Wednesday, July 31, 2013

Black Fitted Coat - Sandra Betzina Vogue 1318

I really have a thing for coats and jackets, if you haven't noticed. I have plans for sewing more coats and jackets, so don't be surprised. I wish I had a decent sized coat closet!

This pattern is a Sandra Betzina vest. I had this very interesting textured fabric, a black brocade, that I wanted to use. Here are the interesting features of the pattern and my modifications:

  • It's a long vest. I couldn't see getting much wear out of a long vest, especially not one made from this brocade, so I added sleeves. It's very easy to add sleeves - just choose another pattern that has the sleeve you want. Overlay the armscye from that pattern onto your desired pattern. Then use the sleeve from that same pattern. I used the sleeve from the Kwik Sew moto jacket that I recently made. This is a one-piece, darted sleeve (at the elbow).
  • Since I added sleeves, I also added a sleeve lining.
  • Before adding the sleeve, I narrowed the shoulders by about 5/8".
  • I made view B, but I omitted the in-seam contrast piping.
  • The vest pattern comes with patterns for two detachable collars. One is a fairly straightforward collar. The other is more 3-dimensional with sewn tucks. I loved this collar and made this version. To be honest, I might have preferred to just sew the collar to the coat in the normal manner, as I doubt I'll plan to remove it, but I did make it to be detachable.
  • Upper collar with sewn tucks

    Detachable collar
  • This is a princess seam design, which is great for an FBA. The pattern is fairly fitted. I used a size C and added a (conventional) 1" princess seam FBA because I needed the width, as well as the length.
  • For a size C, the pattern tissue says that the finished size at the waist is 48". I do not think this is correct. I think it's less than that.
  • The model in the photo on the pattern envelope must be 6-feet tall. Notice that the vest hits her at her mid thigh. Mine is knee-length and I am 5'5".
  • The vest is loosely fitted through the hips.
  • There are in-seam pockets in the side front. These are quite deep.
  • Deep pockets
  • The vest closes with buttons. The pattern calls for 4 buttons, but I found that 5 worked better. The buttonholes are bound buttonholes. I hadn't made bound buttonholes in almost 30 years! (I think it's been 28 years...)
  • Buttons and Bound Buttonholes

Supplies and Notions:

  • The primary fabric is a highly textured black brocade purchased at Fabrix. The texture has a leaf design.
  • The lining is a black synthetic fabric with large white polka dots, also from Fabrix. It is very soft.
  • Polka dots!
  • The closure consists of 5 gorgeous, 1" Italian buttons from Britex. (I am getting very spoiled by the button selection at Britex.)
  • There are also 5 small clear buttons use to attach the collar to the coat. These are from Fabrix.
  • The pockets are lined with remnants of solid black Bemberg by Ambiance.
  • Scraps of black silk organza were used to make the 5 bound buttonholes.
  • The neckline was reinforced with cotton twill tape.

I really like this black coat. I can see wearing it to an event over a simple top and skinny pants. I have wanted a black coat for a long time, so I think this will be a useful addition to my wardrobe.

Buttoned up

Friday, July 26, 2013

Fall Vogues are Here!

Vogue 8930

What perfect timing!

The weather here in San Francisco has been chilly, damp and grey. Not so unusual for San Francisco in summertime, especially on the west end of town where I live. But I have been really in the mood for sewing for fall!

There are some nice coats and jackets in this batch and it seems much less "dress heavy" than it has been. Also, the BMV sale ends tonight (Friday), so if you like to order them via the website, hurry on over.

Here are some patterns I am admiring, in no particular order. (The pattern pics are clickable and take you to the relevant page on the Vogue site.)

Vogue 8933. It's hard to see the details on the photo of the sewn-up version, so I am showing the illustration instead. I like the shape of the collar and that the coat is lined. If you live in a super cold climate, I doubt you'd want a coat that is open at the bottom, but it is a cute detail.

Vogue 8934. Marcy Tilton raincoat. I *love* this! I have enough fabric to make probably 25 raincoats, so maybe I'll get to this one!

Vogue 8932. This jacket has some *wonderful* seaming details!

Vogue 8929. Marcy's pants. I LOVE LOVE these! YAY for some new fun Marcy pants! My only quibble is that the pattern only goes down to a size EIGHT. Come ON, Vogue!!!!!! Us butt-less wonders want some, too! (Size 4, please.)

Vogue 1363. This is a cute new top from Sandra Betzina. With my narrow shoulders, though, I'd have to modify it quite a bit.

Vogue 1364. A very cute jacket from Sandra Betzina. I'm showing the illustration, and not the photo, because it's made up in a plaid and I think that it looks dowdy on the model. But this pattern has great bones (and reminds me of the Sewing Workshop Opal which I made up and like very much.)

Vogue 8942. Pure whimsy! A frog and an owl backpack.

Vogue 8919. No this dress doesn't appeal to me, but I had to giggle when I saw it. If you saw Project Runway this week, you will know why.

