Friday, January 28, 2011

Vogue 1051: Wide legged pants

This is probably the 4th pair of pants I've made with this pattern.  Hands down, this is my favorite waistband as far as fit goes.  In a size 6, 8, or 10, it's still a flattering waistband, the fit in the hips changes by size though.  (Admittedly, size 10 swathes me in fabric but the first pair I made was the size 10 because I wanted big pants -- go figure.)  I petite them by 2" and taper to the size 6 from the knee to hem so that it doesn't look like I have sails around my lower legs.  I am still up in the air about what my size is, because I like my pants more fitted in the hips and have made them a size smaller in the past so that they are tight in the hips and upper thighs but because I need professional looking clothes opted to make these in my prescribed size.  I'm not sure that I like how these fit, though.

My apartment is too small for a full length mirror, so I've found that taking photos gives me a good idea of how my clothes fit.  You get to see, too!

The fabric is a stretch gray wool gabardine, origins unknown.

With a modelish pose, fit looks ok.

Straight on like this, though they look saggy in the thigh.  Who knew they were so wrinkly from sitting in my lap to sew the hooks and eyes?  Not me, apparently.

Back seems OK.

Next up are some skinnies with a black wool ponte and a dress shirt.  I think that'll set me up well, along with the last 3 dresses I sewed, with some basics for work.  I'll add more grownup clothing to my closet over time.

Thursday, January 20, 2011

Butterick 5559 in wool jersey

If you are thinking of making this dress, make good friends with your iron.  Make sure it's clean and steaming right, because if you want the tucks to turn out well you're going to have to press, press, and press.  The dress front bodice and skirt have darts that are hidden in the tucks (essentially, you need to stitch in the ditch for parts of the front tucks).  You'll need to press those darts well in order to sew the tucks.  When I made my muslin, I thought that I'd sew the darts, then assemble the dress and sew the tucks in order to get perfect matching on the sides.  I found out that the way that Butterick recommends you do this, sew the tucks and then assemble the dress, is better because the tucks chevron on one side.

This dress is also short.  I shortened the pattern by 2" in my muslin and realized that it would not be an office appropriate dress unless I left the hemline as drafted.  The dress in the pictures are a straight from the package hemline length, so if you are not wee like me you'll have to add some length.

There's a lot of up front work with this pattern.  The pattern pieces are cut from single thickness fabric, you need to carefully mark the darts and tucks.  I think that altogether, this took me about 2 hours to do, because I wanted to be sure I got all the markings right.

This is the result.  I made it up in a heavy teal wool jersey that I bought last year from Gorgeous Fabrics.  It was amazing to work with, and I think there will be more wool jersey in my future.  My muslin was a lighter jersey that draped wonderfully but was a pain to sew.  So if you want a slinkier dress, I recommend a lighter jersey but it will be tricky to do the darts and tucks.

There's a little sagging in the upper chest, but this didn't happen with the lighter jersey.

Again, some fabric bulging in the small of my back, but it's the fabric.

Here's a detail photo on my left side, where some of the tucks match and others are a little bit off.  I figured I could drive myself crazy trying to get this perfectly lined up, but that's not the kind of seamstress I am.

Tuck detail at left side seam.
In fact,  what kind of seamstress am I?  I'm the kind who experiments with Steam-a-Seam for the hem and finds out that it's a wonderful way to get out of handsewing a hem!  Yay for discovering Steam-a-Seam!

Saturday, January 15, 2011

Necessary sewing

The nice thing about sewing is that it's so affordable to make things that are otherwise stupidly overpriced.  Like, why would I want to pay $80 for a pillow sham?  $120 for a duvet cover?  I detest the idea of sewing home dec (snoresville!) but the pay off is huge.  Each pillow cover was a half hour project (cut to stuffing with a 26" square pillow form), busted up some of my stash, and saved me some dough.  Now that I'm finished preaching to the choir, I'd like to thank everyone for your comments on my last post.

Thanks to Audrey and Dei for your suggestions on saving the coat.  I especially like the idea of an exposed zipper...  As Marie-Christine and KMQ suggested, I agree that the bust point is too high on the coat and this confuses me.  On full-size Burda patterns I need to petite the bodice but apparently my torso is too long for the petite Burda patterns?

Now, back to my home dec project.  Each pillow has a lapped zipper on one side, so I can take them off to wash.  The top one is a little smaller than the bottom two giving it a plumper look.  Who knew that half an inch would have made such a big difference?  The fabric remnant I used wasn't as wide as the other fabrics, and I went with it.

Here's my sofa.

Friday, January 14, 2011

Wherein I inadvertently sew a sausage casing

Greetings from my new apartment.  The natural light here is fabulous.  It's a new year, new apartment, and new job.  Now that I've told all the important people in my life, I figure I'll share a little bit of my non-sewing life with my online friends.  This fall was a frenzy of job searching and ending my postdoc research position.  Everything ended on December 31st -- my job, and my apartment lease -- without any way to extend either.  I was counting on what everyone was telling me, "It'll all work out," so I hadn't made a request to extend either one in time.

And things did work out.  What can I say, I live a charmed life?  With 15 days left in 2010, I was offered a grownup job and 2 days later I found an apartment.  I finally signed an employment contract on the 4th, and turned a year older on the 6th, leaving for the first vacation in 5 years on the 7th.  Now I'm back and have 2 and a half weeks till my job starts.  I plan to spend this time relaxing, doing some visiting with friends, and sewing new clothes for my job.  The last few weeks have been moving, wrapping up the postdoc work, and running around buying furniture (more shopping than I've done in a year.)

I'd been sewing all along, but from October through oh, today, my life has been really hectic and my blog was the first to get neglected.  

It's tempting to blame the looming stress of potential unemployment and homelessness for the outcome of this coat (at the time, I would completely forget where I had put my car which made picking up furniture really difficult!) but I honestly don't think I've made a mistake.  This coat is Burda 09-2010-101, a petite dress coat that I thought would be pretty marvy in a light wool coating.  I traced and cut a size 19, which is my size, and this is what happened.

I have it pinned just shy of center front and am only wearing a t-shirt underneath.  There is no hope for this if I were to wear, say, a sweater.  Extremely impractical for New England.
Front view, much more snug than anticipated.

From the back, it's not so readily noticeable but who wants to stand in a corner all day?
Having put it on again today, I think I also sewed the sleeves on backwards but at this point that's the least of the fit problems.  I don't know how this could have happened, other than Burda either drafted this small for "petites" or it's intended to fit more like a dress than a coat?

From the magazine  photo, I get the sense that you're not supposed to wear this closed.  Maybe it fits the model like a sausage casing as well and she just opted to leave it open? 

Burda 09-2010-101, not to be viewed from the front.  Ever.

So promising.  Maybe in a larger size?
 I'm going to leave it at this: if you are teeny, and interested in finishing the coat get in touch with me.  m3li88a(at)gmail(dot)com.  I will send this to you if you want to finish and wear it.  I had a friend who is an inch smaller in the bust and waist try this on and it was still too small for her.  I think that you will need to be 31" or smaller in the bust, have a waist of 24" or smaller and be willing to put up with possibly backwards sleeves as well as bagging the lining and adding snaps... the coat is unhemmed.  I'm going to keep this for a couple days to see if anyone's interested, but after that it'll be considered a wadder.  Sad, I hate seeing things go to waste.

Here is a photo of the lining, if you're inclined.  The fabric is lighter than a melton, heavier than a gabardine.  To be completely frank, I am a little disappointed in the quality -- it was pilling as I was cutting and marking.  Maybe, given that and the possibly backwards sleeves, this should head straight to wadder heaven?