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Guest Garment

September 5th, 2012 6 comments

I’ve been a bad blogger; I’ve been sewing, and there are items in my queue going back to April, but life has interfered, and computer glitches mean that I’ve also lost access to a lot of images. Sigh. One day, I’ll get things back on track.

In the meantime. I’d like to share this marvelous coat, made by Sandra V. It’s the Au Bonheur des Petites Mains 20013.  (The company, sadly, no longer exists.)  Sandra has done a fantastic job with this pattern, and I’m thrilled to share her version here, with her permission, as she doesn’t have a blog.

Here’s Sandra’s finished coat. You might think it looks a bit like my version — which is correct, sort of — but a look at the details tells a different story.  Sandra’s taken similar elements, and made a very different, really wonderful coat!

Here’s the back view:

And the hood:

Sandra’s used two beads and a bar on the adjustable line on the hood. I love the way she’s made a utilitarian feature into something so attractive.

A similar bead turns up on the sleeves, along with a leather button:

Sandra’s welt pockets are trimmed in leather (tricky, and a beautiful job!):

Love, love, love Sandra’s closures!  She’s used unmatched leather buttons (tying in with her pocket trim, of course), and beads across the front:

Sandra’s collar is a lot softer than mine, and it’s a marvelous look.

One element both versions share is the combination of a rather traditional fabric with the quite-untraditional Au Bonheur styling; the combination is absolutely great . . . as is the opportunity to change things up with creative closures and accents.

Sandra’s in Australia; it’s still cool enough in spring that she’ll be able to wear her coat a bit before the summer arrives. Temperatures are still very high where I am, but Sandra’s version of this wonderful coat has me longing to wear mine.

Categories: ABdPM, Coats/Capes/Wraps Tags:

ABdPM 40033: Tank Dress With Contrast Skirt

April 10th, 2012 10 comments

This is another pattern from the wonderful French company Au Bonheur des Petites Mains.  Here’s my dress:

And here’s ABdPM’s version (from their defunct website)::

This pattern didn’t come in the box-style case of my previous ABdPM patterns; instead there was a folder in a cello sleeve:

The folder isn’t as much fun as the box, but the folder is really a lot more practical, and probably a bunch cheaper to mail to North America than the previous packaging was.  The post on patterns from other continents tends to be terribly expensive, even for lightweight stuff.

I’d thought, from seeing it on the Au Bonheur website, that the skirt must be a balloon-type, but the pouf at the hem is made using a gore on the left side with a deep dart in it,  cutting the rest of the skirt asymmetrically,  then tucking up the lower edge.  There’s a button on the lower right that holds the lifted hem in place.  It’s the button to the right, above.

Here’s the back view (at an odd angle, sorry, but you can see the fullness of the skirt better this way):

Once I got oriented, this dress was actually simple to construct.  There’s a bodice, a mid-skirt, a lower skirt, and a triangular gore on the left side.    Assembly is pretty basic,  just attaching each layer to the next, so there really aren’t any serious sewing challenges here.

However, there are a few other oddities — like, what on earth is this side of the skirt supposed to do?

The bodice drops below the waist on one side in a sort of a prong shape; you join the front and back here, and then the mid section of the skirt. And then .  .  . major drooping.  It wasn’t interesting, it was just limp.  Is it me?  Is it the pattern?  I don’t know , but I’m very happy with the fix, which was to pull up the droop, form a tuck, and tack a button to hold it  in place:

I liked the result, and it looks a whole lot better worn than the peculiar droop — although maybe the “prong” would have worked if my lower skirt were a more stable woven?  (Which is actually what the pattern calls for, so this result is probably squarely on my fabric choice.)

I used a third strategic button.  This version was meant as a sort of a muslin (when will I learn?), and I assembled it entirely on my serger.   So I didn’t baste where many seams met at the side — and I hate mis-matched seams!  It was only off by a very little bit, but no way was I going to unpick the serging, though, so I disguised the problem with a button:

This is the triangular insert on the left side.

Directions are sketchy, even if you read French, and the trickiest part is figuring out which pieces you cut from which fabric.  ABdPM uses a knit for the top section, a “fantasie” woven contrast for the main part of the skirt, and a solid woven for the smaller/lower skirt pieces.

I used a lycra/rayon knit for both the top and the smaller/lower  pieces, and a chiffon for the draped panels, underlying it so that the skirt wouldn’t be transparent.

