Monday, January 26, 2015

In The Details: All the Caped Wonders

And now, some light distraction...

Capes are an item of clothing that has always been in the fashion sphere. They began as practical cloaks to protect from wind, rain and other elements and have now evolved to a true fashion accessory, not really worn to stave off the weather, sometimes just to enhance an outfit, and above all, be cute.

I saw this gorgeous cape pattern and I thought it was truly amazing looking. I love how the side front arm openings are disguised as a seam detail that would only be noticed when an arm is thrust through. What a stylish way to deal with a practical function.

Here it is again on a recent Fendi coat with a similar armhole hidden in the seam detail that also involves a tuck secured at the shoulder that hides the opening inside the resulting pleat. This picture was from the July 2010 issue of Vogue Italia.

This double-breasted beauty from McCall's uses the more commonly seen welt pocket treatment for the armholes.

Simplicity 8353

A truly funky cape for the mod chick of style. Included in this ensemble pattern, this cape has rounded edges, decorative edging and reversibility, check out that faux fur or fleece lining on the plaid one. Loving the goldenrod vest and skirt outfit on the right with the thick ribbed turtleneck. Check how the pleated flares, knee socks, loafers, and go-go boots on the left truly catch the era. This pattern is easily available on Etsy.

Vogue 7451

This pattern provides a more formal adult version of the cape. This one provides you with angled exterior patch pockets for keys or lipstick and the raised collar is a bit smaller. This one, when made to floor length would be perfect for evening.

Simplicity 7858

Another elegant formal cape with high collar and simple vertical slits for the arms. The bonus of this pattern is that is included is an adorable square-necked, empire-waist A-line dress or gown. Oh to live a life when this pattern was considered a practical purchase. This pattern is also everywhere on Etsy if you want it, just make sure to compare prices and get an appropriate deal.

Vogue 8145

Vogue #8145 is another vintage 1960's elegant cape/coat pattern. More detailed, this beautifully flared cape with a shaped standing collar, raglan shaping, side front button closing, and side front slits. Because of the slits, the tie belt holds in the front panel at the waist and allows the back to hang full and free. This one has a little Dr. Zhivago feel to it, no?

Butterick 3261

I adore the bell shape of this one. The short cape is decorated with mitered trim around the vents fashioned for arm mobility while the long version incorporates large patch pockets.

Images: Vintage Pattern Wiki, Tom & Lorenzo, Carynification, Catnip Hill, SewBettyandDot

Monday, January 12, 2015

Changes Must Be Made

It's the beginning of a new year and in order for it to be an improvement over the worst year of my life (2014) major changes must be made.

I found last year that even though sewing was a great release from the constant stress and/or malaise I was experiencing the final result was not satisfying. First there was the fact that sewing time was hard won and projects took a long time whether I was motivated to finish them or not.

Then the knowledge that I would have no occasion to wear these clothes or my other past handmade garments was depressing. I have no social life here and no time to cultivate one with my inconsistent retail hours. I just worked seven 8-hour days in a row! I don't know for sure but that is something I know would never have happened in any office job I've ever had without a conversation happening between employer and employee first, right?

Sewing was the least that I could do to calm myself down when work conflicts or arguments with my father occurred.

Therefore, I doubt there will be much sewing in the future as I try to secure a new more "healthy for me" job/life. I need to pursue an office job where I can use my hard-won skills, experience, and again feel intelligent and accomplished.

I will be reading from a more selective list of blogs that correspond more directly to my own style since keeping up with the 80+ Bloglovin' group I currently read has become another wildly successful procrastination tool. Also, my love of Internet TV will need to decrease. My consumption is crazy, especially when it concerns British programs.

I do have a huge fear, as sewing has been my only joy (however compromised) that I have, I am scared what might become of me without it.

I don't want to get used to this lifestyle any more than I already have. I heard someone say that "the life you are living now is the life you deserve". Hell no! This is the life my emotionally broken-down self started to think was all I was worth, which is not the same thing at all. My life has been so much better than this and I HAVE to believe it will be that again.

Tuesday, December 30, 2014

Mad Plaid Shirt Dress - McCall's 6885

Pattern: McCall's 6885 (2014)

Pattern Description: Semi-fitted, pullover dress with collar, collar/front band, front pleat, pockets, tie ends, and rolled sleeves with button tab.

Pattern Sizing: Size B5 (8-10-12-14-16) View D. I cut out a size 12 bodice, sleeves, and a size 14 from the waist down.

