Ottobre Crispy Texture

Otto Crispy Texture 1On an Ottobre kick. My MO for this project was to pick a stash fabric that I really wanted to make up – in this case a coarsely woven ikat – and pick a pattern that would make the best use of it.

For the ikat, I was reaching for my usual minimalist-type jacket design, Anything But Ordinary. And while I have made that pattern many times and certainly appreciate the aesthetic, I’ve been wanting a little more refinement in the fit of the shoulders. This pattern from the 2-2019 issue had the bones to test as a substitute. The original in the magazine is a longer zip-front linen jacket with patch pockets and a drawstring split hem in the back, but it looked like it would be easy to adapt to a button-front, and shorten up.

Attractive features that made me want to try it as an ABO substitute: shoulder slope that is a closer match to my own, shoulder darts for additional fit, and an armscye and sleeve cap that differ from back to front.

This should have all been easy-peasy, but I have been really, really easy to confuse lately and got the center front mixed up with the front fold. At least I thought I did. I might have been confused about that, too.

Anyway, in order to fix my mistake, I added an extra strip of the fabric border on both sides of the front and took the opportunity to make in-seam buttonholes.

Otto Crispy Texture 2Not crazy about the buttons. JoAnns used to have a pretty good selection, but not any more. For shirts, that’s no problem. I go to the thrift store and for $1 buy a shirt with buttons I like. It’s not so easy with jacket buttons. So I bought some plain white ones at JA, even though they were shiny. Before sewing them on, I scuffed them up with sandpaper to remove the shine, because it just didn’t go well with the rustic weave. They are still too white, and one day when I have a better button selection I will replace them.

Other details about the construction…the ikat is a little loosely woven and I stabilized it by underlining with cotton batiste. The jacket still has a nice soft feel, but just a little more structure than it would have had with out the extra support. Narrowed the sleeve at the wrist.

Next time I will get the ABO out to copy the center front and neck opening onto this pattern, so I can get the front right and also copy the very cute collar it has. The Otto original was sized to be outerwear, so I might also size it down just a little still keeping it loose.

All in all I’m really pleased. I like the fit so much better and am really pleased to be able to refine a style that I use so much.

This will work just fine with a white top and my blue jeans or natural linen pants. The color is a little strong for me, but it won’t be a total wardrobe outlier.

Cutting Line Designs – Relax A Little

CLD RALNot long ago Fabricmart had some cottons that they listed as “Hawaiian Designer” goods. I bought a piece to make a shirt for the spouse and when it came, I was so impressed with the quality of the fabric that I bought three other prints – another one for him and two for me.

I sewed his shirt first (no picture) and the material was such a joy to work with. Lightweight, smooth, and cool, he has enjoyed wearing it this summer. It was incredibly selfless of me to make his first. At last, here is a shirt for me from the same material, different print.

The pattern is one I made once before, the little boxy shirt from Cutting Line Design’s Relax A Little pattern. The pattern also includes a skirt, something I am never likely to make.

I enjoyed making the previous version, and always meant to make it again. I like it in the Hawaiian print, even though the design details and topstitching really don’t show. This time I decided I also wanted it a little bigger. Previous version did fit, but I wanted it a little roomier this time, so I made a new tracing between the medium and large size. In this pattern, there is a big difference between the sizes.

The top as drafted is really, really short. I needed to lengthen it just to get it to cover my waistbands. This one I lengthened a total of 2-3/4 inches so that it is more of a high hip length. Other than leaving off the pockets, which are nowhere near the size they are shown on the envelope illustration, I made no other changes to the pattern.

This top sits nice and securely on my shoulders, with the neckband snug up to the back of my neck. it doesn’t seem to pull or ride backwards.

I might make another one of these in a solid fabric while these cut-on sleeves are still in style. A solid would show off the deep yoke and pockets, as well as all the top and edge stitching.

Anything But Ordinary Jacket

When browsing Farmhouse Fabrics I found a listing for handkerchief linen with several different co-ordinating stripes of white and natural. That is one of my favorite color combinations and I knew I wanted to make something that would use two of them for some subtle low-contrast contrast. I also needed a lightweight summer jacket for those air conditioned places.

