Monday, November 23, 2015

How to Sew a Lined Skirt with a Vent

I need more basics in my wardrobe and like wearing pencil skirts so I decided to make one. 
I went stash diving and came up with some wool houndstooth and one vented skirt pattern by McCalls... M3830. It's a favorite TNT on The only problem is that isn't lined. 

Excuse my mini rant: This is the only pattern I was able to find currently available for purchase that has a CB overlapping vent, and it doesn't have a lining. I'd venture to guess that's how they can justify calling it "Quick & Easy", which it certainly is. I'm a just bit peeved that there is no intermediate version for sewists who've made a few garments before and just want to make a basic skirt to rival what can be bought for $90 at LL Bean. Sigh. 

Fine. I can add the freakin lining myself. I like pattern-making after all and have drafted vented, lined pencil skirt in my sportswear pattern-making class at FIT. 

So I located my drafting notes, but unfortunately the sewing order of operations are missing. Drat! Then, after several evenings perusal of my entire sewing reference library I discovered that I have no references for this basic design detail. Vogue Sewing, McCalls, several vintage Singer books and the Singer Reference Series, my beloved Reader's Digest, every book I have by Claire Shaeffer and Nancy Zeiman.... none of them covered how to sew a lined skirt with a center back vent. Imagine my surprise and dismay. 

Well, what could I do other than figure it out my damn self? Nothing, so that is just want I did. 
Of course I took pictures on my cell phone while doing so... someone had to! 

First, a quick note on cutting the lining. I didn't draft a separate lining piece... I was too lazy for that and didn't really think it was necessary. What I did was cut using the body pattern pieces, with the following adjustments made while cutting: 
* I cut the side seams an extra 1/8" wide so that I would gain 1/2" total all around for ease. 
* I raised the center back seam 1/4" at the waist blending into the back waist darts. This adds a little vertical ease in the center back seam for ones bum and ensure that the lining doesn't end up too short which would cause the vent to hike up. 
* I cut the hem 1" shorter than the self. 
* I cut the wearer's Left back lining piece with a cut away for the vent underlap (on the line I'm pointing to in the photo above)

Order of Operations for a Lined Skirt with a Vent

Note: If your fabric has no discernible face as mine did, it helps to do each part of the self and lining prep in tandem to ensure that the pieces are being placed in the correct orientation. Or draw yourself a diagram, as I did.

Prepare the Self/Fashion:

  • Stitch waist darts (press to CF/CB) and stay-stitch waist seam. 
  • Fuse the Vent and the Zipper setting

  • Stay-stitch vent inner corners. Clip to dot.
  • Pre finish the side and CB seams in your chosen method (overlock, zig-zag, etc)
  • Insert Zipper into CB seam above dot. 
  • Stitch CB seam from bottom of zipper to dot above vent.  Press open. (1)
  • Stitch backs to front at side seams. Press open.

Prepare the Lining: Note: seam allowances will be between the lining and the self. 

  • Baste waist pleats (pleat uptake to sides) and stay-stitch waist seam.
  • Stay-stitch wearer’s right Lining Vent corners. Clip to dot.
  • Pre finish the CB seam in your chosen method. (overlock, zig-zag, etc)

  • Stitch backs to front at sides. Finish using your chosen method.
  • Hem Lining shorter than Self final length.
  • Stitch CB seam from dot (bottom of zipper) to dot above vent. Press open. (1)
I actually finished my CB seam allowances after stitching the CB seam, but I wouldn't do it that way again.

Attach Self to Lining at Vent:
Note: Some of these seams will require starting precisely at seam lines rather than the fabric edge. 

  • Pin the long side of Vent on wearer’s right side Self to Lining from the top angled seam line to bottom of hem allowance. Stitch. Press seam toward Self.**This side is the underlap** 

  • Pin the long side of Vent on wearer’s left side Self to Lining from the top angled seam line to bottom of hem allowance. Stitch. Press seam toward Lining. **This side is the bend back** 

  • Tuck all the angled seam allowances up. Match the stay stitch lines. 

  • Stitch angled top seam of Vent on self and lining, all layers together, starting at the inner seam-line dot. (4) **This will require reaching between the Lining and Self layers** Press seam up.

  • Topstitch across angle at top of vent through the wearer’s left side self and vent bend back only to secure.

Continue with remaining skirt construction: Self hem and Waistband. 

And there you have it!

Friday, August 14, 2015

Bow-Tie Block - A Baby Quilt

Not just another baby quilt. This one is for a BOY,  and I'm not related to him. 
He belongs to a couple from church and when they told me they were expecting 
of course I jumped at another chance to make a baby-sized quilt.

