Saturday, August 27, 2016

Made By A Fabricista: Bomber Jacket Trend



I've wanted a bomber jacket for a few years now and what do you know, they are in style now in a major way!

I've been seeing lots of florals and lots of satin bombers. I knew I wanted mine to be a bit bold (for me) and when I saw this printed ponte, I decided a knit bomber jacket would be mine!


At the time, I wasn't buying new patterns (broke that fast - shhhhh!) and went for a stash pattern - Burda 2/2013 #125


It comes in sizes 34 - 42 (8 - 16) and needs just 1 1/4 yard of 55 inch fabric - score! I couldn't find ribbing locally so I went with a black ponte for the bands.

I wanted to line it and picked up a run-of-the-mill poly interlock knit in black. It's a bit shiny but it's okay; it serves the purpose.


I don't think I'll ever make another jacket again without a back facing!


I cut a size 40 at the neckline and shoulders, grading to a 42 for the rest. This is standard for me with Burda. After taking measurements, and because I was using a knit, I decided I didn't need a full bicep adjustment and that the blousing at the waist made a swayback adjustment unnecessary. Also, there is no interfacing in this jacket other than a 1" strip where the zipper is inserted. 

I really love the fit!


This went together so quickly (I used the serger for most of it) until it came time to figure out how to line, add zipper and add bottom band. I got myself all sorts of confused and Burda's instructions aren't all that helpful. I had attached the bottom band to the fashion fabric and then had no clue how I was going to attach the band to the lining!

In the end, I serged it as much as I could and slip-stitched the rest by hand. I also slip-stitched the bottom band to the zipper tape. For the sleeves, I just attached the band to the fashion fabric and lining at the same time.



I made my hem band a bit smaller than they suggested - both length and width, and skipped the topstitching on the neckline. With this busy print, it isn't missed! I did get those front pieces lined up nicely!!



While I find this print a bit wild and crazy; I absolutely adore the finished jacket! I love the fit and think this will be a fun wardrobe piece. 



Are you hopping on the Bomber jacket bandwagon this fall?!

Nakisha


Monday, August 22, 2016

Summer of T-Shirts Event: Designing with a Simple Pattern

I’m so impressed! Everyone in the “Summer of T-Shirts Event” has come up with some amazingly creative ways to change up that ol’ T-shirt pattern! 

As a fashion designer and patternmaker, I’m always trying to come up with new and interesting designs while sticking to classic silhouettes. At the end of the day, when you are sewing something yourself, you are the designer because you are making the decisions for fit and fabric.

One of my favorite things to do is to take a simple, yet well-fitted T-Shirt pattern, (I love my mom’s Palmer/Pletsch Basic Knit Tee #M6964) and find really interesting, even unusual fabric to make it out of. I take the one T-shirt pattern and fit it slightly differently for each type of knit based on its weight and stiffness. I like to use border and large-scale prints or even plaids to play with interesting print placement. Sometimes the simplest pattern can be made so interesting if you place your print well.

I’m usually writing about fitting and alterations, so I’m really happy to change it up with some sewing and styling tips. I got a lot of my time-saving sewing tips from the Knits for Real People book by Sue Neall and Pati Palmer.

There are a few things I cannot live without when sewing knits that do affect fit:

SewkeysE Knit Stay tape (the yellow one) to stabilize necklines, shoulder seams, and even armholes, especially when there is rayon involved.


Micro serrated Kai scissors with angled handles. These work beautifully on slippery ITY’s (interlock twist yarn fabrics).


Ok so here we go! Hopefully this gets your creative juices flowing!

