Monday, February 20, 2017

End of February round up: sewing for others and pattern matching fail

What am I doing now?
Mending. Fixing. Mending.
This is the sort of stuff that occupies most of my sewing time.
Fixed straps on bike helmets. Seattle Fabrics has an entire wall of drawers of this kind of hardware. Bless you SF!

There is a whole school of sewing that involved adding funky bits on top of nonfunky things. I am not really one of those people, though I do admire and love their thinking. This is my tribute to them. My husband begged me not to wear these pants out of the house. I did, but I did keep my coat fastened, so only he could see me wearing them around the house. Lucky guy.
Added removable alterations so I can wear the wool pants right now (vs when I lose ten pounds or alter it properly). This is what I do to make winter stop around here.
That and the grey coat.
You're welcome, Seattle.

Button over a buttonhole!

Added 'circuitry' patches behind 'preripped' jean holes. Also added three inches of pocket depth to them (to MENS JEANS. Men's jeans with shallow useless pockets. Wha?)

Altered photo to amuse Julie of Jet Set Sewing. And my sister. Hi Sandi! 

Bought magnetic bra clasps for future burlesque costume. You can store them on the fridge door until you need them. Or until your family objects.

Made those overalls for the boy. He's kept them in heavy rotation.

That whole tack button debacle. That really fries me: make a nice hole, pound a crap button into it, ruin the item as you remove the crap button. Do that a couple of times and it will affect your outlook on life for awhile.

Everything in the handsewing mend pile is black. Makes needle threading easier. Also harder to see tiny stitches. Family will not see badly sewn mends in the lousy lighting in our house. They won't wear these outside, will they?

 Sewed the long promised shirt for my sister.
 Traced it off and harvested the buttons ages ago.
I even took a photo of the original shirt and printed it out for a pattern page. I had good intentions. I even made a handkerchief for my sister from what wasn't all worn out on this shirt.

I did not lose the buttons!

I did not add seam allowances when I traced this!

My intention was to match up the pattern across the front, and ate up a huge amount of yardage in the attempt.

I can see here where I went wrong; I should have folded over more, basted it up, cut out the entire front piece as one entire piece, and then got back into the center to work out the underlapped placket and facing. I am so close to being right it kinda hurts to see this. I had scads of photos of my faulty process; it's a slow motion car wreck of pattern layout fail.
 And just missed by 1/2" in the end.
Spatial reasoning is HARD apparently
It's still a pretty fabric, and the shirt looks fine. My buttonholes are better than normal.

Sandi, your shirt is done. We'll lunch this week.

I have ten more choir dresses to alter, and four more belts out of that velvet ribbon.
I should clean house.

So that's the business until the 28th, when a whole new project starts up, just in time to be that last minute project for Emerald City ComicCon.
Because what is life without an impossible deadline?

Wednesday, February 15, 2017

Burda Burda 6932 and 6599: 70s Teen Gets More Clothes

Before the next paid gig, I wanted to get to the wish list for TeenStillLivingAtHome (aka the teen formerly known as Blondini, who is not blond right now)
He wanted a wool jacket that zipped up the front with pockets pockets pockets. 

So I adapted this one, not being really interested in redrafting from scratch.
Joann pattern sales have made me lazy; $2.59 for tissue with consistent sizes on it. Already printed!
The instructions for this are very basic, and show it more as a unstructured casual jacket than a man's topcoat. No pads, no rolling the collar, little facing.

I spent a fair amount of time with Roberto Cabrera's "Classic Tailoring Techniques" book, more often that not reading why I should not have done what I just did.
Le sigh.

This is the lining, from the flat folds tables at PacFab. It's a shantung style silk. It goes nicely with the gray and holds the pockets well. I had to mark a seam line from the facing on the lining to attach the front facings to the lining by machine. There's enough hand sewing in this anyway.

For some reason, there are no other photos of the lining / interior pocket construction. It took long enough, surely. I made the full lining, had him try it on as a muslin, checked it for fit and marked on it for where he wanted the interior pockets to be. The interior pockets are two self-welted pockets, one vertical , one horizontal. Same construction, just turned on it's side.

I used a Baltic wool blend coating from Pacific Fabrics. It's very soft and sturdy, but it's got enough rayon in it to burn and take a shine if you heat it up enough.
So a lot of this work was done by soaking it and letting it dry to set.

I believe I rolled and stitched this collar about a gazumpty billion times

This was okay until I realized it wasn't rolled in the right place vs the collar stand height.

Zipper basting, with pliers to pull/push the needle.

Second collar reblock

All that basting still didn't deal with a puckered insertion.
More seam ripper.

And more seam ripper.

Hemmed. Lots of hand sewing here.

Wool is a very pleasant hand sew. It's soft, it's malleable, it's soft.

And it gets put on and it leaves.

After the hand sewing and steaming, the overalls were a snap.
Well, sort of. The buttons weren't.

The Sullivans would not hammer in straight no matter how I held them or what angle. The nails for the Dritz that came with the strap buckles bent and broke. The Snapsource buttons on the left went in perfectly the first time, and stayed in. I am putting this in here so I can remember which ones to buy next time, as I have fallen down this rabbit hole before. You will not fool me again!

The denim was WAAAAAY offgrain and got the 'nailed to the wall treatment

How this works: I alter the pattern on the left and read the pattern on the right for amusement. And a little instruction on seam order in men's jeans.
And I don't know why I bother. The theme of this post should be "Burda will get you most of the way there, but you really should consult a book before you make one of their patterns." 

