Circles

For the same reasons that the Hoodie is round, these tops are too. That doesn’t meant they all look the same. Every single circle garment I’ve made looks totally different to the others, even though the draft is pretty much the same shape. Fabric and size make a huge difference. Viz.

Toiles

I made a calico toile first. Not the best choice given the final garments are in jersey, but at least we knew it fitted on a person, and looked pretty cool too, if I do say so myself.

This is a page from my first Shire sketchbook. I drew over the others too, I think.

circle hoodie 1.jpg

circle hoodie.jpg

Trying it with and without sleeves, with different armholes, with possible style lines.

One thing I like about a lot of the garments in The Shire is that they’re unusual, but simple enough to offer a lot of design variations that are really wearable.

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I forgot the dimensions of the first toile when I was cutting the second one, so I guesstimated and missed about 4″ off the radius, which is fine because now it’s a proper top-length.

When I was doing this I leaned how to band jersey. It’s so quick and easy to make t-shirts! So satisfying to just whip something up!

Final Garments

There are two circle tops. One turned out a bit big, so it can be worn as a remarkably comfy dress too.

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Yes, the hem is dipped. 🙂

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LOOKBOOKArtboard 30 copy 11.jpg

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Looks better tucked in. 🙂

Also: lesson learned: test ribbing ratios on EVERY INDIVIDUAL jersey you use. Even if they look similar, they probably aren’t. -_-

Skinny Jeans Toile 1

Well, yesterday was horribly stressful (so much so that I was too tired to go to the Tolkien Society at UOY), but today was very good, so “swings and roundabouts” I suppose. 🙂

I toiled the “skinny” jeans for The Shire, but I hadn’t thoroughly checked the pattern before printing it, so it was a bit of a disaster (although it sewed what was possibly the neatest fly front zip I’ve ever sewn!).

These are the pages from my sketchbook:

The Shire Skinny Jeans Lay plan

These jeans are going to be made from stretch denim, with stretch needle cord knees (if I have enough fabric, otherwise, it may be the other way around).

The Shire: Tee 1 Toile

Following on from the Viking Dress toile, I made some changes to the pattern and commenced toile 4 (of the collection):

  • widened sleeves a bit (though evidently not enough)
  • took it in at the body
  • shortened to make it tee-length
  • added lace inserts

pattern-changes-tee-1

Looking at my illustrations, I can see that I forgot to add the asymmetrical hem. -_- Never mind; I needed practice with the coverstitch machine anyway (still do).

Also, I accidentally made it a size too small. This is because the size chart in Metric Pattern Cutting (which I Googled for quickness) does not agree with the dress forms at college. A size 10 dress form fits size 12 in the book, so when I made a size 10 according to the book, it was a size 8 according to the dress forms. Confusing? It can be. -_- So now it’s a nice fit on me, and a close fit on the dress form.

 Details

tee-1-side-view
Lace Inserts
Free-motion lace
Free-motion lace and cutwork (like the cobwebs of Mirkwood)

Seeing this now, I notice I forgot the top inner bar of the Celtic Knot. It could be neater and I regret marking the circle with a Sharpie (lol),  but everyone seems to be impressed with it (and I’m my own worst critic).

Neck facing
Neck facing

I was looking at my store-bought t-shirts (I acquire them via uniforms) and the back necklines are faced or bound (not sure what to call it) to cover up the overlocking. I’m trying to figure out the best way to do this. So far, I cut a shape like this, press up 0.5cm on the lower edge and short ends, sew it on after the ribbing, and then edgestitch it down. It’s not perfect, but I’m getting there.

Lay plan

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This was my first lay plan (not exactly zero-waste, but I cut the fabric too short, and this is a work in progress. I’m sure there’s a better way.

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Realised I could cut the ribbing on the fold, so I could rearrange things to waste less fabric. I’m beginning to think kimono sleeves are not very economical.

