Wednesday, 29 January 2014

Prince Charming and the Washi dress

Rae's Washi dress has been done soooo many times, but with so many wonderful results. You just have to see the gallery on her website to see how popular this pattern is and now I know myself.

I've had the pattern in my stash for some time now, I must admit that it was one of those impulse buys, tempted by the fabric used on the cover of the pattern. That Washi tape is just too cute. I don't normally opt for empire line anything, it doesn't really suit my body shape.

However, I really love this dress now that I have it. The fabric (Tula Pink - Prince Charming) was another impulse buy, it had been reduced to just under £2 a fat quarter and the pattern is truly wonderful. It's so wonderful I'd go as far as to say it would be wasted on a quilt as you'd miss the story!

I did make a little, well actually quite massive mistake. I have a habit of putting markings that are on the edge of the fabric in by snipping a little mark on the edge. This patterns calls for many pieces to be cut on the fold and I managed to cut two little holes in the back centre of the dress :'( <--- very sad face. I've tried to fix it the best that I can, but when you look really close you can just see it. I still wore it to work on Monday!!

The pattern and instructions make the dress so easy to make. I flew through it in only a few hours. The lack of zipper saved loads of time. I'd never tried shirring before, so some of the time was taking up with practice and experimentation with shirring. This turned out to be a lot easier that I first thought.

I love the little cutout on the neckline, it makes the dress look a little younger. However, somewhere in my attaching the lining I have done something that makes the left corner tug out a little, so on all of these photo's it looks as though the cutout is wonky. Maybe I didn't use enough interfacing?

Anyway, despite my little mistakes I think it turned out really nice, even my fussy boyfriend said that I looked nice and instead of changing into my PJ's when I got home I should stay in the dress.

Friday, 24 January 2014

Vintage unprinted pattern - Butterick 9269

So when I received this pattern from eBay I thought there had been some mistake and that I'd been sent someone's tracings instead of the actual pattern pieces. Until I noticed that on my other vintage patterns they stated 'Printed Pattern' and this one did not. Shock and horror. What on earth do I do with this?? Well first of all I Googled it just to be sure and yes it appears that original patterns had no printing. 

I got down to tracing it and I didn't even notice that it had no printing. The perforations were a little tricky in places to see, but it was no problem at all.

This dress was an absolute breeze to make. In fact I actually made it last week and I didn't spend all that long over it

The pictures haven't come out as well as I wanted them to, but the bodice has kimono sleeves and a boat shaped neckline. I had a fair bit of re-drafting to do on the bodice because of the shoulders. In my first attempt I took almost 2 inches off the neckline, front the center, tapering it in a triangle shape down to the waist. This fit perfectly, however I forgot to amend the neckline and it was a very shallow odd looking v-shape. On my second draft I re-drew the neckline, (with a little help from my French curve) which fixed the problem. I then had to make adjustments to the skirt as I didn't have enough fabric and I also thought it would be way too big, or at least it would be for my comfort. So I also took 4 inches off the side of each skirt piece, which you cut double of.

I used some bias tape from Boyes to finish the hem. The hem looks so much sharper doing it this way rather than my usual attempt at blind stitching. I plan to wear this dress at a baby shower that I'm going to this week, which is why I'm not in the dress on the pictures.

Then, this week, I have managed to make a dress for a little person who is due to be born:

I'm not really so sure about this dress. I've never made a baby dress before and this one was free from a downloadable PDF that I found online. Don't get me wrong, it's a really cute dress pattern, but I think I made a poor fabric choice and the ribbon makes it look a bit gothic! However, it was made from scraps I had left over from another dress, so if the Mother doesn't like it she could always use it on a doll or as a duster ha ha!

Wednesday, 15 January 2014

Some new firsts!

This must be my most proudest make so far. I know I haven't made a lot so far, but I haven't even been sewing a year yet, so all of my makes are huge accomplishments for me! However, this one I really feel is the biggest.

I've had this pattern in my stash for some time now. I take it out, have a peek and put it back, constantly thinking 'no I'm not ready for that yet'. But this time I threw caution to the wind and just did it! It's a shirt pattern, a proper, formal, suited and booted shirt. Simplicity 1538.

So this is my first shirt. I decided to pick option D, it's formal, but with its' contrasting cuff lining and neck inner it has a little playfulness in it.

I also decided to give tracing paper a go for tracing the pattern. I bought a roll of it cheap on Amazon and as I was tracing away I was thinking to myself that I couldn't believe that I hadn't already tried it previously. It sat still and in place for the whole time that I was tracing. It didn't need ironing and even the faintest of patterns could be seen through it. However, it's a bit too thick and strong. Pins needed a little persuasion to go through it and I can't say for sure, but it may have blunted them a little.

The fabric that I used for the shirt I bought from Minerva before Christmas, exactly with this pattern in mind. It's little blue flowers and the contrast fabric is a lovely blue stripe. I have plans to make this shirt with the contrasting fabric the other way round. I did intend to make this shirt with the blue stripey fabric and have the flowers on the inside as contrast, but I think the day that I cut the fabric I was feeling rather whimsical and decided that as I was braving a proper shirt pattern that I might as well go whole hog and use some crazy flower fabric for it too.

