A Little Somethin’ Experiments

As planned, I’ve been working on making the Little Somethin’ Jacket into something I want to wear. Sadly, I haven’t been successful with velvet, yet. Actually, velvet is the reason I haven’t posted in so long. I started making a simple, shoulder princess seam dress out of velvet and was so incredibly frustrated. I had sewn each seam at least twice and it still isn’t presentable. I pinned the seam every 1/2 inch. I did diagonal basting. I resewed seams. Then I abandoned the velvet dress for A Little Somethin’ else.

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Here’s my first attempt, which might get worn. The fabric is a rayon/lycra knit and you can see how the stand-up collar just crumples. It’s not the pattern’s fault; this is all about fabric choice. (Also, I need to get the sleeve length and shoulder seam right.) But I liked the direction; this showed promise. Please note that this is the Little Somethin’ Jacket front grafted on to Marcy Tilton’s short jacket Vogue 9190. I’ll show you how I did that below.

This first attempt was promising enough to use some lovely 50cotton/50 wool knit. Which turned out great!

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I wear this dark grey version all of the time. It’s very comfortable and breathes well. That gave me enough courage to proceed with a longer version (dress length), made out of a wool french terry cloth.

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I’ve only worn this one once, but it worked well – not too hot and very cozy.

My philosophy with sewing has developed into “use what works”, and for me that means taking patterns that I like and re-using them in a variety of ways. For this long version of the cardigan, I used the body from my woven dress pattern (self-drafted – see previous posts), the collar from the Little Somethin’ Jacket, and the sleeves from V9190. Here’s my very inelegant but practical process.

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I used the woven princess seam dress pattern as the basis for the front, and matched center fronts (sort of, the front of the Little Somethin’ is very diagonal, and I explain why below), and matched the shoulder seams. Then I pinned the fronts together, and folded away the excess tissue. Because of the Little Somethin’ front diagonal, I chalked in the front line on the fabric before cutting.  The folded front area is 2.75″, and I added a little off-graining (see Roberta Carr’s Couture Sewing book).

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I like the sleeve from V 9190, which means I need to use the armscye from that pattern, too. I matched the shoulder seams and close to the side seams, pinned the patterns together, and folded away the excess from V9190.

side back sandwich.jpgDitto for the back armscye.

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Finally, I needed to use the upper back seam from Little Somethin’ for it to work with the front collar. There’s not a huge difference, but this will make the collar work better than my dress pattern. When I was cutting, the beige tissue on the left was folded away.

Now all of the pattern pieces will fit together. I used the instructions for the collar from the Little Somethin’ Jacket and the rest of it is simple assembly – sew side fronts to front, sew side backs to back, sew shoulder seams, insert sleeves, sew side seams, and hem.

Finally, since this blog is focused on sewing for a flat chest, I want to point out where the bust dart is in the Little Somethin’ Jacket. See how wide the hem is here?

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I was pretty sure that the dart was rotated to the hem, and you can sort of see that in the photo below.  On the left side, you can see a fold of fabric at the hem, and the diagonal closing is also in part due to the dart rotation. It’s less obvious on the right here, and I think that’s because my arm is sticking out.

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In any case, you can remove this dart if you want to use the pattern (and not graft the front like I did). Essentially, this is a small bust adjustment for a rotated dart. This is the cheater method – fold the dart out:

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If you wanted to do a proper method, this post should help – http://www.queenofdarts.com/2013/03/small-bust-adjustment-part-2.html.

I’m now on a quest to make leggings. I cut apart an old pair to compare it to patterns, and I’m very surprised at how dissimilar the old commercial leggings are to either of the two patterns I have (StyleArc Laura and M7514). My inclination is to trace a pattern from the commercial leggings. I’ll update…

A long jacket (M4394) and a velvet update

I had a plan to make a mix-and-match coordinated wardrobe for fall/winter including a basic dress, a short cardigan and a long over-jacket. I thought this was a genius solution for layering to deal with temperature fluctuations (due to medication) and the weather. Well… plans are changing.

M4394

First, here’s some inspiration for the collar (OOP M4394), which is very similar to my still, much-loved short cardigan. I added this collar (and neckline to match the collar) to my woven princess seam dress pattern and ended up with a fairly classic long jacket.

long jacket M4394

This is a dark time of year, so bathroom selfies are going to have to suffice. The length is an inch longer than the dress. I added a drawstring channel at high waist for a little detail and a closure.

The drawstring was pretty straight forward. I marked a high waist line on the inside of the jacket and sewed in a bias strip of silk crepe de chine.  The strip was cut 3″ wide, folded in half and stitched the raw edge to the jacket. Then I folded the strip down to cover the raw edge and stitched again to make a channel.

drawstring channel

I feel like the dark navy is a little overwhelming, but this is a useful piece. I’ll wear it on colder days.

