Friday, February 20, 2015

Shortening jacket sleeves with a vent

Recovered post, originally posted 5 November 2014

Yesterday I shortened the sleeves on a coat that had a vent and non-working buttons, i.e. The buttonholes were not cut. This is a complex process, and I thought I would explain how I do it.
I don't touch shortening (tailored) jacket sleeves from the top because there is usually a lot of 'engineering' there that is difficult to unpick and reinstate. Sometimes there is a sleevehead, and sometimes the body and body lining are attached to the sleeve and bound before the sleeve lining is handstitched in place. Anyway, the whole thing is prone to error and looking nasty. Providing the amount to be shortened is not too much, shortening from the cuff end is much easier and looks fine.
Before I start, I mark the new hem length with tacking (basting) stitches, being careful not to stitch through the lining.
When you shorten jacket sleeves this way, you will need to remove all the buttons and the fake buttonholes and the stitching for the vent edge to be able to turn the new cuff up. Before taking the buttons off, measure the position of the first button from the seam and the cuff, and also the distance between the buttons, so you can resew them in the equivalent position when reattach them. Also measure the amount the cuff is being shortened so you know how much fabric to cut off the sleeve (and the lining).
Go in through the underarm seams even though it feels like you could just separate the lining from the sleeve at the cuff. Usually one of these seams is stitched last after the jacket was bagged, but open both up because it is less stress on the jacket.
It is usually easier to undo the buttonhole stitching from the inside as they are sewn with a special stitch that can be unchained from the back.
Add new interfacing to provide support to the fabric at the marked length. Don't forget to interface a little further up under where the buttons will go.
Since the sleeve tapers towards the cuff, you will need to renew the non-vent seam in the new hem to angle outwards, to allow the hem fabric to lie flat. Then you can work out where to resew the vent stitching. Sometimes there is a mitre seam on the overlap side, so use pressing and pins to work out where to put the new one. This sometimes needs to be at a different angle to the original.
I usually don't bother with new fake buttonholes as they really aren't noticeable, but if you want to make new ones, use the measurements for button placement that you made at the start. Just sew them onto one fabric layer as they will be fakes - if you are shortening, the extra layer needed for working buttonholes just won't be there.
Trim the lining fabric by the same amount you are shortening the sleeve. I usually find I need to resew the lining seam with narrower seam allowances at the cuff end to match the width of the hem edge.
Sew the lining to the cuff as you do when bagging a jacket, by pinning the two edges together as they will be worn, then passing them through the open lining seam. Catch the hem in place at the seams (or hemstitch all round).

Resew the buttons in place at the measured positions but not through the lining.
Finally topstitch the lining seams closed.

Craftsy class review

Recovered post, originally posted 3 November 2014

I spent some sofa time yesterday viewing the Craftsy class "Improve Your Knitting: Alternative Methods & Styles" taught by Patty Lyons.

This is a comprehensive class covering the different ways you can knit, picking, throwing and Portugese, Western, Eastern or combination, and how to knit and purl backwards.

Despite having learned much (but by no means all) of this material on my own before viewing this class, I really feel I got a lot out of it. It is extremely well structured and presented. The material is very clearly demonstrated and filmed, and well explained.

I am certain I will go back to it often as a refresher when I want to use a less often called for technique.

Monday, January 26, 2015

This week in crafting

Recovered post, originally posted 2 November 2014
Here is the rest of the week's daily crafting.

Wednesday 29th
I received some fabric from Croft Mill, and pre-washed it all.
From top to bottom:
Brown cotton corduroy, because I need more brown trousers.
Black jersey to make teeshirts for DH.
Black cotton 'linen look', also for trousers, this may wait for spring.
An exceedingly ugly ponte roma print, very cheap, to use for toiles probably, though it may be rescued by overpainting.
Thursday 30th
I made another square for my Teal Crayons jacket.
Friday 31st
I returned to the striped Noro waistcoat I started quite a while ago. The stripes had become undefined as the two balls of yarn I was using had begun to have the same colour order, so I ripped out a few rows and broke one of the strands, reversing the end I was knitting from. I then started knitting again and got back to the length I had previously reached. I need to do another 5 or 6 inches before making the 2nd armhole.

Angel dress draft

Rescued post, originally posted 11 August 2012

I have posted a new tutorial on the Free Tutorials section of my website. It contains instructions for drafting and sewing what I call my Angel Dress. The drafting instructions are for either using Garment Designer, or for drawing a pattern based on an A-line dress pattern with set in sleeves.

