Extended My Winter 6PAC

Many of my garments are appropriate for multiple seasons and tend to last more than one year.  So when I started my 6PAC and chose black and bright blue, I expected to find several usable pieces already in my closet. Unfortunately, I went up a size earlier this year so my pickings were meagre.  I had in fact nothing in the “absolute winter” category. However I do have a few autumn/spring pieces which will work nicely.

Here’s the really nice thing about a black 6PAC:  I don’t have to wear just bright blue.  Even as I was sewing I wore a green ITY with my black pants and vest.

A few days later, I wore black pants, black top and a salmon colored vest. Black goes-with lots of colors.

Winter 6PAC + Found items

It’s enough for travel!

2014 Winter 6PAC: The Group

It’s always a pleasure to present the final and complete 6PAC:

My Winter 6PAC consists of 2 tops, 2 bottoms, 2 third layers (vest and coat).

At the beginning, I envisioned black and bright blue pieces. As I worked through  evaluating my existing clothing and planning new pieces, I realized my 6PAC would be composed mostly of solid black pieces.  But I’m not disappointed. What I have is an easy to pack and coordinate travel-wardrobe which is also wearable in my day-to-day life. I can, at any time, add more pieces in the bright  blue or other colors. I have an excellent starting point.

 

Oh and it’s done, DONE, D-O-N-E!

Final Winter 6PAC, Top #2

You feel so much joy when you get to this point, Piece #6, the final THE FINAL piece in the 6PAC.  In my case, Top #2 a sweater knit in black and bright blue made with Loes Hinse pattern 5203 the Cowl Top:

 

I’m starting with View A.  It’s tunic length but what really impressed me was the side seam shaping.  I did my normal 1″ NSA and BWL adjustments to the pattern. I was short on fabric but wanted to use this fabric. It’s a sweater knit.  I have 3 very heavy sweaters in my closet.  They are good for slogging around outside in the cold and snow.  Inside, I need something a bit lighter and I have nothing that qualifies.  Also, this was my first fabric with color, the bright blue I so wanted to use.  It’s hard to tell front the photo, but it is a black and blue in narrow stripes.  since I was short on fabric, I opted to fold up along the tunic hem line and ditch the cowl.  Because it is a sweater knit, I stabilized the shoulder and neckline with bias fusible tape. Mistake. I used a simple up and over binding.  When finished, it wouldn’t stretch to go over my head.  Could be the bias tape, but as drafted this is also a very high neckline.  I trimmed the front down about 4″ and added a regular binding made from self-fabric cut along the grain. Doesn’t quite have as much stretch as cross-grain but still I managed to get it a smidge to big.  I’ve already run 1 strand of elastic through the binding to tighten it a little.  I may need another.

I don’t know if anyone has mentioned but this is a slim arm.  I wouldn’t wear anything (T-shirt, blouse) beneath the sweater. The arms would be too tight.I was tempted to add shoulder pads. But didn’t. I mean who adds shoulder pads to a sweater? Ridiculous. Right?  But looking at the back, I may go ahead and insert a 1/4″ shoulder pad. (I need shoulder pads. My shoulders have always been sloped. They are even more sloped now that I’ve acquired a few extra years.)

Also, I really need to add length to the center front.  RTW looks like this on me. When I’m sewing I can fix that.

WINTER 6 PAC UPDATE

  1. Top -DONE
    1. Fabric: Black ITY with Sequin design
    2. Pattern LH 5213 V-Neck Tunic
  2. Top
    1. Fabric: Blue and Black narrow-strip sweater knit
    2. Pattern LH5203 Cowl Neck
  3. Pants
    1. Microfiber/cotton twill
    2. Pattern: PP113
  4. Pants DONE
    1. Jeans
    2. DG2 Purchased from HSN.com
  5. Vest  DONE
    1. Fabric Mohair/Cashmere Remnant, trimmed with Embossed Knit
    2. Pattern NL 6249 Vest
  6. Coat DONE
    1. Fabric: Polar Fleece
    2. Purchased from Walmart

 

Winter 6 Pack Item #5

My 2nd pair of pants sewn (not purchased) read details here.

