you are here for?  Well, I know you enjoy my tall tales of not planning my projects and the lessons un-learned as a result.  Feast your eyes.
Do I need to say this is the inside back, or is it the outside back.  You decide.  All parts, including the lower band and cuffs were underlined with fusible interfacing.
Another inside/outside view of the sleeve, which was all hand stitched using a "fell stitch."  I used silk thread for all the hand stitching.  The front bands were first fused in place using steam-a-seam, then topstitched.  The collar called for top-stitching, but I'm not sure if I will do that later.  Just trying to see how I like it the way it is right now.
This is a really awesome jacket.  I have worn if finally, since we got a little cold temps the last couple weeks....a freezing 45 degrees was the lowest and the highs have been running 75/77f.  So, a thin jacket like this is perfect.  Although, it does run horribly short from the pattern.  
I just don't know, for me, the length is great because the band sits right on the hip.  For you, you may want to lengthen 2-3 inches.  I'm happy with the fit and function.  OH!! except the side pockets, if I were you I would just do welt pockets on the front instead.

Until next time...thanks for reading.

Thursday, January 15, 2015

The 48 Minute Dress

I love the theatre.  Synchronized dance is my favorite, along with any comedy and mystery drama. Though, it seems to be more dependent on my mood at the time I see the season lineup.  This time it was the Radio City Rockettes Christmas Musical.  We ended up going after Christmas, even still it felt like Christmas. 
Although prepping for these events and choosing my outfit can be fun, it can also be problematic at the same time.  Deciding what to wear is alway difficult for me, especially, because some of the actual outfits I might want to wear, actually haven't been sewn yet! They are all in my head...LOL
Unless I plan the event "and sew" the outfit well in advance, it is disappointing when the time comes to get dressed.  These are the times that commentators can consider sewing to be a Track & Field event. A race to the finish line, over hurdles and around corners, against the best the field has to offer.  We "Sewist" finish strong!!!
The heat I ran in this day was "The "48 Minute Dress," Vogue 1314, a dress that has already passed the semi-finals for me and is on to the Hall of Fame in my book.  My coaches were my daughter and of course Mini-Me.  They encouraged and cheered me on to get it completed in time and out the door with time to enjoy the festivities, a leisurely stroll and a beverage before the show.  
Of course I couldn't leave my Mom out.  She was watching the race from afar and eventually joined us at the finish line to receive our honors.  We look so much alike it's beginning to get confusing when I edit my pictures on a small screen.  I need to start using an oversized monitor, especially when I haven't worn my glasses during the photos.

Making something so quick, though, comes with a few caveats in order for it to work in your favor. Including the following:   
  1. The pattern has to be pre-sized or fitted.
  2. The fabric has to be pre-treated
  3. The thread color in the machines need to match chosen materials
  4. All notions and supplies need to be part of your base stock.

Race Day Stats:

Underwritten by "McCalls Patterns, Vogue 1314" in size 14.
Starring fabric: Ponte Roma, purchased from "Marcorp Sales Inc" out of NYC. 
Hardware and race day equipment contributed by Bernina of America.
and last but not least....
Well known Athlete and fashion model the sewing diva herself......

Remember to tune in weekly for more races to the finish line.   As long as I sew, there will always  be some kind of timed event. 

Wednesday, January 07, 2015

"It's Elementary my dear..." The Watson Bra

I have always wanted to wear those cute little "no wire" Victoria's Secret bralettes.  But lets be serious, those are like training bras, really! They are really cute, yet now support. What came along is this cute little doodad.
A pattern put out by Cloth Habit.  This thing fit me great straight off the bat.  You really have to follow the thorough "step-by-step" instructions to be successful.   
 For the panties I compared the pattern to my regular "sloper" TNT pattern Kwiksew 3238 which is actually a swimwear pattern.  From that comparison, I had to raise the back rise by one inch.  I did not change the legs or front, but next time I will just use my regular pattern.
 The straps are 1/2" rings and sliders, with elastic bra straps.  I got mine at Hancock, it was just a "replacement kit".  I bit the bullet on that because my other stock straps were 5/8", so I will have to change the bra to fit the 5/8".  If you are more blessed up top, I have found its best to use a 5/8" or 3/4" strap for support.
 The inside is not lined.  I will line mine the next time.  But, I was okay with the way it was drafted, since, for me, I consider it a casual set, especially, when using this cotton lycra.
 I use medium power net to line the back bands, which is required by the pattern.  The rest of the band, I doubled for support.
The fabric was from a kit I bought from Needle Nook fabrics.  They have wonderful sets with a wonderful array of colors.  You just tell them what you want and they will oblige.  BONUS...they are in the states..yeepee, low shipping.  The rest I always buy at Fabric Depot Company because I can dye them any color, and they have a terrific selection of cotton lycra.  All the sample sets are $2.00 and include a bundle of samples.
All-in-all this is an excellent pattern in my book.  I particularly like the long-line version.  However, next time I make I will make a few adjustments to tweak the fit based on my Bra Class from Craftsy.