Monday, February 16, 2015

Here's Some FYI for you


This is Ann Lowe. She designed and sewed Jackie Onassis wedding dress to JFK as well as all the bridesmaid dresses...twice! I had no idea! Read the story here. Thanks Monica Mingo for the into.

Saturday, February 7, 2015

The Not So Fast and Easy Cape - Picture heavy

I know I'm late to the party, but I too have boarded the "Cape" train. Before I spend time at my machine on a trend, I want to be sure I like it first.

I'm glad I made up my mind at some point and added this pattern to my stash. It's already out of print! I think I was waiting for just the right fabric. A few months ago I found this fabulous fabric on the JoAnn's clearance table. It was originally marked $40 a yard. That was scratched off and marked $20. Not knowing whether that was the final price or not I took a chance. At the cutting counter it rang up at $10 a yard! Score! It appears to be boiled wool with some kind of lace bonded to it. It's a wonderful coating weight fabric. I knew immediately I'd use it for this cape. And the journey began.

I thought of sewing it right out of the envelope, but who was I fooling? And then again how to go about making pattern alterations. This was going to be some serious "flying by the seat of my pants." I started by pinning the front and side front pieces together with the lower front. After holding the pieces in place in front of me, I determined I'd need 2" to have the waist seam be in the right place. Using Nancy Zieman's slide technique, I added 2" to the bodice piece.

To fit the bodice to the back piece I had to remove that same 2" by folding out a dart to nothing at the center front.

Once that was done I had to slice the pattern open so that the front bodice edge would be straight. It formed another dart.

Finally I transferred that same amount of space to the existing dart and voila'!

A "flying by the seat of my pants" FBA! And then the real fun began.

The assembly instructions are absolutely cray-cray! You'd never construct a bodice and a facing in the way they suggest. It's only after I followed the instructions that I wanted to throw them, my machine, my cape and myself out of the window. The only thing that saved me was wine and plenty of it...I kid you not. I picked so many seams apart I'll be traumatized for the next 10 years. The bottom line is that the bodice, side front and front should be sewn first and the facing and bodice facing should be added afterward. Period. I think the goofiness in the instructions comes in as a way to deal with the in-seam buttonholes. I made them, I like them but it's not that serious. It wasn't rocket science.

I bagged the lining through the bottom armhole opening and lining. While I originally planned to wear elbow length gloves, I opted instead to knit sleeves on my Passap E6000 knitting machine. I already had a swatch knit from a previous project. I used the swatch measurement and the yarn to chart and knit Fisherman Rib sleeves. I slipped stitched them in place with craft and button thread. Can you say LOVE THEM??

The changes I made other than fitting and the sleeves were a minor change to the collar, added the lining, used fewer buttons and added drapery weight to the front hem. On the changes to the collar. The idea is cute and stylish but WTH. Who walks around with a collar that high. If you do and you're a makeup and lipstick diva like I am, you are headed for trouble or rather the cleaners. It's so not practical!

Is this a positive review? You bet your sweet @#*! I do love the finished product. The pattern is merely your starting point. YOU have to make it your own or rather make it work for you. I love, love, love the pockets. Their size and location are spot on...but only after I made my alterations. The knit sleeves are comfortable and plush and frankly I've not seen anything like this. I sewed the XL View B.

It garnered lots of compliments and more than passed the wearability test. I'm sure I'll reach for this cape again and again. If I were to wear it on an "out and about" day I would most certainly wear a crossbody bag. There is no putting your purse on your shoulder in one of these. The husband thinks I look very "metropolitan" with it on. Huh? Fashion Policeman strikes again!

Here's some more photos to enjoy.

If I look like I'm freezing it's because I am. The snow in the background is not fake!