Saturday, February 28, 2009

Marfy 1640 Top Finished

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We have 4" of snow on the ground, and I just finished a thin, summery top. I'm not usually this far ahead of the season, but it's getting close to time to order Marfy patterns from the new catalog, and I thought I'd better get with it and use one of the ones I already had that I hadn't tried yet. I'm very pleased that I did as I think it turned out quite well.

I was procrastinating on this because I needed to do a major FBA on it, and I was worried about the empire seam being unflattering anyway. Luckily, I decided to do a muslin-method to alter the pattern, and it turned out well. It gave me more of a real look at what the final effect of the changes would be than a flat pattern alteration.

You can see the lines of the pattern here. I ended up adding width to the Side-Front panel at the bustline, and at the CF. I added quite a bit of length as well, which would happen automatically with a regular FBA. Since I added width at the bustline at the side-front/front seamline, I needed to add width to the Side-Back panel too. I ended up taking some of the hip room out again, but only on the right side.

You can see the side and back views below.

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The trickiest part of the construction was the neckline. They only give you a pattern piece for a ribbon to run through the casing, but I knew as soon as I saw it that it was going to need more than that to hold its shape, etc. I used 1" elastic which I secured to the back of the casing only at each end. I then ran 1 1/2" satin ribbon, doubled at the ends, through the casing over the elastic, and secured it invisibly through all layers. I may yet stitch the sides of the doubled ribbon together to make it work as a single layer, but I thought I'd try this first, as the stitching may make it stiff.

The buttons on the pockets and under the tabs are sewn on with backer buttons for strength. I can't imagine I'll ever be unbuttoning them, although they're perfectly functional. I did skip the tiny pocket bags under the tabs.

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Summer Sewing in the Snow

Yes, it's snowing here, and not just a little bit.

I'm just about done with the Marfy #1640 blouse I started recently. I just need to hem it, sew on a couple more buttons and do a few finishing touches. Here's a close-up of the pocket, flap and tab on one side. I think all the details turned out really cute.

Originally I thought I'd have to leave some of the details off, but with my lowered empire seam, it worked out perfectly. The fabric is a very light voile I got from FabricMart last year. I think it's perfect for this design. The print is very large scale and abstract, and there's no question of needing to match it, which makes it all kind of fun and spontaneous.

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You may remember the cabled sweaters I knitted for my brother and one nephew for Christmas 2 years ago, using a pattern from Drops. I am now ready to knit one for the older nephew. I didn't want to do his until he was a little older because he was close to 'growth spurt age' and I wanted this to be wearable for more than a year or two. He's going to get a somewhat oversized sweater anyway, but he'll soon grow into it, I'm sure. Boys don't generally mind wearing things that are a little big anyway. He chose the color, Delta in the same wool I used before, Bendigo's Rustic. Lovely yarn, and I ordered it yesterday. I'll be interested to see how soon it comes because they generally send things very, very quickly.

Wednesday, February 25, 2009

Fit, or Lack of It

I've been following the Fall 2009 RTW shows, and in general I haven't been too thrilled by much of what I've seen. There are a few things I like, but nothing overwhelming. I was looking at a trend report this morning on how the one-shoulder trend seems to be growing, and I saw this close-up of a Calvin Klein look. I was kind of surprised by the big fold in the front where the piece doesn't fit the model at all. It doesn't really look like it is some great design element either, just a poor fit fold. It may have fallen down from where it's supposed to sit on the strapless side, but that's still poor fit.

I don't know that the full length photo makes it much better.

I've always felt like Calvin Klein depended on having very flat-chested, boyish-figured models as there's not much shaping in evidence, and the people you see successfully wearing the designs generally seem to be that body type.

I did like the L'Wren Scott show. Nice, wearable things; mainly dresses, and mainly with sleeves, which seemed very fresh and very ladylike, especially after the years of sleeveless things shown for winter. Here are a few of her dresses.

Dresses are looking very good to me all of a sudden.

