Friday, January 23, 2015

Paris Pants a la Marcy Tilton

This is so weird for me! I am having to force myself to blog lately. This is a first in my 5+ years of blogging. This is not related to my sewing mojo, by the way. I am feeling a LOT of enthusiasm for sewing!

Last weekend I whipped up a pair of jeans!

But let's back up a moment.

My absolutely favorite jeans to wear are my black stretch jeans with the internal seams outlined with white topstitching. I've counted three pair that I have made, but there may be more that I've forgotten about. All of these are in frequent rotation.

You can click on any image to learn more.

Last year, Marcy Tilton was inspired by a pair of jeans she saw in a Paris shop window. She later posted instructions on how to modify her skinny pant, Vogue 8859, to replicate those pants.

Last weekend, I used her instructions to make my own pair of these great pants. I had made Vogue 8859 before, so I had a solid starting point.

I refer you to Marcy's post for specifics on how to do these alterations. In addition to her alterations, I created a slanted front pocket, since I really need pockets in my pants!

Lining of slant pocket

It's so handy to use my backup machine for the heavy duty, contrasting, topstitching thread.

I've worn these pants three times this week, so they will definitely be a wardrobe workhorse!

Thanks, Marcy!

Sunday, January 18, 2015

Reversible New York Cape

I finally finished my cape!

When I wrote a post about different types of capes last October, I was already working on this one. I had to put it aside for awhile, and then it sat and sat, decorating my dress form. All it lacked was buttons.

But let's back up a bit.

This is a downloadable pattern from Tessuti. It comes only in one size. I didn't muslin this pattern, but I did tissue fit the paper pattern. I was with Georgene at the time, and she recommended a rather novel approach to the FBA. She suggested that I raise the shoulder seam on the front only, as shown in the following pic:

It's a rather unconventional approach, but Georgene got the idea by reading the wrinkles on the paper pattern as I was modeling it, and it gave me more room in the front. I didn't make any other changes to the pattern.

Georgene also suggested that I make the cape to be reversible.

I liked her suggestion but, grumble grumble, it meant more work for me, and more fabric to acquire. The main fabric is an incredibly soft wool knit from Emma One Sock. The other side is a charcoal-colored, water repellant fabric from Fabrics R Us, purchased the same day I went to PIQF.

The pattern has no pockets, but I wanted pockets on each side, so I spent time dithering over what sort of pockets to use. Have you noticed that these sorts of details require much cogitation? At least they do for me.

For the wool side, I made zipper pockets.

For the solid side I made patch pockets with a "window" opening. (I think I first saw this pocket on Pinterest long ago.)

Patch pockets ready to sew on

Completed pocket

This cape is mostly "open", like a poncho, but a button at each side creates some shaping, as shown in the following technical drawing:

Since I wanted the cape to be reversible, I had to get creative. I decided to put a buttonhole on the front and the back at each side seam. I then created button "cuff links" to go through the buttonholes on each side. Since this fabric has some loft, I used a piece of foam, with a slit cut out, to sew the button cuff links so that there would be about 1/4" of thread between them:

The shiny buttons are for the waterproof side. The artsy buttons are for the wool side.
I purchased the buttons at Britex.

A completed button cuff link

The buttons at CF are sewn on normally. This means that when I wear the cape with the waterproof side out, the left side buttons over the right. C'est la vie.

The cape is finished with a beautiful wrap-around binding that I purchased at Britex. I sewed it on by hand—it took me two days to complete.

Yes, those are polka dot socks

mem wanted me to twirl, so I removed the side buttons and let it fly!
Thanks to mem for these pics!

Tuesday, January 13, 2015

Floral Denim Jacket with Faux Piping

Whaaaaat?!?! Is Shams wearing a floral?!

A year ago I made a Sandra Betzina blouse as a jacket. I have worn that jacket a number of times and I wanted to revisit this pattern and make some changes: to lengthen the hem and the sleeves, add the button closure (which I'd left off of the previous version), and to use a stretch woven for increased wearing ease. When I saw this beautiful double-sided, stretch denim on Marcy Tilton's site, I snapped it up.

When I was sewing this up over the end-of-year break, I was having some trouble pinning the darts properly so I visited my friend, Ronda Chaney, head of the fashion department at Cañada College, and she pinned them for me. She also suggested that I add slits at the hem. Thanks so much, Ronda!

Here is the full list of modifications:

  • A generous FBA using a side dart.
  • Lengthened the hem by several inches.
  • Added side hem slits.
  • Faux piping along the front edges and the sleeve hems. This is done by "favoring" or exposing the facings just slightly. Topstitching in the ditch secures the mock piping in place. (Of course, you must also sew the facings on "backwards" to expose the other side, or use a contrasting fabric.)
  • Constructing the faux piping.

    I love the fluted collar on this pattern.

  • Omitted the sleeve pleats. Rather than lengthening and tapering the main sleeve piece, I decided to draft a lantern cuff for the rectangularly shaped sleeve.
  • Lantern cuff. You can also see the faux piping on the cuff and the hem slit.

  • Added pockets! I spent some time thinking about how to do this. In the end, I used a pocket inside a pocket. The inside pocket used the solid blue side of the denim and is much shallower than the larger outer pocket. This is perfect for my cell phone and tissues. The pockets are cut cross grain to take advantage of the wonderful selvedge.
  • Inner and outer pockets, before attaching. The fabric selvedge is at the top of both pockets.

    Completed pocket. The outer pocket is roughly 8" by 10".

  • Replaced the functional buttons with decorative buttons and snaps. The buttons that I found at Stone Mountain & Daughter were 1.5" across. I didn't want 1.5" buttonholes, so I sewed them on decoratively and added snaps.
  • Decorative button.

