Wednesday, July 30, 2008

White denim jacket and skirt

I decided to use the 3 or more yards of white "ten ounce" denim I have and make it into a jacket and skirt. Not to wear all together of course, lest I look like the Man from Glad. I am calling it "ten ounce" because it is very substantial, like the denim you get in traditional jeans.
white denim jacket and skirt
I am using Butterick 4741, view D (the red one), the same pattern I used for the yellow cotton jacket I wore to death in France. This time, I am taking up the sleeves by 1/2 inch and the body by a whole inch. The sleeves were really long on the yellow jacket and I ended up rolling the cuffs up almost the whole time I wore the jacket. I didn't notice that the body itself was really long but looking at it in the mirror, I realize it could come up a bit too.
white denim jacket and skirt
I am using McCall's 3656 in a modified version of the fly-front with pockets skirt. It is way too short for 50 year old knees so I have lengthened it over the years.
white denim jacket and skirt
That looks lame but it is still just above the knee, even with the extension. When you are 6 feet tall, you can wear a skirt that goes half way down the thigh and it is wearable. But when you are 5'2", the femur just isn't that long and halfway down it can mean disaster for sitting in a short skirt. So I go just above the knee for a casual, cotton skirt.
white denim jacket and skirt
I've been thinking about what buttons to use. As is my wont, when I can't sleep, I go through my fabric boxes in my head and sometimes, I think about the next project. I have a white corduroy jacket in the "classic" jean jacket pattern and I used silver snaps for that. I didn't want to go with plain white boring buttons on this jacket but couldn't decide until I thought about wooden buttons!
white denim jacket and skirt
Of course, I shall have to go get some new ones and they won't be very dark wood but what do you think of the concept?

Tuesday, July 29, 2008

Man's casual shirt

Vroom! Bird shirt done!
Bike/bird/Hawaiian shirt
We have had some wet summer so far so maybe this bright shirt will perk things up. If nothing else, they will see him coming on the bike path.
Bike/bird/Hawaiian shirt
I used my old tried and true pattern - McCall's 8409. It makes a roomy short sleeved casual shirt and he likes it.
Bike/bird/Hawaiian shirt
This time, I modified the front bands. The pattern calls for the buttonhole (left) side to be a true band and the other side (the right or button side) was just folded over. I decided to make both sides true bands and I like the difference. It's sturdier and looks more professional.
Bike/bird/Hawaiian shirt
As usual, I put the sleeve on first, before I did the underarm seam.
Bike/bird/Hawaiian shirt
This allows the flat fell finish to be even easier around the shoulder.
Bike/bird/Hawaiian shirt
Then I finished it up in a trice! What next, I wonder?

Saturday, July 26, 2008

Navy linen outfit, finished

Done! Well, mostly anyway.
navy linen jacket
I have put a line of basting down the edge of the facing, to keep it from bagging at the bottom, which is often a problem. I pressed the heck out of the fronts at the facings, because one was bagging more than the other. Then, while it was still flat on the ironing board, I basted the facing to the front.
navy linen jacket
Now that the buttons and buttonholes are done, I am thinking about pick stitching (in navy) where the basting is now. I have always had "issues" with facings - they flap open, the raw edge ravels even if it is finished. So if I pick stitch the edge of the facing to the front, I won't have those problems and I won't have bagging of the front. Hopefully, the hand stitching will be a design feature, especially because the jacket is quite plain to begin with. I have tried the jacket on and it is loose and therefore very comfortable, in that it doesn't bind anywhere. While I am thinking about it, I will cut out a cycling shirt for Peter.

Friday, July 25, 2008

Navy linen outfit

I have been picking away at the navy outfit. Once I am almost done an outfit, I tend to lose momentum because I start thinking about the next project. It is ever thus and therefore why I have my "rule" whereby I cannot start one project without completely finishing the one before.
navy linen outfit
I have got the skirt almost done. I put hangers on the facing because the other linen skirt kept falling off the hanger when I used wooden clothespins because it was extra long and extra heavy. i.e. I put hangers on it too. I have to hand sew around the zipper and hand sew the hem. All I have left is to machine sew the lining hem. Not too exciting - it's just a plain navy skirt.
navy linen outfit
Here is the back of the jacket before I pressed the hem.
navy linen outfit
And here is the benefit of pressing and clapping the hem. I have also added the two decorative buttons as detail to the back. All that is left is the front buttonholes and buttons.

Thursday, July 17, 2008

I has a ham!

