February 27, 2014

Signature Style: Modern Burda Style Meets 1960's Paco Rabanne

All month long I have been tearing up my sewing space searching for pantspiration, you see I was on a quest to participate and construct pants for the current challenge over at The Monthly Stitch. No Luck; I have only one pant pattern and fabric match in my to be sewn stash. I'll have you know my to be sewn stash is housed in two 20-gallon tubs. READ: The girl is constantly sewing something. 
In the end I was not currently inspired by the trousers. I've made pants; successful pants and unsuccessful pants. I wear pants from time to time, personal zeitgeist is preferential to dresses. But when I do throw on pants I also tend to wear a jacket preferably one I have made. So this got me thinking about personal style and the current challenge over at Project Sewn (Oh my land! How much fun has Project Sewn been!!!). I have to say I do have my own Signature Style that dares to walk on the unconventional. I live for variety. Each and every day I look forward to dressing up, my daily look rides the tide of my mood and is always as fickle as Midwest weather. I am a bit modern and a little bit vintage, the clothes that adorn my body are as much for fun as they are for utilitarian purposes. These thoughts led me to this jacket. (And if you are so inclined to vote for me I'm #54...here)
The moment I flipped to the pattern for the Illusion Jacket in the first US edition of Burda Style and I was struck smitten. My heart was a flutter for the crazy fun sleeves.
The jacket length and lines reminded me of mid-century dress coats, as you know I love my nods to the 60's. And as an added Melody bonus I was going to be able to use my beloved ponte knit on the garment. Needless to say I was sold so I set off  to find a proper fabric I knew only Mood would deliver on this one.
And did it ever deliver. When I found this heavy weight laminated wool in metallic silver visions of 1960's Paco Rabanne danced in my head. 
Because glitter sealed wool is never enough I lined my jacket in a spark of raspberry and when I wear the garment open the luscious color pops out and I actually smile. 

I styled it over leggings and a tee for the next wear I will dress it up over a simple sleeveless back sheath. 
 Sliver snaps are the closure.
For the ponte knit under-sleeve I altered the pattern by cutting the cuff on a crosswise fold. In construction this encased the seam allowances creating a clean knit sleeve whose weight rivaled the outer  laminated wool.
I chose to line upper-sleeve in black satin, this created contrast, made a clean finish and also controlled the bulk at the sleeve join.
Inner garment views: Back and Front

February 23, 2014

Window Pane Portrait Collar Suit

Portrait collar jacket (pattern McCall's 5478 OOP) with coordinating skirt (pattern Simplicity 2654 OOP)
I can't say that I set out to make a matchy matchy suit. I fell for this jacket pattern when it first came out in 2007 and I sourced the plum wool boucle window pane in 2009 with high hopes to construct the jacket yet as it sometimes does, life got in the way of fancy clothing making and the pattern lived in the stash wrapped in the wool waiting to be cut and sewn. Until this winter when I got swept into a plaid sewing theme, I made plaid dresses, jumpers and coats so why not a suit too? My delusions of grandeur had me dreaming that the suit would make me look like a Hitchcock dame; Kim Novak with a campy vibe. 
The jacket has a bias grain bodice with straight grain sleeves so it seemed natural to add a straight grain skirt. I did not have the yardage to use up much fabric in bias plaid matching I was working with 3 yards (2.74 meters) and needed to yield two garments, none the less I powered through. 
 The collar came out lovely and stood beautifully even with all my shoulder pattern alterations.

 Big buttons seemed just seemed to work for the front closure
 And little buttons for the sleeve vents

 I did take my time to match the skirt side seams and center back seam. So clean you can not even see the seam. 
Typically I tend to avoid a high waist but I thought it work for my nod to vintage suit. I added the fabric belt across the front section to mimic the back fabric belt of the jacket. 
Inner garment views:
Jacket front 
Jacket back

February 10, 2014

Qurirky Top You're the One That I Want

Over at Mood Fabrics I fell for this black animal print flocked taffeta. Taffeta...it is what all my vintage loving swishing swirly skirted dreams are made of, however I felt this taffeta with the flocked animal print walked on the wilder side. And when I ran across the Burda Pleated Peplum Top (11/2012 #120) I envisioned a modern quirky nod to Sandy from Grease. 

When laying out my pattern I made sure the fabrics flocking complimented the design I striped the center front with the print as well as the sleeves. I also  adjusted the peplum with its inverted pleats to also show off the flocked print and maintain less pile in the inverted areas to avoid any excess midsection bulk. 
I have not sewn a lot of Burda patterns. I have purchased a few magazines over the years only to realize I never possessed the patience to trace the patterns. Therefor I was in unfamiliar territory with the fit. A wise woman would have made a muslin...I am not that wise, I just wanted to sew my luscious fabric. 
Pattern Adjustments - I had to shorten my torso length by an inch and completed a square shoulder adjustment. I also measured the shoulder length and was astounded to realize that I did not have to widen the shoulder. So I also assumed I did not need to adjust for broad back, I was proven wrong. It's a touch too snug in the shoulders for my liking; for future makes I will adjust this oversight. Oh well, I still love this funky flocked fabric top and will rock it.  
I fully lined my peplum top in a deep purple lining. The lining also allows me to turn up the sleeves and form contrast cuffs for a less formal look. 
Inner Garment View: 
The only shot with the shoes! 

February 2, 2014

Sway Back Pattern Adjustment in a Dress Back Block

What is Sway Back? 
It is an inward body curve at the lower back waist above the posterior. 

How to tell if you need this Adjustment: 
If your pattern pools and wrinkles across back below the waistline.  
Sway Back Adjustment, The Vogue Sewing Book, Copyright 1970
MELODY NOTE: Alterations and pattern adjustments work like this: head to toe or top to bottom; basically bodice to skirt if you will. So... the sway back adjustment in a dress back block is a skirt (bottom) adjustment. Therefor all bodice (upper) adjustments must be made first. Why? The way a garment hangs and/or is adjusted across the shoulders, back or bust will in turn affect the pooling and wrinkles located at the lower center back.
Dress blocks do not have waistline seams, the bodice and skirt back are one piece.
The sway back adjustment happens where the waistline falls on the block.
For this pattern adjustment I am demonstrating on the Simplicity 3833 shift dress back pattern piece but the adjustment method will apply to any dress back block. A dress block has no waistline seam, the bodice and skirt back are one piece. 

How to perform the adjustment

Find Sway Back Measurement:
  1. Correct Muslin Garment: 
    • Pin out wrinkles that are pooling at center back. Staring at the center back pinch excess and pin tapering to side seams. (Pinning your own back side is next to impossible, find a friend to assist.)
  2. Measure Excess Pinned Fabric
    1. At the center back measure from the pin to the folded edge of the pinch.
    2. The pinched fabric is a fold (2 plys) of excess fabric. You must double your measurement to get your sway back adjustment measurement. 
    • In my example I measured 1/4"(0.64 cm) * 2 = 1/2" (1.27 cm)
    • My sway back adjustment measurement is 1/2"(1.27 cm)

Adjust Dress Back Block Pattern
1. Draw a line to extend waistline across dress back, from the center back through side seam. 

2. Mark Pattern  
  • At the center back seam measure down from the drawn waistline line the distance of your sway back measurement and draw a little line. 
  • At the side seam mark a pivot point on the drawn waistline line

3. Cut Pattern Adjustment Line

  • Cut at the drawn waistline line through the center back seam to the pivot point.

  • From the side seam clip to the pivot point to form hinge. 

4. Slide the cut waistline down at the center back to the little line, keeping the pivot hinge intact and allowed to open. Tape to secure. 

5. Adjust Center Back Hemline
Adjusting the skirt at the waistline affects the hemline (top to bottom... see MELODY NOTE above). Wedging out the excess fabric at the center back waistline in the sway back adjustment will also cause the hemline to wedge up. Therefor the next step is to correct this swoop at the hem by adding the wedge back to the center back of the hemline. 

At the center back seam measure down from the hemline the distance of your sway back measurement and draw a little line. 
Use a curve to connect new lowered center back drawn hemline line to the hemline at the side seam on the back piece. 

Check the Darts 
If your bodice back block has fish-eye darts - check to make sure that the darts are still parallel to the center back seam. If the sway back adjustment has caused the skirt ends of the dart to shift you will need to realign that end of the dart.
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