Sunday, 16 February 2014

Vogue 8710 by Katherine Tilton

I have been looking at this pattern for a while,
I really like it but was a bit nervous of stripes, they can be a complete disaster on a plus size figure (my opinion only) and the neckline is quite high for me but when 'Sew Today' club had a crazy sale I purchased the pattern and thought I would give it go.

I purchased some cotton jersey online but when it arrived it was very lightweight and I was a little worried that it wouldn't be heavy enough.  I went ahead anyway because although I like to complete wearable garments the whole adjusting, cutting and sewing process is fun for me and I learn something every time I make a fashion flop.  

I made a sway back alteration and just cut straight into the fabric, no muslin, no practice, I just went for it...

I followed the instructions more than I usually do with commercial patterns and I am glad I did because the way the sleeves are put in are like nothing I had done before.  The side panels are sewn in first, they you have to reinforce the front shoulders with fusible interfacing before sewing only one shoulder seam, the neckline is bound with a self cut strip (this didn't work out for me next time I will use bias tape) before the second shoulder seam is stitched (are you still with me here???) I was very grateful for the illustrations.  Then the sleeve caps are sewn to the bodice (on the flat) before the bodice side seams and sleeve lengths are sewn in one continuous seam.  I had never inserted sleeves like this and I have never ever seen it done even though I have watched my mum sew for over 30 years (closer to 40 years but I don't like to think about that too much).  It was super easy and the sleeves went in like a dream.  I only managed to get a 'selfie' of the finished garment so the perspective is not great but you can get the general idea of what it looks like. 

My husbands opinion "Yeah it's nice, you look like an NFL referee you should sew some numbers on it"  I guess that's another wardrobe filler then.  It might make it into the work wardrobe if it is lucky.

I will sew this top again but next time I will probably use a plain knit and have patterned inserts, I was thinking I might make a black version with lace print side panels, next time I will change the shape of the neckline too and use bias binding in place f the self cut strip of fabric.

Have been sewing but not blogging... tut tut tut...

I have a busy few weeks of sewing and have completed three projects that I haven't blogged about, I don't have construction photos for you to look at but here are the garments I have completed over the past few weeks.

I had seen and tried on a dress in the high street that I really liked but there were several fitting issues and an even bigger price tag issue.  I loved the shape or the dress and I wanted to make a dress of a similar style.

Here is the dress I tried on....   It has princess and waist seams, capped sleeves.  It was fully lined with a small amount of net tulle around the bottom of the lining which was unattached from the main skirt.

When I arrived home I had an email from my 'Sew Today' club saying they had a super sale and all patterns (Vogue, Butterick, McCalls and Kwik Sew) were on buy one get two free, what better time to stock up and stash?  

I found this, Buttrick 4443 which appeared to be a similar style and shape to the dress I had just tried on, I placed an order for six new patterns that day and the total came to less than £20 (WOOHOO!!!!)

I decide to buy some inexpensive fabric for my first dress and went to ebay to find what I was looking for...  I wanted something in navy blue so I could wear the finished garment with my beautiful suede peep toe wedges.

I purchased  brushed cotton sateen with a slight stretch and only £3.99pm ($6.70usd) and got to work the following weekend.

I spent some time adjusting the pattern (shortened bodice and sway back) and decided that I wanted to move the zip, I really struggle with back zips and prefer side zip closures so I just moved it and it worked out fine.  I lied the bodice as instructed but not the skirt and although I cant add that cute tulle like the original dress I tried on its fine and I love it.  I was determined to make the inside as neat as possible and have for the first time in my sewing journey achieved something I feel proud of.  Here is the finished dress modelled by Madge (my mannequin) with a self made tie belt, double stitched hem with self made bias tape (thanks to my wonderful bias tape machine).  What do you think??? I plan to wear it when the weather eventually changed to something more spring like with my navy peep toe wedge shoes and cropped denim jacket.

Friday, 24 January 2014

Dress is finished, ish................

