Couture Lunacy

Exploring Fashion One Thread At A Time


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Revamp of Vogue 1247 Complete

I loved the look of the top on the Vogue 1247 pattern by Rachel Comey. The shirt has such a casual yet stylish feel about it. The only difficulty is that the pattern only goes up to size 18. This is common in patterns from some designers. It’s very frustrating because there are those of us who can wear that style that are not small. I decided not to let the size bother me and bought it anyway – on sale, of course.

Here’s the technical drawing of the shirt and its components

V1247

If you look closely, you’ll see the bottom half of the front has four triangular pieces. The top portion has two pieces joined at center front. There are pleats from the shoulder and the line under the v-neck is really ┬átwo darts, one on each side.

Being somewhat mathematically challenged, I spent a great deal of time trying to figure out what the garment would measure in a size 18 when finished. Unlike most normal patterns, Vogue did not put this table in this pattern. Instead they marked the width of the finished garment on the pattern piece. Which was way odd because they had one width on the back and one on the front and there’s no way you could add them together and get a top out of it – it would be around 100″ around. So I measured each piece.

I figured the shirt would end up being 52.5″ when complete in a size 18. This is okay in a knit, but this will be out of a woven and that’s way too small. It also allows for around 12″ of ease in the design. So I commenced to adding 12″ to the pattern for ease to fit me.

You’d think that I would know there are two pieces to the front. Duh. Well I didn’t pay attention and I added 12 inches to one side. The next morning it dawned on me that if I did add that much to each side, I would effectively add 24 inches to the shirt. No way I need the shirt to be 76″ around!

Back to the slicing board, I cut out two of the 4″ pieces I had added to my pattern material. I then left only one 4″ piece which will add 8″ to the finished garment, making it 60″ around and giving me 10″ of ease in the garment.

I then had to add to the other pieces the same amount so they would fit when sewed and also add to the back pattern piece. I will make a muslin of this and see if everything fits. For those of you who have read this far and don’t sew – a muslin is just a trial garment which you do to fit yourself. You don’t have to finish it once you get it to the point where you like how it will fit. For this, I highly recommend a dress form because taking it on and off gets boring and you still can’t really see it. You need to look at it as others will look at it and this is best done on a dress form.

I may have to add more to the back piece. I’m not sure yet and I don’t want the back to be super baggy but I want the pieces to fit together. Since I did the enlargement of the whole front of the pattern, I don’t need to do an FBAfull bust adjustment – on the pattern.

Yesterday my latest and last big fabric purchase arrived. I have been maniacally buying fabric. I am now not allowed to go to the fabric website where I always shop. I must contain myself as I have plans in the fall I want to keep and I will need all the money I can get.

I was knocked flat by the absolute perfection of my order. Some of the fabrics looked not at all like I expected. Particularly the french cotton dots which I purchased in red/white and black/white. These will be the shirt that I made in the dark teal gauze. The dots were much smaller than I thought and I love it all the more for that.

I had been hankering after this Burning Torch embroidered cotton for months. Knowing that it wouldn’t be there forever, I finally got it. It is not inexpensive and I needed at least 3 yards. Here’s the fabric – which is even better in real life.

embcotton_BUgolden

Also in the box were these two faux leather fabrics. These are so malleable and fine. The copper I had planned for a bag but I may make a vest instead or a jacket.

The white gold is destined to be a jacket.

I also received these fabrics

The navy print lacy fabric is fantastic with a tiny floral and a nice sheer but not too sheer look. I purchased 4 yards of this because of the width but also because I am unsure which shirt pattern I’m going to use with this.

After my fabric arrived yesterday I spent a great deal of time jumping up and down screaming whoopee! I love the fabric from Emma One Sock. I’ve never been disappointed in anything I’ve ordered. That I cannot say about every online purchase of fabric I’ve made. Although I am certainly not made of money, I do follow the concept that in fabric, you get what you pay for. There is nothing worse than doing an excellent job on a garment using cheap fabric. It will look cheap no matter how great you sew. If you like disposable clothes then it’s not an issue. I want stuff to last. I had my fill of disposable clothes buying RTW.

Today I will be back in the sewing room working on the muslin for the shirt. As fast as I can because I can’t wait to get to the main event!


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Working on a Top

elliottbermantextiles

This is not my shirt! It is, however, my fabric. I fell in love with this fabric from Elliott Berman Textiles in New York late last winter. I fussed about what to make from it. Being financially embarrassed at the time, I only bought two yards of this.

In my last post I explained a tee-shirt for which I’ve been looking. It was oversized, boatneck and with dolman-type long sleeves. I couldn’t find it anywhere. I’d seen it on Zulily (check them out they are fantastic). I decided to make my own and figured it can’t be too hard. It isn’t.

I first decided how to orient the fabric. I went with the print going sideways even though it is a bit of a stripe effect. It is so loose and flowing a print that it doesn’t make me look wider. Heaven forbid.

