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Saturday, 29 December 2012

(Un)Productive December

Well, I didn't have a very productive December. I mean, I worked hard, but I don't have much to show for it, what with the Crushinator sucking up so much of my free time and my will to live.

I did manage to get some (very basic) Christmas presents made and since I finally gave them to their recipients today, I can share them here.


I made tea towels for my family, to go in the gift baskets I made up for them this year. When I was planning these, I figured it they would be a nice little craft. The ended up taking a lot of time. They were pretty easy, just time consuming. I'm slow at everything!

Basically, I bought 2 yards of white cotton twill, cut it up into 6 tea towels and hemmed them. Then I decorated them in pairs using acrylic fabric paint medium, stencils and stamps.

I think they turned out nice and festive!

I also realize that this is a little off topic for this blog, it not being related to clothing, but I'm just gonna go with it.

The Crushinator: Almost Looks Like a Jacket

It's starting to look like a jacket! OK, it looks like the ugliest, most unflatteringly lumpy jacket known to mankind but still.


See? My boyfriend is not a rectangle, I swear! I think I'm going to have to try nipping it in even more at the waist and it may have been a mistake to add a little room through the chest. The biggest problem, though, is that the pockets are so bulky! They sit just above his hips and make him look sloppy.


It's not looking too bad from the back. I'm choosing to believe that the vent is wonky because the lining isn't in yet. Right? Right.


Here it is with some pretty aggressive pinning in the sides and back.


Yeah, I have a feeling this is going to get worse before it gets better. I wish that this pattern had a separate side panel. Instead, it has a front panel that that wraps pretty far under the arm and has a long dart from the underarm to the pocket.

Should I remove what I can from the front pockets and make them non-functional? Should I try to take it in at the side seems and the darts or just take in at the seems?

Also this happened today.


Awesome, right? I thought I had pricked it well enough but it turns out I was wrong.



Wednesday, 26 December 2012

The Crushinator: Pocketacular!

Today I made pockets, and how. I even made a meta pocket. The Inception of pockets.

A pocket within a pocket.


I've made a few welt pockets from a few different tutorials but with this jacket, I decided to follow the instructions exactly. And boy, were there instructions.

I learned a lot but I feel like I would have had better results if I had used the techniques that I'd used before. There's nothing wrong with the instructions that came with, but there were just so many steps and pieces and it ended up being pretty bulky. I can't tell what the benefits of the included techniques would be.


Tomorrow I'm gonna go down to the notion store and buy a clapper. I'd only been holding out this long because I really hate the idea of spending 15 bucks on a nicely sanded piece of wood but the iron alone isn't cutting the mustard.



Gettin' there! Man, I'm  slow at sewing.



Sunday, 23 December 2012

Crushinator: the innards

I've finally feel like I'm making progress on the Crushinator! Today I finished shaping the lapels and I can tell you, as much as I like hand sewing, I'm really glad I'm done with all that padstitching. Whew!


I learned a lot, since this was my first attempt at something like this. I'm so glad that I have Tailoring to follow as a guide. My sweetheart actually gave it to me last Christmas. I can really understand why so many home sewers use this book; it's amazing!

I really hope this jacket turns out. It would be really disappointing if I put all this work in only to have it be unwearable.

How did your first tailored garment turn out? Are there any other amazing resources I should be checking out?

Friday, 21 December 2012

Slightly more than I can chew?

So it’s officially no longer fall and I've completed 3 of the 6 garments I had wanted to make this season. Maybe I bit off more than I could chew? To be fair, Christmas and job hunting/starting a new job definitely took up more time than usual but aren't there always things coming up in real life that unexpectedly take up your time?

I am well on my way towards finishing the Butterick jacket for my sweetheart, which took so much time and energy to fit that sewing seems like a relief! Sadly, it won't be ready for Christmas.
On further reflection, I realize that trying to sew 6 garments every season would result in 24 garments a year!  Two each month! I know for a lot of sewing bloggers (Lladybird puts me to shame) that would be no sweat but for me that’s just not sustainable in terms of time and I am trying to keep my closet more minimal, so I’m not sure I need 24 new garments every year.
I guess I just got caught up thinking of all the things I want to make and not keeping in mind the things that I should make.
I’m not completely happy with my results in my goals this season either. I really struggle with fit and altering patterns, especially in understanding how different fabrics will affect the fit of a pattern, and sometimes even understanding when the fit is right. Trouble fitting often leads to trouble finishing the insides nicely.
Of the three garments that I did make I love all three and wear them regularly. So there's that.

Tuesday, 18 December 2012

The Crushinator: Prepare to get SEWNED


You heard me.


It wasn't until I was almost halfway through the cutting out that I realized that this garment requires almost 50 pieces. I wanted the cutting out to be finished Sunday and now it`s Tuesday night but it`s done. There were moments when I despaired. So much lining! I use every trick in the book and it's still absolutely maddening. Is there anyone who doesn't hate cutting out lining?

I'm also driven mad by having to transfer all of the markings. I used tailor's tacks when I could but there was still a lot of tracing wheel action going on and I just never feel like I'm being accurate enough! Any tips you can offer me?

The world would be perfect of it was only kids and dogs and already-cut-out sewing projects. Am I right? OK, I guess we can include eggnog in there, too.

Oh hey, here`s the fourth muslin.


Where is muslin number 3, you ask? And why didn't I attach sleeves to this one? And why didn't I have him wear it with the clothes that he plans to wear under the garment?

Well, I couldn't be bothered. Number 3 was craptacular but I learned what I needed to know about the grainline and now it's crumpled in a ball on the floor of our dining room (where it belongs).

