Sunday, January 20, 2013

Men's Vest

~Men’s Wool Vest~

Listening to Florence + the Machine Ceremonials


I just adore a man in a slim fit tweed or wool vest.  Especially with a bit of a beard – YUM.  So, of course, I had to get my boyfriend, David, in one!  I used this project to get more experience lining clothes, making buttonholes, and adjusting patterns using a muslin. 

I started with Simplicity Pattern #2741.  This is for a more classic, slightly boxy vest.  David has broad shoulders and chest but a slender waist so I knew it wasn’t really the fit we wanted. 
I used the pattern to make a muslin which I fitted to David, lengthening the front darts and taking in the sides so it tapered into the waist. We also didn't add in the welts as David thought they were too traditional and he likes a cleaner look.
The fabric is an Italian wool in a soft charcoal gray.  I used black cotton sateen for the lining.
David picked out great metal buttons.  They look like hammered, aged steel.  I am really pleased with the fit and am now a devotee of making a muslin first!  

I watched and read a bunch of how-tos online and in books on making buttonholes.  One tip I didn't see was using a pin as sort of a door stop for the ripper when cutting open the buttonhole after binding.  This way, if the ripper gets away from you, it won't slice through the buttonhole stitching.
Align the pin right at the edge of the buttonhole stitching, so as not to cut into the stitching

The ripper will come up against the pin, protecting the buttonhole stitching
 Here's David modeling the finished vest. 
Isn't he cute!

DIY: Sewing a Winter Wrap

~Winter Wrap~

I love wearing large wraps and shawls in cool weather.  They look elegant but are so comfortable.  And they can elevate a plain black outfit or jeans into a stunner!  I came up with this design using a knitted shawl I’ve had for years for sizing, but with some modifications to give it a modern twist.  I ended up making two as Christmas gifts and one for myself.  The how-to pictures show steps from all these projects.  The best part is that the only sewing skills you need is sewing in a straight line and attention to detail. I think this would also look good in a light sheer fabric for spring and summer, perhaps with a satin bias tape trim. 

Listening to: Bonnie Raitt Streetlights 

You'll Need:
1 ¾ yards fabric (Choose a fabric that doesn’t have obvious right or wrong sides as both will be visible.  I used a yellow, charcoal gray, and black plaid that is thick but has a gorgeous drape for my wrap.)

8 yards of trim (I used a faux black leather tape, or you could make your own fabric bias tape.)

Thread to match (If your fabric and trim are different colors, you will want thread to match each.)

1. Fold fabric lengthwise, bringing selvage edges together.  Lay the pattern onto the folded edge and cut out.  This is sized to my frame: I am 5’8” and curvy.  If you are a significantly different size, especially petite, you may want to rework the pattern and adjust your yardage of fabric and trim.
Pattern and fabric laid out
2. Serge the edges, or if you don’t have a serger, straight stitch ¼ inch in from the edge.  I’ve done it both ways and both are fine, but you may have more fraying with the straight stitch.
Stitch 1/4 inch from the edge or serge the edge
 3. Check your trim.  If it is store bought tape, one folded side should be slightly narrower than the other.  Unfold this side and pin it to the fabric, beginning at the center back.  Fabric and trim should be right sides together.  Pin with the raw edges even.  I do this in about 3 sections to be more manageable.
Pin trim to edge
4. Sew on the fold line in the tape, beginning 3 inches from the beginning of the trim (leaving a “tail” of the trim).  Leave 3 inches unsewn at the end too.
Stitch right on the fold line
5. Sew the ends of the trim together.  Press the seam flat (I couldn’t iron my faux leather tape so I pressed it with my fingers).  Clip the corners and sew to the wrap.

Joining the trim
 6. Clip all the outside curves and notch the inner ones.
Clip the curves edges
7. Fold tape over to the reverse (wrong) side so it encases the rough edge.  Press and pin.  I had to trim a bit inside the seam because my fabric and trim were thicker.  Be sure that the trim on the back side extends 1-2 mm further than the trim seam on the front.
Folded over trim from the front
Folded over trim from the back

8. Use thread that matches the trim in the bobbin and thread that matches the fabric in the needle.  Stitch in the ditch on the front side, being sure to catch the edge of the back side of the trim.  Check throughout this step (every 15 inches or so) that the reverse side of the trim is being caught in the stitches.
Stitch in the ditch on the front side

Reverse side: the stitches should just catch the reverse side of the trim.
9. By stitching in the ditch, the stitches will be invisible on the front side of your wrap which gives a nice professional, clean finish.  

Bon Chance!

Close up of the leather trim