24 February 2008

Orange You Glad You Asked? - Part 1

My SWAP 2008 is based on the fashions worn by Jacqueline Kennedy while in the White House during the 1960s. Although most of the garments I am making are at the very least a nod to her style of clothing, I had to take a departure for one of the top/bottom combos. Jacqueline Kennedy did not wear full skirts very often and she certainly didn't wear full-skirted suits. However, I do wear full skirts and I wanted to include at least one in this SWAP. When I saw this Bottega Veneta suit in the Fall 2007 line-up, I was instantly smitten. I love everything about it - the colour, the style, the proportions - it is just gorgeous. So, I decided to include a top/bottom combo in my SWAP that had the same feel.

Julie of Timmel Fabrics, had a burnt orange (she called it terracotta) wool blend fabric for sale - it has a distinct fluffy nap on one side and it is smoother on the other side - it reminds me of spongy wool flannel. I will be using the smoother side, as it just looks more tailored. I also chose an Anna Sui silk charmeuse from Fabric Mart to use as lining.

The pattern I am using is the wardrobe pattern that was a requirement of the SWAP (each year there is a twist to the rules - this year, each participant has to make at least three distinct garments from a wardrobe pattern). My wardrobe pattern is Vogue 5521 and for this "suit", I will be using the full skirt and the button up top/jacket. I will also be using the slim skirt, at a later date, for another SWAP garment. I will be talking about the muslins for these three garments in my next posts, so stay tuned.

Before finishing today's post, I wanted to answer a couple of questions.

*Elle asked, "Shannon, can you describe tie interfacing and its uses?"
Tie interfacing is a full bodied, soft, fairly loosely woven fabric that is normally used to interline men's ties - scroll to the last picture on this page to see some. I buy my tie interfacing from Silhouette Patterns. I use this excellent tip, from Gigi Louis to set in sleeves in tailored jackets. This is the only application for which I use tie interfacing.

*Marty, after reading this post, said, "How many of those outfits do you actually keep? Do you donate the ones that are old or tired looking? If not, then you need to build a whole room (not just a closet) for your clothing & accessories."
I am fairly ruthless with my clothing, both purchased and handmade. If I haven't worn a garment in a while (6 to 8 months), if it is worn out or it is out of style (no matter how well it is made), it gets put on the donate pile or is thrown in the garbage. Lately, I have been purging anything made out of polyester, as I get too hot in most pure synthetics. I am aiming to have a closet full of natural fibers (wool, silk, linen, cotton, rayon, hemp, bamboo, etc), although I am a fan of RPL (rayon, polyester, lycra) knits and wovens, as they seem to breathe well, wear like iron and imitate natural fibers like tropical wool. As for having a whole room for my clothing, I am seriously thinking about it!! My husband & I hope to build a house in the near future and my two major concerns are the inclusion of a sewing studio and a ton of closet space!

18 February 2008

Ready, Set, SWAP - Part 5

The green/cream herringbone wool button front top is complete. Actually, it has been for a while now, I have just been too busy to write about it lately. Unfortunately, I don't have any more "during construction" pictures - I simply got too engrossed in the garment's construction to take photos.

However, here is the inside low-down:
* The garment was fully underlined with Textured Weft (front, back and sleeves).
* The hems were interfaced with a medium weight non-stretch fusible interfacing.
* Sleeve headers were made of bias cut tie interfacing.
* The front facing and undercollar was interfaced with hair canvas.
* The front sports three bound buttonholes and vintage buttons.
* The lining was completely sewn in by hand.

Now, on to the pictures:

The front of the jacket with the buttons done up.

I am quite pleased that I decided to go back and recut the fronts after doing a proper SBA - this reduced the size of both the bust and waist darts and the front fits beautifully now.

The back of the jacket is nicely shaped through the use of waist and neck darts. I absolutely adore patterns that have neck darts. I tend to find these patterns just fit me better. The neck dart fits the collar to my small shoulders but releases at the upper shoulder blade to fit my broader back. I find most patterns without the neck darts are horribly uncomfortable while I'm teaching, because I can't reach and write on the board easily - I definitely need the extra space across the shoulder blades.

The upper collar is an extension of the front facing - this gives the collar a nice roll around the neck when it is worn.

The sleeves are 3/4 length and have an elbow dart to conform nicely to the shape of the arm.

One of the bound buttonholes and the vintage button. The reverse side of the button was finished by hand stitching the facing in an oval around the buttonhole opening. This gives the back a clean, neat finish.

The lining was inserted totally by hand. Although it is time consuming to do the lining this way, I feel it gives me greater control over the placement.

I was playing around with some of the decorative stitches on my sewing machine and decided to use one of them to "sexy-up" the lining pleat at the neck.

Alright, so this completes piece number two for SWAP 2008. I am in the process of working on pieces three, four and five. The muslins have been perfected and I have started work on the "real" fabric. I hope to have an update on my progress over the next few days.

Last, but not least - lookie what I got in the mail today. How much do I love this pattern?? Look at that assymmetric front!! Could it be any more Jackie Kennedy?? Look at that cool attachable scarf!! I am in L.O.V.E.

10 February 2008

No Time to Chat - I Gotta Sew!!

Yowza, sometimes life can be hectic!! I have finished a couple of garments lately, but I haven't had time to blog about them. When things slow down at work I will be updating on my progress. This weekend has been "wearable muslin weekend", as I have been working on tweaking the fit of my wardrobe pattern for SWAP. So far, so good.

I was reading the Fabric Fast thread at PR and it started me thinking. Don't worry I'm not joining them - that's way more willpower than I'll ever have!! However, it did make me wonder how many garments I have in flat fabric form, in my stash, just waiting to spring to life. So I did a little math. Over the last two years I have sewn up 471.40 m of fabric into 267 garments. This means that, on average, I use around 1.75 m of fabric per garment. As of today, my fabric stash contains 963.10 m - so I have enough fabric to make 550 garments (963.10/1.75). Holy crap!! Ahem, pardon my language, but dang, I'm gonna need a bigger closet!!