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Pink Simplicity 4079 Vest

Pink Simplicity 4079 VestPink Simplicity 4079 Vest Really, I haven't been doing nothing.. I just haven't been posting. Bad me.

So I finished this Simplicity 4079 lined vest. I used that pink cotton basketweave that was on sale for $1/yard from FabricMart awhile ago, and lined it with a pink cotton/linen blend.

It's somewhere between a mockup and an actual project. It certainly has its share of problems, not the last of which being that I sorta didn't realize that there's supposed to be a little slit in the bottom of the sides. I was having trouble visualizing how it went together. How to turn it by pulling it through the shoulders is just really hard to imagine until you do it. And the bulky cotton suiting certainly didn't help with that.

I didn't have anything suitable with which to make Chinese frog closures that would match, so I used shell buttons and ribbon loops in the front. The suiting is also too bulky to work with any appropriate buckles I have, so currently the back tabs are just held together with a safety pin until I figure out what to use.

Cloak -- Finished? (With Snaps)

Cloak -- Done?Cloak -- Done?
My velvet-and-wool cloak might be finished.
After picking up some more of the Dritz snaps that work with the snap pliers while I was out at Joann today, I finished with the snap-tabs between the cloak layers. I'm not totally sure how I feel about it.

The snaps do the job of keeping the bottom edge of the cloak off the ground when needed, while allowing me to let it fall to floor-length when I want it all the way down.

Pinning it up certainly changes the silhouette, but I kinda like it, I think.

I'm still somewhat considering just making it a bit shorter, but it was such a pain to hem in the first place that I just don't want to.

Of course, given that I'm considering making it shorter, it wouldn't be the end of the world if the bottom edge got raggedy and I just trimmed it down to hem it shorter at that point.

So, my velvet-and-wool cloak is done.

Cloak In-Progress (Almost Done!)

Velvet and Wool CloakVelvet and Wool Cloak
So, I've made progress on my cloak! Actually I think all that's left at this point is hemming it. I haven't decided exactly how long it needs to be, though. I'm actually having some thoughts of trying to make it floor length or almost floor length, but with some way to fasten it up at least another several inches to keep it off the ground, especially when it's icky out.

Dfr thought that the wool should be on the outside and I thought that the velvet should be on the outside.. But who says it should have an outside at all? I decided it should be reversible.

I haven't decided if that ribbon closure is permanent or not. A tie closure certainly is the easiest way to close a reversible cloak. I might go with a less conspicuous ribbon, though. Or a Chinese frog closure, maybe on both sides? ...or I'll just keep the ribbon.

Of course, eventually I'll get a penannular brooch, which will make closure on most capes moot.

It wouldn't have worked to make it reversible via the directions, but I wasn't fond of the directions anyways, so I scrapped them. They were just wrong anyways. They wanted the outside to be sewn to the lining at the bottom! And they wanted the lining to be sewn to the outside at the bottom too, before sewing on the hood! Even if I weren't making it reversible I wouldn't have gone for that.

I haven't pressed it at all yet, besides pressing open the seams on the wool part. Pressing velvet is a PITA. I haven't decided just how much pressing actually needs to be done.

Velvet side out vs. wool side out is certainly a very different look.

Bright Challis Blouse! (And Musings on a Cloak)

Pink Floral Butterick 4609 -- Front/SidePink Floral Butterick 4609 -- Front/Side
I have been sewing, I just haven't been writing!

I did another Butterick 4609 blouse in "trendy" rayon challis. I thought the color might look weird on me, I usually seem to look better in muted colors, but it actually seems to work fairly well for me.

I'm still totally fond of the French cuffs. I've been using the two connected buttons that the pattern says to use, but I'll have to eventually get a pair of real cuff links.

I've discovered that the 1.5" fusible tape from Cleaner Supply is the perfect width for stabilizing the front band, and makes the buttonholes about three zillion times easier. It's their own brand, but it's pretty much the same thing as stitch witchery, just wider.

Floral Blouse -- Without Neck TieFloral Blouse -- Without Neck Tie
I'll probably eventually do this pattern in silk too. It would probably work well with a charmeuse, although probably the blue charmeuse is the only one that would work well. The other couple of charmeuses I have are all large patterns that I'm not sure would react too well to a button-up blouse. ..And I'm still kinda afraid to actually use the charmeuse!

