Tag Archives: work in progress

Tailoring the Vogue Coat, pt 2

23 Dec

Man. Tailoring. It is always (always!) worth the extra cost and effort, but lord I always forget how much extra effort is actually involved. I’ve been plugging along on my coat since I last posted my progress, so here’s what I’ve been up to in the meantime!

I finally got the padstitching on the lapels done. That alone took the longest – not because padstitching takes forever, necessarily (well, I guess it depends on the size of the lapels), but because I kept putting it off for as long as possible. I was not looking forward to how long it would take. Guys – when I finally sat down and made myself do it, I finished both lapels in like 45 minutes. I’m such a baby, haha! Fortunately, while I was putting off the padstitching, I was not sitting idle – I skipped ahead of the instructions, and assembled the coat back (minus the tailoring) and lining, so that should save me some time now.

Now, I totally could have skipped the padstitching – it’s not 100% necessary, although it will 100% of the time make your coat look sooo much nicer. RTW coats do NOT have this sort of tailoring in them, and they obviously get away with it because people still buy them. But look at what a difference it makes:

Vogue Coat - Tailoring

If you can’t tell, the padstitched lapel is on the left (the side that overlaps), and the one that hasn’t been padstitched is on the right (the underlap). Do you see how flat the non is in comparison to the one with stitching? It’s pretty incredible!

Vogue Coat - Tailoring

LOOK AT THAT ROLL LINE, JUST LOOK AT IT.

Padstitching, in a nutshell, is basically just sewing diagonal stitches in straight lines (eventually forming a bunch of chevrons) using silk thread, so the hair canvas adheres to the coating fabric. You don’t sew all the way through the fabric – just pick up a little nip here and there to keep things connected. You hold the fabric+canvas over your fingers so it is encouraged to roll while you sew, and then when you’re finished, you steam the shit outta that sucker so it is hold it’s shape. Again, time consuming and not totally necessary, but it really is the difference between “Hey, I made a coat” and “~*Hey I tailored a fucking coat are you so impressed*~”. I mean, I’m impressed with myself and I haven’t even finished the thing yet!

After I finished the Dreaded Lapels, I focused my attention on the collar.

Vogue Coat - Tailoring

First, I sewed the two under collar pieces together. These are cut on the bias, so they will stretch and sit correctly underneath the upper collar. They are also cut slightly smaller than the upper collar, so the seam will roll to the underside and you won’t see it. That’s the plan, anyway.

Vogue Coat - Tailoring
Vogue Coat - Tailoring

To sew the interfacing pieces together (remember, they need to be on the bias so I can’t cut them on the fold), I removed all seam allowances and zig-zagged the pieces together at the center, secured with a piece of seam binding. I then marked my roll line and, I know, it looks really shitty. Sorry about that.

Vogue Coat - Tailoring

As with the lapels, I marked the padstitching lines with my trusty Sharpie. Above the roll line gets heavy padstitching (1/4″ tall, spaced 1/4″ apart) and below the roll line is more lightly padstitched (1/2″ tall, spaced 1/2″ apart). This will help the collar to stand so it looks nice and full and not sad and flat.

Vogue Coat - Tailoring

After I finished padstitching, I wrapped the collar around my tailor’s ham and, again, steamed the shit out of it. So qt, so pro.

Vogue Coat - Tailoring

I drafted a back stay, although my pattern doesn’t call for it. It’s always a good thing to include, though – it’ll reduce the strain on the coat back from moving your arms around/hugging people, and thus give your coat a longer lifespan. Plus, you can use cheapie muslin and I love me some cheaping out.

By the way, I use the term “draft” veryyyy loosely. I pinned my back and side back pieces together (so they would be one continuous piece with no seams) and marked 8″ below the neckline and 3″ below the armhole, then used my curved ruler to connect the two lines.

Vogue Coat - Tailoring

The resulting piece (cut on the fold, because, again, no seamlines) is the back stay. I pinked the bottom edge so there wouldn’t be a sharp line on the outside of my coat. Real talk: this is the only reason why I own pinking shears at all. For tailoring. I’m not even kidding about that a little bit.

Vogue Coat - Tailoring

The back stay then lays on top of the coat back and is basted to the arm holes, side seams, neckline, and shoulder edges. The bottom just kind of flaps free in the breeze. And that’s all there is to it!

Vogue Coat - Tailoring

I also stabilized my shoulder seams with twill tape – no real reason, except that my Tailoring book (lol why the fuck is that listed at $65 what is this madness) said it was a good idea so I just went along with it. It should reduce the strain at the shoulders, which is good because this coat is starting to get a little heavy!

Vogue Coat - Tailoring

Finally, I catch-stitched down all my seams on the coating fabric, catching only the underlining. Honestly, I should have done this as I sewed each piece – I really had to reach up under the back stay to get some of those seams sewn down – but I wasn’t thinking about it at the time. Catch-stitching down the seam allowances is one of those weird optional steps that isn’t necessarily bad if you skip it (like I was planning to), but it does help keep everything in place on the inside, thus prolonging the life of your coat. And, I mean, it’s sort of relaxing. I really love to catch stitch, what can I say?