2014 Winter 6PAC: Vest

I have become a “vest” person. Especially during winter.  With pockets, a vest provides a convenient way to carry toys and Kleenex (when needed). During winter, the extra layer is often all I need while indoors.  So a vest was a “no brainer” for my Winter 6PAC.

I had planned to use Loes Hinse Venetian Vest. It was already traced and fitted. It is a simple sew which rewards with a beautiful garment. But while at Walmart I found this interesting New Look Pattern #6249

It too should be a simple sew. A front piece, back piece, collar band and optional pocket.  I liked the extended shoulder and that the band  was even with the hem.  This is a cheap, trendy pattern. While the Venetian Vest will always be a classic piece, there have been periods of time when the extended shoulder is considered dated and unfashionable. I decided to make this now, while it was fresh, with the thought of possibly restyling a few years down the road.  I did my standard 1″ NSA and BWL alterations. I do not tissue fit, but I did pull out the tape measure and check a few places.

The main fabric is a beautiful, soft woven natural fiber. Burn test indicate animal hair of some type. It does not smell like wool. Nor does it feel like wool. It is so soft and so smooth, I’d guess cashmere except I’ve never seen cashmere woven. It’s always been a cashmere knitted sweater in my experience. So I’m guessing mohair, except this is softer and smoother than any mohair I’ve previously experienced.  It was in the box given to me by a local farmer when she discovered I was a dress-maker.  The box contained small cuts between 1 and 2 yards of luxury fabrics. My farmer had no idea the quality of fabric she freely gave me. Only that she had been impressed upon that the fabric must not just be given away nilly willy.It had to be given to someone who could appreciate the gift, me.

This cut was 52″ wide and 1-1/3 yards long. Enough for the body of the vest, but not the band. I do have a couple of patterns that would easily make a vest from this amount of yardage. Perhaps I should have chosen one of them. Instead I purchased a second fabric to make the band and trim the pockets. My 2nd fabric is a polyester knit. An odd and maybe distasteful combination of fibers but it is embossed like suede leather.  You have to get up close and see the knit ribs to realize that it is a knit.

Front Band Close Up

I purchased this beautiful fabric at JoAnns, Sioux Falls SD. Yes I’m visiting JoAnns again. They moved the store and apparently changed management. I say apparently because there is more staff and they’ve been schooled to be helpful, polite and friendly. The new store is half crafts. The other half is divided into  1/3 fleece, 1/3 quilting cottons,  with notions, Home Dec and fashion fabrics all competing for the final 1/3 of the 1/2. The dress making selection is and most likely will remain small but at least there are some good fashion fabrics.

My pocket trim is a rectangular piece. Interfaced. Folded in half length-wise and serged to the top of the pocket.  I then folded it down and exposed 1/4″ of the main fabric at the top creating  “faux” piping and top stitched in place.

In retrospect, I wish I’d interfaced the entire pocket instead of the trim. Due to its size, the pocket tends to gape. Too late for a button, I may be adding a velcro spot.

I was concerned about the thickness when attaching the front band. The knit is beefy. Thick. The band is entirely interfaced and folded in half. The ends are sewn, right sides together and then turned.  At the hem and shoulder seams there are 7 layers of fabric.  Instead of serging the band to the garment, I serge finished the edges, stitched the ends and then stitched the band to the garment.  I carefully pressed into place and then top stitched. Even Ruby (my SM) protested over a few stitches.

