Monday, September 28, 2015

Making The Ultrasuede Fringe Bag

Finished product, Ultrasuede fringe bag. McCall's 7264
I was tasked with making this super cute little bag because it's a great example of an ultrasuede accessory, which was my focus for the American Sewing Expo. The presentation was fun and I met a lot of really wonderful, fun people despite the troubles I had with this pattern. I should have known that it would be problematic when M, another talented coworker, had trouble with it as did S (you'd never know from their finished products).
S's great version.

Normally, I would have attributed the trouble to my brain. It's easy to blame oneself for misunderstanding and begin doubting. This time though, I was confident it wasn't my brain since I'd just created a fairly complicated jacket with the help of excellent instructions.

One of the interesting aspects of sewing this was the flap. It's actually a few pieces fused together and topstitched. The instructions are so unclear about this point. There are pretty easy ways to convey that three pieces get fused together. I spent almost an hour trying to figure out what this hot mess meant. They could have just said "resulting in the three pieces fused together".  I'm still having trouble understanding step 34, I had to go my own way.  But what if you're new to sewing? You don't have any experience to draw on and it's a bummer.

The most confusing instructions ever.

I don't understand what this is and I don't get why.
I met some McCall's staffers at the American Sewing Expo and they were just the nicest bunch of people.  I told them all about the trouble the three of us had with the pattern and I really felt like they heard me and are working to improve. They could have been jerks about it but they weren't and I appreciate that. Because of them, I'm going to forge ahead with the McCall Pattern Company and do the Pea Coat Sew Along.  I'll spending the evening reading pattern instructions and contemplating fabrics.

P.S. I got the instructions for the coat out and guess what, no page one and two.  I got page three and four twice. UGH!

Wednesday, September 23, 2015

Constructing The Metallic Faux Leather MC Jacket

Once I started, I realized this jacket is probably going to take about a week to finish. I started working on the jacket six days ago. This is the Burda Young collections Motorcycle Jacket, pattern number 6800. I spent a good long time working on cutting out the million pieces and stay stitching and interfacing and trying to stay organized. The chief concern with this is the selection of fabrics.  I'm using a soft faux leather, which has its own set of challenging characteristics. I've done some tests on the fabric with a few stitch lengths and needle types and pressed a scrap from the back with a press cloth to no ill effect.

I'm ready to begin sewing in earnest. The first steps tend to be terrifying for me, so this is as significant a struggle as any technical difficulty. I have a deadline though and I mustn't stop working on this piece. I've done all the prep work and have resources for when I get stuck.

Starting with the first two pieces, I'm not happy with my topstitching. I find that it's too far from the seam and looks a bit lumpy. Since I cannot rip this out and start again, these two pieces are ruined. I have fabric to recut and so I'm using the ruined pieces as my "beta test". As I go, I'll test out things
I'm unsure of on these pieces.
Testing zipper pockets and edge stitching.
Edge stitching sample

While not perfect, this zipper pocket is much better than the two on my test piece.
I've been going along with the jacket really well.  I find the Burda instructions to be well written and straightforward.  I was hoping to end the day having completed the sleeves, set them and sewn the lining together.  I've lost track of how many days I've worked on this jacket.  Monday I had a minor panic attack, I thought I'd built the sleeves backwards which broke my heart. They were all done with the custom size zippers set in the vents. UGH. I decided to stop and start again in the morning so I wouldn't ruin anything else.  Tuesday morning I decided to work on lining and in doing so, I discovered that the sleeves are just as they should be, I was confused and too flustered the night before.  Subsequently, I got the sleeves set in, the lining sewn to the facing and the hem glued in place.  All that needs to be done is to hand sew the lining to the hem and the sleeve hems.  I gotta take a break, that metallic fabric at close range under bright lights is doing a number on me so I'll finish in the morning.  I like the way it looks and I love the instructions for it.  I've had to refer to more than one sewing book to better illustrate a direction in the instructions.  My favorite "go to" sewing reference is the The Vogue Sewing Book.
Shortening of the zippers for the sleeves (I should have put the stop on first but  I left myself enough room.  The stops were put on by using an exacto knife to make a tiny cut on each side of the teeth. Once the stop was inserted, I bent the ends down with pliers then flattened them with a hammer. Pulling out those zipper teeth is no joke, though.

Close up of my edge stitching process.  In order to keep it as close to the seam as possible and to give me something to landmark it, I look at the dark dot created where the seam meets the indentation on the presser foot.
I'm working on the finishing of it and I am hitting the wall.  I'm having trouble with the lining hem (I think my brain isn't working right).  I didn't get this far to let the lining hem flummox me.  I've called my expert friend AL to ask her what to do. Hopefully she'll know how to get me out of this quandary.  And actually, I may have figured out what to do. Then I can give it a final press and turn it in.  So far, I'm pleased.  
Just needs a lining hem.
Now onto the purse!

OMG! The purse pattern is the worst. There'll be more to come on that one.

