May 31, 2011

Memorial Day

In memory of my Pap:

He could build anything

Crew chief in Pacific and Guadalcanal,
pointing to icon of 2nd Japanese plane they shot down

Every Memorial Day I've thought of him

May 30, 2011

Blouse Fitting Take 2

I did some work on the blouse and it's not bad after all.  The tucks and darts are sewn, inches scooped out of the low back, and sleeves sewn in.  Now to add the neckline trim, sew the side seams and hem the sleeves and body.  My mom gave it a thumbs up :)

I'm hoping to have enough trim to cover the entire top of the raglan sleeves--with the mitred corners this shouldn't be difficult.  I can always cannibalize the second pillowcase if needed.

Initially I was disappointed in the thickness of the bleached muslin, but it works very well with the trim.  I also don't mind this top being sturdier.  I bought a skirt on Saturday that should look very nice with it.

I have a mending project going as well, a 30s blouse with drawn thread work.  It's in pretty good shape, just needs a few seams resewn and some cosmetic mends.  As well as a good soak in Biz!  It's quite short so I'm planning to hand stitch a strip of light cotton to the hem, to help it stayed tucked in.  It's nice to have some handwork, when my arms cooperate.

May 24, 2011

Blouse Fitting

Well, I got the blouse basted together, the dart tucks sewn, and the fit was bad.  Not irredeemable, but not fitting a normal human being.  The raglan sleeves need darts at the neckline, are too wide in general, the back seam needs contoured and I may nip in the waist.  That would take it into the realm of wearable.  I'm very disappointed.

I pinned the trim to it and it looks ok, but nothing special.  I may just sew it as a plain white blouse.

My arm and shoulder pain have been much worse, I'm less able to use my right arm, so the project is on hold.  My life is on hold, really, due to the pain.  I'm afraid, for my present and my future.

May 21, 2011

Modern Pattern Design Found!

A few weeks ago I noticed that Modern Pattern Design by Harriet Pepin had disappeared, along with the entire site.  Tanit-Isis mentioned the disappearance today, jogging my memory.

I thought, maybe it's in the Wayback machine...and sure enough!  I'm happy to report that the entire site appears to be archived :D and Modern Pattern Design.

May 20, 2011

RTW Blouse Tweaking Done!

Blouse front after
I bought this blouse recently but made a couple changes.  Thursday was our first warm spring day and I wore it :)  It's going to be great for hot summer days.

The shoulders are a little wide and it has no waist shaping.  I don't dig gathered sleeves on myself so decided to do something about them.  This had the added advantage of visually narrowing the shoulders.

Sleeve pleat

I box pleated the sleeve trim until it looked right and pinned it in place.  Then I hand sewed the pleats in place: backstitched along the original seam line, whipped the pleats down from the wrong side, and sewed the trim together where the pleats meet.  Finally I steamed the gathers to help the excess sleeve fabric form pleats.
Blouse sleeve, back tie

To add some waist shaping I dug through my notions box and came up with poly twill tape.  Normally I don't like this stuff but it matches my fabric, is thin like ribbon, and the ends can be heat sealed :)  I had exactly enough, too!  I cut the tape in half, sealed the ends, and stitched them to side seams at waist height.  The blouse fabric is very thin so I sewed through the seam allowances and made three lines of stitching to disperse the load.  Tie in a bow and you're on your way  :)

Sleeve before pleats

May 19, 2011

Blouse w/ Recycled Trim

As I posted earlier, I'm reusing embroidered pillowcase trim for a blouse.  I chose a pattern, Simplicity 2936, and cut it last night.  I'm using bleached muslin which matches the poly/cotton trim pretty well.

I made a couple changes to the pattern: ditched the facings, altered view C sleeves to one piece, cut the front on the fold, and cut the back with a seam.  This made best use of my fabric and will allow for swayback adjustments if necessary.  I forgot to add a seam allowance when cutting the first back piece so left a generous 1.5" on the second piece.  I'll sew the back seam 1/4" off center, with a 1/4" seam allowance, and no one will notice.  If the neckline is narrow I'll be able to stick in a button and loop closure, too.

The trim was draped on my dressform to create a square neckline.  The mitered corners should echo nicely the raglan sleeves of my pattern :)  I'd like to cover the entire sleeve top with the trim, leaving the back neckline plain.  I'm waiting to cut the trim until the blouse is assembled.

I've just started construction of the blouse and it's very simple.  I have the tucks pinned--on grain no less--and ready to sew.  Then I'll baste everything, check fit, and figure out how to insert the trim.

This is a fun project and I hope I don't run into too many problems.  So far it looks like it may be done by the weekend

May 17, 2011

Facings; Vintage Knitting

I know I'm not the only one who hates facings.  I've read other sewists comment on them, yet they keep turning up in patterns!  I'd rather bias bind an edge, narrow hem, line the garment, any number of things besides facings.  That funny line or change in color where the facing leaves off but the garment continues just galls me.

