Friday, January 19, 2007

SWAP update - Progress and Procrastination

I've been sewing almost every day since the last posting, but seem to have fallen off in noting my progress.

The beige blouse is on the back burner for a bit. I need to adjust the sleeve cap to accomodate the forward shoulder adjustment, but the sleeves are already cut so I don't have much wiggle room. I've learned it's usually better to let something annoying rest for awhile before taking it up again.

Jean Jacket - Change of Plan: Meanwhile, I started work on my delicious red wool jean jacket, starting with a muslin of my red and black print. This was to have been the lining, but the fabric is quite heavy, and of course it 'sticks' when you try to put it on. Not suitable for a lining, but quite spectacular as a jacket in it's own right.

So I decided to make it 'wearable' and cut the remaining pieces - collars, bands, etc. and spent about 3 full days working on it. It was a delight to make, and I discovered topstitching thread in the process. The jacket, Vogue 7610, is a Sandra Betzina pattern. The directions are meticulous, and though there area a lot of pieces, they fit together flawlessly. I found the waist measurement to be too large and had to take in the seams in the back panels, and the side seams to make a snug fit around the bottom.

I also decided to line the jacket with a red bemberg rayon lining. It was slippery and frustrating to work with, especially since there was no lining pattern, so I made a few boo-boos in the cutting. Nothing serious though, and I think the lining adds to the overall effect.

The only difficulty with this pattern was in topstitching the front lapel portion. On all the other topstitching, I could use regular thread in the bobbin, but for the fronts, the lapel turns so the 'wrong side' is actually the visible part for the first few inches. I had a problem getting the bobbin tension adjusted so that both sides of the topstitching were good to look at. A little more practice perhaps would have avoided some ripping out. My local sewing mentor suggested writing down the settings used, and the screw position for my bobbin casing, and saving those with the pattern. I also made notes of the needle position and what foot I used as a guide for the topstitching.

All that remains of the jacket now is to topstitch the bottom band and the cuffs, and to install the snaps down the front.

Impact on SWAP: Changing jacket plans definitely changes some of my SWAP plan. The flowered jacket will not go well with the plum pants, and only so-so with the red velvet skirt. However, it frees up the red wool to be pants or a skirt. My sewing club thinks I could pull off wearing red pants. I'm not absolutely sure about that, and I know skirt would work well, but probably get worn less. Regardless, my SWAP is reordering itself. I have lots of options and have not boxed myself into a corner yet. Though I still must keep in mind Julie's advice that the "PLAN" is supposed to be in place before the sewing starts. Not my style, but definitely good advice, and something to learn from.

Two parcels of fabric arrived recently, one from Timmel's, and one from Wazoodle. I have some lovely red jersey from Julie which has some substance, and will make a great t-shirt which will not stretch out of shape. I also have some sparkly black knit from Julie which is quite stretchy, and drapes softly. Then, from Wazoodle, I have some black bamboo jersey which feels like butter - very thin and soft, and very very black. I have never heard of bamboo fabric until recently, and I'm not sure what it will turn out to be like to work with and wear. I also have some $3/m red cotton jersey from W. which I am using as muslin material to test out some T-shirt patterns.

Knits seem to be problematic for me. This picture shows my first attempt at a Jalie T-shirt, and as I was sewing on the neck band, I was already composing the email describing how I had finally created a wearable T-shirt without stretching the neck. Then I tried it on and found the neck looks absolutely awful, and is terribly stretched in the back especially. Also, I followed Jalie's directions carefully, and still the band looks lumpy and wavy on the front. Something is not working here, most likely it's me.

I am going to cut the current neck off, and put a folded band on the front which turns toward the back and is stitched on the actual shirt rather than on the band itself. I have actually done this successfully once on a tank top. Now that I have a serger, the inside won't look too, too scruffy. Nevertheless, I still need to learn how to make a neckline that is not stretched out in the sewing. This particular knit is very stretchy, possibly exacerbating the problem, but I would really like to tackle one of those nice knits from Julie, and I want to get the technique down beforehand.

The grandchildren have a snow day, so its time to get my 8-year old grandson started on his flannel shirt. I think he will become bored after the easy seams are done, but we'll see.

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