Wednesday, 18 February 2015

Felicity goes on a picnic

I've been pattern testing! When the call went out for testers for this dress from my fellow kiwi, it sounded like it was perfect for me "a breezy summer dress with a gathered neckline, all-in-one yoke pockets on your choice of a gathered or 3/4 circle skirt and finished off with bias binding at the neckline and armholes."

Having not made one of Jennifer's patterns up before I made up a muslin of the bodice. I cut a 16 and it fit straight out of the box! My luck was in!

My initial thought was to use a floral fabric, this dress would look beautiful in a floral cotton lawn. Unfortunately my luck wasn't in here, there was nothing in my stash. I ended up using this navy/white gingham and chose a navy blue for the bias binding.

If you have never made up any of Jennifer's patterns, you need to. You're in for a real treat. They are really well drafted. I think we're past the days of pages not quite matching when you cut and tape together, so that certainly isn't an issue. The cutting layout is clear. The instructions are really clear too. The only part I found a bit difficult was inserting the lapped zipper following Jennifer's method. I honestly don't think this would be an issue for many. I've been sewing lapped zippers a particular way for nearly 20 years, my mind just couldn't remove my method and let me concentrate on the pattern instructions. I will say I've tried the instructions since on a different dress and all was good - my mind must have been having an odd day. I think Jennifer is also planning to do a photo tutorial for her lapped zipper method on her blog in the near future. All the other instructions are brilliant with great illustrations and wording in a logical order and I followed these to the letter.

The gathers for the front are gathered to a paper template, knotted at each end of the gathers and then the binding attached at a later stage. I think when I first made it up, I didn't knot the ends in the correct place. My neckline was really saggy, not helped when I added the bias binding made from a fine cotton voile from stash.

So, I unpicked the bias binding, unpicked the gathering threads and restitched the gathers again, ensuring they were pulled a bit tighter than the template to allow for loose knots. I then attached a thin piece of fusible interfacing before reattaching the bias binding. Since testing the neckline has been raised slightly, so it should all be good now.

I love the pockets on the skirt, the drafting here is great. They are just made from a single piece of fabric folded in half. I decided to add binding to the edges of my pockets, before basting them to the waist and side seams of the skirt. I decided the gingham was a bit too much with the changes in pattern direction and this binding really helps to soften that. I really like how this turned out. It wasn't difficult to do.

My fabric was only 90cm wide, I was determined to make the circle skirt version, so I actually put a seam down the front of the skirt. Can you see the seam? Nope, neither can I - I am the master of pattern matching...

The details...
Fabric:  Navy blue/white gingham cotton from Fabric-a-Brac, October 2014, navy cotton voile from stash for the bias binding. I think I used about 3.5m of the 90cm wide gingham.
Notions:  Thread, a small strip of interfacing and a dress zip
Pattern:  Jennifer Lauren Vintage Felicity dress
First worn:  Actually to cocktails with the WSBN, but worn here for a picnic in Otari Wilton's Bush
Changes made:  I added binding to the pockets and inserted the zip differently.
Another one/Recommend?  I love this dress and I've actually worn it so many times already.  My fabric choice was perfect. I love how the bodice and neck sit and I'm a sucker for a circle skirt, even in the windy Wellington wind :-) It's a really simple pattern to make up and really quick for instant gratification. Jennifer drafts her patterns for a D cup which is perfect for me, although my girls don't sit quite so high and if I was being really honest I could give myself a wee bit more space lower down in the bodice. This is a standard adjustment for me, so anyone else, you'll be fine. I don't know if I'll make another one, I've a pile of patterns waiting to be made up, but I'm not saying never, since I love the style and shape of the dress.

Friday, 13 February 2015

Non-loud trousers...

I seem to have made a name over the last year for making loud golf trousers for Mr N, well these aren't loud!

Mr N needed more everyday trousers, as he'd kind of worn out his other RTW pairs.

I got this fabric from The Fabric Warehouse back in August (I think). It's black bull denim. The fabric is thick, but I actually really enjoyed sewing it. I only broke one needle too!

The pattern is the usual pattern I've used to make the loud golf trousers, Vogue 8719.

V8719, Men's Jacket and Pants 

I made my normal changes. Graded out a bit for the waist, I changed the in seam side pockets to slash pockets using the pattern pieces I've drafted myself. I also left the flaps off the back pockets and made those pockets larger so that Mr N's wallet fits! A man needs room for his wallet! :-)

Since the denim is so thick, I decided to use a cotton to line the pockets and the waistband. I thought this with the ties on would be fun, not that you can see the pattern much on the waistband or inside the pockets. To contrast with that fabric I used beige top-stitching thread to attach the back pockets and along the top of the pockets.

There's not really much more to say about these. I made these as a Christmas present for Mr N so he had no idea what I was going to do. They are slightly long in the leg, so I think I'll have to take them up a bit, but otherwise he's definitely happy with his new everyday trousers/jeans.

