Thursday, September 3, 2015

Make a plan and stick to it!

I decided that I need to write a plan of the things I need to make before moving onto other things. I wrote a plan, which you can see below and then immediately cut and made a simple vintage top, as you do.  It is made from a cut up cotton voile, strappy summer dress I bought last year for $10 that was too voluminous, to my ankles, lined in plain cotton voile which basically made it unflattering and way too hot for our summer. I love the bright colours and I love the cotton voile. You may notice that this top was not on the plan. 

I'm excited about this top for two reasons. One it worked out and fits and the other reason is because I thought it was a size 14 but it is a size 10. That actually makes more sense as the shoulders, neckline and length is perfect (if just a smidge tight in the bust but I am an E cup). 

No gaping in the back either which is something I really struggle with. I'm really pleased with this little top and will make more. It's actually a great starter pattern as it went together in an hour, everything matched perfectly and mades it instant gratification.

Here's my list that I immediately ignored. That's not necessarily the order to sew, just the order I thought of them.  I have muslined a Vogue dress (V8871) a few weeks ago but got distracted by the last two Burda tops. I'll go back to it soon. The Vogue 8650 top has been cut out for a number of weeks and should be next I think and I have two pairs of togs (swimmers) cut out, one needing just elastic but is not the right shape for me so may scrap or finish and give to someone. I need togs so I should get onto them too.

This Vogue 8926 pattern above is my 'Morris' blazer pattern. As you can see nearly exactly the same but for the straight hemline.... you can see where I have cut the corner of the front hemline to replicate the Morris. I have a stripe ponte knit I'll try and make this up with but being a size 14 it may be too big. It is only 4 pieces so it's pretty simple.

Here's the 1980 Simplicity pattern for the top jumping the queue! Oh, it's pretty straight from the arm down to the hip so I widened it about 6 cm each side to give it more 'A' shape and to cover my hips. I see more in my future. That line drawing showing some potential colour blocking was done by the last owner. Can you tell making a plan doesn't come naturally to me?

Tuesday, September 1, 2015

Burda 2/2015 Model 104 muslin.

I really love the unusual style of Burda Kenzo shirt copy. Chanel No 6 blog person has made this top and as I had it out of the library I thought I'd give it a go as mentioned in the previous post. I never make muslins (toiles) as I get bored making the same thing twice in a row but that's probably why I don't have a good fit, and I really wanted to see if this would suit me before cutting into some nicer fabric. 

Photo courtesy of Chanel No 6 blog.
I was looking for something else in the stash that lives in the boxes under the house and found this quite stiff poly/cotton (I think) fabric which is really perfect to see drape of the flounce. They are not good photos - using the selfie stick and the mirror at night. Not a perfect scenario but the best I can do not having a photographer at home at the moment.

I love the flounce on the front. I'm surprised it looks ok. I made the muslin with no sleeves yet and I haven't attached the collar either but I will to see the fit. It's my first two piece sleeve.

I'm not sure of the back view. It's a really terrible photo and you can't see the details so I'll finish and try and get better photos. The right side is sitting funny as I caught a pucker in the seam but otherwise the flounce is really nice. I think this will look nice in a plain fabric. I'll talk about attaching those very curvy convex and concave seams as my computer is running out of battery any second.

Saturday, August 29, 2015

Done with no struggle - Burda 2/2015 106 Blouse - Edited with photos wearing blouse

Edit - I've taken photos with me wearing the blouse as requested some commenters. Sorry they aren't great - I've just used my 11 year old's selfie stick but you see what it's like on. It fits nicely around the bust and shoulders but is very loose and could be smaller by two sizes easily. My sister says it looks like I'm wearing Mum's pyjamas - huh, what does she know. It doesn't sit too low but low enough. So pjs or top, what do you think?

I should have remembered to take off my glasses or cut my head off... when I cropped, that is.

Yay! I finished something that went smoothly!! Not cutting errors, no machine problems... nada, nothing. Just smooth sailing and done in a couple of days. Plus, I love it.

I made blouse 106 from Burda Style February 2015 - the cover blouse. (borrowed from the library too - love that).

Here's my top on the dress form, just freshly finished (hmm... this looks unfocused now, rats).  No photos on me as it is pouring rain right at the minute and dark (I didn't even notice it got dark!) but it looks really nice on.  My fabric is a remnant from Spotlight bought just recently for $4, there was about 3 metres with a huge gash in the centre where I think it was used for dressing their mannequins for display. I said it was a Japanese voile but when cutting this out I saw on the selvage that it is actually a Japanese lawn. It has a lovely hand.

