Stacie is a keeper!

Ok, again I never intended to take this long before I posted again. Time seems to be running faster as I get older – something I never believed when other people said that – as there are just so many wonderful things to do around things that have to be done.

I have had a great month of May and can hardly believe it is June already. I have finally got the client work under firm control, and I think that now we are into June there should be less until the weather changes again. Phew! Of course, that doesn’t include the panics from people who have just received their ‘bargain’ prom dresses from China or wherever and discovered they don’t fit (already had one of those – and not even Mrs Mole could have waved her wand over that one!). Still, I’m not going to schedule time for ‘what might’, rather plan what I can do for me around what is already there – not forgetting a bit of time to drag the garden back under control.

BUT I finished my orange Style Arc Stacie jacket a couple of weeks ago and have been trying to get photographs in some interesting place rather than up against my house wall. A nice plain background I admit – but a bit bl**dy boring. Sadly The Management could never be described as likely to worry Bailey and I have struggled with the tripod indoors so there is no way I’m taking it out!

With no further ado, I introduce the orange Stacie…..

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Stacie – front view (Sorry about the collar)

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Stacie – back view

I know that when I first saw this pattern I considered making some changes but this version was made up exactly as designed. And I love it. I did ask The Management for his opinion of both orange jackets, and although he couldn’t say why he preferred this one. Just for comparison…

Both are made in identical fabric and made exactly as intended by the pattern maker. The Stacie was topstitched using the same thread as the construction, but using the triple stitch (supposed to be for stretch) from my machine that builds into a nice visible feature, whilst the Islander was topstitched with buttonhole thread. Other than that the materials are pretty much identical.

Stacie is more ‘pointy’, collar and corners, and has a more defined waistline. The Islander feels oddly heavier(?) and I just feel that it looks more ‘home made’ despite having some great features – check out the pockets and sleeve details.

I still think that I will change bits of the Stacie pattern in the future but now feel unlikely to make the Islander pattern again. I did use skills learned from the Janet Pray course whilst making up the Stacie so I feel the experience of making that was worthwhile. I have worn the orange jacket so much since I finished it that when I found a lonely chunk of black cotton twill I went straight ahead and made this.

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Another Stacie 

I was so happy with the fit and styling of this jacket I have already printed Ziggi ready to gather what’s needed to make that.

Would anyone like the Islander pattern?

 

 

 


My style – or style rut?

Every so often something happens that makes us question our choices. The prompt this time was a blog post I read by Sew Tessuti who was showing a selection of patterns bought over a number of years – and so many very similar patterns.

This weekend I bought a couple of Style Arc patterns using the discount. Great time to try out a new to me pattern company who seem to have a very good following. Then I looked at what I had bought in the light of what I had read.

The first was a pattern bundle which included the Stacie jean jacket, Sally jean skirt, and Diana top. I really only wanted the jacket but it was such a good buy… well, you know the feeling. The other option was the Ziggi biker jacket.Stacie Jean Jacket + Diana Top + Sally Jean Skirt

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

These were both styles I really thought I would use – but wait a minute – do these look familiar?

Start with Stacie. I love jeans jackets. I have made a few in the past, check out this post, this one, and finally this one. Also, in a recent Patrones post I showed a jacket that isn’t a million miles from this. See a theme developing? All OK, but none exactly what I wanted.

The first (McCalls 5860) was a great basic shape but I followed the instructions pretty much as is and hated the way the lining was installed from the word go. The second was self drafted and just OK. I still wear it on occasion but it has never really thrilled me. The third was from a Craftsy course. I learned a bunch of stuff from the course, have worn this jacket quite a lot, but it seems a bit of a compromise jeans jacket. A ‘home sew’ option. I have read a number of blog posts about ‘Stacie’ and most are positive – but the pockets are just decorative rather than functional, and the cuffs seem to come in for some criticism. It would seem that the pattern companies are on a hiding to nothing as we have very specific ideas of what we want, but we don’t all want the same thing. Clearly I am going to have to do a bit of adaption to make Stacie exactly what I had in mind.