The Whole Tee

The Shire tee 1 front view

The neckline ribbing actually sits nice and flat when I don’t have my shoulders raised. 🙂

The Shire tee 1 Back view

(The colours in the first photo are truer to life). I like it. But, of course…

Changes to make

  • lower sleeves underseam by about 2-3cm
  • make the correct size
  • widen shoulder lace by 1-2cm
  • widen front lace to match shoulder lace
  • move back sleeve seam closer to CB
  • make asymmetrical hem

I’ll make these changes and toile again. The next top is slightly different. The lace is differently placed and there is different embroidery. It will have the wrong hem on the toile, but the actual one for the next tee is very simple so I don’t need to practise it. 🙂

I’m quite pleased with myself. I’d never made a t-shirt till this term, and almost never used an overlocker, but I think the quality on this is pretty good!

This is how the new pattern is looking so far:

The Shire tee 1 pattern

 

I have a to-do list that is a spreadsheet. I might miss college. :/

I love free-motion work!

As part of my most recent module at college, I started doing more free-motion work. I’d done some before, without a free-motion foot, but not very much. I think I decided to do it more here because the concept seemed to suggest embroidery and I was NOT going to do it by hand (too time-consuming for college). So I got a Bernina foot #24 and watched some videos on YouTube.

I found out that not only can you do absolutely beautiful embroidery by free-motion, but you can make lace! It took a few goes to get anything really good, but I soon picked it up.

Free-motion lace
Free-motion lace
Free-motion embroidered Celtic Knot design

Helpful sources on YouTube include:

 

 

There were some others too, but I can’t find them anymore.

There is also this fascinating ebook I found (please note I do not have the rights to this ebook, but I don’t know where I found it).

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There are more of my samples on the Pinterest board for this module. Free-motion is my new favourite thing! 😀

 

FreeSpirit Bodice

On of my self-assigned learning goals for this module was to use fabrics with which I have little to no experience. One such fabric was real leather. I was somewhat intimidated by this fabric, and not without cause. People always say that you get one chance with real leather. There can be no unpicking. And you can’t ease it.

Well, you know what? You can do both. To a point. Leather is actually fine to work with. I used pigskin. My Bernina 380’s feet work well with it, especially the Jeans foot #8. I didn’t need a teflon foot.

Of course, you can’t pin leather because, apart from anything else, doing so will make it wavy and it won’t match up where it’s supposed to. So sewing pinlessly is the way to go. (I seldom use pins anyway.)

Now, there are some interesting design features that caused difficulty with sewing. Namely: twigs as boning, feathers as embellishment, and eyelets.

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The twigs needed shaping, which meant soaking in warm water, then shaping with gentle tiny bends to the shape of the bodice seam. I hand-stitched them on. The princess seams were top-stitched, so I caught those stitches with my hand-needle and linen thread. TIP: lacquer things with clear nail varnish. It made this look so much better, and I think it strengthened it too.

The feathers, well, sewing them on went a lot quicker when I realised I could do it by machine. Yeah. Anyway, the ones that ended above the waistband needed holes piercing in the leather for the quills to go though. That took both my awls (the fine one, and the thick one).

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The holes still needed enlarging a little for the thick leather thonging to thread through.

The eyelets. I had intended to use metal ones, but not only did they not come on time, but when they did arrive I found that ‘6mm’ referred not to the size of the hole, but rather to the size of the eyelet. Very annoying. Anyway, I used the straight stitch eyelet on my machine, punched with my Japanese screw punch, and satin stitched around the hole, cording as I went. I think this fits in quite well with the concept of and ‘adaptive’ survivor in that I did use my initiative. I’m quite pleased with how they turned out really. 🙂

In retrospect I should have sewn the twigs on afterwards because they got in the way as I rotated the bodice around to sew the eyelets.

I draped the bodice pattern on the stand because fitting a corset is just too much work when you can drape it instead, and it had to fit the stand anyway.

What would I have done differently (had I superpowers)? I should have like the bodice to fit the model better, but as no one had any idea who that would be, this was impossible. What else? Hmm… Nothing really. I’m pleased with it. I learned that leather is no terror to work with (and I will be using the rest of the leather that I bought for something 🙂 ). I also learned why we don’t use twigs as boning but that clear nail varnish has yet another use.

