Thursday, October 2, 2008
Now, don't ask me how I got the idea for this trenchcoat because I really cannot remember. All I know is that it obsessed me my entire holidays, it was taking shape into my mind and I was really looking forward to get back and start sewing again. Funny because I used the last week of my holidays to give a very thorough cleaning to our apartment - you know, when you move every piece of furniture to clean underneath?. I sometimes get urges like that to clean everything and put it in order, it is a bit like putting order in my entire life or starting fresh and clean (I'm born in autumn and tend to view autumn as a beginning, I know it might seem strange). So I only started to work on the trench after I got back to work.
I really love trenchcoats (especially fitted) and can't have enough of them, plus I wanted very much a white trenchcoat. I love white coats (even if they have to be washed or cleaned very often) and I like how I look in white.
Taking into account that I spent a lot lately on sewing notions and gadgets, stocking up on things harder to find, I decided I'd better shop my own stash for fabric and patterns - I have quite a lot already. There was no trenchcoat pattern in my stash, not for a classic trenchcoat, but more modern interpretations. The only pattern coming close to what I wanted was this Burda pattern - coat 111 from BWOF 10/2007. A coat pattern. Now, I had to downsize the pattern anyway, I'm a 34 in Burda and the coat is 36-44. A coat has a lot more ease than a trenchcoat, especially a fitted trenchcoat like I wanted and one in a pretty summery/early fall fabric (a thin cotton twill). I normally would have pulled one of my patternmaking books and try to see what is the ease in a coat and what in a fitted early fall coat, but I have no idea what kind of ease Burda uses (I think there are several "schools" in the field...) I thought a solution would be to downsize another size, thus going from 36 to 32. I'm not really sure this is the wise way to do it, but it does make sense in a way. By going down a size, you decrease the width, you get higher armholes, you decrease the width of the sleeve as well etc.
I must confess, blushing with shame, that I didn't make a muslin. I know, I should have. But I had two reasons: 1) Burda patterns fit me really well and most of the time I have no alterations to make (except the petite alteration that I always do, using this Burda workshop); 2) I get so obsessed with a project that I literally cannot wait to see it starting to take shape.
So, now to the "technical" details. The coat is made out of a thin cotton twill. The topstitching is done by hand, using multi-strand embroidery floss (all of the six strands) and a 0.5 mm (approx 1/4") running stitch, situated at 1 cm (approx 3/8") from the edge. There's topstitching on the pocket flaps, the belt, the lapels collar, front edge and hem of the trench, the back center seam (including the vent), the back sleeve seam.
I've used Diva Ann's tutorial for making a welt pocket using an organza "window"- see the tutorial here and was very happy with the result. See below how clean it looks:
I've used my Tailoring: The Classic Guide to Sewing the Perfect Jacket book for fusing various types of interfacing to the garment, interfacing the lapels and sewing the collar. Great info, I really like this book.
For bagging the lining, I've used (again), Kathleen Fasanella's series of Nameless tutorials. Really, once you try her method, I doubt you'll ever want to use another. Look how clean (and entirely by machine, no handstitching) the finish of the lining+facing at the hem:
I simply adore it. It looks so professional and it is so easy to achieve. I've been using this method for a long while now, but this is the first time I've used Kathleen's book to draft my own facings and lining. Guess what? The way she has you drafting the lining, you get rid of that pleat at the hem. I don't know about you, but I always disliked that pleat. It is such a pain to iron (I never know exactly how much I should fold it when ironing it) and then when you wear the jacket, the pleat unfolds a bit and you have a rigid crease where you fold it. I strongly recommend Kathleen's book. Besides the info in it, it also gives you one-year free access to her members only forum - another wealth of information.
Take a look at the photo below...
See how the lining "blouses" at the hem? Drafting the lining as Kathleen instructs you gives you plenty of ease to allow movement, but no pleat.
For finishing the vent, see this episode of the nameless series.
Unfortunately, when I cut the lining, I forgot to allow for the vent, and cut the back traditionally (omitting the vent). I added then a rectangle to the right side of the lining and I left the left side as it was, mitering the corner.
Mental note to self: Stop cutting fabric when very tired .
The buttonholes are corded, using the same multi-strand embroidery floss that I used for topstitching. The beautiful buttons are a gift from Summerset.
Wednesday, October 1, 2008
Back of top
Top lying flat
This is a top made just before leaving for holidays. I used top 126 from Burda 07/2008 as a starting point and added some changes. I really liked the back of the pattern. I love the blousy shape that is trendy now, but be careful - your fabric must be drapey if you don't want to look like you put on weight. I also loved how the pattern doesn't have any side seams. It is interesting and it also speeds up the sewing.
First of all, I downsized to 34. I've used an insert in Burda magazine to do it, but there's also this tip on PR that I use a lot.