 

Fabulous fully lined biker jacket with zip features

 

Now then Ziggi. I have seen some blisteringly good versions of Ziggi online. Check out Ruths version at Core Couture, or Shams at Communing with Fabric, or ….  any one of loads. Brilliant jacket. Perfectly biker – just what I want. But I have already got the Janet Pray MotorCity Express pattern as part of another Craftsy course (not yet started). I have put off starting the course because I had slight reservations about the pattern. I knew the lack of a collar was something I was going to have to change, and no matter how much I know I have gained from the other Janet Pray courses I have watched this one languished. Is Ziggi closer to what I want? I think so, but I really must watch the course because I’m sure it will help construction when I decide what I am to do.

Both of these jacket styles can be dressed up or down according to need but are arguably both fairly casual, every day jackets. That’s OK. Sadly my lifestyle doesn’t really have great need for spectacularly ‘dressed up’ clothing. However, my concern is have I just fallen into a style rut where I simply choose what is comfortable and familiar, or have I actually found that rare beast – My Style?

 

 


Orange jacket/waistcoat

…or vest if you are American.

I have been thinking about what I wanted to  make with both the orange felted wool and brown merino jersey for long enough now. I have probably overthought the whole enterprise, which seems to be a common problem Chez Hood right now.

The main problem I have is that there is barely 140cm of the orange cloth (after washing) and I have spent ages convincing myself I can’t do what I want with that much. Rubbish. I’m planning to self draft this pattern so I can make sure it fits the fabric available. Within reason.

The other problem is that I can’t decide between two options. Think donkey between carrots. Yeah, that would be me at the moment and it isn’t going to get any better until I just get on with something!

Option 1.

Boiled wool waistcoat

Waistcoat by Poetry

All Ssaints jacket

All Saints Waistcoat – open

All saints Jacket 2

All Saints Waistcoat – closed

All of the pictures of waistcoats shown really appeal. The Poetry waistcoat has been in my ‘I like this’ pile of pictures for an age. I can’t even remember when I put the booklet on the heap. *sigh* . The All Saints version is a prettier version in my opinion – but I still can’t decide which I prefer. I know I want to have pockets, it would be useful to be able to close against the wind/weather, I don’t want it to look too voluminous, and I want to be able to layer garments with it. What would probably happen is a hybrid version with the sections I like best from both.

Option 2.

  I thought a neater, more ‘jackety’ option may be more useful – a bit like the Marcy Tilton Vogue 8430. Not necessarily a real ‘jacket’ but something edging that way.

I also liked the yellow Vogue 8932.V8932, Misses' Jacket and VestV8932, Misses' Jacket and Vest

Check out that back detail – and it could be made sleeveless. Sadly I can’t currently think of a sensible pocket option. Not something to kill the option but I would have liked a pocket.

I’m going to start drawing the pattern for these garments and then just make a start. They aren’t so different so I may find that part way through I will make a final decision. I think I may be leaning towards the Yellow jacket, but after a cup of tea who knows. Any suggestions/preferences might be helpful – feel free to give opinions again.

 

I have (I think) decided to re-stash the brown merino for now. There are a number of things i would like to do and I am starting to feel a bit bogged down. I really need to clear a couple of projects to loosen a mental ‘log jam’. Does anyone else find this happens to them?

 


The Real McQueen

After making the calico toile that Jess tried on for fit on my last visit I intended to make her a ‘real’ version of the jacket that could be worn out. Without all the tailor tacks. Her fabric choice was a very utility style khaki twill weave cotton that I had in my stash. I had originally thought it would be nice to make this in something wonderful but in retrospect Jess chose the right fabric for her as she wanted to wear this in a very casual fashion.

McQueen Kimono Jacket Front

McQueen Kimono Jacket Front

McQueen Kimono Jacket Back

McQueen Kimono Jacket Back

The pictures were taken very quickly before we went out for the day so I apologise for the quality. In addition to that Jess had done her marathon training before we arrived and had already run 8 miles that morning. I think I might have wanted to go back to bed rather than walk around Kew Gardens with the olds.

I think the jacket fulfills the ‘casual’ requirement – but I can see it will probably be returned from time to time to have the back pleats pressed properly again. The fabric does crease a bit (which has helps maintain the crisp folds to the back) and I imagine it may need to be freshened up on occasion. Jess asked for both fronts to be made the same length which I think looks pretty good. I am happy with the result and whilst I would still like to make this for myself at some point I am happy to put it away for a little while. Possibly a long while.

