Saturday, November 28, 2015

A Cape

This might be the most ridiculous thing I've made.  A sweatshirt cape.  This all started when I made that cape for Jane (that she hates).  I really wanted one in my size.  My original plan was just to make something super simple like Jane's.  But then it morphed in to something more elaborate.  So now I have a fully lined, hooded cape complete with toggles and a zipper.  But still all in a sweatshirt knit!  Like I said, it's kind of ridiculous but I really like it.  There are some major flaws, of course.  Mainly because I sort of made things up when I got to the closures.  But I'm trying not to be bothered by them.  And sweatshirt knit is not exactly the right sort of fabric for outerwear like this.  But I think it works.

Pattern Description: New Look 6073.  Misses cape in two lengths with different closure variations.  Adding toggles are actually in the pattern instructions but the zipper and zipper shield are not.  I made them up at the last minute.  I've never used a New Look pattern before but this one looked like it had everything I needed and was simple.  It seems to be an old pattern and there are quite a few reviews online, which is always helpful.

Pattern Sizing: XS-XL.  I made a small which is a size below my measurements on the size chart.  I sized down after reading reviews that it runs big.  The size small definitely does not feel big on me and I can't imagine that the M would be much bigger.  I probably could have made a M and been fine.

Fabric Used:  Sweatshirt fleece for the outer fabric and some sort of mystery knit for the lining.  The mystery knit is one of those that's fused to some sort of backing.  It's all polyester.  I found it at Joann's.  I originally wasn't going to line this so I could enjoy the fuzzy side of my sweatshirt fleece.  But after sewing together the shell I decided it needed more weight.  So I went out in search of lining.  On a side note, in the photo above you can see I shortened one of my tops from my last post and I think it looks so much better.

Alterations/Deviations:  From the reviews (and pattern piece) I could see that the hood was huge.  Like crazy costume-y huge.  I folded out a four inch horizontal tuck to get rid of some of the enormousness.  I kept all the width, though because I didn't want to mess with the neckline seam.  I think it made the hood a much more reasonable size.  Can you imagine four more inches of height on that hood?  Other than that, I didn't make any other changes except for the closures.  One pattern reviewer noted that the curve of the shoulder seam is pretty drastic and I agree.  But I think it sits on my broad shoulders just right.  Oh, and I put a drawstring in the hood like I did on Jane's cape.  I thought it would help me cinch in the hood in case it was still too big.

The closures are where I sort of made it up.  I wasn't originally going to add toggles.  I was just going to do a zipper.  But after seeing toggles in the instructions I decided I wanted both.  I sewed the zipper in between the shell and lining, which was easy to do.  But after sewing in the zipper I decided that I needed a zipper shield.  Actually, I'm not sure if I should call it a shield since it's on top of the zipper and not underneath it.  Anyway, I wanted a flap over the zipper.  I added it on after the fact and that is why my toggles aren't centered.  There wasn't any way to center them afterwards.  So you'll notice my toggles are closer to one princess seam on one side.  Ah well.  If I had thought it through, I would have made one front piece wider than the other to compensate.  Hopefully it's not too obvious.  I ended up stitching on my toggle patches with a straight stitch and leaving the edge raw.  I like the way it looks except I didn't trim my interfacing on the patches smaller and now you can see the edges of the interfacing, too.  I may go in and trim it down but I think I might see how it washes first.  You can still see my red marking pencil in this photo.  Hope that washes out, too.  I found the cord at the fabric store and had the toggles in my stash.  I think my cord should be tiny bit shorter so the toggles close tighter, but it's close enough.

Likes/Dislikes:  It's definitely something different.  I think I'll wear it on the weekends when I don't need to use my arms much. Ha!  You can see me illustrate below how useless the arm slits are.  Not a lot of mobility in a cape but they are fun to wear.  It's actually pretty warm, too, with the two layers of heavy knit.  I didn't want to stitch the hem but I had to.  The lining is stitched all the way around and there was no way to get any sort of crisp hem in sweatshirt fabric.  So I top stitched around the bottom with a zig zag stitch.  It's alright.

