Tag Archives: tailoring

Chanel-Style Suit

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In the Pink

We had the most glorious sunshine for Easter Sunday.   Upon arriving at the church, the first person I saw was dressed in the same shade of pink; fuchsia pink seemed to be the color of choice for the day and was liberally  sprinkled throughout the crowd along with lots of orange.  I hadn’t realized quite how up-to-the-minute-fashionable the color was and ended up feeling very au courant in my Chanel style Easter suit.  Woohoo!

Chanel suit, Easter morningHappy Easter !

 

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Chanel-Style Jacket

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Streamlined Couture

Applying Braided Trim Tutorial

I’ve been working for the past week or so on a Chanel-style jacket to go with the skirt I made recently.  I studied Vogue designer Claire Shaeffer’s pattern with the wonderful couture details, but decided instead to use the much simplified Vogue 7975 which has the Chanel look without all the extra work.  I thought for my first effort at making a Chanel jacket choosing the easier pattern might be the best option.

Chanel jacket

I used the same fuchsia boucle that I used in the skirt I made recently; I’m thinking Spring suit.  Easter comes early this year and the prospect of shivering in the cold made a wool suit seem like practical, if not entirely seasonal, option.  Finding a suitable trim proved to be a challenge.  I began with one that unfortunately didn’t provide the look I wanted bringing about a full scale city-wide search for the perfect Chanel braid.  I lucked out by finding this particular piece in the home decorating department of Fabric Depot on a clearance rack. Clearance is good as it takes in excess of 5 yards of braid to complete the jacket.

fuchsia boucle and trim

After studying the pattern, I decided that I preferred the look of two square pockets on each side as shown in Vogue 8804, so had to make size and placement determinations.  I interfaced each pocket square and then pressed the 1 inch pocket facing.  Before stitching the facing in place, I determined trim placement taking care to pre-shrink the trim first.  Some trims stretch out quite a bit from being stored on cards or spools; a good shot of steam will draw up the slack and avoid unwanted puckering.

braid placement on pocket

Using a basting stitch, I attached the braid to the pocket and then permanently attached it using two rows of back stitching.

applying braid by hand

back stitching braid into position

After securing the braid into position, I completed all four pockets and hand stitched them into position on the jacket front.  Lining them up was a little tricky, but after measuring like a Turkish tailor, I finally got it.

completed pocket

I decided not to apply braid around the bottom of the jacket, because I had made the longer version and preferred not to draw the eye to the hip line.  If I were to make the shorter view, I would definitely put braid all the way around.  To my surprise, this jacket has no shoulder pads and wears more like a sweater than a jacket.  I also want to experiment with the sleeves,  I really like the braid on Claire Shaeffer’s vented sleeve and will be experimenting with adding a vent to the basic design sleeve pattern… the next time I’m feeling adventurous.

finished jacket after a final press

I highly recommend this pattern and intend to make it again.

Alternative To Pad Stitching – A Sewing Tutorial

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For The Busy Seamstress

Pad stitching is a method used to secure two or more layers of fabric together to give firmness and shaping to a tailored garment.  Traditionally, a hair canvas interfacing is used in pad stitching and applied to areas such as lapels and under collars to give support and provide structure; it is applied along the roll line of a lapel and on the collar stand.

I’ve done my share of pad stitching in my life and there are rare circumstances when it may still be the best option.  I was taught that pad stitching was the only correct way to shape a tailored garment and I labored under that dictum for years.  Today, however, with all the new fusible technologies I rarely pad stitch preferring to use modified speed methods which get the job done in half the time with great results.   Knowing how, when and why to pad stitch is not a bad thing, but the same is true for “alternative” pad-stitching techniques.

1.  Begin by cutting out the undercollar and fusible interfacing.  Both undercollar and interfacing should be cut on the bias to ensure desired rolling effect.

under collar and interfacing cut on bias

2.  Fuse bias interfacing to the undercollar fashion fabric. Some patterns will mark the roll line on the pattern piece, but when no roll line is indicated you will need to determine where it is.  To do this, pin undercollar into position on the garment carefully matching placement marks.

pin under collar to neck edge

3.  Hand baste undercollar onto garment.

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4.  Roll the undercollar into position making sure the back edge extends a 1/4 inch or so over the seam line.  (The reason for this will become apparent later.)

