Jacket progress and the Shoo-fly block

Last night I did question (again) what on earth I was thinking when I chose to make this jacket! Notched collars, welt pockets, mitred corners, upper and lower sleeve, and faced vents… anything else you’d care to chuck at me Burda Style? No… please don’t answer. I know there is more to come but it is all going to be just fine! Anyhows here is a sneak preview of the toile.

jacket toile with notched-collar

jacket toile with notched-collar

I havent trimmed any seams, which is why its looking so bulky, so that I can refer to the toile pieces when I come to do it for real. And I really haven’t set in that sleeve properly. I have decided to let out the waist by an inch or two. It’s a little more snug than I had anticipated! And I am going to move the pockets up just a smidge. But those are the only alterations I can forsee at this stage.

So what is a girl to do after an altercation with a toile? Create a Shoo-fly quilt block of course! This was exactly the therapy I needed. It was so relaxing to do… sewing in straight lines… bliss! This is number four block in the series from The Art of Quilting and it was pretty easy to put together. Think I’m getting the hang of them now!

Shoo-fly quilt block

Shoo-fly quilt block

Block Facts:

Name: Shoo-fly
History: The name was first recorded in 1949, but this is a much older block, also known as Puss-in-the-Corner or Kitten-in-the-Corner. Early Amish examples use just two plain colours, but by the 1930s it included bright florals.
Level: Beginner
No. of pieces: 13

Progress report:

Block 1: The Double Four Patch
Block 2: The Whirlwind
Block 3: The Sailboat
Block 4: The Shoo-fly

Well that just about sums up my rock and roll weekend. Best I go and catch some of those London rays now. How’s your weekend shaping up?

Who’s afraid of the big bad WELT?

… well maybe I am still, a little bit!

I read and I read (and I huffed and I puffed)…. and still I didn’t pull it off! It just didn’t make any sense to me no matter how many times I read the instructions in the magazine (for my jacket). I need visual reference! My first port of call in times of near defeatism, is YouTube. There is always an amenable person to talk you through anything you want really, with live action video! There were a few tutorials and a few brilliant ones at that but none that included a flap. So next port of call was the Burda site itself and there in all its glory was a fabulously illustrated step by step guide on How To Make A Welt Pocket With A Flap. I followed this to the letter and it all worked out (just about) but then I realised that there wasn’t meant to be a welt at the top of the flap and I didn’t see this working out too well in pinstripe!

welt pocket first try

Welt pocket, first try

But, having followed this tute, I slept on it and woke up the next morning with a moment of clarity. I read the original instructions once more…. Eureka! Now it made sense! I set about trying it out on the second pocket and though a little more fiddly, it worked. Seems so logical now. I don’t know how I managed to get myself in such a pickle!

Welt pocket round 2

Welt pocket round 2

welt pocket marked between seamlines

Welt pocket opening, marked between seamlines

Welt pocket finished, flap up

Welt pocket finished, flap up... bit rough around the edges!

I would change one thing about the intended method though, and that would be to attach the pocket pieces to the welt and the flap before attaching to the jacket. The instructions say to add the pocket pieces to the seam allowances of the welt and the pocket flap after they have been sewn down on the body. You have to be pretty spot on and sew exactly on top of the same seamline as far as I can make out if you dont want any stitching to show….unless I’ve misunderstood that bit too, which is a strong possibility!

I’m toying with the idea of using a plain lilac fabric, or some of the plaid dress fabric, on the bias, for the welt. I think the chance of me getting this right in the heavier wool, let alone matching up the pinstripes, is pretty slim!

Anyhows, this is where I’m at. Glad I cleared that hurdle…. well, best not speak so soon eh?!

I’ll be a while before I get onto the real thing. I still have a collar and lapel to rehearse and I want to be sure that I am confident about every stage before I go steaming in!

In the mean time does anyone have any wise welt words they’d like to share?!

Little Red Dress

Vintage Butterick 8043

Vintage Butterick 8043

I’ve had in mind to make this dress for some time now, and The House of Pinheiro‘s invitation to do a guest post was all the butt-kicking I needed! This is probably the most effort I have put into a toile. I bought the fabric, £1.45 a metre, for the purpose of potential, wearable toiles but ‘wearable’ was wishful thinking this time. The fabric is a shiny synthetic mix and tears like paper. I darned (yes ‘darned’!) the first hole, thinking I could get away with it but then more little slit like holes sprung up all down one side. Perhaps a fault in the fabric…. perhaps just rubbish fabric but hey ho. I would have needed to make a toile for this dress in any case and this fabric still came cheaper than anything else I would have used.

Vintage Butterick 8043

Vintage Butterick 8043

Facts:

Pattern: Vintage Butterick 8043
Material /Fabric: Very cheap, shiny, synthetic blend
Notions: 20″ invisible zipper, 2.5m satin bias binding
Time to complete: Over the course of 3 evenings
Difficulty: Intermediate. All very basic apart from the side fronts where the gathering is attached to the neck!
First worn: Just for the photoshoot!
Wear again?: Unfortunately not. The fabric was really unstable and tears very easily. I tried to darn a hole under the arm hole (yes you heard right, I said it again… ‘darn’!) but more little tears started to appear randomly down the side. I didn’t cry too much! It was a toile after all!
Total Cost: £3 for fabric, £1 zip and binding from stash.

Vintage Butterick 8043

Vintage Butterick 8043

Vintage Butterick 8043

Vintage Butterick 8043

PatternReview

Did it look like the photo/drawing on the pattern envelope once you were done sewing with it?
I think you have to be realistic when using a vintage pattern. I so don’t look like any fashion drawing ever created and so the finished dress is never going to look the same on me as it does on the packet!

Pattern Construction:
The gathers around the neck took 2 attempts. But the rest of the construction was relatively simple. There are no darts at the waist, just shaped panels, princess seams I guess, which can be adjusted easily.

Would you recommend it to others?:
Yes. It would look and feel gorgeous in a more sophisticated fabric.

Were the instructions easy to follow:
On the whole yes. The diagrams are very basic and take a bit of working out but common sense and a bit of ‘mental making up’ got me through it!

Pattern alterations or any design changes:
I am not so accomplished with pattern grading – yet! – so I usually buy a pattern with the correct bust size and rework the waist and hip lines. Quite necessary on vintage patterns… boy did those 50s ladies have tiny waists!

Conclusion:
Despite it only being a toile. I quite like how this one turned out. I loved how easy it was to make the adjustments and I really liked binding the hems with satin bias. Such a lovely vintage finish. I will definitely give it another go sometime soon

Vintage Butterick 8043, shoes by Schuh

Vintage Butterick 8043, shoes by Schuh

As you have probably noticed, Mr Ooobop! is very camera-happy at the moment. Which is very handy indeed. And which is why all the pictures are all so daft and posy!

Vintage Butterick 8043

Vintage Butterick 8043

If you haven’t paid a visit to House of Pinheiro yet, you must! Rachel is a very beautiful and talented young lady with lots of inspirational posts to share.

Well, all that remains to be said is a big ‘thank you’ to the wonderful Mr Ooobop! and to the lovely Rachel, without whom this post would have taken a hellofalot longer!

McCalls 2399: the toile

McCalls 2399 the toile

McCalls 2399 the toile

Dress front

Dress front

Back of dress

Back of dress

I recently purchased some vintage patterns and I have been itching to get making them. Work has been full on recently and I haven’t sewn for so long I was really suffering withdrawal symptoms! I started making the toile for McCalls 2399 last week and just finished it this evening. This is my first attempt at a vintage pattern and I must say it has given me a greater sense of achievement than any modern pattern I have attempted.

McCalls 2399 pattern

McCalls 2399 pattern

I love the nostalgic aspect – creating something that was worn in the past, in this case 1970’s. I love the old fashioned instructions and I am really up for learning more techniques so I feel that attempting vintage garments will encourage me to focus on my finishing and give me experience in altering patterns. Because, for sure, women were certainly a different shape in years gone by!

Of the patterns that I bought, this one was probably the simplest but I still learnt some new things along the way:

The bust darts were certainly interesting. I certainly haven’t come across these before!

bust dart pattern

The bust dart

I wasn’t using stretchy fabric so I was very interested in how this would work out! When I pinned it together it did surprisingly stretch to fit… the magic of bias I guess.

pinning the bust dart

Pinning the bust dart

Once seamed, I pinked the edges to help it lie flat. The instructions called for clipping seams but pinking seemed easier.

pinked edges to the bust dart seam

Pinked edges to the bust dart seam

You can see how they worked out here . . .

Side view and bust dart

Side view and bust dart

I will really have to take more time and care in making these darts on the real thing if I want to avoid ‘pointy boob!

This was also the first time I have inserted a side zipper too. And I have to say, not so scary at all. In fact a little easier and more forgiving than the usual back zipper. . . I always seem to place it too far away from the top or too close to the top!

The image on the front of the pattern quite clearly showed a mini length dress – mid thigh to be precise – but even after taking 2 inches off the bottom it was still granny length on me! So I ended up taking another 4 inches off . . . 6 inches in total! I think the models must be at least 7 ft tall!

But here’s a thing. Even though the pattern called for shortening or lengthening at the hem, the whole shape of the dress changes by shortening. It is not so A-line, more straight and shapeless.

Front of dress

Front of dress

So I think I will have to redraft the skirt section of the pattern before I start on the real thing.

Overall I am fairly happy with said toile. I’m glad I saw it through properly to catch any problems along the way before I go chopping into the proper fabric but I am not too hot on the back of the dress. It is kind of shapeless and I am really hoping that with the large print on the fabric I am going to use it will disguise the somewhat sausage shape!

Back of dress full length

Back of dress full length

Having said that, I am not going to be too critical as I am probably just too used to fitted dresses. It is actually a very comfortable dress and will be great for wearing about a hot office in the summer.

Tie-front topstitched

Tie-front topstitched

As for the little tie-front detail, I’ll be damned if I am going to turn these tiny tube laces inside out. I will stick with making them like bias binding and top stitch them, though with smaller stitches and with complimentary thread for the proper version!

Would love to know what you think and any hot tips would be most appreciated!