Tag Archives: wool

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.

February Fashion Blaster

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Add warmth to your winter wardrobe

with this super hot color combination.

I’m loving my new fuchsia skirt made in wool boucle.  I just picked it up from the cleaners; a professional press makes such a difference in the finish of the garment.  Notice the short slit in the front seam line; sometime I put it in the back seam, but like to change it around every now and then just to keep things interesting.

 fuchsia skirt

In the back view I tried it with the fuchsia suede wedge shoes, but I think they draw the eye downward too much and are a bit clunky for the silhouette.  Back to the store they go!

skirt back view

To my surprise, I actually prefer the orange flats in the next photo.  Besides being more comfortable I think the orange is better visually, plus they are already part of my ever increasing shoe collection.  YAY!!!  I like it when I can used something I already own.  Now all I need to do is dig out my fuchsia handbag and I’m ready to rumble.

ready to roll

Fashion – The Power of Color

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There is nothing like a splash of color to brighten up a dreary winter’s day.

Think boldly… think fuchsia and orange!

I had an hour to kill today and decided to go shopping at the local Macy’s.   I happened to be wearing a nice orange turtleneck that I received as a Christmas gift.  I really like the orange color, but don’t have too many things to wear it with.  I found some lovely scarves in the right color-range on an unbelievable mark-down price and couldn’t resist buying one.  I love the combination of pinks and orange together with a bit of green and gold sparkle … it was so pretty!

turtle neck and scarf

As I stood admiring the scarf against the orange sweater I was seeing it definitely needed a hot pink skirt to round out an outfit. My next stop was a browse through the fabric store where I  found the perfect piece of coordinating fuchsia fabric.  It’s a boucle wool with a little nubby texture that adds a bit of interest.  I picked up lining and a zipper and I’ll be ready to stitch it up in the morning.  Can’t wait to get started!

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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

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 – Pocket Perfection

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Lining Your Pocket And Creating A Flap! 

Patch pockets are quite simple in their basic design and should be constructed in such a way as to provide subtle functionality. A well executed pocket will draw little attention to itself and instead act as a support to overall feeling of a couture quality garment.    I will be sharing a few simple construction tips that commercial patterns guides don’t generally explain that will hopefully help you achieve pocket perfect.

making patch pockets
                               Trim away a scant 5/8″ from the interfacing to eliminate additional bulk in the seam line and apply to face fabric.  

making patch pockets

Trim away a scant portion from all edges of the lining.  This is cause the lining to roll under the face fabric reducing visibility on surface
  
making patch pockets
Stitch face fabric and lining together.  Lining, being slightly smaller than the face fabric will pull slightly.  Leave an opening on the side large enough to turn fabric right side out.
making patch pockets
Trim away excess seam allowance.  When grading the seam allowance, be sure that the face fabric is graded slightly wider than the lining.  This will create a smoother surface on the turned surface. Clip edges and  remover corners by cutting straight across above the point to reduce bulk.
making patch pockets
After grading and clipping, turn pocket right side out and using a point turner work the corners out to a nice clean point.  
making patch pockets
Apply steam while rolling the edged between your fingers to work the seam line out.  Be mindful to roll the lining behind so that it does not peek out from behind the face fabric.
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                                      Once patch is shaped and pressed out, run a basting stitch to hold layers into position.
making patch pockets
                                                                                           
                                                                                               Slip stitch the side open together.
making patch pockets
Apply desired top stitching, either by machine or by hand.  I have chosen to use a charcoal embroidery floss for a hand pickstitched finish.  Note:  For best results, patch pockets should be hand-stitched directly to the garment.  Machine top stitching is applied before the pocket is hand-sewn onto the coat.
pickstitch on patch pocket
Next, cut pocket flap and interface on the side that will present on the coat.  I like to cut the interfacing on the bias to assist the flap in  curving against the contours of the body. 
making a pocket flap
                                      Turn and press the seam allowance on the edge without interfacing and stitch the side seams.
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                                                                    Align flap according to pattern markings and stitch into place.
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                     After stitching flap into position, trim off excess seam allowance an steam edge upward toward the inside of flap.
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                                                                     Hand stitch flap closed being careful to encase seam edges.
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Once hand stitching is completed, lightly press flap into position over the patch pocket for a beautifully completed patch pocket and flap.                       
completed patch pocket andflap

