Monday, January 31, 2011

Ren Faire Muslin

The muslin is done and Reko will be here this afternoon to try it on.

Most of it was pretty straightforward sewing and construction. The breeches have a pattern problem, though, so I'm glad I did the muslin. There is an outer layer (the puffy view you can see) and an inner layer/lining, which is not puffy. The problem is the thigh circumference on the inner pattern is smaller than the smallest leg band pattern. This means the leg band is too long for the breeches lining. I should've measured and compared before, but I didn't. So I just made a tuck for the muslin and will measure Reko's actual leg when he's here so I can make just one adjustment instead of guessing and then re-adjusting.

The doublet sleeves are drafted to be detachable. Reko and I haven't discussed this yet, but I'm going to try to steer him to use the detachable sleeves so he has more style options. Plus, the Ren Faire runs through April and it will be HOT here by then. Detachable sleeves would be a good thing. For the muslin, I attached the sleeves. They're cool sleeves, both literally and figuratively. They are two-piece and the seam running down the front of the arm is open, and just tacked at 4 spots with a button/buttonloop so the shirt underneath will show through. Those (wealthy) Tudors (or Elizabethans? Or both? I'm not sure.) loved to slash up their clothes and show lots of layers of fine fabrics.

I also added a collar band. The pattern doesn't have one, but looking at period illustrations and other Ren Faire costumes, I think it's more appropriate to include it.

Once the fit is adjusted, if necessary, the hardest part of all of this will be all the cutting I'm going to have to do. Lots and lots of pieces and pretty much everything is lined. I will start with the breeches since the second fabric for the doublet isn't here yet. I'm hoping to cut a few pieces per weekday evening so I can have weekends for the fun part of sewing.

Sunday, January 30, 2011

More Costume Fabric

I went to Joann's yesterday morning to shop for some odds & ends for the Ren Faire costume. I was actually able to find everything I needed. Well, except for a *whole* bolt of muslin, which is why I only bought a half (about 12 yds). But I still used a coupon on it and the cutting counter lady told me to come on a Friday morning the next time I want a whole bolt.

On top is the first brocade I showed you already. The second brocade should be in transit. The others from left to right are: (1) bridal illusion to stuff and tack into the breeches lining so they keep their puffy shape; (2) a half bolt of muslin; (3) red lining for the hat; (4) the main hat fabric which is a red suede-ish crushed velvet-ish synthetic; (4) crinkled gold poly silkie stuff for the doublet lining; (5) a new black cotton sateen flat sheet I remembered I had shoved in the linen close, which we'll never use on a bed but I will use for the breeches middle layer and lining; and (7) a white cotton/linen blend for the shirt.

I also have some gold trim and interfacing on the way, and I think with that and the expected second brocade, I'm set.

After coming home from J's, I cut out Michael's shirt muslin to clear off my cutting table, and set it aside (until Feb 1, Peter, I promise!). The shirt muslin, not the table. ;-) Then I cut and pressed the Simplicity doublet, hat and shirt pattern pieces, and then cut the Indie breeches pattern. I thought I would have to trace the breeches pattern but it turns out that only one size is printed and if you need larger sizes or longer leg lengths, you slash and spread the main pattern. We need the printed size, so lucky for me.

After that, it was off to the local chinese buffet for dinner. They have an overwhelming and very tasty selection, plus all-you-can-eat steamed crab legs on the weekends. DS#2 likes crab legs and I love all seafood. It was yummy and DS#2 and I put a major hurtin' on some crab legs! DH isn't a seafood eater, but there's PLENTY of other choices to make him happy too. Here are two crappy cell phone pics. I realized after I took these that the lens window on the phone needed a wiping. Oops. Consider the haze a "mood effect."

After recovering from that, I went back to the sewing room and cut out muslins for the doublet and breeches. I'm all set to sew them together this morning. Reko and I have tentatively planned for him to come over to try on the muslins Monday evening, so I need to get cracking.

Friday, January 28, 2011

Who's On First?

I was getting tired of looking at Tuesday's dinner, so I'm guessing you were too. To change that up I've gathered some pics of what's sitting around and nearby the sewing room.

