Tag Archive | liquid

Girl’s Fleece Jacket (Done Backwards) – Part 2

DSCN2088When I started this jacket, I decided to go ahead add the optional cuffs to the sleeves.

The cuffs looked so cute on the jacket on the pattern envelope, that I wanted this jacket to have the cuffs. But when it came time to sew the cuffs on, they were not turning out very well. They were just too bulky. The cuffs are made from two pieces of fleece. The first piece is sewn to the sleeve, then the next piece is sewn to the first piece and then folded over to make the cuff. I cut out the cuffs, sewed the cuffs to the sleeves and then removed the cuffs. In my opinion, this was a bad design for a fleece cuff due to so many seams in the cuffs and the bulkiness these seams caused. There are four layers of fleece in the top seam of the cuff, and that is just too many layers of fleece.

DSCN2084If I wanted to keep the cuffs, I had to come with a solution, so I gave it some thought and came up with some ideas.

First, the sleeves could be cut longer to make the cuffs. This would eliminating the bulky seams, but I had not cut my sleeves longer so this solution was out for this particular jacket. Another solution would be to use a thin lining fabric as part of the DSCN2086cuff, but I did not have it in me to dig through the stash to find a matching fabric. My third solution was to skip the cuffs, and make more bias tape. I would finish the edges of the sleeves with yellow bias tape to match the pockets. (My first thought was to use the bias tape to finish the edge of the cuffs, but eliminating only one of the layers in the bulky cuff was not enough.) So, I choose this as my plan. This jacket would not have cuffs, and I would finish the sleeves edges with the yellow bias tape.

Thinking back, I could have had cuffs on this jacket by combining the solutions. I could have used a lining fabric and the bias tape to make the cuffs and eliminate the bulk. Hmmm. Maybe I will try that on the next jacket.

DSCN3414By using the bias tape on the sleeves, I did not have to worry about a hem or the fact I had not cut the sleeves longer to accommodate a hem. I applied the bias tape to the edges of the sleeves, trimmed the seams and turned the bias tape to finish the seams. I noticed that the thin bias tape looked weak at the bottom of the heavy sleeves. The way I got rid of this weak look was to not trim the seam inside the bias tape so much, which was different from any other time I have applied bias tape. Previously, when I applied bias tape, I wanted the seam allowance trimmed out before folding the tape over. If the seam allowance was left inside the bias tape this time, the look was much fuller and it looked better.

DSCN3418It was now decision time. Which way did I want the jacket to cross, left over right or right over left? After a lot of thought and debating, I decided to cross the fronts as if it were a boy’s jacket, the left front on top of the right front. This will probably drive the little girl that wears this jacket nuts as she tries to button the jacket backwards, but the half froggy’s that I got from folding the jacket the other way just didn’t look good. Hopefully whoever wears this jacket won’t mind the backwards buttoning buttons if it is a girl.

I was dreading making the buttonholes on this jacket. I was not sure how my sewing machine would handle sewing buttonholes on fleece. Sometimes, even with thin non-stretch fabric, my sewing machine has a mind of its own when it comes to making buttonholes and sews whatever it wants to. To help combat this problem, I made horizontal buttonholes, and held my breath as the buttonholes were sewn, but my sewing machine did great and the buttonholes turned out just fine.

DSCN3413If I had known then, at the beginning of the sewing of this jacket, what I know now, nearing the end of the sewing of the jacket, I would have added piping to the peter pan collar to coordinate with the finished design of jacket. It would have been really cute to have had the bright yellow piping around the collar to match the piping on the pockets and the bias tape on the sleeve. This is definitely something I will keep in mind for the next jacket.

DSCN3416With the sewing on of the last button, the jacket was finally done!

The making of this jacket was a learning experience from the beginning to the end, from the cutting of the fleece, to the sewing of a back facing, to the piping curved pockets to the designing of the fleece cuffs. There were many lessons learned on this fleece jacket.

All in all, I think the jacket is very cute and I hope some little girl will be willing to wear it and will enjoy it!

Until next time, sew forth and fleece on!

Girl’s Fleece Jacket (Done Backwards) – Part 1

DSCN3413Over the years, I have accumulated a massive amount of polar fleece in the stash. At first, these fleeces were only purchased with blankets in mind, but over time, my ideas for fleece fabric has expanded. So, when I saw this pattern, McCalls M4981, especially designed to be made from fleece, I knew what I wanted to sew next.

