Thursday, 22 September 2016

Vogue 1493 and New Look K6483


This is one of those times where the pictures don't do the garment justice.  I love this kimono.  I oringially bought the fabric which is a heavy viscose to make a Bettine, but as soon as I saw it it had to be a kimono.  The weight of the fabric is perfect, I think you need a bit of weight for this pattern.

Image result for vogue 1493

The pattern is Vogue 1493 and it is described as Advanced, so not one for beginner sewers, unlike most kimonos.  I loved this pattern as soon as I saw it on the McCalls Youtube vlog, and I would love to copy the version on the cover in the future.

I cut my usual size medium and didn't make any changes other than taking the length up at the waist by 2".

So what makes it an advanced sew?  Mostly the sleeves, which are definitely fiddly at both of the points (top and bottom of the cuff), but this is the detail which I love.  I would recommend starting sewing at the top of the cuff so that you get the neatest part where it shows.  For some reason my sleeve seemed a little big for the cuff so I would check that another time.

I made the sleeve cuffs and front facing from contrasting heavy crepe de chine.  I cut the facing from one piece rather than two and only interfaced half, because the crepe de chine is heavy and I wanted to reduce the thickness a little.

The seams are hong-kong bound.  My bias was a little cheap and nasty and I would definitely try and find a better quality another time.

Another of the difficult elements was binding the side slits around the corners.  I didn't bind the arm holes because I thought it would be a little thick.

When I bought the black silk I was given an extra half metre because of sellotape marks and manged to squeeze a New Look 6483 to match.  I got this pattern free with Sew Magazine and I think it is a great basic pattern.  The fit is great with a nice shape.  I cut a size 14, raised the waist by 1", narrowed the shoulders to a size 12, reduced the length by 1/4" because of fabric constraints.  I used a bias facing on the neck and arms rather than full facings, this works better with a weighty silk and because of the weight I didn't use French seams.

This is a great staple, and there will be more.  Free pattern, free fabric, what could be better?

So two successful sews, just sorry that I don't think the weather will be good enough for much longer to enjoy them, as its time for Autumn sewing now.

Monday, 5 September 2016

The Melilot shirt and Pattern Runway scalloped shorts

A pair of summer separates as the end of summer sewing draws regretfully nigh.  The shirt is Deer and Doe Melilot, a casual shirt with dropped shoulders. 

I like Deer and Doe patterns, I believe that they design for a C cup which means no fba!  This is a roomy top so I cut a size 40 (36 1/4" bust, 28 1/2" waist and 38 1/2" hip) and as you can see it there is plenty of room.  I think you need a really drapey fabric to get the best out of this pattern.  This is a fine silk crepe and if I could remember where I got it from I would get some more.  It feels great and was easier to sew than silk.

 I made view B with a collar, and the hidden placket.    I left off the pocket and also the sleeve cuffs because I thought the unstructured sleeve would look better without.

I struggled to follow the instructions for the hidden placket and ended up facing and folding the wrong bit which meant the inside isn't quite as smart as it should be.  The instructions would have been clearer with photos or more illustrations.  I also still can't work out how you are supposed to do the top button hole if you leave it until the placket is finished, another time I would do the button holes before adding the collar.  I ended up with the lower placket peaking out and you can just see this below.  I loved the deep curved hems, but try as I might I could not get this to lie nicely and I ended up having to take out at least 1 1/2" from the depth of curve and making a really tiny hem.

So here is the shirt with a pair of shorts.  If you are of a nervous disposition look away now to avoid my (still) white legs!

These are Pattern Runway scalloped hem shorts. 

Now I haven't bought shorts for over 15 years, as I can never get them to fit, so I'm reasonably pleased with these as they are definitely wearable.  They are a size Medium, but overall a little large (and definitely less pert than the pattern photos!), so another time I would probably reduce to a Small.

For a pair of shorts there was plenty of challenge.  For a start there are the scallops at the front and a faced hem curving down a little at the back;

There are welt pockets at the back.  Even with the Pattern Runway tutorial as well as the instructions I find their instructions pretty undecipherable and pretty much ended up winging it!

