Tuesday, November 13, 2012

Chuck Sweater by Andi Satterlund

Please forgive the dark photo of me looking somewhat stressed. Must make more effort!

Despite not posting recently, I have been making stuff. In fact I have made another Liberty lawn shirt for Charlie (got to make the most of him not yet - at eight-years old -  being "too cool" to wear home-made garments!), a shirt with a tie collar for myself,I have half made a green skirt (in progress) and half knitted another Chuck.

I hadn't knitted for ages, unless you count socks (I always have at least one pair of lacy socks on the go) but then I saw Lladybird's truly magnificent sweater.  I mean, TRULY.  I ordered the pattern straight away, and the yarn, and got to it.  Eight days of frantic knitting later, it was finished.

This is a relatively easy pattern to knit, even for someone that has only ever knitted two cardigans (with bobbles!) and a bunch of shawls.  Even the laciest shawls are more straightforward (in my experience) than garments that have to wearable.  Partly due to fitting issues, and partly due to the fact that the order of knitting the different bits of a garment can be so varied.  Knitters will know what I mean. This one is seamless, and knitted from the top down.  I had a wobbly moment where I didn't trust one of the instructions in the pattern and I was in such a hurry, and there was no one that could help with my particular query, even on Ravelry, though they tried very hard to assist, and so I mailed Lauren at Lladybird and, guess what, she mailed me back practically by return, for which I was so grateful.  Turned out I was wrong and the pattern was right, anyway!  For the record, I also mailed the designer and she got back to me as soon as she could and was very helpful, but Lauren was the knitting saviour that day!  It never ceases to amaze me how many crafters are so helpful to dorks such as myself!
Back to the jumper.  Okay, it's a bit short on me, but despite that I like it a lot.  It's better with high-waisted skirts and trousers.  It's knitted in Cascade 220, as recommended in the pattern, and on the same size needles as recommended, too.  It's a little too large across the back because my tension was looser when I started, but it's something I can live with.  As I said, I'm knitting another one in red, and if I have enough yarn it will be longer but only by an inch or so.

I have a shirt I'd like to blog but have to get around to taking photos, which I am very lazy about.

Tuesday, October 02, 2012

Vogue 1247 - Top

P9221570Although I haven't posted anything on the blog for a while  (it has been difficult to concentrate sometimes*), I  have done a couple of small bits of sewing here and there.
Remember the coral bodice of Vogue 8413? You might not, as I posted it back at the beginning of July (how did that happen...it was so long ago but seems like a couple of weeks ago). I finally picked it up again but it hasn't gone so well. I made it in a size 8 but there is so much ease in this, it's like a huge sack, especially on the skirt. I had basted the side seams of the skirt, and then basted the skirt to the bodice, so I need to somehow find the energy to bother taking it apart and putting it back together again much smaller. I mean, I will need to take about four inches of width out of the skirt, and a bit out of the width of the bodice. Even then, I'm not sure how it will suit me, which is a shame, as the bodice is lovely, and it looks lovely on...without the skirt. I will get around to it in a few months, knowing me.P9221540P9221569
As you can see, above, I did get around to making Vogue 1247. This is made up in a rather thick but very fluid matt polyester. I mostly sew with cotton, so this was really a shock to me. Despite changing my machine needle to what I thought was the correct one, and despite messing around with tension and whatever else, every now and then my machine skipped stitches on the bobbin thread, which was a little annoying. Also, I hadn't realised how deceptively thick the fabric was until I had sewn together all those french seams and three of them converged and needed to be sewn to the upper part of the top, which made four french seams all meeting at the same point, and I ended up having to trim bits off (not that you would know) so they weren't as thick as cardboard to sew through. This fabric was also a devil to crease at all with the iron, which made the french seams and narrow hems (neckline and bottom) trickier than they would normally be. 

Despite all that, I love the way the top turned out. The fabric is so soft to wear, and the top is so comfortable. AND it can be washed, left to dry and worn with no ironing at all. There isn't much to say about the pattern itself. Apart from getting the points of the seams to match up where they all meet, and the trickiness of the fabric I chose, it was easy and straightforward. If I found the right fabric I would make it again.

*Something very sad and shocking happened...someone I very much liked and respected immensely died, leaving her nine-year old son and husband without a mother and a wife.