This really should have been a quick and easy garment. I complicated things. First I decided the fabric deserved to be lined. Couldn’t find a lining I liked in my stash. I wanted something plain. Black or charcoal colored. This is to be a basic piece. I wanted plain, plain plain, but luxurious. I finally settled upon using the remnants from Top #1. After cutting, and having to piece together for the shoulders, I decided that sequined fabric was a bad choice and discarded the lining idea.  I’m too far away for a quick trip to a fabric store. If ordering online, I would need to delay this project for at least a week. Besides the pattern doesn’t call for a lining.   Another time-consuming activity not called for in the instructions, I serge finished all the edges before stitching together. Serging the edges ensured that my fabric did not ravel during handling and turned out to be the right choice when I stitched the band and finished the armscye. The armscye facing is formed by stitching a 1/2″ wide side- seam allowance  and then folding to the inside,  1/2″ around the armscye. Finished by top stitching in place. It’s an easy neat finish made better by the fact that I serged the seam allowance first.

Oh and I’m happy with this addition to my closet.

WINTER 6 PAC UPDATE

  1. Top -DONE
    1. Fabric: Black ITY with Sequin design
    2. Pattern LH 5213 V-Neck Tunic
  2. Top
    1. Fabric: animal print in black, grey, cream and bright blue
    2. Pattern LH5205 Boat neck top
  3. Pants
    1. Microfiber/cotton twill
    2. Pattern: PP113
  4. Pants DONE
    1. Jeans
    2. DG2 Purchased from HSN.com
  5. Vest  DONE
    1. Fabric Mohair/Cashmere Remnant, trimmed with Embossed Knit
    2. Pattern NL 6249 Vest
  6. Coat DONE
    1. Fabric: Polar Fleece
    2. Purchased from Walmart

4 done 2 to go. Yipee 2/3 finished!!! I think that’s called “Moving Right Along”.

2014 Winter 6PAC: Top 1

Finally, I’ve been able to sew. My first finished sewn garment for my 2014 Winter 6PAC :

In my 6PAC, I’m aiming for basic black pieces that have a range of winter-uses.  This fits that bill. I’m using an ITY sequined knit with Loes Hinse V Neck Tunic pattern #5213. The fabric is not covered with sequins. Rather small 1/8″ sequins are sewn in partial arcs all over. It can be dressy. I certainly wouldn’t wear it while scrubbing the shower shall, but I also see it as a basic piece with casual possibilities.

It was time to refit this pattern. In fact except for the Venetian Vest, all my Loes Hines patterns need to be refit. For months, I’ve tweaked here and tweaked there until the previous version fit like cr@p.  It’s similar to the “too many cooks” syndrome. Too many changes and a perfectly good pattern has morphed into something rather hideous.  I expected issues. Was stunned that fitting was so easy.  I traced the next larger size. Because this is a modified raglan, I didn’t apply a NSA. I made a 1″ BWL and took a hard look at the pieces.  It has been longer than I thought since I last worked with the original pattern pieces.  I don’t remember the arms and body being so long.  I folded up the pattern along the shorter length line.  Then, because past experience reminded me that the V-neck is too deep for my liking, I raised it 1.5″. That’s it. Raising the neckline took the most time; about 5 minutes.

It’s also been a long time since I’ve sewn this pattern.  I forgot to do some things.  I didn’t tape the shoulders — something I always do with knits. I was in the middle of sewing the long underarm/sleeve seam when I remembered I should press the other serged-seams first. Too bad I didn’t think to hem the sleeve at that time.  I had planned to use my coverstitch for hemming.  The wrist was very difficult to get in under the foot. Finally I decided upon hemming at the SM.  I set my Ruby Sewing Advisor for fine knit fabrics and inserted a new 10-ball point needle (replacing the 12 universal).  No problems with hemming.  I love my Ruby. I did remember to sew the center front seam after finishing the neckline.  I once again tried Loes Turn-N-Stitch and I once again hate this method.  It just finishes unprofessionally.  It’s the finish for a new sewist.  Someone who hasn’t developed a discerning eye.  Well it’s done. I cut this blouse 2 nights ago. Today I finished it in about an hour and that includes stops to keep the laundry going. This is a wonderful pattern especially when I need instant gratification.

The picture above is lovely, but doesn’t tell me the fitting story. So after composing it, I lightened the exposure 100% to get:

I think I will lengthen the center front because I see the hem distinctly rising in front.