ABO stripe

I bought enough fabric so that I could line whatever pattern I chose to the edge. That in effect makes a reversible fabric, and two layers of handkerchief linen is a good weight for a summer jacket. The Anything But Ordinary jacket from Cutting Line Designs is a nice simple design that goes together easily and made handling the two layers almost trouble free.

Cutting: I eliminated the center back seam and shortened the sleeves to bracelet length. The two layers were cut exactly the same, except that the collar was cut only from the stripe that was being used as the contrast side.

Construction order:

  1. Sew the shoulder and side seams of the inner and outer bodies separately.
  2. Construct the collar
  3. Attach the collar by sandwiching it between the inner and outer body layers and stitching the neckline seam.
  4. Right sides together, stitch all around the outer edges of the jacket: center fronts and hems. Turn right side out through an armhole.
  5. Construct the inner and outer sleeves.
  6. Right sides together, stitch the sleeve hem edge. Turn.
  7. Press under the seam allowance of the inner sleeve cap.
  8. Stitch the outer sleeve cap to both layers of the body.
  9. Attach the inner sleeve cap by hand.
  10. I decided to stitch in the ditch at the side seams through all the layers to give the hint of structure I would have gotten from underlining.

In all cases, I trimmed the seam allowances so the inner layer was not as wide as the outer layer. And when sewing the outside edges, I skootched the inside layer away from the edge so that the seam allowance for the inside was only 3/8 of an inch, while the outside layer was 5/8. It’s a bad look when your lining is too short and pulls on the outer layer.

Here is how the collar and the sleeve cuff look, showing the subtle contrast between the layers. I will probably always wear the sleeves turned up to 3/4 length.

 

My pressing is not perfect, but this piece will probably never be pressed again! Rumpled linen suits me fine.

When trying on the jacket and deciding on the buttons, I liked the look all buttoned up to the neck, even though realistically I would not wear a jacket that way. But I think I will make this pattern again soon as a loose shirt and make it button all the way up.

Happy summer sewing to any readers!

 

Here’s to new beginnings

A very happy 2018 to all readers!

It’s a good day to begin again with this old blog. It has been a very long time since I have posted, and there are plenty of reasons for that. For one thing, since the last post we have moved twice. It seemed like the entire year was filled with downsizing (again and again), packing, and preparing three houses to move into or out of. It has taken me a long time to feel somewhat settled in what we intend to be our permanent home, even though I am very happy to be here.

Meantime, my old blog theme is no longer supported and there is no telling what this post will look like, but I really wanted to get back in touch with the sewing world out there. This is a first step in that direction.

So, enough with the background and excuses! I have some sewing projects to share. They are unimpressive, but show that my heart is in the right place.

The last two days of the old year I sewed two much needed tops. They are both loose pullover tunics in stable knits. The fabrics were purchased from Fabric.com back in the fall, both manufactured by Telio. I have much better luck with Fabric.com when I buy fabrics with brand names. It’s not fun to open the box and be disappointed with fabric quality.

go_to_aCutting Lines Designs fans might have heard of the “Go-To” top. This is not a printed pattern, but a set of instructions for changing up the top from the Anything But Ordinary pattern. Basically, the body is widened, the sleeves lengthened, and the details are omitted. A link to the directions is at the end of this post. I extended the bottom to tunic length, easy to do because it’s perfectly squared off and you just add as many inches as you want.

go_to_b

CLD patterns are designed for woven fabrics, but this one worked up just fine in a stable knit. I even used the neck facing, topstitching both the edge and near the seam, rather than binding the edge. Looks OK to me.

Top number two is from Ottobre 2/2017. It’s style number 2, called All Day Long.

otto2_2017_2

It has binding on the curved hem as well as the neckline, and is supposed to have ribbing for the cuffs. My fabric had a horizontal rib which made a nice little detail when vertical strips were used for the binding and to replace the ribbing.  (Heads up – if you want to do this, make your own pattern piece for the cuff. The one in the magazine is sized for genuine ribbing fabric and won’t work unless your fabric has significant vertical stretch.)

Pics of this top:

otto2_2017_2a

 

These were both really quick sewing, and both will work with black leggings. Nice comfy basics that I really need.

What’s ahead in 2018

No long list of sewing resolutions, but there are two things ahead that I will be working on and blogging about.

