Thursday, 17 August 2017

Named Mai jacket in leather and wool

This is one of the projects I've had in my head since moving to NZ.  I had a lot of ideas of which pattern would match these fabrics, and the Mai Jacket seemed to have it all.

The pattern: Mai Jacked, by Named patterns

Description from the website:
  • Short, lined jacket  with a zipper closure
  • Zipper details at the bottoms of the sleeves
  • In-seam pockets at the sides
  • Short stand-up collar
  • Contrast panels around the zipper, and yokes at the shoulders
  • Loose-fitting style with elastic hemline

What I needed: simple pockets, lining, and that little collar.
What I ditched: the sleeve zips.
Size: 34 based on the finished measurements.  I wanted this to be quite fitted and I knew that all of my fabrics have some stretch so I could size down.  That worked out great, it's just a tiny bit short but is otherwise well fitting and as I expected.

My fabrics:
-purple wool from The Fabric Store, which I have hoarded for ages.  It's heavy and almost looks felted but with quite a bit of stretch.  I have been waiting really carefully for the right project for this stuff
-suede, two skins, from Copenhagen.  I think they were in a remnant bin and I found two in the same colour.
-lining is a solid black cotton jersey from The Fabric Store, which I got recently. It has a great shine and is not too stretchy.

I used a 90 sharp needle most of the time and that was enough although the needles did go blunt and start to skip at times.  I was able to get through 4 layers of the leather, on the collar for instance, without trouble.

I spent ages preparing for this, ages planning and a week or so sewing it.  First, I wanted to use a cotton lawn for the facing and pockets, but then the fabric I had chosen arrived and I didn't like it.  So I just used interfaced jersey.  Partly because I couldn't decide if I wanted to line the sleeves and I held everything up while I was indecisive.  In retrospect it might have been nice to use leather for more stability.

I obviously pinned basically never, except when it was jersey layers together.  My IDT was good for all this.

I basted the collar on prior to putting the facings, though, because there was no way I could hold together that many layers without clips or pins.

Finally I decided that the inside of suede is not great feeling and I did need the lining.  Then I put the lining sleeves together inside out and couldn't be bothered to undo.

Final thoughts: it's just like written.
That's great except for the pockets.  It ends up that I hate the pocket location. I need princess seams, or any seam to bring these pockets away from the sides.   There is a blousing effect due to the elastic at the hem and the blousing really is all around these stupid side seam pockets. 

I do not really like the way the hem is finished.  You are told to secure the elastic on each side of the zip, then you sew the jacket together and bag it, and THEN you feel through all the hem layers and stitch in the ditch without stitching the elastic, in order to create a clean hem. This of course makes a mess on the inside.

I have still not found a jacket pattern that guarantees a nice hem finish.  I was left with little bits around the zipper sticking out, but being leather, I could cut and just sew them down.

Monday, 14 August 2017

Named Minttu swing top & some stars

Initially, and for quite awhile, I've been really excited about this pattern- the facings and the shape made it seem like a substantial, interesting tank top that could be done in a variety of fabrics.  There are not very many review out there but the few I found (here and here) were inspiring.  

Fabric: Spotlight.  Exciting sparkly stuff again, because my brain suddenly wants shiny.  It is a rayon jersey with a nice drape.

I cut this out in a size 36,  (I am 33-27-37) and being all smart I removed 3 inches from the length.  I did so in the middle and I believe there were no shorten lines, I just picked a spot and made sure to keep things horizontal.  By doing this instead of shortening at the bottom, I could keep the same amount of swing in the top.

I do vary in Named pattern sizing and have cut everything from 34-38 in Named patterns, but in 36 this top was too small.  The fact of having interfaced facings means the top part of it is not very stretchy. The neck hole is tiny - uncomfortably so.

The facings I hate hate hate hate.  They pull every which way.  I have to admit once the top is on, it's not visible. But I already dislike facings and ones that refuse to sit flat just don't make me happy.

And of course I shortened it too much!  I could have kept all of those three inches.  By shortening in the middle instead of the bottom I overdid the 'swing' effect, in my opinion.

As it is, it's like a top for a 12-year old.
The shape, however, I like.
What I plan to do is make this as a super simple, single layer, no binding tank top (once I have figured out how to lengthen it without printing the pattern again, hisss.)  Then I think you get the benefit of the cool shape without all the mess of those bindings and I will be able to adjust the size of the neck hole too! 

Wednesday, 9 August 2017

Papercut Patterns Sapporo coat, take 1

The construction of this jacket was a Sonia classic.  A pattern I thought was meh.  Fabric that I don't usually go for (from Spotlight - heavy knit jacquard with knit interlock lining.)  But this seemed very on trend and I was super curious what would happen if it made it in these heavy knits.

I didn't, however, really think I would want to wear it. I have a bad habit of jumping into sewing projects like this - the what-if projects: what will happen if I make this pattern in this fabric?  And then inevitably: who do I give it to afterwards?

I also didn't in any way make provisions for pattern matching and before I realised that I needed to, I'd cut pieces upside down to each other so I gave up.  The pieces can be a bit puzzling due to their unusual size so good notches and markings are key.  The instructions are great that way as they do show the pieces clearly.  I think I pinned things upside down a few times but always came to my senses and fixed them in time.

I cut the XS-S.  In this pattern there are only three sizes, I guess due to the oversized fit of the jacket.
I also didn't do much ironing, obviously.  I think the jacquard could have been ironed.  It's a rayon blend, not too much poly.  But I didn't.

