Tuesday, 25 September 2012

Tiramisu is finally available!

Unfortunately not the yummy Italian pudding on my current diet, but the lovely first offering from StephC's new pattern company Cake.

I love the design of Tiramisu and Steph has lots of hacks planned for us which you can read about here, including getting the perfect fit by drawing in your own side seams!

Best of all, it's on pre-sale on Etsy just now, limited run of 150 copies, and even with shipping from Australia, the total cost is just over £10.  Grab it before it's gone!

Monday, 24 September 2012

Twenties Love

Much as I love vintage fashion, I've never been a huge fan of the 1920s.  Perhaps as all those drop waists and skinny hip/ flat chested looks would not suit my shape in the slightest.

But that was until I saw the new John Lewis TV ad:

I just love so many of the clothes she wears.  I'm a real hat person and those gorgeous cloches are amazing!  Especially the red one.  Her hair is so cute (maybe that I could manage!).

The striped dress at the beginning is lovely and she wears several lovely coats.  Love the collar detail on this red one:

But the piece de resistance is this beautiful white dress.  Wouldn't it be amazing as a wedding dress?  And that headband?

Thursday, 20 September 2012

WIP: Peony Toile

I've just started work on my Peony which is the next garment in the Sew Colette 2.0 sewalong.  I've had the pattern a while and I really love the simple shape and the boat neckline, which I tried to incorporate into the Disaster Dress (probably enough said about that!).

I bought a navy spot cotton a while back to make it, and am planning contrast red piping at the waist.  After recent zip/ piping difficulties, I am going to use a normal zip!

As this was meant to be a summer project I was planning the short sleeved version - i'm still going to make this and make it a wearable muslin for the longer sleeved winter version I'm got in my head.

First step - bodice muslin!  I made a lot of changes to the basic pattern before I started - i lengthened the bodice by 3", lowered the bust darts by 1", and because the lengthening seemed to make the waist darts too long, I shortened them by 2".

I've pinned up the shoulders as Marjorie isn't as long in that area as me!  It needs a bit more ease in the waist so I have added 1/2" to either side of the centre back.  It's very poofy under the bust (although more so on Marjorie then me!) so I have increased the length of the waist darts by 1" again and hopefully that will fix the problem.  I've also done a square shoulder adjustment of about 1/4" to eliminate drag lines above the bust.  Skirt will be lengthened by 2" to hit just above the knee.

So I'm ready to cut the fashion fabric and will pin fit these adjustments before I start sewing.

Wednesday, 19 September 2012

Finished: Milkmaid skirt - another backlog garment!

As soon as I saw the Milkmaid Skirt for Grown Up Girls on Crafterhours, I really liked it.  I totally wanted to stalk Adrianna's striped version in the instructions.  And no pattern needed!

So I set to work.  I struggled to find the right fabric but went for the closest one and in doing so broke what has now become one of my cardinal rules of sewing - if you don't love the fabric, don't bother as you won't love the finished garment.

I worked out all the pattern  pieces from the very clear tutorial, and it went together really easily.  Except when I put it on, it was horrible.  I think the fabric was called Toothpaste stripe and it was as awful as that sounds.  And a kind of shiny canvassy twill.  I think I may have gone temporarily insane at the time of purchase!

The fabric was too stiff and I had made it too A-line.  I was also still losing weight at this point which probably didn't help with the look.  So I did what any self-respecting sewist would do in that situation - threw it in a corner and started on something better!

The next time i was in Fabricland I did spot the right material and nabbed it straight away.  It's a grey and white striped cotton.  I harvested the broad elastic from the waistband in the corner and whittled down the pattern pieces to fit my new smaller size and take out all of the A-line. 

Much better (scuse the horrible wrinkles - I didn't notice on the camera and it's far too cold now to get back outside and retake the pics!):

I really love stripes with florals and wore this outift a lot this summer.

