Monday, July 30, 2012

Almost there...

After posting the pics of the jacket, I sewed the sleeves on it. I had gotten to the point of just wanting it done. I made a couple of pleats in the back of the sleeve, pinned them on, sewed them, called it good and said to hell with it.  They were on, it looks ok and I could move on.

The collar was a joke. I had run short of fabric and decided to improvise. It did not turn out well and again I was getting frustrated. I went to bed and let it rest. When things start going wrong, I take it as a sign of a good time to stop and walk away.  I sleep on it and look at it later. A fresh mind is a good place to start. The next day- it still looked rediculous and no there were no pictures. Take it off and think again. I ended up going with no collar. Stitched the lining to the outer shell and again- called it good and said to hell with it.  I told you before sewing and swearing go hand in hand.  Thing is, the coat looks fine without the collar actually.

Then it was on to sewing the lining to the cuffs in the sleeves. I hadn't resorted to the directions on the coat before now, why start? Because that might make too much sense??? There is always that... I know how the lining in the cuffs is supposed to look so I stared at the coat and tried to work it out in my mind. Honestly, looking back I can't even begin to tell you how I did it, but it is done.  That will be sooo helpful for future projects, I know.

Soon all that was left was to hem the coat, find buttons for it, make the button holes, sew the buttons on and be glad it was finished.  The bottom of the coat was a few different lengths. That was a problem.  So I layed it on the floor, the lining hung out below... grabbed my scissors and took care of  that. Then I started to turn things under and pin them. I started with the piece that was the shortest. Pinned it all in place, hung it back on the hanger- front pinned shut and straightened it out across the bottom. I could see the finish line.

I took the coat to the store to pick out the buttons. I had almost bought them before, like before I had cut anything out and good sense told me to wait. I am glad I did. I layed the coat over the top of the cart & started laying different cards of buttons on it. The fabric has gold tones in it so pewter, silver, black and white were out. I found some buttons that were shiny and gold, flat, plain and they really stood out. Nope. I don't want to be remembered for the buttons on the coat.  Some were big, some were small, some were only available in one size and there were a lot of buttons to choose from...

Friday, July 27, 2012

Fit issues

I recently bought a new sewing machine. New to me anyhow. It was made in 1957 and older than a lot of people I know, but for $20 including the cabinet- how could I refuse? I mean I only have 4 others at home already, but I needed the cabinet for one of them so it works, right? In the drawer of the cabinet was a few things of interest. One of them being a whole box of attachements. Including something I thought was a small shim or wedge of plastic. Mom said it was tailor's chalk. Hallelujah!

It came in very handy when I was pinning things on the jacket that needed to be cut down- like the sleeves, the chest where the side front and front meet and a few other things. Now I need to find more!  I used to use a bar of hand soap- it all washes away when you are done so same idea.

I removed the sleeves, turned the jacket body inside out and put it back on.  This way I would be making corrections, marks and pins on the 'inside' where nobody would see them when it is done. I pinned the front shut as if there were buttons on it doing their job.  I pinned the sides, bringing them in at the waist for a more contoured fit. I pinned the seam along the chest where the front and side front meet. I marked everything, pulled the pins and started ripping out all the work I had done putting it together- again. I am glad I found more than one spool of thread  in the same color before I started. I will probably need it!

I marked one side and fixed it, trying it on again before going any further. If it worked- great. If not, I can still change it, then do the other side the same way only doing it once instead. Here is the coat with the left side fixed and the right side still pinned. See the differences in how it fits and how it didn't before?

Doesn't the T-shirt complete the look?

The good news is- I will have to go back and make a lot of the same changes to the lining too. Doesn't that sound like fun? Hahahahaha Not!

While I had it all pinned, I sat on the edge of a chair to simulate driving. I moved, bent and straightened my arms, turned and twisted in my seat to be sure the jacket fit, looked good no matter what I was doing and most of all- would not be binding or constricting my movement no matter what. Who can relate to clothes that look good on the hanger or even on you, but you can't do anything in them? Getting older every day- I have no time or use for that crap.  I doubt anyone else does either!

After all of the changes were made to the body of the jacket I turned on to the sleeves. I had way too much fabric when sewing them on the first time around and had made two different pleats in the top as a way of seeing which way worked better and looked nicer. One more than the other, but really neither of them and since they had to come off- no big loss.  I had cut down the size of the sleeves and this left less to deal with in attaching them.

Here I have one sleeve pinned on the jacket- It's not perfect and I had to move carefully or get jabbed. But I wanted to get pics and see how it was coming together. I also didn't pin the front shut so I had to hold it.

