Friday, November 23, 2012

Vogue 8854

Wow, it's not often I purchase a new pattern and actually get it sewn up in the same season in which it was released!  This is one of the Very Easy Vogue Patterns issued this late fall from VoguePatterns.  I've been looking for a couple hoodie patterns lately and I thought this one had interesting design lines with the offset placket opening.

For my test of the pattern, I selected a sweater knit recently purchased from FabricMart.  It was described as a poly/cotton blend heathered stripe knit in the colors of sable, cream and dark brown.  It is an interesting knit, with one side showing a flat knit with the stripes clearly delineated and the other side appearing more of a boucle texture.  I chose the boucle textured side as the "right" side for my project.  I've already thrown out the scraps of the fabric used for this top before thinking to snap a photo of the two sides, but here it is in another colorway where you can kind of see the difference between the two sides:

The size chart on the pattern envelope put me in a size XL (20-22) and the finished garment measurements printed on the pattern tissue, in addition to some flat-pattern measuring on my part, confirmed that XL was the size I wanted to make.  I didn't even need to make my standard increase at the biceps on the sleeve!  But I did shorten the sleeve pattern by about 1.5 inches.

I really wanted to make the version with the hood (after all, that's why I bought the pattern!), but my test fabric was only 2 yards and I just couldn't squeeze the hood piece on what I had. So I had to go with the collar version and the shorter back length of View B, with the front pocket.  By the time I finished the garment, however, I was more than happy that I had to use the collar instead of hood--this collar is fabulous!  My sweater knit was fairly substantial to begin with and I interfaced the collar piece, as the pattern instructs.  Thus, the resulting collar has a nice ability to stand up in a shapely way, but is not so stiff that it looks board-like.  It also is soft and malleable enough to be able to fold it down if I wish.  It's really fun to play with for different looks!  Also, the collar pattern piece is just a big rectangle, so it would be very simple to cut the collar to be a shorter height if you wanted.

Here's the finished top:

The photo looks like I got a little over-zealous with the iron, but this isn't noticeable on the garment in real life.

A closer look:

This pattern is quite simple to put together and did not take a lot of time to construct.  The most time consuming part is probably creating the front placket opening.  And, while the pattern instructions are actually quite good and seem reasonably clear, I did veer from their suggested procedure in two aspects.  The first variation I did was when making the front placket.  The instructions tell you to sew the two fronts together with a seam which goes from the hem up to the bottom of the placket.  Then you work on each of the two sides of the placket to finish the front.  I thought this sounded like kind of a PITA to have to work on one side of the placket while the other half of the front was attached and dangling off to the side.  So, after stay-stitching each inner corner of the plackets, I constructed them separately, then stitched and finished the center front seam.  This worked just fine for me and probably involved much less swearing.

The other spot where I veered from the instructions as written was with the sleeves.  The pattern instructs to stitch the body side seams and the underarm sleeve seams separately and then do a traditional set-in sleeve, stitched in the round.  I totally understood why the pattern instructs to set the sleeve this way--this is not a dropped shoulder, the armscye sits at the normal shoulder point and, therefore, the sleeve has a relatively high cap.  When inserting a regular sleeve with a normal-to-high sleeve cap, it usually is easier (and you typically get much better results) if you set in the sleeve more traditionally.  However, knowing that I was working with a knit (which can be a little more forgiving when easing), I chose to put the sleeve in flat after I sewed the shoulder seams and then stitch the underarm and side body seam in one long go from bottom hem to sleeve hem.  It worked fine.

An even closer look at the collar with button closure:

I used an elastic hair tie for the button loop.

All in all, I think this is a great pattern.  Pretty simple and quick to put together, and the instructions are pretty decent.  The fit is good--I can wear a long-sleeved T-shirt or turtleneck underneath it, but nothing heavier than that.  I like that it has a regular sleeve/shoulder, rather than a dropped shoulder line.  The collar is really fun to wear and feels cozy, especially if there's a little wind in the air.  I think it turned out really cute and I will be making at least one more before I put the pattern away (gotta have that hood!!).

Sunday, November 11, 2012

Taking the "U" out of a couple UFOs

The dreaded UFO.  The UnFinished Object.  I try not to have them hanging around, but sometimes a project just loses its steam or hits a wall, and I put it away for a bit.  And then they sit in the dark recesses of the sewing closet, quietly laying a big guilt trip on me.

