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.

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Jalie Rose

I’ve been on a mini sewing binge.

My last shirt got me pretty excited about the collar/stand directions Jalie gives with this pattern and made me want to make their actual design right away.

jalie rose_1

Lucky for me, Fabric Mart was having a timely sale on challis, so I ordered this fabric and made it up as soon as it arrived. It’s a very fine and floaty rayon, just right for swingy Rose.

I did some measuring and was happy to discover that I could cut a straight size and did not need to enlarge at the hemline. What that means for everyone else is that it has a very A-line shape. It also has the back pleated into the yoke, for even more hip room. Bust darts give it a bit of fit but overall it is very loose, very cool, very nice for hot weather.

jalie rose_2

The front button band is tiny – only about 5/8″ wide. If I understand the instructions, following their procedure would result in two layers of interfacing on both sides. That would have been too much for my lightweight fabric, so I cut and installed two really skinny strips. The little collar has a pretty shape. And then there were the collar stand instructions that I read very carefully to be sure I got it right this time. On the previous shirt, I mixed up an interfaced and uninterfaced layer. Still got a pretty darn good result. This time it was even nicer.

The yoke and neck fit me very well. No forward shoulder adjustment needed! The forward yoke seams actually lie forward of my shoulder. These last two shirts have sat exactly the way they are supposed to on my shoulders without shifting around. That’s gold.

The armholes are faced with narrow bias – which brings me to my one complaint about this pattern – the armholes are too low. Wait…one more whine…I still like 5/8″ seam allowances for most seams, and Jalie uses all 3/8″.

I won’t be making another one of these right away because autumn is coming, but will take the time to make a nice tracing (cut this one from the PDF printout) with an altered armhole to have ready to make again next year.

I think it looks great with jeans.

jalie rose_3

Style 1612 vintage shirt

This pattern was a find because it enabled me to scratch two itches at the same time: it’s a vintage pattern from 1976, and it has French darts – or at least darts that start low and angle up. These are both things I’ve wanted to dabble with.

Style 1612 pattern

Finding an older pattern that isn’t obviously vintage took a little searching. This shirt turned up in an Etsy shop, and the seller is in New Zealand. I never thought I would be making impulse buys from a place so far away! There it was though, in my size, at an impulse-buy kind of a price, and even the shipping wasn’t what I would have expected. It only took about a week to get it. What a world, what a world.

The pattern has a front band, collar on stand, back yoke, bust darts in front and vertical darts in back, sleeves with cuffs and plackets.

I did some measuring and felt good about cutting out as-is, except for adding width at the hips and lowering the darts a smidge. The only other real change I made was modifying the super large and pointy collar to something more classic.

The sewing experience was a mixed bag. I was looking forward to vintage directions that I might prefer to the methods I usually use. That did not happen. When I scanned the instruction sheets, I thought I would like the method they used for the front band. Nope, not going to do that again.

But I did like the single-size pattern. There was heaps of information on the tissue, including directional sewing, lots and lots of match points, and of course, seam lines with all the intersections clearly marked.

I also used a couple of outside helps. This pattern finally gave me a chance to use the sleeve placket template I bought from Lunagrafix. My plackets turned out very nicely.

And while I was working on this shirt, I read some reviews and The Sewing Lawyer’s blog post on Jalie’s Rose shirt. Several people mentioned the great directions for the collar stand. One PDF download later, I was able to use those directions. I misread them and made a mistake, but still got a better than average stand.

Those are the two most tedious parts of making a shirt and now I have better ways of doing them!

 

And the vintage pattern gave really nice results. This is a trim-fitting shirt. It’s been so long since I’ve worn something like that, I’m a little shocked. The shoulders are not too wide. I didn’t need a forward shoulder adjustment. The collar doesn’t pull to the back. It’s much more close fitting than I’m used to, but there is plenty of range of motion.

I think I will like having a TNT fitted shirt to wear with the wider pants that we keep hearing are coming. Here is a rare bathroom mirror selfie to show how nicely it fits.

Style 1612 modeled

Conclusion: This is so different from the loose and boxy shirts that are current that it seems kind of formal. Even though I like it, I’m not going to make a pile of these until I see how much I wear this one.

Ottobre 5/2014 “Autumn Palette”

My new sewing machine, a Janome DC4030P, is here and has been put through its paces by sewing a white shirt. The machine did great. The seamstress, not so great. I love sewing shirts, but am out of practice. Foolishly I dove right in without giving myself a little review or pulling out some good instructions. Everything came out OK, but it could have been accomplished in a much more elegant manner. NEXT TIME.