The blouse has raglan long sleeves and the pattern calls for bands cut on the bias for the sleeve hems and the waist band. I didn't want the waist band so I just cut it a bit longer.  The neckline has a bias cut band attached where you thread the tie through. The tie is also cut on the bias. My two bias neckline pieces were both pieced. Isn' the fabric pretty... I love the colours.

I didn't want the elastic bands on the cuffs, so I just gathered the end of the sleeve and finished with a bias band on it. I really like this neat finish.

I used French seams for this top simply because I was too lazy to set up the overlocker (set up means I didn't want to rethread with a lighter colour), but I like how they turned out. I had to do the first seams (side seams) twice as first I went auto pilot and put the two right sides together... doh!

 I made a wide hem and stitched it down. I like the wider hem. I really love this top, it has a really professional look to it. Next time I made a size 42 but next time I'll make it without the seam allowances as I think it will be a bit better with less volume. I have to say, even though this is a simple top, the drafting is spot on, the instructions less so (no surprise there) but it just fits.

There are a lot of great things to make in this issue and I've cut the pattern out for this top but in a size 40 after measuring the pattern pieces and reading a review somewhere that it was quite voluminous.  I really love the look of the bottom peplum ... I didn't get into the peplum bandwagon when it came out (although I do have some patterns with detachable peplums) because I don't think it is particularly flattering on my shape, but this one is so interesting it may distract from my tummy. I haven't decided if I'll make the sleeves long now that summer is coming. I also have jeans on my radar. I made some Vogue ones last winter out of some vintage corduroy but they didn't fit (still don't and they are still unfinished - just hems and belt tabs to go) and so I'll go up a size as I am sick of the ones I'm wearing that are too big in the waist to fit my hips.

I seem to have more focus on what I'm making lately... probably because everything I have is ill fitting or cheap bought stuff. This is partly because I don't buy good stuff because "I can make that" attitude added to "my fabric is too precious to cut" idiocy. I've decided that I'm just going to make things out of my nice fabric and be damned. What am I saving it for? I mean, when I think of it, I don't have too many wadders (I can execute the sewing no problem but it's the fitting that gets me) and I have 4 sisters, a Mum and a niece so I have lots of takers it something doesn't fit.  Do you save your fabric or just go for it.

Monday, August 24, 2015

Done... but what a struggle.

That above, is how much thread was on the bobbin - a few centimetres - when I finished this cape.  The only bit of ease with this project - just had some frustrations that wore me out (maybe because I was at the start of a run down feeling and it wouldn't have bothered me so much otherwise).  This is Butterick 5909, a See & Sew pattern that my friend from the U.S. sent me (top right in photo below) last Christmas.

It's a really simple pattern - "Very loose-fitting, single layer wrap has collar, flat-fell seams, shaped hemline and unfinished edges." It recommends boiled wool but I didn't have any and not being sure of the wearability of this for me I opted to make it out of a piece of wool mix that I had bought, many years ago,  as a very large remnant from the fabric sale I go to. It's a darker, more blue based red than appears in the photos where it looks a little raspberry red (which is quite nice though). 

I made size XS in view B which has the three buttons down the front . I thought this would be better with my larger bust as I figured with the single button the front would open and it would look like a mistake. The buttons are a little lighter in colour and harvested from a RTW cotton cardigan I bought years ago from Rivers. They aren't the exact colour and a bit pink but I like the contrast and the lace look of them. 

The collar is large and it's very open so if it is cold, you'd need a big scarf or a turtleneck to keep you warm, but for Brisbane winter/spring it's pretty good - no chance of overheating but nice to just keep the chill away.

The side looks nice the way it drapes. It's basically two different size rectangles, due to the buttons being off-sided, and two collar pieces. It's unfinished edges are one of (not many features in this cape) the features I like.

You are supposed to make flat felled seams for the collar and the cape body, but I forgot this when I made the collar and so when the collar sits on the back you see the two different seams. Only we sewers will notice this I think.

The collar is interfaced with some black interfacing I had on hand and it was just the right weigh to keep it soft and flexible but to hold the shape well. I cut it about .5cm smaller to sit inside the cut edge of the fabric so when it was stitched together (wrong sides facing so no seam allowances), you wouldn't see it. I stitched all the way around the cape as a 'seam' finish for the fact that it may fray a little due to it not being boiled wool.  Can't see this being washed much though as as today is forecast for 28 degrees, it probably won't get much use this winter either.

