Archive

Archive for the ‘Christine Jonson’ Category

Wardrobe Wrap-Up

July 30th, 2011 10 comments

I did it!  I knocked off (most of)  the pieces I’d planned for my Threads-inspired wardrobe!  Here are the pieces all spread out on my cutting table:
Well, actually, I didn’t make several of the garments I’d planned.  Here’s the list of what I did make:

  1. a dress
  2. a reversible tank top
  3. a skirt
  4. a print tunics
  5. a solid tunic
  6. (7. 8.) three pair of leggings

That’s a set of   eight coordinated garments which can be interchanged a bunch of ways. The total cost of for all eight pieces was under $60 (USD), or about seven dollars and fifty cents a piece.  (Don’t hate  me; I can go to New York City any time and buy inexpensive stretch fabrics!  At least until the fabric district disappears.)

(My original post quoted a likely total cost of about $70, but I had also purchased several yards of a spandex that I didn’t end up using.)

All eight pieces fit into a single packing cube, rolled up like so:

Here it is, all zipped up with a ninth piece added:

This cube is 13.5 inches by 11.5 inches by 3 inches deep — not too big to carry in a large handbag!

The ninth piece wasn’t part of the original plan.  It’s an eggplant-colored wrap that you may be able to suss out on the lower right of the first photo.  I haven’t blogged about it yet.  I take it along to wear when going from 95 degrees into air-conditioning.

In the end, I didn’t follow my plan exactly as originally intended.  Instead of a wrap jacket, and instead of making two long-sleeved tops, I made two sleeveless tunics.  We’re really hurting this summer on the East coast, so “sleeveless” was a much more appealing idea.  The tunics gave me mini-dresses that I can wear alone with the leggings.  Also, I made only one sleeveless shell, but made it reversible.

Thoughts:

  • Sewing with a plan is fun!
  • These garments were so quick to sew that the entire wardrobe could have been done on a week’s worth of evenings.  Choosing simple patterns might be a good way to kick start when motivation is lacking.
  • Because this was sort of a kooky project, I let myself experiment with fabrics I wouldn’t necessarily  usually wear.  It’s good to move outside the comfort zone a bit.  (I’m a linen or technical fabrics wench as a rule.)
  • On the other hand, I learned that a tropical spandex print isn’t really “me”, at least not when it involves long sleeves.  My princess dress wears well, but the wild print makes it feel like a whole body tattoo — and all I can’t think about when I’m wearing it is the way those tattoos degrade and become muddy over time, and the way tattoos look a decade later, when skin has morphed.  Not a pretty image; it kind of spoils the dress for me.
  • It’s a lot of fun to be able to sneak 20 minutes and run in and stitch up a pair of leggings!  Verry satisfying!
  • This was a great way to discover and explore a new (to me) pattern line.
  • If the princess dress were made in something a little more, ahem, mature tasteful this wardrobe might carry me almost anywhere. (If it were a little black dress, for example.)
  • Wardrobe in a pocket; I love it!

Related:

Making a Reversible Tank

Threads Wardrobe Storyboard

Christine Jonson Princess Dress 1117

Christine Jonson BaseWear One Top 622

Christine Jonson Skirt 1219

Christine Jonson BaseWear One Leggings 622

Tunic/Tank Dress from BaseWear One Pattern 622

Christine Jonson BaseWear One Leggings 622

July 22nd, 2011 No comments

My wardrobe plan includes three pair of leggings, all made from cjpatterns‘ BaseWear One pattern.  I cut the black pair just as the pattern was drafted; the cut is very, very skinny, and these are true leggings.   It’s tempting to think that “leggings are leggings”, but these are very nicely shaped, and I’ll probably use this pattern again and again.  Here’s the artsy cjpatterns envelope sketch:

I made the black ones exactly according to the pattern, and they are true leggings:  they fit like slightly loose tights.  I wanted the medium blue ones to be less narrow, so I cut them  about 1.75 inches wider on each side (legs only), thinking that they would be closer to pants-width than to leggings-width.

Naturally, I failed to check my math, or to consider that the medium blue fabric has less stretch than the black;  I ended up with another pair of leggings, not quite as slim as the first ones, but still too slim to wear without tush coverage.There’s even less stretch in the dark blue  knit, so I reduced those seam allowances by an additional 1/4 inch, which worked perfectly, but made them, also, much closer to leggings than to slim pants.