So there’s that! I’m mostly done with the fiddly tailoring at this point – I still have the sleeves to deal with, but they shouldn’t be too bad. Since I’ve already assembled the lining, it’s really now just a matter of putting everything together.

My original plan was to have this finished by Christmas, but I’m now shifting that to a (hopeful) NYE completion date. Construction hasn’t necessarily been dragging- I just haven’t been home at all to work on it! My dad ended up in the hospital last Monday, where they discovered that his colon was completely blocked due to cancer, so they wheeled him into emergency surgery on Tuesday and cut out 30% of that shit (pun intended). They also removed a bunch of lymph nodes and tested those – turns out that stuff is cancer-free, which is AWESOME – but he does have spots on his liver that will require him to go through chemo. Scary, scary shit, man. Fortunately, my dad has been a total trooper and by Wednesday morning he was walking up and down the halls like a champion. Things are good now – he finally passed gas yesterday (lol @ us being excited about my dad farting, considering he regularly likes to stink us out), and we’re hoping he can be home in time for Christmas. Fingers crossed! Although, to be honest, I’ll totally spend Christmas in that tiny hospital room if I have to!

I don’t like to discuss my personal life here much, this being a sewing blog and all, but my dad is a pretty inspiring/amazing dude. He regularly runs ultra marathons – 50-100+ miles at a time, up a mountain, sleeping in the bushes, that’s all normal for him. I laugh when someone corrects me for saying 500k (“Oh, you mean 5k, silly.” “No, dipshit, I meant 500k. He ran 314 miles.”) when I brag about his racing. And dude is fast – he regularly smokes out all the little 25 year olds who run the same races. Not bad for a 54 year old who looks like Santa! Not to be a total sap, but getting to spend the last week with my family (despite the less-than-ideal circumstances) and knowing that my dad is going to be a-ok is literally the best Christmas present I could have ever asked for. I’m just so thankful.
❤️❤️

Anyway, I hope everyone has a Merry Christmas! I’m hoping to get in some much-needed sewing time – my machine has been idle for way too long :)

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Tailoring the Vogue Coat

5 Dec

When I originally posted my Vogue coat muslin posts, there was quite a bit of interest about what goes in the process of making a coat from start to finish. I’m not one to tease, so here’s a glimpse into what I’ve been up to, coat-wise, for the past couple of weeks.

The first thing I should mention is that coat-making isn’t hard. It is time consuming, for sure, but anyone with a few projects under their belt could easily tackle this. It might take you a couple of months, and you may have some hair-pulling moments (either with deciphering instructions or actually trying follow them), but it’s doable. I don’t know who started this whole thing of ~omg coat-making is so hard~ (probably the same person who said that sewing with knits was also difficult. Nope! It sure ain’t!), but, ugh, just ignore them. It’s not hard. It’s time consuming, it’s expensive, and you definitely need to muslin the shit out of your pattern before you even think about cutting into your coating… but in reality, it’s not terribly different from making a lined skirt or dress. You just need to follow a few more steps. You can also totally omit the whole tailoring part, with the special interfacing and padstitching and bound button holes and all that – and then shit gets super easy (well, as super easy as sewing a lined garment can get :)). Personally, I don’t see the point in spending all that money on a garment if you’re not going to go all out and do the whole nine yards, but then again, I think tailoring is fun. So do what you will.

My first task, post-muslin, was to start cutting the plaid coating. I won’t go into detail on that process – basically the same steps as the tutorial I posted on matching plaid – and it took foreverrrr. Seriously, I think I spent close to three hours just cutting the outside fabric! WOOF. I also had to cut interfacing (I am using hair canvas, which is a hefty interfacing commonly used for tailoring purposes, such as coats!), lining, and silk organza. The silk organza was a last-minute addition – I originally wasn’t planning on underlining, although the pattern calls for it, since I don’t need my coating to be super warm in our mild winters. However, my pattern is a fairly structured peacoat, and the coating has a bit of a loose weave, so I decided to underline with silk organza to give it that nice crisp hand without adding a lot of bulk or unneeded warmth.

Vogue Coat WIP

Silk organza can be expensive, and some people like to use poly if it’s not touching the skin… but personally, if I’m going to dump all this time and money into a coat, the couple dollars in price difference doesn’t really effect my final budget. So I went with silk, since it presses nicely along with the wool.

The bonus part of using an organza underlining (or really, any underlining at all) is that you can mark directly on the underlining and you don’t have to worry about it showing through the coat fabric. I totally use a sharpie. Go ahead, judge me.

I underlined my pieces flat on my tabletop (see this tutorial if you need more info on underlining!), using silk basting thread and going alllll the way around each piece. Every piece is underlined except the facing – only because I ran out of silk organza :). I will be interfacing that piece with a fusible. This process took a long time, but it’s pretty relaxing work – perfect for grabbing the computer and watching shitty documentaries. That’s my excuse, and I’m sticking to it.

After underlining, it was time to put in the bound button holes!

