San Francisco 5

Time disappears when you’re deeply engaged in something. Here it is 5:15pm Thursday afternoon. Where have the last two days gone?

I’ve finished a second pair of pants – you ask about the first? I finished those yesterday morning. Sandra suggested a small modification to the front of the pants so instead of starting on the shirt (I’ve made adjustments to refine the fit of that pattern as well) I thought I should do the second pair of pants to see how they’d turn out.

Here they are: the front:

Pants 2 -Front

 

And the back:

Pants 2 – Back

This is the closest I’ve come to a comfortable well fitting pair of pants. The twill I’ve made these in has a wee bit of give but it’s pretty stiff so some pull lines are inevitable. But in a more stretchy or drapey fabric they’ll be great.

And yesterday (that was Wednesday) we sewed in the morning and went fabric shopping in the afternoon – visited a couple of great fabric shops where I couldn’t resist picking up fabrics for garments as well as a few small pieces of quilting cotton.

Fabric Shopping

 

There’s a name for it: pareidolia – seeing faces in inanimate objects! There are faces everywhere – in the hotel bathroom:

Face #1


On the door to the room:

Face #2


Wouldn’t you call that a sad face?

Anyway, I tidied up my sewing station after I finished my white pants. Tomorrow I’ll have time to cut out my shirt before we have to pack up and vacate the sewing room.

I’m here in San Francisco till very early Saturday morning so I’ll schmooze a bit Friday afternoon. The week has flown by astonishingly fast.

In Progress

In April, Ann Williamson blogged about having just made a couple of “hitoe” jacket/blouses from her kimono silk stash. She calls them ‘hitoe’, the Japanese word for a silk, light weight, unlined kimono, because these jacket/blouses are unlined. By chance she discovered they look terrific layered, so often she shows them in pairs, like the two hitoe below (each with contrasting facing fabrics).

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A double hitoe

I love Ann’s work and the garments she creates. After my visit to her studio in Portland Oregon in 2013, I ordered some kimono silk myself from Ichiroya.com.

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Two bolts of kimono silk

Kimono silk comes in 14″ wide bolts with anywhere from 10-12 yards of fabric – enough, I’ve discovered for a single jacket/blouse. The hitch is you have to piece the fabric to make it wide enough to create a garment. Or you can do what Ann does – cut the silk into small bits, piece it into a large swath of fabric from which to construct a garment.

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Pieced trench coat (using silk from four different bolts)

In this case I decided rather than cutting my silk into bits and piecing it, I’d use a princess pattern – all the pieces would fit on the width of the kimono bolt.

It just so happens I have a princess-based pattern I could adapt to create a hitoe – McCall’s pattern M4394 (out of print but available online from eBay, for example, although I actually bought my copy from McCall’s some time last year). It’s a vintage classic coordinated collection. I’d bought it because of the simple lines and the fact that it actually had fit adjustment markings on each of the pattern pieces!

jacket pattern

Hitoe-like jacket – View A

View “A” (shortened a bit) I thought would work for a hitoe like Ann’s. I selected the pieces I needed for the jacket, traced each, making size adjustments to the tracing. Cut out each pattern piece ready to work on the kimono silk.

This is where I should be making a “muslin” – trying out the garment using some inexpensive fabric first to make sure the fit works. I actually went so far as to prep some muslin from my stash, but thought – why not try the pattern using one of the kimono silk fabrics I’m not especially fond of – if it works (with adjustments, likely) I end up with a wearable garment, If not, I will have learned what I want to anyway before using silk I really like.

I selected the mauve silk with trees in the clouds. The bands of pattern are intended to embellish the kimono sleeves and hem area. I was able to match up the pattern for the front so the design crosses from high on the right shoulder to lower on the left hip, lining up across the center front.

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Partially constructed fronts

I was able to match the center back but the side back pieces had to be solid mauve (no pattern left). One sleeve has an enlarged tree in the center of the upper arm.

So far, I’ve pieced the fronts and backs. Now I’m ready to piece the sleeves (these are two-piece sleeves which I needed in order to have them fit the fabric width – a single-piece sleeve would have been too wide for the fabric).

