Thursday, February 21, 2008

Vogue 2987 Anne Klein ultra-suede jacket

Whew!! I have finally finished the ultra-suede jacket I started in September. What an ordeal. I worked on it a lot, first at the Sandra Betzina week-long sewing camp and then during the week that followed at home. At that point I hated it and put it aside to sew Halloween costume for bambino and something else quick. Then it was off on several long trips, chaos, Christmas and another trip. Finally this week I picked it up again and just about decided to give up on it. Thanks to my friends Kelly and Barbara who were here, saw it and encouraged me to continue. They had several helpful ideas. Kelly suggested I use heat and steam to unglue the fused together seams that I needed to alter. That worked. And Barbara suggested I leave off the buttons and buttonholes as it looked best open. With these suggestions I moved ahead and mostly solved the problems. I'm still not crazy about this but I'll wear it.

What were all the problems? First, the only fabric suggested to use is Ultra-suede. I have made 2 or 3 Ultra-suede jackets in the past with no problems. This pattern was just not designed well for this fabric. The biggest problem is the sleeve cap. Way too high with too much easing needed. After several attempts to set the sleeve in, Sandra helped me and couldn't do it either. We decided to cut almost 2 inches off the top of the sleeve cap. Then using lambs wool to help, set in the sleeves. They are still not pucker free but much better. Other big problem, no interfacing. Now this might be okay if you use the heavy Ultra-suede but imagine how impossible the sleeves would be then. I used the light weight suede called Facile. I had the collar all finished before realizing it was never going to look good. I had to go back in and add the interfacing after having trimmed seams and all. What a pain.

The seams all looked awful and there are a lot of seams. So I decided to fuse them down with "steam-a-seam". That helped a lot by smoothing and reducing puckering. Unfortunately, I couldn't tell until the lining and facing at the bottom hem was added that the back stuck out hideously, like a peplum but ugly. That is when I decided to take in the back seams at the lower back. I never knew fusing to hold so well! At that point I gave up until Kelly suggested reheating the areas. Doing this I was able to open the seams and do the necessary ripping and alterations.

After getting things back together again I decided that the hand tacking that the pattern suggests as the method to hold the collar together was never going to look good. So I stitched in the ditch at the collar to hold it crisply. Understitching as suggested didn't help the facing from rolling out and all the outer edges looked bad. So I added topstitching all around. The lower back facing was to be stitched only to the lining. Well of course it hung and sagged. So I stitched in the ditch at the back waist seam there also.

I had cut out the sleeves as per the pattern with the buttoned vents. By the time I got to that point I was mad at the jacket and didn't want to go to that trouble. Then I decided to leave off the buttons on the front and it made sense to not have buttons on the sleeves. I just stitched the sleeve together and cut off the vent extension.

I can't remember ever having a pattern that I needed to change so many things just to make it work.

Friday, February 15, 2008

Burda WOF 9/2007 jumper

This pattern is shown as a trendy update of a 60's look. Burda says: "We've always kept up with the trends! When the pinafore dress/jumper became popular in the Sixties, Burda had the pattern (9/1964). This garment is now celebrating a comeback, and we feature it, of course!"

Here's Burda's description: This saucy pinafore dress/jumper is shows loads of Sixties' swing? The hemline nips the kness, the waist seam is slightly raised and a wide, shaped, self-fabric belt cinces it to the waist. Wear it over a close-fitting turtleneck pullover for the true-to-style look.

Personally I don't think these garments look that much alike. The sixties jumper had the waist at the natural waistline with a leather belt, no pleats and pockets and a higher neckline. Oh well, I guess they think it is similar.

I wanted to make this garment when I first saw this issue of the magazine. Finally I have made it from a fabric I have had in my stash for many, many years. I bought it from my 87 year old neighbor who had had it for many years. No telling how old it is. Somehow it miraculously survived without moth holes or other damage. I thought I had a lot more fabric than I needed but this old fabrics are narrow and I barely got this cut from what I had.

I'm not crazy about how this looks on me although it fits okay after my varied alterations. It just looks plastered on me. However, the photos spurred me on to renewed vigor with my diet and I'm now 3 pounds lighter than when the photos were taken. Hopefully it looks a bit better.

It is easy to sew if you mark accurately. Of course I didn't so I had to fiddle a lot with the pleats to get them symmetric and centered. I wouldn't recommend it for a beginner as the instructions, although complete, are a bit puzzling when it comes to the bodice finishing which is very clever but hard to understand without illustrations. This is the instruction that befuddles." If you sew up to that point and hold the fabric in position this will make sense. In the abstract it doesn't. This technique gives a nice finish to the bodice at the shoulders and armholes.

I followed Diane's approach from her review on Pattern Review ( the rest of the finishing. This creates a really polished bodice. However, in spite of the alterations I did before cutting out, I needed to go back and take in the underarms. This was awkward to do with the nice finished bodice and would have been easy with the Burda approach. Maybe that is why they construct it they way they show.

Thursday, February 14, 2008

McCall's 5529 Wrap top/jacket

This is an easy top presented as an unlined jacket. Suggested fabrics are silk, linen, gabardine, wool crepe, wool blends, AND stable knits. I made it from a sort of stable knit which makes it seem more like a wrap top than a jacket. I think all the other fabrics would be more jacket like.

I made this as a gift for my DIL who is 3 inches shorter than me and smaller all over. I fear that it may be too big for her as, in spite of attempting to make it smaller to her measurements, it still fit me except for being a bit short waisted. Hopefully it will still work for her as she can overlap the wrap more and sash it tighter.

The pattern has two peplum styles, gathered and smooth. We chose the smooth one. The pattern also has long sleeves which are pushed up in one view. She decided to go with 3/4 sleeves which was a simple alteration.

I like this top and may make one for myself now that I have the pattern fit to me!!