Monday, February 21, 2011

Simplicity 2508 Coat Fini!

Ah finally finished....

There is still a slight issue with the front flare being sharp at the edges.  See the pattern envelope- same on there.
It's a raglan.  I'm not sure I could have no drag lines on the sleeves for a raglan, but I could have fit out more than I did.  The finishing went really well.  The weight and feel of the finished garment is great.  I think I will wear it to work tomorrow.

Looks like it's not hanging well on the right, weird.  The weirdest thing about this is that I chose the collar that is straight up the center front edge and laps over the same amount as the center front edge.  I altered the collar 1/2" as I had at the shoulders and oddly it's nowhere near meeting in the center, let alone lapping.  Even if I measure back the amount I took out it's not going to have happened. Strange.  At any rate, I will cope as it's my first coat and it's mostly good.  Might do one button on the corner.

The lining went in really well.  Looks great and feels great in the garment.  I used rayon bemberg twill for the lining. My other issue was that the way the sleeves were made it didn't leave much for gauging length and I'm usually having to shorten sleeves, but these came out bracelet length- not tragic.  Nice with some leather gloves.

I used a jewelry chain sewn into the lining/collar for a hanger loop.  A nice touch I learned from Gigi and went out of my way to make sure I had.  It wouldn't have seemed finished and lovely with out it.  Of course I did not choose her entry to link, where she made the same coat and the collar came out right. Again, I don't know what happened.  Also, I made an ease pleat that seemed substantial but when executed it ended up tiny in comparison to the total but it addressed the issue called out in the pattern reviews.

I love the buttons I chose.  They are two hole and have a deep bowl in the center.  They match perfectly and the pictures don't do them justice.  I don't know what all the belly aching is about making button holes.  I will say that my auto button holer on my machine makes it a no brainer.  The only issue is that if there is an issue in the middle and you stop, you have to start over.  There's no way to fix.  I might have said it before.  

The top stitch I used at 3.5 and with top stitch weight thread.  I think it makes all the difference in the final look.  I love it. More photos when I have it on with something worthy of a wool coat.

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

The American Apparel Industry

Disclaimer..... this could be ranting......

I just was reminded of the HBO documentary "Schmatta"  about the American Apparel Industry and it's migration over seas.  It really says it all about the cheap throw away garments that we can buy from Old Navy and Target that cost nearly nothing and are made of .....gasp...... CASHMERE!

There are still factories out there in the USA and Miss Celle found one of them posted about here.
So cool to see factories that are left in America.  When I got into the industry in the early '90s it was my job to manage the domestic manufacturing.  In my first job I managed a dye house in Richmond California and the pattern room of the garment dye company.  We had sewers in San Francisco and Sausalito- everything was local!

Moving on to my next job I managed domestic production.  We had factories that worked with us in Pennsylvania, North Carolina, California, New Jersey and Massachusetts. As well we had mills in the south that we bought yarn from and I got to learn first hand about blending yarns from bails of wool and cotton and spinning of every kind type of yarn without even leaving the country.  It was incredible. And now it's all but gone.  To train my team we need to go to China, Vietnam, Taiwan and Hong Kong.

I was just speaking with a co worker yesterday about her old job with Jantzen managing the blazer sewing line!  Amazing experience.  I loved hearing about it.  She was telling me about it when I told her I had been sewing a coat, while we were discussing our issues with the backpacks we are making (in the Philippines).

Here is a great documentary that HBO did that outlines the migration of the US Apparel industry abroad.  It just happened yesterday- it seems. It's called Schmatta: Rags to Riches to Rags.  It's so interesting and I lived it (at the end but still).

Check it out.  It's really interesting. I'm fascinated by the change of the industry in such a short period of time.  I've only been at it for a little over 15 years and here it is a whole new world.  Almost like twitter and ipad but not.....

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

Simplicity 2508 Coat part III + Found Fabric

Last post pictures seemed like I was in the same place as before basically but with the addition of the pockets and the collar we have made more visible strides toward finishsed coat. 

Odd thing with the collar.  I took out 1/2" width to account for the width taken out at shoulder seams.  All dots and markings match up, but the collar does not over lap at CF as it should.  How odd.  I don't dislike the effect and so I'm leaving it.  Can't do anything about it anyway. 

Now I just need to cut out the lining, sew lining, button holes, and finally buttons!

