Tuesday, May 27, 2008

Pair of Gloves is Finished

Photo Link

Here's my finished pair of gloves. Unfortunately, I can't take a photo of them both together unless I'm not wearing them. Here's the front and back of the second one below.

Photo Link

Photo Link

You can compare this glove to the First Glove here.

I made a few changes in the way I did the second one, and I like the finger shape much better. After basting and stitching the thumb and the side seam, I basted the entire rest of the glove and then went back and backstitched each basted seam. This gave me a lot more control over how the finished glove would look. When I inserted the fourchettes, I took a deeper seam allowance than the 1/8" stated because I thought the fingers were a little large and not as graceful as they could have been. I also tapered the fourchettes to a point near the top on each side and then stitched the front and back of the finger together between them. I think one will have to be a little more cautious about the size of the fingers in a woven fabric, but I still think these would be too big around otherwise.

It's also really important to very carefully shape the edges where there's a fold. You're basically making a dart with hand stitching, so you need to taper very gently.
Here's a look at the inside of a finished glove. You can see the stitching, and the iron-on marks. I imagine they'll fade, but they don't show through to the front anyway, so I don't think it's a big problem.

Photo Link

Saturday, May 24, 2008

First Glove is Done

Photo Link

Here's my first glove, and I think it's not bad for a very first try. I used an opaque plaid knit. I placed it on the bias, as you would for a woven fabric. It would have been fine either way, but I thought the plaid would look nicer on the bias. There are definitely some changes and refinements I will make in future, beyond what I already did.

The finger length has to be customized naturally, and one thing I've learned from this is that I have fairly small hands. My sister has such tiny little hands and wrists that I've always thought of mine as large, but apparently not when compared to the average. I had to shorten all the fingers, but the little finger was shortened a lot. I think I will shorten the length between the base of the fingers and the top of the thumb if there is a next pair. This intrigues me since I also have to shorten bodices between the shoulder and the bottom of the armscye. It seems somehow symmetrically related, although I'm not sure it really is.

This was View D, which is the plainest of the 6 views in this vintage pattern. The only difference is in the cuffs. These are just a cut-on cuff, which is nice, and I saw no reason to fuss when I was mainly doing this pair as a test.

There is a lot of handsewing in these. That may seem obvious since they're completely handsewn, but they advise you to baste the seams, then stitch them with a backstitch, then trim the seam allowances and hand overcast. I didn't overcast on these since it's a non-ravelling fabric, but it's still a lot of stitching. It really goes quite quickly though, since the seams are so short.

I'm not completely happy with the shape of the fingertips. This is a tricky part, as you're joining the front and back of the fingers as well as the fourchettes between the fingers. Just now while typing this, I realized what I need to do to make them work much better, and it's not really in the instructions. They're very vague at the point of finger closure. I have some really wonderful Italian leather gloves that are unlined, and beautifully fitted, and the fourchettes are very tapered at the top, and the front and back come together at the top by themselves. I believe I will try this method on the next one, and probably come back and change these. Live and learn.

Here's the palm side.

Photo Link

Here's the inside of the glove after the thumb has been attached and the nips stitched on the back of the hand. You can see the transfer marks and the fact that the fingers have not been individually cut yet.

Photo Link

Thursday, May 22, 2008

Back Again with Gloves

Photo Link

Well, here I am again, and I'm so sorry not to have kept things up to date. I can only blame myself. I have been having a little pity party here and I think I've finally decided to just move along and do what I can. I'm still unable to get to my sewing room, and I am apparently more a creature of habit and familiar surroundings than I had thought. I find myself feeling that I can't do anything until I get to the "right place" to do it. Very silly and very limiting, but innate it seems.

The wisteria has bloomed beautifully. I was so disgusted with the birds who ate about half the buds before they ever came near to opening, and as you can see below, it was a nice show, but nothing like it should have been. This was actually several days ago, and by now it's rained and the wind has blown, and the flowers are looking rather faded besides which the leaves have definitely come forth. There will be flowers throughout the season, but the first bloom, before the vine leafs out completely is always the biggest and best show.

Photo Link

Back to sewing. I'm still working, slowly, on my draped knit dress, and I am pretty happy with it so far. I don't have any photos yet, but I will remedy that soon I hope. I'm still sewing it all by hand, and it's slow going, yet I am enjoying it. I'm to the point of sewing the sleeve seams, which are at the top of the arm, continuing from the shoulder seams. I haven't cut off the extra sleeve length yet, and so have my options open. I think it's going to end up being long sleeves, and then I can push them up to 3/4 if I like, which I usually do.

I had a sudden flash the other night. I was considering what handwork I should be doing, besides the knitting that's coming along well, and I suddenly recalled the glove pattern from EvaDress that I got quite recently. It's meant to be hand-sewn, with 1/8" seam allowances. What could be more perfect for my present situation? I began to read the instructions, and noted that there are many, many markings that must be transferred accurately to the fabric, and that some of the cutting is done only after completing part of the stitching. This is to control ravelling. It also said that the original pattern was actually a hot iron transfer. I thought this sounded like just the ticket, and googled around until I found that Sulky makes hot iron transfer pens. I ordered from Joggles very late on Monday and received my order today! 3 day delivery is nothing to sneeze at. Here's my loot.
Photo Link Of course I couldn't stop at just the transfer pens. I got a brown and a white. (I had wanted yellow, but it wasn't available.) I also ordered some Iris pins, some milliner's needles for the Rucci 'worms', and a yard of heavyweight buckram to test for a few things I have in the back of my mind.