That is the finished report so if you have no interest in making this you can leave now if you want!

The making up details.

Whilst many people seem to be reporting that they have downloaded this pattern not too many seem to be actually making it – possibly put off by the scant (though fine) instructions provided by Show Studio with the download. I am sure that others have made this in slightly different ways I will share my experience.

As I said in my last post about this pattern I had the file printed at a copy shop which meant that I didn’t have to paste all the odd shapes myself and possible doubt my result. This I can recommend.

I needed 2.5m of 150cm wide fabric (although you could probably manage with 2.25 if you squashed a bit more, or made both fronts the same length like Jess wanted). The layout is fairly easy, I laid the main large piece in place and then fitted around that. The pieces are:

  1. Front and back combined. Cut 2
  2. Centre back panel. Cut 1 (I fitted mine in on the fold by folding the pattern piece in half).
  3. Back facing. Cut 2
  4. Front panels (Decorative) Cut 2
  5. Sleeves. Cut 2
  6. Collar/front. Right side piece  Cut 1 (Unless you make both sides the same length in which case use only this piece and cut 2)
  7. Collar front. Left side piece Cut 1.

There appears to be a 1cm seam allowance included in the pattern pieces – I sewed the jacket with this in mind and all the pieces fitted as expected. The grainlines are marked on the pieces but not in the way of the big 4 style patterns. Look closely and you will identify them easily.

I printed out a copy of the instructions from the download file and worked with that. However, I did make a few changes to the order and did a couple of things with this jacket that helped make things clearer for me.

Mark the letters to match in coloured pen.

Mark the letters to match in coloured pen.

Use coloured thread on the coloured 'x' marks to make matching easier.

Use coloured thread on the coloured ‘x’ marks to make matching easier.

I marked the letters on the pattern which needed to be matched in coloured pen, the bulk of the tailors tacks can be made in one colour but I used threads to match the colour on the pattern to mark the coloured ‘x’ marks. This helped when I got further in to the instructions. Don’t skip making the tailor tacks – even the ones that don’t appear to have a purpose help to get the creases folded correctly later.

 

Following the pattern instructions.

  1. As instructed. I pressed the seams toward CB having clean finished them in lining to neaten as they are visible inside this unlined jacket.
  2. Facing with CB marked

    Facing with CB marked

    The photograph shows which edge of the pattern piece is CB. I got that wrong first time.

  3. After sewing into place I under-stitched to hold flat.

    Bust dart back

    Bust dart back

  4. Bust dart instruction. I found this straightforward but not everyone seems to agree. Ensure that you sew the short seam between markers and then sew the long seam only as far as the clip markers – not all the way to the point which gives you a straighter shape to the front piece.
    Bust dart front.

    Bust dart front.

    I sewed this along the front edge to hold all the edges flat after pressing.

    Bust dart fold at armhole edge. (C & Y Markers)

    Bust dart fold at armhole edge. (C & Y Markers)

  5. Points C & Y need to be folded down in direction with the right side of the piece facing you. This will now complete the bust dart and you can see how this will work on the body as you hold the piece up.
  6.  This seems like the simplest instruction on the pattern, folding shoulder notches to make a dart. However, I looked closely at the photographs on the Show Studio page and this should just be stitched at the shoulder edge to create a tuck, not a dart like I sewed. I guess it is personal choice but the tuck looks nice.
  7. Point P joins with the bottom of the opposite point. This creates a dart which is pressed on the inside.
  8. As instructed.
  9. As instructed.
  10. One point N is the top of the part sewn in part 9.
  11. Point M-M. I had problems eventually pressing the tuck without this 1cm stitched section distorting the garment so I unpicked this and left it. The tailor tacks ensure that you are making the fold in the correct shape.
  12. See above.
  13. As instructed.
  14. As instructed.
  15. This is where it starts to look as if it might just become what you thought!
  16. Not Yet! I wanted to sew the sleeves into place and neaten the edges at the armhole edge before sewing the side seam – by waiting I thought I would get a tidier finish.

    Front edge detail.

