Monday, December 29, 2008

Project 6: Princely Caftan

Another present for Lingoman! I took another step forward in terms of not following the pattern this time. It (McCall's 4002) called for the facing to be on the inside, but I thought it would be better to have it on the outside. I've made this caftan before and even though when following the directions the facing is tacked down in three places on the inside, it still flops out of the neckline and is a general pain.

Off to the fabric store! I bought some nice medium-weight muslin for the body. It's smooth and strong and when you get close to it it shines a little. For the facing I bought a yard and a half of Waterford Irish linen. Jet black and as thick as canvas.

Reversing the facing necessitated having the two halves of the front reversed so that the open seams would still match up between the front and facing, so I had to come up with a way to finish that seam. I considered doing a flat-felled seam down the front, but that would have been off-center (ick). After thinking through other options I settled on making a strip of the black linen and encasing the raw edges.

Since I had gone that far with adding decorative bits, I went just a little further and instead of hemming the sleeves and bottom, I made linen cuffs. It looked pretty darn spiffy at the end!

Lessons Learned

  • I tried and tried to get the thread tension right so that the black and cream threads locked in the middle and weren't visible from either side, but I never got it right. On the inside of the garment the locks with the black thread are right there.

  • Attaching the side-seam pockets went better, but they are still slightly too low. I also somehow got one of the side flat-felled seams the wrong way around.

  • Found the right method of cutting out fabric pieces for me.

Following the advice of Paula Pay-la-Renta, I bought a roll of thick transparent plastic sheeting and laid it down over my paper pattern pieces. I held it flat with a piece of glass (borrowed from one of my end tables) and traced around the pieces with a sharpie. Next I cut the plastic pattern piece out, and punched holes in the plastic where my match-up marks go.

Now I can just spread the fabric out on my project table, lay the plastic pattern piece out and then hold it all flat with my glass fabric weight. I trace the plastic piece with a fabric pencil as I pull the glass away and when I'm done, I have a perfect result. Next I put the fabric on the cutting mat and use my rotary cutter to zip around the lines.

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