Monthly Archives: October 2013

A Very Small Jacket

In the spirit of “How much more shit can I possibly cram in,” I made a baby jacket.

Let’s back up a bit. Last winter my bestie, Ada, recipient of the gift Ruby Slip, had a baby girl. In the spring, Ada and her husband came back to Saskabush to spend six months of their parental leave around family. YAY! And I spent most of the last six months thinking that really I ought to make something for this adorable baby who is lucky enough to have one of the most wonderful people in the entire world for a mother. Of course, in my typical procrastinaty way, I didn’t make anything. I even missed my window of opportunity to make this pattern last summer:

Simplicity 3243 – Opportunity Lost

I know, pretty unforgivable. I had fabric picked out and everything.

Alas, like all good things, this idyll must come to an end. Ada and family are headed back to the balmy west coast, and I probably won’t see baby Q (and her delicious pudgy rolls) until after she’s walking. Maybe talking. Stupid distance.

Style 2170

So I got it into my head, a week ago, to finally make up Style 2170, the un-numbered coat version. I traced it out, which would’ve been incredibly easy except for some reason the envelope designers didn’t give that view a number, and while the individual pieces were marked “Coat,” the pattern overview really wasn’t very clear about which pieces were which. I ransacked the stash a bit for coating (something I am well supplied with), Kasha lining (mmmm, Kasha), and finally settled on a flannel I could sacrifice for underlining. Although it has pink teddy bears. We’ll come back to that.

Coat

Coat

Did you notice this pattern, too, is for a six month old? Yeah, real bright, Tanit. Q is nine months. She’s not exactly a wispy, waifly nine-month-old, either (see above about the rolls.) So I have a sinking feeling that this coat will probably fit for about a minute and a half. Ah, well. It’s the thought that counts, right?

Don’t answer that.

Collar. Perfect button.

Collar. Perfect button.

I had hoped for two buttons for the closure (as per the drawing) but couldn’t find any pairs in stash that worked as well as this one perfect purple button. You can see I made no adjustments for turn of cloth when stitching the collar. I only had one afternoon to construct the whole thing, I wasn’t really thinking about fine tailoring.

Fold-over facings

Fold-over facings

The front and front yoke both have fold-over, cut on facings; this made for some nifty construction I don’t think I can explain without long diagrams, but was a pain in the butt when it came to adding the lining, since the original pattern wasn’t lined and when I went to sew in the sleeves, well, the front and back yoke were all sewn to each other. There was some seam-ripping and pouting. I wound up stitching the lining sleeve to the lining body by hand; technically it could’ve been done by machine, but the space was so small and fiddly. Baby clothes are pretty annoying that way, aren’t they? There was a fair bit of ease in the sleeve cap, as you can see; I didn’t really notice with the shell fabric, which eased gloriously.

Quilting for Q

Quilting for Q

I got it into my head, during the gap between cutting and actually sewing it up on Sunday, that I should quilt the back yoke. The thought process actually went: I want flannel interlining. Interlining is sometimes quilted to the linings. Think of those gorgeous quilted petticoats you like so much. I could totally do something like that! I should quilt a “Q” onto the back yoke! Then I tried to add a bunch of curly, floral bits. I’m not good at either quilting or embroidery, so I don’t think my results are terribly legible or lovely but, well, there is a Q there if you look closely. There are also some pink smudges, because when I washed the piece to get the little purple tracing-paper dots off, it appears the pink bears on the backing flannel bled. Aargh.

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Lining and facings

I used featherstitch topstitching to attach the facing to the front lining.

Hem and seam (un)finishing

The guts.

