Tuesday 23 February 2016

Finished Vogue 1465, a Donna Karan jacket

Vogue 1465 is an unlined jacket with princess seams, two-piece sleeves and a shaped front hemline with mitered corners. Wait a minute! If it's unlined, why do I need a meter of lining? Well, for this: 12+ meters of bound seams! 

As I wrote in this post I used a high quality ponte for the jacket and a darker tone Bemberg lining to cut the bias strips for the Hong Kong seam finish. The binding took a while, but I thoroughly enjoyed the process. You could discuss the use of binding ponte seams. It won't fray, or curl, so if you want to cut corners you don't need to finish your seams at all. Yet for me it is taking this pattern from a cardigan to a jacket. It's not just a pretty looking inside, the bound seams add a bit of structure. As a follower on Instagram put it: it helps the fabric to stay authentic in its drape.

This pattern comes with excellent instructions. It's all in the details. The front of the jacket extends into the back collar and the continuous hem is finished with four rows of topstitching.

After doing a test run for the topstitching I basted the hemline first. With four rows of topstitching you can't afford being 1 or 2 mm off or it will immediately show in the spacing between your rows.
Here's another design element that is not only pretty, but also functional. The quilting results in a firm hem that keeps its shape. I've read some reviews of other ponte jackets, like Grainline's Morris, where the shaped hem keeps curling, despite working with a facing. This DK method works like a dream. 

Still sharp after a long day and two train journeys! (Why is it so hard to take pictures of red fabric?) Sorry for the crappy phone pics, but with hail storms going on this will have to do!

When my jacket was finished some unexpected shoulder issues occurred. I had made my usual forward shoulder adjustment, checked the slope angle and everything looked fine. After wearing it for a few hours I noticed some bunching that had not been there before. I checked my fitting books, still no clue. I had a light bulb moment when I studied the pictures. Sometimes they tell a different story than the mirror! When you look at the line drawings the collar follows the line of the princess seams.

Now when I'm moving around my collar moves too, adding up to an inch to the shoulder line! On the hanger the shoulder just drops, on me the extra fabric causes wrinkles on top of the shoulder joint.

I'm not sure if it's an inevitable side effect of the front extending into the back collar, or if adding a smidge at the collar would help. But then I looked at the picture of the original and thought: 'Who am I to outsmart Donna Karan' and from now on it's called a design feature ;)

I should mention the pattern is running large. I usually prefer a tighter fit, but once I started wearing this jacket I didn't want to take it off. So comfortable!

I've been wearing my jacket all weekend. First to have gin and tonic with my youngest daughter, pairing it with straight black jeans.

The next day I joined my other daughter to the ballet in Amsterdam. Changed my pencil skirt for dressy trousers after checking the weather forecast. Sigh.

Don't you love that view from the theater over the river Amstel?

Speaking of ballet: here's a public service announcement! Tonight, February 23 starting at 20.15 hrs CET,  a live stream of Dutch National Ballet performing Mata Hari will be available in 44 countries on Mezzo tv.

You can check this page to see details and repeat broadcast schedules. Well worth watching!

Saturday 20 February 2016

Review Knipmode March 2016

The March issue of Knipmode is all about top trends must-have items for spring/summer 2016. At least, according to the editor's introduction. After reading the magazine from cover to cover and over again I find the content of this issue more classic than fashionable.

Palazzo pants, midi skirt, kimono

Maxi dress, flared pants, jumpsuit

Oversized shirt, 7/8 pants, trenchcoat

Also in the must-have collection: a blazer, a shift dress, culottes, a boho blouse, a vest, a cardigan and a denim shirtdress. A bunch of useful, but not jaw dropping patterns.

Any personal must-haves? Yes, I think I'll give pants #5 a go. It has good style lines, a nice curved waistband and a back leg seam, providing extra fitting opportunities.

Same pants as the green crepe, now in stretch denim

The bonus spring special is sponsored by a big fabric supplier. It's a vehicle to showcase new fabric designs that often overwhelm the garments and usually are not my cup of tea. Looking at the line drawings I can see the attraction of some of the patterns, like tunic 105.

Back to the regular issue. The midi skirt #8 (pictured above in Vlisco print) is a maybe for me. I'm not utterly convinced by the design with two flat pleats on the right side and a box pleat on the left side. There is a risk of the asymmetry ending up looking unintentional. (Below the shorter version)

When the right fabric comes along I'll give this kimono sleeve shirt a try. Gardeners can't have enough simple shirts!

I saved the best for last.

This DKNY inspired skirt (#27) prompted mr Foxgloves to donate one of his pinstripe jackets (one of many that started out as suits, but survived the matching pants) so that I could do that 'Great British Sewing Bee- refashion thing'. I may take him up on his offer, for the fun of trying.