    Front edge detail.

  17. Fold the pattern in half to determine the short edge. This is important and will impact later if you get it wrong. I clean finished the bottom edge only before hemming.
  18. I clean finished the bottom of both piece 1 before hemming these separately from piece 4. Check that the side seam is still going to match the length of the back piece when the seam is sewn with the facing.
  19. The long edge of piece 4 will extend beyond the hemmed edge of piece one when folded. You can see the finished detail in the photograph. 
  20. As instruction.
  21. As Instruction.
  22. As Instruction (though slight obvious difference if you are making edges equal).
  23. As Instruction
  24. As Instruction
  25. As instruction. I did this by hand to get a nice tidy finish.
  26. As Instruction. Clean finish as these will be visible.
  27. As instruction. Also clean finish.
  28. Don’t think you are getting this wrong when the sleeve seam isn’t level with the side seam – it sits slightly toward the front.
  29. As instruction – I clean finished.

    Side seam detail with facing.

    Side seam detail with facing.

  30. Now is where I sewed the side seam, folding the facing up to enclose the front piece. When the seam is pulled out and pressed towards the back it gives a lovely clean edge.

I tacked the folds into position on the back before pressing, clapping, and leaving the jacket on a hanger overnight to cool and set the creases.

By the time you get here you deserve to go and get a strong drink!

 

If you are thinking of having a go at making this jacket don’t be put off by the amount of instructions – most of what is done is fairly intuitive, and hopefully what I have been able to supply will help a bit too. Let me know if you make one!

A Management moment at Kew.

I spotted a raffia plant in one of the glass houses at Kew and got quite excited. “Did you use raffia at school when you were little” I asked. He looked faintly bewildered and after further explanation as to the use of raffia he replied

“No. We learned Latin”

That’s me told.

 

 

 

 


McQueen + McQueen

I spent last weekend with my daughter who kindly allowed me to invade again. It was the last weekend of the McQueen exhibition at the V&A and I really wanted another look. Can I say now that it didn’t disappoint.

Even just after 9am the queue for day tickets was already snaking its way around the block so I was very glad of my members early entry ticket. The exhibition space was more crowded this time than on my last visit but my guess is that it was going to be much worse later! We were able to enjoy the garments all over again, check out the close detail on some of the ones I identified from the book, and retire to the members room for a tea and pastry before hitting the shoe exhibition.

Whilst the shoes are fabulous I would probably not have made a trip to see them all on their own. The abiding memory will be the torture that must have been living with ‘Lotus feet’. The shoes are small beyond belief. There is some fabulous information on the V&A website which is well worth a look.

Inspired by my last visit I revisited a download that had sat quietly on my computer for a very long time waiting for me to feel brave enough to tackle it. This was the McQueen kimono pattern download from Show Studio (still available  – McQueen Kimono pattern. ) I didn’t feel up to pasting all the sheets together for the pattern so had it printed at a local copy shop. The lady who printed it was very puzzled by it and asked what it was!

These images belong to Show Studio.com

 

The pattern download is one size, European 40 which wouldn’t fit me but would fit my dear Jess. Regardless of whether she would like it I wanted to just try making this up so cut it in calico. It fits into about 2.5m of 150cm wide fabric which isn’t in the download info. There are about a gazillion tailors tacks to make, not all are essential but I wouldn’t like to have missed any as this pattern is not for the faint hearted.

Once I was finished marking the jacket didn’t really take too long to sew. This was a definite case of ‘stop thinking, start sewing’ as the instructions are a bit ‘sketchy’ . Anyhoo, the pictures. Sorry for the quality but they have been photographed off my Blackberry as the blessed thing just wouldn’t be recognised by the computer and I had wasted too much time already.(That will teach me to check the camera batteries before I go away!)

Jacket front - showing gap under arm

Jacket front – showing gap under arm

006

Jacket front

010

Jacket back

I was delighted to find that the jacket fitted Jess perfectly – I’m not sure how I would have altered it – and she likes it! The plan now is to make it in a good but casual fabric so that she can use it through the autumn over jeans. Naturally I won’t be leaving the tailor tacks in the final version.

I love this design and may try adjusting the pattern to fit me – but not until I have moved this version.

