Archive for March, 2012

March 30, 2012

Sew Weekly: Pantone

I don’t know about you but March has been one doozy of a month. Nothing bad – just a really busy month.  I’ve finally (on the last two days!) given in and accepted that I can’t keep up with it! This past week I was lucky enough to have my darling mom in town and we had such a great time hanging out together. I just put her on the shuttle to the airport and now I’m sitting in my quiet apartment looking out at the rain. It’s hard not to feel lonely after such a great visit!

If you didn’t catch it, the minty peplum blouse pictured above was featured on Sew Weekly yesterday! I’m so flattered! This is the charmeuse I mentioned last week and it’s the third (technically fourth) garment in my spring wardrobe challenge. I had originally picked up the fabric for another swingy tank top but at the last minute I thought it would work better as this peplum blouse. Jump on over to the post for more details on the construction.

I hope you all had a great week! Any fun plans for the weekend?

March 22, 2012

Guest Post: Maddie from Madalynne

With us today is Maddie from Madalynne to talk with us about a pattern making technique called ‘slash and open’. Maddie writes a fantastic blog about fashion, design, and sewing. If you are interested in pattern making, you really must check out her tutorials on drafting a bodice block (part 1part 2, and part 3). She also has my dream job as a technical designer for Anthropologie! I was beyond thrilled when she agreed to do a guest post and even more excited when she proposed the topic. Like Maddie, I love slashing and opening and use it frequently when making patterns. Most recently, it was used to create the gathers in the peach blossom top and the fullness in the cherry blossom top. There’s really no end to what you can create with this simple technique. Please help me to welcome Maddie to A Good Wardrobe!

Slashing and opening creates a few of my favorite things in life – ruffles, flounces, flares, and fullness. My favorite piece in my wardrobe is a blue skirt I made four years ago (it’s the blue skirt in the photo above). It’s dark blue and hits at that sweet spot just above the knee. Circular cut and made of the lightest wool, it moves so sinuously as I walk. When I twirl, it twirls with me and when I sway from side to side, so does the skirt. But my favorite part of the skirt are the cream-colored and silk pleated ruffles peeking out from the bottom. It’s just darling, it truly is and the entire skirt, aside from the waistband, was drafted by slashing and opening.

Slashing and opening is the process of cutting into a pattern and spreading it open to add or to transfer width or length. It’s a simple technique and is used for many pattern drafts and alternations. Ruffles are created when a pattern is slashed and opened through the entire width or length of the pattern. Flares and flounces are created when a pattern is slashed and opened at one point and tapered to nothing at another point. For the sake of preventing this post from turning into a textbook, I will limit my scope to slashing and opening to transform a block, pencil, or any straight skirt into a flared skirt.

When slashing and opening to create a flare, there is one key principle that must be noted. The width that is added to create the flare must be added at several points and not all at one point. If the pattern is slashed and opened and all the additional width/flare is added at one point or if the all the additional width/flare is added at the side seam, the finished garment will have one large flounce as opposed to many flounces throughout the entire skirt. I don’t think you want one large flare on your skirt, now do you?

With that said, now we can get started.

Using your block, pencil, or straight skirt pattern, draw several (at least 2 or more) vertical lines from waist to bottom opening. There really is no formula or right number to calculate the number of lines to draw. I have drawn 2 lines and I have drawn 6 lines; it all depends on the particular pattern and the amount of width/flare to be added. The way I determine the number of lines to draw is to find the number that divides into the amount of width/flare to be added evenly. If 6” of width/flare is to be added, I draw 3 lines and open the pattern 2” at each point. If 12” of width/flare is to be added, I draw 3 lines and open the pattern 4” at each point. Also, make sure that the lines drawn are evenly distributed at the waist as well as at the bottom opening, even if that means the lines become angled near the side seam. Once the lines are drawn, slash/cut the pattern along the lines and spread the pattern open the desired width and the bottom opening, tapering to nothing at the waist. Lastly, true the bottom opening curve (TIP: When truing, butt the front and back skirt patterns together at the side seam and make sure the bottom hem transitions smoothly from front to back ((or vice versa)) and that the point where the side seams meets the bottom opening is at a right angle. If this point is not a right angle, the skirt will point up or down when it is sewn).

