Thursday, October 08, 2015

SKETCHES, FABRICS AND MUSLINS! OH MY!!

Can someone please tell me where is the time flying off to!!!  I just can't believe that on the 11th it will be a month since my last post!  I don't know how it is for you dear readers, but for me there really just aren't enough hours in a day!  

Well let's not waste a moment and get down to brass tacks!  As you know, I'm a devoted follower of Peter Lappin's wonderful blog Male pattern boldness and I was recently commenting on how much I loved flannel fabrics, especially shadow plaids. I then diverged to the subject of home sewing and cheap clients. Well needless to say, I received a reply from another avid MPB fan whom I shall call "T" (for Testosterone) who abruptly yanked up my reins and put my hiney back on the topic of flannel!  Well!!  Being a product of the 'Eisenhower era' and and a staunch follower of  the rules of etiquette and decorum, I offered my most humble apology and went on to say that I had acquired a piece of wool flannel with a percentage of cashmere blended in ( I have no idea how much!)  as pictured here:
 I then went on to elaborate that I was planning on making a pullover hooded jacket from it and that I hoped to have most of it done that same day!  Little did I realize what lay ahead!  Now the hoodie I had in mind was to be composed of only two main pieces, that being the body, which would be one piece of fabric with an attached hood as pictured in my sketch here:

It would be cut on the bias giving it a soft and fluid drape.......or so I hope!  I love eliminating seams in my designs but it can pose problems because you've got to get the right balance of proportion which centers around the neckline and the garment hanging from the shoulders.  Below is the first muslin without the hood and the second with a hood attached.

As you can see the hood is criss-crossed in front and will be trimmed in black rib knit along with the sleeve cuffs and waist banding.  I was going to use blue, but decided that black would be so much more sharper!  I'm still not quite satisfied with the neckline though and will do one more muslin before putting scissors to my precious flannel.  The bias cutting will be a big plus and since the fabric is not a silk or knit and therefore more stable,  it will be much more manageable in handling as far as controlling any unwanted stretching.  

Needless to say, I was inspired to cut on the bias after seeing how beautiful clothes become using the technique....... it just makes everything so much more fluid and body conscious and as you may or may not know...... Halston was the American master of bias cut design, something that other designers avoided, because of both the difficulty in execution and the amount of fabric required.  I am but a mere book apprentice of the method, who learned through hands on experience some of the pitfalls of it early on and after tossing out several stretched out garments, have become much more thoughtful about making clothing using it.  

I will be starting a final muslin (hopefully) early tomorrow morning since I've taken a three day leave from the (snake pit) office and will of course post as I progress.  Stay tuned........... there's much more to come!!   

Friday, September 11, 2015

MAKE MINE VINTAGE!!

Gracious greeting to all!

Yes dear readers, I've returned!  Where have I been??  Well sometimes I wonder!  I do know however, that I'm currently on a weeks vacation and regretfully, it's all coming much too quickly to a close.  If there was anytime to write a very long overdue post here.........well now is as good as any!  To this day I  marvel at Peter Lappin and how he use to consistently post at his blog 'Male pattern boldness' on a daily basis.  I mean, you really gotta love blogging to have done that for several years!  I consider myself lucky if I could get up the gumption to post every nine months! LOL!!  Yes, Test if you're out there, I know you have all of the evidence against me........but remember there always a chance for reform!!!   

Well, now that I'm back, I wanted to discuss the second greatest love in my life (of course Halston being number one) and that is my love of vintage Singer sewing machines!  
I attribute this addiction to Peter over at MPB who has collected a number of vintage machines from a wide array of companies.  Seeing him using and rhapsodizing about the virtues of vintage, eventually won me over and all I knew was that I had to be in possession of one of those treasures.   At that time, I was the owner of a single Kenmore that I bought about 8 years ago, now that number has grown to 6, five of them being Singer machines each more than 50 years old.   I was been bitten by the 'vintage bug' and became obsessed about owning one.  Now some of you may wonder why anyone would prefer a straight stitch machine over the 'wonder' models of today?  Well I'll put it to you straight.......when I want to hem a pair of Levi's or repair the split seam on a heavy woolen coat, the last thing I want to do is fight with a machine without piercing power!  Yes, the computerized machines of today may do everything under the sun, but what they're so sorely lacking in is what I call good old fashioned backbone!  I can sit down at my cast iron 1943 model 99 or 201 with those same jeans that need hemming and I'm confident that either of those machines will be able to do the job without a whimper or groan!

  What do we have today capable of completing such tasks..........well to be honest....... not much!  Plastic and nylon gears are just no match for iron and aluminum castings along with solid steel guts!!!  Can I get an Amen from the vintage congregation!!!  Yes, dear readers I wouldn't trade any of my machines for anything they're making today!!  At Singer's height, they held 80 percent of the world market, producing finely crafted machines that were meant to last a lifetime, now that very same name is but a shadow of itself, churning out cheap plastic junk from China, overflowing the landfills!  

I've been preaching the gospel about vintage machines for the past couple of years and feel   both proud and lucky to have several in my ownership.  Nowadays many sewists  seem to have caught 'vintage fever' and classic machines are becoming both harder to find and  much more expensive!  I attribute that fact to the influence and popularity of Ebay, Craiglists and even the classifieds.  If you're thinking of owning one, all I can say is don't wait!!   As the old expression goes...."when you snooze, you lose"!    Yes........ lets raise a toast to these masterpieces of precision engineering and craftsmanship and to the men and women responsible for making them!!    Hip, Hip Hooray!  See you soon!!!