Monday, February 22, 2010

Jazz Cats diaper bag

My #2 son and his wife Rachel are expecting a baby in April.  I made another diaper bag from the Simplicity pattern I used 3 years ago to make the sock monkey bag for #1 son and his wife Suzanne. The previous bag was such a success that it was totally worn out. This time I decided to use a fabric that son #2, also a musician, might enjoy. There are jazzy cats playing congas and other instruments. I combined this with 2 other coordinated music fabrics. With the scraps I made 3 envelopes with velcro closures to help organize inside the bag and also a changing mat with a strap to hold it rolled up. I thought I had taken a bunch of photos to document this one a few weeks ago but they have disappeared. Maybe I imagined taking the photos. I did get just two at the shower this weekend. 

Thursday, February 11, 2010

Vogue1097 Sandra Betzina Coat

Sandra Betzina's coat pattern described thusly: "Loose fitting, lined or unlined coat below hip or mid-calf has two-piece raglan sleeves with sleeve tabs with Velcro closure forming cuffs to hold sleeve fullness, two-piece hood with elastic casing, optional shoulder pads and belt, concealed separating zipper closure, side front pockets, upper and lower back seaming." Whew! Lots of detail. This coat took awhile but was fun creating.

After I started cutting this out I realized I should have used a simpler design, such as Sewing Workshop Soho Coat, because this fabric has enough going on all by itself. If I had only chosen that pattern I would have been done many hours earlier. Most of the details in this more complex design don't show up that much and broke up the fabric pattern unnecessarily. Also, I feared I wouldn't have quite enough yardage as my fabric was 3 inches narrower than the amount listed. Because of this I made no attempt to match the fabric designs. See the 
back. Then surprizingly I had more than a yard left over out of the 4 yards I started with. Darn, I could have done some matching. Same thing with the lining.... more than a yard left over. I don't know what went wrong with their yardage estimates this time.
Pattern Sizing: Today's Fit sizing. I used B above the bust and C below. This helps keep the neck and shoulder line in scale for me while adding the ease necessary at the hips and bust.
Did it look like the photo/drawing on the pattern envelope once you were done sewing with it? Yes except my fabric is so different. Side back
Were the instructions easy to follow? Excellent instructions. Sandra adds lots of tips and detailed instructions beyond the normal Vogue instructions. The bagged lining is especially well described.
What did you particularly like or dislike about the pattern?Love the ruched collar/hood (although it looks a little crazy when pulled Up), love the design of the pockets (in the seam), love the unusual cuffs (except...see dislikes), love the seam lines (that you can't see very well with this fabric). Dislikes: the cuffs are gathered up by the band and secured with velcro. The problem is that every time you have to wrap this around your arm and attach while fiddling with the gathers. Too fussy and even hard to get right. I soved this by tacking the band in 3 spots so I only have to pull the band snug the last few inches. You can't attach it entirely because it would be too narrow to put your hand through.

Also dislike: this may be my error. The front band pulls and curves out as it heads toward the bottom hem. I don't know why this happened. I was careful with the cutting and stitching and pressing.

Also don't really like how the front band is off center. Looks a bit odd to me.
Fabric Used: A taffeta (poly or acetate? don't know) with patchwork and embroidery. I intend this as a raincoat but I doubt it is practical. With all that patchwork and embroidery there are thousands of little stitch holes. Plus who knows what the fabric will do if soaked. I will spray with ScotchGuard but plan to carry an umbrella. Lined in copper crepe back satin.
Pattern alterations or any design changes you made:None.
Would you sew it again? Would you recommend it to others? I think once is enough for me but I do recommend this. I think it is a very cool design. It would be best in a solid or simpler fabric so all the lines can be seen.
Conclusion: Although I said I probably wouldn't sew it again, now I'm thinking how cute this would be to make it in the shorter length.
p.s. I should have changed to my brown boots for the photo shoot.

Saturday, February 6, 2010

Burda Magazine 9/2009 #115

Here's Burda's flowery description: "You don't have to rob a bank to afford this suave knee-length coat in posh wool fleece coating. You sew it yourself which is actually quite easy as the coat is unlined, has kimono sleeves and a scarf collar." Interesting that they describe it as quite easy but give in 3 1/2 stars on their difficulty rating. I picked this pattern for the interesting seam lines and unique scarf/collar.