M6964 long sleeve version sweater knit — I’ve had so many people ask me about this top after I wore it in my “Fitting Fashion Knits” Craftsy Class. (BTW, that link is for $10 off!) Everyone thought it was seamed together that way! The fabric is a cotton intarsia (meaning the print is knitted in the fabric) sweater weight knit. The geometric vertical stripe pattern made it really great for a placement print. I used the stripe down the center of the sleeve, and the horizontal diamonds in between the stripes I placed down my center front and center back. I had the zig zag lines “zag” IN around my waistline to fake an hourglass shape! Lastly I made sure the diamonds weren’t directly over my stomach or breasts, cuz that just wouldn’t look good! Ha!



M6964 Palmer/Pletsch Cropped and M7415 Palmer/Pletsch No Side Seam Pant — I’m calling this my “knit suit” because I made both pieces out of this pretty stable mesh. I tweaked the Basic Tee M6964 with a side-seam detail, slightly longer in front and shorter in back, and the no side seam pant I lengthened in the crotch so they are high waisted. It looks like a jumpsuit and feels like pajamas and I looooove it!



M6964 Palmer/Pletsch Scuba knit — I actually really like scuba fabric for T-shirts! I love the stiffness; however, you do need to fit it looser unless you plan on going surfing. For this plaid print I cut it on the bias, so the plaid goes diagonally across the shirt. I also added a little stitching detail on the shoulder because I wanted the seam allowance to stay facing one direction.





M6964 Palmer/Pletsch Heart crop ITY — Same T-shirt pattern, new look! This rayon spandex liked to grow everywhere so I used my SewkeysE Knit Stay tape a lot here…maybe went a little overboard, on the neck, armhole, and shoulder seams! I ALWAYS have my pattern out the whole time I’m sewing, and before fusing anything I lay the pattern back on the fabric and push the fabric back into shape. Moving the cut pieces around can distort the fabric, and I don’t want to fuse without checking and make my fabric permanently distorted! What I love about this print is the abstract heart shapes. This tee is less cropped than the scuba but just as wide, which in this fabric drapes a lot more.






M7407 Melissa Watson Swing Dress in Micro B+W dot ITY — OK I know this is not a T-shirt, but it is one of my new knit patterns and the micro dot poly ITY was the PERFECT fabric for this very swingy summer dress, so I just had to show you. You want a fabric with more weight and drape and less volume for this style. I don’t normally wear white, but I was drawn to the off white and all the tiny black dots, and I knew they would be slightly abstract within the ruffles of this circle dress.









One major tip for this fabric, and I can hear my mom saying it now, CUT FLAT!! ITY’s are so slippery and this is what happens when you cut mid air!! I had to take the whole neckband off and start again!

Now since this is one of the final post on this subject, I’d like to sweeten the deal. I’d like to see how you get creative with your knits! Send Julie (fabricmartblog [@] gmail.com) your T-shirt makes with description and a picture of your make. Julie will pick a winner, who will receive 3 FREE Palmer/Pletsch or Melissa Watson knit sewing patterns of your choice! You can also post your photos on Facebook and Instagram using #FMSummerofTshirts. You will also be entered to win a $75 gift certificate! You have until August 31st to share you finished t-shirt projects, so get sewing and sharing!

Thanks for reading everyone!
XO Melissa

Saturday, August 20, 2016

Made by a Fabricista: Color-Blocked Athletic Wear

 
When trying to decide what to sew this month I was inspired by a Fabric Mart email that featured a sale on athletic fabric. (Side Note: If you are not their email list, SIGN UP!) I’ve been wanting to sew some workout gear since shortly after I began to sew a little over 2 years ago. As a newbie I purchased athletic wear patterns but avoided sewing them because I was a little unsure of sewing such stretchy fabric (even though I learned on knits).
I figured this month was as good as any to make a workout outfit, especially since I’m trying to recommit to fitness and healthy living. So I pulled out Butterick 6295 and McCalls 7261 from my pattern drawer. I chose B6295 because I love the large pockets on the hip of the leggings (View D). I NEED music to get through a workout and that music is played from my Samsung Note, a HUGE phablet. So these pockets will allow me to keep my phone on me as I squat while listening to my Spotify playlist. I know, I know I need to just get some Bluetooth headphones and leave my phone on the bench, but I haven't. Plus even if I did, I still track my workouts on my phone. The top, also from B6295 (View B), features a built-in bra which is a bonus. To go all out, though it is too hot to wear this now, I decided to add the hoodie from M7261. Mainly because I've wanted to sew up this hoodie for a while now.






