Monday, September 04, 2006

Catching up on hidden unfinished sewing projects

This is the time of year that I pack away my summer wardrobe and dig out the fall and winter items. So this weekend I began clearing from my closet the white pants and skirts, the pink tees and shoes, and the lightweight jackets with the beautiful summer prints.

That carried into my sewing room and sewing projects. I'm anxious to begin sewing some of the new patterns I've purchased recently. However, I decided it was time to finish the many unfinished sewing projects that have been buried in my closet. First up - a pair of pants.

I had a pair of pants cut from this pattern - Simplicity 5202, c. 2004 - that I managed to complete. The color is a beautiful deep chocolate brown, but the fabric is actually fairly lightweight and drapey. Probably a rayon blend and to be honest, I have no idea why I would have chosen to sew pants from this fabric. It would have had great movement made up into a skirt.

I did eliminate the slit at the center front of the pants as well as the beltloops. I also needed to sew a lapped zipper since I didn't have an invisible zipper on hand that would work for this pair of pants. I usually try and avoide lapped zipper applications. This time I referenced one of Sandra Betzina's Power Sewing books and I must say, this is the best lapped zipper I've ever installed.

And speaking of Sandra Betzina, the next item I sewed was from one of her patterns.

It was a Sandra Betzina skirt pattern - Vogue 7333, c. 2000, that I began nearly five years ago. When I first sewed the skirt together, it was too large, so I took the side seams in and then set it aside to be lined. After I finally got around to purchasing the lining, I had gained weight and needed to let the seams out again. Now the lining pieces were too small, so I set it aside again. I pulled it out again this weekend and - yea! - I needed to take it in again. I eliminated the lining altogether, finished the waist area with a facing and hemmed it up.

The fabric is a stretch faux suede with an allover embroidered design. The skirt will look great with a pair of high heeled boots! Now it was time to finish a jacket.


I had begun this jacket at the end of the winter season last year. It is Simplicity 4698, c. 2004 - one of the patterns Simplicity offers that has separate patterns pieces included for B, C, and D cups. I was enticed by the thought of not having to do a FBA.

I managed to sew the front and back together last winter, but put it aside when I realized that the lining pieces provided were for a partially lined jacket. The fabric I had chosen was a loose woven plaid. The fabric, combined with a close(tight) fit meant it had to be completely lined or I would risk too much stress on the seams.

This weekend I cut out the full lining and worked on finishing the jacket. I really thought it would be a quick no brainer jacket.

Oh my - the problems I ran into. The jacket has very little ease and the fabric I choose is not one I should have used for this style. It is loosely woven and ravels something fierce! I made view A (collar, lapels and 3 button front closure) and the fabric is more suited for view C (no collar, one button front closure). To make matters worse, I was tired when I was sewing the collar together and I sewed it on upside down ... twice!

For some reason I hadn't cut out the sleeves last year so I painstakingly matched the notches so that the plaid would match in the front. Oops, another reason not to sew when you're tired. What I did was match the plaid so that the notch on the back of the sleeve matched perfectly with the notch on the front of the jacket. So, unless I could wear a jacket with the sleeves set in backwards, there would be no nice plaid match on this one. (Maybe I can just pretend its ready-to-wear.)

There were so many times this jacket screamed "forget about me, throw me away, sew something else." But I really like the colors in the fabric and the jacket will look great with the pants I completed earlier.
(Edit - added photo) I'll be happy to show you the jacket, but tonight Blogger doesn't want to add any more pictures.
At this point all that is left to do is add buttonholes, buttons and hem the jacket and sleeves. But I'm leaving it for another day. A day when I am well rested and the struggle with this jacket is but a dim memory.

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Sunday, September 03, 2006

Update on the Butterick 4849 dress

I changed my mind on the midriff band. The dress really needs some contrast there to help show the lines of the dress. I dug in my stash and found a small piece of black velvet - enough to use for the band. The next step was to sew the skirt pieces together and attach them to the top portion of the dress.

I left the center back seam open so I could insert an invisible zipper. As I was sewing in the zipper, when I came to the midriff band I realized that I had neglected to verify if the bands matched up in the back. Since I was almost done putting the zipper in, I decided to finish it and rip it out if the bands didn't match up. As soon as I finished the last stitch, I zipped it closed and breathed a sigh of relief. A perfect match!


I still haven't decided on what to put on the neck bands, so I will put the dress aside while I wait for something to catch my eye.

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