Friday, November 27, 2009

A Day of Pattern Morphing

Whew! I didn't think it would take this long to turn a "simple" Simplicity jacket into a pattern for a Coldwater Creek jacket. Granted, I took lots of breaks, but still. I worked on this most of the day today.

Here's the CWC jacket:

And here is Simplicity 4045, the jacket I'm using as a jumping off point:

I'm sure there's a pattern out there somewhere that would need less changes, but I like a challenge and it's been a while since I did something like this. Plus, I already had the Simplicity and there's no way I was going to wait on an online order or venture out into retail-land on Black Friday.

After studying both jackets, I decided I needed to change the Simplicity pattern as follows:

1. Create separate neckband pieces.

2. Add button plackets. The Simplicity jacket meets at Center Front and there is no allowance for buttons and/or placket.

3. Create front princess seams from the bust darts, and, of course, do an FBA. The CWC jacket has armhole princess seams front and back. The Simplicity jacket has a side panel. I decided that was close enough so I'm leaving those seams as-is.

4. Add a Center Back seam.

Below is my pattern morph. The original Simplicity front/side combo piece is on the right. I cut out the tissue, did my FBA, and then traced the results onto a new sheet of tracing paper. The Simplicity pattern is taped back together. I figured if I was way off base, I would want as much as the original as possible to go back to. I then closed the side bust dart on my tracing and created the princess seams.

I decided on a shoulder princess seam for the front instead of an armhole princess seam. I'm going for "essence" of the CWC jacket, not an outright clone. Shoulder princess seams are more flattering on me.

After making those initial changes, I made a quick muslin from an old sheet. The neckband and plackets had not yet been completed for the muslin. I was merely testing fit and landmark placements. So far so good, although I decided I needed to (1) add another inch to the overall length, (2) move the shoulder seam backward 5/8" as this seems to be drafted for forward shoulders, which I don't have, and (3) shorten the sleeve about 3".

Here's a shot of the panel seam. You can see there's no actual sideseam. The panel is seamed toward the back.

With the fit tested, it was time to do the final fit tweaks and create the "missing" elements. I drew the neckband pieces and cut them from jacket body. I made the placket pieces and added seam allowances where they'd be attached. I lengthened/shortened in the places I noted. And thought I was done, until just now when I realized I forgot to cut apart the back piece for the back neckband. Oops. I'll have to do that tomorrow. My pattern brain is fried tonight.

I don't think I'm going to do another muslin, but I will pin all the pattern pieces onto Zillie to be sure my thought process worked for the construction and that I'm not missing anything. I haven't done a ton of jacket linings so I'll curl up in bed tonight with some refresher info to make sure I don't forget anything with that either.

Hopefully before the weekend is over, I'll have a new jacket. Now that I have the new A/C, the temps are supposed to be in the 40s (F) tonight. Figures.

Thursday, November 26, 2009

More Marrakesh

No, my jacket still doesn't have buttons — and obviously hates being photographed because I still can't get it to look here like it does in real life. But I think I found buttons. They should be here in the next couple of days and then I'll know if they really do match. Meanwhile, we have A/C again and so I was able to be in my sewing room for more than 15 minutes without sweating. After hemming the pants this morning, this is what I wore today, minus the jacket. Nice fall colors for Turkey Day.

This is my second pair of HP Marrakesh pants, with a couple of changes.

First, I left off the drawstring.

Second, I substituted these sew-on curved patch pockets for the inseam side pockets. I like these much better than the in-seams.

Next, I sewed the elastic into the back waistband so it doesn't "float". And last, I added back darts since these pants are knit and need less ease than the linen version. (The dressform has one pole for a leg so it's pretty much useless for showing any kind of actual fit.)

Here's an oddity for me - my zipper, waistband facing, and fly shield actually match the pants fabric. ;-)

* * * * *

I hope everyone had a great Thanksgiving, or Thursday as the case may be. Ours was the traditional spread as usual, and service was low-key buffet style as requested by the guys. We have one of my younger son's friends staying with us temporarily (parent troubles) so he helped put a dent in the food, and then both sons' girlfriends dropped by for pie after their own family feasts.

