Thursday, November 29, 2007

Another winter skirt

pieces of a skirt
As you can see, I went with the easy and hopefully fast option. I have cut out the fabric I don't care for in the easiest skirt pattern I have. I also had lining which I cut out with pinking shears so I don't have to finish the raw edges. I need to zigzag the raw edges on the ravelly "wool" fabric which I will do along the long edges on each of the three pieces. I also see that ravelly isn't a real word but that ravel can mean both to tangle and to untangle. Good grief. To work!

Tuesday, November 27, 2007


Here it is, nine days since I last blogged. I thought I would quick-like-a-bunny make that white striped shirt up and go on to a new project - something that wasn't "just a shirt". I did get the shirt done and I wore it to work today so I am pleased about that. But I wasn't very quick about it.
white striped shirt
Here is the shirt halfway done...
white striped shirt
and here it is, finished with buttons and everything (hmm, kinda looks the same). Obviously, I really like this pattern and it works for me.
two fabrics
Now I have to decide "what next?" I have that raw silk I got at a total bargoon but I haven't decided what jacket pattern to use. I am leaning toward something simple and boxy because of the weave. On the other hand, I made a coat from a looser weave with princess seams and everything and it turned out okay, except I didn't really like the finished product. Something about the fabric reminded me of the 70s and Phentex. Remember Phentex? (Now that I see they still exist, I am talking about the "yarn" that I remember from the 70s. Maybe they just invented it then and it was very synthetic. In retrospect, horribly so. I guess at the time, it was cool, to be different from real wool.) Well if you do, you'll know what I mean. And yet, in spite of that reminiscence and not caring much for the coat, I have a yard and a bit left of that purple loose weave and am contemplating making a plain, straight skirt. Because I think I can do it quickly. What, am I nuts? Don't bother to answer.

In the meantime, the zipper on those pants I got at such a bargain from Winners broke - it was defective - and since I only paid $35 for them (lined and wool) I have to replace the zipper. This is something I have never done before. I have put plenty of zippers in garments I made from scratch but never have I replaced one in a manufactured garment. I am dreading it a little. But I really like the pants and I already hemmed them and they are the only dress pants I own. sigh.

And the navy blazer hanging behind the white shirt above needs repair. It is a beautiful classic silk blazer made by Peter Nygaard that I bought when I had lots of money. I wore it so much that I have frayed the hem on the left sleeve where it comes in contact with my watch and didn't notice it until the other day when I wore the jacket for the first time in ages. I might be able to just turn it under a tiny bit - I'll have to think on it.

Friday, November 16, 2007

You can never have too many white shirts

I finished the peach outfit days ago and have already started on something else.
peach skirt hem
Here is the skirt, about to be finished. I hemmed the skirt with a narrow machine hem and then hung it up to see how far the lining hung down past the skirt hem. I trimmed off the lining that appeared below the hem (it was only about 3/8 of an inch) and then folded the lining hem up twice and sewed it by machine also. I wanted to get a picture of me wearing at least the blouse but I didn't I was going to wear it to our condo AGM Monday night but then I didn't so I haven't even worn it yet and it was finished Sunday night.
silver stripes (not grey)
Since I had the shirt pattern out, I decided to whip up one more shirt with some fabric I had recently got, as usual, on sale. This is white cotton with what I thought was a grey stripe running through it. Turns out it is more silver than grey. There is some Lycra in the fabric, like the peach cotton, so it stretched slightly which is nice.
striped fabric
I wanted to illustrate how it was hard to line the stripes up when I folded the fabric in two lengthwise but all I got with this picture. My thumb gives it scale, however. So I am cutting all the pieces out in single layers, just to make sure the stripes are the same on both halves. More work in one way but less fiddling too, so I think it balances out.

Sunday, November 11, 2007

Peach skirt, zipper and lining (example of UnderStitching)

Why is it taking so long to finish these things!? I've finally put the sleeves on the shirt but I haven't even finished that seam. Anyway, this entry - the skirt. I decided to line the skirt because, although the fabric is a nice, substantial cotton, it will look better and hang better with lining. The pattern doesn't call for lining but the yoke is also the facing and by hanging lining off the facing, I get a lined skirt.
Peach Skirt
Here is the skirt (inside out) and the lining. You can see I had a hard time "matching" the zipper! My only other choice was a pale pink and it just seemed better to go with the orange. The zipper setting is also overlapped slightly so maybe it won't show very much. Plus I never tuck tops in these days so that tends to cover a multitude of sins - mine and my sewing.
Peach Skirt
Now I have attached the lining/facing to the skirt around the top edge of the skirt. I have ironed the seam allowances toward the facing, as I am about to understitch.
Peach Skirt
Here, I have understitched the facing. Now I just have to attach the lining to the zipper tape and all the raw edges will be encased.
Peach Skirt
As usual, the ends of the zipper don't match up. All I need to do now is fold the higher side down to the inside some more and maybe (if I can) fold the other side up some more.
Peach Skirt
I have juggled with the top edge of the zipper and now they line up with each other. Next, I will sew the lining to the zipper tape (by machine to make sure it is secure). In this photo, you can see how one side of the zipper is sewed with a half inch seam allowance and the other side has a 5/8 allowance that overlaps the zipper teeth.

Tuesday, November 06, 2007

Peach shirt and skirt

This fabric is nice and easy to sew with but I just haven't been putting in the hours.
peach shirt and skirt
This is what happens when the flash doesn't go off (I think). Sometimes it does and sometimes it doesn't. I think when the flash doesn't go off, you get an orangey-yellow glow from the incandescent lamp I have over the ironing board. When the flash does go, the brighter light of the flash gives truer colours. Added to this is the peach colour of the fabric so sorry about having to wear sunglasses for this shot.
The front band (for buttons and buttonholes) is sewn to the wrong side of the shirt and then folded around and topstitched to the right side.
peach shirt and skirt
As usual, I press the heck out of the fabric. Even though the trimmed seam allowances get folded toward the band, I first press them open and then press them toward the band.
peach shirt and skirt
Then I turn it over and press the band from the inside of the shirt too, just to make sure it is flat. I even use the clapper on the wrong side.
peach shirt and skirt
When I go to topstitch the band to the right side, I can just slide the folded long edge over the original stitching line and because all the layers have been flattened so much, the actual topstitching goes very smoothly.
peach shirt and skirt
This skirt pattern has a yoke and the inside of the yoke becomes the facing for the top of the skirt because there is no waistband. I wanted to line the skirt and when I have done this before, I have had to rig up a lining because the pattern doesn't call for one. As I was making this skirt now for the third time, I suddenly realized that I could attach the lining to the yoke facing and when the yoke gets all attached to the skirt itself, the lining will hang down and hide all the inside seams, including the bottom of the yoke facing which the pattern instructions don't say to finish in any way. I know I am a little obsessed about finishing the inside of garments but it seems to give me peace of mind so I'll continue doing it.