30 November, 2012

Not-black Jalie jeans: I'm not colour blind

Remember my black-grey boiled wool Jalie jacket, at the end of its completion I said, "I need a pair of black jeans to go with it"?  Made'em!  Only they aren't black:  I used a great little length of python-printed blackish-greyish denim.
Python print jeans!
I used the same Jalie 2908 stretch jeans pattern as before, only folded out the Oh So Sixties bell bottoms and lengthened the hem about 2" so I could wear them with heels.  My hubby aka my greatest appreciator, is in love with these new jeans:  so they must be make me look darn good.

I made them exactly per pattern except: 
1. lengthened the hem by ~4 cm, 
2. straight leg below the knees, to go over all of my born-to-be-seven-feet-tall-will-always-love'em-to-death high heeled boots:

3.  I sewed the waistband onto the body in halves, and then used the menswear approach to making sure that there was no gaposis at CB.  NOTE TO SELF:  the right waistband has to be longer by 5 cm (2") than the left, otherwise it's too short to fit over the fly shield.

4. to help the buttonhole and riveted button at CF behave better, I interfaced the waistband near CF.

5. instead of 3 belt loops per side I made 4: finally, my belts are properly lassooed onto the waistband!
Four belt loops per side hold the belt nicely in place. (the t-shirt is a Jalie pattern too!)
All that - positive, right?  Of course right. I cut and sewed these over the course of a few weekday evenings, finishing this fine weekend morning. AND????....you're not going to believe this.......... 

I sewed these jeans with GREEN thread.  Yup - green.  All these evenings I was convinced I'd grabbed dark GREY out of the drawer - and yesterday, just as I was finishing them, I discovered my uber-error in the cold harsh light of a Saturday morning.  And, you know what:  the joke's on me.  My husband had a pair of dark grey slacks tailored once, and the buttons were sewn on with blue thread, which seemed to me to be the epitome of in-your-face-shoddy tailoring.  Haha, now I know how that happened!

25 November, 2012

Trench coat: pattern test drive

As the saying goes, there's no time like the  present.  Killing two birds with one stone, I cut out jacket length (5255 D), though I plan to use all of the pattern details of jacket C, for a snazzy red jacket to test drive the 5525 body with the sleeve from Simplicity 4084 (another great trench coat pattern), and basted it all together.    

The body is a straight size 12, with the back neckline dropped a whole 2.5 cm (1") to compensate for my over-erect (yes that is the correct technical term!) back.  Good thing I did that - it brought the shoulder seams to where they should be:  when I forget this step, my garments show a severe backwards drift:  yuck! 

The fit is great - but I like more ease (the stuffed sausage look is So Not For Me), so I narrowed the SA's a tad at the front and back  princess seams starting at the hip bone, leaving the CB and side seams per original design. That added about 4 cm (1.5") to the hip area. 

I also intend to lower the CB vent by about 2-3 cm (~1"), as I do NOT want my butt's high water line to push it open!

The sleeve took a bit of work:  first I measured the original 5525 armscye circumference & compared it to the 4084's.  In the latter, the circumference is 15 mm smaller and the sleeve length 2.5 cm (1") shorter.  So I added 4 mm to each of the half sleeve sides, and lengthened them by a breathtaking 7.5 cm (3").  Just as well!!!!!  

 In the above pic, the sleeve hem is folded 5.5 cm (2 1/4") from the bottom, and it doesn't look too long, does it?   The lovely purple elastic, you ask?  it's there to imitate the sleeve tab/belt, which serves to cinch the sleeve and keep freezing rain and wind off my bony wrists.  

There was no way to ease this sleeve into the body.  The fabric is totally non-easable, so I made a few tiny pleats at upper back (you can see a couple of them in the pic).  However - I think what I'll do is add a little more ease at the side and front princess seams for my bust, just the upper 10-15 cm, and that'll increase the armscye a bit and make the task of sleeve easing easier ;) in the actual construction.  

So, what next?  
I need to decide on a whole lot of things:
1. do I need to interface the whole fronts, per pattern instructions?  this fabric is like iron - maybe interfacing isn't necessary?  maybe I could, like I did with my most recent jacket, just underline with silk organza and add a bit of hair canvas to the lapel bit of the underlining? 
2. do I need to worry about waterproofing all the seams?
3. for the red jacket, what sort of lining?  fancy silk (dig through the stash, Digs!), or basic black bemberg (which I already have)?  
4. what about the topstitching?  contrast or self colour? self or thick thread?
4. how about some amazing piped edges (for the red jacket only)?

So.  This was a well spent Sunday.  I think, since I really-Really-REALLY want to have a trench COAT  before the month is out rather than a JACKET, I'll now set this little red baby aside and plow straight into the tan.  :)   :)  :)

Trench coat plans!

A serious Bur6erry ;) knockoff has been on my to-do list for a long time: ever since Michael had a sale of the raincoating fabric, which I think was some time in early 2008.

The fabric is amazing. It's made out of two layers of cotton twill bonded together, one plain colour, the other patterned in a nice tan/black/white/burgundy stripe.  Both sides are waterproof and shed water beautifully. [Edit: when I started to wear the coat I discovered the double thickness and waterproofing make the coat very windproof as well, and consequently surprisingly warm.]

I bought three lengths, in tan, red, and blue, all from Michael's, plus a length of matching lining from Denver Fabrics.  I still have the receipt for the latter, dated June 2008!  
Tan coating on the right (4.8 m) with matching rayon lining (2.4 m) on the left.
Sky blue (1.6 m) and fire engine red  (3.0 m)
I'm not quite sure why I got these lengths. It was in the early days of my sewing, and I was building up a stash, maybe? Or, probably more likely, I had had no idea whatsoever what lengths were needed for say, a coat (the tan), or a jacket (the red)?   I think the blue was destined for my baby boy, but ahem, he's much bigger than I now, way too big now for such a miserly length to be useful for him.  But, blue combined with the tan could make a colour-blocked jacket perhaps. 

I love how water beads on this fabric - clearly it's been waterproofed!
I have two - the Simplicity 4084 (Threads) and McCall's M5525.  I know there are others - Jalie, Marfy, and Burda, and may find them eventually for info purposes, but I plan on using a combo of the two I have.  


I like the M5525 upper back yoke and front gunflap, and the rain tab on the collar stand.  I prefer 4084's two piece sleeve, the direction of the side front pocket welts, and the buckle on the belt.  In addition, instead of what these patterns provide, I plan to make fold-over epaulettes (skinny underside), buckled rather than buttoned sleeve tabs, hanging tabs on the belt, and four instead of two belt holders.  

The under collar will be bias-cut and show the wrong side.  Buttons and buckles will be classic horn style.  Top stitching?  perhaps burgundy, to match the thin stripe of the underside and lining.  

I know some of you out there have used this cloth - I'd love to post links to those successful projects, so if you know where they are, please post in the comments section - thanks!  I'd also love to hear your comments and advice - this is a big project and your help will definitely go a long way to giving it justice!