Costume supplies have been arriving daily. First up, one of the fabrics and some buttons. I ordered 20 brass-ish ("ish" because they're poly) and the Ebay seller sent them in a cute little drawstring bag that looks like it could be part of the final costume somehow. The fabric looks orange in this pic, but it's really a brilliant red and exactly what I was expecting. It ravels when you just look at it, though. Figures that I just vacuumed the floor. One more Ebay fabric to arrive, some black something locally (maybe?) and I'm thinking a white cotton sheet for the shirt, unless JoAnn's has something decent. Hahahaha. Yeah, right. I'll probably end up buying one black and one white sheet from Bed Bath & Beyond.

Next, all the patterns are here. I've been reading through the instructions at night, and I think it's going to go well. There will be some fiddly-ness but nothing seems especially difficult or outside my skill level. (I hope I don't have to eat those words later!) Muslins will be cut and sewn over the weekend and my "customer" will try them on early next week. February 26 will be here before I know it!

In MPB Men's Shirt Sew-Along news, I stole one of my husband's old dress shirts. I don't know why the buttons are showing up as green since they're white. I'm going to unstitch parts of it, just to have a look. My husband has given his OK, in case you were wondering.

I've also laid out the pattern for a muslin and will cut it hopefully later today. Yes, the fabric is a hideous bright yellow. This will be a real muslin, sans the actual muslin fabric. I.e., quick and ugly. Michael, you might want to dig out some sunglasses for this one.

The real fabric is slung over the upstairs banister still waiting for its prewash. We had a (another!) well leak last weekend, which threw a wrench into the laundry plans. But it's fixed and the fabric will go into the machine tomorrow morning.

I don't usually juggle multiple sewing projects so this should be interesting. (Cue maniacal laugh.)

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Pleasing MY Palate

Yesterday, Michael posted about the "spaghetti cake" he made at the start of the weekend (forced to by Peter is the story I've heard). It sounded delicious to me and the deliciosity coincided with grocery shopping day. I'll let you read the specifics on Michael's blog, but I did make a couple of changes I'll show you below. I also increased portions since I'm cooking for increased servings. The main reasons for this post, however, are because (1) it's yummy and yummy should be shared, and (2) I thought Michael would like to see that his new blog is actually making a menu impact.

We had steak fajitas the night before so I had leftover meat. I shredded it up a la food processor and added the meat layer over the pasta.

Michael used cottage cheese. I used ricotta.

Michael finely grated his Asiago cheese. I couldn't find that insert for my grater so we got shreds.

Dinner is served!

Comparing Men's Shirt Patterns

I hope this doesn't make your eyes glaze over, but I thought it would be interesting to compare a new-ish men's shirt pattern with a 1980s 1979 men's shirt pattern.

Specifically, KS 3244:

And McCall's 6890:

This is Michael wearing McCall's 6890. Great fit.

Michael wearing Kwik Sew 3244. Much more ease, and too much length between shoulder and upper chest. Look at the fabric bunching up in his armpits.

Both pattern sizes used were for the same body measurements. In the comparison pics below, the KS is in white tracing paper, the McCall's is tan tissue.

The front piece. The KS has a cut-on button placket so ignore that section with the Xs. The pieces were lined up at center front. The KS has more length above the armhole, which you can see on Michael above. There is also significantly less sideseam shaping and the McCall's armhole is cut higher and a little more toward the torso. The KS shoulder is more sloping. Both patterns are about the same length from the armhole downward. (The green KS Michael is wearing is not hemmed .)

The KS neck is too big. Nice collar points, though, right? ;-)

The length difference is confirmed in the pattern pieces. The McCall's pattern has 5/8" seam allowances for the collar and stand pieces and the KS has 1/4" seam allowances, so the difference is actually a little more than it appears in the pics.

Michael in the McCall's, rear view. Lovely.

Not lovely. Way too much ease. Way. Too. Much.

The KS yoke is longer. The width is nearly the same. Note that the neck opening is also the same. The extra length on the KS neck is all in the front piece.

The McCall's has a back pleat under the yoke. I've aligned the two pieces at the actual center back. The KS is wider from mid-armhole downward. The back armholes are actually closer in length than they appear here, after accounting for the difference in the yoke length. Note the waist dart option on the McCall's.

The KS sleeve is too short. I'm pretty sure Michael doesn't have gorilla arms, so that's just odd drafting IMO.

The KS cuff is shorter, but not as much as it appears here because of different seam allowances.

