Sunday, February 24, 2013

Sunday Musings

Hey gang!

I've received a few emails from folks who were wondering what is up with my silence. It's nothing bad, just low productivity. Partly because of work. Or maybe I am so busy running on the elliptical that I have less energy for sewing.

In a couple weeks I am going on my annual sewing retreat, so I have been preparing some projects for that.

I do need some new clothes. Many of my current clothes are too big (I have now lost 8" in the bust) and I'm starting to feel frumpy in my clothing. But I hate altering. Today the outfit I wore included a top that was too large, so I maneuvered the fullness around to the back and tucked it into my skirt. I didn't take my sweater off. Desperate times... ;)

Did you see that Katherine Tilton has two new patterns in the Butterick offerings that came out last week? I especially like the top, Butterick 5881:

And though I am not often drawn to dresses, I think her dress pattern (5891) has some interesting possibilities:

Katherine has more to say about both patterns on her blog.

Have you been watching the Oscars? I enjoy the spectacle of the awards season. I had high hopes for Seth MacFarlane as host but have found him to be a bit cringe-worthy. Oh well, there is still much clothing to enjoy as well as the live singing. My favorite gown was a Versace worn by Halle Berry. I love the use of stripes!

I see some serious shoulder pads!

I hope you have a great week!

Sunday, February 10, 2013

Vogue 8863 - Katherine Tilton Quilted Vest

Katherine Tilton has brought us another great pattern! This asymmetric lined jacket has great style. It might be easy to overlook some of the interesting RTW details of this piece, so let me point them out:

  • The neckline is particularly nice. It is "cut on" the right front at an angle so that it is on the bias. It wraps around and is sewn to the back neckline and the seam continues around to the left front. (This is why there is a collar seam on the left front but not the right front.) The collar is not interfaced and has a soft, scrunchy quality. It isn't particularly hard to sew and the fit is very nice. It's not too tight nor too tall.
  • The sleeve is cut on the body and features an underarm gusset. There is a contrast, close fitting, full length, undersleeve. The undersleeve is sewn to the lining and the oversleeve is left with a raw edge.
  • The asymmetric front closes with a zipper. It would be easy to hide the zipper tape on the right side but it would be exposed on the left side. For this reason, both sides of the zipper tape are covered with a length of wide ribbon and then sewn to the outside of both fronts. On the pattern envelope, it almost looks as if the decorative zipper is inset into the front, but it is not. It is laid on top and top-stitched in place.
  • The pattern is drafted so that the corners of the asymmetric front hem are mitered for you.
  • There is a single welt pocket on the right side of the jacket.
  • The jacket is lined. This would be a non-trivial pattern to create a lining for, so it's nice that one is provided.

My friend Heather sewed this pattern last November. Originally, she tried to narrow the cut-on sleeve, (as designed it is fairly wide), but she wasn't happy with the resulting drag lines. Instead, she cut it off and converted the jacket to a vest. She told me that she gets a lot more wear out of it as a vest than she would have as a jacket. I asked Heather if she would mind if I copied her great idea. (It's not the first time that Heather has inspired me!)

As I mentioned in my last blog post, I silk screened some black lining fabric to use for the pocket welt and the zipper tape. I was inspired by Dixie's beautiful silk screened pocket.

The pocket welt, cut out and ready to interface and sew.
Completed welt.
Zipper ready to be attached.


  • Quilted fabric from Fabrix. This is a very malleable quilted fabric.
  • Scraps of black ponte used for the armhole ribbing.
  • Scraps of black lining that I silkscreened using Marcy Tilton's medium-sized Tiger Stripe screen and using Lumière paint (by Jacquard) in Pewter.
  • Black fleece for the lining. A local sewing friend (hi Luanne!) was de-stashing most of her black fabrics and I ended up with a generous piece of Polarfleece-style fleece. This is a fairly thick fleece, (I don't know what brand it is), so I had to do lots of grading and trimming from the seam allowances.
  • A substantial 12" separating black zipper from Fabrix.
  • Black snap, size 10.

