Tuesday, December 20, 2011
Tuesday, September 27, 2011
Monday, June 13, 2011
Pretty good, huh? Especially since me and the flatlock machine aren't best buds or anything.
Thursday, February 3, 2011
It's still incomplete, obviously. Now we get to stitching the join between the two pieces, hemming all 7 yards of it, then doing all the fiddly basting and shaping bits, interlining and lining. So far, it has taken 10 hours 20 minutes (approximately) to ready the cloth and stitch the 24 pleats. I hope I am at least 1/3 of the way through this.
Later, the same day: It has taken an hour and a half to trim and sew the join and fell it down. I've also spent half an hour basting up the hem, but I haven't gotten very far with it. Hemming is going to take a while.
Even later that same day: I've spent an hour basting up the hem. I've gotten near the first pleat, and there's a little bit of hem shaping there that I want to do when I'm fully awake, so I'll stop for the night.
Feb. 27, 2011: After a relatively bad week dealing with insurance adjusters, car rental agency and car fix-it shop, I have finally come back to the kilt. Spent 3 hours basting up the last little bit of the apron, then hemming it to slightly past the halfway point. At this rate I'm estimating that a hemmed kilt takes about 1 hour per yard of kilt to hem. I'm trying to figure out if there are some general steps in this process that take a predictable amount of time, like sewing each pleat or hemming. For instance, if it takes about 20 minutes to sew one pleat and an hour to put up each yard of hem I may be able to create a simple formula to estimate the total time it takes me. I know some things will just take their own time and I can't prepare for them, but if this gives me a better idea of the time commitment or some step I need to streamline, it'll be good for my work in the long run. Hopefully I'll be basting the pleats in place before I go on vacation.
Feb. 28, 2011: Spent another 3 hours hemming. Still have a little left.
Mar. 20, 2011: Spent half an hour hemming up the last of the kilt, then took about an hour to baste the darts in the inside of the inverted pleat and get the last little bit ready to baste the pleats down.
Mar. 23, 2011: It's taking a long time to baste these pleats in place. I started it out wrong at first and had to take a few out before I finally got it right. I've done 4 lines of basting and need to do two more. Four hours. This is taking forever. The thinness and monotonous uniformity of the pattern is slowing things down, I think. With a tartan, I can at least see visually where a stripe runs all the way down the length of the kilt. With this fabric I have to follow the stripe down with my finger, all the way, or else I lose it.
May 9, 2011: Two jackets, 6 pairs of slacks, 14 shirts, 10 vests, and a pair of curtains later (and several alterations)... I finished basting the pleats down, including the deep pleat and inverted pleat, cut out the backs of the pleats and did the steeking. This took about 4.5 hours. I had to stop when I got to the bit about the stablizer, and realized I didn't have any in my bag (I was out of the house at the time).
May 12, 2011: Spent about 3 hours stitching the canvas interfacings to the apron and underapron backs (as well as other miscellaneous basting). Had to stop when I ran out of hair canvas to back the pleats.
May 13, 2011: Spent about 2 hours sewing in the canvas in the back of the pleats, then moved on to finishing the edges of the apron and underapron. I've pulled the piece of fabric for the apron fringe and basted it into place, now I just need to sew it in.
May 14, 2011: It took about 45 minutes to sew the fringe edge of the apron down permenantly. This took me longer than expected, as sewing with a headache is not as productive a time as when one is feelin' fine.
Later that day: I've spent 4 or so hours stitching on the waistband, detailing and basting the buttonhole and pressing the kilt, and then cutting and punching the holes in the straps. I need 3 buckles.
Some observations: I've been wrapping the kilt around me from time to time. I was a little dismayed at first to see that the apron edges in the front didn't line up. I feared I had gained some weight since the time when I measured myself for it. When I pressed it, though, the edges seem to come together fine.
Wool is quite wonderful. When I basted down the inverted pleat I was getting lots of rippling and bubbling, but careful pressing has seemed to solve this.
Using a presscloth is good: I got a lot of buildup and rust out of my iron when I was pressing, and I'm glad it went onto my muslin scrap instead of the wool.
Using a micro-houndstooth weave is perhaps harder than using a boldly striped fabric with a nice polite repeat. Whenever the instructions say to stretch the fabric and line up the stripes I have to keep track of the woven line very carefully or things don't tend to line up right. If I had to do this again with a non-tartan fabric I'd probably hand-baste in several stripes at different intervals in order to match up to important points. I know this would mean a lot of hand basting and take hours to do, but it might result in less fiddling around later.
I think I put the waistband on with the weave going in the wrong direction. If I was making this for someone else I'd be more concerned and probably pull the thing off to reset it. As it is, it's such a small band, and this is for me anyway. I'm just going to leave it.
May 15, 2011: Spent three hours sewing on buckles and one of the straps. Actually, I sewed on the strap the right way, thought it was the wrong way and pulled it off. I sewed it back on, but the wrong way this time. Discovered I had done it right the first time and had to redo it. Bother.
Friday, January 7, 2011
Tuesday, January 4, 2011
I decided to start out with a fairly generic looking pattern and see what comes of it. This one happens to be Butterick #4154. It's a close-fitting bodice with princess seams, with a couple of simple sleeve options. I kind of like the shape of the bodice, because princess seams tend to fit me well. I'm not sure about the sleeves just yet. The sleeves are fitted, with a dart at the elbow for shaping. Fitted sleeves can be hit or miss with me; my upper arms are slightly large and when I put in a fitted sleeve I have to make sure I can get my arm into the thing, let alone have room for wearing ease. Usually, though, if I sew into the seam allowance, tapering it to 3/8 inch near the underarm, I do ok.
I'm taking a chance and making it strait off in my fashion fabric. Usually this is a no-no. However, my fashion fabric is comprised of little pieces I'm going to sew together, and I'm not above a little 'whittling' to get what I'm looking for. What I have is a big bag full of scraps left over from making my friend's Christmas dress last year, and then the skirt for me just a month ago. Some scraps are large, some are small, some are long and skinny, some have rounded edges. By themselves I don't think I could get a whole jacket out of them. What I like to do, though, is serge the pieces together along any strait line in any scrap I can find. Since serging cuts and sews in one motion, I can quickly get larger pieces. All I have to do is press the small seam allowance down to one side. If a piece of fabric I'm working with is too small in one corner, I just serge a little piece down to that spot. The finished product has grainlines going in every direction, if I've used little pieces. This can look very pretty with the light shining on it, but it does mean the finished product has no definate grain line to make the pieces hang right. Also, with dupioni especially it means that the resulting pieces have lots of weak points. For this reason, I use the resulting pieces on more structured garments, and mount them on fusible interfacing or muslin. This is the back before I've mounted it on muslin.
Here it is after mounting.
Knowing that my hips can be a little bigger than some patterns, I cut the back piece about 2 inches short. Instead of extending the back pieces all the way down, I'm going to end with a box pleat ruffle that scoops down a little from the base of the jacket. It will be one of the last things to go on, because I haven't quite figured out its particulars yet. It will, however, allow me some extra hip room. I've sewn the side back to the back almost all the way to the end of the back piece, just left a little loose for a seam allowance.
As it turns out, most of the body pieces were cut from larger pieces, so there aren't a lot of unpatterned seamlines; most pieces have one off to the side, but it's not the drastic mosaic effect that I had first pictured. This is ok though.