Mad Men Challenge 2 – part 2: Construction

Moving on from the oh-so-much-FUN draping and drafting the pattern (read the full story here), next up is the construction. Oh, first up: choosing fabric…

After making the toile, ironing out any mis-matches, I went onto cutting the fabric. Fabric… I so wanted nice fabric, as I’ve been trying to up my game recently. I had either stretch woven fabric or double-knit in mind, but couldn’t for the life of me find any, especially in lots of plain colours. So I went to Simply Fabrics in Brixton and later to my local West-African shop on Rye Lane, Peckham, which are both brimful with a rainbow of poly-blends (£1.50/metre). It’s cheap by price tag, cheap by touch, but what can a hue-hungry girl do?

In Brixton I found a mustard tone, and decided that would be my main colour no matter what. Then paralysis set in. I must have stared motion-less for half an hour at all the rolls. WHY is it so hard to just pick three colours? I did settle for a stone grey and a greyish pink in the end, only because by then the shop keeper had asked 187 times if I needed any help and I was worried he’d call the Social Services (it only just dawned on me that I could have replied yes to his question).

At home, the motion-less stare continued, not helped by the trip to the Rye Lane shop with another bag full of more colours, as the grey and pink (for the neckline) made my face look like a dirty blotch-fest.

Must have gone through a hundred colour combinations -  these didn't cut the mustard

Must have gone through a hundred colour combinations – some of the ones that didn’t cut the mustard.

Nothing like a deadline though to get you moving. In the end I went for an off-white, the stone grey AND A DARK GREY I HAD IN MY STASH ALL ALONG. Now we can start.

Click the first image to start the carousel and see the full captions:

In words:

Let’s face it, the polyblend is just not nice to work with. At all. At aallll. It can’t take the iron heat well at all, and no steam allowed or it all goes ripply-gooey. I LOVE the pressing required when sewing, so that’s a real downer. It’s so hard to get anything crisp, boo. Little ripples is seen here and there near the seams, which steam would normally have taken care of.

Super-proud of my pinning bits of fabric to each pattern piece to avoid stupid mistakes when cutting the fabric. Fifteen pattern pieces in all, see. I stay-stitched (from edge to centre, turn, repeat) top and bottom of every single fabric piece (21 of them – woah). The toile I made was so out of whack in the end it was like liquid, especially the neckline pieces, so I better had. It so helped!

As it turns out, the neckline was still flapping about like a good’un, even with the stay-stitch. So annoyed, as I could have avoided that by increasing the curve (I think). Putting the facing piece made it a LITTLE bit better, but my chest seems hollow above the bust and more care is needed for the future in this area.

In all the excitement, I never really stopped and thought of seam finishing. I just constructed along having a whale of a time, and just pinked away for speed. I don’t have an overlocker, but could have used a zig-zag, then trimmed the surplus seam allowance. I do think that could have stretched the edge though, which would not keep it crisp. So I just pinked the bejesus out of everything – it just feels sooo nice. I pressed all seams away from the white fabric to avoid them shine through.

Another thing I skipped all together was lining. I normally line with a nice-to-the-skin cotton, but I felt too lazy (I just re-typed that five times before deciding to tell you the real reason why I didn’t).

It all came together like a dream. I had a few places where the panels didn’t quite line up easily and perfectly, but we’re talking a millimetre or two. Even the invisible zip went in OK, lining up the different panels reasonably well. I ad-hoced a zip seam binding. Simple enough with bias tape, but it was a little tricky to keep it all straight. I am happy with the end result, as the binding gives the seam nice strength and support, I just need to stitch it on better, s’all.

I was hoping to line up the sleeve strips with the waist strips, and yep they do.

I had added 3cm hem allowance, but 2.7 of them must have gone fishing because it felt very short. So a simple narrow hem had to do the job. Love making them!

Woah, how long is this post?! Coming up: The Finale.


7 thoughts on “Mad Men Challenge 2 – part 2: Construction

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