Thursday, April 23, 2015

A Collared Oakridge

Tho' she has absolutely no recollection of this, the Geek found this blouse at a thrift store a few years ago. We both liked the fabric and the pattern,

This is the pattern, not the much more interesting way the camera make it appear in the other photos.

but not the boxy shape.
No fashion blogger would wear this blouse with those trousers.
This picture was taken after I removed the darts.
I tried adding dart to the front and back, that made it fit better in the waist but didn't address the poor fit under the arms.
The shirt was placed in the 'ponder' file for several months.

Tasia then released the Oakridge pattern. It's nice having someone who designs for the pear-shaped among us.

I traced out my size placed, found the blouse, opened up the side seams, and placed the pattern pieces over the existing front and back. After cutting the blouse to the new shape, I resewed the side seams. I didn't change the hem or the collar.

I didn't move the dart, which may explain the drag lines toward my waist even tho' the fit under my arms is better.
 But when you add a sweater, you can't see the imperfections.
 Now I'll see how it fits when I start with a fresh piece of fabric rather than an existing shirt.

Sunday, April 12, 2015

Front and Back. Front to Back. Front and...

I'm not the only one who has trouble fitting trousers. It's a common lament on the blogs I read. Only Roobeedoo has managed to nail a pair on the first outing. I'm thrilled for her and I hope I can find my perfect pattern too.
My first attempt, started in January, was a full legged pair, Vogue 8751. I decided to insert use a back zipper because, for me, fly fronts don't always reflect how well something fits. The back zipper was a royal pain, taking me three attempts and I regretted trying to be clever;the fly front would have been much easier.
The results are not what I'd hoped for and I'm not sure if I like the pattern enough to try fixing the problems.

some pulling in the back
But the real kicker was the way the yoke did(n't) fit. I think the pattern was made for someone whose hipline suddenly turns into a waist. Mine tend to taper in gradually.

plus, the pockets stick out
OK. Next. Vintage McCalls 5408 shorts with length added to the legs and pockets.
a prominsing start.
This turned out to be quite hilarious. Again, I did the back zipper for the previously mentioned reason, and again, I should have done a fly front, but if I had, I wouldn't have learned something very interesting...
First off, the fit was verrrrry strange. The back was fine, but the front was incredibly baggy. I puzzled about who this could have been drafted for, because they look very close fitting in the picture. I regret not taking a photo, becuase it reminded me of this (without the pointy bits).

Needless to say, I had to take in the front quite a bit.
The back gaped, so I added a couple of darts. Then I found I had comehow cut the waistband too small
so I added a tab.

The fit at that point was not too bad, tho' the back was strangely low,
 There is a bit of a gap in the back because I didn't pull the zipper fully closed
 while the front was unusually high.
plus the pockets pull in the front a bit.

I'm not sure when the dime dropped, tho' I'm sure the experience among you have realized all along where I've been going with this...

Yes indeed. I'd somehow confused with the front and the back. 
The original  front with added darts and some pull lines.

the original back, that still doesn't fit despite all my adjustments..
I should be slightly offended to realize that because I have no derriere the front fits as a back better than the back would, but this is quite amusing.

So, modified the pattern so I had two 'fronts'.

And tried again. These aren't bad, I just need to take about an inch out of the rise so the waistband sits at my waist.
The weird lighter area is from sitting on my bicycle saddle

I can't believe it's taken this long to get my first vintage pattern sewn and I'm starting to think I should just stick to skirts. I've marked my changed on the pattern pieces and will revisit this trouser thing later.

Sunday, March 22, 2015

Madly? Pleated? Trading Places?

I enjoy reading Stephanie's blog. Her rambles through Canadian history remind me of things I learned as a child or send me off down the most interesting rabbit holes of topics I need to research further. I also find projects I need to try -a good thing since I have several projects on the go, and none finished.

One of her more recent posts (or it was when I started this post a few weeks ago) featuring a pleated skirt inspired me to finish a skirt in my 're-work' pile.

Way back in 2010 I made a gathered skirt from a multi-coloured plaid. I liked the colours, but the design was less than optimal -I don't suit gathers, the waistband was too narrow, and it was too long. I decided to use that skirt to test how I look in pleats. I didn't have a pattern to go to, so I just pleated the fabric to fit my waist measurment, shortened the skirt by about 3 inches, and used the bottom cut off to widen the waistband.

I'm not sure it's a total success -I may need to stitch down the pleats -but I wore it to work anyway.
My co-workers liked in, no doubt in part to the bright colours. We have not had a cold winter, and most of our snow melted last week, but it has been very dull and gloomy. Usually we have cold sunny winters and people are feeling the effects of so little sun.

So, emboldened by my 'success' I decided to try the same on a piece of orange fine-waled corduroy I had been meaning to work on for several months.

I simply cut the fabric into two equal lengths, plus a piece for the waistband, inserted a zipper and pleated the skirt to fit the waistband.

I stitched the pleats down with two vertical seams in each pleat, the inside seam being one inch longer than the outside seam.
 I then lined up the seam lines to make the pleat, attached the waistband and stitched through all the layers.
This might have worked better if I had been using a 45 inch/115 cm wide piece of fabric like the plaid skirt, but the corduroy is 54 inches/140 cm wide. That is a lot of fabric to try to compress down.
Then, after stitching a lovely five inch deep hem, I realized I had made it too long. I would like to tell you I removed the stitches, cut off the excess three inches and re-hemmed it. But I try not to lie. No, I just turned it up and hemmed it in place as well telling myself it would make a nice, weighty hem for spring and wouldn't blow up when I was on my bike. I should just stop being so lazy, but I just wanted to finish something.
It's rather poofy and could benefit from a wider waistband; history does repeat itself.

