Friday, February 14, 2014

Brown Polka Dot Blouse

Anne Klein Blouse

     I made a blouse to go with the unmatched plaid.  Once again, it was a major challenge.  For many years I refused to make blouses, as I just didn't like making them.  Then I took a couture class with Susan Khalje and learned some great fitting techniques and decided blouses just couldn't be that hard if I could make a French jacket, so off I went to start making blouses.
     The first several I made were easy and I loved and wore them often.  Then I moved on to more complicated patterns, which I like a challenge.  It seems that as I have moved forward the blouse patterns have gotten more and more challenging, and this one was no exception.

The pattern is a Vogue, Anne Klein.  The back of the sleeve and the back yolk are all one piece with pleats that run into the seam and are on the back of the sleeve itself.  Took some figuring out to put that together correctly, but I succeeded after tearing it out a few times.
Can anyone explain to me why when you make a buttonhole sample in the exact same fabric and exact same number of layers, interfacing, etc., the sample turns out perfect and when you do it on the garment it self -----------
------you get this?!!!!!
I even used Sulky Tear-away as an envelop around the front and back in hopes that would keep it even.
The finished blouse is nice


Sunday, February 9, 2014

Unmatched Plaid Suit


       Several years ago I purchased about four yards of a plaid wool that I absolutely loved, and like so many other wonderful fabrics, I never got around to working with it, so that became my "after Christmas" project.
       My first plan was to make a pantsuit, but once I looked at the actual plaid, I quickly changed that ambitious plan to just a jacket, which is wherein the problems began. 
       Here is the pattern that I chose:
And here is the fabric.  I hope you can see the many different parts to the plaid. 
If you look closely, you will see that horizontally there is a group of three stripes (in the middle of the picture), a group of four stripes of different sizes (bottom of the photo), and at the very top of the photo is a group of four stripes that are two sets of two stripes, equal size.
Then comes the fun part:  Vertically, on the left is a group of four stripes, pretty much equal size; in the middle is six stripes that two sets of three each, equal size, and then on the right it looks like they are the same as the ones on the left, but trust me, they are not.
After spending several hours trying to get the plaid to match from all angles,  the front panels (success), the side front and side back and back and shoulders (unsuccessful), I decided to put the project on the shelf for a time and maybe when I'd get back to it I would have a better perspective and be able to get it to match.  Wrong.
So, to remedy the problem, I took the easy way out and decided to make the side back and side front panels out of a soft leather; and I promptly ordered a Donna Karan leather from Mood.  Loving Donna Karan style, I figured if it was a DK leather it would be a soft supple leather with which to work.  Wrong.
I, actually, at first, thought maybe she made boots out of the leather I got!!  So I was back to the drawing board.
Living in an area where I have one choice only for fabric, Jo Ann's, I was not too hopeful on finding a companion fabric for this jacket, but I had a few days to work on it and truly wanted to get it finished.  So nothing ventured, nothing gained.  Off to Jo Ann's I went, and VOILA I found the perfect companion. 
Here is the plaid matched with the stiff leather and then matched with the grey wool from Jo Ann's.
After checking this out for the color combination I decided the lighter grey looked better.
I then decided to pipe the seams with a dark leather piping.  So I cut two-inch wide bias strips from the leather, which, surprisingly, softened up as I worked with it.
I underlined the plaid with one layer of black silk organza and the side front and side back with a double layer of the silk organza, because the grey wool was a lighter weight than the plaid.  I also put a double layer of silk organza across the upper back.
And here is the front and the back of the jacket before I added the sleeves and lining.
In this photo I have not added the off center, outside zipper yet.

As those of you who know me, you will recognize the use of a wild different lining choice.
And here is the final product, which in my humble opinion turned out great.  I love it.  And I am now making a skirt to go with it, and when it is finished (soon, I promise), I will enlist my nonphotographer husband to take a picture of me wearing it and will post it.
I really like the zipper placement.
The right sleeve in this photo is distorted, as it has the dress form arm inside it, which is not the best fit.
The biggest challenge, after the plaid matching, of course, was turning the corners with the leather piping.  I am certain there is a better way to do it that would create a much better point.  But this will have to do.
And the suit is completed with a Sandra Betzina skirt.