Sep 15

A Japanese Cardi from She Wears the Pants

Japanese pattern books have always attracted my attention. The styles seemed so simple and stylish, but it seemed the books had mostly dress and skirt patterns, so I passed them by. This past spring I ran across She Wears the Pants by Yuko Takada. This book was translated from She Has a Mannish Style (same author of course). Finally, a book with mostly tops meant to be worn with pants.

I noticed the english version of this book (the one I have) has many poor reviews on Amazon. It seems that many thought the book was supposed to be pants patterns…which it’s not. Maybe they could have come up with a better English title? I know I’m quite pleased with the book. It has a style more like the Drape Drape books than the very sweet traditional Japanese pattern books. More edgy and urban, as the extended title says. My only complaint about the book is that the very dark photography makes it difficult to see the style details.

She Wears the Pants Draped Cardigan

My first try from the book was #15, the Draped Cardigan. It consists of 3 main pattern pieces – front/back are one piece (cut 1), the hem section (cut 2), and the sleeve cuffs (cut 2). Because the front and back are one piece, your fabric must be wide enough – at least 63″. My first choice of stash fabric was a few inches short, so I ended up using a pinky/coral cotton interlock, which ended up working very well. I made a large, thinking the styles would run on the small side, but that was wrong. I could have made a medium, no problem. Because of the style, the large looks fine though.

The pattern has pocket bags built into the main front section, then the hem section covers the bags, creating the pockets – very cool! Then the hem section wraps down and around to the back where you are supposed to sew the ends together creating a drape. Except the drape made a big bag-like thing right around my butt…and that was not cool at all. Good thing I basted that part to try it out. I ended up hemming the ends of the hem sections and the rest of the lower back. this created a low front/high back look that I really like.

SWP cardi back flare

SWP cardi back

On the front the buttons and buttonholes go up high and end low, following the curve of the front. I used non-matching buttons to emphasize this, and could see getting very creative there and in other areas of this cardi. It has a lot of potential for color and thread.

SWP cardi front open

I found the instructions pretty adequate. There is no hand-holding like you get from the big 4 pattern companies, but it’s fun having more of a challenge. Tracing the pattern from the big multi-pattern pages takes some time. I picked up some Frixion Highlighters that were awesome to use. First I roughly highlighted the pattern piece and any markings or notes with a highlighter, then did another with another color, and another. Then I traced each piece. The different colors help when tracing overlapping pieces because each piece has its own color. After tracing I ironed the color away so I could do more. I highly recommend this method!


Sep 15

Another redo – Simplicity 1198

I made Simplicity 1198 view E a few months ago. Ugh… Big FAIL! I struggled with the slithery rayon/lycra jersey. Just looking at it the wrong way made it pucker. I made a size XS, but easily could have gone down to the smallest size, a XXS. The thing turned out huge. The neckline was weirdly wide and unflattering. The drape at the right side made a pocket-like thing that hit me at the wrong place making me look 10 lbs heavier. It was just wrong all the way around and into the time-out corner it went.

After my winner redo last week I dug it back out to give it another go. The drape needed to come off so I slit the right side seam from bottom to armpit. That made the drape section fall down at a diagonal. I could have hemmed it and left it that way (with a bit of evening-up) but I wanted something else. Rayon knits tend to hit the tummy area and hang there. Any bit of muffin top ends up with a banner on it. So I thought making a knot with the excess fabric at the side would serve as a bottom band for the top, helping the fabric to flow over the belly instead of sticking there. It worked 🙂

Then I wanted a bit of contrast to break up all the orange so I did a reverse coverstitch around the neckline and sleeve hems, right over the original non-reverse coverstiching I previously did.

I didn’t take up the neckline or take in the sides (other than re-sewing the right side seam with a 1/4″ seam, but the new version fits better everywhere. Must be some kind of magic in that knot!

chango top

Sep 15

Vogue 9112 Cirque dress – redo, and LOVE!

Who said there are no second chances? Not me! Here’s my V9112 Cirque dress redo:

Cirque NEW front

Cirque NEW back

Love, love, love it!!!!

