Saturday, December 02, 2017

Another Catch-Up Post

Between picket duty and then being back to work I've been crazy busy the last month.  I've carved out some time to work on projects but I haven't had time to post about them.  So I'm just going to plant a bunch of pics here and perhaps I'll get back and write about them at some point.  You'll have to scroll all the way to the end to find a finished project.

Sunday, October 29, 2017

Lutterloh 282 - 249 Second Pair

When I bought the black and blue checked ponte to make a pair of pants I didn't have the pattern with me, so I bought over two meters because I know that's what I need for a pair of jeans.  Of course I wasn't thinking that denim usually comes 45" wide and the ponte was 60" wide.  Therefore I found I had enough fabric left over to get myself a second pair.  To be fair I considered saving it to make a pair for daughter post-pregnancy but with her long legs there wouldn't be quite enough fabric.  I have another length of ponte, a charcoal plaid, that I may be able to work a pair for each of us out of if I plan for that from the beginning.

Anyway, I made a second pair of Lutterloh 282-249 with a couple of changes.  I am having a hard time seeing the fit on the first pair, because the fabric is dark and the lighting is not very good in my dressing room.  I changed the lightbulbs and saw that I have a fair bit of wrinkling under my butt, and that if I pull up the back of the pants the wrinkles are reduced.  I then slashed and pivoted to reduce the back seam by 1".  This definitely gives me a shaplier fit over the seat; even a slight wedgie.  So I am going to try and fine tune that for future pants.

I took comparison pics with these beige ponte pants I made some time ago.  I'm not sure if I used a Style Arc pattern or New Look 6977 as I played with both patterns then and have a black pair in each, and silly me didn't blog about it to have a record.  Anyway there is more of an angle on the back seam of the New Look pattern compared to the Lutterloh pattern, and I wonder if this is what gives the beige pair a better fit over the seat.  I also moved the pockets towards the centre seam by 1", which I think looks better.  I made no other fitting changes but these ones do seem slightly snugger than the first pair, which could be down to cutting accurate seam allowances (or not) when the pattern pieces don't have that built in.

Aside from shortening them to a 30.5" inseam (I think 31" is going to be my goal for inseams for now on), the other change I made was to use zippers instead of buttons at the cuffs.  I used Heat Bond to stabilize the facings and prevent stretching when sewing the zips on.  I really like the look (thanks for the idea Mom!) and I even got a few compliments when I wore them the other day.  With this 3" wide elastic waistband they are probably the most comfortable pair of pants I own.  I can see myself wearing them a lot and using this as my tried and true knit pants pattern once I sort out the seat fitting.


Monday, October 16, 2017

Lutterloh 282 - 249

I had traced out the back of this pattern earlier this summer when I was comparing the shape and size of three different pants patterns.  I was initially going to use this black and navy checked ponte to make another pair of Simplicity 1696 but in a knit, but I'm still not convinced that that pattern is fitting as well as I would like.  I finally got around to tracing the front of this Lutterloh one as it is drafted for a knit fabric and I could have a go at my first Lutterloh pants pattern.

I wanted to keep it simple so I eliminated the front pockets and I didn't include the fly zip figuring there was enough stretch in the fabric to make them as a pull-on pair.  I did topstitch the fly stitching but I used standard thread instead of topstitching thread, trying to keep it subtle.  It is subtle all right - you can barely see it! lol  I may go over it again with a topstitching thread, we will see.  I did make myself a little cardboard template for fly topstitching.

I did add a set of jean pockets to the back that I copied and reduced by 1/2" in each direction from Vogue 1204.

I ended up having to take the pants in 1" at each side to below the hips, tapering to the knees.  This could be a design change because of the pockets on the original version.  They were possibly intended to be a bit baggier than how I like to wear my pants.  There is no way to tell from the fashion drawing because the top of the pants are hidden by a long blouse.  With my alterations they  are not tight but they do skim my body.  They are definitely not as tight as leggings.

