Tag Archives: Ceylon

The Queue

Cushion cover. Sewing at its least glamorous.

I never know how much to write about planned projects. While it’s hard to resist showing off a new pattern or fabric and expounding on the fabulous garment it will become (or, y’know not), my “queue” is, ah, a bit fluid. A lot of ideas change, or get pushed off as new projects pop to the fore, and stuff can go on the back burner pretty much indefinitely. On the other hand, my theory is to write about whatever I happen to be sewing—and if the only sewing to write about is planning, well, there you go.

That being said, I’m at a transition point. The “let down” of finishing the Spring Coat was rather softened by having the plaid dress already underway, but now that’s done, too, I’m feeling a little floaty. There are several projects I SHOULD tackle, but of course they’re all non-selfish, and therefore not nearly as much fun:

I have to finish my friend’s cushion cover (now that I have the right zipper foot!). I actually made some good progress on this on Sunday, until I realized that somehow, despite loads of careful measuring, my cushion-wall-piece-band (whatever) is a good 7″ too short. So I need to unpick, insert a piece, and re-do the piping. Argh. I put it down. Hopefully I’ll tackle it on the weekend.

My friend Serena's costume coat

And then there’s Serena’s tailcoat. I’ve done most of the initial pattern alterations and really need to whip up a muslin.

I should also whip up the fleece-lined coat for Niece #2, just to get the fabrics out of stash (Now that the fabric has resurfaced). She won’t get to wear it until the fall, but that’s fine as I’m a little afraid she’d drown in it. She will be three in June, which is the size I’m making, but she’s still not 30 lbs (which I’m pretty sure Tyo was by 18 months). A little more time to grow won’t hurt. It needs to get done before the end of June, though, to make sure it gets there this summer.

And of course, there’s Peter’s Jeans Sewalong, which is already underway. I don’t NEED a sewalong to make jeans (although I’m sure I’ll learn plenty, even just reading along), but I certainly could. Tyo’s due for another pair, even if I don’t need any myself. I had thought about making some for the hubby, as finding him jeans is a nightmare, but since he’s picky about their fit and, as you all know, skittish about photography, I figure I’ll leave that headache for some time in the future.

Of course the main problem with all of these projects is that they’re not for me. I really am a selfish seamstress at heart, I guess…

On the practical side, I need to make myself a sweater (or three). I have plenty of fabric, I just need to decide on a style and make them. Partly because I left my lone, hard-working, long-cherished RTW hoodie behind when we went home for Easter, and partly because I will need them come June.

Speaking of which:

I, Tanit-Isis, of Tanit-Isis Sews, sign up as a participant of Me-Made-June ’11. I endeavour to wear entirely handmade clothing, including outerwear (but excluding underwear and socks), each day for the duration of June 2011, and to document this to the best of my abilities.

This is upping my game, if only slightly, as the last couple of times I have still incorporated RTW jackets (SSS) and sweaters (MMM, but just the one hoodie mentioned above). I will also try to avoid repeat outfits (although not repeat items), but I can’t promise these won’t creep in by accident.

A dress I don't need.

On the less practical side, there are at least two dresses in queue—McCall’s 315, and a real, dress-version of the Ceylon out of some grey-blue crepe. I must admit the Ceylon seems much less daunting now that I have my buttonholer!

Crepe Ceylon

And the 70s suit, Simplicity 6602, which could also fulfill Joy’s Bellbottom Challenge

70s Suit in narrow-wale corduroy

Despite the photography, the Ceylon crepe fabric and the corduroy are the exact same shade of dusty blue.

Another 70s jacket

Incidentally, the fabric for this jacket is still preying on my mind. And do you notice, the skirt and waistband detail are basically identical to one view of Colette’s new skirt?

Of course, if you recall, that waistband piece is one of several that are missing from this pattern. But it wouldn’t be hard to replicate.

Hmm. Never mind the Bellbottom Challenge. I’m looking at a whole frickin’ 70s wardrobe!

But first thing’s first. Cushion cover.

Blergh.

UPDATE: Oh yeah! And voting is now open in the Pattern Review Lined Jacket contest, for those of you who are PR members and interested. As Steph points out, these things work better the more people who vote, so go take a look! There are some awesome entries (and no, I’m not just talking about mine.)

11 Comments

Filed under Sewing

The Ceylon Blouse

The Ceylon Blouse

So, before committing to the entire Ceylon dress, I figured I would try and squeeze just the bodice out of various scraps I have lying around. The nice thing about this bodice is it’s in so many little pieces, almost any little scraps will do. I wound up using (some of) the rest of the swirly-print herringbone wool and a bit of black linen I picked up at the thrift store ages ago that was really too small for almost anything. Well, obviously not since I managed to line the entire blouse with it.