I wanted to play with bright colors as I’ve noticed a move to loud obnoxious colors in the fitness/sports wear from the major companies like Nike and New Balance. When I searched Fabric Mart’s Activewear selection I noticed the Spandex Supplex Activewear knit described as “thicker/heavier than other active wear knit” and I thought that would be great for the leggings. Four color options were available Raspberry, Avocado, Denim Blue and Maroon. Both the denim blue and maroon seemed too dark for the bright, loud look I was going for, so I choose avocado to stick to me vision of loud.

Again I wanted colorblocking and grey and black are definitely my workout default colors so adding the Stone Gray knit was a no brainer. For some reason I decided to go for a three color combo so I added the vibrant purple as well for an accent.







Now on to the sewing. I used wooly nylon thread in my serger for the first time! I’d read that the serged seams in activewear could be irritable and the wooly nylon gave softer feel. Additionally activewear requires stretching and the wooly nylon thread is stretchy. The only issue I had with the wooly nylon was that it would slip out of my clips and result in a really loose serge. I learned to check it as I was sewing to catch it right when it happened.

The Hoodie

When I pre-read the instructions for M7291 I was concerned I would have issues with the front collar piece as the image didn’t make sense to me at the time. However once I got to that step it came together ok. I could/should have reworked it for a clean edge, but I don’t mind for a first attempt. I liked the method used for finishing the kangaroo pocket. The instructions have you sew the pocket side edges right sides facing to create an even fold for the top and bottom hem. This is not how I had finished this pocket before, but I will now. In the future I would prefer the supplex knit for its heavier weight. A double knit would also work well for a heavier sweater like feel.

The Leggings

I was really surprised at how well they fit with almost no adjustments! Which was great because this pattern lacks a side seam and it was going to be a pain to take in. I did add about ¾ -1” to the back crotch length but this is a standard adjustment I make to pants. The only place a dramatic adjustment was needed was the length, the legs are absurdly long. I’m not tall by anyone's standards, but I’m also not a shortie at 5’5” and I had about 5” of excess at the hem. Even if you want a gathered look (which was already achieved with the gathering of the side panel) this was just too much. I cut off 4” and sewed a 3/4 seam. Another thing that wasn't an adjustment but just something I skipped was the exposed serged edges. The instructions call for you to serge or overlock the edges of some pieces and then topstitch and edge stitch those pieces. This would create a more athletic look that is typically a result of flatlock stitching. I couldn't find a contrast thread color that I wanted to use, so I simply sewed the pieces together using the typical 5/8" seam allowances and had not troubles. My favorite features of these leggings is the back yoke part, it a very ready-to-wear feature. These are definitely now my go to fitness leggings!

See the 5 extra inches of length!


The Top

I was a little worried about the construction of the built in bra for the top (B6295 View B). I'm not sure why because the directions were great and easy to follow. Power mesh was suggested for the bra lining and though Fabric Mart was out at the time I was able to get some locally. I had never sewn power mesh and was a curious if it would be tricky. I'm glad to say for me it wasn't. In the future, because I will be making this again, I plan to cut a size smaller as I feel like it lacked some support despite the built in bra feature. Another option may be to use a less stretchy knit for the inner bra. For extra support I plan to slip elastic into the back straps as well.

Overall

I’m extremely satisfied with each piece. The only regret I have is my color blocking choice for the hoodie. I wish I had used the purple for the side front and back pieces and used a gray pocket.

For my full pattern reviews and more pictures head on over to my blog FrougieFashionista.