Burgandy Velvet: Synthetic burgandy velvet from a half-off red-tag sale at Joann.Burgandy Velvet: Synthetic burgandy velvet from a half-off red-tag sale at Joann.
I've been saying for ages that I'm going to make a cloak out of this burgandy velvet I found at a half-off red-tag sale at Joann. I got some in red and some in burgandy, and I used the red for a vest-like thing and a doublet for Kris.. and the stuff is absolutely murder to work with. It feels wonderful, but between being a synthetic that melts and having a pile that sticks straight out rather than having an actual direction, it's nearly impossible to press and slips and slides and shifts when I try to sew it. So I absolutely cannot use it for anything more complicated than a cloak.

So I decided to pull the velvet out to remind myself that I need to turn it into a cloak-- probably the one in Butterick 4377. But then I remembered why I haven't yet-- I can't decide what to line it with.

Generally I like silk as a lining, but a cloak requires too much fabric for that to seem practical. Wool might be nice, but it would have to be fairly thin and something I have enough of. The boiled wool would be too thick.
Would a dark olive tricotine work?
Or would the burgandy/dark olive combination end up with a Christmas-y red-and-green feel to it?
The turquoise gabardine would definitely not look right. I guess I will have to unearth the rubbermaid of wool to decide that. I need some type of organization that doesn't involve stacked boxes.

The one on the envelope cover is actually burgandy velvet-- but the lining is white, which I definitely don't want to do. I actually wear cloaks.

I've been sewing! (Vogue 8599)

Vogue 8599 VestVogue 8599 Vest I did this Vogue vest in the same grey wool suiting as the Simplicity 2758 skirt in my last post. It was the only vest pattern I had at the time (I picked up another one at the most recent $.99 Simplicity sale at Joann.)

I'm feeling rather "meh" about this vest. The only real problem with it is that the armhole shape is weird.
There's just rather little that seems right about it.
"Unlined vest" sounds like it should be a fairly simple project. This was not.
For one thing, It called for an absolutely ridiculous amount of slip-stitching. Slipstitching has its place-- like to close up the hole after turning a lining to the inside. All around all of the facings is not a good use for slipstitching. I ended up making inappropriate use of stitch-witchery to keep the facings in place and just doing some very large slipstitches around the edges as a supplement that.

I'm not fond of the triple darts in the front. I guess I haven't pressed them well enough, better pressing will probably improve the look. But they just seem a bit purposeless; they don't seem to play a prominant role in the visual effect (you can barely see them on the envelope cover) and they're not particularly effective in fitting. Looking closely at the envelope again, the vest doesn't seem to properly fit the dress form they used to model it.

The design of the vest is obviously not meant for warm weather, and the fact that it's unlined seems to make it more complicated to sew, so what's the point of not lining it?

The collar bit is interesting, but I'm far more likely to try to frankenpattern it onto another vest pattern than I am to sew this one again.
It's not awful or anything, and I wouldn't specifically not recommend the pattern. My main complaint seems to be that I feel as though an unlined vest should not be this labor-intensive.

I Did Some Sewing! (*ahem* And Blendering..)

Simplicity 2758 Wool SkirtSimplicity 2758 Wool SkirtSo I've finally gotten some sewing done! Granted, not a lot, but it's something. Kris's company had an awards banquet on Friday, and it's been ten years he's been working there now, so we had to go. So I needed something formal-ish to wear.

So I made view B of Simplicity 2758 out of a wool suiting I got from FabricMart's $1.99/yard section and wore it with my Butterick 4609 blouse. There's something a bit off about the skirt. I think I probably shouldn't have interfaced the waistband, because it seems like the rest of the skirt had a bit of give, but the waistband didn't which gave it a weird shape. Or I should have interfaced the top of the skirt. I need some more practice with invisible zippers, too. I don't think I have the technique quite right. But overall it wasn't bad. Certainly wearable.
I hemmed it with pink topstitching thread.

I even wore heels! I picked up a pair of black Aerosoles at Marshall's that could actually be considered comfortable if not for the fact that they're heels. I'm actually rather fond of them.
Pier Scene: An in-progress pier scene I'm working on in Blender.Pier Scene: An in-progress pier scene I'm working on in Blender.
And now it's time to make excuses for not having been blogging. I'm still a tad absorbed in Blender. I've been working on some stuff for SL (although I haven't actually gotten anything up in my SL shop besides the shoes and a rigged strapless dress) but I've been doing tutorials and experimenting with lighting and materials, and playing with scenes.

The photo textures in these two scenes are from CG Textures which is what the Blender Guru was uses in a lot of his tutorials.