These are plaids from my mom's stash that I pulled out of the storage unit.  This brown plaid is my favorite.  I laid it out with a pencil skirt pattern and found some moths took small bites out of one area.  Also, it was a little stinky.  So, after I figured out that despite the moth lunch I still can get a skirt out of the yardage, I trotted it off to the dry cleaners to be cleaned and steamed.  Back this Thursday after 4:30.  Hopfully it will not be stinky when I get it back.  I have some redish maroon lining and will just whip that up after coat is finished for a quicky project.

Then I have one more dress for Winter sewing and will move on to Spring/Summer- I think.  I figured out that with my travel for work I could sew spring dresses year round- danger.

I'm off to Taiwan, Philippines, Vietnam and China soon so I need a few cotton dresses to be comfy for factory tours and meetings over product costs.  I don't know if you are aware but the cost of producing products in Asia has sky rocketted due to labor increases (thanks iphone) and material increases (cotton shortage, oil prices driving synthetics).  We've yet to be effected as consumers but eventually retailers may have to pass the increases on to you.  I know many companies are trying to avoid that at all.  My advice is find some good quality, long lasting products and you will not be victim to seasonal fluxuating prices- or learn to sew and take care of it all that way :-)

Sunday, February 13, 2011

Finally some progress Simplicity 2508 Coat

Fitting is better- Dress Form is much smaller than me
Thanks for the encouragement and advice everybody!  One of the things I marvel at when I watch Project Runway (this is a "Project Runway" pattern) is that they move so fast.  Even when I was in school and especially when draping, I fuss, fix, stand back look, fix again, contemplate, and on and on.  I'm just getting worse with age and lack of deadline.  Well, with the exception of early spring, I have no deadline.  And for the last two weeks I just stared at this on the dress form and contemplated moving forward or going back to go forward.

So, after reading this controversial post over fusible interfacing I knew that I was right.  I needed to use different better interfacing- a type that was worthy of the fabric itself.  So I headed out and picked up 2 packages of the Palmer/Pletch PerfectFuse TAILOR Ultra in charcoal/black.  Then I carefully peeled off the old interfacing: Medium weight Pellon- I hadn't fused it all the way but I don't think it would have given a good fuse anyway because it was all bubbly.  I'm done with Pellon.
Love the crispness of the seams with this fabric
Then I took 1 1/4" out total taking about 1/4" extra off each seam and I took a small wedge of flare out of the side seam.  And the strange rolling to the front is still visible and I'm not sure why.  It's not as obvious when it's on me.  We'll just have to see how it works out.  I'm sure there is something glaring that will pop up from someone after I finish that will explain it and it will drive me crazy forever.  But for now I'm driving to finish.
I love the bias on the cuffs
Very happy with button choice!
Next I finished the sleeves by taking them in 1/4" on each seam and then finished the cuffs.  I used my new machine auto button holer after practising a few times on a sample.  It's awfully zipping to just press the button and have the machine do all the back and forth.  The bad part is that if it gets stuck somewhere in the middle there is no way to go back and just finish part of a button hole.  That happened but luckily these are faux button holes and will not be opened.   I just put the buttons on over the top of them.  I added the buttons because I was anxious to see how they would look on the fabric and I'm pretty happy how it turned out.

The other thing I realized I needed to do was get a tailoring book and read up on the tailoring practices.  My mom was a seasoned home tailor and made beautiful suits.  She has notebooks full of hand written notes that I would wager would be just as good as any book of tailoring, but I do also want to reference the experts (and I need pictures).  I set out to find a copy of "The Classic Guide to Sewing the Perfect Jacket, Tailoring" by Creative Publishing International.

But alas there are no copies out there because it's being reissued in May and so I guess all the old copies have been long snapped up.   So I went to the trusty Multnomah County Library and got a copy.  And the library is amazing because all you have to do is reserve it and they deliver it to your local branch and set it on a shelf with your name.  AND I got a handy tutorial of how to download library books from the library to your IPAD!!!!- which is the reason that I have not been to the library in 6mo.  I got an ipad.

I got a few tips from this book for the coat but it's not super tailored so I'll use the info for my first real tailoring project.  My real ah ha was all the tools that are in the book, I now know what they do.  Because of course, I had/have somewhere all of those pieces from my mom but didn't really know what they all did specifically, only vaguely.  I really hope they are not somewhere in my storage unit because I'm about to buy my own.  Much like my mom's canning supplies that I got rid of and regretted, I'm most certain these are gone somewhere after 20 years and many moves.  Sigh.... silly girl, after all these years mom still knows best. Rest in peace mother.

Next, collar, lining and finishing including more buttonholes.  But before that, a trip to the fabric store with the kids to buy pj fabric- a continuation of the Christmas gift/sewing lessons.