Friday, December 25, 2015

The Grey Wool Office Dress / Vestit de llaneta gris

I bought this wool fabric in Julian López, a fabric shop in Zaragoza, a place where you can find a whole range of good quality fabrics: crepe, silk, wool, tartan, cotton lawn, the works. They do not sell online, so one has to travel there and touch the fabrics before buying them. It is a lovely 100%. It frays quite a bit, it is hard to press, and it cannot be washed at home, but it is delicious to sew and wonderful to wear. Wool has some natural give, and this being a tight dress, this slight stretch is perfect.

The pattern is from Burda magazine (Sept 2015 issue). I have decided to claim they publish the BEST patterns in the planet. Seriously. They never fail. I made a muslin for this one to see if it complimented my shapes, but it was not necessary because fitting is always so close to perfection, that the modifications can be done with a slightly generous seam allowances.
After the muslin fit, I proceeded with my method as usual. First, cutting the fabric with the paper flat pieces of the pattern, leaving generous seam allowances around them for possible modifications in critical areas (bust, hips, waist). It is only with the real fabric that we can truly adjust the fitting. 
I use tailor tucks to mark the pattern pieces into the fabric. Here we can see the sleeves.

The first two pieces basted together were the centre back, to install the zipper. My first attempt was a total failure, caused by the stretching of the fabric as I machine-stitched the zipper in place. I had to remove it and construct it the proper way: I put some fusible interlining at both sides of the opening, pinned and BASTED the zipper into place. The second time the result was perfect. 

I see our American and English counterparts doing mortal flips to avoid basting (pins that are removed as you sew, patterns including seam allowances, steam-a-seam, etc). In my opinion, nothing can replace basting, specially in designs that require precision or curved seams.

Once the project is assembled together and basted (no sleeves yet), we will perform the first real fitting. We will modify, give or take at the different seams to adjust the dress to our body in a comfortable way. 

The design of the dress is stunning. With curved princess seams that end in darts in the front, and flares in the back, the dress adjusted to my poor old silhouette as a glove.
I only had to take a little off the hips, and close the neck to get a higher neckline. I know my Burda size is 42, and it is true in everyone of their patterns.
I had to adjust the sleeve setting, sewing them 1 cm closer at the top. After easing their caps into the armshythes, the result was perfect as always. I love Burda's sleeves, they are always perfect.

 I decided to line this dress with black silk habotai I bought through Ebay in Honk Kong. I assembled all the pieces together, but the sleeves, that I hand-sewed at the cuffs. I put some fusible interlining at the neckline, and I put the lining over the dress at the dress form, right sides together. I pinned it at the top, machine-stitched it around the neckline following the interlining, and turned it to the inside, after understitching it to the seam allowance. I basted it into place.

Once the lining was finished, I pinned AND basted the sleeves. Try it on again (it was perfect) and then stitched them into place with my Bernina. With the dress on the dress form, I pinned and hand-sewed the sleeves to the bodice lining.

I decided to try my Bernina blind-stitch presser foot number 5 to do the bottom hem. I was flabbergasted at its working! Very easy to operate (I only had to baste the bottom hem into place) and with a totally invisible result. :-) I also used the zipper foot #4, overlock foot #2 to polish seam allowances and the narrow straight stitch hemmer #64 for the silk lining bottom hem. All of them work perfect!

 The black silk lining shows a bit, as neck facing.

 Seams in this wool were impossible to press properly. That is the only thing I do no like about it.
 The pattern is so forgiving to my protruding belly, lack of waist and bottom. It is right for me.

 Ready to go to the school in the morning...

Seams were so difficult to keep into place that I had to hand sew them open at 20cm intervals.

Monday, December 7, 2015

My First Ever Leather Jacket!!! / La meva primera jaqueta de pell, oh, yeah!

I am so proud of myself I'm gonna burst, maaaaaan!

I made it!

A real leather jacket my own pattern, that has come out of my new Bernina and its essential walking foot!!!
Estic molt orgullosa de presentar-vos la meva primera jaqueta de pell!

