Sunday, October 31, 2021

Leftovers continued

In the second part of the video, I talk about how to align the squares when combining them before cutting the pieces. 

Saturday, October 30, 2021


You may recognize some of the fabrics I'm using for this project. I wanted to use all the little pieces of fabric left over from the earlier school projects, so I came up with this idea.

Friday, October 29, 2021

School projects so far

I made a presentation to show a summary of the school projects so far. I can't talk about the current project yet, so this ends at the end of September.

Sunday, October 24, 2021

Buttonholes and buttons for the vest

The last part of the vest was sewing buttonholes and buttons. I managed to find suitable buttons among the ones I've bought at the recycling center.

Saturday, October 23, 2021

The last part of sewing a lining to a vest

I think the description of how to sew the lining in the posts about the vests might have been hard to understand, so here is a video showing how it's done. I'm still figuring out some technical issues, but this is improvement comparing to my old videos.

Back to YouTube

I decided to start making videos again. It won't be often or regularly, but I will be making some videos. I will post them here as well, so you don't need to go looking elsewhere, if you don't want to. This first one is just a short "comeback" video, explaining the situation.

Sunday, October 17, 2021

The rest of the pinstripe fabric

I had bought 4 meters of the pinstripe fabric, and to  my surprise, there was still plenty of it left after the three pieces (blazer, vest and pants) I had planned to make. My first idea was to make a skirt using the rest of the fabric, but then I came across an even better idea.  It was a dress that's basically a combination of a vest and a wrap around skirt. It is from Burda 2/2020, pattern 113.

I used the pattern, but discarded the instructions after reading them and finding them unnecessarily complicated. Also, I had to make some alterations and that would be easier with a different sewing order.

I started by making the bodice. I used the same lining fabric as for the pinstripe vest. The main difference in this dress was that the facing was much wider.

Here is the bodice ready for sewing the waist seam. So it's basically a vest with the hem seam left open.

One thing I made according to the instructions were the pockets. They looked nice in the magazine pictures and were quite easy to make. I was running out of the blue lining fabric, so I used another fabric for the pockets. It's not like it's going to show, and even if it does occasionally, so what?

I sewed all the skirt pieces together, and here you can see the pockets pinned in place. The back of the dress is in the middle, so the pockets are facing the correct directions.

I sewed the lining to the right edge of the outer part (on the left in the picture). Then I sewed the upper edge to the hem of the bodice. That left part of the upper edge on the left unsewn. I sewed that part and the left vertical seam (attaching the lining) separately. The reason for doing it this way was that I wanted to get the bodice attached first, so I could then tackle the front left separately.

I didn't have quite enough of the pinstripe fabric and the front left (that would go under the front right when wearing the dress) was shorter than in the pattern. The front left should have reached the right side seam, but it ended up falling 20 cm short, even after I had made it from two pieces instead of cutting it on fold as it was supposed to. Fortunately, none of this matters as the additional seam is hidden under the front right and the missing 20 cm do not affect the wearability or looks of the dress in any way.

Finally, I turned the hem of the outer fabric and lining, and sewed the buttons. The buttonholes were another thing I made according to the instructions. They required leaving parts of the waist seam open and then finishing the edges of the holes by hand sewing. The last part was to sew a snap on button to fasten the upper corner of the front left underneath the front right at the waist.

I'm using this dress with long-sleeved shirts and pants. The weather is getting colder, so it's nice to have an extra layer on top of them. And I really like the big pockets. My mobile phone fits in there even in a horizontal position.

Wednesday, October 13, 2021

Pinstripe pants

The last part of the outfit is pants. I actually made an entire 3-piece suit for myself. The pattern was again from Burda, this time issue 4/2011, pattern 117. I made some changes to the pattern. The picture below shows the changes to the pockets. The original had pockets in side seams, but the altered pattern below is for slanted pockets.

Another change was the zipper. The pattern had a hidden zipper, but I opted for a regular one, which we had just practiced (I used a hidden zipper in the light blue skirt I made earlier, so I knew how to do that already).

The instructions said to use Petersham ribbon on the waist, but there wasn't any available, so I used twill to make a facing. There was already enough stuff at the side seams, so I made the facing in two pieces with a seam at the back center.

