Tuesday, June 18, 2013

A Suit Jacket in Progress

So, I guess in the end wanting to make a suit jacket and dress combo for my orals wasn't the smartest move I could have made, seeing as my orals are two days away and I've only just finished the preparation work. And did you know how incredibly complicated it is to find either ready made white piping or piping cord in Berlin? There's not that many haberdashery shops, most of the fabric shops don't have it and I didn't find it either at the haberdashery in the big department stores, nor at the Turkish market, even though they have such exotix things like cherry printed bias tape and pompom trim. In the end I resorted to calling the various haberdashery stores, so I didn't have to visit all of them, and one told me that they have the stuff, both in matte and shiny variations. Yes! So I need to pick that up later, after having sewn the darts and non-piped edges of the jacket.

I also need to look out for buttons. If I don't find anything, I have a kit for fabric-covered ones, but I think blue&white buttons might look nicer...

So, the stuff I already did: I made a muslin, and good thing I did, too.  My measurements aren't that far away from Gertie's, as she mentions them in her book (at least the bust and hip measurement, my waist is a size up), so I started with a straight size 8 (which she mentions she made to her measurements) even though the measurements from the size chart were a bit off. Yeah, I know, confusing. Next time, I need to remember to actually grade a size up in my waist with Gertie's patterns, cause she really means it when she says her patterns are for a hourglass shape! (I have given up grading Colette Patterns or McCall's/Simplicity ones in the waist, as they usually have enough ease built in.)
I'm also a good inch too short in the waist, and I must have a funny back, as I had to lengthen the back darts upwards at least three inches. I do that with Colette patterns, too. I wonder, am I straight backed? Hunchbacked? Who knows! I also took in the side seams under the arm a wee bit (at least on the left side on the pictures, so you can see the difference).
All in all, I guess the fitting part was relatively straightforward, as jackets go. I didn't muslin the sleeves, and I'm also not underlining them, just lining. I hope they'll fit anyway.

So then it was altering the muslin pieces and transferring the changes back to the pattern, and finally cutting into my fashion fabric, using the muslin as pattern (since I'm also using it as underlining).
It would probably have been more proper to make a second muslin, especially since I couldn't actually add fabric to my waist this way, but I figure I only need about 3cms in the waist, which I just added to the side and back center seams of the fashion fabric. It will mean slightly less seam allowance for the underlining, but I don't think that matters. I also have an extra seamline where I shortened the underlining, but it's about the height where the peplum facing ends, so it shoudln't be visible.
Then I spent about two hours hand-basting the underlining to the fabric, including down the middle of the darts and adjusting for turn of cloth. Gertie doesn't mention that in her book, but Sandra Betzina did in a Threads Magazine article about underlinings, and it felt safer that way.
So now I can get on with stitching. I took the fusible interfacing route in this jacket, even though I bought some hair canvas (I think, I coudln't find out what it's called in German). But I didn't want to add the time for padstitching this time around. Plus, I still don't have a tailor's ham. I know, shocking. One of these days I'll buy some sawdust and get around to making one myself. :)

So, cross you fingers for me that my jacket will turn out wearable by Thursday, and the matching dress, too.
I'm a bit concerned since it's supposed to be 34°C on Thursday, and I'll be wearing a wool dress and blazer. Crazy? Um, yes.

Hope you're having a wonderful week!

Friday, June 7, 2013

Me-Made May, the rest

We've had crazy weather for what feels like the last week and a half. Hello, it's June. June has always been the nicest month in Berlin. The weather is supposed to have been nice enough to go swimming in the lake for the past month! While I haven't had a reason for watering my plants in the last 10 days. They're risking drowning, as it is. But they're growing! Look at the salad! And the first ripe strawberry!
Anyway, here are the leftover pics from the last few days of May. Doesn't actually look too bad, weather-wise...
 Day 27: Me-made Strawberry Macaron, knitting in the bf's parents' garden.
 Day 28: having an iced coffee before the trip back home in my crazy print dress. 
Day 29: I'm afraid this is a cheater outfit, but I was running out of things to wear! Plus, these garments go so well together. Nevertheless, both are refashioned instead of me-made. The skirt is shortened with the original hem attached with cotton lace, the top is just embellished with a strip of lace because of a bleach stain.
 Day 30: Foolishly thinking my plants need watering, just before the rainy season starts in my green knit wrap dress. This only gets worn for me-made months, because boy does that wrap neckline gape! I kinda love it anyway. Maybe I'll try attaching a little snap...?
Day 31: Finally that dress is finished! It was going to be my entry for the Mad Men challenge, until time ran away from me. More about it soon. It got worn out for a drink celebrating a friend's birthday.

So, the conclusion of this year's Me-Made May? Well, it was the fifth challenge I have participated in. I didn't actually follow much of the community aspect this time around, and fell off the flickr wagon about halfway through. The huge numbers of pics just overwhelmed me! And since I usually wear mostly me-mades anyway, maybe it's time to retire from this particular challenge? We'll see when it comes around next year. :)

My official challenge for myself was to wear separates at least half the time. I managed 15 out of 31 days, which I guess is satifsying enough. I could have made it more, but since my other challenge was not repeating outfits, and I only managed to make one top this month, and I love my dresses... it's fine. About making May woven-top-month - that could have gone better, although I partly blame the weather. While I cut out/traced the patterns for the Sassy Librarian Blouse and a Sewaholic Pendrell (which are going to be made up! soon...), what I really had in mind for my blouse-weight fabrics is strappy babydoll tunic tops, to be worn in hot summery weather! May weather didn't quite inspire me to get down to it. Ah, maybe it'll work out in June. One thing I'm proud of, though: I wore me-made knickers and pyjamas for the whole month (except for one day, because I forgot to do the laundry). Yay!

So, to conclude, here are a last couple of German sewing words. How about words for fabric? If you ever go fabric shopping in Berlin or some other German place, this should help:

Stoff ['ʃɒf] fabric. We already had this one a while ago.
Strickstoff ['ʃtrɪkʃɒf] knit fabric. We also use the word Jersey (same pronounciation, just capitalized) in German.
Baumwolle [baʊm'vɒlə] cotton. This translates into tree wool. Kinda makes sense, huh?
Leinen [laɪ̯nən] linen. This is made from Flachs [flʌks] flax. This similarity amuses me.
Viskose [vɪskozə] rayon. Some English people also call it viscose, don't they?
Seide [zaɪ̯de] silk. Luscious fabric made from the bottom of caterpillars, which we call Raupe.
Futter [fʊtɐ] lining. I've always wondered about the origin of the German word, since it also means food - well, at least the kind you feed to animals. Any ideas as to that?

And that concludes the German lesson. Thanks for being interested, I really had fun with thinking about words and finding out the correct phonetic transcription!