I did one of 3 mini-seminars at the local Sewing Guild meeting on Monday. I showed how to do a hand-rolled hem, (the other seminars were on Hand-Picked Zippers and Tailors Invisible Hems) and I provided little chiffon rectangles prepared with machine stitching on the edges so everyone could try it out. They brought their own needle and thread and shears. It turned out to be fun, and I had decided that instead of doing a swatch with the group, I might as well do an actual scarf, and I am still working on finishing it. It's close to half done, and is a pale gray lengthwise-crinkled chiffon with a tiny dot floral print. The lengthwise edges are harder to roll than the ones that go across the grain/crinkles, which surprised me. Not a big problem, but it just takes more determination. It's nice handwork when I'm just sitting around. I suggested to the group that scarves done this way are a great gift idea.

I gave up on the sweater vest. It's the first thing I've just pitched for a very long time. It was too short, and to make it longer in the way it needed to be longer, I would have had to rip most of it back. I think it should have been done in a much drapier yarn, and so it would have only been marginally good had it been longer. I decided to cut my losses and just give it to the Salvation Army. It will work for someone, just not me. I also think if you're planning to make this, and it is a very nice pattern, you should leave the bobbles off on the back. It just looks kind of silly having all those bumps in the back. I had even found something that looked good under it. A fine-gauge men's polo sweater in cream with a CF zipper about 10" long. Maybe I'll find something else I like over it.

I've also been working on a semi-muslin of a Marfy pattern from last spring. It's been an interesting challenge to do a FBA on it. I didn't do a flat-pattern version, but made a muslin and slashed and spread it. One thing that happened was that the underbust seam is lower on my version, which I think I like a lot, as empire lines give me the shelf effect a lot of the time. I need to figure out what to use for the ribbon/tie next. For the blouse itself I'm using a very thin, printed voile and it looks and feels so summery. I think I'm tired of winter. It's going to be 60F today, but then it's supposed to snow again tonight.

Thursday, February 19, 2009


I'm not really shouting at you, but this purse is really orange, and it's really big, too.

I don't think I've ever had an orange bag calling my name before, but this one did.

I just happened to run across a nice purse organizer insert on Monday and bought it figuring it would come in handy. Yesterday, it came in handy. I'm not sure there won't be days when this bag seems a little too 'out there' but for now, it's just what I want.

I finished knitting the Filati vest and did all the finishing on it. It's nice, but I have decided that it needs a little tweaking, and I'm going to try to pick up some stitches and add to the length. I'm hoping it will be a success, but you never know. If it never sees the light of day, it will mean either that it wasn't a success, or that I never got it done. Oh well. I think a drapey yarn would have been a better choice, but if I can get the length it needs, that may do the trick.

Thursday, February 12, 2009

Pajamas Finished

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I finished Pearle's pajamas last night, and I am very pleased with them, except for the very silly mistake I made. Not such a big deal for pajamas, but it irritated me since I was being very careful to do this correctly, and I did it backwards and never noticed until I was ready to do the hem. Sigh. Nothing is ever perfect. He says he doesn't care and wouldn't have noticed, which is very nice. Still, I'm annoyed. In case you haven't figured it out (fond wish) I made the closure the wrong way, right over left. In all the shirts I've made for him, I've never done this before, and I suppose if I had to do it, now was a good time.

Anyway, since it was a very fun project, I'm thinking of making something similar for me. Not the same fabric, since choosing a wild, "wouldn't wear it out of the house" print is half the fun.

I made a few changes to the pattern for both shirt and pants.

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You can see the pants here with the drawstring tied at the top, the button fly at center, and one piped hem cuff at the bottom. This fabric is hard to see details in.

They wanted you to do the fly buttonhole only through the underlayer of the top fly, so it would be a hidden button, but I thought that seemed a bit fiddly to use, and just did a buttonhole through to the top.

I used a rounded buttonhole for this set, and larger buttons than is usual on a shirt.

The waist is supposed to be elastic, but he asked for a drawstring, so I put a piece of elastic between two pieces of drawstring for more comfort.

I also did the CB with a very wide SA, as is usual for men's dress pants, so I have plenty to alter, just in case.

I stitched the CB seam up to the fold point at the top of the waist casing, and left the rest of the seam, which is folded to the inside, unstitched, but placed carefully so it lays as if stitched. This way I can easily do anything necessary to the elastic and drawstring inside. I made 2 buttonholes in the front for the drawstring ends to come out of. The drawstring is quite long, and I will probable cut it off some after a few wearings.

The hem was turned up quite wide, then tucked, with the piping slid in behind the tuck and topstitched. This saved putting on a separate band for the hem, and gives a clean finish inside.