I see the drag lines from the bust. That’s typical in any undarted top. For me, that’s typical. I’m not a terribly busty person so I’m convinced that even when the envelope says B cup it really means double-A. I’m not worrying about the bust drag lines.  I am concerned about the back.  I did not add shoulder pads. I think that would take care of the back draping. I keep 1/4″ shoulder pads on hand (I buy them by the dozen).  It will be a quick fix.

Love this pattern. Why don’t I have a dozen versions right now?

6PAC Update

  1. Top -DONE
    1. Fabric: Black ITY with Sequin design
    2. Pattern LH 5213 V-Neck Tunic
  2. Top
    1. Fabric: animal print in black, grey, cream and bright blue
    2. Pattern LH5205 Boat neck top
  3. Pants
    1. Microfiber/cotton twill
    2. Pattern: PP113
  4. Pants DONE
    1. Jeans
    2. DG2 Purchased from HSN.com
  5. Vest
    1. Fabric Chenile Loose Weave
    2. Pattern LH 5104 Venetian Vest, Simplified, i.e. no hem flaps or closure.
  6. Coat DONE
    1. Fabric: Polar Fleece
    2. Purchased from Walmart

!!!Officially HALF WAY THROUGH!!!

2014 Winter 6PAC

This weekend I swapped the summer clothes for winter. I pulled the winter clothes out of containers and inspected their condition.  I’m pretty good at culling clothing throughout the season and always discard a few at season’s end. As expected, there were 2 that should have been discarded last spring but managed to make it into the boxes.  I shook out folds and hung the garments on hangers. I allow gravity to work before a quick press.  Then I looked over the lot from to see what was needed to complete a 6PAC.  I’m the one who likes to keep 6PAC’s in 3 basic colors: black, chocolate-brown  and navy blue. Once the basic 6PAC’s are done, I feel free to add accents, embellishments and fun garments; work on techniques or struggle with fitting.  To my horror, my winter wardrobe is deplorable. I have 3 very heavy sweaters seldom worn because they are too warm and a few pair of pants that are faded or have less than acceptable fit. Usually, I have clothes from the previous year with which to start the current season. That’s not the case this year. I need to get sewing.

For a few weeks I’ve been thinking of a black winter 6PAC with bright blue accents. I thought I had most of the individual items and would need only accents and a replacement or two. Having now pulled out the winter clothes, I know a full 6PAC is needed. I’ve pulled fabrics. In fact, I’ve reorganized the black section of my fabric stash.  I even made a separate stack of fabrics for winter pants. Grey colors are included in black section. I found that most of the black and grey are the same hue just different values. But oddly I have a small selection of blued grays and another of taupe-grays.  They are more appropriate for spring and fall so I’ve separated them for future use. (Spring will come again.)

  1. Top
    1. Fabric: Black ITY with Sequin design
    2. Pattern LH 5213 V-Neck Tunic
  2. Top
    1. Fabric: animal print in black, grey, cream and bright blue
    2. Pattern LH5205 Boat neck top
  3. Pants
    1. Microfiber/cotton twill
    2. Pattern: PP113
  4. Pants
    1. Jeans
    2. DG2 Purchased from HSN.com
  5. Vest
    1. Fabric Chenile Loose Weave
    2. Pattern LH 5104 Venetian Vest, Simplified, i.e. no hem flaps or closure.
  6. Coat
    1. Fabric: Polar Fleece
    2. Purchased from Walmart
  7. Accessories
    1. Shoes
      1. Black Boots, on hand
      2. Black flats, on hand
    2. Purse
      1. Every day: Black purse, on hand
      2. Evening:
    3. Scarf
      1. I like to wear a scarf over my shoulder and beneath my coat.  I learned this years ago from some well-to-do but thrifty woman.  A scarf worn against the body will aborb any oils and cosmetics. It can be easily laundered in the sink. A coat cannot. A scarf IMO is a necessity for each coat. I hang my coat and put the scarf on top.
    4. Hat
      1. Charcoal hat on hand (I love this hat.
    5. Gloves
      1. Charcoal – buy to match hat.
    6. Watch
    7. Wedding Ring
    8. Earrings and necklace as desired

I know I’ve kinda of cheated because I’m using 2 purchased items. But I have them. In the right color and I need them n-o-w. With vest and a top, I have one basic black outfit.

