Sunday, February 22, 2009

And here it is-

Here's my completed purple shirt from BWOF 10-2008 #118. I think it turned out nice. It wasn't without its adventures though. First things first, I decided I'd shorten the arms- bad idea. First of all, I don't think I like the shortened arms as much as I thought I would. And second, I failed to take into account the fact that the band would have to be bigger in order to fit further back on my arm..... didn't figure that one out until I had already cut and sewn the too small bands on. Unpleasant. Another adventure was when I was trying to cut those bands out. This fabric is deep stash fabric, so there's no replacing it and I had *just* enough to make the shirt really. I grabbed one of the scraps from cutting (it was bigger than I thought) and was happily chopping away to make the band with my rotary cutter when I realized- THAT'S NOT A SCRAP! Luckily I didn't do too much damage. I wound up having to put a band on the button side of the front to replace the fabric I had taken off, and I shortened the shirt a tad to make up for the hunk missing from the same front panel on the bottom. Luckily I didn't do any real unbelievable damage. I would've cried!

The shirt gets Hubby approval which was nice. He's pickier than I am, so if he likes it, I know it's probably good. I like it too. Next time I'll make the sleeves the original length, but the point is there will very likely be a next time, so this is a success.

Next up is Vogue 8313. I bought this to make a Christmas party dress not this last year, but the year before and never got around to making it. I read the reviews on PR and got intimidated. Despite the "Very Easy Vogue" title it seemed t me that people were having quite the fitting issues, so it got shoved back in the stash. Now the muslin is all done (holy cow am I glad I made a muslin!) and I'll probably be cutting out the real fabric today. Yay!

Saturday, February 21, 2009

New Shirt For Me!

Next on the docket is a shirt for me, it will be BWOF 10-2008 #118. I'm not quite as good at making shirts for me. I have some fit issues I have yet to diagnose completely. Luckily this shirt is so drapey my specific fit problems shouldn't be an issue. This fabric dates back to my original sewing days! I bought it the same year I bought my sewing machine- sophomore year in college. I guess you could say I started sewing before that with Grandma and with Mom, but this was my first very own machine and I mark that as the beginning of my current sewing era. I don't remember what the fabric is, some kind of synthetic I'm sure- but super fluid and a gorgeous purple, so it should turn out to be nice.

Here's a flower I made with the shirt fabric from the Valentine's flower tutorial at Burda Style . I think the flower is cute, I'll probably make it into a pin for the shirt. I should finish it today, I want to wear it to a family birthday party tomorrow.

After that, I'm going to get really ambitious on a long term project. I've been watching just about everyone else sew gorgeous jackets all winter and I think I've finally gotten brave enough to try one. My fitting problems in RTW jackets are what have been keeping me from making one so far. First of all, I'm petite so it's very easy to make me look like a child playing dress up in a jacket. Then we get into the real fit issues; from what I can tell I think I have broad, forward shoulders along with my full upper arms and slightly full bust. I've never actually owned a jacket that fit well and was comfortable (and I've owned custom jackets... ugh). So I've nominated some stash fabric for muslin and I think I'll be cutting out BWOF 12-2008 #116. Cross your fingers for me and wish me luck!

Green Shirt and Fitting Issues

So here's the green shirt I made for Hubby. This is final draft round 2. He likes this better than the white stripe one because the cuffs are stiffer and he likes the fabric better. This guy has got a serious obsession with super duper stiff collar and cuffs. That's still his beef with the shirt- the collar isn't stiff enough! It's not like I'm not trying- I've got incredibly stiff interfacing in there, so stiff that I couldn't turn the corners with the interfacing in there so I actually had to fuse the interfacing to muslin and then insert the interfacing piece into the sewn and turned collar in order to make sure I coudl actually get decent points on that collar. Still not quite enough though- the good news is that this gives me a great excuse to drag his butt to Denver Fabrics (aaah- to live in Denver!) to see if I can't find something that suits him better. Sheesh. I did inform him that this gives me the right to work on clothes for me all weekend so I can at least have *some* positive reinforcement for all my hard work! There will be a purple satin shirt for show and tell soon.

