Tuesday, September 27, 2011

My new jacket!

This spring I happened to be at Fabric Depot in Portland, Oregon and spotted the most darling jacket. It was a week or so prior to a big three week road trip our family was taking and I Thought it would be the perfect spring jacket to take along. While Fabric Depot is definitely a huge fabric store with tons of quilting cottons, they also seem to be stepping up their apparel fabric as of late and even have various garments displayed on dress forms throughout the department so you can get a close up look. This jacket was one of them and so I carefully tried it on to see what I thought. I was in love and just had to make it! The pattern was from a company I wasn't familiar with called Lila Tueller Designs, but since I was able to try it on in person and was happy with how it fit, I figured I'd give it a whirl.

Unfortunately the jacket wasn't anywhere near finished in time for our trip and was put aside after we got home at the end of May in favor of more summery patterns. With the weather turning fallish around here, I decided I better get it finished (I hate UFO's, don't you?). When I had last left off, I was having trouble with getting the sleeve in. Using the traditional methods never seem to work for me and always result in a puckered mess, this was no exception. Thankfully I had watched a wonderful webcast by the smart and talented Peggy Sagers of Silhouette Patterns about factory techniques for making blouses. In this webcast, she demonstrated how get a sleeve into a blouse in the most amazing and effortless way. I was sold and decided to try it on my recent UFO red blouse. It worked so awesome, I decided that I would try it on this jacket and by golly, it worked again like a charm!

The condensed version of how to set the sleeve in via Peggy's way goes like this:

1. Reduce the seam allowance of the sleeve cap and the bodice sleeve holes on your front and back bodice pieces to 3/8" (aka, shave off 1/4" seam allowance in those areas if you have a commercial pattern with 5/8" seam allowances).

2. Place the sleeve piece towards the machine bed and place the bodice piece on top.

3. Sew or serge in place!

The beauty of this method is that the feed dogs gather the fabric for you so there is no basting or fiddling required and you get a smooth sleeve! Now I have only tried this twice, but I intend to try it again soon when I make a desperately needed blouse. I'm not as gutsy as Peggy just serging it it right away as I did find comfort in finding the center point of the sleeve and pin it to the shoulder seam just to make sure everything stayed lined up and then sewing it on my sewing machine first before using the serger to finish the seam.

So here is the finished product. I'm super happy with how it turned out and think it will be a great fall and spring transition piece in my closet.

I did run into two errors while making the pattern, but directly emailed Ms. Tueller about them and found her to reply extremely quickly. She had added them to the correction page on her website, but the errors were:

1. The back facing says cut two on fold, but you only cut one.

2. The sleeve band piece says cut two on fold, but you cut two NOT on the fold. I did recut them this way, however I found them to be too short so I added about an inch to them. Upon another email with Ms. Tueller, I found out the sleeves are actually supposed to be a little gathered so if I would have gathered them, the length would have been perfect.

Here is a modified version of my review from Pattern Review:

Pattern Description: Ladies jacket with oversized collar and cap.

Pattern Sizing: xs to xl based on bust and hip sizes, I made a small.

Did it look like the photo/drawing on the pattern envelope once you were done sewing with it? Yes!

Were the instructions easy to follow? Yes, they are very clear with lots of professionally drawn diagrams and good instruction. The pattern is on the typical tissue paper.

What did you particularly like or dislike about the pattern? I saw this jacket at Fabric Depot in Portland, OR back at the beginning of May. It was in a pretty white summery fabric and hanging on a dress form. I instantly fell in love with it and decided to try it on and see what I thought. Once I tried it on, I knew I had to make it. We were leaving for a three week trip a week later so I had hoped to get it finished to take along. Well that didn't work out at all and am just now finally getting it finished. So what do I like about the design? I like the uniqueness of it. I love the big collar and how it's just a chic jacket that can be worn a lot of the year here in the Pacific NW.

Fabric Used: A chambray from the Lisette line at Joann's (it's a black & white weave).

Pattern alterations or any design changes you made: I made my usual 1/2" broad back adjustment. Also I didn't use all the bias tape to finish the seams. I started out doing that, but it frustrated me so moved to serging instead. I did finish the facing and hem with bias tape for a nice finish tho. Lastly, I really didn't care for her zipper instructions so I did it my own way.

Would you sew it again? Would you recommend it to others? Making this jacket feels like it took me an eternity, but in reality it really wasn't too bad to sew, I just drug it out for months and months. So yes, I'd definitely sew it again. It wasn't difficult by any means and the instructions are very complete. Yes, I'd recommend it if it's a style you're after.