This denim was a dream to sew and very comfy to wear because it's extremely soft and stretchy. I expect to get a lot of wear from this!

Thanks to mem for the pictures!

Vogue 1385

P.S. I just saw on Sandra Betzina's Facebook page that she had surgery recently to repair pain in her neck, arm, and shoulders. It's so good to hear that she'll be in top form again soon!

Sunday, January 4, 2015

Happy New Year Around the World

Hola, Chicas! And Happy 2015 to you!

I believe that this has been the longest break I have ever taken from my blog.

I've even received a few emails from folks who were wondering what was up.

The short explanation is that I just haven't felt like blogging. Since starting my new job one year ago, I was really pushing myself to keep up the blog and it's been a bit of a challenge.

But, don't worry, you can't get rid of me that easily. I just needed to contract a bit, to breathe in.

The lovely Gayle Ortiz asked me to participate the Around the World Blog Hop last year. I agreed, and then I missed my posting deadline of Dec 22nd. I just didn't have it in me. I had spent three months (since mid October) preparing for the holidays and it was going into high gear about then.

So, let me do it now.

Gayle's Around the World Blog Hop post was stunning. Breathtaking. Mind boggling.

Such talent.

Mine will be different. I am using mine to inject a little introspection. I have been doing a lot of that, lately.

#1. What am I working on?

I have taken the last two weeks off work, combining some precious vacation days with paid holidays. At first I hoped to climb into my sewing hole and then pull the hole in behind me, churning out some significant work, but it didn't quite happen that way.

I found myself sewing slowly. Moving slowly. Deciding slowly. Finding other things to do. More of the burn out, I think, but I didn't want to regret having two weeks of potential sewing time "wasted", so I pushed through it, doing a little every day. (After Christmas, at least. No sewing occurred before the holiday.)

I currently have 4 projects in flow:

  • A cape that I started well over a month ago, around the time I did a blog post about capes. It is almost finished and it's been ornamenting my dress form. All that remains are the closures, but I set it aside to work on the Miyake jacket last November. DD2 saw it on Christmas Eve and loved it. She was surprised I had made it and it made me wonder if she's paying any attention. ;) It looked great on her, so if I tire of it, I know who to give it to. I just need to finish it.
  • A jacket using a pattern I've made before, but in a larger size, so I had to start over with a new pattern and all of the alterations. I was having a heck of a time getting the darts to look right, so I visited my good friend, Ronda Chaney, head of the fashion department at Cañada College, who helped me out. (Yes, I'm a lucky brat, to have friends like this.)
  • A couple months ago, I was shopping with my friend, Renee, in a local boutique that I like. I tried on a jacket that a) was very expensive, b) didn't really fit my bust, and c) didn't have POCKETS. I've always liked pockets, but since taking my new job, I find that pockets are essential. So I decided to replicate the jacket - it's a great shape on me and I can see it in lots of fabrications. I found an OOP Vogue pattern that has the right bones, and I traced it off, graded it up, altered it for me, and changed the style lines. I whipped up a muslin and took it along when I met with Ronda. She made several edits so I altered the pattern and made up muslin #2. I took it along when I was going to see my pattern drafting friend and Sewing Diva, Georgene. Many more refinements ensued and my next step will be to make a trial version. (Like I said, I'm a lucky brat to have such friends.)
  • Three years ago, I found some really cool notions at a local sewing store, but I had no idea how to use them. I brought some of them along to DOL in Taos hoping that inspiration would strike. It didn't. I get them out, every so often, and try to figure out what to do with them. I've made a few samples, but they continued to stump me. Then, last week, I had a flash of inspiration. I've ordered a bit of fabric that I hope will work, and I have more experimenting to do, but I'm excited about this idea. So we'll see.

I'm also doing some knitting. Yes, knitting. :)

#2. How does my work differ from others of its genre?

Well, I don't know of any other blogger in her mid 50s with überboobs, but with small hips and legs. I have a very particular shape that I sew for and a fairly specific style. I'm a niche blogger, and I'm ok with that.

#3. Why do I create what I do?

This is who I am. If you wonder who Shams is, this is it. This is when I feel most alive, most inspired, most authentic. Make of that what you will. :)

#4. How does my creating process work?

That is the million dollar question, isn't it? I think the truth is that my creative inner eye is pretty much always "on". Sitting on the subway, flipping through a magazine, walking along the street... I take note of things that appeal to me, surprise me, interest me. I love snoop shopping, it is pretty much one of my favorite activities to revive a flagging mojo, but my other favorite is the internet - Pinterest, googling, online sites. There is so much to inspire.

So, thanks to Gayle, for asking me to participate! I confess that I am not a fan of these hops when they are called blog "awards", but rename it to a hop and I'm in. ;) I have asked a number of bloggers (who haven't yet participated) if they would like to continue the chain after me, but all either declined or didn't respond, so I will let this thread die with me.

What Else is Up?

Those of you who've read my blog for awhile know that I don't do an end-of-year roundup in January. I do mine on my blogiversary in August, when I also do a giveaway. I don't do resolutions, but I do make plans. Last year I started a new job just before the new year and, while it's been the best year of my professional career, other things have suffered. This year I plan to focus on health and to do as much traveling as possible, given my limited vacation time. To that end, I plan to attend Puyallup Sew Expo, and a meet up with some sewing friends in the spring. I also plan to attend a health retreat next summer.

Imagine that. Travel with no sewing focus.

Happy 2015! May there be a lot more peace everywhere!

With silhouettes of my daughters made when they were 7 and 9. The 9-year-old was already a student at San Francisco Ballet, hence the "bun head".