Micro Fortuny Shirt

Sheer stretch without knit in natural fibre even. Slim fit in luxe fabric but comfy. The magic of silk crinkle chiffon.

I’ve done this before by accident. Make a garment in crinkle fabric, wet it, the fabric texture condenses and becomes closer fitting and springy. One of these garments became a favourite. Another I didn’t like because it clung to bits of my anatomy that I didn’t want to show off.  I’ve been meaning to have another go for ages and here it is.

I cut a collarless shirt in black crinkle silk chiffon straight off the bolt. It’s much easier to work with pre wash. Otherwise all the little pleats get in the way and I think it’s harder to estimate the fit, though one could possibly use patterns meant for stretch fabric. Anyway. This is yet again my standard shirt pattern, cut with the centre front on a fold. I’ve left the shirt tails off, shortened the sleeves slightly, gathered the sleeve ends, faced a slit for the neck opening and bound the neck and wrists with straight grain strips of the same fabric. No interfacing, I wanted the fabric to be able to transform freely. The narrow bindings don’t need support and the straight grain prevents unwanted stretch. All sewn with silk thread so that it moves with the fabric and stays fluid. I wore it once before I washed it. Loved it! So I might also eventually make a similar top in plain chiffon.

Here are three before and after shots of the magic transformation wrought by wetting.

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The “before” shot below was prior to making the fastenings. The tie is a twist cord made from… silk thread of course :-).

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I wore it once before I washed it. Loved it! So I might also eventually make a similar top in plain chiffon. I’m also mostly happy with how it pulled up. The body fit is lovely. I hadn’t realised that one loses a little length too, so if I make another, I should add a little length to both body and sleeves. The post wash micro pleat version hasn’t been for an outing yet but I’m looking forward to that.

Oh, and extra bonus: with careful hanging after a wash (admittedly by hand), there is no need of ironing.

 

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Shirt for a New Blog Year

I knew I’d started Makkinschtuff about a year ago but I wasn’t sure quite when. Turns out that WordPress tells you, and the answer was yesterday. 113 posts, 2824 views in my first year here. So I’ve been posting about every 3 days on average. Not bad. I never promised or intended to post daily.

Today then is a new blog year. To celebrate, or just because this is where I’m at, I’ll show you the shirt I’ve just made on the new/old Bernina 830.

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The machine came home on Tuesday, running smooth and smelling of machine oil. I had therefore to take her for a spin. This length of fine cotton plaid shirting was washed, pressed and hanging in the corridor waiting. I bought it in a Christchurch opshop back in early February. Now it’s a shirt.

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I thought the neck frill would soften the plaid and the plaid would soften the costumey effect of the frill. I’ll see how I feel about it in the wearing. Instead of a collar stand, the frill is sewn straight onto the shirt neckline and bound with self bias.

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The cuff fullness is gathered to echo the neck frill. Buttons are of course shell, shiny caramel coloured this time to pick up the caramel stripe.

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The machine behaved beautifully. Maybe it was running even better by the end of the shirt? Maybe I was just getting used to it. I like the sound of it better than my 1230 but I sure miss the stepping motor. I’ll be picking up the 1230 later today after nothing more than a thorough service.  I wonder how she will behave? I suspect some of the problems might recur, we will see.

 

Chocolate Velvet Jacket

I’ve been wanting a new evening jacket and a big special birthday party gave me a good excuse to make one. I had a piece of chocolate brown silk velvet in stash that I kept coming back to. It’s sombre but luscious. There was only 2 metres. Not enough for my first design thought that involved a handkerchief type hem. A redesigned version was manageable though. I figured that I needed to work with an existing pattern to get it done in time. So this is my much used shirt pattern, cut short at waist level, with a few pleats for shaping and an eight gore peplum with a high low hem.

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I’m pretty pleased with it. It comes out with a bit of an early 20thC feel. Here are a couple more views:

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The velvet behaved itself better than I expected and consented to be sewn by machine as long as the seam was pile to pile. Any joins that were pile to flat fabric were sewn by hand. The lining is ultra slippery rayon satin. Gorgeous cloth to feel, really frustrating to work with. It wouldn’t stay on the ironing board, on my lap, on the sewing table. It just slithered off! Lovely to wear though now it’s trapped inside the jacket.

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The buttons are shell again but with a difference. Cowrie shell this time, which have a bit of a leopard print look. They also tie in the white dress I was planning to wear on the night. The button loops are done in a lovely vintage silk twist that a friend found a few years back.

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Here is a pic of it on. Of course there are a few mistakes and things I might do differently. Never mind, it’s wearable and rather lovely anyway.

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First Sewings on the Bernina 570

After getting her set up in the table*, I did some basic stitching and then a few experiments with fancy stuff. Fittingly for a Swiss made machine, the fabric is from a Swiss “national costume” outfit bought for me when a child. Of course the fancy stuff would have worked better with some kind of stabiliser layer. The stitching itself was ok, and that leafy pattern might well get used, but the operation felt clunky, which depressed and upset me.