  1. New sewing blocks and basics. In the last few years, the projects where I adapted a basic block (already fitted to me) to copy an admired design have been my most fun and rewarding garments. Those old blocks don’t fit any more. Good news, it’s because I lost weight about two years ago. So a project I really need to get to work on is picking some new patterns to be my starting blocks, or re-fitting some old favorites.
  2. Downsizing means I need to say goodbye to most of my old sewing machines. I used to have the space to collect…and the spouse knew that whenever he needed a present, he could do well by going to a second-hand shop or antique mall and buy the weirdest-looking machine for me. My plan is to buy a new basic machine with a good automatic buttonhole, and let the other machines (except the Featherweight) go. They will either get traded in or go on something like Craigslist.

Thanks for visiting! I will be trying to get the blog refurbished, better organized and whatnot, so that the next post will look better.

Links:

directions for the “Go To” top can be found in the first post on this forum thread: artisanssquare

Browse or purchase the Ottobre Woman 2/2017 issue here: Ottobre

 

 

coat, top, and Lola pants

We actually got a cool front last week that made me decide to put away all the really high summer clothes – the sleeveless white shirts, light colored pants, and the like. What was left (air) made me realize I actually NEEDED to get cracking on the autumn 6-pak.

CLD_PS_coat_edited-1The first item, started a while back, was the coat from Cutting Line Design’s Pure & Simple pattern. I had made this before in a short length and knew there was no fitting work to be done, so it got to go first. This is a fairly quick and uncomplicated sew. The only difficult part was making the corded loops for the pocket buttons.

There has been some discussion on the 6-pak thread about what makes a good piece for the scheme. Many words have been used to describe the quality…”basic”, “cake, not frosting”, “simple”,”boring”….as you can see, this piece fits the description. Solid fabric with just a tiny ribbed texture and simple style. However, I don’t think this jacket will hardly even see the inside of the closet. It will probably live on a peg beside the door, so I can grab it whenever I go out.

The coat as designed has three panels that you can add/subtract/adjust to get the length you want. I used the top two and lengthened each piece by an inch to get this fingertip length. The waistline seam is topstitched and has two pockets inserted which have button and loop closures. Unlined.

BS_10_07_122_blueItem two was another piece that needed no fitting since the first version was made recently. It’s a top from BurdaStyle, July 2010, #122. This time I was able to make the 3/4 sleeves and did not cut up my fronts by mistake. I really, really liked this pattern and wanted another right now, so here it is. The original 6-pak plan called for two knit tops, which I still plan to make.  The color and style of this shirt fits right in with the plan.

This time I used a mid-weight linen. The color is royal blue. No style changes to the pattern, just the usual fitting adjustments.

And, TA-DA, I also completed a pair of pants! I’ve wanted to make Style Arc’s Lola pants for a long time, but dreaded fitting a new pants pattern. Since the Lolas are on the slim side, I was afraid I was in for an ordeal. As it turned out, they weren’t hard to fit at all.

No photos of the pants, sorry. Pants pinned to the dressmaker’s dummy don’t give any information at all, and pictures of me wearing the pants never seem to turn out. I will write about them, anyway.

When tracing the pattern, I was dismayed when I saw the teeny-tiny crotch points on these. So I got out my all-purpose pant pattern to compare, and lengthed the back crotch point a couple of inches. Lengthened the front one, too, for good measure. I also lengthened the center back seam by adding a wedge right at the top of the crotch curve. Then I added 5/8 inch seam allowances because I need the insurance.

Style Arc Lola_edited-1

Style Arc instructions are as cryptic as Burda’s, and I could not follow their steps for constructing the pocket. It seemed like a straightforward operation, so I just did it my way, but some error must have crept in because I ended up with the pants fronts not matching the waistband. A couple of pleats solved that, and they are really invisible because of the gathers. I’ll just leave the pockets out next time.

I did understand their waistband instructions, and followed them, but think it would be easier everlastand neater to make the rows of topstitching last, instead of before attaching the waistband to the pants, which is what they have you do. I also want to turn in the edges of the waistband casing instead of just serging it on. It may be an old-fashioned home sewing technique, but I like the clean finish better. I do like the little flat panel in the center front…and it makes me laugh because it reminds me of boxing trunks.

