Monday, 6 February 2017

Irregular Checks Collared Shirt (Vogue 2634)

I intend to get through several of those items listed in my New Year's Resolution post, but with Sydney frocktails less than two weeks out I'm not letting myself go near any sewing that isn't The Dress.

And accordingly let's move onto the blogging backlog.

This one is an oldie but a goodie - a collared shirt I sewed up years ago but which I'm still wearing every now and then :). To be honest, the shirt's fit these days is not what it used to be (it used to be loose) but no buttons are actually popping, so it's still passable. I used Vogue 2634 for this shirt: the pattern was issued in 2002 so would definitely be out of print by now, but if you do come across it in the second hand store it's worth at least considering for purchase. That is unless you want long sleeves on your shirt, in which case please read Katherine's review of this pattern.  Actually you should read it anyway - she is not such a fan of this pattern, but a second perspective is a good thing!

The pattern describes itself as follows:

Loose-fitting top (three-lengths) has collar, collar band, slightly forward shoulder seams and short or below-elbow sleeves with stitched hems or long, two-piece sleeves with pleats/button cuffs. A: shaped hemline. A, B, C, D: pocket variations. B, D: flaps. D, E: sleeveless, side slits.

Mine shirt is hip-length with short sleeves - it's essentially view D with the short sleeves of view B.

I used a lovely white linen with irregular checks in navy blue - I think the occasional breaks in the navy blue lines probably represent a printing flaw, but I don't mind the way it looks. Oh and there's a small navy blob on one shoulder because all along one edge of the fabric was a navy shadow print of figures playing sport, and I didn't have quite enough fabric to entirely avoid them. I think my small blob is the top of a baseballer's head :).

The navy blue thingamabub hanging on the coathanger is a half-baked idea - yeah, that's what they look like :). Back when I made the shirt I had this idea it would be cool to have a sort of reference to uniforms and epaulettes that I could wear with the shirt when I so desired - and I sewed up this little thing with D rings only to find I couldn't attach it to itself or the shirt. So now it hangs with the shirt so I can remember what I was intending, even if I can't fulfil that intention - and that's OK, it amuses me to think I was that impractical!

Because I made this shirt a long time ago, at a point in my sewing career when I hadn't realised you didn't have to sew straight sizes and when I hadn't realised sewing pattern sizes didn't correspond to RTW sizes, I sewed this as a straight size 12.  I also hadn't realised you were supposed to wash your fabrics before sewing them, so while this shirt started its life lovely and loose, over time it's gotten quite fitted as I've grown and the linen has shrunk.

My seam allowances are finished with a 3-step zig-zag but it's held up really well over the years - I won't show you the zig-zags, but here are some close-ups of the button front (which looks like it needed more interfacing!) and the side split:

With all the crazy, non-stop, exhausting heat we've been having in Sydney (and many other parts of Australia too I gather) I'm thinking the sleeveless variant of this shirt would be ideal for work. [Just how do men cope in summer with their suits and long sleeved shirts?] Possibly a size up though, and with pre-washed fabric...

See you soon

- Gabrielle xx

Friday, 27 January 2017

Inari 2: Adjusting the Sleeves

Way back when (well here...) I blogged an Inari dress I was feeling equivocal about. It was made from a medium weight cotton, and despite the pattern's fabric suggestions ("light to medium weight fabric, inelastic or with stretch") the fabric just felt wrong for the dress and exacerbated sleeve fit issues that would probably have been less noticeable in a knit fabric.

Ever since, I've been meaning to re-make the Inari with a modified sleeve, but also to re-make the Inari in a knit fabric without modifying the sleeve, to see how the sleeve felt when the stretch of the fabric took on the role of accommodating arm motion. What I've finally got around to is a hybrid re-make; the Inari dress with a modified sleeve, in a knit fabric.

Spoiler alert: this one's a keeper:

I put this modification off for a long time, but it's actually super easy.  I took a couple of photos to illustrate how I applied a different sleeve (the sleeve and arm scye from Simplicity 1366), but I'll also describe the process in words of course.

So first of all I cut out the sleeves from Simplicity 1366, with the only change being a reduction in sleeve length. I measured the length of the Inari sleeve (based on that short straight seam under the armpit) and folded up the S1366 sleeve to a matching length.

Below you can see the difference in the two sleeve shapes. The Inari has a much higher sleeve cap, and I figured that since I was flattening this out in the S1366 sleeve (and also since the S1366 sleeve sits on a slightly dropped shoulder) I could forget about the curved hemline - the total sleeve length from the shoulder point should be very similar. Here are the shortened S1366 and Inari sleeves laid on top of each other (I have the Inari front sleeve sitting on top of the S1366 back sleeve):

If you change a sleeve so radically, you of course need to change the arm scye it'll be sewn into. To do this I aligned my Inari and S1366 front and back pattern pieces along the shoulder line, with the grain line arrows parallel to each other.  Since S1366 makes a pretty loose top (a couple of centimetres wider than the Inari in the sizes I've made) I didn't align the pattern pieces on Centre Front or Back, but instead had the pattern pieces matching on width at the underarm - and this means I didn't have to change the side seams of the dress at all.  You can see below that the biggest impact of this change is that the arm scye is raised significantly - ie the sleeve now sits closer into the underarm:

This process is super easy to do, but it does rely on your having a pattern that fits the way you like. The two areas I'm fussy about when I do this are (1) the shoulder line - I want to keep the shape of the shoulder line from the pattern that fits me, and if it's very different from the shoulder line of the pattern I'm adapting I'll spend a bit of time working out the point at which the two shoulder lines should meet (near the neckline vs near the arm), and (2) the grainline - the grainline of the pattern that fits reaaly has to be parallel to the grainline of the pattern being modified. But I'm sure most of you already know this and more!

I kept the Inari sleeve cuffs (but because I sewed the dress with my own order of construction I can't turn the cuffs back the way the pattern intends):

And I used the neckband intended for knit versions of the dress:

Happily even with my sleeve changes the dress still looks like an Inari - and I can finally join the Inari fan club! Happy happy days...

And what's more, I managed to eke this dress out of 1.1 1.5 metres of 150 cm wide fabric (!!) and now have only the tiniest scraps leftover - that makes me even happier! 

Now with my previous Inari I talked a bit about mitred self-faced hems, but if you look at the examples in my "how to" for this sort of finish, you'll see that it's more commonly used with woven fabrics (stretch wovens included).  My very stretchy viscose (an Italian viscose/ lycra from Tessuti fabrics which looks to be sold out in their online shop - but this link takes you to their other printed jerseys) didn't feel like it would support the weight of a mitred self-faced hem without the dress stretching out, so I used the narrow hem finish suggested in the pattern this time around. And because my fabric was a bit shifty, I used steam-a-seam to keep the vertical and horizontal hem edges nice and straight:

The corners DO sometimes flick out in motion:

but mostly they're well behaved:

Thank you to my lovely daughter for taking these terrific photos for me (and some gorgeous floral close-ups)!

And I'll see you soon!

- Gabrielle xx

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