Vogue Coat WIP

I was actually a little scared of this part! I don’t know why – I’ve sewn plenty of successful bound button holes in my day, and used a different technique each time. Maybe I’m out of practice, but for whatever reason, I was not looking forward to this part and I definitely put it off for like, a week. Which is shitty because bound button holes are the kind of thing that get done before you do any other work on the coat, so that meant the project was put on hold until I got my ass in gear and put those damn button holes in the front piece!

To make my button holes, I wanted to try yet another technique, so I downloaded Karen’s e-book on bound button holes and followed her instructions. Folks, these are the prettiest, most perfect button holes I’ve ever made on the first try. Seriously! If you have any concerns about doing these, or have fucked them up in the past, you should definitely check out her book. I think I paid about $3.50 for it after the rate conversion. For $3.50, you really have no excuses.

Vogue Coat WIP

I mean – look at them! I even managed to match up the plaid on that particular one, ha!

Vogue Coat WIP

As I mentioned previously, the instructions include all the steps needed for a fully tailored coat, so fortunately I don’t need to compile a list of steps and modify the pattern to suit my needs. They are a little different from the previous coats I’ve made, in that some of the pieces are sewn together before you start with the interfacing and pad stitching. Personally, I like to do all that before I assemble the rest of the coat because it makes it easier to handle, but I’m also a stickler for following instructions. So, I attached the pocket, the front and side pieces (being careful to match up the plaid, which for some reason took me like an HOUR. Shifty plaid, go die.). I attached the interfacing using long basting stitches with my silk thread. This took a while, but I also recently rediscovered all my favorite awful pop-punk and ska bands from my youth, so I may or may not have had a personal dance party in the process.

Vogue Coat WIP

Here you can see some of the details – the hair canvas, the uneven permanent basting with the silk thread, my underlining, the pressed open seams. It’s coming along, that’s for sure!

Vogue Coat WIP

Next, I sewed my twill tape to the roll line of the collar. This will help the collar keep it’s shape as a wear it, since the twill tape will dictate how it falls at the fold line. You measure your twill tape to the length of the roll line, then subtract 1/4″ from the length and ease the coating to the tape and catch stitch it down. Pretty simple, but it makes a huge difference in the finished coat.

I also marked my pad stitching lines on the collar, but I forgot to take a photo. I totally used that sharpie, too. Ha!

Vogue Coat WIP

So that’s where we are now! The coat fronts have been mostly assembled – I just need to pad stitch the collar, and it’ll be ready to attach to the back and side back pieces. Obviously, it’s not anywhere near completion, but that doesn’t stop me from pinning it to my dress form and pretending it’s a coat. Call it inspiration, or call it a kick in the pants, or whatever. Either way, I’d love to finish this by Christmas, but we’ll see!

I know the plaid looks like it doesn’t match in those pictures, but the fronts are not properly overlapped. Trust me. Three hours of cutting means all the plaid fucking matches, dammit.

What’s on your sewing table this week?

The Vogue Coat: Muslin #2

15 Nov

Well well, 3 posts in one week! That doesn’t happen too often, huh? Hopefully y’all aren’t tooooo sick of hearing from me, because I have lots to say apparently!

Starting with yet ANOTHER muslin post. Forreal, tho, y’all were so helpful in my last muslin post, that I’m sticking my hand back in the cookie jar again. A little help, yes yes?

Coat Muslin, part 2

First things first, you probably noticed that this coat looks entirely different – that’s because it’s a different pattern altogether! I ended up scrapping the original Vogue pattern plan – a shame, because I really wanted to use it (it was a gift from a reader, and I like to make use of awesome things, see), but there’s no point in trying to make something work that needs, well, that much work. Especially considering all the modifications I’d have to make beyond just sizing – including drafting a new lining, facing, and undercollar. No, no thank you.

So I dug around in my stash and pulled out Vogue 7666, which happens to actually be in my size. And to make things extra exciting, this pattern has all sorts of fun goodies in the instructions for creating a beautiful hand-tailored coat – things like separate lining pieces, instructions for padstitching, a marked roll line, etc. Fun!

Coat Muslin, part 2

I made up a quickie muslin and here are the pictures! Based on everyone’s suggestions, I am wearing this muslin with a sweater underneath, and I slipped some shoulder pads in the muslin as well. The shoulder pads may be on the large size, I dunno, they were in my stash.

Coat Muslin, part 2

I think it fits much better than the first, off the bat. Look, the arm holes are normal!

Coat Muslin, part 2

I can’t tell if the shoulders need to be narrowed a little, though?

Coat Muslin, part 2
Coat Muslin, part 2

Back and sides look ok.

Coat Muslin, part 2

I know the back looks a little loose, but I honestly can’t go much smaller without making the coat difficult to move around in.
Also, ignore that weird shit going on at the bottom half – there will be a back vent there, but I didn’t bother sewing it in the muslin, ha.

Coat Muslin, part 2

I know the collar and lapels are kind of weird and pointy, but I like them! Keep in mind that they will be a little bit smaller – the 5/8″ seam allowance is there, and once I get the facing installed there will be notches and topstitching and all that.

I also need button help! What would you choose? I really love these black glass buttons from Mood Fabrics – one, two, three or four?

