Thursday, December 31, 2015

Last makes of 2015

These are the last (unless I get some spare time this arvo) of the sewn things of 2015. I used Kwik Sew 3674, a pattern I got at the 2nd hand shop a while ago. Quite a useful little pattern if you have a young girl around, with two different looks and the puff sleeve dress without sleeves (like I've made below) makes it three looks.

The dress above is made from remnants, both I got at Spotlight in separate purchases for minimal money. The owls are so cute I couldn't resist and my friend's daughter just loves getting me made dresses! She's only 5 but very tall (think 7 or 8 year old) so it's nice to make her something her age that fits. She has seen the fabric on their last trip down from Yeppoon and I promised a dress from it. They are moving back in a number of weeks and so she will open it with her other presents.

When I made the dress below, I just leave the sleeves off, overlock and turn over the armholes and then make a casing for the straps... this is basically what a pillow case dress is.  I used a piece of vintage rayon that was in Mum's stash. It was half made into a dirndl skirt but I separated the two panels and just made a rectangle skirt to attach to the bodice pieces. The colour is a bit more deep and muted than it appears here.

How's that matching at the back. Too bad I didn't notice the face didn't meet perfectly... makes it a little creepy... aren't harlequins a bit creepy anyway??

Close up of creepy matching. I think annoys me enough to go and fix it in a sec.

To get all my sewing documented for this year, I also made this Jiffy pattern from some batik I bought in Singapore in 2009.

It's a terrifically vibrant and beautiful cotton although I think a tencel or rayon would drape better but as a house/shops dress I really like it (and am wearing it now).

I made a FBA on the bodice and when I make this again I will cut the neckline about 5cm lower.
I actually tried two methods of full bust adjustments, the one below being the more complex but I found using the same increase measurement, this one gave the best result. Sorry but I haven't got a photo of me wearing it and I don't have time right now to get one. I will show it later to show how I used the differing patterns of the sarong.

Remember I made this pattern below out of an old dress a few months ago? Well I really liked the top and the neckline and shoulders fits perfectly but it needs a FBA to fit well in the bust. It was a bit tight in the wearing but looks ok, and when I made it for some reason I thought it was a 12. Comparison of the two below.

I decided I would try a similar pattern, Simplicity 7517 and compare the View A. I made this one a size small in the shoulders and a medium from the armholes down. Incidentally this is a nice pattern as it has some nice basic looks for wovens. I find wearing woven fabrics in our humidity is better than any knit fabric. View C has straps at the back so I'd like to try this one too.

I made this top out of the scraps from an unclogged rayon pillow case dress I made for myself a couple of years ago that gets good use. I bought this rayon at East Coast Fabrics and I have seen it made up by a few people but in a knit (including Gorgeous Fabrics)!

As this was all the pink I had, I used a scrap of the same print but blue colour way for the facings. Waste not, want not!

A very bad photo of the top on. The top is lovely to wear and cool but I like the shape of the other one better so looks like I'll make a FBA for that one, test it and then cut some silk I have earmarked for it. Once I get that pattern sorted I think it will make a great basic pattern I'll use again and again and the fabric will make each different. Also a perfect work top, should I get a job - which I'm sure I will in 2016!

This is the comparison of the two. The one on the left has much more flattering shaping and sits on the shoulders much better. You can't see it in the photos or when wearing it really, but it is a smidge tight  across the bust but I think thats the one I'll work on for sure. The one on the right is much more boxy and maybe ok to use as a dress pattern if I lengthen it. What do you think?

This last item is a McCall's jumpsuit pattern 7653 (or 6083) , I started about two years ago too. I bought this fabric the same time as the one above and where I had the bottom and the top made since then, I procrastinated as the pants were tight :( but I narrowed all the seam allowances and now it's ok, but not perfect so I'll hang onto it for a bit to see if the  good intentions bear fruit in a couple of months. It's a great pattern but the back gapes and it is a contortion exercise getting it on and off. I might try to take the neck in at the back and put a zip in it at the side to get it on and off... we'll see. I know Maria at How Good Is That made one - how do you find getting in and out of it Maria?

So that's it for 2015. Happy New Year to one and all. Have fun and be safe!

Tuesday, December 29, 2015

The Fab Four.

These are the fab four... a charcoal one, a purple (one of her colours) with coral/orangey back (not her colour), the rust red one and the taupe one.