AL told me how to handle the hem lining, I was over thinking it and I couldn't imagine how to get in there and sew that, it was simply a matter of flipping up the hem and hand sewing to the faux leather.  Some of the things that I make are great on the inside, this isn't one of them.  It's pretty good, not great but It's done now and it's at the American Sewing Expo.  Of course, I forgot to take a picture of the finished jacket.  I'll be sure to take photos of all the garments we made.  They're so cool looking!

Tuesday, September 15, 2015

I've Been Committed...

To sewing that is.  I closed my fabric store a couple of years ago and last year, I began working for our local indy fabric store.  In doing this, I have to be committed to sewing.  I counsel people all day on matters of sewing.  I've even taught a sewing with knits class using the McCall 6559 maxi dress.  My students were the absolute best and everyone walked away in a fabulous dress.  Now we're gearing up for the American Sewing Expo. We're all making model garments and I'm doing a breakout session on sewing with faux leather. All my garments will most likely be faux leather.  I was nervous about model garments until I actually did one for my class and I realized that it's a really good way to seriously step up my sewing game.   I really want things to look stunning and perfectly finished, because you know people are going to be looking at the inside.  One of my buds at the store (they all are, really) made the Butterick Katherine Tilton dress in the summer.  I haven't held the Tilton patterns in the highest regard, but her version is just soooooo adorable. Then I saw Kay's dress and another one of my buds from the store made this one.  I think I'm loving the Tiltons.  I've made a few things in the  last year that are pretty cool, some more successful than others. Like there was a McCall jacket sweater thing that had no side seams, so you just cut a hole in the body of the "jacket" and attached the sleeve that way.  That was literally, the worst pattern I've ever used.  It just won't fit right on a human body, then I went to Pattern Review to check what was said about it after the fact and guess what, everybody hated it. It is now a discontinued pattern.  I have had success with a few dresses and at this moment I'm loving Butterick 6182 by Lisette.  At first glance, I didn't like the dress, I thought it was unremarkable at best but it was assigned to one of the ladies at work to make it in home dec linen.  It was super cute,  N made one in apparel linen and then both L and G made one.  Each one looked great, in a chic, modern style.  I took the plunge and made it in green linen.  I put the sleeve band on wrong but after that tiny snafu, it looks great.  I told hubs it reminded me of a 1930's prison dress, he said I was "weird" and that it looked fashionable and minimalist, I'll go with that. I really liked it so I made a second version in a navy tissue weight linen.  It's stunning, but now unfortunately, it looks like that pattern is discontinued as well. Next up is a Burda motorcycle in soft metallic faux leather. And yes, there will be pictures.

Sunday, June 01, 2014

I Think I'll Start Sewing Again

It's been a long, long, long break from sewing and blogging about sewing.  I think I'm ready to "get my sew on" and make some things.  I had one huge sewing project from October through December of 2013.  I made my niece's wedding gown and it was hard but really interesting and actually quite fun.  I got to see my niece so many times for the fittings and we'd talk and talk.  The whole experience was wonderful and I'd do it all over again.  It may even make it onto the blog because during the process I took many notes and many pictures.

I've started working at our local indy fabric store which gives me occasion to peruse all the fabric and boy are there some nice pieces. Not as though I need fabric, but sometimes the pull is too great.  Yesterday, I happened upon a bargain fabric that is a beautiful metallic lace with the eyelashes. I had planned to make this jacket without the pockets in lace but I'm not sure if I want it to be metallic, so I have more lace to think about.

I'll be teaching a beginner class this summer and we're going to make the maxi-dress M6559.  I've been looking for the pattern in my stash, I know I have it, I've made it six times, but I can't find it, now I think I may have discarded it in a fit of pique (I get on a cleaning binge and out it goes, I've thrown away some things that I shouldn't have that were harder to replace than a pattern, oops.)  So that is the very next thing on the table and after that, my new Style Arc patterns (that I received two days ago!!!!) are on the table.

Tuesday, September 11, 2012

Fashion Week Is Filled With MC Jackets

Trends for fall that I've noticed.  Peplums, Motorcycle jackets, oversized outerwear, ruffles and prints in unexpected places.  I especially like the peplum and motorcycle jacket.  I was thinking about combining the two and then I saw the Nicole Miller runway show and there was a peplumed motorcycle jacket.

The last time I made a motorcycle jacket was many years ago and I made it from some sheer iridescent poly called "crystalette".  It was super cute, rather Barbie-esque  but I thought it looked good.  Now that I'm a "grown folk", I'm thinking a jacket built to match my personality and lifestyle is a great idea for fall.  I'm trying to decide between styles of motorcycle jacket.

Either way, I want to build one in dark metallic linen and one in wool so I don't really need to choose.  

Anyway, it appears that motorcycle jackets are the thing this year.  I love a good MC jacket.  I spent an entire decade in one.  I've missed both the jacket and the attitude.  I'm looking forward to a new jacket and attitude.