Thursday, December 25, 2014

Reversible V1419 Ralph Rucci for Vogue Coat

This has been a long laborious project with a happy ending.

The story started with the Sewalong proposed by Meg, at the McCall Pattern Company and Lladybird in September.

The pattern was beautiful and appropriate for my double-sided wool I had bough in Lleida last winter, because it has raglan sleeves and the seams are easy enough for the double sided technique, explained to me by the seamstress who sold me the fabric, Herminia.
So, I bought the pattern. I don't like the "seams included" method (and sewing with pins only), at all, so first I had to draw the real pattern subtracting 1.5 cm all around. Fortunately, the pattern included wonderful indications at critical spots, so I had no problems doing this. I transferred the pattern to the muslin, which proved too big for me in the first fitting trial.

 I thank the sewalongers and hosts who helped me see that the problem was simply one size too big. They were totally right, but I could no see it on my own (I am not too good at fitting solutions).

 So, the second muslin proved to be just perfect for me. I proceeded to put the pattern pieces over the wool, pinning them down and cutting the wool.

Next step is tailor tucks all around the coat pieces. That was easy and fast compared to the arduous work of splitting the two sides open around all the pieces, for 2 cm. The two sides are tied together by small threads that one has to cut little by little. 

It took me ages! I had to be careful not to remove the loose stitches, but no problem there.
Then, I started with the basting, which I consider indispensable before machine sewing anything. 

In this picture we can only see the staystitching I did (previously to basting the pieces together), following the instructions in the pattern. With this double-sided wool, one cannot use any foundation, so any holding the structure technique was welcome. 

I decided to sew the clear grey side. Then, remove the basting thread and iron the seams open, until I assembled the whole thing.

After that, I cut the seam allowance of the darker wool side to 1 cm and basted all before I started to hand sew it close with and invisible stitch.

I enjoyed this part so much, because the fabric was wonderful to the touch, and I could dominate it so sweetly, closing all the seams and making them disappear. 
I also hand sewed the coat and sleeves hem, removing the basting thread as I was sewing.

I was thinking over the buttons and buttonholes possibilities for weeks. I made several trials, and finally decided to use metallic claps, which are invisible outside the coat. In the clear grey side, I sewed some flat metallic buttons and left the dark side with nothing visible at the centre. It works perfectly right for me. the buttonholes proposed in the sewalong are gorgeous, but they only have one good side, so they were not an option for me.
I am totally happy with my two new coats in one. The fabric is really pricey and I've worked many hours, but the result is stunning, comfortable and outstanding.
What do you think??

I thank Lauren and Meg for their help and guidance, and my colleague sewers for their opinions, advice and inspiration. It was a wonderful experience, and it is a wonderful pattern.

Watch the rest of the sewalongers coats, they are gorgeous!

Sunday, December 14, 2014

Tilly's Françoise Dress!

Phhewww! I've been sewing like crazy this last week. My husband is missing me (that is a positive thing, haha!). But I am soooooo satisfieeeeeeed!

I had in mind a dress in wool with a "Chanel Jacket" to go with it, and when I saw Tilly's pattern I though it was perfect to be made of wool: the 60s style, the raglan 3/4 sleeves, the little neck on a contrast fabric... besides, she was setting a contest and a deadline, and I don't know why but I am always into crazy sewing deadlines (for example, now I have to sew the jacket in 9 days, 'cause I want to wear it at the School Christmas Festival with the dress, kill me!).
So, I bought some wonderful fabric at Linton's, and believe me, their fame is justified. The fabric is just awsome, and their service top.
So, come on, come on, I downloaded the pattern last saturday, cut it, ensambled it, made some adjustments (my bust size is bigger than waist and hips), and copied it into a muslim. I was so madly working than I forgot to take pics of most of the process, but I'll explain...
The muslim was almost perfect, I only had to take some fabric off the centre back. Easy thing.
Since I did no t have the fabric yet (it was flying towards me), I started to do the lining. I used some wonderful black silk I had in my stash, bought from China. I ADORE natural fibers, kill me!
Then, at perfect timing (thanks Linton), my fabric arrived on monday evening. So, I passed the muslim pieces into the fabric itself (which required no pretreatment) and marked it with tailor stitches. This is the method my mum taught me, and it is perfect for me.
After marking, basting the pieces togehter and machine sewing it. I did not use any interfacing, I had no time to get silk organza, and I could not find nothing suiting the purpose... so I decided to baste the sleeves seams tight until I put the silk lining and sew them to it to prevent them from giving (bias cut).
At first trial, I had to make some adjustments which I had not seen in the muslim, but it was easy, I only took some fabric off the side seams, specially under the arms. 
There is lots of hand sewing done here. The seam allowances, the zipper, the lining, the sleeve seams, etc etc... I've been sewing some hours everyday after work, and all the weekend.
But it was totally worth it. Today I wore the dress to a big event, and it was so beautiful, special, and confortable, I felt like a queen, hehe... One of my students told me the dress was so pretty (he had seen the swatches from Linton and recognized the fabric inmediately, he is 7)
The pattern is really nice, and I will use it again for sure.
So, here goes a proud woman to watch some TV and do nothing for a while, hehe (tomorrow I start the jacket!)