Or do you have a better suggestion? My only requirements are that they are black (sorry, but I think anything other than black is just going to look off with my fabric choice), 1″ with shank, and they reeeeally need to be $3.50 or less because I need 8! Again, you can see my fabric and pattern in this Instagram picture.

Coat Muslin, part 2

Sooo, to sum up: coat muslin #2, y/n? See any fitting changes I need to address before I start slicing in to my beautiful coating?

Vogue 2765, The Muslin

4 Nov

I’m afraid I don’t have a finished object to show y’all today. For exactly one week now, I’ve been dealing with a kidney stone that will NOT leave my body. Seriously, I’ve had these before and they generally pass within a day or two, but these little shits have made a home inside me, I guess, and no amount of water (or other weird home remedy, yes, I drank the olive oil and lemon juice, eww) will expel them. I hate peeing into a screen, I hate taking painkillers, and I hate this little segment of my life right now. I missed half a week of work last week, and get up to go to the bathroom about every twenty minutes on average. Shit blows.

Anyway, enough about me and my TMI, let’s talk more about… me! While I didn’t make anything finished, I did finish the muslin for my Vogue coat! Let’s have a look see.

V2765 Muslin

To be honest, I’m a little underwhelmed. It’s just so… meh. But then again, it’s a coat muslin made with a patchwork of different muslin fabrics, two different sleeves, and I’m not wearing a sweater under it. I was, but I took it off for the pictures because I don’t know why. I guess I wanted to make sure that it still looked good when it was loose. It’s not like I always wear a sweater 24/7, this is Tennessee we are talking about here.

I can’t tell if it really looks ok or if I’m just delusional. Help me.

V2765 Muslin

My pattern was a size too big to start, so I sewed most seams with a 3/4″ seam allowance and I think that really helped with pulling in the fit. It still looks a little loose, but this is also lightweight muslin and not a heavy coating.

V2765 Muslin

The underarms, though. Yikes. Need to raise that quite a bit.

V2765 Muslin

So, more about those sleeves. The right side is the original pattern piece. It’s terrible. I actually left it on so we could laugh at it together. The left sleeve is a two piece sleeve from my Fabiani coat (whyyy can’t I just wear that this winter? Wish it still fit :’( ). I definitely like the two piece better, but it needs some tweaking as it’s a bit tight when I have on a bulky underlayer. I sewed it with the same 3/4″ seam allowance, so I think the normal 5/8″ will be fine.

V2765 Muslin
V2765 Muslin

Ahaha! See how bad the underarms are? Granted, that’s the shitty sleeve, where the problem was actually worse.. but still. It’s bad either way.

V2765 Muslin

Speaking of the original sleeve, this is why it’s so bad. It is a straight line from underarm to wrist – no tapering whatsoever. So the cuff, you can see straight to the elbow. Who thought that was a good idea?! God, it’s so terrible.

Anyway, I’m still on the fence about this, although I will say that leaving it alone overnight on my dressform (which, if you were wondering, is almost entirely what I use the dressform now these days. Putting shit on it so I can decide if I hate it the next day) gave me a ~fresh eye~. I guess I just want to make sure I’m not off my rocker here.

To recap, the fabric I’m using is this black and white checkered coating (which I’m almost having second thoughts about because, ughhh princess seams) and I haven’t settled on a lining, but I’m leaning heavily toward tango red. Also haven’t picked buttons (lolol I’m a hot mess), but I’m thinking toggles would be FUN.

Soo, what do you think? Vogue 2765, yea or nay? See any other fitting issues I failed to mention (beyond the underarms)? Want to sew a coat along with me (I’m going the “barely tailored” route)? Have any well-wishes you’d like to share with a lady who needs to exorcise this demonkidney stone? I’m all ears!

Sewing the Robson Trench Coat, part 2

29 Apr

Following up on last week’s Robson progress post, I have a few more bits and pieces I’d like to share before the ~big reveal~. I normally hate dragging these types of projects out over several posts, but I think this coat deserves more than just a single post (plus, I haven’t taken pictures of my newest projects! So consider this filler, ha!).

Robson Progress

Last week, I left off with the main body of the coat completed – everything from the collar, to the facing, to the hem. All that was left was the sleeves, the belt and belt loops, and the buttons. Easy enough, yeah?

I WISH. I about killed myself over those dumb ol’ sleeves! Putting them together was easy – even with the added step of trimming/grading the sleeves and adding the bias binding – but setting them in took me close to 2 hours, and there was lots of scream-cussing involved. The hardest part was getting the bias binding on the sleeve seam allowance once everything was set in – mostly because the area was obscenely thick with all those fabric layers, and also because I’m an idiot and I trimmed the seam allowances to super short before putting on the bias binding.

PROTIP: Sew one side of the bias binding on before you trim down those seam allowances. It will give you much more leeway in an area that’s already pretty tight to maneuver around.

Lace Trench

I will say that, despite my troubles, those sleeves set in perfectly the first time – and they look beautiful! The drafting on this thing is pretty amazing.