The sleeve pattern has significant differences. First, the KS sleeve cap is much flatter, resulting in those folds down Michael's arm. The overall sleeve is wider at the bicep area and a few inches below. This is too much fabric on Michael. The McCall's has the elbow dart built in (green arrow), something we don't see very often in contemporary men's or women's patterns. The McCall's sleeve fits Michael much better and is just a nicer hanging sleeve overall. It's interesting to me that the more shapely sleeve fits "longer" on Michael too, even though there really isn't that much length difference between the two at first glance.

Parting Shot: This is where Dani was during the pattern comparison photo session. She was sound asleep until I came into the room with a camera. She's made herself a little nest from the comforter scrap we keep on top of the bed for the dogs.

As you can see, the bed is still unmade. She'll jump off and stand by as it gets made, and then hops right back up when I'm done. Ahh. The life of a princess.

Monday, January 24, 2011

Only 28 Days in February?

This is how I ended my last blog post:

"I'm not sure what I'll actually be sewing next. I'll let you know when it calls out."

Well, it called. Or, actually, it Facebooked, in the form of my Marine son's best friend (Reko) who is working the Bay Area Renaissance Festival this year. Reko asked if I can sew his costume. I told him he can't afford me (haha!), but that I would sew for free if he buys all the supplies. He has a $200 budget. For me, it will be a fun challenge. The Festival starts February 26. With this and the MPB Men's Shirt Sew-Along, February is shaping up to be a busy sewing month!

Reko and Pvt Cook (at Parris Island):

Reko sent two photos for the general idea of what he's looking for. His character is a Spanish ambassador, nobility with some money, so no peasant clothes for him. He requested red and gold.

First, the doublet. This is the general shape, and Reko wants the long sleeves. (I've since learned that most sleeves on doublets are detachable — interesting!)

And the pants, "paned slops" in RenFaireSpeak. I'm learning a whole new sewing and fashion vocabulary.

After a day spent Googling and Ebaying, patterns are on their way to me as I type.

This one is expensive ($21), but comprehensive. I've decided I'm paying for it since I want to keep it when we're done.

This Simplicity, which I just missed the Joann's sale for, so I went to Ebay. I think I'll use this for the doublet, unless the one above is simpler than I'm anticipating (but I don't think it will be).

And finally, this one for the slops because I like overkill. ;-)

Back of pattern:

Next up was fabric. I looked at my usual online sources without success. Back to Ebay, for this:

And this:

I'm going with two fabrics because the first one above is too expensive to use for everything, and, well, I was really getting into the "designing" aspect. This is the basic premise, but ours will have long sleeves for the doublet and I think we'll be leaving off the codpiece. ;-) I'm not sure about the white shirt underneath. Reko is going to look for one to buy, but I may end up making that too. We'll see. It's not hard, but time may be the biggest factor.

* * * * *

In MPB Sew-Along news, I received the pattern I'll be using (McCall's 6890) and have checked to see if all the pieces are there. They are. I've pressed them and while I'm waiting for the RenFaire supplies to arrive, I'll be comparing the vintage McCall's to the contemporary Kwik Sew pattern I used for Michael's way-too-big-muslin and sharing the results here. I'll also be sewing a down and dirty muslin because even though Peter has already made this pattern for Michael, ya never know, ya know? Better to be safe than sorry.

Now I've got to call the repairman because my convection wall oven blew up yesterday. As in really blew up. It made a loud noise, turned bright yellow/orange inside the oven, and went dead in a big poof of smoke. Thankfully, it's still under warranty and I have a non-convection oven below it. But what a pain. Especially since nearly simultaneously, the well sprung yet another leak and it took DH hours to fix it. Not having a shower scrapped my grocery store outing, but today is another day. It was not a boring weekend.

Saturday, January 22, 2011

Kwik Sew 3764 - Finished

Here's the inspiration again, for comparison.

Overall, I'm pretty happy with it. If I were to do it again, I'd change the "lapels" because with my winging it by eye and not testing it before cutting the real fabric, they came out wider and more downward pointing than I wanted. But that's only when comparing it side-by-side to the inspiration. I've looked at photos of other "biker" jackets and saw both types.

Here's the back:

I added the yoke to the pattern and topstitched along each side of the lower center back seam. I have no idea what the inspiration jacket looks like from the back.


I did end up with a button and buttonhole on the inside to hold the underflap in place. The sweatshirt fleece is just too heavy to support itself without this. I used the flattest button I could find in my button box, positioned it below the curve of my bust, and it doesn't show from the outside at all. I'm very happy with this solution.