Tilly, I hope to have done a good rendition of your wonderful pattern! And I hope you all like it ;-)!
PS: I did not even pass the first selection. That is my last sewing contest ever!

Sunday, November 16, 2014

My Fisrt Knit!

I am learning to knit! I had this in mind for some time now, and finally I had a good excuse to get something to do when I am not home and I have loooots of time to kill while I chat with other people and reading is not possible.
I have a teacher too. A girl from my place offered knitting and crotched classes every monday at a different bar. 

So we bought this very thick wool and circular knitting needles number 12. First I made the short buttoned scarf, practicing two kind of different stitches. When I finished, I made the circular hat, dicreasing and cables included. I liked it a lot. Thick wool is fast to knit! I am now starting my third project: a pullover! But this is a long term project.

I feel so clumsy! But everybody tells me, I will improve with time. I have serious doubts regarding needles. My teacher recomends me to use the circular needles for every project, but other experts say that they have to be used only for circular projects, and knitting with the thread in the left hand. I will experin¡ment with both circular and flat needles and try to decide what is best. 
Are you an expert knitter? what do you think reagarding needles?

Sunday, October 26, 2014

Hippy Pants

I bought this viscose in the Czech Republic this summer. I was in a scrooge mood and bought too 
little of it. :-(

There was not enough fabric, so I had to add some black viscose jersey in the upper part, in an added piece that enclosed the elastic band. It was a good enough solution.
This is a rendition of an old pattern I kept. They are comfortable and wearable, perfect for this Autumn or spring time.

Here I am wearing them with my beloved Danitas cloggs, the perfect shoes for warm (plus rainy)  weather.

Tuesday, October 7, 2014

Black Jersey Jumpsuit

Inspired by an identical model worn by my friend Marta, I decided to make this jumpsuit, so trendy of this 2014 summer season, but a classic in fact, of a viscose jersey fabric I bought in the Czech Republic, where fabric stores abound for my joy (although prices could be cheaper according to prices in general in that wonderful country).
I paid very close attention to the RTW model my friend had bought in a shop, and I saw it has side pockets in its pants, an elasticated (quite) high waist and a zipper in front. 
I decided to use my "hippy pants" pattern from a Burda magazine, which is very becoming on me, and join it with my sleeveless blouse (quite a success in several occasions) I adjusted the blouse pattern to join it with the pants, shortening it 8 cm, and eliminated the back darts, leaving the bust and waist front darts.
It was a crazy project because I sewed it in a week, after work, finishing it in a hurry the very day I wanted to wear not only to work, but to the Festival Internacional de Cinema Fantastic de Catalunya, my fabulous annual date with cinema, love, glamour and good food.

With the hurry of the previous night and the early morning I felt as if I was in The Great Britain Sewing Bee studio, sewing stressed and always taking shortcuts to get a result only good for an overall impression, but failing close expert inspection. 
To make things worse, my husband (kill me if i know the reason) hates taking pictures, has no ability in that sense at all, and was complaining after taking THE FIRST PICTURE, for godness sake! So I only got three miserable unfocused (with an automatic camera you have to make an effort to do that) pictures. On the other departments he is just wonderful, but.... brrrrr!
Anyways, it is a comfortable, wonderful piece, I recommend you to get inspired by. You only have to pick a blouse and trousers patterns of your taste, and adjust the blouse to the pants waist. If you go jersey, nothing can be wrong.

Here I am modeling my wonderful and painfully new Heart Sandals, by Swedish Hasbeens.

Tuesday, July 29, 2014

Looong Black Jersey Dress

I am having serious doubts about publishing my sewing failures or not... I had one recently...
This one was a complete success though! Inspiration came from a H&M model I've been seeing around. Last summer it was long striped dresses (and I had doubt about the stripes), but when I saw this dress totally black, I completely had the need of having it! And not only having it, but having it for my holidays!
So I went to the fabric shop and found this remnant at good price. I do not even want to know about the composition of the fabric. It has cotton, but I suspect it contains poly as well. In what proportion, it is a mystery, 'cause remnants in this shop come without labelling. So for once, I left my hangup home. And in the bright side, it had a nice soft touch and a dark black shiny quality I love.
Regarding the pattern, I used an old jersey dress. I put it flat over the folded fabric and I just cut around it! It was the day before leaving.
I basted it, fit it, machine sewed it. I tried it on again to draw the neckline on me with pins. I applied a bias strip all around neckline and armsythes. Turn it around itself, leaving 1 cm visible and hand sewed it with invisible stitches. I completed the inferior seam with a machine zigzag.
In the final fitting session I realized the armsythes gaped in their inferior part. I simply sewed a minidart in the lateral seam, taking 2 cm off, and taking even the bias ruleau. The result was (snafu, I had no time!) good enough.
The dress has proved to be comfortable, nice to wear and very practical for traveling and holiday making. I even hand washed in a hotel room when it was almost talking with dirt, to be able to wear it again.
A nice one!

