Friday, March 20, 2015

Vogue 1378 - Black pants in embossed knit + baby pictures

Y’all, I’ve made some pants.

Big deal, right? I’ll bet you make pants all the time. You’re a wizard at crotch curves and the fish-eye dart and all the pants making things. Yeah. Well, in all the almost 7 years I’ve been blogging (!!!) I think I’ve made one pair of pants and one pair of knee-length crops. Oh and a pair of shorts or two. I’m not scared of them per say, it’s just that I’m more interested in making things that I can’t afford to buy or can’t find to fit me very well. Pants I can readily find in stores at prices I’m willing to pay, so unless it’s a unique design or some sort of suit coordinate, you probably won’t find me stitching any up.

These happened to be a unique design. Also they have loads of topstitching. (The top I'm wearing in these pictures is Vogue 8536, made way back in November of 2008.)

The pattern is Vogue 1378, part of the Donna Karan designer collection. You can see nothing of significance in the envelope picture, but the line drawing revealed some really cool construction lines, fun vented hemline, and miles of topstitching. I had to give them a try, but first I had to find the perfect fabric. I read the description for this black floral ponte de roma on Mood Fabric’s website and was intrigued. After my swatch came in the mail I knew instantly what I was going to do with it.

You probably thought they were just plain black, right? In normal lighting conditions the embossed floral motif is subtly noticeable. This fabric is really soft and has a slight sheen to it. Most of the construction of these pants are unfinished lapped seams, so the fact that my fabric didn’t fray or curl in the slightest made it perfect for the design.

There was quite a bit of thread switching going on while I was working on these. First I would stitch them together with black thread to get the placement right, then I would go back with heavy duty gray thread to do the 2 rows of topstitching. It was very much like a puzzle – I had to stitch together two pieces, topstitch, trim the excess away, rethread back to black, figure out where the next piece went, get it positioned, and repeat the process again.

Before cutting out the fabric I made a muslin out of an ugly stretch woven from my stash. It revealed that the pattern was super long, really tight from the knees down, and really tight at the hips. I decided I wanted to leave the bottom of these unhemmed, so I trimmed away the hem allowance as well as another inch in length. I also took an inch of length out around the knee area in a process that is too convoluted to describe. Then I added 3″ to the bottom leg width, tapering to nothing right above the knees. I added 2″ to the width of the hips and lengthened the top of the pants 1/2″.

A sharp scissors and a steady hand is a must if you are thinking of making these up.

The waistband is a simple fold over elastic one. The instructions want you to cut the elastic to your waist measurement plus 3″, which I totally ignored. I can’t have my pants falling down while I’m chasing my kids around!

I had a lot of fun making these. After the muslin and the altering of the pattern was completed, the actual sewing went quickly. This design is pretty unique, but I just might make it up again if ever I run across another perfect fabric.

Now, I want to let you in on a little secret. This fabric is not really ponte de roma at all - Mood has mislabeled it. Is is actually a nice weight scuba knit, which I have been wanting to work with for awhile. When I got my sample in the mail I knew instantly what it was. If you've been wanting to try your hand at working with scupa I would snap some up. At $14 a yard and in black it's an awesome buy. The thing with scuba fabrics is they don't want to lay flat at the seamlines. I did try ironing it at first but the heat made the embossed pattern disappear from the fabric face somewhat. For the interior leg seams I topstitched in black thread. The crotch seam is the only thing that's not topstitched down, but it's only a small part of the garment and doesn't bother me.

Here's a few pictures of my baby boy in case you want to see how he's growing. He has the most beautiful blue eyes. My mother and FIL both have blue eyes, so the gene is on both sides of our family, but Joshua is the only one of us that got them. His hair looks like it will either be blond or strawberry blond. Only Nathan was this bald as a baby and he has red hair.

Note: This fabric was purchased with my Mood Fabrics monthly allowance, as part of my participation in the Mood Sewing Network.

Tuesday, March 10, 2015

Vogue 1092 - Green wool sequined skirt

I found this interesting wool on Mood Fabrics’ website by searching the word “sequins”. Wool, sequins, embroidery, and flowers in yellow? That’s definitely my kind of fabric. I knew it was wide with a sequined border on both edges, so I only got a yard thinking I would make some sort of skirt. Making my TNT straight skirt seemed too boring, so I went looking for a pattern where I could use the sequined border in a more interesting manner. Enter this OOP Tracy Reese pattern, Vogue 1092. I always gravitate to unusual designs and absolutely loved the way this one was constructed.

I used the borders for the “bands” that criss-cross the front and continue onto the back and I had fabric fumes left over. If I’d gotten 1.5 yards I really could have matched the side seams perfectly. A fun feature of this design is that some of the pieces are cut on bias and some on straight grain. In a striped fabric it would be much more apparent then this herringbone, which just means I’ll have to make it up again.

I made a muslin and it fit well right out of the envelope in my normal size after a few tweaks to the waistband. I don’t usually go for skirts below my knees. A good bit of my height comes from my long torso, so I need my knees showing to avoid looking stumpy. However, I didn’t want to cut off the kick pleat with godet insert at the center back, so I kept it the original length.

The backs are cut on the bias enabling the front bands to wrap around to the back of the skirt. So fun! I'm wearing my ivory silk jersey top to complete the outfit.

This wool behaved very well and ironed beautifully. It is scratchy, though. I would not suggest using it without a lining or for a jacket with collar unless you like that scratchy wool feeling on your skin.

Dressform pictures:

Here’s a close-up of the kick pleat and the herringbone print. This was my first time making this type of detail and I quite like it! It looks kind of 40′s vintage to me.

The lining I made from a lovely dark olive silk charmeuse, also from Mood Fabrics. This fabric is just heavenly. I’m starting to realize not all silk charmeuse fabrics are created equally. Some is thin and cheap but this stuff is medium weight and just gorgeous. I’m thinking of getting some more yardage for a pretty night gown or other form of lounge wear.

I actually finished this skirt in mid February but every weekend since then it’s been overcast and rainy around here. Finally yesterday the sky brightened up a bit between rain storms and I was able to get some pictures taken. And now that it’s daylight saving time, I can get pictures during the week and not just on the weekends. Yet another reason to love spring and summer!

Note: Both fabrics were purchased with my Mood Fabrics monthly allowance, as part of my participation in the Mood Sewing Network.