So here's my beef with the shirt. These annoying collar wrinkles don't bother Hubby because they're covered by the collar and tie, but yowza are they on my nerves! I can't figure out for the life of me what the problem is. I did notice in the other photo that Hubby appears to need a bit of a forward shoulder adjustment which I'm going to try. I've got my fingers crossed that the forward shoulder adjustment will fix these wrinkles too, but if not I have NO IDEA what's wrong! The wrinkles go away if I lift the collar band up higher on his neck which makes me think there may be something wrong with the neck opening on the body of the shirt, but the collar band fits him absolutely perfectly and I'm not really sure how to fix one without impacting the other. Ugh. Any ideas?
Here's his monogram for this shirt. I think it turned out reasonably well. Remember- I'm a beginner at all this hand embroidery stuff. I suppose these will get better as we go too! He thinks this one is a little boring (which it is) but I kinda like it. The thread matches the pinstripes on the shirt rather than the background fabric so I think it makes the shirt pop.

Sunday, February 15, 2009

Next on the docket

And my next project is yet another shirt for Hubby. I'm going to finish this one before I forget all the minor issues I wanted to tweak. Here's the fabric, it's the one on the left with the grey stripes. Pardon the wrinkles... it's straight out of the dryer and I haven't pressed it yet.

This fabric falls into the "guilt fabric" category. I gave both of these to Hubby per his request for fabric for every holiday- his birthday is in December so he got birthday fabric and Christmas fabric. I just finished the one with birthday fabric, but these are both Christmas fabric. So only two more guilt pieces and we'll be all set with the seriously overdue projects and I can resume augmenting my own wardrobe.

The fabric on the left with the grey and black stipes is the next one. I've got some black mother of pearl buttons for it and it will be topstitched in black to give it a little more personality. I think this one will be especially good looking with its contrasting collar and cuff. Good stuff!

Friday, February 13, 2009

And so it begins...

Over the last year or so my sewing hobby has become slightly more obsessive. I imagine this is due to two major factors. The first factor is that I became hooked on sewing blogs, starting with A Dress A Day- check out the blogroll to see the list of sewists I am currently following. I can’t get enough! Of course, watching everyone else sew up these dreamy outfits and projects made me realize that I too can improve my skills so my creations can graduate from home-made mediocrity to custom tailored excellence.

The second factor is that I met my hubby while I was working for a major custom tailor company that will go unnamed. Because of this he has an insane addiction to $400 dress shirts that we cannot maintain by any stretch of the imagination without that incredible employee discount.

Ready for the solution?

After making a simple Hawaiian shirt for Hubby and stalking for ideas and practice patterns which lead to the purchase of David Page Coffin’s indespensible book Shirtmaking: Developing Skills for Fine Sewing I finally convinced Hubby to let me try my hand at the real thing. This guy is extraordinarily picky when it comes to his shirts. They must be white collar and cuff, monogrammed, french cuff and in a fabric that probably couldn’t be purchased in a store. And the collar and cuff MUST have the stiffness of cardboard (this bit took me a while, have you ever tried turning a perfect collar point in cardboard? Rediculous!).

The good news is- I ended up with a shirt that got me the best compliment ever. After wearing it he remarked “Ok, now all I want for birthdays and Christmases from here on out is fabric!” Sweet! So now how do I convince him that I should get to spend the remaining $350 we would've spent on his shirts on fabric for me? Ha! I’ll let you know if that one ever works. In the meantime, here are the photos. There’s another shirt in the works in a fabric that’s a little more fun, so keep on the lookout.

Here's the collar- the collar stay pockets gave me fits- and I had to re-draft the collar twice, but all's well that ends well, right!

French cuffs were such a pain, but so worth it!

The split yoke is an important detail when working with stripes on a shirt like this. When you match the stripes like this the front stripe is exactly lined up parallel to the front stripes so it looks pretty neat all around. It's a pain to match, but hey- it looks good and makes Hubby SUPER happy.

A big big in the back, he's been the magical shrinking Hubby lately so I'm guessing all of his shirts will need to be taken in before too long.

The pattern is a modification of Burda Style's Jakob. I changed the fit somewhat according to DPC's directions in his book. And I drafted the collar and cuffs based on one of Hubby's favorite shirts. Speak up if you'd like the cuff pattern, it took a long time to get it just right so the cuffs layer correctly when being worn (top slightly larger than bottom).