Monday, February 28, 2011

Butterick 5610: Pattern Alterations

Subtitle: "Or How I Really Need To Vacuum the Sewing Room Floor"

Please try to ignore the shreds of Ren Faire costume still on the floor but laying the patterns out here was the best way to get the photos even if I haven't yet completely cleaned up after the costume shop closed.

So, onto the alterations.

I'll start with the back. I usually start with a size 18 pattern for the upper chest and neckline area and then I'll grade outward for my ample lower half. This sizes in this envelope stopped at 18, so I had to grade (and I use that term loosely) outward without any helper pattern lines. I compared this pattern piece to a TNT back piece to get a visual on how much I needed to add. Because the sideseam grading lines on the new pattern were an even 1/2", I graded to a "20" at the sideseams by just adding an even 1/2" all the way down the pattern. This keeps the integrity of stitching line. But (excuse the pun!) because my lower half is bigger than a pattern 20, I still needed to add more. Instead of adding it at the sideseam — which usually has a Judy Jetson effect on me, because I need the space over the cheeks, not at the sides — I split the pattern from the upper edge to the hem and added a wedge of new tissue. In a close-fitting top I'd alter differently, but this is a casual-fit tee and the additional ease across the back by adding this fast wedge is OK for that.

I also added 2" across the bottom for additional length (because I like the extra insurance when making a new pattern), and I raised the armhole to correspond to the square shoulder adjustment I made to the shoulder/sleeves pieces.

The front has pretty much the same alterations (adding for belly instead of butt). Because it's a full pattern piece, I had to make the alterations to both sides. Technically, I could have done a more traditional FBA and rotated the dart to the front pleats, but (1) I tissue fit with the pleats folded into place and decided there would be enough space for the girls with the quicker alterations, and (2) I am lazy. The wedge and the sideseam increase gives me more width across the bust, and then continues downward for more width across the abdomen.

The sleeve and neckline yoke are all-in-one pieces. I added to the shoulder area for my square shoulders, and also added an additional 1/2" to each underarm area so they would match up with the 1/2" I added to the sideseams on the front and back pieces.

Yesterday, I cut out a "tester" and hope to sew it up in the next day or so. It's not a true muslin, because I used wearable fabric. If it works, great. If not, I won't cry. I'll just make adjustments and try again.

Saturday, February 26, 2011

More on Plackets, and What's Up Next

According to the USPS tracking site, Michael's muslin is being delivered today. Hopefully, he and Peter will take some pics over the weekend so we can approve the fit and I can start on the final shirt. Since Peter has already made this pattern for Michael, I'm anticipating that there won't be any issues. Fingers crossed.

Until then, I've continued deconstructing my husband's RTW shirt. Tanit-Isis left a comment on my last post asking for an inside view of the RTW placket before I ripped it apart. No problemo. ;-)

To refresh, this is the finished RTW placket from the outside, public view:

And here is what it looks like on the reverse:

The placket piece itself is 2-1/2" wide and the finished width is a hair under 1".

As you can see below, the slash for the placket is trimmed down to 1/4" seam allowances. This construction method actually differs from Sommerset's method that I linked to last post, and is instead …

… the method shown in Nancy Zieman's Sewing Express. This book comes from my mom's sewing library, but she gave it to me 8-9 years ago when I first picked up sewing as an obsession instead of a chore.

If you click on the pic below, it should open full-size. (BTW, I recommend this book for other timesavers too. It's got a lot of good tips. Not sure why mom gave it away, but I'm not complaining.)

Over the weekend, I'm hoping to get the pattern adjusted for this new-ish Butterick pattern, and maybe even get a fast muslin done. But I also have some work and household errands, so we'll see where I end up.

Wednesday, February 23, 2011

One Ugly Muslin To Go, Hold the Mayo

The muslin is done and on its way to The Big Apple

Complete with red and pink thread, one inside-out sleeve and placket sans cuff, and …

… one single-layer pinked cuff.

With all of those faults, this is still actually somewhat nicer than my usual muslins. Don't faint when you try it on Michael. The final shirt will be bee-you-tee-full. ;-)

An interesting side note:  I took apart one of the sleeve plackets on my husband's discarded RTW shirt. This is what it looks like before surgery.

And this is after.