Well that was the most thorough breast exam I've ever had. And the mammogram was the least objectionable. Those women know what they are doing. The only bad thing was that I got lost on the way and arrived 10 minutes late and in a positive lather. I kept apologizing for dripping sweat all over their machines. I loathe and detest whoever designed how the Queensway crosses Carling and splits Carling and all the other idiots who don't put visible numbers on their stupid buildings. I was also mad at myself for imagining the building when I heard the person tell me it was in a "small mall". I was envisioning a 4 or 6 plex but it turns out it is in a much larger place than that, which has an anchor grocery store for heaven's sake. Anyway, I rode sedately back to the Fabricland on the way home and got the seam binding I needed. I also escaped buying more fabric.
navy buttons
I got some nice, plain dark buttons for the navy linen blend jacket. Mostly matte with a little shine around the edges.
And I got a ham! I has a ham! Okay, it's a walrus with a bucket, but it cracks me up too. I have grown tired of pressing shoulders and other curvy bits inadequately on the sleeve board. Hmm, bad photo, but then, you know what a ham is. And if not, I'll be sure to show pix of me using it.
jacket pattern
And I have acquired some more jacket patterns (Vogue V8146). I seem to be obsessed with detail on the back. It's similar to the linen jacket I just made but has no yoke and it's not pleated.
red Chinese linen
I have continued to muse about the red Chinese linen that a student who became a friend got me from China.
jacket pattern
And now I think I have the right pattern (New Look 6619). I just have to decide whether to make the large collar or the smaller, stand-up one. I am leaning toward the large one because the fabric is already Chinese enough, without going for the look of the mandarin collar.

Wednesday, July 16, 2008


I was right - I ran out of seam binding. I have done the entire under-arm seam, both sides of the seam, on one side of the jacket but still have the other (about 2 meters), the hem (about 1.5 m) and sleeve hems to do so I need at least one more package for the jacket and then there's the skirt hem. So tomorrow, I'll be out on my bike, going to my fourth annual mammogram test - I'm telling you, they have GOT to invent a better way! - and on my way home, I'll swing by the store to get 2 more packages.
a clapped (clappered?) seam
In the meantime, I thought I'd try again to illustrate the benefit of a clappered (or is it clapped?) seam. (There is no definition for the wooden tool that is the almighty clapper in any online dictionary I have found. I just discovered Wikitionary and now I guess I have to add to it but whatta pain to sign up, etc.) Anyway, these are the underarm seams, put side by side. I have pressed both but only clappered the right one. I can see the difference, so I hope you can too. If you are still straining to tell the difference, the right hand one is a little bit flatter, so the tiny trench formed by the seam is a tiny bit deeper on the left hand one. It may not seem like much but when the entire garment has been carefully pressed like this, it looks more professional than if it wasn't.

Okay, I just went back and made the photo "original" size and Flickr and it really is hard to tell the difference. That big fold in the middle is the entire jacket back folded out of the way, so I am pointing to the seams! Trust me. :)
shirt fabric for P
In the meantime, while I wait to get my seam binding, I ironed and laid out some inexpensive but fun cotton with which I will zip up another of the bike shirts that Peter loves. It's just a plain old shirt pattern with short sleeves but he likes the roomy (capacious, even), breezy style as he commutes to work. I wasn't sure if he'd like these birds but he claims to. I am wondering which way is "up". I think "up" looks like it is on the left but that's the cross grain so I have to choose one of the other ways.

Tuesday, July 15, 2008

Navy linen outfit

Forging ahead. But first, I had a question on an old post about sewing skirt linings to the zipper tape. On the recent linen skirt and on the one I am making now, I will hand sew the lining to the zipper tape.
hand sewn lining
This is not complicated and in fact, it is easier except for the time it takes, than machine sewing. I like machine sewing because it never lets go. Sometimes, in my hand sewing the original knot will come undone or something and then I have to re-stitch. But you don't see the stitching from the outside and it is more elegant.
machine sewn lining
When I machine sew my lining down, I pin it from the wrong side and then sew it from the outside, running the line of stitching down the original line where the zipper was sewed in the first place. You can see this on the outside of this peach skirt - the two lines of stitching, one on top of the other. The trouble I run into with machine sewing is that sometimes I miss catching the lining on the inside and then I have to either sew it a third time or do it by hand.
navy linen blend outfit
On this navy skirt and the previous linen skirt, the pattern called for the use of grosgrain ribbon at the top instead of a facing. I also decided to line the skirt which is a simple enough thing to do.
navy linen blend outfit
Once the ribbon is sewn on, you just trim the seam and fold it over and tuck in the raw end of the ribbon by the zipper. I haven't worn the linen skirt yet so I don't know if the ribbon might feel uncomfortable at the top, especially as this is a high-waisted skirt but since it is high-waisted, I plan to tuck in whatever shirt I am wearing so I hope it won't be an issue.
navy linen blend outfit
I decided to set the sleeve in first, before I sewed up the underarm seam, because it is generally a little easier to get it in flat that way.
navy linen blend outfit
Then I trim the seam and sew on the double fold bias tape to finish it (since there isn't a lining with this jacket). I am using purchased tape because it is easier to let some machine in a factory make it uniform and nicely folded. But they only had one package of navy when I bought it and I think I will have to go back for a second package because, now that I am doing the sleeve this way, I might as well put seam binding all the way down the entire underarm seam including that of the sleeve as well. Of course, you can't do any of this if the sleeve seam doesn't match the side seam of the body of the jacket.
navy linen blend outfit
There is a white ribbon tied at Rose's waist and you can see that this jacket, while not a bolero length, is short. That's why I went with a high-waisted skirt.