Tuesday, August 28, 2012

Vogue 8295 Skirt with Yoke, in Silk Dupion

Hi everyone.  I am back, after short hols in St Ives, Cornwall.

I thought, since no sewing is happening here at the moment, I would post a pic of my Vogue 8295 skirt, which I made some time ago, a couple of months I would guess.

You may remember I had said in a previous post that the skirt looked fabulous on the hanger but somehow not quite right when I wore it, and I was thinking of shortening it. Turns out I'm so glad I didn't, as I've worn it several times now and it has grown on me. It's made from a very light yet crisp dupion silk which I bought from Truro Fabrics and I think it's probably better in a longer length as it seems to weigh nothing at all and I suspect it will fly up over my head each time the teeniest little breath of a breeze catches it. Scary. That's another reason for keeping the length. I should have taken some details pics but forgot.

All the seams are bound with rayon bias binding, and so is the bottom of the skirt, which is visible in the above photo. It was my first attempt at binding seams to finish them, and I'm really pleased I tried it. The effect pleases me. I'll definitely be doing that again on other garments. The skirt is unlined, except for the yoke, which is self lined. It has a zip at the side, with a little brass hook and eye above.

 I decided to lay the stripes horizontally for the yoke, as I really couldn't bear how vertical ones would never match up, what with all the gathering in the skirt. Again, I didn't take a photo, but the yoke stripes do match up at the side seams, forming chevrons.

This skirt was so simple to make and much more useful than I anticipated, even in the silk. Usually I pre-wash all my silk in the washing machine but I won't be washing this skirt, as the silk has such a wonderful texture and sheen to it. And, you see the lighter pink stripes? Well, when I look down on the skirt when wearing it, those stripes are a definite orange! Love it! I would like to make at least one more of this pattern but there are so many other more interesting things to make right now. I have such a long list of must-makes.

Before my hol I cut out and marked up the top from Vogue 1247:
The shape on me could be great or it could be a disaster. I'll let you know, although I don't envisage being able to get any sewing done for a few days. I have also made a denim Beignet, which should be useful. Will post about it when I get some time. Or, I should really admit, when it fits me! Although it's the same size as this one,P8090656 I have put on so much timber (hehe) that it's too uncomfortable to wear (as is much else in my wardrobe, including the red Beignet). I am taking action to remedy this!  Bring on Davina (yet again), as well as my evening dog walk/run.  Yes.  I know.  I can't believe I have linked to The Daily Fail.  But anyway, love her or hate her, Davina's vids are really excellent if you don't want to fork out for the gym membership (or are too lazy to leave home, like me).

Thursday, August 09, 2012

Skulls & Roses Cambie

Here is my second Cambie.  Well, it's really my first, but I just hadn't quite finished it before I started my second version.

I've now made both views.  I think the A-line version suits my figure better at the moment, probably because I made the full-skirted one a bit tight at the waist and midriff (not too tight to wear) and it makes the skirt stick out insanely in the hip area.  You won't have seen that in the photos.  I think I purposely may have put my hands on my hips (hehe!)  I think once I have lost a couple of pounds I have put on this year, the full skirt will look better.  I do still really really like the dress, but the hip area is really something I can't reckon with right now.
Anyway, as I was saying, here is my A-line version.  I was looking for something to use this fabric for, and it had to be something quite sweet and girly, to balance out the gothic fabric.  I knew the Cambie was it right away.  I did want to make the full-skirted version but didn't have enough fabric.  I'm so glad it worked out that way.  No doubt (according to Hugh Everett's MWI) there are many more versions of me all inhabiting their own universe, lamenting the fact that they used this fabric for the full version...but that's a whole other issue - one that crosses my mind often - am I odd?  Gosh, I do love pop science!  You could say reading about stuff I don't understand is a hobby of mine.  Spacetime...don't even get me started on it (not that I know anything about it, but that doesn't stop me).
But back to the dress.  For the bodice lining I used some relatively thin white cotton with red hearts, and for the skirt, some really lovely quality red lining from Iana Fabrics on ebay.  Oh, and as you will see, I used black lawn on the sleeves and pockets.
I had bought some French ribbon, and had planned to use it inside the hem but couldn't bring myself to hide it, so I just bound the raw edges of the hem with it and it's there for all to see, and it pleases me.  Binding hems so it shows is becoming a fave of mine.  I also did it with my striped silk dupion skirt but haven't blogged it yet.
I don't think there is much else to say about this dress.  We all know it's a great pattern, which is a delight to make.  And the dress was much admired at the Christening for which it was made (my mum did ask me if I was making some kind of point, wearing to a christening, but it was not the time to be answering that question!)
How is that for a fabulously matching pattern?!