I cut the stripe on the vertical here which I really like, and I wish that I had done the waist facing with the stripes going in the same direction.  Although the welts worked quite well you might just be able to see that the back dart went longer than the pocket opening and I have ended up cutting through it.  Another time I would make sure the dart stops before the pocket starts.
The front pockets are nice, but it did make the zip harder to fit.  Can you see that a zip would go lower than the bottom of the pocket making it difficult and bulky.  I cut some off my zip and found that actually a 6" zip (with this size) would be long enough.

The insides are quite neat and I used bremsilk for the pocket linings.   The fabric is a fine denim (Chambray?), slate grey stripe from Unique Image in Ulverstone; a metre was plenty.   I like the pattern.  I would say it is at least an intermediate and if you were a beginner I would probably advise leaving all the pockets out.

Just to prove I do wear my clothes.  Here is the shirt worn on Dan's 25th birthday at Go Ape in Grizedale forest.  High up in the trees selfies (love my boy)

Gemma wasn't always this relaxed.

Yes, the shirt is coping with the harness (not so much my legs on this tortuous crossing which involved almost an ariel split.

For Dan its all easy!

... but we did it and had a great time.

Monday, 15 August 2016

Simplicity 8131

There are bare shouldered tops everywhere this summer.  Off-the shoulder is out of the question for me  but I really fancied a blouse with a cut-out shoulder - enter Simplicity 8131.

Now the first thing I did wrong was to pick a colour of fabric which is too close to flesh tones, and so the cut-away hardly shows (it is there honest ... look closely!).  The fabric wasn't the right choice.  It is cotton voile pique from Guthrie and Ghani, which I bought because I'm a little obsessed with dusky pink.  But although it is lightweight I think this blouse would benefit from even more drape, probably something silky.

The bow can be tied either high at the neck or fitted to the v shape.  I didn't include the strange v shaped hem and also I thought the pattern sleeve length looks neither here nor there so I added 3" to the sleeve length.  I also put an elastic casing in the sleeves rather than the little cuff used in the pattern which I thought would be difficult to fit properly.  I cut a size 14 but had to take the sides in about an 1" on each side .

You can see how the tie works. Small gathers on the shoulders.  This was reasonably straightforward, but you need to make sure you get the edges of neck piece accurately "trapped".

The arm facing is quite clever, as well as rather fiddly.  It has a neat look on the outside.

Here is the inside, again reasonably neat, but one think I don't like is that the sleeve is finished by dual rows of stitching and I thing it looks a little messy.  I don't see why you couldn't finish it by overlocking.

I might make this again next year with a different fabric, if bare shoulders are still "in". 

Image result for mo farah rio 2016I might make this again next year with a different fabric, if

I've been having a couple of really lazy weeks watching loads of the Olympics and it has been fantastic.  So proud of Team GB what a performance and just what I needed after feeling ashamed of so much of what was said during the referendum.  Sad to see Phelps' last Olympic race, what an athlete; by himself he has won more medals than Argentina over all the Olympics.  Fantastic to see Mo win again!

Lots more to enjoy this week. 

Tuesday, 2 August 2016

Vogue 1482

Here is my Vogue 1482.  

Do I like it, I'm not quite sure.  I certainly liked it on the McCalls YouTube clip.;   all swingy and bouncy (or was that the model!).

I do love the sleeves.

Possibly with the ability to fly without a parachute!  You can just see the rather successful neck binding in these photos and although you don't need the back opening to get this over your head I did still include this as a feature.


Its loose and comfortable and makes the most of this fabulous John Kaldor Microfibre from Minerva (great fabric, lovely to sew but awful to press - maybe you don't need to).

I originally prepped for a medium, but after reading other reviews and doing a tissue fitting I thought a small would be good enough and it is.  I should have added a little more length to give a large hem (this one is just 1 cm) which I think would aid with the swingy factor.  I didn't think that the bottom of the dress was going to be wide enough so I added a good inch each side, only to have to take it out as it wasn't needed and spoilt the line.

There is one pocket on the diagonal, which is cute, but as it is fully French seamed there is a lot of bulk here and I wouldn't have a pocket in a French seamed seam again.   Otherwise the French seams look nice.

More detail of the pocket.

