Menswear in Progress

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We are coming to the end of our two week Spring Break here in Vancouver. This was preceded by three days off for a teacher strike. None of which I am complaining about, but I haven't done much of any sewing in the last three weeks and I am starting to get a little twitchy.
Back in February I was sewing far more regularly thanks to the childcare help of several friends. Here are a couple of works still in progress from that month.


First we have a shirt for a friend of mine. I am using Vogue 8759, but I changed the collar and collar stand to one from David Page Coffin's book, Shirtmaking. This shirt still needs cuffs attached, hem, button holes, and buttons. The cuffs are the most logical next step, but that will require a good chuck of uninterrupted time (i.e. not something I can do with kids bickering). I have no idea if I am following Coffin's steps correctly or not, but I am pretty pleased with my work. Here's hoping the shirt fits!

The big idea for this shirt is to fit it and then use the resulting pattern as a block (of sorts) and make changes to the neckline, etc. Making it as a traditional shirt first also gave me more practice with the million little details that go into shirtmaking.

 Collar close-up

Sleeve Placket!


Secondly, I have made a vest for another friend. This is a gift to him in honor of his father's death. In his culture, 40 days after a loved one's death, friends give you white cloth to make new garments to signify the end of mourning. A group of people chipped in money to pay for the fabric and a portion of my time.


I used Kwik Sew 3662. It's looking a little rumply there on the hanger, but I think it just needs a good press. I need the fellow this is made for to drop by so I can feel better about the button placement. And check out this:


My first real attempt at double welt pockets! Not too shabby, though I can see that they are a little puckery.

In addition to these items, I also spent a chunk of time in February altering a nightgown for a friend and making five fabric flowers for folks in her wedding. These were more time consuming than I assumed they would be, but they turned out quite charming.

A Tablecloth Skirt for Me!

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Just before New Year's I made a tablecloth skirt for myself. This skirt is a good example of the effects of the Magic Closet (and, in this case, gravity).



The tablecloth skirt is a pretty simple creation to begin with and since I already planned to complicate things by trying to line it, I didn't want to make it even more complex by adding a zipper and waistband, so I used elastic inside an added casing.

The material is a stretch rayon-linen. Not the easiest stuff to work with, given the stretch, but it is heavy and I thought it would drape nicely. For this skirt I used a 50-inch square of fabric plus four rectangles that were 15" x 50". I cut a hole in the middle of the square that was 2" larger in circumference than my hips. Now, I am not a tall person. I am short - 5'4" on a day with good posture. This skirt was so long that to hem it, I folded up one inch, pressed it, turned it up another two inches, pressed it and stitched it. And it's still crazy long. Obviously, I could have used a smaller square to begin with.

Initially, I tried underlining the square with Bemberg as a means of lining the skirt. For some reason that I don't remember clearly now, this didn't work. I am thinking it had to do with the stretch in the outer fabric. In theory, this would be a good way to manage lining this skirt so it doesn't stick to tights. I ended up cutting a square of Bemberg with a hole out of the middle. The lining square was as wide as my lining fabric (60"-ish?), so I pinked the two raw edges rather than hemming them. I matched up the holes and attached the casing to both the skirt and the lining.


You can see this makes for an odd lining. I will probably trim away those points with my pinking shears one of these days.

The non-roll elastic I bought (packaged from Fabricland) is so super stretchy, that I had to make it ridiculously smaller than my waist size so that it would hold up the weight of the skirt. Unfortunately, immediately upon finishing the skirt, I put it on and was dismayed by the bulk around my belly. It just didn't look nice. I think it was a combination of the elastic waist and the heavy fabric. I wore it once and was terribly frustrated, so I hung it in my closet and tried to forget about how much fabric I used on an unflattering skirt.

A week or two later I had to chair a meeting at my daughter's preschool. I like to dress a little bit nicer than my usual jeans and t-shirt for these meetings, so I pulled out the skirt and paired it with a jeans jacket that would hide the bulky waist. To my surprise, the waistline was no longer bulky! Everything hung nicely. Hooray for gravity (and the Magic Closet)! The skirt is still entirely too long for dealing with stairs or sitting in a rolling chair, but otherwise it is very functional.

When I make this skirt again, I hope to remember to use a smaller square of non-stretch woven, underline the square before I cut out the circle,  and go to the effort to make an actual waistband, as this would reduce the bulk further.

Kid Pajamas

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I happened to find this really lovely striped cotton interlock for cheap (maybe $4.99 a metre?) at Dressew back in the fall and I bought a bunch of it to make kid pajamas. I use Kwik Sew 3234 just like Dawn does. Peter needed PJs most, so I made two sets for him and one for each of the girls. Clara, of course, wanted a nightgown. My pattern for this was originally based on a Jalie pattern, but at this point it's been slashed and spread and a different sleeve added, etc, so now it's pretty much my own pattern. Sorry there's no clear picture of the nightgown...

Here are the green and blue striped PJs:



I too add a loop of twill tape to the backs of my kid garments. But since there were similar looking garments in different sizes, I stitched the first initial onto the loop.


Cozy for bedtime reading!

I used the serger I borrowed for constructing these PJs. I have to say I was less than impressed at the strength of the seams. Maybe I had the tension set wrong or something. Anyway, I think at this point I am happier with my zigzag machine even though it means that I have to go over every seam twice (once with very narrow zigzag to stitch the seam and once with the triple-step zigzag to secure the seam allowances).