Monday, May 25, 2015

Hubby's Jean Jacket

I finished the twill jacket for my hubby a few weeks ago and now I can finally share it. I was just too busy to blog about it. I've been busy planting my veggie garden and doing other spring chores. And I haven't had much time for sewing... sigh.

Anyways, the jacket was a lot of work, but it turned out pretty great. I couldn't find any good men's jean jacket patterns, so I had to do a rub off of my hubby's favourite jacket.

The original jacket is all grey. But, my husband wanted something fun and picked out the orange twill to go with the grey twill.

The front of the jacket has welt breast pockets and two lower in-seam side pockets. I used large buttons with orange thread to tie the grey/orange look together.

The side panels and back arm pieces are in orange.

The sleeves have plackets, which I am really proud of. The fabric was really thick, so smashing it with a hammer really helped in those areas.

On the inside you can see that I used orange on the inside cuffs and the inside bottom band. The collar stand is orange on both sides.

Since this is an unlined jacket, the pockets were a challenge. The upper pockets are made with one layer of fabric with serged edges. The pocket piece is then top-stitched to the jacket around the welt opening to make the pocket. The lower pockets use two layers of fabric to create the in-seam pocket. I made the inner pocket piece layer (that can't be seen) with poplin, so that it wasn't too thick. These pockets are then held into place by being top-stitched along the top edge to the jacket and the far sides are sewn into the button bands.

The hardest part of making the jacket was copying my husband's old jacket. Everything would have been faster if I had a pattern to work from. However, it did make fitting much easier, since the original was a good fit.

I'll try to get a few pictures of my husband wearing the jacket, since it looks much better on him than on a hanger.

Friday, April 24, 2015

More Jacket Adventures

I'm working on another jacket - yes, another one! This time, it's for my husband. His favourite twill jacket is falling apart and so I'm doing my best to copy it.

I did a quick search for men's jacket patterns that were similar enough to his existing jacket and found nothing. So, I had to make a pattern by copying the jacket. I was able to trace and measure a lot of it on brown packing paper. However, the sleeves were much more difficult. What mostly worked for me was to pin Swedish tracing paper to the sleeve as best I could and then trace the seams.

It's been a lot of work to create a rub-off version of the existing jacket. It would have been easier if I could have cut up the existing jacket, but my hubby does not want to part with it (sigh...).

The acutal sewing has been a lot more fun. My hubby chose grey and orange cotton twill. I used orange on the side panels for some interesting contrast.

There's a lot more to do, but I'm making some good progress. I'm definitely using a lot of my skills from sewing previous jackets and shirts (since there is no lining) to put it all together.

Hopefully, I will finish it in a few days and will have some better pictures to share.

Thursday, April 16, 2015

Body Shaping in the Spiffy Raglan Sweater Calculator

This is a quick tutorial on how the Spiffy Raglan Sweater Calculator handles body shaping. The Calculator was set up with an hourglass shape as the standard, which is typical for most women's sweater patterns. This means that when knitting from the bust to the waist there are decreases and then there are increases from the waist to the hip area.

If you are this shape, the pattern will have instructions like this for between the bust and waist:

I have updated the Calculator to better handle other types of shaping, too. For example, if you have no difference between your bust and waist measurements, the pattern will now show something like this:

And if you have a larger waist than bust, the pattern will tell you to increase. For example:

[Note: earlier versions of the Calculator may show errors if you don't use the standard shaping. Please email me if you need the most up-to-date version.]

Now, the pattern is easier to use for men and women, children and adults.

Other Shaping Notes

You may notice that there are typically two sets of increases or decreases in the pattern. For example, "Decrease every 7 rows 1 times. Then, decrease every 8 rows 4 times". The Calculator uses the 'Magic Formula' in order to evenly spread the decreases and not cause rounding. I wanted the final sweater to be as close to the target measurements as possible.

If you have a very large bra cup size, consider moving some of the back body sts to the front (about an inch or two worth of sts) when dividing stitches along the neckline.

The pattern body shaping is placed along the sides. If you made the above bust adjustment and/or want to try a different method of body shaping, consider moving the front increases/decreases to 1/4 of the way in from the sides and the back increases/decreases to 1/3 of the way from sides.

That's it! I hope this results in some very nicely fitting sweaters out there!

If you want to download the Calculator, you can find it here.

Saturday, April 11, 2015

Spiffy DIY Dog Bed

I made a new bed and crate liner for my new puppy. It turned out pretty well, so I though I would share what I did with everyone.

Above is the finished bed. Recognize the fabric? It was the fabric I bought for my Spring Minoru and ended up not using. One good thing about projects like these, is that you can often use things you find in your stash.

My puppies current bed is too small for him. When he is sprawled out, only half of his body is actually on the bed. So, a new bed was a must.

I measured his crate (which is where he sleeps at night) and the floor was 11" x 20". I also knew that I wanted the sides to come up about 5". I used a 1/2" seam allowance and cut the following pieces:

  • 12" x 21" out of the inside (flannel) and outside (cotton twill) fabric
  • Two 6" x 21" side pieces out of the outside fabric and two 6.75" x 21" of the lining fabric (the inside pieces are made 3/4" taller)
  • One 3" x 12" front piece out of the outside fabric and one 3.75" x 12" of the lining
  • One 6" x 12" back piece out of the outside fabric and one 6.75" x 12" of the lining

This is what the side, front, and back pieces look like:

I sewed the seams of the outside side pieces all together, but left one seam open (seen in the picture above). This allowed my to use it as a template to cut out some quilt batting. I also used one of the bottom pieces to do the same. I cut two layers of batting for the bottom to make it extra comfy.

Once you have cut your batting, you can go back to your side pieces and sew all the seams together. You should end up with two loops of fabric - one for the inside and one for the outside.

I didn't take a picture of it, but next you would sew the top seam of the two loops and the batting together. Then, you can stitch in the ditch along the corner seams to make defined corners. Make sure the bottom edges are even as you do this.

You should now have something that looks like a loop with four pockets. Add some batting - enough to make nice side pillows, but not so much that the next few steps become too hard.

Baste the bottom edges together. You should now have something that looks like a dog bed without a bottom.

Pin and then baste the outside bottom piece to the sides.

With the pillow side up, sew the bottom lining piece to the bed. Make sure to leave an opening that you can pull everything through. Below is my bed pinned together before sewing.

Before you flip it right-side out, baste the batting to the bed. If everything is now too thick for you to do this, you can add the batting after, you just might not be able to get it in the corners as easily.

Trim the excess seam allowance and flip right-side out. All you have left to do now is sew up the hole. I hand stitched mine closed.

That's it! You should now have a dog bed. Here is the bed in the crate. (And, yes, in case you are wondering - I was crazy enough to pattern match my plaid. Like my dog would notice...).

This make a bed with soft pillowy sides. To make one with sturdier sides, you might have to use more layers of batting or even some foam. 

Thursday, April 9, 2015

Tracking Pattern Calculator Updates

I've made a few updates to my Spiffy Raglan Sweater Calculator and realized I didn't include version information for people to see what the latest version is. So, starting from now on, the Calculator has a version date on the top right of the first tab (the Introduction Tab).

The most recent version date will be posted in my shop listing and on the Ravelry entry.

I will continue to improve the Calculator as I get feedback from other knitters. So, if you have the Calculator and want to know if you have the most recent version, check there. If your version is out of date, just contact me and I'll provide you with the spiffiest version.

I plan on making some new calculators soon and they will be for sewing - stay tuned!