Friday, April 5, 2019

New and Improved Pamela's Patterns #111 Banded Front Cardigan with Pocket

This sewing project was inspired by the Netflix series, "Tidying Up with Marie Kondo" which I binge watched when it aired at the start of January.  I had read the book years ago and had not been inspired but loved the series.  I always have regular collection boxes for household goods and clothing to go to the twice yearly hospital "nearly new" sale but this series was the additional push I needed to evaluate some past garments.  
I was pulling out clothing to pack for our winter journey to Florida and tried on the two cardigans I had made in past years....but seldom wore. two cardigans
Why?  Well, another very popular pattern, the Blackwood Cardigan,Blackwood Cardigan from Helen's closet gave me a clue.  I realized that what I disliked was the angle of the front band on the Pamela's Patterns Banded Front.  I thought that it really should hang down straight with a slight opening, much like the wider but straight front of the Blackwood.  I had a fitting schedule with Sarah Veblen who can figure out how to make my visions come true and she concurred and gave me the simplest solution....pinch out a dart in the side front panel, remove the excess side seam fabric that I thought I needed to make those front edges meet and wow, what an improvement.
Side panel has drag lines
Pin out a 2 inch dart on the side panel and do the same on the pattern
My mock up marked with the excess fabric I needed to remove from the lower side seam
New version with straight band, lengthened and pockets added for those dog treats
The other element I liked about the Blackwood Cardigan was the pockets but I never like patch pockets in knits, especially this lightweight sweater knit from Fabric Mart.  I pulled out my favorite patch pocket technique from a Threads Magazine article and added pockets that won't bag to both of my new and improved versions.  
Valentine's Day version I sewed while in Florida in February 
My favorite patch pocket because it stays flat
So thanks to Marie Kondo and her "spark joy" principle, I have two new cardigans that spark joy when I wear them and two others that have moved on to new homes.  And here are some more things that spark joy in my life:

Wednesday, April 3, 2019

Vogue 1440

I was hoping that I would be posting about this jacket, Vogue 1440, and two additional versions by now, six months after I made #1, but "if wishes were horses, beggars would ride" as one of my Scottish ancestors probably said frequently.  So without horses or delay, here's my first Vogue 1440, a Donna Karan pattern that is OOP but still sometimes available on eBay.  I started it last summer after tweaking my first mockup with help from Sarah Veblen and finished it to wear on a fall trip in France.
Vogue 1440, Donna Karan jacket at Galeries Lafayette in Paris

I love the curvy lines of the design but all that contrasting seaming on the original is too much for me.  I'm a tone on tone kind of gal and I like the subtle sophisticated but more casual take on the tweedy iconic Chanel jacket.  It feels sweater-y to wear and packed like a dream so what's not to love.
So how did I adapt the pattern for my style?  I eliminated the binding done for each of the jacket's seams....and there are many

I lengthened it 1 1/2 inches.  Not hard to do, just tedious to divide the correct pieces and stay on grain.  I also trimmed off 1 inch all the way around the exterior of the collar and front wide lapel/overlap.  When I looked online at the reviews of others I thought each time that there was too much fabric upfront which drooped and looked overwhelming.  That and the extra length on my body are probably the two best design decisions I made on this pattern and have made it into a TNT pattern for me. 

Next I had to decide how to highlight the outer edges of the fringed collar and front.  I thought about adding silk ribbon and ordered three colors but it was too distracting to me even hand basted in place.

I put my three options together and the clear winner was to use the selvedge.
L to R Fused silk ribbon, hand stitched silk ribbon, ordinary selvedge
I had lots of yardage of this fabric, a tweedy mostly cotton boucle that I have had for at least ten years (Fabric Mart, of course)...but even with more than three plus yards, there wasn't enough selvedge for double sided trim all along the jacket outside edges and at the sleeves.  So the beautiful selvedge was trimmed then fringed on both edges and applied to the outside that would be always visible and on the front edges both sides since they too are always moving and visible.
Selvedge edge trimmed to 21/2 inches at top, then threads removed and trimmed down to 1 1/2 inches for application
On the underneath of the bottom hem I simply used 1 1/2 inch bias strips to make the inside finish.  On the sleeves I used the pulled threads then pinched three of them together and zig zag stitched over them onto narrow bias strips making a unique but totally coordinating strip to trim the sleeves.