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I had a bit of a flail, then decided to work on a shirt the next day. That is a familiar task and mostly straight stitching. It would just give me time with the machine to get more of a feel. I knew I could cut and make a basic shirt in a day. Turns out I can do this in a long day, even with an unfamiliar machine and with stupidly sewing one sleeve to the body inside out and having to fix that. I cut this before 9am this morning and sewed the buttons on after dinner. I even took the opportunity of such a plain shirt to rejig the neckline so it is smaller but not too small. This is a lovely yarn dyed cotton check with a pleasingly rustic weave that I got recently in an Albury opshop. There was barely enough to cut the shirt so yoke and cuff linings had to be pieced.

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I forgot to sew a label to the inner yoke at the right stage, so I put one on the left sleeve placket for fun. I will say the new machine makes nice buttonholes. This is the bog standard basic one, sewn with navy blue Gutermann cotton.

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My big complaint was that the machine felt clunky and awkward, especially on raising the presser foot. An audible clunky click and the work was often jerked out of place. It took me ages to work out that this was connected with the fact that I had been using the knee lift for the presser foot from the get go. I’m used to this from the old machine and vastly prefer using it over having to raise the presser foot by hand.  Eventually I figured out that the knee lever not only raises the presser foot, but lowers the feed dogs as well. It’s the feed dogs that cause the audible clunk and jerk of the work. If one only uses the hand operated presser foot lever, things remain quiet and peaceful. Argh. I’ll be complaining about this and requesting a fix!

Other things I don’t like thus far:
-It’s going to take me a while to learn how to drive the selection screen. I keep getting stuck just on how to get back to basics. The home icon doesn’t take one to the home screen and there is no back button.
-Setting changes are slower to assess than the button and dial system that I’m used to. Even allowing for the fact that I’m not used to the screen interface, there is no pictorial indication of stitch length, just a number on the screen. Somehow, turning the dial and reading a number isn’t as quickly comprehended as having a visible position on a scale.
-Max speed feels sloooowwww.  Similar to my old machine I suppose but I think I’ve been anticipating an increase in speed. I wanna go faster dammit. Maybe I need to keep an eye open for a quality industrial straight stitcher, and figure out where I would put one if I get one.
-The most visible seam width markings on the needle plate are *%$&$ imperial!!! I want metric and it’s a ruddy Swiss machine dammit!
-They have yet again changed the foot design so I have to shell out to replace the special feet I use. This has to be deliberate. Angry making it is at least.

Things I do like:
-It might sound petty, but I love the aesthetics of the overall design. Shiny and businesslike.
-It runs well (as long as one is not using my beloved knee lifter)
-there are a lot of cool buttonhole options I’m looking forward to trying
-The great Bernina front loading, easy clean and oil bobbin race.
-Lots of useful stuff for plain stitching. Adaptive tension (copes with a very wide range of fabric weights), easy upper tension dial. Good power for thick fabrics or many layers. Foot pressure adjustment (new to me).

 

*I’m proud of myself that I took the time to make up the right sized blocks of wood to put the new sewing machine at the correct height in the table. The old one sat on a book for 20+yrs. Prompted partly by the presser foot knee lift lever sitting at a different height on the new machine. The table is from a ~60’s Singer that had a knee lever instead of a foot pedal. It has a drop down section for the machine and an appropriate hole for the lever. See previous post for a picture.

 

 

Orange merino jersey

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I bought this length of orange merino jersey in Wellington over 2 years ago. I’ve had at least 5 different plans for it. When I got it out recently, I realised that there was less of it than my faulty memory had been telling me. Enough for some sort of long sleeved top and no more. I have need, or at least want, of orange clothing for this coming Saturday, so I settled on making a button necked pullover. I could have just made a skivvy, but that felt too boring. So I added a neck opening and buttons. Not my best design decision ever. Pullover + buttons + long hair = trouble. Oh well, I like the look and I have a long standing fondness for Henley type jersey shirts.

I put a lot of thought into the construction method. The fabric is medium weight and very stretchy. I have a poor history of getting machine top stitching to behave on such fabric, other than my standard twin needle hem. I was right to worry. I got the neck facing sewn down but not as neatly as I would have liked. I tried applying the first button loop by machine but it did so not go well. The rest got applied by hand.

The button loops are made from a simple three element braid of “tapestry” woolen yarn in appropriate colours. I plaited it, then steamed and cooled it to minimise unravelling.

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Here is a close up of the neck. The grey shell buttons have previously done service on another shirt.

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And on, both buttoned and un.

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Not the most flattering shots. I was suffering from tshirt hem build up. I have another skivvy of the same cut, plus a short sleeved cotton T under that. It’s cold!

Shiny sheer/satin striped silk shirt

I felt the need of a few more evening friendly garments. This shirt is a remake of an old favourite I made for a friend’s wedding many years ago, but in a rather different fabric. It’s a silk/cotton sheer ground fabric with silk satin stripes. Rather challenging to work with! It’s floppy, slithery and doesn’t take a crease well.

It’s my basic shirt again, with the wide plain rectangular collar. I thought the frill was a mistake when I’d only just assembled the front bands, but it is behaving better than I feared now I have the whole shirt together.