Here are the finished pants. The pinstripe fabric is a nightmare to photograph. It either shows too dark, like here, or washed out as in some of the previous pictures (in this and the two earlier posts). It actually looks quite nice, just not in photos.

Tuesday, October 12, 2021

Pinstripe vest

As the first vest felt a bit short although looking just fine, I modified the pattern a bit to make the pinstripe vest. I increased the length by 5 cm at the back and then modified the sides accordingly while keeping the lowest points of the front as they were originally. In the picture below, you can see the parts added to the side back and the front of the pattern. This version was also to have functional pockets, so you can see the pieces for those on top of the front pieces.

Here are the outer pieces with shoulder seams sewn. This time I made the pockets right after sewing the darts, because I knew the pattern was fine. 

The fabric for the lining was the same as for the blazer, but blue.

The picture below shows the outer and the lining put right sides together and pins on the edges to be sewn at this point, i.e. everything but the side seams.

Once all those edges are sewn, it's time to turn the whole thing right side out. This actually reminds me a bit of how some doll clothes are made. And it is also a very tempting thought to try to recreate the next steps in a miniature scale, although that would probably be too difficult.

The side seams are sewn in the same way as described in the previous post. The description may be difficult to understand, because it is hard to explain what you need to do in words alone. You really need to see it. I am planning on making one more vest as I found the perfect piece of fabric for it, and I will then try to show the sewing of the side seams in a way that is easier to understand.

Here is the finished vest with buttons and buttonholes added. And as I already mentioned, the pockets are actual pockets this time, not just decorations. Granted, they are really tiny, but good enough for keeping some tissues in them.

Monday, October 11, 2021

First version of a tight fitting vest

I made a pinstripe vest to go with the blazer, but that was after I had made one vest already. The pattern was from the English language version of Burda, issue 10/2011, pattern 126. This first version had minimal changes, meaning I only added 6 cm to the waist due to the size 40 pattern having smaller waist than I have. The addition was easy to do by narrowing the front darts. You can see that in the rightmost pattern piece in the picture below.

The steps for making the outer part were: sew the darts, sew the side and shoulder seams, try the vest on (no changes were needed), and sew the fake pockets. I'm not a fan of fake pockets, but there was so little room that functioning pockets would have been tiny. Note also that if I had trusted my changes in the darts, I could have made the fake pockets after sewing the darts and before sewing the side and shoulder seams.

I made the lining using the same fabric I used for the back piece. I only had 60 cm of the front fabric, so I wanted to spare it, so that's why I made the outer back using the lining fabric.

After sewing the front facing to the front lining and sewing the shoulder seams, I placed the outer and lining right sides together and sewed all the other edges except the sides.

Then I turned the vest right side out and sewed the side seams. The first side is easy as you can access it through the other side (both sides are open at this point) and sew all around (outer and lining). The remaining side is trickier, because you need to get the right sides together and sew as long seam as possible. Basically, you need to start from the lining side, go all the way across the outer side and then for as long as you can on the lining side again. In practice, that means there will be about 10-15 cm opening left in the side seam on the lining side. Then you just sew the opening closed from the right side of the lining.

The last part was making buttonholes and sewing the buttons. The vest turned out looking fine, but feeling a bit short at the back. I had already found out earlier that I have longer back than average, so I should have guessed. I fixed that problem in the pinstripe vest (I'll post about that later).

Last but not least, here is a closeup of the buttons. I got them at a recycling center, so they were removed from some garment that could not be resold. I'd really like to know what that was, given the text in the buttons.

Sunday, October 10, 2021

Pinstripe Blazer

In this semester, we have been making clothes with lining. We started with dresses, but I'm starting here with the pinstripe blazer I made. The pattern is "Blazer 101" from the English language version of Burda, issue 10/2018. The description below explains the basic steps, but I may have omitted something, so the best source of instructions for this is the magazine as it has quite detailed instructions of making this.

This is European size 40, which is equivalent to modern US size 10. Pattern sizes can be so confusing, because magazines like Burda use modern sizing, whereas the McCall's coat pattern I've got has totally different sizes. I read somewhere that it's because they use sizes from 50 years ago. So, my size in the coat pattern is US size 14. You really have to go with the bust and hip measurements (waist is easy to fix, if required).

