Tuesday, December 22, 2015

Check please! I'm feeling Rigel.

Hello! Well, almost all my Christmas-related gift sewing is now done, and I thought I'd squeeze in blogging these two projects! Here are the Rigel Bomber by Papercut Patterns, and another Closet Case Files Nettie Dress (leaping far into the lead as my most made pattern).

There's little to say about the dress - I sewed it up on my normal machine and then serged the hems, which gives a nice finish inside. The sleeve is extended to make a slight cap, for which I followed Beth's instructions. This fabric is a mystery knit from the excellent Misan Fabrics stall on Berwick Street. I picked up two metres for a bargain £10, and still have enough left over after this dress for another project - I'm toying with making a matching Morris Blazer!

The jacket is probably my most ambitious make so far, and took me the longest. It was quite a few firsts - first full lining and welt pockets, both of which I'm fairly happy with, although something went awry at the lining stage and there seemed to be an excess of it. I wonder if I did something weird at the pattern cutting stage in fact, as the main fabric seems too long at the back too, and bags right over the ribbing to the point that it's hidden... which seems unlikely to have been the intention.

I followed Katy and Laney's excellent instructions for lining the jacket exactly. As a result it's nice and warm as well as looking much sharper.

I'm happy with the way this project worked, but the result on me... not so much! I think it's the raglan sleeves. I'm quite a square shouldered person, and these sloping sleeves just make me look hunched and weird. So, it's a success, but I think will be gifted to someone who it will actually suit! I'm going to hunt out a bomber pattern with normal set in sleeves, and have another go.

I'll sign off here for 2015 with one of my favourite drawings from the inimitable Charles Addams!

Happy Christmas! See you in 2016!

Friday, December 18, 2015

Skirt refashion ---> Roberts Collection top!

About eight-ish years ago, when I still thought Urban Outfitters was the bee's, I found an 80s-style skirt there that I LOVED. The shape was never quite me, flaring out and pocketed at just the right place for maximum frumpiness, but I loved the fabric which was an ikat, dynamic chap - before I knew what ikat was (not sure I've got it right even now, but I'm nearing the ballpark). 

Once I started sewing, I had a hankering for more of the same fabric, and a few searches on eBay unearthed a couple more skirts at bargain price. When I bought Marilla Walker's Roberts Collection recently, having been inspired by Katy's top and dungarees from the set (and everything Marilla makes), I thought it would be a good match for my precious UO skirt refashion!

And I think it is! The top is the top half of the Roberts Collection jumpsuit. I made a couple of alterations - taking out my normal tapering wedge from the shoulders, and about 2" out of the back. It also had to be a little shorter out of necessity, fabric-wise. 

I'm thrilled with this top! I think it looks nice tucked or untucked. And combined with the other, original RTW skirt it makes a good set, and takes away from the troublingly frumpy look of the skirt.

So, a dress-looking-thing and a top, from one pattern - bargain! I can't wait to have a go at the dungarees next, and then the jumpsuit!

*Also - Swedish Tracing Paper side note fun! I used it for the first time for tracing out these pattern pieces, and I'm mad about it! I was using normal tissue paper or dot and cross before - no longer! I don't know about sewing with it, and have no plans to try, but for tracing patterns, keeping them, non-wrinklingness... I just love it. I think it's worth paying a bit more for this stuff, for sure. Although actually I'm not sure it's much more than dot and cross anyway.*

Ooooo! What a jolly fake dress!

Saturday, December 5, 2015

Denim Anna/Emery dress

Hello! I hope you are well!

It's been a while since my last post - I haven't had as much time for sewing lately as I'd have liked, but happily Christmas break is approaching, and I'm going to have a sewing ORGY!!! I say:

If the serger's overlockin', don't come a knockin'! 

Or something.