We will be visiting her again in a few weeks so I will show the finished version then. Off to shop the stash for 2.5m of suitable fabrics before posting samples for her to choose from.

 

 


Mad March Minoru

I am back after a short holiday with The Management in Gran Canaria to recharge my batteries with some long needed sunshine. Not only sunshine, I also managed three days scuba diving – heaven.

I'm in there somewhere....

I’m in there somewhere….

Anyway, once back I set to work on another Sewaholic Minoru Jacket which I cut out before I left. The warm, waterproof version has become my ‘go to’ jacket so another was clearly a good idea.

This version was to provide an alternative to the ‘warm’ Minoru’ for Spring (ever the optimist) and is made in a showerproof navy fabric which has been in the stash for too long to remember any details about it. It might be polyester but it feels a bit more natural so is probably a blend. I haven’t done a burn test as it was so obviously right for the circumstances it really didn’t matter what it is made from.The lining is also from stash – a very thick, densely woven polyester which meant that this was going to perform exactly as required without any additional interlining.

Minoru Front

Minoru Front

The only changes I made were to the cuff of the sleeve (as I mentioned in the last Minoru post this was the only thing I wasn’t really happy with), and used a two way zipper rather than just a separating zipper. This will help if I want to wear this in any seated position to prevent any ‘pull’ on the zipper bottom.

To change the sleeve I just drew the fold line more obviously on the cuff pattern piece and pinned that at the bottom of the sleeve piece to give the sleeve length required (don’t forget to allow the sleeve head seam allowance if you do this). The sides of the sleeve obviously wont match the cuff piece now so all I did was draw in a line from the cuff to the underarm and cut on that.When I sewed the sleeve I left a gap in the seam to insert the elastic, turned the cuff up from the fold line, sewed an edge seam to finish the edge better before making another seam to give the elastic casing. I did sew the lining to the cuff turn before I put the elastic into place as I thought that made it easier. I prefer this cuff to the original as I feel it is less bulky, but that is just personal choice and no criticism of the pattern.

Cuff changes

Cuff changes

And just for Rhonda (and anyone else really) …. a flash of the lining.

A lining flasher!

A lining flasher!

I am counting this as my garment for March as I expect to be very busy for the rest of the month doing sewing to raise funds for my darling daughter who is running in the years London marathon  on behalf of Rockinghorse Childrens Charity (her running blog here). Not so long ago I thought I had ages. All of a sudden it is nearly here….  aargh!

I will show what I am making as I do it. Apologies if I vanish for a while again….


Minoru in Wales

So, not only finished but finished for the event I really wanted it for. How crazy is that? The weekend in Llanberis ( in Snowdonia) had been booked for some time and I knew that it would be a very casual affair – but that the Welsh weather can be very unpredictable. The Management and I planned a weekend of simple walks, a little shopping, and eating out. Just the place to test out my new Sewaholic Minoru jacket.

Greetings from Dolbadarn castle!

Greetings from Dolbadarn castle!

We arrived in Wales to weather that the NikWax could never have been expected to cope with – a deluge of mixed rain and hail. Thankfully we were luckier later in the weekend although the ‘showerproofing’ was put to the test – successfully I can report. Hurrah!

Back view - and a Welsh mountain

Back view – and a Welsh mountain

Make like a tortoise

Make like a tortoise

It was pretty cold all weekend so I spent most of my time outside wearing a ridiculous fur hat, the hood went unworn. The collar on the jacket is pretty tall, it looks good with the zipper left open a little way, and is good for retreating inside when you get very cold (although you do look a little like a tortoise!

I was very glad of the Thinsulate interlining which worked very well. My body was kept reasonably warm  and on the climb up to Dolbadarn Castle I had to undo the zip to cool off a little.

I wore the jacket again today to do a little shopping in Bewdley and I have to say it has fulfilled all my expectations for this project. It is certainly going to be the ‘go to’ jacket for any casual occasion until it warms up too much to wear the insulated version. When that happens I think I will make another without the interlining – but I will be making some changes to the cuffs. (My only grouch about the whole jacket). Clearly this pattern deserves its great blogosphere reputation.

January’s Garment A Month completed ahead of the 31st and it’s a winner!