I still have no idea how ABdPM means to have the armholes and neck finished — at one point, the directions just say “finish the garment”!  — and I decided to use bias tape.  I’m not happy about it; next time I’ll line the bodice instead.  At one time I could do anything at all with bias tape, but with several permanently damaged fingers I don’t quite have the control I used to.  Bah!

The armhole is quite deep; too deep for me, and unfortunately I didn’t notice this in time to cut it correctly.  I wear humungo-bras instead of cute little French ones, so I ended up adding inserts to raise the edge of the dress.  It’s not something I would normally recommend, but I think I got away with it on this dress.

Another fit note:  Before the hem is tucked up, the dress is very long.  The longest point nearly touched the floor when the dress was on my dummy, which is just a little taller than I am.   I was highly dubious when I realized just how long it really was, though I love the final result.

ABdPM patterns are printed without seam allowances; I put a non-woven, sheer grid over the pattern and traced my seam allowances onto the grid, marking any additional information I needed about each pattern piece as I went.  I used the non-woven pattern pieces as a muslin, and then used them to cut out my fabric.

Anyone sews with Au Bonheur patterns will find  Shams’ glossary to be very helpful; she’s the go-to person for ABdPM info.  Read it through, and refer to it, and you’ll be able to figure out most of what you need to know; Google Translate is helpful, too, but you may need some background in French to work things out if you’re not a relatively experienced sewist.

Sadly, Au Bonheur apparently went out of business in 2011.  I’m glad that I bought a slew of their patterns as soon as they were available — that’s a good rule of thumb when buying from independent pattern companies whose lifespan may be short.

Categories: ABdPM, Dresses Tags:

Storing Au Bonheur Patterns

April 30th, 2011 5 comments

The last batch of Au Bonheur des Petites Mains patterns didn’t come in the marvelous card envelopes in which my first order arrived.   (See the sturdy envelope here; it’s at the end of the post.)  The newest ones came in a folder in side an over-sized cello sleeve.  Perfect to cut shipping costs, and to display the sprightly graphics, but not so good for long-term storage.

These are patterns I intend to treasure for a long time, so I needed something more practical.  First, I ended up laminating the outside folder: front, inside front, and back.  I do this at home, using a box of lamination sheets from an office supply store.

Then I attached a large catalog envelope to the blank page on inside back of the folder.  This gives me a place to store the original pattern, my traced pattern, translations and notes — although I can also write notes on the catalog envelope, too.

The catalog envelopes have a self-stick flap, so I removed a small section from the center of the flap, and use it to close the envelope.  The sticky stuff adheres to the lamination without damaging anything, and the flap can be re-stuck over and over again.

Au Bonheur patterns are printed on lovely, large, sturdy sheets and this is a relatively compact way of storing them while keeping them completely accessible.  The new folder/envelope combination fits nicely into the magazine files I keep in my sewing room, right at hand, just where I want my ABdPM patterns to be.

Categories: ABdPM, Tips Tags:

ABdPM 60021: Pull A Col Revers “Muslin”

April 18th, 2011 12 comments

I used the wrong fabric, and so the garment’s a fail.  But the pattern isn’t, and now I know how to put it together.  Hey, that’s what a “muslin” is all about, right?

Here’s the picture on the Au Bonheur des Petites Mains website:


Cute, isn’t it?  It’s a “pull” or sweater (or maybe a “pullover sweater” — I’m not up on current French slang).  It’s a pretty simple-seeming pattern — back, sleeves, a decorative pleat in front where the two sides overlap.

This pattern’s been out since 2009, and I’ve only been able to find two other examples of it made up.  One was turned into a cardigan, and the other is a blog post with no notes at all.  (I’ve noticed that this is often the case with many French bloggers.)  That seems particularly strange since it’s relatively simple to put together, and it’s so darn cute.  Here’s my “muslin”:

This “pull” is meant to be made from a thicker sweater knit.  My fabric is “mystery composition” from Jomar, and I’m pretty sure it’s full of wool of the acryl.  It loves itself, and sticks together as if it’s made of hook and loop tape. See those sleeves?  They’re stuck that way.  Icky, really.

The material did have a nice hand on the bolt, and I assumed, wrongly, that it had a lot more rayon than it seems to.  Nevermind, it has served its purpose.

The pattern directions are almost non-existent, but they’re not really  needed.  Basically, they say to sew the shoulder seams together, and then attach the sleeves, sewing in one long seam under the arm and along the sides.

