Thursday, December 28, 2017

Show your Bias ensemble!

This year the Sew Chicago neighborhood group challenge for the ASG Chicago chapter annual fall luncheon and fashion show was about Showing our Bias! It was a really fun challenge and 4 of us from our Neighborhood group participated. See Sew Chicago blog post here.

For my outfit I knew I wanted something fun, semi fitted and a play off of men's clothing. I had some ideas in my head loosely based off of some previous garments. I put these on my dressform and made some sketches. Then I draped the 2 main fabrics, the yellow wool gaberdine and the grey and yellow wool super 120's plaid. Both of these fabrics were purchased at Fishman's Fabrics just down the road from me.

With the main fabrics decided upon for the skirt (grey and yellow plaid) and the vest (yellow gaberdine) I needed to soften and pull the entire look together with a top and lining for the vest. This was a hard one! I had several strong contenders from my fabric collection. Ultimately I decided to use a gift I received: a Spoonflower fabric inspired by Gustav Klimt called after Klimt woman green.

With Fabrics decided upon I set out to create my ensemble. I started with the skirt first. I used a combination of my master skirt pattern and ideas from Sandra Betzinas Sewing on the Bias Craftsy class. I watched class on one of my work trips, makes the flights go by much faster. Ultimately the only extra information that I got from the class was to use wider seam allowances. It was a good review of not expecting any 2 fabrics to behave the same on the bias and to remember to let the hem hang out for some time before hemming.

I used my straight skirt master pattern, added 1 1/2 inch seam allowances, cut them asymmetrically and used an elastic waist. This meant I did not sew in any of the waist shaping. After letting the hem hang out for a week or so I sewed on a faced hem using  black Grosgrain ribbon. I really wanted some weight to the hem so it would hang as I desired and I was able to shape the grosgrain as needed to the wide curves. I then lined it with Ambiance lining with a simple double fold hem.
To keep with my mes wear inspiration I added a yellow double welt front pocket to the skirt. Knowing that I was also going to do welt pockets on the vest, I decided to make a couple of samples to warm up my hands to the skill. Doing this may take some extra time but feeling the fabric exactly as you will be using it is an important step when I want the finished product to be as best as I can make it. You can see my process in these photos.

The vest came next and I used my darted master bodice pattern to start. This has 2 parallel bust darts that I kept, Back waist shaping fisheye darts that I used. I did ignore the front waist shaping fish eye darts for a little extra room. I cut the shoulders in a bit and matched the neckline curve to the neckline curve of the shirt I was planning to make. The yellow wool gaberdine was a bit fickle to press and mark since the gaberdine shows off every mark possible! I used tailors tacks to mark the darts and pocket placements. The welt pockets were then angled to match the angle of the parallel bust darts, with the welts made from bias strips of the skirt fabric.

 It was lined with the Spoonflower Klimt fabric and I used bias facings to finish the armholes. I added a back tab which was also cut from bias strips of the skirt fabric.

The buttons were ones that I picked up in NYC for another project... I had to use them they were perfect for this project! I was having a hard time deciding on how many buttons to use. I took photos of 5, 4 and 3 buttons pinned on to the vest and sent them to my sewing pals and consensus of 4 (which was my first choice as well) was the winner.

The shirt, out of the Spoonflower Klimt fabric, was a breeze to make! I used my master princess seam bodice. Made sure the curve of the neckline matched to the vest and changed the collar shape to have a more rounded appearance. Thee is a back zipper to accommodate entry and exit with the collar split in the back.

I wanted to make this soften the look so I lengthened the sleeves and just gathered them softly to a narrow bias binding and slit. To these I added the smallest of buttonholes and used matching buttons from the vest! It came out great and I love it! It is great in my Show Your Bias ensemble as well as being wonderful to wear on its own paired with jeans.

 This was a really fun project to design and construct. I am pleased with my ability to turn my ideas into reality. It doesn't seem to always work out so well. LOL! I guess the old adage of practice makes perfect really does work.

I hope everyone had a wonderful Holiday with your family and friends.. and the friends who are your family!
The Princess Victoria and I enjoying brunch on Christmas Eve and a very hilarious picture of her on the day after Christmas looking like a bedraggled aviator with her swim goggles on her head and enjoying the book I gave her with pictures of all the time we spent together over 2017.


  1. The way you combine colors and "feelings" (patterns, prints, textures) is so inspired -- Klimt with a menswear! Wonderful!


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