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5.  Once the natural roll line is determined (the fabric will tell you where it wants to roll) mark position of  the line with a fabric marker.

mark roll line with fabric pen

6.  Remove the undercollar from the garment.  Cut a separate piece of interfacing the shape of the area below on the roll line known as the collar stand.  This interfacing for the collar stand is cut on grain line to give added support to this area.

under collar with roll line

7.  After applying interfacing to the collar stand, cut a piece of 1/4 inch twill tape the length of the roll line curve.

under collar with interfaced collar stand and twill tape

8.  Stitch the twill tape into position keeping tape taut while stitching.  Stitch successive lines in the shape of the roll line at 1/8 inch intervals.

apply twill tape and stitching lines

9.  These stitching lines will be concealed when the collar is applied, provided the roll line was correctly placed (reason for step 4.).

collar stand stitching

10.  Once the collar stand has been stitched, press the under collar along the roll line over the curve of a pressing ham.

press under collar along the roll line

11.   Pin under collar to a pressing ham and steam thoroughly.

steaming under collar

12.  Let undercollar rest over night on  pressing ham to set the shape permanently.

setting under collar shape

13.  Once the shape has been set, sew under collar to the garment neck line.

sew stitched under collar to garment neckline

14.  With tailoring completed, the collar stand should support the roll forming a gentle curve around the neck line.  completed under collar

Adding Value To Others – Share What You Know

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Taking Requests

Rainbow

Part of what I like about blogging is the ability to connect with those who share my interests.  We all have gifts and talents that are inspiring to others; I get inspired all the time by the awesome and amazing creativity of other bloggers.   I think sometimes we take for granted what we know within our area of expertise;  we incorrectly assume that everyone knows it.  Of course, this is not really true;  what may seem a small or insignificant thing to me might be a great assist to you and vice versa.  With that in mind, I have decided to start taking sewing tutorial requests. If  you have a special technique you would like demonstrated or if you have a question about anything related to sewing, please feel free to ask.  If I know how to do it, I’ll publish it here in Sewville, that happy place,  just beyond the rainbow.  🙂

Sewing A Tailored Coat

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Steampunkin’  into 2013

Christmas has come and gone, well… almost, (Happy Epiphany ) and I’ve been a been a bit lax about working on my coat-making tutorials during the holidays.  I’m finding that composing a tutorial is kind of like making the coat twice and not all that exhilarating especially after the fact.  🙂   I may write more later… if the mood strikes me, but for now I am happy to publish a photo my son took on Christmas Eve of me in my new coat.  His photos were much better than the ones I took,and I had to wait for him to send me copies, thus the delay in publishing.  

I am very pleased with the result of my labor and especially happy with the alteration I made to the collar shape.  The gray and silver have a certain refined-steampunk-Prussian military look that  I find rather fun.  It was an unexpected result, but it works for me! 

Charcoal Coat Completed


Coat Making – Anatomy of a tailor tack

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Long and Short of Pattern Marking

“So, what exactly is a tailor tack?” you may ask.  There are different kinds of temporary stitches that tailors use, but the kind of tack I will demonstrate in this tutorial is a loopy stitch used in marking darts and other key points in garment construction.  With advances in technology tailor tacks have somewhat fallen out of fashion in favor of easier marking methods, such as washable markers and those that disappear with heat.   These are great for most fabrics, but for woolens and the some of the more delicate materials that may not tolerate chemical markers, making hand applied tailor tacks provides a sound option.

A tailor tack is made while the tissue pattern in still pinned to the face fabric.  Begin by locating the circles marking the dart.  Take a stitch through all three layers bringing the needle back up through to the surface leaving a 1 1/2″ – 2″ tail.

tailor tack

Repeat this step creating a large loop of thread of thread.  Snip off to create another tail.

making a tailor tack

Snip loop in center.

tailor tacks

Completed tailor tack.

creating a tailor tack

Repeat this process for each circle marking in the dart.

Imaking a tailor tack

Once darts and other desired marking are completed carefully remove tissue pattern piece.

making tailor tacks

The remaining two pieces of face fabric are joined by the tailor tack.  Gently lift the top piece from the bottom piece and clip the threads to release the two pieces being careful not to dislodge the marking threads.

making tailor tacks

With tailor tacks completed, I am now ready to apply interfacing to the face fabric.

Until next time, happy sewing!

Sewing – A New Coat By Christmas

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The Race Is On

Coat Making Under Pressure

There’s nothing like a deadline to help me get going on a project.  After re-working my red melton coat a few weeks ago, I thought it would be nice to have another one over the same pattern to wear for Christmas.  I’ve been procrastinating both because I’ve been busy, but also because I feel a little daunted at the prospect of ironing on all that interfacing, making patch pockets and flaps, doing a set of bound buttonholes not to mention all the other little details that a well-tailored garment require. I began by going through my fabric stash; there I had a nice piece of charcoal coating perfect for what I needed.  Next step was to find buttons, coat lining and something interesting for the collar.  So far so good.