Then you are supposed to place the right front on the left front, and stitch down from point A on the pattern, matching the center front lines as marked on the pattern.  This is a less than perfect instruction due to vague lines that are the same for all sizes, and no matching points A.  On the other hand, it’s not difficult to figure out what’s meant.

This stitching line does not show on the line drawing that comes with the pattern, nor is it shown on the website.  However, if you look closely, I think you can see a hint of its existence.. The knit fabric is supported vertically to the left (as you look at the photo) of the angled flange.  (And, by the way, the asymmetry of the hem is far more exaggerated on the pattern than in the drawing, too.  That point is actually quite far left.)

On Stitcher’s Guild it was mentioned that it looked as if the model garment were pinned to the form underneath; it’s not.  That center front stitching line is what keeps the garment together.  This line would presumably completely disappear in the correct, bulkier fabric.

Though it’s actually pretty hard to see even in this thin solid.  You probably just barely can see the vertical stitching line to the left of the pleat.

Then you make a pleat, matching two lines that are not of corresponding lengths, and stitch along where the lines join.  Folding the right collar at the top of this pleat gives this top its distinctive style.  Although the directions have you make the pleat after stitching the front down, I found it easier to reverse the two steps, and form the pleat first.

The pleat is folded in toward the garment; that’s not stated in the directions, but it’s the only way to get the same look as in the line drawing.  I stitched-in-the-ditch to keep this pleat in place; without this additional step, all definition was lost due to my thin fabric.  I’m not sure it would be necessary in a sweater knit.

The neck, front, lower, and sleeve edges are left unfinished, or finished as you please (lettucing, etc.).  I used tape to stay the left neck edge and the back neck — a colossal mistake, as you can see.  These edges do need support, but clear elastic would have been a better choice.  Or maybe I just did this badly; by the time I reinforced the neck, I knew this was probably something I wouldn’t wear.

As previously mentioned, the back hem is far more asymmetrical than the line drawing indicates, and it also doesn’t work at all in this clingy fabric, since it just sticks wherever it lands.  If I ever wear this top, I’ll have to cut away the dip in the back hem.

If I were attempting this in another lightish knit, I’d probably cut the shoulders a bit narrower, as my dummy is larger than I am, and this is pushing the limits on the large end of my personal scale.  This size would probably be just right for a sweater, though.

Here’s the cardigan version, from the French blog Passion Plaisir in wool:

She hasn’t sewn the pleat in; she’s created the effect with a pin, and she’s not sewn the center vertical line, either, of course.  It makes a very nice cardigan, doesn’t it?  You can see in this example, as well in Au Bonheur’s model, how much better the thicker knits work.

The verdict:  Pattern success; execution fail.  I’ll bring this pattern out again in the fall, once I’ve found a bulky knit I like, preferably in lovely, luscious wool.

Categories: ABdPM, Tops Tags:

Five More Versions of ABdPM 20013

February 18th, 2011 4 comments

I found five amazing versions of my Au Bonheurs des Petites Mains jacket while tooling around amongst French blogs.   Here’s what the pattern looks like when it arrives from ABdPM:

I’m not sure I’ve got sorted out whose coat is whose, but I’m giving it a shot here anyway.  You can see all of these on Passion Plaisir, with links to the others.  For some reason, canalblog (the French blogging site) doesn’t let me pick up perma-links, so you’ll have to scroll down on each blog to 7 December or 3 December, 2010, to see the images.

So that  you can drool in the meantime, here is a fake (I think) leather version by Danielle, of Passion Plaisir:

and a brown faux sheepskin version,  that goes to the knee (Danielle removed the center front panels for this one, as well as lengthening the coat):

Sophie, who blogs at Phisso, made this blue version, just for fun, with fake fur lining the hood, and white fleece lining the body:

Sophie also made this white version, which is really stunning:

Sophie’s blog has really detailed pictures of the white version, and quite a few of the blue one.

Danyelle, of So Girly, made a gray quilted version, long like Danielle’s faux mouton:

It looks as if she may have removed the center front panel, too, but I can’t be sure, since I can’t see most of the images on So Girly.

As a refresher, here’s mine:

I’ve got another one planned for spring, that isn’t like any of these.  What a great pattern — you can take it in any direction you might imagine!

It seems that I got the hem right, after all, as Sophie’s jackets also have the short center panels that I worried were a mis-calculation on mine.  And there’s not a bubble hem among this batch, so it’s probably safe to say that the swing-like flair of this pattern is intentional.

I loved seeing these; there’s some really interesting stuff going on out there in ABdPM-land.