I knew I wanted a really sexy top to wear for salsa dancing and for hot holidays nights out. I made this top in a hurry to have it for holidays (it was made at the end of July) so I didn't have the time to take any photos, but I tried to show you on the pattern technical drawing what I did.
The red lines are the new design lines. The front and back band are cut away from the pattern. I used black cotton-lycra for the band and I interfaced them with soft knit interfacing. You must interface them, otherwise you risk a drooping neckline. And you don't want that, do you?
The back is cut to have a deep cleavage, showing your nude back. You cannot wear a bra with this - well, actually you could wear a very interesting bra that you feel like showing, if you want. The design is quite blousy so I don't think it works for insertion of bra cups. My fabric is drapey but quite thick so I can wear the top without a bra and I'm still totally decent. And after all, you can always purchase those little silicone patches that cover your nipples if your fabric is too revealing.
The center back seam is pivoted to make a cowl.
The green lines on the front show you where I cut and spread the pattern, to have little gathers that go in the neckline. I only spread my cuts about 1 cm away (approx 3/8'), I could have spread them a bit more, but as I told you I was in a hurry and didn't have time to experiment.
The back is gathered around the square insert (part of it shows in the left corner of the drawing - the dotted black lines show the gathering), that I also cut from black viscose lycra. That is from the original Burda design and it is a detail that I like very much.
Even if it's quite a particular top, I think I will sew it again, probably in a solid. I wore it to death during holidays and salsa parties and I got tons of compliments over it. While away on holidays, a girl wanted to buy it off my back and offered me 100 Euros for that. I took it as a compliment but kept the top :)
See this older post for sewing with knit tips.
I know I have promised to be back at the end of August, but somehow I didn't manage to keep that promise. Work and readjusting to work after a one-month holiday, and I also felt a bit low for a while. I'm definitely better right now and as one very special friend told me, it is good to indulge but then you have to snap out of it.
I did sew in the meantime, so I'll have things to show you. I'll post them one by one to make linking easier when I want to refer to a particular garment.
I also bought a new camera and you'll have to bear with the (poor) quality of my photos for a while. I'm still experimenting with the camera on one hand and I had to change the place where I used to take pictures on the other hand - for the simple reason that I cannot put this camera in the same position as the older one. You'll see in future posts that pictures are not very well framed (part of my head is missing, part of my legs are missing too). I'm going to buy a tripod soon but it annoys me that I won't be able to sit the camera in a vertical position (most time I prefer portrait photos to landscape photos).
With great delay, I want to list some beautiful things I received from dear friends in the last past months. So, in chronological order...
From Marji, during her 50 giveaway:
From left to right: beautiful double-faced wool, and two pieces of gorgeous silk.
From Summerset - she knew I had a tough time in spring so she sent me a little cheer-up gift. Please notice that everything, including the card is in my favorite combo of colours. She also got my postal address from another friend, without me knowing it, so I was blown away when I got the parcel!
It seems I forgot to include in the photo the most gorgeous black and white sequined button I've ever seen! (made by Summerset, of course). There were also some black beautiful buttons, you'll see them very soon. They are already attached to something :)
Sewing Diva Els helped me buy some very nice and useful notions (and I got another load coming). Not only she was incredibly helpful both in giving advice and driving to a store to get me some things, but she also threw in scraps of interfacing to experiment with, shoulder sleeves and a pair of shoulder pads. There's also some black seam binding not included in the photo, but you'll see it very soon - I used it on a recent project.
My sister surprised me and sent me all the way from Stockholm this gorgeous birthday gift
Everything is made by her own little hands. Can you believe this? Secretive as she is, I had no idea she was into jewelry making...
And this gorgeous black patent bag was a birthday gift from my husband....
And this handpainted bag is a gift from my co-workers. Even my cat loves it!
I also found out that I was nominated for International Superstar award on the Pattern Review. Wow, can you believe this???
And I got a prize from Mirela. If you're not familiar with her blog, go there right away. Mirela is a fellow Romanian living in the States. She's very talented, she sews, she knits, she crochets, she makes really beautiful things.
The rules for this award - prize are as follows:
1. Select 6 bloggers to whom you would like to give this award- prize
2. Put the award - prize on your blog and indicate who gave it to you by identifying her/his blog;
3. Paste these rules on your blog;
4. Write 6 of your most important values and 6 negative points you condemn,
5. Inform the 6 recipients by leaving a comment on their blog.
Most important values
- "Nurture people, not products"
- Trying to be better all the time
- Hurting people and knowing it
- Taking advantage of the weaker
I give this prize to all of you.
UPDATE: I've just ordered a tripod and it's going to be delivered to my home tomorrow in the evening. Can't wait!