Monday, 17 November 2014

Inspiration Station

It's not often I copy a RTW look to the tee.  Usually I troll through Pinterest or designer websites for inspiration on styling and the detail that leads me to what I pull together.   On one of my 'internet window shopping' sessions I came across this dress...

Belcarra Dress Inspiration

I thought this dress would be the ideal, easy wear, summer, work appropriate addition to my wardrobe - simple but classy.  Immediately the Belcarra top pattern came to mind - how easy would it be to simply add some length to make it a dress.

I went to the depths of my fabric stash and found this black crinkle chiffon (well that's what I'm gonna call it anyway) with a small floral print.  I bought this online a wee while ago and it wasn't what I expected when it arrived, so I figured that if the dress didn't work out then I wouldn't be too disappointed.

Belcarra Dress

When I made my first Belcarra top I selected a size 10 based on my bust and graded to a size 8 at the hip, resulting in a great fitting top.  I used exactly the same size selection for this dress and extended the bottom of the top straight down by 17".  However, the fit on this has a completely different result.

Belcarra Dress

It has way and I mean waaaay too much room around the waist and hip area.  I considered taking it in, but the seams have a french seam finish, which would mean unpicking the sleeves in order to get to the side seams and re-shape them.  The fabric is so fine, I was worried that I would cause more damage and render it completely unwearable, so no picking here.

My next thought was to add some elastic across the middle of the back at the waist.  I cut a 2" piece of 1/4" elastic and stretched this as much as I could while attaching it with a zig zag stitch.

Belcarra Dress

While that made a small improvement, I feel that it's still too big.  Thank goodness for a belt!

Belcarra Dress

There, that looks better already.  Okay, now we can move on to more of the details ...

I hoisted up the hem over the left leg ... I don't know why, but it just felt better, than on the right side.  Firstly I made a tab  3" wide by 7" long, folded it in half, sewed up two sides and turned right side out.  I then created a buttonhole in the dress, horizontal to the hem, 7" up from the hem - I applied a small amount of tailors fusible interfacing to stabilise  the fabric before sewing the buttonhole.  I threaded the tab through the buttonhole and hoisted up the hem then closed the tab using a few hand stitches.  Sorry, didn't take any photos of this process - brain was too busy working overtime trying to nut this out!

I decided that the lift in the hem wasn't dramatic enough, and the dress still looked like a sack, so promptly repeated the process making a second button hole and second tab, this time threading the tab through both button holes.

Belcarra Dress

Now that the fabric is made up into a dress, I actually don't mind it and will probably get loads of wear out of this dress over the coming summer months.

More photos on my Flickr -->

Saturday, 1 November 2014

Take Two Lola!

I don't know about you, but I have developed a habit of making everything twice!  I haven't made any pattern more than twice, so I don't think I can say I have a TNT pattern, but I'm not sure what's up with this little ritual I have of putting everything in the wardrobe two by two???

Yep, so this is version two of the Lola dress by Victory Patterns, which I made earlier here.   On my first make (which I have only worn once) the shoulder/armseye area was a bit tight and while I really liked the dress it was uncomfortable to wear.  This time 'round I made a size 6 for the top and bottom.

Black Lola

Monday, 27 October 2014

Meet Gillian - THE. Wrap Dress

Gillian Wrap Dress

This is Gillian!  She is the new release from Muse Patterns.  When Kat asked our local sewing group if we were keen to test her new pattern, I was keen as mustard.  At that stage I had planned and cut my frankenpattern wrap dress the "Midnight Dream Coppelia", so I really wanted to sew an actual wrap dress pattern for a comparison.

Gillian Wrap Dress

Sunday, 19 October 2014

Midnight Summer Coppelia

Just over a month ago, I joined The Frankenpattern Contest on pattern review and set to looking for the most appropriate patterns to mash together.  After working through a number of options I settled on a couple of Papercut Patterns which would produce my first wrap dress.

