Tuesday, October 23, 2012

Marking a path

Lisette souvenir in progress, originally uploaded by firesheep67.
I went to my first sewing class at Stonemountain and Daughter in Berkeley this weekend. The instructor immediately figured out why my muslin didn't fit through the shoulders; I needed to remove about 1.5 inches from the center top of the front yoke (which would not have occured to me). On to cutting the "fashion fabric," a blue-grey cotton voile from Freespirit, purchased at AVFKW. I pinned what I could in class, took it all home, finished the pinning and then cut everything on Sunday. I have yet to transfer the markings, as I am not sure which method to go with. To test the white Chacopy, I made a few marks on a piece of scrap fabric which I then washed by hand with Fels Naptha soap. I can still see one of the marks - although, it's quite faint and it was the heaviest mark I made. I need to do more tests before I commit. Will try the water soluble marker (but it's blue, so I don't expect it to be easy to see) and the other Chacopy (pink) as well as the Dritz white tailor's chalk. In the end, I only need to make marks for where the yoke joins the sleeves (circles) and where to gather the front. Perhaps I'll just thread trace my way. In the meantime, I am not to sew the garment until the next class. Strange how being "forbidden" to work on it makes me feel impatient to sew!

More on this garment in an upcoming post.

Thursday, October 11, 2012


Imagine this in red leather...(image from HP site)

Now that I've sewn my first muslin, I'm dreaming of a red leather jacket. There's an enormous gap between the current level of my sewing skills and experience and my ambition. How did I come to fixate on a red leather jacket as a future project? Let's trace the steps...

Yesterday, I (for the second time) stumbled across the Selfish Seamstress's blog and was admiring her leggings/pants here. Then I wondered about stretch leather. Poked around on the internet. Circled back to Gorgeous Fabrics where I came across this lambskin. Suggested pattern was Hot Patterns 1118, Metropolitan Agostini Moto Jacket. As I'm not a fan of "natural" colors and the quantity of skins in stock would have made a size that is too small for me, I didn't remotely entertain buying these skins. BUT the pattern really struck a chord. I kept thinking of it. Later in the evening, I deliberately went back to the Selfish Seamstress, intending to catch up on past posts. Was reminded of Fabric Mart Fabrics and went there to look for leather. At first I found some black lambskin and I thought of buying it to make the jacket. Then it occurred to me that I don't really need to replace my black leather jacket (but it could use a re-dye). When I looked at the black leather skins, I saw that they came in red too. A deep, bluish red. My favorite kind. There were only three in stock. I popped them in the cart (along with two other cuts of fabric), fought with myself about how ridiculous it is to buy leather for a project that I'm not yet capable of sewing, then I viewed current leather jackets for sale online, closed the computer and immediately went to bed.

Today, on my way in to work, the universe was tempting me with that same red along with jackets in that style. I logged back into Fabric Mart Fabrics, rebuilt my shopping cart, looked for discount coupons, found one and checked out. That's it.

I now have a wardrobe of unsewn and unknit projects. Pants, shirts, sweaters, socks, coats, and even potential underwear. The only supplies I lack are to make bras (which I hope to tackle using makebra.com).

I've wondered over the years where my ambition went - it's there and wants to make a comeback in the form of creating my own wardrobe, on my terms. Even if only to experience the pleasure of wearing garments that fit, the way I want them to, in fabrics of my choosing - it's a healthy way to welcome home my wayward ambition. I can learn to sew leather!! (But will first go through MANY muslins...as I am a cautious type!)

Monday, October 8, 2012

Lisette Souvenir Muslin

, originally uploaded by firesheep67.

I FINALLY started sewing! It only took me approximately FOUR years. This weekend I traced off the Lisette blouse pattern onto Swedish tracing paper, then pinned out my traced pattern pieces to the muslin, cut, and then tried to transfer the markings. First I wanted to use the Dritz paper (must look up the name), but after owning it for approximately four years, it doesn't seem to work (or I was using it wrong). So I moved on to the Clover Chacopy, which worked fine, but may not be appropriate for the final version of the blouse.

In the end, I got a muslin, albeit with not enough sleeve cap. I was able to figure out what I did wrong by studying some close-ups online. Essentially, I sewed the bias tape too far from the sleeve cap, then I trimmed 3/8" off the seam allowance, and then I proceeded to wrap the edge of the sleeve with the bias tape. WRONG WRONG WRONG!!!

What I should have done was...(at step 10 I believe):
1. stitch the sleeve cap to the bias tape (right side to right side, using a 3/8" seam allowance
2. press the seam as written
3. trim the seam as written
4. stitch along the BIAS tape side edge (just like the inside edge of the yoke), through the seam
5. then stitch 1/2" in, along the sleeve cap, through the folded over bias tape, so that the bias tape is stabilizing the sleeve cap - NOT seen from the outside of the sleeve

Since I didn't do this, I ended up cutting away the two circles, that are to be matched up when joining the sleeves to the yokes, and I was short approximately 3/8" of an inch where the sleeves meet the yoke - which you can clearly see in the photo.

Next step is to cut two new sleeves, stitch them up and then check the sleeve cap fit. I get the impression that the sleeve cap is a bit too puffy for me and I most likely need to alter it. I also left this muslin unhemmed. Think I want to curve the hem, as I don't like the boxy look. Finally, I may alter the sleeve cuffs and put a small slit in them.

Although I used the machine for the gathering stitches, on the final version, I will do this by hand to get a smoother, more fluid look. I also think this blouse is begging for embroidery on the yoke, but will do this on V2. Right now I just want to have a wearable garment. I'm spending time on sewing the muslin "correctly" because until now, most of the sewing I've done has just been practice bits, not an actual garment. I need to master the techniques, so will (for now) sew up the muslins with (almost) the same level of care I would use for the final garments.