Hopefully you can see that there are no stupid "Little House on the Placket" pieces here,

and instead it's just like Summerset's wonderful tutorial. Although the finished RTW placket is somewhat wider, which is easy enough to adjust if desired. I'm going to use the RTW method any time I have to do a regular sleeve placket. It's just so much faster, easier and absolutely NOT fiddly at all. A total no-brainer, if you ask me.

Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Picking Back Up on the MPB Shirt Sew-Along

Now that the Ren Faire costume is done and my son has come and gone, I think I owe someone a shirt. Or is that a fuzzy memory from a past dream? :-)

I've pulled out the muslin I cut out almost a month ago now. Time flies. I will have it sewn by tonight and in tomorrow's mail to NYC.

There's not much to say about it yet, as it's just a muslin. I'm mostly just documenting so Michael and Peter see that I really am progressing again. I am not sewing pretty or even completely. For instance, the yoke is single-layer and most seams won't be finished. It's for fit only, and the fabric (bright yellow pique) is awful enough that it would never do for a wearable shirt anyway.

Parting shot: As you can see, I wasn't the only one thrilled to see Tyler this weekend. Look at that tail action!

Monday, February 21, 2011

The Marines Have Landed

My son (left) and one of his friends (from boot, combat training, and now his current school) arrived at Disneyworld late Friday night. So late, that it was actually Saturday morning. We took them back home for a short visit. But short is better than nothing, and we were thrilled to have some time with them. I hadn't seen Tyler since Christmas Day in North Carolina and DH hadn't seen him since his boot leave over Thanksgiving.

Saturday we hung out at home for a little while and then Tyler took us all out to lunch. Saturday night, the Marines donned their dress blues to head out on the town. Yes, it was all planned for attention-getting and free drinks. They reported that it worked and they had zero out-of-pocket expenses. ;-) But I think they've earned a few free drinks, and it makes me happy to see how happy and proud they are about their new lives. And don't they look gorgeous!! Reko was tempted to wear his Ren Faire duds to out-fancy them, but he went with jeans and a tee shirt instead.

Sunday, they slept in a bit and were then driven back to Disney by Tyler's former girlfriend, Kelli, who is now just a good friend. DH and I met up with the three of them again after Magic Kingdom closed, for a late dinner at Planet Hollywood. We dropped the Marines off at their hotel and said our goodbyes around 2 AM. (Kudos to Planet Hollywood for offering a military discount, which saved us over $25 on the bill!)

On March 1, Tyler heads back to North Carolina for his next training school at the Marine base at Cherry Point. He will be there for a 2-3 months, depending on exactly when he picks up his next class. There's always a waiting list for training classes. In the meantime, the Corps will keep him busy doing something or other. Once that class is almost over, he will be assigned a Permanent Duty Station (PDS) and we'll finally know where he'll be stationed.

Thursday, February 17, 2011

Ren Faire Costume - The Whole Shebang

I am officially done. I knocked out the hat in the afternoon and Reko came over after dinner as previously planned. Everything fit perfectly, no alterations required. The only adjustment was to make a pleat at the bottom of each doublet sleeve and add a button on top of the pleat, so the hem area would fit his wrists tighter and keep the shirt sleeve lace peeking out. That was not the most elegant fix, but it worked and looks OK, and there was really no way to take in the wrist without taking apart the whole sleeve.

Yes, this is his actual facial hair. Don't you just love that curly mustache?

The hat was super-fast to cut and sew. Now that I see it with the rest of the costume, I'm OK with using the brocade for it. I also like the black lining showing. It balances the black in the slops (breeches). Reko is wearing my collar pin. It's got black and red stones and coordinates perfectly. He also has a big gold cross he'll be wearing, plus a leather belt to hold  his flask and sword. The only thing still MIA is a feather for his hat. Reko will shop for that himself.

Reko got a big laugh out of the codpiece and has now tasked himself with coming up with witty replies for the comments he's sure to hear. The little eyelets were not working as anchor tie-ons, so I went for the big guns and used some grommets I had on hand for the bottom. The bottom of the codpiece hides them. For the top anchors, I sewed two more buttons onto the waistband on either side of the fly and fashioned "buttonholes" out of the leather ties with creative knots. I've now lost count of how many buttons I've sewed on for this costume. I think I'm close to or over 30.