I thought about doing the facings in a contrasting fabric, but I’ve used the mauve for that purpose in order not to detract from the flowing design in the main fabric.

More to come as this garment develops.

 

 

Garment Sewing Again

I’ve finally made it back to some garment sewing. A couple of weeks ago in her Distinctive Sewing Supplies newsletter, Catherine Goetz featured ITY knits (some prints for tops as well as solids in a 300 weight) perfect for making leggings. She included this Jalie pattern as well.

 

Jalie leggings

Jalie Leggings Pattern

I ordered 1 metre of the ITY knit in black and navy, and the pattern. They arrived early this week. Couldn’t wait to give the pattern a try – very simple: cut out x2 the single pattern piece (no side seam) in the navy, some elastic for the waist, quickly stitch it up on the serger (no hand sewing required). In under an hour I had a finished pair of leggings that fit very well.

Now I needed a tunic length top. A while back I had made a top using Marsha McClintock’s t-Shirt Trifecta pattern – turned out well. So I looked through the garment fabrics I had on hand, found two jersey knits I’d purchased earlier in the spring. Cut out the pattern (had to use some of the leftover ITY knit for the top since I didn’t have enough of the jersey knit), sewed it up. Not as fast as the leggings, obviously, but a couple of hours and I had a finished tunic length top.

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Tunic Top

Top with matching leggings – an outfit I can wear now, and into the winter (with a turtleneck for warmth).
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That was yesterday. I got up this morning and headed directly to my cutting table to cut out the second pair of leggings in black. Those went even faster than yesterday – I knew what I was doing at this point.

Then a second tunic top. Again, I was short on fabric, but this time rather than use the black ITY knit, I had enough fabric to piece the sleeves with a center seam from shoulder to cuff (if I hadn’t mentioned it you likely wouldn’t notice it when I have the tunic top on – and the seams in the sleeves lined up perfectly with the shoulder seams!)

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Tunic Top II

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Outfit #2

Three hours later: another outfit.

I try to keep to the rule – new garment in, an old garment out! I tossed two summer t-Shirts so I could put these two new tunic tops in the closet. I confess, though, I didn’t throw out pants to be replaced by the leggings.

A quick mop up once I was finished and I’m ready to tackle whatever will be my next sewing project – likely a quilt.

San Francisco 9

San Francisco fog in the morning
 

The packing is done – I must have packed more lightly than I thought when I came because I managed to get everything into the two bags, including the fabric I bought! Tomorrow morning I fly to Toronto for a few days before heading home.


I finished the blue pants this morning – cut out, sewn, and wearable without further adjustment. That was my goal! However, the twill is unforgiving – very stiff with no forgiveness, hence the “wrinkles”. My next project will be to try the jeans in a fabric with a bit of stretch – I’m guessing the fit will be a bit more smooth because the fabric will be just that bit more flexible. What I like is it looks like I have a bit of bum in them.

I didn’t work on anything else after this pair of pants was done. Instead, I tidied and packed up, then eavesdropped on the assistance Sandra offered everyone else. Lots of great sewing “tips” – about how to cut out silk using paper beneath with the pattern on top (not precut, so you’re cutting through a paper/silk/paperture sandwich – that way the silk doesn’t slither around and you get an accurate cutting.

The day ended early – everyone tired but satisfied with their sewing projects. During the day, Dan, Sandra’s husband and helpers slowly broke down the room, taking away the garment samples, sewing patterns, fabric and notions, sewing machines back to wherever everything lives. It will all be back out again in a month or so for the next group of sewers.

Mid-afternoon, Sheila and I took our last walk to Union Square. I wanted to capture a photo of an interesting jacket I’d seen in Gumps my second day in SF.

I thought the fabric interesting – it’s organza, machine over-stitched to look like knitting! Apparently the jacket is also available in the Gumps catalog – when I get home I’ll look to see if it’s available in my size.

The snap dragons in Union Square were lovely this afternoon

It’s going to be a while before we see flowers in bloom in Halifax!