There is optional elastic at the hem of the back leg. I put this in because it’s cute.

Verdict: I like these pants A LOT and will make them again as soon as I find suitable fabric. Fabric choice is important for these – you want something lightweight, but with a good drape, and also with a good substantial feel because they are pants and you don’t want your pants to feel flimsy. I used a mystery fabric that is probably a poly-rayon, in a dark gray, so they are nice and boring for the 6-pak.

As it turns out, I don’t think I needed all the crotch point extensions and will reduce them next time. Not all the way down to the original pattern specs, though. That just looked like there was no way to get a body in there.

The other pair of pants for this 6-pak were already made, so all that’s left is one more jacket (gray) and two knit tops to complete the original plan.

fall 6-pak

Each season there is a nice wardrobe-building sew along on Artisan’s Square. It’s the brainchild of ejvc, whose blog is here, and includes lots of posts on the topic. Each season you sew six items, mostly neutrals, and if you actually complete your six-paks, you end up with a very functional closet full of things that work together. At the beginning of this thread on Artisan’s Square, you can read her prescription for this fall. Fall 6-pak.

I have often joined up, but usually punk out after about 3 or 4 items. I think I’ve finished the whole 6-pak maybe twice. Still, even 3 or 4 planned items that go together are handy to have.

Once again, I’m inspired to give it a try. I even have a plan.

Fall 6-pak_edited-1

Colors are charcoal, indigo, a lighter indigo, and dusty plum. The Burda trousers are already made. The Pure & Simple jacket is a TNT, and there are no worries about fitting the other jacket – this is view B and I have already made view A which fits just fine. The Lola pants and Helix Tee have been sitting out cluttering up my work space for a long time, waiting to be fitted and made. The second top has not pattern selected for it – I’m waiting until the fall issue of Ottobre Woman comes out to see if they have something new that fits with this collection.

This plan is not very ambitious, which gives me hope that it can be completed.

Another attraction of this particular plan is that I already have all the fabrics except for the charcoal jacket, and that should not be difficult to find. This is the fabric stack.

fall 6-pak fabrics

top to bottom:

dusty plum knit of unknown content….a flat fold purchased off a bargain table

blue “Parisian knit” from Marcy Tilton

indigo cotton/spandex with a narrow rib woven in. I bought this stuff for pants and later realized that the ribs would make a noise when I walk, like corduroy. Much better as a jacket.

charcoal drapey poly blend for the Lolas. Polyester is not good for summers here, but OK for fall.

Not pictured is the indigo denim that has already been made up as Burda pants, and the charcoal jacket fabric that I will shop for. Something with some texture would be nice.

I’d like to say a few words about the Burda pants pattern. It’s from the Fall 2008 Plus magazine, number 404, but I believe it also appeared in the regular BurdaStyle mag. It may even be offered as a PDF. For my pear-shaped figure, these pants have been a super substitute for jeans. They have a narrow leg, for a close fit, but the line from hip to ankle is straight. When I look at the line drawings in Burda and they show a cut that hugs the thighs down to the knee, and then goes straight or flares from there, I know those are unflattering to me. This cut seems to be unusual for a close-fitting pant.

Other features that make this pant a winner: there are a total of four darts in the back, excellent for fitting and eliminating a gap at the back waist. And note that the waistband in back is in two pieces. This also helps with fitting because the waistband is attached before stitching the center back seam. You can sew the crotch most of the way, leaving an opening at CB, then try the pants on and pin fit the center back so that it snugs up to your waist. Then sew the CB of the pants and the waistband all in one swoop. Alter the waistband facing to match the waistband and stitch it last.

This method of construction also makes future alteration easy. You can easily open up the waistband to take in that center back seam if you lose weight. If you leave fat seam allowances, you also could let the pants out in the back if needed.

I still had to do some fitting with this pattern, but it was a much better starting point than most patterns. You may not be able to find this exact pattern, but if you have full hips and rear and a relatively small waist, look for the same features when considering pants patterns. I think they will make fitting easier for you.

burda 404

Here is the line drawing again, along with the schematic of the pattern pieces, to illustrate what I wrote about.

