Wednesday, September 20, 2006

Pinning sleeves

Peter came home from work yesterday and while I was in my sewing room as usual, Rockwell wasn't with me, keeping me company and watching out for Peter. So it was a quiet and lonely homecoming. Peter had to come upstairs and sit by the window like Rockwell did in the afternoons, just so I wouldn't feel alone. Then he grabbed "my" camera and took some pix of me while I was pinning the shoulder seam on the mauve jacket.
pinning sleeves
You don't usually get to see the "big picture" as I am always taking extreme close-ups of my work.
pinning sleeves
And yes, I made my shirt and skirt too. :)

Tuesday, September 19, 2006

Skirt finished and jacket half done

I've been a little distracted with all that's been going on over at my puppy blog and while I managed to get a lot sewed in the last week, I haven't been able to blog about it until now.
layout with scissors
In this photo lies my secret weapon - the ancient-but-still-serviceable electric scissors my Mum gave me the last time she visited. She doesn't do much sewing any more - at least, not heavy duty stuff - and she figured I could use them. I remember her using them years and years ago but I never thought any more about them. When I wrote the last line on my last entry "oh my aching hand" I suddenly remembered the electric scissors. Well, I can say they worked like a dream. Who knew! Not me anyway. I used my shears to cut small details but the electric scissors cut through the bulk of the corduroy (and I do mean bulk) like a hot knife through butter.
sewing stack
As usual, once I got everything cut out and the interfacing ironed on, I started assembling as many pieces as I could. I don't follow the exact order as shown in the pattern instructions because I feel it's faster to "assembly line" as many pieces as possible.
jacket half done
Before I knew it, I had the body of the jacket assembled and looking pretty purple! The red jacket peeking out from behind it is there so I can compare a finished jacket with the one in progress, in addition to looking at the instructions.
pocket flaps
Unfortunately, part way through some of the top stitching, I noticed that the top thread tension had increased and caused the top thread to look stretched-out. I fiddled with the tension gizmo - thread tension is the bane of my existence - and I got it worked out. I decided not to pick out the stitching and re-do the top stitching, even though the difference is noticeable. I hate picking out stitching and I also thought that it might look worse if I did that, because of the fluff and nap of the fabric. Maybe after I wash and iron it a few times, it will become less noticeable.
skirt vent
As I wrote earlier, I decided to line the skirt. Since the pattern doesn't call for lining, I had to make it up as I went. I have lined this skirt before but each time, I do it a different way. This time, I sewed the lining to the skirt at the top and let it hang free down the sides and at the bottom. The problem arises with the vent. How do I work the lining vent around the skirt vent so you don't see the lining at the vent when the skirt is worn? In this photo, I have the skirt on the ironing board and am trying to figure it out.
vent with lining
The vent can fold either way (left or right) so that part didn't matter. In this photo, I have decided to sew the lining down under the sewn part of the vent - the angled line of stitching at the top of the vent. The opposite bit of lining will hang free and won't show because it is folded and behind the vent anyway.
skirt zip inside
Finally, the only other place where I attached the lining to the skirt is around the zipper. I don't want the lining to get caught in the zipper so I sew it down along the zipper stitching line. And it wasn't until I got home and started putting the skirt together that I realized the zipper I chose was so pink! It must have looked a lot more mauve in the store, that's all I can think. Anyway, the skirt is completely finished and now I'm onto the sleeves of the jacket.

Saturday, September 09, 2006

Corduroy Skirt and Jacket

At last, I am finished the wedding gift! I will post pictures of the finished product after we attend the event. In the meantime, I did decide to start on the mauve corduroy. I haven't got very far but I decided to post the beginnings for fear of losing loyal readers who may wonder if I am ever coming back.
skirt jacket patterns
The first pattern is McCall's 3830 for the skirt. I make the second longest skirt, view B, for my Fall and Winter skirts. I have several of these skirts and they are warm and practical and I think they look good, especially with boots to give a uniform look to what's left of my short legs peeking out from under the skirt. I also like to wear them with dark tights. And I like the fact that they don't blow around or up in the cold Winter winds like a wider, more circular skirt would, which is important when it's about -30C out there.

