Tuesday, January 14, 2014

Vogue 1378 or my "Next Generation" pants

This is the closest I will ever get to a Star Fleet uniform, and I love them! They were fun and easy to sew, and fit me perfectly without any alterations whatsoever. 
Vogue 1378, view B
I do not have the proportions that are flattered by wearing leggings or skinny jeans, but the flare at the hem gave me hope that this style would work for me, and I'm generally satisfied with the result.
Need to adjust my camera -- not sure why it's so grainy.
Unfortunately, the pictures are all rather grainy, and the black fabric doesn't help show the fun details.  Outdoor photos would be better, but the weather hasn't been cooperative.
Opening on outside of leg results in a bit of a flare.
Top stitching detail is even more pronounced here.
These slacks can be dressed up or worn with a casual top (I'm wearing it with a long sleeved yoga pullover & moccasins today, all super comfortable).  I will definitely make at least one more pair, maybe six.  

I used a heavy ponte (poly/rayon/spandex) from Hancock's that comes only in black.  The weight is perfect, and it seems to have more stretch than the ponte fabric in other colors.  I would love to find it in chocolate brown or charcoal or maybe even an olive drab.  No need for a serger, although the two seams that were not lapped, I sewed with a slight zig-zag.

My only gripe with the pattern is that there were no measurements for the finished garment, and no markings for where body landmarks were expected to fall (other than the 1" below waist at the top).  I spent more time fiddling with the tissue, trying to figure out what size to make than I actually spent sewing them.  I finally gave up, and went with Shams' method of going down two sizes from what Vogue's size chart indicated for my body measurements.  I think it worked out fine for me -- any larger, and the pants would bag.  However, if the fabric had any less stretch, I may have to increase some areas.
My attempt to estimate the measurements failed...lucky for me, the pants fit perfectly.

Since there are no side seams, I was worried about how I would handle it if they did not fit.  Luckily, I didn't have to worry about alterations, other than making the elastic at the waist a few inches shorter.  I cut 2" off the bottom when I hemmed, as the pants were a bit to long for my 5'5" frame (I rarely wear heels).

Lapped & Top stitched Seams

Trimming the seam edges gave me some grief.  Nearly ever seam is lapped, and top stitched at least twice per seam, then fabric is trimmed close to the stitching.  My hand was just not steady enough to cut perfectly, but the black hides most of those issues.  The crazy piecing ends up making some nice design lines in the finished product.
One leg stitched and trimmed before sewing the inseam.

Friday, January 10, 2014

Thoughts of Winter Coats

It's been unusually cold here lately, as has most of the U.S.  So cold that I've needed something heavier than my usual fleece jacket.  This cold snap has made me realize how fortunate I was to have nice winter coats as a kid.  I grew up in a very cold place, and my mother and grandmother were so good about making sure that I always owned a nice, warm, quality coat, whether it was a ski jacket or a dress coat.

Most of those coats are long gone, but I still own two: one is dress length in red wool, with very feminine lines, the other a more traditional shorter navy pea coat.  My daughter has been swiping the shorter one for ice skating and running around town. 

Until now, I didn't realize how much better built my old pea coat is compared to her wool coat we purchased from a department store a couple of years ago.  Especially on the inside.  

The body is lined with a nice wool and the sleeves are lined with a quilted wool/acetate and has ribbed cuffs that do wonders to keep the cold air out.  

The sleeve lining is beginning to fall apart in a few places -- that happens after 30 years -- so I thought about just replacing the sleeve lining.

Then I noticed that the front of the jacket is a bit on the sad side.

Those aren't moth holes!

It carries a scar from my college years when I wrecked my Honda scooter and slid face forward on my belly through gravel.  I wasn't hurt, but I was terribly embarrassed, as I landed at the feet of a group of football players.  I was so relieved I wore a helmet -- the face shield kept me fairly anonymous while they helped me back to my feet. 

