Wednesday, March 19, 2008

Not your usual shirt placket :))

Well, I'm working on my second blouse (and third top) for my Timmel SWAP entry, which is the shirt from my wardrobe pattern, Vogue 2813, made in red silk twill (necktie silk).

The shirt is far from being finished (I added a bit of embellishment to the front, and I'm making French seams again) but I'd like to show you how I treated the shirt placket.

Regarding the placket, I know that some bloggers find it difficult, therefore I'd like to point you to two extremely useful tutorial (at least they were for me):

  • Kathleen Fasanella's tutorial: part 1, part 2, part 3 (I've tried this tutorial and loved it, it works great and it is easy)
  • Rusty Bobbin's tutorial for a shirt placket with continuous lap: I haven't tried this one but am looking forward to trying it. It looks easy, logical and the result is beautiful. Her method inspired me for the placket treatment that I'm showing today.
  • I'm waiting for David Coffin's Shirtmaking. It's going to be here soon. As a parenthesis, I bought a few books lately and am currently reading them (Claire Shaffer's Couture Sewing Techniques and High Fashion Sewing Secrets from the World's Best Designers: A Step-By-Step Guide to Sewing Stylish Seams, Buttonholes, Pockets, Collars, Hems, And More, Roberta Carr's Couture: The Art of Fine Sewing and Tailoring: The Classic Guide to Sewing the Perfect Jacket). When I buy a sewing book, I read it page by page. I then re-read it many times, by sections, according to the project I'm working on and the information that I need.

Not your usual shirt placket

First, cut a piece for the placket. This needs to be cut on grain, the width is 1' (approx. 2.5 cm), the length is twice the length of your placket slit plus 1' (approx 2.5 cm).

On the wrong side of the sleeve, draw around the slit a rectangle, adding 1/4' on each side of the slit and a supplementary 1/4" at the top, where the slit stops (see my picture below; look at the indigo lines, drawn with my vanishing marker. The white chalk marks are the original pattern marks. And sorry for the wonky lines, they are actually straight, but I moved the silk by mistake before taking the picture).

Now cut your slit open with really sharp scissors. You cut a straight line which is the length of your original slit (without the additional 1/4" at the top) and then, at the top, you cut diagonally to the top of the rectangle, like you would for a welt pocket.

You can see the cut below. I spread the sleeve so you can see accurately how I cut.

Now, take your placket and fold 1/4" on one long edge. Press.

Put the placket's right side (the unfolded edge aligned to the slit) to the sleeve's wrong side , and sew continuously: one side of the slit, the cut triangle, the other side of the slit. See the result below (the circle points you to the sewn triangle).

Press your seam allowances towards your placket. It should look like this:

Now fold the placket and wrap it over your seam allowances, bringing the pre-folded edge to the right side of the sleeve (make sure you cover the stitching).

Press. At the top of the rectangle, form a peak with your finger and press in place. It should look like this:

Now you're ready to sew. Edgestitch (an edgestitching foot helps) the placket and you're done.

Finished placket

Wrong side of the placket

Wednesday, March 12, 2008

SWAP item #6 - Not your usual white shirt

Not your usual white shirt - Burda WOF 01/2008, blouse 108

Untucked (I prefer it tucked in)

Blouse lying flat

I had another shirt in mind for this fabric but Christina's blouse (which I liked very much) and a blouse worn in Dirt 113 - Ite missa est by Laura Allen (cream silk with black piping) "fermented" in my brain and led to the present entry.

The fabric is white silk (I don't know what kind of silk, but here's a close-up of the fabric):

I did a petite alteration to this blouse. If you speak or understand German, here's a link to a pdf file explaining petite alterations on the Burdafashion website. Actually even if you don't speak German (I don't) I think the drawing speak for themselves. Also, here's a link to a thesis for a master degree. It is titled "Petite women: fit and body shape analysis" and it provides a lot of details concerning petite alteration. It's a very interesting paper, if you have the time for it.

I decided to use French seams for this blouse - I like this type of clean finish plus my silk is a tiny bit sheer.

The armhole seams are finished with satin bias binding. The same satin bias was used to finish the hem.

I've used Dawn's tip for perfect darts (I've been using it all the time since she posted it) - so logical and clever to position your fabric to have a straight line from the needle, to the dart tip, to your nose!

And I've used Sigrid's tutorial for the collar with stand. Great tutorial, the result was a very nice collar.

I wanted clean lines of piping and didn't want any topstitching (either white or black) near my piping, therefore the sleeve cuffs and the button stands are finished by hand on the inside, with the tiniest slipstitch possible and silk thread.

Close-up of piping

To add piping to the button stand, I cut two separate pieces for each stand instead of cutting the stand on fold. I've also made oblique buttonholes.

