Monday, 23 January 2017

V1312 dress - finally!

Sometimes I buy patterns as soon as I see them then sit on them for years. The reasons vary. Distraction, procrastination, perceived fitting problems. For this pattern it was the latter. I would look at that wide not-sitting-just-right neckline on the model and know that it would be the same on my square shoulders and think 'I'll tackle it later'. I've finally made it up because I had a vision of it made up in some rediscovered stash voile. My daughter sometimes makes me laugh by walking around saying "It'll work - I have a veesion!" Well the vision spoke and I got out the voile, the pattern and the drafting tools. I narrowed the neckline slightly and was contemplating putting in bust darts. Then when playing around with cutting layout I realised my material had a very obvious oneway design and I my not have enough material. I was going to do a self lining, at least for the bodice. (I did a green gauze lining for the upper skirt only). A solution to  both the bodice fitting and layout problems occurred to me. I redrafted the bodice with princess seams and shortened the bottom skirt layer by 4 cm. At the bodice back I added  CB seam and did a sway back adjustment.
One mistake:  I did not put in a zip. I had planned to put one in the CB, then forgot to incorporate a CB seam in the skirt. Gah! So I did a muslin of the bodice to see if I could pull it over my head without a zip. I could. Yes! But it was a different story when I added the skirt and lining layer. I can get it on and off but I've perfected a spectacular yoga move of throwing the skirt over my head and wiggling my bust then shoulders out. Needless to say if I make this dress again I will do a back zip. Lesson learnt! Anyhow, it's been a while since I had a truly flowing dress. I enjoy wearing this one. Photos taken by  friend in the city.


I did narrow topstitch from the skirt corners to the hem to give them a bit of definition.

The redrafted front bodice.

It swishes!

I like it so much I am making a knit version. We'll see how that goes! But I'm off to work now. It's a pity it has to intrude on my sewing & social life.

Edit Update:  Re the knit version the voluminous skirt drags down the bodice so I would not recommend. A knit skirt attached to a woven bodice might work, but for now I am moving on to other projects.

Stash used: Two floral material lengths, cotton for skirt lining. Stash pattern.
Progressive stash tally: 9 out, 1 in.

In the midst of all that's happening,
Stay safe people.

Wednesday, 18 January 2017

A burda a month

Hi there,

A while ago I read a post on another blog about doing a burdastyle a month for 2017. It's about getting out those mags and actually making something up instead of looking at them and filing them away again. In keeping with Sydney's current heatwave I've made up a rayon maxi dress in a loose style. If anyone in the northern hemisphere is wondering why Aussies like myself are carrying on about the heat, it's because as well as hot days of 40 degrees Celsius, we have been having midnight temperatures of 34 degrees Celsius. That's 93.2 Fahrenheit. So it's either air-conditioning or the fan going all night! Makes it difficult sometimes. Anyway I promise not to mention the heat for at least a few posts. Heatstroke and whining aside, I've made up 03/2010/111 Kimono Dress.

Modifications: The pattern as drafted is extremely billowy in the upper half and I had to shorten the bodice pieces by 2 cm, extend the skirt pieces up by 2cm, scoop the armhole out instead of the batwing shape they had. Most importantly I had to raise the too-plunging neckline. I added ties stitched to the side seams instead of making a separate Obi type belt as in the pattern.
Instructions:  Shock horror for once they were good, especially the flip the facing to the outside and topstitch neckline treatment.

I interfaced the back neck and front band pieces with lightweight interfacing found in the stash. It wasn't iron on so I used glue stick to dot some glue on then ironed it on a silk setting. This worked quite well!

Disclaimer:  I have already fallen off the stash wagon, well not really if you read the rules that I allowed myself one pattern & one piece of fabric per quarter .. I got this beautiful cotton/lycra Pique at the Fabric Store.

At first I thought of making an unlined sheath dress but that big white border is just screaming out to be used somehow. Decisions, decisions..

Stash tally Project 3:  Stash pattern and stash fabric used for dress. Another piece of stash fabric used for a muslin (too awful to show here, pattern placement chaos). One piece of fabric in.

Edit: To any new readers who are wondering 'What on earth is going on with her hair?' I am growing out the dye and letting it go grey. I've had my first round of chopping it off. I did consider shaving my head but took the (slightly) less extreme route. Once it's all out I will let it grow.

