Couture Lunacy

Exploring Fashion One Thread At A Time


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A Glimmer (or two) of Light Dawns

A month or so ago you may all remember my complete disgust with Vogue 8937 and the fabric choice I made. The fabric was a silk boucle’ with little or no staying power. It was a loose weave and it raveled something fierce – and it grew.

I had approached this jacket from my dearth of sewing skills. I think I can safely say this is the first time I’ve used boucle’ for anything. And it was sad.

In my last post about this jacket entitled “A Wadder” I made an offhand comment about needing to interface all of the fabric to keep it from growing. From little acorns……………..

Since that failure, which smoat me in my heart and made me weep, I have been searching for the why. I have found it. You MUST stabilize a boucle’. Wouldn’t it have been great if I’d looked for that information first? Then the jacket would still be alive and not in a landfill in Maine …………….

There are various blogs on the net – particularly this one – http://www.brensan.com/Garment/Techniques/BlackBoucleJacket.html which give you all the steps necessary to complete a stunning boucle’ jacket.

I am a very lucky person. I do still have some boucle’ – a beautiful black wool with multi-colored puffs – waiting to be put to use in my stash. After I gather ALL of the necessary interlinings and linings and read the directions several times again – I’m going to attempt that wadder and turn it into a thing of beauty!

Vogue 8937

Vogue 8937


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Work Work Work – And Fun Fun Fun

What have I been doing? Surprise! I’ve been sewing. Since the failure of Vogue 8937 – which I will insist to my dying day was the result of lousy fabric, I have finished one awesome top and started another.

Here’s the pattern I used – 

Vogue 8151

Vogue 8151

This is a Sandra Betzina Today’s Fit pattern from Vogue. I had read many great reviews on this pattern and I did try it once before. I didn’t like it. It was all my fault. I hadn’t cut the right size, didn’t lengthen the shirt and just generally messed up. But now I LOVE THIS PATTERN.

This time I did cut the right size, after tracing my pattern. I then had a decision to make about darts. Darts in a knit? Well yes it does work. I did also lengthen the shirt by two inches to a length that’s much more comfortable for me. I also fiddled with the neck band and made it smaller to give it more snap. 

Here’s the first shirt all done –

flowertop

 

For some reason the photo looks straight up and down. It is not. It fits like a dream. I only had to do a tad bit of adjusting when sewing the final seams. I took out about 1.5 inches to get the fit I wanted.

I had so much success with that one – I started another one in a really neat fabric.

secondflower

With this one I attached the neck binding before folding it in half and did the fold after it was attached. A little stitching in the ditch and I have a very neat neck band. Here’s the back –

secondflower1

 

Is this not CUTE? 

Since I have sustained my sewing spirit with two successes, I am ready to go back to Vogue 8937 and try it again. The only decision is which awesome fabric to use (and no I will not choose a nasty fabric from the stash again.)

Further on the list is a great pair of pants that FIT – 

 


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Southwestern Top Finished!

southwest1

 

I have stuck the sleeve up in the air so you can see the fit on this top. It has curves in all the right places, although I could wish I didn’t have quite so many 🙂

southwest3

 

This view gives you a two-sided view of the line of the top. I like the fit on this a lot and will use this adapted pattern often. I used a twin needle to stitch the hems on the bottom and sleeves – pretty neat and looks “store-bought.”

southwest5

 

This is the whole top with the drape from the bust line down and shows the flare at the bottom – that flare was obtained simply by doing a FBA on the pattern and rotating the extra dart amount to the bottom. Love it.

southwest4

 

And here’s the back of the shirt – the same shape prevails and I like to think it is slimming – maybe not with this wild fabric, but slimming enough. I used my serger for all of the seams. I only needed the sewing machine for the hemming, applying the neckband and doing the shoulder seams because I added clear elastic to them to keep them from sagging. I’m very pleased with the serger and it makes everything neat and tidy.

