Saturday, March 29, 2008

Longsleeved J

The brown raglan top is Kwik Sew 2561, a pattern which I have made in various forms 5 times. This version is the slightly slender version, with crew neck and arms extended by 1" compared to last time. The fabric is a fairly substantial cotton knit from Swany. This one seems to have really worked if I am to judge by the fact that there have not yet been any complaints!

The other two tops are cycle/mountain wear and are made of Polartec PowerDry using Kwik Sew 2439. I have made this before, only last time I made View B. This is the "close fitting" View A. After laying out the pattern pieces I realised I could fit them all onto the fabric twice so I thought I would make two tops. So I cut out two fronts, two back and two arms, plus collars and cuffs, neatly using up all the fabric. Only later did I realise that two James' have four arms. Fortunately I had some more PowerDry, although it is slightly heavier weight, so was able to cut the extra arms. I blame the arm pattern for being confusing because, unusually it is symmetrical and cut on the fold.

I cut a medium added an inch to the chest measurement and cut the length to large size. The arms I cut to the full length including the hem and then added a 4cm cuff. Also, as usual I added an inch to the back length. It all worked out fine, except that, at least in this lightweight fabric (the pattern suggests heavyweight fleece) the pattern is not remotely close fitting, especially in the arms. I'm not quite decided what to do if I make more sports longsleeves. I could possibly adapt the raglan top (which I already have a zippered version of), or I could start from James' T-shirt draft...


Tuesday, March 11, 2008


Marfy 1469. From the Marfy Fall 2007 catalogue: "This flared skirt is divided into panels cut on the grain and on the bias. Suggested fabric pinstripe"

The hard part of making this skirt is cutting out the pattern so as to get the stripes on the bias strips going the right way. I spent a long time working it out and then, finally giving in and asking for James' help, I managed to do it...wrong! But I only made one mistake and I was able to switch the incorrect pieces and draw new stitching lines so there was no problem in the end.

My choice of this pattern was all about the fabric. There is a store in Kamata (Yuzawaya) that sells fabric for men's suits on the top floor. Actually what they do is make suits for men. You pick your fabric from a very large selection and they make the suit. However, (if you persist and find the right assistant) they will also sell you fabric by the metre. I have long wondered what I could do with this fabulous resource (apart from make James a suit which he doesn't really need) so when I saw this pattern in the Marfy catalogue I jumped at it. I thought it was the perfect piss-take on pin-stripe. So in this case I even followed the Marfy fabric recommendation! You might think this is not so extraordinary but Marfy do suggest some outrageous fabrics. Things like "vicuna"!!!

I decided on black with blue stripes and one of the samples I really liked was at half-price, so I requested 1.5m. It was a Super100s Japanese wool. Then it turned out this fabric was end-of-line and the assistant decided to give me the whole 3.3m. I'd only asked for 1.5m so I got that length at half-price and then the extra 1.8m free! Unbelievably that means I got 250 US dollars worth of fabric for about 55 US dollars and of course it means I also have enough to make a suit.

After cutting out I finished all the edges of the pieces with an overlock stitch to avoid fraying. I am a little under size 42 in the hips according to the measurement chart and in fitting I took 1cm off the-right side seam. In the left side I installed an invisible zipper. I cut the full length, but aware that it would be shortened quite a bit I increased the flare a little. In the end I tried several lengths and decided that mid-knee length looked best, which, including a 2.5 inch hem, meant cutting a couple of inches off the bottom. I hand-sewed the hem, and also added a black silk charmeuse lining. I had some problems sewing this fabric. The bobbin seemed to be sticking. It didn't actually effect the stitches that I could see, but the thread did not seem to come off the bobbin smoothly. I never quite tracked down the problem although it did seem to improve a lot when I used a size 7 needle...I hope my machine isn't peaky.

The fit is really good, and it looks very nice to me in the mirror, although photographing this skirt is rather a challenge. I think it's very cool - no one else on the train to Tokyo has half their pin-stripes at 45 degrees!