Coat Making – Fabric Preparation

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Full Steam Ahead

When working with wool coating it is important to give the fabric a deep-steam treatment before beginning your pattern layout and cutting.  This can be done in several ways.  Before I had a steamer unit, I used a damp towel and iron which works fine, too.    Or, you can take it to the cleaners for steaming and pressing.

The main reason for applying steam is to reduce overall shrinkage that will occur during the heavy application of steam during the tailoring process.  Steam also makes the wool easier to manipulate into position when lining up plaids or stripes.applying steam to wool coating

After steaming I determine if the fabric has a direction or nap.   Rule number one when working with nap is whatever direction you choose to use, you must remain consistent cutting all pieces in the same direction.

Determining nap is much like petting a cat; it is more pleasing to stroke a kitty in the right direction.   I run my hand lightly along the surface feeling the direction of the fibers; one direction is soft and smooth while the opposite direction it feels like you’re petting a cat backwards.

find the fabric nap

I imagine myself smoothing out my coat in the back as I am about to sit down; I will want the fibers of my coat to smooth out in the “right” direction, too.  This tells me that to get the desired softness/smooth nap, I must lay my pattern pieces out with the nap going toward the hemline.

With steaming done and direction of the nap determined, I am ready for careful laying out of patterns, cutting and marking  notches.

pattern layout, measuring grain lines

careful cutting out

marking notches

Until next time… happy sewing!

Sewing – New Season, New Skirt

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Fall Fashion

I love this time of year…  the week or so between the last dog-days of summer and the first prickle in the morning air which heralds the changing of the season.  As much as I enjoy summer, I’m always ready for transitioning into my fall wardrobe with all the bold and beautiful colors of the harvest, the earthy reds and golds and green the speak of hearth and home and bounty.  Oh my, I might have to burst into song if I go on, so let it suffice to say that I’m happy to carry on with my fall sewing.

Being seriously committed to not buying any new fabric until I’ve worked through a portion of my backlog, I went to my existing fabric stash for inspiration and came up with a great remnant of wool twill in, you guessed it, a rich autumnal gold.   I adore this color and twill texture;  I’ve used it in several suits in the past.  I’ve been sitting on it for quite some time waiting for just the right pattern to come along.   This week, inspiration finally arrived and here it the happy result.

I used Vogue 8363 skirt pattern view D.  I prefer skirts without waistbands, because I find them to be more comfortable.  Eliminating the waistband requires the creation of front and back waistline facings.  The pattern is unlined, so I also created a lining to attach to the facings.

I always line wool skirts both for giving shape and support to the wool and also for comfort.  A nicely constructed lining helps the skirt slide over the body and is more flattering, not to mention it just looks better to have the seams and interior work hidden from view in.  My feeling is that when working with quality fabrics, it’s worth the extra cost and effort to create a beautiful interior finish.

Once the lining was attached it was time to select buttons.  I have a rather large collection of vintage buttons inherited from a Great Aunt.  I used some of her buttons for this skirt.  I carefully measured and marked the buttonhole placement with basting thread and machine stitched the buttonholes.

After buttonholes were stitched, I clipped them open and sewing buttons in place being mindful of proper alignment.

As with all wool garments, I will take this in for a professional press which will put a nice finish on it.  But until then, I’m publishing several pictures to show you how versatile it will be in my fall wardrobe.  And best of all, it didn’t cost me a dime… it all came from what I had on had and that’s a great feeling.

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!