I've used black satin piping (store-bought) and for the buttons and tie, a piece of polkadotted satin that I used for pipings and bindings (see my toreador pants)

This was a time-consuming project, considering the French seams and the hand finishings. But the most time-consuming and annoying task was to cover the buttons in satin. The buttons were metal and the satin was sooooo slippery (starching didn't help too much). It was a pain to center the white dot on the buttons. I used temporary adhesive spray and it helped a bit.

I didn't care for the bow at the neck (showed in the Burda magazine) so I'd rather wear my tie straight, without any bow. However, a word of warning for those wanting the bow: my tie is already 7 cm longer than the Burda tie and it would still be a bit too short for a bow. So if you want a bow, you should add about 10-15 cm to the tie.

Tuesday, March 4, 2008

SWAP item #5 - Not your usual coat

More than two weeks have gone since my last post. My working life has been so busy and stressful that I ended up having some health problems last week, that got me a bit worried. I'm quite alright now, taking some pills, lots of vitamins + minerals. A discussion with my boss concerning my workload and stress levels also helped so I do hope that the next weeks will be a bit easier on me.

I've worked on this coat on and off for two weeks. The pattern is BWOF 11/2007, coat 115.
You can see the jacket version of this pattern made by Paco Peralta here.

(I was in a playful mood last night when I took the pictures and I decided to imitate Jackie O :) )

Why is this not your usual coat?
  • First, because of the print. The red/white/black boucle from TimmelFabrics gives a different touch to this coat. It looks more cheerful and less formal to me, plus it ties in beautifully with my SWAP wardrobe. I only have coats in solids but this coat made me think about other prints (well, plaids, houndstooth) for coats.
  • Second - it is all in the lining. The lining is a wool jersey, very soft and thin (I've read about Coco Chanel using wool jersey in her jackets). I think I've said it many times lately that I've become very partial to underlinings. After making my Chanel style jacket, I was absolutely thrilled with the softness and lightness of this jacket (after all, the Chanel technique of quilting the lining to the jacket is closer to an underlining than an actual lining), with the way the lining moves together with the garment, and not as a separate body joined at some seams. Read here an online Threads article by Sandra Betzina about lining versus underlining.
  • I therefore decided to use for this coat a technique described by Shannon Gifford - click here for the Threads online article. She calls this technique "Line and Underline in one step", but I've also saw it called "flatlining". I won't insist on the technique as it is clearly described in the article but feel free to ask if you have any questions. I did however some things differently: 1) I didn't cut the seam allowances to 1/4 inches (approx 4 mm), as I'm using boucle and this ravels so easy that you don't want to take that chance; 2) In my opinion, topstitching the seam is not absolutely necessary. After pressing the seams well, I could have left them like that. I decided to topstitch because I thought a supplementary stitch will help even more in stabilising the boucle and preventing raveling and because the boucle is forgiving and all the stitching is "burried" in it any way. 3) I wanted to get closer to the Chanel technique, therefore after lining the entire coat, I quilted the lining to the coat. Yes, I get crazy ideas like that some times, must be all the work stress :) This time I spaced my quilting lines at 2 inches apart (approx 5 cm) instead of 1 inch (the way I did in my Chanel style jacket) and I've used again silk thread and my walking foot. And lots of pins. There are three rows of quilting on each panel, this makes for 24 long lines of quilting. It was difficult and time consuming because this time I was working with the entire coat sewn, not with one pattern piece at the time and my sewing table being quite small, my pins kept hitting other things on the table and coming loose and the coat was hanging all over the place. Well, I managed and to my surprise, the wool jersey burries the stitching even better than the boucle!
  • What was different from making a Chanel style jacket: I taped the roll line, I taped the center fronts and the neckline, I staystitched and taped the armhole, I've interfaced the hem, extending the interfacing past the hemline. I didn't use a chain in the hem but still I needed something to weigh down this very light and drapey coat. Therefore I borrowed another technique of Paco and inserted a curtain weight cord in the hem - see here the photo on Paco's blog of the cord and the way it is inserted.
  • The facings, the hem and the sleeve seams are bound with satin bias tape. The facings are slipstitched by hand to the coat.

  • Changes made to the pattern: I ditched the pockets (you cannot have in-seam pockets with this underlining technique). I first thought of making patch pockets but I didn't think they would go very well with this design so I gave up pockets altogether. I don't use coat pockets very much anyway, they go out of shape so easy. I also ditched the zippers inserted in the sleeve seam.
The result is an incredibly light coat, feels lighter than a cardigan and is very good for spring. Despite the lightness, is surprisingly warm, due to the wool jersey used in the underlining.