Thursday, May 12, 2022

Anatomy of a Silk Blouse

 In celebration of my milestone birthday this May, I made myself a silk version of one of my favorite designer vintage patterns--Vogue 1693 by Issey Miyake. All my previous versions were sewn using linen. Unlike linen, silk requires some special handling. So I thought I'd share some of the techniques I used in the construction of this special garment!


OOP Vogue 1693


Silk charmeuse digitally printed panel from Mood Fabrics.

Fabric cutting. 

The goal is to be able to handle silk's slippery nature:

*Stabilize. 

I laid out tissue paper over my cutting mat  to use underneath the silk fabric to be cut. 



*Immobilize. 

Normally I am fine with just using pattern weights when cutting out my fabric but in the case of silk, I use lots and lots of pins to hold the fabric to both pattern paper and tissue paper. I also make sure to pin only within the seam allowance to avoid showing permanent holes in the fabric. 


*Cut. Be it rotary blade or shears, make sure the tools are sharp. 


This Kai (7240AS) shears have micro-serrated blades that really handle all kinds of fabrics very well including silk. A bit pricey but worth the investment. 




Underlining.

Depending on the pattern, one may want to improve the body or drape of a silk fabric and in my case, I did so using silk organza. I followed the same principles to cut my silk organza and immediately hand basted the pieces to the main fabric pieces to minimize distortion with frequent handling. 


Fabric prep.

Silk tends to fray a lot so to avoid this, I used overcasting stitches all around the raw edges of each cut fabric, catching the underlining with it. I decided not to use the serger because I thought this would add unnecessary bulk. 


The overcasting stitch style I used on my sewing machine. 

An exampled of the finished edge. 



View from the underlining side. 

Fabric Sewing.



Visible underneath the white silk organza is the center back seam which I sewed using French seam. The pattern called for a flat felled seam but I thought French seam was more appropriate for my fabric. 


View of the side seams/lower side facing, all handsewn to the underlining. 


View of the armhole facing hand sewn to the underlining.


View of the hem. For this, I made sure to catch the main fabric when sewing the hem stitches to "anchor" the underlining in place. 


And now for some photos of the finished garment...










































Wednesday, March 2, 2022

OkiStyle Paris Coat

Although I now mostly sew garments for myself, every now and then I embark on some selfless sewing and the most recent one was a birthday gift to my husband. After browsing through a number of men's coat patterns, I found a really unique design which I showed to him beforehand for approval and now he is the proud owner of an OkiStyle Paris coat!



I have written a very detailed review of the pattern at SewingPatternReview.com. This post is a supplement that features some construction highlights and photos that I could not fit in the review. It is not meant as a tutorial at all since the PDF pattern already includes step-by-step photo guided instructions. It is sold at Etsy under Okistyle Patterns. (Note: I am not an affiliate, just an admirer!)

Fabrics & Notions


The main fabric was cashmere wool coating purchased from Stonemountain & Daughter. It was napped so the first thing I did before laying out my pattern pieces was to feel the nap and mark the direction with a small masking tape tacked to the fabric. I cut my pattern pieces on a single layer, right side up.   

For lining, I used this burgundy colored map print Cupro Bemberg lining from Bias Bespoke. It was the perfect lining weight for a coat. 



I didn't want to use fusible interfacing on wool cashmere so I invested in some quality sew-on interfacing in the form of hair canvas which I bought from Emma One Sock. This one was the lightweight version and contained wool, horsehair and viscose. To use them I just sewed them to the main fabric within the seam allowances, similar to how one sews an underlining. 


For zipper, I went with a two-way separating zipper so hubby could easily unzip from the bottom when needed like while driving. It's size 5 antique brass purchased from Zprz.com.  




The pattern called for a single button closure on the collar. I opted for snap-on closure and found this  beautiful sew-on snap that looked like buffalo horn but is actually high quality strong plastic from Bias Bespoke. 


Construction Highlights 

Single welt flap pockets on the coat's front panel:

These are the flaps. One is shown with right side out and the other wrong side out. The flap is interfaced with the hair canvas. Unlike the 5/8" seam allowances that I used on the coat, I used 3/8" on this one to match the width of the pocket opening as marked on the pattern. 

Above you can see the placement and cutting  lines for the pocket which  I machine basted. The size of the seam allowance on both sides of the center line is 3/8". 


The pocket lining was basted to the coat along the placement lines. The long straight edge of the pocket matched the raw straight edge of the coat piece. 


Cutting the pocket lining/coat layer. 



Here is a short clip showing how the pocket flap was inserted between the pocket lining and coat. 

A view of the cut area from the wrong side of the coat.

This is the view from the lining side. 

Understitching the area between the coat and the pocket lining.


After the flap was pulled out to the right side. 

Zipper:

One part of the separating zipper sewn on the left lapel of the coat. I made sure the zipper top stop cleared the 5/8" seam allowance so I would not run into trouble later on when it's time to sew the c collar.
 

 
The left front piece attached to the left lapel over the zipper. 
For topstitching I used the "triple stitch" no. 9 on my regular sewing machine (Juki F600) using the widest stitch setting. 


Back Vent: 

To understand what I did with the center back vent, let me show first some photos of the finished area. 

View of the back vent from the right side. 

View of the vent from the wrong side.  The lining was hand sewn to the main fabric using catchstitches. Before that could be done, I had to finish the main fabric vent first. 

I mitered the corners around the vent. This one is on the left side which is the overlapping side of the vent. It has a narrower vertical seam allowance. 

This one is on the right side. 

The lining pinned to the main fabric before being hand sewn. 

Close-up of Details:

The fashion side:

Pardon the underexposure as it was the only way to show the detail clearly on black fabric. The collar is asymmetrical with the right side being longer and having a sort of "tab" extension. 


Showing off the pretty snap on the collar. 

A view of the separating zipper. 





The pocket. 

The lower cut away front. 

The back yoke. 

The smooth sleeve cap. 


Flat lay view of the coat. 

The inside:

Flat lay view of the front lining/facing. 

Closer look at the front lining with the facing. 

Flat lay view of the back lining with the center back pleat and vent. 


The special labels. "Tinahi ko ito" is a Tagalog sentence which means "I sewed this."

The lining hem constructed with a jump pleat. 

Junction of lining hem and front facing. Area was sewn down to the coat hem and then the rest of the lining hem sewn with a jump pleat as shown in previous photo. 

Modeling Shots

Views with collar and zipper closed.







Views with collar unsnapped. 








Back View:



A view showing that the coat can also be worn unzipped. 




That's it! Hope you enjoyed this photo-heavy post. Hubby loves the coat and cannot wait to wear it. Just when he has a cozy wool coat to enjoy, it suddenly turned summer in the middle of winter in our neck of the woods!