lady grey sew-along

10.19.10 {making buttons for the lady grey}

pad stitched lapels–they took so long and look so pretty!

Since my first update about this project, I’ve been steadily working on the coat front pieces, trying to get a tiny bit of work in each day. It was a challenge over the weekend, as we were busy for most of it, but I did manage to squeeze in some sewing time and finished all the pad stitching on the lapels–but I’m so far behind right now! The other, secret project I mentioned in passing on Sunday, has been taking up all my free time. So sadly, the Lady Grey jacket is on the back burner this week.

I have been doing a lot of hand sewing on this, which is always gratifying. Basting the hair canvas pieces to the front and side front of the jacket with uneven basting. Taping the roll line with twill tape and securing it with catch stitches (one of my favorite stitches to work–yes, I really do get excited about doing these!). Beginning to pad stitch the lapel with tiny little diagonal stitches to help give the fabric some “memory” as to how it should lay. In retrospect, I think perhaps going with a textured fabric for my first tailoring project might not have been a bad idea–the varied surface is far more forgiving. Whereas with my smooth and thin gabardine you see every mistake, which has meant ripping out a few stitches here and there that cheekily decided to show on the right side (rather than just stay nicely hidden between the layers). But, it’s been a lesson both in patience and learning to take shallow “nips” of the fabric as I pad stitch. Thankfully, using a wool material means too that whatever little variations show through, can usually be steamed into submission!

10.05.10 {lady grey progress}

I wanted to also show you a quick tutorial on how I made the buttons for my coat. The technique is inspired by instructions in Claire Schaeffer’s excellent book Couture Sewing Techniques (which I cannot recommend highly enough for anyone interested in fine/couture sewing), where I first encountered it, but have since found another tutorial on Craft Stylish. You can Ms. Schaeffer’s instructions for this button style on Google Books, but I also wanted to include my step-by-step version since I used a covered button for the center and that’s a few extra steps!

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October 19, 2010 · 20 lovely thoughts
posted in sewing,tutorials · tags: , ,

Good grief! Two posts in one day?! What is the world coming to?! I just wanted to pass on this little hand sewing tip for those who are following the Lady Grey Sew-Along and are preparing to baste their hair canvas to the shell fabric. It’s super simple, so excuse me if this is so obvious and everyone already knows about this!

When basting the hair canvas onto the back of the fashion fabric (or any sort of hand sewing for that matter), you’ll be using silk thread and it’s recommended you run the thread through some beeswax prior to stitching. The beeswax helps stabilize the thread and prevents it from twisting and knotting. But sometimes it has a tendency to leave little “flakes” of wax as you pull it through the fabric. To prevent this, I set the waxed thread with a bit of heat. It melts the wax into the thread fibers which means no pesky flakes!

To do this, cut a length of your silk (or other fiber) thread and run it through the beeswax one to two times. With your iron set on a low heat (I usually put it on the silk setting), press the thread between a press cloth (so wax doesn’t get on the sole plate of your iron!) lightly for a few seconds. To make this easier if you’re doing a lot of hand stitching, I recommend doing several yards at a time with the wax/pressing and just rewinding it onto the spool to use as needed. It cuts down on trips back and forth to the ironing board. That’s my little tip for the day!

Run the thread through some beeswax.

Place between a folded press cloth.

Lightly press with the iron on a low setting for a few seconds to “melt” the wax into the thread fibers.

Your thread is now ready for smooth stitching!

October 7, 2010 · 14 lovely thoughts
posted in sewing · tags: , , ,

09.15.10 {lady grey sew-along}

If you follow my Flickr, you may have seen a couple of muslin photos pop up recently for the Lady Grey jacket. Gertie concocted the idea to host a sew-along for the Lady Grey pattern, and since she’s also going over basic tailoring (top on my list of things to master more fully in 2011!) I decided to participate. Not that I really needed to add another jacket to my closet… goodness knows I already have too many!

My progress has been deplorably slow, mostly due to being tied up in other projects; I finally finished fitting my muslin last weekend. I had to do a few tweaks on the pattern to get a good fit. Namely the armholes, which I found far too high and pinching; I ended up increasing the depth of the curve (along the lower front, bottom and back edge) about 3/4″. I also had to take in the fullness of the peplum a bit. I cut out one size of the pattern through the bust and waist, and the next size up for the hips. While the center back portion of the peplum is perfect at the larger size, it was creating unsightly folds through the sides and front. So I shaved a bit off there. I also reduced the lapel and collar size–which I was a bit surprised that I had to do! I don’t consider myself petite or small at all, but the lapels (already large for a dramatic silhouette) completely overwhelmed me. About 1/4″ was skimmed off there, as well as the collar to keep things proportionate. Finally, I remembered to pick up some shoulder pads (which I had totally forgotten–I don’t know how!) and that helped loads with some of the wrinkling along the upper back.

09.30.10 {lady grey sew-along}

The initial muslin, prior to making final adjustments. see the back here

10.05.10 {lady grey progress}

Prior to picking apart the muslin to use the pieces as cutting templates, I marked the roll lines for tailoring on the lapels and collar.

Once past all the fitting, I trimmed the muslin seams down to a uniform 5/8″ (same as the pattern; I had used a 1″ seam on the muslin for fitting purposes), and used that in conjunction with the pattern pieces I didn’t alter or need to fit to cut out my wool. The wool I’m using is a lightweight gabardine in a striking bright turquoise. I usually am so Northeast and gravitate towards coats and jackets in more staid colors like gray and black. This color definitely doesn’t hide in a crowd–paired with the bubblegum pink lining this is a coat that has been influenced by all the color I’ve seen since moving to Florida (flamingos and crystal clear water!). It’s a light enough fabric to wear here into the winter, but will also work as a fantastic spring jacket if we move back north. (For those curious, I did pre-shrink my wool yardage at home referencing this method.) I didn’t buy buttons for this project, but am making them–of which I hope to post a bit more about soon-ish!

10.05.10 {lady grey progress}

Button making progress!

I started cutting out all the wool yesterday evening and am now super excited to see how this comes together. I’ve been feeling kind of apathetic about several of the sewing projects I have going on right now, so it’s nice that this project has reignited my enthusiasm a bit (instead of wishing I was sewing one of the four or so dresses I’m dying to make!). Up next: bound buttonholes. Gertie posted a tutorial on how to do them the traditional way, but I think I’m going to pull out my trusty vintage Dritz bound buttonhole tool instead…

October 5, 2010 · 23 lovely thoughts
posted in sewing · tags: , ,