Sunday, December 13, 2015

Butterick 5616 (Modified) - Olive Green Jacket

Inspired by military-look olive green jackets I see when the weather cools down, I decided to make one of my own.  I used Butterick 5616 as a base and made stylistic changes to make the jacket look closer to my vision of what I wanted this jacket to be.  The fabric is a tightly woven medium weight cotton twill purchased from B&J Fabrics in New York City.

The pattern provides 3/4 length 2 piece sleeves which I lengthened to full length.

The pattern has a cut on facing you fold over a couple of times to create the placket at center front where you would add buttons and buttonholes.  I instead cut off the facing and drafted a sew on facing so I could insert a separating metal zipper.

I also added an extension over the zipper, a design detail I have seen on the ready-to-wear jackets I have examined.  I then added snaps along the extension, cuffs and pockets using the snap tool described in my previous post.

The pattern is described as a very loose fitting jacket and indeed it is.  I normally would take in all of the extra ease but in this case I decided to keep it.  I gave the jacket shaping by adding a drawstring, another detail I have seen in the ready-to-wear jackets I have admired.

For the drawstring, I drafted a drawstring casing and attached it to the inside.  I used metal eyelets by Dritz for the drawstring opening and cordstops I purchased at Pacific Trim in New York City.

I topstitched 1/4 inch away from all seam lines using Mara 30 topstitching thread by Gutterman and a 100/16 size needle with a 4.0 stitch length.  To prevent the pocket edges from curling over time, I slipstitched the edges to make sure they stay flat.

The princess line design of this pattern made it easy to fit.  No dreaded fold wanting to become a dart - yay!  The jacket is loose fitting enough that I could wear layers underneath.

I've been talking to my friends for a long time about making this jacket and then when I started working on it, it took me a long time to make so it feels like this project has been around forever.  I finally finished it.

Happy sewing!

Sunday, November 29, 2015

Attaching Snaps to Fabric

Recently, I completed an olive green military inspired jacket by modifying Butterick 5616 which I will post about in the near future, once one of my photographers is available (my husband or daughter) and the lighting is good.

Until then, I decided to post how to attach metal snaps to fabric.  I used metal snaps on the jacket which gave it a more authentic look.  I had done this many years ago and had to refresh my memory by doing a little research and making a test sample.  I figured posting about it would provide me with a record of the process that I can refer to and maybe at the same time, hopefully provide useful information to anyone who would like to attach snaps.

In my quick research on the topic, I discovered there are 2 types of snaps:  compression and prong.  The compression snaps are ideal for leather while the prong snaps are ideal for fabric.  I found this YouTube Video by Tierra Cast about the compression type of snap which I thought was informative.

I used prong snaps.  Snaps consist of a total of 4 pieces:

Left to Right:
Capped prong, Socket, Open prong ring, Stud

For my jacket, I used the prong snap system by Snap Source (no affiliate relationship here...I just like the tool).  Snap Source sells snaps but I purchased my snaps at Pacific Trim in New York City.  The tool consists of 3 pieces:  the Main Base/Tool Adapter which has an indentation that must match the size of your snap (Sizes are 16, 18, 20 or 24).  On top of the Main Base you place the Middle Positioning Bar.  On top of the Middle Positioning Bar, you place the Top Layer which is the same for all sizes.

From bottom to top:  Main Base/Tool Adapter,
Middle Positioning Bar
Top Layer
Left to right:  Main Base/Tool Adapter
Middle Positioning Bar
Top Layer

Place the snap into the indentation of the Main Base/Tool Adapter.  See how nicely the snap fits into the indentation.  This indentation holds the snap in place and protects the dome shape from getting damaged:

Place the fabric right side of the garment on top of the snap.  Push the prongs through to the inside of the garment with the tip of a letter opener:

Place the middle positioning bar on top and drop in the socket:

Place the Top Layer of the tool, which has a protrusion underneath, over the socket and give it a few good whacks with a hammer:

Attaching the snap to the other side is a little tricker although if you are patient and careful, it will be a piece of cake.  The trick is that you must place the corresponding stud in exactly the right spot so that it will snap together perfectly.

The way I do it is by marking the corresponding side with chalk pencil.  Rub the pencil over the socket:

and then close the jacket exactly how it is going to be closed and press the snap down with your finger

so that it leaves a mark exactly where the stud needs to go:

Place the open ring prong underneath.  You will have to feel and position and reposition it until you feel that the prongs are surrounding the mark and the mark is in the center of the prongs.  Then push the prongs through with the tip of a letter opener:

Ideally, you should follow the same process as above where you place the open ring prong in the indentation of the Main Base layer, then the Positioning Bar, then the Top Layer and hammer away.  However, in my case, I had some bulk caused by the zipper which I thought would prevent me from applying the snaps securely.  I therefore decided to forgo the Base Layer and Middle Positioning Bar.  Since the open ring prong is flat, there is no danger of damaging it.

