Thursday, March 24, 2016

Ascot Jacket

This is the Ascot Jacket by Loes Hinse. It's an oldie but a goodie, dated 2009 on the envelope.

Loes Hinse is a dutch designer. She used to have a shop in Carmel where she sold ready-made versions of her designs. She also sold her patterns and some remnants of the fabrics she used. It was always a super fun stop on a trip to Carmel. You could try on the styles before you decided on a pattern and she gave you personalized sizing advice.

I hadn't been down that way for several years though, until I spent a wonderful Girl's Night Out at the Cypress Inn with my friend Carol this week. Carol sweetly trekked up and down with me, searching for Loes's shop.  No luck. Even with two smart phones and Yelp, we could't find it. But you can still find her patterns, along with some lovely fabrics, on the Casual Elegance website.

Shoulder collapsing in the back. Probably need to add those shoulder pads.
I like Loes Hinse patterns for their streamlined look and construction. They're great for showing off a nice, drapey fabric. Her lines are simple and she doesn't use linings, interfacing or even much in the way of closures. She intends you to whiz the garments up in moments, using a serger. Which I don't have, but I did just fine with a straight stitch and my overcast foot.

Rear view with sad shoulders
This pattern does call for shoulder pads, which I omitted. As I look at this rear view, it appears that was a mistake. My shoulders could use a little extra oomph. I haven't worn a shoulder pad since 1987, but I think I'll go ahead and add a pair to this jacket. Just some small ones to shore up the line.

I made this jacket at Sewing Camp and I would call it a quick and easy sew. There are only five pattern pieces, including a separate piece for the under collar, which is always a nice touch. Everything fit together very easily. The instructions were clear and even informative, since they told you why you were working certain steps.

The jacket closes with a thread loop and one button, making a nice opportunity to use something special. I chose this button that I got years ago at Findings in Carmel (oh, Findings, why are you no longer there for me?). My thread loop is huge and dorky because I hadn't yet found this tutorial on the Grainline site. Besides adding shoulder pads, I'll be re-doing my thread loop.

My one button closure
The fabric is a light wool gabardine that I got as a remnant at Stone Mountain & Daughter. I had 1.5 yards, which was plenty to cut the jacket in my size.

Anyway, this is a nice, light jacket to toss on over a sleeveless top to go out for drinks. Or maybe to wear over said top during the day if you work in an air-conditioned office.

My pattern review is on here. And Zoe says, "Hoppy Easter!"

Zoe, all dressed to go read with little kids at the public library

Tuesday, March 15, 2016

Seeking a Woven Tee

I've been auditioning patterns for the role of "favorite woven tee." Every wardrobe needs one, don't you think? My candidates so far have been the Grainline Scout and Gertie's portrait blouse, which can be made without the zipper and waist tucks if you're after some simple, slip-over action.

So just what is a woven tee anyway? Here are a couple snippets from Wikipedia that make sense to me:

"A T-shirt (or tee shirt, or tee) is a style of fabric shirt, named after the T shape of the body and sleeves. It is normally associated with short sleeves, a round neck line known as a crew neck, with no collar." Tee shirts are "slip-on garments without buttons" and are "easily fitted, easily cleaned, and inexpensive." 

Huh. I thought they were named after golf tees because golfers wear them while out on the links. You learn something new every day!

Anywhoo, here is McCall's 8050, an oldie but a goodie. I made this bad boy on the last day of sewing camp.

Sorry for the yellow tinge - due to afternoon light through mustard colored shades
It looks like this pattern is out of print. The date on the envelope is 1996, which is probably about when I first picked it up at the flea market. A kimono sleeve version of this pattern (the middle row on the pattern envelope) is one of my oldest me-mades still in existence

This time I made view A, the one in the upper right corner. How have I never noticed this view before? It's just what I've been looking for. I like the squared off neckline and I've been wanting something with set-in sleeves. The older I get, the more I think about sun protection. 

side view
I cut a size 8 after checking the finished garment measurements. According to the size chart, the 8 should fit a 31.5 inch bust. Except the size 8 has a finished bust measurement of 39.5 inches. Eight inches of ease. Honestly, I wonder how many people believe the size charts on the back of the pattern envelope and then just give up garment sewing in disgust?

