Monday, July 28, 2014

Project 37: V-neck Pullover

I have an upcoming project that is going to require a well executed v-neck, so I decided to quickly design and make myself a v-neck pullover for practice. I had a beautiful length of cream coloured ponte and decided to contrast it with a black neckband.
Drafting the pattern was much easier than the last time I attempted a t-shirt because my understanding of garment construction has come so far. I knew to lengthen the shoulder seams, shorten the armseye, and add six inches to the overall length since apparently the default silhouette in GarmentDesigner is a cropped suit jacket with high cap sleeves.

Cutting and sewing went exceptionally smoothly; taking in total less than four hours thanks to an excellent tutorial on YouTube about v-necks by Melly Sews.

I wore it to work today and got several positive comments, so I am well pleased. Before I do a production run, I think I will make a few adjustments to the neckline. I really don't have the necessary set of pectoral muscles for such a plunge!

There is upon reflection a certain Star Trek The Original Series feeling to the overall garment, so I will refrain from producing any red ones.

Sunday, July 27, 2014

Project 36: Jersey Skirts

My close friend Carmen, the mother of my godson (my god-baby-mama) handed me an interesting challenge a couple weeks ago. She has several knee-length cotton jersey skirts that are staples in her wardrobe and getting near the end of their useful life. She hasn't found any equivalent, so asked me to try to duplicate them.

I made the first one out of some black cotton jersey that I had in my stash to be sure that I had gotten the fit in and shape right, and I hadn't. It was usable, but wasn't full enough at the hem for daily wear. I re-drafted the pattern with more flare (room, not style) and made a second one with some red jersey for which I had no particular plan and it worked great! A side benefit is that my stash of knit fabric is shrinking, bringing me closer to my next New York trip to Mood Fabrics!

We made a trip to our local Pacific Fabrics store, picked out some lovely blue material, had a couple martinis at Saffron on the way home, and voila!

Monday, July 14, 2014

Project 35: Mandarin Collared Dress Shirt

Several years ago, my best buddy and business partner had a mid-week birthday, so we made a casual evening of it and went out for dinner. As a gift, I told him I would make him a garment, and he chose a dress shirt with a mandarin collar. We made a beeline up to the top of Queen Anne Hill and visited Nancy's Sewing Basket, which is the only high-end fabric store in the area. He picked out some black Tencel fabric and some square buttons that had something that looked like a Chinese character on them, but I'm guessing was just an Asian-looking squiggle. (Thirteen years with a linguist rubs off on you)

Why, you might ask, did it take multiple years to produce a dress shirt? Pattern making. I have a program that makes patterns, but it turns out that you actually have to understand garment construction in order to use it successfully. Coming up with an original pattern for a mens dress shirt wound up being a steeper learning curve than I bargained for. When, dear Reader, will I realize that everything has a steeper learning curve than I bargain for? A fair question.

After some false starts early in the year, I did manage to produce a credible pattern. I decided that I wanted to make a welt pocket to continue the mandarin collar theme, as well as a differently styled front placket and cuffs. Having barely survived the construction of the sleeve plackets (which I now understand are called gauntlets) during Project 25: Sparkly Dress Shirt I resolved to learn how the sleeve gauntlets on every damn dress shirt I had ever owned were constructed.

Side note: Why in the hell did some idiot in the home sewer pattern industry decide to come up with a different way to make sleeve gauntlets that is super hard and never looks good when done? Huh? Why? AAAARGH! I feel very fortunate that mere weeks before I found myself desperately searching the web for a tutorial on proper sleeve gauntlet making that this brilliant blog post was made.

Things generally came out like I hoped. The collar is great, the sleeve gauntlets are beautiful, the placket is handsome, and the welt pocket is pretty good. I'm well pleased, as is my buddy. Time for a martini and an episode of Game of Thrones.

Hovering over my George Foreman grill, I might add.

A bit wrinkly, I will admit. 
And there is one of the buttons. See what I mean about simulated characters? I mean, there's no radical to tell you the semantic family. Did you notice that, Doug?