Saturday, December 28, 2013

Sewing Workshop Era Jacket

Below is my version of the Sewing Workshop's Era Jacket pattern.  This is made out of a thick striped cotton that I can't remember where I purchased it from.  The idea for the "Bias Buttons" down the front came from a trip to Seattle several years ago.  I saw the idea in the window of a very expensive boutique and snapped a photo so I would remember it.  Further below is a small tutorial on how to make the "Bias Buttons".

Jacket Front
Just a few photos I snapped in the backyard.....
Jacket back
Jacket side with large angled vents

Ok, onto the technical stuff.  Here's the jacket on my dressform.  It's a loose fitting, below waist jacket with a high turned down collar with mitered corners.  The wrong side of the fabric will show on the collar - just keep that in mind if you decide to make your own.   The pattern only calls for two buttons on the front, but I just couldn't resist doing three! 

Underneath the "Bias Buttons" are snaps to hold the jacket closed.  Of course, after I finished sewing all of the snaps on and the bias buttons on, I realized that I had sewed them to the wrong sides!  A women's jacket should lap right over left, not left over right!  Oh well!  I wasn't about to rip everything off and sew it the "correct" way.  And you know what - to this day, I have never had a person stop me on the street and say "Hey, did you know your jacket buttons are on the wrong side?".

You can see here where the wrong side of the fabric would show.  My fabric was the same on both sides so it wasn't an issue for me.

Here's a view of the very angled side vents.  The top of the vent hits me just at the waistline.

A closer shot of the "Bias Buttons" down the front.

Close up of an individual "Bias Button".

For this jacket, I had enough material left over to make a matching hanger cover as well.  I try to make these for all of my garments to help keep dust off of them in the closet.

Soooo, just how do you make those bias buttons?  I'm glad you asked!  The instructions are below. 

Please excuse the different material used for the example.  I made this jacket so long ago, that I no longer have the scraps so I substituted a similar weight material.  My original material was a thick cotton - similar to a home dec weight.  If you want to use a quilting weight cotton, I suggest that you iron interfacing to the back to give it a little more thickness before cutting out the bias strips.  (And excuse my stained ironing board cover as well please!)

First, cut your fabric into 1 inch bias strips.  For this example, I'm using a short piece of bias.  The finished buttons on the jacket were made from about a one yard long piece of bias.

Using a 1/2 bias tape maker, run your material thru the bias tape maker pressing as you go.

Here's the wrong side of the finished bias tape.

And here's the right side of the finished bias tape.

Cut the end of the bias tape so it's straight.

Start by tightly rolling the end and sewing as you roll.  Sew thru all thicknesses from one end of the roll to the other.

Here's another view.  Just keep rolling and sewing, rolling and sewing.  Occasionally try to sew straight thru as many layers as you can (across the diameter of the circle).  This will help the circle keep it's shape and not turn into a cone as it gets bigger.

More rolling and sewing, rolling and sewing, until you arrive at a size you like.  Once there, turn under the end of the bias tape and sew down.  The total width of my finished buttons are 2 1/4 inches.   To sew the finished button onto the jacket - just sew the outside edges of the finished button directly onto the jacket. These will not be used as conventional buttons so you don't need to make buttonholes.  Instead, you will sew snaps underneath them and on the other jacket front piece to hold the jacket closed.

I hope you enjoy this technique and use it on some of your own garments in the future.

Happy Sewing!

Sunday, December 22, 2013

Santa Tie Vest

You know it must be the holidays when my Santa Tie Vest comes out of hiding. 

I made this vest a few years ago based on a picture I saw in a Burda magazine - sorry, I can't remember which issue.  The Burda vest was an everyday vest made from striped and polka dot ties.  As soon as I saw that, I knew I had to make a Christmas vest from Santa ties.  I've been collecting holiday ties for a few years and have accumulated quite a few.  Below is a tutorial on how to make your own holiday vest. 

Front View

Side View
Side View

Holiday Vest Tutorial

Supplies needed:

- 8 to 12 ties.  I like to include only 2 or 3 "themed" ties and the rest complimentary (either stripes, polka dots or a neutral pattern).  Be sure to remove the labels on the backs of the ties.
- A vest back piece from either an old vest found at the thrift store, or a vest back pattern piece from a pattern you already have.  Use a vest back that includes a tie if possible.  This helps with the fitting. If your vest back doesn't have a tie, you could make one from the skinny ends of the Holiday ties as well!
- A dress form set-up to your measurements
- Basic sewing supplies - needle, thread, pins, sewing machine

First, start with a bunch a ties.  Pick out 2 to 3 "themed" ties.  I choose to make a Snowman vest for the first part of this example. 

Next, using a dress form adjusted to your measurements, pin the ties at the shoulder seam, letting them drape down the front.  Try various ties in different arrangements to see which ones you like best.  Be sure to use both the skinny and fat ends of the ties and to vary the lengths in the front.  Use enough ties to cover the front of the dress form leaving enough room to account for the two small "waistband ties" - approximately 1 inch to 1 1/2 inch gap.  Be sure you have enough width to match at the side seams as well.  Scroll a little further down if these sounds confusing.

To obtain the width of the shoulder seam - measure the width of shoulder seam on your recycled vest back or the pattern back you will be using and adjust your ties to that width.  Mine was 3 3/8". 

Pin all of the ties together.  Compare the widths of both fronts to make sure they are approximately the same.  If they are not the same, either add another tie to make them even, or adjust your existing ties. 

Next, cut off the remaining tie lengths in the back at the shoulder - be sure to leave about a 1" seam allowance.

Here's the ties cut off with the 1" seam allowance at the shoulder seam.

Next, topstitch the ties together using a complimentary thread.  Below is the red Snowman tie topstitched to the blue tie.

Once all of your ties have been sewn together, whipstitch the edges together on the inside.  Here's an example of why you should remove the labels before you sew everything together. I just looks a bit messy sewing over the labels.  You may skip the whipstitching portion if you like, just bear in mind that the inside will not be as smooth and the inside edges of the ties may catch on your blouse underneath. 

Whipstitch edges together on the inside of the vest

Next, sew the shoulder seams together however you prefer.  I choose to sandwich the two layers together and completely enclose the ties. 
Now you need to try on the vest.  Cut two skinny ties approximately 12 - 15 inches long for the front and pin in place along the waistline.  Pin the sides together and test the fit.  You will notice that the fronts angle towards the back on the sides and that's ok.  Also, for mine I opted not to include bust darts -  I have a little bit of gaping, but it's no big deal - it's a holiday vest!  You could easily add bust darts at this point if needed.  Simply pinch in a dart on the ties and sew.  You will need to readjust the sides if you add darts.  Topstitch the fronts to the vest back.
Side of vest after topstitching together
Inside view of the side seams.  I finished the edges of the vest back on the serger

View of vest back

Sew one skinny tie to each vest front along the waistline and voila!  You are done!

Front View

 Happy Sewing and Merry Christmas!