When I posted about my vintage iron (which is still kicking a$$ compared to my old Rowenta!!! jealous much?) a commenter mentioned purchasing a teflon shoe for it. I have to be honest, I’ve tried an iron teflon shoe and found it to be really…lame. But maybe I purchased the wrong one. From what I gather there are ones that are pre-made to fit certain iron dimensions (like the photo above) and adjustable ones. The prefit ones look heaps better than the adjustables, but then again, am I going to be able to find one that fits my iron and is it really worth the money? The one I tried previously is here and it was adjustable and hard to use the iron when I was ironing, as opposed to pressing. I also found it to be oddly clunky/junky, not hot enough, not steamy enough and not glide-ee enough (like gliding over the fabric like a swan on water), even with the iron turned up to the highest setting when without the shoe, it does just fine. Plus getting into corners was pretty much impossible because of the adjustable quality of the shoe. Add to all this that when I had had enough of trying the shoe out, I wadded it up and threw it into the garbage and found it had left some wonderfully awesome junk on my iron plate and if there is one thing I do loathe, its a dirty iron sole plate.
A few days ago, I was getting lost in the archives over at Fashion Incubator and she mentioned (in a post, I can’t seem to find now) that instead of using a silk organza press cloth (my go to for adhering fusible interfacing and pressing seams that shine), just use a teflon shoe for your iron. Granted, I’m pretty sure she’s talking about use with a gravity steam iron and not a standard home iron and though my vintage iron is fairly awesome, I’ve tried those gravity steam irons and there is of course, a stark difference. Still, I wouldn’t mind trying a different brand of teflon shoe, so I turn to you to see what you think. I’ll admit, I’m pretty attached to my silk organza press cloth though, but one has to keep an open mind about all things sewing, I think.
So what do you think? Do you use a teflon shoe for your iron? Any brand suggestions? What do you really think about iron teflon shoes? Yea or Nay? Jump in!
With plaid fabrics there comes the additional factor of whether or not your plaid has a dominant stripe and how that can affect the outcome of the garment you are planning. Before we jump into this concept, let’s review really quick about what we’ve covered so far. We know that plaid fabrics can be balanced (even) or unbalanced (uneven) – this, by the way, refers to whether or not the stripes make up perfect squares. You can utilize the fabric test that I showed in my last video to determine whether or not your plaid is balanced or unbalanced. This plays a role in the planning of the garment. Balanced plaids will match up easier both vertically and horizontally. Unbalanced plaids will match up either vertically or horizontally, but not necessarily both. Additionally, balanced plaids can be put either on the bias or on the straight of grain whereas often times with unbalanced plaids, the bias creates a weird effect with the plaid itself not being able to produce perfect chevrons. This of course, does not mean that you can’t break any of these rules or ideas, they are just keypoints to keep in mind as you plan.
Now onto how to find the dominant stripe. This can be easy and tricky, again, depending on the plaid fabric you are using. First of all, how do you find the dominant stripe? Fold out your fabric so that you can view a wide area of it and then take a step back. Some say that if you squint at the fabric when you look at it from a distance the dominant stripe will jump out at you. Usually I can see it without squinting, but if that helps you, definitely do it. Let’s take a look at a plaid that would have an easily identifiable dominant stripe. The tartan above is pretty easy to identify. Its that white stripe. Kind of crazy how that thin white stripe is the one that jumps out at you first, but its true. That red stripe makes a close second, but still its the white stripe that takes the cake.
Now what about a plaid that has a harder to identify dominant stripe? Let’s go back to my recent plaid jacket fabric. This plaid is very interesting because I see both the red and yellow stripes as the dominant. The red has the added white stripe running through it and if you know anything about weaving, you’ll know that you have to be careful with yellow because it shows up really well in whatever you use it in. So in this instance, I decided to use both stripes as one dominant stripe.
Now what about in the example of this windowpane plaid? Does this fabric have a dominant stripe? Technically, those white windowpanes are the dominant, yet the scale and proportion of this plaid makes it so that it really doesn’t matter. You’ll definitely see what I mean in the coming lessons, but in this instance the planning of the garment would be based solely on matching the plaids and not on where the plaids are positioned on the body. The fabric I’ve chosen to use for my next plaid jacket is also a windowpane plaid. Does it have a dominant stripe or does it matter that it does? I’ve decided that though the windowpane is dominant and since its a larger windowpane, I’ll worry about the placement of the stripes, but not to the same extent that I did on my previous jacket make.
Knowing whether your plaid is balanced or unbalanced and what the dominant stripe is, if there is one will definitely affect how you plan the plaid which I’ll go over in upcoming installments of the Plaid Jacket Chronicles. Hopefully this gives you more clarification, rather than confuses the living daylights out of you. These principles aren’t really hard to understand, but stacked up against other plaids you’ll find the world of sewing plaids a little more complex than it may appear. Just focus on your plaid and apply what I’ve gone over here to your fabric.