So, I’m fairly satisfied with this part of the project 🙂

 

— Sabrina

 

 

Last college project for the summer

On Monday, with a mixture of relief and muted stress, I handed in my last project for this year. It is a museum piece that, alongside my classmates’ pieces, will go on display in an exhibit at York Castle Museum. The concept was Identity, which, as you may imagine, opened a can of worms for everyone, especially as most of us chose to do our own.

It all began with watching Greyson Perri’s documentary from the BBC on YouTube. People perceive identity itself in different ways, from simply what we wear, to the very brass tacks of our souls. For me, identity goes beyond what I like to do, or where I am from. It goes down to the very essence of what makes me tick, and how I fit in in this great clockwork piece we call the world.

Those of you who have followed this blog (sparsely written as it is) will know that avant-garde is not my forte. I have been close to tears before trying to do it. I do stuff you can actually wear. So my way around this project’s needing to be a museum piece was to make something more akin to a film costume. You couldn’t actually wear it in the street and look sane, but you could wear it in a film or on stage. Compromise accomplished. 🙂

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Mood Board (yes, that is Lara Croft, my childhood idol)

My concept is my identity as a FreeSpirit – Adaptive Survivor. Now, my little journal goes quite deep into myself, and I won’t bring you to tears with it. I have grown through this project. I feel stronger and more confident. I’ve figured some stuff out too.

One thing that makes me me, is something I figured out a while ago. One day I was feeling quite unappreciated (as it turned out, this was groundless, but there you go) and on the verge of feeling down. It dawned on me as I walked silently to the classroom at Bishop Burton College, that, at least I can make other people feel good. I can make them smile, I can encourage them, and can give them the strength I felt I lacked. That made me feel good, and I went to class with the resolve to do just that.

“We rise by lifting others.”

Another thing I learned was that freedom, as most people think of it, does not exist in nature. We need things, food etc., and so we either have to work for it, or we have to grow/hunt/forage it. Most of us are not going to live in the forest, so we need money. Anyway, everything has a price so the idea of being able to do whatever you want whenever and wherever you want to is no more realistic than a genie arriving on your doorstop in a milk bottle one morning. The closest we can ever come to freedom is an attitude to life that is nicely summed up in a little book called “The Life-changing Magic of Not Giving a F**k” (though I change it to “…Not Giving a Toss” or “…a Stuff.” 🙂

If something is bothering you, or likely to bother you, let it go. Stuff it, as we say in Yorkshire. If there is a situation you don’t like, but you can’t do anything about, let it go (even sing that song if you like). Just letting it go feels so light and lets you feel happier.

“The secret to freedom is in not giving a stuff”

Something else is that, yes it takes a great deal of strength to say that you are not good at something (I cannot write songs for toffee). But it takes a great deal more to say firmly, confidently that you are good at something, bally good. And to say it with nothing more than your self-belief behind you. You are the only one who can make your ground strong enough to stand on and stand firm with things get shaky.

I suppose that ultimately, I have made myself stronger, and I make others stronger.

So how does all this come into the outfit I’ve made? Let’s have a look…

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The bodice
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The Skorts
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The Tunic

So that is an overview of the garments that are part of this project. In the next few posts I’ll go into more detail. 🙂

Zephyr Cycling Jacket

So this is my first completed project at York College: a cycling jacket. I’m reasonably pleased with it. Are there things I would change? Of course! Am I going to? Not this month. Maybe if I make another one in my size (this is one or two sizes above me). But this one fits adequately. And it’s comfortable. And the fabric is getting cosier the more I handle it. Not to dilly-dally, here is what the jacket looks like:

Zephyr Cycling JacketZephyr Cycling Jacket Side View

Zephyr Cycling Jacket Back View
I have said it before: anyone who can take a good picture of their own back view has my admiration. It is difficult.

As you may have noticed or suspected, there are more cycling-specific features to this jacket than just a high-low hem.

The most obvious element is the reflective tape on the pockets, back and sleeve. I wanted to have 3M stuff that doesn’t show in the day, but that is extremely expensive and hard to come by, except in the stick-on stuff that is therefore unsewable (new word) and unlaunderable (another one). So I found some silver sew-on stuff on eBay and used that.

