Sunday, April 13, 2014

Colorblocked Hoodie - Vogue 8951


Most of my recent makes have beens skirts, so I decided that it was time to make a non-skirt.

Variety is the spice of life, and all.

This pattern is a fairly recent Vogue - I think it came out in the early spring batch of patterns. It is for a darted split-neck pullover and includes 3 neckline variations: hoodie, collared, and plain. There is an optional kangaroo pocket, side seam hem slits, and the back is longer than the front.

I love this novelty knit - it is a double knit with a lot of drape. One side is red, with a lot of texture, and the other side is solid black. It's a great fabric, from Emma One Sock, many months ago.

The draft of this pattern is a bit unusual for Vogue. The envelope says that it is close fitting and it is! Despite the dart, I had to add a substantial FBA. The pattern features a very high, close-fitting armhole and the sleeve is slim through the bicep. Also, the shoulder is narrower than normal - I had to remove much less than I usually do for Vogue.

I am not usually a fan of hoods, but I liked how it looked as a collar, so I decided to use the hood version. However, I did not want a heavy hood pulling at my neck, so I chose not to line the hood, as the pattern recommends.

My alterations and modifications were:

  • A substantial FBA, and I had to lower the dart by almost 3 inches.
  • The collar is supposed to be lined, but I did not want a "heavy" hood. This fabric is a double-knit, so I used a single layer of fabric and flat felled the hood's CB seam. I omitted the drawstring in the hood. This means that the reverse side of the fabric, which is solid black, shows.
  • I used a size Medium, tapered down to a XS at the hip.
  • I tapered in slightly at the waist - about 1/4" for a total of 1".
  • This top is designed with a mullet hem - so that the back is longer than the front. I shortened the back so that it is the same length as the front.
  • The armhole is high and the sleeve slim. After measuring the pattern and my arm, I left the pattern as-is, because I am using a forgiving knit and I knew it would work.
  • I used a contrasting black wool double knit for the sleeves.
  • I narrowed the shoulder by 5/8". This is *much* less than I usually remove for a Vogue pattern - so it has a narrower shoulder than usual.

You might wonder why I used a contrast fabric for the sleeves. It was for two reasons. First, I knew that the inside of the hood would be exposing solid black, and black sleeves would be a nice repetition of the color. But I also really wanted to save some of this fabric to make another of those short skirts that I love to wear to work over leggings or tights.

It goes to show that I can't completely avoid another skirt. ;)

I love this top! I definitely can see this becoming one of my TNT patterns.

Sunday, April 6, 2014

Skirt Obsessed - McCalls 6396


My obsession with the skirt continues!

I've had this jumper pattern, McCalls 6396, for awhile. (It is now OOP.) I kinda liked it, but kinda didn't. The tweed jumper with the deep v-neck... it reminded me of a school girl's uniform.

But I really liked the layered, asymmetric skirt.

I spent some time mulling over how to change the jumper to make it more "me". I had several ideas but none gelled. Finally, I decided to chop the pattern at the waist and to make it as a skirt.

'Cause I love skirts!

I made view A, which features two front pieces that overlap. After I chopped it in half, the jumper with a princess seam bodice, became a skirt with a princess seam yoke.

The fabric is a fabulous double-sided stretch woven from Italy with an abstract print. I purchased it locally in two color ways. This is the swampy green color way, but I also have some in a grey/black combo. It washed/dried beautifully and resists wrinkles. A really nice fabric.

I made a size 10 skirt, but increased the waist. This involved modifying all 6 yoke pattern pieces, as well as all three skirt pattern pieces. This alteration is not for the faint of heart, but if your waist/hip ratio is closer to the pattern's idea of a body shape, it shouldn't be hard.

Because my waist and hips are close to the same measurement, I converted it to an elastic waist and omitted the zipper.

I love this skirt and will definitely make it again!

I am also linking up with Patti's Visible Monday. Thanks, Patti!

Bison Followup

Thanks for all of your feedback on the bison hat! It was a lot of fun to plan and execute.

For most of April Fool's Day, the security guard and the two receptionists enjoyed the reaction it received. I learned that the security guard was counting the number of people who were spinning the propeller - in fact, they started telling people it would bring luck.

Then I learned that, at the end of the day, the bison was moved.

Yes, moved!

It was moved to another building at the outskirts of the campus. I went to visit the bison in his new digs on Friday. I hear they plan to leave the Noogler hat on his head.

This is fine with me!

Bernie in his new digs

Mem took a photo of me with Bernie in his new, well lit, lobby.

I also learned that they call him Nickel

But I prefer Bernie.

In totally unrelated news, DD2, who has been traveling the world on a Gap Year since last September, returns home tonight! Woot!