I'm particularly enjoying experimenting with materials. I'm loving the raytraced mirroring and transparency.
And of course cloth simulation!
The big black beast [computer] does the rendering so wonderfully and quickly! (Depending on the complexity of the scene, of course. I haven't done anything that complex yet, but the BlenderGuru has some .blend downloads to go along with tutorials that are really heavy.)
Street Scene in Blender: An in-progress street scene I'm working on in BlenderStreet Scene in Blender: An in-progress street scene I'm working on in Blender

The Continuing Saga of Simplicity 2700

Simplicity 2700 WinklesSimplicity 2700 Winkles
I am sorry, dear readers, it seems that I am cruel enough to subject you to mirror pictures of my butt. I've been trying to fiddle with the fit even though I haven't figured out the waistband yet. I'm thinking I should have used the curvy pieces instead of the regular pieces.. but it's hard to tell. While my butt isn't so flat as it seemed to be before I had any clues about how pants were supposed to fit, it's not my butt that's a fitting issue, it's my thighs. What I'm getting is those diagonal wrinkles in the back from crotch to hips. And some bagginess in the front. Of course, maybe I'm a total idiot for trying to do any fitting before figuring out the issues with the yoke.
I think what I have to do is extend lengthen the crotch curve such that there is more room in the thighs. I'll probably need to cut out entirely new pieces to get it right. I let out the side seams, which helped some, but that may just be because they're looser. I think what I really need is more room in the inner thighs.. it seems logical, anyway.
Simplicity 2700 Left Front Yoke NotchesSimplicity 2700 Left Front Yoke Notches
I started a WIP on PR for the pattern, and when I didn't get any suggestions through that, I started a thread. I got some good, logical suggestions.. or rather, suggestions that would be logical if not for the pattern. Mainly, that perhaps the pieces weren't meant to be the right size and needed to be eased in. But the notches and stay-stitching make that unlikely.

Here's a picture of the front left yoke, from both sides. With the notches lined up, the side of the yoke meets the side of the front of the pants correctly. So all of that easing would have to be happening within those four inches from notch to edge-- no way can I get a whole seam allowance by stretching non-stretch fabric over a four-inch seam.

As for the back, I think any chance of easing-in intent on the part of the drafter would have been nixed by the instruction to stay-stitch the top edge. If I was supposed to stretch it out to make the pieces fit, that would make the instruction to stay-stitch that edge to prevent stretching utterly nonsensical, right?

Simplicity 2700 In-Progress

Simplicity 2700 Inside Front In-ProgressSimplicity 2700 Inside Front In-Progress
I've been working on Simplicity 2700, the "amazing fit" pants. I'm doing them in a $1.99/yard Dockers cotton I got from FabricMart awhile ago as a mockup for eventually doing them in the lovely striped wool that is dfr's fault.

The instructions aren't bad (and I'm pretty demanding of instructions) but I do have some concerns. For one thing, the left front yoke. As you can see, all matched up, it only extends up to the edge of the fly underlap. This is a problem because the yoke has a facing, which of course requires a seam allowance.. but there doesn't seem to be an allowance.

Simplicity 2700 Back In-ProgressSimplicity 2700 Back In-ProgressThen there's the back yoke. It extends significantly beyond the main pattern pieces on the sides, and I don't see that explained anywhere. It seems that for a pair of pants that includes darts, they completely ignored the effect of the darts when drafting the yoke.
Simplicity 2700 Front In-ProgressSimplicity 2700 Front In-Progress Actually this doesn't seem all that surprising, since the main pieces have three different versions (for "slim," "regular," and "curvy" figures) but they all use the same yoke pieces. That might not explain it, though; to pick a size, the instructions say to "Measure your waist and hip (at the fullest point). [sic] Compare those measurements to the measurements on the pattern envelope." So the waist size shouldn't be different between the different versions, should it? The "curvy" pieces use two darts while the "slim" and "regular" pieces use one. (I'm using the regular pieces currently.)
So they must have neglected to account for the darts in drafting. This seems like a rather significant drafting mistake to me. It also makes me nervous. It's not explained anywhere, and I don't like to trim down pieces when I don't know why they're not the right size. It couldn't relate to the lack of a seam allowance for the end of the left front yolk, because there are notches that match up. (And because that would just be bizarre.)

So, I'm plugging along with the pattern, and hoping that it fits well, but for something that got such rave reviews, I'm certainly disappointed that there seem to be such significant errors.