I thought I'd show the four singlet tops I made for my niece in more detail. They were made from scraps of merino knit that was from the fabric sale I went to a few weeks ago. It is a lovely slubby merino and behaved very well. I traced the pattern - pretty easy for a singlet - front and back. The original has bindings on the armholes and neckline but I didn't have enough fabric for binding for the armholes. In the photo above I cut two fronts or backs at a time. You can also see the leftovers were not much - I had to cut the neck bindings out of those tiny scraps. The fabric was also about 5 cm shorter than the original top (and serendipitously just wide enough). The original tip was very long on Zoe's body (she's a stage manager and does a lot of bending and stretching so for work wear it needs the length). At the shorter length however, it sat perfectly right on her hip bone (which I was always taught was the exact length for a top... if it wasn't a crop top etc.).  She tried the rust red one when it was done and it fit perfectly; I didn't want to make 4 that didn't fit. I took out the extra length from the middle to keep the shape of the hip in the pattern. Of course on the original, it must sit way too low.

Very original naming of my pattern as I am sure she will want others at some time.

The taupe one I made with a wide binding and didn't top stitch it as I though it looked much smarter like this. I could do this also because there was an extra piece of taupe and originally I though I would make contrast bindings for all of them, but realised my niece wouldn't like that really and then probably wouldn't wear them.

The purple/coral one was a 'colour block' one to use the one piece of purple and the one piece of coral. The coral and the red I just couldn't photograph to show the true colours. The others are pretty accurate.

Like the original, I put my label on the hemline. I used a fancy stitch on my sewing machine that is like a "L" all joined up. I really liked it on the samples and it makes a simple feature.

The coverstitch was still threaded with red so I coverstitched the red one and if you can see the stitching lines I made a little feature of the start and finish. Small things.. I really like this!

The purple thread was a near enough situation as I didn't want to go out to Trad's for thread and I liked the slightly different look of the purple on the purple and the coral. I kept the front quite plain for the purple one, it being her colour, and leaving the coral on the back so she couldn't see it.. as it happens she really likes it.

Of course I didn't have thread to match this taupe colour so to Trad's I went anyway! I really like this colour, lovely hand  and the slubby texture of the merino. These tops were Zoe's Christmas present and a huge hit. It made me happy. I love sewing things that my family love and appreciate. It is way more satisfying than sewing for myself.

It's been nice reading about all the lovely things people have made for Christmas. I hope you all had a great celebration if you celebrate and if you don't I hope you enjoyed your time with loved ones.

Monday, December 21, 2015

Using the scraps.

My niece loves very basic but quality "adventure" type clothing. She has a basic merino singlet in black fine merino that she loves but it has been discontinued by the adventure clothing company. My mind went 'ding' and I remembered the scraps of merino I bought at the fabric sale for $2 for the lot. I  got the singlet from her yesterday and cut out a pattern this afternoon and sewed one up in three hours.

The colours above are not very representative, but they are her colours. There is enough for three more singlets. I made the pattern a bit shorter in between the armhole as she is short bodied like me. I think for $2 I can take a chance. She said she wouldn't like the red one but it's more a rust than the red it appears here and I think she'll like it. If not it will be a good trial of the pattern and if she still doesn't want it, I can use it.

The black one is the bought one. I literally had enough to cut the front and back out and piece a binding strip for the neckline only. The armholes are bound on the bought one too, but no chance to even piece together enough for two armholes so as the coverstitch had red thread, I just turned the armholes over and coverstitched them  and the hem. The neckline I bound by putting a binding strip on the neckline with the overlocker and then turned it over and coverstitched it too. I had the neck open at one shoulder seam for binding and then closed the second shoulder seam after sewed up the side seams on the overlocker and then did the armholes and hemmed it last.

I put a label on like it is on the bought one. I think with these kind of labels, they could say anything but as long as it gives the impression of a "label" then that's enough for some people to think it's  something better.

A very bad photo of the neckline. I didn't stretch it enough at the front neck so it pokes out a bit. It's not as bad as it looks here though. I think because I don't do this so much I forget the 'feel' of how much to stretch it or even to stretch it at all some places. I'm going to see if anyone notices it. I should try and steam it tomorrow. I also haven't used the coverstitch since I finished the Ottobre merino hoodless hoodie. I so need more practice.

