Tuesday, 28 January 2014

Lining the Brasilia

Did you download the FREE Brasilia Dress pattern on Christmas Day?  Well if you didn't you should do it now!  HERE's the link

Back in November last year I was able to test the pattern and I fell in love with the fish darts, well at least I think that is what they are called - they're the bust darts that stem up and out diagonally from the bottom of the rib cage.  Anyway I digress ... the pattern is unlined and recommends either using bias tape to finish the neck and armhole edges or drafting your own facing - either provides for a great finish.  I myself love a lined dress, so of course I had to make another Brasilia Dress and fully line it.  You can read all about my first dress here and changes I made to the pattern.

I was always gonna make another Brasilia Dress, but it had to be lined!  Let me start my giving you a peek at the finished dress ...
Lined Brasilia

The dress fits the body like a glove so a stretch woven is recommended for the dress.  For both mine I selected a stretch cotton sateen - perfect if you ask me!  I was thinking about what fabric I would use for the lining and in the end I picked a lycra knit so it would snug into the dress and 'give' in all the right places.  In hindsight it wasn't the smartest decision and if doing it again I would look at using a stretch tricot.  I think any fabric without some lycra would restrict movement of the dress or would tear at the seams (yip, I've had that happen before).  You also don't want it to be too heavy.

With only two pattern pieces to this dress, I cut one set from the fashion fabric and one set from the lining fabric.
Lined Brasilia
I love this print - you can't tell that I didn't attempt to pattern match, ha!
I constructed the darts on the front pieces and sewed both front pieces together up centre front before putting the side insets in.  I sewed the darts on the back pieces then attached the back pieces to the front at the shoulders.  I repeated these steps for the lining pieces.

In this printed fabric you couldn't see the side inset feature, so to highlight these I chose to sew on some black ribbon after sewing the insert in.  I was going to use some piping, but the inserts are tricky enough to put in without having to worry about piping as well.  Hello ribbon!

Lined Brasilia
I also used a knit stay tape in the shoulder seams of the lining - just in case, because at this point I hadn't decided how to finish the arm and neck edges.

I laid the fashion fabric dress flat on the table, right side up and placed the lining dress over top, right side down (right sides of both dresses together).  I matched the armhole seams, and neck seam, pining both layers together being sure I matched up the shoulder seams.  Once securely pinned in place I sewed each seam permanently attaching the lining to the dress.

This is where I think the magic happens ... with the front of the dress closest to me I put my hand between the layers at the shoulder seam and pulled the left back pieces through the left shoulder and pulled the right back pieces through the right shoulder between the layers ...

Lined Brasilia
centre back at neck is just secured by a pin at this stage - for photo purpose really.
Next I put the zipper into my dress.  I'm a sucker for a lapped zipper in a dress, but you could also put in an invisible one.  Then I attached the lining to the inside of the dress along the zip edge by hand.  Well, actually I tried to do this with the machine, but the lycra knit lining was misbehaving, so unpicked it all and decided that hand stitching it in place was going to give me the best finish.

Next I basted the side seams of the fashion fabric together and did a final fitting.  I didn't need to make any changes, so then proceed to sew up the fashion fabric bottom to armhole and carry on down the side seam of the lining, armhole to bottom - repeated for the other side.

Lined Brasilia

My lining had more stretch that desired, so instead of under-stitching the lining I decided to top-stitch armholes and neck to prevent the lining from poking out from underneath the dress fabric.  The hem of the lining is only about 1" shorter than the dress - just enough not to fall out the bottom.

Viola!  my fully lined Brasillia Dress.

Lined Brasilia

Lined Brasilia

More photos on my Flickr -->

Tuesday, 21 January 2014

Satin Summer Bomber

I promise, this is the last post for my 2013 makes!  This jacket has been a real journey, and for no real reason.  It started back in May 2013 during the Burda sew-along when I was checking out the patterns available on Burda Style.  It look me a couple-a months to print and tape together, at the same time I went fabric shopping (yay).  But it was September before I cut into the fabric.  Once cut it sat simmering away for a few more months before it made it to my sewing table - by this time Papercut Patterns had release their new range which included a bomber jacket.  Gee my subconscious must have been telling me something!