The body and sleeve pieces on this version are underlined in silk organza to give them support. Again, some reviewers commented that unsupported boucle felt like wearing a towel so the silk organza was a good decision.  I put coat hooks and eyes at the front so I can wear it closed although I seldom do.   
I'm pinning out 1/2 the full length of the middle front 
But as happy I am with this jacket, it didn't look exactly like the black and white version on the pattern illustration.  As I examined it further I realized that the original jacket really doesn't meet at some center front point but the pattern that Vogue produced...and I used for my fitting, clearly had a center front line.  So I decided to adjust the pattern for the next versions first by pinning out 1/2 inch on each front from the hem all the way to the shoulder.  When I tried on the mock up with that adjustment I was much happier with the open look of the front.  But those pictures will have to wait since I haven't made the next ones.  
Two more versions are cut out already.  One is a pink, peach and fuchsia tweed that I am half way finished sewing for spring.  Same selvedge idea but either a flared or 3/4 sleeve to make it a little "breezy."  One of my sewing groups has an afternoon tea and it will be perfect for early May in Maryland. The other is a boiled wool version inspired by one that Sigrid did with this pattern, again using its basic bones and making it fit her life and style. vogue 1440 sigrid sews
Mr. Lucky and I are in our "go go" years right now and so this jacket and one of the dresses in my previous post made it to the walking trip we took in Provence last fall.  I am just now catching up on my blogging because I do like having a record of our adventures, even if I'm late in posting them.  I will share a little sewing project that I used to avoid any problem with pick pocketing.  I'm not fond of travel belts and the like and saw a gentleman on youtube selling his cotton pockets that he sewed inside his pants.  I took that idea and made little portable pockets for Mr. Lucky and me.  Lightweight nylon fabric with a zipper and rather than sew them inside our pants we just used two safety pins.  We could carry our passports and credit cards easily and safely and just kept some cash in our pockets or my purse each day.  
travel pocket to pin inside pant waistband
This was our ninth active holiday trip with a group in 21 years.  We started back then with a Burgundy France walking trip for our tenth anniversary and it was marvelous, exceeding my every expectation....and trust me, I'm a picky, frugal consumer.  Because we are mono-lingual, we need a group to travel in the country in France so we returned to The Wayfarers for this trip. 
Mr. Lucky and I started with four days on our own in the city of Avignon and had a fantastic time.  We loved walking the narrow lanes of this ancient home of nine popes during troubled times in Italy in the 14th century.  The Popes' Palace was spectacular, inside and out since we were there for the last weekend of a magical evening light/slide show on the exterior walls.
Pont d'Avignon 

We took a wine tour and had rose tastings (much more enjoyable than my eighties memories of Sutter Home White Zinfandel) and the delicious Rhone Valley Chateauneuf du Pape wines.

We did a Van Gogh tour 

and of course we ate 
Vogue 8813 dress
and ate

Mr Lucky before his morning coffee
and enjoying fondue in Paris in the evening
After the Avignon days we joined up with the 12 other people for our walking tour of the perched villages in the Luberon area of Provence.  The walks were long and beautiful, 11-13 miles per day for six days.  Our guide, Hubert, was informative and encouraging, an international business professor in our age range and so fluent in English that we blushed at our own native language sloppiness.  The accommodations were luxurious every evening, almost over the top from anything we've done in the past.  The food was also luxurious and even included a stay and meal at Edouard Loubet's hotel and two Michelin star restaurant in Lourmarin.
But this splurge 21st anniversary trip revealed something to me.  I'm much more a plain Jane, bistro food plus enthusiastic, curious travel companions kind of gal.  Our fellow walkers were polite and casually friendly but it was the least fun or enthusiastic group we have ever been with.  Much more a quasi-sophisticated, blasé tone for the majority of them and disappointing in that aspect. Usually we have met some delightful people with whom we have kept in touch, sometimes for many years.  Not this time.  Of course Mr. Lucky and I enjoyed ourselves and will continue active trips like these but will do so in more modest and adventurous environs.      
But for our travel album, here are some of the highlights:

One of my favorite meals, lunch of fresh stuffed simmered veggies
It was boar hunting season and we saw their evidence on the trails but never saw one in person...until this guy
So au revoir and thanks for reading this far.  Next post, much more sewing, I promise.