Saturday, January 29, 2011

On Lemons and Snow Storms

I'm sitting here looking at my Meyer Lemon Tree while making up a list of all the errands I need to run before the "significant snow event", so the weatherman says, arrives on Tuesday.  Grocery store, PetsMart, de-icer...Ugh.  The last time they talked "significant snow event" we wound up with 10 inches of snow on the top of 2 inches of ice.  The lemon tree cheers me up though.  LOL.  When a plant can produce blooms while still holding onto the most wonderful tasting fruit, well, I call that significant.  Before I found my little tree, I was given a Williams Sonoma book on making ice cream.  There's a recipe for Meyer Lemon Sorbet.  Yummmm.  And until I started doing research on the Meyer Lemon, I didn't realize they were a sweet lemon with loads of juice.  Here's a picture of my little tree.  Maybe it will cheer you up too. 

More later...

CJ - The Good...Finally

If you recall, my last post mentioned getting some good advise from the gals on the Stitcher's Guild JAM.  Well I posted the sewn results again and Nancy Erickson of  also gave me some wonderful tips.  As a result of Nancy's suggestions, I think my muslin is just about complete.  I want to narrow the sleeves just a touch and shorten them about 2 inches which will bring them to just below my elbow.  Here are a couple of pictures.  Note: I haven't done the changes to the sleeves yet.

I've found lots of really good information at the Stitcher's Guild
you might want to check it out when you get a chance.  Everyone is very nice and very willing to help.

This muslin looks so much better than the first couple.  I'm very please with the results.  Here's just what I did to get the fit.  First off, I went back to the drawing board and cut out a 16, normal for me, grading up to the next size plus insurance for hips.  I'm 5'8"; which means I'm 2 inches taller than the 5'6" person they drafted the commercial patten for.  So I moved the waist down 2 inches and added 3 inches at the hem for a length that is more attractive for my figure.  I also did a narrow shoulder adjustment and removed 5/8" of an inch.  Wallah!

This shows the side front and here I've dropped the waistline and added 3 inches to the bottom of the piece. 

Here we see the narrow shoulder adjustment I made to the pattern.  This adjustment only had to be made on 2 pieces.  But all 4 (2 fronts & 2 backs) had to have the waist dropped and the addition at the hemline.

Monday, January 24, 2011

CJ - The Good, the Bad and the Ugly

LOL.  I got some great advise after showing my not-so-wonderful pictures on the SG JAM forum.  I'm going to take it down a whole size, which for this pattern is the smallest size, a 14.  Several thought it just looked too big all over.  Now why didn't I see that?  I guess I just couldn't get past how yuck it looked to be objective.  I'll still do my normal size larger at the hips and I'll take out the 1/4" for sloping shoulders.  I have it cut out and will start sewing sometime today. 

More Later...

Sunday, January 23, 2011

CJ - The Ugly Truth

Ugh.  Well, if I didn't know before, I certainly know it now.  The pictures on the pattern face don't always match the pattern reality.  The pattern picture jacket looks longer, but in actuality, its a high hip length almost waist height.  And the ugly truth is that photos add about 20 pounds to me and I don't look good with a high hip length anything.  LOL.  Oh, and part of the Ugly truth could be the white fabric I used to make my first muslin.  So here are the pictures and my analysis of what I think needs to be done.

 The first thing I see are drag lines at each shoulder.  I'm going to take 1/4" inch out starting at the shoulder and narrowing to nothing at the neck on both sides.
The next is the sleeves are really drafted large.  I'm going to remove 2 1/4" inches from the under-sleeve, starting at the hem and narrowing to nothing at the armseye seam allowance.
Since the jacket is too short for my body type, I'll add 3 inches in length at the lengthen/shorten lines on each of the 2 fronts and 2 back pattern pieces.
I don't care for the high neckline too much so I folded it down a little.  I may deepen the curve of the neckline a bit later.  But that's a change I can make once I have the structural changes done to my satisfaction.

Now off the make the pattern changes...more later!

Friday, January 21, 2011

Chanel cardi...the beginning

This is going to be my fabric selection for my cardigan.  The boucle', to the right, I purchased from Sawyer Brook's on-line store several years ago and its been marinating in my stash ever since.  On the left, is a piece of silk charmeuse I purchased from The Cloth Merchants here in town.  I won't pretreat the boucle' but I have soaked the charmeuse in warm water for 10 minutes, rinsed it several times, rolled it up into a towel to blot and then ironed it dry.  I have it rolled up on a big cardboard tube that used to house decorator fabric at Hancock Fabrics. 

