Saturday, January 11, 2014

Tippi Hedren Suit - A Major Shortcut!

So.  Cutting out.  Never anyone's favorite step in creating your dream garment.  I gave this step a lot of thought for two reasons:  1) I'm working with wool, which from my experience with the Gertie coat, I learned is difficult to mark because chalk is useless; and 2) this wool/cashmere blend is so soft it could slip through the proverbial ring.  The obvious solution was unpalatable: underline the jacket.  Underlining would provide body and structure to the wool, along with a great surface to make all my markings for darts, collar match points, etc.  BUT underlining traditionally involves hand sewing the underlining to your wool and then treating the two as one.  Ugh.

And then I got this idea.  This wonderful, awful idea.  Steam-A-Seam.  No, really.  I figured there would be three pieces that would need to be underlined:  the two fronts and the back.  (I won't underline the sleeves, and the facing/overcollar will be interfaced instead.)  I cut the fronts and back out of muslin and made all the markings I wanted.  Then I laid them down on the wrong side of my wool fabric:

 I pinned the muslin pieces to the wool about an inch and half from the muslin edges.  To apply the Steam-A-Seam, I lifted up the muslin cut edge and put a piece of Steam-A-Seam between the muslin and the wool, just at the edges of the muslin.  

The Steam-A-Seam, even unpressed, is slightly sticky and it kept the muslin and wool together sufficiently that I could go ahead and cut around the muslin pieces.  Then I picked up each piece (carefully), and place it on my ironing board, removed the pins, and pressed all the edges so the Steam-A-Seam adhered the muslin and wool together within the seam allowances.  

And voila!  My pattern pieces were underlined!  I realize that all over the world great past master tailors are rolling in their graves, but I don't care.  It was utterly awesome.  

I can't tell you how this simple idea has opened up my sewing possibilities - without having to handstitch underlining, I'll want to underline everything.  I already use Steam-A-Seam for putting in centered zippers (and I have secretly started using it for invisible zippers too, but I haven't perfected my technique yet), and now I'm wondering:  where else can I use this incredible stuff?

Once the garment pieces had cooled, I machine stitched down the center of my larger darts to keep the layers from shifting while sewing the darts.  Then I just proceeded to sew the jacket as usual.

 This wool is such a joy to work with.  It sews well, it presses beautifully.  I am getting spoiled by working with such a high quality fabric.  No wonder sewers become hooked on tailoring.  Here's a shot of the outside of the front of the jacket.  You can see the french dart:

I continued to look for a way to mark wool, though, and searched high and low for clay tailor's chalk, which will adhere better to wool than just regular chalk.  I finally found this from Wawak, 36 pieces for $ 8.45 in assorted colors.  

I knew I would need this for marking the sleeves, and for marking the dress pattern pieces which I will not be underlining. The pieces came packed in what looked like sawdust:

I used the yellow marker today on the sleeves which have a dart at the elbow, and it worked like a charm!  I can't recommend this product highly enough - I ordered it on Monday and it arrived on Tuesday!  So basically, I'm set for life on clay tailor's chalk.

Tomorrow I hope to finish getting those sleeves set in, cut out and sew the pockets, and figure out how to draft the front lining piece.  But it is coming along nicely.  : )


Lindah said...

In my wool sewing days, I did not know about clay chalk. I'll tuck that away for future reference should I every be sewing in wool again.
You are brave, cutting out a piece at a time. I never could do that. I was too afraid that I might somehow end up without enough fabric to cut the final pieces. :-)

Audrey said...

Yes, you will get spoiled sewing fine fabrics for your garments. But they can be so worth it.