Here you can see those darn pink bears. This flannel had been pre-washed at lest twice, and it still bled. WTF? I cut the flannel 2 cm shorter than the lining, and then sewed the hems together (which took a lot of easing on a flared coat like this) and managed to sort-of get it to lie nicely once it was turned around. My coating fabric was really fray-prone, so I blockfused it to a knit interfacing , which made it lovely to work with, but I probably still should’ve serged the raw edges. I was assuming this was a poly coating, but maybe there’s some rayon or even wool in there; it sure pressed and eased beautifully. I love coating. I found a lavender lace hem tape in stash to cover my hem, though I picked a darker purple thread to sew it on, which doesn’t look terribly nice. It’s very tidy, though, at least.

that bit

that bit

I backed the purple button on the outside with this clear, boring button on the inside. I was looking for a cute purple one, but couldn’t find one that was small and flat enough.

Back view. Very boring.

Back view. Very boring.

I kind of wish I would’ve piped the lower yoke seam, as it’s a pretty feature and hardly shows. Or maybe I should’ve done the back yoke on the bias. Ah, well. What’s done is done.

Bonnet. Fail.

Bonnet. Fail.

As you may have noticed, the pattern included an adorable bonnet. I was pretty excited about this, until I got it to this point, and looked at it, and realized that it was highly unlikely to actually fit, or cover anything enough to keep it warm if it did. So it went to the bottom of the queue and didn’t get finished. It would’ve been lovely, though.

Bonnet insides.

Bonnet insides.

Don’t you love my featherstitch understitching?

I have to say, much as I don’t love making baby clothes (they have such funny squooshy bodies, regular clothes really don’t make much sense, and they grow too quickly), I sure do love making coats. I love working with the heavy fabrics, I love the way they ease and press and even the fiddly things like turn of cloth. This was a pleasure to make just for how the fabrics handled, and it was so much quicker than a full-sized coat would’ve been.

Edited to add:

It fits! It fits it fits it fits! I added an inch to the sleeves when I made it, and they are a little long, and the shoulders are still a little wide as well. Silly over-sized baby clothes. The sleeves aren’t particularly wide, especially for chubby baby arms, but she’ll be able to wear it for a bit, anyway (and she’ll get a lot more wear out of it in warm Vancouver than she would here, that’s for sure.)

Also, Ada has promised pictures of the jacket being worn in its natural habitat. 🙂

Also, I’m apparently going to a baby shower on Sunday. Which means I may have to make more baby clothes. /sigh.

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Jacket Makings

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… Is what Stylish wrote in big block letters across her calendar for last weekend. She is organized and actually keeps track of things like that on her calendar. I know, it’s a little creepy.

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So, jackets. We planned to make these last year. How did that not happen, I ask you? Don’t answer. Anyway. Stylish had her pattern picked and fabric bought this time last year. Simplicity 2508 in a giant houndstooth check. Keep in mind this time last year she’d only made one garment, and I did the zipper for her. Ok, maybe a bit of working up to it was in order.

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Anybody remember this pattern? Of So, Zo fame? That I muslined aeons ago? That I found the perfect fabric for and have been sitting on ever since?

Well, it’s cut now. I’m commited. I probably should’ve done another muslin to check my changes on the bodice, but there’s enough fabric left to re-cut it if I have to. But I’ve decided I need a windproof underlining for this wool (which is actually a knit) so I have to go pick up something thin and nylon-y. I’m making the loooooong view, A. Did you need to ask? Oh, and it’s really long. According to the pattern envelope, 57″ from the nape of the neck. I checked and even with the shortened bodice on mine, that’s still brushing the ground on me, and I’m 5′ 7″. It’s going to be AWESOME.

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My Crafty sister-in-law came, too, but I didn’t get any photos (Stylish’s basement is many things, but photogenic is not really one of its talents). She’s making the same pattern as Stylish. Actually, the same view. It was really handy because she could just go down the list of pattern pieces Stylish had made and trace out the ones she needed in her size (that pattern is not the most clearly-labeled when it comes to figuring out which pattern pieces you need for which views, by the way.) Her fabric is a houndstooth, too, now that I think about it, although very different in style and scale, and she’s aiming for a fall coat, not the full winter deal. If anyone has any thoughts on FBA’ing this pattern, I’d love to hear them.

