Thursday, November 29, 2012

Dumb and Dumber - or how not to make a Washi Dress...

[Note that I believe all the dumbness in this post is to do with my newbie status as pattern adjuster, some carelessness, some overconfidence and some just plain idiotic moves - not the Washi pattern!  I found the pattern itself really easy to follow and sew; and if you don't totally screw it up then it's quick to sew too!]

So like everyone else that moves, I really liked the look of the Washi dress / tunic.  I bought the pattern and then ummed and ahhed about the FBA part.

Dumbness #1:
Clearly, I have to accept that I always require an FBA.  Why would I think otherwise?  I guess partly it was the measurements on the pattern; but the advice was clear and for my circumstances, an FBA was needed.  So here is attempt 1 - it was supposed to be a muslin and then I started loving the fabric was gutted when it didn't fit.

Dumbness #2:
Making a muslin out of a fabric I liked, then being crapped off when it didn't fit.

Mmmmm squeezy!

Happily my friend Danika selflessly stepped into the breach and took my ill-fitting muslin away and made it into a very lovely dress for her (I am not jealous...much!).

Then I got temporarily un-dumb (or indeed clever, as it is more commonly known).  I made a muslin of the bust area of the bodice.  Out of actual muslin.  Then I went a step further and bought some fabric I liked less than my next dress fabric, and made a sample top (without facings and so on).  Not pictured because I didn't get clever enough to remember to do that before I unpicked it to model the pattern pieces on...

Significant adjustments made in those muslins as follows:
  • FBA (a rather large one)
  • Dart repositioning
  • Addition of extra width at the side seams
  • Redfrafting of the front arm scye to be less gapey
  • A bit of additional length to front bodice (half an inch)
  • Remodel of dress front to fit the altered bodice piece
  • Two extra shirring lines (it just felt better)
  • About half an inch extra on the shoulders (both back and front, so nearly an inch)
  • Removal of significant amounts of the added width, once we were past my rib cage (I had a bit of a pregnancy tent going on, and am definitely not preggers!)
The picture below shows the extent of the adjustment - it's quite disturbing how much extra bodice there is, though some of that got removed again.

So after all that, I transferred my second (well, technically third) muslin make to a new pattern piece and felt very happy and virtuous with myself.

Dumbness #3:
Believing I was very clever to have muslined prolifically and all the hard fitting brain work was over.

So I set to work making my new dress in Valori Wells Nest fabric, which I got on special in a local quilt shop. I love the soft shade of blue and subtle print.

I laid everything out to make sure I had enough fabric, taking care to remember to make the new front skirt piece, which is of course a lot wider to match the new front bodice.  As I laid it out, I recalled how much of the additional fabric I allowed in the side seams had to be removed again on my brown spotty muslin tunic top version (not pictured, except when being cut out, above).  I decided an obvious rationalisation of the process of fitting while I sewed and re sewing and so on was to omit the additional width on the back bodice piece - because I didn't need that much additional width in the end (and I couldn't take it off the front piece easily without altering the bust area to be smaller).

Dumbness #4:
Not thinking about whether altering a side seam alteration, would result in a non-side side seam...

Yes, my hands are reaching around behind me there, to find the pockets which now live somewhere in the territory of buttock rather than hip.  While I am flexible and into yoga, I don't necessarily want to do a full back bend to put my hands in my pockets...

Dumbness #5:
Not remembering that I didn't remove the excess width at the side seam evenly along the dress length.
It's now too tight again across the chest, because I lost a good 1.5 inches there when I didn't add the extra width on the back bodice piece.

[Please note:  I am now swearing under my breath].

I didn't realise most of this until the dress was nearly finished (bar arm hole binding and hemming). I was kind of rushing as I realised that I had a good chance of finishing (being practiced after sewing this multiple times...) in time to wear this out for dinner with my girlfriends on Saturday night.

Dumbness #6:
Rushing it and totally and utterly fucking it up.

No other way to say this one.  Did you notice above (you may have been distracted by the dumbness of the pockets) that the bodice not only looked too tight but a bit off?

This is the (now unpicked) bodice piece folded in half.  See how the cut out bit is totally on one side of the centre front, rather than nicely straddling it?

Check it out again below, for full effect:

What the bejesus did I do here then?  It's so off, it's not even funny.

So all the crying and swearing aside...where to from here?