I'm thinking I might need to add vertical darts to the front. I noticed that several of his jackets have these. I may also take a little in from the centre back seam but I'm getting started with the actual garment anyway.

Lord knows I love doing fitting tweaks while I'm constructing the garment. Oh...wait.


Please enjoy this demonstration of my sewing prowess. Yes, yes. The endless cutting failed to thwart me, Crushinator; prepare to get sewned.

Saturday, 15 December 2012

A satisfying little project


After weeks of fiddling with the fit of my sweetheart's jacket and only progressing at a snail's pace, today I did a quick little project that is also in preparation for actually sewing this jacket.

I feel like I should give this jacket a name, don't you? Maybe I'll call it the Crushinator, since it's trying to crush my will to sew. As an aside, I've had my eye on what I thought was the perfect fabric for almost a year - a lovely, 100% wool camel coloured herringbone just like the RTW version my sweetheart had his eye on.

Last weekend, I get to the store and find that the fabric is still there and there's even a couple of bolts of it! As the gentleman who's cutting my fabric starts to unroll it, I spot a flaw.

This fabric has a lot of flaws, he explains, we'll look over the length carefully and he'll give me plenty of extra to work with.

Great. We start looking carefully and I pretty quickly spot another flaw, this time it's an uneveness in the weave itself.

The guy admits that yes, the weave is very inconsistent.

We start looking for alternative fabrics and find several more bolts of the original herringbone but nothing that we want.

I'm starting to think, at this point, that I should just make a wearable muslin using the poor quality fabric.

But now the guy won't sell it to me! He says it's not good enough to sell!

I guess it's good that he was honest about how terrible the quality was but I was so disappointed!

We looked at several other stores but couldn't find a similar replacement and finally decided on a really nice black and white herringbone but it's just not the same!

The moral of the story is that today I made a tailor's ham and a sleeve roll. Booyah!


With free patterns by Victory Patterns' Krisitanne Boos's guest post at Tilly and the buttons, I used only stuff that I already had on hand:

  • Laboratory grade Aspen bedding (what, you don't have laboratory grade aspen bedding lying around?)
  • Useless Spoonflower colour charts (I got about a million of them when they changed their colour profile.)
  • Really gorgeous wool that I tried to make a hat out of for my sweetheart last Christmas that I never finished. Not like this year!!! Definitely going to finish the Crushinator.

I'm totally in love with these! They turned out nice and dense. Man, that laboratory grade aspen bedding packs like wet snow.

Sunday, 9 December 2012

Jacket Muslin 2.0

I finally managed to put together another muslin. 

Has anyone else noticed that fitting instructions make things sound way easier than they are? I guess this is a good learning experience for me but ugh, I just wish I knew what I was doing! There's a serious lack of fitting instructions for menswear.

Here's my second muslin for the men's jacket I'm making. It's definitely better but there were some changes that I made that I know need more work.


Improvement, right? The stance is much closer to what I want and the collar is sitting better. The only thing that scares me is that I didn't make any changes to the collar! I did, however, buy larger shoulder pads. They're not much thicker than the first ones I used but they cover a lot more of his shoulder and it seems to help a lot. These still aren't placed perfectly but only because they're really hard to adjust once they're in there!

I still need to set in the other sleeve to check that the fit will still be right with both in.


Speaking of sleeves, I added 2" to the length and took 2" from the circumference. I was all excited to use the new fitting book I got from the library, Fitting with Confidence, which demonstrates the slide and pivot method of of adjustment. You know what I found? It doesn't demonstrate it! It shows how to increase the size of a sleeve. Over and over. But not how to reduce! Argh!

There seem to be some diagonal wrinkles that have appeared in the upper sleeve so I'll have to fiddle with it a bit. I also did an absolutely atrocious job putting in the sleeves. I'm starting to get frustrated with the fitting process, I'll admit. I just want to make the thing already!

One of the alterations I made for this version was I added a little bit of room across the chest. My boyfriend likes to layer under his jackets and it was a little tight across his pecs and I wanted to make sure there was room for the facing and canvas. I'm not convinced that the fit is right but I'm going to go with it as it is.


Shoulder! I did a pretty significant adjustment to move the shoulder seem forward and it's still not quite perfect. I'm also worried because I know that the back shoulder piece should be slightly longer than that front shoulder piece and eased in but on this pattern they're exactly the same. I'm not sure if I should change it. At least the collar is fitting much better now.


Ah, the rear view. In this picture the vent problem looks fixed but I ended up having to re-do the alteration. 

On my first muslin, the vent was gaping, the side seam was creeping back at the hem and it was too small the whole way around the hip and seat area.

For this version of the muslin, I did a swayback adjustment to correct a gaping vent, as instructed by the book I'm using (Tailoring). I ended up taking so much out of the back that I had to add some length to the bottom of the back pieces near the centre to keep the hem line level. I also added a bit at the side seams to try to give him enough room in the hip and seat.

The result? It fits well enough but the grainlines are totally wonky! Ugh. 

I've already re-drafted the back pieces for my third muslin. I used the slide and pivot method to add more room without distorting the grainline.

On the left is the back pattern piece with the slash and spread swayback adjustment and on the right is the slide and pivot version. This new one is more like grading between two pattern sizes rather than doing a swayback but it still adds a little extra contour in the small of the back. I hope that fixes things!

I also took some ease out from the side seam just above the waist to keep it from looking too boxy (you can see where it's pinned from the back). I might need o take some out across the upper back but I'm worried about taking out too much and not giving him enough ease to be comfortable. 

I've realized that part of my problem with fitting is I'm not sure what that right fit actually looks like. This is a big problem. I guess I'll just have to keep trying things and see how it turns out.