The tops side by side again. The black one is longer but this is all the length in the scrap  and I think it will still be ok... my niece is short waisted like me but taller so I'm confident it will be fine. Lets face it ... the price is right so even if she uses it as a layering piece and saves $60 (or more) I'm sure she'll be happy.

*UPDATE: My niece tried the top on this morning. It's a win! I have to scoop out the front bottom part of the armhole a little and it is perfect. She loved the rust colour as predicted and loves the other colours too.  I was so pleased... of course she didn't notice the neckline and in truth it was much less noticeable on her as she is a little taller and broader than me. It sits at the perfect length. That will be one gift for Christmas that will be well received. Off to get matching threads so I can make the rest.

We have had a busy three weeks with my son finishing primary school and all the activities (school and friends) that entails. I was exhausted so there hasn't been much time for anything else. I wanted to make my son a shirt and some nice trendy trousers/chino pants but I couldn't find a suitable pattern so we bought an outfit and my son looked very smart. 

My son went to the same school as my Goddaughter and they have held their graduations at Queensland Parliament House. After the formalities inside a pretty boring room, there was a BBQ dinner on the outside terrace overlooking the river and Southbank Parklands. It was a beautiful night and my beautiful boy had a great time and looked so smart. 

Finally ..... Merry Christmas to you all. I hope your day is filled with fun and happiness, good food and most importantly, time with your loved ones. 

Monday, December 7, 2015

Burda 7441 Pleated Trousers

I'm making some trousers... Burda 7441. I bought this pattern at Make It Fabrics at Logan about 6 months ago for $5. Not an op shop price but good for a Burda pattern. They are a lovely pair of trousers... welt pockets at the back and slant pockets at the front with a curved waistband, a lovely looking leg and a single large pleat at each side. (A lot like the Papercut Patterns Guise Pants without the elastic back). I'm not sure I need a couple of big pleats at my pot belly but I'm making them out of that .50c piece of cotton fabric I got at the fabric sale last fortnight, so nothing lost but a number of hours if they don't work out. When I say don't work out... of course I mean "won't fit".  I think I've made a size 16 (or 18) for my well endowed rear and tum, but the legs are looking a little narrow. I'm using a remnant of cotton quilting fabric I bought at Spotlight for a few dollars. Perfect for contrast fancy pockets, particularly when there was not really enough fabric just for the trousers. I'll show you what I had to piece later.

As I said, I had so little fabric I couldn't even cut the under pocket thing with the extension (this is the first pattern I have with these pockets and I likey) so I just cut the under pocket as a whole piece (see below) and cut a piece to sew on the top on the right side for the part that will be seen. I've done this once before for a pair of my son's shorts because of the same lack of fabric.

These are the pleated fronts with the pockets done. Can't see that pocket lining at all! I've done the zip already too. That's another post because of the different types of instructions Burda gave. I wasn't going to do it their way, but the compulsive in me  I thought I'd give it a go. It turned out pretty good so I may try that way again.

Have you noticed anything different about the fabric. It is so creased! When I washed it after the burn test (cotton) it creased up immediately and no manner of ironing gets it much better than you see.  I kind of like it... if they fit, they'll be my travel pants! Why isn't all cotton creased? Oh I shall miss that ironing... not! The thing I can't work out is how they stay creased when the burn test showed clearly this fabric is cotton... just some ash left.

When I make the crotch curve I clip first and then overlock while keeping the seam straight so the clipped parts open up .. I used to clip last but the overlocking gets messed up so I figured this was neater. It lets the seam open up nicely.

This is what the inside pocket looks like. The colours here are the most accurate.

This is the pocket close up - no peaking of the lining there!

The pockets on the inside of the front.

Better photo of the pleated front.

Oooh, my welts. Meet left welt and right welt. Not bad ... I haven't made welts since about 1996 I think.

Close up shows they are not perfect. I used Poppykettle's tutorial.. Thanks Melanie. Although I used only the first half the tutorial because the pocket bag was two piece for the Burda pattern and Melanie used the same piece. I kind of made my own way as the Burda way was different from the start so I couldn't mix the two ways. Maybe the ironing will help later?

I love the way the welt is right through the middle of the dart that is made first. I also love the crease of the fabric right through the middle of it too!

This is the inside finished back pocket.