Now, I have a bit of a propensity for colour-blocking, and when you combine that with

Ceylon with suitcase. Why? Cuz.

the almost bolero-looking cut of of the Ceylon yoke, well, it was bound to happen. I opted to do the sleeves, yokes, and midriff pieces out of the wool, with the “blousy” pieces in between just out of the black linen. Since I didn’t particularly want the wool against my skin, I decided to line those segments with more of the linen. And, since something about Ceylon almost demands it, I opted to pipe, as well. It adds a nice touch of colour to an otherwise grey-and-black garment.

On the upside, this gave me lots of new techniques to try. Making my own piping (I used dark-red bias binding and some dense wool yarn, both from stash*), and using piping period  (I followed this lovely tutorial). I got to try the “burrito technique” of attaching a double-layered back yoke so the shoulder and bottom yoke seams are all nicely enclosed. Worked like a charm :). I also tried a technique for clean-finishing facings I just read about from Beth of Sunny Gal Studios. which was nifty and makes a super-nice finish; then this morning I get up and discover a recent post by Pam Erny for a very similar finish, but with less bulk at the seam (although hers leaves some of the interfacing showing on the visible side of the facing—which could be undesirable depending on how attractive your interfacing is.) Oh, yes, and a massive, massive amount of seam-grading.

My construction order was a bit haphazard and very different from that given in the pattern, but between the piping and the lining (everything but the mid-back and bust pieces) it’s possibly the most nicely-finished garment I’ve made yet. The piping was actually fun, and a wee bit more forgiving of minor variations in my stitching than I had feared it might be. I did end up hand-stitching the lining of the sleeves to the bodice and the upper seam of the midriff-pieces lining, making for absolutely  ever seam in the piece being enclosed.

I took a crapload of construction pics, but really I think the posts I linked to above cover most of the techniques, so I will just give you a gallery of them to browse through at your leisure. Feel free to ask questions, tell me I’m on crack, etc.

Ceylon Blouse

Buttons are funny things. As construction proceeded to the point where I could start to try on the shirt, I became convinced that it was way too small, that I had completely misled myself into selecting the size 0, abetted by the give of my flannel muslin fabric. The linen, by contrast, had no give at all, and I was sure the resulting blouse was going to be, if not outright ridiculous, at least far too constricting for comfort.

It wasn’t until I had the buttons attached and could try it on normally that I felt at all relieved. It is very snug, and more restrictive than I’d like for everyday, but for an “occasion” dress it’s fine. The sleeves are about as narrow as my arms could comfortably take, but don’t make my hands go numb or anything, and the shoulder width looks good. I’m very glad I tweaked the shape of the front yoke right beside the neck, and lowered the neckline 1/2″.

Ceylon blouse, back

I did manage to remove the wrinkling at the back midriff by flaring out the upper portion of the midriff a bit more (at both CB and side seams). Curving the bottom of the main back piece so it is shorter in the middle worked perfectly to reduce the excess blouseiness (doubtless I took off a bit too much, again, for my different fabric). As to those diagonal wrinkles, well, we’ll see. I think I begin to understand the fix Sherry was suggesting for them, but I’ll have to give it a go on another project.

The bust doesn’t sit particularly nicely, partly because there isn’t enough ease and partly because of the fairly crisp fabric. I would venture to say it fits about as well as in most of the other versions I’ve seen of it, though, which I suppose is good enough. There’s still some gaping on the left side top, which I suspect is the result of my left breast being smaller. It’s not such a big difference that I usually notice, but this style seems to emphasize it. Fortunately I was mostly able to compensate for it by clever positioning of my buttons—the topmost is considerably to the left of the rest of the row but you can’t see that when it’s closed.

And one more time...

So all in all, it was a great learning experience—lots of new techniques and construction to think through. Next version I make I will have to do some serious considering about sizing and my fabric and where I want to wear it—if it’s a crisp, firm fabric and I want to wear the dress every day, I should go up to the size 2 (possibly with SBA, probably with shortening in the upper torso). If it’s a soft fabric with some give, or a stretch woven, I could probably make the 0 again.

I do feel like I should apologize to Sarai, Colette’s designer, though. Everyone raves about her instructions, and they are lovely—I just haven’t ever followed them yet.

More photos in the Flickr Gallery

Whew! That was a lot of sewing for one weekend! And I still have to finish tracing off my pattern for the men’s shirt sewalong…

* Yes, despite the fact that my knitting education was highly truncated and I have never so much as learned to cast on, I have a yarn stash. I have even, as I think I once confessed to Sigrid though I can’t find the comment now, been known to buy souvenir yarn while travelling. In my defense, it’s not a large yarn stash, and some of it has proven useful in dance costuming over the years… but, er, yeah.

47 Comments

Filed under Sewing

To SBA or not to SBA

All y’all* are a bunch of enablers, you know.

