Melton fun

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This is a project that I have been planning for a while. It all started during a shopping trip to the Dover Street Market in NYC in the summertime. I had been to the DSM in London, but the New York outpost was new to me, and it has some covetable merchandise. And the staff is lovely. Really, just a great place to spend an hour. Anyway, they had a display of pea coat-style coats with flared skirts that just looked so cool that I felt I had to have one. If I recall correctly, one was in wool melton and the other was in shearling. I decided to go with melton.

Then, just as I was starting this project, the Milan Fashion shows were going on, and I saw that Prada was showing black with bright white topstitching for Spring 15. It seemed like just what my new coat needs, so I figured, “why not?”

Probably not coincidentally considering my new obsession with Instagram, this project lends itself well to quick snaps of my progress. See some photos of my process at Rollingincloth, or look under #woolmeltoncoat. So far, I am the only one using that hashtag.

I constructed the entire coat with lapped seams. I did not want to deal with the bulk of turn-of-cloth with such a bulky fabric. I can get away with this partly because this melton frays very little, so it should be fairly stable. The only problem with this construction method is that it was very, very difficult to set in the sleeves. If I do this again, I think I will use normal seams for the armscye.

I sewed each seam twice. First, I sewed from the right side using black thread. Then, I sewed from the wrong side using 4 strands of silk embroidery floss in the bobbin and white thread at the top. This method allowed me to achieve the look of very heavy topstitching using a regular home machine.

The project is based on a commercial pattern, Marfy 2572. Initially, I was not happy about paying $27 with shipping for a pattern, but I looked everywhere and this was the only pattern that was close enough to what I wanted. In retrospect, it was totally worth the money. It fits just the way I want it to. I followed the pattern from the waist up, and made some changes to the skirt part.

back view

back view

side view

side view

bound buttonholes, buttoned, unbuttoned, and wrong side.  I used silk satin for the buttonhole lips to reduce bulk.

bound buttonholes, buttoned, unbuttoned, and wrong side. I used silk satin for the buttonhole lips to reduce bulk.

welt pocket.  The welt itself in silk satin

welt pocket. The welt itself in silk satin

embroidered silk duchesse satin lining.

embroidered silk duchesse satin lining.

embroidery motif on the lining

embroidery motif on the lining

collar

collar

undercollar

undercollar

cuff button

cuff button

cuff buttonhole

cuff buttonhole

Prada coat from Spring 2015 collection.  I liked the topstitching, and wanted to do something similar.  Photo from style.com

Prada coat from Spring 2015 collection. I liked the topstitching, and wanted to do something similar. Photo from style.com

This is the embroidery floss I used for the light-colored stitching.  It is a variegated 12-strand silk embroidery floss in pale colors.  I used 4 strands in the bobbin.

This is the embroidery floss I used for the light-colored stitching. It is a variegated 12-strand silk embroidery floss in pale colors. I used 4 strands in the bobbin.

Marfy 2572

Marfy 2572

3 Prints and a Texture

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This skirt is totally how I am feeling this fall. I may never take it off. The prints are linen, I think, and the texture is a lightweight cotton. I like the way they blend together. I drafted the pattern myself, and lined it in silk twill.

back view

back view

pocket because I don't always want to carry a purse

pocket because I don’t always want to carry a purse

diagonal zipper

diagonal zipper

lining

lining

string to hold the lining in place

string to hold the lining in place

Dries Van Noten did some cool spiral skirts for Fall 2014, which is where I got the idea. Photo from style.com

Now on Instagram

The very first project that I ever blogged about!

The very first project that I ever blogged about!

Way back in 2007, I started this blog as a diary of my sewing projects. I still love looking back at old posts and seeing clothes that I had completely forgotten about. Often, I’ll see something that makes it back into heavy wardrobe rotation after being on the back rack in my closet for years.

However, in the past 6 months or so, I have made several projects that I just could not muster up the energy to blog about. This makes me sad because I know that I will forget about the things I’ve made. I still love blogging when I feel like I have something interesting to say, but lately I’ve been working on a lot of projects that are just not that exciting. Writing a whole blog post about, say, a knit top that’s made with the same pattern I’ve used half a dozen times before just does not seem to be worth the effort.

So, I’m trying something new. I’m planning on Instagramming all of my projects, but only blogging about the more interesting ones.