Reko bought the perfect shoes from Etsy. They're hard to see here, but they are handmade black pleather pull-on booties and have a definite Olde World vibe.

He's wearing black tights. I had to give him a quick "How to Put On Pantyhose" lesson, which was hilarious.

I will take outside pics whenever we get to the actual Ren Faire. I'm looking forward to seeing him in character. BTW, his character is named Don Sancho Christo Perico De La Vincente De 5th, and he will speak with a Spanish accent. I can't wait!

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

I Hit a Wall

I should've been sewing a hat last night but instead I vegged in front of the tube. I needed a break from costume sewing. Reko is supposed to come over today for a fitting, but I'm hoping I can convince him that tomorrow will work better since he can leave with a hat if he waits until then. I've decided to use the extra fabric from the costume and line it with black. I can always buy a better solid red later and make another hat if this turns out to be more print than either of us wants.

Thank you everyone for all the really nice comments. They've made me smile. However, I will NOT be starting a costume sewing sideline any time soon. lol This project has been fun, but it's been very time-consuming and it would not be lucrative in the least. I have spent over $200 in supplies and patterns (Reko's wallet, not mine!) and far more time than I want to add up, but I think I'd have to sell this outfit for $1,000 to turn a profit. I don't think there are too many peeps out there willing to pay that kind of dough for a costume.

For those of you who think my sewing has been extraordinary, I shouldn't admit this, but I will. The sewing has been no more difficult than sewing most any other thing. It's the fancy shiny fabric and trim that makes it look impressive. There are a lot more pieces to this outfit than what we wear around town these days, but that only adds time, not difficulty. But if you want to continue to toss adoration and envy my way, please feel free. ;-)

Now I need to go cut out some hat pieces.

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

Ren Faire Costume - Doublet Sleeves

You're probably tired of all these costume posts. I promise, I'm almost done.

Last night I made the sleeves for the doublet. They are separate because they tie on, giving the wearer the option of sleeves or no sleeves. Kind of neat thing, although one's armpits are pretty much fully exposed.

Below is one of the completed sleeves. It's a two-piece fully lined shaped sleeve, but the front seam is left open and just caught in four evenly-spaced spots so that the shirt underneath can peek through. Each of those four spots has a button sewn on top (that's 24 buttons for the costume, in case anyone but me is counting.). These Renaissance folks were all about layers and having all of their finery showing through slots, panes and slashes. The more, the merrier, and the richer you appeared to be.

The pattern calls for sewing tabs at the top of the sleeve, but I vetoed that because it meant the ties would be separate. Instead, I sewed the ties (black real suede) into the top of the sleeve to align with the tabs under the doublet flanges. Less opportunity for Reko to lose the ties and more opportunity to get the sleeve tied higher into the armsyce area.

Here you can see the 3 black tabs sewn under the doublet flange.Joann's didn't have small grommets so for now the scratchy eyelets will have to do. I used black Ultrasuede for the tabs to avoid the extra bulk of turned seam allowances on a tiny rectangle. I'm thinking if I have to stay with the eyelets for the codpiece anchors, I will make little "flaps" from the Ultrasuede and attach them to the inside of the breeches to cover the rough spots of the eyelets. Reko is wearing tights under the breeches and even if the rough backs of the eyelets don't bother his skin, I think they would still snag the tights. Most men aren't used to dealing with runs in their hose so better to be safe with little cover flaps, I think.

Here is the top of the sleeve tied to the tabs. The flange is still folded upward. Once the flange is back in its correct position, the ties are mostly hidden.We'll probably trim the ties so they are more hidden, but I wanted to start with them too long vs. too short and get Reko's input on how much length he needs to tie them.

Here's the (mostly) completed costume, with both sleeves tied on. It will be 100% complete after the fitting. I still have to make a hat, but I've decided I don't like the color of the red fabric I initially purchased. It's not bright red enough. So, back to Joann's yet again later today. Or, maybe I'll just use the bright red from the costume. I do have enough left over. I just don't know if it will be too much. Although what exactly is too much on a shiny red and gold Renaissance costume?;-)

And the back view.You can sort of see the shirt fabric peeking out of the right-side armpit. The sleeves only tie at the top so the bottom of the armhole is completely free. Good for Florida ventilation, right?

