Friday, April 8, 2011

An un-stylish blogger writes about Vogue 8333

I didn't intend to take a photo of today's outfit, as it was one that I threw together with no intention of looking stylish or put-together.  Purely randomly chosen things.  And I ended up being perversely happy with it.  You know a day where you have a contrary, grumpy, don't-give-a-toss attitude to how you look... and end up feeling sassily funky and pleased with your unglamorous, even weird ensemble.  All these items I threw on today are individually items I have felt ambivalent with lately.  I didn't care what I looked like as I was contemplating a day at home, office-ing, and a little bit of muslin-ing.  Yes, people, I am getting along with my muslin of Vogue 8333 and it is proving a doozy.  Not in a good way.  I've read before about the dangers of OD-ing on your pattern during the muslin stage, and I am in near danger of doing just this... I have nearly finished my muslin, on which I am trying out all the couture techniques explained within that are new to me, and then I will take a short break before starting on my "real" jacket.  A short break during which I will do some quick-fix fun stuff, instant gratification stuff.  Vogue 8333 is emphatically NOT an instant gratification project.

Shirt; Burda 8497, white cotton, details here
Skirt; Vogue 7303, green velveteen, details here
Tights; my own design, details here
Cardigan; Metalicus
Thongs; Mountain Designs

Thank you so much Donna, for giving me this award!

Now, I'm to write 7 things, supposedly about myself, but instead for something different I'm going to write about 7 of the couture techniques I've learnt doing the muslin for Vogue 8333, which I expect will be a lot more interesting.

1. Bridles.  You could be forgiven for thinking Vogue have inadvertently branched out into horse-riding advice, but no, this is still within the realms of dress-making.  The bridles are a pieces of tape hand-stitched onto the roll line of the lapels in couture jacket construction; to both stabilise the fold and also help create a soft fold.  Giddy-up!

2. Pad-stitching.  Is where you do long lines of running stitches laid out in a grid, or a cross-hatching arrangement.  The result is fabric that is a bit stiffer, like it's been quilted.  Well, padded.  Thus the name,  Methinks. When one does this to thick wool fabric with some body one can hide the pad-stitches within the fabric somewhat, making them almost invisible.  When one is trialling pad-stitching on a calico muslin like I did, it looks.... kind of ridiculous.  I don't care.  I will wear my silly looking pad-stitched muslin with pride whence it is done, you'll see.

3. Taming, (the seam allowances).  If you think that sounds a wee bit kinky, well, in the immortal words of... somebody, the best is yet to come.  Taming the seam allowances within a corner involves folding the two edges of the corner down firmly and closely to each other, pressing into submission and hand-stitching down.  One does not, I repeat, NOT trim triangles away from the corners to remove bulk.  Oh yes, I tell you, we are throwing old ideas out the window in wild abandon with this project, die-hard corner trimmers....  NOT SO FAST with those scissors!

4. Spanking the corner;  ooh, yes, I kid you not, fellow seamstresses.  And you thought sewing was for squares, dried up earnest individuals with no excitement in their lives... well, little did we know about all that "spanking" going on in those couture workrooms!  The Vogue 8333 instructions recommended something called a "clapper", not owning one of these intriguing sounding tools I used a wooden spatula instead.

5. Fell-stitching.  Well.  Having not done fell-stitching before I googled it and found a little tutorial.  And discovered that I had been fell-stitching, like, only all my life, believing myself to be slip-stitching.  Who knew?  A subtle little distinction...

6. Hand-finished buttonholes.  Hold your horses, before one steamrolls ahead and starts hand-stitching one's buttonholes, the instructions specify to first wax, and then press the thread.  Yes, press the thread.  Another first.  Has anyone else out there, and I mean anyone, ever ever pressed their thread before?  Hmmm?  Been using un-pressed thread for your buttonholes?  Faaail...

7. Not necessarily a couture technique, but the instructions recommended that once the collar is turned out, and if you are not ready to sew it to the neckline, in order to keep the roll-line nicely folded and in order pin it to a tailor's ham and set aside.  I couldn't resist giving it a little face...

Now to give the award to 7 other stylish bloggers, (and please, there is no obligation whatsoever to do this... if you hate blogger awards then feel free to ignore this and don't hate me)
Darci, of Darcidoodle-do
Liza Jane, of lizajanesews
Steph, of 3 Hours Past the Edge of the World
Magda, of magdamagda design studio
Patty, of the snug bug
Bernice; of Raindrops and Bellyflops
Denise, of dame design studio


  1. Ach, blogger hasn't been wanting me to leave comments on your blog of late it seems. My goodness, the doings at your house ...! I bet you are having fun learning these new techniques. Not clipping corners?! And still them not being bulky? Very interesting.

    So do your socks really take 20 hours to knit a pair? I might not be as slow as I think, then. I've been working away on the christmas hats and goose and KEvin's are done; I'm working on mine now. I'm thinking in the next several years there will be alot of waiting and watching his things so I will have opportunity to keep my hands busy. I wish sewing were as portable! Anywho, the other day I was even contemplating knitting a sweater (for goose, of course, but still ...! ,gasp)

    Hope you enjoy the cooler weather. I'm not looking forward to our hot months, but we're hardly ever sick in the summer and we can swim every day, so that's good. And it's still spring .... I know in the fall whenever the highs finally fall below 90 or so we feel like we ought to spend all day at the park - it just seems so nice and cool!

  2. ...pressing thread. shock, awe and befuddlement.

  3. Funny stuff! Good luck with your jacket.

  4. Sounds like fun! I look forward to following along, as I want to make a hand-tailored jacket soon. I've found a 40's pattern that seems deserving of all that treatment!

  5. while i do love reading random things about bloggers, that was a rather fun twist! such a lot of new techniques... and on a muslin - not surprised you need a break :)

  6. Don't cut the corners?! I don't understand!

  7. Thanks for the award, I'm inspired to do my own 7 list, not about private stuff but about couture. Nice jacket, and anyway the pad-stitching wouldn't show unless you flip up the lapels, right?

  8. I love those leggings! And I am excited to see that jacket :)

    Thanks for the comment on the dress---I realized after the fact I should've given you a heads up about the question post, but then I got distracted, and then I had pretty much made up my mind anyway so I just went for it :)

  9. I love the face. It gave me a much needed giggle.

  10. Thanks for the award! I have those days too...throwing together an outfit....especially with all the rain we have been having....makes me feel like not getting dressed up at all!

  11. I bet your jacket will be fabulous. I love your 7 things list, too. Thanks so much for the award!

  12. Beautiful! Sometimes improvised genius out ..... love your suit, it looks cool!

  13. thank you so much for the award! I'll prodly display it on my blog along with my next post and let's see what else! Love your idea of making a Vogue tip list! I'm thinking maybe.. a "7 items I haven't finished" list... hopefully I'll change my mind...

    the pressing thread is an mmmintreresting tip!

  14. Just came across your blog and am enjoying reading it. And yes, I wax and press my thread all the time! You will be amazed at how much easier it is to use thread that has been waxed and pressed. The heat from the iron melts the wax into the thread and stiffens it a little bit. It doesn't tangle nearly as much.

  15. I too have just found your blog and am enjoying it. Interested in the technique you describe for taming seam allowances and was wondering if there was a reference you used for that?