Wednesday, March 21, 2012

Sewing is an Art Form - Claire Kennedy

We learn from each other and I was encouraged and inspired when I read Claire Kennedy's new posting about Sewing as an Art form.  This paragraph sums up her ideas and brings a little peace to my soul.

Sewing is an art form – PERIOD!!!!  And approaching it this way gives you insight on many of the dilemmas and decisions you make when you’re sewing.  To be consternated, frustrated, confused about making decisions about patterns, fabrics, designs and fittings – is NORMAL!!!  It’s all part of the process and the problem solving that you will do in completing your creative project.  To have great equipment and great supplies means that you will have a better chance of a great garment.  To practice and keep your skills honed, means that you will have better results and faster.

Read the rest of her post here

Thanks for stopping by, and keep on sewing!

Thursday, March 15, 2012

Winter is officially over

At least my winter sewing is officially over.  I finished my last fleece garment for the year.  This is the same pattern as the previous jacket, but with some minor changes. (Click on images for larger picture)
I found a rose patterned tapestry-like trim that went well with the fabric.  
One thing I realized was that I could use an enlargement of my line-drawing from my PMB5 pattern to help me plan my project:

Originally, I intended to do welt pockets, using the rose trim on the welt, but somewhere along the line I decided to switch to patch pockets, though I find patch pockets somewhat frustrating because they never come out as well as I'd like (repeat the mantra: "Done is better than perfect, Done is better than perfect.")  The good news is that they mostly blend in with the jacket and no one else is likely to notice.  
The pockets are lined with the athletic jersey material I had intended to use to create inside pockets:
This time I used blue grosgrain ribbon on the neck, hem and zipper seams.
My original intention was to create straps something like you'd see on a trench coat and attach the trim to the straps.  
Some experimentation showed that this was not feasible with the thick fleece. So, instead I just applied the trim directly to the sleeves and back of the jacket. I also top-stitched the seams to make them stand out a bit more.
Of course, I think I am all done, zip the jacket, and I see this:
Oh bother!  How in the heck did that happen?  And I thought I was measuring the hem evenly.  Maybe the fabric stretched or maybe....???  Oh well, it didn't take long to fix.
Hey look, I can get my hands in the pockets this time!

Thanks for stopping by, and keep on sewing!

And remember: 

And as Phyllis Carlyle says:
"Done is better than perfect!"

Sunday, March 11, 2012

Warm, Soft Jacket!

I wish you could feel this fabric.  It is Polartec 300 fleece, the thickest of their classic fleece products.  It has a sheared finish and is OH SO soft!  Warm and cozy!  I intentionally made it longer than my previous ones for warmth.

My biggest challenge was the pockets. I learned how to do an inseam pocket with zipper by reading my sewing books, specifically "Sew the New Fleece" (1997) by Rochelle Harper.  I'm pleased with the quality of the pockets, however the pockets are too low because I had forgotten that I needed to move the pockets higher above the hem, given that I'd lengthened the jacket. I DO like the way this also forms two inside open pockets between the fleece and the nylon.

The other problem is that the way this pattern drafts for me (PMB5 as usual), the front panel is narrow and the side panel is wider.  This makes the pocket opening too close to the center.  Between that and the the low positioning, I will probably be taking these pockets out and doing them over.  Stay tuned.

As I mentioned previously, I ended up with "camo" trim and pockets on this jacket.  That wasn't my plan, but when I went looking for grosgrain ribbon, camo was the one I thought matched the best.  I was standing in line to get my fabric cut when I spotted the camo rip-stop nylon.  I figured "in for a penny, in for a pound".  I really like the use of the ribbon to cover the zipper and fabric edge.

The hood is comfortable, but I see in this picture that when I put the hood on, the front hem comes up higher.  Next time I make a hood, I'll make it a little longer and probably a little deeper.  I put in eyelets for a drawstring (first time I'd used eyelets) but don't have a string yet.
I wanted some sort of placket on the sleeves, so I did a zippered gore (another first, both the gore and the zipper).  I'm quite happy with how that turned out, though the inside doesn't bear close examination (not pretty).  If anyone can point me towards a good tutorial on this, I'd appreciate seeing it.

PMB5 settings:
Classic jacket
Shoulder princess darts
Fitted hood
Sleeve height adjustment of -2 to give more freedom of movement (see, I'm learning!)

And here's a peak at the burgundy jacket (mentioned in the Mar 2 post) in progress:
Notice something different?  More to come...

Off topic:  We live on a small lake and this week the Buffleheads are here to visit.  They are a migrating diving bird that we only see for a few days a year.  Beautiful little birds!  Do you see these birds and what time of year?  Does anyone see them all summer long?
(Picture from Cornell Lab of Ornithology web site)

Thanks for stopping by, and keep on sewing!

Monday, March 5, 2012

Change of topic: Vintage style - Imelda May

I happened to be watching Jay Leno, which doesn't happen very often, when I saw this musician and thought of those of you who are into all things vintage.  Are any of you familiar with Imelda May?  Check out this link to pictures of her and her band:

(Click on pictures for larger image)

The dress she was wearing tonight was very interesting...not to mention her trademark hair style.
There is a video of her performance on this page:

Just a little FYI. I thought some of you might be interested.

Thanks for stopping by, and keep on sewing.

Friday, March 2, 2012

Finishing the Winter Projects

The situation at work is getting back towards normal, so I am back to mostly working 4 days/week.  And you all know how I prefer to spend my day off!  I should be cleaning today, but I've been working hard and deserve this day off, don't you think?  ;-)  

Besides, I need to get my "winter" sewing projects done before it's too warm to wear them. I am back to finishing off my stash of fleece.  I had purchased green fleece and burgundy fleece to go with my inspiration fabric colors. I have created a pattern (using PMB5) for an armscye princess hooded sweatshirt.

Of course I have to make it more complicated, so I'm including zippered pockets in the princess seam (not in the side seam as pictured above), zippered godets/vents on the cuffs, and I'm going to put a zipper in the center hood seam so it can lay back flat when not in use.  And I reserve the right to change my mind as I go along!  

Usually I start from scratch with a new pattern each time I make something, mostly because I want to try out different pattern styles and features, and also because I want some variety in my wardrobe.  However this time, in the interest of expediency, I am going to use this pattern for both the green and burgundy fleece that are in line to be made into something warm and comfy. 

The inside fabric raw edge of the front zipper and the hood zipper will be covered with a woven ribbon trim.  The burgundy jacket will have a dark red/white checked ribbon and the green jacket will have (don't laugh) camo.  I'm not normally a "camo" type, but I liked the colors better than anything else I found. I may also use the red/white trim on the outside of the burgundy jacket, just for something a little different from the green one.
This is not a good representation of the color, it really is burgundy
For the inside of the pockets (which are double layered), I was hoping to find polyester athletic jersey material, the stuff with the "holes" in it, in black.  I didn't find any black athletic jersey at the two local stores, but I did find it in burgundy.  
While I was standing in line waiting to get my fabric cut, I stumbled across rip-stop nylon in, you guessed it, camo.  So that will be the pocket material for the green jacket.

I got the idea for the pockets and the trim from a fleece vest I have that was purchased in northern Minne-snow-ta from a company called Wintergreen.  They make "northern wear" and have outfitted some of the polar expeditions!  

Also note that this fleece has a Jacquard type pattern to it, the likes of which I've not seen anywhere else.  Is this a custom product or does anyone else know of a source for textured/patterned fleece like this?

The other challenge in this pattern is the pocket zippers.  On the blue vest above, the zipper opens through the princess seam and into the space between the two layers of pocket material.  Here are my practice versions of that (the light blue fabric is the outside, the white fabric is the inside).  Still some improvement needed but I'm getting the idea worked out.

It is sort of like an inseam pocket and a welt pocket combined.  Wish me luck.  It is figuring out things like this that make my projects take a long time, but it should go faster on future ones!

Thanks for stopping by, and keep on sewing!