Thursday, November 29, 2012

You're a mean one, Mr. Grinch...

Hmmm. Like I did not already know that! I don't often share a wadder, but I earned this one!

I was really excited to find this great wrap jacket with a belt. No buttons or toggles or zip. Patch pockets  and designed for fleece! Jingle bells! I thought this would be perfect for my Mom.

Meet Neue Mode 22314...

There is absolutely nothing quick or easy about this pattern! Beginning with the download, tape, mark, and trace time. Neue Mode patterns do NOT come with seam allowances ("to allow for better fitting...").

And then there are the wonderful instructions. Seven or eight of them. Things like "attach the collar" and "sew the seams". At the very end there are instructions for attaching the lining to the hem, with two illustrations - and the jacket is unlined!!

The worst part: After hours of sewing and fitting and finishing, the thing was just too big. Even though I sewed a size down from my measurements. So I cut it up redrafted the sides and reset the sleeves - which made it really funky.

At which point I called in my sewing consultants. They were horrified. Gave them egg nog.

 I knew some of this going in, I've sewn Neue Mode before. But I seem to have lost all memory of past experiences in my excitement over this pattern. And remember, I have seasonal jolliness, so I'm an easy target right now!

The pattern is in the bin, but I 'm salvaging the fabric :-)

Ho ho! Coco

Tuesday, November 27, 2012

Happy chaos has begun...the holidays!

I hardly know what to do next - I have projects all over the house and just love the way it feels.

The Anna Sui dress made its way downstairs and got buttons today. It's ready for a photo shoot, but it's currently taking up a chair...

I am redrafting a jacket on the living room floor because my worktable in the sewing room is covered with a pattern...

Wonderful new fabric arrived (last week) and made it from the box to the chair with the dress - not even close to the laundry!

And half my sofa is pins, miscellaneous, and a Regular Guy Beanie in progress (great pattern on Ravelry!)

I did have a Vogue blouse, 2 Grainline blouses, and a knit Vogue dress hanging on the back of the door to the garage, also pending a photo shoot. Finally just put them in my closet. Yea me!

All this is downstairs and I am laughing at myself because I'm usually so fussy about picking up things.

But not now. For now I'm just enjoying the fun of this joyous season.

Ciao! Coco

Wednesday, November 14, 2012

Loes Hinse Classic Coat in Faux Suede

After many many months of pondering this pattern from Loes Hinse, I finally put scissors to cloth and sewed her beautiful unlined duster coat. 

The straight lines, small lapel, single button closure, and uncluttered neckline are so appealing. No darts or conflicts with collars. I find that by the time I put on my 'inner' clothing and any accessories, I really do not want a lot of fuss on the outside - I get kind of claustrophobic! and clothing conscious. This coat is perfect for my picky picky self :-)

I actually ordered two different fabrics for the coat. The first one was purple linen. I really had my heart set on a purple duster. But when I got the fabric and looked at it in the light and against the pattern, I was not convinced. Velvet is also one of the suggested fabrics - ding! I remembered reading about Alova velvet/suede cloth on JoAnns. And found this pretty sulphur Alova. Love it. It is a soft 100% polyester tricot knit, 60" wide, with no length-wise stretch, but about 10 - 15% stretch width-wise.

Here is a 2" square on the backside - very densely knitted! and tough as nails :-) I used a 70 ballpoint machine needle and my silk straight pins with this fabric. It does not ravel, being a true knit, and really sews very nicely.

Suggestion - use a walking foot! Alova is not just a knit, it is also napped, so a walking foot is a huge advantage in managing bias and long seams in this pattern. I found that I did fine with a 3.0 straight stitch, sewing a bit 'taut', i.e., keeping the seam flat under the needle by holding behind and in front with a little tension. 

Okay, I 'fess up now - I did make some changes to the pattern. It is so pretty structurally, but to my mind, suffers a bit from being a sea of fabric with no breaks. A little boring -  which was the main reason I took so long to sew it. I kept thinking of ways to add some visual elements.


What? you don't see it? LOL I basically split the front and back into upper and lower sections and added a tie front to replace the button closure. No pockets. I have this thing about pockets flapping around inside an unlined jacket or coat - I don't like it! 

The changes were really simple! 
  • I cut my tissue as shown below, just below the button closure. Then I added 5/8" seam allowances to the tissue for the new seams. 
  • The new upper back has a faux seam, which I accommodated by pinning the tissue 1/8" away from the fold of the fabric instead of on the fold.
  • After the fronts were seamed, I attached the new ties. They're sewn from 16 1/2" x 1 3/4" pieces (stitched wrong side together, turned, and topstitched) and placed where the button would have been.  

Speaking of seams. The pattern has 3/8" seam allowances, not my favorite. I marked all my tissue pattern pieces for 5/8" seams and used my own cutting lines. Just easier to manage - and I shudder to think of cutting linen with a 3/8" seam allowance! Noooo.

I had a good time choosing techniques for the project. The faux seam in the upper back is a simple add-on. (Ralph Chado Rucci uses this all the time in his tops!) It is sewn by folding the piece on the center back, wrong sides together, and stitching the fold with a minimal 1/8" seam. 

The bodice seams are sewn 'on', not together. The upper seam allowance was folded under 5/8" and placed on top of the lower seam allowance. Then I sewed the seam on the right side, close to the fold. A pretty finish for faux suede.

Because the duster is unlined, I wanted a pretty inside as well as a pretty outside, so I used Hong Kong seam finishes everywhere. Two exceptions: I trimmed and overlocked the armhole seam and the sleeve seam. The sleeve is fairly narrow, so I did not want to add tension in these two areas.

The bias seam binding is made with Kaffe Fassett's Asha print in lime.

I particularly like how the Asha print peeks out on the hem finish. Plain binding just would not have been any fun!

Such an enjoyable project! I'm in love with the weight and color and lines of my new duster. Perfect for our Florida winters.

Ciao! Coco

Tuesday, November 13, 2012

Wiksten Snoflinga Knit Hat

No, we did not have snow...but I love knit hats and love to make them. This past week I got bitten by the knitting bug. Maybe it is the cooler weather and all the decorations going up everywhere. Amazing! And wonderful.

This is the Snoflinga Hat, designed by Jenny Gordy at Wiksten. She had the hat in her shop last season, but now has the pattern for sale as a download file. Ahh. I can stop trying to count rows and figure out the pattern from the pictures on her site - sooo much easier to have her pattern!
Jenny rates this as an intermediate beginner pattern, and I agree. It uses a combination of stockinette and garter stitches, with ten simple bobbles and both' right' and 'left' decreases at the crown. It is quite a bit of fun to knit because the pattern changes fairly often - but I don't have to hold back cables or count stitches. Relaxing.
Color: Sage
I used Caron Simply Soft yarn on US size 6 and 8 needles. This is one of my favorite yarns for both hats and mittens. It's acrylic, so it is very light for a worsted weight, and it goes in both the washer and dryer.
Color: Peachy

Next hat in progress...Christmas is coming!
Bye for now - Coco