Wednesday, July 24, 2013

Striped Zippers and More! (Answers to Reader Questions)

My zipper-ordering workstation

Is it Sticky?

Thanks so much for the comments on my moto jacket! I have been wearing it almost every day and enjoying it very much. As you know, this is a faux-leather-embossed-croc fabric and a few of you have asked, "Do you get hot and sticky when you wear it?" The answer is... not a bit!!! Perhaps if I lived in a humid climate, it might be, but then I doubt I'd wear it in humid weather. It is a great jacket for cool, but not seriously cold, weather. It's perfect for your average day in San Francisco where it's usually in the 60s, plus or minus.

Teflon Zipper Foot

I also mentioned on my post that I used a Teflon foot and a Teflon zipper foot to sew the jacket. A few of you asked where a Teflon zipper foot can be obtained. I have a Teflon zipper foot for my old Bernina 930 actually made by Bernina. But, if you don't have (or can't get) a brand-name Teflon zipper foot for your machine, why not buy a generic Teflon zipper foot?

The sewing machine shop that I use to service my machines is Ray's Sewing Center in San Jose, which I originally posted about more than a year ago. (Yes, I drive from San Francisco to San Jose for sewing machine repairs, he's that good.) They have a snap-on Teflon zipper foot in stock that works on most modern machines. If you have an older machine, they can order either a high-shank or low-shank Teflon zipper foot for you. If you want to buy the snap-on shank foot, but your machine isn't a snap-on shank machine, you can buy an inexpensive adapter (Ray's can also help you with that). The adapter will work with any snap-on foot, so it's multi-functional.

If you need a regular Teflon foot, they can help you with that, too.

(Ray's phone number is (408) 295-6901.)

I highly recommend that you have these feet in your sewing arsenal!

Striped Zippers

Striped zippers!

Several of you also asked, "WHERE CAN I GET STRIPED ZIPPERS!" Well, maybe you didn't quite yell it like that, but I heard you, loud and clear. I am also a zipper-lover, so I understand how frustrating it is to see great zippers on RTW clothing, but not be able to find them in the sewing stores.

Glitter zippers

So, let me share a WONDERFUL resource with you. I planned to blog about this resource an entire year ago, but I got distracted. I do that sometimes. Remember when I posted about Zipperstop? I still like Zipperstop, but I found another resource that has an even bigger variety of zippers, including striped zippers.

Rhinestone zippers

I decided that, before I was going to write a post about this place, that I would take a field trip there. This zipper factory is located in South San Francisco.

South San Francisco is not part of San Francisco - in fact, there are two towns in between them. (But that's just how dedicated I am to my blog readers! I am happy to take a field trip on your behalf.) South San Francisco is where the San Francisco airport is located. There is a lot of industrial business in that area, including a ZIPPER FACTORY.

J.N. Zipper Office in South San Francisco

This place is called J.N. Zippers and I had a lot of fun visiting them recently. They are not a store front, but a business office, so I called first and asked if I could walk in and see (and buy) zippers. The building has a small office, and is backed by a warehouse/factory. In the office they have a desk with binders.

Binders of zipper samples.


Jumbo Snaps

Cord Stoppers

I was the only customer there and had lots of fun looking through everything. I created an order and Ivy, my contact, ran back into the factory to see if they had everything I wanted and how long it would take to fill my order, since I requested a few custom zippers.

My zipper-ordering workspace

Scalloped zipper

Zipper pulls

I still like Zipperstop, because YKK zippers are great quality, but there is a much greater variety at J.N. Zipper, and their zippers are also great quality. They have striped zippers, zippers with giant teeth, glow-in-the-dark zippers, glittery zippers, transparent zippers, rhinestone zippers. You need a camouflage zipper? They got that!

Camouflage zipper

It is a bonanza of zipper goodness.

For a small fee, they will customize a zipper for you - they can shorten it, or change out the zipper pull. They currently do not offer this on the Zprz website, so you need to call them to request this service.

Here are some linkies:

Transparent zippers

One other warning. When I was there, they told me that they are currently out of long striped zippers and have re-ordered them. It may take a couple weeks to get them in, but they will get more in.

Enjoy! I am always happy to enable! :)

Proud owner of a 2013 J.N. Zipper calendar, full of cute baby animals.

Saturday, July 20, 2013

Eggplant Pleather Moto Jacket - Kwik Sew 3764

I bought this eggplant-colored crocodile-embossed pleather over a year ago. (It looks black in some photos, but it is eggplant.) Originally I was planning to use it for a bag. But more recently I found myself wanting a moto jacket. In fact, I found myself wanting to make a moto jacket similar to Margy's. In the end, my jacket ended up being almost identical to Margy's. Before I made my jacket, I asked her if she minded and she graciously said that she did not.

Because my fabric was eggplant colored, the zipper choice proved to be a bit challenging. I looked for eggplant-colored zippers and could not find anything I liked - the closest I could find were purple. I didn't care for the look of solid black zippers with the fabric, so I tried a striped zipper and it worked, making my jacket even more like Margy's.