I need to refit the V-neck Tunic and Boat neck top. I’ve used these patterns over and over. I think refitting will be a matter of tracing the size for the current girth of my hips, making a 1″ BWL and 1″NSA before cutting. Oh, yeah, if I remember correctly I need to raise the V-neck.  I’m not really a cleavage baring person.

A lot of people, including myself forget to plan accessories. Accessories take you from day to night. Accessories are the final touch that make you look put together rather than thrown together. Yet we treat accessories as after thoughts.  This winter, I’m doing it differently.  This winter I’m including my accessories as items needed to make my 6PAC work.

TJ906 Experiment

Altering the 2-piece back leg into 1 piece here.

Modification to a Favorite

The Ebb Blouse is one of my absolute favorites.

This time I made it with a fabric purchased from Loes Hinse (another favorite designer). A soft 100% rayon in a crepe weave.  Had I not seen the description in a reliable place, I would have said this was polyester.  The trip through the washer confirmed LH had correctly described this fabric.  Out of the washer, it felt like split wood.  It shrank lengthwise slightly (about 1″ in 2.5 yards) but did not shrink width-wise. It was wonderfully drapey and crawly. I mean it would not stay in the stash.  It wound it’s way downward to the floor and was traveling out the door accompanied by the 2 other pieces also purchased from LH.  I just knew it would be perfect in the Ebb.

Having made a dozen versions of the Ebb straight from the pattern, I desired a slight change. Just something a bit different.  I check my inspiration files and came up with a dress from Burda Issue May 2010 #138.

 

 

I didn’t want the short pleated sleeve, paneled front or the dress length.  I wanted the center tucks. I started by tracing the Burda front-bodice, then trying to figure out how it needed to be altered to replace the Ebb front-bodice.  It took about an hour for me to think “wouldn’t this be easier if I just worked from the Ebb pattern?”.  I pulled out a piece of tracing paper. Put the Ebb on top and rotary cut a new piece. Slid the Ebb beneath the copy and transferred needed markings.  Sliced-off vertically the excess (the placket) beyond the center front and then sliced 3 times horizontally from CF up to the side seam. Then I slipped a bit of tissue under my new bodice; spread the horizontal slashes and taped into place.  I folded the horizontal slashes the way I wanted the tucks to form and then slashed the excess 1/4″ past the CF (effectively adding a 1/4″ SA at the same time as truing the new CF).  When opened, the tucks are easily marked and have the angled shape necessary to form the a nice even seam.  Lots of words, but less than 5 minutes todo.  I threw away everything I’d copied from Burda and was ready to cut fabric.

Well not quite.  Remember I said these fabrics were trying to crawl away?  I’ve given up on all methods to stabilize creepy crawly fabrics other than starch. Starch works. Starch takes the flimsiest fabric and turns it board stiff.  Thereby making it handle easily.  Downside is that this is a liquid experience that must be allowed to dry.  So I stopped to starch the fabric and allow to dry while I occupied myself elsewhere.  Even though I know I’m going to starch these types of fabrics, I don’t do it until I’m ready to sew.  I don’t have a bad pest problem.  Every few years a mouse tries to move after the first freeze.  Several types of bugs do the same thing –every year (mice are only an occasional problem).  When we replaced the house’s, siding we also sealed every crack.  The person working with us said we used twice as much caulking as he’d every used anywhere else. Yet, the bugs get in every fall (and a few baby snakes every summer).  Since critters love to eat starch, I protect my fabrics by not starching until I’m ready to cut.