I have several patterns that would suit a Chanel style cardigan, Vogue 7975 basic design, McCall's easy 5007 and the one pictured here on the left McCall's Make it Crafty 6041.  I'm going to use M6041 but I'm not going to "make it crafty".  LOL.  The main reason is because they include all the cup sizes with this pattern and I really don't feel like doing a FBA since I wear a 38C.  I've decided on view B.  I'm going to cut out a 16 graduating to an 18 at the hips.  I'll shorten the sleeves from a 3/4 sleeve to a 2/3 sleeve.  I'm going to add side slits and possibly lengthen the body of the jacket if I don't think the length is long enough when I make the muslin.  I'll also make a possible sloping shoulder adjustment.  Age and gravity are catching up with me.  We'll see. 

Couture & Chanel cardigans

What does Couture really mean?  The term "Haute couture" refers to the creation of exclusive custom-fitted clothing.  Haute couture is made to order for a specific customer, and its usually made from high quality, expensive fabric with an extreme attention to detail and finished using time-consuming, hand executed techniques.  So says WIKIPEDIA.  LOL.  To me, any woman/man who makes their own clothes is a couturier except for the expensive high-end fabrics I guess.

Now I've been retired from the office scene for 15 years and my lifestyle is very casual.  9 times out of 10 I'm wearing jeans with a nice top, usually one I've made.  So couture doesn't really enter into my way of living and even if it did, we couldn't afford it.  Typical couture items can run into the many thousands.  But...I can see wearing a nice Chanel style cardigan with my jeans in my near future.  Since I've joined the Jacket A Month,12039.35.html  forum, I've found a few other blogs namely the Go Chanel or Go Home! Blog.  LOL.  I really love the look of the Chanel cardigan.  Well...I mostly love the look; I plan on updating that look somewhat. And since the jean jacket I've almost completed is my first jacket on that forum, my version of the Chanel cardigan will be my second.  Now let's get this straight from the beginning, I will come nowhere near making 12 jackets this year especially since there will be so much hand work on the cardigan.  I'll need to cleanse my sewing palette between jackets with other items.  LOL. 

So...what makes a Chanel cardigan different?  The cardigans are constructed without traditional interfacings, backings, facing or heavy linings.  As a consequence, there are only 2 fabric layers - the outer fashion fabric and the lining.  They are considered a "lined to the edge" type garment.  The fashion fabric is usually a loosely woven tweedy or boucle type fabric that is, as a norm, considered too fragile for traditional skirts and jackets.  Linings are more delicate materials such as silk gauze, China silk and silk charmeuse.

Typical construction consists of, almost invisible, quilting the fashion fabric to the lining so the loosely woven fabric will not sag and the garment can maintain its shape.  Other touches on Chanel cardigans includes a almost totally hand applied/sewn lining, braid trim and brass chains to weight the jacket hem attractively.

As I may have said before, I'm completely self-taught when it comes to sewing.  So I'll be using several reference books (and blogs) to help me construct my jacket.  I have my Threads Magazine Archive and Couture Sewing Techniques by Claire Shaeffer along for the ride.  I'm going to try to document my efforts more completely in making this cardigan than I ever have in constructing a garment before.  And the reason why is because I haven't found a single source, on-line or not, that does.  And basically because I want to.  LOL.

More later...

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

Jean Jacket Done! Well Almost...

I finally finished the lining this afternoon!  It was quite a bit more handwork than I usually do on a piece.  But I only have the buttons and buttonholes to do now.  But basically its done.  Phew!

Here's a couple more pictures of the lining and a closeup of the front.

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

Getting Close!

Wow, I'm almost done inserting the lining.  I think a closeup of how the piping and lining looks is called for.  So here it is.   I'm really ready for this project to be done.  Please pardon how dark the pictures are.   I was so excited at getting this much done and it actually looking decent that I just had to take pictures and not wait for daylight.  LOL.

This next view shows the lining sewn in, by hand I might add, on both sides.  I just need to finish around the neckline and then buttons and buttonholes. I'm hoping to have it completed in the next couple of days. 