The details...
Fabric:  Black bull denim from the Fabric Warehouse for the main trousers, tie print quilting cotton for the pocket and waistband lining from Made Marion
Notions:  Thread (everyday sewing and top-stitching), interfacing, metal jeans zip and a button for the waistband
Pattern:  Vogue 8719 view B
First worn:  When we went on holiday at New Year
Changes made:  Graded out the waistband, created slash pockets for the front (self-drafted pattern pieces) and enlarged the back pockets.
Another one/Recommend?  I certainly recommend the pattern, this is the fifth time I've made it up now. I'm getting quite an expert at fly zips now :-)

So I'm a bit late to the party, but I think these count towards the Monthly Stitch Denim month!


Wednesday, 21 January 2015

Sewaholic Yaletown

I can't think of a fancy title for this post, so tough, you're getting a title telling you what it's about. Call a spade a spade me...

So if you haven't guessed, I've made up the Sewaholic Yaletown. I bought the pattern not long after it was released. I just took a while to find the fabric to make it up. During my successful trip to The Fabric Store where I got my Pretty Flamingo fabric from my last post, I also got this blue crepe. The fabric is perfect for this dress, it has a great drape, but, it was a nightmare to sew!

OK, so where to start. I decided to cut a 14, mainly based on my body measurements. The dress is meant to be loose-fitting, so this seemed the best size. I think in hindsight I'd have done better to cut a 12. It's ended up quite loose-fitting! I didn't make up a muslin, it didn't seem worth it for a make like this.

The pattern is a really easy make. It's certainly not difficult and Tasia's instructions are so clear.

I hemmed the sleeves with a rolled hem. Just check this out!

Slight cheating. I was going to hand sew the rolled hem, but that looked awful. So I decided to try something I'd done before. Fold over the hem about 1cm, then sew a short narrow zig-zag stitch so that it just catches the edge of the fold. Trim the excess fabric when done and, voila - one perfectly rolled hem. [Yes I know I could have done it on my overlocker, but I didn't have blue thread for it and really just wanted to get it done!]

All the seams are straight stitched on my regular machine and then overlocked to finish them.

This was the finished dress! Just a wee bit big.

Checking with my WSBN guys the suggestion was that as well as too big, the bodice was too long. So I unpicked the waist seam, took out the elastic. I straightened off the side seams of the bodice, which meant I had to loosely gather the skirt onto the bodice before I attached it again, shortening the bodice by an inch. This has helped the "blousing" effect slightly, but I think it's still a wee bit too big.

The waistband is really easy to deal with. It's stitched with a normal seam allowance, then that is pressed down and stitched again to form a casing for elastic - great for those large meals! Or even high tea, which was the first outing for this dress!

I might catch the wrap front down so that it lies flatter. At the moment I think it gapes, but I'm looking down on it, it might not look like that from the front.

However, one great thing - it's a wrap dress that's drafted really well and doesn't gape when I lean forward!

And... it has pockets!

The details...
Fabric:  Blue polyester(?) crepe from The Fabric Store, August 2014.
Notions:  Thread, elastic and interfacing
Pattern:  Sewaholic Yaletown View A
First worn:  High tea at James Cook Hotel with some lovely sewing friends last Sunday

Worn with:  Shoes from Overland (quickly becoming my fave shoe store!)
Changes made:  I straighten up the bodice and shortened it by about an inch (2.5cm)
Another one/Recommend?  I certainly recommend the pattern, it's well drafted and quick/easy to make up. I wasn't thinking I'd make another one, but I've got some fabric which would make a great Yaletown blouse, so perhaps I might and cut a smaller size!

Thanks to Jenna who wielded my big girls camera along Lambton Quay on Sunday by the fab Invisible City sculpture, where in theory anything is possible when a friend is just snapping away...

I'm happy though, this is a great dress and makes me feel really girly as the fabric just drapes so well!

Thursday, 8 January 2015

Pretty flamingo

I made this in December and haven't got around to photos. Well you know, life. Sorry, not sorry.

I saw the fabric in The Fabric Store last August and knew straight away how I wanted to make it up. It was just one of those fabrics which spoke to me straight away.

After the success of my teal Pendrell, I've been meaning to make another one for some time. I originally intended to make view A as before, but then decided that was feeling lazy and really couldn't face making up that double sleeve with the pleats - as cute as it looks! View B is just too frilly for me, I'm just not into all those gathered layers, so found inspiration from this blogger when I was looking at various Pendrell images on the Interweb. That decided it, View B without the top gathered frill. It was the perfect choice.

I decided the size of my previous Pendrell was a wee bit too big. I really should go with my instincts and trust the pattern sizing. I think last time I cut halfway between the 14 and 16, then ended up taking in the side seams so they were 3/4" seam allowance. This time I cut it the same and ended up sewing 3/4" Princess seams and 5/8" side seams. I'm sure I could possibly still take it in more, or possibly just cut a straight 14. The fit is certainly better this time though.

