Last Two Tunics Finished

Finally got the remaining two tunics done. My friend Janet suggested I add a cowl neck and it would have worked nicely but for the fact that I’d already cut these tunics out and didn’t have enough fabric to make a cowl neck scarf to wear with either. So crew necks I’ve got.

“Feathers” Flared Tunic #3

This is the same printed pattern as the second one I did, just in shades of black/grey/white. It’ll look good with a black turtleneck and pants.

“Grey” Flared Tunic #4

That’s it for garment sewing right now. I still have corduroy for a couple pairs of pants and I need to make another bedspread jacket for a friend but it’s back to quilting right now.

Kantha Jacket

Last spring in San Francisco, Sheila and I visited Gumps. At the front of the store was a rack of lovely casual bright print jackets by Meiko Mintz constructed out of Indian Kantha cloth. I didn’t bother trying them on – the price deterred me. The jackets were something I could easily make for myself (if I could ever find the quilted Kantha cloth).

A couple of weeks ago, I came across an inexpensive king-size Kantha bedspread on Amazon which I ordered. It arrived amazingly fast – within 10 days. More than enough fabric to make a jacket.

Kantha King-Size Bedspread (folded in half)

First it had to be washed… I thought about the process for more than a week – I knew the indigo (or whatever dark blue dye had been used) would run and likely kill the white stitching which I didn’t want to happen.

I was able to fit the large bedspread in my home washing machine. I added colour collector sheets to the wash.

Colour Collector Sheets

I used four just to make sure I would catch as much loose colour as possible. I added some Oxyclean (to get rid of whatever dirt was in the fabric), and an unscented detergent to cool water. (I probably should have added a cup of vinegar but I wasn’t sure how it would react with the Oxyclean – I will hand wash the jacket with added vinegar once it’s done to stabilize the colour before wearing it).

I caught a LOT of dye:

Colour Collector Sheets – After Washing

I started the garment by making a pattern from an existing jacket (which I happen to have bought at Gumps three years ago). A simple style with a Mandarin collar, turned up sleeves, pockets (too small to be useful – mine will be quite a bit larger). The thing about the jacket, which is reversible, is it’s finished with a hidden binding. Because my fabric is already quilted I will do a hidden binding finish using a batik that complements the plain fabric on the back of the bedspread fabric.

Here’s the jacket cut out and ready to begin sewing (I’ve already added the turned up cuffs to the sleeves – I constructed them separately and attached them to the sleeves so the print shows when the cuff is rolled back).

Jacket Front – Cut Out

Because of the way I’ve incorporated the the fabric detail, large patch pockets would obscure the design. Instead I’m going to make double welt pockets and use a single layer of printed fabric for the pocket on the inside of the jacket, blind binding the pocket fabric, then stitching it to the front, leaving just the double welt showing on the outside of the jacket. I’m still not sure whether I want to add a solid, darker blue strip to the bottom of the jacket – I have enough fabric to do that, although it would be an add-on and an extra seam – still thinking about that.

The finished jacket will be just a single layer, with machine stitched buttonholes. I’ve so far not looked for buttons – have to check my button collection before I go shopping.

More as the project unfolds over the weekend.

Stretch Cotton t-Shirt

This is actually the second t-Shirt – the first was a disaster (too big and too long – the culprit was the light weight black and white knit I bought in San Francisco – too loosely knit, I think). It went into the trash pile.

I bought the fabric for this shirt at my nearby Pfaff dealer who stocked some very nice stretch cotton knit this summer. This red stripe was the only one of those fabrics that suited my colouring, too bad. 0.8m (60″ wide) was enough for a t-shirt for me. The fabric sewed easily – didn’t have to fight it.

Red Stripe t-Shirt

Given my floppy upper arms, I like a sleeve that comes almost to my elbow so I lengthened the short sleeves. The pattern also uses a facing for the neck edge – nobody finishes a t-Shirt neck with a facing – I serged a doubled (24″ x 1 1/4″) strip to the neck edge (1 1/2″ shorter than the length of the neck so I could ease the neck edge into the seam). I also cut 1 1/4″ from the bottom edge – I’m short, and didn’t need the shirt to come below mid-stomach.

I cut out the shirt a couple of days ago. I was able to sew it up in under 2 hours this morning. I pressed the neck band toward the body and top stitched it 1.5mm from the seam to keep it flat. Cover-stitched the sleeve and bottom hems.

The Pattern is a Burda pattern I’ve had for ages (I tried finding some hint online about when the pattern was first released but came up empty although many people have made it – lots of photos of finished shirts). The size 14 fits me reasonably well. It’s easy to make with the 1/4″ seam allowances included in the pattern – makes fitting sleeve curves straightforward because you don’t have to fight the excess fabric in a 5/8″ allowance.

Burda 3197 Pattern (Vintage)

Now I need to go through my fabric stash and see if I can find another suitable knit to make at least one more of these shirts (then I’ll be able to cull some of the older ones in my closet).

Beige Pants

Same pattern, cut out with the same modifications I used with the pink pants, and these came out larger – had to take in the sides 3/8″ at the top and from mid hip to hemline. Obviously the difference is the fabric in spite of the fact there’s no spandex in this fabric either….

The front has turned out fine, happy with that, but below the bum is a wee bit baggy. Not much I can do about that at this point – the pants may tighten up a bit with washing, although I prewashed the fabric. Sitting in them may also round out the backside some.

The pants are certainly wearable. 

This morning I dug out some navy cotton twill (no spandex) that I will wash tomorrow, as well as some prewashed beige cotton twill – both will get made into pants when I get back from Toronto (going to my niece’s wedding coming weekend). I also found a prewashed length of French navy blue light weight cotton/linen blend to use for a loose shirt. Once those garments are done, the pants with the stretched out spandex will go.

Tomorrow, I intend to interface the silk dupion I’ve had waiting to be made into a quilt. I’ll get that project started next.

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).

double-hitoe

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.

Sharon-trench

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.