Since I need to re-fit a bunch of basic patterns, I started from scratch with this Ottobre shirt. It is number 18 from the 5/2014 issue and is called Autumn Palette. The design features a back yoke with a gathered back, forward shoulder seams, collar on stand, loose fit with no darts, and sleeves gathered into two-button cuffs with a bound placket. This shirt is voluminous enough that I sewed a straight size 44 with no extra added at the hip/hem.

There is also supposed to be a collar. I meant to sew this up pretty much exactly as given to have a good clean starting point for future design departures. So I made it the full length (which is long – tunic length). The only changes to the pattern prior to cutting was shortening the length of the sleeves. I did some thrifty cutting, and thought I would be able to squeeze in all the pieces, but nope! It came down to a decision between the collar or cuffs, and I decided to keep the cuffs.

P1030659
Evidence of thrifty cutting. This is all that was left.

The material came from Farmhouse Fabrics. Last year, they had a very good price reduction on some vintage cottons (in vintage 36″ width), mostly very drapey fine weaves. I had been thinking that the oversized patterns that I like would be more flattering made in fabrics with less body than the usual quilting or shirting cottons, so I gambled and ordered 5 or 6 cuts in mostly neutral colors. This thin cotton crepe is the first one to be cut and sewn.

I love neutral colors. I also love androgynous garments, like basic shirts and trousers. So I look a lot to menswear, where small details really make the style statement, for inspiration. I love Pam Erny’s old blog posts when she showed the details of her custom shirts. I aspire to workmanship like her’s.  So, to make this white shirt a little special, I decided to angle the corners of the cuffs and the neckband. Behold my style statement.

P1030686
daring, right?

As far as the pattern goes, everything went together just like it was supposed to, and just like we expect from Ottobre. Here is the shot on the grabby dressform, which defied all my efforts to get the shirt to hang straight, which it does on my non-grabby body. The pockets don’t hang up like that, either. You can also see by how the red shows through how lightweight the fabric is.

P1030682

The shirt is completely clean-finished, with french seams on the sides and flat felled ones on the sleeve cap. As I made this up, I thought about doing french seams on the sleeve cap – what do you do in cases like this? French or flat fell?

I used the edge stitch foot that came with my new machine in combination with the needle positioning feature to get nice even topstitching on the front bands, collar band, and cuffs.

My notes on fit for the next time…For this pattern, I really some sort of forward neck/shoulder alteration. The collar band is pulling to the back a bit, and the shoulder seams, which should be visible from the front, are pulling back, too. Will make those alterations for the next time. Other than that, I’m very happy with my new shirt that will keep me comfy and covered even when the weather turns really hot.

On to the next project! I am still working on developing new TNT basics. Next up – plain old pull-on pants.

two tops

There are a couple of tops to share with you. Both are old patterns, but not so terribly dated.

First up, Sewing Workshop’s Tribeca.

This is one of the first Sewing Workshop patterns I ever bought, so it must be at least 8 years old or so. I made it once before, but in a very sober color and a smaller (boo hoo) size.

SW_tribeca

 

This was a fabric-generated project. I think it came up in a search for chambray on Fabric.com, and it was described as having two different sides. When it arrived, I was happy to see it was actual double cloth – two layers of gauze-like cotton attached to each other with tiny “stitches”. You can barely see the blue attaching threads on the white side of the fabric. It aged for a few months while I thought about patterns that would take advantage of the double-sidedness, and eventually the old Tribeca was my choice.

Tribeca has no facings – the outside edges are turned and stitched with tiny little miters at all the corners. It also has a ton of darts. Shoulder darts, two bust darts (including a curved frenchy dart), back darts, and elbow darts shape and control the fullness in this shirt. The buttonholes are reinforced with little backing squares to make up for the lack of facing support. Directions call for french seams everywhere. The double cloth was a little heavy for real french seams, so I made flat fells – grading the layers inside the seam.

Sleeves were a little long, but they look nice rolled up so that’s not a problem.

I doubt I will make it again, as there is something about the shoulder that just isn’t right in either version, despite my comparisons to TNTs and tweaking. It’s not enough to keep me from wearing this, but I don’t think it is worth my time to try to fit and sew again. This will work nicely as either a shirt or lightweight jacket.

