2.15.2019

Sewing Together: A Twofer for Week Two


When Rhonda posted a link to the Chanel runway show a few months back I was in the middle of a series of projects using Merchant and Mills patterns.  It occurred to me that they were on opposite ends of the spectrum...luxury on one end and simple working garments on the other.  It was interesting to have those two ideas in my head at the same time.  Chanel takes a very down to earth fabric...tweed, and elevates it to total luxury.  Merchant and Mills take basic working garments and brings them into today's fashion vernacular.   So what would it look like to merge those ideas?  That is what this month's challenge is all about.  Taking humble garments and humble fabrics and pushing  the envelop of how we usually think of them.


It's been on and off horrible here in Michigan as far as weather goes.  Ice, snow, cold, more snow, a little wind, more snow....and to top it off I have been dealing with an airport sinus something.  You know, the stuff you pick up while getting on and off airplanes in drastically different climates...yeah...that!!!  What that means in my sewing room is....there have been no trips to the fabric store!  Whatever happens has to come straight from my stash.  I hadn't thought of this sew together month as a stash busting month, but it's kind of turning out that way. 


I pulled out a tweedy wool jersey for a top for this week's installment, but after seeing Rhonda's trial of the Francine pattern as a dress I decided I wanted a dress version myself.

Hmmmmmm....I'm not sure what the original dimensions of the piece of fabric were, but after washing and drying it I was left with a 47" X 66" piece.  No problem for a top, but I wanted a dress.  (whiny stuffy headed noises!!!)  Now, if you have read my Threads article from last year about 'Reversible Garments' you know that I am a total sucker for double faced fabrics, and, you guessed it, my slightly shrunken (is that a word?) wool jersey is in fact, double faced.  It is a lovely grey on one side and a grey and tan herringbone tweed on the reverse side.  So not only do I want a dress, but I want it to be reversible as well!!!  (maybe I shouldn't sew when I have yucky sinus-y head stuff going on?!)

I knew if I could get it laid out on the fabric I could make it work...
My usual trick of skimping on the seam allowances wasn't an option.  I needed them for the flat felled seams that would make my dress reversible.  I also 'decided' that I would like 3/4 length sleeves...yeah, 3/4 length sleeves that's the ticket!  I spent a very long afternoon wiggling pattern pieces and fabric around, but in the end I got it all on!

         

The fabric was a total treat to work with.  (I wish I remembered where it came from?) The knit was very stable and incredibly straight, no twisting that usually comes with a wool jersey.  It was also very resilient and I could press it directly without a pressing cloth which made turning all the seams way easier!


I followed the Francine pattern pretty closely.  I did have to forgo the side seam pockets and I did shorten the sleeves.  I turned the facing out onto the grey side and made the collar grey.   I also turned the sleeve hems and the bottom hem to the tweed side creating contrasting grey bands to finish the dress. This meant that I have one all grey dress and a tweed dress with contrasting collar, cuffs and hem.  I tried out a pocket on the tweed side and thought about a snap tab instead of the button and loop that the pattern has, but in the end I liked the simple elegance of the plain dress.

          

I was also excited to realize that it was a great match for a sweater vest that I have been trying to find a partner for for a couple of years!   I actually like it with both the tweed and grey dresses.  Bonus!

 

So...week two is a actually two dresses...one grey and one tweedy!  Does that mean I can take next week off?! 😏


          

I will link up with Rhonda's blog as soon as she gets this week posted....stay tuned!

2.08.2019

Sew Together: Tweedy Sweatshirt Number One!



I'm back from my month in Key West and after a month away from my sewing room I'll be hopping back in with both feet!  Rhonda from "Rhonda's Creative Life" has agreed to do another "Sew Together" with me.  While we may not feel all that 'together' most of the time 😝, for the next four weeks we are going to be 'sewing together', and sharing!
 
Several months ago Rhonda posted a link to the Fall/Winter 18/19 Chanel runway show (her post HERE).  It got her thinking about tweed...and zippers.  At the same time....in another part of the forest...I was trying out the Merchant and Mills patterns and falling in love with their simple, work clothing aesthetic (see them HERE).  The idea of taking humble designs and fabrics and elevating them to haute couture was intriguing...and challenging.   Not sure if we will be able to rise to Chanel heights, but we're giving it a go!

So here we are in February with a month of Tweedy Sweatshirts!  We decided to use the Francine top from Merchant and Mills as our pattern and see what we could come up with using tweed fabrics.


I have been craving a simpler, leaner wardrobe over the past few years now.  Once I get a basic pattern that fits, I want to use it over and over, changing the details and the fabrics, knowing that the basic garment is going to fit me and my wardrobe. The Francine Top is just the kind of garment.
The Francine pattern description is "Fisherman Top and Dress: Brittany Inspired Wardrobe Staple"
(you can read about my 'discovery' of Merchant and Mills HERE and my first go around with Francine HERE

Apparently, in Brittany (and in Britain) women have much narrower shoulders than an ex-competitive swimmer American has and my first trial of the pattern confirmed this!  Not to fear, I have my handy dandy shoulder increasing alteration down pat.  (This is also a 'wardrobe staple' in my house!)  It involves cutting the arm hole out and moving out and up by 1/2" to 1", depending on how much room I need, and then truing up the shoulder and under arm seams.  This increases the shoulder width and raises the shoulder point without changing the size or shape of the armscye.  There are other methods of making these changes, but this one has worked well for me so it is the first one I try...and in this case it did the trick.


On Tuesday of this week I was really glad that I had a pattern that was ready to go, knowing that I had promised to post my first Tweedy Sweatshirt of the month on Friday!  When I got up I answered my mail, made a pot of tea and headed to the sewing room!  OMG!  Someone had stolen my sewing machines!!!!!  Wait!?  Oh yeah, I had completely forgotten that I had taken them to the 'doctor' for a good cleaning and tune up after all the waxed canvas coats I had made at Christmas time!  Drat!  Off to the sewing machine dealer, not part of the already tight timeline!

With my sewing machines back all clean and shiny I was ready to go...sew.  However, an icy storm had descended so whatever I was going to do had to come from my stash.  In December I had accompanied my mom to a favorite quilt shop to help pick out a backing for her most recent project.  I don't usually find a lot of garment fabric in quilt shops but this trip I bumped into little stacks of wool tweeds that were sold for making penny style rugs and wool embroidery.  I picked one up not knowing I would have a use for it so soon.  I also had a sweatshirt made of heavy cotton french terry that I had been planning to cut up for a jacket.  Perfect!  My first tweedy shirt...

                   

I cut the sleeves off the sweatshirt and recut them using my Francine sleeve pattern pieces to reshape the tops, leaving the rest of the sleeve intact.  I cut the front and back out of the body of the sweatshirt, again leaving the ribbing intact.


Now for the tweed...The pieces I had were already cut into 5" squares so that's what I used.  I arranged them on the front and sewed them down in a diagonal 1 inch square patten....


I had a piece of heavy wool jersey that worked for a collar and a herringbone "tweedy" looking zipper that I thought would be great!  (Often the last decision I make in the evening turns out to be less than optimal...the zipper came out to be replaced with a brown one that blended much better with the shirt.)


I swapped out the zippers and reset the sleeves and there you go...my first "Tweedy Sweatshirt!"

        

           

All that was left of my terry sweatshirt........and the side hem detail of my new sweatshirt.



Mr. Hugsley (a Christmas gift from my hubby!) approves!

...I haven't seen what Rhonda has been working on yet, but it should show up HERE when she gets it posted!