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Here are a variety of ways one can wear the collar. I won’t be wearing the first version with this shirt. I decided to tackle the too big neck hole issue and overshot. I can do this collar up while wearing it but it’s way too tight for comfort. Never mind, the other two versions are still appealing and in reality, I rarely fasten the top button of a collar except during laundry!

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In the end, my disappointments with this shirt are both about the collar. Aside from it being a bit small, I got confused and used the under collar as the upper collar. This mattered for two reasons: The under collar is pieced down the middle because the was barely enough fabric, and I had carefully cut the upper collar to have a satin stripe on the edge. Oh well, it’s not very noticeable.

The cuffs are gathered to work with the gathered frill. Also, this fabric takes a gather better than a pleat. I used shell buttons as usual.

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Here it is on. When I cut this shirt, I had in mind the new “corporate” pinafore from this blog post so here is a pic showing it on with that. I must say, the fabric feels really nice against the skin. I rather think I shall enjoy wearing this.

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William Morris Shirt

Or “Mama shirt stage three, the real thing”.

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This post is just me showing I did make up that lovely William Morris fabric for Mama, mentioned in my earlier posts Mama shirt: stage two, trial shirt  Mama shirt: stage one, the pattern

Also skiting* about my best ever pattern matching effort across the front.

Thankfully, she likes it, and has even collected a random compliment already.

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*hmm, it turns out this is local slang. Means boasting, showing off.

 

New Nightshirt

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This feels a little like showing pictures of my underwear. It’s quite decent though really. It’s a modest garment and I’m not even modelling it.

Some people like pyjamas, some people prefer nothing. I like voluminous white nightgowns. I find them comfy, and I can pretend I’m a historical figure or a character from a book :-).  I’ve been making them myself for years, because although one can buy the sort of thing I like, they are jolly expensive. My current favourite winter one is just a loose, ankle length shirt. So I decided I’d make another like it. It’s my standard shirt pattern cut a little wider under the arms and with the side seams angled out to use the full (only 112cm wide) fabric width. I’ve learned finally not to put lace on the hem, it ends up too bulky to be comfortable. So this is just a shirt tail hem with the back intentionally a bit longer.

The fabric is a flannelly cotton/linen blend (or so I presume, it’s certainly cellulose fibre and feels very much like some cotton/linen I had years ago). It feels a little heavy initially but goes beautifully soft on working.  I have a bolt of it from a warehouse closing sale. So if I like it, I have a lifetime supply of winter nightgown fabric.

If I’d thought more about the lace placement before I made the button placket, I’d have done a matching point. Oh well. Ah yes, the placket is a different fabric, a plain shirt weight linen. I was concerned that the flannel would come out too bulky with all the folds that this sort of placket generates.

I must say, applying that lace at the end of the cuff, enclosed in the seam was a rather more complicated affair than I expected. I’m happy I made it work though there was a bit of unpicking and changes of plan needed before we got there.

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Collar Issues

Sometimes it is brought home to me that I’m not as good at this game as I’d like to be.

This poor shirt has been lying part made, crunkled into a ball, since early January. The fabric is vintage Liberty Tana, bought from a shirt making firm closing down their Melbourne city workshop. I had wanted to make a fully classic shirt, including two part collar. I didn’t have such a collar to match my current shirt pattern, so I used one from my previous shirt pattern. I thought I’d checked the seam lengths, but it still ended up a couple of centimetres short. Boo. Once I’d convinced myself I couldn’t make it work, I threw a minor hissy fit, unpinned the failed collar and put the shirt bits aside. For months as it turned out.

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Today, I decided that I would at least drape the constructed body/yoke on me to try to see what was going on. Aha. The neckhole is way too big. Why did I not see that before? It doesn’t look too bad in this pic, but that is the cut edge, not where the seam will end up lying.

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Given the neck edge was already clipped, I decided to revert to a narrow straight cut collar. Sad. Not what I wanted, but I’ve learned something.

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See, too big. Pretty colours though:

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I did at least make my first set of proper cuffs for ages, narrowed to better go with the narrow band collar. Also, my theory about making one of the wrist pleats a continuation of the sleeve crease seems to work. Hurrah. I thought that would make neat ironing easier.

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Here is the whole thing:

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and a sexier, more insouciant pose

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Ho Hum

Yet another chemise. Now I can do Festival in 14thC with a clean chemise each day.

It doesn’t look like much hanging. White on white.

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It’s linen. Of course. Or at least what we believe to be linen (some of the Job warehouse haul). Sewn mostly by machine in cotton thread. All seams are neatly flat felled, even if only by machine. My uber authenticity friends will think ill of me for that. I’d claim to not have enough arm to do it by hand. Actually I suppose I could, over quite a long period.  It seems I’d rather spend that capacity on my patchwork.  Some medievalist I am eh?

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Neckline is faced with straight grain double fold tape of the same fabric. Handsewn down, though I had a brain spasm and went with a less than wonderful stitch choice. I realised partway, but chose at that point to just continue.

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The wrists and hem are done by hand in a prettier stitch, which the camera really didn’t want to focus on.

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Here she is having a rest on the little sofa :-). Nope I’m not pressing it.

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