Happy sewing,

Tuesday, 10 January 2017

Stye Arc Maggie/Blair mashup

Hi there!
The last time I ordered a pattern from Style Arc, their freebie of the month was the  Maggie Shirt. It was on my list of 'do it someday' patterns. Then while reading sewing blogs I came across a version of Style Arc Blair Shirt or Dress that I liked on this blog Bombazine.  I noticed that the silhouette of the Maggie shirt was very similar to the Blair so I had the bright idea of modifying Maggie into Blair, being on a pattern fast and all that. Well, I drafted a collar, added crosswise seams, decided to leave the back alone, made a collar that was too small, made an unwearable muslin, modified the underarm curve, shortened the edge of the sleeves, made the collar longer, straightened the curve of the collar stand then dug out some pretty blue crinkle cotton from the stash and made this shirt.

Yep, another loose top. The collar is similar to one on a Vogue shirt pattern from years ago V8689 which I used as starting point. It took a total of three collars and two stands but with lots of measuring and tryouts I ended up with a shirt collar that sits better than any I've made before with the amount of ease I want. Would it have been simpler to buy the Blair? Yes but I would probably have had to tweak the collar on that as well. This has more to do with my neck and shoulders than any pattern. Anyway I decided to see it through and I am glad I did.

The collar done up.

Will I use my version again? Probably, in some form or another... summer, winter, dress. But right now I feel like sewing something straightforward without too many modifications.
Edit: I traced off everything and left Maggie intact to try later. (In days past I would have hacked into the original and lived to regret it!)
Another Edit: All respect to pattern makers everywhere. True-ing one piece to every other is not easy!

Stash tally Project 2: Stash fabric used for muslin and for shirt, stash pattern and self drafted collar.

Sunday, 8 January 2017

V9067 Top A

Hi everyone,

We are having another heatwave. I have made two hot weather tops. This one swirls and drifts away from the body. It reminds me of the big circular smocks that were briefly popular in the 70's. I made my own way back then too! Number two top is a loose short sleeved shirt, which I will photograph later today. My daughter's been saying 'Mum why are you making all this loose stuff?' Because I want to, that's why. When the weather cools down I will get into something more fitted. But back to this post. I am already a fan of Vogue 9067. The pants work on me and I've made the frilly floppy View C top. I may even make it again as my flimsy voile one from last year already has rips in it that I've repaired! From memory that top ran large as well as having a lot of ease. This top fitted better across the neck and shoulders but also runs large. More on that later.
I had several metre lengths of Japanese cotton from Spotlight bought a summer or two ago in my stash so I could play with colour blocking. I could maybe have gone for a green panel on the left front instead of the slightly darker yellow for a bit more drama, but I like this anyway considering it was a  experiment.

Caught in the breeze, you can see the circle based shape.

I almost didn't post photos two and three but the drapey fluid nature of the top prevents it from looking quite that 'maternity' when in motion! It pools nicely when I sit down.

Adjustments: As mentioned the body of the top runs large. It's one of those patterns where there is a small increment between sizes XS and S then twice as big a jump to 'M'. I took it back to between size S and size M and trust me I am not usually a Small.
I lowered the armholes a smidgen to compensate. I lowered the neckline by half a centimetre so I could pull the top over my head and eliminated the back button and loop. It would have just fitted over my head anyway.

Re directions, they are good but I finished the neck and armholes using this method.
1.  Stay stitch the neckline.
2.  Trim the neckline to exactly where you want the finished neckline to be.
3.  Make your bias fabric in a loop to the finished measurement of your neckline.
4.  Fold it in half lengthwise and press, making sure you do not stretch it.
5.  Apply to the wrong side of the garment 7mm (3/8") from the edge.
6.  Press towards the neck edge all around, then press the bias edge over the raw edges towards the  
     right side of the garment.
7.  Machine stitch 2mm from the edge around the neck. This stitching will land just under the
     original stitching.

It is my current favourite finish. The next time I do it I will try to take photos, because it is easier than it sounds and works on knits too and all the raw edges are encased.

Stash tally: 1 project, Stash material and stash pattern used.
Grey roots update: I have a big ring of grey and look quite frightful. A bit of length and a lot of spray and styling no longer covers it. I am looking forward to getting quite a bit of it chopped off on Friday. Super short. Would rather look like a spiky skunk than a madwoman. I know it's a third world problem  :)

Have a good day!