Charcoal coat supplies

I have already started and hope to add mini-tutorials and tips for those of you who may have never made a coat before and would like to.  I am still learning to navigate my way through the maze of widgets, categories and the like; if I can figure all that out, I will be posting them under “Tricks of the Trade” so that they are easily accessible… but you may have to bear with me on that for a bit.   🙂

Sewing Remake – Coming Out of the Closet

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Breathing New Life Into An Old Garment

Red Melton CoatI recently re-worked a bright red melton coat I made in 2002.  (When I started writing this entry I thought it was maybe five years ago.  A trip to my pre-digital photo album took me back to 2002… yikes how time flies)  This coat was made from a great pattern, now discontinued,Vogue 1853.  It has wonderful back detailing including an inverted back pleat with hand embroidered chevrons at either end.

red melton, back detail

Making this coat was a couture experience from start to finish and I was very happy with the results when I first completed it.  Even so, I didn’t wear it all that much; looking back I think it was because that back pleat wasn’t easy to wear… I was constantly fussing with when sitting down.

Vogue 1853

The last time I took it out to wear, I noticed it had become ultra-fitted in the waist.  (oh, what could it be?)   All that wonderful back pleating wasn’t hanging as it should and instead was poking out in an unflattering way, because of my increasing girth… and since then,  I more or less stopped wearing it.  I decided this was the year to take it out of the closet and see what I could do to make it more wearable.

I set out analyzing what exactly wasn’t working for me and how I might be able to alter it to improve the fit.  I began by removing the back darts to give a bit of breathing space… this is tricky, because darts have a way of leaving marks.  To my surprise, they steamed out beautifully.  Even though I loved the detail and remember having put tremendous effort into it, the only option was to eliminate the pleat and that meant the chevrons I had labored over had to go, too… ouch!   I took out the entire back seam and trimmed excess to make 5/8 inch seam allowances.  To do this, I had to open up the seam where the collar attached to the body of the coat.

opening collar seam

Once the collar seam was opened, I then stitched up the back seam.   I still had some of the original embroidery floss used for the pickstitches and added that to the back seam line.  This is time-consuming, but I like the understated look of it.

back seam with pickstitch

With the leftover excess fabric trimmed from the back, I created a back belt and inserted that into the two back seams at the waistline.  It was also embellished with pickstitching for accent.

back belt with pickstitch accent

Here is the result.  No more hiding in the closet… this cheerful wrap is on its way to becoming my new favorite, wear anywhere, coat.  Red is such a nice color for the gray days of winter.

red melton, back view

red melton coat

Creative Collaboration

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Show and Tell

I’ve decided to start a new section of my blog called, “Tricks of the Trade” where I can share tips on finishing details and methods I’ve learned that have helped me achieve good results.  Mastery of the smallest details are what add up to creating the perfect garment.  Ah… perfection, that worthy and elusive goal so difficult to achieve.  Sewing can be hard!  And yet, for me, contained within that sometimes irksome and painful striving for perfection is the creative satisfaction that keeps me interested and wanting to stay with it.
Everything I know about sewing, I learned from someone else; in homage to creative collaboration I happily share with you.

Coat Making Tutorial – part 4 coat linings

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A Classic Pea Coat

Lining and Interior Finish

I selected a polyester fabric with a satin finish for my lining.   I actually prefer rayon linings especially when working with natural fibers, but I wasn’t able to find  the color I needed to complement the face fabric, so I opted for a synthetic.  In this tutorial, I will go over how to put in a lining with emphasis on  finishing details.

Step 1.  Once the lining is assembled, top stitch the seam line of the sleeve sewing on the sleeve piece (not the body of the lining) catching the seam allowance underneath.

Step 2.  With stitching completed,  turn to the inside and trim away the excess seam allowance.

Step 3.  On right side of fabric, pinch press seam and roll stitched line into sleeve.

Step 4.  Press entire seam to encourage the sleeve to roll towards the sleeve edge to create a smooth interior finish.  This helps the lining “ride” over the interior seam of the coat sleeve.

This shows the nice clean line you will get once it has been pressed.

Step 5.  Double breasted garments often include interior buttonholes on the inside facing to hold the front of coat in place.  Sew in buttonholes before attaching lining (it’s a lot easier before than after).  I use my machine for  buttonholes, because they will not be seen when wearing.Careful measuring for proper alignment is very important in this step.  

Step 6.  Attach back facing to collar at the neckline edge using hand stitching.

Step 7.  Insert shoulder pads and hand stitch into position.

Step 8.  Press 5/8 inch seam allowance under on sleeve edges and at the bottom of the lining before attaching it to the coat.

Step 9.  Pin lining to interior front and neck facings and stitch into position.

Step 10.  Use a machine basting stitch to sew in the lining in.  A long stitch is easier to remove for alterations or lining replacement. Leave an opening near the bottom of the front facing as shown below.

Step 11.  Turn lining to right side out and lightly press edges down, being careful not to over press.  Stitch lining at hem edge first and press, Then slip stitch down on both front facings as shown below.

Step 12.  Sew interior buttons into position using a flat button utility button.

Step 11.  Sew fashion buttons on front of coat paying careful attention to alignment.

Step 12.  Take to dry cleaners for a final press.  A professional press really adds to the look of the garment by smoothing out all construction wrinkles.  It is a must for any tailored garment.

So, it’s off to the cleaners.  Until next time, Happy Sewing!