I will definitely have photos of Reko dressed up, but I will probably have to wait for him to take them so that he's got all of his accessories on too. He's all about photos of himself in his various costumes, so I don't doubt there will be plenty. This red is so hard to photograph inside. I'm sure the outdoor photos he'll take will be much better. And besides, a little break from all of these costume shots will probably be welcome. ;-)

I'm really looking forward to some easy sewing - like a men's dress shirt. Hahaha! It's coming, I promise, Michael, I promise.

Monday, February 14, 2011

Ren Faire Costume - Coming Together

Here's the doublet, without the detachable sleeves. I'll be working on those today. I think they'll go fast since they are basically just lined tubes.

There are tabs under the sleeve flanges with brass eyelets in them to tie the sleeves onto. But the eyelets are rough on one side, so I'm going to head to Joann's later to find small grommets instead. I don't want the sleeve eyelets to rub a hole in the shirt and I don't think Reko will want codpiece eyelets to rub a hole in …whatever.

The doublet is a lot of work. Let me repeat. A. Lot. Of. Work. None of the work (did I mention there is a lot of it?) is particularly difficult. It's just that there are many, many separate pieces to cut and get ready before you put them all together. I started working on the doublet Friday evening and spent all of Saturday and all of Sunday (with few breaks) to get it to the stage you see in these photos.

Simplicity would have you hand-sew the entire bottom hem of the lining onto the fashion fabric by hand. BY HAND! Hahaha. Not me. Not to mention how much of a PITA it would've been to press a hem into the shifty lining fabric.

Instead, I sewed the lining as you usually would for a vest — armholes, neckline, and leaving the bottom hem open so you can turn each side of the doublet separately, then sew up the sideseams in one continuous seam. Which would be OK except the sideseams aren't really sideseams. They are princess seams that curve to the back. So, it wasn't one continuous go but two per side because everything didn't want to line up without some rearranging around the curves. But that was still OK, since I could do all of it by machine.

Where I went off on my own was to re-open a section of the center back seam of the lining. Through that hole, I turned the doublet sort of inside out ("burrito style" if you're familiar with that on yokes and collars, etc.) so I could sew the lining and doublet hems RS together by machine. The CB seam is still open in case I need to make any adjustments. I'll sew that 5 inches by hand instead of the complete hem of the whole doublet. I can handle that.

Here's a preview of the completed pieces. After the sleeves today, I'll work on the hat. Reko will be here Wednesday evening for a final fitting and will then wait while I make any adjustments or, hopefully, just sew up the open seams.

Sunday, February 13, 2011

Ren Faire Costume - The Doublet Beginneth

The doublet should be called a centuplet. It has SO MANY pieces to cut out and interface. And if the envelope design wasn't enough for me, I divided the torso sections into two so I could use a second fabric and I added a collar stand. All of the torso pieces had to be cut single layer so I could fussy-cut the designs across the center front and center back. I cut and fused for HOURS yesterday. I stopped counting at 37 pieces.

Today, I've been adding trim to most of those 37+ pieces, adding eyelets to the sleeve tabs, and sewing on the button loops — which are really just black hair elastics.

I have FINALLY started sewing all the pieces together. I'm hoping to have a mostly finished doublet by the time I go to bed tonight.I think the rest is just simple construction and some hand-sewing of the lining and buttons.

I ended up fusing two layers of the interfacing to the torso fabric so it would have the same hand as the main, more red fabric. It's a beautiful fabric, but it was far more drapier than I was expecting so I had to "beef it up."

Update on the puffy shirt: I fixed the backwards buttonhole/button on the one cuff and then ran the shirt through the laundry to get rid of the sticky tape used to hold on the lace until it was stitched. Then I had to re-press it. And I was again thankful my iron came back to life. I hope Reko has an iron. ;-)

Thursday, February 10, 2011

Ren Faire Costume - Puffy Shirt Trials Continue

It's almost finished. It looks finished, right? And it would be, except that I put one buttonhole and button on the wrong side of the cuff for one sleeve. THANKFULLY, I hadn't cut the buttonholes yet. So, one puffy shirt and one sleeve complete. One closure to be reworked tomorrow. Don't sew buttonholes in a hurry so you can take pics for your blog. ;-) But that's the only thing that gave me trouble today. The sleeves and cuffs themselves went together without a hitch.

