Tuesday, March 25, 2014

Collette Snippets March 25th

Argggg. There are two things I hate about my Bernina sewing machine. One is the thread slot on the right side, where I unthread as I slide my fabric into place.

The other is thread nesting.  Beginning of seam is a mass of thread loops on the underside, and messed up tension through the seam. A tune up helps ($170 before tax without parts in Seattle), as does redoing the tension in the bobbin (free but hard to get right). 

I cannot hold the thread, the fabric, check the seam allowance AND slide the piece in at the same time.

One thing that does help me find the top thread, is clipping a wonderclip (the little Clover ones) onto the end of the top thread when I cut the threads from the previous seam. If this seems a little precious and overdone,

you have never heard me swear.

Today's Colettle Patterns Snippet isn't from me, but it sure tells my story.

I cannot link to this page properly. So here is the link to Colletterie weekly snippets sign up page

For one, it's not the bobbin thread nesting; it's the top thread. The top thread should not be dragged into the bobbin threads at the start of the seam. I am pretty sure it's the machine timing being out of whack, but it is quite the @#$### if you are working with chiffon.

That said, this is a good trick for getting sheers to track at the beginning of the seam; it's like steering from the direction you are going.

Which makes me wonder if I've screwed up the feed/bobbin tension BY doing this. A self fulfilling prophecy? The more I do it, the worse it gets?


photo from Kenneth King's Jean-ius! Craftsy class
And here's Kenneth King pulling his damn threads back at the start of a seam.

Why, lord, why have you afflicted us so?

Sunday, March 23, 2014

So Sew Expo?

Yes, this a photo I took last year. I was so underwhelmed this year, I did not bother to take photos. 
It all looked the same.

I know it's a traveling trade show, with many of the same sellers, and I have no issues with quilters, or sales shows, but...it's just not for me anymore.

I have been trying to put my finger on why I just don't feel the need to go again. I am envious of the presentations by Gentleman Jim that Victoria mentions in TenThousandHours; I just didn't see anything of that level of information or experience at mine. Then again, I'm the person who grumps about Threads Magazine not having enough content.

I think there is so much available on the internet now, between blogs and tutorials for information/education AND online suppliers of fabrics and tools, the Expo isn't the only show in town.
photo Tami Levin,  Lemon Tree Tales blog

One big difference: Treasures of the Gypsy does not sell online. They just tour their amazing collection of magical stuffs from 'spo to 'spo. And I love them. I give them all my money.

See these birds? Laser cut from nylon.
I have them on the collar of this jacket, on a hat, I've bought more in white, and some leaves in yellow and green and...it was the BIG stop of the three hours I spent  at Sew Expo.

I left earlier, MUCH earlier than usual. There just wasn't anything else for me.

The Puyallup Fair Grounds have always had Fisher Flour scones (see, Original Fair Scone). And I got my scone for 2014.

And I ate it while driving home.

Saturday, March 15, 2014

Fifth Avenue - Sew Chic

I love this photo. Too dark, but that's the color. Mysterious! All other photos will be overexposed to show what the thing really looks like.
I have been jonesin' for this pattern since I saw it when it came out.

I picked a copy up from Laura Nash in person at SewExpo in Puyallup a month ago. Pondered it for awhile, tried different layouts on the cutting board, then jumped in with both feet and some leg as well.

I've not made a Sew Chic pattern before, and the question on a fitted pattern is always: does the fit match the measurements given for the size I'm choosing?

So before I start cutting the lining (to test fit the bodice), I get the newest sloper I've made and contrast and compare.

Obviously, things do not match up exactly.  There's styling differences in shoulder and dart placement, as well as wearing ease. The sloper is FITTED. This dress will have a side zip and will need some wiggle room to get arms through sleeves over my head. Wearing ease must be added.

The edge of the ruler is where a 1/2" seam allowance would end on an exact fit. Allowing for wearing ease of an inch on each side seam (2inches total), I'm going to be a 12. I have  36" bust, pattern says 36" - I think I can move ahead with confidence.

And indeed I can. I make up the bodice in the lining fabric, because if I have any tweaks I need to make, I can do them with that and keep moving forward with the dress.

I am a scant A cup on a good day, so I won't need a FBA with this pattern (the 'cupping' at the center bust seam is my level of shallow) but you may.

There are a lot of sizes on a pattern piece.
I needed to mark the seam line for my size so I would not miss mine when they cross.

I know, this is where the train goes into the tunnel and suddenly we are almost done when it comes back out.
Notes about the pattern are at the end of this post.

left to right: skirt front, skirt back, bodice/collar/sleeves sewn together. All side seams left open.

I am at the top of my weight cycle, and will be getting smaller again, so I broke the pieces into sections for final construction. Sewed collar and bodice sections together, added sleeves, made up skirt front and skirt back pieces with the lining serged to them at the edges. 

This modular construction will come in handy to edit this dress later on.

Is there a camera setting that doesn't make things look really wrinkled? Cause it's not.

It is a lovely dress. It's possibly idiot proof.  The collar is wide and an untamed beast I may shrink. I added a second skirt drape in the back to appease my need for consistency. I took six inches off the hem and widened the skirt here. I left off the side poof; I'm wide enough. I need to add ornaments as in the original, but suddenly other large personal issues are taking precedence.
I will return to this dress. 