Sure Fit results

The thing about working on fit is that you can’t just slap the results up on your off-the-rack sewing dummy and take photos with any meaning. You have to stage a shoot and you have no unpaid interns to do all the prep work or even snap the shutter for you.

Since the last post, I made many more muslins to complete my Sure-Fit dress blueprint.  I omitted the skirt portion to speed things along and strictly worked on the bodice. Selecting the right dart size took care of my issues in the front. The back, which looked like this…..

back blog…took more work. Glenda gave me some very helpful advice, which included adding a shoulder dart. I was amazed at how much of a difference that made. It cleared up issues that I thought were length-related. I am not as swaybacked as I thought.

I also worked on my sleevecap and armscye and eventually got them wrinkle-free, but they were also over-fitted and not right to wear. Even though I would very much like to understand the mysteries of sleeves, I was tired of making muslins, so I borrowed a sleeve and armscye from Ottobre and called it finished.

I then used my blueprint to fit and adapt a basic blouse from the first Ottobre Woman issue. I had made it before and knew that it fit better than average. Now I knew that it could fit even better. I checked the shoulder slope and pitch, waist length, dart placement, and pattern widths against my blueprint and adjusted them where needed – most of the work needed to be done to the shoulder. Here’s the blouse made from the adjusted pattern.

front
front
back
back

There’s still some room for improvement, but this is better than I was doing before. I also happen to know that one of the creases is due to a cutting error. I can do a little pin fitting on this blouse, refine the block a bit more, and give it another go. This is where the intern would have been useful, giving a little artful pull here and there so that all would hang right.

I also used the blueprint to modify the shoulders on the Cutting Line Designs Anything But Ordinary top. I had made this top before and was not happy. Here it is, much better – a simple, breezy, casual top.

CLD ABONow, my unpaid intern/stylist, had I had one, would have advised me to wear darker foundation garments before shooting. But I’m not going to do it over.

Lastly, I used the blueprint to adjust the shoulders and compare widths to make a block for a basic sleeveless knit top based on an Ottobre pattern. I also used it to modify the Style Arc Abby cardigan, so I have a little twinset.

knit block_Abby Cardi

By the way, the pants that you can’t see very well in these photos are Style Arc’s Jasmine pants. I was not too happy with these when I finished them, but after they hung around for a month or so I finally decided to wear them. Evidently the time out improved my attitude, because now I like them well enough to go back and fine-tune the pattern to use again.

Reviews of the Jasmine pants often mention that the pants poke out where the V of the back yoke meets the center back seam. This is why:

style arc jasmineI sewed up the CB following the line indicated by the ruler to avoid the pointy poke.

Speaking of Style Arc, I have some thoughts on home garment sewing in general that have gelled because of working with some of their patterns lately. Style Arc seems to me to kind of replicate the RTW sewing experience in their styles, terminology, and assembly methods. I can’t cite anything as a real fact, but I believe I’ve read that Chloe Parker, the woman behind Style Arc, has a background in RTW and is bringing her expertise to pattern design for home sewers.

What follows here is not knocking Style Arc at all. I like and buy patterns from them. One of their features is small seam allowances – like a quarter or 3/8 of an inch, as opposed to the 5/8 inch that has long been a standard for home sewing patterns. Many home sewers are very enthusiastic about the narrow seam allowances and wonder why the other pattern companies are so old fashioned as to retain wider ones.

To me the wider seam allowances make more sense. I do not sew in a production environment, where consistency is a primary goal – that is, where the garment is being made by the thousands, and it’s important to have every size 12 be exactly the same as every other size 12. Narrow seam allowances help with that kind of accuracy. And they save fabric, too.

But I’m not trying to make identical multiples of a garment. I won’t use “couture” to describe what I’m doing, but it is “custom” work, like custom dressmakers used to do. I may make the same pattern a few times, but it’s going to be in different fabric each time, which means that I might need to let out the seams a bit. Can’t do that when the seam allowances are 1/4 inch.

Also, I’m not making a garment to a set of pre-determined size 12 specifications. I fit as I sew, and need to have enough fabric to work with. It also means that my construction steps might be different, since there are some options I want to keep open until the very end. That’s not always the most efficient (as in fast) way to sew.