The website for Au Bonheur des Petites Mains is here; click on “Modèle pour femme” and then follow the “Patrons de veste” link to find this pattern.

I wonder how many more of these I could turn up if ABdPM didn’t have such an odd numbering system?

Related: See all my Au Bonheur des Petites Mains posts by clicking here or on the ABdPM category in the right-hand column on this page.

Categories: ABdPM, Jackets Tags:

ABdPM 20013: C’est Fait!

December 5th, 2010 16 comments

This pattern, my first Au Bonheurs des Petites Mains, was all about experimentation, and it has been a wonderful experience all around.  Not to mention that I love, love, love this jacket!

The lower fastener is drooping a bit; I didn’t catch it when I took the photo.  This is probably due to the fact that the dummy isn’t fully dressed beneath the coat.  It doesn’t seem to do this on me; if it did, of course, it would be an easy matter to tighten up the elastic.

The first part of the experiment was translating the directions from the original French, an effort that was not wholly successful.  Then I changed some things that may or not have been addressed by the instructions (it was hard to tell).

There were all kinds of fun challenges along the way, every one of which was even more interesting because constructing this pattern involved thinking that was so different from my usual methods and approaches.  Now that it’s finished, I’m still not sure exactly how it’s meant to be made!

I think, for example, that  this jacket is meant to have elastic strung through the hem, giving it a slight “bubble” effect.  I didn’t do this; I think this makes my jacket longer than ABdPM’s, a length I prefer.  Skipping this step also gives my jacket an A-line shape, kind of like an abbreviated “swing” jacket, which I like very much.

Choosing the closures was a whole adventure of its own.  In the end, I strung ceramic beads on oval elastic.  Loops on each end go around filigreed metal buttons:

So that I don’t lose them, these fasteners are attached on one side, under the buttons.

The cuffs are caught up by elastic that loops over slightly smaller buttons:

I love the curve of the yoke on the back, and the big, wacky hood:

The hood is wonderfully, insanely, bizarely huge:

It’s kind of Grim Reaper, isn’t it?  But you wouldn’t wear it this way, of course.  To wear it,  you’d turn the front half of the hood back, which works perfectly, and is necessary if you expect to see where you’re going. Amazingly, the back part of the hood fits my head perfectly, and it stays in place very nicely even in a brisk wind.

This is a faux facing that I added so that I’d have a firm anchor for the chain, and a showcase for the ABdPM label:

The vertical line below the facing is the pleat I added to the lining.  It’s sewn closed under the facing, and below the waist to the hem.  Did you note the label?


One comes with every pattern  — it’s a superb finishing touch!

Here’s the comprehensive list of what I changed:

  • did not use contrast for hood and front bands
  • lengthened jacket by about an inch; did not elasticize hem which probably made for another inch or two increase
  • made my own lining pattern; added center pleat for wearing ease; cut back lining all-in-one instead of separate yoke piece
  • made welt pockets instead of using welt-trimming on each pocket edge
  • added loops for hidden security pockets

The elastic closures on this jacket mean that it will always shift a bit in wearing, as you can see here:

This jacket is really easy to wear, and the shifting doesn’t bother me a bit; it’s just part of how “free” this coat feels.  However, it would be simple to add a button or two on the inside, or to replace the elastic cords with, say, flaps and toggles, if that’s what you preferred.  That would make the coat look much more conventional, but it would keep the front in place.

Aside from the closure and the hood, there is one other unusual thing about this jacket. The wide front bands are not at the center of the jacket.  Instead, they overlap each other completely; the seams where the bands join the front of the jacket are actually right at the center front, so there’s a double (really quadruple) layer down the front.  Very nice in cold weather!

Although he likes this coat, Mr. Noile says that the elastic toggle on the top of the hood looks silly.  And it does, when it’s sticking up straight.  You can’t really see that here (or even the toggle itself, but I’m a little burnt out on photos here), but here’s how the hood looks in back when the elastic is drawn up:

It would be easy enough to put the toggle at the other end of the elastic, near the curve of the hood if you preferred.  I don’t mind it all at all — it is covered by the fold when the hood is up, and is unobtrusive when the hood’s down.

The pattern itself is well-drafted, although there was a minor issue at the front center neck, easily seen and resolved before cutting.  I didn’t care for the “use the exterior pattern pieces for the lining” instructions, so I made my own lining pattern, which was easy enough to do.