What do you all think about plaid fabrics so far? I think if you just focus on one at a time, you start feeling a little more comfortable with these tricky fabrics. There is so much variety though! Even just doing my own research for these little episodes (or should I say webisodes?) was crazy interesting and kind of…. vast. Lots and lots of plaids out there.
Also, here are all the Plaid Jacket Chronicles webisodes in order, so far:
Head of the Class – my recent plaid jacket make
a Peek into my Plaid Stash & Balanced vs. Unbalanced Plaids
Today, for fun, I thought I would share some of my plaid fabrics with you. There are so many plaids out there (much more than I’m showing here, just so ya know) and rather than go into a discourse on what plaid is this and what plaid is that, I thought why not just share the plaids I have and love. I have several that you may not even know exist and some that are kind of simple and basic. All are special to me in their own right and many are ear-marked for specific projects. So, here goes!
Some of you have talked about Tartans and I have a few. The saying goes, all tartans are plaids but not all plaids are tartans so calling all plaids “tartans” is technically not correct. Tartans have Scottish origins and they are pretty much awesome plaids. My recent plaid jacket make was a tartan. These plaids are rich with history and they are fun to read about and interesting to work with. Additionally, the methods for using tartans are pretty awesome in their own right especially as concerns kiltmaking. Scotland is actually a great starting point for plaid fabric searches too. If you are unaware of Harris Tweed, you should become acquainted. I’ve not purchased a full length of Harris Tweed yet, but the fabrics and saturated colors speak for themselves. Just another resource to tantalize you!
Ever encountered a texturized plaid before? I don’t see these fabrics very often, if ever, but I have two pieces – one is a kelly green (isn’t it to die for?) and the other is a perfect fall plum color. Both have a raised texture in the form of a plaid as the plaid. Interesting eh? These are both earmarked for jackets, though I’m considering making a skirt out of the plum piece. Both are wool and both are pretty much insanely fabulous. Am I right or am I right?
I do have a fondness for nubby wool fabrics and so when I saw this tomato-ee red wool blend boucle, I could not pass it up. Its a plaid too – a very subtle plaid, but its there (much more evident in real life). It has cellophane fibers in it which gives it a little sparkle and it is very special. Its ear-marked for a Chanel style cardigan jacket which may or may not be in the works as I type….
Windowpane plaid. This is one of only a few balanced plaid fabrics I have (scroll down for the video on how to determine if your plaid is balanced or unbalanced and what that means) and its a rayon challis. Its a vintage piece that I picked up at a thrift store and I’m thinking about pimping it as a button up shirt at some point.
This next piece is pretty amazing. Its a Linton Tweed. Yup. I have one. Linton Tweed is based out of the UK (those British Isles definitely know what’s what about plaids) and this is apparently a fish tail plaid. It’s pretty superb, I have to admit and I’m not sure exactly what I have planned for it, but it will be simply wonderful. Linton Tweed was used quite a bit by Chanel for her famous Chanel jackets and their site boasts some pretty lovely boucles, tweeds, plaids and woolens, in general.
Finally, here is the plaid that I’ll be using for my next plaid jacket. Of all of the plaids I’ve mentioned here, this is probably the one with the least amount of history. It was, of all things, a Joann fabric find and is surprisingly, 100% wool. I found it in the sale bin years and years ago. Probably one of my very first plaid fabrics. I’ve always wanted to make a jacket out of it and this year, I finally decided that its just got to happen. Its the perfect burnt orange color for my complexion and will make a striking fall number. It too, is a windowpane plaid and has a subtle chocolate, yellow and green stripe running through it on a tweed background. I’ll think you’ll find what I have planned for it interesting as I don’t have very much of this fabric.
Last, but not least is a video for you about balanced and unbalanced plaids and what that all means. I noticed in my last post with a video that when my post was emailed to me, it did not include the video, so I’ll be including all the link info for videos from now on. To view this video on Vimeo, click here. Otherwise, you can watch it below.
It seems like awhile since I did some serious tutorials here on the blog and so I think its high time to get back to that. My life has been crazy and I really miss not always being able to keep you all up to date on what I’m doing – not because I don’t want to but only really, because I sometimes just don’t have enough hours in the day. So this little journey is a big one for me as I’ve decided to try some new ways of doing tutorials – namely video. Please, please be kind in your comments. I’m still getting a handle on video, how to take it, how to record myself and how to edit and it is not the easiest. There’s a pretty big learning curve and one that I’m willing to learn, but still need to better my skill with. So, here is my intro video to the Plaid Jacket Chronicles! Yay!
This little sappy quip includes some of my thoughts on plaids and some moving shots of me in my jacket. Conquering a plaid jacket is one of the harder plaid garments to make, but hey, that’s never quite stopped me before. Gulp. Hopefully, this makes you a little itchy to try your hand at a plaid jacket or even a plaid garment. I’ll be walking you through my process, thoughts, tutorials and info that will help you out on your journey. I’ll be back in the next few days with the first of several tutorials. Enjoy!