I'll be regretting my laziness when I'm ripping out the double hem, if I decide to leave it as a skirt. I just hope it doesn't trade places with the plaid skirt in my re-work pile

Monday, February 23, 2015

Moving into the Light

I am lucky to have a dedicated space for my sewing. My only complaint would be its location -the basement. It's cold and dark down there, and while I can put on a toque, an extra sweater and turn on the space heater, I can't make it light. By the beginning of January, I crave light. And in the summer, I'd prefer not to be inside, let alone downstairs.
At the same time, the Geek's home office needed some modifying. She was spending more time working from home and her current set-up of a table top on a round table wasn't doing her wrists any favours.
We planned an upgrade that would give both of us standing work stations.
This is what the room looked like before, with (from left to right) the Geek's desk and tool shelf and the futon (where we take turns reading and napping).

This is the new arrangement.We bought a couple of bookshelves from Ikea, and used the old kitchen countertops and a countertop the Geek used as a desk in her old apartment, so it wasn't too costly a job.

 My sewing stuff is in the corner, then a shared workspace (which amazingly, after about six weeks is still not piled full of stuff) and the Geek's computer. The futon stayed where it was while the Geek's tool shelf has moved to the top end of the futon.

This arrangement provides plenty of space and supplementary light for us both, and allows me to channel my inner Mrs Kravitz. ;D Being warm and comfortable -the height of luxury!

Sunday, February 8, 2015

Book Sales

Several times per year the Children's Hospital holds a fundraising booksale and we usually drop by to see what's for offer. I found some very useful sewing books this time round. 
I have heard great things about David Coffin's Shirtmaking

Singer has some helpful book and these two were missing from my collection. 
My office crew likes to dress up at Hallowe'en.
A Threads magazine from May 1996. 
The  ribbing article caught my eye.

I liked the colours on the cover of the Spring/Summer 2007 knitsimple magazine (as Barbara said, I crave colour like an old sailor with scurvy. Barbara has great tips and she understands winter. ) and some of the patterns in the June 1996 Burda magazine look interesting. 
Sunshine yellow.

Ah, summer.
bathing suits!

I also picked up some other reference material 
For the word geek in me.

And for anyone who knows Newfies... You are unlikely to find a more friendly, welcoming, generous group of people, but sometimes you have to wonder if they are really speaking English.

I wasn't sure if I already had this last book, but I do. If anyone would like it, please let me know. If, by some amazing miracle more than one person asks, I will do some sort of draw.

Time to get busy.

Thursday, January 15, 2015

Sewing My Vintage Patterns

 A great many people have joined the Vintage Pattern Pledge co-hosted by Marie and Kerry. The passive-aggresive part of me doesn't like to feel obligated, so I won't 'pledge', but I still plan to sew up some of the cool patterns I've acquired.

To that end, I have cut the shorts version of these 1977 trousers. The grey corduroy fabric is left over from a different pair of trousers under construction. (I have never had so much trouble with a zipper -I'm attempting the third insertion, but they should be done soon.) I am adding the Hollyburn pockets because I like them so much, and, well, trousers should have pockets.

 I hope to cut out this 1971 (I think) dress this weekend. Purple corduroy this time.

I have white cotton-with-seahorses for this 1960's dress. I've been tidying tho' and I can't put my hands immediately upon the stuff. And, because I have a Sewaholic crush, I'm going to use the Cambie skirt instead of the slim one pictured.

I had a hard time finding this pattern. Again, the tidying. I'd filed it in its proper box. What was I thinking?!? I plan to make view 3 from a white orange printed cotton. No picture, of course, because the orange print is hanging out with the seahorses.

I want to make this dress too, but I'm not 100% sure where I'd wear it. The idea is still percolating.

And I have no hard-and-fast ideas about these two, but they were too much fun to leave behind.
Let's see what actually happens!

Tuesday, January 6, 2015

Renfrews With A Twist

This is a very sloppy post. The camera batteries are dead, so I took these pictures with my cell phone and they are topsy-turvy. (Thankfully I have no aspirations of being a fashion blogger.)

I have been doing a bit of sewing, and some knitting. I am a very slow at kniter but I wanted to make my friend K an infinity scarf for Christmas. A project that would take most people one day took me close to two weeks. The project was easy enough, but I am easily distracted so there are several 'design features' to make the scarf truly original. However she likes it so all is good.

But I digress. Bring on the crazy pictures of some easy Renfrew modifications. All the sweaters are a lovely wool jersey I had in my stash and finally worked up the nerve to use. (It's taken me a long time to cut the 'good fabric'. I don't know why; it's not good for anything laying in a box somewhere.)

The first one is from Modellina November  (I think) 2013. I saw this magazine on sale once at McNally's and promptly bought it. I have never seen the Modellina in stock there again. Such a pity. This one contains some very interesting patterns so I would think others would be the same.

Modello 34. I'll wait while you turn your head, tho' it may not be necessary to look at the pattern layout sketches. This was a very easy idea to adapt to the Renfrew; I just made the Renfrew's neckline smaller and traced off the curved collar piece to fit.


This off-white-but-soon-to-be-dyed-because-some-colour-ran-onto-it sweater was made using this
split cowl collar tutorial. I like how it turned out and plan to make another, and not wash it with anything brightly coloured.

The tie front sweater is a modified with the neckline and tie from Butterick 5859.

I like how the simplicity of the Renfrew lends itself to so many other neckline styles.
And I can stay warm on my way to work and in my drafty office.