That’s it. That’s all! You got yourself a flared skirt!

I’ll end with… thank you my most darling and dearest readers. It’s been a lovely pleasure.

March 19, 2012

Monday

Sadly, I spent most of last week in bed with migraines. I tend to get them with seasonal changes like extreme temperature or humidity shifts. This usually means that I get a migraine two or three times a year. However, this spring has been brutal with temperatures climbing to the mid 70′s one day and 50′s the next. It was the rain that brought them on last week. Today is my day off and my first day without a headache or residual weakness and I’ve spent most of it with some very slippery silk charmeuse.

Probably not the best choice when your looking for a relaxing project! My first time working with charmeuse ended in disaster but I’m hoping with some patience I can churn out a beautiful blouse.

I hope your week is starting out well! Any fun projects you’re working on?

March 9, 2012

2. Magnolia

Pattern: Self drafted

Fabric: Wool blend gabardine and bemberg rayon from fabric.com

Notions: 1 zipper and fusible interfacing

Time: An afternoon

Notes:

I’ve been trying to decide what to call this color. Is it teal? Is it turquoise? I don’t know but I love it! I actually think it’s a seasonless color and I expect to be able wear this skirt long after spring has passed. The fabric’s color changes depending on the light – it’s more green in the shade and more blue in the sun – which made it rather difficult to find matching thread and zipper.

Speaking of fabric – this is probably the worst quality yardage I have ever worked with. It’s labeled as a wool/poly blend but at times it felt more like rattan. While working with it, it splintered, split, and shredded. It would stretch out of shape despite staystitching and it was so weak that I couldn’t even consider ripping out stitches.  I had my doubts as to whether it would look okay on but somehow it pulled itself together at the last-minute and made a great looking skirt. I have a feeling the bemberg lining had something to do with it. 

The skirt is self drafted. From my sloper, I dropped the waist and drafted a 2″ contoured waistband. I shortened the hem to the same height as my grey mini skirt (JCrew) and then drafted a lining with a jump pleat (also known as a bagged lining). All darts were removed making it a very straightforward sewing job. Once I had everything cut and interfaced, it came to together in less than an hour. If you’re looking for a similar pattern, try In House Pattern’s A New York Mini. The pattern as written is unlined but you could always add one if desired. 

Have you ever wondered what would happen if you installed a normal zipper as you would an invisible one? Seriously stupid maneuver. I had it in my head that I’d purchased an invisible zipper and couldn’t for the life of me figure out why I couldn’t stitch closer to the teeth. It wasn’t until I tried the thing on that I realized the head was facing the wrong way. That’s right, the pull is facing towards my body. Unfortunately the fabric was so frail there was no turning back and I’m just grateful that I can still zip it up this way. You can see the zipper tape just a hair but from far away it’s really not bad.

I couldn’t help but include a close up of my new shoes. Since my spring palette is so bold, I figured a pair of cream colored shoes would keep bright outfits from overwhelming me. I had my eyes on a different pair and went to Nordstrom’s to try them on but when I saw these Born’s I knew they were the ones.

Overall, I’m very happy with the outcome and I know I’ll be wearing this skirt all spring. I can’t wait to start pairing it with my spring blouses and tops!

March 7, 2012

1.5 Cherry Blossom

Pattern: Self drafted

Fabric: Tencel Jersey

Notions:  Fusi-knit tricot interfacing and some silk organza selvedge to stabilize the shoulders

Time: This went together so quickly that I don’t even remember making it.

Notes:

If you recall, part of my wardrobe plan was a flared tank top made from a woven silk. I drafted a pattern and made a muslin a few weeks ago. The shoulders and upper bust were good but without a drapey fabric it was hard to get an idea of how the flare would fall. While working on another garment on Saturday I happened to spy the leftover yardage from my first top. Although, the pattern is intended for a woven fabric, I figured it would give me a good enough idea of how much flare I drafted in. And it did!

It’s a nice top and I’m happy with the amount of drape in the front. I used many of the same techniques as my last top although I substituted silk organza selvedge to stabilize the shoulder seams. I also forgot to remove the seam allowance from the neck and armholes for the binding method I used but it worked out just fine. What I’m most proud of though is my drafting for the back. When I’m standing straight, the back falls perfectly over my curves! When I make it from a woven fabric, I hope it looks just as beautiful.

March 1, 2012

1. Peach Blossom

Pattern: Self drafted

Fabric: Tencel jersey from fabric.com

Notions: fusi-knit tricot interfacing, elastic tape to stabilize the shoulders

Sewing Time: 2 hours

Notes: 

I’ve never been a lover of spring, but this year I’m a convert. In the past two weeks every tree and bush has erupted in blossoms. Each day I find a new favorite – sometimes it’s the magnolia, sometimes it’s the cherry. Today, it’s the peach. All over my neighborhood there are branches of these blush red flowers. Up until this week we were having some phenomenal weather. Saturday was 78, if you can believe that. Unfortunately, I had to go and ruin it by cutting my first piece for my Spring Wardrobe Challenge. I kid you not, the very day that I cut this fabric it started to rain and the temperatures dipped to the more seasonal appropriate 50′s.

This pattern was my first attempt at drafting for knits so I referred to my school text on how to treat the darts and waist shaping on my sloper. My sloper has four darts in the front (shoulder, armhole, bust and waist) and two in the back (shoulder and waist) all of which needed to be taken out. After I had taken care of the darts and waist shaping, I altered the neckline and drafted the yoke and front gathering. All that was left was truing and adding seam allowances. I was surprised at how quickly it came together and was just sure that I had missed some critical step but in the end it all came together!

Since I had ordered much more fabric than I needed for a simple blouse, I decided not to make a muslin. If I had, I think the final garment would have come out much more professional but it’s still a good casual top. One thing I wish I could change is the gathering at the front yoke. I had never used gathering on a knit fabric but figured I could just treat it as I would a woven. I ran a few rows a basting through the fabric, gathered, and then serged it to the yoke. Unfortunately, the serger flattened the gathering and it’s more like random tucks than gathering. Can you recommend a better way to do this? I was thinking of sewing a straight stitch to secure  the basted and gathered piece before serging it.

I tried out two other techniques on this blouse. The first was to use clear elastic tape to stabilize the shoulders. At first I had trouble feeding the elastic in my serger but I learned that if you leave a tail coming out the back before you start it’s easier to handle. The second technique I tried was using fusible tricot interfacing to stabilize the neck and armholes for the binding. Wow! Did this ever make a difference. You may recall this dress from last fall – while I realize it could have been worse, I was really disappointed that the neck was so wavy after I had carefully followed the instructions for applying the binding. The interfacing solved this problem in a snap and was so easy to stitch into that I even used a single (rather than twin) sewing machine needle to stitch in the ditch. I’m curious to see if interfacing would do similar wonders on a hemline.

And can I just say that tencel jersey is amazing! Have you ever worked with it? When I first felt it, it reminded me a lot of modal. Both are types of rayon and I’ve been trying to understand the difference. Regardless, it’s incredibly soft, lightweight, drapes beautifully and has a lovely sheen to the fibers. I’m trying so hard not to drop all of my sewing plans and buy up the rest of this for pajamas. I would love a few pairs of straight legged drawstring pants and matching tank tops! Gahh – stupid self control. All the better reason to get cracking on my spring garments.

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