27 September 2010
First of all I would like to thank all of you for sticking with me even though my blog has been at a stand-still for nearly two months. At the beginning of August my husband was originally diagnosed with a rare cancerous tumor in his hand that was later found to be a rarer non-cancerous tumor, but because of the location and abmormal growth it resulted in the amputation of part of his hand. It has been a crazy, emotional roller coaster, and only recently have I gotten my sewing mojo back! (I did get a lot of reading done however, which I plan to blog about soon). Now that Shawn's recovery is going well I'm starting to get back into my normal sewing and blogging routine, and I have a LOT of catching up to do!
24 July 2010
18 July 2010
I just wanted to apologize for my long blogging hiatus - I have been working hard to finish my dress for the York races (which ended up getting cancelled, but that's another story to be told) and then Shawn booked an impromptu trip to Edinburgh for this week, so I have been sewing like crazy..I thought it would be perfect for a me-made holiday Zoe style, but unfortunately I didn't get as much made as I would have liked between work, a horrible bout of hay fever, and a very upsetting overlocking accident (which caused me to scrap the whole dress). It has been a very hectic and frustrating couple of weeks! I'm glad for a little break, but I can't wait to get sewing again! When I return I'll share my projects and hopefully some great vintage finds!
02 July 2010
28 June 2010
I would say that one of the most important things to keep in mind when sewing a collar is what I consider to be one of the golden rules of sewing: reduce bulk whenever possible!
Unlike this collar, many incorporate interfacing to give stiffness and sharpness. I follow the same concept, except I cut out as much of the interfacing in the seam allowance as possible because it is not going to affect the strength of the seam (this works for both sew-in and fusible interfacings):
Another prominent place to reduce bulk is at the shoulder seams. See all that shoulder seam allowance? No need for it!
So now that we've taken care of the sides, let's talk about corners. This probably isn't anything new to you, but the best way to reduce bulk at the corners is to cut across the seam allowance at an angle:
This seam could use more trimming, but when doing so cut carefully and conservatively. If you cut too close to the corner seam (or any seam really), it can pull apart when turning out.
Now that we've reduced some bulk, how do you get that elusive knife-edge?
This can be quite difficult at times, especially when you can't press open the entire seam. This is a time where good pressing skills are essential, and unfortunately that really only comes with practice. There are however tools that can be incredibly useful for this, such as a tailor's ham or seam roll for curved seams, or a point presser & clapper for hard to reach areas. If you're in a bind or simply don't have one, never fear; the straight edge of a butter knife can work just as well (although it may take some more maneuvering).
Are you still with me? I know this is a long post, but it's almost over! Just one more thing I want to cover briefly: collar attachement.
This can often be the most frustrating part because sometimes you are attaching a straight piece of fabric to a curved edge (like this one).
As you can see from the photo above, the collar edge won't always lay perfectly against the neck edge. This is where ease becomes a huge factor in making it work. Unfortunately easing is another one of those things that comes with practice, so if you have trouble with easing don't give up!! The best way to success is to line up your notches, markings, and edges and pin them (vertically) in place, and then work from those points.
Almost done!! Now that the collar is in place, it's time once again for some good pressing. Press the seam up into the collar, and work out any wrinkles or bunching with your fingers and steam.
And there you have it..a flat, sharp, smooth , happy collar!
Although it's finished I want to wait and show it modeled..it really doesn't have a lot of hanger appeal. Pics tomorrow! :)
24 June 2010
22 June 2010
This is a size 32 bust so I knew it was going to require some alterations to fit my 36" bust, but because all of the shaping darts are in the waist area I knew it wouldn't require a whole lot of fiddling. After making a toile of the pattern as it was, my hunch was in fact correct. So how to alter it? I saw on Friday that Gertie did a post about resizing vintage patterns, but as you can see from the picture below I didn't want to just add width to the side seams becuase the shape is so subtle that I didn't want to loose it..so that left only one alternative..slashing! Disclaimer: I'm not claiming to be a pattern cutting expert here, but I do have some knowledge and experience, so I'll show what worked for me.
This picture is of the front and back blouse pieces that I traced from the originals. The red lines indicate where I plan to slash the pattern. I made a horizontal slash in the bust area and the vertical line will be a slash to add width to the waist measurement. The original waist was fine but a bit too tight for my liking, so I decided to add just a bit so that I could feel comfortable wearing it with lower-waisted jeans if desired.
Here are the pieces after slashing. Front:
It is probably hard to tell from the pictures what I did so I will explain as best I can!
This is typically a way to add to the bustline without adding to the waist or shoulder measurements. You make the slashes as shown, and then push the pattern outwards from the point where the 2 slashes almost meet. This makes the horizontal slash expand, which lengthens the side seams and keeps the shape in proportion with the expanding bust measurement. If you don't want to add to the wasit measurement, you simply match the slash up the bottom. If like me you want to add some width, simply spread at the bottom and set at the desired measurement. I did the horizontal slash at the underarm notch simply for reference, and made it 6cm long on both pieces. I made the vertical slash .5cm away from the end of the horizontal slash and checked to make sure it was not going through the waist darts. The vertical slash is essentially what is adding width to the bust as well as the waist. In order to do this without altering the shoulder, I cut the slash right up to the edge of the paper without actually cutting it apart. Then I adjusted the spread to add 0.8cm to the bust and 0.25 to the waist. This resulted in adding 3.2cm to the bustline and 1cm to the waist (explanation below). Note: Unless you are very confident in your skills, I recommend that you alter all pieces to the same measurements, otherwise they will not match up!
