Monday, February 26, 2007

Vogue 8332 - Progress is being made

Woo hoo! I got to spend some time this weekend working on my current project - Vogue 8332.

I spent a fair amount of time on Saturday cutting all the bias strips out. I started pressing those, but realized part way through that it was going to take forever and not look particularly nice unless I used one of those bias tape makers.

I hunted some up online, and unfortunately, the shipping to get one would cost more than the tool itself. So I set the bias strips aside to wait on a quick trip to Joann's some evening this week.

In the meantime, I spent my sewing time on Sunday piecing side 1 of the jacket together. I've got everything put together except for the pockets and the sleeves. The sleeves though are one of the last things to be done - after sewing up side 2.

Side 2 will be interesting as that's the side that is sewn up with the seams facing outward and then bound with the bias tape.

Thursday, February 15, 2007


One of the things I'm trying to work out for my current project is how to cut and mark fabric without using pins.

I have a couple reasons for this. First, some fabrics just don't take pinning well, and I want to learn a method for handling those.

Second, I want to keep my patterns in good shape and multiple pinnings do take their toll.

I've gone back and forth with using pins, using weights, and using a combination of the two.

Part of challenge is my cutting method and mat. I don't cut very well with scissors. I'm just not very good at it. I much prefer using a rotary cutter. I'm able to control that better and end up with much nicer lines. So, I use a self healing mat along with my rotary cutter to cut fabric.

The problem is that my mat is fairly small - usually smaller than the pieces I'm cutting. So I have to move the mat as I'm cutting. Pins handle this fairly well. Weights are trickier. On my initial attempts, the fabric would slip around at bit as I was moving things around if I did not put in at least a few pins to anchor things down.

I recently read a thread somewhere on PatternReview about using clips to anchor fabric instead of pins. I wish I could find the thread again, but I can't. But it did get me to thinking and I decided to try to use a combination of paperclips and weights to see if that would work.

First, I set the pattern down on the fabric and held it there with weights:

In case you're wondering, those are pieces of petrified wood that I'm using as weights.

Then, I cut along the bottom and sides as far as my mat let me. After that, I carefully papercliped the fabric and the pattern edges together. Then I slid my mat over and finished the rest of the cutting for that piece.

The fabric still slid up a bit as I moved the mat, but with the paper clips there, I was able to smooth it back out again. BTW, I tried this with fairly slippery fabric.

How did it turn out? There was at least one problem; the end points of the paper clips would sometimes catch on the fabric if I wasn't careful in removing them. It also seems like the fabric moved around too much in general.

The more things I try in my efforts to make cutting and marking more precise, the more I think that the ultimate solution will be to get a larger mat! But this little technique may tide me over for a while.

Tuesday, February 13, 2007

Thanks for a good man

Sewing has become my sanity. I do a lot of project management at work. Projects that rely on different people in different groups to do what they need to do so that I can do what I need to do. And while this is very challenging in a good way, it can also be very, very frustrating.

Sewing is an activity that lets me create nice things for myself and for my loved ones, challenges me creatively, AND lets me work on projects where I get to rely soley on me. I plan my projects from beginning to end and I do all the work. Everything that goes right is my achievement, and everything that goes wrong is my fault. And, as I've mentioned before, the tasks are various enough that I'm not having to do the same things all the time.

So where does the good man come in?

He comes in like superman just when he's needed.

I didn't get to do any sewing yesterday. With this, that and the other, the evening got by me and before I knew it, it was past time for bed. I was very disappointed because if I had worked things a bit differently, I would have had at least a few minutes to unwind with a little fabric cutting.

I've also had a trying few months at work, and getting to do just that little bit of sewing during the week is better than a shot of whiskey for unwinding - and probably a little better for me too ;)

I wasn't going to get to do any sewing this evening either because I was to take the kids to their monthly 4H meeting. DH does most of the homeschooling, but he needs a break now and again, so the 4H gig is mine.

I really didn't want to go this evening though and I whined a little this afternoon. Not a lot, just "gosh I don't feel like going".

Then out of the blue he pipes up and says "I'll take them".

I was SO relieved. It was like a weight off my chest. I hadn't realized just how uptight I was about having to go until he said he would go for me. I was feeling a just a little Sally Fieldish (He loves me! He really loves me!)

So adieu my friends for a while. I've got a date with a newly arrived original "Star Trek" series disk (gotta love Netflix), some fabric, my iron, my pattern and my rotary cutter. It's going to be a relaxing evening.

And thank you, thank you my lovely DH! You are worth your weight in gold and jewels.

Sunday, February 11, 2007

Vogue 8332 - Progress Made So Far

So far, I've traced out all the pattern pieces.

I currently trace patterns using a not-so-handy window, and butcher paper. Eventually, I would like to try something that doesn't require the window. It's very hard on my back and neck, and of course, I can only trace pieces when there's light outside.

For this pattern, I made my standard alterations. I started with a size 18, then widened the sleeves in the bicep area, and widened the waist and hip areas.

I've also cut out the main fabric side pieces of the muslin, as well as the 1st contrast pieces and applied the interfacing to those.

I tried something new with the interfacing for this project. Previously, I had followed the pattern instructions and cut the interfacing using the pattern pieces, then applied the interfacing to the fabric.

As you can see from the pictures, this time I applied the interfacing to the cut fabric pieces, then trimmed the excess. I think this way is going to be easier for me most of the time. The only thing I need to be careful of is that the edges of the interfacing stick to either my presscloth, or the ironing board cover. Overall though, this really worked out for me.

My muslin fabric for this side is a cheap plaid flannel I picked up off the $1 table at Walmart.

Lastly I've done a first pin fitting.

The pins make the seams look a little puckered, but the fit feels good overall. I fit the sleeve pieces separately and I think I may have some trouble with those. The upper sleeve felt a bit tight when I bent my elbow and may need to be widened a bit more. I don't think I'll make the final decision on that though until I've sewn this first muslin up.

Right now I'm cutting the pieces for the reverse (contrast #2) side. For this side, I'm using a lightweight jacquard I picked up off ebay.

As soon as I get the reverse side cut out, I'll sew everything up and see how it turns out. If everything goes well, I may move directly into the real thing. If not, I'll assess what needs help and do a 2nd muslin.

Vogue 8332 - Divine Details Jacket

This is what I'm currently working on:

I'm nowhere near finished with it though. I'm still working on muslin #1.

My inspiration for this jacket was some very pretty paisley brocade I picked up off ebay back in the late summer.

The fabric has an "Asian" flavor to it, but I didn't want to do a standard Asian-style top or jacket. I read a good article in Threads magazine about using different kinds of fabrics for "jean" jackets and went hunting for something like that.

My goal was and is to end up with a jacket that could dress both up and down. I hunted all over finally found this pattern.

True, it's not a "jean" jacket, but it appealed to me because I thought I could do one side in denim, and the other in the brocade. I've since changed my mind about that. As time moved on, I started to doubt the wisdom of mixing the denim and brocade with this pattern.

Why? The brocade is medium weight to begin with and fairly thick. The denim is also medium weight. The pattern calls for lighter weight fabrics. It seemed like the thing might be too bulky. I mulled this over for a bit, and was brought to a solid decision to change things around by a review of this pattern over at PatternReview.

I do plan on keeping the brocade for the contrast side. But for the fabric side, I'm going to switch to something much more lightweight. I think I can get that to work out. We'll see.

And what to do with the 20 yrds of denim I had already purchased (through ebay of course - got a good price on it)? I think with that I would like to make a real jean jacket, and maybe use some of the left over paisley, or some other nice fabric, to mix in with it. There are a few different patterns I have my eye on for this.