Other Interests

Camas Blouse by Thread Theory

I've written about Thread Theory patterns before. I made my husband shorts with the Jedediah pattern, and also have made the Henley T shirt, which you can see below. But, when Morgan announced the Camas Blouse Sew Along, I ordered the pattern right away.  I made a muslin in a jersey knit in navy blue. I had a little trouble with the button placket, but realized that I was installing it the wrong way. Oooops!  Then, I switched to a woven fabric, as the shirt fit well, after I made a full bust adjustment by adding an extra 1/2 inch to the gathered edge.

I tried it again in a grey shirt flannel and made the yoke in a buttery faux leather. I also changed the back gathers into a pleat. The neckline is a little more open than I'd like. I could have raised it a little, but I also like the feeling and look of having a camisole underneath. I'm pretty happy with how it turned out. And I like to support Thread Theory, because they specialize in men's patterns, and Matt and Morgan just seem so darn hard working and nice!

I learned to insert a placket, using a Craftsy class on shirt details with David Page Coffin, the shirt guru. I also have been watching Lynda Maynard's class on Finishing Edges so my shirt bindings are getting better. Sewing with knits is a challenge only because the knits i have bought at Fabricville, tend to only last a few wearings before they start to pill. I think, now that I have some well fitting patterns, I will have to buy more expensive fabric, but less of it. That suits me fine. I hate the pilling--it is a waste of my time. So, suggestions for on line knit fabrics That won't pill would be welcome. 

Katharine Tilton Raglan sleeve coat dress Butterick B6254

I loved the look of this pattern. Perhaps the turtleneck it is styled with drew me in--I'm all about keeping my neck warm and hiding what looks like my grandmother's neck. Ignore that my rabbit angora scarf untucked itself here, please

But, isn't the line of the jacket flattering? And, who knew how easy the pattern goes together. Usually a Tilton pattern has some origami type of fold and asymmetrical hem,
sleeve, or side seam going on. Nope, this was an easy, well drafted and flattering coat/dress/tunic.

But, you can't fool me!  I knew enough to make a muslin out of some remnant grey pointe lurking on the back table of Fabricville. I sewed it up, forgoing the usual FBA because I didn't want to research how to do this on a raglan style pattern, and because I live in hopes that all patterns will suddenly make me the Average sized woman of a certain age. Lady Luck smiled on me because the proportions of this pattern were just fine. But, after putting this grey coat on, I immediately thought I could hear Stalin calling me comrade. It looked a bit bleak and slightly shapeless. I felt as though the armscyes were hanging a little low, and perhaps it was a touch too wide in the back. I'll see if I can get a photo of it, just for laughs.
I promised a closer look at the armscyes.
 I am used to them being lower, now.

My sewing mentor has suggested that I needed to start choosing a smaller pattern size, based on the width of my back rather than the bust measurement. I've learned to do a variety of full bust adjustments from Diana and from Craftsy's Kathleen Cheetam. But after looking carefully at my muslin (The Stalin Coat), and the pattern, Diana thought the sleeves needed to stay where they were.

I decided to try the pattern again in a textured knit, adding some buttery imitation leather along the raglan seam lines to draw the eye away from the low hanging armpit area. That worked so well, I added welt pockets with that soft pleather, except for them dragging a bit and showing the silk charmeuse pocket linings, which I had to hide with fake facings. I did it perfectly matching the pattern. I dare you to find them!

Things I learned:

1.  You can get used to bat wings. They are very comfortable.
2.  Textured knits are fun and hide a lot of sewing sins.
3.  I used snaps under the buttons as I was afraid the knit buttonholes would eventually bag out,  even with stabilizer and interfacing. I must have made every mistake sewing on the snaps backward, in the wrong place, wrong side up.  Many curse words were uttered in the 4 hours it took me to sew them and the buttons.
4.  Somehow the right front stretched out one inch longer than the left front. I blame the snaps and buttons, because they ganged up on me. So I had to open up the front facing and lengthen the left side to match. I'm watching you!!!
5. I shouldn't ask my husband to be a photographer in the setting sun while he is on the way out the door to do something I should have done.

