Wednesday, February 29, 2012

Vogue 1277 Koos Swing Jacket

I made the very wonderful Koos Van Den Akker swing jacket released in the fall of 2011. Big, curving pieces of varied fabrics stitched together to create a work of art. Can you tell I am happy with my jacket? As this is very loose fitting you can use a smaller size. My bust measurements put me in a Large but my shoulders are only a Small so I used that size. I could probably have cut the XS also

The sewing is mostly not difficult. The welt pockets and flat felled seams are the tricky parts. You can choose to leave those parts off and then the jacket is average difficulty. The hardest part of this project is picking your fabrics and cutting them out. There are very awkward and large pieces that use a lot of fabric and leave a lot of waste.

I used light weight wools, faux suede and silk dupioni, all miraculously from my stash. Some of these wools have been waiting to emerge from the cupboard for 25 years. Even the red dupioni was in my stash. I had enough of that to make a blouse, and enough of the faux suede to make a skirt. 

I didn't alter except to shorten the sleeves (my usual need). I even left the collar at its full size as I wanted to be able to fold it to show the red silk. To shorten the sleeves find the straight grain line on the pattern piece and fold out what you need (or lengthen) perpendicular to that grain line. True up the edges.

The main thing I changed was the construction method. Using the lining piece as a base I laid the pieces on top of it, wrong sides together, overlapping to match seam lines, pinned them in place and applied the bias trim over the stitching line and topstitched. The pattern would have you stay stitch each long edge, sew each of these long curved seams with right sides together, trim, turn, press . Lots of work and probably resulting in stretched out seams. Before doing it my way, stitch the bottom edge right side together and turn so that the bottom edge hem is finished. Then apply the pieces one at a time.

The best thing I did to make this go well was to use double sided fusible tape on the back of my silk bias strips. Once fused in place it was very easy to topstitch the strips down without wavering about.

Doing the flat felling was very fussy and took some time. It is especially awkward to do it on the sleeve seam as it gets quite narrow near the wrist. The only reason to do this is to make it reversible. Well, and to look nice inside. I will probably never wear this reversed.

I left off the pockets. I had cut out the pieces thinking I would do them but at the end I decided I like the flow of the design as it was without the pockets breaking up the design lines.

I did the quilting topstitching on the sleeves but decided against it when I got to the body of the jacket. I didn't think my particular fabrics needed any further embellishment. Since I had top-stitched the bias tape through all layers there was quite a bit of stitching on the inside already.

Another thing I did to enhance the look was to add lightweight wire to the outer edge of the front and collar. I thought of this after the jacket was done and I thought the collar looked a little floppy. It wouldn't stand up the way I wanted it to. I had on hand some Design Plus Shape 'n Stay lightweight wire. Perfect. I was able to squeeze it between two stitches into the channel formed by two rows of topstitching without even opening a seam. Now I can shape the collar and front edge as I want them to be. Sort of like wired-edge ribbon.

I'm thrilled with my combination of fabrics. In the 
past I've often not been very successful with combining different fabrics so this feels really good. I love the dramatic style and potential for artistic expression.

To go with the jacket I made Neue Mode 23304 with the silk dupioni and Kwik Sew 3295 with the black faux suede. The reviews of these are linked in the right column.

Saturday, February 11, 2012

Vogue 8776

Not the best outfit with this: long sleeves and pants would be better

Open (I like it better closed)

Vogue describes this as a semi-fitted, unlined cape with convertible collar, lower side front seams with pockets and stitched hems. I guess it is a cape. I think of a cape as not having any arm openings and this has them. They providelimited mobility though so maybe we should just go with "cape".  I used size M which is one size smaller than my measurements as usual in an unfitted garment. I made View C, the longest one.

The designation "very easy" is wrong IMO. The slit buttonholes and slit armholes are a bit confusing I think. 

I love the unusual style and shape but I'm not so sure I like the low wearability factor. 

I used a raspberry red boucle that has been in my stash for many years, maybe 25. All this time I thought it was a woven wool. Once I got it down from the shelf I discovered that it is a knit, with a backing similar to fleece. Probably not all wool either as the moths had showed no interest in all that time. I'm quite happy to have this bulky fabric off my shelf. Now if I just had more closet space!

This fabric made the project much harder than it would be with a lighter or thinner fabric. Because of its bulk the buttonhole slits and a few other places were hard to maneuver and required careful hand stitching to make it look right. Because it is a knit, stretch was a factor in sewing seams. I didn't think about it ahead of time as I should have so some seams stretched as I sewed them. The bottom armhole openings grew as they are not reinforced at all. The top armhole openings are doubled with the self facing so they stayed more in shape. Fortunately I used a lining fabric for the pocket lining which helped to stabilize the pocket edge. I left off the extra buttons as the fabric was a nightmare and I knew buttonholes would look terrible.
Have you been watching Project Runway Allstars? Mila made a cape somewhat similar to this pattern. The silhouette is the same but the arm openings are vertical and there is no collar. Very sharp looking.

Wednesday, February 1, 2012

Sewing Workshop Tosca Dress

This is my third version of the Tosca Dress. Yes, you could say I like this pattern. Yes, the underarms are low but, no matter, I wear a tee shirt with the dress. Think of it as a jumper. This time I left off all pockets as well as the tucks and hem bubbling. Don't need that with this incredible fabric. First version. I don't think I reviewed the second version which I made from linen last summer. 

The fabric is a wool gauze, almost sheer, with an interesting folded and reverse appliqued border on one edge. I did not do this wonderful-ness myself but bought it looking like this from FabriX in San Francisco. The hardest part of this project was figuring out how to use the fabric. Fortunately, when this fabric was spotted, I was shopping with my friend Dorothy. We both were stunned and amazed by this fabric and wanted it. We discussed possible ways to use it. I think she was the one who thought of the Tosca Dress. We had both made this dress already and recognized its potential. She made her version with this fabric some months back. In fact she found a perfect china silk at Thai Silks to use as an underlining so I used that too. 

So not only do we have matching dresses, but we used the same fabric for our tee shirts. Joann's had cotton interlock in the right color to harmonize. We could dress as identical twins. People already ask if we are sisters when we shop together. Why not dress alike? Well, okay, maybe we won't do that.

Close up of the border.
Close up of the collar.
Side back

Anyway, I heartily recommend this pattern to you.