I sewed this dress up about a month ago, but was so seriously underwhelmed by it that I almost thought I wouldn't bother blogging it - but hey, I like cataloging these guys and don't want to miss any out! This is a blend of the By Hand London Anna Dress bodice with Christine Haynes's Emery Dress skirt. I don't know what about this isn't doing it for me - in my head I was totally into it. I'm feeling very denim-y at the moment, but I think me and flouncy skirts don't get on much.

Anyway, it was a simple sew - I'd already made some alterations to my Anna bodice pattern, bringing in the slash neck by a couple of cm on each side - a wide slash doesn't do much for me, plus it really annoys me to keep having to push bra straps out of the way. So this feels better, and I really love the shape of the bodice - I definitely have more plans in mind for this. 

A mistake I made was to make the facings out of the same denim - it's too heavy a fabric I think, so next time I would definitely make them from thinner cotton. But apart from that I'm happy with how it all sewed up - I just don't think the result suits me. Never mind, it's nicely finished so can go charity shop-wards and, as ever, was a learning experience!

I will hopefully be back soon with the finished Rigel Bomber that I'm halfway through. I'm making it up in this same denim - I'm aiming for the usual Molly Ringwald Pretty in Pink vibe, crossed with Neneh Cherry circa Buffalo Stance - current fashion aim

See you soon!

Sunday, November 1, 2015

Orange, black cats, and Max - Halloween sewing!

Hello, and happy Halloween for yesterday and a pinch and a punch for the first of the month today!

I managed to accidentally swerve Halloween this year (proper sad face), but have put in a bit of time making themed(ish) skirts even so. 

This pattern is the Charlotte Skirt from By Hand London. There are so many lovely versions of this on the web, two of my favourites being Heather's version and Winnie's, and I'd long thought it might be something I'd wear. 

I sewed up a size 14 for my first orange attempt, and took a wedge of about 1.5cm out of the back on each side panel, as although it fit my hips straight away, the waist was a bit baggy.

I added a small vent at the back too, to make it more moveable. 

I'm happy with this, but thanks to the extra I took out at the back, it's pretty tight and with not much ease - I'll have to spend a day in it to see how comfy it actually is... The orange linen is left over from my last Brumby Skirt and is from The Organic Textile Company.

Also, I don't know how much this happens to other sewers, but often taking the photos of something I was feeling pretty good about makes me feel a bit less enthusiastic - things never look in pictures how they look in my head/dirty bedroom mirror. I think it might be to do with how much visualising and daydreaming goes on with each project before it is completed, so that by the time I see a photograph, that photograph has to wrestle with a very established picture in my mind - a picture I'm more fond of and used to. Another thing to get used to about sewing I guess.

I thought after my orange version that the skirt would be a good base for some cat fabric - I wanted to  make something with my stamps to wear at the Thought Bubble comics festival in two weeks, where I've got a table and will be selling my wares (argh so soon!!!). I spent the morning printing these guys up, and then the skirt came together easily second time round - I took a little less off the back, so although I think the look maybe isn't as streamlined, it's probably more practical for actually wearing...

Practical cats.

Bigger vent = more practical cats.

And because I didn't have the chance to dress up this year, I thought I'd photograph an old sewing project - Max! This guy has had a lot of wear over the past ten years, and putting it on today it sure does smell/look that way... 

Tuesday, October 20, 2015

Another dress copy and another A-Frame!

Hello chums! It's getting cold in London, and my part of the building is heating-less for the next three weeks, boo! What better warming activity could there be than sewing, and standing next to a hot iron!

So here is another attempt at copying my old jersey dress. My first go has been a useful item and has already had quite a bit of wear, but there were some corrections I wanted to make.

My pattern turned out a little looser in the bodice than the original dress, so I took in the front and back sides by about 5/8". It fits better now, but resulted in a much baggier neckline... I wonder if the neckline was baggy before, but this didn't show as the whole feel was looser? So this time once I'd sewn the bodice, I took about 1.5" out of the shoulders - it was a bit of a bodge fit, but hopefully I can apply that to the paper pattern and get a better fit next time. I also narrowed the skirt so it's less A line this time round, which I think suits it better.