Then there’s this curious anomaly:  ABdPM calls for a contrast fabric for the hood/bands.  I skipped this, because if I’d used their pattern piece, the outside of the hood would have been in this contrast fabric.  But look at the ABdPM photograph:

You can hardly see it, but under that top fastener is a seam.  A seam that would have allowed using the contrast as a simple lining for the front band only, not for a one-piece band-and-hood.  Hmmmm.  Looks as if a little something got left on the drawing board.  It would be easy enough to alter the pattern to allow this small change, and much nicer than having the contrast as the exterior of the hood.  I can’t find any reference to this seam in the printed pattern, but that could be a language issue.

I had two minor problems while making this:  One was inserting the elastic into the hood, which was due, at least in part, to the thickness of my fabric, but might have been easier if I’d fully understood the French directions.

The second had to do with the hood/front band pieces:  When I lengthened the body of the jacket, I lengthened the band as well, but something went wrong, and the band ended up an inch shorter than the body. Here’s the bottom of the bands, with the lower edges of the fronts lined up.  (The band’s the fuzzy part.):

I could have fixed this by simply shortening the jacket, but, as it is, I’d probably make the next one two inches longer than this one.  It would be more flattering, for example, if the hem didn’t hit right at the widest part of my hips, so shortening was not an option.  Instead, I just left it as it was.  I don’t think it materially harms the appearance of the jacket, and I would have been very unhappy with it shorter.  Was the problem with my math?  Was it because the body was supposed to have a wider elastic casing?  Or is it an ABdPM error?  I think my math was fine (it was easy math, after all!), but I’m not sure what happened here.

Bottom line:  An experienced sewer will have no trouble with this pattern, but may have to work a little harder than usual to get through the project (unless fluent in sewing French).  But it’s so worth it:  As Mr. Noile said “It really looks French!”.  I think so, too.

You won’t see another one of these on the streets of New York — unless someone reading this gets cracking!  And please do — I could see this jacket made so many different ways.  In cotton twill, for example, and unlined.  In two shades of light linen, or a coordinating print and solid in a light linen.  What about pinwale corduroy?  Or canvas?  Or in solid wools, say fuchsia and a purple for the contrast version that I didn’t make?  Oooh-la-la!

Related:

Anticipation

ABdPM 20013:  Fit and Interlining

ABdPM 20013:  The Hood

ABdPM 20013:  Miscellaneous Report

ABdPM 20013:  The Lining

Categories: ABdPM, Jackets Tags:

ABdPM 20013: The Lining

November 30th, 2010 1 comment

Wow, polyester, how do I hate thee?  Let me count the ways:  There’s the permanent factory crease down the center of your yardage that no amount of ironing will remove; the fact that you hate all thread tensions known to humans (and their machines); the way you equally  hate all needles; not to mention the lovely way you perforate — permanently — everywhere a pin is placed.

There’s more, but I haven’t got all day.

I know; I did the wrong thing.  I chose my lining for the color, not because it was going to be a good lining.  It’s green, a lovely, leafy green which just happened to coordinate with the buttons I intended to use to close this coat.

Top to bottom:  The tweedy wool, hardly visible; a strand of glass beads once considered for the closure; the now-rejected (sob!) green buttons; the rejected springs (ditto); oval elastic (still on); solid black twill, since rejected, originally meant for contrast; and the infamous poly lining.

Can I just mention how much I wish I had gone for a boring black, white, or ivory heavy acetate coat lining?  And then move on?  Live and learn; it’s the only way.

ABdPM has you use the same pattern pieces as the jacket for the lining; they just have you cut the body pieces shorter. A lot shorter, but this may have something to do with the way they finish the hem.  More about that later.

I decided, though, that I really didn’t want to simply use the jacket pattern pieces for the lining, so I made the following changes:

  • cut the back yoke and the lower back pattern pieces all-in-one, just as I did for the interlining
  • added a box pleat to the center back, to allow for ease of movement in the upper back especially
  • cut the sleeves (which aren’t curved where the back seam is joined) all-in-one
  • cut the backs and fronts 3/4ths of an inch longer than the interlining, and the sleeves 1/2 inch longer

I traced my own lining pattern, building from the ABdPM pattern, and adding these changes to my new tracings.  I might actually make this jacket again, so the extra effort is worth it; this jacket is actually pretty simple to make, once you know how.

I edge-stitched the box pleat, on the wrong side of the lining, of course.  Doing this will help it to fall back into place as I move:

Satiny stuff photographs badly, especially in the hands of such an amateur as I am.  This actually looks quite a bit better in person than it does in the photo, though I was never able to fully resolve the poly issues chronicled above.

