Tag Archives: sewing classes

Bettie Bomber class – week four

Marilyn returns this week to share her experience with the final Bettie Bomber class session! New to this class series? Catch up on week one and weeks two & three!

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Unfortunately, I missed the last week of class, but the rest of the students got a lot done! They learned how to modify their jacket fronts for snaps and how to use our big snap press at Nancy’s. The attached their ribbed waistband and tab and ribbed collar.

NSB - June's Bettie Bomber

Here is June, another student in the class, in her completed Bettie Bomber!

Jacque always sews garments along with the class, as a way to demonstrate techniques. This session she sewed two beautiful, and very different bomber jackets. She started sewing a jacket of a cotton knit in an open leaf pattern with an underlining of cotton voile.

NSB - wk 4 Jacque knit bomber

The kangaroo pocket that she taught the class looks great on this lacy knit.

NSB - wk 4 Jacque knit pocket

Jacque also made an elegant black bomber out of silk and embossed lambskin. She was inspired by the beautiful geometric silk jacquard that was given to Nancy’s by Sharon Henry, an amazing Seattle area seamstress and long time customer who recently had to give up sewing. We’re happy that her gift can keep inspiring students in Jacque’s classes.

NSB - wk 4 Jacque black bomber

I ran into Jacque later in the week and got an update on how the class finished up as well as some tips for finishing my own jacket. We quickly went through the order of construction for my jacket. Jacque provides a thoughtful, efficient sequence of steps for every garment class that she teaches. Her order of construction always makes a lot more sense to me than the instructions that come with the pattern.  Armed with her construction sequence and what I learned in the first three classes I felt ready to start sewing my own jacket.

Now, my own bomber jacket is underway. The Italian cotton is a dream to sew & presses beautifully. So far my plaids are matching and my topstitching is even.  Like many sewers, I dread making welt pockets and was looking forward to learning Jacque’s method for making welt pockets. Since I missed the last class – I didn’t get any tips from Jacque and had to use my tried and true method for welt pockets.

I have managed to make nice welt pockets several times by using a method that I read about in Threads Magazine. The article is No Fear Welt Pockets, by Ann Steeves in the January 2006 issue. If you don’t have access to old Threads magazines, the author has a good description on her blog. I have modified Steeves’s techniques and made my pockets a little differently than the article describes. I used ¾ inch drafting tape to mark my pockets instead of marking on the pocket interfacing; it makes a good guide and pulls off the fabric without causing damage. You can see a pocket opening ready to be sewn on the left and the back of a finished pocket opening on the right in this picture.

NSB - wk 4 inside jacket front

I also used wonder tape instead of hand basting to place my welts into the opening. My pockets turned out pretty well!

NSB - wk 4 welt pockets I will post a picture of my jacket when it is complete, but that may take a while. I took the beginning embroidery class at Nancy’s and I now see opportunities for embroidery everywhere. I have decided add an embroidered nosegay to the front of my jacket so construction is on hold until I get that done.

Thanks so much Marilyn! I look forward to seeing your finished jacket, especially the embroidery!

Bettie Bomber jacket class – week one

Remember our post about the Bettie Bomber jacket? I am very excited because Marilyn, one of our Nancy’s employees, is taking the class with Jacque Goldsmith and will be sharing her experiences with us! Take it away, Marilyn!

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Inspirational samples made by Jacque Goldsmith

I have wanted to take this class for a long time! I like the look of bomber jackets, but I think they can be unflattering if the fit isn’t right.  One of the cool things about the classes Jacque teaches at Nancy’s is she makes up muslins in all the different sizes so students come away with a great fitting garment. Since Jacque has made up the jacket in every size, I can find the right size quickly and then alter my pattern for the best fit. It is a huge time-saver to work from her muslins and go straight to altering the pattern and cutting out your own customized version.

In the first class, Jacque talked about fabric selection and the difficulty of finding ribbing. She explained how to use different knits for ribbing and make adjustments to the waistband and cuffs to accommodate fabrics with more or less stretch. Jacque had lots of example jackets, ranging from lace to appliqued mesh to one made of repurposed embroidered leather with heavy wool knit sleeves.

