October 07, 2017

Week 1 Progress ~ V8991 Couture Jacket

I decided to keep a running journal for this very overwhelming project. The goal is to write my progress daily and then post it at the end of the week. Here we go with week 1....

It's the first week in October and I figured that I really need to get started on this jacket if I want to be finished by Thanksgiving. Hopefully, I'll be doing daily updates on this project, on Instagram, and you can see, and read, my daily struggles with this project. LOL. I'll try to keep my blog as drama free as possible.

Vogue V8991 Claire Shaeffer's Custom Couture Collection
~ Couture Jacket ~

A Bit About The Pattern:
The instructions take 8 pages (the directions in French start on page 6) and there are 112 steps. Five-eighths seam allowance is included and there are illustrations for 8 types of tailoring stitches. The very first instruction, even before step 1. is to make a muslin. So, here we go......

Upon inspecting the envelope, I noticed that there were no finished garment sizes and according to the envelope flap, I should take a size 18...... um, no. Having no idea how much wearing and design ease they put into this jacket, and with size 14 being the larges in the envelope, I went with the 14 for my first muslin. The big 4 pattern companies usually do suggest that I take a larger size than I need. I learned years ago to find and use the finished garment sizing instead.

V8991 ~ Muslin in size 14

It's really boxy in the front but has some shaping in the back when seen from the side. I'm not thrilled with the length. It seems to hit me at a really weird spot on my hip. I'm not sure if I want to lengthen it. For this first try I'm going to stick to the pattern and instructions as much as my patience will allow.

The first 6 steps are instructions on how to mark your fabric with thread using tailor's tacks and thread tracings (both are types of stitches). You're supposed to mark everything from your seam allowances to the pocket placements. I'm not sure about the pockets so I guess that I won't be adding any. As for marking the seam allowances, I totally cheated and just ran it under the machine needle. I used the longest stitch length that my machine has. I skipped marking the grain line all together.

Step 7 is trimming the bottom of the interfacing and basting the interfacing to the fashion fabric. This is just for the front pattern piece, in preparation to quilt the two together. To trim the interfacing, I ran a machine stitch along the bottom and cut on my stitch line. As for basting the interfacing to the fashion fabric, I just pinned it.

Make sure you mark the grain line,
otherwise your quilting stitch won't be straight.... as illustrated above.

Then step 8 is quilting.  I was actually really surprised that the directions called for machine quilting. I assumed that they would have you hand quilt it, but they don't.  The quilting line was marked on the interfacing so I just ran my quilting stitch from the wrong side with regular thread instead of running from the right side with embroidery thread. As you can see, marking the grain line is important after all. As a side note, make sure you don't confuse embroidery thread with embroidery floss. They are two very different things. Floss is thick and thread is fine.

Step 9 is marking buttonholes and adding fusible interfacing to the back side of the tweed (fashion fabric) where the buttonholes will be. This step is self explanatory. However, because I'm not going to be using fusible interfacing, I had to do some research. I found nothing on the internet so I turned to my bookshelf of antique sewing books. There I found that diluted gum arabic was, in the old days, painted on the cut edge of fabric to keep it from fraying. You can actually still get gum arabic but not where I live. It's used in food and paint as an emulsifier and thickener. I guess that's the concept behind liquid stop fray products. So, stop fray it shall be.... but that step comes next week.

According to the Encyclopedia of Needlework you should apply diluted
gum arabic to the cut edge of a fabric likely to fray.

Step 10 and 11 I just could not get my head around. In step 10 they want you to baste the interfacing five eighths from the edge and in step 11 they want you to trim away three quarters from the edge. Perhaps they got the numbers wrong or perhaps it makes perfect sense, but not to me in the middle of the night. That seems to be when I have a chance to get some sewing done. I simply machine stitched three quarters from the edge and cut on the stitch line. Then basted the edge in place because the next steps are to cover this with a tape and I didn't want to fight with loose facing or pins.