Claire Kennedy in her blog recently drew attention to a BurdaStyle pattern that is now available as a download. I recognized it as one I had noted as a possibility for me back when it appeared in the magazine – in the July 2010 issue.

BS_10_07_122_drawingIt’s style #122 – here’s the line drawing.

 

And here it is, made up in handkerchief linen.  BS_10_07_122You can see that I had to make use of some “design opportunities”. This was originally supposed to be long sleeved like the pattern. However, the upper bodice and attached sleeve is such a large piece, that you have to do single layer cutting. So I cut one side, unpinned the fabric, then flipped the pattern piece and cut out the opposite side. Set the pattern piece aside with the second fabric piece still attached. Can you guess where this story is going?

After most of the main pieces were cut out,  I grabbed the biggest scrap I could find for the collar stand. Yes, the “scrap” was one of the bodice/sleeve pieces that wasn’t attached to the pattern tracing. This is not the first time I’ve done this….some corrective action needs to be worked into my cutting procedures.

So now you know why the sleeves are short and the left front is pieced. I don’t mind it this way, but would still like a long-sleeved version!

I recently adjusted the measurements on my sewing dummy but it truly is only good as a clothes-hanger now. That bust seam really does go across the fullest part of the bust (there’s a dart built into it). You can see where the bust apex is on the dummy. Not an adjustable measurement.

Other notes on the pattern – the sizes ended at 44, but this was easy to scale up to a 46. The collar stand is loose in front when it is buttoned up, and when it is not buttoned it falls away from the neck in a relaxed way. Also, that stand is very narrow and consequently a pain to sew. I’ll probably  make it a little wider when I make my long-sleeved shirt just to make the sewing experience less stressful.

BS_10_07_122_BACKHere’s the back view – when I make this again, I may put a pleat in the lower back piece at the center, or a couple of small pleats at the side, just to give a little extra ease over the seat.

Next up is a pair of pants in a black and white cross-woven cotton to go with the white shirt. When I hung this in the closet, I realized that I have a couple of white tee shirts, but did not have a white woven shirt. This will probably get a lot of wear, as white shirts are a good thing to have.

I realize I’ve been slow with the blog postings lately, and feel guilty because in the meantime I’ve been enjoying everyone else’s blogs. Partly it’s because I have had computer problems, and partly because I don’t need to sew as much now that office wear is not required. The computer has been replaced, and I am slowly learning to use the new platform since the replacement is a mac. The differences between it an my old windows machine are just enough to be a little aggravating, but a little time (and a few time outs!) will get me over that.

Happy sewing, everyone!

Ottobre Woman 2/13 #3

IMG_4224IMG_4224a…And here’s the finished shirt. I’ve already seen Amanda make this up, and plans on another blog to make it, so this may end up being a popular pattern, for Ottobre. It’s a nice buttonup shirt with a pretty yoke detail. The front shoulder seam is quite forward and slanted, and the back of the yoke is curved. It has darts for a nice bust fit.

This shirt is part of a travel wardrobe for a relatively rugged vacation I have coming up. We won’t be sleeping in tents, but there will be plenty of hiking and hauling of gear, and the climate is different from what we have here so I do need some items good for what I would call cool, but not cold, weather.

Fabric is denim chambray. It’s a little heavier than a regular shirting, so I took the opportunity to use some scraps of a Liberty cotton to make the lining pieces.

Liberty surprise under the pocket flaps
Liberty surprise under the pocket flaps
Liberty inside cuffs and collar stand
Liberty inside cuffs and collar stand
little Liberty hem gussets
little Liberty hem gussets

The yoke is lined with the same print, too. Feels extra nice to wear.

Design changes: added second breast pocket and squared off the pocket bottoms; pocket flaps; added sleeves; changed hem to more like a swallowtail hem. Added a bit to the first fold at center front so the band is self-interfaced.

Alterations: I used my usual Ottobre sizing gambit (44-46-48, with the 44 @ the shoulder), forward shoulder and swayback adjustments.

General comments: I like that the front band is cut-on but am puzzled why they didn’t have the first fold wide enough to be a self-interfacing piece. Maybe I missed something in the instructions. In general, Ottobre makes their CF bands for their shirts a little narrow and dainty for me. Next time I’ll make it a little wider. Another possible drafting (or tracing) problem: The back side seam was about an inch longer than the front. I went back and checked my tracing against the original, and it seems like I traced correctly. But errors could have crept in with my alterations, so I’m not sure where the problem lies. In any case, it’s an easy fix.