It's a cheap as chips make - only 1m of fabric and you make your own pattern.  And speedy too - I think I might have taken 1.5 hours to sew up once I had the right sized pattern pieces. I think it could make a good winter skirt with tights and boots in a heavier fabric (although I would probably omit the pocket binding as I think that might become a bit bulky - perhaps a separate binding would work better on thicker fabric than the way this is applied)

And I had fun with the stripes on the pockets.  And matchy matchy waistband seams (the first time I have really managed this, but on a straight pattern piece there's no excuse not too!)

Monday, 17 September 2012

Blogging the backlog: Hazel dress

I'm finally getting through blog posts on the things I made over the summer.  So I have quite a few coming over the next couple of weeks - it will look like I have been sewing up a storm (which if course I have!).

First up, the Hazel!  I did a bit of a preview on my weight loss post of this dress but thought it deserved a post of its own!
I actually really enjoyed sewing this pattern.  It went together really easily, even though I didn't get it done in time for the Sew Colette 2.0 sewalong. I bought the fabric for another pattern but I really like it for this.  I think it works well. 

First up was the usual length adjustment which I did with a tissue fit.  I had to add more than usual - about 3", as the pattern has a high waistling which I don't like.  I was slightly confused about how to do this given the triangular centre panel, but I extended it to a point and then adjusted the side panels in my muslin to take out the extra fabric as though it was a princess seam.  It doesn't match up exactly at the waist seam but the fabric is forgiving enough that I couldn't get a picture of it!

I actually made a muslin of the skirt for this one as I was a bit scared by Marie's nightmare with the skirt.  But it looked fine.  I added another 3" to the skirt length too.

And the two sides of the zip match up at the back!  I really like the Colette way of finishing off the facing at the top of zips - it gives such a great clean finish!

It's been a great addition to my summer wardrobe - if I had finished it earlier I think I would have made another one.  Still, there's always next year!

Wednesday, 12 September 2012

It's a Kiely-fest!

I am a huge fan of Orla Kiely and her fab retro prints.  Unfortunately her usual stuff is way outside my budget!

Luckily for me, enter Uniqlo!

I had read it was sold out but thought I would try the Oxford St brand at lunchtime on the off chance.  they have just had a new drop and had a massive range of prints and sizes!

I love the dresses with the peter pan collars pictured above, but unfortunately they come up far too short on me with a belt.

But I picked up 2 lovely long sleeved boat neck tees:

And a lovely scarf which will brighten up last year's red winter coat:

A good haul and definitely lots of useful things that my wardrobe needs following my recent clear out (more on this to follow at some point!).

Tuesday, 11 September 2012

Finshed Macaron!

Woohoo!  It's done.  My first sewalong, and although I finished last week, I haven't managed to get pics so I think I may be too late and missed the cut off.  But never mind - I do love it!

She had her first outing on Friday for a client meeting at work and the V&A with Karen and other sewing types and was I think well received (2 colleagues and some of the lovely sewists gave me some great comments!).

As previously blogged, I used a soft floral fabric (perhaps a voile?  I so need to improve my fabric knowledge!) for the yoke and a purple poplin for the shell, both in the sale at John Lewis.

I cut a size 8 which fitted relatively well out of the packet, aside from my usual length adjustments.  I find Colette Patterns fairly short in the body so after tissue fitting I added 2" to the bodice length below the bust and 1" to the yoke.  The yoke adjustment meant adjusting the sleeve piece, which was surprisingly easy!  I spent hours trying to work out how to get the length I needed without adjusting the yoke as I was really scared of messing with the sleeve, but it was no problem.  I also on Rhinestones and Telephones' advice moved the bust dart down by about 1" as it was coming right at the top of the solid pattern piece and didn't look right.  I also lengthened the skirt by about 3".

The patterns calls for the midriff piece to be in the yoke fabric, but I thought mine was perhaps a bit too soft and drapey (maybe I am learning about fabric after all!).  I wanted something to break it up in the middle so decided on piping made from the floral fabric on either side of the midriff pieces.  This was something I had been thinking about for ages but never tried before and I was surprised at how easy it was.  I love the final look.  To insert it in one continuous piece, I changed the construction order slightly - I sewed the bodice front and back together at the side seam before adding the midriff piece and then added the piping, then the sewn together midriff pieces, then the rest of the piping.