When it comes to coat pockets, I’m all about utility, and I like lots of them.  This led to one other change in the lining.   As I’ve made it, this is kind of a swing coat, and putting pockets into the lining might have weighed the jacket down and inhibited some of that pizazz.

Instead, I sewed two self-fabric loops into the lining at the bottom of the armholes.  My cell phone will  go into this pouch under my left arm, out of the way, and not pulling on the jacket at all:

The picture’s not great, but you can see the silver hooks clipped onto the loops above the floating pocket.  This pouch was kind oaf a quick and dirty mini-project, mostly to determine what length the loops should be.  I may  make a more polished one later.  A “secret” wallet/pocket will attach to the other set.

If I ever have the misfortune of losing my bag in a city, I want three things:  my cell phone; a twenty dollar bill; and my transit pass.  I like having them all clipped into my coat.

I thought I’d bag the lining, since I’d never done that before, but quickly abandoned the idea, since the jacket is so bulky I’d have had to leave an entire side seam open to turn it.  No matter; inserting the lining is very straightforward, and it’s almost done.  Hurray!

Related:

Anticipation

ABdPM 20013:  Fit and Interlining

ABdPM 20013:  The Hood

ABdPM 20013:  Miscellaneous Report

ABdPM 20013:  C’est Fait!

Rant alert –nothing that follows has anything to do with ABdPM, or this particular project (except tangentially).  Read at your peril.

Adding to my polyester woes was the fact that I bought this fabric at JoAnn’s, and it suffered from all the usual JoAnn quality issues.  I was laying out the pattern on the first cut when I realized that there was an oil blotch, very subtle, but very present, about 15 inches into the cut.  OK, I kept cool —  I understand JoAnn quality, so I’d bought an extra half yard just in case there were issues.  I figured I could work around it.

So I changed the layout to work around the stain, but foolishly cut the front and sleeves before actually pinning the back (which is on a fold, of course).  Then I realized that I had left an inch too little fabric.  Aaaaargh!

I went back to JoAnn’s and discovered, amazingly, that they had gotten another bolt of the same stuff in.  (Glutton for punishment much??)  There was a spray of small oil-like stains on the start of this bolt, too, which I made the clerk cut off, but the piece I brought home appears to be fine — except for all the poly issues mentioned above.

I try to avoid JoAnn like the plague, but when color matching is an issue, sometimes I’m stuck.  It’s never a good thing.

Categories: ABdPM, Jackets Tags:

ABdPM 20013: Miscellaneous Report

November 27th, 2010 3 comments

Things are progressing here — the jacket’s got pockets:

I don’t like raw edges on the insides of my patch pockets, so I lined these with a thin, slippery polyester.  And I interfaced them as well, because that will help to keep them from “pooching” over the years.  Then I turned them, and applied the finished pockets to the jacket fronts.

These aren’t exactly the pockets specified by ABdPM.  Their pockets have two bound edges, stitched from the contrast that I’m supposed to be using for one side of my hood (you can see this in the photo below).

I know, too small, but maybe you get the idea.  The contrast trim is just a thin edge on the pocket opening.

Instead, I used the exterior wool fabric, and made standard welts for the opening. Here’s the welt on the back side, before I stitched it in place:

This fabric ravels very easily; with another wool, I probably wouldn’t have bothered to finish the edges.  The welt fabric is a true rectangle, but I took this picture at an angle in a (vain) attempt to avoid the shadow you see at the bottom of the picture.  Got to work on those photo skills one day.  Not this week, however.

My pockets are larger than the ABdPM versions — about a half an inch larger all around.  ABdPM’s pockets are pretty small; big enough for hands, probably, but mine had to be large enough so that I could get my pocket camera in and out with no fuss.

I used to be quite good at making welts and bound buttonholes, but those days are gone, and, once again, I’m grateful for this lovely tweedy-twill which hides imperfections very nicely.  The welts nearly match.  Close enough, as they say, for government work — but far from perfection.

On other fronts (literally) I’ve been debating the closures.  When I first saw the ABdPM photograph, I was thrilled because I mistakenly assumed that the jacket was closed with springs:

Yeah, only a hardware junkie could have leapt to that conclusion. Those are actually beads strung on elastic, which loops over four assorted buttons.