Conclusion:  I can't see myself making another cape any time soon, but if I did I wouldn't hesitate to use the same pattern.  It would be even nicer in a proper coating fabric.

Sunday, November 22, 2015

Boring Sewing

I am a little embarrassed that I am even writing this blog post.  Actually, not that I'm writing this blog post, but that I actually took pictures of all of these this afternoon.  Prepared to be amazed!  I made a bunch of slouchy tees again. This time I used Simplicity 1071 and I believe it deserves mention because it is a great and easy pattern.  Which is really why I'm writing this post.

Pattern Description: The pattern is an easy to sew sportswear pattern.  I made the top, obviously.   I'm kind of intrigued by the vest/cardigan.  The top really is just a bunch of rectangles with maybe a little shaping at the sleeve.  I haven't sewn Grainline's Hemlock tee, but it looks just the same to me.  I know that the Hemlock tee is free, but I have come to the realization that I absolutely loathe taping together pdf patterns.  Nothing will stop me from sewing faster than having to tape a pdf together.  I think that's also another reason I use a lot of Big 4 patterns.  And they are cheap and readily available where I am.

Pattern Sizing: XXS- XXL.  Big size range.  I made a small.  My bust measurement is actually in between a small and medium.  Not that sizing is a big issue with this pattern.

Fabric Used:  Lots of different knits!  My first black and white (super long) version was done in a super cheap rayon knit.  Next, I used a grey quilted sweatshirt knit that I found at Joann's, believe it or not.  It actually has batting quilted in between layers so it's warm.  The grey and black striped version is a cotton/spandex knit that wrinkles like crazy.  The pea green version is a silky bamboo knit.  And the navy stripe is a heavy ponte knit.

Alterations/Deviations:  I changed the length on almost every version, adding length.  The only version that is close to the original hem length of the pattern is the grey and black striped tee.  I only added two inches to that one.  I wanted all of these to be super long and slouchy.  However, after looking at photos I realize that these are not the most flattering tees I own.  That's ok.  They are not supposed to be.  I may shorten the black and white printed version, though.  Or at least get rid of the longer back.  I also added side seam splits to several versions just because it seemed appropriate.  The navy striped version has extra deep side splits and I like them a lot.

Likes/Dislikes: I like the neckline on this tee.  It's as close to perfect as it gets.  Not to wide and not to high.  It's the perfect depth.  I did not use the neckband pattern piece, though.  Actually, I truly have made six versions of this pattern.  The first version I made was done in a textured knit and I used the neckband pattern piece.  It was too short for the textured knit I used (not a lot of stretch) so I ditched it in all subsequent versions.  For all my other versions, I sewed the neckband on, stretching as I sewed except for the last two inches or so.  Then I measured and sewed the ends of the neckband together before sewing it on to the neckline the rest of the way.  That way I didn't need to guess at length depending on what type of knit I was using.  It was a little fiddly, but I prefer that to sewing on a neckband that isn't the right length.  I still might try and fix my original wadder but I am not inclined to unpick stitching in that textured knit.   I can't remember if sleeve bands are part of the pattern or not, but I used them on all versions.  I guesstimated length on the sleeve bands, too.  I leaned toward a little tighter to keep my sleeves up

Here's a photo of all the different neckbands.  I used self fabric for most, but used a grey rib knit for the quilted version and a navy jersey for the ponte version.  It was good practice to do all these neckbands in different knits.  The rayon jersey and bamboo seemed to work the best and lay the flattest.  The navy jersey with the ponte knit is all sorts of wavy.  The grey and black version is not the best either since I cut on the cross grain.

Conclusion:  Wow, I wrote a lot more than I thought I would about this simple pattern.  Great, easy pattern, if slouchy tees are your thing :)  I think I'm done making knit tees at this point.  These definitely filled a gap in my cold weather wardrobe, so I'm pleased with them.  And they have all been worn in non-stop rotation since I've made them.  But it's time to make something a little more difficult, I think!  Winter coat, maybe....