Purple jacket progress

I finished cutting out the pieces for the purple jacket. But now I can’t decide what to bind the edges with.  I have a foldover bias tape that looks a little like satin.  The main problem is that it is  very narrow and I’m afraid of not being able to manage it and making it look homemade.

I also have some black foldover elastic.  Same problem. Only, in addition, I’m afraid it will look cheap as well.  I’m thinking of heading back to the fabric store to see if I can find some satin or other matching fabric that would make a pretty bias binding. 

Also, it looks like I have enough fabric leftover to make a pencil skirt to go with the jacket.  Yipee!



Jacket Sewing, pt 2

I cut and pinned all day yesterday.  I now have two jackets cut out and ready to sew.

1.  The purple suiting from yesterday.  Cut out as Robin’s jacket.  I’m ready to sew, but I need a foldover trim binding before I can start.  The very first step is to bind the edges of the pockets. 

2.  Blue hopsack that I bought last week.  I’m making it up as Max’s jacket with a white trim around the edge.  I need lining for it.  I could start sewing, but I want to cut the lining while the jacket is still pinned to the pattern so I can get the pieces all the same size.

I have fabric for a few others waiting in the wings as well. 

1.  Pink broadcloth with a tiny jacquard-like dot in it.  I’m thinking probably Sheila’s jacket for this one.  The fabric arrived just a couple of days ago and so needs preshrinking still.

2.  Black wool.  Needs preshrinking and a pattern.  Can’t decide what I want to do with this one.

3.  Purple quilted something.  I’ve forgotten what it is, I’ll have to check the label.  Kind of a suede-like fabric.

4. White/grey boucle.  I was originally going to make Robin’s jacket with this, but the wrong side is not very attractive.  I’ll probably get something grey and shiny for the facings.  Also needs lining fabric.

And then, with the basket weave and the two already cut out, that makes seven new jackets! Woo-hoo! 

Since, I can’t work on the jackets until after I go shopping tomorrow, I think I’ll cut out and sew that apron I’ve been needing.  I have a cute wraparound pattern (which I need because I tend to wipe my hands on my rear) and some Daisy Kingdom fabrics left over from when my daughter was little.  I’ve been wondering what I could do with it.  An apron should be really cute.


Jacket Sewing

I’ve been spending a lot of time this last year trying to learn how to make my patterns fit properly.  Its a huge problem I’ve always had with sewing.  I love sewing, but I’ve never known what adjustments to make and so I’m always frustrated when things don’t fit.  I gave up sewing for myself over 20 years ago.  I sewed for my daughter until she got to be about 14.  She’s very tall and large busted, so again, I didn’t know what to adjust to make things fit her.

Well, I found a pattern company, Silhouette Patterns that has helped immensely.  They make patterns already adjusted for B, C and D cups.  Its owned by Peggy Sagers and she also posts webcasts every two weeks about different sewing issues and/or ideas.  I’ve really learned a lot from her.

Starting in January, she started a webcast sew-along for jackets.  In January, we did a lined, shortish, princess-seamed jacket.  Max’s Jacket, pattern #1950.  She took 2 1-hour webcasts to explain things.  I made my first lined jacket since 1984, and it looks beautiful.  Although, even after fussing with the muslin, its a little big across the bust.  I think I’m going to have to take in some seams just slightly.  But I’m very pleased with it over all.  It looks professionally made to me and I’m super proud of it.

Then, in February, she walked us through an unlined jacket, pattern #1750 Robin’s Jacket.  The body of this jacket is the same as the previous jacket, so we were able to make the same adjustments to the pattern, without having to do a lot of muslins to get the fit right.  I’m ready to cut mine out.  I’m just waiting on the fabric. (Its in the washer)

I bought two fabric lengths that I’m debating over for this jacket.  The one I originally intended to use is a polyester basket-weave suiting.  It is a reddish-violet with black basket weave threads.  I like it a lot.  When I got it out to start the project, I noticed the tag said “dry-clean only.”  Horror!  I hate having to dry clean clothes.

Here’s the two fabrics I’m thinking of.

The first is a violet-red basket weave polyester.  This picture looks more red than it actually is.

basket weave fabric

basket weave fabric

And here’s the second.  Its a purple, slightly stretchy suiting.  (the picture looks a little on the brown side, but it is really a gorgeous plummy purple.)

Stetch suiting, purple

Stetch suiting, purple

Well, I got out my handy-dandy rotary cutter and ruler and cut out a 4-inch square to put through the laundry.  To see how the fabric reacted, you understand.  Since I had this other purple suiting fabric I was also thinking of using, I cut out a square of it also.  I just took them out of the washer and measured the two pieces.  The basket weave looks like it might have lost about an 1/8th of an inch.  But, even though it was pinked on the edges, it has raveled terribly.  It probably lost about 3/8  inch due to raveling.  Even if I decide to wash it, the garment is going to have to have the seams finished well.  The other piece did fine.  They are in the dryer now, so we’ll see if that has any impact.

They’re out of the dryer now.  The purple held up really well.  I’m thinking I will use this fabric for the jacket.

purple swatch

On the other hand, the basket weave fabric is going to take some thought.  It did not shrink or ravel any further in the dryer, but it does have a slightly felted look now.  I like the way it looks right now, but I don’t want to take a chance of further felting/shrinking/raveling if I make my jacket out of it.   I really like the look of the raveling, however.  It makes a very nice fringe.

basket weave swatch

My thoughts at the moment on the basket weave:  I would really like to use its fringing capability as the edging on a jacket.  I’m going to look for a jacket pattern with straight lines and squared corners to use it with.  It would have to be unlined so that the edges are free.  I could just sew a tight zig-zag or something similar about a 1/2-inch in from the edge to prevent further fraying and then just fray the edge when the garment is finished.  I’m considering washing the fabric before cutting because I like the slightly felted look, but then hand-washing or dry-cleaning the finished garment so that it doesn’t felt up even more.   The Silhouettes pattern of the month is #1819 Sheila’s jacket.  I think it may fill the bill for this fabric.

Anyhow, I need to start laying out this pattern, so I will say ta-ta for now!



SWAP 2013

 Even though SWAP officially started the day after Christmas, today is the first day I will be able to sew.  I had to work both the 26th and 27th, but I’m home today and ready to start the first garment.

What’s SWAP you ask?  It stands for Sewing With A Plan.  And it is an annual competition over at the Artisan’s Square forum.  This year, the rules are 10 or 11 coordinating garments, sewn in 2 capsules.  Each capsule has to coordinate within itself and there has to be a bridging garment that allows the two capsules to coordinate with each other. I felt that I needed work clothes badly, so that is my theme.  I am doing one capsule in black and white and the other in grey and white.  The bridging piece will be a jacket in gray with black trim so that I can wear it with both sets. 

We have from December 26 through April 30 to complete the wardrobe.  You can find more detail on the rules here. 

Following is my story board for the plan.  I will update with pictures of the completed garments as we go along. 

Taking Care of Business

Taking Care of Business


You can’t see it in the picture, but the green blouse has a few tucks at the shoulder that have been smocked.  I intend to duplicate that.  The blouse will be white, with black smocking.

I believe I will start with the jacket today.  Then, I will be able to see how each blouse looks with it and change plans if I need to.  I’m really excited about this.  I haven’t sewn anything in a long, long time.  Especially for myself.  I think the depression was in charge of that, mostly.  But I’m starting to do a lot of things that I haven’t in a long time.  That to me is the most encouraging thing of all.  A good sign that the depression is on its way out.

Anyway, I’m off to sew.  (and bake some 7 layer bars, too, I think.)  Have a great day!