Friday, February 23, 2007

The Spanish Snap buttonhole

Use this in lieu of a bound buttonhole on either
  • delicate fine fabrics like charmeuse where either the style or the fabric won't support the weight, (both visual weight and actual weight) of a bound buttonhole
  • bulky or loosely woven fabrics like boucle

Step 1
cut a bias strip for your buttonhole at least 1 1/4" wide by 3" longer than the buttonhole. Mark the buttonhole. (I used green sharpie for this sample - try to mark with something that will come out of your fabric, and is closer to the color of your fabric)

Step 2
begin stitching at one point, in the form of a football, all the way around the buttonhole. Use 1mm Stitches at the ends.

Step 3
Cut through the center, all the way into the points.

Step 4
turn fabric through, then pull with a "snap". Press,
Finish the back as if for a bound buttonhole.

Wednesday, February 21, 2007

Part 3, constructing the Vintage Dress from a Vogue Re-issued pattern

Remember this?
cardi 12.19

now, what does that Vittadini cardigan have to do with construction of a Vintage Dress?
I'll tell you.
I knit that sweater for a friend who is part of my sewing circle of friends (not a sewing circle as they existed in the 50's, but rather my sphere of friends....yada yada you know). Anyway, she is a professional dressmaker. We agreed that since it is nearly impossible to pay someone for handknitting something that took over 100 hours, that she would pay me X amount And make a dress for me. However, I helped with the dress, so I feel fully qualified to write a review on the construction.
The Pattern
Vogue 2569
Re-issues of a Pattern Lines older patterns has become quite popular. They are, however, grading the patterns up to todays block. If that block works for you, then you are in luck. And it does, with some minor alterations, generally work for me from Vogue.
It is still a very wise thing to muslin these.
I did the alterations on this pattern - adding through the hips again (you know, it wouldn't hurt me to get on a bike and start a running program and lose some of these hips). We discovered in the muslin process though, that this armscye opening didn't work for me. It is cut very high, the curve looking more like a HotPatterns crotch curve than a traditional armscye curve as we know it.
I ended up redrawing the curve with a French curve ruler. Works much better on me.
It took 2.5 yds of a 60" wide wool crepe that has been in my stash for several years. Helen chose to underline with china silk. In the final analysis, I respect Helen's opinion and work, but I'm sticking to my silk organza. I think washed silk organza (washing to take out some of the crispness) might have been a better choice. This dress, per the pattern, is underlined and not lined, and we decided to keep it that way.
The Dress

Picture 045

Helen did not love putting this together. In fact, she claims I've put her off Vintage patterns for life.
  • Except for the side seams, the seams are all lapped and topstitched.
  • I talked her into forgoing the use of the serger in favor of stitching then pinking the seams, same as the last two vintage dresses I've reviewed here.
  • The directions call for shoulder pads. Maybe the women weren't competitive swimmers back when this was designed, and didn't have these big square shoulders I have, but there isn't room in there for a shoulder pad. However, looking at the way the sleeve top is collapsing, I think I'm going to stitch some sleeve heads in there.
  • There is a side opening zipper (a back opening just would have ruined the lines of the garment), and then the neckline is held together with a brooch - I'm still deciding if I have one that is appropriate or if I need to go shopping ;)all in all, it makes this The hardest garment to get into and out of. Bar none. I don't dare do my hair until this dress is On.
  • Those aren't badly stitched darts in the bodice, but actually are tiny tucks.
  • I've been spending quality time at the ironing board pressing this baby, and still am having difficulty getting that midriff section to lay flat above the skirt pleat. I think it may have to do with the shape of the wool on the underlining. It may never press totally flat.
  • the sleeves are shaped with some really pretty elbow tucks - again, not darts.
Overall I'm pleased with this dress. Before wearing it I still have a little bit of work to do pressing and with the sleeve heads.

Last fall I became enamoured of all the woolen dresses that were shown on the runways. I'm hooked. I've got lots of wool downstairs in my stash (did you see those bolts behind the dress form?) and will be looking for more perfect matches between wool and patterns.

And I've loved my little foray into Vintage Sewing. But right now it's time to come back to the present and get finishing some more of those UFO's and work on my SWAP sewing

Sunday, February 18, 2007

Part 2, Constructing the Vintage Dress from a Vintage Pattern

I Love this dress, in the finished version. But, it was a bit of doing, getting here.
the look on my face is ridiculous, but it is one of the best of the dress. So hard to get a good pic with detail of black.

Picture 030

The Pattern: Eva Dress Pattern E50-1356

Eva Dress patterns are not re-issues of Vintage Patterns like the Big-4, but are actual Vintage Patterns that didn't have a copyright. So the EvaDress people have copied the patterns line-for-line, copied the directions, and then packaged them for sale.