Uh oh, that back hem looks a bit uneven now I'm seeing the pic... It's hard to see from these photos, but I also made the sleeve heads wider and used Tilly's tutorial for making a pleated sleeve cap, which looks sweet and has the added bonus of letting me avoid dreaded gathering - a job that's in an ongoing contest with hemming as my most dreaded step!

The fabric was a bit thin for this dress I think, it's a weird slightly denim-looking jersey from A-One Fabrics on Goldhawk Road. The buttons are nice fabric covered ones, a pressie from a friend. I have some leopard print buttons I'd been thinking of for this, but combined with the cheap fabric, the overall effect was naff, and not in the good-naff, Married to the Mob way I was after.

I'm almost really happy with this dress! It's a better fit and a worse fit than last time - the neckline still bags a bit, and the thinness of the fabric makes it feel less resilient than I'd like... Let's hope for THIRD TIME LUCKY on this guy.

Next up is another A-Frame skirt from Blueprints for Sewing. I made this version up in a really pretty cotton from The Cloth House - but, another lesson, I think this fabric is too thin for a slightly fitted skirt... It just feels fragile as a garment - and thinking about it as I type, perhaps the answer would've been to line it - especially as it grabs onto my tights wherever it can! 

I like this pattern, but I rushed this project and didn't make good choices. I should've used a contrast fabric to show off the excellent pocket lines... the result is that I feel pretty indifferent towards this skirt. Poor old skirt!

My second lapped zipper, a decent effort I think! And a pop button at the top.

The reason for the rush was that this was the first project I could get under the needles of my new SERGER -  and I was keen to get cracking! I bought a Juki MO-645DE at the Knitting and Stitching Show, and I LOVE it - even managed to thread it myself and kept relatively calm during... I feel like it's already made a difference to the level of finish of the things I can make... O bring me some more edges to serge!

Sunday, October 4, 2015

Grey rub off dress

Not long after I started sewing again, just over a year now, I did a course at Ray Stitch called Recreate Your Favourite Garment, with Alice Prier. I had a first success(ish) with the dress I'd taken along (I blogged about that here) although all subsequent attempts have been slightly demoralising failures - I think I didn't really have the experience to get good results with the fit. 

But I had a go this weekend with a favourite dress I have from Beyond Retro, and I'm pretty happy with the results. I used the technique Alice taught us to copy the bodice and facing (which were fairly simple shapes), and then my old trusted skirt pattern. The sleeves are from Tilly's Matilde Blouse, as I figured they'd do well to copy the original's bell sleeves.

All in all I'm happy with the result. I think because this is a jersey pattern, it was a lot more forgiving of drafting errors. 

The fabric, a nice slub cotton from Girl Charlee UK, has the slightly unfortunate effect of making this dress look a bit nightie-like. And next time I think I'll take a wedge out of the back, and perhaps the shoulders too - the neckline bags a little. Also I was a lazy so-and-so and just sewed the buttons straight on, sans buttonholes. NAUGHTY - I was rushing to make this a wearable toile!

But nothing too foul! In terms of what I'd imagined, this guy is pretty close. I think with a slightly thicker, maybe striped jersey, this could be a really fun dress!

I'm heading to the Knitting and Stitching Show this week, and I can't wait! It feels like a scant year since I was last there, and I'm looking forward to going back with a little more experience and knowledge under my (handsewn) belt.

Sunday, September 27, 2015

Sunset Brumby

Hello! I hope you are having great weekends.

Today I have some pics of a new Brumby skirt, hurrah! 

I've had a lovely orange linen which I bought on sale at the Organic Textile Company a few months ago on the spur of the moment - not my usual colour, but I thought it could work on the bottom half! This is my third go at the Brumby Skirt by Megan Nielsen, and I think my favourite so far.

