Wednesday, 29 September 2010

Featherweight Cardigan - Finally!

Wow, more than three weeks since I've posted anything.  I have not been terribly creative lately, I am making slow progress on the winter coat (which I have no need of until next May now!) and the corset (even though the class is finished - I promise I will update you on what we learned).  I am just very distracted lately and all my creative energies are occupied elsewhere.  I'll do my best to get back on the horse soon - I find it easier to manage the little stresses of everyday life better when I have an outlet!

In the meantime I finally blocked the Featherweight cardigan and here it is:
I have been a bit 'meh' about this cardigan since I finished it.  On the positive side the shape is nice and it's light and soft.  On the other hand I couldn't get the collar quite right (I cast off loose so it wouldn't seize up but now it's just kind of floppy) and it snags if I even think about a rough surface (I don't know why I imagined it wouldn't be fragile).  I can never work the pulls back into the fabric and it's starting to look a bit moth-eaten already.

Here's the back, you can see what I mean about the collar.
I have been looking forward to making the wispy cardi in the same yarn but a different colourway but now I am not so sure.  I have another project on the go so I don't have to decide right away but I guess my options are
  1. buy another skein of yarn and work two strands together,
  2. make the wispy cardi but substitute a different stitch that won't pull so easily (maybe all over moss stitch?), or
  3. make something else entirely - like a huge lace shawl (and risk looking like a total nanna - not sure I am young and cool enough to pull of the 'casually wrapped handknit lace shawl' look)
So that's where I am at.  I'll try to work on the coat this weekend - I am nearly finished!

Tuesday, 7 September 2010

Floating patch pocket tutorial (picture heavy)

I am so far behind on posting it's ridiculous! My apologies but I have so much going on in my offline life ATM that blogging has fallen down my list a bit. Nothing bad I assure you, just distracting!

So I am foolishly making a winter coat in Spring, as I did a couple of years ago - I know, it's mad but I enjoy making coats. I guess I should move somewhere that I would get more than three months wear out of them a year! For this coat I am using Butterick 5145 - view B, with the pockets.

Today I am going to demonstrate my method of attaching patch pockets so they look like they float - no visible top stitching. I learned this technique from an ancient Australian Stitches magazine (probably at least 8 years ago now) and tried to demonstrate it here, but grey fabric with black lining and a crappy camera don't make it easy! I hope you can follow the process a bit better this time around. One thing I will say about this technique, don't try to understand it ahead of time, make a practice version and it will become clear - seriously it still does my head in to think it through!

These pockets are a little different because of the flap but a little thought allowed me to still attach them invisibly.

The pattern has you cut two pieces from the main fabric, stitch them RS together, turn them out and topstitch on to the coat. I started by cutting two pocket pieces from the main fabric and four from the lining FOR EACH POCKET.

On one of the main fabric pieces measure 2.5cm down from the foldline and cut across. This becomes the part of the flap that shows on the outside, you can discard the rest of the pocket piece. When the pocket is finished, 1.5cm will be on the inside of the pocket (the join is not right on the foldline) and 1cm will be the seam allowance to join it to the lining.

On both lining pieces, measure 0.5cm down from the foldline and cut across. You can discard the upper portions of these pieces and keep the 'bags'.

Join one lining piece to the flap with a 1cm seam allowance and press.

Place this piece RS together with the full pocket piece and stitch around the flap, only above the lining/flap join. Snip into the seam allowance, grade and clip your seams and turn the flap out - press well.

Next press down the 1cm seam allowance on the other lining piece and place it RS together with the lining piece already in place. Baste all three layers together with a long stitch.

Turn in your seam allowances, using the long stitch to draw in the corners and press really well (you will find it easier if there is a distinct edge crease made at this stage). I hand basted everything before pressing so I didn't get pin marks. Trim back your seam allowances to 1cm.

Put the pocket in place on your garment (remember the lining/flap join is not at the foldline).

Put an open-toed foot on your sewing machine and baste the pocket in place using a long, narrow zig zag (I used length 4.0 and width 2.0). With the 'zig' on the pocket edge and the 'zag' off it. Remove your hand basting from the pocket if you haven't done so already!

Now the tricky bit. Open up the pocket so all the layers are in your left hand and the garment is in your right. You can look in and see the folded in seam allowances. You want to get inside with your open-toed foot and sew those seam allowances down to the garment, as close as you can get to the pressed edge. It's a bit tricky, and definitely easier on a larger pocket. For obvious reasons you need a pocket with rounded corners for this technique. Just work your way around, a little at a time until you get to the other edge.

Now since the lining/flap join is 1.5cm down from the fold you will need to secure that last little bit, between the join and the foldline to the body of the coat. I topstitched little rectangles that would take the strain of putting my hands in the pockets. This stitching is the only bit that shows from the outside and it is completely concealed when you fold the flaps down.

All that remains is to secure the loose lining edge to the garment, concealing the seam allowances - this is the really clever bit and looks very nice. I did this by hand invisibly but you could also edgestitch it on the machine. Then give everything a final good press.

Finally sew on the button and you are done. No one else might realise how clever you are but you can feel smug every time you put your hand in that pocket!

I hope you find this useful, I think it give a more formal look to a casual style of pocket.