Next I traced new pattern pieces from the altered ones, and used those to cut out the fabric.
I admit that pattern cutting can be frustrating, but it is one of those things that will get easier with practice and experimentation. Don't give up if it doesn't always work, sometimes you have to go through several toiles before you get it right. And remember, a little goes a long way! Whatever measurement you add to the pattern you are really adding 4x that (left front, right front, left back, right back)..for example if you add 1cm to the wasit on the pattern you will have added 4cm to the garment (1cm x 4). Measure whenever possible, but sometimes you just have to guess (and that can often be the best way to learn)!
20 June 2010
One thing I would like to point out:
I made a size 10 toile in a 100% cotton knit, and it fit me perfectly. However, my dress fabric is 92% modal and 8% spandex. I decided to stay with the 10 instead of relying on the stretch of the spandex to fit into a size 8..it probably would have looked alright but I think spandex helps with the drape of the garment more than the fit, and I also didn't want the print to appear distorted from stretching.
I didn't have to make any alterations or changes, except I pressed open all of the side seams and used a stretch stitch for the whole garment instead of just on the skirt like the instructions say. Would I make it again? I'm not sure yet because I'm not a fan of the midriff section.. it is composed of 3 layers: the rouching pannel set on top of a backing pannel, and a self-lined pannel on the inside (see below).
Although the inside lining pannel is aesthetically pleasing, it helps make for bulky seams along the midsection (which is the WORST place to have them!) because you have 3 layers in front and 3 in back. I think if I made this again, I would leave off the rouching pannels because I don't think they are flattering to my figure. If you are paranoid about bulkyness or don't care how the inside looks you could leave off the lining pannel, or even the lining and rouching.
Overall I'm really pleased with it and know it will get a lot of use. I have some other jersey dress patterns that I want to try next, but I'm sure this is one I will come back to!
09 June 2010
So then it was down to two..and I decided on Butterick 5032!
It has been perfect sewing weather this week (cold and rainy) combined with a husband across the Atlantic, so I have gotten a lot of sewing done! I've almost finished a dress I'm working on and have started another that I want to wear on Saturday for Anna's birthday..unfortunately I probably won't get pictures up until next week because my personal photographer is away on business.
Happy sewing lovelies!
07 June 2010
1. I hate doing alterations.
2. I hate doing alterations for other people.
3. Don't feel bad telling someone you don't do alterations.
4. Sometimes, you just have to swallow your pride and admit you can't do it.
So how did I come to learn all of this? WELL...
One day I was approached by a co-worker who said, I know you sew, and I was wondering if you may be able to help me out. (I bet most of you can guess where this is going..but in my defense, this was the first time anyone ever said this to me so the abandon ship alarms weren't going off in my head). I eagerly listened and she asked if I could hem her daughter's baptism dress and add some cap sleeves, because it was going to cost her more than the dress was worth if she had it professionally done. Sounds simple enough right? My thought exactly so I told her to bring it over and I'd have a look. Fast forward to the next day, and WHAM! I was hit by a white polyester child-size version of Belle's ballgown from Beauty and the Beast. I looked at it and although I had serious reservations I thought I could have a go..and hey, I wanted to help her out..so I accepted. I won't bore you with the details, but honestly it turned into a disaster..mainly because I was afraid I'd ruin it and I didn't want to cut and pick apart anything, so I wasn't doing it properly. After shedding much blood, sweat, and tears I finally gave up because I wasn't enjoying it, I wasn't happy with it, and I didn't want to give her dress back looking like
*sigh*...well, at least now I can go back to focusing on my own projects! I did get some stash-bustin' done today so I'm feeling better.
This dress will never look the same.
06 June 2010
04 June 2010
And my two faves:
Unfortunately these will set you back more than most other Liberty prints..they're priced at £24.95/metre (yikes!) but so worth it..in my opinion Liberty makes THE best cottons. Check out the whole range at Liberty.co.uk.
03 June 2010
It's my friend Elizabeth's birthday in July and she has decided to celebrate at York Racecouse..so fab! This means I need a great ensemble that is fashionable,classic, and not OTT..but I can't decide what I want to make! I do know that I want a slim silhouette because I want a mid to large size head piece. (And it may be a good idea to have a wrap or bolero in case it is a cool day). I need to get started soon because not only is it fast approaching, but I will have to commission a milliner for my matching headwear.
My original idea, Butterick 5032 (view with cummerbund sash):
And then there's this vintage Simplicity (look 2 - not so sure about the flaps though):
02 June 2010
Jumpauits were the rage in the 70's and were also known as flying suits, catsuits, or rompersuits. Check out this vintage Butterick pattern!
They appeared again on the runways in 2008 but have continued to stay in fashion, and have filtered down the fashion pyramid to the masses. Most of the major pattern companies even offer jumpsuits and playsuits (check out Simplicity and Burda).
|Chanel Resort 2008|
|Stella McCartney Pre-Fall 2010|
|Elie Tahari Fall 2010 RTW|
|Burda Style magazine May 2010|
I admit that many designer styles are actually quite nice ( I LUUUUV the Eli Tahari design), but does anyone in the real world actually wear these? And do they suit any other body shape besides tall, thin, and waspy? Personally I haven't tried the look..although I have a narrow waist and hips I am only 5'3", and typically I cannot pull off wide leg, capri, or johdpur styles - they make me look short and dumpy. How popular are they where you live, and what do you think about them? Do you/would you wear one? Would you wear it/sew it if it was vintage?