So against my better judgment (and to my hubby’s dismay) I spent the latter part of yesterday evening whipping up a very quick muslin of the Colette Ceylon pattern rather than snuggling on the couch with him watching the last of Mrs. Doubtfire.

Altered bodice pattern pieces

The nice thing about the Ceylon  bodice is that the pieces are all itty-bitty, so you can squeeze them out of pretty small scraps. I really didn’t think I’d get anything else out of the last few bits of that blue flannel duvet, but I got it all, quite handily. Well, not the sleeves, yet.

Oh, dear. I’m going to have to show you fitting pictures again. Darn it.

Yes, I know this one really provides no fitting information at all. Be patient.

Now, I started slow, with just the midriff-band pieces. I initially traced them in a size 2, grading up to a size 4 at the waist. (According to the Colette size charts, my waist is a size 6 while the rest of my measurements suggest a size 0. However, even with the astounding amount of waist-innish-ness on these pieces, going from a 0 to a 6 would’ve given me a convex, rather than concave waistline. 2 to 4 seemed like a reasonable compromise). I also added a CB seam and did a pre-emptive swayback alteration. The resulting piece turned out just right in the lower back, a little loose above the waist, and a bit big across the front. So I gleefully graded the front down by 1/4″, and the back similarly above the waist. I guess that means my front waist piece grades from size 0 at the top and bottom to size 2 at the waist, while the back goes 0-4-2 top-waist-bottom. Plus whatever distortion the swayback throws in there.

It’s well-known that Colette drafts for a generous C cup, while I am more in the “small

Ceylon muslin 1, front view

end of B but loudly refusing to consider myself an A” territory. Obviously an SBA was going to be in order. Previous experience suggests that some shortening in the upper bodice would be appropriate, as well.

So I started with a horizontal tuck around the bust and mid-back pieces of the bodice, taking out about 2cm of height. This may have been a bit much in the front, but anyway. I played around with a second, angled vertical tuck in the front bust piece, pinned the pieces on my duct-tape double and decided to give it a whirl.

Ceylon, muslin 1, side view

On aesthetic rather than fitting grounds, I also messed with the curve of the front yoke (which seems to stick out a little high on the smaller sizes at least). I cut the upper pieces a size 0 before alteration, by the way.

As you can see, the SBA was a bit, ah, enthusiastic. It still fits, but there’s a certain blousiness to the back that seems to be missing from the front, and I’m pretty sure when buttoned it would end up gapey. Assuming ambition does not desert me, I’ll try a version tonight with the vertical tuck removed, and see where that leaves me.

I like the new shape of the front yoke pieces. I still think the neckline (those gaping, angled pieces of the bodice) needs to come down 1/2″ or so. Some of the gapeyness doubtless comes from carelessly stretching on the bias, but I will have to watch for that in the final construction. Having adequate bust space should help with it, too, I would think.

I’m torn on the horizontal tuck. The front length seems good to perhaps a wee bit

Ceylon muslin 1, back view, slack.

short, the back length still looks a little long. And there are still a few wrinkles in the back midriff piece that I’m not sure what to do about. I’m reluctant to increase the swayback alteration, as it’s already at Sherry’s recommended maximum before you should start looking for other fitting causes (like, oh, a short upper body). Would shortening the upper back pull the midriff pieces higher and let them fit my waist a bit better?

There is a lot of blousiness at the back, some of which is necessary, but it seems a bit excessive. Again, I’m wondering if there isn’t too much length in this section; the width seems good, as it goes comfortably taut when I move my arms forward.

So that’s where I am. I think tonight I’ll re-cut my front bust pieces and mess with the length of the back piece. But now, I must get back to work on the wondrous intricacies of phylogenetic analysis…

*Lest I besmirch the reputation of my fellow Canucks, I would like to point out that I learnt that lovely bit of English in Texas a couple of years ago. We don’t really talk like that up here, eh.

16 Comments

Filed under Sewing

Haphazard progress

Lady Grey---side view

So, I have now stitched up the bodice of my mutant Lady Grey. In a way, it’s good, as it works something like another iteration of muslin for the pattern. In particular, it’s highlighting how my severe swayback alteration is playing havoc with the peplum (and still needs tweaking), but anyway.

Lady Grey---Back

I opted for topstitching. Lots of topstitching. This adds a bit more structure to the sweatshirt material, and will also (theoretically) make the inside a little neater since I’m not planning on lining it at the moment and my serger is still MIA. Lining would probably have been a good  idea, but I don’t have any fabric suitable for a stretch lining in the stash.