Monday, August 06, 2012

Burda 107-08-2012

Yay! I have completed my first ever Burdastyle Magazine pattern! It almost didn't happen though: a few minutes after sitting down to trace off the pattern I had total pattern blindess, and went into panic mode, thinking I would never ever be able to trace off any of this mess.  The thing that kept me going was knowing that everyone else manages it, so unless I have the brain of a fruit fly, I should be able to, too.  So I did, and actually enjoyed it, after all.  I used Kwik Sew Kwik Trace, which is this nylon stuff that can be used as a muslin.  Since I didn't use it as a muslin, it was an expensive way of tracing a pattern.  I've now got some straightforward tracing paper for future requirements.
I had never made anything by Burda before, so wasn't sure what the fit might be like.  As people seem to say  that the fit is usually quite true to size, I thought for once in my life I would go by the correct pattern size for my actual measurements (with the big three I always go down a size or maybe two).  Now, I don't know if that was where it all went wrong, but good grief, once I had tacked together the side seams, and sleeves, I could see something was definitely wrong.  I'm not sure if this pattern is an odd shape or if it just came up too big (the finished garment measurements didn't seem to be on the pattern), but I had oodles and oodles of extra fabric horizontally and vertically, through the midriff section, starting around the waistline.  Taking the side seams in didn't help at all, it was just as baggy in the middle, so I ended up pinching out two inches (tapering to nothing at top and bottom) from the V of the waistband, right up to the V of the neckline.  That did the trick.  The waistband is actually cut on the fold of the fabric, so it shouldn't have a centre seam, but because the front bodice does have a centre seam, it doesn't look odd that the waistband now does, too.  I also took out about one inch from each side seam on the skirt.  Phew!
The alteration to the midriff suddenly accentuated a really odd amount of baggy fabric on the stomach area of the skirt, which was very unflattering (see the photo below, although the fit is obscured by the pattern of the fabric).  I unpicked the stabilising strip from behind the ruching and then unpicked the ruching itself, regathered it and took up a lot more fabric in the gathers.  Hey presto!  The improvement was dramatic.  This dress, in my opinion, should be fairly form fitting through the hip, waist and midriff, in order to show off the shape of the bust and shoulders and hip.  If it's too big, it looks like a sack, as you can see here:.
My measurements lined up pretty much exactly with the Burda size 12 on their chart. In fact, my waist size is half an inch bigger.  My back length is exactly right, too.  I don't know if this pattern has too much ease in it or what, but even so...two inches ?.  It's hard to tell, as the shape isn't so straightforward.  The sleeves are HUGE puffy, almost batwing things (I like them a lot, as well as having puffed caps, they also have an inverted pleat at the bottom, and the "cuff" is elasticated), so I couldn't tell if they came up bigger than they should have been.  I'm not sure whether to go for a smaller size next time.  Maybe I will try something really standard, with quite fitted sleeves in order to see how the sizes come up.

One thing I have learnt is that, as long as I cut a big enough size, if I'm too lazy to make a muslin, somehow I will probably be able to make the thing fit me, if I just machine baste each seam, including the zip, and try it on before actually sewing it all together.  That's what I did in the case of this dress, and it worked really well.

What can I say?  The shape of this dress is a departure from the norm for me, but I LOVE this dress.  It is probably the most comfy dress I have.  And it has sleeves.  I always gravitate to dresses without, but somehow sleeves feel more elegant.

I would love to make this dress again but don't know if I could be bothered with the alterations.  Yes, I have altered my pattern pieces, but waistband alteration has curved the centre front seam, so it would mean cutting the fabric differently, not on the fold, etc, etc.

Maybe the solution is to find some other dress patterns with a bit of a 40s vibe going on.  I do think I like this silhouette.