The second pattern is Vogue 7610 for the jacket. I have quite a few of these jackets and made one for my niece in the last entry series. To my mind, they work under every circumstance I can think of, except maybe a visit with the Queen, and even then, if it was at Balmoral in sometimes chilly Scotland, I'd give it a whirl. I don't think it will be too much mauve if I wear the skirt and jacket together, especially if I wear different colours in the legs and top.
I have decided to line the skirt because the cotton fabric, textured a bit even on the wrong side, will stick to tights and ride up as I walk. I could wear a slip instead of lining it but the slip can show at the back vent. Plus I want the option of adding a slip (or two) when it really gets cold. I went to my stash of lining fabrics and discovered that I had a bit but not enough of some mauve that matches exactly (to the left), some really lovely, thin light grey stuff, of which I had bought yards for some project I can no longer remember, and some darker, cheaper stuff (on the right). Because it's just the skirt, I have decided to go with the cheaper darker stuff and save the nice grey for when I can remember what that project was. You can also see the corduroy behind the pieces of lining.
lining layout
It's nice that the lining is wide enough to accommodate the two skirt pattern pieces side by side. In the photo, I have forgotten to turn up the bottom of the pattern pieces by an inch, which I do to make the lining that much shorter than the finished skirt. I did that and then pinned the pieces to the lining and cut them out using pinking shears. I still haven't decided how I'm going to attach the lining, nor how I'm finishing the seams. Corduroy gives off those little fabric pills and lining ravels mercilessly.
corduroy layout
The corduroy is quite a bit narrower than the lining and so I will get out all my pattern pieces so that I can play around with them like puzzle pieces and therefore waste as little of the fabric as possible.
Finally, you can get an idea of the colour and the nap with this last picture. I have folded the end of the fabric over and in the part on the front of the photo, you are looking up the nap, so it looks darker. In the back of the photo, you are looking down the nap, so it looks lighter in colour. I plan to cut the pieces so that the nap runs down my body, from top to bottom. When I run my hand down my skirt to smooth it, I will be smoothing down the nap as well, not brushing it up.

Next - layout and cutting. Oh my aching hand.

Sunday, September 03, 2006

Thinking about the next thing

I had a dream last night about sewing - imagine that. :) I had several UFOs (unfinished objects) and was sorting them out to decide what to do with them. One project consisted of two unfinished jackets, each in black and white pieces. In the dream, I was trying to make sense of what I had been trying to accomplish. It looked as though I had cut out two identical jackets - one in black and the other in white and then I had randomly mixed up the pieces so one jacket had a white sleeve and a black sleeve and two black lapels and they just looked awful. The other project consisted of two kinds of pink fabric that I had started to sew into shorts, pants, a skirt, some tops - way too much pink. Anyway, it reinforced why I have "My Rule" about only working on one project at a time.

Currently, I am sewing a wedding present but not blogging about it because I like presents to be a surprise. But I am almost finished so I can start to think of my next project while wrapping this one up. I wanted to make Peter another pair of shorts after altering the pattern for the first pair of shorts I made that were too voluminous. Now however, it seems to be Fall all of a sudden so shorts won't get worn until next year. Ditto for another rayon cycling shirt for him. I recently bought a very cute pattern for a summer dress for me - sleeveless, buttons up the front - but now that Summer is gone, I may put that on hold too. So I think I'm going to work on some skirts that are knee length or slightly longer. I have some plain navy acrylic fabric that will make a serviceable skirt in the 6 or 8 gore pattern I have used before. Since I am teaching 4 mornings each week until Christmas, I will certainly get some wear out of skirts that I can layer with slips and leotards and knee-high boots as it gets colder.

However, I also bought some corduroy at the last big FabricLand sale and it is calling to me. It is beautiful, baby wale, mauve corduroy. I thought I would make a long skirt and another of the jean jackets of which I have about 12 already (I am obsessed I know but the jacket is so wearable and comfortable and I like it, darnit). For the skirt, I thought I would make another of the same pattern I have used quite a few times before - a straight skirt with a back vent that hits about mid calf. I am only 5 foot 2 so long skirts can overwhelm me but this one seems to work because it is simple and goes straight down. Also, if I made a wider skirt in corduroy, I think it would be too much - too big looking, too much bulky fabric (even baby wale corduroy gets bulky). I have one of these straight skirts already in a dark green corduroy and I wear it a lot in the cooler weather.

About the colour - whether you pronounce it properly ("mowve") or the other way ("mahve"), it is an old-fashioned word and connotes an old lady image. However when you describe it as a pale purple tending toward the blue instead of the pink, the colour of an evening sky perhaps, then it sounds much more artistic. When I decide on the next project, we'll have photos!