Conclusion: Cute and unique jacket, just finally glad it's finished so I can wear it!

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

Simplicity 3503

One of my summer projects (after splurging for a few more yard of fabric at fabric.com - read after I sewed a few things I bought a dozen yards!), was Simplicity 3503. There are now 75 reviews on Pattern Review for this dress and I can see why. I've had it in my stash for a super long time and can't believe it's taken this long for me to sew it up. It's super cute and super simple to sew. Oh and it's beyond comfy to wear, yet looks a lot classier than sweatpants. And really, how can 75 ladies be wrong about a pattern? Isn't that the beauty of PatternReview?

Here is my review on this particular pattern:

Pattern Description: Designer's Inspirations evening and day knit dress in two lengths with bodice variations.

Pattern Sizing: 6-22, I made a size 8

Did it look like the photo/drawing on the pattern envelope once you were done sewing with it? Pretty much, tho I like mine much better.

Were the instructions easy to follow? Yes, very simple and straight forward.

What did you particularly like or dislike about the pattern? With 74 reviews (mine makes 75) and seeing Eugenia's many fabulous versions of this pattern, I just had to make it (doesn't she make such gorgeous garments?).

Fabric Used: An ITY border print from Fabric.com

Pattern alterations or any design changes you made:I made no changes, just planned out my dress with the border print. I do wish I would have used black for the contrast band at the waist, however I don't wish it bad enough to rip the dress apart to change it.

Would you sew it again? Would you recommend it to others?I made this dress nearly two months ago and was finally able to wear this yesterday to church because some cold, rainy weather came to visit us. I was so comfy, I ended up wearing it the entire day and really love it. I will probably make another dress with this pattern and would definitely recommend it (tho who needs my recommending it when there are lots of other gorgeous versions to get inspired with in the PR reviews).

Conclusion: Cute dress that is border fabric friendly (I used 1.5 yds with VERY careful placement) plus plain black poly/lycra jersey from my stash for the neck contrast. Fast to sew, tho I found the neckline inside facing to be a bit fussy and required me to hand sew it.

So how about you, have you made this dress yet? If so, do you love it at much as I love mine?

Monday, September 19, 2011

Good Bye Summer?

I'm going to spare the apologies for not staying up to date on my blog. I write when I feel compelled to share and as time permits and apparently neither of the two have lined up for quite some time.

While summer is officially over on Friday (boo hoo), we typically have later summers in the Pacific NW with gorgeous weather well into October. The perpetual joke around my area is that summer never starts until July 5th. Independence Day weather is always iffy and we can have gorgeous spring days, but lots of rainy spring days here too. It's definitely different than other parts of the country, but it's where I've always lived and I'm used to it. Since summer is so short here (at least I think it is when you hear about the long summers of the south), I really didn't sew much summer wear this year. I had high ambitions, but family, friends, & camping seemed to take over in rank. Plus we took a three week road trip in May that took us as far east as Colorado, so that pretty much took a whole month away for any sewing.

Looking back at my sewing journal, I have sewn 43 yards so far this year. Not too bad, but why does it seem for every yard I sew, I want to buy five more? Am I the only one? Please say it aint so! I'm not sure why I get so ambitious in the buying department, Lord knows I can sew faster in my head than in reality so I guess that is why!

I got two UFO's finished up in July. One was a blouse from Butterick 5025 and the other was a skirt from My Image magazine Spring/Summer 2011. I'm pleased with both garments. I have worn the blouse a few times, but feel like it needs to be a smidge longer to wear with jeans and the skirt is a fabulous staple in my closet for year round dressing. Here is the completed ensemble.

I need to take some photos of a few of the things I've sewn lately and share them. One of my favorites is Kwik Sew 3740, a cowl neck top. It's super cute and I think it just replaced my old stand by of Burda 10-2005-114. This is the envelope of the Kwik Sew pattern. And true to Kwik Sew, it's was definitely quick (and easy) to sew. I made two!

So are you ready for fall and fall sewing? I haven't made a plan of attack for sewing and I'm not sure if I will. I really want to make a nice wool coat and since I have several cuts of Vera Wang wool coating from Fabric.com (hmm, was that fall 2009 that they had the big bonanza there?), I don't have much of an excuse not to get one made. Share with me your fall sewing plans, I'd love some inspiration!