At last I have finished my dress, there have been a few issues to deal with but its almost at a wearable stage.  The neck was ridiculously wide and ended up looking like an off the shoulder style dress, I added a self made halter strap which I think you will agree looks like part of the design.  I still need to hem the sleeves but if I am honest I probably will not wear it anyway.  Its just not my style, I feel awkward in it.  I also sewed in some little puckers (you can see them on the left) which cannot be removed (I am very annoyed with my self for this).  The photo is not great quality because I only have my phone available (my camera battery needs charging)

I am being positive about the whole process I may not ever wear the dress, and I might have made a few mistakes along the way but I learned from them and I enjoyed the process (mostly), I am moving on for now and ready to start a new project. Hopefully the next one will be one I can and will wear.

How many items did you sew before you actually got to wear something?

Sunday, 12 January 2014

It's coming along slowly...

I have been working on the butterick 5988 for a little while now, I spent a long time adjusting the pattern which resulted in me cutting and sticking more than I should have, you see what I have been experimenting with below, too much tape and tissue...

I eventually got around to cutting some fabric but after the strange twisting, not matching up muslin I decided to cut and sew the lining first, the lining fabric was inexpensive so I wasn't too fussed if it went wrong.  I spent the whole of Saturday afternoon putting it together and it worked out fine, fits well, although it does feel a little loose around the shoulders, but I figure t will get almost and inch smaller once the lining is stitched to the outer garment so for now I am going with it.
Today I had time......   I love Sundays I just wish they weren't so close to Mondays.  I laid out my beautiful satin backed crepe and cut out the final pattern pieces............  Scary cutting expensive fabric.
I also had time to start sewing and I leared some new things about sewing today....  well actually it was about pinning, 
 I learned that it is not easy to pin a curved seam on a flat surface, so don't even try, I learned a pinch the fabric together technique which seemed to work out.

I also learned that using a hand needle and thread is much easier when basting in a zipper.

So far I have sewn the front of the dress and started the back, iserted the zipper and made the lining.  It is shaping up  nicely, what do you think???

The Front Panel, looking good on a flat surface.

Pinned to my dress form, I have wrinkles!!!!   hopefully they will iron out,  I still have to finish the back, sew it together, attach the lining and sleeves, and hem it.  That will be next weekends jobs.

Sunday, 5 January 2014

Butterick 5998

Day 1:  Spent a long time adjusting pattern pieces, I have a huge butt and need to go up 2+ pattern sizes to fit it in, I would like to say I am a curvy pear shape but if I am honest my body is more the shape of a snowman.

Day 2:  Cut out muslin for test run.

Day 3: Stitched front panels, unpicked front panels... restitched front panels, huffed and puffed a lot, almost gave up, cooked dinner and had a break...   You can see why I struggles with the curvey panels from the pattern image.

Sewed back of dress muslin and attached to front, I left the back open were the zip would go and used hook and loop to gauge how it will fit with a real zipper inserted.  After trying the dress on,   it was a struggle to get it over my hips and there is no way I could sit down in it I realised that the pattern adjustments I originally made just didn't work, I had these two little flappy bits at the side where I added width, obviously not where I should have. I added width at the sides and I need it at the back, I don't know what to do now???????

After reassessing I have decided to take out the back of the dress and start it over adjusting at the back princess seams, I am not sure if this will work but I have muslin to try and I suppose I will learn something, it will work and I will jump for joy or it will not work and will cry and start over (or give up).  One thing is for sure I will not cut into my Prada fabric until I get it right.

Today I made further adjustment to the pattern, I added width at the back seams where indicated below (at the red arrows) and I made a sway back (fat bum) alteration where the blue shading is.  I recut muslins for the back and stitched it all together.
Now I don't know what happened but one side of the dress fits like a dream and one side just does not match up at all.  The shoulder seam is too wide,  the back side panel is too long and the middle back is too short.   Then I realised I took out almost two inches from the length due to the swayback alteration but i didn't add it back on to the length at the hem.  I have no idea what happened at the shoulder though maybe I just cut it with a fold in the fabric or something I was rushing.  But then when wearing the musiln for a few moments I realise that the whole dress is twisting towards the badly fitting side. ????????????????   I am puzzled, maybe I just have the most weirdly out of proprtion body, (I already knew that though).

Thursday, 2 January 2014

Going from dipping my toe in, to jumping in the deep end...

Since the new obsession took hold.... (there I admitted it, I AM OBSESSED) I have purchased a few patterns and made a couple of wearable garments, nothing fancy just simple summer dresses and tunics, like this one I made for Christmas week for work ( I work with preschool children, hence the fun factor).