Tuesday, April 1, 2014

April Fool's Day 2014 - Bison Ho!


When I started at Google in Dec 2013, I worked in a centrally located building of the Mountain View campus. (I have since moved to another building.) I routinely ate my meals in a nearby cafe called BigTable, and I couldn’t help but notice the almost-life-sized Bison in the lobby of this building.

I call him Bernie

One day, a colleague, mem, placed a novelty, plastic Octoberfest hat on Bernie and waited to see how long it would last.

It lasted about a week.

Bernie’s baleful glare suggests dissatisfaction with his tiny hat

But that gave me an idea.

It seemed to me that Bernie needed a real hat.

A bison-sized hat.

A Noogler hat.

And he needed it for April Fool’s Day.

New employees are given a Noogler hat at the end
of the first week of orientation to wear at TGIF.

How handy that I can sew!

So my plans were underway.

One challenge for a bison-sized Noogler hat is a bison-sized propeller - I figured that a foot long propeller was a good length - that would nestle nicely between Bernie’s horns. I was puzzling how to get my hands on a 3D printer, when mem checked on ebay and, voilà, thanks to a market for model airplane aficionados, there it was: a blue 12” plastic propeller.

So I bought it.

It even came with a spare

Fitting Bernie was a bit of a stealth operation. On the days that I needed to take measurements, or test the fit of a muslin, I headed to Bernie's lobby as early as possible. The receptionists are scheduled to man the lobby at 8am, and the first bus gets me to work around 7:30am, but sometimes the receptionists are early, and sometimes the bus is late. I was in and out as quickly as possible, but on a couple occasions, one of the receptionists would show up while I was working with Bernie, though no one ever asked me why the heck I was making a skull cap for the giant bison.

After measuring Bernie, I drafted a pattern, and made a succession of muslins to test the fit of the hat. I drafted the pattern 4 times and made 4 muslins. Bernie has a very strangely shaped head and no neck to speak of which required, in the end, 4 pattern pieces for the beanie, instead of the usual 1. (I also created a pattern for the brim, and another for the hem facing, for a total of 6 pattern pieces.)

The 4th muslin
A well-fitting skull cap with notches for his horns

One day at lunch, mem drove me to Michael’s, a craft store near the Mountain View campus, where I purchased pony beads and fabric paint.

I couldn’t find proper Google colors in the correct weight of fabric, so I painted white duck (canvas) fabric with Tulip fabric paints. The colors weren't perfectly right either, but they were close enough.

It was a pain to sew the painted fabric - the paint made the canvas stiff and thick - like sewing vinyl - and I had to be careful as pins left permanent holes.

The hat is topstitched in green thread

Pressing the fabric was also problematic and I had to repaint several panels because the first brim that I made, and one of the blue beanie panels, were ruined by the iron.

My trusty Bernina couldn't handle sewing the brim to the hat, with the thickness of two layers of painted fabric and two layers of thick interfacing, so I had to sew the brim to the hat by hand, bending two needles and many pins in the process.

Yes, a royal pain.

The other required supplies were copper electrical wire from the hardware store for the propeller, the thickest Pellon interfacing available to stiffen the brim, fabric glue to secure the brim facing, cotton twill tape to use as ties, and E6000 glue to hold the propeller in place.

It was a challenging project but, in the end, determination prevailed.

And that’s the story of Bernie the Bison and his very own Noogler hat.

Bernie’s pleased grin as he rocks his snazzy new Noogler hat.
Such a handsome boy!

Shams: Bison Milliner

mem: Consultant

Noogler Hat Fun Facts

After spending considerable time studying the Noogler hat, I am sharing some fun facts that I have learned. (OK, "fun" might be a bit of an overstatement.)

What colors are in the Noogler hat?
The beanie portion of the hat is made from 6 sections. There are 4 Google colors, which don't neatly divide into 6, so the beanie itself contains only three of the Google colors: red, yellow, and blue, two panels of each color. The brim is green, the fourth Google color.

Whenever the Noogler hat is shown on the Android, there is no brim, but the Android himself is green, so the overall effect includes all four Google colors.
This Android is one-story tall - the tiny bike is a full-sized bike

What color are the beads on the propeller?
After much googling, I learned that the beads are always: red, yellow, and orange. Yes, orange - not an official Google color. I bought two bags of pony beads in order to get the right colors.

What color is the propeller?
After much searching, it seems that the propeller is always blue. I think a green propeller would be nice, but it's always blue.

How is the propeller attached to the hat?
Via a plastic "pin". The pin has a knob at one end and the other end is threaded through the propeller and the three pony beads, then into the hat. On the inside of the hat, the plastic is then "melted" into a flat disc. A lightweight circle of interfacing is then glued to cover the plastic circle - to protect the wearer's head.