Lace Trench

Hemming the sleeves was also kind of tough, because the total circumference of the sleeve was smaller than the circumference by the throat plate. Which means I couldn’t just slide the sleeve over the arm of my sewing machine and go in the round – I had to do some horrible wedging and go VERY VERY slowly. To keep my hem even, I stuck a piece of tape on the arm of my machine (you can barely see it in this picture, if you squint) and used that as a guideline. My hems turned out pretty straight and even – not that you can see it with that busy lace pattern :B

I did come across one problem when sewing the sleeve tabs – the pattern calls for you to sew 3 edges, right sides together, and then turn right side out and press. Well, I tried that…

Lace Trench
Lace Trench

And, um well, I’m not sure exactly what happened. HAHA. I guess my loop turner just grabbed the lace and not both layers? Anyway, I was able to shove the underlining back inside the lace tube with a knitting needle, but it made me think about how I was going to tackle the belt and belt loops, since they are also sewn the same way.

To make the belt loops, I followed the same procedure as for the Thurlow belt loops. You can see a tutorial on that here (from my Thurlow sew-along!).

Lace Trench

For the belt, I folded in 5/8″ along each edge and pressed it.

Lace Trench

Then I folded the whole thing in half…

Lace Trench

And topstitched along all four sides. This made for a nice, crisp belt – without having to worry about turning a long tube and ending up with that… thing.

Lace Trench

Here is my finished belt. As you can see, I made a few changes – I decided to use a buckle instead of tying the belt, as I think it makes the coat look a little more trench-y. It’s just a basic self-covered buckle that I pulled out of my stash, and covered with the navy sateen that I used for underlining (also, the sticky guide in the kit was all dried up, so I used spray-mount on the fabric to get it to stick aaaaand I didn’t go outside to do this, so my sewing room may or may not be covered with spray glue jsyk). I also narrowed the belt by about an inch – I’m not sure exactly how much, I just kept hacking at it until it fit in the buckle. With this in mind, the belt loops were also shortened to accommodate the narrower belt.

With all that done, it was time to add the button holes and buttons! Not much to report on that – I used my button hole cutter to slice through the holes, and I am pleased to report that they are decidedly unhairy. The buttons were sewn on with silk thread, which I first ran through beeswax – I wanted them to stay on that damn coat! I moved the bottom buttons outward slightly, so the coat is more straight than A-line (I just think that suits my figure better!). Oh, and I didn’t bother with the interior buttons – I don’t ever use those things anyway, meh.

As it stands now, the coat is finished! I am so proud of it and I can’t WAIT to show it off :) I even got some super-fancy pictures taken, and damn it looks good.

Here is a sneaky peek because I can’t help myself.

IMG_6541

Stay tuned!

Thurlow Sew-Along: Attaching the Waistband

7 Nov

Holy shit, do y’all even realize what is going on today.


FINAL COUNTDOWN PANTS PARTY TIME.

Ha! But in all seriousness… we’re just a few steps away from being finished! Let’s get excited, yeah? :)


Today we are attaching the waistband, steps 15-19. You should have a semi-finished pair of pants at this point, all major seams sewn except the back extension. We will get to that today!

wb1
You should have two waistband pieces – a right side (with one square end) and a left side (with one pointed end) – cut in both your regular fabric and your lining fabric, and one set should be interfaced (I opted to interface the side with my fashion fabric, as it needed a bit more structure. Do what works best with your particular fabric, though!). Stack both left pieces together and both right pieces together, and sew along the top edge – the un-notched, concave curve – and the center front (the aforementioned square/pointed ends).

wb2
Trim, grade, and understitch the seam allowance.

wb3
You won’t be able to understitch all the way into the center front sections – that’s ok! Just understitch as far as you can :)

wb4
Open up your waistband pieces, and start pinning the main fabric side to the top of your pants, right sides together. Don’t worry about the lining at this point. Go all the way around, center front to center back (and yep, back extension is still open. We’re getting there!). Sew this seam.

wb5
Trim your seam allowances.

wb6
And press everything up toward the waistband.

wb7
Now for that pesky back extension! See my pretty, bright pattern markings? We are going to sew right over that. Pin along the marked line, all the way up through the waistband. I know, the marking doesn’t extend that far but do the best you can. The instructions indicate that you should baste first, check the fit, and then sew your permanent seam. However, if you already made a muslin, you don’t need to worry about basting first – unless you really want to fine-tune the fit. Personally, I always baste first. Even after multiple muslins :)
Be very careful to ensure that all your seams are aligned when you sew up the center back seam! If one side of your waistband is wider than the other, it will result in one side that has a little peek of lining popping out. So double-check before and after you sew!

wb8
Press open the center back extension. Those giant seam allowances are supposed to hang around – later, you can adjust the waist of your pants, making it bigger or smaller as needed :)

Sooo… pinning the waistband. Fair warning: this part is a bit fiddly and you will probably end up hating me for making you slog through it. I know, it sucks! But it’s better than unpicking a bunch of stitches, or having a janky looking waistband. Spend a little extra time up front making sure everything is lined up, and it will save you hours of banging your head against the wall when you realize that your third waistband attempt looks even worse than the first one.