I followed the pattern instructions pretty much all the way through. Even when I thought I knew better I still stuck to them. I didn't want to make any silly mistakes. I wouldn't normally have attached the sleeves as it instructed on the pattern. It instructs you to stitch 2 lines of wide stitch length between the dots and then to tighten them until it fits between the two dots between the yoke and front panel, then to even out. Normally, I would pin the arm on at the shoulder, matching dots, then at the top where you have the ease, I would have evenly eased it in, basting with pins. Then I would have hand basted, before machine stitching in place. The way that the pattern instructs you to do it is quicker, but I don't feel like the results are as good. It looks acceptable, I'm probably just being picky!

The trickiest part of the construction was definitely the collar. However, I thought that may be the case before I started. It's very fiddly and I spent a lot of time pinning, re-pinning and making sure that it was even both sides before I committed to stitching it in place. I've found that top stitching close to edges is my least favourite thing to do, I guess with practice I'll get better at it and I'll learn to enjoy it more.

The pattern also instructs you to gather the back piece between the dots before attaching to the yoke, I did not follow this and opted to do my own thing and so I inserted a box pleat. Unfortunately, in the picture below, my pony tail is hiding that detail!

I used some buttons that I would normally associate with children's clothes, but they are so pretty and sweet that I really wanted to use them on this shirt. They're quite subtle, but when you get close up it's a lovely detail.
Button on the cuff
I wore my new shirt to work on Monday and it fit so well. I did measure and make changes to the pattern, grading between 10 - 12 from the shoulders to the waist, then back to a 10 for the hips/seat. I have quite an active job, I'm often bending and stretching and not once did the shirt feel too tight, I felt like I had just enough ease to do my day job in it. Strictly speaking I should probably wear Dickies and steel toe caps to work, but since a lot of work is done remotely now, I spend most of my days at my desk. 

Wednesday, 8 January 2014

Perfect peplum?

I have absolutely no idea how I managed to fit this dress in over Christmas, but I did! It's New Look 6124, which was free with Sew Magazine a couple of months ago.

This one was such hard work, it’s not even a difficult pattern. There’s nothing really complex about it. I picked some navy blue suiting fabric from Minerva for this one. It looked like such wonderful material to make a work dress out of. However, it liked to fray and it frayed so easily that I had to over lock the edges to keep it all together and that is where the fun started!
I didn't overlock the edges I was going to stitch to the zip,
as I feel like it's too much with the interfacing. But this shows
how the fabric like to fray.
Is it just me or was the Overlocker made by the Devil himself?! I don’t fear it, in fact when it works I quite happily over lock to my heart’s content. But for some reason mine doesn't want to stitch very nicely at all any more. It’s a Necchi 150. I've read the manual and Googled it. I keep cleaning it out, I've even had the metal pate off and removed lint from every nook and cranny. I've tried adjusting the tensions and the width, all of which seems to make no difference. Then, on top of this, it sometimes skips stitches for no apparent reason or loses the threading from either the upper or lower looper, even though the thread is still present with the rest of the threads, so I end up spending more time re-threading the machine! I’m at a complete loss, it’s almost like there’s a naughty little ghost in the machine who’s up to mischief! If anyone has any ideas, I'm open to suggestions.

With all the dresses that I have made, I've always has a little bit of an issue with gaping round the neck line. Some not so noticeable, some absolutely awfull. This time I decided that I would not have this problem! So after measuring my shoulders I decided to cut the size 8, I then graded up to a 12 at the bust and waist and then graded the hips down to a 10. Yep, I have a very square shaped body. I then made up a toile using lining, so that if everything went to plan, that would be the lining done! It fit just right, with enough ease for wearing.

Once the lining was constructed I put a little bit of interfacing round the neckline and armholes just to strengthen.  I tend to do this on the lining so that you can’t see it through the dress.

Of course, I always use iron-on interfacing! I tried sew in, well I say tried, I mean bought it by accident and it was not for me.

I went for option D, the peplum sleeveless with the little side tabs. I previously had the idea that I would line the peplums with some pretty floral cotton, but after working with the material I realised that it was probably a little too thick and that the peplums might not sit as intended, so I didn't line them in the end.

The dress performed wonderfully on Monday when I wore it to work, however it creases really easily. By the end of the day it almost looked like it had never been ironed. The next time I wear it I'm going to try a little spray starch as the peplums go out of shape when crumpled. Failing that I might try so light interfacing on them, but I don't want them to lose their lovely shape!

It's a bit cold for sleeveless right now, so I put I 3/4 sleeved T-shirt under. It's not for everyone, but I like it.

I love how this dress gives me shape, peplum's are great for giving me fake hips. I'm certainly going to use this pattern again, but I will be a little more careful about the fabric that I choose. It will need to be something with a nice drape for the peplum, but also something that doesn't crease very easily.