Wednesday, October 22, 2008

Digs: A rethink?

So, fall is all around us, and it's starting to feel cold. Still, I haven't progressed much beyond my two muslins. I decided that my little coral coloured McCall's can wait till spring. By the time I finish it, it'll be too cold to wear it!

The big Siege of Stalingrad will have to get done, but it seems such a huge project! I hate the thought of tackling it. And it's such a SERIOUS coat - black with grey pinstripe.... that coat's never going to have any fun.

So today, looking for instant gratification, I made a little fall number from Burda 7856, view A, to cheer me up.

This is the easiest garment I ever tackled. I picked the size based on the finished bust width (10 had tons of room for me, I have a suit jacket under the coat in the photos here and it still feels roomy), cut, sewed - well no, it sewed itself. I made no adjustments for my height - it's a little longer than on the model, but I like it that way. Because it's wide across the middle I thought it would make me look like the pillsbury doughboy, but surprisingly no, it's cute. I love the big, wide open collar; I also love that this project was practically free: I used a piece of wool coating (woven in black & red giant herringbone, very geometric) I'd bought a thousand years ago to serve as a bedspread/blanket. It's been begging me for another life for years.... Love it - bouncy tough stuff, I felt it needed no interfacing anywhere, but I did interface the under collar. The lining, a silk jacquard with a Christmas motif, and the interlining, a soft knit poly fleece, were Fabric Mart freebies. No design changes except cutting the upper back on the bias, and adding cuffs to the sleeves just for the fun of it. It's SO much easier to "fire all torpedos, full speed ahead" when the fear of wrecking some pricey and delicate piece of cloth doesn't enter the picture.

I've been wearing it since last week, and am happy to report the interlining is keeping my core warm even though the coat's too short to do much for my legs. The oversize beret's a hit: DH said, "it's very Left Bank", and my little son's been stealing it every night! He's asked for one for himself: so that'll be this weekend's project.

The photos, btw, are courtesy of the first snowfall of the season, 11 cm overnight, even before the leaves are off all of our trees. We Canucks DO love our weather.

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

Mary OK: Bound Buttonholes

I have spent the last 3 weeks or so learning how to make bound buttonholes. I looked at the references Marji provided, but found this resource to be the easiest for my fumbly fingers.

Susan Huxley. Sewing Secrets from the Fashion Industry.
Search for bound buttonholes to see the text on pp. 92-94. (I LOVE Amazon's book reader!)

left, buttonhole test for center front
below right, buttonhole test for sleeve vent
buttons from G Street Fabrics, Rockville store

Question: are the cf buttonholes long enough?

Use the sharpest marking pencil you can find. I used a plain white Crayola colored pencil to draw the lines on the interfacing.

The directions call for 1" strips of bias or straight fabric. The melton fabric seemed to need a little more for turn of cloth. For the center front buttonholes, I used strips 1 and 1/8" wide. For the sleeve vent, the strips are just a hair over 1 " wide.

Use a fine silk basting thread. The finest thread gives the least room for error. Stitch all basting lines by machine and measure before AND after stitching. Do it over if there is even a hair of difference.

Baste the cut folded edges together to keep them from opening out.

Start stitching from the same end of the buttonhole, for both top and bottom.

Count your stitches! Use the same number of stitches top and bottom for all buttonholes.

Check the back -- Make sure your stitching lines are parallel to each other and absolutely straight. Do over if needed.

When you line up the little triangle to stitch over the lips, center it perfectly over the lips. If you don't, the lips may come out uneven on the front.