(The image is foreshortened, but you get the idea.  The shoes are Merrell “Barefoot” Pure Glove Mary Janes.)

The pattern is very simple,  and I made only three alterations:  Length, of course, because I’m short (I took some from the thigh, and some from the calf, to keep the proportions right), and I also lowered the waist line in front slightly, to fit my body better.  I also removed the casing allowance from the waist.

Jonson instructs stitchers to use one-inch elastic and make a casing; I don’t like casings in stretch fabrics, so I simply attached the elastic to the right side of the fabric, turned it, and stitched it vertically at center front, back, and sides to hold it in place.  I used one-inch elastic in the black pair, but wide elastic on the medium blue, as I usually prefer it, and treated it the same way.  I did the same thing on the dark blue pair, using inch-and-a-half elastic, but stitched along the lower edge of the elastic to hold it in place.

In my wardrobe scheme, these are really meant mostly as underpinnings for cooler days or evenings, so there’s not much chance I’ll post a picture of them actually on me you only get to see the lower legs here.  At least not one showing the tush area.  They’d be fine in exercise class, but probably attract too much of the wrong kind of attention anywhere else.

7/23/2011: Updated to add images, because I realized I had a couple of decent (non-tush) photos!

Related:

Threads Wardrobe Storyboard

Christine Jonson Princess Dress 1117

Christine Jonson Basewear One Top 622

Christine Jonson Skirt 1219

Christine Jonson BaseWear One Leggings 622

Tunic/Tank Dress from BaseWear One Pattern 622

Wardrobe Wrap-Up

 

Categories: Christine Jonson, Pants Tags:

Christine Jonson Skirt 1219

June 24th, 2011 8 comments

Jonson calls this an A-line skirt, but I wouldn’t call this an “A-line” at all.  The seams are princes-styles gores, and the skirt is very narrow by design, not flared like an traditional A-line.  Unlike an A-line skirt, this garment flows beautifully, and fits very nicely around the body, at least partly because there are no bulky side seams — also contrary to typical A-line styling.

The cjpatterns sketch, as usual, takes a few liberties.  There’s no doubt that the skirt flows wonderfully, but in no way does it achieve the proportions in the drawing, nor that width at the hem.  Also unlike the illustration, the actual skirt is quite narrow:

Construction couldn’t be simpler.  Stitch four seams, add elastic at the waist, and then hem.  I think Jonson has you fold and turn a casing for one-inch wide elastic; I don’t like casings made of knits, and I prefer wide elastic at the waist, so I altered my pattern to accommodate those changes.   My elastic is just attached to the right side, folded under, and “stitched-in-the-ditch” at the four seams to hold it in place.

Here’s how the skirt looks with the tank from Jonson’s BaseWear One pattern:

The fabric’s an ITY from Spandex House; I wondered what it would feel like in summer heat, but I wore this outfit in 95 degree weather in New York City recently, and it couldn’t have been more comfortable.  The skirt is very airy and light, and somehow the way it flowed made me feel cooler than I expected to.

I’m 5’2″, so I shortened the skirt, which gave me a length closer to what was illustrated on the pattern cover.  This is another piece in my planned wardrobe, and another perfect travel garment; it scrunches up into nothing, and comes out of a bag completely wearable.

Related:

Threads Wardrobe Storyboard

Christine Jonson Princess Dress 1117

Christine Jonson BaseWear One Top 622

Christine Jonson BaseWear One Leggings 622

Tunic/Tank Dress from BaseWear One Pattern 622

Wardrobe Wrap-Up

Categories: Christine Jonson, Skirts Tags:

Christine Jonson BaseWear One Top 622

June 20th, 2011 7 comments

Here’s the illustration from the cjpatterns site, which is, as usual, pretty but not useful.  The tank, in particular, has a lot more shape in execution than you’d ever guess from the illustration.  It looks blocky and puffy in the drawing, but in reality it’s actually got a nice, body-hugging shape.

This tank isn’t meant to be reversible, but I decided that’s what I wanted, per my wardrobe plan.  I used a print/solid combination; here’s the print side, with the V-neck worn in front:

I made the solid side an inch and a half longer, so that it would show under the print.  Part of my wardrobe plan includes a matching print skirt, and the line of the combined pieces is one long, unrelenting, bright print, so I liked the idea of breaking it up a bit.  Here’s the V-neck version of the solid side:

(Yeah, my dummy lurches to the left.  I probably should compensate for this when taking pictures, but I never remember to.)