Another thing is the back Louvre vent. This is a fairly simple thing to make. Originally I had it too high up the back and it looked wrong and would probably not have been as effective.

Accordion Gussets

Next come the accordion gussets. These I noticed on a motorcycling jacket. One of the uncomfortable things with ordinary jackets on a bicycle is that when you lean forward the jacket rides up into the back of your head and gets tight across your back. The accordion gussets give you extra room for movement.

When I made up the toile I found that the accordion gussets worked to give me extra range of motion, but didn’t go back neatly into place. The solution was to use elastic to attach the inner part of the pleat to the jacket’s seam allowances. I found out afterwards that this was fairly standard practice. It did the trick.

Toile testing:

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This is what accordion gussets look like. On the final jacket I stitched them closed about half-way down because you don’t need the pleat at the top.
Accordion Gusset without elastic
This is what happens if you don’t use elastic to draw the pleat back in when you lower your arms. It’s messy.

I had thought to use a stretch stay like I saw on the Levi’s Commuter Jacket in the York store. When I was making up the jacket, I came to the part where I would sew one in (having already cut it) and decided that it wouldn’t have enough pull to do the job, so I used elastic. In retrospect it might have worked if I had drafted it with negative ease, but that’s something to think about next time.

Back Pockets

Apparently women cyclists complain that their cycling jackets don’t have three pockets at the back, so I’ve put three pockets on here. There are two patch pockets with elasticated top edges (need better elastic than this rubber stuff) and a pleated centre pocket with a recessed zip.

Now I’ve made the jacket I can see that the side pockets need to be higher at the side seams. I think I might add poppers to keep them closed better. It will make them more functional as pockets.

The centre pocket is huge! It goes all the way down to the hem. I have never used one because I’ve never had a jacket with one, but I’m told they’re useful, so I will see.

In-sleeve pockets

Zephyr Cycling Jacket In-sleeve Pocket Key-fob

I got this idea from on of the jackets in Timothy Everest’s collaboration with Rapha (possibly the most stylish existing cycle-wear brand!) I suppose the idea is to have somewhere to keep your lock key or a tissue. We all know the terror of a runny nose while cycling!

Now, as it turns out, you can’t blind-hem the jacket sleeve where the pocket is. Sounds obvious now, but I was doing that late at night. (When will I learn?) Fortunately I was too lazy to do it on both sleeves so the one with the key fob is perfectly good.

These are basically in-seam pockets with an invisible zip.  It took me two samples get it right. You have to think about what you’re doing for the first few because it can get a little bit confusing.

Shoulder Strengtheners

(Proper word please. :))

I was going to add epaulettes, but there is already a lot of bulk here. The purpose is to help your bag stay on your shoulder. “In real life” I think I’d use a waterproofed suede because it would have good grip. Otherwise leather.

Apart from the practicality, I think these really finish the look of the jacket.

The Collar

You know how I like a well-drafted collar. Contrary to habit I draped this. And then made a draft. I really like how it rolls when open. It’s also just right for a close fit over the chin when done up.

The pattern is quite a different shape to any you find in modern pattern books and the opposite to Fasanella’s collar draft. Nothing against hers. You can draft some very nice collars that way. It just wasn’t what I wanted this time. I think  my neckline is lower than hers is at the back and that is why my way worked better this time.

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My convertible collar draft.

Also, the top collar is ribbing so it is nice and soft. It would be lovely to have cashmere or merino, but I got what I could in London. I think it’s synthetic but I’d have to take a flame to it to find out. I may do that later. I expect if it’s synthetic it will melt, and if it’s cotton it will burn.

CF Separating Zip with shield and storm guard

To keep out the rain. The jackets on the market have little turn-over things at the top (name please). I should have allowed more for turn-of-cloth here. Otherwise I am quite pleased with it.

Pit-vents

pit-vents

Not actually at the underarms, so they ought probably to have a different name. These are lapped zips interrupting a princess seam, Between them and the lining are pieces of mesh shaped roughly like surfboards to stop people mistaking the vents for pockets. The mesh is sewn to the zips.