So, last week I pulled out two UFOs and got them finished up.  The first project was cut out last May and I'm not sure why I never stitched it up, because I was really looking forward to having the top to wear.  I suspect that I didn't have black thread on the serger at the time, so I went to another project that used whatever color was on the serger and then the weather warmed up too much for a long-sleeved shirt.  Hmm.  Anyway, this is another Sewing Workshop Liberty Shirt as a knit top.  The fabric is a wonderful black and white print rayon/lycra knit from EmmaOneSock.  I love this pattern and I love this top!

Next, I moved on to a jacket that has been in the works for at least a year and a half, if not more.  The background--About 18 years ago, I made myself a jacket out of OOP Vogue 2461, a Vogue American Designer pattern by Calvin Klein (copyright of 1990).  I used a beautiful dark green tone-on-tone printed poly raincoat fabric and lined it with an acetate/rayon blend faille.  That jacket turned out to be a workhorse for me--it was light enough to wear through both spring and autumn, but had enough heft to be warm enough for much of the winter season except for the coldest of days, even here in Montana.  Sadly, several years ago it was to the point of showing so much wear--the folds of the sleeve pleats and edges of the cuffs were wearing through--that I knew I needed to replace it.  Basically, I wanted the same coat again.  Luckily, my Mom still had the original pattern that I used, so I stole borrowed the pattern from her one time while over visiting.  Then it sat for a year while I tried to find the perfect fabric.

Eventually, I found a lovely black crinkled texture poly from Marcy Tilton that I just loved, and it even was on sale!  Then I puzzled over what to use as a lining.  I really liked the rayon/acetate faille I had used previously, but that fabric has become extremely difficult to locate anymore.  I finally found some, in black even, I think on the Fashion Fabrics Club website (but I'm not positive about that).  I proceeded to cut everything out (well almost everything--I had to order another piece of the crinkle poly from Marcy Tilton in order to have enough for the hood, so that created some delay) and started to sew it up.  Then, I got to the point of needing to set the grommets for the drawstrings and I froze.  Now, I have set grommets before and had no problems, but the process always has the potential of going badly.  I was so worried about having the grommets not set properly and ruining my project, that I folded everything up and put it in the closet.  Fast forward to at least 18 months later, when autumn is quickly turning to winter, and I realize I just have to bite the bullet because I need a coat to wear.  So I finished it.  The grommets are not the best looking, but they are sturdily attached and the drawcord stops pretty much cover any ugliness in their application. The coat feels like it is going to be very warm, even warmer than my old green one.  I am very happy.  Here's a photo of the pattern cover:

Yes, it is very early 1990's styling, with the dropped shoulder and sleeves, but I actually like this in a coat, because it is easy to wear over bulky sweaters or work jackets.  And I love the upper and lower cargo pockets with the flaps!

Here's the finished product, front and back:

Oh, yes, I also lengthened the pattern by 8 inches because I like coverage over my upper legs when the cold is biting.  Here's a closer look at the upper body:

And the oversized 1990's sleeve:

The lining:

And, finally, a detail of the sleeve cuff.  This pattern has an interesting sleeve placket design which results in a kind of flange behind the placket that encloses the opening to keep out snow and rain.  It works nicely.

I'm very happy to finally have this project done and I know I am going to enjoy wearing this jacket.

My sewing mojo has been really revved up lately, so I have several new garments completed that I am excited to blog about.  New entries coming shortly, I hope!

Saturday, November 10, 2012

One Last Vogue 1261 (maybe . . . )

After whipping up four versions of my Vogue 1261/SA Adele morph top in one weekend, I thought I should put the pattern away for awhile.  The other day, however, I was in JoAnns Fabrics to get buttons for another project and realized the red tag clearance section was an additional 50 percent off.  So I took a little look-see through the clearance racks, not really expecting to find anything.  Lo and behold, a bolt of kinda cool knit surfaced.  It is a double layer poly knit--gray opaque layered over a black sheer, then the gray is slashed to show the black.  The gray also is printed with a design of concentric circles.  I couldn't resist, so 2 yards came home with me.  The fabric went straight into the washer and dryer with the length of flannel I also bought (for new pajama pants).  As I pulled the knit out of the dryer and began to fold it up, it started telling me loudly that it wanted to be a Vogue 1261 tunic.  By the next day, I had granted its wish.  I'm really enjoying these tunic tops and think I will get a lot of use out of this one.  The black sections are sheer, so I will need to wear another top or tank underneath.

It's not often that a piece of fabric goes into and out of the collection with a 24-hour turn around time!!

I also wanted to thank all those who commented on my last post about these tops.  I really appreciate the positive support!