wb9
Start with your lining all spread out and hogging the spotlight inside your pants.

wb10
Fold the lining under to the inside until the fold is covering the stitching underneath by about 1/8″-1/4″.

wb11
Now flip the waistband over and pin through the front, right in the middle of the ditch between your pants and your waistband.

wb12
When you flip the waistband back over to the lining side, the pin should just be catching the lining. The fold underneath the pin should be no more than 1/4″ – anything more than that will just look sloppy.

wb14
Repeat all the way around the pants, skipping the 3″ or so section of lining that covers the back extension. We aren’t going to stitch that part down, so just leave it open.

wb13
STOP PRESS. Are those chickens?? SHUT THE FUCK UP.

ahem.

wb15
With your sewing machine, stitch all the way around the lining, exactly in the little waistband/pants ditch that you pinned into. This is called stitching in the ditch. Yes, I know. It’s so clever.
Again, don’t worry about the section with the back extension is. Just skip over it and continue stitching in the ditch.

wb16
Afterwards, you can tack down the lining over the extension. The instructions call for just a few stitches worth of tacks, but I like to slipstitch mine down all the way so I know it’s not going anywhere. And also, I used yellow thread, because yellow is delightful.

wb17
Give the waistband a good steam press, both inside and out.

That’s all! That wasn’t so hard, huh? :)
Expect a wrap-up post in a couple of days – belt loops, buttons, and hemming. And then PANTS PARTY 2012, YO.

Next Knitting Project – Another Sweater!

20 Jul

A few months ago, I mentioned that I was working on a second Agatha sweater – this time in black yarn. After about 2 weeks of knitting, I put it aside to work on something new & fresh, i.e., the Miette. Welp, that’s all done now & I’ve learned that I am unable to chill between knitting projects, so we’re back at the black Agatha. And, wow, is it knitting up WAY faster than the first one!

This is essentially just a dupe of the first Agatha – same yarn, different color. Same gauge, same size, etc etc. I am using Cascade 220 in a heathered black (although it looks super jet black in these pictures, there are subtle streaks of grey irl) with my trusty size 5 needles. I picked it up about 3 weeks ago & I’ve already finished the body. Magical!

This post also explains a little of my absence this past week – I’ve been housesitting since Tuesday, and while I did drag both my machine *and* my serger to the house (!!!), I haven’t gotten much sewing done because the commute is stupid long (I am staying in Hendersonville for those who know Tennessee… and I work in Midtown. Ughh!) and by the time I get back, I really just want to sleep. Ha! At any rate, I’ve been working on a pair of shorts that I’m REALLY excited about, so hopefully those will be finished soon!

Agatha v2.0 - body finished
My friend Amanda took these pictures of me. The background is where I’m housesitting – isn’t it gorgeous?! I made her crop my face out because I wasn’t feeling well & it totally shows.
Also, I had to lighten the pictures a bit since the black did not want to photograph at all.

Agatha v2.0 - body finished

Agatha v2.0 - body finished

Agatha v2.0 - body finished

Ok, this next picture is a really terrible picture of me, but look at the view!
Agatha v2.0 - body finished
LOOK AT THE VIEW

I have also just decided that this sweater will be formally named the “blagatha.” That is all.

A Day At The Flea

25 Jun

Alternately titled: Why I Love Tennessee And It’s Awesome Flea Market!

The flea market here is monthly, and I do try to go every month (last month I had to miss because I was in Florida – but I’m not complaining!!). The whole thing is MASSIVE – and full of vendors selling all kinds of stuff, from priceless antiques to dirty junk. I personally like the dirty junk :) There are also vendors who sell boring shit like socks & discontinued Clariol hair dye & door mats with whimsical pictures of your preferred dog breed, but I tend to avoid those booths because, well, boring!

Anyway, I took my new friend Jenna with me this time, as she had never been before! We met up with Lauren Winter after about an hour. We also ran into Kaelah as we were leaving – Nashville is such a small town! I’m not going to go into detail over what everyone else bought – let’s just say we had to make an extra trip to the truck about an hour in, because we already had too much stuff to carry around! :)

I didn’t make out with quite as much bank as I customarily do – no huge garbage bags of fabric for $4, or stacks of patterns for pennies apiece – but I did come home with some perfect little gems.

$15, yo!
My absolute favorite thing I bought was this dress – I bought it right before we left (after seeing it first thing & obsessing over it for the next few hours, ha!). I haggled the lady down to $15, which is totally a steal I think. The fabric feels like some kind of silk-blend; it is unfortunately much too hot to wear during out 100*+ days. Anyway, the colors are kind of autumnal. But I love it so much!

Silk Shirtwaist Dress
I did end up swapping out the buttons to these – the ones on there obviously weren’t original, as they didn’t match the dress at all. Also, there was one missing. I am quite sure I bought these brass buttons at the flea as well, so it seems like a good fit :)

Silk Shirtwaist Dress
Those are the old buttons on the right – silver rhinestones. lolwut

Silk Shirtwaist Dress
One thing that really delighted me about this dress is that there is a lot of hand-mending all over it – including these little darned holes at the hem. It was obviously a favorite dress.

