Tuesday, March 17, 2015

Companion Carpet Bag in silk brocade

I can hardly believe I made this bag--I'm just so in love with it!  As my most recent Britex project, I've been thinking about this bag for a while--I picked out the fabric and pattern months ago, and sat down just this week to sew it.  It turned out exactly like I imagined!

First off, let's talk about this fabric.  Guys, that is silk brocade.  It's a wonderful rough-ish-textured, vintage-inspired medium-heavy weight fabric that just screams handbag to me.  For the bag lining, I went a little unconventional and used a comic-inspired print of extolling the virtues of home sewing. I couldn't help myself.
The pattern is by Samantha from the blog At Home with Mrs. H.  I tested the 12" bag pattern for her months ago, and the pattern is part of the Bag of the Month Club (so not available outside the club quite yet). This is the 8" frame pattern, which features outside and inside slip pockets and an inside zip pocket.

The tubular snap-close frame is so much fun, and creates this gaping bass mouth look, that makes you just want to toss the kitchen sink into your handbag.  It's not quite big enough to stash a floor lamp, like Mary Poppins, but close enough.  You can only imagine how much I can hold in the 12" bag (which I made and will eventually post about :)

Unfortunately, the tubular frame must be ordered from Hong Kong, but it is so worth the wait!  I also purchased the faux-leather handles from the same Etsy store.  
The best part is how well this bag keeps its shape!  I used Soft n' Stable for all the outer pieces and a medium weight interfacing on all the lining pieces.  I wish I had used some kind of spray adhesive to keep the outer fabric and Soft n' Stable together, but it still looks pretty nice regardless.
To keep the bag from sagging at the bottom (look--no sag!  And I have all my stuff in there!), I cut a small flexible cutting board to fit (these exact ones), and drilled holes to attach the brass bag feet (not shown in any photos, somehow!).  It worked like a charm.  
I wrote a tutorial for the custom piping along the front pocket and I'll get that up here shortly.  If you're in a hurry, it's over at Britex right now (and while you're there, you can enter to win a subscription to the Bag of the Month Club!).  

Many thanks to Samantha for providing both sizes of the Companion Carpet Bag pattern and Britex for yet again letting me work with their amazing fabrics!

Sunday, March 08, 2015

My vision, in silk crepe de chine

So when I saw Sunni's outfit here, I completely fell in love with that silk print fabric.  I needed it, so I bought 2 yards from Mood.  And...it sat in my stash for months.  I had an idea in mind, but no amount of searching in pattern books and independent designers yielded what I wanted. This pattern (Simplicity 1692, view A) came the closest, but with some issues (the primary problem being those waist darts!).
I used the bodice and sleeves of the pattern (size 10) and made all kinds of changes: for the neckline, there are some soft pleats instead of gathers, then for the sleeves, I reduced the fullness of the sleeve so there were unnoticeable gathers at the cap, shortened them to 3/4 length and added a tiny band.  I eliminated the waist darts entirely, and then took in the sides to make it more shapely while keeping it loose enough to avoid a closure.  Then, when I realized I had "petite-adjusted" the top too much, I added a 2 1/2" band at the waist.  Which I ended up completely loving.  Is it just me making the best of the situation, or does it make the blouse a touch more modern?
Things I love about this blouse: the back has shoulder darts.  I feel like shoulder darts acknowledge that our backs are also curved, and they create such a lovely fitted shape.  They're lacking in many modern patterns.
Another only-in-handmade-garments feature I love: self bias along the keyhole facing.  
And this self-fabric button THAT CAME FROM MY STASH?  Somewhere along the way, I purchased a garment that came with extra buttons and those buttons were covered with cream colored crepe de chine, as if I knew I'd be making a silk blouse in the future.
Speaking of which,  could I love crepe de chine any more?  No.  The answer is no.  It's my favorite of the silks.  
This blouse reminds me why I sew.  Got fabric and an idea?  Add some sewing skills, and bam, you get a blouse.  I bought some navy stretch twill to make some cigarette pants to complete the vision.  
Resewlution 2015: March garment #2

Sunday, March 01, 2015

Granville shirt in Liberty lawn

I'm pleased to say that I have now, officially, sewn a garment with Liberty lawn! Woohoo!  The price has deterred me for my previous multiple decades of sewing, but a tried-and-true pattern +  20% off at Britex = it was finally time.
I have to say, I surprised myself picking this print.  I had a bunch of Liberty bolts pulled at my last visit to Britex, but I was making the decision mid-February, and I guess I just wanted the most spring-like print in the place. The other selections just felt a little dark or "feed-sack-y", as Geana put it. This strawberry flower print is fun, and such a throwback to my 80s childhood.  
From my original Granville, I made a few slight changes: raised the "petite adjustment" line to above the waistline, shorted the sleeves, and graded in from 4 at the waist --> 0 at the hips .  In terms of construction, I sewed the collar more like Peter's instructions, which works better for me.  And I still don't love the instructions for the sleeve vents, but I made it work for this time around.
The fit is great.  I love sewing up a garment and being able to do some fancier seam finishes without worrying if I'm going to have to take the sides in or redo the sleeves once I try it on.  I may need to make some minor pattern tweaks to the collar; on me, it doesn't lay perfectly in the front, but overall, I like the fit for this style.
For this version, I used French seams for all but the back princess lines (and I'm seriously kicking myself about those!), including the armholes using Jen's great tutorial.   Which was actually not difficult at all, with a switch in the construction order: I set the sleeves (using French seams) before sewing the sleeve and side seams in one long go.
Again, I love the slightly fitted shape of this top, and it really works to tuck into pants.  I'm not really a shirt-tucker, but I could definitely pull it off with this blouse pattern.

I've had a bit of a slow start to the sewing year (which is in no way a reflection of the number of lengths of fabric I have that are begging to be sewn!).  I'm teaching and taking a class (Fashion Illustration), but I've sewn less than when I've had crazy teaching/class schedules.  It'll pick up, I'm sure :)
Resewlution 2015: March garment #1 (though I did the vast majority of the work in February...)