I used the sleeve from the Gardener shirt in the 5/2012 issue and it fit into the armscye with just a little easing. HOWEVER, I should have widened the shoulder of the body so that it would fall a little off of my actual shoulder, the way most shirts do. The armhole for “Buttondown” is cut in a little bit, which is more graceful for a sleeveless design. I thought I could leave the shoulder width as is, since my shoulders are narrow, but the hang of the sleeve is influenced just a little bit. It’s really fine as it is, but could have been better, and will be next time.

There are a few more travel-related items at the top of my sewing queue. A couple of oversized shirts that can go over layers, and some utilitarian odds and ends. Marcy Tilton’s pattern V8407 includes a passport pouch, a little cross-body bag, and all kinds of cute envelopes for travel items. I want to make a few of those things, too.

I hope everyone is enjoying a fun and relaxing summer, whether it includes travel or not.

 

Top A Month #4 – Burdastyle + Sewing Workshop

It’s nearing the end of April and I haven’t made a knit top for the TAM exercise. But I did make a woven, so that will be “Miss April”.

Burda Mag 2011_05_131
Burda Mag 2011_05_131

It is almost always satisfying to go back to the Burda magazine stash. This one is from the 5/2011 issue, # 131. It’s presented as a dress, but hemline, schmemline. Mine is a tunic.

I wanted to use a cotton voile that came from Farmhouse Fabrics. This place has become one of my favorites, even though most of their inventory seems to cater to the sewing for kiddies market. They still have plenty of shirtings, cottons, and linens appropriate for grown-ups, like this teal-colored voile I found among all the baby colors. Quality has always been good there, too.

Voile is sheer, so I wanted a pattern with volume. The thinking was that all the gathers in the fabric, along with the breast pockets, would team up to mitigate the peekaboo effect. Wrong. When I got things assembled enough to try on, I realized that this would need an underlayer to be modest enough. There was enough fabric left over from the tunic to make the tank from Sewing Workshop’s Mixit pattern. Even with the two layers, the fabric is so light that the ensemble is very very cool to wear. It will be nice in the heat of summer to have something that gives coverage in the form of sleeves, but is still cool.

Some construction notes: I basically made view B but added the pockets from A, minus the flaps. Originally I was going to make the sleeve tabs, too, but they seemed out of character with the softness of the voile, so I left them off.

voila --voile!
voila –voile!

The first decision was about interfacing. I had white, offwhite, and gray interfacing in the stash. There was lots of showthrough and it seemed to me like self-fabric interfacing would be the best bet. Also because of the showthrough issue, I eased the dart at the side seams instead of stitching. The voile was loosely woven so easing worked OK.

Burda instructions for the placket weren’t sufficient. I’ll find better placket instructions to copy off and save with my pattern for next time.

Side seams and sleeve seams are flat-felled. The pockets and yoke are edge-stitched and topstitched. Sleeve hems were turned to the right side for a 3/4 sleeve with mock band. Since I was not going to flat fell the armscye, and also wasn’t going to mess with getting teal thread on the serger, the armscye is overcast with a machine zig-zag. I kept the wide hem of view B for weight. Gray-ish mother of pearl buttons pick up a little of the teal color.

In the photo, the neck was left unbuttoned so you can glimpse the tank top underneath.  Since the tank is from the same fabric as the shirt, the placket with its multiple layers really disappears. I started with the SW Mixit tank because it is dartless, and made a few changes. From the illustration on the pattern, you wouldn’t know how high the neck of this tank actually is. Lowered it an inch. Cut out on the bias on the theory that it would hang closer to the body and not cause the overshirt to pouf out too much. Poufing is not an issue when the two are worn together. I wonder if the bias cut actually made a difference?

To simplify construction and reduce handling of the bias cut pieces, I cut the hem with a shirtail curve, enabling this zip-zop easy construction:

1. Hem back & front with a tiny baby hem.

2. Sew sides and shoulders with french seams. The raw edges of the curved hem are hidden in the french seam.

3. Bind the neckline & armscye.

4. Finished!

Sometimes I have a little binding issue with Burda shoulders and sleeves, but this pattern is especially nice in that area, IMO. I’m really glad to have given it a try and will probably make it up again.