This is the Blouson Jacket 02/2013 #125 downloadable from Burda Style and available in sizes 34-42.  Designed to sit on the waist with 3/4-sleeves.  I stuck to the fabric recommendation and purchased a stretch satin from Global Fabrics (now The Fabric Store) - the touch is soft and dreamy, and falls beautifully.  I think I may have been put off by how hard I thought it would be to sew, but it was actually quite stable and went under the machine like a dream.


I couldn't find a blue rib knit that I liked so went with a black for all the bands.  I love it because it goes together without actually matching.  I lined it with the same fabric, so the jacket can actually be worn either way - the only give away that it is inside-out is the zip.  I used a black chunky open ended zipper.


Unfortunately not many fabulous photos of this, as I didn't make it for me, but daughter was refusing to allow me to take photos, preferring to be behind the camera with the same attitude!  I'm pleased with the result after months of waiting to make its debut.   Daughter is also stoked and wears it all the time.

I would recommend this pattern.  It is really easy to sew together with just three pattern pieces plus the ribbing.  Putting the zip into the ribbing at the bottom front was the trickiest, because the ribbing wanted to squish under the sewing foot while I was being careful not to sew too close to the zipper teeth.  Slowly but surely and it all worked out.

More (not so flash) photos on my Flickr -->

Tuesday, 14 January 2014

Plaid Peek-a-Boo Party

The December challenge over at The Monthly Stitch was "The Party Dress" (I know we are just about half way through January and I'm just getting this to the blog!)

I did start a formal party dress, but I've got fit issues with the bodice that I have to fix, so instead I made a completely new dress, one that I could wear on Christmas Day ... because I always, always wear a new outfit on Christmas Day.  This was most definitely one of those sew like crazy projects that I started just two days before needing to travel.


Earlier in the year I purchased two yards of this beautiful circle eyelet fabric from Gertie's Etsy Shop.  The original plan was to line a dress with black siri purchased at the same time.  I love the fabric so much that I've been too scared to commit it to an actual pattern - believe me I've had many dresses made from this fabric in my head!  Eventually I settled on the Kay Unger Vogue 1353 pattern that I'd made before here.

Up until the point that I had constructed the eyelet layer of the dress did I change my mind on the lining.  I had laid a pattern piece on top of my muslin role, in one of those "I'll just put you over there for a moment" thoughts, and the contrast was like a sparkle in my eye.  At that moment I knew I just couldn't line this dress with black!   From my stash appeared this plaid ....


I know, crazy right!  And believe me I did put it away a few times and tried other options, but I just kept coming back to this one.  I picked this up for $3 a metre at the summer Fabric Warehouse sale - and I have like six metres of it, so why not use it as lining?!


I do love the way that you can't tell it is a plaid, it's just like the party of colour playing peek-a-boo through the holes. 

The construction was exactly the same as my previous Retro Geektastic make, but I ran out of time and had to leave home with one whole seam un-sewn!  Well, I did intend to sew it before I left but I got side tracked and then forgot.  So the seam of the lining from the bottom of the zipper to the hem has been hand-sewn using a back-stitch.  Then the raw-edges have been holded back and stitched down with a running stitch, the seam pressed open and catch stitched in place - there is no chance of fraying now!


The hem of the lining I would have usually turned up and machine stitched, but no sewing machine meant that it was turned up and secured with a catch-stitch.  I wasn't sure what to do with the hem of the eyelet, so on Christmas Day I just wore it un-hemmed.  After wearing it for a day I decided that I did need to hem it and purchased some bias binding tape, turned the bottom of the dress up about 15cm and sewed the bias tape on the inside to hide the draw edge of the fabric.

The pattern provides for a really deep hem facing, which I understand gives the hem of the dress some body which helps accentuate the design of the dress.  Without the hem facing I thought I might loose that design feature, but now that I look at the photos, I think not!