My bust and hip are basically the same as in Burda's size 40, but my waist is currently 80 cm, whereas the pattern has 74 cm, so I had to add 6 cm to the waist. I also have shorter arms. The pattern had 63 cm, which I had to shorten to 60 cm.

After copying the pattern and making the required changes, it was time to cut the fabric. I've always enjoyed making jigsaw puzzles, so it's kind of fun trying to find the arrangement with the least fabric wasted.

The next step was adding interfacing to the parts that needed it. I pinned the pieces of interfacing in place as I was cutting them, because it's so easy to get confused about what goes where. Also, this way the pieces stay in place while you're moving everything to the heat press, and you just need to remove the pins before pressing.

Then I sewed the darts and made the pockets, which are double welt pockets with flap. This is just one design that uses welts. It's interesting to see how many pocket designs incorporate the same elements, just in slightly different combinations.

When the welts were ready, it was time to add the flap. It's hard to align the stripes when the darts make them angled, but I'm pleased with this result.

The lining fabric I got for the blazer was red, so the outer pocket fabric is also red. It was fun to get some color to the blazer, even if it's in places where it doesn't show when you're wearing the garment.

The next part was the collar. In the picture, the narrow part is the collar stand and the wider part is the actual collar.

Here you can see the collar sewn in place (after sewing the shoulder seam). The corner is tricky to sew and I messed it up in the practice collar I made, but this time I managed to sew it as it's supposed to be.

So this is the progress so far (the back piece is out of the picture). Then it was time to sew the sides seams and sleeve seams and fit the sleeves.

When fitting the sleeves, we found out that my right shoulder is 2 cm lower than the left. I could have ignored that, because all my clothes so far have had identical shoulders and I've never even noticed anything. However, as I had the chance to get the blazer fitted to me, I decided I wanted to fix this. So, I opened the right shoulder seam up to the collar stand seam and raised the shoulder of the back piece by 2 cm.

After fixing the shoulder, I sewed the sleeves place and it was time to move on to the lining of the blazer.

The lining required less parts and I managed to get even less wastage. I save the leftover parts for my doll projects, but in this case, there wasn't anything large enough to be usable even in those.

The lining is fairly easy to sew. You just make another blazer, but wrong side out. You need to leave a 15-20 cm opening in one seam of one sleeve for turning the blazer right side out at a later stage. The white piece showing underneath the lining on the right, is a thin shoulder padding. I don't like how shoulder paddings feel, but having even thin ones gives the shoulders a better shape, so it's a compromise between looks and comfort.

You sew the lining in place by placing the two parts right sides together and sewing the sides and upper edge (the hem stays open at this stage). Then you turn the blazer right side out, push the lining sleeves inside the outer sleeves, make sure they're straight, pin the lining to the outside fabric in one place in the cuff to make sure the lining sleeve stays straight, and pull the sleeves out between the outer and the lining. It may sound complicated, but when you've done it once, it starts making sense. Next, you pin the cuffs, right sides together, and sew them.

After sewing the cuffs, you turn the blazer wrong side out to sew the hem. Here you can see how to sew it when the bottom of the front edge is rounded.

Then it's time to turn the blazer right side out again. You do this through the opening left in the sleeve lining. After turning the right side out, sew the opening closed.

This pattern had a curious way to make the slit in the back. It took a while to understand what I was supposed to do, but I figured it out eventually. This had to be sewn by hand as there was no other option.

All that was left was making buttonholes and sewing buttons. The picture below shows a machine for making keyhole buttonholes (tailor's buttonholes). They look much neater than basic rectangular ones. You need a bit of practice to get the placement of the buttonholes right with this one, so I had a leftover piece of the pinstripe fabric to make quite a few practice buttonholes before daring to make them in the actual blazer.

You can see the finished blazer in the first picture of this post, but here are pictures of some details.

The placket in the sleeve is a fake one. So there's a placket, but the lining was sewn in place as if there wasn't one and the buttons are sewn all through to keep it closed.

Here you can see the keyhole buttonholes. The buttons are shank buttons made of metal.