I don't have access to a similar plastic pin, or to the device used to melt the end of it, so I used a short length of copper electrical wire covered with a green plastic casing. I bent one end into a circle, and threaded the other end through the propeller, the three pony beads, and into the hat, then through a circle of stiff interfacing. I bent the copper wire to a 90 degree angle and glued it, with E6000, to the interfacing.

How does Bernie's hat stay on his flattish head?
Note the notches at the bottom of the hat to accommodate Bernie's horns. I've attached twill tape ties to the corner of each notch.

Does the propeller work?
You betcha! One of my primary goals was to make sure that the propeller spins (without falling over)!

Why isn't your bison hat embroidered with "Noogler"?
Funny you should mention that!

I did have plans to have it embroidered by a colleague's girlfriend who owns an embroidery machine. (I do not own an embroidery machine.) Mem found a free font that is very close to the Google logo font (called Catull BQ) and she created the graphic to the size that I specified. But the colleague's girlfriend was concerned that embroidering a painted fabric might damage her machine, driving bits of paint into the bobbin casing. She might be right - the last thing I would want is to damage an expensive Bernina!

I considered stenciling "Noogler" onto the hat, but I decided that this was more trouble than I wanted to bother with. Given my dubious abilities with a paintbrush, even with a stencil, it was too risky.

Is that Bison a stuffed (taxidermied) bison?
No! This is an oversized toy bison. It is made by Hansa.
You can buy one for a mere $3600 (free shipping)

Tuesday, March 25, 2014

Spring Vogues are Released


The spring Vogue patterns hit yesterday and I hustled over to take a quick peek. The Koos dress (above) has some interesting embellishment, but the muumuu shape would not work on this figure.

I was disappointed that there were no new Marcy Tilton patterns, but moving on. (Boy, what would I do if Katherine and Marcy stopped creating patterns?!?! Perish the thought!)

I have a short shopping list, and wrote this post, thanks to some serious insomnia.

Vogue 9004
I love this top! A must-have. It reminds me, a bit, of one of my favorite Au Bonheur top patterns.
Vogue 1403
Another excellent Koos bag. This has such an unusual shape and provides a great opportunity for fabric collaging. (Though I must admit, I find myself wishing that this bag could hold a laptop, but I see that it can't due to the deep cutout for the handles.)

Vogue 8995
This spring collection has So.Many.Dresses! (As in, more separates, please!) This is one of the few I would consider making. It is similar to the McCalls studded dress that I made, but different enough to purchase.

Vogue 1396
The only other dress pattern I'd consider buying. This Donna Karan pattern intrigues me. I would make a number of changes to make it work on my body (such as narrowing the boat neck and adding sleeves), but I think it has potential.

Vogue 8991
Wow, do I love the sleeves on this Claire Schaeffer jacket! I could get a lot of wear out of a jacket like this, though I wouldn't put the pockets high up like that. With my generous bust, it would look like my boobs were having a slumber party.

Vogue 9013
I am considering this jacket/skirt pattern. Ironically, on my todo list is to draft myself a flippy-gore skirt pattern. I probably still will, as it's so easy to do. The jacket is interesting. I wish I could see it sewn up, as I wonder if the neckline might be so wide as to expose bra straps, but it has potential. I'd lengthen the jacket a bit. I probably won't buy this one right away. I wouldn't wear the jacket with the skirt, by the way - it would be too formal for my job. And, yes, I'm a bit dubious about the neckline.

Vogue 9006
This cowl neck top is another one I wish I could see made up. A cowl neck can be very tricky on a busty figure. The cowl looks best when it doesn't hang too low, placing too much fabric on the bust. And, of course, you don't want it exposing too much, but this one is drawn to suggest that it might be ok. And, look at the back of the neckline - it is constructed similar to a shawl collar where the front cowl extends to CB - this is a very promising detail. (By the way, the back of View A shows back darts into the neck extension and the neck extension is wider than what is shown on view B. I would favor the construction of view A, but made with the sleeves of View B.)
I also like the princess seaming on View A. Views B and C are cut on the bias and, I suspect, that the center panel on View A is cut on the bias. This makes for a nice drape in the cowl.
Yes, this pattern looks very promising!
I have been noticing that gathered sleeves are coming back and the long sleeved version shows this detail. I am definitely long past wearing a gathered sleeve, so I would just lengthen the short sleeved view. It's nice that there are options.

Vogue 9002
While I like the seaming of this top, I am not a fan of flutter sleeves, so I am on the fence about this one. It would have been nice if another sleeve option were provided. This is another pattern where it would be nice to see it sewn up, as I suspect I'd have to narrow the boat neck.

So, what about you? Any patterns you love that didn't make my list? (I realize that my list is skewed to my body type.)