If you’re wondering what the first one looked like here it is…

To do this first I removed the side seam pockets (yes I cried a bit here, I’m a pocket lover). I needed to do this because the next thing was to cut dress horizontally (front and back) about 6″ under the arm hole. I played a bit, holding it up to find the optimal length, finally cutting about 4″ off the bottom part at that cut (the plain blue fabric). Then I took in the side seams on the bottom portion of the dress to match the circumference of the top portion, tapering to nothing at the hem. I sewed the top and bottom together with a 3/4″ seam allowance just in case I wanted more length, but never needed it. Then I took some length off the front hem only – maybe 2″ right in front, tapering to nothing at the sides.

Cirque front detail

Here is the seam I added just under the bust.

Cirque shoulder detail

At the shoulder I tucked under about 1 1/2″ and just sewed it down. I’d like to add some interesting buttons here when I find the right ones. You can see the random tucks and puckers I took with the collar after flipping the edge down. I really love the airiness of the collar this way, rather than standing up more. I see my collar serging is peeking out…it doesn’t do this when I wear it – I promise!

Here’s before and after:

Cirque before & after

Big difference! I can see that the initial lengthening of the dress is not what caused my problem. I’m short waisted and needed some of the fabric taken up and out for it to fit my frame better. That and I like to wear tunics more than dresses!

Don’t give up on your projects that don’t initially work out. It may actually be a jewel in the making!

Sep 15

Sneak Peek at my ASE Push the Envelope Contest Entry

Every fall in Novi Michigan the American Sewing Expo comes to town with vendors, classes, exhibits and contests. Years ago when I owned MeinkeToy I was a vendor. Now I go for fun.

This year I had the bright idea to enter a contest and I chose the Push the Envelope contest sponsored by American & Efird. I have no idea what the prizes are – isn’t that strange? Anyway, I chose that one because when pushed by competition I tend to get “out there” and the idea behind this contest is to “push the envelope”. Also, a requirement is to include tassels, textures and trims in the entry, and since I used to make tassels I thought I was all set.

So I mailed my entry and $10 fee to get a package of items that had to be used at least once in the project. I received:

1. Signature Poly Core Midnight thread
2. Signature Tex 40 Variegated Grey Shades thread
3. Serge-Well Khaki thread
4. 4″ Red YKK Antique Brass Fashion Zipper with ball pull

The threads were easy-peasy to get into pretty much anything. But the zipper! It was adorable, high quality and HEAVY. I swear the zip shouted “BAG”, but I don’t enjoy making bags, so that was out. I wanted a garment, but not a jacket. I wanted something much more out of the ordinary. Here’s a peek at what I made. I’ll post the entire thing, and how I thought this up, after the judging.

4" Antique Red Zipper

This is where my zipper went. And some trim, and some more zips.

Tiny Tassels w/antique button

Here are some tiny tassels on an antique crystal button. And more zips…

It took pretty much FOREVER to make this project. After hand sewing some of the things that could not be machine sewed both my thumbs had tendonitis so bad I had to wear splints for a couple days. I nearly quit! But, I finished and about a week early, too.

Sep 15

Marcy Tilton Vogue 9112 – the Cirque Dress

I finished this creation last month…and haven’t worn it once, despite the hellishly hot weather we’ve been having. I put it on to wear to the DIA (perfect place for a dress like this) but took it off and wore something else, telling Mr. Domestic that I didn’t have a purse to go with it. Maybe I just didn’t feel “right” wearing it. Maybe it’s because I only wear dresses about 3 times a year?

Vogue 9112 Cirque Dress

This is Vogue 9112, also known as the Cirque Dress, by Marcy Tilton. I’ve made several Tilton creations in the past, like here and here, and a few I haven’t posted about (yet?), and love love love them. But this time I’m on the fence.

Vogue 9112

I feel so overwhelmed by so much fabric. Do I look overwhelmed? The plain fabric is a blue linen from FabricMart, the print is also linen from Mood.

Vogue 9112

I made a couple changes when I made this, starting with the collar. The original stands up at attention so much that I felt like I was trying to hide my face, so I flipped it down, showing a bit more skin at the neck area. I also lengthened it at the hem a few inches as I have a fear of billowy dresses blowing up high enough to show my underpants…just don’t want to take that chance. The extra length probably adds to my “too much fabric” feeling.

I’m showing a bit of bra under the arm, so to experiment I’ve pinned the dress up about 1″ at the shoulders (no photo yet) that hides the bra and helps the length too. But I’m thinking of going further… I want to chop this up and shorten it into a tunic length. Thoughts? Stay tuned….