Okay...I know what you're thinking.  Sewn in by hand?  What is she thinking?  LOL.  Well its sewn in hand because of poor planning on my part.  I just didn't really think it through when I thought it would be easy to add piping and lining.  Gah!  I probably would have been able to bag the lining by machine had I not wanted to insert piping.  Oh well, just all it practice for the Chanel style jacket I'll be making next.

Thursday, January 13, 2011

Jean Jacket - Lining

Finally started with the lining.  I'm sure I'm not installing it in any kind of accepted order since there wasn't a lining for this pattern.  LOL.  It's going to be in Belinda order!  Its attached at the bottom hem area.  The hem of the jacket itself is sewn and the top-stitching along the sides.  I have one sleeve inserted even though you can't see it from this picture.  Once I have both sleeves installed to my satisfaction, I'll start working attaching the piping and lining along the sides. I sure hope this jacket is going to be wearable after all of the work I've put into it.  Now that I'm getting closer to completion, I'm getting a anxious about how the finished jacket will look.

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

Frustration & the Fix

I'm having more fun now inserting the lining on the Jean Jacket.  But before the insertion could begin, I had to do a bit of top-stitching along both sides of the front and the hem.  Talk about frustrating!  Gah!  Skipped stitches galore.  I tried almost every combination of needle sizes, different threads, stitch lengths I could think of.   Grrrrr.  Finally, one of the gals on the Jacket Sew Along mentioned Tension.  OMG!  I can't believe I forgot to look at the dang tension.  Needless to say, it fixed my troubles with the top-stitching.  And now I'm merrily inserting the lining.  Thank goodness for friends.  LOL.

I actually had to leave the sewing room and go cook.  I spent a couple of hours making Roasted Butternut Squash soup.  I came home from my visit with my family stocked up with about 20 squash that my Dad had grown in his garden.  He only had a couple of hills and wound up with a billion squash.  I'll probably spend some time cutting up the rest of them and baking them soft so I can store them in the freezer. 

Wednesday, January 5, 2011

Quick Piping Tutorial

Okay...This is just going to be a quick and dirty tutorial on making the piping.  There are already lots of "real" tutorials for making piping out there.  I really wanted to show my first use of my Darr Piping Ruler.  Let's start at the beginning.  LOL.  The first thing I did was cut enough bias strips of my fashion fabric to equal about 3 yards (I always make more than I think I'll use because of potential screwups boo boos).  I then sew the strips together and trim the excess.  Press the seams open.  Take your cording and wrap the wrong side of the fabric around it.  I took the time to pin the whole thing because my hand-eye coordination isn't great.  LOL.  This picture shows me sewing the cording.  Well...kinda; I'm taking the pictures.

Now I've sewn all of the cording and placed it on my cutting table.  This great little tool allows you to rotary-cut or mark your choice of 4 different piping seam allowances.  For my application, I chose the 3/8 inch seam allowance.  Just place piping on the mat and align the groove of the ruler for the seam allowance you wish to use.

And cut away! Look how perfect that seam allowance is!  I just love it.

And here you see about 3 yards of gorgeous piping for the inside of my jean jacket.  Oh, I do have a suggestion that is not in the instructions.  LOL.  If you have a cat that loves to play with strings, I suggest you shoo them from the room until you're done cutting.  You can give them the scraps from cutting your lovely, neat piping.

Sunday, January 2, 2011

Procrastination & other odds 'N ends

Well...hardly any sewing this weekend.  Although I did get my lining cut out and ready to sew, my piping fabric is washed 'n ready to pipe sew.  LOL.  I've looked up the directions to make my bias strips for the piping and I have my handy dandy Darr Piping Ruler that I'll show you how to use the next time I post.  Now I have to go soak the cording in hot water for 20 minutes and let it dry.  I should have done it yesterday when I washed the lining but hey...that would have been too easy.  LOL. 

With the temperatures being so cold lately, I haven't been able to bicycle much.  I try to ride my circuit whenever the temps are over 38 with very little wind.  I really have to bundle up to ride but I really enjoy getting outside for a little exercise.  Right now I ride about 11-12 miles a day which only takes about 55 minutes, but I hope to change my route when it gets a little warmer so I can increase my mileage and work on my endurance.  I'm not going to compete or anything; I'd just like to get into better shape.  Of course, not eating that piece of corn bread baked in bacon grease last night might not have been a good idea.  LOL.