25 June 2016

Jamie Christina Abbey Coat (fitting & adjustments)

The second of my three works in progress is almost finished.  The problems I encountered were fully brought on by me not trusting my measurements and not paying attention to detail.

Mistake #1:  I am short.

I know this.  I've always known this.  Every time I need to reach for something on the top shelf at the grocery store, I have to stand on my toes, ask someone taller than me, or, on rare occasion, grab a broom from the cleaning aisle.

Why I don't take this into consideration when I sew - particularly bodices - is a mystery.  I KNOW I need to shorten the bodice proportionately  to match my height, yet I don't.  Well sewing this coat has put my shortcomings (hah!) on full display.

Mistake #2:  I did not pay close attention to the pattern cover.

The modeled version of the coat on the pattern cover clearly shows the flounce ending above the knees.  Coupled with my height, the flounce of my pre-hacked fell below my knees. 

Mistake #3:  I did not pay close attention to the fit description (emphasis mine).

"A sewing pattern to make a semi-fitted, fully lined coat. The Abbey Coat features princess seams, 3/4 sleeves, and a peter pan collar. View A is made with the flounce and view B is made with out the flounce."

I started with a size 16 in the shoulders and neckline, gradually morphing out to an 18 in the bust and back to 16 in the hip and hem.  I figured the extra width would be good for accommodating thicker clothes.  Bad idea.  The coat ended up being way too big and I looked like a radioactive strawberry.  I could have sewn a straight 16 - maybe even 14. 

I could have saved myself a lot of hassle had I added the flounce to the muslin.

I didn't think that was necessary because it's a flounce.  What fitting issues could there be?  I could have also saved time by making petite adjustments right from the jump.  Looking at this pictures now, I can see that the bodice is too long.  The waist line is a couple of inches below where it should be.  Ah well.  Hindsight.

Pre-hack Adjustments:   I lowered the bust fullness 1" (on both the side front and center front pieces) and added 5/8" at bust level near the armhole.  This is similar to an upper broad back adjustment.   I did not do a traditional FBA.  

I made a 1" full bicep adjustment and added 2 inches to the length.  

Hacks:  To save the coat, I removed the flounce and took off 1.5 inches from the bottom.  I asked for ideas on Instagram and many suggested adding a waist seam.  This would have been my plan if shortening at the hem didn't work.

I also removed about an 1.5 inches from each side seam.  Talk about too big!  While the coat is more fitted now, wearing something heavy underneath is no longer an option.  No big deal.  I can wear this with a light sweater between the fall and winter seasons.

In these pictures, I'm using the trimmed width to make the same adjustment on the lining.  I trimmed away the extra and then marked the seam line from that edge.

Originally I added side seam pockets, but the position of the pockets exacerbated the fullness above the flounce.  So the pockets had to go. 

I had to make a few more minor adjustments as I sewed.  Trim here...snip there...and there...and there.  Unpick all of that and start over.

This was a regular scene in my sewing room.


The facing is attached and the sleeve cuffs are done.  All that's left is buttonholes and buttons. 

Whew!  This is definitely an EPIC coat - but not in the way I originally imagined.  I thought the tailoring would consume a lot of time.  Using KDK's method for sew-in interfacing took very little time.  It was the repeated stitching and unstitching that increased the time.  Hopefully I will be done in the next couple of days!

Until next time, peace!


15 June 2016

Knipmode 06-2016-20 (skirt): complete

I can't remember if I first saw this skirt on Westmoon's blog or on PR (maybe in a thread started by Westmoon).  But when I saw it, I knew I had to have it.

Look at all the seams!  Maybe I shouldn't be this excited over a pencil skirt, but I am.  Topstitching and color-blocking potential?  What's not to like?

Getting an copy of this magazine took some effort.  While in Europe recently, I visited newsstand after newsstand in each city and could not find it anywhere.  In fact, I didn't see any Knipmode, MyImage, or La Mia Boutique magazines.  It was only during the layover in Amsterdam and after a 15 minute hike through different parts of Schiphol Airport did I *finally* find a bookstore that carried it.  I hugged the magazine like it was MY PRECIOUS.

The results...

Not too shabby.  I like it...buuuuuuut...it's too big.  I fault myself for not fully trusting the measurements and the stretch of my denim.  I've not sewn with a Knipmode pattern before (despite having a few magazines) and was not familiar with their draft.  The skirt is wearable, but I will always need a belt.

Fabric & Notions:
  • 1.375 yards of stretch denim (stash)
  • strips of interfacing for the center front zipper
  • stretch interfacing for the other waistband (probably not needed)
  • 20" separating zipper
  • sewing machine, topstitching, and serger thread
  • 80/12 universal and 100/16 topstitching needles
Sizing/alterations:  I traced a straight size 44 based on my hip measurements.  I added 1" seam allowances to the side seams and 2" to the center front.  I also made a 1.25" full seat adjustment - a standard for me with skirts.

