Wednesday, October 22, 2014

Bound Buttonholes

I don't work with wool often.

I don't make many tailored garments.

Jackets?  Um.  No, not really.

Thus, I've done three sets of bound buttonholes.  One for my green jacket a la Gertie, one for the red, and one for the ivory linen bolero (which I totally flubbed).

None of my experiences was anything like "fun" or "easy" - and that last set of bound buttonholes *almost* had me committing to hand-worked buttonholes for my coat.  Only DH (and my admitted lack of ability in handsewing) convinced me to give it another go.

I think it's totally unfair that something that makes or breaks your garments *entire* look - the whole, "does this look professional, or does this look homemade" is 1) do it right the first time or else 2) done on the first step.  I've not even gotten to know my coat yet, why do I have to play with fire?  -sigh-

So, I pulled out the books.  I have three good "how to sew" books.  A couture sewing book, the Vogue sewing book, and an old 60s era home-sewing book (which takes for granted an amazingly high level of skill).  Vogue proved the winner... bigtime.  Another resource was my incessant reading of blogs - I was reading over at Lilacs and Lace, and the bound buttonhole queen was discussing how she does hers and I saw ... I saw... THREAD TRACING.

Thread tracing and machine basting the heck out of *everything* has made all the difference (well, with the Vogue instructions) and I think, I *think* I might have beaten the bound buttonhole at long last.  We'll see... I have the handstitching phase to do on five more!

Fun with blogging.  Maeve was full of all kinds of good advice about buttons, so of course I needed to take a picture of the buttons I'd safetypinned to my jacket to decide on placement.  And then I decided, "hm.  This won't do - I need to put the lapel and collar on or she won't get the full effect".  Whereupon I found out that my top button needed to come down and in - it was hidden under the lapel!

So I'm really pleased that I took that picture... well, this picture... (before and after).  Thanks, God!

Lots of measuring and fiddling today.  I dunno, but I think this just might go pretty quickly, now that I've started at all.

Tuesday, October 21, 2014

Finally. We have a stack of bits.

First I'd like to say that I am super grateful to all the time I have spent crying and moaning and learning to alter patterns.  When it came time to making my sleeve a two-piece sleeve, which I've never done before, and the instructions said, "cut here and..." it was a breeze.  I think a craftsperson is allowed to enjoy their skill, and that moment pleased me.

Second.  Well, I got it done!  Having done the pattern changes to the outer coat previously, today I started by making the changes to the lining and facing bits of the coat, truing up any odd bits, and making sure my pattern pieces were perfect and ready to go.

Jo wanted to know if I was super nervous.  Yes, at first I was.  Lots of tension, especially while I was making the changes to the lining bits.  But then... well, I've made how many muslins of this coat?  I was ready.  (Still stressful, you know how it is - you have to get everything just right before you cut... for every single layout).

I keep calling this (and occasionally other patterns) "fabric pigs".  Today I took a picture of what a "fabric pig" looks like in the wild... (I used the blank space for collars and such, it wasn't wasted, but there is a big pile of triangles on the floor of my cutting area right now - I'll have to sort it out later and see what's usable and what not).

Thought you guys would like to see the lining, because it's awesome.  Also, fabric pigs sometimes have to be cut on the flat instead of folded over and doubled.  Blergh.

I cut haircloth too, which you can see in this picture, of my big pile of done!  (The lining is the stuff with the weird stripes on the back, the haircloth is the beige-y grey stuff).

So.  That was most of my day, along with a haircut for 10yo, grocery shopping and the normal stuff.  There's a hot bath in my future!

Hope you're having fun.................

Monday, October 20, 2014

Sleeves for Maeve

Thanks for pestering me to make the sleeves better, Maeve.

I actually *used* some of the tricks I know... and I ended up with a sleeve that I knew fit as soon as I put it on (well away from any mirrors).

I was trying to put in an elbow dart, which looked odd... but ended up taking a tuck out at the elbow (instead of taking the extra length out at the wrist).  That helped enormously.  And then I made it into a two-piece sleeve  - which allows for better fitting and a button detail at the cuff.

Adjusted the shoulder to the bit I'd already done, only properly... and I have a sleeve that inserted without gathers.  This bodes well for the final run and a smooth sleeve cap (a puckered cap is a tell-tale sign of homemade goods).