So anyway, if you’re on Instagram, you can follow me at rollingincloth. Then I’ll follow you back. You can even see photos of the 3 pairs of shorts that I made for my husband over the weekend! #TotallyNotWorthABlogPost

The Great Unveiling

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Tadaa! My goal with this project was to make a coat that is as close as possible to the sample coat on which the pattern is based. I think I did all right. The pattern I used was Vogue 1419, and I saw the sample on a visit to Vogue’s offices for a blogger event.

There are a couple more blog posts about this project. Click here for some info on how I did the fabric; Click here for some info on how I did the buttonholes.

Now it just needs to get colder!

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Front

Front

back.  I love the shape of the nipped-in waist and the flared skirt

back. I love the shape of the nipped-in waist and the flared skirt

button detail

button detail

Inside view of the buttonholes

Inside view of the buttonholes

Side view.  I love the curved seams.

Side view. I love the curved seams.

back belt detail

back belt detail

welt pocket

welt pocket

inside

inside

Round Shoulder Coat — Progress

It’s taking shape!

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Round Shoulder Coat — Fabric

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When I saw the sample garment for Vogue 1419, I thought it would be a fun challenge to make a coat as close as possible to the sample. It seemed like the original coat was made with a wool gabardine fused to another fabric. Perhaps the inside fabric was a fusible interfacing, but the hand was not like any fusible that I have access to. I decided, what the heck, I would try to fuse 2 fabrics together myself.

It was a lot of work, but the fabric turned out very close to what I wanted. There are plenty of bonded fabrics out there to choose from if you’re not into putting a ridiculous amount of work into a project even before you properly start. If I were to make this again, I might make it out of a midweight neoprene, which has a similar drape to my bonded fabric.

I chose a brown wool gabardine from Paron Fabrics in New York, and a silk gazar that I had in my stash. I chose the wool gabardine because it’s what the original coat was made from and the gazar because it’s thin but still stiff, so it would stay more or less on grain while fusing.

Initially, I tried fusing with the Stitch Witchery that comes on a roll. It’s dry and looks kind of web-y. It did not work at all. I could not seem to get the glue to melt over a large area. This may have been user error, but it was very disappointing.

Then I ordered Heat N Bond Lite Fusible Web, and tried that. It worked like a charm. Well, that is, if your charms tend to involve much backbreaking labor. Anyway, it worked just like they said it would in the instructions.

I waffled a bit about whether to buy the Lite or the regular Heat N Bond, and went with the Lite. I definitely made the right decision. The hold is firm, and the resulting fabric is quite stiff. I think the regular would have been too stiff.

I block fused the yardage before I cut out my pattern pieces. In order to get a larger ironing surface, I took several blankets and stacked them on the floor, then put my fabric over them to fuse it. It took a couple of hours on my hands and knees, all the while wondering if it was really going to turn out the way I wanted. But then it did! It was kind of amazing.

Round Shoulder Coat — Post #1

A few weeks ago, I attended a a very enjoyable gathering at the McCall Patterns offices. The main attraction (for me) was the opportunity to see the sample garments for their fall pattern collection. I fell hard for Vogue 1419, which I had already ordered. It went straight to the top of my sewing list.

I like to do the nitpicky parts of a project first, while I still have energy for them. Reading the pattern directions, it looks like I can do the front closure pretty near first thing, so that’s what I’m doing.

Following is my method. I’m pretty sure it’s different from what the pattern tells you to do, but, well, it’s my coat.

Here's a detail of the front closure on the sample coat, from the McCall Patterns Pinterest page

Here’s a detail of the front closure on the sample coat, from the McCall Patterns Pinterest page

Take a rectangle of contrast fabric.  Stitch it to the front along the stitching lines.

Take a rectangle of contrast fabric. Stitch it to the front along the stitching lines.

Press the short ends .

Press the short ends .

Trim

Trim

slash to the stitching line

slash to the stitching line

press long edges

press long edges

flip the long edges to wrong side.  Open them out and press.

flip the long edges to wrong side. Open them out and press.

trim

trim

fold raw edges under

fold raw edges under

slipstitch

slipstitch

get out your embroidery floss.  I used 2 strands: one of black and one of brown.

get out your embroidery floss. I used 2 strands: one of black and one of brown.