The pattern is designed for stretch bottomweights and I should have used this fact when picking a size.  I ended up sewing 1.5" seam allowances and also removed the extra 2" from the center front.  Next time, I will take flat pattern measurements and proceed from there.  

Instructions:  Since the magazine is in Dutch, I consulted good ol' Google Translate for help.  For the most part, the instructions aren't really needed.  The seams are labeled with letters and general construction makes sense.  

The only part of the instructions that was confusing involved attaching the waistband.  If the translation was correct, you were supposed to attach one front waistband to one back waistband and then sew this to the completed skirt.  Whut? 

Yeah I didn't do that.  I did this: 
  1. Assembled the front and back completely.
  2. Attached interfaced outer back waistband to skirt back.
  3. Attached interfaced outer front waistband to skirt front.
  4. Installed zipper in skirt front.
  5. Basted side seams to check fit.
  6. Sewed side seams.
  7. Assembled inner waistband (front and back).
  8. Attached to outer waistband.
  9. Understitched.
  10. Topstitched.

Sewing:  I used my usual 3-machine hook up for sewing, serging, and topstitching.  I interfaced the zipper area for stability.  Hmm...what else?  That's it really.  I paid attention to the modeled version to determine the direction in which to press the angled seams.  Aside from that, sewing this skirt wasn't difficult.

I'm happy with the skirt and will certainly wear it.  If I make it again, I'll consider the sizing more carefully.  

I wonder how this would look in a stripe.  Hmmmm...


The Epic Abbey Coat by Jamie Christina is coming along quite well.  I am now working on the sleeves and I admit I am nervous.  I've never done a continuous lap before and my fabric is t h i c k.  

I think I can finish the coat in time to submit it for the Natural Fibers Contest on PR. I need to face my fear and just do the friggin' sleeves.



14 June 2016

Three Days in Munich

Continuing with the trip recap...our next three days were spent in Munich. 

Munich by far was one of my two favorite cities. The scenery is simply beautiful and the people were very friendly. Though we didn't visit any museums, we walked around the city A LOT, took two bike tours and visited Neuschwanstein Castle using Mike's Bike Tours - a definite must-do if you're ever in the area.   We also took a trip to Dachau, the first Nazi concentration camp to open in Germany.  I have no words and many words.

On with the pictures...

We found a pizza joint that sells gluten-free pizza.  Though it was jam-packed with people, the food was worth the wait.  Oh yeah, gluten now gives me problems. I really miss donuts!

On our second day, we took a bus out to Neuschwanstein castle.  The trip included a 2-hour bike ride, lunch at a local restaurant, and a tour of the castle.  To get to the castle, you can either take the bus or hike.   I chose to hike and man, let me tell you, that hike was NO JOKE.  The first few hundred feet were nothing.  But once you turn this "corner," it all goes downhill (or uphill?) from there.   We did this after lunch too!  Had I known what I was getting myself into, I would have had ALL the ice cream.

Here's a photo of K and me at the top.  When we set out on the bike ride, I was cold and decked out in a hat and scarf.  I dropped that nonsense halfway up as the sweat was pouring down my face.  

More pictures from the top.

We couldn't take pictures inside the castle.  In fact, time inside the castle was strictly limited to 30 minutes.  Get in, admire, get out.  

After returning to Munich, we had dinner at Hofbräuhaus.  Hofbräuhaus is one of Munich's oldest brew halls and is owned by the government.  I can't speak on the beer quality because (a) I never liked beer and (b) wheat issues, but there were plenty of liters going around so I assume it is pretty good!  

 Translation:  "Work sets you free."
Main entry gate at Dachau concentration camp.

 Left:  one of the few remaining barracks preserved
Right:  crematorium

There were many other buildings and placards describing their purpose.  I chose not to photograph much more than what is seen here.  It didn't feel right.  The one thing I can say is that Germany does not hide from its past.  Our tour guide said that it is mandatory for every child to learn the country's history - unabridged and with acute honesty - so as to not  repeat history.

Our tour guide (from the second bike tour) said that government buildings are often constructed with glass façades as a show of transparency.  On this building, bullet holes are still visible on the columns.

On the second bike tour...
 New Town Hall at Marienplatz.
I missed getting pictures of the Glockenspiel.  D'oh.

 Left to right:  Bavarian flag, German flag, Eurozone flag.


We had dinner at the English Garden.  I asked for white wine.  It was served in a giant beer mug.  Haha.  Okay!

At the garden, people can go 'river surfing.'

Very cool to watch.  I'd be terrified out of my mind!
That's it for Munich.  I would love to go back and visit more of the city.  It is really unique and rich with culture.
Up next in the trip recap:  Vienna, Austria.


On the sewing front, I finished one of my three works in progress:  the denim skirt.  I will take pictures today and write the blog post tomorrow.

Until next time, peace!



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