IMG_0002 (2)M4961 is a pattern for a girl’s unlined fleece jacket with a peter pan collar, patch pockets and buttons closures. I was excited to get started, but I quickly learned that this project was not going to be an easy sew or a fast sew.

To start, I selected a piece of fleece from the stash. I chose this cute girl’s design of froggy’s, bees and rainbows on a brown background. I did not have to launder the fabric before I got started since their was no preshrinking needed with this fleece. I traced the pattern, size 6, and got started with the cutting process.

DSCN2575Cutting out this jacket was not an easy or quick task. The print on this fleece was so far off grain that it was almost impossible to cut the pieces so the froggy’s and rainbows were standing up straight. I pulled the fabric and repositioned the pattern pieces until I finally got the pieces cut out. When I finally finished the cutting process, I realized I had lined up the right and left front backwards from each other.

DSCN2572When I folded the right front over the left front for a girl, I got a nice froggy edge on the right side and half of a froggy edge on the left side, but if I folded the front as you would for a boy, left front on top of the right front, then I had a nice froggy front. So, should I have a poor looking front with half froggy’s and cross the jacket for a girl or have a nice looking front and cross the jacket for a boy? That was the question. This question did not have to be answered right away so I decided to move on.

DSCN3411I did add some thin interfacing to the facings and the collar. The husband thought I was crazy for adding more bulk to the fleece, but I explained to him that was why I was using such thin interfacing. I just wanted something to stabilize the fleece at those spots and keep it from stretching while sewing, particularly when it came time for buttons and buttonholes.

DSCN2074To start the sewing process, I did not read the pattern guide at all. Looking at the pattern pieces, the sewing of this jacket seemed pretty straight forward, So, I just got started. Who needs directions anyway? Am I right? I sewed and pressed the collar, serged the facings edges, folded them over and sewed the facings to the collar. Normally, my next step would be to sew a piece of twill tape to the collars inside edge to finish it and then tacked the facings to the shoulder seams. This pattern has a back facing as well though, and I stopped for a moment as I pondered how I was supposed to sew it on. I then turned to the pattern guide and read that sewing the back facing to the side facings should have been the first step before adding the collar.

Too late now!

DSCN3410I was certainly not unpicking all my sewing that I had done up to this point. My first instinct was to grab my twill tape and just throw away the back facing but then I came up with plan to attach the back facing. After some tedious sewing, I got the back facing sewn on, only to find out that I had sewn it on backwards. The wrong side of the fleece was facing out. Augh! There was no way I was unpicked the back facing just to flip it over. It would just remain backwards. Sometimes, just when you think you know it all, and you certainly know better than some pattern maker and you get ahead of yourself, you find out too late just how wrong you are…

DSCN2080When it came time to sew the pockets, I debated about how to get nice smooth curved pockets since the use of the iron was of limited use with the fleece. I had read about using piping to help curve the pockets so I decided to give it a try. I cut bias strips from yellow cotton scraps and made the piping for the pockets. When it came to sewing the piping to the pocket, I was having trouble starting the bias tape in the fold of the pocket because of the bulk of the fleece. I turned to some liquid stitch for help. I folded the yellow fabric over the top of the cording in the piping and glued it down with the liquid stitch. This gave me a finish at the top of my piping so I did not have to keep tucking it into the fold. I did the same thing at the other end of piping on the other side of the pocket.

DSCN3409I don’t know if I really like the look of the piping at the top of the pockets done this way but it is fine for this time. I think I need to read more on how to start and stop the piping on pockets. The piping did do its job and it helped to curve the edges of the pockets and hold the curve in place as I stitched the pockets on.

Plus, it looks really cute and makes the pockets stand out from the rest of the jacket.

There is a lot more to say about the sewing of this jacket but I’m going to stop here and give you a break from the long list of lessons I was learning on this project. Stay tuned for the finale of this backwards jacket next time!

Until then, sew forth and fleece on!

Simplicity 2480 – The Jacket – Part 4

DSCN0984With the pockets now completed, it was finally time to stitch the jacket! The first step was to insert the zipper. Remembering the lessons that I had learned from inserting the zipper in the little girl’s peplum jacket, this zipper sewed in much easier. And I did not need to move the needle over to sew the zipper on like I did the last time. The only challenge I faced with this zipper was deciding just how long I wanted the zipper to be.

Did I want it to extend into the collar or stop just before the collar? DSCN0807

The pattern called for the zipper to be inserted into the collar, but If I stopped the zipper at the collar, I could attach the collar as I would the collar of a camp shirt, finishing it off with a little twill tape.

