Vogue 9130

Well, it looks nice from the front.

I put some care into modifying the pattern to match my sloper.  I traced the pattern onto the drafting paper (actually wedding aisle runner) and then overlaid that onto my red poster board sloper.  The sloper is only half of the front, whereas the pattern is the full front. So I folded the traced pattern in half and lined it up with the center front of the sloper, and then traced the shoulders, neck and armscye from my sloper onto the traced pattern.

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Then I did the same on the back.

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The fabric came from MarcyTilton.com, a ponte knit (“Mont Blanc”).  It’s got very good drape, and there’s a surface texture.

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I put a lot of thought into whether this fabric would work with the pattern.  I pondered pattern matching, and whether to use a different fabric for that middle insert, but decided that black piping along the seam lines would separate the sections sufficiently.  I also thought carefully about whether this had enough drape for the pattern (and for my body type!), I concluded that it would be fine.

And I think I was wrong about that.

From the waist up, the fit is fine.  I wasn’t sure that I would like this collar, but husband commented positively on it, which is uncommon.

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But yikes!  That side view!

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This might be due to the angle of the photograph, but I doubt it.  I think the piping adds stiffness to the seams, which just doesn’t work across the back “hip.” And there’s just too much volume.

The back isn’t so nice, either.  Although I think it’s just caught up on my clothes on the side, and as usual, my photographer didn’t say anything about it.  Phfft.

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You can see in the center upper back a seam where I pieced due to lack of fabric.  Despite great care to pattern match (I traced the design of the fabric onto the pattern piece in order to match exactly.), it didn’t work very well.  I made the whole top with 2 yards, just slightly less than the 2-3/8 yards that the pattern calls for.  This includes using my own sleeve pattern, changing the shoulder area as described above, and I also shortened the whole thing by about an inch just above the waist.

I really thought carefully about whether the drape on this fabric was soft enough, and I really thought that it was.  But it’s just not.  You can see the problem around the upper arm here on the back, too.  A slimmer person would be able to pull this off no problem.  But on a more, um, softer figure, the fabric really needs to fall pretty straight.  Like a rayon or bamboo knit, perhaps. And this fabric reads visually as if it were a scuba knit, perhaps.  It just LOOKS like it has thickness to it.

You can see on my left (right side in the photo), that the extra volume just sticks out.

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If I tuck out that extra volume, it looks better.

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In theory, I could just re-sew the side seam taking in the extra.  But the hem line from from to back is not level here, so it’s not quite that straight forward.  The lower bias-cut insert could also benefit from losing some volume.  Since I used piping in between the pieces, pulling it out will be a pain, but I’m thinking seriously about doing so, both front and back.  This is just not a good look.  I also may re-sew that back armscye to take out extra fabric there as well.

Although I do want to try the pattern again! I’m pondering making it with the middle and bottom inserts cut together as one piece, and then the top piece in a contrasting fabric.

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I just couldn’t resist that fabric!

I mean, holy cow, it’s CORK fabric with SILVER flecks in it.  The contrast in visual textures just totally gets me.  Then you make it into something FUNCTIONAL!

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This is way different from my usual purchased-at-Goodwill version.  So, yeah, I ordered the kit.  THAT fast.

The kit, from Compagnie M, came in the mail about six days after ordering, and it took me another ten days or so to finish up previous projects and get started on it.  Then it took me about a day to finish. This didn’t marinate in the stash very long. I didn’t take any pictures of the kit when it came, although it was very pretty, because once I pulled it out again, I wanted to start working on it RIGHT NOW.

Although the instructions are quite clear, I did have a few assembly problems.  Because, uhhh, I did make … umm … a few alterations, so if I then had problems, well, it’s probably mostly my fault anyway.

You see, it’s a EUROPEAN wallet.  And European money is shaped different from U.S. money, so I would need my wallet to be shaped a bit differently.  I could have seen this problem coming ahead of time, as in, before I ordered a kit priced in EUROS and paid shipping from EUROPE.  Doh!

I made a mock-up of the wallet in paper, because I was having a hard time visualizing what parts I would need to change and by how much.

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After seeing the mock-up, I decided to make the wallet about a centimeter wider and a centimeter shorter.  And then I wanted to fit more cards in it, so I changed the interior card pockets to four vertical pockets instead of two horizontal ones.

These changes altered pretty much most of the measurements.

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These changes meant that references in the pattern to “sew a specific distance here” no longer applied to my version.  And these changes also caused difficulties sewing the wallet parts together.

See here, not enough space left on the right edge after I had sewn that cross seam (that’s a card slot inside) to sew along the edge at 2 cm.  I didn’t even make 2 mm.  But this part is folded inside the wallet, so I didn’t sweat it.

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But done is done, and I would do it again.  Because it’s AWESOME!  Lookie!

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There are a few things I would do differently next time.  I think making it a tri-fold would be a nice idea.  The coin purse swinging open to the left, leaving the card pocket attached to the outer piece.  I think the outermost pocket is a bit shallow (because of a 2cm-deep swath of glue), which I’d like to figure out how to alter and make that pocket deeper.  But trivial things, really.  The wallet is nice as is.

I’ve already ordered some of the Kraft-Tex fabric off Amazon to experiment with that, and I perused the web for other cork fabric options.  It comes in colors!  Maybe a red cork wallet?

This idea has some potential for Christmas presents next year, and I’m fascinated with the idea of combining Kraft-Tex, cork, leather and fabric somehow.  Black leather on the outside and stone Kraft-Tex for the inner layers?   Maybe not all of those together in one project, though.

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If poor quality sewing offends you, then turn away now! You’ve been warned.

Darn that waffle weave cotton knit fabric!

My intention here was to make a sleep set, using a burnt orange waffle weave organic cotton knit and a coordinating green organic cotton jersey.  Not very attractive colors, and I’ve never been a fan of waffle weave anyway, but they were at the store at the same time I was at the store, which seemed like reason enough.  (Cue klaxon alarm sound.)

I wanted to do something “interesting” instead of a plain tee shirt design. So I drafted the pattern from my basic knit top sloper adding about two inches in the middle for a center inverted pleat and a yoke around the neck.  “Yoke” is probably not the right name for this design feature, but that’s the least of the problems here so I’ll just let it go at that.  (Cue flashing red alarm lights.)

So, let’s start with the most obvious, significant problem.  Poor fabric match to pattern.

The stretchy waffle weave fabric in conjunction with my straight-up standard sloper pattern would have probably been loose enough, but adding the inverted pleat in the middle AND extra width at the side seams was TOO MUCH volume.  But… it’s a pajama top, so… meh.  I left it as is.

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(Note that the pants are clipped up onto the hanger underneath the shirt, so the shirt appears bigger in relation to the pants than it actually is.)

Next, waffle weave does not play well with this kind of yoke idea.  I lined the yoke with a scrap of cotton jersey, which did not feel substantial enough, so I added knit interfacing.  The waffle weave fabric just would not get along with the facing/interfacing.  The waffle weave fabric stretched either before or during sewing, despite using a walking foot and lighter foot pressure and various other tricks, so the seam between the main body pieces and the yoke is wavy.  Top stitching in an attempt to tame it made the problem worse.

The shoulders were far too large; I don’t even understand where that problem originated.  I re-sewed the shoulder seams taking two inches out of each shoulder.  You can see in the above photos how the shoulder at the neck edge sticks up weirdly. Ah well, you win some, you lose some.

At this point, I didn’t even trim the facing edge!  I figured it wasn’t worth the time!

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Next, I tried a fancy stitch on the sleeve and body hems, but the back and forth of the presser foot stretched out the waffle weave again.  Should have done a test before I launched into it.  But once I started it, I felt like I couldn’t change horses mid-stream and kept going.  So, sleeve and bodice hems are all stretched out.

The pants fit fine and were a very quick make.

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But yikes, the sewing on the waistband elastic casing is a horror!  (Cue horror film background shrieking.) I could not get the fabric to feet through the presser foot evenly!

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As I began the hemming the pants the same stitch, I saw more stretching and just went ahead and jumped horses mid stream, going with a plain zig zag stitch.  I thought I’d add the extra “design detail” of putting zig zag on the bottom of the hem as well, but that just emphasized how the upper zig zag tunneled around the serged hem edge underneath, and this second line of zig zag was much flatter.  So they contrast each other instead of echoing each other.  Whatevah!

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(Note the stretched out sleeve hems here.)

So, um, done, and, uh, no modeled shots with this outfit.  I do wear the set a lot.  That is, at night, in the house, in bed, under covers, in the dark.  And I have moved forward from the disappointment by ordering a bunch of cute mid-weight cotton jersey from Fabric.com and try to make a couple more sleep sets.  Logical, right?  No, I’m not going to try that yoke-with-the-inverted-pleat thing, probably just a straight tee shirt and pants.  Cute pajama sets with bright flowers will block out the trauma.

Phew!  I hope your tender sewing sensitivities have survived!

 

I copied her dress

While I wear tees or tunics, cardigan sweaters and black pants 90% of the time, there is still a gap in my wardrobe for those occasions when I do need to wear a dress.  So I’ve been thinking for a couple years that I’d like to make a simple dress off of my bodice block, in black/grey/white to maximize integration into the rest of my wardrobe.  Something like the Cashmerette Turner dress.  I briefly considered purchasing the pattern, but it appears to be a relatively simple pattern that I would probably be better off drafting from my own block versus printing, taping, cutting, altering, muslining, and then finally cutting out of fashion fabric and assembling the dress. I do intend to purchase her Harrison shirt pattern at some point and attempting a chambray dress for summer.

When I saw Goldpom’s “City Lights Turner Dress” blog post, I immediately thought that the dress was perfect for what I had in mind.  I called the local JoAnns and drove there an hour later to purchase the exact same fabric.  Within a couple days, I had completed my own version of the exact same dress.

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On my version, the waist seam was originally too low.  After forming a 1″ horizontal tuck all around the waist immediately above the existing waist seam, stitching and serging, I think the bodice length is perfect.  Changes for next time:  3/4 length or short sleeves, and  the neck opening at the shoulder seam could be 1/4 – 3/8″ wider on either side.  I will probably cut the sleeves shorter on this version to make 3/4 length or short sleeves by summer time.

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I’m never sure which type of sweater to wear over a dress of this style.  A ballerina wrap would look nice on a less zaftig figure, but I don’t think I currently have an appropriate sweater to wear over the top.  Another reason why it may be better as a summer dress.

I’m glad that seeing Goldpom’s version motivated me to draft my own version.  This pattern could see a lot of use in the future.

Imitation is the sincerest form of flattery, yes?

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Another small Christmas sewing project

Here’s a fabric-wrapped rope bowl, this time in Christmas reds and whites.  I wrapped this while watching “Foyle’s War” with the older daughter.  It was fun sitting with her on the sofa watching it and eating popcorn, but she has since cooled on the show.  She doesn’t enjoy the dramatic, cliff-hanger, major-character-in-danger type of show.

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This basket is 8 ounces, but it seems a tad short to me.  I think I made the bottom too wide before starting up the sides, and I prefer the sides to be more vertical.  I think I would make the next basket 8.5 ounces or even a bit more — one could choose to not use all of the rope, if desired.

Tennis full-zip jacket

I seem to be sticking with the tennis.  I’ve recruited the spouse to play once a week with me, on top of playing once a week with a friend, and once-a-week group drills.  Now that it’s gotten colder, I need to wear a jacket over the tennis tunic(s) and said jacket needs to have pockets for tennis balls.

This appears to be a gap in my wardrobe (if one could call it a “wardrobe,” ahem).  Most of my jackets either don’t have pockets or are not sporty or are actual winter jackets and too bulky to play in.  I have one cotton hoodie that could work, but it’s not warm enough when the temperatures dip below 45 or so.

Clearly, I must step into the breach and make my own tennis jacket.  That’s what anyone would do, right?

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I used the self-drafted pattern from a not-very-successful fleece half-zip that I made several months ago, but made several changes to upgrade it.  I added a bust adjustment, lengthened torso and sleeves, added width to the sleeves, and lowered the underarm seam. I also angled the front edges of the collar, so that it hugs into the neck a bit more instead of standing straight up/out.

The fabric and zip came from The Rain Shed in Albany, Oregon.  I very carelessly did not keep fabric information, so I’m guessing that the gray is 200-weight Polartec and the black might be 100-weight (it is almost see-through when held in hand).  The zipper is two-way, so I can open the bottom when the sitting down to reduce the bulging and rippling in the zipper.  Usually, I need a two-way zip because the hip area in RTW is ALWAYS too tight, but the fit around the hips is good even without releasing the zipper. The neck band is lined with gray boiled wool, which was the perfect weight but a dumb decision given that I will probably want to be able to wash the jacket without the collar interfacing shrinking.  I’ll have to remember to wash gentle in cool water and hang dry.

But there is a mistake in every make, isn’t there?  The mistake in this one was in measuring the length of the zip.  I held the pattern piece up to my torso to mark how long I would want the zip, but forgot that it was a raglan sleeve line.  So I somehow held the slanting line for the sleeve seam all the way up to my shoulder line, meaning that I accidentally marked the  length of the zip two inches too long.

After I assembled the jacket most of the way, but thankfully had not done any top-stitching, I tried it on and discovered the problem.  After strongly considering keeping it tunic length, I gave in and picked out the whole zipper, shortened the zipper from the top and reinstalled the zipper.  I consider it to be almost the perfect length now, maybe an inch too long, but perfectly acceptable.

I asked ahead of time while at the Rain Shed how to shorten the zipper.  You cut across the tape entirely an inch above where you want the teeth to end, then cut off the teeth with toe nail clippers.  These didn’t work for me at all, so I used a pair of scissors, and even then the teeth really didn’t want to come out.  So I cut closer, and ended up damaging the zip tape and still struggling to pull out the remaining teeth with tweezers.  Since the tape gets folded inside the collar, this ends up mostly okay, but I did use glue and Fray Check to mend the fraying.  Then you clamp on a “top stop” just above the remaining teeth.

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These came in black plastic or silver metal; I chose black to match the zipper and the fabric.

The pocket in the back I added based on the Jalie tennis dress pattern (made here and here).  Since it’s so wide, I tacked it in the middle to hold it’s shape when filled with tennis balls.  This worked great!  It can hold up to five or six balls.  (No, I didn’t make the hat.  I purchased it at the local yarn shop when they had a sample sale.  There’s a hole for the ponytail.)

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I wore the jacket today to play the spouse (I lost 7-5, but that’s way better than I usually do!).  It worked really well!  Although I had considered the jacket done, I now realize there are two more things that still need fussing.  The sleeves need to be lengthened by two full inches.  That’s a lot to have missed by.  It seems like the fleece is kind of grabby and wrinkles in the elbow area a lot, which sucks up a lot of length.

Plus, I do not like the appearance of the serged neck seam on the inside and plan to tape over it.  I think black cotton twill tape would be perfect, but I would need to acquire some.

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Here I’m wearing it with a puffer jacket from Costco.  The puffer jacket is good for the first 10 minutes warming up, but is too warm to play in.  When it is zipped, the jacket also rides up in the back due to my… umm… hip measurement. This photo and the one above seem to show folds of extra fabric coming down off the base of my neck.  These are not there in real life, but are the result of a freezing cold impatient child photographer.  As is the crooked hat.  (But I’m glad the kids are willing to take them, because taking photos with a tripod is just not my gig!)

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I made one more tweak with shortening the front princess seam at chest level (like a bust dart).  For future iterations, I need to add 2″ to the sleeve length, lower the underarm seam another 1/4″, and narrow the top edge of the side panels by 1/2″.  The jacket would benefit from having pockets, too.  I could put in a horizontal seam across the front at Empire seam level, double layer the front lower panels, and insert pocket openings in the princess seams.

I plan to modify this for a wide variety of athletic clothing tops.  I’m pretty pleased with how this project turned out!

Some Christmas sewing

We cleaned out the craft room a couple weeks ago, and one of the many unfinished projects I found was a plastic bag filled with cut quilting fabric squares ready to be made into a Christmas wall hanging.

We already have two Christmas wall hangings, but I thought to whip this out into a table runner.

Well, I don’t “whip” out much of anything sewing-wise, but I did get this done in about two weeks, which is pretty fast for me.

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I used the Bernina special walking foot again, borrowed from a quilting friend, and am getting more comfortable with it.  I’m sure that any quilter looking closely at this would find plenty of problems with it, but my standards aren’t high when it comes to quilting.  As long as it’s done, I’m happy with it.

The table runner looked nice on the table under our spinning German pyramid candle.

I used some of the leftovers to make a reusable present bag.  This year, this bag encased a Yahtzee game for the family.

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