I made a one piece straight waistband as the Lutterloh patterns always call for, although I made my join at the centre back and tapered it in a bit like the yoke on a pair of jeans.  I used 3" wide firm elastic as the waistband facing to eliminate elastic lines and act as a bit of tummy control.  Credit for that idea goes to my Nygard leggings.  I sewed a contrasting thread in a long stitch to mark my 5/8" seam line.  Then I basted the fabric with the edge butted up against that seam line. Finally I sewed the fabric just inside the edge of the elastic with correct thread, stretching a bit as I sewed.

After removing the two white basting threads I flipped the elastic inside and topstitched with the coverstitch which would allow for full stretch.  It will make no difference now if the initial straight seam underneath pops upon stretching.  I think you can see on the edge of the waistband that the ponte is folded under but the elastic is not.  This elastic is too firm to be folded under, as most elastics likely would be.  This gave me a nice clean edge.  I then used the coverstitch to topstitch over the bottom of the waistband.

The elastic gapes a tiny bit at the top because it is stiff and because it is all one piece it is straight up and down over my curves.  Therefore, when I make my next pair I will do the waistband a little differently.  I will use the curved back waistband from Simplicity 1696 for both my front and back.  I will also cut the elastic in two pieces instead of one so that I can shape it at the side seams.  On a second look that is how it is done on the Nygard leggings.
They are quite narrow at the ankle and have four domed buttons.  Initially I was only going to sew the buttons on as a faux opening but I ended up doing it properly with an functional opening and working buttonholes.  I was going for pewter buttons but these are more of a chrome.  They are a bit blingy and I may end up swapping them out for something more subtle.  Also the pants are a bit on the long side.  I added 5/8" for a narrow hem to the length because I just can't believe that a pattern doesn't have to be lengthened.  This probably goes back to when I was a gangly kid and had to have extensions added to the cuffs of all my pants.  I ended up making a 1-1/2" hem to give me a 32" inseam and it could be shortened by at least another inch or two because of the narrow ankle.  I seem to have a phobia about having too-short pants, even when that's what the style dictates!  From what I can see in the fashion pic they end at the top of the back of her shoe.  With heels on mine come to the bottom of the back of my foot (top of the heel).  I *could* shorten them to remove the bottom buttonhole but I will probably live with them as they are.

So my final judgement?  This Lutterloh pattern worked as well for me as any other pants pattern does.  I still don't have the confidence to know what makes a perfect fitting pair of pants, other than I know it when I see it, usually on someone else.  I don't know if something should be tighter or looser or adjusted in some other way, and it doesn't help that I can't see myself walking away in whatever I am fitting.  You can only check out so much looking over your shoulder in a mirror and you certainly can't see how the garment moves.  Maybe I need a videographer to follow me around when I am sewing and fitting! lol

The top is Vogue 8815

I have made a second pair - here is the post for that.

Saturday, October 07, 2017

Embroidery Projects

Waaaaay back in the day I had a pair of jeans that I hand-embroidered and embellished with love beads and star studs.  Remember those?  Well fast forward about 40 years and I'm at it again.  I keep thinking that machine embroidering on jean pockets means making new jeans, but it occurred to me that I can just embroider on a pair of jeans I already own.  I have had these basic Gap jeans for years so I thought they would be a good pair to try on in case things go horribly wrong.

This pattern is called Western Flair Pocket from Embroidery Library.  I just love the turquoise in it, although I want to do another pair replacing the turquoise with black.  I think White on white would work as well.

I was a little concerned about taking off the pockets and then reattaching them without it looking like a "home" job, but I had just the right colour of jean top stitching thread on hand and I think it turned out alright.

I hooped both pockets together in my larger hoop (6"x10") and used a can of Elmer's spray glue that I had on hand to hold them firmly to the stabilizer.  I am now debating whether to embroider something on the leg in the same colours.  Maybe some sort of flower or vine design.  What do you think, go for it or overkill?