If you don’t know because you’re not a cyclist, the idea behind pit-vents is that you can let cool air in without your having to open your jacket and expose your entire front to the wind and rain.

I think I’d like these to be a bit longer, but I’m pleased with their neatness.

Wrist-Gaiters with thumb holes

It’s horrid to have the wind rush up your sleeves so I’ve put some cosy wrist-gaiters in with thumb loops to keep them down. I made the sleeve linings extra long to accommodate this but the penny has just dropped that that makes no difference as I have stitched the gaiters to the sleeve facings which do not move. Not amused. Grumbles like Marge. The gaiters ought to have been stitched into an extra seam in the sleeve linings. It’s a good thing the sleeves are too long for me. Will make a note of it in my project…

So they are the cycling-specific features. Something else I did was to buy a practically new coat at a charity shop (for £8!) and reverse-engineer it, then use some of what I’d learned when bagging the lining on this jacket. Consequently, this is the best one I’ve done so far. I tacked the shell to the lining at neck and side seams, and, using cotton 6mm tape, at the shoulder points. I also used cotton tape on the collar’s outer edge and the hemline because I knew they would stretch and wave if I didn’t. Cotton tape is an invaluable notion!

I will spray the jacket with Jack Pyke to waterproof it. Of course, wool is naturally water-resistant, but that varies with quality and type. I got this anonymous melton from the cupboard at college (there’s one major benefit to attending York College, UK!) so I don’t know much about it.

The lining came from the same place, but it’s definitely synthetic, which will make the vents worth having. It was surprisingly easy to cut and sew. Even more surprising was when I found that my so-blunt-they-only-cut-paper scissors cut it better than my fabric scissors.

So am I done with this project now? Nope. I’ve got enough paperwork to do to redecorate the flat. You want to see my to-do list, just for this project?

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I’ll show you some of my sketchbook and the results of the above to-do list later. I have done some of it (thank goodness!), but I still have a lot to do, including look for a job to last me at least until the summer, because the bike shop doesn’t need me in the slow season. At least I’ll have the weekends to do my college work. And I have my savings, loans and grant to live on so I’ll be alright.

Till next time,

Sabrina

My Graduation Dress

Now, as I mentioned in the previous post, there was some drama (by my standards) when it came to what I would wear for my graduation, namely, I changed my mind last minute and whipped up a dress in four hours (and very pleased with that am I too!)

To recap, the original plan had been to make a Cut21 shirt in my size, but lengthen it to make it a dress, and wear a matching camisole and shorts to prevent see-through, thereby avoiding the vintage dress look. Yes, I know vintage dresses are still quite big up here, but I tell you, they’re on their way out, at least with so literal an interpretation. Something more industrial, more utilitarian is coming. It’s already visible in some places and it won’t take that long to seep into the mainstream. But I digress.

This is my dress:

graduation dress -- front

Now, as mentioned in the photograph, there are several features of this dress with which I am quite pleased. What is not mentioned in the photograph (because I didn’t want to clutter it up with text) is that I didn’t use a  single pin to sew it. Not one. I am super pleased with that. (I think I mentioned so last post.)

The fit is wonderful because I made it from my own block which has taken months to get right, and still may have a few tiny niggles to work out. The princess seams are contoured, the darting is balanced for my figure, not some fictional one in a pattern book, and it skims the figure, rather than hugging it (which is especially nice in this hot weather). As Edith Head said: “Your dress should be tight enough to show you are a woman, but loose enough to show you are a lady.” For those who think Aldrich’s block has too much ease, this is the fit you end up with it you use her Close-fitting Dress Block, shape the seams, and work out the darting so that you have 6cm waist ease. There is about 5cm of ease at the bust, but not at the armscye level, because the armscye level is higher than the bust. So when you draft the block with 10cm total ease, remember that that is not the final bust ease. You’ve got to shape the pattern’s figure yet.

To get the flare in the skirt I swung out the darts (now you can see where the front darts were because they have left two great big triangular pleat-like flares where they use to be) and then still had to add some more flare. (I think this is a clue as to how to draft a cowl neck that stays as you want it to, but that’s another story…) This is the minimum I would want for a flared dress, but I will admit that it means you sometimes have to be careful on a bicycle in the wind.