If I followed the pattern instead and inserted the zipper into the collar, some hand stitching would be required to finish the collar. Now, you know how much I just “love” hand stitching, so you can guess which plan I was leaning towards, but then I remembered that I was making this jacket to learn so I decided to follow the pattern and insert the zipper into the collar, and then do the required hand stitching. After sewing on the zipper and facings, I hand stitched the edge of the collar to the back of the jacket. This went a lot smoother than I expected it to. I think I did a pretty good job on the hand stitching and that it will hold up with wearing.

Now that it is done I am pleased with the results of how I attached the zipper, collar and facings. DSCN0737Before I started this pattern, I read some pattern reviews for this pattern on the internet and one of the things mentioned about this pattern was that the sleeves were extremely wide. I could see this as I traced the sleeve part of the pattern, so I decided, based on the size of my wrists, to grade 4 inches out of the the width of the sleeves starting at the wrist.

I think the wearer of this jacket will like the thinner sleeves and it saved on fabric. I inserted the elastic at the bottom of the sleeves as the pattern called for. I think that will also help with any extra blousing from the wide sleeves. DSCN0989I interfaced the facings and collar before sewing them on. I just grabbed the first interfacing that I pulled from the stash to use, but I wished later that I would have looked a little closer.

Now, with the interfacing applied and the jacket sewn up, the interfacing that I used is too heavy for the fleece. The heavy interfacing makes the collar stiff so that it only wants to stand up. The heavy interfacing is also a problem at the inseam pockets. Because I used two pieces of fleece to make the pockets, they are already bulky but when I added the heavily interfaced facing on top of the pockets at the bottom of the jacket by the zipper, it is even bulkier.

Lesson learned. DSCN0987

Upon completion, I stared at the jacket and it looked very odd to me. It looked like it would never fit anyone.

It’s was so small in circumference but long in length in both the sleeves and the body of the jacket. Who would have such odd body proportions. Then it dawned on me what I had done. I had made a extra small adult jacket, and not an extra large child’s jacket. Once I figured this out I could finally picture a young slender adult wearing this jacket without any problem. An unforeseen lesson in sizing and fit was learned this time around. Although this jacket may not be perfect, and some of the seams are not very straight, I am still pleased with the end results.

I learned a lot, and it has left me with several ideas and sewing techniques that I want to try and work on in the future. I hope some one will enjoy wearing this jacket and that it will fit them well.

Until next time, sew forth and jacket on!

Simplicity 2480 – Pocket #3 and #4 – Part 3

Version 4As mentioned in a previous post, I had already decided not to make the side in seam pockets with a zipper closure as the pattern had called for, so I set the pattern guide aside and thought up my own plan for sewing these pockets. Most of my ideas came from the in seam side pockets I had sewn in a little kid’s polar fleece jacket several years ago but with a few changes.

The pockets on the kid’s jacket were just one piece which was sewn to the front of the jacket to make the pocket. An open rectangle was sewn at the side seam for the opening of the pocket and then the pocket sewn to the front of the jacket to complete the pocket. The seam attaching the pocket to the jacket was seen on the front of the jacket.

DSCN0768The pattern I was currently working with called for these pockets to be make from two pieces so the pocket is not sewn to the front of the jacket. I liked the idea of not having a visible seam on the front of this jacket. So, to make the opening of the pocket, I placed one piece of the pocket on the front of the jacket, right sides together and sewed, cut and turned the rectangle for the opening. Next, I sewed the second pocket piece to the first pocket piece to complete the pocket.

DSCN0802 (1)The pattern called for the first piece of these pockets to be a lining fabric instead of using two pieces of the fleece. The reason for this was the bulk. It you were using a heavy polar fleece, two pieces would be very bulky, but I was not using polar fleece, my fabric was just a sweatshirt fleece, so I made both sides of these pockets with the same fabric. Two pieces of the fleece didn’t seem that bulky to begin with, but when it was added to a third piece, the front of the jacket, the pocket was then getting a little bulky. It was not so bulky that I was willing to unpick and restitch the pockets but the lesson was learned. Don’t double up fleece when making pockets with it!

With pockets #3 and #4 done now it was time to insert the zipper and finish up the jacket. That’s coming up next so stay tuned.

Until next time, sew forth and in-seam pocket on!

Simplicity 2480 – Pocket #2 – Part 2

Version 3I’ve sewn patch pockets before, so I did not pay much attention to the pattern guide as I sewed on the front patch pockets of this jacket, but when it came to the zippered front pocket, I read and studied the pattern guide throughly. When all was said and done, I wish I had not. Let me explain why.

