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Sunday, March 26, 2017

The end of Greenery, with McCall's skirt M5336





 I finally got to the end of my 3 metre x 260 cm piece of green quilting cotton - I just managed to squeeze out this skirt.

It's hard to see from the picture, but this skirt actually has it's kick pleat at the front - if you look closely you can just about see it.

I used McCall's M5336, a long OOP pattern:



 The line drawing will give you a good idea of the pleat/split detail at the front of the skirt:




I modified the pattern top suit my shape - which basically meant pulling out a pattern that had been previously modified and shaping this skirt to match it.  Sort of 8 hips, 14 waist.  And I added slanted pockets at the sides of the front of the skirt:


The pleat sits at the front like this:



The pleat did not finish nicely inside - per courtesy of the pattern instructions, so next time I make this I shall finish this area quite differently.  It was sort of overlock, cut seam, and fold hem, leaving a raw edge at the top of the split.  I covered that with bias binding and then did a block of decorative top-stitching outside so that the fix looked deliberate. I guess the binding and top-stitching reinforce the area nicely:



And of course, a lapped zip, my usual, especially when I can't get an invisible zip to match. A skirt hook and eye closure underneath:


I made the waist quite large, and I think this works nicely, as it sits just a bit down from my waist.  I do think it feels comfortable this way.

With no pleat at the back, I do not have to worry about getting the back split/pleat in the right place, something I never quite seem to achieve.

Quick views now:




That's it for this week - a short post, but I am really tired today, and was most disinclined to even write this. But I wanted to put the green behind me, and then move on blogwise to something else!

So, I'll sign off now and wish you well, and see you next week, hopefully a little more chatty than I am this week.

Bye for now,

Sarah Liz


Saturday, March 18, 2017

Continuing in Green, Butterick Jacket B5701.




I did get rather a lot of this green quilt backing cotton - 3 metres X 260cms, @ $3.00 per metre! - but thought it would be about the right price to experiment with. So far, a dress (great pattern),  trousers (great pattern) , and now this simply, boxy, jacket.

Which I love, even though it is square and boxy, and some would say unflattering. Not to my eyes, it's just a relaxed, wearable, classic shape as far as I am concerned.

The pattern I used was Butterick B5701, a See and Sew version of a jacket that was also in the main jacket section at 4 times the price :



I really liked the straight lines on this jacket, and the seaming and top stitching.  I also wanted to try an unlined jacket, because tailored, fully lined jackets, which I can do reasonably well, are just not what I tend to wear much of the year in a sub tropical climate.  The fabrics recommended were line, poplin, lightweight denim, and lightweight broadcloth.  My cheap old cotton is a  bit stiff, so I thought it would impersonate denim quite well, and give me a good idea of the sort of result expected.


As the fabric was cheap, I  did not bother with a muslin, but went straight into the jacket. As you can see from the main pattern picture, it has a large amount of ease built into the style.  I decided to go with this, more to see what the results were like than anything else. I cut size 10 neck and shoulders, 12 back, and 14 front.  I often use this combination of sizes (or size 8, 10/12-14) and it normally works, but I think next time I will go down to 10 back and 12 front.  

I settled on 3/4 sleeves, because this will be a late summer/early autumn sort of jacket.  I liked the collared version, so that is what I did.

All seams were flat felled, which I love to do.  It gives a nice finish. I did not flat fell the side seams, but used a binding.  I also used a binding on the front facing.  I wanted to try these techniques, because, unbelievably, I have not done them before, in all my years of sewing.  I do think a trial run on a wearable muslin is a good idea with an untried technique, however simple, just to get the feel. The armholes were also bound, but I've done that before now, and don't mind doing this now - a year or so ago, I would still avoid binding - something I had never enjoyed, I suspect since childhood, were my first attempts at finishing binding by machine were a bit woeful.  Just one of my very few sewing blocks. 




 Then other things I will do quite happily, things like flat fell seams and top stitching for instance, which some people do not like to do.

And with this jacket I had plenty to satisfy me, with the back


And the pockets:


And the collar and collar band, and front band:



And, I even found buttons to match, but they are smaller than the recommended 28 mm, they are more 23 mm.  The pattern used 4 of these larger buttons, but with my smaller size, I though five were needed, so the buttonholes were re-spaced.

