Saturday, January 19, 2008

Progress Report - Butterick 5145

I am starting to put the pieces together, but first I wanted to point out some more of my cutting technique with this pattern. The pattern envelope is a little deceptive:


It clearly shows a houndstooth pattern and the pattern appears to go very evenly along the middle horizontal seam

If I had cut the pattern exactly as the pattern pieces, that line would angle up, not go straight across. Something to keep in mind.
This is the front piece, with tape measure to give you an idea of angle

With the dart closed, the pattern still angles up, and the houndstooth would not go across evenly.

To solve this, I cut the bottom straight across, rather than angled up. It changes the shape only slightly, but gives a nice horizontal line across.


I did the same with the side pieces and back piece. Incidentally, I made the back piece one piece instead of 2 pieces with a middle seam.


On to putting the pieces together!

Friday, January 11, 2008


I am now 'houndstooth obsessed' from working on this jacket. I decided to dig up some facts about this particular pattern. Where does the name come from? And does it really look like a hound's tooth?I turned to Wikipedia first :
Houndstooth or houndstooth check is a duotone textile pattern, characterized by broken checks or abstract four-pointed shapes. Houndstooth checks originated in woven wool cloth of the Scottish Lowlands. The traditional houndstooth check is made with alternating bands of four dark and four light threads in both warp and weft woven in a simple 2:2 twill, two over - two under the warp, advancing one thread each pass.

They include some interesting graphic illustrations of the check:

Houndstooth check weave.png

And who knew (I didn’t) that there is an online textile dictionary where some of this information came from. According to this site:

Houndstooth has stood the test of time. Considered a classic, houndstooth has been a fashion trend several times in history, with peaks during the 1930s, the 1970s and then again in the first decade of 2000. Often used in woolens, houndstooth is also found in cotton and silk fabrics.

It is often used for coats, blazers and other outdoor wear, and also dresses and skirts. In the early 1800s it was found in scarves and hoop skirts. But over time, it became popular for home item and accessories, such as handbags, headbands and umbrellas. It has even become popular for trendy animal care items, such as collars and bowls.

In the late 1960s, designer Geoffrey Beene mixed the classic pattern with lace in dresses. Also in the late 1960s, Chevrolet used a black and white houndstooth pattern to upholster some of its Camaro line of vehicles. In 2005-06, houndstooth made a fashion comeback when designers such as Chanel, Emporio Armani, and Louis Vuitton featured the bold pattern in their designs.

This winter, houndstooth is very trendy, it’s showing up in jackets:

St. John Collection Houndstooth Jacket & Pants
St. John Collection - $1295.00 (gasp!)
Gallery Houndstooth Wool Coat
This style is eerily like what I am making. Wish I could see the back

Soia & Kyo Belted Houndstooth Wool Coat

tres chic

Mackage Wool Houndstooth Capelet

Houndstooth Lamp

Sunday, January 6, 2008

Butterick B5145

Back from our not so great holiday to Squaw Valley and feverishly sewing. What have I been working on for my first project for 2008?

image of B5145

This cute jacket, the short version. With a lovely 1/4 inch houndstooth wool purchased last week at Stonemountain and Daughter in Berkeley.

houndstooth.jpg I've never sewn with houndstooth before so the first thing I did before cutting was study the fabric. I realized that houndstooth is a very distinct pattern that has a direction. And much like pinstripes, it has vertical lines. But it also has vertical lines, like a plaid. This was going to be interesting....

First thing I did was I ACTUALLY MADE A MUSLIN! Just of the top portion of the jacket. Having been sewing BWOF patterns the last several months has made me a little wary of bust fit correctly out of the box. But this Butterick pattern fitted my C cup (wearing my bra) Diana perfectly:


I decided this fabric should be treated as a plaid - and also all of the pattern pieces would need to be cut in one direction to match. The houndstooth was small enough that matching it perfectly wasn't an absolute must, but in my case, I thought I would give it a shot.
I looked on the patternreview message boards about cutting houndstooth and I found a post where someone mentioned Sandra's Betzina's method of cutting plaids. (Coincidentally, Sandra Betzina has taught some classes at Stonemountain and Daughter). They mentioned cutting a single layer of the fabric for each pattern piece, then flip the pattern piece over, match up the lines with your cut piece and cut the second piece. Of course, this is a longer process, took me about 3 hours, but I'm glad I did it:


Cut Piece 1 matching a line of the houndstooth to a notch for reference


Flip piece over and cut out piece 2 matching vertical and horizontal

Taking this extra time to cut out the fabric has helped enormously when putting the jacket together. I have to say that although I love BWOF patterns, this Butterick has been an easy vacation from them! It is extremely well drafted and the instructions are easy to follow WITH PICTURES (ahhh). This is going to be one sharp looking coat. I just noticed that Patternreview has a new contest for wool fabric - I just may enter. My first contest!