It is practically compulsory for my projects to have pockets. I like to sink my hands into them, so nice deep ones are good. They are, of course, also very handy for putting things in. At my graduation I had my bottle of water in one pocket and my camera in the other. You should have seen Alice’s face when I showed her! I had my gown over it all so it didn’t show, and it saved carrying a bag (I don’t bother with clutch bags because the whole point of a bag is that it carry’s stuff so you don’t have to).

There is very little ease in the sleeve caps. I tried sewing the first one like a shirt sleeve, but it didn’t work out very neatly (it’s the thing that bothers me most about this dress). So for the second one I crowded the ease in as I learned in Sandra Betzina’s Power Sewing book (which I gave to the college because, while there is good information in it, it is still home-sewing level, and I want RTW methods). Then I sewed it in shirt-sleeve style, matching up the top notch with the shoulder seam and spreading the eased cap over the armscye. No pins. 😀

The hems of the sleeves are 0.5cm, 0.5cm double turn, single-stitch. The dress hem is 1cm, 1cm, double-turn, single-stitch. The measurements are by eye, so I think the dress hem is actually more like 1.2cm, 1.2cm, but that’s just a matter of practice. It seems to have roped a bit, so next time I do such a curved hem, I’ll do a narrower allowance. I had planned to, but sewing late at night, mistakes get made.

Which leads me to the zip. An invisible zip because I had only drafted a 1cm seam allowance with symmetrical backs. I used the method I learned on Fashion Incubator. Why don’t all sewing instructions use this? It’s so easy and gets a professional result! It’s way better than the home-sewing ways you find in books and commercial patterns. I just don’t understand it. Anyway, the mistake I made was that I sewed one end of the facing on with the rest of the facing twisted so I had to unpick it. Simple, but bothersome. I’ll put it down to late night sewing (a very handy excuse).

BACK VIEW Please ignore the creases; I have been wearing this dress for about a week.
BACK VIEW
Please ignore the creases; I have been wearing this dress for about a week.

Because of the wider neckline, a lower back neck works well. The zip is just at the right level that I can fasten it in one go, without having to reach over my shoulder.

The lace is stitched on with a straight stitch. I used my rarely-useful flexible ruler to get symmetrical lines on the dress with chalk, well, symmetrical to the eye anyway, which is all they need to be. I don’t know if they are perfectly perfect.

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I mentioned that I have been wearing this dress for about a week. This may seem odd for a graduation dress, and I do think the lace looks a bit “occasion wear”, but I wanted to make a dress that I could wear again, and I think the dull khaki green colour permits this. I haven’t room for clothes I can rarely wear, nor do I particularly want them.

So, I am very pleased with this dress, not least because I sewed it pinlessly in four hours (counting drafting and cutting) with almost no unpicking. It’s like wearing a trophy. 🙂

Have you made a special occasion dress lately? Or have you been speed sewing and/or made something you’re super please with? Do share in the comments below!

Cut21 — Part 5 — The Shirt

The shirt was the most difficult thing to make, mainly because of the plackets.

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It is fitted at the front and dartless at the back (although the CB seam is shaped) to give an asymmetric modern, relaxed silhouette. The sleeves are three-quarter length so that you don’t constantly have to roll them up, and you can see your watch.DSC05929Of course, the Cut21 shirt is neither going to be a weird, avant-garde shirt, nor a boring ordinary one. It is fairly subtle in style, but has a few unique features. In more detail:

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The shadow pockets. Basically in-seam pockets, but sewn with a felled seam, a bound seam, and a French seam. Excessive? Perhaps, but definitely worth it because it looks so much nicer inside, and will withstand more washing.

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Bias-faced neckline. Because I used a partial, asymmetric collar and did not want to use a traditional facing, I faced the neckline with bias binding. The trickiest part was at the front because of the placket bulk. With a fair bit of force and pressing, it turned out acceptable.

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You can just see the hand-stitched label here on the inside of the yoke, and part of the collar. Also, notice the customised coat hanger! 😀 I carved the logo out with my craft knife. I’m pretty pleased with it, especially as I have not exactly got a lot of experience with woodwork.

