Saturday, December 19, 2009

Big Snow!

We've gotten so much snow that our neighborhood snowplow guy is using a CAT bulldozer to clear the streets!
My back deck: Of course, this means that my flight to Cotton Creek, Alabama has been SO cancelled. I won't get home until late, late tomorrow, at best. I would estimate that 10 to 12 inches have fallen so far, with about 6 more forecast for today and tonight. But I am happy for this "rest" day, although I don't know how much rest will be involved. If I want to leave the house tomorrow, there is going to have to be a heap of shoveling of the drive.
I haven't decided whether there will be sewing today, or what kind: work on bindings or start something new?? Don't know, but I love having the time on hand to decide!
Parting Shot: My neighbor is getting the jump on the shoveling. Think I could talk him to coming over to my house????

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

The Liverpool Tunic

I was in Cotton Creek, Alabama last week, unexpectedly, due to some surgery my mother had; she's recovering nicely, and we are all very grateful. But while I was there, I did visit a great quilt shop I have blogged about before, the Front Porch Quilt Shoppe located on highway 231 in Ozark, Alabama. Melanie has so many bolts of fabric, and lots of samples that just make you want to sew. I browsed quite a bit there and came across Amy Bulter's new pattern, called "The Liverpool". I bought it on the spot and when I came home I made it up in Amy Bulter's fabric called "Daisy Chain": Here is my "model" shot:

Here's Amy's pattern:
I'm amused that after ranting about the uselessness of tunics here, I was overcome by the cuteness of this pattern photo and was possessed to make it. The pattern wasn't cheap ($ 15), but it comes in multiple sizes, with multiple lengths. You can make a shirt, the tunic, a short dress, and long dress. And there are four different sleeve lengths: short, elbow length, three-quarters, and long sleeves. Given the options and the price, I actually traced out the version I wanted to make: the three quarters sleeves with the tunic length. For the first time, I used regular tissue paper for the tracing since I was in Cotton Creek and that is what I had on hand. It worked well. I used blue painters tape to tape the original pattern pieces to my parents' hundred year old table, and then I taped the tissue paper over it. All this taping made sure nothing moved when I was tracing - you can get away with not taping for smaller pattern pieces, but for the large ones, go ahead and tape.
When I got back to Virginia, I cut out the pattern and began sewing, nearly right away. The instructions were thorough, and deliberately so. I wouldn't recommend this pattern to a rank beginner though, unless she had a class or a teacher to help her through it. I got to try several new things on this project; for example, this is the first collar I have ever made that had a collar stand. Also, this is the first shirt I have made with a separate cut placket for the buttonholes and buttons. And these sleeves are first I have ever put in flat (with the exception of some men's shirts I have made). Finally, these are the first covered buttons I have ever made. Here is a close up of the shirt which shows the colors more true:
I will say that my first collar with a collar stand will not win any awards for construction - I need more practice to make it look neater. The instructions on the collar and stand were maddenly vague: instead of identifying an upper collar or undercollar, or upper stand or inner stand, the instructions talked about "the first collar". Well, which is the "first collar"? I couldn't figure out which collar and stand should be interfaced from the instructions, and which shouldn't, and I got the stand backwards (the inner stand ended up interfaced, when the outer should have been, in my opinion).
The other area where the instructions could have been better was the construction of the cuffs and the button loops. Some illustrations would have been helpful; I have no idea if I did them correctly, and just did what I thought would work.
If you make this pattern, be advised there are two mistakes: 1) in Step 11 A you should press your seam allowance towards the cuff, not the sleeve, and 2) in Step 15, you should make your buttonholes on the right placket and put the buttons on the left placket.
On the upside, I LOVED putting in the sleeves in flat before you sew up the side seams. Much, much easier, and I will be doing that from now on. This technique may make me lose my dislike of sleeves!
I didn't know until I bought the pattern that there were ties in the back. Here is a photo:
The ties are really just a design feature; they have no effect on fit. The tunic is nicely shaped with six darts in the front and two darts in the back. In my opinion the ties are too long and heavy; next time I make this, I will probably shorten them by about five inches. Also, the three-quarter length sleeves seem very long on me. I've never seen myself as having short arms, but I think the three-quarter length should be about 2 inches shorter.
I was surprised that the fit was somewhat snug in the bust. The tunic fit fine in the waist and hips (you can see that I am wearing it over jeans), but it is a tad tight in the bust. I don't usually have this problem! My body measurements are those indicated for the small size - I wondered if I made my bust darts too generous. I don't think so, but next time I make it, I'll alter the bust area a bit to make it less tight. (I added a snap between the first and second button, just to make sure nothing comes apart at an inopportune moment.) I am excited to make this again as the short dress version with the elbow length sleeves as a summer dress, possible in a forties era print . . . My mind is boggling at the possibilties!