But of course, the winning feature in this jacket have to be the wonderful pockets:


And the nice shape on the side:




And the top stitching and seaming on the back, which you can't really see here:



Well, I hate to start saying goodbye with my back to you, so one more of the front:



I do like this jacket, and I think I would like to make another one day in a much better fabric, but I will go down a size.  It's wearable and relaxed, but still smart. 

I've nearly got to the end of the green posts - one more to go, the little green skirt.  Next week:


I drafted the side pockets myself.  An if you look very closely, you will see that there is a fold down the front, with a little kick pleat.  I love this variation , and will show you more closely next week.

Until then,

Hoping you are all well and happy,

Sarah Liz

Saturday, March 11, 2017

The long awaited Lisette Pant - Butterick 6331.


Finally, the Lisette pant that some of you have been patiently waiting for me to blog as some of you  have the pattern and want to know my thoughts.  I'm using the green craft fabric that I bought in quite a large quantity (it was $3.00 per metre for 260 wide - a quilt backing cotton) from Spotlight last year.  It's perfect for these pants, and and I love them!

Back to the pant, not my feelings about this pair. For those of you who do not know what pattern I am referring to above, it is Butterick 6331.



The Lisette pant is a classic tapered pant with some elements of jean styling  in that it has side pockets and back yoke.

Now, a few of you are wanting to know if this pattern works out nicely.  This is very hard to answer, in that it worked for me, but it may not work for you.  For a start, it has a straight waistband, and this might not work well for those of you who need a contoured waistband. I am a straight figure type, and have very slim hips and legs, so a straight waistband works for me.   The basic slim and tapered leg also works for my shape. But that is not to say that the pattern worked, certainly not  straight out of the envelope.  I did have to make quite a few alterations.

The pattern is designed to sit one inch or so below the waist.  Now this is always tricky, because you have no idea where the waist line is.  I need trousers that sit at my waist or they will slide down, which is really inconvenient, because you spend all day yanking them up, which is not a good look. So waisted pants for me.  I used size 8 hips and size 10 waist, because I thought that if it was designed to sit below the waist, then this would probably work for my 12 waist.  I did this by adding 1.75 inches through the torso of the pant.  I used size 12 crotch depth.  I altered the zip length and added length the to zipper facings. I shortened the pant at the hem by about 1 inch. The finished length is longer than that shown in the picture, but that is what I wanted.  I'm 160 cm tall (about 5'3 and a bit) for those of you who would like to know my height.

I also used my standard under bottom alterations, which take out some of the fullness, but not yet all.  More work needed here, but still, these fit better than any RTW, which were always saggy and baggy on me.

As I never wear a shirt tucked into pants, I omitted the belt carriers on the waistband.  I also added elastic to the middle of the back section of the waistband - I try and make waists a little larger than needed and then add elastic so that I can fluctuate in weight and not have to worry about pants fit.  It also helps with movement - there is some give when you bend over, with the pants otherwise snug enough to stay up.

The following picture will show the elastic insertion and the back yoke section. The picture after shows the front of the pant, with pocket and false fly front.  I used a trouser hook and press stud as waistband closures.





(I'm not sure what the water mark looking thing is on the photo, believe me it is not water - it's something the camera has cleverly done with no input from me!).

Now to show you the pants:







For those of you with an eye to detail you will see that there is slight tension at the pocket area - I will add extra here when I make the next pair of pants. The crotch is also slightly too low, so I will raise that next time.  I did not bar tack at pockets and zip because I did not have much green thread and Spotlight did not have any more - I needed to eke it out across the rest of the planned garments out of this fabric. Spotlight still does not have any, weeks later....

Still, I am not really going to do much more than poke a tissue into the pockets, and I never need to open zips down to the the bottom in any case, so I should be okay just like this. The pattern did not suggest bar tacks.

That's it for now, I do hope I am keeping up with your blogs.  I try to.

Next week, I shall blog the jacket:


I really like this jacket and can't wait to tell you about it next week.