I liked the hardware concept a lot though, so I picked up a couple of springs.  They were too chrome-y, and maybe too heavy, as well.  Then I dropped in at the beading store and picked up some heavy black wire, which I wrapped around one of the springs.  Better, but not right.  Then I made a spring-like structure out of the black wire and added flat, rectangular, glass beads to the ends.  Not quite right, either.  The black wire coils completely disappeared into the tweed which just looked strange, rather than interesting.

Here are the three incarnations (in reverse order from the way I’ve described them, sorry):

All have been rejected (and you might say “good riddance”!), but I think I have a solution, which I’ll save for later.  I’m afraid that I really do want a kooky closure, so actual buttons-and-tabs or buttons-and-buttonholes are out of the question.

Related:

Anticipation

ABdPM 20013:  Fit and Interlining

ABdPM 20013:  The Hood

ABdPM 20013:  The Lining

ABdPM 20013:  C’est Fait!

Categories: ABdPM, Jackets Tags:

ABdPM 20013: The Hood

November 22nd, 2010 3 comments

Once I’d fit the jacket, and cut out the interlining, it was time to tackle the “exterior” fabric:  the wool the world would see.

This pattern calls for “serge” or “”twill” (it’s not clear to this English reader which) for either the inside or outside of the hood and the band that extends down the front of the jacket (they’re cut all-in-one).  My French isn’t good enough to figure out exactly which piece was which, although I think it would be pretty obvious once it came time to do the final assembly.  I’d decided, though, that I wanted two layers of my main fabric for the hood, so that’s what I did instead of using the contrast.

Here’s the hood, assembled, with the front edges of the hood and the front of the jacket bands to the right.  The bands are folded back because this is one looong piece.

Because I wasn’t sure exactly how this section was going to attach to the rest of the jacket, I probably made the front band a little longer than necessary; I won’t know for sure until the final assembly.  At this point, I’m supposed to have closed the bottom seam, and topstitched all around, but that’s waiting until I confirm this piece’s true size.  I think I’d have wanted to do that topstitching last, in any case, after the jacket’s all together.

The hood has an elastic drawstring, with which I did battle for hours.  I can’t even imaging what all went wrong:  Attack of the stupids, maybe?  I did make life a little difficult for myself when I insisted on putting a protective bead on the elastic. , inserted the elastic all wrong, forgot the bead and toggle .  .  .  and so on.  Here’s what the set-up looked like:

There’s the elastic (I cut it to the precise length of the part of the hood that holds the drawstring, so the hood, which also forms an over-sized collar, could be worn without any cinching at all), the lock toggle, and the bead.  The casing is along the hood seam; I’m not sure exactly how ABdPM meant it to be made, but I just topstitched on either side of the hood seam, forming a channel.

The problem is that the elastic doesn’t go the whole length of the hood; it begins in the middle of the hood’s curve, goes along the top, and then exits through a buttonhole a few inches from the hood’s front edge.  I did every dumb thing possible while trying to thread this elastic.  The first issue was classic:  There are four layers of wool forming this channel, and I laboriously  threaded the elastic up through one that didn’t open out through the buttonhole.  D’oh!  And it got worse after that .  .  .

I don’t even remember how I solved this problem in the end, but it involved making an opening in the hood lining seam, knotting the ends of the elastic (but not so much that it couldn’t be pulled through the channel), and somehow resulted in having the bead and toggle where they belonged on the outside of the hood, and the ends of the elastic stitched to the seam allowance in the inner hood, and with the seam closed up neatly.  Wool is so forgiving!

I love using this bead, because there’s no chance the toggle will be lost.  This means, I hope, that I’ll never have to think about this process again.

ABdPM marks the buttonhole perpendicular to the hood’s edge, but, instead, I set it over, and parallel to, the hood seam (only on the outside hood, of course, and before I assembled the pieces), and then just opened the seam where the buttonhole was centered.  This made a lot more sense to me, and was much easier to do over the thick wool layers.  I  made it as small as possible, and it turned out to be quite neat and tidy.

I did not interline or interface the hood or front bands.  I was sure the doubled wool would be the right weight, and I wanted the front bands to drape a bit.  They appear to lie over the front of the jacket, so they shouldn’t need extra support.

Cutting both the hood and the hood lining meant that I needed almost three yards of wool; mine was 62 inches wide.  It would have been a pretty tight fit, but probably still possible, to get everything from 60 inches, but less width might have gotten problematic.  The hood/front band pattern piece, with my  +/- 3 inch alteration was 40 inches inches long.  That’s one big hood!

