Thursday, January 31, 2013

Planning, organising, planning, procrastinating? The Sewing for ME edition...

I already blogged my knitting / crochet goals for 2012 here.  Sadly, those goals have *already* been waylaid by an emergency present for my sister-in-laws 30th birthday on Australia Day (she wants a knitted cushion to match a throw she just got).  *Sigh*.  I did think I would stick with the plan a little longer than 15 days into the new year when I cast on that rather naughty new project :)

This email is the first part of my sewing goals.  The first part, I hear you cry?  Yes, I have so many WIPs and UFOs and ideas and plans and goals, that I need to further categorise the sewing posts into separate sections.  Cripes.  Here goes...

Sewing for ME:  Things already underway (oldest to youngest)


Silky Denim Shirt Dress

This is one of my oldest WIPs and only maybe the second thing I ever sewed (or am sewing..) for myself to wear.  It's McCalls M5847 (view A).

http://mccallpattern.mccall.com/m5847-products-10059.php?page_id=528

I was/am making it in a kind of silky indigo fabric which looks like denim but is much more slinky and has a kind of sheen to it (how hideous does that sound?!).  It is a bitch to sew with - it doesn't hold a crease well at all.

I need to revisit this one and try it on again.  I think I had it mostly done, bar some hideous hand sewing on the facing and making of button holes.  Maybe some other finishing on the armholes.  Anyway - I should really see if it's worth it and finish or officially abandon.  Perhaps attempt two in the future in a different, more suitable fabric :)


Renfrew Refinements 

This isn't really a work in progress, as I have made one "muslin" version (below) and not yet started the next.



I made this as a test and want to make another in some black similar weight fabric which I bought ages ago.  I still have a few fitting issues as dissected in my post about this one and would like to get this to a TNT state - as I can imagine making many of these and altering it to make even more!

My first bra:

This is the pin-up girls Classic Bra (line drawing here).  I bought the kit in pink and chocolate and have cut out the pink.  I really really want to learn to make my own underwear (though apparently not so much that I didn't let myself get distracted by trousers...)

Trousers - Tessuti Chloe Pants:

I love this pattern, and not just because they obviously named it for me.

http://www.tessuti-shop.com/products/chloe-pant-pattern-pdf-print-at-home-and-print-at-copy-shop#prettyPhoto
I have already made one muslin from green homespun (surprisingly wearable - dedicated post to follow) and have the second cut out (greyish blue homespun).  I am going to change this version to have the zip at the centre and I will add a waistband.  I have some beautiful chocolate striped linen from Tessuti to make the final version from, once I am brave enough!  At least one more muslin first...

Copy Dress:

I bought a lovely dress last time I went to Melbourne (Sportscraft) and would like to try and make up a pattern for something similar.  I also got some silk from Victoria market (should that read "silk"?  Probably...).  I have the start of a pattern so need to muslin and fiddle and so forth.

Apron:

I have the fabric and a pattern in my head - last on the list as I already have at least 3 aprons :)


I think that's a pretty modest list, the list for the house stuff and the kids stuff will follow soon!

Tuesday, January 29, 2013

Pattern Pyramid Giveaway!

Hooray!  I won a pattern pyramid from Quilt, Sew, Sew, Sue (see here for her giveaway)!  I love winning stuff :)

This pyramid was originally started by Karen from Did You Make That? in this post back in June of last year.  Since then the pyramid is slowly winding it's way around the world of the blogosphere (can a pyramid wind?) and indeed around the actual world - as Karen lives in the UK and I live in Tasmania...


Here are the patterns which Sue sent me, along with a lovely card.  She added in the Vogue Sandra Betzina pants pattern.