I added a side pocket to the pattern.

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I used no interfacing in the collar or stand, and just did my usual folded placket, which results in self-interfacing.

I trimmed the width of the SA of the piping and tucked it behind the inside edge of the placket and topstitched to hold.

The top of the pocket is piped.

The sleeves end in a separate band, with piping between. I basted the piping to the sleeve, made the band, turning in both long edges, and then topstitched it in place through all layers.

I only put 4 buttons on this shirt, and none on the stand.

All seams are either enclosed and topstitched, or stitched, serged and topstitched. I don't want to have to mend anything for a very long time.

Now you know all my secrets. It was fun to sew this with attention to small details that make things very personalized. I guess it's close enough that I can call this a Valentine's Day gift.

Tuesday, February 10, 2009

Pajamas & Knitting

Pearle asked me to make some pajamas for him, and this is the fabric he chose. I think it's quite neat, and I finished the pants tonight and moved on to the shirt. I'm using his regular shirt pattern, with a few modifications, and piping! The pants are from Burda WOF 12/2006. I knew I remembered that they had a men's pajama pattern some time ago, but it took me a while to find it.

The fabric is from Hancock's, and is a cotton. If you can believe it, the care instructions direct one to 'machine wash warm, line dry.' Well, I hardly think I'm going to line dry 100% cotton fabric for heaven's sake. So, I prewashed and dried, and it really didn't even wrinkle as much as I'd thought it might. I didn't measure for shrinkage, but it was only about 42" wide, and I bought 5 yards, which was just barely enough, with a creative layout.

I also started knitting a vest/top from the Fall/Winter Filati Handknitting magazine. It's an interesting pattern, and I'm done with the back and about 5" into the front. You can see the pattern photo and the pattern stitches here.

Sunday, February 08, 2009

2009 Marfy Catalog

My Marfy catalog came Wednesday, and I've been carefully studying it ever since. I went through it once without marking anything, but taking note of the things that caught my eye, and why, and also of the major trends that seemed to appear. I then went through it again several times, marking likely pattern purchases as well as details to copy. I will probably whittle this list down a little bit yet, but so far this is what I'm thinking about ordering.

First are a couple of dresses that are very interesting, although they are what I'm most likely to skip ordering. They both are on my mind, though. The first one has an intriguing collar. There's also a blouse with this same effect, but on a smaller scale. I think this dress might be better with sleeves as a fall/winter dress, but this is what they are showing.

With the next dress, it's the pockets. The rest of it is fine, but I'm not sure it's really me, and without the pockets, I don't think I'd have looked twice at it, so I'm not sure I should now either, but it stays on my mind.

Of course I have to have a jacket, and I think this one is just darling with the gathering along the front, and the bands.

This duster is so charming, and I was surprised that it was the coat that caught my eye out of the whole catalog. I have quite a few coat patterns already, and even though there's a trench-style coat that I like very much, most of the coat styles aren't anything I feel I must have. I also think they have a new artist and he or she does several very odd coat collars/necklines, or else they have a lot of them that just are odd, which I doubt.

There are two skirts with similar pocket ideas. The one I don't show is more square, and would be easier to just make oneself, but this one is a little trickier. I love the way the pocket swoops on this, and it only has one seam, at CB. That reminds me of a Sandra Kelly skirt pattern I made over and over, and loved.

And finally, when I turned the page and saw this, I knew I had to have it. I've never been one to swoon over jeans-style jackets, but I love the shaped panels in this. I can see it in a pique or cotton brocade, with piping of course for a patterned fabric, or the details would be lost.

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Monday, February 02, 2009

Child's Legwarmers

I still haven't quite decided what to do with my legwarmers, although I agree that flat shoes would be better, etc. They were really fun to knit however, and I thought how cute they would be on a little girl. Then I realized I have a darling little neighbor who just turned 5. How perfect! I gave them to her today, and she and her brother posed for me.

She's planning to wear them to pre-school with a skirt and tights. It's in the '40's now, so it's about the right weather for these with a skirt.

These are just about exactly half-size from the pattern. I CO40 for the ribbing, increased to 42 for the pattern, and did the Back Chart as written, and the Front Chart with 4st. cables instead of 6, and just once through the chart. K2 between the charts. Twice through the Back Chart plus 3 rows.