Sunday, January 11, 2015

Butterick 4192 - Can This Jacket Be Saved?

While I was dithering on my never-started coat project, and I realized my chosen wool was teal, I was on a quest for pink wool.  As you recall, I ended up just buying a pink coat from Boden, but before my obsessive search was over, I finally found a candy-pink wool online offered as a single cut piece of eight yards.  For like 50-some-odd dollars.  (I can't remember from where, and my lack of memory only protects the guilty.) I couldn't pass up such a great deal because you would be surprised how hard it is to find pink wool.  Really.

Once I received it in the mail though, I discovered it wasn't thick enough for a winter coat.  So I bought the Boden coat, and my back up plan was to use vintage Butterick 4192 and make a pink suit:

Because my Tippi Hedren suit was such a pleasure to sew last year, I decided I would make the short jacket and skirt from the pink wool, which would be a welcome addition to my wardrobe since I have jettisoned everything black because it depresses me.  I also thought, in the back of my mind, that a pink wool suit would be lovely for Easter, since I spent way too many Easters being cold in flimsy spring dresses.

There's no copyright date on this pattern, but I think it is mid-sixties - later than Butterick 2178 I used for my Tippi Hedren suit:

You can see that Butterick 2178 still has the pill-hat, Jackie Kennedy influence (I think is 1962 or 1963), while Butterick 4192 has more of the mid-sixties style before skirts got way shorter and hair way longer.  I'd put it at 1965 or 1966.

The pink wool arrived with dusty selveges, but I didn't sweat it.  Since I had eight yards, last weekend I cut off a few yards and steamed it with my iron in preparation for cutting out.  Only then did I notice that there were frequent flaws in the wool, but I decided I could cut around them - the pinkness of this wool was just too good to pass up.

I used my Steam-A-Seam method of underlining the body of the jacket with white muslin:

Then I put together the jacket shell and attached the collar.  Of course, only after I had finished for the day did I notice that I missed a flaw and now it is near my front left side seam:

I decided no one would notice and proceeded forward. This Saturday, attaching the sleeves was my mission, and I wanted the three-quarter sleeves with cuffs like I made on my Tippi Hedren suit, rather than the full length the pattern contains.  I got them cut out and one attached when a full scale MS attack hit me Saturday afternoon, and all sewing operations (as well as everything else) ceased.  

Sunday was no better; I awoke with a migraine.  Once the heavy duty medication finally kicked in, I was determined to get the second sleeve set in.  So you know what happened:  only once both sleeves were sewn in, trimmed, overstitched, and pressed did I notice that I put the sleeves in with the wrong sides facing out.  

This was irreversible, of course, so I took a hard look to see if I could live with it.  Given that I hadn't noticed while sewing, I doubt if anyone else will notice when I wear it.  The sole question is whether I can live with it:

I thought I could.  But then I started working on the pockets which I want to add similar to the Tippi Hedren suit, and I pulled out the Tippi Hedren jacket to see how far I placed them from the edges of the jacket, and that's when all my denial fell away:  the Tippi Hedren jacket is just so wonderful to touch, to wear, and look at.  I had to admit the pink jacket has none of those things.

This wool is cheap, and that's no fun.  I love the color but that is about it.  It wrinkles horribly.  And I'm not really happy with the collar:

There's the possibility that some topstitching around the collar could wrestle it into submission, but I'm not sure.  Did I mention the wrinkling?  This is a itchy wool that sticks to everything.  And everything to it.

And the fit is more boxy than that of Butterick 2178, so the fit isn't as flattering.  I hate to abandon it because of the two weekends I spent on it, but on the other hand, it makes no sense to spend even more time on a garment I won't wear.  

I've decided not to decide.  Rather than trash this jacket completely, I'm putting it aside and see if time changes my perspective.  I guess it's possible that in two months I might think, "This isn't so bad - I can make it work!"  Or I might say, "What was I thinking???"  I don't normally do UFOs - I like to finish each project before starting another one - but I think this is one I should punt on and figure it out on down the road.  On to the next project!