You can sort of see the bottom hemming in the pic above. I forgot to take pics, but I cut the facings without hem allowance and just folded the hem up once over the facings and caught the facing bottoms in the coverstitched hem. It's not the most beautiful from the inside, but with this fabric, I needed to avoid bulk wherever and whenever possible.

As I mentioned in an earlier post, the pocket flaps are fake and I used sideseam pockets instead. You can see them as the bright green patches above. They're caught in the hem to keep them in place and also hand-tacked in a couple of strategic spots. I'm very glad I went with the sideseam pockets with this fabric, because the front of the jacket is already quite thick with four layers of sweatshirt fleece after it's all zipped closed. This is a *very* warm jacket. The sideseam pockets don't show at all, until I put my hands in them. Here's a pic that shows the pocket opening with me pulling it open.

Kudos to those people who arrange clothing for catalog and other photo shoots. It's really hard to get everything smooth and symmetrical. What did they ever do before Photoshop? ;-)

Today I'm going to dust and vacuum the sewing room, pre-wash the Men's Shirt Sew-Along fabric, and check that the vintage pattern from Etsy is actually all there. I'm not sure what I'll actually be sewing next. I'll let you know when it calls out.

Friday, January 21, 2011

Kwik Sew 3764 - Almost There

I didn't finish the jacket the other night like I thought. I just ran out of steam. But I did pick it back up tonight and have made a lot of progress. I'd say I am almost done, except I need to deal with some fiddly bits and that will make me procrastinate. (Is it worse when you know ahead of time that you're going to procrastinate and you do it anyway? Maybe I'll surprise myself.)

I stole pockets from a Vogue jacket pattern I have and shortened them a little so they wouldn't hang into the hem area. This is one side before being sewn together at the sideseam. You can see the facing on the back pocket bag, which means virtually any fabric can be used for the rest of the pocket and it won't show. Perfect. I used a green jersey from the stash.

I forgot I was adding the epaulets until I had sewn the first sleeve in. Oops. At least I hadn't serged the seam allowances. A little voice was nagging at me to try it on first and I'm glad I listened. I'm not going to add any butttons or snaps or anything, the layers on the shoulder are plenty thick now and I don't need something else up there. I even broke a needle tacking one of the epaulets down.

I sewed in the sleeves and closed the sideseams. Here's a peek.

I need to decide how I'm going to secure the front facings and whatever you call the underlayer of a double-breasted front. But this jacket is as warm as a heavy winter coat to me and it's just too hot to keep putting it on and off to get everything aligned correctly. It's supposed to cool down here again tomorrow so I'm hoping to get back at it tomorrow night or Saturday morning.

Then all I'll have left is the hems. I'm a little tired of this jacket right now because I'm not thrilled with the fit in the armholes. But it's a casual sweatshirt jacket and I'll get over it as soon as I've been away from it for a few days. Before I can do that, I have to finish it. ;-)

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

Mail Call

I was hoping my Sew-Along pattern would be in the mailbox today, but what was actually there was even better. The dogs certainly concur.

Even though I haven't even started his real shirt yet, Michael sent some yummy thank-you goodies. Chocolate for me and cookies for the pups. I'll sample devour the chocolate in a day or so. Right now, I'm nursing a queasy stomach from I-don't-know-what. I wonder how many points I'll blow eating the whole thing in one day. Then again, since I don't think I'll be eating anything today, who cares! lol

The dogs received these delightful little guys. Judging by how crazy their noses went as I unwrapped them, they taste very good. I think they're OK for humans too going by the ingredients list, but the pack would never have forgiven me for that. (Honey, Vanilla, Egg, Ginger, Whole Wheat Flour, Baking Powder, Skim Milk, Vegetable Oil.)

My 3 are not patient enough to sit and pose with treats in front of them, like Willy and Freddy. In fact, Chili was being extra rude by jumping onto my leg trying to get to the cookies I had in my hand. And don't think Dani didn't join in on that — you can see her in the corner. If a camera isn't involved, they are much better behaved about commands and waiting. Really!

Here are the rude ones grabbing the goods.

Dani is content to just stay put and nibble.

As is Pepper.

But Chili has to take his far, far away, lest anyone even whisper something about sharing.

Selfish little spoiled thing that he is. ;-)

Thanks Michael!