Thursday, 2 July 2015

Equestrian aspiration

For my Minerva make I decided on an equestrian theme so the riding pants were a must with last month's riding jacket. Then reality set in and a 'quirky work skirt' came to mind.

I've made pants before but for a riding outfit, sleek pants are a must so I've used a double knit that has no stretch and McCalls 6404.

Equestrian riding pants

While the pants pattern is drafted for fabric with 4% stretch, it made sense to trial the pattern in a similar double knit fabric. After some tweaks, I used the partial medium hip measure and a variation of small sizing along the legs.
Riding outfit inspiration
McCalls 6404 offers 4 legging styles and I used view D.
So after trialling this pattern in another double knit, I was able to make this pair fit quite nicely.
I can walk, sit and bend in these pants, which I wouldn't have been able to do if the fabric was a medium-weight woven fabric. This double knit is perfect for my equestrian idea.
Now to find 'that horse' to go with this outfit.

Quirky work skirt

Blackwatch tartan is the same fabric used for my senior school uniform jacket so I had to make a Winter skirt with a twist, or a couple of Vivienne Westwood inspired pleats.
Vivienne Westwood Anglomania skirt
I was tempted to kilt this fabric up but maths isn't my strong point so I didn't want to waste this gorgeous tartan.


So my decisions then became: one pleat for two? And do I include one pleat along the back?

I decided to place two pleats at the front and keep the back plain. So I used McCalls 9356 as my basic skirt pattern and matched up the plaids at centre back and along the flat side seam.



I placed the front pattern where I wanted the pleats to be placed.
Then I lined up the back skirt piece to the flat side seam to match the plaids.
I had to match the lines along the centre back zipper seam.
So my decision was to figure out how to keep the front pleats in place...hand stitching.
I hand stitched the pleat folds to the underside of the fabric.
They've stayed in place. 
The waistband plaids match the centre front skirt lines only.
The back and side seam lines match. You'll notice the hem is lower at centre back. That's my standard back hemline.
And I wanted to show you the zipper and waistband matching. I hand sewed the waistband for accuracy. The lining is light-weight but strong wearing and easy to iron.
So here's the quirky skirt with its jacket - all safely ironed too.
There was really no need to put a pleat on the back of this skirt.


I've worn this skirt to work a few times and it's really lovely to wear.

Thank you Minerva Crafts UK for these fabrics and notions. I've got a new Winter work outfit that's already been worn quite a bit this month.

And lots of joy and happiness to Vicki and Richard on your upcoming wedding. If you love seeing wedding sewing as it happens, Annette has been blogging all of her wedding sewing for Vicki on the Minerva Craft blog page. I'm in awe of Annette's work.

Sunday, 28 June 2015

Croc denim & furniture spray

At least five years ago I bought this croc-resin stretch woven denim locally with a zipper jacket in mind. And here it is.
Whoops. 
Before I show you the fabric, let me show you my sewing tools of choice. 
I used lots of furniture spray, a teflon foot, a denim needle and wonderclips to sew the fabric.
You can see the teflon foot and wonder clips used on the collar.
You can't smell the 'Mr Sheen' used to help the fabric flow and be sewn easily.
My fingers ached trying to pin this fabric together, so wonderclips made sewing easier.
McCalls 4596 jacket. I first made this pattern up in 2008.
Here's a close up view of the collar and lining. The fabric has some stretch which was both good and bad. The slight fabric stretch is basically good once it's made up and you wear it.
However I did use pins to get the sleeve in so the puckers at the shoulder line look like small even pleats. I trimmed the seam allowances everywhere I could for better shaping.
I used the denim fabric on the pocket at the jacket seam.
Here's the side view so you can see the final close up.

The back shaping is nothing to look at on the hanger. When I saw this photo I realised the lining in the right sleeve was too short, so I unpicked it and handsewed the sleeve lining in place, and the sleeve now hangs 'naturally'.

Why did I make this jacket now?

I wanted a wild-looking jacket to go with my highland inspired dress but it was so cold on the day, I ended up wearing a coat instead.
The back shoulder width gives me room to move and it's a good layering piece.
I can safely say this jacket is great for travel.
This was my go-to jacket in Canberra this weekend for CBR Frocktails. Fab weekend ladies!

Saturday, 27 June 2015

Plaid fad

You can guess why I like plaid fabrics and as it's cold I've made this little red number.
Here's how I styled this new plaid skirt for work. The plaid is a dark red and it has taupe and green in it. I used my basic skirt pattern McCalls 9356 for the shaping.
This is a post construction pic to show the centre waistband lines matching across the centre back zipper and across the side seams.
This shows the other side seam match across the width and along the inverted pleat.
My guess is this fabric is poly and I bought 3 metres of it on ebay two years ago. The weave is fairly loose so I've reinforced the pleats at the top. I've matched the green stripe on the inside of these pleats. 
Because the front inverted pleats let me walk, I didn't bother with a pleat at the back. I've fully lined this skirt so it doesn't pill on the inside.
Now I'm tossing up to use the rest of this fabric on a Vivienne Westwood plaid jacket. It's just an idea for now but it will certainly need a lot of thought and the jacket would need a bit of shaping at the waist.