This quilt is also special because I didn't use quilting cottons. 
The fabrics for this quilt are entirely 100% cotton shirts that I thrifted and washed and sliced up. 
There are lots of progress pics on my instagram so I'm just posting the finished photos on the blog.


I also designed this quilt myself. Winging it means I designed it right?
I got the idea after seeing this Quilty; This Is My Quilt episode on Youtube a long time ago and have been waiting for an opportunity to co-opt the idea of using recycled cotton shirts. Baby quilts are the perfect size to experiment with new ideas. Instead of copying the inspiration quilt's design, I used a basic bow-tie block and arranged them in an "X's and O's" design. I had enough fabric left over to piece a patchwork backing (and plenty more fabric for another scrappier quilt!)


I hand quilted this one using the big stitch quilting technique and DMC perl cotton thread.


I love it! 

Monday, August 10, 2015

Flying Geese - Cotton and Steel - A Friendship Quilt

This quilt was made for a friend this past winter/spring. 
She was furnishing a new apartment and I know a good excuse when I see one.  

Sofa sized.
The fabric is from a kit I bought on craftsy, although the pattern can be acquired for free on the Cotton and Steel website. 

The original layout
I changed the design a lot because with the limited palette I thought the design was a bit boring.
I'm starting to see that I like the limitations of a kit but like to change up the design.


I am very proud of my points. 


The obligatory wrap myself in awesomeness 

Quilted as usual by the lovely Linda Lovett. 

Friday, August 7, 2015

Wee Wander Disappearing Nine Patch - A Baby Quilt

Another one of my cousins had a baby! Last fall. Oops. Bad blogger.
In my defense, I sent this quilt to them right about exactly the time the lovely Lena made her entrance into the world. I just haven't had the blogging mojo to brag about it.
Anyhoo. This is the quilt.

Hubs makes an adorable model. 

The Back

I had to give up on the idea of there being a "right side up", although this is technically sideways.

Focus! The label says "stitched with love" and was given to me by my friend who eventually got her own quilt

These are the details:

Pattern: Disappearing Nine Patch; some variation I made up after a bit of googling. I'm sure I got the idea from one of the Missouri Star Quilt Company YouTube videos.

Fabric: Wee Wanderer Twilight Palette by Sarah Jane for Michael Miller. It was a fat quarter bundle and I got some extra yardage from City Quilter. I also used some scraps from Ali's quilt on the back. 

Quilting: I love this pantograph! It's called Spiral Braid and was quilted by the lovely and wonderful Linda Lovett who has more photos on her blog of the quilting process. Linda is fantastic to work with; I highly recommend her. 

Thursday, November 20, 2014

Donna Karen ponte pant construction pics

I love #bpNovember so much. Can we have it all year round? It's like sewing party all month on instagram.

Even though I've been busy with school and work lately I've managed to finish a few things this fall that are totally wearable. Like, a chambray Lisette dress and a gorgeous teal green Sutton Blouse. I'm also chugging along on my knit cardigan project for my knitwear class which I am fancying up with a lining (a-la Chanel) and I'm about one more evening of TV watching away from finishing the binding on my latest baby quilt.  No fancy ponte pants yet but I did sew up my own draft for class a few weeks ago (it's a winner, but a rather relaxed fit) and...AND I just came across a real Donna Karan pant sample and I was able to take some very detailed photos of the construction. You wanna see the photos?? Of course you do!

It had fewer style lines than Vogue 1378, but it does have the same curved hip style lines and it also has side slits.
The waistband is straight stitched to the elastic on the inside. Clean on the outside. There are black satin 1/4" ribbon hanger loops at the side seam.
The waistband is then catch-stitched to each vertical seam allowance. I believe this is done by hand.
ETA: Notice how the front side panel seams are angled in at the waist... this adds a little subliminal waist shaping. The back legs have angled darts at the waist, shown below.

All the seam allowances are 3/8" finished width, 3 thread over-locked (serged/merrowed), pressed OPEN. The picture below is of one of the vertical seams and the bottom of the waistband... I'm viewing the garment upside-down.
Fabric: 85/11/5 Rayon/Nylon/Spandex Ponte.It feels very nice.
The hems are hand blind-stitched. 007

The Fronts are much narrower than the back at the hem, something my knitwear instructor at FIT taught us to do when drafting our knit pants.

I sooooooo need to get to work on V1378 ASAP.