Embroidered Pillowcase
I also bought this pillowcase (filled it with polyfil from my sewing room – for some reason I have like 3 bags of it?) for $1 – I love all the embroidery! The lady who sold it to me said the woman who did the embroidery was in her 80s at the time. I just think it’s so pretty!

Brooches
Some pretty brooches – the pinecones came from the same booth that the silk shirtwaist dress is from.

As far as sewing notions, I found a few…

Crazy Zipeprs
Crazy zippers! Lol I have NO idea what I will do with these, but they had to come home with me.

Bias Tape!
Crazy bias tape – I see a floofy Christmas dress in my future…

Plaid Taffeta Fabric
Plaid taffeta… good for another Christmas skirt? Man, I love Christmas.

Green Lining Fabric
Celery green lining fabric… kind of boring, but it was also kind of only a $1 sooo no complaints here.

In the world of things I didn’t buy but considered taking home with me anyway -
The puppy that @bloomingleopold tried to buy today.
THE CUTEST PUPPY I’VE EVER SEEN
He’s a miniature Australian Sheepdog! At 19 weeks, he weighed about 6 pounds. We all fell IN LOVE, but apparently he already sold (lol who sells a dog at the flea market anyway?).

I love the flea market, but this is creepy as shit
Well, no, I didn’t actually want to buy this. Thought I would share anyway. Apparently, this is Farrah Fawcett’s head, in a wooden box.

I actually started – and mostly finished – a new dress over the weekend, but the weird slinky poly was giving me an absolute fit, and the pattern wasn’t looking too hot on me (maybe because of the fabric?), so I ended up tossing it (rather violently, I might add) in the corner & instantly felt 100% liberated. I haven’t had a proper UFO in about 2 years, so this is a very new experience for me.

In the meantime, I started a new dress – we are revisiting Simplicity 1803. In the loudest print I have ever purchased.
Simplicity 1803
Headed toward Tackyville, y/n?

Underlining: The Why & How

15 Jun

I’m currently working on the madness that is Simplicity 1803 (seriously thinking about calling this dress The Disaster Dress, if that means anything) and I thought I would share a few of my trials & tribulations with y’all. I’ve had a lot of comments requesting a tutorial for underlining (or even just asking wtf underlining is exactly), and while I haven’t been able to fulfill those requests in the past – but today is your lucky day! Underlining day, yaay!

First up, let’s talk shop. What exactly is underlining? Some people tend to confuse it with lining; this is incorrect. Lining is a duplicate garment that hangs separately inside your dress (or skirt, or pants, or whatever) that covers all seams for a nice clean finish. It is constructed separately and generally only attached by a few seams – perhaps a neckline, or the waistband of your skirt. The hem usually left free-hanging for ease for movement. Consider lining the inception of sewing – a garment within a garment (see what I did there?).

Underlining is when you sew two pieces of fabric together & treat them like a single piece – kind of like some relationships (ahhh I’m on a roll today here). Since the underlining is actually sewn to the back of your fashion fabric, the seams do show & the inside of the garment doesn’t necessarily have that clean finish.

Underlining is wonderful for a variety of reasons – you can use it to stabilize your fashion fabric to give it a bit more body (like with my Bombshell dress), to add a layer of opacity to an otherwise sheer fabric (my Swiss Dot Violet really benefited from a batiste underlining), to add a layer of warmth to a coat (the lining of my Lady Grey is underlined with cotton flannel), or even to brighten up your fashion fabric a notch (look at the difference underlining made on my Gingham Peony!) If you were concerned about the integrity of a delicate fabric – lace, or vintage, or… I dunno, vintage lace – you could underline every piece for additional strength. Underlining has lots of uses, it’s awesome!

For my dress in question, I am using this pretty black eyelet from Mood. The whole thing is quite see-through so I knew ahead of time that it would going to need some kind of backing to keep certain places under cover. I originally planned on just dropping a whole lining in the thing & calling it a day, until I realized that you would see every single seam through the eyelet – and by every single seam, I mean eyelet seams & lining seams. I’m using Bemberg Rayon here (LOVE!!!!!) and that stuff frays like nobodies business. I started imagining little shreds of turquoise popping out all over the place & it gave me the willies.

So I decided to underline instead. An added bonus is that it totally negates the two issues I was having with the individual fabrics – the Bemberg was sliding all over the place, and my sewing machine was throwing a giant fucking fit every time I tried to sew over the textured eyelet. By sewing the two fabrics together, the Bemberg stays put & provides a layer over the eyelet that keeps the needle from freaking out. Yeah!

This process is pretty easy. I’m almost embarrassed to even post this.

1
Cut each pattern piece from both your fashion fabric & preferred underlining fabric (as I mentioned here, I’m using Bemberg Rayon – which is traditionally a lining fabric, but it’s main job for this dress is opacity). The pieces should be mirror images of each other. I like to go ahead & snip all my notches, it makes things easier to match up. Don’t worry about your pattern markings (the kind you use chalk or tailor tacks or whatever for) just yet.