Perhaps I should just make myself a new jacket, rather than re-line this sad one?  To find the right pattern then!  I like the double-breasted design, mainly because it helps with the warmth factor, and if it's not double-breasted, I must have something that warms my neck.  I have owned too many "fashionable" coats that left my neck and chest cold.

I searched the usual spots - Butterick, McCall's, Vogue, then made the mistake of clicking on "other brands".  It was love at first sight when I saw this Marfy coat.  It is exactly what I had in mind!  Double breasted, beautiful lines, angled pockets.  Maybe a little too long?  That's easy to fix.  Hmmmm.  I'm not sure I have the patience for a Marfy, though.
This is the perfect style for me, but it's Marfy.  Should I be afraid?
Vogue 8940 is almost exactly the same as the one I own (and need to throw out).  But does it make sense for me to adapt a men's pattern to fit my body?  Or does it matter for an overcoat?  Vogue was on sale for $3.99 last week, so I bought it anyway.  Worst case, I hold on to the pattern to use for my son.
Does it make sense to use a men's pattern for myself?
I honestly couldn't find a pea coat pattern for a woman anywhere.  Maybe I didn't look hard enough.  Or maybe I don't really need another one?  My daughter tells me that I don't really need a new coat -- the holes aren't that noticeable, she tells me (I think she just doesn't want me tied up on a sewing project for myself).  So I'm thinking about it.  At this rate, I wouldn't finish it in time to wear this winter, anyway.  Maybe I have time for the Marfy, if I start now...

Sunday, January 5, 2014

Happy New Year!  The holidays were lovely at our home, and I am itching for a new sewing project when the kids go back to school.  As always, I have several ideas swirling around in my head.  For now, I'm staying busy with the family.

I made a few small gifts this year, which I hadn't done in a very long time.  For my daughter and my mother, I knocked off a faux fur infinity scarf that I spotted at Dillards.  I made mine with Minky Fur -- which I think is much softer than the regular faux fur -- and a stretchy satin.  I stretched the satin as I sewed the Minky to it, so it gathers a tiny bit.  Simple project that uses about 8" length of 60" wide fabric, so it's not much money to make, but looks fab.

For my son, I made a Minky Fur "slanket" in zebra.  I was thrilled when he told me it was his favorite gift of Christmas, competing with the multitudes of Lego and video games he also received.  A simple project, but massive.  I lined it in rayon challis, because the back side of Minky fur is not soft, so it wasn't a cheap project either.  Did I mention he loves it?

My mom and step-father were the recipients of my custom place mats, in the same style as those I made for myself, but in a lovely black and gold print.  Can you believe I didn't photograph them?  Mom was thrilled, since she also has a round table.

For my husband, I didn't make anything, but I did lengthen his new pants.  He is 6'6", with extra long legs.  We can usually find some casual slacks at Eddie Bauer to fit him, but we noticed this year that the quality control on their slacks is lacking.  We ordered three pairs of pants in the same style and same size (34 x 36), and only one was actually a 36" inseam.  The other two were about an inch shorter.  

The pants had a 1.25" hem, so I was able to add a bias hem facing and give him an extra inch on those two pairs.  They don't look perfect, because the hem crease was so faded.  By top stitching in the old crease, it helped fill in the color a bit, and really, once the pants are on him, it's not bad.  I wouldn't recommend this method for anything other than casual pants, because of the crease, but it is better than being an inch too short.

For me, I hinted that I may need a serger, so that's what my husband bought me.  I've never owned one, and never really felt I needed one before now, but with a yearning for stretchy active wear, thought it may be necessary. I haven't quite figured it all out, yet, but I have managed to thread it, after accidentally breaking the pre-threaded threads.  So that's a start.  I hope to get around to plugging it in soon!

Having the kids around for the holidays has been great fun.  I keep telling them that I will be so lonely when they go back to school.  Lucky me -- a snow storm hit today and the first day of school has already been cancelled!  So I probably won't be back to sewing right away.