I should note that this is only the second "real" pants pattern I've sewn. I've done drawstring pants and leggings, but the only other pants with pockets and a fly and all that I've done was Jalie 2908, and not many patterns can live up to that. I think I like that the fly construction method doesn't involve basting the front closed-- apparently that's a very "home sewing method."
I guess I won't really be able to develop a "true" opinion of the pattern until I've gotten far enough to get into the fitting.

Butterick 4609 Blouse, Finished. (And I Used My Buttonholer!)

I finished my with-real-cuffs blouse!Floral Rayon Challis Blouse -- FinishedFloral Rayon Challis Blouse -- Finished
I ended up using stitch witchery in the front band, but I think I actually used too much, it's stiffer than I would have liked it to be. I'll keep that in mind for next time-- and I definitely will be sewing this pattern again.

This one doesn't seem to photograph too well, but I think it's mainly the print that's responsible for that. It's a pretty print, but it's so contrasting that it's hard to make out the details of the blouse! That's not necessarily a bad thing, though, since the front is a bit strange since I overinterfaced (is "interfaced" the right word when I used stitch-witchery to make the fabric interface itself?) the front band a bit. I think the front was supposed to end up slouchier.

While others had reported that the pattern runs large, I found it to be just about right, actually a bit too small in the hips. I ended up letting out the back darts a bit, which seemed to fix the problem. I'm definitely glad that I didn't go down a size.

I'm not totally sure how I feel about the neck tie thingy. It's kinda cool, but kinda silly at the same time. It was definitely worth making, though; quick and easy, and another option for the blouse.
French CuffFrench Cuff
I'm loving the French cuffs. I was afraid they would be goofy, but I really like them. I made "cuff links" out of buttonhole thread and mystery bundle buttons.

And I finally rewired my Necchi BC! (Okay, fine, Kris did most of it.. but he's the expert!) So, with my BC rewired, I now have a low-shank machine in good working order, which means I can use my buttonholer! I got the buttonholer ages ago, thinking that since it was made specifically for Necchi, it would fit my machine.. and then realized upon getting it that it was for low-shank machines, and I use mostly high-shank. Low-shank buttonholers are cheap. High-shank buttonholers are not.

So, with my working BC and my buttonholer attachment, I was able to make nice automated pretty buttonholes! (Up to this point all of my buttonholes had been as-carefully-as-possible zigzagged.

ButtonholesButtonholes

Floral Rayon Challis Blouse with French Cuffs -- In Progress

I've been sewing, so you can't say I haven't!Butterick 4609 View C -- In ProgressButterick 4609 View C -- In Progress

I've been working on View C of Butterick 4609-- the blouse with the French cuffs. I'm doing the sash thingy too. I'm making it out of one of the "Trendy" rayon challis-es I got from FabricMart's most recent 75% off sale.

It's not done, but it's getting there. I still need to hem it and put in the buttonholes, and stabilize the front band. Well, it's not actually a front band it's a self-front-band, basically just folded over and then over again to form what would normally be the front band. It says to catch-stitch it in place. And doesn't say anything about interfacing. I used some stitch-witchery tape in between the innermost layers, I'll probably add another strip on the back. I'm not completely sure, though. I've been playing with buttonholes on scraps. Hopefully I'll pester Kris into helping me rewire my BC so I can use my actual buttonholer. But, uh, I've been saying I'm going to rewire the BC for quite awhile..

This blouse is the first time I've successfully made real cuffs! My first try was McCall's 5929 which caused a huge amount of frustration and ended up being a wadder. The Simplicity 2758 blouse I made back in December to shut dfr up only had those little narrow cuffs and not all the trappings real cuffs like the bound slit-- and the bound slit is the mind-boggling part. (Why didn't I do a post on that blouse? I wrote a review, but no blog post. I thought I wrote a post, but now all that seems to be on my site is the picture. Oh, it was probably because it was while dfr was in Florida! LOL Okay, that explains my lack of a post!
But this time I managed real cuffs! The instructions on the pattern were pretty good, and in combination with my copy of the Singer Sewing Book (1949 edition) I managed to make it work!

It looks a little awkward on my dress form. I do hope it ends up looking better on me. My dress form is slightly crooked, which makes everything look a bit awkward. Most of the reviews say that it runs a bit big, but it actually seems quite snug. I cut a 14, which should be about right, and seems to be, but it's hard to tell for sure before finishing up the buttons and all. I did use French seams, but I don't think they should have made too much of a difference.

I'm hoping to finish this one up tomorrow. Either with buttonholer-ed buttonholes or my normal unautomated machine buttonholes.

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