Wednesday, July 23, 2014

Making other things...

Also just finished a blouse:

It's made of linen, from the fabric store, and one of the most nicely-finished garments I've ever made.  And I did it the right way, too.  I had an old Vogue pattern, and made a mock-up, and altered it until it fit properly, and made a new pattern.  And I finished all my seams, for once.  And learned how to make bound buttonholes.  Overall, I'm very happy with how it turned out.

I also bought three yards of this:

I have no idea what I'll do with it, but I love it.  Maybe another blouse?  perhaps a more oxford-style one this time?  I think as a dress, it would be too much all in one place, and be overwhelming.

Finally finished with the blue and black spectator!

At least, I think this is called a Spectator... 
Either way, they're finally done!
Here's my logo, on the sole:

Problems?  Lots of them.  These were most definitely an experiment, and some parts were more successful than others.  I think I could do a much better job the next time.

For one, I forgot to remove the heel tack before removing the left shoe from the last, and tore out the decorative punchwork and stitching on the counter:

Also, the top edge of the counter isn't tall enough - when I wear the shoes, they feel like they're about to slip off my heels.  On the other hand, too bitey of a top line along my achilles' tendon on commercially produced shoes has long been a problem for me, so I think I just need to remember to start lasting with the heel point up a little higher on the last.

My lasting wasn't great, so the pattern is a little distorted.  It's hard to tell, but they're just a tiny bit lopsided.  I notice it, but I doubt anyone else ever will.

 I do very much like how the lacing area and tongue turned out.  In the future, I'll have he better sewing machine, and this will look even better.  Ditto on the edge piping.

Here's the last two problems:  The beautiful back line I was going for completely disappeared.  I think I may need (eventually) to invest in a splitter.  I've been using suede and hirschkleber for my counters, and I think they're just not robust enough. 

Second, the oak heels, which I thought I had sanded smooth enough turned out to be not smooth enough.  I can see the uneven ridges through the kangaroo leather, which seems to magnify the problems, rather than leveling them out.  Next time around, I'll be experimenting with casting heels from plastic, from Smooth-on, and inserting one or more steel pins through the center.

A final note about lasts, and toe shape.  Here's my two pairs of heels - the first pair, from class, and the new ones.  You can really see the difference in toe shape in this photo.  The size is the same, and the heel height is the same, but the toe shape is very different, and that's why you need so many pairs of lasts.

Thursday, July 17, 2014

New Equipment!

I keep meaning to post about this, but just haven't managed to do it. 
I splurged, and bought myself a really nice, heavy-duty sewing machine.  Not a $2,500 industrial model, that comes bolted to a table and has a motor that needs to sit in a gallon of oil.  But I've tried it with leather, in the way that I use it (multiple layers, multiple textures and stretchy-ness, with and without support of some kind inside), and it will be perfectly adequate to my needs.

It's a Juki - the brand our instructor kept saying was the best - and it works really well for garments, too.  I'm finishing up a shirt in the next few days, and my sewing has never been this precise before. 

On the other hand, it only does a straight stitch.  What do I do when I want to make buttonholes?