Wednesday, February 19, 2020

Vogue 9022 - mostly just photos

Once the fitting work is done there isn't much more to Vogue 9022. I was flirting with the idea of lining it but decided not to due to (a) inadequate fabric choices and (b) a preference for simplicity.

I could have taken more width out of this but am afraid of over-fitting in a knit.

Instead of a hook and eye at the back neck (as per the instructions), I made a thread loop for a button. It's totally unnecessary. This dress can be pulled on quite easily.

I must now turn to sewing a replacement swimsuit as my last one is literally falling apart. (I made it in November, 2016 and I swim twice a week, so it's surprising that I can still wear it at all!) After that, it'll be back to my knitting machines... 

Monday, February 17, 2020

Vogue 9022 - fit issues

The cover art of Vogue 9022 is seriously ugly. I would never have bought this pattern but for the many very positive reviews on Pattern Review which praise it for being super easy to sew and very comfortable to wear.

I am making it from a wool double knit (maybe a blend) that has quite a bit of stretch but no lycra. The idea of making this dress from a woven has zero appeal to me. But initially I chose my size from the available choices (XS-S-M-L) conservatively based on my measurements. S is supposedly 8-10. I figured I could take it in and cut it down once I could see how it was going to fit.

As I predicted, the fit was very sloppy. See for yourself. It's too wide from top to bottom. The armscye is very low. Also, as I moved around I realized that the dress was rotating back, suggesting to me that the back was too short relative to the front. And the back is just generally baggy.

So ... alterations. First, I sewed it back at the side seams to size XS above the waist and a smidge wider at the hip. At the shoulder seams I sewed it to XS. I took two vertical darts in the back and sewed out a third vertical dart in the CB seam.

Happier with this shape
Then, I took some depth out of the front only by opening up the shoulder area and shortening the front along the lines pinned out in the photo.

I shaved out some of the princess seams in front to create more waist darts, in effect.

Next and hopefully last, I will have to cut the front neck lower to match the amount of depth I took out of the shoulder seams.

So, not such a simple sew. But I think I will like this dress once it is done.

Thursday, February 13, 2020

Looooong striped cardigan

This is physically long and it was a long time coming. I started thinking about making a monochromatic striped sweater in July, 2019. The stripe idea came from a pattern called Elton and eventually I decided on the shape of a different pattern, Winston. Both of them are patterns for hand knitters so I had some work to do to make this by machine.

I quickly chose the yarns I wanted to use (very light weight cashmere and heavier extra fine merino, both from Colourmart but languishing in my stash) and made some swatches. The EFM was a little heavy for a standard gauge (4.5mm) machine but my Passap handled it nicely at the biggest stitch size. I knitted the cashmere at the same stitch size so the cashmere stripes are very open whereas the EFM stripes are more solid. The contrasting weights give the fabric a subtle texture.

I worked up the shapes for the pattern, using the dimensions of Winston as much as I could. The number of needles was a constraint for the back so my shoulders are not as dropped but they are plenty dropped enough I think.

Short rows!
I even incorporated the short rows from Winston. Knitting this created some technical challenges due to my having to change yarn every 4 rows. I'll spare you the details of how I accomplished this, except to say that it involved quite a few dropped stitches and some pretty creative hand-repairs. They are luckily invisible from the outside.

The cardigan is a bit longer than planned due to the weight of the pieces and the openness of the stitch size. However it is fine. I tamed the front edges with a band that I knitted to the length of my original plan (full needle rib in cashmere). I linked most of the seams on my linker but hand sewed the sleeves into the arm openings. I also attached the band by hand so I could control the amount I was easing the garment body into the band.

I'm very pleased with the finished product!

Saturday, January 4, 2020

Did I invent this technique?

I'm making a pair of wool dress pants, and as usual I'm lining them. Or rather I'm half lining, half underlining them. I have invented an order of construction that lets me assemble the pants almost completely, including inserting the lining, but continue to check and refine the fit at critical seams without taking the lining out. (I'm not saying I'm the only person ever to have had this idea, but it's one I didn't acquire from anyone else, so I'm claiming it as my invention!)

I cobbled the pattern together from two different ones I've made before. The first is a Burdastyle pattern from 2005 that I made in 2012. I had adjusted this pattern for fit when I first made it and they still work for me. However I wanted a more standard fly front/pocket combination, and loving the comfort of my Style Arc Kew pants, I attempted to graft the waist/pocket/fly from it onto the Burdastyle legs.

So I did not make a muslin. I figured it was a risk worth taking because I'd made these pants before (sort of). However I don't fully trust my pattern-drafting skills so I wanted to be able to refine the fit as I went. The outer leg seam is for me the main and critical one, since it allows me to refine the hip curve and hip/waist circumferences. However the CB seam is also a good one to be able to adjust.

First, I made the pockets and fly front. To sew the fly I had to sew the front crotch seam but I did not sew it all the way to the inseam. I left it open a few centimetres so I could later attach each front leg to a back leg along the inseam. I like to sew the crotch seam in one pass from the bottom of the fly to the back waist. As Style Arc says, this improves the crotch shape. If you sew the front and back crotch seams before sewing the inseam, the result is to flatten the crotch curve seam allowances where the seams intersect. It's better to have that crotch curve seam allowance vertical - you can trim it for comfort and fit.

After sewing the back darts, I sewed the fronts to the backs at the inseam in each of my layers - the fashion fabric and the lining.

Then I basted the lining to the pants (one layer of lining, one layer of fashion fabric, wrong sides together) along the back crotch curve and all side seams I used a 2 thread serger stitch to neaten all the raw edges.

Next I sewed the crotch seam through all layers. At this point I'm treating the lining as underlining. The seam allowances will be accessible inside the pants rather than being sandwiched between two separate layers (fashion fabric and lining).

The fact that the front crotch was already partially sewn in the fashion fabric meant that I could stop sewing this seam a few centimetres away from the lower point of the front fly. I'll be attaching the lining to the inside of the fly later by hand.

After all that I was left with something that looked like this.

As you can see, this treatment is partially lining the pants (inseams, darts and all front details are sandwiched between the lining and fashion fabric) and partially underlining them (at CB and side seams).

Now to baste the side seams and check that pesky fit... I'll be back soon.