Monday, October 13, 2014

Vogue 1200 - Black + white houndstooth jacket w/ black leather inserts

I am on an outerwear kick. There is a whole pile of these types of garments in my queue that always gets shoved to the side for pretty dresses or simpler patterns. No more! I love outerwear and can't currently make fitted things anyway. Might as well stitch them up. This particular pattern is an Anne Klein design that came out in 2010. I purchased it right when it was released, decided on the fabric, and placed them both in my "winter planned garments" bin. As far as I know nobody ever made the jacket and blogged or wrote a review about it, and the pattern went out of print. Which is really too bad because it is a great design with some lovely details.

The design details I liked include the over-sized collar, bias sleeve and hem bands, bias sides (although I ended up changing those), two-piece sleeves, snap closures and topstitching. I decided to change the sides and undersleeves to leather for an on-trend look. In the end I had barely enough houndstooth for what you see, so that decision saved me from wasting my fabric.

The fabric is a woven houndstooth of mystery content purchased locally, most likely from Hancock fabrics. It is really thick but has a loose weave, so that it shed like crazy and had some drape. It did iron well, though, so there must be some cotton or rayon in it. It does not feel like polyester. I am not sure how insulated from low temps I am going to be wearing this jacket. However, because I live in southern Texas, I still think it will get plenty of wear.

Cutting this jacket out was almost the death of me. There are 19 pattern pieces, most of which are cut twice. Then, because the jacket is almost fully interfaced, you cut them all again in interfacing. I matched the houndstooth print across the fronts and made sure each side mirrored the other. This all had to be done on a single layer of fabric, and I used my triangle to make sure everything was square before I cut into it. I spent 4 days cutting it all out and really sweated those last few pieces fearing I wouldn't have enough fabric.

I was a little fearful this big collar would obliterate the shape of my shoulders, but it sort of curves up at the edges. I'm not sure if this is by intention on the part of the pattern designer or is caused by using a really thick fabric, but I really love the playfulness of it. Besides changing the sides to leather, the only two other deviations I made were to leave off the interfacing on the undercollar and omit the shoulderpads. With a collar covering a good bit of the shoulders, I didn't feel them necessary.

The lining is black Ambiance bought from JoAnne's. A nice thing about this pattern is the facing and lining to not meet up over a bust apex. Lots of big 4 patterns do and you end up with a seam right over the bust, which isn't too flattering. I also appreciate having a back facing.

You may notice something a bit different going on at the bottom of the lining. It is actually finished with a piece of grosgrain ribbon as per the instructions. This was my first time doing anything like this, and it really gave it a nice finish without the need to handstitch the bottom lining to the jacket.

I used large brass snaps from my stash for the closures. These use to come in black as well, but I thought the brass a nice change from all the black and white already present on the jacket. I went to replenish these the other day and they were no longer carried at Hancock fabrics. Hopefully JoAnne's still has them or I will have to find an online source instead. Sewing on these snaps really takes some time since I like to make sure all the snap holes are consistently the same along the entire edge.

The leather I used was purchased years ago from They use to carry leather skins every fall and have a half off sale around Thanksgiving each year. I have a nice collection of colors and weights now that I'm slowly working my way through. I did interface the leather on the body to give it the same weight as the houndstooth body fabric. The sleeves were left un-interfaced, also per the instructions, so that they can bend easily and not look stiff.

Topstitching through two layers of thick fabric and two layers of interfacing was a bear. I had to stuff everything under my machine foot and the thread broke over any seams. I also broke at least 4 needles before wising up and using a more substantial leather needle.

Dressform pictures:

This project took at least 2 weeks to complete because of all the steps involved, but I had a lot of fun making it. The fabric behaved itself nicely and once I saw how flippy the collar was I got really excited. I'm extremely happy with the fit. I did not muslin since this jacket is suppose to be somewhat loose fitting, and I love how it skims the body without being overly boxy.

Friday, October 10, 2014

Vogue 9006 - Dark olive cowl-neck silk blouse

Here’s the latest installment for my silk blouse collection, this time with short sleeves. The fabric is a lovely dark olive silk charmeuse from Mood fabrics – now sold out – but they have lots of other prints and colorways available. To add interest I used the shiny side for the front and the matte side for the back, back collar and sleeves.

The pattern is Vogue 9006, view B. I made a straight size 12 and cut 2″ off the hemline of the pattern pieces before cutting out my fabric for less of a tunic look. The back and back collar were cut on the straight grain instead of bias, just because I wasn’t sure how it would hang with a bias back. Obviously the front needed bias to get a nice cowl drape.

I washed and dried this fabric before cutting into it. Silk charmeuse does look it’s best when dry cleaned, I’ve found, but this girl does not dry clean on the regular. Lined and tailored dresses and skirts, yes. Everyday blouses, no.

I found that this pattern has a lovely fitted shape for a pull on design. There are no zippers or buttons but look how nicely it contours to my dressform. I will definitely be using this pattern again.

 I starched the bias front along the top, bottom and arm holes before attempting to stitch it. This is an old trick of mine when dealing with bias garments. As long as you plan to wash your finished item, it’s a great way to make sure the seams don’t stretch out while you work with them.

I turned under the cowl facing once and stitched to give it a nice finish. Everything else was sewn with french seams, as I do all my silk blouses. The hems are machine blind-stitched.

This was a simple and fun blouse to stitch up. I have hardly any green in my closet and I thought this color perfect for fall. I also ordered a wool tweed in olive to make a matching skirt, but that will have to wait until I can muslin it to my body.

I actually finished an awesome jacket before this blouse but want to get a picture of it on me and haven't been able to find the time. Hopefully I'll post that this weekend. Currently I'm working on an unlined jacket in wool boucle that is looking promising. I seem to be having a very productive fall sewing wise, which is sure to come to a grinding halt when baby boy arrives. ;)