I placed the stud on top of the prongs and then placed the Top Layer tool over the stud by positioning the protrusion of the tool over the stud.  I then gave it a couple of whacks with the hammer:


Happy Sewing!

Monday, October 19, 2015

Sweater Knit Cardigan

Another assignment from my Patternmaking for Knits class was to draft a pattern for a cardigan type of garment for a sweater knit.  The draft was to have no side seam.  I always need some type of shaping because I am busty but in this case, I nevertheless thought I had a chance for a successful garment because we could choose any type of fabric we wanted as long as it was a sweater knit.

I had a beautiful very loose weave brown fabric in my stash I thought would work for this assignment.  Since the fabric was so incredibly forgiving, I did not have the dreaded fold at the side where the fabric wants to become a dart:

And this time, I was able to draft the back smaller than the front so I do not have any excess fabric in the back:

Because it was a loose weave fabric, the edges frayed like crazy when cut.  I decided to adhere fusible tape to all of the cut edges before removing the fabric from the pattern which prevented the fabric from unraveling as I worked with it.

I went to Pacific Trim in New York City (38th Street between 7th and 8th Avenues) and purchased a separating zipper which they cut to size.  They have a selection of zipper pulls so I had them replace the regular zipper pull with a circular one.  I love it!

I asked them to give me the left over zipper which I used as trim on the pockets.  Given the loose weave and thickness of the fabric, I decided to attach the pockets by hand so as to prevent distortion.

Since the fabric is thick, I was not able to use the same fabric for the undercollar.  I instead used ponte fabric for the undercollar.  Ponte is a stable fabric but it still has some give to it.  The stability of the ponte would prevent the collar from stretching out of shape but it still had enough give to work with the knit fashion fabric of the top collar.  To make sure the ponte stayed out of sight and underneath the collar, I used a pick stitch all around the edges to keep it under control.

I initially wanted to attach the collar as I usually do, attaching the undercollar to the neckline and then  folding under the top collar cut edge over the seam line and slip stitching it closed.  Unfortunately, the thickness of the fabric would produce too much bulk.  Instead of folding under the top collar, I just topstitched it in place and used a strip of Petersham ribbon to cover the raw edges.  I like how it looks and it has the added bonus of adding some stability over the neckline.

This was the first weekend here in the Northeastern U.S. that felt really cold so this sweater knit cardigan is just what I need right now.  It is very warm and comfortable.

Happy Sewing!

Tuesday, October 6, 2015

The Ill-fitting Jacket

One of the assignments from the Patternmaking for Knits class I took at FIT this past spring was to draft a pattern for a "Chanel-look" jacket for a stable knit fabric.  We were allowed to make the garments fit ourselves but only within the parameters of the assignment.  The course was designed to teach pattern drafting used by the industry.

I am top heavy so I always need bust darts for shaping.  Since this assignment required that we draft the pattern for a boxy dartless jacket for a stable fabric, I knew I was in trouble!

The jacket was not meant to be a couture level type of jacket so the jacket was unlined with serged seam allowances.  The best thing about this assignment was that we learned a really nice way of finishing the edges.  I am sure this is nothing new and someone somewhere has already written about it.  Nevertheless, I want to share what I learned because I think it's a cool technique.

We pressed the seam allowance to the right side of the jacket.  My seam allowance was 1/2 inch.  We then were to purchase trim slightly wider than the seam allowance so we could apply it on top of the seam allowance thus covering the seam allowance and providing a clean finish outside and inside.  I chose trim 3/4 inch wide.

1/2" seam allowance turned to right side

Trim 3/4" wide applied on top of
seam allowance
I did not feel confident I could apply this trim successfully by machine so I painstakingly attached the trim by hand sewing tiny stitches on both sides of the trim.

The following photo shows how nice and clean the inside looks:

Back to the issue of fit.  As you can see below, the photo of the side view shows that the jacket is screaming for a bust dart.  You can see the fabric fold trying to become a dart. 

The pattern draft assignment also required that the front and back be the same (except for the neckline) because that's how pattern drafts for knits are done for the mass market.  Now since in the industry patterns are drafted for the B cup, if you are a B cup or smaller, this would not pose a problem.  The fabric would give enough to allow a nice fit.  I may be able to squeeze by with a very stretchy fabric or one with a loose weave but this does not work for me at all in a stable knit.

In my case, I am disproportionately bigger in the front than the back.  Thus, by drafting the back the same as the front, I ended up with excess fabric in the back.  Ugh!  Look at those folds!  I sure could use a sloping shoulder adjustment here as well.  Oy.