There is a Simplicity (7355) "jumper" or top.  It's pretty cute and retro, though too small for me and too large for Issy for a while, so I won't be keeping this one:



 There is a Vogue Doll Collection pattern (V7985) which already has doll bits cut out inside it, from the looks of things.  I find these dolls moderately creepy, so I won't be keeping this one either:


There is a very lovely Very Easy Vogue dress (V9531) which I think is modern and looks FAB.  I really really really wanted to keep this one, but it's a size 6 - 12 and I am definitely a 14 - 16 (or even more depending on the fit sometimes).  I half talked myself into keeping this and adjusting it but there is so much sewing on the list it's just ridiculous (stay tuned for the sewing list post - so long I am considering breaking it into multiple posts...).  So I am being unselfish and not keeping this one:


And finally, there is the pattern which Sue added to the giveaway - a Today's Fit by Sandra Betzina Vogue (V2948) pair of trousers.  I have just started my foray into trouser making (don't mention the list!) and anything with the words "Contoured waistband flattens tummy" on the back has to be good :)  So I will keep this one:



For the fine print of the giveaway see Karen's original post, including details of the charity supported by the original donor of the patterns.  The rules are that as the winner of Sue's pyramid, I keep a pattern (I could probably keep two as she added an extra one to the haul).  I then host a giveaway and post the remaining patterns to the winner.  The winner hosts a giveaway, picks a pattern to keep and then posts the remaining on to a new winner.  And so on, until the final pattern winner.

I will follow Sue's lead and add a pattern in, though mine is only a super cheap/quick caftan pattern.  It's from Moonshine Designs, though I couldn't find a picture on their website and I don't have one.  I would also like to add something small to suit the winner - a ball of wool, some trim or ribbon, depending on what sort of sewing/craft they do.

So - leave a comment here telling me if you find dolls or clowns more creepy, and I will pick a winner from the comments.  The giveaway is open until Valentine's Day (Feb 14...in case you live under a rock) and you must have a blog to enter.

Hooray for winning!

Thursday, January 17, 2013

FO - Easy knit pencil skirt

This is something I made in about 20 minutes at the end of a sewing session before Christmas.  I loved this fabric and made Issy her Go To Patterns Signature Dress in it (blogged here).  I managed to grab some more in a Spotlight sale a while ago, so I made a simple quicky skirt for me :)


Why do I have my bag with me in the garden?  I am not sure...


And apparently it's good for strange dance-like moves.


The side view.  What I like about this skirt is that I can dress it up and wear it out, add smarter shoes / tops and I can wear it to work, add thongs (or flip-flops as I would call them) and a t-shirt and I can go to the beach.  It's also super comfortable :)


What you can't see very well in the above picture, is the waist fold over.  I have some other skirts like that (bought) and I like the extra firmness in the waist.  My original construction technique for this went something like this:

  1. Measure widest part (for me the hips).  This is the cutting width.
  2. Measure waist to wherever you want the skirt to end.  Add hem allowance for the bottom (I just overlocked and turned up and stitched, so I only added 1/2 inch).  Add similar hem allowance for the top, as well as whatever depth of turnover bit you want (if you want one).  This is the cutting length.
  3. Cut a big rectangle in those dimensions.
  4. Sew up the back.  As the fabric has stretch, you will notice I didn't add any seam allowance to the cutting width.  I used a 1/2 inch seam (or maybe 5/8ths...I can't recall and it doesn't matter) so only losing an inch or so of width under the theory that would be enough to make it fitted but not stretched around clingy.  I suspect you could take more for a firmer fit (especially in a thicker stretch fabric like this ponte) without it looking too tight.  Finish the seam.
  5. Hem top and bottom (note the top hem is to the "outside" when your skirt is still a big loop which will then be folded over at the waist to be on the inside).
  6. Try on.
At this point I realised that the straight up and down wouldn't work for me as I wanted some fit around the waist and it just kind of sat there gaping.  If you wanted a version which sat at the hips this wouldn't be an issue.

So I went back and sewed some rudimentary darts.  I made sure they were at the sides (place back seam in middle of fabric).  I made sure the dart end was no lower than the depth of the foldover (or they would be visible) and I made them on the "outside" of the skirt when not folded over, so the waist fold would hide them nicely.  Then I sewed a few different versions to take first a little bit around the waist and then some more.  And then some more.