Monday, July 14, 2008

Navy linen outfit

July 14
I have put the zipper in the navy skirt. (It doesn't look navy at all, but that's a trick of the light.)
navy linen outfit
As usual, I machine baste the opening edges together and then pin the zipper from the inside, pinning down the middle of the zipper tape. Then I baste down the outside edges of the zipper tape, because I sew down the middle from the right (outside) side and I don't want to try to pick basting thread out from machine sewed thread.
navy linen outfit
Here's the back of the jacket showing the one large pleat. I put the jacket on Rose inside out to show it from the wrong side.
navy linen outfit
Here's a close-up of the shoulder seam. I am putting seam binding on only one side of this seam to finish it. The other side, I zigzagged to make it more sturdy for future long-term wearing, but it will be covered by the front facing so I don't need to put seam binding on both sides of the seam.
navy linen outfit
And here is where I am tonight, hand sewing the collar facing in between the edges of the front facings. I often machine sew these things but when I am trying to achieve a more couture look, I will make the effort and hand sew with tiny stitches.

Saturday, July 12, 2008

Catching up

Where does the time go?? I can't believe it has been weeks since I blogged and this time, I don't even have the excuse that I went to France. I may have a touch of the ennui of Henri. Not really but every time I watch that video, it cracks me up.

SO! I made the two white shirts.
white shirt long sleeves
I've been wanting to try this new shirt pattern, McCall's M5630 because it has a classic two piece collar. I'd made Simplicity 9877 to death and it fits really well but it has a one piece collar that doesn't do up properly. Not that I will be wearing a tie but I used to sometimes (I think it was the 80s when the style was in) and you need a proper collar to take a tie. Anyway, this new pattern also fits really well so I may make it for a while now.
white shirt sleeveless
I had quite a bit of some white cotton that had been on sale and it has a bit of Lycra in it which makes for ease in wearing. After the long sleeved shirt, I had just enough left over to make this other sleeveless white "shirt", of which I have at least half a dozen variations. It's very simple to make and very comfortable when it gets hot and humid, especially with no collar to heat up the neck. I can wear it over a t-shirt too as a sort of vest. Very versatile.
home from a Habitat build
One "excuse" for not blogging was that I spent a whole day (yeah, only one) on July 3 at the Habitat build. It was pouring rain that morning but I had already planned to bike (otherwise, I could have taken a bus I suppose) so I went and got soaked from the knees down. But there was so much rain and water on the street that I got soaked every time I took my butt off the bike seat for a traffic light and then got back on the seat. So until the rain stopped and the place dried out a bit (some time after 2 pm), the water wicked up my cotton pants and I was wet from the ribs down, despite my good Goretex rain jacket. I was wearing my Habitat t-shirt from last year and they offered me a new one for this year, which I wasn't going to take until I realized that I was freezing so the rest of the day, I wore two t-shirts. Next time, I will wear a fleece that stays warm, even if it gets wet. I ended up shoveling about a ton of gravel in the basement and could hardly lift my arms the next day.
new short jacket pattern
So after the success (at least in terms of the sewing) of my linen outfit, which I know isn't finished yet because I need to sew on snaps and get different buttons but that will wait until later, I decided to make this other short, unlined jacket pattern in a navy linen-rayon blend. I figured I could wear the navy skirt with the natural coloured flowered linen and it could work together. This is Butterick B5143.
new short jacket pattern
I usually fold up the long views if I am making the short and then I don't have to try to fit the cut-off pattern pieces together again but with the curves and things in this hemline, I had to cut off the long views. I don't think I would make the long versions anyway. I am going to make the stand-up collar, not the two piece collar, just like view A. So far, I have cut everything out, including lining for the skirt (which will be the same as the previous, high-waisted linen skirt) and have done most of what I call the prep work, which is sewing on the interfacing (I went with sew-in this time, as I did with the linen), finishing some edges, making darts. Since it is supposed to rain tomorrow, I think I will go read on the patio now, and save the sewing for after dinner.