Thursday, August 22, 2013

I LOVE San Francisco!

If Hawaii and New York had a baby it would be San Francisco. It's metropolitan but clean, has the most friendly people I have ever encountered on a trip, and the nicest laid-back atmosphere that really appeals to my laid-backedness.

I had a great time, but before I tell you all about it, let me get this review of my blouse out of the way. 

I used Simplicity 5380 as a base. I got it second hand thinking that I would fit it to myself and then use it as a block for experimenting with details. I used the round neck version (1) for this experiment.

I added front and back vertical darts and took in the sides using my new tnt shirt pattern. In the end, I could have just used the Sewaholic Alma that I have made (and not blogged about yet). 

Then I got fancy.

I added one larger box pleat down the centre front and three 1/4" pin-tuck pleats on either side. 

I used a piece of paper to fold up what I wanted my fabric pleats to look like, then unfolded it, measured and add that to my pattern via slashing and spreading. 

I drafted a simple collar shape and sandwiched it between the front and a facing under stitching the facing so it would not flip out. I also tacked the facing down at the shoulders and down the stitching on the box pleat down the centre front. I wasn't sure about the facing on such a sheer fabric, but you can't see it at all when it's being worn.

I cut it across the upper back to create a yoke piece  (added seam allowance to both pieces), then added an extension to the bottom piece at centre back so I could fold it over, encasing the raw edge to make a button placket. I used some bright green buttons that were salvaged from a sewing disaster a number of years ago.

I didn't change much here. just cut a key hole shape in the centre at the sleeve hem, gathered the edge a bit and encased the raw edge in a teeny bias strip letting the ends become ties. (I bias-bound the keyhole first). Beware if you try this yourself – the sleeve edge is already coming out of the binding in one place after one washing. 

What I don't like about it: 
Once again, even though I made a muslin, the upper back is a little tight. It's mostly noticeable when driving (binds at the upper arms) – so that sucks. Also, my auto button-holler makes the holes slightly too large so sometimes, with the slight pull at the upper back, they come undone. Luckily, since I will always be wearing a tank under it, I don't care. 

I wore it to work yesterday so I could snag some pics wearing it when I got home, but my camera battery crapped out so sorry! Trust me. It's cute. 

Thursday, August 15, 2013

Britex, here I come!

I'm a dirty liar. I did finish the next shirt but have neglected to post yet.
Here is a teaser:

It's 5:30 in the morning and I'm getting myself together to catch a plane to San Francisco!!You had better believe that I'm making time to go to Britex. I am also  taking in a Turbokick live workout (no one locally teaches it so I'm pretty excited for a live class) and going to see a crazy musical review show recommended by a friend. We have tickets to  Alcatraz and are taking a morning to got to Sausalito to see the giant redwoods. My mind woke up with a start at 5:25 with anticipation. My eyes are still trying to catch up.I am the shits at taking pictures, but my travel companion is a shutterbug so I'll try to emulate as best I can so I can post about it. I promise I will post about the above blouse when I get back!Bon Voyage to me!

Saturday, August 3, 2013

TNT Birthday Shirt

Although I haven't been posting the last two months, I have been sewing.

A while back I won some fabric from Poldapop in addition to a pattern pyramid giveaway. I promised I would make something out of this great fabric and then share it on my blog. I got to the first part fairly somewhat sort-of quickly eventually and am finally getting around to the sharing. I finished this shirt on the morning of my birthday near the end of June and despite being in wardrobe rotation since, I wasn't able to take any pics until recently.

Here she is:

I made a cowboy-esque shirt. I had some moss-green velvet piping left over from a pillow project that perfectly matched the green in the fabric, and I had only in inch of waste left after I used it. My OCDness was very happy.

The pattern is a combo of the shirt in SewU (which I had tried once and found it to be unbelievably terrible), and the vintage Simplicity 7078 which was in my stash from one of my trips to the second hand store.


I've been wanting to conquer my fit challenges on the classic button-down for a long time so I decided to compare these two patterns to figure out what went so horribly wrong in the SewU pattern

When compared to the SewU pattern, there were some obvious differences:

The back: 
The Simplicity pattern back included a neck dart and extra width where I need it. Flat pattern measuring has become my best friend. After several broad back adjustments, I now just measure the width of the back to see if it will end up to be at least 19" across.
Interestingly, I'm finding that more of my vintage 70's patterns don't need an adjustment as was the case with S7078. I kept the neck darts because the back fit so well with them in my muslin that I didn't want to fiddle around with moving them and possibly wrecking what was good in the first place. I'll save that little experiment for another version.

Arm scythe: The underarm on both the front and back of SewU was much higher which I think was the major culprit for the bad fit. I used the underarm of 7078.

Neck/collar: The last 70's era shirt I made had a clownish collar that came up quite high and an incredibly large collar flaps. I lowered the 7078 neckline to match the more modern SewU pattern and drafted my own collar using this tutorial from Threads. After checking the fit with a muslin, I took about 1/4"-1/2" out of the length of the collar so I would need to ease it into the opening a little more (like other patterns I've worked with).

Sleeve: 7078 had a little extra fabric in the sleeve cap, and the SewU sleeve was so terribly ill-fitting the first time around that I didn't use either, instead opting to use the sleeve I drafted for the Sewaholic Alma a little while ago (yet to be blogged about). I can't remember which tutorial I used to draft it, but I referenced Ikat bag when drawing the shape of the sleeve head.

Torso: Since there are no waist darts on 7078, I added them in front and back using the Sew U pattern as well as referencing the Sewaholic Alma for placement and size. When taking in the side seams of most tops to give myself a little more waste definition a very pronounced curve forms – I am curvier than I thought!

The finished shirt on me (with glamorous air conditioner)

The back could still use some sort of sway-back adjustment, but I'm very pleased with the fit over all. I can reach forward without excessive strain at my upper arms which is really the main thing that bugs me when things don't fit.

A few details:
1. I used a pale yellow plaid bed sheet for my muslin and liked it so much with the flowered fabric that I used it to line the inside of my collar stand, button placket and under collar.

2. I wish that I had used snaps for closures on this, but I wasn't going to wreck it with that experiment when it was 90% done. That kind of shit takes practice.

3. I love the curved hem from 7078. I continued the hem on the inside of the side seams folding the seam allowance over twice and stitching it down for a neat finish inside. I reenforced with a bar-tacked at the bottom.

4. Button holes were forged with green thread. The buttons were also sewn on with the same contrasting thread.

5. And once again I cut my shirt when it was almost done with the serger blade *sigh*, but it gave me the opportunity to create another custom label of sorts along the bottom hem near the side seam. I love it.

6. Topstitching and velvet piping:

I regret not adding pockets. I thought it would be too much with the trim on the front, but I think it could have handled the addition.

What I'm working on now: 


A little something I envisioned via another very basic vintage top pattern that has been heavily modified. Unfortunately the second hand scarf I wanted to use as fabric (pink) is like sewing with kleenex and I abandoned it after I took these photos.

No worries. I stared a new one using a beautiful silk-cotton I picked up about a year ago at 70% off.

The idea is that I finish it before my 20 year high school reunion next Friday. It's about 75% done so it's totally doable.