Monday, November 27, 2017

How I used my Japanese cotton double gauze.. PJ's!!

Catching up on my blogging!

Early in the summer I ordered some Japanese cotton double gauze from Marcy Tilton. The ones that I ordered are no longer available. I had a vague idea of what I wanted to do with them...PJ's. However I had no idea what kind or any design idea at all when I ordered the fabric.

My package showed up and the 2 lengths of fabric that I ordered were just LOVELY!! There was only one slight problem... I had hoped that the 2 fabrics would be better matched in color and they were just too far off to be used together. (although for PJ's it probably would not have mattered!!)

I promptly serged the cut ends and threw these in the washer and dryer. Oh my!!! they washed up so lovely and so soft. I was very impressed. I hung them in my fabric closet and waited for inspiration to hit me. That's what it usually does, it smacks me right upside my head and I have this crazy feeling of hurrying to get the idea down on paper or completed before the inspiration dissolves into thin air and floats away.

Plans for a girlfriends 'sewing weekend' were planned for mid-august. Six of us were planning to get together in Maryland for a much needed no stress sewing weekend with the girls! Five of us made it and we sure did have FUN! I really wanted to make sure that my sewing plans were just as fun and non-stress related as possible. After all, I have had enough stress this year.
Having so much FUN sewing with my friends!

Monkey made sure that she got to enjoy in the fun as well!

My mind immediately went to sewing up a PJ's set. I really needed some new ones that were not so old and thread bare and that could be used when traveling with others as well as doubling as lounge wear.

I pulled out my 2 fabrics and decided that I really didn't like them together. So I choose the more lighthearted of the 2, the polka dots, and set off on a quest in my fabric closet looking for another fabric to pair with it. I came up with this red cotton fabric from my collection and just loved it! The turquoise in the print matched perfectly and the shapes in the print mimicked the polka dots. Perfect! I washed and dried both fabrics again and used a color catcher just to make sure we were good to go. This also made sure that any shrinkage was for sure done. With no dye on the color catcher I knew it was a match made in heaven.
Loving my new pajamas!
For the PJ pants, I knew that I wanted them to be long enough to be able to use some elastic in the ankle. I really, really hate sleeping in PJ pants that dont have either a knit cuff or elastic in the hem. I move around a lot in my sleep and regular PJ pants get twisted on my legs and become very uncomfortable. I used my master trouser pants pattern and cut them 3 inches longer, straightened out the side seams from hip to waist and ignored the darts. I used 1 1/2 inch elastic for the waist and threaded it through a casing. During our sewing weekend I had one friend help me determine the best length and it turns out that we both really liked them long so that when I added the elastic at the ankle it gives them a lantern effect at the bottom.

For the jammie top I used my master darted bodice pattern. This pattern is fitted with double bust darts for shaping. I eliminated one of the bust darts, the waist fitting darts in front and back and added in about a half inch of extra ease at each side seam. This meant I would have a jammie top that was comfortable and cute! And it still has a slight bit of bust shaping with the single smaller bust darts. I added a round applique pocket for fun. After all, you always need a pocket for tissues! I used the polka dot double gauze for the neck facing which I applied to the outside and for the armhole binding. Using the contrast facings really tied everything together!

oh boy are my legs white!!

I had enough of the red print cotton to make a pair of matching jammie shorts. The length was really dictated by the amount of fabric I had leftover. They worked out perfectly and I enjoy having the matching shorts for summertime slumbering.

Tester pj pants
So before everyone goes on thinking that I just willie nilly made some pattern changes and cut straight into my beautiful Japanese double gauze... worry not! I did make a test pair first out of this orange print lightweight fabric first. This orange was marked as being an African wax print. I washed all the wax right out of it! After some googling I found that these authentic African wax prints are pretty much knock-offs that are made in china. Which led me down a rabbit hole of info on fabric production! 

...anyway, this orange fabric was so inexpensive (read cheap!) that I knew it would be a great wearable muslin for my PJ pants.

My sewing buddies and I getting ready to hit the runway!