Edited to add:  I have just noticed that the waist of the dress is a LOT lower on the model in the photo than on me.  There seems to be less fabric above the waistband on my dress (I didn't alter that aspect of it)  Before you ask, I did add the correct seam allowances, and I did take them into account when sewing!

By the way, the fabric is another Liberty Lawn.  And I used some grey bias tape inside the hem, to neaten.  All the seams are overlocked on my sewing machine (the dress is not lined, and, due to issues with the fit, it was too tricky to bind the seams with bias tape as I would have liked to).

Look at my dog!  She collected all her precious bones and put them on her place on the sofa one evening.  Now, that is contentment.

Thursday, July 26, 2012

Colette Macaron

At last, here are the photos of my Colette Macaron.  I had seen so many versions of this in Blogland, I had to give in and make one of my own.  Most fabulously the fabric I used, a medium weight black cotton lawn and some (polycotton, I think) black and white gingham, had been in my stash for around three years.

I really enjoyed making this dress.  There was nothing tricky about it; it just all came together nicely.  I especially like that the sleeves are in a double layer, folded over so you don't have to hem them.  It gives them some extra body too.
Apart from taking a bit in at the shoulders and the front of the bodice when sewing the sleeve in, I didn't have to make any alterations.  I think I should have made the upper bodice (the black bit) in a size smaller than the lower bodice, then I wouldn't have had to do the alterations.
I finished all the vertical seams by folding and sewing each seam allowance back on itself (I don't know what it's called), and I just oversewed the waistband seams.  The hem, I stitched nicely by hand, to make it invisible.  My invisible zip went in perfectly - cool!
I was mindful of the fact that the gingham squares might not line up if I wasn't careful but, apart from one little bit where the skirt meets the waistband, they all did.  Of course, I unpicked the bit that didn't, and adjusted it.  Now, all the squares are balanced, even on the hem, which curves.  Yay!

I enjoy wearing this dress so much, I am already planning another, this time with some crazy print for the main fabric, but repeating the black on top.

Sunday, July 22, 2012

McCalls M6436 View D in Liberty Lawn "Landis"

P7220474 P7210442a
I've had this fabric for some time now. I had only 1.5m of it as I had planned to make a shortish shift dress. However, lately I've been realising that, though I like making my dresses, I do find shirts very versatile as they can be worn with skirts, trousers, shorts, jeans, whatever, and this had enticed me to ditch my dress plans and make another shirt.

So, again I made up version D of McCalls M6436, as it's quite a slouchy cut, and looks really great with almost anything. I wore it yesterday, and took photos before dashing out. I think it looks just about okay with this skirt but, in hindsight, I don't like the skirt much and probably wouldn't wear this combo again.

For this pattern I use a sew-in interfacing and it works well. It's no hassle. There is quite a bit of hand-sewing on this shirt, as the insides of the collar stand, the cuffs and the button bands all need slip stitching, but I really enjoy this. I also much prefer making buttonholes (by machine!) and sewing on buttons by hand, to inserting zips. I don't mind zips, but I actually enjoy buttons and buttonholes!

For this shirt I chose to sew the seams in white but to use bright pink for the topstitching and buttonholes, and pink buttons (obviously).

Gosh, I love this shirt! And Liberty Lawn!
I have made a Kwiksew shirt for Charlie, which he wore to a family christening, and I intend to blog it as soon as I can. Also, I am wearing my Macaron (I already have some brilliant fabric for another!) when we go out later today, so will try to get a photo of that in action!

The coral bodice hasn't progressed, as I'm feeling lacklustre about it now that it's a bit sunnier here (it's a cold-weather dress). Same with the crazy pleated trousers. I still want to make them but they will wait.

Thursday, July 05, 2012

Colette Macaron, Vogue 8295 and Charlie's Fancy Stitches

This is a quick catch-up post. I will blog proper pics and the details for both projects individually, when I can.

I have been busy with lots of things these last couple of weeks: work (from home), sewing, and school-related things, too. Oh, and Rock Choir. I have my first concert tonight. Yikes!