I just have to:
  • Either recut the bodice or make the cut out bit even somehow (it would be a lot bigger than in the pattern, but that might look OK and it's probably what I will try first).
  • Widen the bodice again at the bust to make up for not cutting the back bodice larger.  I think I will do this with a triangle / wedge of fabric as I don't really need to add the width back in on the rest of the side seam.
  • Sort out the pockets.  I likely want to remove some width from the front skirt (which got widened to match the front bodice).  So I will unpick the pockets and remove some of that width from the front piece only - hopefully I need to remove just enough to pull the side seams and pockets back to the side...If I need to remove less then I would have to insert into the other side and if I need to remove more, then I will need to unpick both front and back pockets and then resew once I have the right sizing.  I will need to do this bit first I think so that if I need to add fabric I can add a continuous strip with the bodice widening in point 2.
Phew!  It certainly takes a lot of effort to be dumb...

Wish me luck :)

Friday, November 16, 2012

FO - Go To Patterns Signature Dress sewalong

Sewing along with Amanda from Ellieboo again.

I have to say - I love this pattern!  It was pretty easy to follow and really easy to sew.

Looks good with a cardigan and is comfy and resilient enough for all sorts of play:

The most fiddly bit was sewing the pleats at the front and that was mostly my fault as I couldn't be bothered to change my foot, which would have helped heaps.

I used a zig zag stitch to hold the ribbing seam down. I would like to think of a different way to do this but think it looks fine this way too.  I think LLaydybird has a different way of sewing the Renfrew top neckline which is similar in construction, so I will revisit that before next time and see if that's applicable.

 I am still so impressed that I found matching ribbing in my local Spotlight which is usually so terrible it beggars belief...The only thing I would change on this pattern is the arm construction.  I would usually have made a seam first, then sewn the elastic into the casing.  The way this pattern does it, you sew the elastic into the sleeve casing and then sew the underarm seam.  This makes it a little more bulky (as you have to seam the elastic).  The way I would do it is more fiddly and more difficult but probably makes the end result less bulky at the arm cuff point - which might be important if your kid is fussy about things being smooth and comfy.  To be fair, mine hasn't mentioned this at all, so it's an extra step you could take or leave I think.

I used shirring on the waist (as per one of the instruction options).  I was doing to do 3 or even 4 lines for a more defined waist but it looked so good on either side of the blue stripe I left it at that.

Madam is pleased - apparently this is her doing a princess curtsey.  She gets her grace and elegance from me :)

Onward and upward!

Tuesday, November 13, 2012

Go To Patterns Signature Dress sewalong - mucho progress :)

After the fun of the frothy sewalong with Amanda, we decided to do another.  This time I picked the Go To Patterns, Signature Dress.

This pattern is great.  It's knits, which I love; it goes from 12 months to 12 years; and it has a heap of variations.  There are different sleeves, a hood, pockets, a tulle hem and waist elastic or shirring options.

Yesterday I pinned the pleats:

Then sewed them.  This was the most difficult bit of the dress I think - making sure these were even...

And I attached the ribbing to the neckline.

Then I got very cross with the overlocker, which wasn't playing nicely.  So I stopped.

This evening - my overlocker was in a better mood...or maybe I was.  I added the sleeves and shirred the waist.

I only did two lines at the waist, spanning either side of the blue band, because it looked good :)

Then I sewed up the sides:

And then I stopped.  I want to try this on the small person to check the fit before I finish the side seams.  Plus I have to decide whether to add tulle to the hem.  Any opinions on that one?

More once the fitting and decisions have happened!

Sunday, November 4, 2012

Little Treasure Pocket Shorts

I cut these out during blogtoberfest (in fact during KCWC) but didn't quite finish them until the other day:

To be honest I wasn't wholly sure about the Treasure Pocket Pants from Sewing for Boys.  I don't like the fabric they were made from in the book (I don't know specifically why) and perhaps that coloured me a bit.

Instead of a contrasting fabric for the side panel I went for alternating the direction of the corduroy.  Then I added some bias trim leftover from a quilt for the hems, pocket inserts and waistband facing.

I used trousers which no longer fit me for this pattern, as well as the leftover quilt binding.  That made me pleased about how little they cost me (whatever the cost of the thread and elastic was only!).

I made two pairs:

One for Noah out of black corduroy with green thread and the orange trim:

And one for Marcus in beige corduroy.  For both, I alternated the waistband facing to the inside (on the original pattern it's on the outside) as I didn't like the outside waistband facing that much in the orange.

I tried them on Mr Marcus, who apparently was "dressed as Spiderman" (with a bin on his head...):

They fit fairly well - I intended them to be baggier style:

He quite likes the pocketses for his treasures:

And apparently it works well with his "Spiderman" hat/bin and whatever that is on his t-shirt...

Pretty pleased with this pattern - it was quick and well explained.  To make it into shorts, I just shortened the  original pattern.   To make the waistband on the inside, I just reversed the order of construction to match the other patterns in the book / the usual way of doing it.