Thursday, May 24, 2012

Ten Tiltons!

A couple of projects ago, I realized I had completed several Tilton-inspired garments since last December. As I counted them, I was surprised to find that the next two that were in the works would bring the total to ten. It seems I've been breathing Tilton air for the past five months!

I love the artfulness of Katherine and Marcy's design sense. Their styles are relatively easy to sew, and comfortable to wear. I love how I can take a Tilton pattern and make it mine, either with a design change, or with paint. The sisters have helped me build a wardrobe that expresses my playful, off-the-beaten-path personality.

All of these garments are made using Vogue patterns designed by Marcy or Katherine. Most of them use fabric from A couple are painted using silk screens from Marcy.
 Katherine's 8710
Rayon Jersey from Homespun Boutique
Marcy's 8693
Lapis Ponte from Marcy
Numerous Swirly Silkscreens
Katherine's 8710
Peacock Rayon/Lycra Jersey from Marcy
Asian Inspired Silk Screens from Marcy

Marcy's 8671
Plummy Ponte from Marcy

Katherine's 8793
Violet Crumble and Metallic Stripe Jerseys from Marcy

Katherine's 8777
Grande Mesh from Marcy
Marcy's 8430
Ultramarine Ponte from Sawyer Brook
Collaged Top Inspired by Katherine
Jerseys from Sawyer Brook, Grande Mesh from Marcy

Marcy's 8582 - Shoulders and Collar
Violet Rayon Jersey from Sawyer Brook 

Katherine's 8778

Two jackets, two vests, and six tops. (Good thing I have jeans and pants to cover my lower half!) Many thanks to the Tilton sisters for the inspiration they have given me. My wish is that I have passed it along to my readers.

I'm working on a couple of woven top projects now, and a knit top is waiting to be hemmed. First, I need to make some shorts - a scary proposition, but I know I have to bite the bullet and dive in. There are no Tiltons planned in the immediate future, but those sisters always reside in my creative mind, so I know they'll show up again soon!

Monday, May 21, 2012

Iris Top

I purchased this lovely iris colored rayon knit at Homespun Boutique in Ithaca, NY last summer, and have been eager to sew it up for spring and summer wear. I love the fit of Katherine Tilton's Vogue 8710, and decided to make it again, with short sleeves.

The pattern was a pretty good choice for the fabric, except the neckline didn't recover from being stretched when I applied the band. The fabric has no lycra, so its recovery is not good. I thought a run through a wash cycle would help it, but it didn't take care of the problem.
Before: Droopy and Sad
(and I'm talking about the neckline here, not the girls!)
Part of this droopiness may be due to the forward shoulder seams of the pattern. But it was mostly an issue of being stretched out. I undid my hand and machine stitching, ran an ease stitch along the front neck edge, and pin basted the band back on, making it 1-1/2" shorter. I'm glad I chose to redo the band, as I don't think running elastic through the neckband would have looked this good.
After: High and Happy

While constructing this top, I realized I had made some alterations to the pattern that I had forgotten to mention on the green version. I had narrowed the shoulder seam by about an inch and a half, because the sleeves hung off my shoulders. The underarm is also quite low. I raised it and inch on this top, but will raise it even more next time. I will also narrow the width of the garment at the front neckline, as it's just a bit too wide.

I still think this is a great pattern for us full figured gals. The generosity of fabric at the lower part of the top helps it fall nicely over wide bellies and/or hips. This version is really comfortable, and I know I'll get lots of wear from it in the coming months!

Sunday, May 20, 2012

Painted Lapis Ponte Jacket

Whew - where did the past month go? It seems time just flew by. I've been busily sewing, finishing two garments a couple of weeks ago, and in the midst of two more at present. A photo session before Mother's Day weekend was a failure, but DH took some good shots this week. Now I can blog about my new jacket.

I started this project back in March, when the unseasonable 70f+ degree temperatures were interrupted by some days that topped out at 50. Back then, I thought I might finish it in time for spring wearing, but several changes I made in the process of constructing it put the kibosh on that prospect. No problem - I now have a jacket I really like, and come September, I'll wear it a lot.