The size 8 fits my 35ish inch bust just fine, and the shoulders feel like they sit about right. I was worried the neckline might gape, but it stays in pace pretty nicely. 

back view
I used a Kaffe Fassett shot cotton, which should feel cool and breezy on a hot summer day. This fabric is kind of like linen, in that it always looks a little rumpled. I'm thinking of that as a design feature. I haven't washed the finished top yet, so I'm not sure if I'll feel like I have to press before wearing. My standards are pretty low though, so probably not.

The top is super simple to put together. Well, except for trying to ease in the sleeve cap. I had this issue with the Scout woven tee too. I wonder if you need extra ease at the shoulder to help these tops slip on and off? I'll be experimenting with reducing that sleeve cap in version #2. I'll let you know how that works out.

Parting shot with background dog
If you happen to come across this pattern, I can recommend it. Especially if reducing the sleeve cap ease works out OK. Looks like you can find it pretty easily on Ebay for 5 bucks or less. I really like my old kimono sleeve version too. I might need to make another one of those sometime soon. 

My pattern review is on here.

Monday, March 14, 2016

Sewing Camp

I spent last weekend at Happy Valley Conference Center, sewing up a storm in the company of about 50 other ladies. Speaking of storms, an El Nino fueled event lumbered through the area while we were there, keeping us inside and productive. That's why I'm not posting endless pictures of the glorious redwoods and the spring flowers

The event was organized by a nifty lady named Jen Namba. A long weekend in the redwoods with good food, good company and lots of space to let your creativity flow. What could be better?

The event was a happy mix of crafters. Most folks were scrap bookers; a new world to me. Holy cow, do they ever have a plethora of fascinating materials and tools!

I was in the Quilting Room. My friend Jessica and I were the only garment makers in attendance that weekend. The rest of the crew were quilters, busily making amazing things.

Besides a well-stocked snack table and a constant supply of coffee, tea and hot cocoa, the Quilt Room offered a communal cutting table, a bunch of large cutting mats, rulers and rotary cutters and three irons with large pressing boards. I'm used to doing my cutting out while crawling around the floor in the spare bedroom, so this felt like quite a luxury. Each person also got their own 6-foot table to set out your sewing machine, serger or what-have-you.

Large cutting table! Snack table in the background.
I began the weekend by producing a wadder of a Watson bra (a.k.a. the Wadson or the Bra-dder). I had sized up, which looks like it was a bad idea. Plus, I was a bit too laissez faire in my cutting out. Little inaccuracies add up to big trouble in the world of bra making. The Man gave me a pep talk afterwards, though, so I'm not giving up on lingerie yet.

Incidentally, I had been feeling pretty good about my improving accuracy in prepping my sewing projects. Let me tell you, there's nothing like spending a weekend with some top-notch quilters to teach you what accuracy really means. Those guys are phenomenal. Look at this beautifully pieced quilt top:

Oh, and by the way, it's smaller than a piece of letter-sized paper:

All done on the cutest little Featherweight you could imagine:

And look at this baby quilt:

I told the maker she should finish it with the back side showing so the public could admire all her perfectly matched and pressed little seams.

I recouped from my Wadson by finishing a wool jacket and a woven tee, both to be reviewed soon. Here's the jacket collar getting rolled. See the quilt on the board in the background?

Jacket collar being rolled
Here's another shot at the end of the weekend. Jacket finished and quilt top zooming right along.

Jessica finished three tee shirts, a Marcy Tilton jacket and a pair of knit pants. Not to mention piecing her first ever quilt top!

Yes, Jessica got sucked into the quilting vortex. Well, me too. We saw some gorgeous stuff this weekend. We're planning on attending the next meeting of the South Bay Area Modern Quilt Guild.

And! We sucked our Quilt Room Leader into garment sewing! Here's Karen (a.k.a. Capitola Quilter) in her brand new Renfrew, which she made from start to finish on our last day.

This is THE most accurately cut and constructed tee shirt of all time. The quality work shows in the fit, right?

If you're in the Santa Cruz area, do yourself a favor and check these events out. It's a totally good time!