The bodice looked like the hardest part but I actually found the skirt to be more trouble!  The waist seemed very small (I have read in a few places since, notably the comments on Paunnet's blog that she and a few people had this problem) so I decreased the size of the pleats slightly.  I wish I had made a toile of the whole dress rather than just the bodice, but isn't hindsight great?

My invisible zip issues have been well documented previously, but in future I won't be using invisible zips wth piping at the waist.  Clearly not a good combination!  After failing with the invisible zip, I started again with a normal zip and got that in fine.  It does look a bit messy but I think I can live with it.  As suggested by the lovely Tania at the V&A trip, I could take it out and bind the edges to make it less messy, which I may well do. The equally lovely and scarily knowledgable Elaine also suggested some fusible interfacing on the edges works really well in that situation.

I also did lots of seam finishing on this make as I really wanted to make it as good as possible!

Clean finished seams:

I bound the waist seam with bias binding made from the floral fabric:

Catchstitched hem:

All in all I am really happy with the final dress.  Looking at all of the above, I learnt loads on this make including lots of fitting and finishing as well as a first attempt at piping (but I will be making a toile of the whole dress in future!).  I am getting better at my usual tall length adjustments and tissue fitting really helps to get these done before making a first toile which would never fit.

But why oh why did i persist in pointing out the zip problem to anyone who complimented me on the dress?  Grrr to me!  I need to learn just to say thank you!

Monday, 10 September 2012

A lovely day!

I had a great day on Friday!

Following my pre-order months ago, I was thrilled to arrive at work and find that Amazon had come through with my copy of Gertie's book!

I have read it cover to cover and absolutely love it!  It is really inspiring, especially on the subject of tailoring. 

I had never realised all the stabilising and padding and reinforcing that goes in to creating a tailored garment.  But Gertie makes it all seem attainable even to a newbie like me!  I know it will be a long time before I can even think about attempting something like her suit jacket:

but i am sorely in need of tops and there are some gorgeous ones in the book that I can see in my near future!

The Portrait Blouse

The Keyhole Top

And I love the bound buttonholes on the back of the bow tie top:

And the Tiki dress is great!

In fact, maybe i should work through her book in the way she worked through VNBBS at the beginning of her blog!  I espcially love the fact that she models all the clothes.  She looks fantastic throughout!

And to top that off, I met up with Karen and a group of other lovely ladies to drool over the ballgowns at the V&A and talk sewing.  I completely forgot my camera so unfortunately don't have any pictures but it was lovely to talk about sewing and not see people sidling away - or maybe I just have that effect on people!  My particular favourite dresses were the black beaded bias cut dress (top pic, second from the left) and the Holly Fulton one with the Rocky Horror-esque lip print and leather trim (bottom pic on the catwalk).

Source: idontwearfashion.blogspot.co.uk
Thanks to Karen for organising such a lovely night.

Monday, 3 September 2012

Battles With Zips

Image from here

I think this might be my Native American name, like Dances with Wolves.

I seem to be having a lot of difficulty at the moment with getting zips to go in properly - my last 2 projects have both involved the purchase of a second zip once I had broken or otherwise ruined the first one. Ironically I have always found zips, even invisible ones, to be OK until now. I am trying not to get a complex about it as zips are usually right at the end of a project and I don't want to spend the whole time worrying about the zip insertion! Also, I have always managed to get there in the end!

So my next few projects have been planned without zips, and I've moved my Peony down my sewing queue as a result!

My Macaron (complete with zip saga!) is finished and awaiting pictures and I'm pretty happy with it. Planning to wear it to the V&A with Karen and a group of other sewing people on Friday.

Next up are a couple of quick and easy Kirsten Kimono tees, one grey marl and one striped, to fill a gap in my wardrobe. No zips required!