The lesson is that my “genius” plan pf a long jacket is not quite what I expected, and I’ll be thinking about ways to stay warm and feel like I’m not overwhelmed by fabric.

In other news, I bought a cardboard folding That-Table (which is challenging to find, so here’s a link to Amazon) to use for cutting out fabric. I had been using a kitchen island, but then there was some competition for that space. That-Table is wonderful! I can put it up and take it down in less than 5 minutes and I know there is not a chance that butter will accidentally end up on my fabric (which was a possibility when using the island, even if I cleaned the surface).

The table came in super handy as I was cutting out a velvet dress, single layer, painstakingly.

velvet cutting

There was a flaw in the fabric, and I was sure I couldn’t fit all of the pieces and work around the flaw. But, I did! And I was so happy until I figured out that I cut out two left sleeves. It’s a good thing there was a small cut of the fabric available.

 

The Goldilocks Situation

It looks like I might be Goldilocks! My recent makes are too this or too that. And now I’m not sure what to do.

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I had this great plan to work toward – wear a neutral knit cotton dress with a colorful short cardigan and then layer a longer jacket on top as needed for warmth. I’ve got the base layer dresses finished and am happy with them. Next I’ve been working on the longer jacket.

The first one (pictured above) was made from fabric that I thought was a a cotton/rayon double knit. It’s got an interesting sponge-y texture, sort of scuba-like.  When I wear it, I feel clammy. I wonder if it has a significant amount of Lycra or other synthetic content.

The second one was made from a thin cashmere-blend knit. I took a 25 minute walk, wearing it as a layer, and I was bothered by how itchy it was. Bummer! Now my plan is to drape any wool knit around my neck for 25 minutes before I try to make and wear it. If it bothers me during the trial wear, it needs to go. (I wonder if chemo left my skin super sensitive.)

A little more about the pic above – you can probably tell my goal was to determine the best length for a long jacket layer. I sent the image to a friend who said that I looked like a basketball center in the far right. Lol. I’m 5’ 6” on a good day.

Aside from needing a different plan to use the wool knits that itch me, now I wonder what I’m going to do to make a warm longer jacket. I thought merino wool knit was the answer. Synthetics are pretty much out because of the clammy nature of them.

Options that I can think of right now:

  • Go the Alabama Chanin route of two layers of cotton
  • Line the wool with a cotton knit at collars and other places it would touch skin (find coordinating fabrics)
  • Use woven wool that is finely twisted (crepe)
  • Get more wool ponte similar to what I used in the short cardigan project – that fabric is very comfortable.

In other news, I washed the velvet, so once I have a long cardigan, I will start on a velvet dress. Exciting!

Wanting, Needing, Doing

There’s a disconnect between what I want to sew, what I need to sew and what I am sewing. I’m sure this happens to other people, too. Please say I’m not the only one!

First, I have some wants; I want to figure out how to pre-treat and sew velvet for upcoming dinners out. I also have a piece of gorgeous animal print-inspired silk charmeuse that is calling to me (right side of the pic below). The first picture is all three pieces I want to sew.

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One thing that is keeping me from cutting the middle fabric, a minky velvet, is a lack of a reliable jacket pattern. I thought that it would work to modify a previous pattern (from before surgery):

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I took out the FBA from before surgery and reduced the length to make a short version of the jacket on the left. The funnel neckline is a nice shape and I like the way it fits the model. (It used to fit me, too!)

I sewed up a toile, and my first problem was getting it on my body. The fabric I chose was a linen/silk blend which stuck to my dress. You can imagine me struggling to get it on and feeling hot and awkward after it was on my body. (This is far from the experience I hope for when I sew.) Then the jacket was excessively tight in the arm hole while simultaneously being 3″ too wide at the underarm. I’m still confused about why it can feel tight and loose at the same time. We’ll never know how to analyze that because it is long gone.  I’m hoping the Little Something Jacket will be a better choice and will make a toile in the near future.

I also want to sew something gorgeous from the animal print charmeuse.

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It’s even prettier in person. I have a short-ish cut of 2 yards and am still thinking about the best use of it.

Oh! And I also want to sew this feather fabric!

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Amazing! It’s a rayon knit from Marcy Tilton and was on the website for a nanosecond. I have two yards and want to make sure that when I use it, it will be a successful garment. I’m thinking of a Pamela’s Patterns Banded Front Cardigan.