The finished dress looks like this:

Saturday, January 24, 2015

Another Me Made Monday

Originally posted Tuesday, November 25, 2014
Today's Me Made Monday (#mmmproutfit is not exciting, but it is cozy and comfortable. It is an animal print fleece top from a self drafted pattern, and another pair of my self drafted trousers in black corduroy.

The top is copied from a favourite garment. I have made 4 in fleece and one in boiled wool, and two full length fleece versions to use as winter caftans (instead of dressing gowns).

The trousers unfortunately shrank in the wash, despite pre-washing the fabric.When I let them down, even with the full width of the hem they were still too short, so I used an old plastic toothed zip as an edging.

Friday, January 23, 2015

Two cowl necked top designs

Rescued post - originally posted 3 November 2011

Here are two interpretations of the term 'cowl neck top' using Garment Designer

Cowl Neck Top – Type A, a bias draped cowl at the front.

I decided to use a contoured top with cap sleeves, so I picked these options. The semi-fitted Top Style is the least fitted of the contoured options. 

Top Group: Contoured Top Style: Semi-Fitted Shoulder: Sloped Neck Group: Boat Neck Style: Modified Darts: None Sleeve Group: Cap Cap Style: Angled

As I consider the waist and hip still a little too fitted, I selected those segments and moved them to a more pleasing position. I also made the cap not so wide, and the armhole shallower. I also raised the shoulder point slightly.

To make the cowl, I selected the centre front neck point and dragged it outwards to make the neckline longer. (Not forgetting to turn off F/B symmetry before doing this.) I also used the curve control points on the neck to straighten it out. Then I selected the centre hem point and dragged it slightly out, and downwards to increase the centre front length. I used the hem curve control points to make the hemline a better shape.

To complete the pattern piece, I created a facing for the neckline. When printing the pattern, print the pages with the facing a second time and cut it out separately, then flip it over and attach it to the neck edge so it forms an extension to the pattern piece. It will make a V shape at the shoulder. You may want to cut this out so it is wider at the centre front rather than parallel to the neckline for its whole length, as the inside of the neckline may show when worn.

When you cut out the fabric, the centre front should be cut so it is on the bias, NOT the straight grain, or the cowl will not drape correctly. (Unless of course you are using a knit fabric)

(Unfortunately, this pattern adaptation only works for sewing. I think you should be able to knit something with the front in one piece, but as the centre front is not at 45 degrees to the vertical, it is not possible to generate shaping instructions for this pattern piece with the centre front as a vertical line. There may be a way of doing this by moving the points for the shoulder and side seam instead, but I have not worked this out. )

It is the dragging of the neck point out and down, then cutting it on the bias, that creates the cowl, so here is a picture of an alternative cowl neck garment to give you the idea.

Cowl Neck Top – Type B, an exaggerated roll collar.

For this, I am going to look at the neckline only. For this reason I am not displaying the sleeve, but of course you will want to include it if you are creating a sleeved garment.

I selected a round neckline, and opted for the Wide Deep style. From the Extras menu I selected to have collars Joined At Back. This activates the Collar Group selection boxes. I changed the Collar Group to Full Roll.

The bottom edge of this collar will fit the neckline. I want a much deeper collar, so I selected the neck edge and moved it downwards until I got the collar depth I wanted. (You should display dimensions to help with this, but I have left them off to make the pictures easier to see.)

To make the outer edge looser, drag the outer points outwards.

For sewing, I would cut this double with the outer edge along a bias fold. Although the Full Roll collar is not available in a ‘joined at the front version, I would use a back seam for the collar. Do not make the outer edge too large or the collar will look strange.

For knitting, I wouldn’t use the shaping instructions as generated, as this will produce a strange neckline shape. Instead, I would look at the number of stitches to be increased from the neck to the outer edge, and the number of rows deep. I’d then decide how many increase points around the circumference of the neck, and divide the number of stitches to be increased by this, to determine how many increase rows I would need. For example, if I need to increase 36 stitches, and I decide to have 6 increase points, I would need to increase 6 stitches evenly around the row 6 times. With 30 rows, my increases would need to be every 5 rows (probably starting on row 2 or 3 then every 5th row 5 more times, then straight to row 30.

Thursday, January 22, 2015

A me-made outfit - faux sheepskin waistcoat etc.

