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Monday, March 31, 2008

McCall's 5190 - Military Jackets for Spring!

I've fallen in love with the look of the military jacket for Spring!

Nicole Miller
& Tory Burch

Project Details
Pattern: McCall's 5190
Fabric: Faux Nubuck
Lining: Cotton Batiste
Notions: Twelve - 3/4" buttons; shoulder pads

Semi-fitted lined jacket has princess seams, collar, shoulder pads and two-piece sleeves with sleeve band; flaps; epaulets; peplum and topstitching.

I cut this pattern in a size 16 and made a 1/2" FBA. I added 2" to the body and 1" to the sleeve. The instructions were super easy and the pattern pieces were well drafted. I used every pattern piece and combined all views for the look that I wanted. I used a nubuck from the home decor section and lined with cotton batiste. I used sew-in interfacing since my use of heat was limited. I opted for bound buttonholes instead of machine made and just used machine holes on the lining. I didn't use the nubuck for the facing, I used the batiste instead. I also added a hang chain which I guess you can say is becoming my signature in jackets.

Living my life like it's golden!

I had a fantastic weekend! ALL 3 kids went out of town with grandma (my MIL) and Michael and I acted like teenagers! Even though I missed my 3 babies, it felt great to be completely spontaneous without giving any consideration to anyone but ourselves. I guess you can say it was a practice run of what it will feel like to be emptynesters. On Saturday, I was treated to a breakfast with mimosas (he's such a great guy). At the spur of the moment, we decided to go to Atlanta. We did some shopping and tried to make it back before the thunderstorm came and we still ended up running into bad weather. We got back just in time to grab something to eat from my favorite seafood restaurant here in town - The Fish Market Restaurant.

Lastnight, we hit up the Jill Scott concert. She was absolutely amazing. I do believe that Birmingham was the last leg of the tour, so if you missed her, you missed out!

Tuesday, March 25, 2008

My picks from the new Vogues!

My Top Five Picks:


If I only sew one dress for Spring/Summer, it will DEFINITELY be this one! I am a huge fan of CHADO Ralph Rucci and this shirtdress is gorgeous!

This Montana suit is tailored HAUTEness! I would love this in white also.

I love this suit and it's very "of-the-moment"! I don't care for the cropped pants but the long pants and the jacket with the tab sleeves are similar to designs from Stella McCartney and Michael Kors.

This is an adorable dress with a pleated neckline. I would accessorize it with a great belt.

This dress is very ladylike and I like the view with the contrast bands.

Sunday, March 23, 2008

Happy Easter!

And he saith unto them, Be not affrighted: Ye seek Jesus of Nazareth, which was crucified: he is risen; he is not here: behold the place where they laid him. Mark 16:6

Friday, March 21, 2008

Happy Sweet Sixteen Amber!

My first baby girl is 16 today! Boy, does time fly by. It seems like just yesterday I was laboring for 40 hours with her! Happy Birthday Princess!

Monday, March 10, 2008

Vogue 1034 - Jean-ius!

Project Details

Pattern: Vogue 1034
Italian Stretch Denim (cotton with a small amount of lycra)
Pocket/lining: white cotton batiste
Notions: 9" brass zipper; one - 5/8" jean button

Description: Boot-legged have below waist contour front waistband and back yoke, double-sided front pockets with button trim, fly closure, belt carriers and topstitching details.

This is a great pattern by Sandra Betzina (get her book "Fast Fit"... it's great!). This was my first time working with one of her patterns. And if you are a novice to them as I were, you will be surprised at the sizing... it's based on inches. Typically of the Big 4 patterns, this one had way too much ease in it for jeans. You may want to keep in mind that denim grows and if you make these with too much ease, you will have "saggy butt" by the end of the day. I cut the suggested size and realized that mine had too much slack (of course I didn't make a muslin, LOL). I altered as I sewed.

BTW, these jeans should be marketed as "high-waisted" jeans. If you are not buying into that trend, these may not be for you because they are up there! They stop right at my bellybutton!

The instructions are fantastic. There are directions for making all sorts of pattern alterations that you may need.

As usual, I added around 4 inches of length. Initially, I looked at the pattern pieces and thought something was missing... there was not a piece for a back waistband. The way these jeans are constructed, the back waistband and the yoke are one piece. This was different but it is cut to produce and amazingly contoured waist! If you notice the front pockets they are doubled... she calls this an "Oreo cookie pocket". And yes, you have two sets of functioning pockets... not that I would ever use them, but I thought that was an interesting design feature. I used cotton batiste for the pockets. Since they are doubled, I thought that was a lot going on, so I made that as thin as possible.

Now, let's get to what I didn't like. I didn't use the welt zipper pockets, I just used the regular patch pockets. The pockets were shaped weird... too rectangular. Not the type of pockets you see on RTW jeans that are wider on top. I re-drafted the pocket based on jeans in my closet. (Another thing that I noticed that most pattern companies fail to do, is taking into consideration that the size of the pocket should change with the size of the pants.) Her suggested placement for the pockets were RIDICULOUSLY high... I'm talking the small of your back high! I positioned them much lower. I used a decorative stitch for the pocket design. I chose not to topstitch my seams and just left them plain. I finished the the facing with a Hong Kong finish and used a 1 1/2" hem.

Overall, I think this is a great pattern that is superbly drafted with impeccable instructions. All of the things I didn't like were based on my personal preferences. But hey, that's why we sew right?

Monday, March 03, 2008

McCall's 4922 - Tailored Shirt

Project Details

McCall's 4922, view C
Pincord cotton (100% cotton); white cotton shirting (100% cotton)
Interfacing (100% bleached cotton muslin); Eight 1/2" buttons

Semi-fitted shirts have princess seaming, collar and collar band, topstitch trim, and french cuffs

I wanted to challenge myself on this project and have something a little more special than what the pattern company was offering. Instead of following the McCall's suggestions instructions, I decided to use David Coffin's - "Shirtmaking: Developing Skills for Fine Sewing" as my guide.

I first had to take care of the fit by making my usual princess seam FBA. I also decided that I wanted my shirt to have a two-piece yoke. I looked at a couple of the tailored shirts in my closet and measured the width of the yoke. I made those measurements on the back pattern piece and cut it off. I added seam allowances to where I would join them back.
(click for larger pic)

Have you ever noticed the seams in your shirt or your husband's/boyfriend's shirt? No serged seams... they are flat-felled. You'll also noticed these in denim garments. This is just another way of encasing the seam. This technique is really interesting because you can actually use whichever side that piques your interest. The seams were really easy to do, even on the curved princess seams. They did however become challenging on the sleeves. (I should have photographed this... sorry I didn't) I sewed the flat-fell seam on the sleeves by sewing on the inside and rolling the sleeve out of the way as I sewed down. (I hope that makes sense) Also, it was rather difficult to do this on the armscye, but I made it work! If you click on the pic below, you'll see that I pinned up the shirt so that you can compare the right and wrong side seams. There is basically no difference.
(click for larger pic)

What I loved most about this shirt is the french cuffs! The pattern instructions recommended sew-in interfacing, but I used plain ole bleached muslin cotton (recommended by Coffin). Next time, I'll be brave enough to try out one of Coffin's fancy plackets. BTW, he has templates and pattern pieces in his book.

All of the topstitching is made 1/4" from the edge. I used a narrow hem but I didn't use my rolled hem foot. That thing really works my nerves and it's easier for me to just press the hem in place and sew it.

Of course on a tailored shirt, there is a collar and collar stand. I know that I read reviews where a few people have had a hard time attaching these. The go on pretty easy if you just take your time.
And on the inside of the collar stand, I decided to personalize!

I highly recommend this pattern for a great tailored shirt. And this book is a definite must have for your collection!