Sunday, August 19, 2012

A wadder of sorts

Months ago I saw this skirt on the Australian Tessuti blog and fell in love with it:

So when I found a similar fabric at, I knew just what it was going to become. Unfortunately, I had a number of problems. For starters, I only bought a yard, and a big chunk of it had the flowers sewn down with the dull side of the ribbon showing. I didn't want part of my skirt shiny and part matte, so I couldn't use that part. I figured out that I cold put a center back seam in it and squeeze the skirt out of the remaining shiny part.

I did not intend to leave it without a hem.

Cute, right? Except:

Ugh! Messy side seams! The backs matched perfectly, BTW, I just didn't have enough fabric to make the sides match up. And honestly, I wasn't even thinking about it. Yes, I realize nobody would have noticed but me. I tried to forget about that awful twinning. I let the skirt rest for a day to think about it, but I just couldn't leave it that way. Brainstorm! Why not add silky panels down the side seams in a matching rosy pink like tuxedo pants have:

More ugh! What a puckered mess! I couldn't iron on those flowers to get a crisp edge to the side panel and the stretchy mesh behind the ribbon roses pulled it out of shape. I could take the side panels off and add some interfacing, but by this time I had decided it wasn't going to be very flattering anyway. For someone who is always trying to make her top half look more proportionate to her bottom half, that much texture and shine on my bottom half wasn't the best idea.

Bummer! However, I think I can refashion the skirt pieces into something else. It will need to be a garment for my upper half, and it needs to at least have 3/4 sleeves because the roses are slightly scratchy. Anyone have a good idea? I am open for suggestions.

Monday, August 6, 2012

Butterick 5616 - White textured cotton crop jacket

For the last several years, I have been on the hunt for a casual white jacket. I already have two cropped jackets in my wardrobe - one in denim and one in tan - and they get worn all the time in the fall and winter. I like a casual jacket to be slightly fitted, have pockets or a collar for some volume up top, and it definitely needs to be washable. Not finding any that fit the bill, it finally dawned on me to make my own.

I used a textured medium weight cotton stretch fabric that's been in my stash for at least 10 years. This was the first textured fabric I ever bought. I found it at JoAnn's and loved it so much that I never could decide on a project good enough for it.

The pattern description is for a "very loose fitting jacket", so I cut a size 8 - normally I cut size 10 for my top half. I did not make a muslin because it's not fitted, but maybe I should have. I wanted the length of the cropped jacket but also wanted the bottom band of the regular length, so I chopped 2 inches off the bottom. I also cut 2.5 inches off the bottom of the sleeves because I wanted them to end just past the elbows.

This was suppose to be an easy project as I was coming off yet another wadder, but it was anything but. Even though I'd cut an 8, the back as still really wide. Of course I did not notice this until the back band was attached and completely slip stitched down along the inside. Thankfully I had not yet topstitched. Off it came and I had to go back and taper the side back seams in a total of 2 inches. Those had already been topstitched. The sleeves were really wide as well, and were pulled in a total of 1 inch. The rest was pretty standard as far as jackets go, but my machine did not want to sew the button holes on this stretchy cotton. I had added interfacing along the button band, but only on the top side, so the bottom side stretched horribly. Ripping out teeny tiny machine stitched button holes over and over is incredibly frustrating. I almost threw it in the trash and the only reason I persevered was because I did not want to go another week without something to put on this blog. Funny, right?

Let's just pretend my shirt is not tucked up in my waistband, okay?
I eliminated the buttons on the cuffs because I did not want my elbows sticking out of the small openings and also because I forgot to buy the buttons for them. I cut the collar, yokes, sleeve cuffs, bottom band, pocket and pocket flaps on the cross grain. The underside of the pockets and sleeve cuffs were cut in cotton sheeting fabric left over from the lining of this dress. I also underlined the yokes with it so they would not stretch down with the weight of the jacket.

These buttons are pure white, I promise.

You can see the underlined yokes and perhaps the seams finished with my overlocking foot in the next
picture. I've always had some weird fear of underlining but it was actually really easy.

This pattern has a lot of details that make it look like a RTW denim jacket. I particularly love all the topstitching, although you can't really see it with my textured fabric. Now that I've figured out how to get the fit I like, I can definitely see myself making it again.