Sunday, July 27, 2014

Animal Print Jersey T-shirt

I have just arrived from our holidays around Europe. In this picture we are about to see another Marc Marquez win in the MotoGP championship, in Germany. It is the ninth win, and we have been his fans since Moto3, so it was a glorious victory in Germany.

I am wearing another example of my "Universal T-shirt Pattern."
This time I cut a low neckline, applied a 5 cm bias strip, turned it towards the inside, leaving 1 cm visible, and handsewing it.
A very nice, wearable and practical t-shirt.

 Here I am a the wonderful Hotel Abendroth, in Mittlebach, next to the Sachsenring circuit.

Tuesday, July 8, 2014

Sporty Bag


This is a complement needed by my Black Raincoat, which I used in Vitoria (basque Country) some weeks ago. I realized I needed a bag to carry the jacket when there was no rain. It had to be very light, since the sporty activity for which it is needed, is going to music festivals around Europe, which means all day and most of the night out and about.

So I cut two squares of 40cm x 40cm (plus 2 cm seams all around), and a smaller rectangle for the inside pocket.

I cut the superior part of the pocket and sewed the two parts to a black zipper. I sewed it then to one of the bigger rectangles.

Next, I zig-zagged both halfs all around, made two channels in the upper part, and sew them together.
Finally I introduced two black ribbons: from the inferior corner to its corner above, all around the loop and back into the same corner, in both sides, being the ribbons oposite in their rounds. Each ribbon is 170 cm long.

The result is very good. It can be easily opened and closed, because the ribbon and the bag fabric are soft. The good part of this bag is that it is really small and can be worn in the pocket when one is wearing the jacket. Or one can use it to carry other stuff when traveling.

After using it next trip around Europe, I will report its goods and bads.

Update: Well, I cannot say how much I love this bag. It was so usefull I took it with me everyday of the trip. It has only good point: very big capacity, if you only put a few things inside, it is so small, very discreet, ellegant and chick, it can be worn in differnt ways, you can fold it and keep it in your pocket until you need it, it goes well with every style, it opens and closes soooo smoothly and easily... it is just PERFECT. I am gonna sew some for my friends!

Sunday, July 6, 2014

Jeans Deconstructed!

Well, this is an "alteration project". Pity I did not get a picture of the old Levi's jeans that became too big when I lost some weight (proud here ;.). They were perfect for some kind of job to be done on them, becasue of the fabric's softness and the bellbottoms, which meant a lot of material.

Well, I had not planned the whole thing ahead. First, I cut the legs off to get a miniskirt. Which I did not like much. So I found some old inherited fabric (originally to make some men's undies), and I added that flare at the bottom.

For the top I used this sleveless shirt, which required no much fabric. I topstiched every seam with contrating brown thick thread, and used some clips to close it at the front. I did not plan to wear it alltogether, but I now see it is not bad... what do you think?

I have been sewing like mad these days previous to holiday making, but I will publish them designs when we are back, so I can photograph them in the real world. So, see you next month!

Sunday, June 29, 2014

Polka Dot Copycat

Last summer, my friend showed to me this beautiful dress she had bought from the internet:

Isn't it cool?
So, I decided to copy it! (bad girl!!!) 
I've always found my inspiration in models I see around me. When I was 15, I went with my mum shopping for clothes, 'cause we had a family wedding and had to dress up. So we were watching shop windows all morning. Finally, we found this black skirt and jacket outfit with a big black and purple hat, perfect for me, but it was so expensive we could not buy it. So my mum had an idea, we went to buy a small notebook, went back to the shop window, and drew the outfit with all its details. My mum knew how to sew, but she did not know how to make patterns, so we took the drawing to a pro and paid for the patterns. She constructed the perfect copycat... and without knowing it, she also created a monster, me!
I found the perfect fabric, a dark blue polka dot jersey in the internet
As patterns, I used my own long skirt pattern, and Patrones' universal t-Shirt pattern. I also drew a waist piece to be gathered to connect both, bodice and skirt.
After trying several variations, I stick to the method my mum taught me as I think it is the most effective. I put the paper patterns (without seam allowances!) into the fabric and mark them with tailor tucks.

I baste all the pieces together, have a first fit on me, and make all the necessary modifications. In this case, I made the bodice a little tighter at the bottom, and took some off the skirt seams, since it was too big.
The waist gathered piece was delicate. The gathers at the sides hold, but it lost its proper shape in the middle, front and back. So I decided to hand sew it to a jersey interlining piece in the wrong side, to keep it in shape. 

There is an opening in one of the raglan sleeves, closed with a couple of ruleau knot of the same fabric.


I am really happy and proud of the result, I don't have the waist of the model (in my dreams, haha!!) but still it is an elegant, cool and flattering design.
Now, don't tell the patent police!