Steps 12 and 13 are instructions on taping the front edge. There are no instructions as to what is to be used to tape the front edge. The Notions section does not list what to use so I asked on McCall's facebook group. My two responses were, quarter inch twill tape and the selvage edge of silk organza. I read about "stay tape" on the blog A Challenging Sew. Then I found Couture Sewing Techniques, a book by Claire Shaeffer, where she writes that she uses silk organza or chiffon for a jacket with a foldline.... so, not this style. On Gertie's Blog for Better Sewing she wrote a post called The Wild World of Stay Tape. Then I started finding "stay tape" on tailoring websites like this one. Deeper into the rabbit hole I went until finally I was looking at historical tailoring websites that were talking about quarter inch twill tape...... So, coming full circle, that's what I went with.

In step 12 it is important to keep the outside edge of the tape against the seam line. Step 13 is using the catchstitch (one of the tailoring stitches illustrated in the directions) to attach the tape.

My first try at the catchstitch. I think they could be closer together
but not bad for my first go.


I was hoping to get to step 20 this week. I guess that step 13 is a good place to stop because the task of making buttonholes begins in step 14. I really hope this goes well. Wish me luck!!! I'm going to need it.

I hope that all of your sewing projects are going together like a dream.
Until next time, 
Happy Stitching!!



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September 28, 2017

White Raglan Sleeve Tee ~ September

With all the other activities that my kids participate in, it seems impossible sometimes to fit in even the easiest, quickest sewing project. This is the second time that I've used this vintage Simplicity 8471. The first I posted here.



I picked up this white knit from my local fabric shop and my dear friend Valery gave me this pattern that belonged to her mother. I shared her gift of vintage patterns in this video. As for the pattern, it goes to a size 16 but by adding a strip down the front, and another one down the back, I was able to go up an extra size.


It's finally starting to get chilly and that's really putting me in the mood to make fall and winter garments. Wish me luck with my couture jacket.

I hope that all of your sewing projects are going together like a dream.
Until next time, 
Happy Stitching!!



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September 21, 2017

Fall Sewing Plans 2017

I am so glad that I was finally able to get myself back into a sewing rhythm. Even if it was just in time to pack up my finished projects because we are now moving steadily into fall and winter months.



I really don't have any specific plans, however, I do need to work on the Couture Blazer in order to be finished with it by Thanksgiving.


And there is a nice blue corduroy jacket that was in the middle of last winter that I could really use this fall.


Not to mention a cream and red striped tropical weight wool that is almost a finished jacket. The only real problem that I see here is that it probably doesn't fit me as I was at least a size or two smaller when I started this years ago.

Cream & Red Pinstripe Tropical Weight Wool, Butterick B5391,
Simplicity 3688, & Butterick B5685

What I really want to do is take apart a pair of jeans that I have, that fit me really well, and make a pattern from them...... and then duplicate it in all sorts of great colors and add interesting details. Not thinking that that is a very realistic goal but I put it here anyway. 

The projects that I currently find myself thinking about are my plans to take the scrap fabric from this years projects and use them to make Christmas ornaments and small gift toppers.

Until next time,
Happy Stitching!!



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August 25, 2017

More Cropped Pants - August Projects

I'm having a bit of drama in fulfilling my sewing goals. The cropped pants and white ruffle top for July went together so easily but finishing those espadrille wedges just never seemed to materialize. I guess the sewing room elves are on vacation..... and I must be too. Lol. I decided to skip the wedges and the bag and the beach cover-up and dive into a very old project that's been on my list for years now, turning my cocoa brown linen into casual and comfy cropped pants. The pattern went together perfectly for my July pants so now the only problem was that I could't, for the life of me, find the brown linen. I looked everywhere, for days.

So I decided to try out another really quick project pattern that I've been drooling over forever. You know, something easy that would pick up my spirits and make me feel productive. Well, that project fell flat. The pattern doesn't fit or work for me in the least. I'd have to do all sorts of complicated changes. No surprise that I passed on that project too.

Then I stumbled onto some other projects that went wrong in one way or another. Oh my!!! What is a girl to do when things are just not working out. Finally, I found that brown linen in a place that I just knew it couldn't be. I was able to throw that pair together and then another pair from an olive green mystery material. I couldn't tell you what the fiber content is or where I got it. I couldn't even tell you how long I had it. Honestly, I don't even care. I'm just thrilled that I am back on the path to happy sewing with two successful projects this month.





 Both pair of cropped pants were made with NewLook 6130 in size 14. I added a waistband and flat felled all my seams by hand. These are so comfortable..... they may become secret pajamas.



Until next time,
Happy Stitching!!



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