Laura, you are a genius!

It needs a hat. But not much else. it's a gorgeous thing.

On the down side, the instructions assume a level of sewing and construction expertise and leave out steps. How that bodice goes together is yours to figure out.  The pattern tells you to interface the bodice pieces to support the collar, and you will have to. I've left that afternoon out here. The sleeves have an enormous pouf at the top; I took out an inch  of head height and still have quite the crown at the top. The print quality of the instructions made it impossible to read the layout diagrams. Mark the pieces 'face up for fabric/face down for lining' as all the front bodice pieces are singular cuts. The lining is the reverse of the fashion fabric, so it needs to be backwards/inside out. Yes, I always forget. That's another afternoon I've left out.

I don't care. It's a great dress. I'm a box, and I think it's flattering, even in these crummy selfies. This is the mother of the bride dress for sure!

I need to narrow the skirt. I left a LOT of room on the sides. Trust the pattern measurements on the envelope; they are correct!

Hm. Needs a hat.

Sunday, March 9, 2014

Jeans x3 Sources

I didn't figure this out by myself. Nope.

I read. I traced my starter pattern from a favorite pair of jeans. I stared at jeans online. I gazed at my spouse's jeans in the laundry room and stole details far and wide.

I would never have done it for real without these pants.

The Pants of the King (from Craftsy class video)

I cannot begin to say how big an inspiration Kenneth King is. The man made himself jeans out of Fortuny fabric that a client gave him. Go ahead, go look at that page first. Would you? Why not?

  I cannot find a link online to the Fortuny jeans story from Threads that inspired this whole project, but there is the Craftsy class. Watch the trailer for a glimpse into the different pairs he's figured out. Even though I didn't take that class, I did trace mine from a pair that fit, and I would still give Mr King my money for his brain power. I hope to, in person, someday this year. He'll be in Tacoma soon! Maybe!

And now to the online info parade:

Grainline studio fly tutorial breaks it down nicely

Male Pattern Boldness Does Not Baste His Seam And Tells You Why. Photo: Male Pattern Baldness

Handmade by Carolyn's lovely fly. Photo: Handmade by Carolyn

It was a furious set of giggles that showed up reading the last one. The image came up on my "you really don't participate in Pinterest enough' junk mail, and lo and behold, it's probably the blog entry right before the one I started subscribing to 'Handmade by Carolyn' with. She takes inspirational self portraits. I know, everyone follows her, but she's really that good. Even her dog does a good selfie.

I do keep coming back to the same bloggers over and over again, sometimes by accident. More often that not, as a good reference from an internet search. Coincidence?

I have a few more jeans to make: they fit, they're comfortable, and that's all I am wearing right now. I just don't want to bother with the other pants anymore.

I'm in love with pants! Who'da thought?

Sunday, March 2, 2014

Altering the jeans pattern

from left, versions one, two and three (Frida)

This is version number three, inside out, using the camera to get a clearer view of fit issues.

The front is pretty good, left of the bottom of the fly is bagging. This tells me I need to release some over that thigh. The back has 'smiles' below the crotch, which go away if I open up the back center seam about an 1/8" at the back and 1/4" at the bottom.

Small adjustments on jeans go a long way. Because they are so fitted, an 1/8" makes the fit change dramatically. The goal for me is that they skim my surface, but not bind. The better they fit, the more comfortable they are.

So the red line is the horizontal and the green is my back. Why yes, I have quite the back porch It's all going on back there.

 I need to bring in the back waist band; there's a gap you could park a car in. This happens with every pair of jeans I have ever owned.  Everything fits but that.

A stopgap solution has been putting 1" non roll elastic in the waistband from side seam to side seam. It works when I'm remodeling jeans I've bought (like the model I traced these from), but if I'm coming from scratch I can do better.

Today's cheap solution is darting in the back waist band at the center. Next edition of these I'm following the red line above and dropping the waistband on the sides and  in the front. I think this will help pull that back band in and make it fit comfortably.

The other thing the photo tells me is that my high hip has gotten taller, the side seam moves forward and that the bagging above my calves continues to the front.   I have a prominent bottom and full calves and back thighs that curve forward (and the front thighs curve even more so). This is a more complicated issue than I can mentally address with these pants at present. I need to make a new muslin if I want to address that; too much fabric needs to move around, more than just wider seam allowances could address.

 They are wearable. Hem 'em and call it a day.

Which begs a point: I find I have a certain level of detail attentiveness I can pay to a project. I can fuss over the waistband but I will give up on the next fail point. I do remake projects over and over again, refitting the pattern, adding details, working out a problem and then at the next problem...eh, I'm out.

Last year my unspoken goal was to rip fearlessly. If it didn't work, frog it, rip it, redo. A solid month of rehemming choir dresses sold me on it: it's part of the job. A survey of my closet tells me; if it doesn't fit right, I don't wear it. So it's worth the annoyance factor to make it right, and remake it if it's wrong. 

This year, it may be: stop being satisfied with 'okay'.