I am thinking of trying a knit fabric for my first pair of gloves (said with great confidence!) since jersey is one of the recommended fabrics, along with several woven fabrics. I think dispensing with the ravelling problem while trying the pattern might be helpful. The pattern notes that these are Dressmaker Gloves, and are meant to fit rather loosely. It should be interesting. I have a pair of vintage gloves in a transparent fabric that remind me of these, and they are a little loose fitting, so perhaps that's what they are too.

Monday, May 05, 2008

I've Been Tagged

Mardel tagged me for the Book Meme.

1. Pick up the nearest book.
2. Turn to page 123
3. Find the fifth sentence
4. Post the next three sentences.
5. Tag five people and acknowledge who tagged you.

I must admit that the nearest book was Iris Apfel, Rare Bird of Fashion, but page 123 was one of the many photo pages, and had no text at all.

So, the second book I laid hands on was a new mystery from Jo Dereske called Index to Murder, A Miss Zukas Mystery.

"Sometimes in abandoned places, too." He nodded in the direction of Meriwether's crumbling home.
Helma cast one last look at the burl high in the tree and began slowly but purposefully walking back toward the house and shop. The others followed her, as she knew they would, compelled by human instinct.

If you like mysteries and you haven't read the Miss Zukas books, you need to start. The main character is a librarian, and the writing is just delightful. As a librarian friend said when we were discussing the difficulties of finding not-too-gory, not-too-creepy, and not-too-sexy books for one's mother or similar persons, "Oh yes, what you want are books that everyone can enjoy". So now my sister and I use this description when looking for books for our mother, who's a very picky, yet voracious reader.

And now, for my victims I will tag Barbara, Gaile, Patty, Charity and Mimi.

Good Things Come....

...to those who wait. For the mailman and the UPS driver, apparently. Yes, it's another episode of Sewing By Mail. I was very pleased to get not one, not two, but 3 sewing publications in the mail this morning, and this afternoon a box appeared on the porch from FabricMart! What more could a girl hope for? Time to sew, perhaps.

Photo Link

Clockwise from Lower Left, the fabrics and my tentative plans for them:

Cotton knit with fish print - summer tank.
Pink iridescent knit-back vinyl - rain jacket.
Turquoise and Gray-Lavender silk - bazaar scarves.
Rose print light cotton poplin - dress?

Burda WOF May 2008
Piecework May 2008
FSG Newsletter May/June 2008

I haven't even had time to do more than read through the newsletter, but I hope to take a good look at the magazines tonight.

And finally, heralding the actual arrival of Spring, the first wisteria raceme of the year is beginning to bloom.

Photo Link

I've been waiting anxiously for the wisteria to bloom this spring. Last year the buds got caught in a late freeze before they could open and with the wild swings of temperature we've had this year, I was afraid it would happen again. So far, so good, except the sparrows and cardinals have decided that the buds are their favorite thing. I wondered what they were doing when I saw them working at them, but hoped they were getting ants or something, but no, they grab a bud and rip it off and eat it! The cardinal I can almost put up with doing this, but the sparrows can eat something else. There seem to be a lot of flowers left though, so I am still hoping for a large bloom. This is the first raceme to open so far. It's been way ahead from the early stages although I can't imagine why. It is probably the furthest southwest of all the flowers. Somehow I doubt that's it.

Sunday, May 04, 2008

More Draping

No photos in this post I'm afraid, but I thought I'd just do a quick update on my draping progress. I decided I really like the back, but it didn't go with the wrap style of the front. I spent a lot of time thinking about what the front should look like, and taking quick looks at my draping so far to refresh my memory, and then thinking some more.

I finally came up with something I'm very pleased with. So far, anyway. It's a very plain front, with a V-neck and a plain seam at CF up to the V. I pinned the seam, making sure that the knit hung evenly and on grain. I then tried it on as far as it was done, and asked Pearle for an opinion. He thought it looked very nice, especially when I told him it wasn't going to have a bare upper back. So far, so good, except I realized something when I tried it on and looked in the mirror that I hadn't noticed at all when it was on the form. One side (the original overlap side) was on the lengthwise grain, and the other side was on the crosswise grain. It actually worked very well since this is a crinkled, 2-layer knit, and it could be a cute design detail if there was an obvious difference between the two grains, but this just looked like a mistake once you noticed it.

I re-draped the crosswise grain side, and re-pinned the CF and CB seams. Tonight I stitched those seams by hand, and they appear to be fine. BeeBee had the worst time machine sewing this same fabric, and I had quite a time doing some hand basting at first. I wasn't using a large needle by any means, but getting it through several layers of this was really tough. Thank goodness for a very good thimble. So I changed to a very fine needle, a size 10, and had no trouble going through 2 layers for permanent stitching. I think I may have saved myself a lot of trouble by doing this, and at the moment it's easier for me to hand stitch than to get to my machine and do much of anything.

Tomorrow I hope to put the dress back on the form and start working on the back. I'm thinking it would be very nice to have the sleeves incorporated with the back, and I can see how it would be fairly easy to do so.

We watched the Kentucky Derby today, and it was a very exciting race won by Big Brown, but what a sad occurrence just afterward. If you didn't see it, Eight Belles came in second, and after passing the finish line, she suddenly had 2 broken front ankles. Seems this kind of thing happens more and more, although perhaps it really doesn't, it's just so awful when it does that one remembers it vividly. We go to the races locally quite often, and 2 years ago there seemed to be more than their fair share of horse injuries during races. Our local season starts again in a few weeks I believe. I always get a lot of knitting done at the races, so I hope we'll be going often. We're usually able to run out for a few races at least, a few times a week, and it's quite a nice break.