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La pièce de résistance! My hand-stitched buttonhole! It took me at least 4 months to learn how to stitch this neatly, and then it took me about 45 mins to sew it (Savile Row tailors take 7 mins for some perspective). I used the straight-stitch buttonhole on my Bernina 380 to make the guide, and that made it easier to get the sides the same width all the way down, and I suppose it strengthened the buttonhole too.

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The placket. Now, admittedly, this is not as neat as I wanted it to be. This is partly because the fabric is quite springy. And it is a pretty tricky thing to sew in a fabric that frays like this. I had to recut a sleeve and start it again after a few goes at unpicking. That’s how tricky it is. Would I do it again? Absolutely! You don’t think I’ll be beaten by fabric, do you? Anyway, I’m sure all it needs is practice. And pressing jigs, which I used (genius idea I got from Fashion Incubator). And hand-stitching. I admit, I had to hand-fell these down in some places (one mostly, and then machine top-stitched) just to be sure of catching the underside. I expect it would be easier in a shirting cotton like Oxford. It might also have helped if I had fused the placket pieces, and not stitched the placket on the bulky felled French seam. I very seldom make things easy for myself.

Also, the buttonholes were passable here. Passable. Not great, but not failures, exactly.

DSC05925The curved hem. This hem is specially designed, not just for looks, but so that you can sink your hands into your pockets without messing up the hang of your shirt. The hem allowance is not equal all the way around. This developed because the front needed extra turn-up for the bulk of the placket, and the concave curves at the side seams demanded a smaller turn up. As long as it’s neat.

The back is longer than the front for asymmetry, and also it covers you when you’re on your bike. No one wants builder’s bum.

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The hand-stitching on the yoke. I used the burrito technique to sew the yoke. Lovely clean finished insides! And to set it off, the hand-stitching. It’s not much, but it makes a big difference.

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The hidden-button placket. (toile shown with sewing error) This fits with the minimalism/modernism part of the concept. You can only see the top button and buttonhole. The hidden buttons are machine-stitched (as if I have time to hand-stitch — what was it? — 10 buttonholes!) There is a straight-stitch bar-tack at the waist level to keep the placket from gaping open and showing the buttons.

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A pressing jig. As this is one of the most interesting parts of the project, in my eyes, I had to take a photograph and show you. It’s basically two rectangles of card. The outer one has a space that is 2cm wide (BTW, a quick unpick makes an excellent scorer), while the inner one is just about 1.8cm wide to account for the thickness of the cloth and the folding of the card. If it were 2cm wide, you’d never get the outer one to close properly. The jig is made from a file divider.

The jig for the gauntlet is a separate one to the jig for the placket binding because they are different widths. It’s a good idea to label the jigs and keep the pairs together.

I used different shaped jigs for the hems too. It’s a habit I got into at Wayside Flower. We use it for pockets to make sure they are symmetrical and neat. (Neatness is our watchword).

The armscye seam is French seamed! I know! It’s so rare that fabric will let you do that, but one nice thing I can say about this fabric (whatever it is — bought it in Paris) is that it lets you French seam curves, even the very curvy armscyes and sleeve-heads I use. I am just so pleased with this! I didn’t take a photo, but I don’t really need to because you probably already know what a French seam looks like. 🙂

Another thing is that to get the nice point on the collar I used the shirtmaker’s technique from Off the Cuff (it’s farther down that page). This is a great technique — it’s almost like magic for getting nice corners!

Well, I think that will do for the shirt. I’m going to make a longer version with a simpler hem as my graduation dress, and in case the fabric is a little too see-through I’ve made some shorts (in 2 1/2 hours!) to wear underneath. If it is too see-through I’ll make a camisole too.

Currently I am working on preparing the jacket pattern to add to my Craftsy store. Of course, I’ll let you know when it’s available. I’m thinking of doing two versions: on with seam allowances, and one without for more advanced stitchers who want to learn how to prepare seam allowances for proper production sewing on a simple machine (i.e. not on machines with all kinds of handy feet that do things automatically). They’ll be the same price because it takes the same amount of work to make both — one needs working out of seam allowances and their shapes, and one needs instructions.

Till next time,

Sabrina

Cut21 — Part 4 — The Jeans

The second part of the outfit is the jeans. I knew I wanted to make some for my FMP, and to begin with, the designs were fairly mainstream, though better-fitting. As it goes with designing, the more I sketch, the sooner I come to a good idea. I came to these (note: these are my sketchbook pages, not my scruffy-book pages):

17 18Some features I chose to include in the jeans were: a slightly lower front waist so it doesn’t dig into you; a gusset between the legs to avoid the “slicer seam” problem; and purposes, a contoured waist-facing instead of a traditional straight-cut waistband, giving a better fit and less bulk, as well as cleaner lines for the aesthetic. I wanted slim-fit legs, turn-ups, and, eventually, a back yoke shaped like a traditional shirt hem, just because.

Now, had I been able to make them in my size, I would have had more freedom to finesse the fit. As it was, I was required to make them in a tall size 12 (probably a shop size 10), and had no one the right size and height to test them on. I tried the toile on myself and had to pin a considerable amount out a the waist and turn the hems up a lot more. (Images here to save data).

These are the jeans I finished with.

Cut21 Jeans - Front
Notice the high back and low front, for comfort and security while riding.

Cut21 Jeans - backGranted, they would look better on a person. 🙂

Here are some detail shots:

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The pockets feature the soft selvedge of this non-selvedge 11oz denim.
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Inside the back pocket
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Crutch gusset to make cycling more comfortable.

The gusset was quite tricky to sew. I had to clip into the corners to be able to get past the crutch point. I would have used a curved gusset like Kathleen Fasenella, but I couldn’t get the curved edges to be the same length as where they had to go on the jeans, so I used a diamond gusset instead. She does on her jeans anyway so it must be acceptable.

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Hand-topstitching using waxed embroidery floss.

Even though I used hand-topstitching, there is a lot of machine top-stitching on these jeans too. It’s virtually invisible as I used the right colour Gutermann Sew-all thread (I can’t remember the number for sure, but I think it was 512). I tested a couple of thread colours and put the sample and notes in my pattern file. That must get some points. 🙂

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No waistband — just a waist facing with its lower edge bound. There is a hook and bar at the top too, instead of a button and buttonhole.

If/when I make another pair, I will sort out this zip issue. I will have to stop lower down (would be easier to get the right length to begin with now I’ve time) because this comes close to showing when the jeans are fastened.

The other issue here was that the facings are not level inside. I don’t know why, because the toile seemed okay, and the pattern, I think, was correct (must check). I want to find out what caused this because it annoys me to have that fairly noticeable (when you are getting dressed) fault. >:|

And, yes. That wobbly navy stitching on the binding on the zip guard does bother me.

Anyway…

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All the garments in my collection feature hand-embroidered labels. Including labels is sure to get me a few marks! 🙂
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The yoke line, which you can only see by the Sashiko-inspired stitching, is meant to resemble a shirt hem. The lines of the pockets echo this. I used extra long belt-loops for looks. They are backed with yellow bias because I refuse to use an overlocker on Cut21 stuff.

The back pockets were cut on the cross (not the bias, the cross, in case you use the wrong term) to take advantage of the selvedge, so when they are worn there is a shading differences, annoyingly. You can see in the photo that the grain doesn’t match.

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So much binding!
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Side seams are bound to suggest the look of selvedge jeans. I tried opening the seams and binding separately, but it looked too sporty so I chose this option.

One thing I learned when doing all this binding is that it is much easier to sew on in one go if you press it in half first, perhaps with a little bit extra showing on the underside, just to make sure it gets caught in the stitching. If you have a really good binder attachment then maybe you won’t need to do this, but I don’t have one.

So these are the Cut21 Jeans. I would give them about an 8 out of 10, taking design into consideration, and the neatness inside. Plus the fabric is really nice! 🙂

Next week, you will see the shirt in more detail.

Sabrina

P.S. Sorry for posting late this week, I was doing a trial but I’m evidently too slow to work in an alterations shop.

P