I’m joining a Men’s Shirt Sew-Along at Male Pattern Boldness, starting at February 1! If you’ve never heard of Peter of Male Pattern Boldness, you really should check out his blog and read his adventure in clothes-making, written in the most entertaining way as possible. He posts everyday, which I really admire. Reading his posts often makes me chuckling in the middle of the night (got to blame those time differences!). Peter is arranging a sew-along using Negroni pattern from Colette (but you can use any men’s shirt pattern as well), and the time is just perfect because my husband can have a new shirt for spring.
Flat collar blouse
I rarely made any shirt for myself. Usually I prefer wearing dress, as wearing separate top and bottom always makes me feel a bit self-conscious about my asymmetrical hip (because of scoliosis).
But I decided to make a simple blouse, maybe I want to try something different, and also as a ‘warming-up’ project for the sew-along. The fabric is called ‘Toys’ by Shinzi Katoh. I bought it without much thought, just because it is so cute, that’s why I only had 1 m of the fabric. Luckily it was just enough for a blouse in my size.
I drafted the pattern myself, using directions from 1970 book, Pattern Drafting Vol. II. The flat collar was drafted from Garment Design Textbook (3) Blouses ＆ Dresses, published by Bunka. My husband bought #1 and #3 from this series as my birthday presents (^_^)
The blouse was pretty simple, with front and back darts, bust darts, and small shoulder darts. I love shoulder darts! In my opinion they make the clothes lay better on the backside. There was not enough fabric even for the small back facing, so I use double-gauze bias tape to attach the collar.
I kinda like the finished blouse, despite still a bit self-conscious about my hip. I’m wearing it here with my favorite bubble shorts. The tie is just a piece of black lace. Too bad it is still too cold to wear this blouse outside, I can’t wait for spring!
Blouse pattern is self-drafted.
My husband has a couple of pants and jeans who are no longer wearable due to some rips on obvious places. After being worn and washed so many times, the fabric has became soft and comfortable to the touch, unlike stiff brand new denim. I thought they would make good pants for Sidra, after all with his rapid growth, he’s always in continuous need of new pants.
I turned to my precious Pattern Drafting vol. II to find a pants pattern. This 1970 book has a small section on kidswear on the back. I drafted a basic straight pants pattern and then made several changes to it. The waistline is lowered, the legs are slimmed down, and I also made the usual shapes for jeans: hip yokes, slanted front pockets, and back pockets.
Before cutting the pattern, I saved the zipper, zipper fly, pocket linings, back pockets, belt carriers, and waistband with its button and buttonhole from my husband’s pants. Constructing the new pants was so much fun! I’ve never made jeans before, so I used another jeans to see how I should stitch the pieces together, where to topstitch, etc. Sidra’s pants has elastic with buttonholes so it is adjustable. I saved the elastic from Sidra’s old pants. Nothing is wasted here!
Love the result! The fit is perfect in my opinion, and the waistband is not too high. And since the fabric has been used and worn, they already have these lovely marks and lines on them.
I made a second pants from my husband’s black denim pants. The original pants has small pocket like most jeans, I reused them on Sidra’s pants. I also reused one of the original back pocket, adding topstitching in the shape of big X. The other back pocket is fake, it is only an outline stitching in the shape of pocket.
Sewing the pants was a bit difficult because the fabric is thicker. I wish my topstitching could be neater, but in the end they look okay. Now I’m waiting for my husband’s favorite corduroy pants to get ripped any time. They look perfect for Sidra’s next pants!
Pattern Drafting vol. II, page 134
Another pattern from Pattern Drafting vol. II, this is from page 134 and it is called The Onepiece-Coat Ensemble (it is spelled that way!). I only made the coat and made several changes to it. It was shortened into a jacket since I only had one meter of the fabric, and three buttons are used instead of one. As my autumn dress, I didn’t draft the pattern, but cheated by scanning the page and enlarging it by 1000%. Cheating is the way to go!
Loop and button
The jacket has a pair of neck darts on each side and I love the fact that a lot of vintage patterns always have neck darts. They really make the neckline sits nicely. The sleeves are cut as one continuous piece with the bodice, I believe they are called kimono sleeves. The underarm of the sleeves are connected to the bodice with sleeve gussets. Actually I chose this pattern because I wanted to try making a garment with sleeve gusset. Although it was very different than ordinary sleeves, sewing the gusset wasn’t as difficult as I thought it would be. The front openings are not overlapped since they are using buttons and fabric loops.
I didn’t want to buy more fabrics so I used whatever in my stash to make the jacket. The outer fabric is plain grey wool and the lining is Nani IRO double-gauze cotton. The Nani IRO fabric has irregular dots pattern and pretty scallops on the border.
The end result was… well, a bit too plain for my taste. It’s just a plain grey shapeless jacket. Maybe I should have added more details to it, like ruffles or pleats or pockets or collars or tassels (maybe not). On the other hand, maybe it doesn’t hurt to have a rather plain addition to my wardrobe that I can pair with other stuff like this wacky leggings. Anyway, my husband saw the jacket when he came back from work, and he commented that it was really cute. At the end of the day, I still don’t know how I really feel about this jacket.
Pattern Drafting vol. II
This is one of my favorite pattern book, Pattern Drafting vol. II, it was bought several years ago in a secondhand bookstore in Indonesia for only $1! The book was published by Kamakura-Shobo Publishing in 1970, it shows how to make a basic bodice pattern and how to use it to draft patterns for blouses, dresses, coats, skirts, and pants. There are also small sections for maternity and kid’s garments. The drafting techniques used in the book is from Japan, but the book is in English.
The last section in the book shows several sewing techniques for pockets, collars, zippers, and finishing seams and hems. Since it was published in the time when not many people have sewing machines with fancy stitches, the sewing techniques discussed involved a lot of hand-sewing. And there is also a section on making adjustment for several body types. Such a delightful book!
I love browsing it and read all the diagram , but still have not much chance to use it. A part of a dress pattern was used to make sleeves for this denim dress. Several days ago, I finally decided to make one of the pattern, a simple A-line dress with diagonal stripes and decorative button details on one shoulder. The fabric was bought about two years ago, it has black thin fabric as a base with rows of white wool dots on it. The fabric was so beautiful that I was always afraid to cut it!
I was starting to draft my pattern when I noticed something. All the drafting samples in the book used the same set of body measurements, scaled to 1/10 of the original size. Incidentally, they were my body measurements! What does it mean? It means that I can scan the pattern and enlarge them by 1000%, print them out, and I have pattern in my size! So I cheated and did just that. All I needed to do after that was adding the seam allowance. Hurrah!
Apart from omitting the collar and pockets, I didn’t change any other thing about the pattern. I also used invisible zipper on the back instead of ordinary zipper like in the book. The fabric was so difficult to work with! It kept shifting around no matter how I pinned them. I tried to match the lines, but then gave up after several failures. The fabric couldn’t stand too much unpicking because of its thin base. And since it was cut on bias, the fabric grew in length. I hung the dress for two days before marking the new hem and cutting it.
The finished dress ended up slightly different from the drawing in the book. My fabric turned out a bit too heavy, so the A-line shape doesn’t show up as prominent as the dress in the book. Although it didn’t really turned out as what I had in mind, I still love this dress. It is so warm and comfortable for the autumn season. I also love how the diagonal lines move fluidly with every moves. Now that I know I have a book full of patterns of my own size, I need to scan and enlarge some more!