I forgot to mention that I lengthened the sleeve at cutting time.  I like the 3/4″ but I wanted this to be different.  I used MarciaE’s method.  I slipped a piece of tissue underneath my pattern and extended the grain line to the length desired (for me that 20″ plus hem allowance, 1/2″ this version). I crossed my new grain line with a horizontal line and then measured out from the grain (which happened to be in the very center of the sleeve) the width I wanted at the wrist.  I extended the side seams down to the new hem level and trimmed away all excess tissue before cutting the fabric. What I desired was a lightly gathered-at-the wrist, long sleeve. I attached elastic at the wrist hem  using a 3 step Zigzag while the sleeve was still flat.  The stitched the side seams before turning the wrist up twice and top stitching. It’s an easy sleeve which I think looks nicely feminine.

As far as sewing, I changed the routine by folding in the CF tucks and tacking them into place before stitching the CF seam line.  At the cutting table I added 1/4″ to the side seams of the skirt portion (not the bodice).  Then made the hem line even instead of the mitered flaps that make this blouse so unique.  Without the extra 1/4″ when making the straight bottom hem, the blouse is too tight across my hips.  Probably I could have added the 1/4″ to the CF and CB but I didn’t.  Either way, I did need to slightly ease the skirt portion to the upper bodice portion. But I don’t think you can tell.

 

I’ve had this blouse done for about 2 weeks. It needed to be washed to remove the starch.  I think it needs to be washed one more time. The first trip through the laundry didn’t remove all the starch. The fabric is still visibly stiff and not draping as it did when first arriving at my house.  I don’t think this is the best look for me.  Adding the tucks added volume to the front where I have no volume.  But it is still feminine and even though still stiff from the starch, was comfortable to wear.

Would I do this again?

  •  The sleeve yes. It will be easier than before because now I have a pattern.
  • The bodice no. I’m onto something different. But I will cut a copy of the bodice pattern and make changes to it instead of trying to morph Burda’s bodice into something I want that works with the Ebb pattern.  BTW the issue which killed my Burda modified version?  The neckline.  I couldn’t figure out how to raise that thing from cleavage depths. Everything I did either removed the tucks or distorted the neckline.  I’m not a pattern cutter and that proves it.

Sofft Tools, Brushes and Water

I should be posting more.  I have  new toysaccesories I’m playing with and want to share my fun.  Today I’m excited about my recent purchase of the Pan Pastel Sofft Tools

 

Yeah, I bought the big pack. I have had none of these and no idea if they were worth my time or $$. But I do like to experiment and having all at once meant having lots to play with.  My sample is cotton/polyester loose weave with a 60’s print but 2012 colors:

Actually, I like the fabric, color and print.  I made a sleeveless blouse for summer and had this scrap left over.

I tested 1 of each the tools above.  Because contolled application  is my issue, I didn’t spent much time with the large sponges. Just kinda of swipe pan with color; swipe fabric with sponge. As expected, they lay down large swathes of color quite nicely.  More importantly, the sponge tissue lived up to its reputation.  Each of the tools (large and small) easily pick up color from the pan and spread onto the surface.  Finally, the promise of no dust was fulfilled.  I’ve been using brushes. While not as messy a chalk sticks, there was still appreciable dust on top of each pan.  No matter how gently I touched the top of the pan. No matter whether I stroked or dabbed. By the end of a session, there was considerable dust not on my work but in the pan. With the Sofft Tools NO DUST is left behind.

Onto the Samples.  #1 is the printed fabric without any pastel application. Flower #2 has pan pastel gold and Ox Blood Tint, applied using the soft tools.  #3 was painted with the  1/8″ flat brush and a 3/8″ angled brushes I picked up with this order.  I dipped the brushes into water. Shook them off. Stroked the Pan Pastel and then the fabric. I still want more control but I’d be happy to use this in place of acrylic paint. My only objection being that I’m sure to spill an open container of water — it’s just a matter of time.

I’m already working on a project. But this is something that takes time. Lots of time.