Wednesday, April 1, 2015

Vogue 8932: Fleeced

Way back in early January I decided I needed a fleece jacket - Patagonia-style - with nice fleece (real PolarTec).  So I found myself perusing, and went a little crazy ordering fleece.  I don't usually get excited about sewing fleece, but it was January, after all.  The quality of the fleece from Mill Yardage is superb - so nice that I actually do get excited about fleece.  
One of the many fleeces I now own.
"This would be a great project for Pattern Review's Activewear contest!" So I bought McCall's 5252 "6 Great Looks, 1 Easy Pattern."  Honestly, I'm not sure there's one great look in the bunch.

McCalls 5252
I had hopes I could turn one of the jackets into something that would work for me.
Then I ordered several matching zippers in fuschia. And waited, and waited, and waited.  Finally, by the end of January, the zippers arrived.  Too late for Pattern Review.  Dang, I wish I could find zippers locally!
Fucshia zippers

In the meantime, I realized I don't want (or need) another baggy fleece jacket that I would only wear around the house.  Would Vogue 8932 work with fleece?  The pattern recommends stretch leather, ponte or boiled wool. Okay, how about a nice sweater striae fleece?  

Vogue 8932
"How are you going to put a zipper into that?" My husband asks.  Vogue 8932
Well, it worked and it didn't.  First of all, let me say that I love this pattern and I will be making it again.  Just not with fleece.  Or maybe a mix of fleece and something else.  Yes, I am a sucker for Vogue patterns.  

I made version A -- regular seams, with button closure.
The interesting design lines of this jacket were begging to be shown off, so I played them up with extra stitching, a la Vogue 1378.  I initially thought about making versions B, which is stitched with the seams facing the public side, but the fleece was just too thick.  

Vogue 8932, back detail
Back detail, Vogue 8932
To highlight the interesting seaming, I top-stitched 1/4" on each side of most seam lines.  It is fun looking AND it's a good way to force the seam allowance flat.  The side seams and shoulder seams were overlocked on my Bernina 930.
Vogue 8932, front detail
Front Detail, Vogue 8932

Fearing a stitched buttonhole in fleece would quickly stretch out of shape, I made bound buttonholes with evergreen Ultra Suede.  The "graphite" fleece has a bit of green in it, and they look great together. 

Bound buttonhole close-up
Triangular Bound Buttonhole.  The buttons are grey-green and the buttonhole is green.
The rounded front called for a fun shape, so I went with triangle buttonholes. They were surprisingly quick and easy with a homemade template. I will be using that method again. 

Vogue 8932, back
Vogue 8932, back view.  The back is shorter than the front.
So far, I love it.  Then I got to the facings.  The fleece was just too thick to use self fabric facings.  I should have used something thinner (let's say, oh I don't know, maybe the Ultra Suede that I have yards and yards of), but I just liked the idea of fleece on the inside.  I considered no facings, but the back needed the extra weight of a facing, and the lovely neckline would probably sag without a facing. Unfortunately, the manner in which the right front overlaps the left front results in four layers of fleece across my bust, giving the impression of a uniboob.

For the sleeves, I omitted the facings and used a bias strip of Ultra Suede to bind the edge.  

Vogue 8932, side
The shoulders concerned me some, since the sleeve cap is eased and the fleece is bulky and generally un-easable.  This fleece had plenty of stretch, so it worked.  Although the cap looks a little flat in the photo, I don't notice it at all when I wear it.  I probably should have left a little more seam allowance to help give it structure.

I made very few alterations to the pattern: cut a 14 through the shoulders and bust, expanding out 1/2" at the waist and about 3/4" at the hip. Since the back hem sits above the widest part of my hips, it was easy to fit.  I wanted to add pockets, but I just couldn't decide on a good place to put them. 

All in all, I really like this jacket.  It's a great style, and it's very comfortable. It's versatile, looking great with jeans or dressed up.  Although I didn't take any photos, I have worn it many times, once to the symphony.  Can you imagine?  Fleece at the symphony?  Only in Arkansas, I guess.

Friday, March 6, 2015

Conjuring Spring with McCall's 6513

Once I finished Vogue 1378 (view B), I realized that I needed a long top to cover my behind.  Although they are not billed as leggings, they felt like leggings, and I felt a little exposed.  I am still working off the weight I gained during my bathroom renovations.

Since snow was falling, I relied solely on my stash.  My first plan was to sew the top (view A) in Vogue 1378 with some ITY purchased a few years ago.  Unfortunately, it called for more than 2 yards of 60" fabric, and I had just about 1.5 yard.  So I pulled something else out of my stash: McCall's 6513.
McCall's 6513: I made view B

Well, I thought I had a yard-and-a-half, but it was actually much less AND the fabric had been written on, which meant that I had to be creative cutting the pattern pieces.  So pattern-matching was out of the question.
I couldn't even remove the ink with alcohol.  What is that?
I probably got an end-of-bolt discount on this, but it's been so long I've forgotten.
The pattern went together quickly.  My only problems were with the fabric.  This was my first rodeo with ITY, and I had a heck of a time hog-tying it.  It is slippery.  I used clear elastic to stabilize the shoulder seams, and attempted to use clear elastic for the sleeve ruching (per the instructions).  The elastic was Hobby Lobby store brand, and it was just so crappy that it broke every time I tried to stretch it more than 10%.

Let me interrupt this broadcast for a rant. THIS is the real reason I don't shop Hobby Lobby anymore: their poor quality private label products!  I'm sure they bring in bigger margins, but I refuse to spend my valuable time sewing poor quality merchandise.

Anyway, back to sewing.  I remedied the lack of clear elastic the old-fashioned way, by gathering the fabric with long stitches.  It doesn't stretch, but I'm not convinced it is necessary.

Sleeve ruching
My only other difficulty involved the neckline.  I rejected the pattern's instructions to sew a simple hem, envisioning gaping and buckling.  I tried two options before settling on "bias strips" (really cut on the cross grain), stretched just a little bit while sewing.  My first fail involved twill tape, which I have seen on some wrap dresses.  The second attempt was with the awful aforementioned elastic.  Both were klutzy looking.

Neckline inside: strip cut on the cross grain and stretched while sewn to the neckline.
Turned and topstitched with a twin needle.
Neckline public side: there was a little rippling, but once pressed it was fine.
As with most wrap tops, it is very figure flattering.  The ruching across the midriff in view B (achieved with gathering stitches) was perfect for helping to camouflage that extra little bit of flesh I've been carrying.

A few reviewers of this pattern mentioned that the top was too long, but I think the length is just right for me (see "cover my behind," above).  Also, I made no adjustments to the neckline, and I was pleased with the coverage it provides.

It covers my behind, too.

It was a quick project to whip up, and I was eager to wear it immediately.  Unfortunately, I was also eager to take it off --  I hated the feel of the polyester ITY against my skin!  So it hung in my closet for a few weeks, and I pouted.  Funny thing, when I tried it on again last week, I really liked it. It seemed to fit me better, and pull less around the middle.  I've also lost a few pounds, so maybe it wasn't the polyester after all.  Either way, I ordered some rayon ITY to give it another go.

The green and black fabric doesn't really match the wine color of the pants, but it coordinates well enough. [I'm sure my daughter will tell me otherwise, but I like it.]  It also looks great with my many black pants, and it matches my breakfast almost perfectly.  Unfortunately, it's still too cold to wear it.