I've done the zip and then I pinned the side seams up but I had to go to my son's last play in primary school. I have my secret project to finish up tomorrow (if it works out, but I'll show you either way) and then I'll finish up these trousers. I've got a dress and top made to still show, plus a simple dress that hasn't worked but I can fix, but no photographer and I keep forgetting to take the photos myself. It's the last week of primary school for my boy so it's a busy week.

Thanks for all the nice comments on my last post and in the last few weeks. I know it's a drag to post comments sometimes but like most, I love hearing your thoughts.

Saturday, December 5, 2015

The Past

In 1993, hence "The Past", for no reason other than to further my learning, I did the Certificate III in Apparel Production. This was the course you did if you wanted to be a fashion designer. I did not want to be a fashion designer, I just wanted to know how things were done. It was a 2 year full time or 4 year part time course. I did it part time at night, twice a week for a couple of years - 3 hours lessons plus the homework, which was considerable. This is one of the reasons I didn't complete the course - the workload was enormous in the 2nd year - it went from the designing, drawing, drafting, toiling, and making a collection. I worked full time 6 days a week back then and there was no way I could fit it all in and as I said I was just doing it vocationally.

Interestingly, I may have completed it except for the stall half way through - the course was changing to a Diploma but as the teachers all went through the course and were only Certificate trained, they couldn't train Diplomas, so they had to get Diploma training and then they could train others. The details are vague though this could have contributed to not finishing, plus the time factor, plus, plus, plus... I can't remember.

While looking for something yesterday, I found my folders and course work and thought I'd share some of what we did.

In the techniques and constructions subject we were given some heavy interfacing that had been printed with some different lines, curves and corners to practice on the industrial machines. I remember doing this still... even though it was so long ago. Accuracy was a must and tricky as industrial machines are super fast but once you get used to them they are great. This was also my first time using an overlocker, which was also an industrial one so also went super fast.

We had a display folder where we had to make samples of techniques. This is my boxed pleats. There was often two ways of doing everything. We had to do the industrial way and the normal way that a pattern might suggest. The industrial techniques were mostly time saving for production work. When clothing is being made it is made in stages... one machinist would do one thing and then pass it on. (My aunt who lived in London used to do piece work at home... a bag of cut pieces and do her bit and someone would pick it up at the end of the day, drop her new stuff off and take her finished work to the next machinist). We had so many (I think 30) different techniques to showcase for our assessment.  There was different pleating, zip insertion, waistbands, frills - straight and frills bias, pin tucking, bigger tucks, you name it we did it.

These are the photos of my inverted pleat with a different fabric insert. On the top photo you'll notice how each side of the hem of the pleat is finished differently. Using different coloured thread was required so the assessor could see the finish quickly. The fabrics were all scraps from clothing I'd made. The yellow was a skirt the coloured one was a dress... I think the black denim looking fabric was from the college.

This is the measurement sheet for our personal blocks. We used a standard industry block closest to our size and then made a toile and then adjusted it for our own. I still have my personal blocks but have a look at the measurements above... e.g. waist 68cm!!! What ... really?? Wow... that was small... sorry you have to see my crotch measurements too.

We also had to work out fitting problems and we used a half size block to show how we'd fix the problem. That above is FBA on the left and SBA on the right.

Moving the darts to fit problem fix.

Remembering this is 1993 so this was the fancy printing! This project book was for design analysis - they had the style and we had to show how to draft the pattern. Notice also the skirt on the bottom left - is that not the Charlotte skirt like By Hand London's pattern, there was also a high/low hem skirt there too just showing how the same designs come in and out.

I loved pattern drafting and making. It really spoke to my accuracy nerdyness. (On a side note, I wanted to do Technical Drawing at high school  (this was in the '70's and it could have led to drafting plans or architecture) and when I did this pattern making, I knew I would have been good at it, but the school refused to let me saying I just wanted to do it to sit with the boys! Imagine saying that now.)

These next pieces were part bodices showing different techniques for assessment. The top one is two different sleeves and different finished on the sleeve hems.

Look at the perfect angle... look at the turn of cloth... not bad if I do say so myself.

What a colourful lot of sample fabrics! Some were supplied by the college and some we supplied ourselves. I really had great fun when I was doing this course and I'd go back but now there is huge cost so there isn't really an option to do it just for personal satisfaction.

I have got a few things sewn up the last couple of weeks and also an experiment in my future that I hope works out - no harm done if it doesn't but I will learns a lot either way. Any experiments in your future?