Stylish got her muslin, made in a sweater knit, almost done (still needs collar and cuffs). We had made a couple of adjustments to the pattern beforehand—she traced the size 12, grading out to a 14-equivalent below the waist, and add about 2″ to the sleeves (more may be needed), and then shortened the torso by 2″. Figuring that out for the raglan sleeves was kind of brain-wracking, and I’m still not entirely sure I got it right. Let’s just say I’m very glad I walked those raglan sleeve seams after I’d done all the alterations, because it took some serious fiddling to get them to line up. (Which makes me wonder if they matched in the original pattern, but that’s a whole ‘nother issue.) All those changes were worth it, though, because when she put the coat on the waist was in exactly the right place, there was enough room for her hips (not any extra, mind you) and the sleeves were, well, almost long enough. All we did was tweak the shoulder width a wee bit, easy to do with a raglan (narrowing them), and taking in at the back a little bit. I was trying very, very hard not to take it in too much, at least on the pattern. The “muslin” may have a future life as a sweater (or perhaps a housecoat :P) for which it would be more flattering to take it in a bit more.

The next step is going to get a bit scary, though. The Simplicity coat doesn’t have separate pattern pieces for things like the lining and interfacing. I know how to adapt those pieces (thank you Sherry!) but how heavy duty do I want to get here? I don’t want to overwhelm either of them, but I also don’t want them to spend all this time and money on inferior jackets. And how do I break it to Stylish, for sure, that she’s going to have to do bound buttonholes on her fabric? Machine-stitched ones are SO not going to happen on her thick, spongy fabric. Crafty MIGHT be able to manage machine buttonholes, but that can be even more of a headache than bound buttonholes. /sigh.

I want to say that more Jacket Makings will be happening this weekend but, well, it’s the weekend before Hallowe’en. Both kids have costumes that need to be put together (if not exactly sewn) and I have a black crinoline to finish.

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On the other hand, winter is definitely in the air over here. I really, really, really want a crazy-warm, long, heavy coat.

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Handworked buttonhole.

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Not awesome. Mrs. Church would send me straight back to Victorian sewing school. But it’s leap years beyond my last attempt. Sadly, it’s in the middle of a scrap with no practical purpose. /sigh 😉

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October 22, 2013 · 9:31 pm

The Real Thing

The real thing

The real thing

I finally got a hold of my mom’s Genuine Article Victorian Drawers (TM).  Well, I can’t actually date them particularly well—but they’re certainly older than 1920s, and they’re almost perfectly in keeping with everything Victorian I’ve read about what drawers should be. Which doesn’t seem to have changed much over time, except possibly for length.

The Originals

The Originals

I gotta tell you, I feel pretty naughty for trying them on. The fabric’s in pretty good shape, but it still feels kinda sacreligeous.

Back view

Back view

They’re a little more snug than my pair.

closeup

closeup

The hem is a gorgeous eyelet lace, not gathered. I don’t think I could find a lace like this if I offered my firstborn child.

side by side

side by side

Here’s the two side by side. Neither of my lace additions are particularly spot on, are they?

that thing

that thing

Now, THAT, my friends, is a hand-worked buttonhole. Well, except for the frayed bit. You’d be a bit frayed, too, if you were over 100 years old.

button

button

I think I got my button just right, though.

Felled seam

Felled seam

I believe this seam was sewn by machine, then hand-felled. Yes, the Victorians are judging me for wimping out.

Length adjustment

Length adjustment

The wide tuck to the left was done before the inseam was stitched, as per all the different instructions. The one I’m holding here, though, was added after. I wonder if the seamstress thought the space needed “something” or if it was intended to shorten the length a bit?

yummy

yummy

I wish I’d done more narrow tucks, rather than three big ones, on my pair. No, I’m not re-doing them. Incidentally, the band of lace above the trimming lace is finishing the hem, exactly like the band finish on my pair except on the outside and pretty. I wish I’d thought of that one, dammit.

fabric and hand-stitching closeup

fabric and hand-stitching closeup

Both of us stitched the outside of the waistband by machine and then hand-stitched the inside. My stitches are not quite as neat and small as the Victorian’s, but they aren’t too bad.