The jacket is very straightforward to put together.
Like 95% of all jacket patterns, the finish of the bottom front corner where the hem of the jacket and lining come together is a bit confusing.  I think there's only one pattern I have ever made where that corner lined up properly and a beautiful finish was obtainable.  However in this case I definitely was working some bad odds as the jacquard is heavy and thick and the interlock lining started to curl up so my attention span for perfection, never high, was fading.  So it could be me rather than the instructions.

This jacket turned out massive.  I had already figured out who it would go to by then, and luckily not only does it fit my friend Kate really well, but she loves it.  I think that the heavy fabric pulled the jacket down a lot, making it much much larger than it would be in a woven.

Overall I think I lost a lot of the neat touches by using such a heavy shapeless fabric. The pattern comes together really easily and it does have a gentle stylishness to it which is super trendy right now.  Also matches my winter desire to cuddle up in warm things and the pockets are amazing. 

But my final thoughts were ready to be good riddance!!  Except that I realised I could make a surfing coat using this pattern, and my enthusiasm spiked all over again...

Sunday, 16 July 2017

Mallori Lane by Madalynne

I found this while browsing on Madalynne's website when I realised the Noelle was a free pattern.  I thought this bralette might also suit me so I downloaded it right away and made both bras on the same day.  I cut this in an XS.  I really didn't expect it to work, and I was just going crazy with my leftover lace.  I glued the lace to some power mesh (my glue is terrible but slightly better than nothing.)  Then I tried to catch the loose bits of lace in as I sewed, since on the bust it wasn't quite long enough.

This was a fun make, probably the most fun I've ever had making a bra.  I was also totally blown away when I realised that it fit!  After the Noelle bralette, I expected another long line bra to be equally badly fitting.  It still feels substantial - it covers most of me, really, but it's comfortable and supportive.

This is waist length on me!

This is hard to get on and off.  Also, it's hard to get the straps lined up properly.  I have a muscular back and the straps mean all sorts of fat seems to stick out everywhere.  And it's itchy.

All this said I will definitely experiment with this pattern some more, prioritising softer fabric and maybe playing with the straps.  One way to make things more stable would be to use boning on the sides, which I might try.

Saturday, 15 July 2017

Noelle bralette by Madalynne

Madalynne has made it impossible, via Instagram, to avoid the Noelle bralette.  I had not realised that it was also a free pattern, and when I realised this, I had to make it immediately.  (I also discovered that I liked the Mallori Lane and so that followed, also immediately.)

I used size S.
The fabric is a leftover from a german bra kit, I think it's from The trickiest bit is sourcing a single round thing for the back.  I didn't have one so I just tried to make my straps arrive at the right angle.

Once I got it all together (very easy) I determined that the long-line part of the bra was totally ridiculous on me.  I am short waisted.  It means I have like no rib length and no space between the end of my ribs and my waist, so this thing came down to my waist.  I took off the entire bottom panel except a bit to attach the elastic to. 

After that it's totally wearable.  I think there is still somehow too much fabric in the back so I am thinking about how to change that, and I also don't like that the strap adjusters hit right on my collarbones.  I am probably going to try again and make some changes, including just skipping the long line and using some heavy elastic below the bustline, and then maybe cutting out some of the back. 

Most Amazing Papercut undercover hood & Named Geneva raglan tee

I'll just smash these into one post since I made them the same day!

First was a Geneva Raglan tee, by Named patterns.
Done here.
I wanted to see if the size I've been making, 36, would work for a more sweater-type feel.  I was even armed with wrist and hem bindings.  I used up some scraps, as you can see.  Unfortunately I wasn't paying close attention and the left arm fabric had a right and wrong side...which I flipped thinking that there was a notch when there wasn't.  The right arm is made of ribbing, and didn't have a right and wrong side, so I didn't notice until it was too late (I did wonder why I had to ease the arms in so much on a raglan tee!)

Ridiculously, this worked out really well.  I did have to take in the arm with the ribbing, as that ribbing has proven to be really loose and floppy.  (See my Geodesic).  I ended up cutting about 2 inches off the hem and the hem binding looked stupid so I took it off and just zig zagged the hem and the wrists.  I'm not sure how well that will hold because the left sleeve fabric is kind of terry cloth and sheds, but I will see.

Then I made my Undercover hood which I've been dreaming of for weeks!  I have to majorly thank the Fabric Store, as I ran in straight from the airport with ten minutes before closing time and dithered over the knits, (Ah plus the new patterns from Papercut!  Exciting!)

I had envisioned an orange hoody.  But the orange wasn't the right shade and right next to it was...this.  It's drapey, thin weave merino and basically is a sweater weave.  Heavier than usual merino.  It so happens that I adore this colour, which is a dusky terra cotta. This thin, but drapey fabric, I know from experience, is totally the wrong thing for the Undercover Hood, which works better with moderate structure...

So I doubled the front and back.  I lined the hood and the pocket with a leftover, also merino, also from the Fabric Store, that was more stable, and I used the changes that I have written on my pattern from ages ago.  It's XS, with 1 inch removed from the length and from the sleeve length.  I narrowed the front body by about 2 cm but not the back.  If I had read my notes I might have been encouraged to shorten it by 2 inches as I still think it's too long, especially as this drapey fabric pulls down.

Anyway I think despite the length this is the most fabulous undercover hood I have ever made.
Plus I have an embarrassing admission to make. Until now, I have always used a straight stitch for all my knits, all the time.

For some reason I thought I'd try a very narrow zig zag.  And my mind was totally bent.  I somehow had never realised that was the way to fix knits which are just too tight in the seams!  I thought any zig zag would show up and look silly. 

So I have stretchy cuffs and a fabulous hoody.  It's a bit sad to me that these unglamorous basics are the things I wear All.The.Time but that is my life...