The watchwords when setting up to make up a Vintage Pattern? Measure, read the directions, and MUSLIN. Older patterns are not consistent in sizing with todays patterns. Depending on the original source, the draft may be excellent, or may contain serious flaws.

The Pattern, the Muslin, the Fix:
I can't tell what the source is for this original pattern, but it contains drafting errors.
Before I cut the muslin I did my typical full hip pattern alteration, adding 1" to the front and 1" to the back up through the hip.

I was so concerned about the way the bodice was standing away from the body that I almost missed the fullness of the front of the skirt. Didn't help that my muslin was no longer than a shirt. Blessedly, I decided to put it back on before cutting my wool, and started wondering why it looked more as if it had full pleats in the front than a darted fitted silhouette.
When I went back to the paper pattern and measured, I realized that the front measured +3" wider than the back at the hipline. I couldn't afford to lose 3" of diameter in the hip, so I took out the full hip alteration from the front, added to the back to balance the pattern to the front, then added 1/2" to side seams both front and back just to give some margin for error. (I ended up taking in that extra in the side seam in the dress fitting during construction).
I also rechecked, with a fine tooth comb, the rest of the pattern.
By changing the grain line on the bodice piece I took care of all of that wonky ill fit in the bodice top. I also had to true up the grain lines on the gussets.
I did change slightly the seam line across the bodice at the underarm - This caused construction problems which I failed to think all the way through, that effected the underarm gussets.
I struggled mightily with the gussets, and it wasn't until one of those middle of the night musings until I realized why.
Lesson - when you muslin, and you've made alterations, muslin the whole thing to see if changing A affects C... I should have put the gussets in the muslin, but I didn't think I needed to.

The Fabric
For the dress I used a gorgeous wool and cashmere blend satin weave fabric that I purchased from Winstons on their going-out-of business sale. For the contrast I used silk charmeuse.
Underlining: black silk organza.
Seam finish: inspired by the vintage dress I reviewed last week, I decided to straight stitch 1/4" from the edge, then pink the edges. It's a beautiful finish that doesn't create any bulk.
Along the edge of the bodice turn/back facing and to enclose the bodice seam I did a hong kong finish using bias strips of the organza. Inside of bodice
The gussets underarm gusset Eva dress gave me more problems than they should have, but that was self inflicted, as previously mentioned. If I hadn't taken 1/2" out of that bodice seam the lengths would have matched and then the only challenge I would have had to deal with was getting the gusset in across that bodice seam that is already 8 layers thick.

Other couture techniques: Handpicked zipper. I considered an invisible zipper for about a minute and a half. I'm really glad I decided to handpick this one. It's a thing of beauty, and truly the stitches are nearly invisible.
Lingerie strap snap holders at the shoulders. This is more to hold the nearly off-the-shoulder dress in the right place than to hold the straps anywhere.

one other note: after all the fitting, this bodice fits so well that I didn't need to put the elastic strap inside to hold it close to the chest.

All-in-all, I love this dress. It's destined to become one of my favorites.
Not a beginner project, but well worth the effort

Friday, February 16, 2007

The Vintage Dress, Part I

I love Vintage Dresses. In part, I think, because I have a body that is better suited to the curvy designs from the 50's when women were allowed to have hips and breasts, before the days of Twiggy - bless her skinny little butt.

Up first - an actual vintage dress that I purchased on Ebay back in December.

Fabric: probably some blend of silk with acetate or rayon. Those were the days before mandatory labeling. It doesn't feel like it's all silk.

The entire dress is underlined with silk organza.
I am a true believer in silk organza as an underlining. In addition to providing support and shape to the garment, it goes a long way to preventing wrinkles. This dress was shipped to me folded up and stuffed into a Tyvek USPS envelope. I took it out of the envelope when it got here, shook it out and hung it, and found I did not need to do any serious pressing.
In addition, only the bodice is lined with china silk (habotai)inside of bodice lined with China silk
Lots of handstitching to attach the china silk lining to the lower portion of the bodice and at the underarm to the sleeve.
There is a 2 piece sleeve, and they used a 1/2 gusset underarm on the bodice
1/2 gusset under arm

Seam allowances through the skirt portion are all 1". Seam finishes - straight stitch 1/4" from the edge, then trimmed with pinking shears. The result is a seam finish that doesn't add bulk, and can be altered. I liked this so well I decided to use same on the next 2 vintage dresses that I will review.

More pics are here

up Monday:

Note to Kim:
Def Shoes! Fabric next although that I'm seriously trying to curtail that spending. Yarn buying appeals almost not at all right now, as it represents to me a project that I can't possibly get to, if I use all the yarn I have first, in this lifetime. Right now the yarn stash feels more like a millstone than a benefit.