I brought in a few fabrics to show Jacque, and together we decided on an Italian cotton bottom weight in a dark navy plaid. It is one of a group of Italian mill ends that Nancy’s purchased for Sew Expo in early March. There was only one piece of my fabric, but there are still lots of beautiful Italian cotton options  available; it is lovely fabric and only $12.50 per yard!

The Folkwear Varsity Jacket (the pattern used in this class) is a classic style. It is roomy and unisex, so Jacque definitely had some fitting to do for all of us. It is interesting to see how pinning out just an inch of excess fabric can transform the fit of a jacket, and how the same pattern alteration moves up or down, inward or outward, depending on the wearer.

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One of the students being fitted.

I shortened my jacket, made a forward shoulder adjustment and took out some of the width down the sleeves and across the back. Because I changed the length of my jacket, I will have to change my welt pockets as well. You can see how Jacque folded and pinned out the excess fabric on the muslin that I tried on.

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You can really tell this is a unisex style – the pinned fold on my jacket body accounts for nearly 3″ of length!

I measured all of the changes and transferred them to my pattern during class. It helps so much to have Jacque there to answer questions while you are altering your pattern.  Everyone’s changes are a little different and though I have altered a lot of patterns, I always learn something new and usually get stuck at some point!

Some students got a start on cutting out their jackets. Our jackets are going to to be a diverse group, from sequins to floral-print rayon to my Italian cotton – it is going to be fun to see how the pattern looks in such different materials. I cut mine out at home; you can see how my pattern has been folded and taped, ready for cutting out on my dining room table.

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Thank you Marilyn! I am looking forward to seeing how this class progresses!

Have a question for Marilyn? Leave it in a comment below!

The Finished Dressmaker’s Jacket!

And voila!  The finished product!  In this photo, you can see the beautiful paisley lining peeking out, and the bias trim that separates the lining from the facing.Dressmaker's Jacket Front View

As you can see, this is a very fitted jacket- so the time spent initially in class for fitting was pivotal to the finished product.  The bright navy is a great color to mix with the rest of my wardrobe.Dressmaker's Jacket Back View

Here’s a view of the FUNCTIONAL SLEEVE VENT!  Because we’re fancy like that.  You can also see the iridescent glass buttons, which I adore!Functional Sleeve Vent

As with any sewing project, I used this as a learning experience.   I think the most important thing I learned during this class was:

*It’s imperative to utilize tailoring equipment during the process; using the sleeve roll and tailor’s ham to thoroughly press my seams throughout would have resulted in a smoother finish, and is especially important for a project like this, where fabric really gets sculpted to the body.

*Also, don’t move in the middle of a project- your sewing room gets all jumbled and you can’t find where anything has gotten off to!   🙂

 

Pencil Skirt, Third Class: Walking Ease, Seam Binding, and The Finished Skirt!

The third and last class:

We learned even and uneven miters and a really smart trick to reduce the stress on the back vent, or slit. Having sewn for years, why didn’t I think of that? Again, a tip worth taking the class for.

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We talked about all different choices for walking ease, hems and we reviewed waistbands. We made samples and applied rayon seam binding.

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My skirt will be on display in the store very soon…..come in and check out the insides for all of the tips and methods I learned in class! I’ll do my very best sewing, knowing that people might be lifting up my skirt hem!

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Pencil Skirt, Second Class: Zippers, Perfect Underlaps, and Mitered Waistband Laps…

The second pencil skirt class was fun. Seeing the fabric choices made by the other students was inspiring, as usual. I like how the same garment can look completely different with just a different fiber or color choice.

We learned how to do a VERY quick and accurate zipper. Also, a mitered waistband closure and underlap that was worth taking the whole class for. I’ve never been happy with certain fabrics being just too bulky around that area…..this solves it!DSCF0110

I’ve chosen a shiny denim that must have some nylon in it (origins unknown!). I plan on making many others, so this is only the beginning. I want to do the mitered waistband lap, a vent versus a slit, and a fun lining so I can practice those things.DSCF0108

I also wanted to note that for a first version, it makes sense to choose a fabric that has no stretch at all. So, if you ever fluctuate in weight, you have an exact “muslin” to make changes from. DSCF0104

Pencil Skirt, First Class: Fit, Ease, Alterations

I’ve been working at Nancy’s for a long time. I’ve seen a lot of talented people and their work: our customers, my co-workers, and guest teachers (Candace Kling). I feel so fortunate to be able to appreciate and learn from everybody who has been a part of Nancy’s Sewing Basket.