And for some really good news? My iron is working again. I have no idea. In desperation earlier this afternoon, I decided to give it one last try and it turned on. I *know* it's not the outlet because it's plugged into it now and the backup was plugged into it earlier (before I stomped on it in a fit of frustration and tossed it out the window — just kidding. Maybe.). But I'm not going to question it and just enjoy having it back. Thanks for all the tips on where to buy another one, though. I do have a Tuesday Morning nearby that I've never been to. I think I'll swing by soon and see what's available for a better back-up in case my Rowenta wants another vacation.

Next up after the buttonhole is fixed will be the doublet. I'm looking forward to working with the fancy stuff again. This linen (cotton/linen blend really) is perfect for the role, but it has shredded all over my sewing room.

Oh and Blogger — I heart you for the new Preview option.

Wednesday, February 9, 2011

Ren Faire Costume - Easy Puffy Shirt? Hah!

So remember the other day when I said the shirt would go fast because it's easy? Yeah, about that. Well …

… it is simple but it's also fiddly and has stupid instructions, skinny ties to turn, and lots of gathering. Which means it's taking longer than I thought it would. (Don't you hate that?) Plus I had to redo the collar stand because using self-fabric as interfacing was useless and it just did not want to cooperate. Or maybe I was just too impatient the first time. I plead the Fifth. But look at the fabric shreds at the bottom of the pic to see what a PITA this fabric is.I suppose technically it's my fault for buying cheap Joann's linen.

After dinner tonight, I pulled out Ye Olde Fusibleth, recut the stand pieces, picked the lace out of the first version, and had another go at it. Much better. And that's where I quit for today.

The sleeves have yet more gathering top and bottom, lace, and a buttoned cuff.I will have to pay attention for those too, darn it.

ETA: I don't know how I forgot to complain about this during the first edit, but my freakin' iron died today. No warning signs. It just won't power up and get hot. Yes, I tried different outlets. It's the iron. So I've had to use a back-up iron and I hate it. It's brand new (bought for the Marine who promptly left it behind) and it leaks water like nobody's business. Right out of the hole you add water to. It actually splashes out when you stand it back upright. What a piece of crap. Which means it's actually a good thing my son left it here. Well, good for him. So, it's either Walmart or Target for a non-Rowenta or Joann's for another over-priced Rowenta. I don't want to have to deal with this right now, but I definitely miss the weight of my Rowenta compared to the back-up and I'm ready to throw the back-up out the window.

Tuesday, February 8, 2011

Ren Faire Costume - Is That a Codpiece on Your Breeches Or Are You Just Happy to See Me?

So I've sewn and stuffed the codpiece. It's hysterical. And speaking of funny, I always find it amusing when I hear complaints about how revealing clothing is "these days." What days? Waaaay back during the Renaissance, men were showcasing their "packages" and women were pushing up and baring most of their bosom, even if they were wearing layer upon layer of clothing.

So, here's the pattern pieces for the codpiece. Not much to say about those. If you want a less-3D result, you would go down a "cup size" or two by reducing the "princess seam" curve on the front. I told Reko that it turned out more 3D than I realized. It didn't seem to bother him. But he's a guy. ;-)

Here's a semi-side shot. I haven't done anything to attach it yet, but I'm pretty sure I'm going to go with the brass eyelets. A pair under the waistband on either side of the fly and one pair at the bottom of the fly. The leather ties will lace through them. I'm glad *I* won't have to pee while wearing this. Oh, and here's a tip. Make buttonholes BEFORE you stuff the legs if you want any maneuverability while sewing them.

I cut out the puffy shirt last night and will sew it later today. It's very simple so it should go together quickly. Ignore my iron-cleaning rag under the board. Ewww.

After the shirt, I'll be starting the doublet. My second fabric finally arrived yesterday. I'm thinking of using fusible horsehair canvas (which I have) on the torso pieces of the doublet to make them really sturdy. Back in the day, doublets were actually stuffed with real horse hair and other stuff. But I'm still thinking on this. It could be overkill. I'll test on a scrap first and think about it some more. Opinions?