On to the next wardrobe piece!


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The Southwestern Top

While I’ve been mooching around trying to talk myself into actually making something in the sewing room, I finally got the energy to cut something out and start on it. For once I had the right color thread to sew it! That seriously makes a lot of difference.

The pattern I used is a version of

V8582_large

this one by Marcy Tilton. I’ve made many tops from this pattern and I like it much better with the excess “wings” removed. With the wings on the top seemed too long and bulky in the thigh. I mirrored the side without the excess for drape, cut the pattern to match that non-draped side and then did a full bust adjustment on the top. You can see my explanation of a full bust adjustment here http://wp.me/p3i7tb-P.

Once that FBA was done, I had to “rotate the dart” because I don’t want a dart in a knit fabric that’s going to look odd. I rotated the fullness created by the FBA to the side bottom. This gives a nice shape to the top. It has a drape at the bottom creating a nice line from the bust down. It skims my stomach and hips which are definitely areas I want skimmed!

I love the fabric. I was a bit hesitant about the direction until I notice that most of the stretch is lengthwise so I had to use it in that manner. Had I tried to cut the top crosswise to have the pattern vertical, there wouldn’t have been enough stretch for the top to be comfortable.

So far I’ve done the shoulder seams to which I always add clear elastic and then fold over the seam allowance and topstitch toward the back. After that’s done I can trim the seam to neaten it up.

I cut my neckband two inches wide and sewed it into a circle. Then I did an overcast on the two edges because the fabric rolls a bit and the overcast stops it. On my Bernina this is stitch #31 and I use it a lot.

To step back a bit – the neckband needs to be shorter than the length of the neck, otherwise it won’t snap to the edge and you will get a baggy-looking neckband. Not good. On this top I first tried a band that was 75% of the length of the neck. That was too small for the style. It didn’t suite the nice flowing shirt so I cut another one 90% of the length of the neck and that’s what you see here.

The neckband of this top takes the most OMG panicky breathes while sewing. I mark the band in quarters and place pins in the marks. Then I do the same with the neck line itself. This way I distribute the stretch of the band evenly all around the neck. I have also overcast the neckline partially as a stay-stitching, but mostly because it gives a finished look inside the garment once the neckband is applied.

After stitching the neckband on, and congratulating yourself that you don’t have to take it off, all I do is press the seams down toward the shirt and “stitch in the ditch” created by the original seam. This forces the seam allowances to stay down when wearing and gives a nice finish.

I have only to put in the sleeves, sew the side seams and hem and I have a great top. This is a good three-season top because it is an ITY knit. I shudder at the thought of wearing it in 90 degree weather!

Here’s the pictures so far –

More to come ……… I’m getting new ideas ……… the more I sew, the more I want to sew ………….

I’ll show you the bottom drape once the sides are sewn up ……. you’ll be able to see the line of the top better!


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The Thing I Do Best …………

I shop. I am very good at shopping. Particularly with the internet. I know there are lots of you who are too young to remember taking a bus downtown (that’s a place where they used to have stores and now they are bringing them back again because everyone’s sick of the mall) or going to the mall to find what you want. Or having to go to a store to get a music album you want. Can you imagine? How odd …….

I was doing my usual check of fabric at one of my favorite sites – http://www.marcytilton.com and I came across this fabric that I must have or I will die – seriously. She has it in black and navy. I sighed because I have no money until payday to be shooting toward some lovely fabric. I have tons of lovely fabric that caught my eye earlier this summer. I’m just praying the fabric lasts on her site until I can get some ………… if not – I might have to make it myself.

Here it is

NAVY BLUE SWEATER KNIT DETAIL

This is a merino wool sweater knit that is all puckered and has wonderful square areas and lots of poof. I hope you can see this on the photo. I immediately started to plan a fantastic loose top – and it could either be a great cardigan which I would wear over everything all the time or a nice boatneck loose tee. Either way – it’s fantastic.