Fitting from the Inside Out!

Thanks to Beverly Johnson of BraMakers Supply in Hamilton, Ontario, I have a perfectly fitting pattern for my undergarment. I had started making bras with the two Craftsy classes, (for which there is a 1/2 off price link on Beverly's Blog). I was close, but not quite there with the 4 bras that I made. All 4 of those bras are wearable, but not perfect, and damn it . . . I was going to get something perfect! I found out that I needed two different sized wires. That is a difficult part of fitting.

Lots of beautiful colours, findings,
lace and elastics for choices. 
I signed up for Classic Bra Making 101, which is a two day course. Beverly fits and Denise teaches. It is a good combination--Denise pins! Then, we had Sunday off, and returned for the Shelley pattern, which includes a power bar and is drafted from the perfect Classic Pin Up pattern we made in the first class. The next day, we made the Alison Sports bra, and finished it up at home. It was an intensive 4 days, and we also sewed on Sunday--determined to get the right fit for Karen before the Shelley Bra Pattern class.

Beverly is cutting away the lining to reveal the foam cups.
Trust is essential--and Beverly has lots of experience!

My friend, Karen came with me and since we went together, each of us got a $50 dollar credit. All supplies were included in the courses, except for the cover of the Alison sports bra, but that required .5 meters of a swimsuit, or wickable fabric. We could have used some in the shop, but opted for bright colours and pattern - - - lots of pattern!

After 4 days of discussing bras, and fitting, there was no modesty left. We actually thought of wearing our bras proudly on the outside!

Karen and I waited to board and reviewed our notes.
What a great experience! Beverly was determined that we leave happy with the fit. Because I had done a lot of work ahead of time, I knew that I needed two different cup sizes. Also, I needed a tuck in the back band, as well as a small dart in the Shelley bra to bring the straps in a quarter of an inch. So many little adjustments, but with Beverly's help, it meant that I wasn't sewing endless number of bras, making one change at a time, which can be discouraging, not to mention a little pricey. So, with the cost of the course, and including the trip to visit family, I feel on top of the world. And, it was so nice to go with a 'bosom buddy'. We had lots of late night giggles over our sewing adventures!

A special thanks to my sister, Debbie and her husband, Walter who were perfect hosts. Dinner was ready on the table; a car was at hand for me to drive (and get lost) to and from Hamilton; and big breakfasts were provided by Walter. Dinner was ready for us when we got home after a long day of sewing. After dinner, Karen and I continued to sew in the evening in their dining room. We tried hard to pick up all the threads, but I'm sure we left some behind.

Need for a Shoe Iron and Silk Organza Pressing cloth

All of my sewing mentors recommend the use of a Silk Organza Pressing cloth. I bought 5 yards of silk organza from the Dharma Trading Company a few years ago, and although I haven't used it for the original purpose, I definitely have used many scraps and rectangles for pressing cloths.

BUT . . . you have to use one to protect your fabric. My case in point:

I just got to the last sleeve and realized that I forgot about the French seam. Since almost ever seam on this damn blouse had to be redone a few times due to putting wrong sides together, or to puckering seams, I decided that I would try to press it for a flat felled seam. Unfortunately, I do not own a teflon shoe for my iron. Santa might be buying me one next week, though. And, because it was so fiddly to iron the seam, I neglected to use the silk organza over this crazy poly silk charmeuse, which does not take a press very well.

Luckily, I have just enough fabric to cut out another sleeve and placket lining.

Things you learn from my mistakes:

1. Use a teflon shoe iron.
2. Use your silk organza pressing strip, even on small seams.
3. Starch the seams of poly silk organza.
4. Make shirts out of real silk charmeuse, or linen, or cotton.
5. Don't set your iron on the highest setting just because you want it to heat up fast. (Yes, I confess I thought that would be a good idea.)