The fabrics I have used so far have generally been cotton and fairly inexpensive, no more that £6 per m.  I am becoming more confident and really wanted to challenge myself to create something with a little more style and finesse.

I checked out the new spring patterns and found one I liked the look of and I am hoping that it will look good once finished on my very curvy (more super voluptuous really) body.  Here is the technical drawing, it is Butterick 5998 and is described as a fitted lined dress.  
It has sleeves, another bonus for me...

Another new thing for me was ordering fabric on line, I was very worried about this since I was buying fabric I couldn't feel and I like to do that  (we all do right?) and the fact that I was going to be spending double the money I am used to on fabric, I felt a little apprehensive.  Once my fabric (satin backed crepe) arrived I headed to my local fabric store, I will tell you more about this place another time but it really is impressive and has a huge amount of stock, they specialise in bridal fabrics but have a great range of everything else you might need.  I collected lining, thread, zip etc and I also decided to buy some suitable fabric to make a muslin.  Now I didn't buy actual muslin, I got a lightweight cotton but it will do the job and at only £1.10 per meter I am not going to argue. 

So this is the plan (feel free to chip in if you can give me some advice)....  I plan to make the actual dress with the dull crepe facing out and the satin on the inside, I will reverse the two pattern pieces (wavy bits) on the front for a bit more definition to the seam detail. Here's the fabric and notion.....

So I have everything I need and I am ready to get going...

I am determined to TAKE MY TIME and NOT RUSH like I usually do, I really want a wearable dress from this project and it has become quite costly so far.

Tonight I have cut out my pattern pieces adjusting/grading up as I go where I think I need the extra room (to cover my out of proportion hips and butt) and roughly pinned the paper pattern together on my dress form to check it kind of all works, so far so good, there doesn't seem to be much ease but it is a fitted dress.

Next step it to try it out on my muslin... watch this space.... and don't forget to leave any comments and advice - please remember to be kind though.

Wednesday, 1 January 2014

My story of sewing from the beginning...

My story begins with my grandmother who was a seamstress by trade, she made some interesting quilted home decorations in bright orange nylon with hideous cheap lace edging.  My mum tells me stories about her coming home from work, making dinner then stitching up a dress to wear to go out in the same evening.  I never got to see her garment sewing skills but I know she was very skilled.

My mum always had a sewing machine in the house and used it intermittently to sew clothes for herself, me and my sisters, (my brother never had home sewn clothing, but he did have some 'special' knitted jumpers).

One of the first home sewn garments I remember is picture below, this is me in back in 1978 aged 2 years wearing a white nylon dress with navy roses which my mum made, the best part was she had a matching dress too (how very modern).

Until recently I had never sewn but did watch my mum sewing a lot when growing up and especially when she made my flower girl dresses for my wedding.  I learnt quite a lot from assisting her with the dresses especially 'avoid chiffon' for a long time and I embellished and hemmed the dresses my self (by hand). My three small nieces did look beautiful in the dresses at our wedding.
Mum hasn't sewn any wearable garments since this my wedding which is almost six years ago now (she made some quilts).  Which is were my personal sewing journey begins.

After finishing studying for my degree and graduating I found myself with 'spare time' which I decided to fill my making a dress for summer last year.  I asked mum if I could borrow here sewing machine,which resulted in scissors too, I purchased a pattern and fabric and set to work.  I can't show you the results of my first attempts at sewing but needless to say they were unwearable, I enjoyed the process though and learned from each mistake.  From early May 2013 to now I have attempted  few projects and have a couple of wearable items. I have been truly bitten by the sewing bug and yes you guessed it, my mum never got her sewing machine or scissors back (she has purchased a new ones now so I get to keep them).  My kit has grown through gifts from my mum and husband with the addition of a dress form, pinking shears, presser feet, a collection of patterns, rulers and general kit, and for christmas a bias binder machine and rotary cutter (I love the rotary cutter A LOT!).  Until the start of this week I have been working at the dinner table but my husband promised me that if we can sort out the home gym I can use the spare room as a sewing space.  I never cleaned up and out so fast and headed to ikea with money gifted to us by my father in law to purchase simple but functional furniture.  Now I (we, my husband, mum and I) have invested so much time and money in my new found passtime I can't give up and I have to keep sewing, learning and creating.  

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