My favourite pattern-of-the month must be this dress:

I've already earmarked a pretty cotton sateen for this stunning pattern!

What would you make from this issue?

Tuesday 16 February 2016

Vogue 8379, the wrap top

Ever since I finished this lace skirt back in 2013 I was struggling to come up with outfit ideas. I love this skirt (Knipmode 1312-04, blogged here) but it didn't go with anything in my closet.

A few months ago I took the skirt with me on a fabric shopping spree and found some fabulous fluffy fabric in blush pink.

Instant outfit! I like the mix of textures and shine!

Now what to make? The fabric came with some challenges: I wanted to make a fitted top with as few seams as possible, preferably without facings to avoid bulk, and no topstitching. When I was putting away Vogue 8379 after finishing my jungle wrap dress it occurred to me this pattern was fitting the bill! I traced new skirt patterns with a skirt length of 15 cm and went straight ahead. Cutting was a nightmare. Pink fluff ended up in my nightgown, on the dog's ears and in my coffee, but other than that it was quick and easy.

I omitted the facings, just turned the seam allowances under and hand stitched them down. I lengthened the sleeves by about 10 cm and made sure my ties were long enough. Ha! A fox is not caught twice in the same snare ;)

I used the double stitched seams again, so no need to go out for matching serger thread. I kind of like this finishs, at least I do on knit garments without lots of negative ease and not too much tension on the seams.

(Slightly out of focus) double stitched seam

Finding the right spot to take pictures wasn't as easy as it is when I'm wearing my usual bold and colourful garments. Suddenly those trees growing out of my head became the stars! Arghh, so much easier in summer when the backdrop is all green. Just as I was about to give up the light changed and the sky turned into a matching shade of pink.

Artistic or what? Now I'm off to de-fluff the premises!
Happy sewing!

Thursday 4 February 2016

Vogue 8379, the jungle edition

Wooooooahhhhh! While my first V8379 ended up a bit plain and boring, the remake can be described as...well, the opposite. In fact my camera had trouble focusing on the leopard-roses-tropical birds-mix, and the same goes for the human eye. You just don't know where to look in this dazzling print. The pictures were taken on a rather dark afternoon, the flash went off resulting in slightly washed out colours, in real life the fabric is vibrant!

The fabric is a cotton/viscose mix, the pattern is Vogue 8379, a classic wrap dress I made two years ago in solid blue.

What I like best about this pattern are the diagonal soft pleats coming from the waist. They provide nice shaping, releasing extra fabric at the bust without messing with the neckline.

Because of this feature it is gently skimming the curves, which on me is a better look than wrap dresses with a large amount of negative ease at the bust. 

The pattern comes with two sleeve variations: a short sleeve and bracelet length with cuffs. I was short on fabric so the cuffs weren't an option. Without cuffs the sleeves looked a bit wide so I narrowed them below the armscye and shortened the sleeves till just below the elbow.

The fabric had been in my stash for over a year and I knew I would not be able to buy extra in case of emergency. It was very slippery and during an overlocker test run it didn't behave very well, making me think the sewing machine was the safer option.
The instructions mentioned double-stitched seams. Stich along the seam line, stitch again 1/4"(6mm) away in seam allowance; trim close to the second stitching. This results in seams that at first glance look like French seams, but without the bulk coming from the extra fold. I had never used it before, but it looks really good.

I left out the facings, as I knew from the first time I used this pattern that there was no way to let them stay inside.

Neckline turned under and stitched

When I read Debbie's review of the Cashmerette Appleton wrap dress over at Stitches and seams I made a note of her brilliant idea to interface the ties and copied it for this dress. Works really well!

Speaking of the ties: they ended up really short. Of course this may have something to do with the state of my waistline, but that should have been taken care of by sewing up the correct size. Right? When I checked the pattern I noticed a grading issue. Only half of the difference in waist size was added to the next size up. Which would of course be correct if the ties were knotted at the back. But when you tie it as in the envelope drawing, the right tie goes all the way around the waist and the left tie about three quarters. With a difference of 33 cm/13" between the smallest and the largest size this is rapidly adding up, so check it! Adding to an already finished tie is no fun. Ask me how I know ;)

I am very pleased with this dress that is putting a smile on my face everytime I see it. I'm already planning a next version! 

That's about it. As I mentioned a few days ago this dress was inspired by Jungle January, and although finished in time, due to jungle weather conditions it was only ready to join the big parade on the fourth day of Ferocious February.

Thanks to Anne of Pretty Grievances for hosting another fabulous Jungle January! This one is for you Anne, a salute from the exotic woodpecker that is now residing on my right upper arm. Beep beep!