Funny that 3/8 of an inch can cause you to think about what you are doing, why, and who your tribe is.

My resolution to the seam allowance question comes from becoming used to Burda and Ottobre magazine patterns. Leave ’em off. Trace the patterns without seam allowances, then add whatever you need when cutting. Makes for easier pattern alteration, style changes, and fitting. For me, that more than compensates for the few minutes it takes to chalk them on.

front

OTM shoulder alteration

I was asked how I altered the shoulder on the Of The Moment jacket so I’ve put together some diagrams to show my process. I think the pictures are clearer than photos, even if they aren’t exactly to scale. Got to add a disclaimer: I am no expert, and YMMV!

typical T shape
typical T shape

The problem – I have sloping shoulders and patterns that have the kimono-type T shape don’t do me any favors. They end up with excess draping under my arms. It’s the nature of these styles to have some of that draping, but too much is overwhelming. One solution would be to wear shoulder pads. I’ll do that for dressier versions, but don’t like to wear shoulder pads for everyday.

So…here goes. The blue is an approximation of one of the OTM front pieces, with the center front and the underarm dot marked. I didn’t draw the sleeve piece, but it joins the fronts and backs with very very little, if any, shaping to the sleeve cap and armscye. It’s basically a kimono T-shape that just happens to have the sleeve as a separate piece.

OTM
OTM

Pinkie represents the Paco Peralta asian jacket that I have made before and like the way the shoulder fits on me.

Paco pattern that has a shoulder slope
Paco pattern that has a shoulder slope

First I copied the portion of the OTM pattern that includes the end of the shoulder seam and the underarm dot. This is to be able to position the underarm dot correctly later on – so that the sleeve will still fit.

a little tracing
a little tracing

Now I laid the OTM pattern piece over the PP pattern I’m copying from. Align the center fronts and shift up or down until the points at which the neckline and shoulder seam intersect are on the same latitude.

patterns overlaid
patterns overlaid

Trace the shoulder line.

altered shoulder
altered shoulder

Lastly, get the little tracing and lay it on the altered pattern piece to determine the new location of the underarm dot.

white dot shows the new location
white dot shows the new location

The differences between the patterns are exaggerated for illustration purposes. They weren’t that extreme in reality.

Repeat with the back and the other front piece and you are ready to go. I hope this is of help!

ready for fall

photo has been enhanced, but it's still black and hard to see
photo has been enhanced, but it’s still black and hard to see

Ready for cooler weather with 3 jackets!

First up, yet another By Popular Demand jeanish-type jacket. This one was lengthened a lot, and a little shaping was added to the sides. I’m coming to realize that my back-to-waist length must be at least 2 inches longer than this pattern line is designed for.

This is a TNT pattern, so no other refinements were needed. I did change the construction a bit in order to include an underlining that also hides the seam allowances, a variation on the stitch & flip technique.

Fabric – cotton pique. I really thought it would be nice and stable to work with. Surprise! Wrong! This stuff grew on every edge. I’ve never used pique before, so I’m not sure if that is characteristic of the weave or if I just ended up with a very “special” piece.CLD BPD black 2

Underlining – printed silk charmeuse that I bought long ago for another project that never made it to the cutting table. It works great for this little jacket, though. I’m glad to finally have it out of the stash. Stash is like compost – it fertilizes your mojo, but it’s better if you turn it over once in awhile.

I used gunmetal grey snaps from Snap Source for this jacket. These were the last of a large-ish order I placed many years back. Time to get some more as they are nice to have on hand.

CLD OTMThis one is another Cutting Line design called Of the Moment. I had muslined this jacket before and thought it looked sloppy on me, so I put it away. I really wanted to make the style work, though, so made it the first experiment in developing blocks with different shoulder fits. The original OTM design has a sleeve seam, but without any shaping. It’s essentially a straight kimono/dolman shoulder and sleeve.

I overlaid the Paco Peralta asian jacket that fits me well and altered the OTM shoulder & sleeve to match it. I’m MUCH happier with the fit of my altered version – this one now can move into the win column! Again, the pattern was lengthened at least 2 inches. For this version, I used two left fronts (as designed, the pattern has more drape to the right front, less on the left). Topstitching was done with the machine’s triple stitch using rusty orange thread, like on jeans. It only shows when you view the jacket close up, but does add a nice little detail.

