Thursday 31 October 2013

Confession time

Remember my Garment of the Month? I posted my plans here, and wrote posts about copying the pattern from my favorite jeans and construction the pants here and here.This post is about work in progress part 2.
What's taking me so long?
Those brilliant video's with Kenneth D King!
Wait, weren't they supposed to be helping the progress? O yes, in the long run they certainly will. But for now I'm gazing at my iPad for hours in a row.

After finishing the pattern I was in doubt. Speed things up by quickly sewing the jeans (I have made my share of jeans, I could skip the tutorials), or watch every minute of the Craftsy course because you never know when another lightbulb moment will come up? I chose to follow the step by step construction and I was not disappointed. Usually I am not very good at 'follow the leader and do as you're told'-stuff. But watching a sewing genius at his best had a very relaxing effect. Mindless sewing: when the Maestro tells you to stitch your seam, or give it a good press, you just go to your sewing machine or ironing board and do it.
That's how I constructed the overlap at the fly by adding the fly facing piece, made the shield and installed the (thrifted) zipper. 

Uhh ohh, that's weird! I The zipper is placed with very little overlap. But who am I to overrule the professor? Then I noticed some comments made by classmates. One of them mentioned she was happy with her new jeans, except for the zipper placement. So much for mindless sewing. Time to get my brain in gear!
I finished the fly front in my usual way and went back to the course. 
Except for this little disagreement on zipper placement I loved the lessons, overloaded with amazing tips and tricks. How about pressing your seams on a wooden rail? Anyone? I won't spill all the secrets, but mr King is sharing some sew-changing miracles!

So. Where's the finished project?

The good news. It's really coming together and I tested the fit this afternoon. The fit is great at the hips and at the bottom, the front is really flattering because of the slimming effect of the pocketstays.
The bad news. The legs are a bit wide and the inseam needs a little bit of attention close to the crotch area.
Decision time. I can:
a) hurry up and make a quick fix in order to finish the October garment in October
b) keep calm and tweak on
The old me would now rush to the deadline. But after some sewing related contemplation I promised myself never to let deadlines interfere with the outcome of my work.
So sorry, Sarah Liz and fellow Garment of the Month makers, I fail, for perfections sake. Or does that sound like a lame excuse? Anyway, I will continue the quest for the perfect fit and go for option b.

Time for a little sewing break. My birthday is coming up this weekend and there will be some entertaining over at Foxgloves Castle. My sewing room doubles up as guest room, it's high time to evacuate. The guests might also expect some food and drinks, so I'm off stocking the fridge and baking cakes!

Tuesday 29 October 2013

Work in progress

October is coming to an end, which means I'm running out of time to finish my Garment of the Month. Well, at least I have a few pictures to show some progress has been made.
I attached the back pockets and the yoke, pressed and topstitched and went on to assemble the front pockets.

I used some cotton lawn for the pockets, added jeans appliquees to the visible part of the pockets and of course the little fifth pocket to the pocket back. I created a pocket stay by drafting a stay line up to center front. No more shifting pockets, and it flattens the tummy. Perhaps the latter is wishful thinking, but it won't hurt to try. On the picture below you can see how the pocket fronts run from side seam to center front.

The topstitching (midnight blue on midnight blue, what was I thinking?) is hard to see in pictures. Also hard to work on in artificial light conditions, and uhh, hard to see in general. Could have skipped that part, but I'm such a sucker for topstitching. So is my furry assistant who is in charge of quality control.

Tomorrow I we will be tackling the fly front and zipper.

That's all for the sewing. Oh, and I have to come up with another name in case this project results in a wadder. It's too late to be using it during apple picking season. We're done.

Friday 25 October 2013

Reverse engineering

For the Make a Garment a Month Challenge I am trying to copy my favorite jeans. You can read more about this ambitious plan in this post . The Craftsy course is really helpful. Kenneth King is guiding me step by step through the process, with lots of technical tips and tricks.
The first step is thread tracing lengthwise and crosswise grainlines in the original jeans.

Seams, pockets, yokes, every feature is thread traced to make it easier to copy all needed information from the garment. (This method can be applied on all garments you want to copy, not just jeans).
I forgot to make an overview picture, but the jeans in the picture below shows the tread traced lines:

The information is first transferred to silk organza, from there to paper. Voila!

The pattern ready and cut out. 

I did some test runs for the topstitching. I did not want it to be very contrasting so I just used a double thread in a color that matches my fabric. Here is one of the backpockets. I have some cleaning up to do, lots of threads to pull to the backside and tie together for a neat finish.

That's as far as I got. Some emergency apple picking due to storm forecasts changed my further sewing plans. This weekend I'm off to Amsterdam to enjoy a ballet performance, back in the sewing room on Monday!

Wednesday 16 October 2013

Week theme: fitting

When I was slowly working my way through tracing and fitting the Vogue 7975 muslin I received a very special delivery from Jane of Lucky sew and sew. Jane offered a giveaway to celebrate her third blogaversary and her dog Lucky picked me as one of the winners.

Hi Lucky! Good boy! (picture: Lucky sew and sew)

The parcel from Maryland was inspected by his Dutch counterpart.
Note the little scissors, pincushions and spools on the envelope!

 Wow, such great timing! We had a terribly rainy weekend and I was very much into the fitting topic.

I read a lot of posts that referred to methods used in this book but had never laid my hands on a copy. Once I opened the book I started reading from cover to cover, breathlessly. Mennn, this book got more suspense than the latest Dan Brown. I just couldn't stop reading. Pati Palmer and Marta Alto, what took you so long to enter my sewing room? This is most definitely a sew-changing experience!
And there was more:

Fit week. See?
This book on sewing lingerie that fits, as tempting as it looks, will have to wait till I finished my LFJ, my Anna Dress and my Garment of the month jeans. It's already slightly overcrowded on my sewing desk. Oops. How did that happen?

Also in line with the fit theme of the week were some epic posts, written by Sunni at A fashionable stitch Develop a basic range of styles that fit you and use them over and over again.” 
I highly recommend Sunni's Focus on Fit posts to anyone struggling with fit issues!

Great food for thought while fitting my LFJ muslin. It's been a while since I made a pattern with princess seams and I almost forgot how relatively easy it is to make adjustments to these seams. Since V7975 is such a basic style, it is a wonderful pattern to use over and over again, adding design features, playing with fabrics and changing lengths. The perfect candidate to become one of my go to patterns. Extra incentive to get the fit spot on!

I rewatched some lessons from Susan Khalje's Couture dress class, checked my measurements set from the Joi Mahon fitting class and some tips from Lynda Maynards Sew the perfect fit (all on Craftsy) and of course I used the information from my new Palmer/Pletsch book. Thanks again, Jane!

The jacket fitting is almost ready, just some more tweaking on the sleeves.
Next job: jeans fitting. All hands on deck!

And here's one last secret message for Jane.

Psssst! Keep an eye on your mailbox!

Sunday 6 October 2013

Ready for the LFJ experience!

Fabric and lining: check!

Pattern (V7975): check!

All set for the kick off of the LFJ sewalong, hosted by Leisa and Inna. Tomorrow it's muslin time.
By the way, I'm not the only girl in the house getting excited about it. Here's one secretly hoping for a matching LFDJ. Sorry dear, no way.

Thursday 3 October 2013

Another challenge

Yesterday I stumbled upon a new challenge, launched by Sarah Liz of SarahLizSewStyle. Hard to resist!
A garment a month is a realistic target, even when things get busy, so I'm in.

Well it aint't called challenge for nothing, so why not pick a challenging goal for October? I will try to recreate my favorite pair of jeans!

I will be guided through the process by Kenneth D King, couture designer, author and professor at New York's Fashion Institute of Technology. And to make things even better, I will follow his lectures from my lazy chair with a glass of wine within reach.

King recorded 11 HD video lessons for the Craftsy platform in which he teaches how to copy your favorite jeans without taking them apart. The lessons will help create a perfect pattern, lots of couture techniques are involved and there's the inmense bonus of learning 'Master Kenneth's no-fail methods of construction'!

My favorite brand decided to restrict the use of trendy and colorful fabrics to skinny jeans, or worse: jeggings. Uh oh. That's a no go for my bodytype. The bootcut is only available in denim, grey or black.
So what if Master Kenneth can help me make that perfect pattern? I could whip up a bootcut in any color of the rainbow! Burgundy, chocolate brown, prints...

According to the label in my jeans the fabric used was 97% cotton, 3% elastane.
I searched my stash and came up with this:

A dark blue cotton with some stretch. Not exactly the color I was looking for, but in case I manage to fail the no-fail methods of construction, it will do as an only-in-the-backyard wearable muslin.

Perhaps I will finish it in time to call it my Apple picking pants!

Happy sewing!