* * * * *

Also in the mail, my order from the last BMV sale arrived. I didn't renew my Club BMV membership because I don't think I ordered enough patterns last year for the 10% additional savings to pay for the cost of the membership. But that won't stop me from continuing to order patterns during the $2.99/$3.99 sales. It's so much more convenient to order online, knowing that the patterns are in stock in my size, I won't be spending any gas or travel time, and I won't be tempted by impulse buys in the store. I'd rather pay $1 more per pattern to avoid all that and have them delivered right to me in a few days. I really wish Simplicity would have these sales on their website.

So, what did I buy?

Vogue 8689 - I love the seaming on this blouse, plus the multi cup sizes. I've had this on my wish list ever since Vogue released it, waiting for one of these BMV sales.

Butterick 5429 - it's a wardrobe pattern but I bought it for the top, which is a cute twisty neckline.

Butterick 5619 - another wardrobe pattern which I bought for one piece — the jacket. I'm not sure if I'll actually make it, although it's a good candidate for the Jacket-A-Month Sew-Along. This is one of those patterns I bought for bedtime reading. ;-)

Butterick 5436 - I could easily draft this, but why bother when it's only 3 bucks? This will be a good birthday present in July for my sister, who loves to cook. I'm sure I'll make another scrub top for her too, as she always begs for those. I also love this plus-sized model. I think I own every Butterick pattern she's modeled for.

Butterick 5616 - I already have a similar TNT jeans jacket pattern so I have no idea why I bought this except that the illustration drew (hah!) me in. The text description is "very loose fitting." Not a good sign. But the drawing *is* cute, isn't it?

Butterick 5610 - love this and will definitely make it soon. If soon means March, because I think I'm booked until then.

Sunday, February 6, 2011

Ren Faire Costume - Slops Nearly Doneth

I'd say the slops are 98% done, if we don't count the codpiece. I still have to sew down the waistband facing and do the buttons/buttonholes. Since the codpiece is a separate thing, that will get its own posting. I'm still working out in my brain how to attach the thing. I'm thinking brass eyelets probably.

The legs are stuffed. I hope Reko can sit down. ;-) But it's soft bridal tulle, which isn't scratchy and weighs almost nothing, which is a good thing because these slops must weigh about 5 pounds before the stuffing.

Here's a close-up of the legband trim. I'll be using both of these trims on the doublet so I wanted to coordinate both pieces. Plus, I'm almost out of the trim used on the panes. I've set aside about 45" to use on the doublet.

I added a fly shield behind the front opening and will sew the buttons onto that. I have about 40 of these buttons in the stash so they're "free."

That's where I'm leaving things today. Now it's time to make some nachos and other snacks, and break open the Smirnoff Ice in time for the Superbowl. Can I say I'm already tired of seeing Adam Sandler and Jennifer Aniston on the pre-game shows? Sheesh. Let's see some tight ends instead, OK? (Did I just type that out loud?)

Ren Faire Costume - Thou Art Getting There

The breeches (paned slops) are about 75% complete. I still need to stuff them, add the waistband, add some sort of closure TBD, and add trim to the leg bands. Plus figure out that codpiece. I'm waiting on a double-check lower thigh measurement from Reko because the leg bands look kind of small and I'm now doubting my measurement. Then again, Reko has skinny legs so it's probably fine. But better safe than sorry and it is 2 AM after all. I like the black fabric in this photo because it shows the sheen that makes it look like silk even though it's just a high thread-count sheet.

To attach the leg bands, I pleated the black fabric behind the panes (strips) so the panes would lay flat. They are interfaced and lined, and far too bulky to gather or pleat. This is what it looks like from the reverse. I wasn't OCD about the pleating because it will be covered by the lining (breeches).

This is what it looks like from the right side. The leg band looks like a completely different color, but that's because the grain is laying in the opposite direction of the panes and the light hits it differently. On a moving body, everything will look the same. Or that's the plan. ;-)

I'm hoping to have these finished before the Superbowl starts, as the Smirnoff Ice will be coming out and I probably shouldn't be operating heavy machinery at that point. ;-) I like both teams so I'm hoping for an exciting game and will be happy with either as the winner, although I might be leaning toward the Steelers just a little bit. (Sorry Linda F.)