Burda isn't bad, just vague. The pictures of the pattern pieces are on the tissue, not on the instructions, so you need to open the whole tissue to refer to the images of which piece is which (versus their listed descriptions in the instructions).

Facing? Which facing?

Okay, this is Burda 6765. But you get the idea. This was a bust for me btw. The two pieced sleeve is great though. Why this top has a two piece sleeve, I have no idea. But it's better than the top.

They are combined with the layout, so it's a space saving feature? 

The finished measurements are also on the tissue. Still annoying. At least Vogue's single size patterns would indicate this measurement, at the actual bust point. Burda: no. And this is a man's pattern, so perhaps 'finished chest' would be appropriate.

Not a deal killer, but annoying.

To be frank: I needed an immediate and cheaper option for a overalls pattern than the men's versions online, but this version needs revision. Less bib, higher waist, deeper pockets (the pockets are sad. The shorts version pockets are a pale parody of actual pockets - they are about an inch deep). But it's a start, and it's already printed in consistant sizes on paper. And editing it to fit SlenderTeen will be very simple.
(how simple? Remove the width in back piece relating to waist dart. Straigten waist band and seam. Boom!)

So things get longer, get shorter. It was pretty straightforward. At least their alteration lines are consistent from piece to piece.

After this, and ignoring the thousand button holes  (the Bernina needs a tune up STAT) and the cruddy jean buttons, it's a swift build.

I did add a facing to the interior back. I will run out of that striped sheet eventually. I will need to find more; it's perfect pocketing material.

 70s Revival Teen (the teen formerly known as Blondini) chose the washed denim and bronze hardware (silver deemed too flashy), and I went with a Union Bay silver topstitching. I know my 70s denim, and due to the button switch, they are antique silver. 

We were in the car, and the teen gets to run the stereo and the driver gets to yea/nay. It's been "Hamilton" or Rufus Wainwright, so I'm good.

He put on Kansas, and I was okay, but 
'Dust in the Wind'.

I had the distinction of seeing them on tour in late 1978. I only remember it because Cheap Trick opened, the import version of"Live at Budokan" had just propelled them into the spotlight out here on the left coast. It was an amazing set; the hall cleared out at the break. Sadly, I was stuck for the rest of the show.
So when we're listening in the car to 'Wayward Son' and it's six thousand different genre bits, I was struck by how much more progressive rock they were than the 'heartland' rock they called themselves. A little Gentle Giant, a little King Crimson, a little Renaissance, the tiniest bit of Weather Report. Each a solo bit about 30 seconds long.

And how fricking long that song is.
Two minutes of melody.
Ten minutes of solos.
Ah, the 70s!
This is what the Ramones saved us from.

I would like to draw an analogy between Burda and this song, but it's painfully strained.

 Burda does have that two minutes of lederhosen, and they always have a couple of dirndl patterns, which have their place. Like scrubs; when you need them, you need THEM. 

Otherwise, it's always a little short on distinctive style details and the instructions feel like they got lost in translation. And they were better in the 70s (I sewed a lot of Burda in the 70s and early 80s).

But for $2.59, I'll take it.

Eleven more dresses came in to get hemmed/rehabbed. And I have a little more work before Emerald City ComicCon begins March 2nd.
And will I get to SewExpo?
 Ah, carry on my wayward....NO. BAD EARWORM! BAD!

Friday, February 3, 2017

Mom, Black Velvet Ribbon Hunt, Burda 6932

Alterations and my mom

My mom was flat, teeny, without noticable body fat.

This was never a good thing.

Sitting was a challenge.

V-necks? Forget it.

No hips? Pants fall down.

She did get the mom tum, though. Weird!

Because she did stay the same size for decades, whatever she bought or sewed, she kept.

And when she got cancer, those clothes needed to be comfortable and finished properly. No tags, no clunky seams, no raw edges, no pointy bits.

It's kind of quality sewing meets careful finishing.

It's my mother's birthday; she would be 91 if she'd made it past 54.

I don't have many photos of her

There she is in the back. Nice housecoat.
Miss you mom. I promise I'll go find the photos now.

On the other side of sewing, I got my ten yards of black "velvet" (more like plushy) 2" ribbon from some Amazon sub-supplier in Nevada. Deadstock from Hendler's Ribbons. I'm making belts for the choir dresses, so just has to have some heft and flex (unlike florists ribbon, which won't last. We've tried.)

I spend the better part of an hour checking and yes, Hendler's is closed, but their website and all other things just imply they are hibernating. Any attempt on Yelp to mark them shut has been deferred,  so go figure. Anyone who knows more about their situation, let me know.

Mood was out, but not marked as out of stock.

So what I want to know is: was there some cosplay or character that involves 2" black velvet ribbon? I could be selling it out of the back of my car if I had some. 1 1/2", or any other color, there's lots (in the narrower range, you can get the good stuff (the soft velvety stuff)).

The plastic reel was broken so I had to make my own
Ah, IKEA furniture parts to the rescue...
More dresses to hem, one to resize, and one to ....graft from.
Nothing wasted around here.

Also mostly making a jacket for my son
I'm cutting a new seam in the front for a pocket, so I'm slicing and adding seam allowances and making new pockets with the yellow flimsy tracing paper

Yup yup yup. Apparently I haven't taken any pictures of the actual sewing. It's going well. No surprises for once.
Except the original pocket
The central seam is to the left. The pocket is slanted away from the direction the hand is coming from (the right).
Unless these were designed to be reached into opposition-aly. 

Some people do go both ways