This was made from a rather stiff ponte from Marcy Tilton, in a gorgeous color she named lapis. The color is a rich blue that is accurate in the photo above, but not as much so in the photos that follow. I really like the fabric, and pondered quite a while before choosing to use this pattern, also Marcy's, Vogue 8693. I love the size of the collar, the curved seam lines, and thought I would like the pointed hemline:
Vogue 8693
(Tiny Image for Some Unknown Reason)
This looks so elegant on the model! The side drapes flatter her so well. Little did I know the fabric I had chosen was too stiff to drape nicely, and I would feel like I had wings a la The Flying Nun when wearing it. What looked like nice drapes in the photo looked like airplane wings on me! A softer ponte would have helped, but I finally concluded this style just won't flatter me at my current size.

But I'm getting ahead of myself. Not one to be content with a "plain" jacket, I decided to add some paint using several of Marcy's silk screens. I thought I didn't want to add much color, so at first I used only pewter Lumiere. After looking at it for a few days, I decided it needed more depth, so I added two shades of purple.

I painted on the cut out pieces, rather than on the garment after it was constructed. Sometimes this works well, and sometimes not so much. I like to group motifs together, so I really need to make sure which seam joins which, in order to place the elements in the right place. I'm fairly happy with the results, although I always see room for improvement.

So how, you may ask, did I alter the pattern to get rid of the wings? The piece for the side front (which continues to the side back) is basically a long rectangle with shaped ends. I was able to cut away part of the rectangle - the part that draped. I laid the jacket out and figured out the shape required to fill the empty space created when I ripped out the side piece. Then I trimmed away the part of the piece I didn't need. It turned out quite well, I think. The curved seams are still there, and it's roomy enough to accomodate my lower torso.

The pattern has optional welt pockets that are inserted in the draped area. Having cut away those draped sides, and not one to own a jacket without pockets, I decided to insert them into the seam. I didn't want to add bulk, so I used lining for both sides of the pocket, rather than using ponte for the the back piece. That means the lining can show, but I kind of like the peek at contrasting fabric.
I could have used a color that matched a bit better, but I had this great Hang Loose lining left over from another project, and it is a close color match to the darker purple paint. It's static-free, which will be a great benefit when I wear the jacket in cold, dry weather. (I tend to be a magnet for static cling, for some reason.)

The jacket is partially lined, in the center front, upper back, and sleeves. I was hesitant to line a stretch fabric, but really wanted the slipperiness a lining offers, as it helps the jacket to lie smoothly against other garments. The fabric doesn't stretch without being tugged at, so I took a chance. At first I sewed the bottom edge of the front lining pieces to the hem of the jacket. One side of the jacket bagged, so I took out the stitches and hemmed the lining pieces separately from the jacket hem. (Sorry I couldn't get the colors in this shot more true to reality. The fabrics are a bit bluer and cooler looking than this.)
In the pattern instructions, Marcy discusses whether or not to interface the collar. I chose not to interface it, as I wanted it to be somewhat slouchy. Interfaced, it would stand higher than my ears - not a flattering look. It's taken a bit to get used to, but I do like the soft folds in the collar.
The final touch for the jacket was the button. I had a difficult time finding a large button that matched the fabric well, so I decided to opt for a colorful one. This coconut button was in my stash. I liked the shape, and the cutouts seemed to echo what's going on in the silk screen designs. The button had been on display at Sawyer Brook for years, and fluorescent lighting had faded it to a dull pink.  I gave it a few coats of one of the purple paints used in the silk screening. I regret not having taken a "before" image, as the "after" image is remarkably different.
One last item - a warning for anyone who owns this fabric. It crocks. That is the industry term for when the fabric dye rubs off - like some blue jeans do when new. Just a bit into working with the fabric, I noticed my fingers were blue. This continued throughout the construction process. I had washed and dried the fabric, but apparently it needs another washing or two before the dye quits transferring. If you have this fabric in your stash, you might want to wash it a few times before working with it, and definitely before wearing it, as it could rub off and show on lighter colored clothing.

I really like this jacket, and I'm looking forward to pulling it out in September or October, when the air cools down again. Just think - I'll have a brand new coat!