2
Place the underlining on the wrong side of the fashion fabric. If your underlining has a right side, make sure it is facing the wrong side of the fashion fabric (so when you flip the whole thing over, both right sides should be facing up). Pin everything together – I used these tiny silk pins because my lining shows pin holes.

3
Then you just sew the lining to the fabric! Here are some tips:
- Yes, you can sew it by machine. I chose to sew by hand because the rayon is super slippery & I wanted it to shift as little as possible. It also makes ripping the basting stitches out MUCH easier. If you sew by hand, you want to keep things as flat as possible – sit at a table! It’s very mindless work, so feel free to watch a movie (or two!).
- Sew giant basting stitches using one strand of thread. Pick something contrasting so it’s easier to pull out the stitches after you sew the seams. I used orange thread; I thought it was pretty haha.
- Try to stay well within your seam allowance – you can see that mine is less than 1/4″ from the edge. I think this makes it easier to pull out the stitches (it’s not anywhere near the 5/8″ SA, so I’m not actually sewing over the basting with my machine) and it hides any pin-marks that may get left behind on delicate fabrics.
- You may also notice that I did not sew along the bottom edge of the piece. Call me lazy, idgaf. The basting for underlining is really there to hold the pieces together until they are properly sewn. I’ve found that I can usually get away with omitting the bottom hem & any seams that extremely short (such as the point between the princess seam & the armscye). Play around & see what works for you!

BONUS TIP:
Next project involves eyelet... And a ridic amount of underlining, ugh
(sorry about the crappy Instagram picture!)
For super precise darts, thread trace the dart legs through both layers after you have basted the pieces together. This keeps the fabrics together while you sew the dart, and eliminates any weird bubbling that may otherwise happen.

4
Here is the other side of my underlined piece. Cute!

Now that you’ve got your pieces all basted together, you can treat them like one piece of fabric. You can transfer your fabric markings to the underlining side of the fabric so it doesn’t show on the front. Sew as you normally would, and make sure to pull out your basting threads as you sew each seam.

Here is how my bodice is looking as of this morning
5
Since this is an underlining, and not a proper lining, you will still have to finish your seams & deal with facings. My seams are serged; my facing is a simple cotton broadcloth as the eyelet was too bulky.

7
I love the subtle peek of turquoise :D

6
I am including this picture because it looks like a uterus, and that is funny to me.

So that’s it! Hopefully this brings a light to some of the mystique :) As always, let me know if you have any questions!

The Makings of a Bombshell

2 May

Hey-o! I’m not quite finished with my Bombshell yet (only one video left! ::sob::), but I thought we could discuss some of the inner workings that are going on inside this monster of a dress.

Bombshell
I have the zipper & lining inserted & I’m pleased to report that everything still fits exactly as it should! Yay! I don’t know about y’all, but when I’m fiddling with a dress this snug, I end up trying it on a LOT. Lots of pinning & basting & walking around my sewing room in my underwear. I’m sure my neighbors just love me, ha.

Here is my lining – completely boned (lol)
Boning the lining
The lining is 100% cotton batiste (and it is quite sheer, as you can see all my little red markings, oh well) and the boning casing is double-sided satin ribbon that I sewed into little tubes.

Putting the boning (lol) in was a BITCH. OH MY GOD I HATE CUTTING SPIRAL STEEL BONING. There are 11 pieces inserted here, all different lengths, all tipped with their little metal tips… it took me an entire episode of LOST to cut & tip those little suckers. Putting on the tip was easy – Karen has a good picture showing exactly what this entails – but the cutting was so so awful. I was using Landon’s wire cutters, and when I complained that they weren’t cutting the boning (lol), he gave me the side-eye until I made him try it himself:
Spiral Steel Boning
This is how far he got.

Anyway, I got them all cut (obviously). And I’ve heard lots of people say to cut the side spirals & it will just pop apart – well, good luck with that, I basically just manhandled mine until they gave up & fell apart in sheer agony lol.

Everything else has been smooth sailing, though!

Bombshell
The lapped zipper turned out gorgeous.

Bombshell
There is a black petersham zipper guard (1.5″ wide, if yr curious!)

Bombshell
Oh, right, the zipper is hot pink!

Bombshell
As is the petersham waist stay :)
I just love fun/colorful surprises in my clothing :)

I still need to have this dress finished by Saturday afternoon… all that’s left is the vent, hem, and halter strap. The dress fits fine without the strap, but I really don’t like how I look in strapless stuff. Right now I’m debating how wide to make the strap – WWYD?

As a side note, Me-Made-May is going splendidly (you know, the whole 2 days it’s been May), and I have made an executive decision to not post daily outfit photos on this blog. Instead, I’m going to compile them weekly & dump them all that way. I am posting daily in the Flickr Pool if you feel like lurking everyone’s progress, though!

Also, this has nothing to do with the Bombshell dress, but look at the chicken I painted last night!
LOOK AT THE CHICKEN I PAINTED
I went to a painting class with my friend Carla. So much fun! The chicken’s name is Bud, by the way :D This will go nicely with the poppies I painted with my mom. Yessss.

me-made-may'13

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