Until then,

Wishing you all the best, wherever you are,

Sarah Liz

Saturday, March 4, 2017

Back Blogging with A Back Blog of McCalls 7466.



 I'm back blogging, and of course, I have a back log of blogs to blog (try saying that 10 times extremely quickly).  I needed to take a break from blogging - it can get quite tiring publishing a blog regularly for three years.  A well earned blog holiday was needed.

I also hit a bit of a low energy patch which even affected my desire to sew. What I do in those patches is make wearable muslins.  That way, I can keep in practice, try a new pattern and maybe get a decent garment to wear or at the very least find a pattern that is worth revisiting.

I try and find bits of fabric that are very cheap at Spotlight in order to make wearable muslins. This was one such piece - backing cotton for quilt making.  It was very wide (about 260 cms) and as it was only $3.00 per metre, I purchased three metres.  My original intent was to use it instead of muslin or calico for unwearable muslins (toiles) but I liked the fabric enough that I decided to risk garments.   Although I have to say it is a little thick and cardboard like.

For this dress, I used a McCall's pattern (M7466):



This is a princess seamed dress - as you can see, the seams run vertically all the way down the dress, and I thought this would be a good line for my straighter body. There is a waist seam as well, which I was not sure about as I don't have a waist, but I thought it would just go into the line of the garment.

The pattern suggests some quite thick materials -faux suede, corduroy, cotton blends, so I thought my thick cardboard like fabric might work.

I did a quick test of the bodice and it seemed to fit reasonably well.  I cut a 14 front, a 12 back, and added a little to the sides at the waist. I added small patch pockets to the front of the dress.  And the neckline was far too high, so I had to lower it.  I did this by trimming the garment's neck directly after I had sewn the bodice up. - not my favourite way of doing things, but needs must.  If you look at the pattern picture, you can see the neckline is running right across the models neck - how uncomfortable.  I also lowered the front waist a little as I knew it would ride up on me.  The pattern also uses yoke facings and a front facing.  I thought this was going to be a little thick given the fabric I was working with, and I chose to use a lawn lining in the bodice instead.  I also added 4 inches in length.

I did not like the large pockets shown on version D, nor do I like breast pockets.  I decided to do a small patch pockets on the skirt.

All the seams are topstitched,  which took up considerable time.  Just as well I like topstitching.  I did not like the way the pattern suggested double seaming and trimming next to the second line of stitching, then fold over and top stitch, so I flat felled the seams instead.

The hemline was very deep - two inches. This on an A-line shape.  I could see potential hemming problems here, and hemmed at 1.25 inches.  I also altered the shape of the seam at the hemline so that it did not flare out - I tapered it in slightly to get rid of some of the fullness normally pinched in.

The zipper insertion recommended by the pattern was a lapped zip.  The seam allowance for this was 5/8 inch.  Now, if you ever do a lapped zip, do yourself a favour and add a 1 inch seam allowance.  You will need this for and effective lap, and also to have enough allowance to stitch the zip in.




I think mastering a lapped zip is one of the best things I ever did - they are still really useful if you can't get an invisible zip that matches your fabric.

I have to admit that the cotton was absolutely horrible to work with, and my overlocker refused to do a good job with the armhole seams.  I looked at the mess, and covered it with binding:



Well, enough of the details, it's time for the pictures:






There is a little bit of fullness at the back, and generally, I have allowed a lot of ease with this garment. That is because I like to be able to move, and really don't like fitted garments at all unless they have stretch in them.  And when I bend over, I do need quite a bit of ease:



As far as the fabric is concerned, I think this will work for Autumn, but I would like a nice, lightweight one next summer. The fabric is a bit thick and bulky, but when you think about it, so were the fabrics recommended by the pattern - faux suede and corduroy.  Scuba was also on the list.

I can't help but think this dress would actually work better in a lighter weight fabric.  So next summer, I shall find out.  I am putting the altered pattern to one side so that it can be remade in something a little softer.

That's it for now, my Fit and Finish dress for the Make a Garment a Month group's February theme:


Next week I will show you the Lisette trousers:


Now, these really are a fun pair of pants and the firmer fabric works well.  But I will tell you all these next week.

For now, wishing you all the best, wherever you are,

Sarah Liz