Perhaps this dress should be the Crazy Party dress!

More photos on my Flickr -->

Saturday, 11 January 2014

Bring on a maxi summer!

Before the Christmas holiday season hit I'd been rabbiting on about the maxi dress being a must have this summer and I'd brought more than a little bit of fabric with a maxi dress in mind.  I'd been doing a lot of thinking and stashing and NO actual doie ... well that was until the Jamie Christina patterns went on sale.


I started by sewing up a muslin in some very cheap crinkle stretch cotton I picked up at the Fabric Warehouse summer sale for just $3 p/m.  I traced the pattern off starting with a size 8 in the bust and grading out to a size 12 at the waist and hips.  I made version A, adding 1.5" to the length.  The only change I made to the muslin was to pull the hips back to a size 10 so they weren't like wings!


Quite pleased with the look and feel of the muslin I wanted to use another piece of lightweight knit fabric that I picked up from the same sale at the Fabric Warehouse.  I attempted to match the stripes down each side seam - what a shitty job!  The stripes were so fine and the fabric wasn't be best quality, but a reasonable match-up in the end.



This fabric was so thin that it needed to be underlined, so I purchased some lycra knit from The Fabric Store and cut the pattern to just above the knee.  I sewed the lining up the side seams and across the shoulders then snugged it inside the shell fabric and attached the neck and sleeve bindings to both layers together.


I could have just worn a petticoat underneath but with the razor back I thought it would be better to have it all integrated in the dress.  I just have to make a razor back bra to wear underneath!


I really, really like the pattern but a bit oh hum about the purple stripe fabric - the grain line through the fabric is just wonky!  It is super comfy to wear and will be fine for a weekend casual dress. 


Both dresses were made in the same weekend - which says how quick and easy this pattern is to sew up.  Perhaps next time I should use some quality knit fabric for a better outcome!

More photos on my Flickr -->

Friday, 3 January 2014

RTW Fasting Firsts and Fails

I joined Goodbye Valentino this time last year for 12 months of ready to wear fasting.  This in itself has been amazing for my sewing.  It has made me push my boundaries and try new things and think about what is actually in my wardrobe instead of buying RTW on a whim.

So when Sarah put out the call for RWT Fasters for 2014 I didn't hesitate to take the commitment again.  Although I can't say that it has been any better for my bank balance - I would have spend more money on patterns and fabric in 2013 that I spent on RTW the year before, but hey I'm not complaining at all, I still get to indulge my shopping addiction!

At the beginning of last year I set out to sew one item per month and completely exceeded that as the year progressed.  The more I sew the more I want to make more time in my life to sew, but I think that is just about wanting to get more balance with the things I enjoy.

I've had some firsts and I've had some fails, all in the name learning to sew things that I like wearing and getting my sewing to fit my wardrobe instead of making things I can make but don't really like to wear.

At the top of my "firsts" list is to make pants, actually jeans.  That was a real whoop whoop moment!  I've still got some fit refining to do, but that is about practice, practice, practice.
Jalie Jeans Sep2013
I've learnt how to sew with knits and have some really comfy garments that I wear ALL the time from leggings to tops


Black Bolero

I've really only had one major fail that I haven't finished which was my Robson Coat - I just can't get the sleeves to sit comfortably and I used fusible interfacing that I think was too heavy for the fabric.  It's still hanging waiting for me think of a way to at least make it wearable - finding enthusiasm to tackle it is my biggest problem!

And I have sewn some stuff that I'm just "ho hum" about.  I think most of these were due to fabric choice and patterns that aren't really a fit with my style.

So what is on the radar for 2014?  I don't like to set goals for my sewing, cause once I do that it feels more like work than fun.  I like to indulge my creative whim and sew what takes my fancy at the time.  Although I do have a few things that I want to tackle ... I want to be able to sew all my lingerie, especially learn how to make a good fitting bra.  And I want to keep working on improving my couture techniques and have some truly beautiful pieces in my wardrobe.

Bring on 2014!