Tuesday, 23 June 2015

Bronze biker jacket

Pauline's quart coat can be made into a biker jacket as she's shown here. So Sylvia at Pitt Trading was happy to provide what I needed to make a 'glossy' biker jacket and skirt.
Pauline's biker jacket version is cut 4"/10cm below the waistline. I initially through 8"/20cm would work and then I rejigged the jacket body pieces to 6"/15cm. It's Winter and I wanted a bit of hip coverage but I decided to go with the shorter version instead.

Susan of measuretwicecutonce chose the lining colour.

The pocket pieces were adjusted so there's a 2.5cm band of the fashion fabric used at the jacket seam and then the lining for the rest of the pocket bag.

No shoulder epaulets or back waist epaulet this time. 


Sleeve seam prep front
Close up, this fabric has a repeat that this took a bit of time to make sure I cut each piece out so the fabric repeat remained fluid across the jacket.
Sleeve seam reinforcement for the zipper
After working on my brother's RTW formal jacket sleeve, I have no guilt using iron-on interfacings or hemming tape. That's what's used within the industry.
Close up of the metal zipper in the sleeve seam line.
Pitt Trading got bags of these great metal zippers in recently so I was able to pick up these matching metal zippers with black teeth and lovely zipper pulls. They're still sorting these zippers out and they have them in a few colours.

During the construction process I got really annoyed with the time this jacket was taking me to make. Not a real 'dummy spit' but close. 
You see, by the time I sewed in the collar, sleeves and zipper, I just wanted to wear the jacket 'pronto'. Ok, that sounds like a dummy spit but I'm glad I put the effort into getting the dimensions right.
So after a night's rest, in the morning I did a bunch of steam pressing, waxed threads for hand sewing, relaxed and got back into it. Did I say that I sew during the week before and after work? I'm a morning person:)
I've used bias binding on the coat hook and on the hems so the metallic threads didn't unravel during wear.
A close up of the exposed zipper on the front of the skirt.
The fabric is a modern brocade and it's easy to match up. I've used McCalls 9356 for the skirt.
Thanks Pauline again for the Quart coat pattern. Your biker jacket tute was easy to follow.

Thanks again to Pitt Trading for the fabric, lining, zippers and Rasant thread. Rasant thread is new to me so I was really pleased with how this thread held during machine and hand sewing.

Sunday, 21 June 2015

#outlander fangirl pic

Graham McTavish from #Outlander #nicebloke
I still can't believe I got a pic taken with Graham McTavish (he plays Dougal McKenzie in Outlander) today. 
- Tall guy. 
- Lovely bloke. 
- Happy to retake the pic. 
- I'm still smiling.

The 'black watch' tartin underneath the pic is a new Winter skirt. More about that soon.
I decided to wear my Gathering inspired dress. For now, it's a cold, rainy Sunday and I'm still grinning from ear to ear.

Supernova had lots of Superstar guests, even 3 of the Brady kids (Peter, Bobby and Cindy).

#happyfangirl - The End -

Sunday, 14 June 2015

It worked:) #phew

Creating clothes is what I do. Altering RTW is not, especially if it's a formal mens jacket. But I've done it #phew.

As the eternal pushover, I said yes to extending the sleeves on a formal jacket for my 'little brother'. I could not have completed this alteration without the style and sewing advice of those very able sewing men: Joost of make my pattern and Thomas sewingdude. Thank you both for all your advice last week. 

First attempt: moved the top button down.
On the left is the original sleeve. The right is the first attempt at adjusting the sleeve. 

Joost advised me to move the top button down after lengthening the sleeve. When I took this pic, I then decided to move another button down so the button placement matched/was closer to the new sleeve length.

What I discovered

The buttonholes are sewn and not cut, making moving the buttons easy. 
Here's the original insides showing the buttons stitching.
This jacket had a layer of armoweft under the buttonhole stitching.
A piece of fusing is used to keep the lining and sleeve seams together.


Here's the stitching for the entry point on the sleeve lining. The lining pocket inside the jacket is really cute.
Both sleeve linings had an entry point. The stitching was in a contrast colour and easy to undo. So I was able to unpick the sleeve without affecting the sleeve seams.

The sleeve corner had a row of handstitching so I made sure I did a row of hand stitching to keep the sleeve looking RTW.

Reattaching the lining to the jacket sleeve

Stash benefit

I didn't have exactly the same fabric at home, but I did have a similar dark grey piece to use on the inside of the sleeve. There is a 1/2cm fold on the inside where I joined the stash fabric to the jacket fabric. 
Finished sleeves; to be professionally pressed.
The verdict
My little brother wore his jacket last night to a formal event. He was really pleased the sleeves were at the right length for him. He didn't feel at all self conscious wearing his re-engineered jacket and had a great night with the 'missus' while we babysat the kids. They both beat us at Xbox and 'Game of life' in a big way.

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