This is a super-simple pattern with nice shaping, and the simplest of construction techniques:  It’s meant as exercise wear, so Jonson just has you turn the edges down by 3/8ths of an inch and stitch them in place.  To make my reversible tank, I just used a 3/8ths inch seam on my serger.  No trimming was necessary; the narrow seam and the stretchy spandex fabrics worked well together, and made this one fast project.

The top can easily be worn backwards or frontwards, although I don’t think Jonson points this out, and the instructions don’t offer the reversible alternative, but if you chose to line the top and turn it around at whim, you’ve got lots of wearing options.

Here’s the print side, worn with the round neckline at the front:

When you  make a reversible top, one method involves sewing the hems together, so that they are exactly the same length.  I’m not wild about this; it seems to constrict the flow of the garment and make its movement less “natural”, unless the fabrics involved are weightless.  On the other hand, if the two hems float freely, it’s difficult to keep them lined up perfectly so that the underside doesn’t show when you don’t want it to.  Making one hem intentionally longer solves this problem.

Here’s the round collar side of the solid tank:

Whether you make the hems the same length or not, a useful tip is to sew a small snap at the lower edge of each side seam, inside the garment, between the layers.  This allows you to keep the tanks aligned, but without constraining the fabrics unnecessarily.  If you’re traveling, this also allows you to separate the layers for faster drying if you’re rinsing your garments out in a sink, and hanging them up to dry.

Rather than make an FBA, I cut between sizes at the bust, which was lazy and (ahem) not too bright, especially since I failed to take the armhole back to my proper, smaller size.  This made the top gap along the armholes above the bust.  I considered running elastic thread along the edge between the layers, but ended up using double strands of thread, hidden between the layers and run between the edge stitching and the edge of the garments along the relevant parts of the armholes.  The resulting fix isn’t perfect, but made the top wearable.

Every now and then, someone asks “What’s the point of reversible clothing?   You probably want to wash it between wearings anyway, right?”.  Well, yes.  But a tank like this makes up most easily if lined, so why not make the lining a wearable, different color?  And, of course,  a reversible tank might give you the option to go from day-to-evening by just turning the top around, which might be a bonus when traveling, or staying out for the evening after work.

Related:

This is another piece in my Christine Jonson/Threads wardrobe plan.

Making a Reversible Tank

Threads Wardrobe Storyboard

Christine Jonson Princess Dress 1117

Christine Jonson BaseWear One Top 622

Christine Jonson Skirt 1219

Christine Jonson BaseWear One Leggings 622

Tunic/Tank Dress from BaseWear One Pattern 622

Wardrobe Wrap-Up

Categories: Christine Jonson, Tips, Tops Tags:

Threads Wardrobe Storyboard

June 14th, 2011 4 comments

Chez Noile is still in chaos, so I needed some quickie sewing projects that would chew up stash and require minimal space in the sewing room.  Also, I need summer clothes, since I’ve done little about acquiring any for years.  The Christine Jonson summer wardrobe from Threads (Issue 155 June/July 2011) became my springboard:

I made up a storyboard to keep my goal firmly in mind, and I even made the Princess Dress, although I’m not much of a dress-wearer.

Not only is the storyboard a great help in keeping me on track, but it’s a marvelous tool for checking and gathering notions.  I used line drawings from Christine’s site (altering at least one neckline according to my whim), and mocked it up on my computer, leaving room (more or less) for swatches.

The next step was to print it it on cardstock and glue my fabric swatches on.  Then I cut a transparent quilting template to fit over the whole thing, which protects it when attached to a clipboard.  With clipboard in hand, heading to the fabric store to pick up whatever thread or notions I need is fast and easy.  Matching colors is a cinch using the storyboard; it’s much easier than managing a slew of loose swatches.

Inevitably, I’ve made a few changes.  I’ve decided not to make the sleeveless vest, since I can’t actually see myself wearing it.  In summer, if I need a wrap, I need it over my arms, to compensate for air-conditioning.  And I’m not sure what I’m going to do about the jacket.  Do I make it reversible?  In a print?  And I’m not sure I’ll make the sleeved top from the Princess dress pattern, since I now suspect that, for this particular design, my bust is better balanced with a skirt.

