Friday, February 27, 2015

Lekala jacket - muslin 2.0

Muslin 2.0 (collar points pinned under)
Muslin 1.0
I transferred the fitting adjustments to my pattern and completely redrafted the front. The collar still isn't quite right, but I think it only requires a bit of reshaping and it's now the right size.

This was no mean feat, I can tell you. The Sewing Lawyer has made a ton of jackets and owns quite a number of pattern drafting books, many of which were read (in parts) yesterday afternoon. But pattern drafting isn't an intuitive art in these parts.  In the end Vogue 7908 (now OOP) came to the rescue.

Vogue 7908
At left is my version of that jacket. This lapel is extremely high and rather big, and the collar is very small.  However I thought it would be a useful starting point.

At right is the collar/lapel I cobbled together.  I am pleased that it actually works, although the collar is still too big and not quite the right shape.

And here is proof that all the seams and darts from the Lekala sketch are present and accounted for - in the comments to my last post, there was a question about that.

Thursday, February 26, 2015

Notes on a muslin - Lekala 5054

This is what it's supposed to look like
The Sewing Lawyer is adventurous, but cautious.  Lekala is a new experience so careful testing of Lekala 5054 is needed before she cuts into her precious precious precious Prada wool suiting.

So here's the muslin. FYI I've inserted small shoulder pads for these photos.  

There's good and bad in this.  One good thing is that the pieces went together quite easily despite the almost complete lack of markings.
Even though Lekala drafts to your specified measurements, the fit isn't perfect. And I didn't expect it to be. However, it is manageable with tweaks that are not too alien in my experience. I need a small wedge taken out of the CF above my bust, the front shoulder is a bit too broad, and I need some more shaping in the princess seams. Also, the darts are a bit too high.  Finally, the hip curve is too extreme.  

The CB is dead straight, which I knew would not work for me.  I've pinched out about 2cm at the waist through the CB seam.  Although the upper back appears too wide in this photo I will leave this as is.  It can always be adjusted in the sewing, and I need a bit of room there.

Style-wise, the pattern doesn't match the so-called "technical" drawing, which to me is more of a sketch.

I have cut off the seam allowances at CF, and on the collar and lapels.  The buttons are placed lower on the pattern and the lapels and collar are both bigger and rounder than I would have liked.  I don't think it will be too difficult to make the adjustments I want.

The proportions of the peplum are also different - I have not cut off the hem allowance but to me, the unhemmed length is about right.

The sleeves seem too wide to me.  I'll remove width from the front seam on both the upper and under sleeve sleeves.  This will also add a nice curve - as drafted this seam is pretty straight on both pieces.

You can't see it in these photos, but the curved opening at the back sleeve seam is differently-shaped on the upper and under sleeve pieces.  I think they should be the same.

It's interesting that the sleeves are the right length for me since I have short arms and  usually have to shorten sleeves by about 2.5cm.  I made the mistake of telling this to Lekala the only other time I ordered one of their patterns, and the sleeves were ridiculously short (you can't specify how much shorter than average your arms are).  This time I let them think I had arms of average length.

I already pointed out that there are few markings on this pattern.  This didn't bother me except in relation to the sleeves.  There is some ease in the back sleeve seam and you have to know where to put it (in the elbow area).  Setting the sleeve in was more of a problem. There is only one mark - to show where the sleeve cap sits relative to the shoulder seam.  When, after a couple of tries, I got it properly set in, I realized that the sleeve cap has very little ease and all of it is in the front shoulder. I'm going to take note of the point where the under sleeve intersects with the side seam and add another mark there.

I'm inclined to proceed.  Comments?

Wednesday, February 25, 2015

Finally! One more for the closet

Actually keeping me warm
Hooray!  It's done!

I'm tired of thinking about this coat, so here are some pictures.

BTW, that hat?  Wildhagen - Beautiful and interesting hats designed and made in Toronto, Ontario.

Of the coat details - lots of buttons and topstitching (triple stitch at 4mm, ordinary sewing thread).

Of the lining and some inner details (I finally found a good use for one of the magnetic buttons/snap in stash).

Of how the non-working buttons sink nicely into the tiny sewn buttonholes on the CF - the button is sewn to the facing layer beneath.

Want more sewing/construction information?  Check out PatternReview.  Want more pictures? Check out my Flickr album.


Monday, February 16, 2015

There's good news and there's bad news

Right off the bat, I'll get this off my chest:  there has been some sewing (the lining is mostly inserted in my coat and the facings are done) but there has been more knitting.  Of the machine variety.

It's a lot of fun.

I made two pairs of socks. Yes it is possible to make socks in the round on a double bed knitting machine.  And it's so fast!  I'm cranking them out (4 so far) at about 2 hours per sock.  And I'm a raw beginner.

I made a colourful pair for myself.

And I made a sober grey tweedy pair for my husband.  He's already investigating the rest of the sock yarn in stash for his next pair...

In the above photo, the sock isn't quite finished.  Because you have to knit the ribbing on both beds at once, there is a seam to sew up at CB.  And the final stitches at the toe have to be finished with Kitchener stitch.  So much easier on a machine knitted sock than doing it from stitches on needles! At left you can see there is a little light blue - this is scrap yarn knitted in a narrow tube to keep the last live stitches safe until they can be grafted together by hand.  I just follow the path of the light blue yarn and snug up my stitches until they are truly invisible.  Magic!