PS ~ Thank you all for your great comments on my plaid jacket! I’m so excited to be making another one and sharing it with you!
For a little while, I guess (fine fine, for a quite awhile, I admit) I’ve had an obsession with finding, fitting and sewing a perfect jacket. If you don’t know, for me, this is like trying to turn the sky pink. I have an upper body that is a rather hard fit. I have a fairly broad upper bust and it makes purchasing woven tops and jackets from the store a very dismal affair – so dismal, I don’t even bother trying stuff like that on anymore. Anyhow, let’s move on with this little story here and find out why I became obsessed with creating a clearly fall-like jacket in the middle of summer (as I type this, we’re hitting 100 degrees farenheit today!).
I’ve been working on several projects behind the scenes here. Behind the scenes sounds so…. secretive, when really, its not. I just haven’t been up to my usual blogging pace. This is McCall’s 6172. Its a Palmer Pletsch pattern that was one of the best jacket patterns I’d seen in awhile. I love pretty much every single thing about this jacket. I picked up this pattern sometime in January and have been slowing hacking away at it since. I know, weird. My obsession for projects can come and go and that is exactly what happened with this pattern.
Before my initial muslin, I decided to read some pattern reviews of this pattern. Always, always a great idea. It runs big. Actually let me correct that. This pattern runs big for normal folks, for me it was only really really big in the waist and hip area but for my upper bust, shoulder and upper arm area it was practically perfect. This is a first for me, for sure. Taking in the waist and hip was a cinch. Additionally I made some cosmetic changes to the jacket too. I raised the welt pocket to hit more at my waist area rather than in that weird in between the waist and hip space. I also reduced the size of the lapels and collar which were quite large and I also hacked off some length too. Thinking for the next jacket, I’ve decided to also raise the buttons upward too as I feel that the button placement on this jacket falls a bit low.
The jacket started out in a completely different fabric. After working on it for several months, it still looked pretty bad. There were so many things that just kept going wrong and finally, I just decided to let well enough alone and start anew. I decided once and for all that after many many sewing fails (in addition to the jacket I just described) I was not going to stand for it anymore. To place even more faith in myself, I decided on a plaid.
Friends, let’s talk plaid for a minute. I don’t know about you, but even the word can strike absolute fear into my heart. Thing is though, I’m such a sucker for plaids. In fact, I have several in the stash that have been languishing away in hopes that I would be able to get my nerve up. Most are ear marked for a jacket because seriously, what is more bitchin that a plaid jacket? I think nothing! I’m a regular freaking Nancy Drew in this thing. So friends, when I tell you that tackling a plaid jacket is not for the faint of heart, it truly is, not for the faint of heart. And for all you mad plaiders out there, this was an unbalanced plaid to boot.
The fabric here is from Yellow Bird Fabrics and it has kind of a sad tale. It was such an unwanted fabric. Apparently this particular plaid had been there for a few years. Seriously, this kind of thing makes me sad. Oh little sad fabric, why does no one want you? Its a beautiful wool, quite soft and the plaid is very old school. Like it reminds of 1950s college cohorts or something. So after some cute girls came in and bought a couple of yards, I decided to nab up the rest and tackle this sleuthing, college chumming number. Surprisingly, since the pattern was all figured out, this jacket only took the better part of 4 days stretched out over a 2 week time span.
The plaid matching was not too horrendous. May I point out a few things here? Again the plaid is unbalanced. Looking at the plaid you’ll notice that the stripes that stand out the most are those red and yellow ones. And if you look at the jacket fronts you’ll notice that on the right side and left side the vertical red and yellow stripes are not mirrored. Where there is a red stripe on one side it is a yellow stripe on the opposite side. When working with plaids, this type of thing seriously intrigues me. Plaid fabrics can be a really fascinating journey to work with – kind of a weird thing to say, but true. For the most part, I’m really really happy with the plaid match up. We’ve got matched plaids all around the bodice and look at the front sleeve cap? Isn’t it beautiful? I’m not particularly happy with the under sleeve though. As you can see, the front part of the under sleeve did not match up with the upper sleeve at all and that’s because I was thinking it would be more important to have the back part of the sleeve match up. While the back matches up quite well at the hem and up to the mid upper arm pretty well, I think overall, the under sleeve would do better cut on the bias instead. I’m not sure though, thoughts anyone?
To boot, I’ve decided to make another plaid jacket and I thought I would document my journey of the whole process as planning a plaid garment is not a topic of much discussion, I find. And if you, like me, have a love affair with plaids, you’ll want to know how to work them. Especially in a ridiculously awesome jacket. Are you game?
Ever made a plaid jacket? Or a plaid garment? Do you love plaids as much as I do?