My least favorite facing is on women's shirts.  Men's shirts don't have facings, why do pattern companies continue to draft women's blouses with facings?  I always ignore the directions and double fold the front band, or sew a band on.  Examining a similar RTW garment helps in deciding how to eschew facings.

Facings do have their uses: in jackets, waistbands, when making scalloped hems or trim, absolutely.  Hem facings can be very useful on hems, to prevent wear or when your'e short of fabric.  Some pre-50s vintage patterns are best sewn as the directions dictate, facings and all, and that I don't mind.

*Vintage Knitting: I'm translating a German pattern for knitted lace chemise or blouse trim.  The garment is then sewn onto the trim.  The patterns are under copyright but I'd be happy to share a synopsis of the construction techniques, if anyone is interested.  I should check Google archives, since I know Godey's Lady's Book and similar publications have such patterns.

I've been sewing and hope to have a finished garment to share by tomorrow :)

May 14, 2011

Pretty Trim Take 2

I've been inspired to make a top reusing embroidered pillowcase trim.  Last spring I'd planned to use the whole pillowcase for a nightie.  Then I realized the white pillowcase was yellowed and, worse, it didn't fit around my ass hips :(

I was reinspired this week by vintage chemises.  There's enough trim to make a square yoke for the blouse front.  A blouse will be sewn under and around the trim from bleached muslin.  I'll take photos tomorrow, when the sun's out.

My other project is tweaking a purchased blouse.  It's made from cotton voile with pintucking and lace insertion.  I love the Edwardian lingerie dresses and this is as close as I'll get in daily life.  The blouse has no waist shaping so I'm going to sew on a back tie.  The short sleeves are a little too puffy for my taste.  Luckily a pleat will solve that and look well with the gathers.

I hope this post whets your appetite for photos and progress rather than causing frustration.  I promise more soon!

May 8, 2011

Tap Pants Finis

They're done!  The tap pants I started on Thursday are finished four days later.  I don't have a photo because they were whisked away as soon as the last stitch was sewn.  Comfy undies for the shingles-afflicted?  Home run.

New Look 6657D
In lieu of a photo here's a description: shorts of soft muslin with a picot edged elastic waist, 2" inseam and ivory lace-trimmed hem.  They look very like Colette's French Knickers, with a higher waist and looser fit.  They look almost nothing like the pattern I started with: New Look 6657 D.

My leg hem also is horizontal to the ground (neener neener Colette Patterns ;).  I acheived this magic by marking my own waistline rather than following the foolishly straight line of the pattern.  You can do the same: put on the shorts after stitching them together, pull the elastic overtop to your desired waistline, adjust the shorts until fitting and flattering--making sure the hems are straight--and trace under the elastic with a pencil.  Or trace above the elastic if planning a covered elastic waistband.

Then I sewed the elastic WS to shorts RS with the bottom edge of the elastic just above the pencil line.  Trim any excess fabric, turn the elastic to the inside, and stitch down close to the elastic's bottom edge (I used a wide zig zag).  It wasn't necessary to enclose the elastic because it was plush backed. Ta da, a finished waistband that fits front, back and sides.

*This was another instance where I used my flat felling foot to narrow hem.  It makes a great ~1/4" rolled hem, rolling the fabric once or twice as desired.  I haven't been able to master the baby rolled hem foot but this one's a breeze!

May 7, 2011

Sewing While Sick

I was (really really) hoping to be at a party tonight with the awesome ladies of my knit group.  Instead I'm home sick.  Tight muscles in my neck are trying to trigger a migraine so it's lie on the couch and watch a movie till bedtime :/
Vogue 6321 Panties

I did get a little bit of sewing done this week!  I'm working on the tap pants project.  A gorgeous vintage example are here.  I traced off a modern pj pants pattern to shorts length and cut it from muslin.  Then basted them together to check fit, and sewed them up.

To decide where to put the waistband I tried on the shorts inside out, pulling the wasistband elastic over top.  I adjusted the shorts and elastic till comfy and drew a pencil line under the elastic.  As usual for my pants the front had plenty of extra fabric above the elastic while the center back had none.

I was contemplating adding a separate elastic casing but since I'm using reclaimed plush-backed elastic from boxers it'll be fine against the skin.

My neck started to really hurt so I stopped for the day.  I need to triple check the fit (these are for my mom so I'm guessing) before serging the rest of the seam allowances.  Then I'll sew on the elastic waistband and hem them.  I'm thinking a scallop stitched hem will look nice and avoid bulk.

May 3, 2011

Tap Pants

A close friend has shingles which is causing pain in her back and down one leg.  I'm thinking of sewing her some tap pants--she only has one pair of undies that don't cause pain.  I have jersey and silk satin in the stash already.

Between the Jane pj pattern, 2 OOP lingerie patterns and a pair of tap pants I should be able to create a workable pattern.  Metric Pattern Cutting has directions for french knickers, based on the culotte draft.  Modern Pattern Design also has instructions for drafting tap pants (site won't link).  The silhouette and gusset are great features.  Fluttery legs are so much prettier than fitted ones.

Have you sewn tap pants?  Any tips would be very welcome!
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