Monday, August 31, 2015

Sewing Retreat, Vogue 1263

First of all, let me give tribute to indomitable blogger and superb seamstress, Audrey,  Sewtawdry Blog  for getting me back onto a blogging schedule, erratic as ever but at least present once again.  I was surprised and happy to see her attend this summer's sewing retreat and thrilled to see some of her projects in person.
As I mentioned in my last post, Mr. Lucky and I have had a marvelous summer taking big and little trips to visit family and friends.  But between you and me and the rest of the blogging universe, we both need some time with our own tribes.  Mr. Lucky has played lots of golf with some regular golfing friends this summer (and had some wonderfully great scoring days, which, I suppose, would be like making a perfect double welt pocket in a difficult fabric for me.) But I haven't had anything like the equivalent with sewing girlfriends.  So I was thrilled to see that the Northern Virginia American Sewing Guild summer "Taste of Retreat" (called that because January is our greatly numbered attendee retreat) was scheduled to fit perfectly into the summer schedule .  
So I packed up more projects than I could complete... even if I didn't interrupt myself to talk to everyone (and talk and talk and talk....I was lonely for girlfriend company after all) and headed to a new venue for this retreat, the National Conference Center NCC  in Leesburg, Virginia.  
Small aside....decades ago my former employer used the sales training materials from this former Xerox training site and I came on board just after they stopped sending sales people and managers there.  So I had heard stories about its isolation and almost monk-like experience.  Not true anymore.... the center is located in the midst of suburban sprawl and there's a bar and cool outdoor fire pit on site as well as an amazing food array for each meal.  Now, back to the sewing content.  
Here are the projects that I worked on and mostly completed except for some hand sewing that I have been finishing while watching TV.
Vogue 1263
My major sewing accomplishment from the retreat was this Vogue 1263 pattern.  I received it as the free pattern in the Craftsy Hand Embellishing Knit Fabric Natalie Chanin class and originally I didn't think it would be me at all.  I'm more a sporty or classic  type gal and this had an arty edge that I didn't think I could carry off easily. I have not done anything with the class knit embellishing technique nor the three Natalie Chanin books but, hooray, I did sew up the included pattern.
There are a many darts in this jacket.  Three in the collar and the collar facing, six along the bottom hem, two waist darts and then the side pockets are built into a side seam dart that must be slashed open.  Last fall it was one of four coat designs that I took to Sarah Veblen for fitting help.  She strongly encouraged me to take on this project and didn't make any fit adjustments on my mock up..  I sewed a straight size 14 and did find the upper sleeves a little too tight so added 1/4 to the two piece sleeve in about six inches of my bicep area since I will want to wear a sweater underneath.  I also don't love the back armscye but it is never really visible so I am not going to quibble or make any major adjustments.
It's a lot of jacket
I used a wool lurex blend that I "splurged" on by buying full price at Fabric Mart last winter.  Now those of you who know Fabric Mart's prices realize that meant maybe $12 a yard not my retail store $2-3 per yard. But I loved the mix of herringbone and the silvery lurex and the damask rose design.  And I love you enough, dear readers, to model it in almost 90F weather yesterday. 

Vogue rates the pattern as Easy but gosh, there's a lot of accurate marking and stitching happening all over this pattern.  The pockets were definitely a challenge for me....a slashed side seam dart with the pocket bag showing from the outside so you better get right sides and wrong sides correct before you pick up the scissors.  I did plenty of pinning and hand basting to double check myself and they came out wonderfully....but it wasn't done "easily."
Dart side seam pocket

The jacket is unlined (which might put it in the Easy category) but each dart and seam is flat fell seamed. It makes for a nice smooth finished effect, particularly on those six hem darts.  Don't know how well you can tell but the large cut out dart is stitched, one side trimmed down to 1/4" then the opposite seamed turned under 1/4 and pressed to enclose the seam and is top stitched. 

One of the hem darts stitched, trimmed then topstitched

My fabric was very forgiving for all that topstitching on bulky fabric, particularly on the upper back curved seam where you are flat fell seaming the edge of other flat fell princess seams.  I cheated by the time I reached the side seams and sleeves and used my serger to finish them and reduce the bulk.  
Inside pocket bag and unlined jacket

Turns out that I love the jacket and think I will get a lot of use out of it this fall and winter.  Just goes to show you, don't judge a pattern by its cover....and do make a quick mock up to give it a chance.

Kwik Sew 3422
My second completed project was this very overdue Kwik Sew shirt 3422  3342 for Mr. Lucky.  I am definitely not a skilled shirt maker like a Pam Erny Off the Cuff Blog but I am so touched that Mr. Lucky picks the shirts that I have made him from his array of summer casual ones.  One of the early versions needs to be retired so I used up the last of this lovely, heavy rayon to make a replacement.  My sewing friends certainly noticed the careful pattern cutting and he was both surprised and impressed when I brought it home finished for him.  
The retreat was just what I needed to get my sewing mojo and my blogging mojo back in gear.  I am the happiest person on the planet since I was able to retire early and pursue my hobbies and interests.  But I do miss the social part of my job and these get togethers remind me of how much I cherish connections.  So I leave you with some pictures of happy, creative, encouraging sewing friends....and a few of the great facility we used this year.

The end of a wonderful day of friendship and creativity.
Next up will be the scarf tutorial that a few of you requested and some more new kimono type summer jackets.  Hope your sewing projects bring you smiles and good times.


  1. What a terrific coat. The fabric is really special, and the pattern looks like something for anyone who needs to get over a fear of darts! Also, thanks for the thumbs up on the N VA ASG- I was looking at the ASG web site today but about half of it is down. I live in DC. It looks like the retreat was a lot of fun. Lora

    1. You are sweet to comment, Lora. I was certainly fortunate to have a forgiving fabric for all those darts and all the topstitching. I hope you come to some of the neighborhood meetings from DC. I know there's always traffic but the people make it worthwhile....which I have to remember when I am sitting on the Beltway on a Friday afternoon 😒

    2. Love the coat!!! I'm sponsoring a winter retreat in the MD-DC area...check out my blog.

  2. Your jacket looks absolutely fabulous! Perfect matching on the shirt front! How wonderful to be able to get together with sewing friends - glad that you had such a wonderful time.

    1. Thank you, Irene, that is high praise coming from someone with such sewing precision.

  3. I realized as we were leaving that even though you and I chatted quite a bit, we were up by the snacks and I didn't get to see what you were working on. I am glad you blogged about your projects. Great jacket. Well worth all the work! And neat fabric. (Didn't you make another trip to FMF recently? Any bargains?) I loved the sewing room at the retreat site, but the buildings with the rooms looked and smelled like a parking garage to me. Low ceilings and lots of concrete.


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