Buttonhole stitch

Buttonhole stitch

bar tack

bar tack

buttonhole stitch over bartack

buttonhole stitch over bartack

finished front

finished right side

Finished wrong side

Finished wrong side

Fall Floral

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My fall sewing list includes a floral blouse. A couple of weeks ago, during Peter’s MPB Day, I purchased an autumnal floral from Chic fabrics. It’s a cotton-lycra blend.

The collar came from a blouse in Burdastyle 9/14. Unfortunately, the blouse, as drafted, has a peplum. I don’t have anything against peplums, per se, but waistline seams make my skin crawl. I just hate them. So, I frankenpatterned the collar onto another Burstyle blouse, this one being a princess seam, raglan sleeve blouse. The sleeve is super narrow, which works because my fabric has a lot of stretch to it. I like the tunic length, since I want to wear it under big sweaters and have it peek out the bottom.

I also made a black denim A-line skirt, which is something I have been wanting for a while. It’s a pretty basic design. I lined it in self fabric, and stiffened the hem with several rows of decorative stitching.

back view

back view

center front detail.  There are only 2 buttons.

center front detail. There are only 2 buttons.

skirt hem detail.  I stitched it using decorative thread in the bobbin.

skirt hem detail. I stitched it using decorative thread in the bobbin.

The Kyle Dress

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When I completed this dress, my first thought was, “This looks like something Kyle would wear!” Don’t you agree? It’s a basic wool sheath, with a draped detail and knots at the left shoulder. I drafted the pattern myself. The shell is a wool suiting, and the lining is black silk. The knots at the shoulder are faced in the lining fabric.

This photo shows a bit of my process.  You can see my messy pattern .  I sewed the tie pieces with the pattern pinned to the fabric.  Then I tore the paper away, trimmed, and turned.

This photo shows a bit of my process. You can see my messy pattern . I sewed the tie pieces with the pattern pinned to the fabric. Then I tore the paper away, trimmed, and turned.

back vire

back vire

shoulder detail.  The pleats are stitched down under the knots.

shoulder detail. The pleats are stitched down under the knots.

shoulder detail

shoulder detail

side zipper

side zipper

Dyeing Fabric in a Front-Loading Washing Machine

Yes, Virginia, you can dye fabric in a front loader. I do it all the time. This post documents my method. Please keep in mind that your results may vary.

Equipment and supplies:
Maytag Neptune front-loading washer. The model I have dates from 2001.
A water heater that is set dangerously high
Dharma acid dye
boiling water
vinegar
synthrapol
fabric (mine is silk double georgette)

Just FYI, this is the project that I was working on when I took these photos.

Also FYI, this also works with Procion dyes (with soda ash in place of the vinegar; also with Procion dyes you need to add salt through the detergent port right at the beginning before the adding the dye slurry.)

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This is the dye I used. It’s acid dye from Dharma Trading

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Take 3 tsp of dye, add boiling water in a disposable cup.

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Stir to make your dye slurry

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Have some vinegar handy

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Wet the fabric

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Set the machine to cotton/sturdy; hot wash/cold rinse; extra rinse

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Put wet fabric in machine. Close door to machine. Open detergent port while the machine is filling.

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Pour in dye slurry. Let machine finish filling. Let it toss for a couple of minutes.

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Press the “Start/Pause” button. Wait 5 minutes or so. Press the “Start/Pause” button again to allow the fabric to toss for a couple of minutes. Repeat for 30 minutes.

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Measure out the right amount of vinegar

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While the machine is tossing the fabric, slowly pour the vinegar into the detergent port. Then pour 3-4 cups of hot water into the detergent port to flush all of the vinegar into the machine.

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Press the “Start/Pause” button. Wait 5 minutes or so. Press the “Start/Pause” button again to allow the fabric to toss for a couple of minutes. Repeat for 1 hour.

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Wipe the detergent port clean with a wet cloth

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Allow the machine to finish the cycle. The dye will come out into your slop sink.

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Observe the final rinse. Since it’s boring to watch the washing machine go, you can show up before the final rinse and put a bucket there to be sure that most of the dye comes out in this rinse.

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Keep the dyed fabric in the washer, run another cycle using Synthrapol detergent.

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Hang to dry.

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