My jammies were so much fun to make and turned out so well that I decided to wear them on the runway! They made there debut at the 2017 ASG Chicago chapter luncheon and fashion show. So much fun and oh, so very comfortable!

As I am finishing up this post I am now thinking of winter jammies! Plans of sewing are swirling through my head :)

Smiles from the Princess!
She was so excited to trim the Christmas tree this year!

Monday, November 20, 2017

Polka Dot Cape - Vogue 8959

Several weeks ago the weather in Chicago went from 70 degrees to 35 in the space of several days and has stayed there! Brrrrrrrrrr!! With jackets, coats and capes on my mind...
Back view on my balcony

I saw this great fabric 'Mystery Spot Coating' on Marcy Tilton website and I just had to have it! It made smile and I kept going back to look at it. The first time I saw it, I immediately thought that would be a super FUN cape or cloak. That thought never left my mind :) So. I had to buy some of it!
I don't usually like to acquire fabrics that are Poly based. Partly because they tend to be hot and sticky and partly because they take an extremely long time to break down in landfills.

For a fun and quirky cape it fit the bill and I am keeping my fingers crossed that the fiber is high quality and that there is no pilling. Only time will tell!
Side view, I LOVE the silhouette of this cape!

Once I placed the order for the fabric I was thinking about drafting a cape from my master patterns. Lat minute I looked through my patterns and there was Vogue 8959 A very Easy Vogue pattern. Instead of drafting from scratch I just used this as a starting place. I made some changes in the fit and the length and in the interior design.
Front view

I dithered about whether or not to underline the cape with cotton flannel and decided that I wanted to keep this as a fall and spring garment. There is also plenty of room underneath to bundle up with a heavy sweater. I have worn this out several times and am quite comfortable until we hit down around the 30 degree mark with wind.

For the lining I used a cotton shirting that I had in my fabric closet and used this. It is a perfect complement to the cape and because it is not slippery it doesn't slide around on my shoulders and more importantly doesn't slide back and choke me! That really isn't a good feature of any type of clothing!
Clockwise from top left- Lining, action twirling shot :),
 Inside patch pocket and close up of the arm slits and trim.

Changes in fit:
1. I changed the shape of the shoulder at the side seams. Flattened them out a bit.
2. I moved the arm slits up about 2 inches to be more comfortable and put them in a more natural place for my body.
3. I changed the length to halfway-ish between the short and medium length. They must have made this very a very tall model!
Top are the zippered grosgrain welt pocket.
Bottom- patch pocket and arm slits

Design changes:
1. I added 2 interior pockets. 1 is a very simple patch pocket big enough to hold my small wallet or iPhone or tissues, etc... (BTW... I can easily wear a small cross body purse underneath with no problem and you dont even see it!)
2. An inside grosgrain welt zipper pocket for my transit card or cash or whatever needs to be held super safe and secure!
3. The lining. The pattern had the lining hanging loose. Which is quite ridiculous, In my opinion, for a cape such as this. So I lined it to the edge and am very happy with this decision.
4. I added trim. I used the very cool selvedge of the fabric for trim around the outer edge of the cape, the front opening and the collar.
5. I used 5 extra large covered snaps for a closure.the pattern calls for a single button for the longer versions. Maybe because they were trying to keep this as a Very Easy rating or maybe because they designer was not envisioning this being used to walk around a city in. Who knows! and frankly... who cares! I make it the way I want it.
Close up of trim, under collar and snaps.

This was a fairly easy project. Everything went together easily, I did not use the pattern instructions.
The longest part of this project was sewing on the darn trim! I purposely only sewed on half of the snaps so that I would not be tempted to just say to heck with the trim. The things we do to keep ourselves on track. I brought the project with me to the Sarah Veblen choose your own focus workshop last weekend and a couple of the evenings Sarah and I both sat and worked on hand sewing the trim together while we caught up with each other. It was such a pleasant time to sit and sew with such a great friend :)
One more shot... Just for fun!

I have enough fabric left over to make a coat for the Princess! She will look adorable in those giant hairy polka dots!

This weekends escapades took us to the Shedd Aquarium! Self groupie shot out front!