In this slightly less than attractive back view, you will notice you can't really see the back seam as I did such a good job of lining up the stripes as I cut and sewed the single seam :)

You can however, see how much my waist curves in.  I reached a point with my rudimentary dart method where I couldn't take any more out as I would make the waist foldover too right (as I was sewing them as normal triangular darts).  What I should have done if I weren't a bit lazy, would be to make diamond shaped darts.  The top and bottom points would have been at the top of the skirt and within the foldover respectively, with the widest bit of the diamond shape hitting exactly the fold of the foldover (and therefore taking most fabric out at the waist without excessively narrowing the hip area or the hem edge of the foldover, which also sits at the hips).  I hope that makes sense.

I plan to make another of these and will try that method then.  I instead this time just added a thick band of elastic inside the foldover to make the skirt hug in more at the waist and not feel like it would fall off!


So I haven't yet braved the mother-daughter coordinating outfits but I feel it's certain to happen at some point, even if only in private :)

Saturday, January 12, 2013

Wishy-Washi

Like everyone in the whole entire world, I loved the look of the washi dress when it came out.  I have already documented my significant struggles in trying to make this dress (all my fault) in this post.  My first try was too tight (who would have thought I would need an FBA?...).  My second try was a proper muslin for sizing purposes.  My third try was a top which worked quite nicely (but was unpicked to use to make pattern pieces before I photographed it).  My fourth try was my first version of this dress, but despite the two muslins, I forgot a few bits and generally just fucked it up (no other way to put that really).

So...after all that - here it is!

Fabric is Valori Wells, Nest and I love it!

As you can see from the pattern piece differences (shown here against the top), the adjustment was significant.



And as you can see from the picture below, it's still nowhere near perfect.


It pulls around the sides from being sewn and resewn.  The main bust darts are too long.  I had to splice in some fabric to correct my earlier cutting mistake and it's all just crappily executed.  I was a little over it, I must admit.

Plus...I just don't think this is my style, though I would definitely try it in something more drapey if I had lots of time on my hands.  I added under bust darts to pull the dress in towards me (it was hanging straight down from the boob-shelf, which is just NOT a good look.  However, even with the underbust dart it still poufs out annoyingly in just the area I don't want it to.  The last thing I want to look is pregnant when I am not :)


I love this fabric a lot, and I love the dress a lot on other people, but I don't think it's really for me.  I have been wearing it here and there on our hot days and it's great, but then I catch sight of me in a mirror and I don't love it.  I don't mind it...but I don't love it.


I thought I would perfect the fit and then make another kick-ass washi but I have a feeling that this won't look like I want it to on me, so I think I will move on to some of the other stuff on the ever growing list.  I was a good fitting experience though!

Tuesday, January 8, 2013

Have you met Jessie?

I went to an antiques / collectibles place yesterday called The Margate Train.  It is literally an old train where all the cars have been converted to shops, a pancake shop etc.  I had a day off with just the little lady so we went for a pancake and a sticky beak.

LOOK WHO CAME HOME WITH ME!!



Isn't she lovely?




I am totally in love.  She is much more adjustable than the more modern Singer one I had my eye on in my local sewing shop.  See how the two chest pieces look uneven in the photo above?  That's because they are individually adjustable (not that I have uneven boobs or anything but it's still mega cool...).



The super adjustability comes from it being held together by these adjustable slidery screw things (technical term there...they must have a real name?).   That means I can make it have enormous shoulders (just like me!) as well as adjustable chest and hips and so on.  You can have a broader back and narrower front (or like me, ginormous both).


I haven't looked into the make much, but she will be called Jessie (as she is labelled Ese-Jane or Esse-Jane).

Imagine all the exciting sewing adventures I can embark on now!!!



 Even the dog likes her :)