First off, I made a silk skirt in a striped silk dupion. I was so happy with it. Was. I kept staring at it on the hanger, thinking I would make more of them, but when I wore it, something about it didn't feel right.
I think it's the length. I purposely kept it long but now I'm not sure it's right for this skirt in this fabric, so I'm going to shorten it to just above the knee. Thing is, I have quite a queue of things that must be done beforehand, sewing-wise.I have a shell of a Cambie dress that has been ready for weeks and weeks, but it needs the whole lining making up, and attaching. I have to make a Liberty lawn shirt for my little boy in the next week, as he wants to help me make it and wear it to a christening next weekend. He has become in awe of my sewing machine (he's eight), and spent about two hours on it last Saturday, doing fancy stitches (see above).

I have also made a Macaron dress. I LOVE it. Really, I wasn't sure it would suit me but I think right now it's my favourite dress out of all the ones I have made. Again, I will blog the details separately when I get more time.
I have so so so many things I want to make, and several things on the go. I feel it's reached fever pitch! I am obsessed and I don't have anywhere near enough time to give all these things my attention. I have a bodice for Vogue 8413:
I have cut out numerous patterns, which seems to have become a hobby in itself. One of them is Vogue 1307, which nobody else in the universe seems to have blogged about, and which I'm determined to make work for me. 
I have this brushed rayon/wool paisley with a great drape to it, which would be fab for winter. I'm not sure whether these trousers (if they actually fit, even) would look cool or clownish! We'll see.

Well, that is the update. I must go now, as I have to leave soon, for the theatre. Wish me luck. Though I am on stage with many other people, I'm feeling quite nervous, although I'm excited and very much looking forward to it.

 I will be back at some point with details on the Macaron and Vogue 8295 silk skirt.

Friday, June 22, 2012

Simplicity 2599 Times Two!

I made the green version of this top first (in a Liberty Lawn remnant left over from a dress I blogged earlier in the year).  I really did think it looked such a simple little pattern that I could run it up in no time at all.  So it had a few frilly bits.  That surely wouldn't make much difference.

Deary me.  Haven't I learnt anything from the last few years of sewing?  Things are almost never as simple as I think they will be.
Those five frilly bits were an absolute menace.  They took ages and ages and ages (I mean, when measured against my initial expectations).  Jeez, they're cut out as circular strips which, when pulled into a straight line, sort of frill up a bit.  But they have you make tiny little narrow hems, which is really quite time consuming on circles.  Anyway, I did manage it, and then sewed them on to the top itself in straight vertical lines.  But with the way the frills flip about this way and that, you can see the raw edges where they've been sewn on, if they sit just the wrong way at the wrong moment, and I don't like that.  No one else would notice, so it doesn't matter terribly, but I know it isn't ideal, so it peeves me a bit.
However, I like the top so much that I immediately wanted to make another one in black lawn.  Looking for comments on the way this pattern is made up, I came across some very helpful advice from Karen at Did You Make That.  What she did to get around both the narrow hems and the raw edges, was to cut out double the amount of frill pieces and sew them wrong sides together, turn them the right way, and then sew them on.  Genius, I tell you.  Making up the second top was so much more pleasant, thanks to Karen.  And I took the opportunity to cut up a very fluid silk top I had had for at least twenty-five years, and which was on its way to the charity shop, and use it in all its muted blueness for the underside of the frills.  Gosh, I love this top.

The pattern is very simple.  Even the frills are no trouble if you do it Karen's way.  There is no zip, and only one button, with a loop.  I used shop-bought bias binding for the arm holes, instead of making up the bias strips (I tried but couldn't get the little monkey things to lie flat).  All the seams are french seams, except for the centre back, as it made the opening a little tricky to finish, so I just folded them back on themselves and sewed them down.  They look neat and tidy still.  And the shape of the top is just fab.  I don't find it boxy, as others have; I find the fit just right on top, with a little flare towards the bottom.  There is a lot of ease in this pattern, so you can be fairly stingy with choosing your size.  I chose a straight size 8, which normally would be too small on the waist for me.  There is plenty of room still.

I think I will keep on making different versions of this top, I really do.  I love it.

I am in the process of making several things.  One is a silk skirt.  The yoke of it is lined but the skirt itself isn't.  I'm going to try out finishing the seams with some rayon binding (as prompted by Doortje).  Thank you Doortje!