In other news, reader Meadowsweet Child sent me some spoon busks all the way from civilization (aka Ontario*)! Woohoo! And I may have gotten a bit click-happy on Farthingales, so with any luck I’ll have some boning and things soon, too…

*It occurs to me that ordering supplies, for anything really, from Ontario is probably terribly historically accurate for early Saskatoon. Everything, even lumber, had to be shipped from out east. Then, since the railway didn’t even arrive until 1890, it had to be carted up from Moose Jaw, over 200 km.

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Misrepresentation!

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Kandel Knits, you lie!

This pattern was one of several by this company, which I had not run into before, in the haul of old patterns Ra pulled from the dumpster for Stylish. It appears to be another in the radiation of knit-specializing indie pattern companies that appeared in the late 60s and 70s as the big 4 failed to fill that niche adequately. It claims to be produced by a professional knitting mill, so they should know what they’re talking about, right? The most interesting thing about the pattern, of course, is the front-shifted side-seam on the bottoms, although the top is cute as well.

I made the bikini bottoms, although of course I made them up as underwear, excited by this unusual seaming feature.

Well, of course as soon as I traced the pattern, I was wondering how that was going to happen. The width of back and front pieces was pretty comparable and there was no recognizable “shifting” of the seam toward the front. Nonetheless I soldiered on.

Sizes and pattern

Sizes and “True Measure” pattern

The pattern instructions weren’t great, but they were interestingly patchy—a lot on different ways to sew knits, quite a bit on fitting (maybe if I’d followed that part more closely I’d have had more of that front-shift to the side-seam), but then the actual instruction was along the lines of “sew this seam. Now hem this.”. There was no crotch-liner piece, but it was pretty easy to improv one. There’s no information on the sizing on the pattern or envelope itself, although I THINK it’s the same sizing Kwik Sew uses for underwear—but fortunately (?) for me, the helpful previous owner had written most of the sizes and measurements out from the front. As you can maybe see in that first photo, the pattern sizes are, um, small. 32″ hip for a size 7 (I guess that’s about the same as the standard Miss’s size 8.) Even more fortunately for me (I do not have a 32″ hip. My 13-year-old does not have a 32″ hip.), the pattern is drafted for “fabric with very little stretch;” I’m thinking the “True Measure” thing means it’s drafted with 0 ease.  My fabric, while a nice, stable cotton-lycra, has a very decent amount of stretch. I used comparison with my McCall’s 4471 pattern to verify that the size 8 should be just fine. (Actually, in terms of overall width and length, AKA rise, the two patterns were reassuringly similar.)

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Finished set. Very adequate. Side-seams pretty much right at side.

And when sewn up, they did end up being pretty much fine, ordinary underwear (I lowered the rise a teeny bit, especially in front, but that’s typical for me), but, as suspected, that promised shifted side seam is not at all evident.

My biggest hold-back on making underwear usually ends up being the elastic. I have zillions of little scraps of knits I could use, but I tend to only buy elastic in small quantities as I need it. And then use it up pretty efficiently. So for this pair I tried something I had read about on someone’s blog (but damned if I can find where)—just using a self-fabric band. I’ll report back on how it works when I’ve road-tested them for more than five minutes, but initial fitting seems promising. As with Kwik Sew 2100, the crotch is a bit wide, but now that I’m actually paying attention that’s super-common in my storebought underwears as well. It’s not uncomfortable, just something to maybe be trimmed down in the future (and it’s worth noting that I added a band, while typical swimwear finishing would fold over at least 1/4″ on each side while attaching the elastic.

In conclusion, seems like a decent basic bikini pattern, but that shifted side-seam is nowhere to be found.

There’s an obvious solution, of course. I’ll have to draft one for myself.

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