Midnight Summer Coppelia

I took the skirt (and tie) from the Midnight Summer Dream, a garden party summer wrap dress, and the Coppelia, ballet style raglan sleeve wrap cardi, and morphed these into a Spring appropriate wrap dress.

Midnight Summer Coppelia

The skirt of the Midnight Summer Dream was fuller than I wanted so I reduced the fullness by taking out a wedge of 3-1/2" at the skirt side.  This resulted in more of an A-Line skirt - thanks to a slight breeze in the next photo for capturing the skirt shape.

Midnight Summer Coppelia

The top and the skirt came together pretty seamlessly.  I measured bottom of cardi and top of skirt and only had to reduce the cardi by 1-3/4", so I just took that from the narrow end of the wrap.  I kinda followed the pattern instructions for the Midnight Summer Dress which called for the wrap ties to be attached to the narrow end of the top, where it meets the skirt.

There is a small slit in the side seam of the top, just above the waist seam for the tie of the under-wrap.... nothing to complicated, however I put the slit in the wrong side, so the dress wraps the wrong way around!  Is there actually a right way or wrong way to wrap?

Midnight Summer Coppelia

I picked up this snake skin cotton knit from The Fabric Store sale and paired it up with some black merino for the contrast, to break up the print.  The fabric is really light weight and with skirt cut on the bias it dropped quite a bit after being hung for a few days.  It almost looked like a high/low skirt! But I think I've over corrected just a tad too much and the back is now a fraction shorter then the front - you'll only ever notice if I stood still at all, luckily I don't :-)

Because I fluffed around for so long with the hem, and I suck at getting my photos sorted, I missed the deadline for The Pattern Review contest :-(  Never to mind, I had fun working on this one, main thing right!

More photos on my Flickr -->

Sunday, 12 October 2014

Duffle Coat

This one has been coming for a wee while.  It was my son's birthday back at the beginning of May and he was keen for me to make him a winter coat ... after a bit of coercion :-)

Duffle Coat

We went shopping together and got this fabulous wool coating from The Fabric Store - perfect for a men's coat.  Finding an appropriate lining wasn't so easy.  Originally we picked up some striped acetate, but after a bit of deliberation I realised that it wasn't going to add any warmth to the coat and that it would be useless for the Wellington winter.  So the hunt was on for some flannelette.   At Spotlight I found a similar coloured stripe with red stags - boy appropriate I thought!

Duffle Coat

Monday, 29 September 2014

It's just a jump to the left ...

Well I was walking down the street just a-having a think, that this is the month for a bit of a 'behind the scenes' filming.  Earlier in the month I took on a wee tour of my sewing room 'that was' and 'that is'.   On that very same day Tanya from Mrs Hughes nominated me for the blog hop - well actually she, ever so politely, asked me if I would like to join her in the Blog Hop Around the World.  But you know what, I think I wanna hop on over to where Tanya lives ... the weather looks warm all year round and she gets to make loads of summer dresses, my fav!  Oh and have you seen her sewing room!

It just blows me away that by simply writing about my sewing adventures this has connected me to so many people around the world.  I've jumped aboard this tour, because on the tour plane are blog hoppers like Heather from Handmade by Heather B, Melanie aka Poppykettle, Lisa from Notes from a Mad Housewife, Inna from TheWallInna and so many other cool people.

So let's get to the questions ...

1. What am I working on?
In my head I'm working on everything!  But what is actually on my sewing table ... I've just finished some secret sewing that had me scratching my head, but after some perseverance I am totally happy with it.  Last week I started working on my bodice moulage - the more I sew, the more I want to understand it's beginnings and what aspects of a pattern are for fit and what are style-lines.  I want all the technicalities, cause hopefully this is gonna help me understand fit better - yeah I know a bit geekie right!

I have the pattern traced off for the Jenna Cardi that is going to be made up in this beautiful merino.

Pretty Merino

But recently the Holly Jumpsuit from By Hand London has jumped to the front of the cue.  Inspired by this version by Sew Busy Lizzy and this version by House of Pinheiro.