I really enjoy my sons and their friends/sweeties and I'm glad they are still "willing" to spend time with their old mom. ;-) Last night we all went to a late showing of The Blind Side. Good movie, endearing characters. Even if you're not fond of American football, you will probably still like this "feel good" flick.

* * * * *

Next up in the sewing room is a Coldwater Creek-inspired jacket using this boucle sweater knit purchased from Emma One Sock eons ago. The green in the boucle is a perfect match for the pants fabric. More details in a later post.

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

This Is It

Not sewing related, although I'll take a minute to gripe about the lack of buttons to be had locally and even over the internet. My HP Riviera jacket wants to be done but I can't find any buttons for it. Sigh.

So, Tuesday night my sons and I headed to the movie theater to see Michael Jackson's This Is It.

I was "in love" with Michael Jackson when I was 10-12 years old. No Donny Osmond for me - it was Michael all the way! His music was everywhere during my teenage years and into my 20s. You couldn't turn on the radio or TV or go to nightclub without hearing one of his songs or seeing one of his videos. When I was 20, my best friend had a Michael Jackson party to coincide with Thriller album. (Wonder if I still have those pics somewhere?)

I didn't pay a lot of attention to his personal issues over the years simply because I didn't have enough information to know all the facts and make an informed judgment, and really, in my life he's only just a voice on the radio or a face on the TV. I probably never would've seen any of his live shows. I was a fan, but not obsessed.

So, this is just to say that if you liked Michael Jackson at all over the past decades and were shocked to hear of his early passing, see the movie. You'll be entertained, and most of the time you won't even realize you're watching REHEARSALS! Oh, and stay past the credits. ;-)

One thing I did take away from this movie was what an awesome production this live show was going to be, and how many peoples' jobs and dreams also died with Michael Jackson. It was uplifting to know that these people got to see some sort of completion to all the hours they all put into it. Now they'll have something to show their grandkids, instead of only being able to say "I was supposed to be ..."

Sunday, November 15, 2009

Hot Patterns Riviera Boulevard Cardigan Jacket

The review and more photos are here.

Off to the Riviera

I finished the J. Stern jeans. Meh. I don't love them, but at least they're done. You can read the review on PR by clicking the thumbnail in the "My Reviews" widget in the sidebar at the right. Because they're done, it means that corner of my sewing room is now clear and my UFO guilt would allow me to move on to a new pattern. Yay!

I traced the Hot Patterns Riviera Boulevard Cardigan Jacket (whew, that's a mouthful!) Saturday morning and then tried on the tracing to assess needed fit alterations. Surprisingly, the verdict was none! That's not to say that I traced one straight size and it fit out of the envelope. Instead, with knits lately I've been "cheating." Instead of doing a regular slash/spread FBA, I've just been blending between sizes as I trace or cut, like this:

I'll start with the size that corresponds to my upper bust measurement. For this drawing, that would be the Gray size inside the black outline. Then I move out at armhole level to the size that corresponds to my full bust. Here, it's the Blue size. And then I gradually morph downward to the size that corresponds to my hips. Here, it's the Purple size. I end up with a pattern that resembles the Gray plus Red outline.

This cheating method works for me because I also usually also have to increase the bicep width in sleeves and the morphing shown above does increase the sleeve size needed. But now, instead of actually slash/spreading the sleeve, I just use a similar morph between the sleeve size that matches the Gray size I started with and I extend the underarm seams to the Blue size, like this:

These "cheaters" are what I did for the Riviera jacket while I was tracing. I also made a square shoulder alteration (a usual for me), again while tracing. The net result is one tracing with little or no slash/spread alterations. For this jacket I did end up slicing up some of the pattern pieces to add 2" of additional length between waist and hem, but that's a fast alteration so it almost doesn't count. ;-)

As I said, I use these cheaters mostly for knits. (And before you ask, No, I don't find that the front bottom hem rides up. Your mileage may vary.) I will also sometimes use these morphs as a starting point for wovens too, because then I'll need a much smaller dart/spread when doing a traditional FBA.

So the photo above is where I am now with the jacket. I expect I'll finish it this afternoon. The fabric is a recycled cotton blend fleece from Lucy's Fabrics. It's ginger-orange with colored flecks on the outside and snuggly navy fleece on the inside. Great fabric!