The buttons are about 2cm wide and wouldn't fit into my one step button hole maker so I pulled out my old Elna which I thought had a 4 step button hole but, as I was given this machine, I don't have the manual and couldn't work out how to do it. I spent a few hours testing the fabric with the interfacing and trying to make the button hole. I got so frustrated I just made the biggest size button hole with the one step maker and figured the wool would stretch enough to get the button through. (Of course my regular machine was not making the buttonholes properly either even though I make a couple of tests first. Then the first button hole was a dud and I had to unpick it. I took a break and then they worked fine.) As it happens, when I wore it on the weekend, I just throw it over me like a poncho). After a frustrating few hours and looking online for some instructions for the Elna, I worked out it is a one step buttonhole machine - that's great as I have a spare foot for it, but that was a frustrating few hours I'll never get back.

I backed the buttonholes with a patch of the interfaced wool for strength - obviously not long enough - and I also backed the button too. This is a very easy project, even though it too me ages to fight with the machine and work out the button hole and make the seams different. All in all, I think if you had 1 1/2 to 2 hours you could whip this up easily. To wear this, other than with jeans which I wore on the weekend past (and looked nice), I'd like to use the aqua silk velvet (I think it's silk anyway) covering the bottom of the dress form for a bias ankle length skirt, if there is enough fabric to wear next weekend with a white cowl neck t-shirt. Lets see if I get that done.

Meanwhile, this is what is next. A lovely Japanese voile that was a large remnant at Spotlight a few months ago. It had a large tear and hole in the middle of about 2 metres that was used for their display purposes. It is a lovely light blue with these nice flowers on it and I've got it cut out using a Burda pattern. More on that later.

So, ending, as this is an unusual style for me, would you make and wear a cape/poncho/ wrap? Do you have one and do you find it useful?

Happy sewing.

Thursday, August 20, 2015

What a mess.

My son goes swimming training on Mondays after school. I do laps in the outdoor pool while he goes in the indoor pool to get changed and do his hour of swimming. Last Monday, just as I was ready to jump in (no feeling the water with my toes... it's heated but the first half lap can be refreshing in the winter), he runs out to me. I thought he forgot his goggles but no, he came to tell me that when he got changed and he threw his shirt up in the air onto the heating element (huh?) which melted his school shirt. It was expensive and is very poor quality. (some background: The uniforms used to be made by a company just around the corner from me by local people in a local business that has been around a long time who give very good service, quite good quality and are reasonably priced. A large company  has started a business whereby they go into schools selling an idea that the schools sell the uniforms as a fund raising exercise - something I am totally opposed to - the representatives of the uniform company know nothing about the uniforms or fabric or sizing. We had to order them in November last year to receive them in April this year. When we went to the office to try on and order they had no sizes to try on so you had to guess about what size they should be for 6 months later. Many parents are very cross. Most had to return the shirts as they were so large they would have fit grown men instead of 11 year of children. I couldn't be bothered as I could take it in myself - about 8 cm out of the width and 6 cm off the hem.) So you can see why I was very cross. 

Nevertheless, I still had to save it to last the rest of the year. They have the names of the grade 6 on the back so we only got one. As I had cut a good width off the hem just the week before (I wasn't quick about my size modification) I made my son go into the bin (yeah, he was pretty happy about that) to get the scrap so I could piece it under the holes.  I had to cut the melted hard bits off and cut some patches to put under the holes. I had to cut a small patch of yellow to repair the shield shape on the front so it wouldn't look too obvious (hardly). I put some iron on interfacing over it on the inside to hold the pieces in place and support the stitches and then just zig zagged it on. I matched the yellow thread too.  

It looks better than I expected it to look to be honest and I'm glad I could do a reasonable job of patching. I'm still cross but mostly because anyone looking at it will think his mother melted it under the iron! Have you had any ridiculous repairs? 

I have a few other things still on the go. The Ottobre jacket is still just waiting for the zip - I tried putting it in but the fabric is so stretchy that it would just wrinkle up and look disgusting so I need to interface but I'm not sure if even this will be enough so I'm thinking. I'm finishing the cape with just button holes to do but having some issues with machines and buttons which I'll discuss when I blog it (hopefully this weekend) and I've traced a few things from Burda that I really like and have the mags from the library at the moment so hopefully I get lots done tomorrow as we have a busy weekend again. 

Happy sewing.