This is drafted in sizes 72 through 88 which are the tall size range. I am not tall so I scaled it down as necessary. 

I need instructions primarily for order of construction. I have a hard time remembering that and don't want to think too hard about it so I find Burda's instuctions okay. The important steps are there. They do leave off things that I should be able to remember but the senior brain blanks out.... for instance there is no mention of stay stitching at the corners nor slashing them. How many 100s of times have I done this when told to by Vogue, But since it wasn't mentioned here I didn't think of it until I found myself struggling with those pointed intersections.

I used a wool melton double cloth from at an amazing low price. The pattern calls for coat fabrics with a soft surface and only fabrics that do not fray. Mine has the soft surface but does fray. I don't see any reason to use only fabrics that don't fray. I guess they suggest that because it is not lined but all you need to do is finish the seam edges inside. All exterior edges are faced or hemmed. I decided to line mine to make it more comfortable. I used a silk charmeuse from my stash.

Originally I cut the coat to be longer as in design 114 in the magazine. When it was together enough to try on I showed my DH who thought it was a bathrobe. That, plus the alarming green color, made me annoyed with the project and almost threw it out. My friend Barbara encouraged me to continue so I cut off the extra length, added the lining and pressed the edges vigorously. Much better. I used a large 
snap at the neck to close. The design calls for 5 snaps but I didn't think that was necessary. I think I may add one more just below the seam across the front. Both snaps will be hidden by the scarf when worn. Oh yes, I also reduced the width of the collar by 1 1/4". You need to be that tall person the pattern is sized for to wear that tall collar.

 I might make it again if I found the appropriate boiled wool. In that case I would not face all the edges or make the scarf doubled to keep it lean and mean.

The color is much more intense than the color looked to be when I ordered it. Maybe I'm just sick of looking at it and once it hides in my closet for a while my eyes will have recovered.

I have recovered: I wore the coat last night to a concert and it felt good. Someone even complimented me on how good I look in green. So it will be worn and loved.

Thursday, February 4, 2010

Jalie 2787 Criss Cross Top

This is my first Jalie and I'm quite pleased with it. I chose the Criss-cross top which has bands that cross and are stitched into the side seams. This creates a secure, non-gaping front. The lower part of the front is a separate panel that lies underneath the criss cross bands but is not attached to them. In a stretchy fabric this top can be used for maternity and even as a nursing garment. Not that I need that!!

Jalie has every size from young girl to plus size 22 in one envelope. I used size U which is 3 sizes less than my bust measurement but close to my waist and hips. I did a flat pattern measurement and the pattern seemed similar to some of my tops of like material. I chose that size so the shoulders and neckline would fit correctly.

I used an onionskin from EOS 5 years ago depicting the Sistine Chapel. The Jalie instructions are brief but accurate and adequate. The diagrams are especially good.

I decided to leave all edges unfinished. I like the look in this kind of fabric. Also I think it helped keep the top from being too tight. I feared the bust would be overly snug after I cut it out and held it up across my body. But by not stitching or stabilizing the pieces in any way it keeps the maximum stretchiness. I shortened the length by 2 inches for a more flattering length on me.

I plan to make more of this pattern and other Jalies waiting in my stash. I definitely recommend this one.
By eliminating finishing the edges and hems, this only took about 20 minutes to sew. The pants are Sewing Workshop Plaza pant in brown wool jersey.

I say it took 20 minutes to sew which would be correct except when I put it on I noticed the sleeve had a curved and slanted bottom. I thought "hmm, I hadn't noticed that look on the envelope picture." Then I noticed that the other sleeve was straight across. Finally it dawned on me that I had sewn the sleeve in upside down. Yes the hem edge was sewn to the shoulder. The amazing thing is that the edges are exactly the same length so I didn't notice this goof while I stitched. So be aware the curved edge and flared hem edge are equal. It actually felt alright on due to the stretchiness of the fabric but, though my DH couldn't see it, I didn't like the images being upside down. Out with the ripper!