Rescued post - originally posted 30 October 2014

Those days when I don't achieve much are rather boring so maybe a weekly roundup would be better.
On another note I have decided to include some of the things I have made in the hiatus.
This picture shows me wearing a frankentee made from a plain and a striped blue teeshirt, a pair of elastic waist corduroy trousers, and a faux sheepskin waistcoat.
The waistcoat uses the Sewing Workshop E-shrug pattern. I needed to increase the size of the pattern to fit me, and since I was using left-over fabric, I divided the pattern to give it side seams and a back yoke.
I used a horn button on the 'skin' side, and a wooden one on the pile side. The loops are strips of the fabric folded pile side in and top stitched. I trimmed the pile shorter to get it to lie flatter.
The seams are sewn with the 'skin' sides together, then folded back, top stitched open, and trimmed close to the stitching. I found this looked better than having the pile exposed in the seams, as the backing showed. The hems are simply turned and topstitched to match the seams. I trimmed the pile on the corners to make them less bulky.

Tuesday, January 20, 2015

Chiffon Jacket With Dramatic Shawl Collar

Recovered Post - Originally posted 14 November 2011

Someone recently asked me about this chiffon draped jacket, so I thought I would put together a tutorial on how to create a similar garment using Garment Designer. 
I started with a Standard Top, using the Oversized style with Sloped shoulders. The neck is Shawl Collar, Basic Shawl. I used sloped shoulders. The sleeves are Attached, Kimono 2. 
I first adjusted the curve of the kimono sleeve to get a smoother line where the sleeve joins the body by nudging the curve control points. 
Before going any further, I switched off F/B symmetry. I also checked my dimension units in the Project Options – I will be using Inches, Decimal for this project. 
To make a deep inverted box pleat at the centre back, I selected the centre back seam and added an Extension of 3 inches. 
I then switched my attention to the centre front, moving the centre front seam outwards to make a very wide collar. I displayed dimensions so I could watch how wide I was making it, adding 15in to the width of the hem. The shawl collar became a very strange shape but I ignored this for the moment. 
I checked the seam length of the back neckline and the collar, then made the neckline vertical by moving the point at the top of the collar, keeping the seam length the same. (I got a warning message during this operation to remind me that the two seamlines needed to be the same.) 
I then adjusted the collar itself to give me a straight front edge and a right angle at the top. This involved moving both ends and both control points for the shawl collar. 

I decided I wanted the length of the jacket a little lower than my hipline so I adjusted the Top Length to 32. I dragged the bottom point of the centre front down to get the dramatic point at the bottom of the collar. 
I added seam allowances all round both pattern pieces – I will make a folded and topstitched edge around the edges. As the pattern pieces are so wide, there will need to be a centre back seam. Before trimming the back neckline from the printed pattern, remember to fold the box pleat in place behind the neckline and trim all 3 layers together 

I used French seams on my chiffon, though this isn’t suitable for the back neck/collar seam. This can be clipped then bound with a bias strip instead. 
Sew in this order: 

  • Two fronts at the centre back of the collar.

  • Stay stitch and clip the corners where the collar meets the front shoulder.

  • Make a tuck in the collar at right angles to the centre back seam This is 2in wide, i.e. 1in finished width, and is centred 3 ¼ in from the back neck edge of the collar. (You can use a facing on this line to mark the position if desired). It should extend across the back neck and about 2 in in front of the shoulder.

  • Two backs down the back.

  • Two backs at the centre back to waist level, making the box pleat. The box pleat is sewn together to about waist level, but is supported from the neckline rather than trimmed away.

  • Sleeve/shoulder/back neck, catching the box pleat and the bias strip into the back neck seam.

  • Underarm/side.

  • Sew loops on the front points at the hem, and put buttons on the centre of the shoulders to allow for draping of the fronts.

Friday, January 16, 2015

Yesterday's achievements

Recovered post - originally posted 29 October 2014

Additional squares for teal crayon box jacket
I decided that this jacket was too short, and that is why I have hardly worn it in the nearly 2 years since it was finished. Since I have lots of leftover yarn, I have decided to make another row of squares. I looked back at my original plans, and decided which 'outer' colours to use for each square.
Yesterday at knit night in the Global Cafe, I made the first 2 of 12, and relearned how to make them. I used a .5mm larger needle than I used for the rest of the jacket to allow for my hip size.
Here they are against the jacket where they will go on completion.
I also received some new patterns. I admit I'm a pattern addict, so they won't necessarily get used, and even if I do use them it may be some time.

Crafting every day

Rescued post, originally posted 28 October 2014

I have decided to use this blog to record what I do craft wise to hold myself accountable. My target is to do something craft related every day.
Yesterday. I printed and taped together the pattern for the Finlayson Sweater from Thread Theory Designs.