ABdPH calls for far less fabric (even allowing for the major change I made); maybe they’re a lot more clever at layout than I am, though my layout sure looked economical.  No layouts are included, though, so their scheme remains a mystery.

Related:

Anticipation

ABdPM 20013:  Fit and Interlining

ABdPM 20013:  Miscellaneous Report

ABdPM 20013:  The Lining

ABdPM 20013:  C’est Fait!

Categories: ABdPM, Jackets Tags:

ABdPM 20013: Fit and Interlining

November 21st, 2010 6 comments

From Au Bonheur des Petites Mains, this is the “Veste effet boule, à capuche”, (or “Jacket ball effect, hooded” per Google Translate).  I’m a little unclear on exactly what the “ball effect” is, but that’s OK.  It’s a jacket with a goofy hood, a fun front closure, and circular pockets.

Because the instructions are in French (or more accurately, because my French is decades old and beyond rusty), figuring out exactly how it’s meant to be put together isn’t the simplest thing.  Using Google Translate, and Shams’ helpful glossary, I cobbled up instructions that were more or less comprehensible, if slightly scanty.  That was my first step.

The next step was figuring out my size.  ABdPM patterns are French, and the sizing is a little different from what I usually encounter.  Allow me to correct that:  The sizing is a LOT different.  Not only do French women not get fat, but apparently they’re not very big, either.  And have no busts.  And super-slender arms.

So getting used to ABdPM sizing takes a little effort.  At 5’2″ and 122 pounds, I needed size 44, except in the shoulders, where I cut the pattern down to nearly the smallest size:  34.   (Size 44, by the way is the top of their smaller size range.)

I probably should have tried an FBA in a smaller size, but I’d still have needed the 44 sleeves, and I wanted the fullness of the larger coat body, not to mention that I needed plenty of space for my 37 C+ bust, and without an FBA the larger size was the only way to get it.

The size 44 sleeves fit in the biceps,where they’re snuggest, but come thisclose to being too tight, so that’s definitely something to watch.   Overall,  I’m pretty small for a North American, and my arms aren’t notably heavy, so these sleeves must be really narrow.

ABdPM patterns are printed on heavy paper (which is wonderful!), so I traced off my chosen size, and cut out the interlining (or underlining, or whatever).  No seam allowances are included; they’re completely up to you.  I used 5/8th of an inch, which is what I’m most used to.  I also made the jacket about three-fourths of an inch longer, before, of course, adding the depth of the hem.

My “exterior” fabric (that’s what ABdPM calls it, and I like that adjective a lot better than the silly term “fashion fabric”) is all wool, but not quite coating weight, so I knew I’d need some fairly serious insulation for winter wear.  The interlining is one layer of a thin, drapey poly batt, and one layer of cotton flannel, cobbled together with loose, free-hand quilting.

Yikes!  Clumsy stitching and out-of-focus.  Just think of the outer layer as an especially fuzzy flannel .  .  .

I’d never done free-hand quilting on a machine before, and, let me tell you, I did one messy job of it.  No matter; the only point was to keep the layers together without stiffening the lining.  In that, I succeeded.  I do, however, now understand why a quilting shop I stop in at now and then has a huge, computerized quilting machine which is always humming.

Since I was fairly confident of the fit, I used the interlining as a “muslin”, and tweaked the pattern only slightly, in the shoulders, as noted above.  This was pretty risky, and may come back to bite me, though, since I’m still not exactly sure how the jacket goes together.  I think I know, but let’s just say that the instructions are a little obscure in places.  A more prudent sewer would have done a full muslin, but since the jacket’s loose-fitting, and the whole project is an experiment, I was willing to take some chances.

The back of the jacket has a yoke, with a lovely curved seam, but I cut the yoke and lower back all-in-one for the interlining once I realized that the seam was strictly decorative.  I didn’t want the bulk in the insulation.

By the way, ABdPM patterns are hugely over-sized; about 9 x 12 inches, or roughly 22 cm by 30 cm.  They come in a stiff, nearly cardboard-like envelope, with a photograph of the finished garment, a page of instructions, and the pattern itself.  This presentation explains the hefty shipping charge to North America, but the packaging is an aesthetic joy, and a further spur to action.  I can hardly keep from drooling every time I see the envelopes on my shelf.  Who wouldn’t want to sew something packaged so enticingly?

Related:

Anticipation

ABdPM 20013:  The Hood

ABdPM 20013:  Miscellaneous Report

ABdPM 20013:  The Lining

ABdPM 20013:  C’est Fait!

Categories: ABdPM, Jackets Tags: