Saturday, April 28, 2012

Plaid Blouse

After we had a couple of warm days in March, I thought I should sew some blouses for spring/summer. I am always caught unprepared and go through my closet looking for cool clothes, only to be disappointed with what I find there.

I noticed this plaid cotton on a shelf in my sewing room (it was intended for a dress for my daughter, but she declined the plaid, preferring a solid navy instead). Which meant this fabric was mine. Just the right weight for a summer blouse and bright and cheerful too. I had a couple of patterns in mind for this, one with interesting princess seams and a square front yoke which could be cut on the bias for interest, but instead I opted for this McCalls pattern, view B with the three-quarter sleeves. It is out of print, not surprising since the date on the pattern is 2006. It only takes me 6 years to get around to using patterns!

I added tabs to the sleeves so that they can be rolled up and buttoned in place. Found that pattern piece in a pattern that I made up more than 20 years ago. Aside from that, I followed the pattern directions, using a French seam on the sleeves so that they would look nice when rolled up. I did the buttonholes and sewed on the buttons before adding the sleeves, and that meant today when I put in the sleeves and serged the seam, I was done!

Next I plan on making two pairs of capris from this pattern, another out-of-print pattern, no date on this one though. The pattern says it is low-rise pants in 3 lengths, which means that the crotch depth should be perfect for me without alteration, and I will end up with pants that come to my actual waist, which is now non-existent. Oh for a different body type!

I have a cream cotton fabric for this and I am going to go through my navy stash to see if there is a cotton or linen blend in there that will work for this. So far, I haven't been to the fabric store in weeks, and I am very proud to be sewing from the stash. I am feeling guilty about the amount of fabric that I have here, and can't justify purchasing any more until I sew some of this down. So I am keeping to my resolution of one purchase for every two stash fabrics sewn; actually I am doing better than that, because the last three garments have been sewn from the stash. And that includes thread and buttons. Feels good!

Thursday, April 5, 2012

Jean Jacket Complete - Next?

I finished the corduroy jean jacket yesterday. This is a nice pattern, just one puzzle with it - why are the cuffs so big?  I cut off at least one inch from these cuffs, and then put a pleat in the back of the sleeve to make it fit. They are still huge and I overlapped them by about 3" when putting on the buttons. These sleeves are meant to be 3/4 length; on me, they hit just at the wrist, but even so the cuffs are still too big.  Check that if you use this pattern and adjust them shorter, then taper the sleeve or put in two pleats to make it fit the cuff. 

So what's next? Seeing as how I am not the fastest sew-er in the west, I plan on fitting a summer dress pattern. I have kept to my New Year's resolution of only buying fabric when I have sewn two items from the stash. Since I actually sewed three items, I felt perfectly fine picking up this cotton at the store the other day.

100% cotton, very fine, perfect for hot weather. I have always had a weakness for this type of plaid and black and white just couldn't be better. It was on sale too and I got this piece (3.5 metres) for just under $20.  I plan on using it with this pattern, Simplicity 2215.

I will add sleeves to this; at 62, my upper arms should not be bared. This should be fairly easy to do; the armhole is quite deep-cut, as the photo shows the model wearing a blouse under the dress. I made this pattern last summer for my daughter Elena, and it is a lovely pattern. In fact, almost all of Cynthia Rowley's designs appeal to me.

The plaid will be a trial dress; if it works, all well and good; if it only serves as a muslin, I am fine with that too. Because what I really want to make this dress out of is this:

A cross-dyed cotton, one thread is bright turquoise, the other is midnight blue, almost purple and it gives the most wonderful toned-down turquoise, one of my favourite colours. I had forgotten about this fabric until I cleared off a shelf and found it hiding under something else. I bought it in May 2011 from Fabrics in Vogue. I had no idea what I would make with it then, but bought 4 yards just in case it was meant to be a dress. I would rather have some left over than not enough.

Now, knitting, I've been doing that too. The green sweater I was knitting was all done and ready to be sewn together. But I was not that keen on it. And when I found that the sleeves were not long enough in the cap to match to the body, that was a perfect excuse to unravel it and start something new. I used to be retentive about that sort of thing and feel I had to finish it. But life is too short, to spend on things that you don't really like.

So, from the stash comes this red wool. Even my husband said, that colour will look good on you. I don't think he liked the granny smith green of the other one.  It took me four tries to figure out this lace ribbing and I was going to switch patterns, but I gave it one more try and figured it out. Since it is the most distinguishing feature of the sweater, it is kind of important to have it right.  This will be this sweater by Jeannie Chin.

If you haven't discovered, and you are a knitter or crocheter or embroiderer, you have to go there and sign up. Amazing things for you to make. And the photos of some of the members will blow you away. Gorgeous gorgeous sweaters. I hope to be able to knit like some of them one day. Till then, I will go with fairly simple designs like this one; I think it will be a perfect topper for summer dresses. 

I have several ideas in mind for dresses; I never wear skirts or dresses in the cold weather, because I hate stockings and tights. But when you can wear bare legs, then dresses have to come out.