But I’ll tell you the one thing that has really intrigued me lately after FORTY YEARS (plus!) of sewing…  assisting at our regular teacher Jacque Goldsmith’s classes. I realized after listening in on even the ABC (Absolute Beginning Construction) that there was plenty to learn and think about in the sewing world. Jacque leaves no stone unturned, sharing all kinds of tips and knowledge about how it all works.

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And that is why I jumped at the chance to take her pencil skirt class. For advanced sewers, it sounds simple, right? I learned it is so much more than that. And I do know from experience sometimes the hardest thing to fit perfectly is the simplest thing. There are fewer places to hide tweaks!

In the first class, we learned about the pitch and tilt of each individual figure as well as the standard for ease in a slim-fitting skirt. I found it interesting to be reminded that everyone’s idea of ease might be different and it’s what we’re comfortable with.

We got to try on different skirts (Jacque has sewn up all of the sizes, with the hipline marked) and she tweaked each individual fit down to the sixteenth! Maybe even the 32nd, if I could be that accurate. She also measured us thoroughly and we came away with a clear record to keep for reference.

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Then she helped us translate our individual changes onto our skirt pattern, which is provided for with the class. Note, I thought it was really nice that she has all of the tools (rulers, hip curves, etc.) just at the ready for the students to use. And there are never more than four students in Jacque’s classes so it is very hands on, ask as you go.

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I haven’t decided on what fabric I will use, but I have been collecting wool remnants for a long time with the intention of making pencil skirts for work! The most fun I had in class was looking at Jacque’s fifteen (!) perfectly finished pencil skirt samples….all one pattern, but all with different fabric, waistbands, vents, lengths……VERY inspirational. In the next two classes we will learn about all of those finishes and work on samples in class. Jacque said we could sew along at home on our real skirt but that no one needed to feel pressure….How nice is that?

Dressmaker’s Jacket- Fourth Class: Perfect Notched Collars, Setting Sleeves, and Bagging the Lining! VOILA!

In our final class, the whole jacket came together at last!  We began by making our samples for absolutely perfect notched collars.  Who knew, that in order to get the collar to lay perfectly flat, you’d need to leave a tiny gap at the intersection of the points?!

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Here is the collar, before completing our collar notches…DSCF0086

And behold: a thing of beauty!  Not only did this technique result in flawless collars, but the edgestitching underneath helped the collar to roll naturally.  Love the way these samples turned out!DSCF0092

Another great feature of this class is that Jacque has a plethora of jackets made up in myriad fabrics, and in different stages of completion.  Not only is this a helpful visual reference for the process, it also gives you an idea of how many different ways you could take this vintage jacket pattern.  Below you can see just a few of the examples… From top, clockwise:  Ice Princess (!), Classic Plaid Tweed (with a bold lining), Vintage-Look Suiting, and Solid Woolens.  DSCF0102 The final steps to completing the jacket involved sewing in our (optional) shoulder pads, setting our sleeves, and sewing the lining into the jacket.  The image below shows the bottom of the lining being pinned across the bottom of the jacket- which means… you don’t have to hand sew in any of the lining!  DSCF0095

We prepare to be amazed as Jacque reaches in through a hole that was left in the sleeve lining, and ….DSCF0096

Like a magician pulling a perfectly tailored bunny out of a hat, the entire completed jacket flips out!DSCF0098

A view of the inside lining (it’s pinned instead of sewn for the demo).DSCF0099

And to think, the whole garment came out of that little sleeve lining gap!  Now all that remains is to sew up that little hole (which can also be done by machine) and add our buttons.DSCF0101

Now, after consulting with Jacque on the last class, I realized the issues I had with my sleeve vents occurred due to cutting my sleeve linings incorrectly.  Like a puzzle piece that didn’t quite fit, the linings were just an inch too long.  Therefore, I ripped them out, and am ready to re-cut them and finish the garment!  It wouldn’t be one of my projects if I left the seamripper untouched during the process ;).  I promise to post pictures of the completed jacket, in due time!

In the interim, we will be posting a review of the pencil skirt class for your consideration…