Monday 31 March 2008

Deja Vu....

The good news - I arrived home from work today to find a package from my sister in law of the latest 2 Patrones issues.

The bad news - One of them was a duplicate copy - again!

The good news - for someone at least - is that I could have another draw using the names from a few posts ago. This issue is a Patrones Extra so is a bumper size magazine with 93 patterns including some plus size and maternity

And the lucky winner of Patrones issue number 264 is REETHI!! So Reethi if you read this and would like the issue please e mail me an address that I can send this issue to. Congratulations and please show us what you make! My e mail is alchurchman AT gmail DOT com. Maybe at this rate I will get an issue for everyone!

The latest issue for me that I get to keep looks pretty good too. Christina kindly provided the link to the Russian Patrones site which has great photos - you can see details here - Issue 266. Lots of great summer dresses and the black tie front jacket with the huge collar is just the kind of crazy thing I like!

Friday 28 March 2008

Another version of Butterick 4985

At last a nice easy project! This is becoming my TNT (tried and true) blouse pattern. The sizing works for me, it's quick to make up, doesn't use much fabric and can be modified to give different looks.

For this version I used a remnant of printed cotton from my stash and made View A with the fluttery sleeves. I left off the tie because I prefer an open neckline and also I really only just had enough fabric to make this top.

I'm really pleased with it, it's a flattering shape for those of us blessed (or maybe cursed) with hips, especially with this sleeve and I will definitely be hunting through my stash and even the fabric stores to run up a few more for summer.

I have to face reality that I am going to fail to get a BWOF pattern from February completed before the end of March, but I will get around to finishing that jacket project and will get back on track with March's issue. However I do still have 2 jersey tops to sew up I have said before, too many patterns and too little time!

Thursday 27 March 2008

Butterick 5173 Analysis

As some of you may know, this pattern was recently recalled due to a major error. I had ordered it online and fortunately for me since I am a slow sewer with many patterns hadn't got around to making it. I received my replacement copy the other day and I know from the message boards at Pattern Review that there is some curiosity about the errors so below are some photos and notes which I hope will help.

Apologies for the dodgy photos, my decent camera is still in repair. If you click on them to make them larger hopefully they will be sufficiently detailed.

Here is the faulty pattern piece

Here is the good pattern piece

And here are the two side by side (good on left, faulty on right)

The differences are in the curve of the armscye which is a lot less curved on the faulty version and the side front is also much shorter. The side notches are much higher up too (on the size 14, the distance from the top to the centre of the notches is 3cm in the faulty version and 9cm in the good version). You can also see the shape of the centre front is different too - much more L shaped in the good version.

Here is the faulty piece;

Here is the good piece;

And here are the two side by side;

Again you can see that the armscye in the faulty version is much less curved and the v back is much deeper. The double notches at the side are both in the same place here - 9cm from the top for the size 14. So this may be an easy way to check if you have the new version or not - if your side notches on the front and back pieces do not match up then you have the faulty pattern.

I hope this is helpful to some of you, if you would like me to make any other measurements just let me know. Does anyone have any ideas what went wrong - it sort of looks like it was originally drafted for someone with a very long upper body, but I have very limited experience of pattern drafting so I am guessing here.

Tuesday 25 March 2008

Patrones Party!

I wish I had a copy to give to everyone who wanted one, but the lucky recipient of the Patrones issue by a random draw of post-it notes in a bag was Stacey! Stacey, please send me an email to alchurchman AT gmail DOT com and let me know where I should send it. Please send us an update when you make something, we'd love to see what you come up with!

On the sewing front I haven't been coming up with much lately. I decided a couple of easy projects were in order so I have almost finished a TNT blouse pattern in a black & white cotton print and I have 2 jersey tops cut out. We have a BIG weekend coming up here with the Hong Kong Rugby Sevens tournament so the chances of me doing anything for the next week are practically nil. But I will be back with some progress or at least some pictures of my latest fabric splurge from Gorgeous Fabrics very soon.

Tuesday 18 March 2008

2008 sewing resolutions & a giveaway!!!

First I just want to say a huge thank you to everyone who left lovely comments about my successful denim jacket and to everyone for their encouraging comments not to give up on the BWOF jacket yet.

Back at the beginning of the year I set some sewing targets - can you believe we are almost a quarter of the way through the year? Here's what optimistic me had to say back then - lets see how I am doing;

1) Keep up with this blog, recording all my projects successful or otherwise. I think it will be interesting to look back over the year and see what I have achieved.
- Well this part is going OK!

2) Make a piece each month from BWOF, unless I hate everything in an issue obviously
- January - done, February - stuck, March - not started. Well thats OK, the Pattern Review sewalong is a month behind, I can do that too.

3) Make something, anything, from the Patrones magazines my Spanish sister in law has been kindly sending to me.
- Not yet, but don't panic it's only March!.

4) Complete a co-ordinating summer mini wardrobe or collection. My sewing tends to be a bit random and while I am not ready for a full blown SWAP this will be a good introduction to better planning.
- By an amazing coincidence Pattern Review are doing a mini wardobe contest from 1st May so this should fit right in here.

Re Patrones, my sister in law accidentally sent me the same copy twice so I am going to give it away to a reader from my blog who wants it - the only condition is that you must make something from it!! If you are interested please leave a comment on this post or you can send me a private message through Pattern Review if you prefer (Allie in Hong Kong). I'll keep this open for another week and if there are a number of interested people I'll put the names into a hat and pick one at random.

The issue is from December 07, number 263. I'm sorry I have no clue where to link to a website with more details, but here's some pics.

It has 47 womenswear patterns in sizes 40-44-48 and 12 in sizes 50-54-58. Sizes are not the same as BWOF (they are at least a couple of sizes smaller I'd say) and all the instructions are in Spanish. Lots of lovely things, I really must get working on goal number 3 myself - maybe you can join me......

Monday 17 March 2008

BWOF 2008-02 jacket 115

I still haven't fixed the camera so am using an old one - the battery conks out after about 10 minutes so please excuse the hastily taken and very blurry photos of my progress on this project so far.

One good thing about BWOF patterns is that I think their sizing is pretty consistent so I am confident when picking which size to make.  This is good for me since I hate making muslins and only do it when absolutely necessary.  I know this is bad and wrong, but that's the way it is. However if I had done a muslin I would have realised that this jacket as drafted is not right for my figure.

Here's the back, I matched the fabric just at the upper back since the seam is not straight.  The pleat at the bottom is just basted in place at the moment.  I love the back view and I love the fabric.
Here's the top of the front with the collar just roughly pinned on to get the overall look.  Again I like this view too, definitely need some raglan shoulder pads though.  
And here is the full front.  Oh dear!  It looks like a shapeless rectangle on the dress form and it looks much the same on me.  For someone who is lean as a bean this would probably be great with a pair of skinny pants, but on me I just look like - well a big shapeless rectangle frankly.  I chose to lengthen the jacket and that was a mistake, the proportions are now all wrong.
But I am determined to try and fix it.  I'm going to unpick the zipper and make the whole jacket much shorter and more fitted.  Not quite sure how that's going to work out yet and I may just make a quick easy knit t shirt or something next and ponder on it for a while.  I could if I am honest have predicted this outcome from the line drawing of the jacket, but I liked the detailing so much that I ignored the little voices in my head warning me this would be too boxy.  That should teach me to do a muslin in future..... 

Tuesday 11 March 2008

Vogue 2973 Jacket - finished!

My excitement at finally finishing the jacket has been somewhat marred by the fact that I just dropped the digital camera on the floor and have broken the screen. It seems to still function (i.e. it can take pictures, you just can't see them) so I will see if it can be repaired. So here are possibly the last shots taken by this camera;
Actually when I say it's finished I mean it is finished as far as it can be. The collar band is supposed to be topstitched as well, but my fabric is quite thick and there is no way I can get this part under the foot of my machine without really forcing it which makes for extremely bad topstitching (trust me, if I have to unpick any more topstitching I will go nuts). With the benefit of hindsight (in addition to not dropping the camera) I would have marked the seamlines of each collar piece and done the topstitching before stitching the pieces together. Do you think it is OK to leave the jacket like this? I don't have much choice, but maybe I can take it in to my alterations place and see if they can do it with their industrial machines if it looks really odd.

Apart from the topstitching this pattern is not too difficult. I love the design of it, the seaming and the zip detail on the sleeves. I sewed part of the collar in by hand as it was much easier to control it that way and make sure that the lapel, collarband and top collar all met at the same point. It's funny I used to think that the goal was to sew as much as possible by machine like Ready to Wear and that handsewing was somehow cheating, but if you can get better results first time then why not. The instructions have you attach the collarband to the top collar first and then separately attach each side of the collarband to the inside and outside of the jacket. To attach the collarband to the body of the jacket and the facing/lining, I machined the centre of each seam first, then each side leaving the last centimetre or so to the corner and hand stitched this part. Here is a photo to try and illustrate that step since it is hard to explain. You can see it would be quite tricky to get the machine right into the point on the right hand side.
The only other part that is slightly non intuitive is inserting the zipper in the jacket front - the illustration in the pattern instructions confused me and I found it much easier to separate the zipper before stitching, like this;
I mentioned in an earlier post that the fit is a little unusual, there is a lot of ease built into the chest area, and very little in the waist. Even without my usual FBA there is still plenty of room in the size 12 I made straight from the envelope. Something to watch out for although personally it worked for me and is I think quite a flattering style for my shape. Hopefully, depending on the camera situation I will be able to get some pics of me wearing it soon.

Friday 7 March 2008

I love Fridays

Who doesn't I suppose. But mine are especially good because I don't work on a Friday and it is a real "me" day. I spend the morning doing my favourite gym classes of the week, have lunch and catch up with the internet or Project Runway if some kind soul has posted it on You Tube and then sew. (I saw the finale today, personally I am so happy that Christian won although all of the finalists showed great work. Whether you love him or hate him, the talent is undeniable - America's next top designer? - maybe, he's reminiscent of McQueen or Galliano in my completely unqualified opinion).

Anyway so I have been sewing for the past few hours, working on the jacket that seems to be taking forever to finish. I just have to topstitch one lapel and the collar stand and have run out of topstitching thread. Aaarrgh! I bought 2 reels of it so you can see how much topstitching there is on the jacket and how many sections I have ripped out because I wasn't happy with them. The place I need to go to get more thread is very near my office and there's no way I'm heading over there on my day off! I am really happy with the jacket so far though so bear with me for a few more days!

So I started to cut the fabric for this jacket - my BWOF sewalong project for the February issue. I must be crazy to be making another jacket, but that's what I committed to do and if I start changing my plans now I will end up dreaming and not actually sewing anything. Besides, I love jackets.
The fabric has a pattern which needs a bit of matching where I can so I am cutting on a single layer. I panicked a bit when I lifted one of the cut pieces and thought I had cut it double layer by mistake. What is this stuff? It seems to be two layers of very lightweight fabric with loose threads in between which are just caught in places to create the floral pattern.   I can see my sewing room is going to be such a mess!

I'm also pondering how to finish the inside of the jacket, it's unlined, but I really want to add interfacing to parts of it so I will probably add a lining myself.

My Butterick patterns also arrived yesterday to add to the ever growing pile of things I'd like to make someday. I need to rewatch some of those Project Runway episodes and learn how to sew as fast as Christian!

Tuesday 4 March 2008

Vogue 2973 Jacket - getting there...

Firstly, thank you to everyone who has left comments or read my blog. I feel very honoured and the motivation it gives me is a surprising benefit of keeping a blog.

Vicki asked about how to shorten the zippers - it's done from the top end and Vogue even includes directions on how to do it. Basically you just mark where you want the zipper to end, pull out a section of the metal teeth above it with pliers, cut off the excess above that (no need to pull out all the teeth to the top of the zipper) and then secure the end with some little metal stops - or you could I guess sew it straight in the jacket enclosing the top of the zip tape in the seam allowance. Hope that makes sense, since I got someone else to do this part for me I don't have any pictures I'm afraid.

I didn't have as much time as I had hoped to sew this weekend so I still have some work left to do on the jacket, but it is getting there. I'm going to be busy the next few days so I wanted to document a few construction details now while it's still fresh in my mind. This is where I am at;

I still need to attach the collar and topstitch it and the lapels (scary!)
Add shoulderpads
Attach the lining at the jacket and sleeve hems
Fix the jacket hem in the zipper area - it's not even at the moment

And this is how it currently looks on the dressform. The lapels seem to have got bigger despite being a seam allowance smaller! I hope they won't flap around too much when I'm wearing it.

I usually use a Vogue size 12 for tops and jackets and add an FBA. However the finished measurements printed on the pattern for a size 12 indicated that there was around 6 inches of ease in the bust, and very little in the waist. This seems kind of odd so I decided to omit the FBA. As it turns out it fits great straight out of the envelope. So if you normally do an FBA you may find you can skip it and if you are small busted you may find an adjustment is needed. Maybe the smaller sizes have different amounts of ease built in? It's probably best to try a quick muslin, like I did not!

The pattern is rated as advanced. It's actually not that difficult. Time consuming, with all the pattern pieces and topstitching, but technically anyone who has made a shirt or jacket and can put in a zip can make this jacket. Maybe the pants are tricky? I did at several points question my sanity in choosing to topstitch black denim with white thread. I feel like every little wobble in my topstitching is screaming out at me, definitely need some more practice at that. My denim is quite thick which made it difficult to feed evenly. You definitely would not want to make a pair of jeans out of this stuff!

It seems a bit strange to line a denim jacket but because there are a lot of both vertical and horizontal seams I think this is the easiest way.

The pattern seems to be well drafted, everything matches up well, there isn't a huge amount of ease in the sleeve cap and I really like the separate hem facing treatment. The instructions are pretty good too.

Hopefully I will have a finished jacket soon, stay tuned!