I also checked out elliottbermantextiles.com because of their unusual collection of digital prints. There are two now that I would snap up in a minute. One of them is a pictorial skyline of New York with the multitude of people and skyscrapers. The other is a pictorial knit panel of Venice. Both of these fabrics lend themselves to a simple style – nothing complex because the fabric speaks for itself.

Years ago, as part of my extreme love of textiles and dyeing and marking up and just generally playing with fabric, I would make textured fabric to use in my wall art. When I saw the fabric on Marcy’s site and figured that it would be gone before I can afford it, I thought about how I would emulate this fabric on my own. A needle, some embroidery floss or other strong thread and I could pucker navy jersey to my heart’s delight. I hopefully won’t have to do that – but if I do – who knows? It could be cooler than the original inspiration ……….. you never know ……………..

 


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Working on a Sweater

bluesweater

 

Over the last couple of months, I have had no energy to start new projects. I’m treading water, waiting for enthusiasm to return. I don’t like being in these periods of stress, gloom and doom. But I am and there it is.

While I have toyed with ideas for shirts (gave it up), vests (gave it up), more shirts (gave it up), I have at least been able to continue knitting. It doesn’t require any effort for me. As long as I’m not under pressure for a deadline and as long as the knitting is easy. Very easy.

I started knitting around my birthday last year. I had learned the basic cast on and off technique as a teen, but I never followed a pattern or knit anything other than a scarf. It was so time-consuming! Now I am happy to be time-consumed because I have so much time on my hands.

This sweater is the Boxy by Joji from that I got from Ravelry. I had been working on a pink one but made so many mistakes that I knew I wouldn’t wear it. So I started this one – with the pattern and it’s requirements fresh in my mind. I know that I have to learn to do a three-needle bind off and I am committed to doing that. Doing it any other way distorts the pattern on the sleeves and shoulder.

Boxy_01_small_best_fit

 

I like this sweater a lot and I know once I conquer the binding off and getting all the pattern elements correct without making a major error, I will wear it.

Thank God knitting is something I can do to keep my hands, and my mind busy. Once again, having time off from visiting my husband at the nursing home, I’m in the sewing room waiting for inspiration to strike! With persistence, it will.


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A Top that LOOKS Simple Can Drive You Nuts …………..

sim

I really like this top. It’s a Katherine Tilton pattern for Butterick and it’s 5891. The only problem for me is that the pattern is too small. Hmph.

I spent a good bit of time yesterday cutting out the pattern pieces and measuring things up. Things being in particular TWO things that the shirt has to close around, if you get my drift. I humphed and mumphed and scratched my head. This top has 15 pieces. There are directions on the pattern pieces that if you alter it, move all the markings. Well shoot – first I have to figure out how to alter it. I mean I really do. Some of these pieces are parallelograms and just imagine slashing and cutting a parallelogram and adding inches to it. I quiver in dread. I am stymied by lack of pattern enlarging experience. I keep looking at it and deciding to slash it here and there and finally I folded it all up and put it back in the bag.

My concentration level is sadly diminished these days. So I marveled around at it and finally decided the top is too simple looking to be that much trouble. Which means I’ve ditched plans to make it for now. I need to wait until my brain is sharp again – hoping that won’t be next spring ……….

So now what to make? Of course I’ve found a great pattern that lives in Australia at Style Arc but I won’t be able to get that for a while. So I can either figure out how to take all of these different pattern pieces and increase this top by 4″ or I can find another pattern in the stash …………

Here’s the Style Arc pattern I crave

LIZZIE-WRAP

It’s called the Lizzie Wrap. This too will look simple but I think the construction on this will truly BE simple. I have a great teal jacquard, a black raised design jacquard and a cool multi-colored on brown jacquard. It will need lining so I’d have to decide on a color and get that too. That’s the bad thing about sewing ………. you always need one more thing …………