Thursday, February 15, 2007

There's no place like home (click of the heels)

Inspired by Shannon, who is shopping for red shoes right now, I decided to post pics of my red shoe collection. I've got red boots too...they didn't make the pics. oh well.


the wish list for Spring

up tomorrow, the first of the 3 part series on Vintage Dresses

Monday, February 12, 2007

Lost and Found

Marks Hat, knit on train on way to and from Chicago weekend of Feb 2-4

Pattern: Watch Cap knit on size 6 addi turbo
110 stitches, 1x1 ribbing,
Yarn: Black Jaeger Matchmaker Aran and grey 1824 wool

You know how it is when you try to organize everything, keep track of what is where, weed out the fluff every once in awhile, and keep on top of things?
Well, I've been doing a lot of that lately. Spent most of January cleaning, culling, organizing, putting away. I now feel I have space I can work in well.

But it seems I've organized myself right out of being able to find the One issue of VK knitting that I like the best of all the issues of the last 5 years. I've knit one sweater from it already, and want to knit at least 3 more projects from that issue. (yeah, I know, with the rate I finish things it's not that critical). I'm working on the sleeves to the DB ruffle cardi (from the Cashmere collection), however I've reached that stage with this project where I'm more interested in planning the next project while finishing this one. So, I'm turning my house upside down looking for the magazine. What did I Do with it?

Speaking of organizing. I put all of my past issues of Threads in numerical order.
Geeze. I've been bidding on ebay for Threads issue #14 , for at least 6 months - always losing it as it gets up past $35.
well, good thing!. I own it. I own issues 1-17, then hit and miss until issues 110 or so, then I have all of them again.
Crazy. Issue 14 has an article in it by and about Herself, so it always goes for too much, but what I really wanted was the cover article about the gloves.
So, now to find the missing issue of VK.

BTW, does anyone else find they own multiple issues of the same publications? I found at least 5 multiples. Best keep better track in the future.

Saturday, February 10, 2007

Computer down

Thought I got lost?
Nope, but we came home from Chicago to a black-screen on the computer. Computer is still down, and I'm writing this entry on the laptop.
In Chicago we celebrated our 6th anniversary, and attended the Strictly Sail boat show. It was frigid cold, but we still walked pretty much everywhere, and had a great time.
People have asked what do you do at a Boat Show in Chicago when the temps are sub-freezing. Well, you get your boat fix.
They bring in at least 50 boats. probably closer to 100, from dinghies up to 47 feet, and set them up on cradles. Then they set up ladders platforms, and you get to climb up and walk onto the decks of these boats, and down into the cabins, and dream and spend $ if you are in the mood to put a deposit on a boat. There are also booths for every type of peripheral item you could possibly need when you hit the water. They also have seminars running morning to night for 4 days, on everything from racing tactics to lving aboard a blue-water cruising boat.

January Wrap-Up
I know it's a little late for this, but, here goes anyway.
Finished up 8 sewing projects
4 of which were made from the Butterick Pattern 4386, which is my go-to pattern for a sheath dress. I wrote a pattern review here

butterick 4386
Carolyn issued a challenge on her blog awhile ago to come up with a list of TNT patterns (tried and true), and I thought that I didn't really have any. So I thought I'd take her up on her challenge. and I'm finding I have several.
January was my month for finishing the dresses. I think February will be my month for finishing several jackets that are on the table, and come to think of it, there is a basic TNT pattern there too. Stay tuned.

Meanwhile, on the knitting front. I quietly signed on for the UFinishingO Resurrection challenge issued by Kat with a K, and I managed that too.
I resurrected the Debbie Bliss ruffled cardi that I had to stop knitting when I realized I needed to go on a nationwide yarn hunt when I realized I was going to be at least 2 sleeves short a year ago. By the time I found the yarn, I'd moved on to other projects.

I'm here to say, I've finished the back and both fronts now, and am moving on to the sleeves.
I also did manage to finish the scarf stole for my friend Helen in January, and lest you all think I'm a bad mom and wife, on the train on the way to and from Chicago I knit a hat (watch-cap) for son#1.
Alas, no pics avail until the other computer is back on-board or I've loaded the camera software onto this laptop.

For some eyecandy, take a look at what Linda just finished - another one of those Vittadini challenges.

And Marina has gone to town and finished the foxes, for the Dale KAL which I'm not so graciously sitting out. I'm still pouting.

Michellers, thanks loads for your concern. I'm here and well. Wish we lived closer so that I could come see that lovely baby-girl of yours.

That's it.
Next post I've got 2 dresses to detail that are TDF.