Saturday, January 26, 2013

Marfy meets lambskin

It all started last November.  OK, it was probably earlier than that, but it began in earnest in November. My absolute favorite garment of all time, my baby blue leather jacket from 2005 (or 6 or 7) has gone past 'a little tight' to 'just let it go' too small.  This picture is from about 2007.  It actually buttoned at that time.  I used a vintage (even at the time) pattern Vogue 1919 pattern (Pattern Review is here) I will spare you the gory details, but I made this before I knew that you weren't supposed to put bound buttonholes in leather with out written approval from congress and an edict from The Vatican.  They turned out pretty good, for something that I wasn't supposed to be able to do.

Still love it, really love it.

But its the time of year when a young girls thoughts wander through too many shopping sites and her feet wander through Nordstrom too frequently and she gets the wanderlust for a beautiful new motorcycle-esque fab jacket.
It helps that my favorite fabric retailer has so graciously assumed the duties of lambskin dealer...

My favorite to replace the blue is remarkably similar to the emerald that has been declared the color of the summer.

I also love the look of that super soft quilted leather.  Its a sure sign of my Kate Spade obsession.  I am determined to find a way to do this.

My first tip was to get a walking foot.  Since my dearest elna didn't have one (from 1977) I borrowed a machine from a dear friend across the hall at work.  Yep, thats just the way sewing enthusiasts roll...  Its a Janome 6500 with some kind of dual feed adjustable feed dog synch sewing magic going on.  It sews the leather quilting wonderfully.  It feeds evenly (my biggest concern) without bunching or skipping.

The results for this specific purpose are wonderful, but I wouldn't buy a $2,000 machine just for that.  It doesn't sew well through 4 layers, and not at all through 5.  When you think about it, this can be a problem in garment sewing.  When you sew on belt loops there are 4 layers in the loop so sewing it to 2 layers of waistband (or jacket seam) is out of the question as is a jeans hem with a flat felled out- seam.
Another problem with the Janome, it refuses to sew with heavy duty thread, it shreds it like crazy in about 6".  Vangie agrees so it isn't operator error.  I was hoping to do the quilting in a heavy duty thread that is half a shade lighter but I guess not.
Anyway, I'll post more later...

Friday, January 25, 2013

Yada-yada, end of 2012 on to 2013

I actually finished several projects last year.  My favorite (well not exactly, but the most dramatic) is the Burda Style dress from 9-2012 from Mathew Williamson.

I still can't find my camera so Ya'll are doomed to the dreaded office bathroom cell phone shot:

Here is the basic Pattern Review review:

Pattern Sizing:  sizes 36 - 44  I sized up to about a 46 while I was tracing.  It wasn't as hard as I thought it was going to be since I used my fantastic new SA ruler.  I was nervous about it being too tight because it looks so fitted on the model, but it turned out OK.  From looking at my pictures I actually think I could take it in soon if I continue to lose weight.  FWIW, next time I do this up-sizing thing I will draft more carefully.  Perhaps a tutorial soon...
Word of caution if you try this, those awful burda pattern drawings give you a head ache and may cause your eyes to jump out of your head.  I do it at work when I'm not staring at spreadsheets.

Although the photo is cute, it really doesn't do the seaming and the design justice.  It resembles as much as it needs to.  IMHO, mine is cuter.  As much as I would love access to that fabric, I think the color blocking is the best choice here.

I really tried to get in the pose to match the magazine photo, but I couldn't hold it.  You will have to settle for the typical cell phone/office bathroom mirror shot until I find my regular camera.

Were the instructions easy to follow? Uh, no.  I couldn't get past the first paragraph, it couldn't tell what two pieces it was telling me to sew together!  The pocket/front pieces with the pocket bag can be kind of tricky if its been along time since you made pants with slash pockets.
With Burda magazine patterns, I find it more helpful to follow the numbering of the seam on the pattern (as referred to in the ONLY diagram with the instructions).
You start by sewing the pocket lining to the top edge of the skirt pocket portion, then flipping it to the inside and sewing the pocket bag (inset in light fabric).  Then you sew around the outer edge of the pocket bag sewing the lining to the inset (back of the pocket bag) being careful to stop at the intersection of the seam allowance.  Pockets and the insets look like this when you are done.  Another thing that you can see in this picture is that I had to narrow the pocket opening by stitching a couple of inches on both sides of the opening.  when I first sewed this together they bulged terribly.  I had a hard time getting them to lay flat, but that could have been due to the way I sized up one size.

One design/construction detail that I really appreciate about this dress is the fact that the lining and the facings are cut to not overlap each other. The lining and the facings are sewn together at the edges, then the facings are sewn to the dress so that all the seams are enclosed and you don't have the bulk of the facing overlapping the complete lining.  Here is the inside of the front and the inside of the back showing the nice clean finish.

I used suit weight wool twill.  Mixing different fabrics actually makes me nervous, you have to be careful to not mix weights, fibers or textures (unless that is the design element, even then you still have to be careful).  Fortunately I found 3 different colors of wool suiting that had exactly the same product description in the selvage.
I used bemberg lining which I buy in nude and black by the bolt (or other large quantity when on sale) instead of digging around for matching lining I usually just use one color or the other for dresses.
For interfacing I used medium weight fusible from Pam Erny (Fashion Sewing Supply) naturally!

BUT, I will have to say that my favorite garments by far are the 3 pairs of jeans that I made!  Once again, ignore the office-bathroom cell phone picture.  Here is the PR review for Burda 8085 from 2008.  They are so wonderful that I just take them for granted.  You can't see the best part, that would be the 36" inseam!  Yes, that is a yard from my hoo-hoo to my hem and I love it!  The worst part about those store bought jeans (can you smell the disdain) is those teentsy little after-thought, cheapskate pocket that barely hold a cellphone.  Mine are considerably more substantial!  Ironically, the two black pairs survived.  I had a bit of trouble with the thread not being strong enough and the center back seam thread broke.  Fortunately I get to work early and noticed the draft so the only problem was explaining why I was leaving the bathroom carrying a stapler.

Another favorite (set of 3 of course) is the TNT Marfy 9468 that I first made 25lbs ago in 2009.  This one is totally washed out in this photo, its actually a pretty light purple color.  I'm actually holding the other two, one is bright white and the other is a pretty black and white print from Liberty of London.  More on these shirts later.  For now I am going to publish this post before I talk myself into doing more editing.

I am really powering forward in 2013, more sewing fearlessly, more leather jackets and a whole new and exciting set of Marfy patterns to be showcased later.

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