I found this fabric to be pretty easy to sew. It is a PVC fabric, but it is backed with a knit backing and it is not one of the "sticky" faux leathers. Even so, I used my Teflon foot, Teflon zipper foot, and a microtex needle.

The knit backing.

I topstitched using a Guterman topstitching thread in an eggplant color. I marked things (such as the pocket location) with scotch tape, and avoided putting pins through the PVC, except in the seam allowances. In places where it couldn't be avoided, such as when I positioned the zippers, I pinned into the "cracks" of the faux crocodile (as shown in the picture above with the zippers pinned in place), which really didn't create visible holes.

I used scraps of solid black Ambiance Bemberg lining for the pockets and the gusset behind the sleeve zippers. The jacket pattern is not lined, but I created a lining pattern. I used a black fabric with lavender and purple polka dots. It's a fairly thick taffeta-like fabric, much thicker than your typical lining fabric, but it worked.

Sleeve inside

Other alterations and modifications:

  • I made a size Medium. This measures 43" at the finished bust, which was enough width, but I still needed a vertical full bust adjustment. This is a princess seam design and, for a while, I was not sure how to do a vertical FBA without adding width. Then I woke up one morning with a flash of intuition on how do to this and it worked! I added 1-1/4" vertically for the bust.
  • I made view B, but I wanted the zipper pockets and zippered sleeves from view A. The pockets were very high, so I lowered them by 3". Since the view A jacket is shorter, it makes sense for the pockets to be located up higher.
  • Because I wanted to showcase the striped zippers, I made the zipper "windows" much wider than the pattern intended. The windows for the pockets and sleeves were 3/4" wide.
  • I narrowed the shoulder by 1-1/8".
  • I did not shorten the sleeve, which is pretty unusual for me.
  • I am not a huge fan of bagged linings, so I sewed the lining in by hand, which took two long evenings. I really prefer the result, though one of these days maybe I'll give a bagged lining another try.

This is a beautifully drafted pattern. It is OOP, but worth tracking down. I definitely plan to make another one or three. I am feeling moto jacket love. If you look at RTW, you will see moto jackets everywhere!

Thanks for your comments on my Barb pants! I wore them all day today (and am wearing them in these pics) and they were sooooo comfy. I went shopping with DD2 and also wore my new jacket. This color is really growing on me. :)

Lapels worn up
One lapel down

Pants That Fit! - Style Arc Barb

I've been suffering from a lack of well-fitting pants for awhile now. I bought a few pair of Not Your Daughters Jeans in a size 2 but, even those are big through the hips and baggy in the rear, though they are snug in the waist.

Some of my absolutely favorite pants are made from Style Arc patterns. For example, I have 5 or 6 pair of their Linda pants, but Style Arc come in a single size, so my size 10s are all too big on me. I've been waiting to buy more Style Arc patterns until my weight stabilized.

These pants are the Barb, which is an updated version of the Linda. They are a pull-on pant for stretch wovens.

About a month ago I attended a talk given by my friend Sarah Bunje, who used to teach sewing and fitting at Cañada College. The talk was on how to fit the crotch on pants and was especially targeted to those who, like me, have a flat butt. In my case, you need a microscope to find my butt, which is why, I guess, most pants swim on my behind, even if the front fits. (I used to use a smaller size in back, but that is harder since patterns don't always come in a small enough size for my rear.)

I used several tips from Sarah's talk on these pants. I removed a bit from the back crotch point, straightened the CB curve, and scooped a bit from the bottom of the back crotch curve. I think these minor tweaks were effective, though I might need further tweaking. It's a process.

The only other change I made was to shorten the pants. I cut off 3" and hemmed them at 1-1/2".

These pants are *so* comfy and fit me better than any other pants I currently own. I used a stretch woven purchased at Fabrix in anthracite (between charcoal grey and brown). This fabric washes and dries beautifully and resists wrinkling.

I love these pants! They will be a workhorse in my wardrobe and I can see making a lot more pairs!

I am really looking forward to ordering some Style Arc patterns in my new size. I generally only order 3 patterns at a time, so it will be hard to narrow it down! Not only have they added some wonderful new designs, but I need to buy some of my old favorites in my new size. For example, I can't wait to get a new copy of the Cassie pant, which is one of my favorite all time pants ever.

In typical San Francisco fashion, the weather has been sooooo cold, foggy and damp. It might be the middle of July, but I am full of fall thoughts and am happily browsing fall clothing on various websites. I live near the tallest mountain in San Francisco, Mt Davidson. It's covered with trees and has a giant cross at the top, but most people don't go up there, because the trees obscure the views. The following picture shows Mt Davidson, but you can't see it for the fog. I took this when I was taking my pictures at 10am today. I also turned on the heater in my house today. I try not to, but it was just so coooold.

Mt Davidson, somewhere behind the fog

Edgehill, also behind the fog