There's not really a lot else to say, it went together really quickly, it helps having made a pattern before! The seams this time were finished on my overlocker - I love my new Baby (Lock)!

So that's about it, I'll let the photos do the talking this time!

The details...
Fabric:  Flamingo printed cotton voile from The Fabric Store, August 2014.
Notions:  Thread.
Pattern:  Sewaholic Pendrell View B
First worn:  Actually when I went on a wee jaunt to Sydney before Christmas, but worn here between Christmas and New Year, on the beach at Mt Maunganui, near Tauranga in the Bay of Plenty.

Worn with:  A RTW skirt I got from Kathmandu (an outdoor store here in NZ)
Changes made:  I left off the top frill and also shortened it by about 3/4 inches.
Another one/Recommend?  I certainly recommend the pattern, it's well drafted and quick/easy to make up. I think I will probably make another one for the reasons above and I've got some lovely Thai silk that would look fabulous as View A!

Tuesday, 2 December 2014

Anna and Victoria go to tea

Look! I made a jacket (oh and another dress)!!

The jacket is the By Hand London Victoria blazer. I've not made a jacket and really needed a light jacket for the summer. This was intended to be a wearable muslin and I think it worked.

The pattern is actually really easy to put together. It is designed to be relaxed and has a LOT of ease. There is about 9" (18cm) of ease around the bust, so I decided to go down a size, which would give me about 7" of ease.

The problem I had was my old lady arms which are obviously larger than they need to be. I ended up with tight sleeves and had to let them out a wee bit. I managed to let out the seam by about 3/8" which has helped, but it's not ideal.

A couple of things I don't agree with, the patterns states that there's no need to finish the seams on the lining or shell, I've overlocked the seams to the shell and the lining has French seams. I just feel as if I've made an effort doing this. I don't like throwing things together!

The jacket doesn't have a facing, the lining is attached to the edge of the jacket and the collar is attached to that. My fabric choice means that it doesn't lay very flat. I need to steam the whatsits out of it so it will lay flatter. I might even stick a couple of catch stitches in too.

As to my fabric choice... Ha ha, well the black shell is actually an old long black concert skirt of mine which I grew out of a few years ago. I decided it was perfect to try out this pattern. There wasn't enough to cut the back piece on the fold, so I gave it a centre back seam. I don't think this detracts from the jacket at all, in fact I really like it! I think the black fabric is a kind of viscose. It does crease, I have to use a warm iron, not a hot iron to press it and erm (no I haven't done a burn test on the remains! The lining is a shot purple/blue lining fabric which I used to make a Simplicity jumper dress about a month ago (not get blogged about). So it's all made from leftovers! My kinda make.

Ha ha, this was the only photo I could find of the original skirt. This was the early 90s!

Next time, I think I'll have a play around to make the sleeves bigger and also line the sleeves. I don't really like attaching the lining to the armholes and I honestly think they would better lined. I'm not convinced by the cuffs either. They are attached with a French seam to the sleeve and personally I think my fabric has ended up making these a bit bulky. I might consider a different way another time.

Lining finished by hand to the bottom of the back and attached to the armhole

As for the dress... I really don't think this needs much more introduction. It's another Anna dress. With the V-neck front. I forgot to lengthen the bodice and it really could do with an extra half inch, but I'm quite happy with it. I have noticed though that where the boat neck version fits nicely, the v-neck bodice has a tendency to gape. Anyway, this is the 3rd time I've made the dress as a whole and the fourth time I've made the bodice up (one bodice made for my Gabrianna dress). I just love this pattern, It's great if you're feeling a bit meh and can't be bothered, as it's quick and easy to make up and is so easy to fit.

The details...
Blazer - Viscose? from an old black concert skirt. Lining left over from another make, but from Fabric Warehouse
Dress - Cotton from Fabric Warehouse early November (it didn't make it to stash!)
Notions:   Thread, and a zip and some interfacing for the dress.
Pattern:  By Hand London Victoria Blazer and By Hand London Anna Dress
First worn:  Sunday to the WSBN 2nd birthday party at Martha's Pantry in Wellington, photos taken by Mel

Worn with:  Sandals from Mischief a couple of years ago.
Changes made: 
Blazer - I actually shortened the long length jacket by 3 inches (lack of fabric!) and put a centre back seam again because of a lack of fabric. I didn't put any pockets in the side seams. Otherwise no changes made and I also followed the instructions properly!
Dress - Just realigned the front pleats and shortened them to fit me better. Otherwise no changes.
Another one?
Blazer - This was always intended to be a wearable muslin, so I'm pretty tempted to. It's a really comfy jacket to wear, but next time I will possibly make the sleeves better.
Dress - I should think so, I love this pattern! Surely the fact I've made so many says something?

And I've realised I've managed to make something else in time for The Monthly Stitch challenge!

Current Challenge: November