I then marked off what I though would be wide enough. I went with the width of the fabric, 60″. I then calculated length and went with approximately 27″. I cut two rectangles. I found the center of both and marked 8″ on either side for the neck opening. I overstitched the edges of each rectangle and then sewed the “shoulders” together up to the neck opening on both sides. Trying this on my dress form, I found the neck opening too large so I sewed a further 4″ in on each side. This makes the neck opening a comfortable 12″. I then pressed the overstitched edges of the boatneck about 5/8″ and sewed them 3/8″. This gives me a nice finish to the neckline.

My next step is sleeves. I calculated how long I want them. I want them LONG. I like the scrunchy look of super long sleeves. I then calculated width. I decided on 24″ at the top and I want to taper this to 10″ at the wrist.

I will sew the sleeve, which is dropped from the shoulder quite a bit, before I sew the side seams. Really if you do this, putting in sleeves is a snap. I hate setting in sleeves. Just like I hate zippers.

The final step will be the hem – I will probably just overstitch this and leave it. I don’t like bulky hems in a knit fabric.

This is the shirt I was looking for all those hours on Google. I made it myself! I will put up finished pictures as soon as I have them.

tee


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I Need Help Finding Something and Here’s How to Get Good Clothes Cheap

A few weeks ago I saw a really cute boxy boatneck top on zulily.com. It was a colorblock and it was pink over gray. It was super-oversized and had long sleeves. I want that tee. Of course, once the sale is over, it is no longer on Zulily. I have done so many google searches I’m ready to try bing.

If anyone out there has seen this or knows what brand it is – let me know. Whimper.

Thanks to a WP post I found Free People! I went to their site and yes, they are geared to skinny women, but a lot of their tops would work for any size as they too are oversized and awesome. They are kind of pricey so I will probably be doing the theft thing with a pair of scissors and my sewing machine. I love thieving styles!

Here’s how I do it. I look at the top I want to copy. I figure out what the main pattern piece elements are. I get out my trusty pattern material which costs $2.15 a yard at fabric.com and I start drawing out the shapes – aided by my straight edge and a flexible french curve. I approximate the shape and fit it to my size.

Most RTW is pretty simple. You can see the shape in the top easily. I would have more trouble with pants, but I have so many pants patterns that I love I just use those and tart them up a bit.

I get inspiration from the embellishments of RTW too. There may be two or more fabrics used. As long as they’re the same weight and will hang the same, they’re good to use together. You wouldn’t mix a woven and a knit because they act different when on and one would drag the other down. I prefer fabrics with some drape and give. I find I use knits a lot for casual clothes (and dressy for jackets and pants) and woven fabrics for more classic styles. My last project, the Origami blouse, I used a crinkle cotton with a lot of give and the pattern was also oversized. This shirt is comfortable and I wore it yesterday. It’s very cool too in hot humid weather as it doesn’t cling anywhere.

Shortly I’m going to get a scanner so I can show you some of my concept drawings for clothes. I was going to use a tablet but I’m not an early adopter of new technology! Ha! Actually DS talked himself out of a $2500 tablet for digital illustration and has decided to keep his current tablet. Thankfully.

Dresses and skirts are also easy to copy from RTW. I highly recommend a draping class from Paul Gallo which is on craftsy.com. On Craftsy you can find hundreds of garment construction classes to broaden your toolbox. The Tilton sisters have one on making tee shirts – they do a lot of surface design work and are a fun couple of people to watch. Their creative juices flow out of the computer.

If you’re like me, you have sewing patterns. In each of these patterns are components of a style that you can take and mix with another pattern to get the look you want. Don’t be afraid to mix and match! I have various patterns for tops that I change the neckline on, make longer, change the drape, add sleeves and embellishments. You can do anything to your pattern to make it yours – but I would highly recommend you trace it off onto pattern material. You never know when you might want to make another style from that pattern and you will need the original pattern intact as it was in the beginning.

All you need to make clothing from RTW inspiration is your eyes, your tools and a sewing machine. I find a dress form to be helpful too and there’s a good one that is adjustable to your measurements. I think it was $165. It has simplified my life no end. I can see what something looks like on my double and I know it will look fine on me.

Hey – if you find that shirt I’m talking about – let me know – I’m going to steal it too.

 


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Washing Buttons

buttons1

I recently purchased this pile of buttons and buckles from a nice lady on Ebay. There are some real treasures here and I am pleased. They all felt just a teensy dirty though. Kind of like they’d been in the garage or attic for years.

I put them all in a dishtowel this morning and tied the dishtowel. I am soaking them in dish soap and hot water and I will get them out and let them air dry once they are clean.

Before I stuck them in the towel, I separated out the fabric-covered buttons and anything I thought wouldn’t survive the swimming trip. Most of them are not fabric-covered so I will be able to get them clean and fresh.

I’ve been doing quite a lot of drawing using this book as a reference

fashion illustration

 

and I am going to take pictures of my work for you all to see. I hope to post those pictures later today. I still have the problem of the Nikon D50 residing upstairs in my sewing room while my Mac is downstairs ………… I think I need two computers and two cameras. Or I need not to be so lazy.