After the class was over, in a futile attempt to somehow redeem this jacket, I decided to line the sleeves in charmeuse so it would be easier to slip my arms in and out of the jacket.  I used the same sleeve pattern as I used for the jacket but sewed the lining with 3/8" seam allowance instead of the 1/2" used for the jacket sleeve so as to allow a little ease in the sleeve so that the lining would not strain or tear.  I also created a jump pleat at the bottom of the sleeve.  I attached the lining by hand all around the armscye and sleeve hem.

After all of this effort, I do not like this jacket due to the poor fit although it is warm and comfortable.  This was a frustrating assignment - maybe I should have drafted this particular pattern for the perfectly symmetrical B cup dress form available in class (that was an option).  Oh well!  This particular assignment confirmed for me why ready-to-wear does not fit so many people.

Happy sewing!

Sunday, September 20, 2015

An Abstract Print

My wardrobe is in dire need of more tops so I decided to make this self-drafted top.  I first saw this colorful abstract print knit jersey fabric made into a beautiful jumpsuit on the blog, Erica Bunker DIY Style.  So I was quite happy to come across it at the Mood Fabrics store in New York City.

This fabric was very stretchy in both the crosswise and lengthwise grain with great recovery.  Since I need darts even in knits for tops to fit properly, I used my usual technique for sewing darts on knits.

Once I basted the side seams together, I discovered the darts were too high!  Yikes!  I think the lengthwise recovery pulled the dart up more than I thought it would. So I took apart the basting and moved the dart down to its proper location.  Unfortunately, this skewed the dart take-up so much that I would not be able to catch it in the seam.  Pondering what to do, I remembered I once made a chiffon blouse where I serged the dart so there would be no dart take-up visible on the right side, only a neat thin line.  It occurred to me I could serge this dart thereby cutting off the unruly dart take-up.  I then was able to catch the dart in the side seam - whew:

I always use the coverstitch feature of my serger for hems on knit tops.  In this case, I wanted the double needle stitching on the right side to match the orange background.  I did not want to purchase 3 cones of orange serger thread so what I did was fill a bobbin with the thread for one of the needles and use a thread spool for the other needle.  For the looper thread underneath, I used a red cone of serger thread I had in my stash.  I stitched some samples to make sure the red looper thread did not show on the right side and luckily it did not.  (If it had, I would had filled another bobbin):

The days are still warm here in the northeastern U.S. but fall is just around the corner and only a few days away on the calendar.  The humidity and temperature are lower and the sun is setting earlier so I will soon be wearing fall jackets and sweaters.  I will definitely use this top underneath for a pop of color.

Happy sewing!

Saturday, September 5, 2015

ETA Sew Expo 2015

The ETA Sew Expo 2015 was held in Rutherford, NJ from August 28 to August 30 at the Renaissance Hotel on Stuyvesant Avenue.

I took a total of 6 classes.  All of the classes were informative taught by leaders in the sewing industry.  Oh, it was so much fun to be surrounded by like-minded creative sewing people!

As soon as I arrived, I was greeted by the wonderful Peggy Sagers of the pattern line Silhouette Patterns.  It is thanks to her this wonderful event came to the NJ/NY area for the 3rd time.  I am looking forward to next year.

Peggy is wearing a leather jacket she made from Silhouette Patterns #1955.  I am wearing a jean jacket I made from  Silhouette Patterns #900.

For those of you who attended last year, you may remember the lobby of the Renaissance Hotel was under construction.  However, the lobby has since been completed.  The lobby is beautiful, very spacious with lots of light.

Lobby of Renaissance Hotel

These light fixtures look like bubbles to me!

The vendor hall was only one room but there was still plenty there to do some damage.  I purchased a  book, interfacing and pattern by Pamela Leggett; some stay tape and fabric from Emma Seabrooke.

Pamela Leggett at her booth with her new book
Sewing Essentials Serger Techniques.
  You can find it on Amazon.
Emma Seabrooke at her booth selling stay tape, fabrics and notions.
You can check out her fabulous stay tapes at SewKeysE .

Tailoring supplies
Beautiful hand dyed fabrics by Sherry Searcy

 All of the classes were excellent.  I walked away from each one having learned something new.
Carol Steinbrecher of Style Solutions
showed us how to think of our wardrobes in "clusters"

Andrea from the blog knit-knac
examining some leathers after Peggy's leather class
 Lorraine Henry talking about fit

Pamela Leggett showing us how to pad a dress form

Not mentioned above but also in attendance and teaching were Kathy Ruddy and Anne St. Clair.

Of course, it's always fun to spend time with Amardeep who has a hilarious sense of humor:

The cutest doll size ensemble
 made by Lois Anderson of the ASDP (NJ Chapter)
Association of Sewing and Design Professionals
 (ASDP - NJ Chapter) At the table:  Jil Konopacki
Chapter Pres., Stephen Wisner, member

There also were two design challenges.  In one of the challenges, the winner took home $1,000!

The time went by so fast but I left feeling inspired and energized.  For those of you who have not yet attended this expo, be sure to visit next year.

Happy sewing!