I did a test sample of this German Shepherd following the colours that the pattern called for, but as you can see I have a purple and red dog.  I need to google other interpretations of the pattern to get a better colour pallet.
I am very early in the embroidery learning curve but I imagine the colours are off because the pattern was designed for a different machine.  The pocket pattern above, even though it is shown as a turquoise on the pattern site, shows up as a very dark teal on my machine screen and on my Brother program on the computer.
Finally, I decided my shop coat needed a little spiffying up so I added Wonder Woman to the pocket.  Yes, Wonder Woman is knitting! lol

Simplicity 2446 - Finished

Inspector 1 on the job

This post is a continuation from here.

I finished up my blazer the other morning.  I am quite happy with the final result.  It is definitely wearable.  I think the fit could have been a little more fine tuned but that is probably my perfectionism kicking in.  The length of the sleeves and the bodice are perfect, so I am glad I trusted my instincts and lengthened the sleeves that half inch.

I did really struggle getting this jacket finished because I was trying to add sleeve heads and shoulder pads with the lining already in place.  I was getting very frustrated and walked away from it more than once.  I initially bought some felt thinking it would give good support as a sleeve head, but as you can see in the pic it is too firm.  You could see the scalloped folds through the sleeves.  Of course I sewed them in place a couple of times before admitting they just won't work.

I finally used a piece of flannel I had on hand (pattern side in so less likely to show through) and it worked really well - not too bulky but gave some support.  The other mistake I made with the sleeves was to press them completely, but it turns out you should only press the seam allowances.  Again, it looks ok, but I think the sleeve tops would stand better if I hadn't flattened them out.
I will give the pattern credit for a beautiful turned collar.  I had no problem getting it to lay nicely.  I steamed the collar when finished and again I am happy with it.  There is one little hiccup where the right lapel meets the right collar but I may have another go at it with the iron to see if I can't get rid of that crease.  I'm not going to lose any sleep over it.  I do feel my lapels are a little too wide, which makes me wonder if there is still too much fabric across the front, although it fits well across the bust.  Or perhaps I just need to close them higher up.  I will need to consult with my sewing expert (looking at you, Mom!)

I tried doing my buttonholes with Bob (I had sewn the whole blazer on Bob) but after three tries (and ripping out three times) I turned to Phoebe who sewed perfect buttonholes for me.  It just goes to show how different machines can have different strengths.

Finally, I did topstitch the top of the pocket flap before closing up the lining.  This was a last minute decision but I'm glad I did.  I used Phoebe and her 1/4" stitch guide to get a perfect straight line.

Oh, and did I mention?  I got the job from the interview that the blazer was intended for.

Sunday, September 24, 2017

Simplicity 2446 - Amazing Fit Jacket Pattern

Progress pic

I've had this pattern in my stash for a few years but never made it until now.  Crunch time came last weekend when I found out on Saturday that I would be having a job interview on Monday.  Now you may wonder why I don't have a jacket in my wardrobe to wear for a job interview.  Well as it turns out I am retired and wasn't expecting this opportunity that fell into my lap more or less out of the blue.  I wear a 14 in big 4 patterns, but my pattern is the larger grouping starting at 16.  Most of my Saturday was spend tracing and grading down the pattern, then making my usual length adjustment of 1" in the bodice.  I wasn't sure what to do with the sleeve, because after doing the math including 1/2" for shoulder pads it looked like they would be ok.  However, experience is that sleeves are often short on me.  I decided to add 1/2" to the sleeves to be safe.  Long story short, even after sewing until 1am on Sunday night I ended up shopping for a jacket first thing Monday morning for the interview because I didn't want to rush the finish and ruin the jacket (especially buttonholes - I already had to redo one on the cuff!).  Overall I am quite happy with the pattern, but I feel that for an "Amazing Fit" pattern it missed the mark on a few things.  I was working strictly with the pattern instructions, and they do give some good instructions on correcting some fitting issues, but I feel that more direction is needed on tailoring a jacket.  I have now got my Singer "Tailoring" book out (yes I know I should have done this ahead of time, did I mention the time crunch?) and I will read this through before finishing the jacket.  I'll post an update once the jacket is finished.