What I need to be sewing is warmer jackets for the chilly weather that has arrived in the Pacific Northwest. I have the knit jackets I wore in the summer and have been layering those over 3/4 sleeve knit dresses. It’s not enough warmth! I got a little stuck after the jacket debacle I described above, feeling like I couldn’t get a jacket to fit. After a challenge like that, it can take me a bit to move forward. So that leads to what I am sewing…

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I’m finishing up three long-sleeved knit dresses. They are my current project because I know they will fit. Additionally, it’s surprising, but long sleeves are much warmer than 3/4-sleeved clothing. I cut them out and took them on a short trip. While away, I basted all of the vertical seams. I can then do the sewing in a few sittings per dress. The green and burgundy ones are finished, and the grey one is half done.

What do you want to sew or need to sew?

Kimono Inspired Jacket for Evening

There are some advantages to being flat, and one of them is running. Another is wearing a kimono style jacket that will likely hang nicely in front! I’m working on a few pieces to wear out to dinner during the family birthday season (November, December, January). During this time, we have four birthdays and New Year’s Eve when we are often out to a nice restaurant together as a family for dinner. Many of these are dressier occasions.

I’ve recently fallen for silk/rayon velvet and plan to make a jacket. It seems like the kimono design jacket will be a very cute option, and I’ve highlighted a few pattern options in this post. I’m sticking with my short jacket concept, so I’ll imagine these with a 16″ length for my purposes. (However, no decisions have to be made until the scissors come out!)

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A Little Something Jacket from CnT patterns. And Carolyn’s review. She encouraged me to try this, so I will. There’s a video about a potential error in the shoulder (includes other discussion; the host is not so focused the whole time).

 

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Simplicity 1318 , a Sewing Pattern Review Best of 2015 pattern. Scroll down this page for reviews.

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Sew Over It Kimono Jacket

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Getting to the Point jacket  The front of this one is cut in a circle-ish shape so that the front points are on a bias. This would cover a lot of sins, if you had any. : )

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New Look 6072 has both a water fall front and a plain band option.

dana marie.jpg The Dana Marie Kimono pattern has a more traditional front band.

There are many other options, but frankly, I got tired of fighting with sites that wouldn’t allow me to easily save a photo of the pattern. Do you have a favorite kimono pattern?

 

 

 

Short Cardigan (true love)

If I waited until I had pictures that I really liked, there would be not blog. So, I’ve overcome the challenge of posting images that are far from perfect. (I hope you bear with me.)

I’m in love with my new short cardigan! A couple of weeks ago, I posted about using tried and true patterns and showed an example of a wool/rayon jacket that was based on a woven dress pattern. The fabric was unbearably scratchy, but the jacket was super cute.  I took a deep breath and decided to use the same pattern for this cardigan/jacket.

The reason for the deep breath is that I love, love this fabric, which is a wool ponte. I bought it from The Sewing Workshop; they are sold out. But wait! Rhonda recently posted that she found wool ponte at Fabrications. (See, Mom, I share. lol)

collar detail

(Same jacket with weird color…) The pattern is a princess seam design and I made the collar a single layer. The neckline seam was sewn with the collar right side to the bodice wrong side.

teal cardi detail 2

The edges were bound with self-fabric. I cut a 2″ or so strip, pressed it in half and basted in place before sewing. My machine (a Singer 401) was a champ over all these layers, especially the five layers at a princess seam.

My vision for a fall wardrobe includes short cardi/jackets like this as a second layer and then a long cardigan on top. To achieve this, I think the cardi/jacket needs to have a minimal collar so it will layer nicely.

I’m totally inspired by Asiatica and specifically this design as a short cardi/jacket. I adore the slight funnel neckline.

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What’s inspiring you these days?

Swim suits for a flattie – B5795

Why am I concerned about swim suits now that summer is over? A trip to Hawaii is planned! I had been working on a swim suit pattern before my double mastectomy, but I never got past a toile. (At that time, I was working on Jalie 3023, but I needed a significant FBA.) After my surgery, I still needed a swim suit, and I found the perfect pattern – Butterick 5795.

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I adore tankinis with a skirt bottom. I feel covered when I’m walking to the water and secure when I’m swimming. Additionally, these are easy to maneuver when nature calls. Finally, they are easy to get off when they are wet.

I made a muslin of B5795 and just needed a “cheater” SBA. The pattern has cup sizes, and I used the A/B cup size which I modified by shaving off some of the cup area and adding a bit to the underarm.

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Then I realized that I don’t like putting in elastic. Like I really didn’t want to, so I asked my sewing teacher, Marla Kazell, if she had time. She did! I took my pattern and three pieces of fabric I had collected. She turned out three terrific suits that I am delighted with!

We found out that the elastic around the neckline and arm holes was too tight. (It’s probably just right if you have breasts that need some support and would pull down on the elastic.) So, Marla increased the length of the elastic and it is perfect.

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Here are the tops for my other two suits.

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Marla has sewn a few things for me over the years. I appreciate that I don’t have to sew everything myself and can have clothes I love and that fit.