Tuesday, March 8, 2011

Project Ridgway: Season One, Episode One

Last Spring, my mom and I took a sewing class at our local community college.  We made an apron and a robe, but more importantly, we learned a whole bunch of technique and tips while we were sewing our projects.  When the Summer sewing class was cancelled due to low enrollment, my mom asked our teacher if she’d be interested in teaching a class outside of the college, and she said yes!  I wasn’t able to take the class they had in the Fall because I was busy at Spool with my quilting class, but this time around I joined in. 

A few of my aunts and cousins,  and my mom and I all gather at my aunt’s house on Wednesday nights for some good old sewing instruction.  Nick has dubbed this “Project Ridgway” after my mom’s and aunts’ maiden name.  My grandmother usually comes along to class and pops in from the other room to check in every once in a while.  Nick has, unbeknownst to her, assigned her the Tim Gunn role.  She is definitely as encouraging as Tim is.  One of these weeks I’ll let her in on her role and maybe she’ll bless us with a “Make it work” every now and then.

During this semester of class, we are focusing on jackets.  Mostly everyone else is going the traditional blazer route, but since I couldn’t find anything that I liked and that seemed easy enough for a novice sewer like myself, I decided to try out Amy Butler’s Rainy Days Hooded Raincoat/Runabout Jacket.  I’m not using laminated cotton, so I guess my jacket will officially be a Runabout Jacket.

I originally picked out a heavy-ish home dec fabric for the outside of the jacket, but when it arrived in the mail I didn’t think it would work.  It was too heavy and I was afraid it wouldn’t hang the way I would need it to.

Image from Fabric.com

I almost ordered the fabric that the jacket on the pattern envelope is made out of.  Is this cheating?  I didn’t end up going this route because liked it but didn’t love it.  How do you feel about using the same exact fabric that is showcased on the pattern envelope?  I was more concerned with getting the correct weight of fabric.

Perhaps my fabric problems wouldn’t be so big if I would actually go to a fabric store and pick out the fabric in person.  Since I am out of the house from 6:30am-7:00pm on week days for work (don’t worry, I’m not working that entire time.  I venture out to the gym during lunch), I don’t really feel like trekking to Joann at the end of the day.  Sadly, Joann is the only apparel fabric store that is near my house.  If only Fabric Row were closer to work! 

Yet I digress.  I ended up ordering what I thought would be a heavier cotton for the outside and a quilt weight cotton for the lining, as the pattern suggests.  The outside fabric isn’t quite as heavy as I thought it would be, but I’m going to use it anyway!  I was trying to decide between these two different colors of Amy Butler's Midwest Modern Fresh Poppies, but decided to go with the one more pronounced with pink.  At the risk of going into pink overload, I then chose a pink solid cotton for the lining, which I think will add a nice pop from the hood.  Apparently I’m big into pink these days!

Image from Fabric.com
Image from Fabric.com
Our instructor suggested that I might want to use a more slippery fabric for the lining so it’s easier to slide my arms in and out.  For now, I’m going to stick with the lining that I originally got and see how it works out.

Our homework for this week was to cut out the pattern pieces and trace the seam allowances onto the pattern pieces.  I still don’t quite understand why we’re doing this, but I know it has something to do with tracing the pattern onto the muslin.  Hopefully things will be a little clearer after this week’s class!

On Sunday night and last night, I set myself up on the couch with my lapdesk and a Sharpie pen to trace the seam allowances.  Have you tried Sharpie pens?  They are amazing!  They’re pretty much a thin marker but are in a pen body.  They are so comfortable to write with and I don’t find myself having a firm choke on the pen like I do with ball-point or other types of pens.  My hand hurts a lot less now after writing for extended periods of time!  Thankfully Flick was taking a nap during this and didn’t attack any of the pattern pieces! 

Then we had to pin our pattern pieces to our muslin so we’re all ready to get cutting when we get to class on Wednesday.

I’m excited to get into muslin fitting!


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