Even though I know the girls probably don't need a pocket flap (even a faux flap such as this), one of the reasons I like this pattern is because of the unusual look of the double flaps. So, caution to the wind and I'm keeping both flaps. I'll probably stitch down the top flaps so they don't actually flap.

* * * * *

Still without A/C here, but the temps dropped and it's actually quite pleasant with the windows open. At night, it's even chilly. Plus, it's good to air out the house once in a while too. But I'll be calling the repairman tomorrow to set up an install date for sometime this week. I'm also getting used to my widescreen monitor and don't hate it quite as much. Things are looking up!

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

I've had better weeks

Our outside A/C condenser unit died Sunday night. It's a major $$ replacement so it's going to be a few days before we can scrape together the money to get the work done. In the meantime, we have all the windows open, every ceiling and box fan turned on high, and I'm still sweating my butt off. At least the nights cool off a little these days. Arghhh.

The same day the A/C died, we had a big power spike as the electric company workers were doing something at the power station around the corner and blew something or other which killed my monitor, which meant I had to beat feet out to Best Buy that night to buy a replacement so I could work the next day. The only monitors readily available are widescreen. I hate widescreen monitors for computing. I feel like I'm moving my mouse arm 30 extra miles a day. I'll get used to it, but it won't ever be my preference. Arghhh.

I have today off for Veteran's Day and have been trying to finish my JStern jeans. But it's warmer upstairs, naturally, than down so I haven't been making much progress. I also don't love them so that's slowing me down too. But I want them done and OUT of the UFO pile so I can move on. Except what I wanted to move on to was the HP Riviera jacket, but the thought of working in this heat with the wonderful fleece I ordered from Lucy's Fabrics is making me itch. Arghhh.

Have I whined enough? Well, too bad. One more. ;-)

One dark night almost 2 weeks ago, I backed out of my driveway … and right into my son's girlfriend's grandfather's car. She brought over the repair estimate last night. Coupled with the pending A/C bill, I'm going to have to make an insurance claim instead of paying it outright, especially since it's about 3x what I was expecting for a slight dent on the front fender of a 1995 Toyota. Arghhh.

OK, some good news. I had a call today from Jeremy of Hot Patterns. We had a lovely chat and he, Trudy and I are meeting for lunch in a couple of weeks. Should be fun!

Now I'm off to find some cheese. ;-)

Tuesday, November 3, 2009

Another Sunny Day

My second Hot Patterns Weekender Sunshine top is done.

The fabric is a print a friend from an old sewing list bought for me from S.R. Harris in Minnesota, years ago. It's got gold glitter in various places, which won't last past laundry and which is fine with me. It's been in the stash a long time. I wish I could say it was completely out but there's still enough left for another top at some point. I don't think I really want two so I may just sacrifice it for a muslin in the near future.

Because the print wasn't nearly busy enough (kidding!), I also added some bronze snap heads on the neckband. I was afraid the weight would make the neckband flop down so before I committed, I pinned on a bunch of grommets to test. No flopping, so all is good. The backsides of the snaps are a bit cold on the skin when I first put it on though. Note to self: Do not wear this top while sitting in direct Florida summer sun. ;-)

Monday, November 2, 2009

Marrakesh Express

Someone else just used that blog title and I hope they're reading and now have that song in *their* mind all day long. ;-)

So, they're done (the Hot Patterns Marrakesh Drawstring pants in case you're wondering). The review is here. Main pics are below. It's linen. It wrinkles when you just look at it.

I also had time yesterday to work on another Sunshine top. I should finish it tonight. Here it is in progress. The browns are less red than they appear in this pic.

Parting Shot: Alex and India setting out to Trick or Treat. Yes, they're 17 and a little too old for ToT'ing, but since they were both in full costume, I don't think anyone minded too much - judging by the piles of candy they brought back. Yes, we Trick or Treat in flip-flops and shorts here. Lest you think it's not fair, it really does put a major crimp in costume choices since most are just way too hot for kids to want to wear and they start stripping at about the 5th house of the night and any face paint drips off shortly thereafter. No, Alex and India did not strip. ;-)