As with many of the Amazing Fit patterns they have 1" side seams to allow for adjustments.  In this case they have you baste the bodice pieces WRONG sides together with the seams facing out and then fine tune the fit.  I am not clear on the advantage to this, when you could baste it right sides together and try it on inside out for fitting.  This would certainly save time by just needing to reinforce the basted sewing lines once you have made your adjustments rather than having to deconstruct and then reconstruct the entire garment.  You mark your adjustments, take out your basting, sew it correctly (right sides together and seams on the inside) and trim your seam allowances to a standard 5/8".  This sounds good in theory, and I did everything as the instructions stated (including the whole deconstruction thing).  However, once I had the sleeves on and the lining sewn in I couldn't move my arms in front of me.  What had felt like a comfortable fit without sleeves didn't have enough ease to allow for movement with sleeves in place.  I was able to let out the two back seams 1/4" each but now am left with 3/8" seam allowances.  Let's hope they stand up to wear.

I had the opposite problem on the front.  I usually make a full bust allowance so I used the "C" bust pattern piece.  It fits fine across the bust and laid flat across the upper bust when fitting.  Once the sleeves and facings were in place, though, I had too much fabric pooling across the upper bust area.  I had to take it in 1/4" on the top part of the princess seams.  LESSONS LEARNED: All in all I think I would have gotten a much better fit from the beginning if I had basted in the sleeves before fitting.  Also, unless someone corrects me here, there is no need to trim the seam allowances in a lined garment.  The full seam allowances would have allowed for more fine tuning.

There is a fair bit of interfacing used in a jacket, and I used my interfacing without pre-treating it in any way.  Mom asked if I had pre-shrunk it, and I had never heard of this.  There is no mention of this in the pattern.  Well, my Singer "Tailoring" book talks about it and I will need to do this next time.  Also I didn't pre-shrink my fabric (I always do but this time I was in a big hurry).  This is important to do, Singer says, because the steam used in fusing the interfacing can shrink my fabric.  My lining was preshrunk because it was in my stash, and everything in my stash has been pre-shrunk.

I LOVE this lining!
The same fitting problems are there for the lining, but even moreso.  Store-bought jackets have a pleat in the middle of the back to give wearing ease.  I have gone back through the instructions and nowhere can I find anything about this in the pattern.  The cutting diagram shows the back piece on the fold of the lining just the same as it is for the fashion fabric.  As this is the first lined jacket I have made I wasn't aware of this ahead of time, so I ended up having to try and let out the back of the sleeve allowances 1/4" on top of letting out the 1/4" in the back seams as I did for the fashion fabric.  I am even more concerned about the lining seams standing up to wear.  LESSON LEARNED (from Singer "Tailoring"): Cut the lining back piece 1" from the seam line or fold; add 1/2" to front and back side seam allowances at underarm area of lining, tapering to waistline (or 1/4" each to side panels, front and back); add 5/8" at underarm of sleeve, tapering to notches.

I will give Simplicity credit that they talk about putting in sleeve heads, but don't really give much of an explanation.  They tell you how long to cut them but not how wide, and don't give adequate instructions IMHO for how to put them in properly.  I will do some research on this before moving ahead (hello again, Singer!).

I eliminated the side seam pockets as I was in a hurry and thought that I wouldn't use them as they look bulky when you put something in a blazer pocket.  After topstitching and ripping out the topstitching 3x on the faux pocket flaps, I left off the topstitching altogether and sewed the flaps down invisibly by hand from the back side.  LESSON LEARNED: Don't try topstitching when you are rushing.

Update:  Here is the blogpost for finishing the jacket.