Our last walk back to the hotel I took the opportunity to capture a few more interesting sights. A window of antique Jewellery

a chocolatier

Pink – a men’s clothing store with lots of pink clothing

I’m ready to be heading home.

Second Pair of Pants

Yesterday I completed the pants in Twill – I wanted to see how the pattern would turn out in a less giving fabric than the denim I used (which has a lot of give).

The front is great – no fullness on the sides below the bum, just a straight side seam.
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The side view is also good. The pants are about 1/2″ too long – I may take them up after I’ve washed them – I hemmed them at a 27″ inseam (my usual inseam is 27 1/2″ – given the way these pants fit I’m guessing I should use a 26 1/2″ inseam for hemming – I know my legs aren’t shorter!)IMG_4304

And the back fits nicely as well. So I guess this pattern is a keeper as it is.IMG_4305

A useful addition to my wardrobe.

That’s it for pants for now. On to other stuff.

My Quest for Perfectly-fitted Pants – 2

Muslin #2

A made two major adjustments to muslin #1: I drafted the pattern using a size C/D waist, B hip – which took quite a bit off all of the seams, on the back & side back pattern pieces I removed 3/4″ from just under the bum (tapering to the side/inner leg seams). I kept the size B crotch dimensions as is for now.

As you can see, the front fits nicely without pulling (were I to shorten the pants another 3/8″ the front below the knee would fall without breaking).

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But the side view show a bum that is still too full! The side seam is straight, pulling neither to the front or the back. But you can see the extra in the bum and the extra fullness in the back leg – so on muslin #3 I will take those back seams in a bit (as well as increase the amount I take out horizontally under the bum).

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The back view looks not too bad – the back seams are straight – that’s a good thing, but I do need a bit more taken from the bum.

IMG_4209So it’s on to drafting pattern #3!

On this version I will go back to the original waistband from the pattern – I’ll use a size C/D but the hip edge will have to be fitted quite a bit which will mean I have to be careful to make sure it fits the top of the size C/D pants. I am also going to increase the length of the back about 1/2″ – when I sit down the back waistband pulls down – that may mean the crotch depth is too short! I’ll see what lengthening the back does.

What was successful with muslin #2 was the flat fly front! That worked out well.

So each step of the way I’m learning more about how pants are designed – it’s not simple taking flat pieces and trying to fit a curved 3D body!

 

Quilted Jacket

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Like I need another jacket! However, when Bonnie mentioned the quilted jacket class I thought I’d enjoy sewing with the gals again, so I signed up.

First, select two different fabrics (I chose two batiks) – buy 3 meters. Then I left the fabric at Sew With Visioin (the Pfaff/Husqvarna shop where the class was going to be held) to make into a quilt sandwich with bamboo batting, then to have the whole thing quilted on the long arm quilter.

Thursday I went to class having prepped the pattern – traced a size small knowing it would need a bit of adjusting. Cut the fabric, pin based it, adjusted the fitting and then began to sew.

The point of the class (as far as I was concerned) was to learn ways of joining double sided fabric using bindings. For the most part that wasn’t terribly difficult – line up one edge of the binding with the edge of the seam, sew, press binding away from the garment, fold over seam, press, pin (I actually found it easier without pinning), stitch binding to garment on the second side. The tricky seam was along the underarm of the sleeve – it gets narrow pretty quickly so it’s slow going carefully keeping the binding flat against the sleeve as you go along.

Because I wanted the jacket to be completely reversible and have pockets on both sides, I had to come up with a way to access the pocket on one side through a zippered welt opening on the second side.

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It looks as if there’s a pocket on the second side, but it’s actually just access through the front to the pocket on the other side.

The buttonholes took forever – I tried some samples on my embroidery machine but today the machine wouldn’t cooperate with me (it may have to go in for a check-up). In the end I decided to create bound buttonholes. This meant creating a facing for the second side to cover the unfinished buttonhole seams on that side. They turned out reasonably well.

Last thing – add buttons to both sides.

We’ve a second class coming Thursday but I’ve got appointments during the morning so I finished the jacket today. I’ll still go to class to show off my completed jacket and to socialize with the other gals.