Monday, October 13, 2014

Ponte Pant Update & Fall Sewing

This weekend I sewed up my first pair of ponte pants (V8962). They were cut shortly after my last post and I was trying to clear it from my to-sew pile sine my knitwear class has progressed to the point of pull on pants (hello, ponte pants #2) and I was looking forward to having a commercial pattern tested and fit to compare to my own pant draft. I was thinking about how easy wardrobe staples can be a little liberating because the idea of filling holes in ones wardrobe with a tried-n-true pattern makes allows for tweaks and improvements with each attempt. As long as this first one went well (fit wise) I was ready and willing to tackle more of the pull on pants from my list.

Some notes for posterity on V8962.

I've now made all 3 items in this pattern and can say that I am quite pleased overall by the style, level of difficulty and fit. I made all three pieces in a size 20, although my measurements are that of a 22 and all three items feel a smidge big, especially the shirt. So, I think as far as knits go, I'm should be cutting 2 sizes smaller than my measurements dictate on the envelope.

The pants are now finished (wearing them now) and went together very quickly/easily. I lock-stitched each seam before serging it finished in this order: inseams, crotch, out-seams. This meant I could test the fit and make any adjustment at the out-seam.

One thing I have learned in school and at the company I work for is that most knitwear seams that are not simply serged  actually sewn with a lock-stitch, not a stretch stitch. In production all the seams are merrowed (over-locked/serged) only, but when making samples or one-offs a straight lock-stitch is fine (with a ballpoint/jersey/stretch needle).
I used one of the stretch overlock stitches on my Bernina to attached the elastic and then stitched in the ditch at the center and side seams. I've been debating about weather or not to enclose the elastic entirely but I kind of like the clean, plain look of these pants even if it does look terribly unfinished.
I blind stitched the hem, which was tricky over the serged side seams, but I managed with a leveler at the back of the foot.

The fit is pretty good... I cut a size smaller than the envelope recommends for my measurements and I could almost go down another size (I did use the elastic guide for the next smaller size). The silhouette is spot on compared to the envelope sketch; a slim, but not tight boot cut pant with no details. Next time I would add 1" to the top of the rise at the center back waist... it feels lower than the front. There isn't much pitch to the waist, but I like the height of the front rise which is at my belly button, however the back dips down when I sit. I don't have much of a rear end to speak of so I think these are drafted for a very flat dress form.
I added 2" at the leg length adjustment line and 1" at the hem and my hem is 1". I would add another inch if next time to hem for wearing with heels. The current hem is a too long to wear with flats but feels a little short over my booties. I obviously need to determine the optimim inseam for flats vs heels.

Fall Sewing

So, I have some modest fall sewing plans, which will in all likelihood change by the time winter hits, but I thought I should post the plans here, and then see how well I'm able to make good on those plans. Whether or not I post the results in picture form is anyone's guess. I seem to be doing better with instagram these days. I am not tracking school projects because the weekly deadlines keep me pretty accountable.


Bra - I impulse bought the craftsy class Sewing Braws; Construction & Fit with Beverly Johnson on Saturday. I've had a pattern traced out and a fabric kit for who knows how long. I listened to the class while I finished up my ponte pants and then cut out the pieces needed. I am a bit horrified by the color of this fabric. At least I won't feel to precious about it while sewing. I do need to get some green thread though. I bought a cream colored findings kit and it came with some ivory lace but I don't think they look good together. I may try to find some black replacement findings, elastics and galoon lace.
Kelly Green. What was I thinking?

Lisette princess seam dress – chambray
Topstitch the side and shoulder seams. Hem. Neckline facing or binding. This is the last of my summer projects and although it is a transitional piece it's teetering in UFO territory. It' sooo close to being done. Need more discipline!

Baby Quilt
Piece the back and ship to longarmer for quilting. Trim the sandwich. Make and apply the binding by hand. 

Hikaru – military green felted wool (UFO from last year)
Topstitching of all exterior seams. Install sleeves (sleeve heads, shoulder pads etc) and lining, buttons

Angela Kane Jeans – black stretch denim   (UFO from the year before last)


Ponte Knit Tube skirt(s) – emerald ponte. Need more skirts.
Floral Silk Crepe de Chine pants - Need some luxury fashion in my closet.
Tiny Pocket Tank (blue silk w/ black hearts) – double dart modified size 18. Lengthen back shirt-tail.
Cotton burn out nightie - kwik sew. Because I love the pattern and my last one is in regular rotation - husband likes it too.
Equilateral Triangle quilt - quilt along with a high school buddy


Ponte pants
Knit Striped Long Sleeve top
Knit Princess Seamed Dress – For Knitwear class
Drop shoulder top – for Knitwear class
TNT striped Knit Top.
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