Friday, June 08, 2012

Sewaholic Cambie Dress View B

Once again, I apologise for the truly awful photos.  This dress really deserves better, but the weather here in the UK (again) couldn't be greyer or murkier with rain, and it's here to stay for the whole weekend.  It's not even as if we desperately need it any more (we could hardly complain when it rained non-stop for seven weeks in April and May, when the water was so scarce the reservoirs were drying up).  But now the hosepipe ban has been lifted I can complain all I like!
Anyway, sorry about the photos being murky.  I lightened them but my ISO has made them grainy.  And I need to learn how to position photos horizontally instead of just plonking them somewhere.

Before starting on the full-skirted version of this dress, I had half made an A-line version.  "Half made" because I have made the outer shell and attached the zip, but have not yet started on the lining.  I have been procrastinating on this because the lining fabric is patterned and I've discovered the red hearts on it show through the white skulls on the shell.  I'm not sure whether to go ahead with it and am a bit heartbroken about it (well, as much as is acceptable when it comes to a dress, for goodness sake).  I want the dress to have the skulls on the outside and the red hearts on the inside, but my plans may be scuppered.  It's for a Christening (yep, it's the devil in me).

I haven't come to the point yet, have I?  Well, I really like the A-line version and, being 5ft 2 (there, I've mentioned my height yet again) and not having a very narrow waist in the first place, I have avoided dresses with gathers around the waist.  Hip is fine; waist, not.  But in this case I took a chance and made the full-skirted version.  Yay! I love it.  Now I'm worrying about when I will be "too old" to whoosh around in girly dresses, seeing as I've discovered I like them so much.  However, it hasn't stopped Vivienne Westwood, so it won't stop me!  Not that I am anywhere near her age yet, but I'm thinking ahead.
Right.  The details:  I made the dress in a size 4, with a size 6 for the waist.  Incredibly I did not have to alter the bodice length at all (often I shorten them) and really amazingly it fits me across the back (usually I have to take account of my narrow back)  So, apart from the waist size, I made no fit alterations.  I did lower very slightly the v-shape at the top centre-front of the bodice.

The pattern is a pleasure to put together.  You make the shell, you make an almost exact copy for the lining, sew them together, hem, and Bob's your uncle!

I used a Crantex Fabrics vintage floral cotton I got on e-bay.  It has a lot of body, more like a quilting cotton than a lawn.  I also used it for the bodice lining, and a beautiful silky red fabric for the skirt lining.  I almost always get my lining fabrics from Iana Fabrics on e-bay.  They are very good quality, in my opinion.  She has never let me down.  Oh dear, I just bought 2m of black lace whilst copying the link for this post.  Jeez, no wonder I am always poor as a church mouse.

I highly recommend this dress pattern.  Not only is it easy to put together, not only does it seem to suit everyone, but it's really comfortable to wear, too.  I will try to get better photos when the weather is not so gloomy.

Wednesday, June 06, 2012

Red Beignet & Butterick B5335 View B

Sorry about the lack of any effort at all for this photo.  I just chucked the skirt on whilst taking the Iris photos.

Anyway...a few weeks ago I made another Beignet skirt, but haven't got around to blogging about it until now.  I wear my grey one so often I thought I could do with another, in a brighter colour but, strangely, I prefer the non-descript grey one.  The grey one is stretch drill, and really soft, though it creases badly, but it feels really comfortable to wear, and it goes with lots of things.  The red one is a cotton (non-stretch) drill, which is very nice fabric, but I put pockets in this version and I think I prefer it without.  I don't like the way they break up the line of the side seams.  I could always take them out but I am too lazy and have moved on to other things.  The facings are a batik cotton,and the lining some sort of silver acetate.

I am planning yet another version in a non-stretch mid-blue denim but will leave it a while, so as not to bore you too much all in one go.
I also made up Butterick B5335, view B, which is a very simple raglan-sleeved top.  It took me hardly any time at all, as there are only back, front and sleeve pattern pieces, and after sewing it all together there are just a couple of narrow hems required to finish it off.  I made it up in a stretch (very) brocade of some sort.  It's an odd fabric, feeling slightly foamy/springy to the touch.  Goodness knows what it's made of.  Because I was having trouble with the hems on the bottom and sleeve edges, I used a very short and concentrated zig-zag stitch on the seam line and then just trimmed close to it.  I like the crinkle effect it's made.
I have also made a Cambie dress (the full-skirted version) in a vintage floral cotton - just need to take photos - and half finished another (A-line version) in a skulls and roses cotton.