Wednesday, 4 January 2017

Plans for 2017

My plans for 2017 are to make more plans!
In regard to my sewing that is. I am way more organised in other aspects of life than I am with sewing where I've let impulse reign. Not this year. Uh uh. To start with I have taken all my fabric out of every drawer and every plastic bin, sorted it according to type photographed it and filed it so I know where everything is. Revolutionary! I am doing the same thing with my patterns.
n.b. I know there are apps for this but because I don't have young eyes or fingers apps tend to frustrate me. I am happy to have gotten as far as having the info my trusty laptop. It is good being organised though. When I think of a fabric I can check where it is where before I'd have to go hunting for it. Why didn't I do this before?  I am also going to photograph the line drawing pages of all my Burdastyle magazines. Having that reference will save time as well.

Some favourite fabrics that I am keeping handy

Additions to the pattern stash bought late 2016

So all of this brings me to goals. The first three will be no surprise. Instead of buying more, more I will
1.   Shop the fabric stash
2.   Shop the pattern stash
3.   Use my existing Burdastyle magazines
4.   Participate in PR's sew one Burdastyle a month thread.

However because I am human and know I will eventually go ga-ga over a new pattern or fabric I will allow myself a total of:
Four new patterns, Four new pieces of fabric and Four Burdastyle magazines in total for the year. That's one per quarter or just stopping when I've reached the number, whatever happens first. Maybe I won't buy any new fabric or Burdastyles. I hear you snickering... I will stick to the limit though.

The other goals are style and season oriented.
1.   I live in the southern hemisphere so I'll try to sew for the season I am experiencing instead of getting distracted by new goodies released for winter in Europe or USA. When I do that I end up not sewing them till a year or two later, if at all!
2.   For a long time I've been a bit bogged down in what I thought I 'ought' to be sewing and wearing instead of what I really wanted to sew and wear. This is slowly changing. Part of that overall picture is the decision to grow out my dyed hair. I will be having a landmark birthday this year and always planned to do the grey at that time but felt ready to do it now.  Reactions to my half-grown-out roots have already been mixed, even from total strangers who comment on the fact that growing it out will make me look older. Yeah so? I am getting older. What's wrong with 'older' anyhow? 
Some friends of mine from way back in high school and I are planning a combined celebration later in the year. There will be sewing for that!
Organisational bonus:  I found lovelies in my stash I forgot I had, including a beautiful designer silk printed with a city skyline which will be made into a dress for the celebration. Bring it on!

Thanks for reading my blurb and I hope you are looking forward to adventurous sewing this year,

Tuesday, 3 January 2017

2016 in review

Hi all,

Here's a brief wrap of the past year in sewing.
Like many others I had a up and down 2016. What a weird year it seems to have been for many! At one point my sewing blog sat neglected while other events spun me around then set me down again. Oh well,  bygones. From November on sewing became my therapy because it's a thing I'm (usually) good at. My favourite makes of the year in no particular order were:
-V9067 pull on pants out of linen. I had finally realised I needed a round bum as well as sway back adjustment to make any pants work, even loose ones.
-The lisette top success was a complete surprise. I ran it up from less than a metre of impulse buy bargain table knit. It's been worn a lot.
-The black burdastyle jacket was a favourite but not worn much as I made it right at the end of winter.  The material is what makes it, a gorgeous soft quilted knit fabric from EOS that sold out super quickly. I look forward to getting it out again come winter.
-The fur jacket revamp to mid thigh length made it a good combo with jeans and boots and was joyfully worn. My post about it was one of the most popular hits on this blog from last year. For a seven year old pattern. Go figure!
-My favourite dress made was the mustard linen dress that snuck in as the last post in December. A good trans-season dress.

V9067 view D pants and lisette B6182 top

Burdastyle  jacket 11/2015/102

Revamp of Burdastyle 09/2007/104

B6024 smock-into-dress

Now to the fails. 
There were a few but the most disappointing was the pants from Anne Klein designer V1517. I still want to try the jacket though. I did my usual pant adjustments and it still didn't sit right. Then I ripped out the CF leg panels and recut them grafting in the front of Burdastyle stretch pant TNT. They are wearable but don't have the comfort of my burdastyle ones from years ago, which I wanted to update.
I like the the idea of a straight up centre front and centre back mid leg seam. I modified them a bit more and tried another muslin. Still no good. Those ended up in the charity bag. Conclusion: get some burdastyle pants and add my own CF and CB seams because nothing I tried worked. I figure it is because Vogues pant draft is made for a very different body. A straight, small waisted slight pear with a neat and tidy regulation crotch. Everything I am not. I knew this but thought I could alter my way out of it. grrrr.

Pant fail V1517

It's a bit ironic that my best success and my biggest frustration were both Vogue pants. Overall it was a good year.

That's Sewing,