Did it look like the photo/drawing on the pattern envelope once you were done sewing it? Yes, exactly!

Were the instructions easy to follow? Yes, they were. I was initially worried about the front placket but it wasn’t as difficult as I thought it might be. Everything else was pretty self explanatory.

What did you particularly like or dislike about the pattern? I like the casual feel of the dress, how you can just throw it on and be well dressed.

Fabric Used: 2 3/4" yd Plaiditudes Brushed Cotton in Blue, Green and Brown from JoAnn Fabrics, Gutermann 100% polyester thread in Green #748 and Deep Turquoise #630, Gutermann topstitching thread in Cranberry #435, four 5/8” buttons from La Mode in red #4359 and two 5/8” teal buttons from my late mother’s stash.

Pattern Alterations or any design changes you made?: The only difference is that I decided to eliminate the shirt-tail hem and just take it straight across.

The instructions called for interfacing in the placket, tabs, and collar. I put together the tabs first without interfacing and liked the thickness. I did choose to use it on the front placket because it would be buttoned and unbuttoned continuously. However, I decided to cut new pieces after realizing the fused fabric would be too stiff to turn them inside out, despite it being a light knit interfacing.

The placket instructions were simple and clear. The only problem I had was my own fault. The plaid on the placket piece did not match or complement the front of the dress. I totally missed the fact that I needed to add plaid match lines to that pattern piece too. Unfortunately, I didn't have enough fabric to reposition the piece or cut it on the bias so it looks a bit weird and interrupts the matched plaid that I do have from the front pattern piece. I did however; remember to cut the front breast pockets on the bias.

The biggest problem I had with this project is how easily this fabric distorted and the plaid would get off grain visually. I had to sew the pockets on twice despite having already basted them in place first. Because of the aforementioned problems with the plaid and distortion I chose not to use the red topstitching thread on the placket and pockets which would have highlighted the irregularities.

I was quickly moving along on this project until I noticed that the sleeves looked a bit narrow. Trying on a basted sleeve confirmed my fear... it WAS! Even using a 3/8" seam allowance, it was snug for normal arm movements and definitely tight if the sleeves were rolled up to use the tabs. I was not excited about creating a sleeveless flannel dress for winter. In addition, after noticing how the fabric frayed easily, I took apart the sleeves and completed them in tiny French seams.
Update: As it turns out, the sleeve width will be fine as long as I don’t layer the dress over another top (like I originally wanted). When I wore it Christmas day, I left the sleeves full-length instead.
The fraying fabric inspired me to create flat-fell seams at the shoulders and side seams as a way to extend the life of the dress and make the interior attractive.
Flat fell seams at shoulder and side seams
There was also a bit of hand-sewing (which I love!) included in this project, the inner seam of the collar, the plackets, and the sleeve and skirt hems.

Forgive the wrinkles!
Buttonholes scare me! I’ve avoided putting them in project for years and with this one, I didn’t even cut them open when I wore it the first time. I sewed the bottom two buttons on top of the buttonholes and left the top two open. I also didn’t cut open the sleeve tab buttonholes either. If I can avoid ever cutting them open I will.

Would you sew it again? Would you recommend it to others? I may, only if I use a solid fabric, and I would go up one size for the sleeve pattern piece.
Perfectly accessorized with a earlier handmade cowl. 

Conclusion: I was immediately attracted to this view when I first saw this pattern but I didn't think of making it in a plaid flannel until I saw this shirtdress by Grainline Studio and became obsessed. Now, I have my own because of the power to make your own clothes!

Monday, December 08, 2014

Bit By Bit...Piece By Piece...

putting it together *

McCall's 6885

Having no time to do any intensive sewing, like on that front placket, I have been completing the little at a time. I now have the waist ties, pockets, and sleeve tabs together, stitched, and pressed. Now moving on to the sleeves and collar...

Dec. 11 update:

2:00 pm

Hurray! Placket is stitched onto front but there is some handsewing to do on the back and then some topstitching on the front. Topstitched the pockets and sleeve tabs. In process of putting together non-interfaced collar and band now. It's starting to come together!

5:30 pm

Handsewing of plackets done, bottom of placket stitched, and front pleat in position.

10:00 pm

Stopping for the night with collar and band stitched together, edgestitched, and pockets basted in position.

Dec. 18 Update!

Looks just like the sketch above! It only needs buttonholes (five in all) and the hem. Hurrah!
*"Putting It Together" by Stephen Sondheim