The material came from Fabricker and had the nice quality of being the weight of a denim, but soft and drapey – right in the Goldilocks zone for this style. This pattern would really show off double-sided fabric, and I hope to find some to make it again.

An unusual thing about the OTM pattern is that the neck facing is the most important piece! How often does that happen? If it becomes distorted or is not sewn accurately, the mitered effect of the turnback lapel is ruined. The rest of the jacket is straight and very easy sewing.

V7975_finishedThen there is this one, the snakebit project. Finally finished after more than a year. It started life as V8804, but ended up V7975. From pattern errors to notions sourcing difficulties to design indecision to seamstress mistakes to inevitable compromise, this one dragged me through it all. Here it is – quilted lining, chain at hem, not perfect but complete at long last.

I cursed this thing so much that the negativity permeates the fabric like cigarette smoke. How do you exorcise evil spirits from a garment so that it is safe to wear? Seriously, what do you do when you are sick of something by the time you finish it?

A Cute Angle

It seems like Cutting Line Designs patterns are being issued more frequently these days. That’s good news, because I usually like them very much. But now it is easy to get behind with trying them out. And since they are expensive patterns, we can’t have them just piling up on the corner of the cutting table!

A Cute Angle

A Cute Angle is one of the ones I hadn’t made yet. There are two patterns in the envelope: One is a long sleeve blouse with hidden button closure, and the other is an asymmetrical jacket. I was curious about how the blouse differed from some similar recent offerings. The Artist In Motion top looks similar, and I wondered if the front closure was the only difference. A quick muslin later, I had my answer. The ACA top is cut slimmer – there is much less volume than the AIM top. It also seemed like the shoulder is squarer. I didn’t care for the way I looked in it, so I started thinking about the jacket.

The asymmetrical design is kind of “out there” for me. A wrap or an off-center line of buttons is about as far as I have gone. But this one seems like it could hang with a lagenlook collection, so it needed to be tried.

I’d also been wanting to order from the linen specialty shop, fabrics-store.com. So I picked out a pretty blue and ordered yardage plus some swatches of other colors and weights to get an idea of their inventory. The mid-weight (IL019) linen that I bought seems like good quality for the price. Beware, though, they send lots of e-mails. Many of these are about sales and special prices (good), but they seem to come every other day (bad). I’ll give them another week to see if I have to send them to the spam folder or not.

CLD ACA frontHere’s the finished jacket. I like it a lot – and wish I had lengthened it just a little bit more. You don’t want to go making these really distinctive styles multiple times. When the hemline is all over the place, it’s hard to know where to take your length measurements.

In contrast to the little top, the jacket has a relaxed but neat shoulder/armscye/sleeve draft. If I do make it again, the shoulder could be just a tad narrower.

Maybe the lapels could be made smaller and I could do it again as a button-up top. As designed, there’s a single button and you have the option of making a buttonhole or a loop. I went with the loop and a big vintage mother of pearl button.

CLD ACA backYou can’t see it very well here, but there’s a little pleat running the length of the center back that is very cute.

One of the good things about sewing is that we get to define our own goalposts, and move them whenever we like. Much as I like the CLD patterns, the ones with the very square shoulders look pretty sloppy on me. Shoulder pads would fix that, but that’s not going to happen for everyday wear. It occurs to me that what I need are three different blocks so I can refine the fit of the shoulder and sleeves, and use them to modify the patterns. A dolman block, a drop-shoulder block, and a slightly-extended shoulder block ought to cover my needs for these relaxed styles.

Paco Peralta’s dolman draft fit me beautifully, so I’ll use it for the dolman styles.

For the slightly-extended shoulder, I can use this jacket (with the shoulder narrowed a bit) or the jacket from another CLD pattern, Pure and Simple (it’s out of print).

That just leaves the drop-shoulder, and I may look to Burda for a solution. Will need to examine some of the other CLD patterns to compare the shaping of the sleeve caps for styles that fall into this category.

So, a little project is born – I need to prove to myself that I can make those pattern modifications and that they will turn out the way I want them to. I’ll report on the results.

The jacket in this post was made on this machine…

sm_Raquel