Holly Jumpsuit

Before that happened I had the Jamie Jeans PDF pattern all assembled and ready to trace, as well as planning my next little french jacket or tailored blazer.

2. How does it differ from others of its genre?
Gee, I'm not sure that it really does.  My blog isn't the reason I sew, sewing is the reason I blog.  I write about what I've been sewing and my learnings along the way.  I try to blog about projects in the order that I finish them, so I've got a reference for future of approximately when I made what.  Although at the moment it's taking me about two months to get stuff to the blog - yep, I've got a bit of a back log to get through! I suck at taking pictures :-(

3. Why do I create what I do?
I sew to full my own wardrobe and what I want to wear.  Every now and then I'll do some sewing for my kids, but they have to want it (which leads to appreciation - well that's my theory anyway and I'm sticking to it!).  It's unfortunate but they are the throw away generation, a product of cheap RTW.

I also sew stuff that has construction techniques that are new to me, I like to learn but that is balanced with sewing things more than once so I can master the techniques.

But I don't just want to sew stuff that looks like RTW, I want to make stuff that looks like it's been bought at a designer store.  This is probably why I'm fascinated with couture sewing techniques and tailoring - these have changed the way I approach sewing, for the better!

Marfy 1756

4. How does my creative process work?
OMG, I am a complete neat freak and my organisation is probably OTT for most.  So the process starts with an organised space and a clear desk - everything is put away, except for what I need to begin the new project.  While I might have more than one project on the go at any one time, I only have one project at a time on my sewing table.  Actually, I'll only have more than one project on the go at once if I need to stop and think about what next, or it might just need buttons or a decision on lining or length before hemming.  Most of the time I'll start one project and see it through to the end, before starting the next.  But I never, never, hardly ever put a due date or deadline on my projects, otherwise that would just feel like work and I'd be over it pretty quickly.  So it's all about the journey :-)

Before any project makes it to the sewing table it may have been on the to do list for quite a while or it could be a idea I just had.  Hmm, a to do list probably isn't the right description, its more like a "to do pool"!  And in that pool are patterns waiting for the right fabric, and fabric waiting for the right pattern, but just because both pattern and fabric have been matched doesn't mean that it automatically makes it to the sewing table next.  I have to be feeling it.

I tried using Evernote to create a to do list and put things in order of what I would do next, but it just didn't work for me - strange as that sounds for the organised OTT person!  I think this is where my creative process comes into its own and all lists go out the window and the whimsical takes over.

And then it's a step to the right ... hoping over to Sew Melodic.  Melody is a prolific sewer who always has a variety projects rolling off her sewing table.  She has this fantastic post on fit issues and how to adjust the flat pattern to remedy.  I love reading about her construction journey and she always has a pic of the inside of a garment (which I love btw).  Over to you Melody - can't wait to read :-)

With your hands on your hips ... a second hop is open for self-nomination.  If you would like to take part in the blog hop around the word and share your creative processes, please take this as your personal invitation to do so (this is total legit btw, cause Katie from Katiekadiddlehopper said so).  The way the blog hop works, is that you acknowledge your nominator, you answer the questions above (or similar if you want to change it up) and you nominate another one or two people to hop on ... a bit like passing the batten.  You get the picture.

I've really enjoyed reading about everyone's creative process and why they make what they do.  The sewing community is such a great place to be :-)

Happy sewing xx

Tuesday, 23 September 2014

Lux fabric pattern hack = little red dress!

Warning:  before you read any further you might need to go get your sun glasses and put them on!

Why?  Because I've had a bit of a mono tone, near the black end of the colour scale, kinda obsession.  Just check this out for proof!  Then this happened ...


Nope, no gradual introduction of colour over here - just jump right on in there a sew a red dress!

Well actually it's not just any read dress, it a beautifully soft wool crepe red dress.  And while the photos look bright the actual colour is more like a raspberry / ruby kinda mix.

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