The lumpiness in the upper back is mostly show-through from the layers underneath; there might still be a bit of extra fabric there, but I think it’ll be fine for this version. As you can see the upper part of the swayback is fitted very nicely, but it all kinda goes to hell below the waist. I suppose the peplum is designed that way, but I feel like a gentler flare at the back would work better for me. However, it won’t be happening in this version as I did all the topstitching before I sewed the side seams to try it on, and I’m not particularly inclined to pick it out at this point

Bust curve, with topstitching

Almost as an afterthought when I was mussing with the pattern, I flattened the bust curve a little bit (very unscientifically) and I’m quite happy with the result. I don’t have quite the cups Colette is drafted for.

(Also, doesn’t it look cute with a contrast puff and then a narrow sleeve? Kinda Shakespearian…)

Speaking of Colette’s draft, I was ogling my Ceylon pattern again the other night. I have a sinking feeling, however, that it’s going to require some serious muslining, as it will need both a major swayback and, I’m rather sure, a small-bust adjustment.  Again, I’m torn whether to make the size 0 (which matches my bust and hip sizes), or go up to a 2 and do an SBA. Which didn’t seem to work particularly well for this coat. Grumph. Maybe I won’t tackle that until after I have a duct-tape double to do fitting tweaks on. Also, I was planning to grade the waist panel from 0 (or 2) at the top up to my actual waist size (6) at the middle, but looking at the pattern pieces that would actually give me a convex waist! I’m rectangular, but I’m not literally apple-shaped (yet, anyway). The waist-curve on the pattern is definitely a bit extreme, but I don’t think I can go up more than one size. And then there’s the darts to think about (ugh) and whether to add a center-back seam (I’m told that’s the way to go when swaybacks are in the air). /sigh. Anyway, a lot to think about for that pattern.

Why, yes, I will cheerfully insert fly zippers ’til the cows come home, but double-ended darts send me running for the hills.

Next step: collar (I think I’m going to cheese out and do a straight band, like a traditional kimono collar), “obi” wrap, and how to finish the #%$# hems.

10 Comments

Filed under Sewing

The north wind doth blow…

And we shall have snow. Apparently by tomorrow morning.

pause for a lengthy insertion of expletives.

Okies, moving on. Or, not really moving. The kids-in-school thing is definitely turning into a stranglehold. Tyo had homework, dictee (spelling in French… yes, my children are receiving their education in French), and a bunch of forms for me to fill out. Between that, running to the grocery store, and making supper, somehow the evening flew and I barely got anything resembling sewing done at all. Here is my progress:

What will be the interlining of my coat

I traced around the pattern pieces with marker because I was too lazy to pin them down. The plan is to cut them out (minus seam allowances) and butt the eges together and stitch with a 3-step zig-zag, possibly reinforced with twill tape. We’ll see how this goes.

But, in happier news, I opened my mail this morning and look what came!

Ceylon and Lady Grey!

Colette patterns! Are those not the cutest little pattern booklets you’ve ever seen? (ok I’m sure they’re old news to everyone else in blogland, deal) You open them up and there’s the instructions in a little booklet on the left, and a pocket with  the folded tissue on the right.

Inside: instructions (in booklet form) on the left, pattern on the right

I got to admit, for a $20 pattern I may prefer the Jalie way of printing it on real paper, but these are adorable anyway, and more compact.

Now Gertie’s officially starting the Lady Grey sewalong tomorrow (cutting muslins) and somehow I’m thinking I’m not going to make it. Especially since I don’t have my original winter coat done. Which I need, and soon, if it’s going to start freakin’ snowing on us.

Speaking of coats, I decided to photograph today’s ensemble with mine, since otherwise it’s an incredibly boring repeat (Lydia and Jalie jeans, OMFG). This is not a self-stitched piece, it’s thrifted, ages ago (but if I started counting thrifted and hand-me-down items for the challenge, well, that’s almost everything in my wardrobe except some of my jeans). I’m liking the cozy thrown over one shoulder under the coat… it works like a big red scarf, and keeps my belly warm since the coat itself doesn’t have any closure. It’s a lovely coat, though, as long as you’re wearing it for purely fashion-related purposes. Which I’m not.

Self-Stitched September, day 15

Speaking of which, it’s officially halfway through September. Crap. Well, I got SOME of what I needed to get done accomplished. Anyway, I have done it “all” Self-Stitched. Barring, y’know, socks and undies and sweaters and coats. But pretty much all self-stitched. Hurray! Thanks for the encouragement, you guys, because I would not have had the guts to step it up if you hadn’t.

And, y’know, it’s not so much that I’m bored of wearing the clothes, so much as I’m bored of recording the same ones over and over. Yet on some level I’ve bought in to a must-photograph-to-document-my-participation kind of mentality. Kinda weird. Anyway, what do you think? Continue with the daily outfit or let it slide? At least it gives me something to blog about on the days like today when I got almost nothing done. On the other hand, it’s pretty boring. Which is worse, no post or boring post? 😉

13 Comments

Filed under Sewing