But changes and refinement as I go along are all part of the program.  I’m really enjoying making up a planned wardrobe; I think this is a first for me, and I’m counting on making this my “go-to-it’s-brainless” summer travel wardrobe.

So far, I’ve completed five of the garments, and will be knocking off a few more as I wait on the tradesman’s fancy and the moment I can put the house back together.  Finished are the dress, a reversible top, one skirt, and two pair of leggings.  Reviews to come, and more on the way as I knock off the rest.

Christine Jonson quotes a budget of “just under $400” for nine to twelve garments that yield over twenty outfits.  My costs will run under $70 for all pieces, but I’m not using the premium cotton/lycra fabrics Jonson features.  (I can say “for all pieces” now, because I’m working with a finite number of fabrics, even though I haven’t finished the project.)

Related:

Christine Jonson Skirt 1219

Making a Reversible Tank

Threads Wardrobe Storyboard

Christine Jonson Princess Dress 1117

Christine Jonson BaseWear One Top 622

Christine Jonson Skirt 1219

Christine Jonson BaseWear One Leggings 622

Tunic/Tank Dress from BaseWear One Pattern 622

Wardrobe Wrap-Up

Christine Jonson Princess Dress 1117

June 6th, 2011 6 comments

I looooove this dress!  When Carolyn posted about getting ready to make it (and about Christine’s pattern offer, which, alas, I assume is over), I finally was inspired to experiment with a CJ pattern.  I’m so glad Carolyn gave me the nudge!  Here’s the sketch from the pattern envelope:

After consulting the body measurements on the envelope, and checking my knit, I cut a size 8.  That’s the correct size for me based on high bust, waist and hip.  I narrowly escaped needing an FBA.  If my knit hadn’t had 100% stretch, I’d have had to do one.  The resulting bust fit is snug, but not indecent, so I’m pleased with this decision.

There aren’t any facings; the bodice is self-lined.  I loved this; it’s easy to construct (no finishing!), and I cut the lining first and used it as a muslin.  If your dress fabric is too heavy, there’s no reason you couldn’t use a compatible lighter stretch knit, or even a stretch mesh in a skin-tone or in compatible color for lining.  For this light lycra blend, self-fabric was fine.

The pattern drafting is a joy.  The center back seam follows the natural curves of my real, human, back, and adds to the flattering princess fit.  The skirt is so flirty and fun that I just don’t want to take this dress off; I think there will be many more of these in my future.

Construction couldn’t be simpler; it’s basically “sew the neckline” and then “hit the serger”.  The hem is just turned up a half-inch; I can’t remember if the instructions said to serge it first, but I did just to give it a little extra stability.  Then I topstitched (it could be twin-needled, but I didn’t want to bother), and ended up with a light, stable hem.

I did make a couple of changes:  The instructions call for iron-on interfacing around the neck line, but I won’t iron-on anything, so that was out.  I used standard interfacing, but chose one I wasn’t happy with, so I ended up cutting it off, just leaving the slightest reinforcement at the seam.  That worked well.  Twill tape reinforcement might have been an option, but I rejected it, because I think the bulk might make it difficult to keep the facing in place.  Interfacing, of the iron-on or another variety, might be desirable with a heavier fabric, but this dress seems fine without it.

I edge-stitched just inside the bodice facing line; that prevented any roll-out.   The only other change was shortening the sleeves.  I don’t really like wrist-length sleeves on my dresses.  (Though, go figure, I like extra-long ones on my shirts!)

The single feature I’m not certain about is the asymmetrical neckline; it just doesn’t do much for me (although check out how beautifully it lies in place!).  It seems sort of neither here nor there; next time I’ll re-draw the neck and consider a straight vee.  Also, huge floral prints don’t do much for my über-bust, but I’m just beyond caring now.  Let’s hear it for mad purples and aqua!

The pattern offers a long version and this short one.  I didn’t change the length of the short version:  For reference, I’m 5 feet 2 inches tall, so this dress will be quite short on a woman five or six inches taller than I am.

Related:

Making a Reversible Tank

Threads Wardrobe Storyboard

Christine Jonson Princess Dress 1117

Christine Jonson BaseWear One Top 622

Christine Jonson Skirt 1219

Christine Jonson BaseWear One Leggings 622

Tunic/Tank Dress from BaseWear One Pattern 622

Wardrobe Wrap-Up

Categories: Christine Jonson, Dresses Tags: