Monday, November 10, 2014

Jacket – self drafted

I’m still going to class working on pattern drafting. The past weeks I worked on a pattern for a jacket, inspired by a Marfy pattern. It is a complicated pattern and it was not an easy task to make it. I’m very happy with the result though.

My version of the jacket has princess seams on front and back, one dart in the front (not continuing below the pocket), no side seam, welt pockets and notched collar. The original has a flap in the pocket, two darts and probably bound buttonholes.

After all work on the pattern drafting constructing the jacket was not very difficult, I’ve made quite a lot of jackets before and I decided not to use tailoring techniques, speeding up the process of construction a bit too.


The jacket on me, it’s difficult to take pictures with the sun giving such strong shadows and changing the color. Inside is not a real alternative, the light there is not good either in November.

I think the back could use a tiny bit of extra space at the hip. Otherwise the fit is quite good. The fabric I bought when meeting my sewing friends Pauline and Clare about two years ago. It’s a great quality for a jacket in a nice brown (not my usual color, I have to make one or two skirts to go with this).

For this jacket I made a muslin first and it needed almost no alterations, something I can’t say for commercial patterns. I want to make another jacket soon to see/feel the difference of another amount of ease (this one has only 6 centimeters bust ease, I wanted a fitted jacket). It takes a bit more time in the drafting phase, but for me that time is well spent as it did not take me 2 or 3 muslins to get where I wanted.


A few details: the roll line for the collar, the sleeve and the lining. The collar was made using a Threads article by Jan Schoen. This article on their website describes this method.

Tuesday, October 28, 2014

Bra copy finished

First of all I must add the information Monika from LaMona gave in the comment on my previous post. She said she always takes the underwire from a bra before copying. That way the cup parts can be traced flat easily. I just had not thought about doing that and initially did not want to do anything to my new rtw bra, not even taking out the tack securing the wire. But in the end I did and there was a small difference to the cup I traced with and without wire. Not a lot but in bra making it is about small changes making a difference. So my advise would be: if you can, remove the wire and then trace.


For the bra I used a remant of the lace that Pauline gave me as a gift about two years ago. I made a bra from it then and there was just enough left for this one. It’s not symmetrical. I placed the red flowers at the same spot to create a synmetrical image

The back on the dressform looks about the same as it does on me. In the pattern piece the center back is almost vertical, while wearing it the shape forms automatically. I used a 2 eye/hook closure, not having any 1 eye/hook closures like the original in my stash.

Also I would have like bows that are a bit larger, but to go to Kantje Boord for bows only….


A few details of the finished item.

And a few finishing details. The under and side cups are interfaced with a non stretch tule. At the seam with the lace upper cup I did not fold the seam this time, but used a narrow elastic and stitched that first to the seam on the edge of the stitchline, then trimmed the seam and topstitched from the right side. I think this is a very neat finish. There was no need for elastic but it was the only material at hand and I used it without stretching.



The band was made of a firm elastic material that is sold here as powernet, just like the original, which does not have lycra in the band as well. The part beside the cup is interfaced with the same non-stretching tule that is the interfacing for the cups. Basically the only stretch is from  the part of the band that has only one layer of fabric.



Did everything go smoothly? Of course not, there is no project without using a seam ripper ;) But at the end I had to make another change.

When the bra was almost finished I tried it on and noticed a difference. The bridge was too wide. Wearable but just not completely right. Then I talked to my friend Valerie, who sews lingerie too and she wondered whether it might be the hole in it. I had already sean that the hole was a bit bigger than the original but now found out it made it stretch more. Below you cna see the difference in my version and the original. I solved the problem by sewing the center of the bridge together by hand. It makes such a difference!


There will be more bra’s from this pattern in the future.

Friday, October 24, 2014

Copying a rtw bra

This summer I bought my first rtw bra in many years, I blogged about a copy of that one here. As a “treat” to myself I bought another rtw bra from another brand. It has quite a different shape in the cups and also the wires are longer. I’ve tested it during a long walk and it was very, very comfortable. Certainly worth to make a pattern from it. I thought it might be worthwhile to share how I did this without taking the bra apart.
I used a flat foam board in which pins can be placed. On top of the foam I placed a sheet of paper.
On that I pinned the bra part I wanted to copy, making sure the elastic was stretched, but the lycra fabric was not stretched more than the original part. That is something to really be careful about.
Surprise for me in this bra was the narrow hook and eye closing and the almost vertical line center back. I would never have tried a one hook/eye closure by myself, but it does work (for me).
Then I marked the edges of the part by placing pinmarks along the part (remember the little child in you that did this as a 4-5 year old?)

After taking away the bra connect the dots and that part is copied.
A little trick was necessary (at least in my case) to copy the under cup. This would not lay flat in one piece. I basted a more or less straight line and copied it in two parts. When traced the straight line was not as straight as I thought, but the pieces nicely fit together after copying.

(Added: LaMona suggested in the comments taking out the wire. The cup parts can be laid flat without wire. That is a very good suggestion and if you can take it out, I advise you to do so)

Unfortunately not all pictures of this were clear enough to post, but I hope the method might be helpful.
I’m working on a lot of things at the same time, because of the drafting that I’m doing in a class as well. This bra will probably the first in line to finish, followed by the coat.

Friday, October 3, 2014

A day out

A non sewing related post. Today, October 3 was still a very nice late summer day here with a very nice temperature and a lot of sunshine. I visited my daughter, who since last year lives in the city of Utrecht, a very nice town in the center of the Netherlands. As in all cities here that have universities, there are a lot of bicycles. No street without and they are parked everywhere.
In the morning I helped my daughter with some special cleaning tasks because of allergies. But after that task was done we treated ourselves to a nice bike ride and picknick lunch in a park. A real treat on a such a lovely day.


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Tuesday, September 23, 2014

Pocket flaps

I have not sewn a lot on my coat this week, only did the pocket flaps. There is another garment finished, but the photos are horrible. I will have to wait for daylight photos for that one. For the sake of photos it’s a shame that I make so many black garments.


This is one of the fnished flaps, it’s uneven by design. The left side is a bit shorter.


During construction I made the lining a tiny bit smaller, shown very well by Kenneth D. King in his Craftsy class on pockets. Before pressing you can see clearly the lining is smaller, the flap won’t lie flat.


The pocket flap after pressing, the seam of the fashion fabric is pressed to the back. In this way you will not see the lining on the side at all.


Wednesday, September 17, 2014

Slow progress

Making a coat is not a quick, instant gratification project. It’s more likely a project taking a few weeks. This of course depends of the amount of time you have for sewing in a day. During the week that is not too much for me, but I try to do a bit most days.

In the past weekend I basted all the seam lines, pinned the front, side and back together and decided on a bit more waist shaping.

The next step is interfacing the front and that’s mainly done now. I’m using methods from my favorite book on jacket construction (Tailoring, the classic guide to sewing the perfect jacket), which I wrote about a few times before. It describes the classic interfacing construction, the machine stitched variation and the fusible method. This time I opted for the second one, machine stitched interfacing. It also has a shoulder reinforcement. The shaping darts are pressed open and catch stitched to the interfacing. On the good side of the fabric only the straight stitches on the strips at the edges are visible. They are in the seam allowance though so won’t be visible later.

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A few questions that were not answered yet (sorry, I’m not always good at answering in the comments, though of course I read them, will try to do better)

Where do I get my lingerie fabric and notions? Mostly from Kantje boord in Amsterdam. Another source is, an ebay store from a lady based in Rotterdam. My last bra (black and white) was made from one of her kits.

Do I know any courses to take (asked by Anna from Maastricht): I took courses in the past and have learned a lot by doing and experimenting. My courses were all in the Randstad, so no help to anyone living in Maastricht. There is a Dutch  lingerie forum you could ask for recommendations.

Which pattern did I use for my bra: The last one was a knock off, so no pattern used.

A facebook page was mentioned but I’m one of the few people that is not (yet?) on Facebook. There is only so much time in a day….

What is the fabric for the skirt? I don’t know the actual contents. There is certainly a man-made fibre in it. It feels like a viscose/cotton. Here is a detail picture.

Friday, September 12, 2014

Next project – a coat

After a lot of hesitation I decided a coat will be my next project. It’s not more complicated than a jacket, as one or two commenters said when I was deliberating what to sew two weeks ago, but it’s heavy, warm and still a lot of work. If I start it now, it will be ready by the time the weather calls for a warm coat. To be honest, I hope it’s ready and it will still take a while to wear it. I’ll be showing the steps I take (though not a tutorial) here, so if you feel like sewing a winter coat (Lilian?) perhaps you’re starting too. Sewing an hour or so each day will get it done….


This is the pattern, BurdaStyle 6845’. I’m using view A only shortened the pattern by 20 centimeters, which makes it about 10 centimeters longer than view B. Tonight I constructed the under collar, based on the instructions in Kenneth King’s course The fly front coat on Craftsy. I loved to watch this course. I will not make the coat of the class but Kenneth’s instructions can be applied to other coats as well and he’s always giving tips during construction.

My order of construction is perhaps strange, as I start with the collar which will be attached to the coat much later . This fabric is rather thick and I want to be sure that it works properly for what I want, which is the reason I started with the collar. Then I would know, prior to cutting the whole coat, how this fabric behaves and whether it would work for this pattern. I’m not short of fabric and I could choose another pattern if needed.

The under collar is interfaced with hair canvas, which is cut on the bias and stitched on the grain to the under collar. This pattern has a collar in two parts, so I applied the same technique to the small part that will be sewn to the neckline later. After sewing the seams the bulk is reduced at the crossing points and the seams are edgestitched. After stitching the hair canvas to the collar the seam allowances are cut off, which means no extra fabric/bulk.

Next step is construction of the upper collar and sew that to the under collar.

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