The sleeves are that long on me... ^^^

My mom was always a person to 'pin baste' everything. Pin it, sew it, be done with it and move on. A lot of the directions say pin it, hand baste it (sew it with big loose stitches, sew it with the machine, then go back and remove your hand basting. It saves time, it saves thread and looks just as nice.  How you place your pins makes a difference too. If you place them the length of where you will be stitching, you have to pull them out as you sew. If you place them across where you are stitching, you can zip right over them then go back and pull them all out. Another time saver... lol

Word to the wise- Home Ec teachers in school want you to do what the directions say, not what mom does. This reflects on your grade. So does telling them- "This is how my Mom does it and her clothes don't look home made."

My mom also does a lot of thumb pressing instead of having an iron sitting out waiting for use...  I recently learned online- flat irons like you use on your hair- work just as well, no ironing board required. Did you see the one on the counter in the pics above? They work well for more than hair!

After snapping the pic's I pinned the other sleeve to the body and called it a night. I still have to work on the lining and get it caught up, then put it all together, hem the coat, hem the sleeves, find buttons and do button holes- for the first time in my life- add the collar and an accent piece and it is done! Then it is on to the hat and apron... The apron is easy enough, but the hat may be a challenge. At least there it still plenty of time for changes and corrections or altogether substitutions! I need to get started on it though. Depending on how it goes- I may enter the turnout class at the show in November.

Monday, July 23, 2012

Frustration and stress relieving

As some may know from reading the other blog Show in Style, your turnout in driving is just as important as your attire in the ring in other events- western, dressage, hunters, saddleseat, etc. How you look carries over to how you do in the ring. Your clothes, your style, it can help make you or break you.

You want to choose something that stands out, yet isn't completely over the top and obnoxious. You want to be remembered for how nice you looked, how well you stood out for good reasons and how well you did. You don't want to be the person everyone is talking about months later because of "OMG did you see what they were wearing? Wasn't it just hideous?"

A lot of people know that I sew. My skills are not quite those of my mothers and there are things I am still learning. Sometimes my sewing is enough to make her nuts. She just doesn't look too closely at my finished work (clothing) and it's all good. Mostly though, my finished work is horse stuff, not clothes. She sews clothes. That's her strong point, not necessarily mine... But I have her to go to when I am sewing clothes, get stumped and need the answers to make it right. I also learned to swear from my mother.

Anyone who sews knows it goes hand in hand with swearing. Horses carry that same familiar bond with swearing. Sometimes all you have to do is yell, throw in a curse word or two and man do the horses jump to attention. They know their silly games no longer fly and they better straighten up and behave like they should. All of this and you never laid a hand on them. "Knock it off you S-O-B!" and they stop whatever it is they were doing. Whoa dammit! is another one.  All of this relieves some of your stress- the swearing and the horses behaving- so you can go on and do what you need to do.

For my mother it was always "Shit, Damn and Hell!" Always those words, always in that order. My Dad, two brothers, sister and I knew something went wrong and mom was pissed. Anyone that sews also knows you will screw up. You will have to go back and rip things out, change things, fix them and make it better. How things fit is important. Your clothes either compliment your body shape or horribly accent all the things you find wrong with it. Make you or break you.

With the CDE coming up in October, I have been working on a jacket for the event. I picked up the pattern back in March, found a few pieces of fabrics to make the jacket, hat and my apron. I have scoured the internet for hat making information and am going to give it a try. The pattern I chose- the jacket is not lined. It is also not very 'form fitting' or anything like that. I am going to line it and have started making changes to it to make it more figure flattering. I have been frustrated, ripped out a lot of stitching already and have sworn both under my breath and out loud- A Lot!

It has two pieces for the back, four pieces for the front. I cut everything out, stitched the back together, stitched the side front pieces on and the shoulder seams and thought I would try it on. This was the beginning of the swearing. The side front pieces didn't come all of the way across the front of me. One thing running through my mind (besides a lot of swearing) was that at least I still have plenty of time to find and buy more fabric (and more swearing).

Then I looked over to see the other two pieces that make up the front of the jacket. Yes! There they were, laying there in all of their glory. I had also cut out the lining for this jacket. This is not part of the pattern, but I figured I would add to my frustration. I pieced things together in my mind and it seems like it should work. So I sewed the front pieces on either side, sewed the sleeves on and waa-laa. I upped the ante on frustration. It looked ok, but it didn't fit like it should. The sleeves were big, super long and didn't go on as planned. The front of the jacket puckered in places it shouldn't and was all over BIG. Add more liberal swearing to relieve the stress.... and start taking things apart. The lining was also all stitched together at this point and would need changes made to it too....

To be continued