So then I decided I'd make a sweater for myself.  I chose a pattern designed to be knitted by hand, top down, seamlessly (Boxy and Buttony by Joji Locatelli).

I carefully read the pattern and made a schematic so I would understand the structure.  And then I knitted a swatch and mentally rehearsed how I would knit it by machine, bottom up, with seams. Because that's the way the The Sewing Lawyer rolls.


It makes perfect sense, no?

My swatch revealed that I had to knit on the loosest tension possible on my machine, and also that at that tension and over 60 stitches, the yarn colours pooled vertically.

Pooling at SS8.0 but not at 7.0 or 6.0
Hmmmm I wonder if I should have thought about the fact that I'd be knitting, at that tension, over exactly three times that many stitches at the widest point?

Well I didn't.  Cast on (three times before being satisfied, not noticing that I'd dropped a stitch) at about 10PM yesterday, and zip-zip-zip knitted the back up to where I had to increase for the sleeves before bedtime.

Didn't I say that it was fast?  See the hole at lower left...

I decided I could latch the missing stitch up by hand and fix it invisibly so I continued.

And then I ran into problems at the shoulder (which involves short rows and a band of ribbing).  So I decided to unravel the whole shebang and start over.

I learned a lot.

  • At a loose tension, you really do need weights.  Without them (as I discovered at the shoulder) the stitches just leap off the needles.
  • When doing short rows, ditto.  The most precarious stitches were the ones at the high side where the length was building up relative to the front neck stitches that were holding.  
  • Ribbing should be knitted tighter than stockinette.  I knew this at the hem (used SS 7.5 instead of 8.0) but forgot by the shoulder.  
  • Increasing six stitches at the end of a row is possible, using a crocheted chain... AND WEIGHTS!  
And if the yarn pools over 60 stitches, it will pool similarly over 180.  Sigh.

Here, for posterity, is the back which will be unravelled shortly - hopefully before the yarn is too kinky and needs steaming or something.  

The actual colour is a lot darker (more maroon than bright red).  

Saturday, February 7, 2015

Aims and objectives

Isn't that the buzzy kind of phrase you're supposed to use when looking to the future and making some kind of commitment to do something in particular?

I haven't blogged because there has been nothing to blog about.  I've been curling a lot in January, and of course working full time.  I've been sick (that flu shot didn't work very well).  My sewing is stalled (that coat!) and my knitting on the machine would not be very interesting to you, although it has been fruitful from my perspective.  What I mean is - I've knitted on the machine and I've learned a lot, but so far I have a limited number of actual things to show for it.

But I'm on the verge of something.  I can feel it.

It helps that I've got a whole lot of time suddenly free in front of me.  As I did last year, I elected to take leave (and a corresponding cut in pay) of five whole weeks.  It starts on Monday and I'm starting to feel pretty excited about the possibilities - especially now that stupid flu seems to be finally over.

So what can I tell you?

First, there will be sewing.  I AM going to finish that darned coat!  It doesn't help that there is a lot of hand sewing in it - but I've just had a look and most of it is already complete.  There's only one more buttonhole to attach the facing to.  I recall stopping when my fingers were too sore to continue but they have had a whole month to recover!

And then ... drummmmmmmrollllllll I will move on to new projects.  I feel my work wardrobe needs some new items and I certainly have the stash and patterns needed to create them.

Lekala Jacket Pattern
Like this fabulous Prada wool I bought in Chicago at Fishman's Fabrics in 2011.  The light blue is a beefy wool crepe with lycra from stash (Fabric Flea Market).

Fingers crossed I will have enough of the suiting to actually make a suit.  I'm planning to use a Lekala pattern for the jacket but reserve the right to change my mind after I muslin it.  The skirt will probably have to be a narrow pencil skirt, if I have enough fabric to do one.

The blue wool crepe will be a coordinating dress.  I have the godet dress from the September, 2014 issue of BurdaStyle in mind.  I have already traced the pattern.  I think it will look good in this plain but weighty fabric.

I bought some dark grey wool double crepe at Fishmans at the same time.  It may turn into something else that coordinates.  A flippy skirt and coordinating top?  What would you recommend?

Hmmm.  There may well be other sewing projects, depending on how these ones go.  I'll keep you posted.

And there will be knitting.  Right now I have a small and very colourful cowl on the go as a hand-knitting project.  It'll be finished soon.

Wrong side - yes it really is this bright
About 65% done 

The stitch pattern is easy - K1, slip 1 with yarn in front, repeat forever (on an uneven number of stitches so that you are always knitting the stitch you slipped in the previous round).  The back side is interesting too.  If you're on Ravelry, the free pattern is called Dots and Dashes Cowl.  I'm using Misti Alpaca Hand Paint Sock Yarn and the finished cowl will use half the skein.  

I have pledged to myself that this is the month to really learn how to be fully comfortable with my new knitting machine the Passap Duomatic 80.  Since I last wrote, I have accumulated a few additional tools for it - cast on combs and weights, and a transfer tool that moves stitches from one bed to the other (so you can place purl stitches easily on a bed of knit stitches, among other things).

My first actual project using the machine is to make hats for my curling team.  Three are finished, a fourth has been knitted but not assembled, and I still have to knit the fifth for our alternate player.  The first one was fun...