I haven't much to add to my notes from my last two - I did Version 1 this time, which has slightly less gathers, a good thing on my shape. I left off Megan's scallop pockets in favour of these black patch ones (with added red buttons, naturally!) and I did the centre topstitching in black to match.

Exposed zippers, still not my forte!

I made up a size Small like my last one, but this time using 4/8" seam allowances throughout, and the fit now is pretty much spot on I think.

I think this will be a jolly winter skirt with bright tights on gloomy London days. 

Sunday, September 20, 2015

Culottes of fun and a BAD decision!

Hello! I hope you are having lovely weekends!

I fell for the culottes craze - so many beauties being made up - these three by What Katie Sews, these from the Tessuti blog, and Sallie's super Style Arc ones. I thought also that they'd be a good way into trousers on my own (I had a lot of super hand-holding for my Sew Over It pair). Annoyingly I can't remember whose blog I read who had made Butterick B6178 but they looked just the ticket for me, with four different options.

I sewed up a straight size 14, version D. I followed the instructions for the pockets, despite a nagging feeling that I always have problems with in-seam pocket gape on anything fitted round my hips. My hips are a size bigger than my waist, and they always seems to push pockets out and make quite a horrible shape. Sure enough, when I tried them on they did just that. So I took them out and sewed down the sides - I wish I did have pockets here but maybe I just can't on my shape? Is there a fix for this that anyone knows of?

They are not a bad fit out of the packet, and definitely work from my hips down which was the measurement I took, but the waist is baggy. As I fix, I added belt loops and a self tie belt, which gives it a paper bag style top - it works, but I'd like them to fit better round my waist the next time - and there will definitely be a next time with these bad boys! 

I had this beautiful lace zip in my stash which was given to me by my friend Sal years ago, before I'd started sewing again properly. I'd never thought of how one could use an exposed zip, until I saw this Emery Dress by Dolly Clackett. So pretty! 

My zip is a lovely burgundy, perfect with this fabric, and it was the right length - zip and fabric kismet, surely! But here's where I made an error - an exposed back zip has rather a different effect to one that follows your bum...


Let's zoom in and marvel at the heinousness! 

I was going to add a photo here of a baboon's bum but I just did a Google search and they are too upsetting, frankly.

Well, at least I didn't put it on the front! Silver linings...

Sunday, September 13, 2015

Ahoy sailor!

Avast, me hearties! Here I am with my attempt at a sailor style jersey day dress! 

This is a dress I'd been thinking of for a bit - I had some thick cream mystery jersey which I'd been printing eyeballs on with an EYEBALL DRESS in mind (but which I'm now thinking will be too weird for useful wear). I really like the combination of white with black borders, and this looks pleasingly 60s sailoresque - I think!

I used the Nettie bodice for the top; it's now the pattern I've used by far the most. I just love the neckline and the fit of this super pattern! I widened the neckband by 1 inch to make more of a feature of it,  and then drafted a separate bow which is hand sewn onto the centre of the neckband. It's nice that they look like one tied piece - I couldn't figure out how to do it as just a long piece, though I'm sure there must be a way!

The skirt is self drafted - a longer, narrowed version of the Simplicity 1880 one. It's really just two big A-line shapes. I wish it had looked a bit drapier with this fabric, but the jersey is quite thick and I think the stiff, deep hem pulls it out more as well. I LOATHE hemming, I think it's my worst job. I had to be strict with myself to bother measuring this and making it straight... 

For the elasticated waist, I sewed the seam allowance of the waistband down and threaded elastic through - which took ages as it kept getting caught in the seams... but I got there in the end.

Knicker visibility horrors! I think this dress will be better with tights...!

I'm pretty happy with this dress overall, and think it'll be useful for day to day wear, despite being the amazingly un-useful colour of cream. Stretchy sailor goodness!