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.

Monday, March 2, 2015

Vogue 1378, an Encore

I loved my first pair of Vogue 1378 pants, and can't believe it took me a full year to find fabric for a second pair.  If not for my very stringent fabric selection criteria*, I may have a dozen of these by now!  I like my second pair even better than the first. 

The wonderful design lines of these pants are achieved through lapped seams that are top stitched with a straight stitch.  Yes, a straight stitch. I had my doubts about that straight stitch the first time around. Those doubts were confirmed after wearing the pants a few times.  Pulling them over my hips resulted in several popped stitches.  Perhaps I should have made them looser ;-).  So in round two, I used a twin needle to stitch the lapped seams.  I really love the result.
There is no pivoting with a twin needle, so the turns are taken s-l-o-w-l-y.

I actually like the tunneling created by the twin needle.  It adds dimension. However, I did reduce the bobbin tension slightly so they are not too pronounced.  Watching the tunnels appear while I sewed was so much fun, that I sewed extra lines of stitching.  
View of the side slit and tunnels.  Color is off in the inside shots.  It's really a burgundy. 

Honestly, I don't know how many of these I need, but they are fun to make and wear. And they meet my comfort requirement.  I'm always on the lookout for a stable knit for another pair.

And now an even different color appears!  Back of lower leg.
I do love the color -- it plays nicely with many of my jackets, including my faux-Chanel and my wool S2153.  Unfortunately, I don't have many tops that coordinate, but that just means more sewing opportunities.  The fabric is a mostly-Rayon ponte from Hancock.  It is very comfortable, and - so far -  has not pilled as severely as the first ponte did (also mostly-Rayon).  
Here we go -- this is the real color.
They even work well for walking the dogs in hiking boots!

It was easy to sew, but very difficult to cut.  It just refused to lay flat, even after removing the selvages. I washed it twice, pressed it several times and almost gave up entirely before I decided to just cut it unfolded.  A bit high maintenance for a ponte, don't you think?
Nasty winter weather = bad indoor photos

Last year's pair was a bit too low-rise for me, and the pattern description does mention "one inch below the waist", so I lengthened the rise by one inch all around.  That was a bit too high, especially in the front.  I almost feel like Urkel.
Knees are little stretched out.
Maybe it's not the perfect fabric.
I did forget to shorten the leg length this time.  I'm about average height and rarely wear heels higher than a hiking boot.  (My personal style revolves around comfort.)  So once again, I chopped the length from the hemline at the end of the project, leaving them long enough to wear with my Dansko clogs, but a tad long for my everyday stomping around shoes.  It would look and feel better if I took it out of the lower thigh, instead.  It is slightly more complicated to shorten/lengthen, due to the multiple angled seams, but not impossible.

So maybe I do need to make it again -- at least if I'm going to achieve the perfect fit. (1) Lengthen the back rise by 3/4", leave the front as-is or maybe add 1/4". (2) Shorten leg length by about 1"-1.5".  It is pretty quick to sew, after all.  There is the difficulty in finding the right fabric, however!  

*My very stringent criteria for fabric = low poly content, nice color and a "nice" weight.