Per the pattern guide instructions, I traced the cut lines for this zippered pocket onto a piece of interfacing and ironed it to the front of the jacket. Next, I cut on the cutting lines. The next step was to sew the shortened zipper to the small pieces that were made by the cutting lines. Because the pieces were very small, and the zipper was bulky and the fleece had stretch to it, this was not easy. It was difficult to sew a nice straight seam. I worked through it though and finally got the zipper sewn to the front of the jacket.

DSCN0753The next step was to sew the pocket to the zipper. Once again this proved to be a challenge. I had to sew the pocket to the zipper tape and the small cutting line pieces as I held the rest of the jacket out of the way and worked through the bulk and the stretch. My seams were not straight or even on this pocket but I finally finished it. The finished pocket is far from perfect, but it does not look too bad so I decided to call it done.

The reasons that I decided to call this pocket good enough for now was that I had no intentions of sewing another zippered pocket this way again. As I struggled to sew this pocket together, my thoughts drifted to what I had read about welt pockets. Wouldn’t it be easier to have sewn this pocket on like a welt pocket? Yes, I think so.

DSCN0756When I sew another zippered pocket, I will approach it as a welt pocket. I will sew the pocket to the front of the jacket, cut the cutting lines, and turn the pocket to the inside. This will give me a nice rectangle for the zipper. Instead of folding the pocket fabric into a welt at this point, the zipper will be top stitched to the rectangle, then the pocket fabric will be sewn together on the inside as if the welt had be formed and sewn in place.

DSCN0759I’m anxious to try the zippered welt pocket sewing plan that I have thought up to see it my ideas are valid. So, for about one second I did consider taking off the patch pocket and adding another zippered pocket instead. Then I remembered the liquid seam that I had used to finish the patch pocket and decided to leave the patch pocket alone and continue on with the rest of the jacket. My zippered welt pocket plan would have to wait for another project. And with that, it was time to sew pockets 3 and 4 to this jacket, the in seam side pockets. So, stay tuned to see how they turned out in the next post.

Until then, sew forth and zipper pocket on!

Simplicity 2480 – Pocket #1

fabric-comicEven though the peplum jacket finally ended up as a wearable item in the end, it did not follow my current sewing plan of sewing jackets with pockets very well. And since I was wanting to get back to my sewing plans, I turned this time to the pattern stash for ideas and a new pattern to try out. And I found a great one in the Simplicity 2480 pattern. This pattern is for a jacket with several different types of pockets and it fit with my current sewing plans nicely. The only problem I had with this pattern was that it was adult sized. When I try out new sewing techniques and practice them, I prefer to sew children’s sized clothes since it is less wasted time and fabric if it does not work out. But because this pattern fit my current sewing plan so well, I decided to make it in a size XS to minimize any problems. That should be about the right size for a girl in the 7-9 year old range.

IMG_0025Since I still had a lot of the pink fleece left over from the peplum jacket, it was not difficult to pick it as the fabric to use for this jacket. And, since I liked the white zipper in the peplum jacket, it was not difficult to pick another white zipper for this jacket too, and it was even easier to select a white zipper for the front pocket. The pattern called for two more zippers for the side pockets, but I decided to just make them open inseam side pockets and leave the zippers off, so I only needed the one small zipper. With the fabric laundered, the pattern traced and the pieces of the pattern cut from the fabric, it was time to get started sewing the pockets.

DSCN0751The first pocket was the front patch pocket. It was not difficult to sew on but what I learned was that it takes lots of practice to sew on nice looking patch pockets. There is a practiced skill involved in attaching them, and although this pocket did not look too bad on the second try, I still had not quite caught all the edges of the pocket on the curve. I was so close to having caught the edges that rather than unpicking the pocket and trying it again, I just used some liquid seam to seal the edges.

DSCN0802 - Version 2Now, I know this was cheating as far as the sewing plan goes of learning to sew pockets properly, but I felt that unpicking and re-stitching the pocket on would have hurt the plan more. I would have been flustered by the unpicking and restitching process and I would have not wanted to sew pockets anymore. I know this will not be my last patch pocket that I will ever sew on, so I will have a lot of other opportunities to continue to practice and improve my sewing skills of sewing on patch pockets in the future.

With the patch pocket all stitched on the front of the jacket, it was time to start the next pocket, the zippered front pockets. So stay tuned for how the next pocket turned out.

Until then, sew forth and pocket on!