I've learnt my trade in Don Morin's course in Crafsy about sewing leather bags, and also from Sterlacci's book (not that I could even follow the instructions for the actual construction of garments in there...). Leather needs a different approach, but I better explain it step by step to better illustrate the process:
Després de fer un curset a Craftsy sobre com cosir pell, i llegir-me un llibre sobre com es confeccionen les peces de pell, vaig comprar-me tres pells de napa per 60 euros a Curtidos Cabezas i vaig posar-me a treballar...

First, I used my own pattern for the Chanel Jacket, 'cause it is faultless. I tried it with some cheap felt to try out difficult items, like sleeves caps, zippers, pockets or neck... 
Vaig utilitzar el meu patró de jaqueta Chanel, i el vaig fer en feltre per provar totes les parts difícils de la jaqueta.

The first outstanding issue with the felt version was sleeve caps... you cannot ease those 4 cm with leather, no way. So, I look in the internet about reducing sleeve caps length. Right to the point! It was a perfect variation.
El primer problema eren les mànigues. No podem arrugar 4 cm de màniga per encabir-la al forat, així que vaig buscar a internet com fer una reducció de les mànigues, que va resultar perfecta.

After getting a good fit, I used the felt pieces, with the alterations and additions, like pockets, to mark the pieces into the leathers' backs with a felt-tip pen. One good thing about leather is that you can put pieces in all directions. We must cut the pieces leaving an even seam allowance all around, because that is going to be our guide in machine sewing.
Amb les peces de feltre descosides vaig marcar els patrons al revers de les pells amb un retolador. Un avantatge de treballar amb pell, es que podem posar les peces en totes direccions, no hi ha un "fil"

 After cutting all the pieces we will reinforce some of them with thermofusible jersey interlining. In this case, I used it in the central front pieces, in the back yoke, around pocket holes and in the neck. Careful with the iron! We must use a thick brown paper between the iron and the leather.
Un cop tallades totes les peces, vaig aplicar entretela de punt de la que s'enganxa als frontals, el canesú de l'esquena, les butxaques i el coll. Alerta al olanxar, hem de posar un paper d'emblar gruixut entre la planxa i la pell.

The first part we are going the construct is pockets, Proportionally, they took quite a lot of time!
Primer, les butxaques, que em van costar una setmana!


After cutting a central line and two small oblique lines at the corners, we glue back open,using special glue for leather... 
Tallem amb el cutter giratori una ratlla i dues obliqües als extrems.

...and holding it open with some tape. Later on I used paper tape and it was more gentle to the leather. 
Per a què s'enganxi , millor utilitzar cinta carrossera fins que s'assequi.

Time to machine-stitch the zipper to the bottom part of the pocket, but first I glued the zipper to the jacket, because I could not think of any other way to hold it in place as I sewed! Once it was dry, I also glued the bottom piece of the inside pocket. I had stitched the interlining fabric to a leather band. That way you see leather through the open zipper.
També vaig enganxar la cremallera pel darrera, i la solapa de pell amb el folre que formaran el sac interior de la butxaca. Un cop secs, ja els podem repuntejar a màquina.

The second part was the upper inner pocket. I glued it into place first, and then I top stitched it, going also around the corners, until I met the bottom line. Then I put all the threads towards the inside and knotted them together. This is a necessary process since one cannot sew back in leather. So we must secure it that way.
Després la part superior de les butxaques, enganxem i repuntegem quan estigui sec, donant la volta a les cantonades, fins a completar el rectangle.

Once the pockets were finished and its bags sewn together, I proceeded to sew all the jacket's seams together except for the shoulder seams. Here my new Bernina, its walking foot and the metallic clips that hold the pieces together. See how cutting an even seam line was important. 
Un cop acabades les butxaques, i cada cop amb més confiança, vaig cosir totes les costures al voltant de la jaqueta i el canesú de l'esquena. Llavors les inclinava a un costat, picant amb un martell de goma, i les pespuntejava amb la màquina. 
After stitching every seam, I moved the seam allowances towards one side, helping myself with a rubber hammer, and top stitched it to hold it in place.  See how even and straight Bernina's stitches are...

Meanwhile, I'd been sewing the lining together, and pressing its seams open. I hold it to the jacket's bottom right sides together and glued the bottom seam to the jacket, using some clothes pins to hold it together as it dried. Finally, I stitched and topstitched shoulder seams, and hand-sewed the lining shoulders on the dress form.
  Mentrestant s'anaven secant les peces, vaig anar cosint el folre. El vaig cosir la final de la vora de la jaqueta, que vaig girar i la vaig enganxar a lloc, aguantat-la amb agulles d'estendre. Llavors vaig cosir i repuntejar les espatlles de la jaqueta i els del folre, aquesta a mà i a sobre del maniquí.

I constructed sleeves parallelly. First, the seam with the zipper, top-stitched as well, and then the second seam, less visible, I simply glued it open. I machine-stitched the lining to the bottom seam allowance, turn it over and glued, as I did in the bodice.
Finally, I put the sleeves to the armholes, stitched them with the machine with no problem at all, and sew the lining by hand. I secured the lining along the frontal zipper and the sleeves zippers as well. 
Amb les mànigues vaig cosir i repuntejar primer la costura de la cremallera (són de dues peces). L'altra costura la vaig cosir i la vaig enganxar amb cola, oberta. Llavors com amb la jaqueta, vaig cosir el folre de les mànigues a la punta de la vora, que vaig girar i enganxar.

Finally, it was time for the Mao neck.This was an addition I made to the original pattern, following Aldrich's instructions. I sewed the right side first, rolled the inside and machine stitched it in place. It was a miracle it turned out almost perfect. In fact, one side was longer than the other (OMG!!!). I decided to topstitch the upper side too, and make a little fold in the longer corner, hold by the topstitching... 
El coll finalment. El vaig dibuixar jo mateixa seguint les instruccions del llibre de l'Aldrich. Primer el vaig cosir i girar de tot arreu excepte de baix. Vaig cosir la part de fora a la jaqueta, agafant també el folre, i llavors la part de dins al vaig entornar i la vaig repuntejar per fora. Era una peça compromesa, però va sortir molt bé finalment.

Miraculously, it worked!

I put some details as zipper-pullers and... VOILÀ!

 The final result is so nice, I cannot believe it!
Comfortable, warm, stylish... 

Big thanks to my little cousin Maira who came to the rescue with a kick-ass reflex camera. BAD PICTURES are over!!!
Gràcies per la càmera, Maira! S'ha acabat la misèria!

My new Benina 380 has been up to the task. The walking foot works perfect, and stitching and topstitching 3 or four layers is easy-peasy for it. I only had trouble topstitching the neck, where I had 4 or 6 layers, and it skipped stitches some time. Also during this project, The machine got stuck and I had to reiniciate it to go on, as if the needle got stuck, and the machine did not answer to the pedal.
La meva nova Bernia 380 ha estat a l'alçada en aquest porjecte tan complicat... el doble arrastre funciona de meravella, i cus i repunteja sense problemes... quasibé. Al fer el coll, on ja tenia 4 o 6 capes de napa, se'm saltava algun punt, i com que era una zona molt delicada, ho vaig haver d'arreglar com vaig poder... També em pasava sovint que se'm quedava parada i no responia al pedal... era com si l'agulla no pugues pujar. En aquestes ocasion , havia de parar la màquina i tornar-la a engegar, i llavors funcionava sense problemes. Això només m'ho feia en aquest projecte. 

Saturday, November 21, 2015

Corduroy Pants for My Love / Pantalons de pana pel meu amor

Carlos wears corduroy pants to work -he is a postman- and he destroys them in a couple of seasons :-(, so I make sure to construct a couple of them every season. This is my own pattern and therefore a glove for my love's slim body. I used commercial patterns in the past, but I has to downgrade a couple of sizes and the result was not nice. It took some work to make the first, muslin included, but now I have by toile pattern and I can make this real quick. And the result is flawless, in fitting and execution (excuse my modesty:-). The procedures is the following: 
  1. Cutting and marking with tailor tucks
  2. Pockets
  3. Fly
  4. Interior legs with self-enclosed seams
  5. Exterior sides with self-enclosed seams (uncomfortable to sew)
  6. Belt rings and waist band
  7. Button and buttonhole.

El Carlos porta pantalons de pana a l'hivern per anar a treballar de carter. Així que cada tardor procuro fer-li'n al menys uns. Aquesta pana és gruixuda, de color gris fosc, molt bonica. Utilitzo el patró que jo mateixa vaig construïr amb les seves mides, i és perfecte, com si un sastre els hi fes a mida, i cada any anés a fer-se'n uns  de nous, hahaha! Ara que hi tinc pràctica, els faig en poques hores i el resultat és perfecte. Primer, tallar i marcar amb punts fluixos. Després, butxaques i cremallera. Camals interiors, amb costures entreficades i pespuntejades. El mateix ara pels camals exteriors, amb aqueslles costures tan incòmodes d'acabar, ja  que la cama ja està tancada, presilles, trinxa i botó. Aquest cop els he fet més llargs, perquè he comprovat que es van encongint amb les rentades.

Friday, November 6, 2015

Sheer Long Dress

 I've had this fabric in my little stash for some time now. I saw a long beach dress in a Burda magazine, and that was an inpiration. The fabric piece was very big, and the design is apropriate for a transparent fabric. 

The pity is I was sewing against the clock to be able to wear it in the Festival internacional de cinema fantàstic de Catalunya.
I hate this obsessive compulsive sewing disorder I seem to suffer. It happens a lot in my life. Somehow I get the urgency to finish a project for an event, regardless of the feasibility of the deadline. Moreover, I am way too optimistic with time planification, so the result is me sewing like a madwoman and getting all the possible shortcuts, which usually end up in a botched job.

This pattern is great (to keep it for future uses even), but I sewed it so fast I could have been a contestant in The Great British Sewing Bee, which I stopped watching precisely for that reason! I prefer slow and well, quality to quantity. At least, in theory. This is such a compulsive behaviour in me, and it happens so often, that I cannot even promise not to do it any more, because it will probably happen again. Some event will come up and I will have NOTHING in my wardrobe appropriate for the occasion, so I will have to sew a specific piece in a record time.
I was sewing this dress not only without previously basting the seams (as I usually do), but even without pins! I held the fabric together and machine-stitched directly!!!
As a result of such madness, the neck is a mishap, and the sleeves bottoms are different from one another, one is upsidedown!
In spite of it all, the dress is beautiful and the only standing mistake I cannot tolerate is the neck opening, which gaps a little.
I have been thinking in ways to avoid another rushy project, and the answer my brain gives me is not to buy cheap fabrics like this one. This might sound like nonsense, but I would never rush in a precious fabric. No way. So, only expensive fabrics from now on, haha!! Moreover, my wardrobe is full to the top, so I COMMINT MYSELF TO QUALITY OVER QUANTITY. Please.

Sunday, October 18, 2015

Black Jersey Top / Samarreta negra de punt

This is a fast project for a trip. Started and finished during the same afternoon. I was going to a rock festival and needed a black long tight top. Why I did not have one, I cannot understand. Since I made it, I wear it all the time. It is a must in any wardrobe, specially in this time of the year when we transition from warm to cold.
I used my universal t-shirt pattern again (for the zillionth time), took 1 cm off at the sides to make it tighter and 3 at the sleeves. I used an overlock stitch to sew the side and sleeves seams. My machine is broken and I am about to buy a new Bernina (Oh! how cool is that???!!!) and in the meanwhile my auntie lent me her old Pfaff, that sews like and angel. I cut the neck in a boat fashion and rolled it once towards the inside. Finally, I finished all the hems with the twin needle, with perfect results.
My old compact camera also broke (I am in a demolition phase it seems), and I am using an even worse one form my school. Pictures are terrible, I know, but they will have to do for now. This was taken at Sitges.

Aquest és un projecte ràpid dels que fas en una tarda. Al dia següent viatjàvem a un festival a Bèlgica i necessitava una samarreta negra llarga per quan no fa ni fred ni calor (tot i que a Bèlgica fot un fred que pela, als interiors no, és clar).
Vaig tornar a utilitzar el meu patró de samarreta universal, per enèsima vegada. Té mànigues raglan, i funciona de perles per teixits de punt.
Com ja vaig explicar, la meva vella Alfa està trencada, i mentrestant m'estudio quina Bernina em compro (oh! què bé sona això!!!), la meva tieta m'ha deixat la seva Pfaff, que cus de meravella. Vaig utilitzar una simulació de punt overlock, tallant després la roba molt a ran perquè quedi molt poqueta, mig cm. Vaig tallar el coll per fer-lo amb forma de vaixell i vag rematar totes les costures doblegant-les cap a dins amb agulles i cosint-les amb l'agulla doble. El resultat és perfecte. No sé com podia viure sense ella, la veritat. 
La meva vella càmera també s'ha trencat (a mi els aparells se'm trenquen de tres en tres!), i mentrestant me'n compro una (va per llarg), vaig fent amb la de l'escola. Perdoneu la pèssima qualitat de les fotos.

Thursday, October 1, 2015

Gingham Dress / El vestit de quadrets vichy

 Gingham is a medium-weight balanced plain-woven fabric made from dyed cotton or cotton-blend yarn.[1] It is made of carded, medium or fine yarns, where the colouring is on the warp yarns and always along the grain (weft). Gingham has no right or wrong side with respect to colour.

The inspiration was Emy Rossum /La inspiració fou l'Emmy Rossum

I was looking for a good black and white gingham and I found this at  Stone Fabrics. It was not cheap, but it was 100% cotton, I cannot stand plastic fibers.

For the pattern, I used Burda Magazine. It had a similar design, and I only had to make three small alterations:
  • I added some space around my bust, just where the lateral front pannel and the central piece meet.
  • I closed the neckline 4 cm all around, since the design was really low cut.
  • I added a neck similar to Emmy's dress, which I designed with the help of Alcrich's book, and it became perfect.
  • The fourth alteration was a failure, but it is worht it recording it for future projects. I added some fabric at the waist, thinking I would need it, but then the dres is too roomy in that area. Nothing a belt can't solve, but not necessary in future projects.

The pattern includes pockets, wich are a very practical and nice touch.

I made self enclosed seams all over the dress, and for the neck line and amrsythes I used facings that I zigzagged and secured to the dress with a blind-stitch.

I made the buttonholes with the machine, and it broke there. The cost of the reparing has helped me decide I need a new machine!
The result is very nice and confortable, it is a wonderful fabric. 

El cotó de quadrets vichy es una roba típicament de cotó, tot i que ara a les botigues de roba en trobem de polièster o barrejat.
Vaig comprar aquesta roba a Anglaterra per internet,  perquè per aquí, com sovint em passa, no era de cotó 100%. Tinc la sensació que a Catalunya no donem importància a la composició dels teixits, un fet cabdal per mi.
Vaig utilitzar el patró d'un vestit de la revista Burda, al qual vaig fer algunes modificacions:
  • Vaig afegir roba al voltant del pit, un parell de cm a cada costat, entre el costadet i la peça central. La modificació va resultar perfecta.
  • Vaig fer l'escot molt menys pronunciat, ja que a la revista era un vestit molt escotat. Hi vaig afegir 4 cm tot al voltant.
  • Vaig dissenyar i afegir un coll similar al que porta l'Emmy. El patró el vaig dibuixar jo mateixa seguint les instruccions al llibre de Aldrich.
  • La quarta modificació va ser una errada. Vagi eixamplar la cintura del cosses i la faldilla uns 8 cm en total (4 a cada costat), i va resulta massa ample. Com que va amb cinturó no hi ha cap problema, però la propera vegada he de deixar el patró tal i com està en aquesta zona.

El patró inclou butxaques, que resulten pràctiques i molt boniques.
Vaig decidir entornar totes les costures i polir-les amb repunts. A l'escolt i les sises vaig utilitzar vistes, que vaig sobrefilar a màquina, i les vaig cosir al vestit amb un punt invisible.
Vaig fer els traus a màquina. Fent els traus precisament, se'm va trencar la meva vella Alfa, i em sembla que he decidit comprar-me'n una de nova!

El resultat és força bo, el porto molt de gust.