Sunday, January 4, 2015

The Year That Was (2014) and the Year That Will Be (2015)

I've been enjoying everyone's end of the year posts - I find the retrospectives fascinating and educational.  I think you have to look back in order to figure out where you want to go in the future, so with that in mind, here's mine:

I bought more clothes in 2015 than any time since I began sewing in 2002.  I think turning 50 was the catalyst - on the one hand, dressing too young only emphasizes your age, ("mutton dressed a lamb") and on the other hand, now is the time to experiment before true old age sets in.  : )  All my clothes purchases led me to believe I really hadn't sewn that much in 2014, but a review of my blog tells a different story.  I sewed much more than I thought!  Here are the highlights:

I began the year with a favorite, my yellow skirt, McCalls 3341:

And I liked it so much, I ended the year with another one from the same yellow wool from Mood, made with Simplicity 1541

Next up, I made the Tippi Hedren suit, which really was a labor of love:

I wear the jacket all the time - particularly with jeans and the silk charmeuse lining never fails to thrill me.

I also made this dress to go with the jacket, but it was an utter failure due to the lightweight fabric/wrinkling and I only wore it the once:

It has been banished from the house.  So has this ill fated vest which Vicki ordered me to never wear again:

I haven't given up on the vest idea, mind, I just need a different pattern, so look for more of this in 2015.

A rousing success was the Gertie pants, Butterick 5895, in which I went to Gertie's sewing retreat in April to tweak the fit.  I made a lot of these and love them:

Look for more of these in 2015 as the spring approaches!

I became obsessed with linen this spring/summer and had no less than three makes.  The Gabriola skirt:

Sadly, these were not resounding successes.  I only wore the Gabriola skirt one or two times, mostly because it is too big.  Same with the McCalls 6696 shirt dress, but mostly because it is a little too snug in the hips, and the sleeves are too long for hot weather, which is when you would wear linen.  The Grinder dress got more wear than the other two, but at the end of the day, linen wrinkles (duh) and much of the time, I just don't want to deal with the wrinkling.  I think I love the idea of linen way more than the actual, you know, linen.

My big project of the year was learning to make jeans which was incredibly satisfying.  And I can report that I wear the end result all the time:

These won't be my last pair - I'm loving these!

And I made three skirts this summer.  My Style Arc jeans skirt:

Another Simplicity 1541:

And the ever popular Vogue 1247:

All three are well loved, and I anticipate making another of the Style Arc jeans skirt in the selvedge denim that I made for my final pair of jeans.

The refashion that I did was kind of a bust:

as I only wore it once.  Just too boring and uninspiring to wear, but I enjoyed the challenge of the making.

One project that I made, but did not blog about, was Gertie's slip pattern, Butterick 6031.  I made the slip (and panties) from her sew-along.  While the panty pattern didn't work for me, the slip did.  I wasn't able to get a decent photo - it's just a slip and I'm not about to model it for all to view on the internet - so I didn't blog about it.  I wear it all the time.  It turned out exactly like the photos Gertie posted.  It is comfortable, useful, and pretty.  I love it.  And I love Gertie's sew-along for it because her instructions are step-by-step, hold-your-hand kind of instructions which I need.  This slip was my very first knit project, and I really needed Gertie to tell me what kind of needle to use, and what my stitch length and width should be for every single seam.  Gertie tells you everything you need to know and assumes nothing.  Awesome.  I have bought additional fabric to make another one soon.

And my biggest failure this year was my annual Christmas dress.  I took photos of it literally wadded up on the floor once I realized it was not going to work, but it is such a colossal failure, I can't even be bothered to download the photos from my camera in order to post.  It was all due to the fabric, a synthetic metallic white/silver icky fabric I got from Hancock's, and why I thought I could make this work is beyond me.  I've bagged it up so I can get to Vicki for her future Christmas postcards, as I need to get it, and the bad juju, out of my house.  I blame too much holiday sugar and gluten which impaired my sewing judgment.

So what is up for 2015??? Another jeans skirt, more Gertie pants, and another slip for sure.  And I've already started working on another vintage wool suit (pink!).  AND, I have ordered a new sewing machine!!!  I love my Bernina 145, but while making jeans I realized there were a few limitations - I need a larger machine, with the ability to sew through many layers of denim if I want to keep making jeans (and I do).  My Bernina is 12 years old, and while it is a workhorse, a little updating wouldn't hurt.  Plus, I'm one of the few sewers I know of that has only one machine - a second one would be a welcome addition.

So I ordered the Juki F-600 from Ken's Sewing Center.  Mostly because Michael did.  Kidding.  OK, not really kidding.  Michael aspires to sewing I want to do and he seemed to do his homework before he ordered.  And the price was right.  I had seriously considered buying another Bernina since I have already invested in so many of the Bernina feet, plus it is the machine I am used to.  But to get the larger machine and some of the features I wanted, I was going to have to spend close to $ 4,000.00.  Uh, no way.

I'm looking forward to its arrival, but bonding it with it will take months, of course.  Forward, 2015!