I am cutting out a new shirt today. I haven’t decided yet if it will be this

drapedrape3shirt

 

or if it will be this

V1247

 

For the first shirt, I am using this fabric

Whew this is cute

 

and I have several for the second – here’s a few of them

Alas I have more ……………… my fabric buying in April and May got a bit out of hand …………… I think I’m stocked up for a LONG time – especially since I still have the entire order of fabric from way back in 2011 AND fabrics I bought longer ago than that. I have marvelous fabric ………………

Update with pictures of the drawings and pretty purple shirt later!

 


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A Word About Buttonholes

There are things in sewing that scare me. Buttonholes for instance. Zippers too. Things that have to close things I guess.

I have a Bernina 440QE – this sewing machine does everything except cook supper. I love my sewing machine. It has only once given me fits enough to want to take a hammer to it. That was when I was using a dull needle on thick ponte knit. So it skipped stitches and I thought the damn thing was broken. Only took me 5 days to figure out to change the needle. ­čÖé

Today I had to complete my buttonholes on my purple silk shirt. I don’t know why Bernina persists in giving you a manual when I won’t look at it anyway. Shoot. I started the buttonhole and halfway through I said – oh no I don’t know how to finish this – I could have had a foot long buttonhole.

I stopped. I got out the manual. I read how to do an automatic buttonhole where the machine remembers EXACTLY how long to make the buttonhole and does it all for you after the first one. The most strenuous thing I had to do was hit the quick reverse button. I did it.

I have the placket on the shirt all pinned together so I can stick a marking pencil in the opened buttonholes and mark where to sew on the buttons. They are square little buttons

Pink Shell Button Waechter's Fine Fabrics

Pink Shell Button
Waechter’s Fine Fabrics

And in case you’ve forgotten – here’s the shirt –

DSC_2098

This was taken before I had sewn the collar on, etc. It is quite cute. I will be happy to wear this if I get to go to work in July. We shall see how DH is doing and if I can actually leave here for 4 to 6 hours at a time. I hope I can.

Next up – something to serge. I will be so happy to get used to that machine.

Supper making calls me to the kitchen. A nice salad and a steak and hot dogs for DH. I know I’m vegetarian, but every once in a while I go nuts and have to have red meat. And steak is it. Don’t try to make me eat hamburger. Just steak.


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Sewing Blind ………

I am so amazed at pattern instructions that skip something! McCalls seems to be pretty good at skipping instructions or giving wrong information as in the Hoodie that called for a 24″ zipper and REALLY needed a 28″. Honestly – I had the DAMNED cutest houndstooth zipper in black and white I

Illustration: Magnus ├ľverengen

Illustration: Magnus ├ľverengen (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

wanted to use …………. and instead I have to use black snap tape – anyway – on to another pattern whose instructions are loopy – another McCalls.

Here’s the pattern – you’ve all seen it –

Gorgeous Silk Blouse  McCall 6605 Version B

Gorgeous Silk Blouse
McCall 6605 Version B

This is cute. So far my replica in silk is working out just as cute – however there is a nasty instruction problemo. They have you put on the collar/tie before you have sewn the shoulders together – now isn’t that kinda hard? I mean how am I supposed to do that??????????? Luckily I am not a new sewer because if I were I would be pulling my hair out and cussing McCalls up one side and down another. But this is sloppy – first the wrong notions info on the pattern for the zipper for this hoodie

mccalls6614A

And then the poor instructions on the shirt. It has me wanting to apply for a job at McCalls. As an editor/proofreader/whatever. Really folks you CAN do better.

So my day in the sewing room ended up with me having to cut out a new collar/tie as the one in the pattern for some reason isn’t long enough – I stitched it onto the neck at the back and I’m going to hand sew it over the seam and then stitch down the tie part. Much simpler than what they say to do.

I am noshing at the reins on this silk shirt – I want to cut something out to serge but I know if I put this away it will be forever until I take it out again. I have the two side seams, buttonholes, buttons and the hem on the bottom and sleeves to do and it will be finished. Hopefully tomorrow and I can go on to something new – and exciting.

Speaking of exciting – I purchased this book

fashion illustration

and it’s 608 pages of fantastic tips and drawing exercises for fashion illustration for designers – hence the weird title – and I am sketching like mad while listening to DH snore. I am enjoying this!

I finally received my 20 yards of pattern material – which is sewable – so my new patterns from this book will be reality too

shapeshape

I think there’s something organic about the Japanese styles. They aren’t contrived or over the top like runway clothing. The outfits in the book are wearable. Between this and Drape Drape 3 and my fledgling designs on my own – I should be set for sewing patterns for quite a while. Now for more fabric …………….


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Inspiration or the Fine Art of Theft

I’m off again today – in the sewing room because yesterday I baked bread and meditated. I’m for sure sewing today …….

Here’s a group of things that I found that I want to “incorporate” into my designs ———— enjoy!