I need to take out the extra inch I'd put in on the front, it's too much.  Then *one* row of three buttons down, for a slightly asymmetrical line (always flattering on me - I drape my belts at that line) and some hem/cuff detailing and we're GTG.

In other words, I think I might cut fabric tomorrow.


Ignore the slight flop at the top of the shoulder, I'm not wearing a sleeved garment underneath.  I'm pretty sure that will fill in nicely with a sweater, which we will all assume I'd be wearing underneath an overcoat.

Thursday, October 16, 2014

Sleeves on the muslin

I got my final muslin put together.  I put an extra 1/2" on the already 1" extra on the shoulders, which was too much, so then I took it off.

I'm wondering about the scale of the collar here - seems a bit small (remember the seam allowances.  Seems about right as it is - I think I"ll add some width).  Not sure what's going on with the back collar - I've got a nice "roll line" going - and I'm not sure I want to have quite that much roll line quite this early in the game.  Must look at instructions and pictures on envelope *carefully*.

Anyway.  Got it finished, took some pix.  Put it on Dolly, and am going to leave it there to marinate for a bit while I put some more work into the peasant blouse.  Working the neck embroidery now.

Pix - please feel free to complain about the fit, I'd rather have a word of caution now than be less than satisfied when all is said and done.

Definitely buttons have to happen... now, should there be a belt too?  (This pattern is a fabric pig, but I have a LOT of fabric, a belt would be easily gotten).

Tuesday, October 14, 2014

Peasant Blouse

This is the blouse I"m experimenting with, to see what my heirloom machine will do, and to see what I can run up that might be salable for the prices I'd ask...

I made the sleeves, then assembled the body of the chemise/peasant blouse.  Next up is the embroidery around the neck to keep it gathered, and then ???? We'll have to see.

Just thought you'd enjoy.

Monday, October 13, 2014

Why do these clothing posts take so long?

1)  Nibbled to death by ducks

2)  Fitting

We've talked about #2 before, right?  I don't fit anything out of the package.

I took my muslin to my ASG meeting on Saturday for constructive criticism.  The ladies there told me I needed to give myself a bit more ease in my back/side princess seams, widen my shoulders by a good inch (!!) and drop the armscye a bit.  (Glory be, it was too high - almost never happens).

Spent some time this afternoon making what are hopefully the last changes to my main pattern pieces.

A couple of pictures of my poor slashed, spread, taped and abused pattern for your amusement.

I'm hoping that the next muslin will be the last muslin - I am making it full length and will thread-trace the hems, and will also cut the collar to make sure it matches up and is in proportion to my figure.  (If I'm making a custom garment and going to all this trouble, there's little point in not checking that sort of thing - I'm 5'2" so there might be adjustments.  Might not.  But there's only one way to tell!

Someone remind me to buy surgical tape.  Regular tape doesn't iron... and I'm out of papertape.

Friday, October 10, 2014

Nibbled to death by ducks

SuperSlavisWife and Elspeth challenged me to do a week in the life of me.  (Here: if you want it).

I only put the thing up over at HHH because I wanted to make it easier to have a convo.  Usually householdy stuff is here.

What's interesting is the various fallout.

1) I tried really hard to impress imaginary people and stressed myself out.  "What's the next task, can't let the side down!"

2) I noticed that my theoretical schedule and my real life weren't meshing well.  That's useful, and I need to look at that more closely.  It's very very easy to devalue the things I hold dearest to take care of the ducks that nibble and/or things that I think make me look like a better person.

It's tricky for me.  I am a person whose energy-source is time spent in nature, alone... and whose deepest desire is to work creatively.  And on paper I value those things, but emotionally, I feel like the time I spend on "me" is essentially selfish time - it's hard to devote myself to that time without feeling like I'm leaving things undone.  (And I need to watch my phone time - I can't sew on the phone, though I can clean up a storm.... at some point I need to say, "enough!" and put down the duster and start running my sewing machine).

But then a week or two goes by and I hardly touch my machine, I don't get out in nature, and I feel blobby.  I'm not Candy... I don't actually *like* cleaning.  I clean because it needs to be done, and I can do it on autopilot.  And I value an orderly and beautiful space.  Can't have flowers on the dining room table if you can't find the dining room table under the debris!  

Well, BB said you needed a priority list, and I think it's time to think that out a bit.... perhaps I'll do that over at HHH.  I do my best thinking while "talking", after all!  :D