Alterations and Modifications:

I started with a size 16. (This is a new size for me.) After checking the finished pattern measurement at the bust, I did not do an FBA. (The pattern is somewhat roomy through the bust and the hemline is designed to be asymmetric, so I let it slide.)

My changes included:

  • Converted it to a vest. As mentioned previously, the original pattern has cut-on sleeves with an underarm gusset. I pinned the paper pattern together and held it up against my body to determine where to cut the armhole for the vest. I was pretty fast and loose with this step - a real hot dog. I later decided that I cut the armhole too large, so I created an ad hoc "ribbing" using scraps of black ponte, to fill the armhole in a bit. I really like the result.
  • Narrowed the side seam at the hip by 1/2" - for a 2" total reduction.
  • Narrowed the welt on the welt pocket to 1-1/4".
  • The position of the welt pocket didn't work on me. It would have landed on my bust in an unflattering location. I lowered it and moved it closer to the side seam. I also re-positioned it so the angle of the welt matched the angle of the zipper. As a result, I had to shorten the pocket pouch.
  • There is a CB seam on the jacket, but it is not shaped, so I eliminated it.
  • I included little pleats in the armholes at the bust level. This was the extent of any changes to accommodate my bust.
  • Used my silk screened fabric (instead of ribbon) to cover the zipper tape. Narrowed it to 1-1/4" wide – another great suggestion of Heather's. The narrower proportions of the welt and the decorative zipper treatment worked better.
  • I did not sew the left side of the zipper using the suggested pattern location. I knew that it was critical for the zipper location to be perfect to fit my bust, so I changed the order of construction and attached both halves of the zipper almost at the very end - just before I closed up the hem/lining.
  • Added a snap to the front closure below the zipper. Without the snap, it gaped open a bit.
  • The pattern is designed to be lined with a conventional lining fabric. Since I used a thick stretchy fleece, I removed the CB pleat in the lining (which tapers to nothing at the hem) and I also removed the pleat at the bottom of the hem.


I've been going to the gym almost every day. I have been wearing a couple light jackets that I made previously and neither has pockets! This vest will be a welcome addition to my "to the gym" wear.

Gung Hay Fat Choy!!

More Pictures:

Zipped up
Inside out.
Collar closeup

Sunday, February 3, 2013

Weekend Report

You are looking at pretty much the only sewing I got done today.

A welt pocket.

I silk screened the fabric in the wee hours - during a period of insomnia. I was inspired by Dixie's gorgeous welt pocket that she posted on Friday. Have you seen it?

You can read the construction details on her blog, With Needle and Brush. She has some mad creative skills, that one.

Diane Ericson has launched a new website. It's very slick. She is using the same URL as before, so any bookmarks to the high level page should still work. On her updated site, you can buy her custom designed fabrics, as well as her patterns and original artworks. Check it out! Even as I write this Diane and Marcy are at Design Outside the Lines in Santa Barbara, inspiring much creativity, I am sure.

DD2 dropped by yesterday. We spent hours discussing her senior project. (I learned a lot about Noam Chomsky in the process. I had studied his theories in college and was surprised to hear he is still alive and producing.)

The first thing she exclaimed on seeing my new hairdo is that I looked like Louise Brooks. (DD2 is a big fan of old films.) We googled Louise Brooks and there is a resemblance! (In the hair, anyway. I can't claim to have her smouldering sexiness.)

Have a great Monday!

Friday, February 1, 2013

New Look

Except for the money, prestige, lifestyle, and career, I sometimes feel a wee bit like Anna Wintour.

Or maybe the resemblance is closer to a Romulan.

I use Windows now, so maybe it feels more Romulan.

I ordered these glasses back in mid December and they arrived today. It's my first eye exam and new pair of glasses in 6 years. Or maybe 7.

It was a wee bit too long to wait - my other glasses were chipped, scratched, and missing a nose bridge. They were falling apart.

I'm not sure what I'll be sewing this weekend, but I will have the Superbowl on and I will be rooting for the 49ers. I might even kiss my biceps once or twice. (Thanks to the rowing machine at the gym, I now have biceps. They scare me a little.)

Have a good one!