 ... and on the inside, you can see the French seaming (the white is a bit of interfacing I added for strength, it spoils the look a bit but gives the opening a bit of needed structure)

I think I like it, but will have to wear it to decide.  What it certainly is is a dog's dinner of a dress.  I do not remember making as many silly mistakes on one garment before.  First I cut one pocket the wrong way, this wouldn't have shown but being picky I recut it ..... only for some reason I cut it out of the already cut back piece!  I then didn't have enough fabric to cut another back so I had to join two pieces together on one side (with a diagonal seam).  As if that wasn't enough I then didn't read the instructions, joined front to back (graded and French seamed) only to find you actually insert the sleeves on the flat before joining  front to back.  I could undo the side seams to tried to fit the sleeves as usual in the round!  It was awful, really hard and fiddly and whilst I have got them in they are a bit of a mess.

I think this dress would look great in a stripe, but why is it you just can't seem to find any striped viscose?  Have you spotted any ... black preferably.

On the non-sewing front I've had a busy couple of weeks.  Dan, Gemma and I went to see Derren Brown at the Lowry.  What a fantastic show.  I bought the tickets a year ago so we were right at the front.  Derren is a bit of a hero of Dan's and it was fantastic that Dan got to be part of the show.  His face was on the stage 15 foot high, and his bit lasted about 5 minutes, as Dan said awesome.  And to finish a little bit of puppy cuteness, this is Costa, an eight week old Cockerpoo who has just joined my friend Robert's family.

Thursday, 14 July 2016

Liberty McCalls 6696

This is my third version of the ever popular McCalls  6696, and it is certainly the best fit.    My choice of fabric is nothing new, Roisin has made a sleeveless version and Gertie's shirtwaister in her first book used the red version of this fabric.  The fabric is Liberty Carline and before you think I have spent a fortune on this dress, this fabric was one of my bargains from Standfast and Barracks in Lancaster who sell Liberty seconds.  This cost £6 per metre and I used just under 2 metres .... a bargain.

So to the fit.  I love this pattern because it has different cup sizes and I went for the C.  My last 2 versions I cut a 14 at the bust and graded to a 12 at the waist, but this time I just cut a 12 in the bust too.  I took 5/8" from each shoulder for my narrow shoulders and raised the waist by 1" overall and then by 3/8" extra at the front centre (because I noticed that the waist appears to droop a little on me).

The pattern illustrations do not show a back view of the dress and I think that is probably because the models have the problem of "poofy" backs.    I took a whole 2" out of the centre gathers.  Even so there is still a bit of "poof" and what I think I need to do is to also take 3/8" from the back centre line (like the front).
Insides; French seams everywhere except for the sleeve attachment (where to be honest I couldn't be bothered!)

Not much more to say about this one, except I must try the straight-skirt version some time!  I'm sure this won't be my last.

I had the most lovely Saturday when I met up with Ruth from CoreCouture and we had a lovely shop in Minerva.  I really enjoyed watching Ruth shop, she has such an eye for combining patterns and colours and I ended up totally copying her with the berry coloured fabrics below.  This whole haul cost £45 which will make 2 skirts, 2 tops and one pair of trousers.  I think I am usually a bit of a fabric snob, but Minerva does have some lovely fabric at really low prices.

Wednesday, 6 July 2016

Delpine and Morisette: Les Brunes

First a very warm welcome to new readers.  There were quite a few of you and I think this is because of my Great British Sewing Bee Colour-blocked dress.  This week's post is very different so I hope it isn't too much of a disappointment (and I will be back to vintage again next, but the 50s). 

I do love a little bit of French style and I particularly like reading Jolie Bobines and BMade blogs.  This year both blogs have featured some ruffles and, although this is not my usual style, I had a bit of a hankering to make my own.  I like a challenge so I duly ordered a pdf French pattern, Les Brunes,  from Delphine and Morissette.  Good value at 8 euro.  You order by email and get a very quick response and can transfer the money through PayPal.  Now just to warn you the pattern itself looks like it has been drawn freehand and there are no illustrations with the instructions.  This wouldn't have been a problem but the instructions are in French and with no illustrations this made it tricky!  An hour on Google translate didn't help at all  ..... you add the wheels to the wings!!!  So I ended up winging it, and it turned out OK.  It's a pretty straightforward pattern, though inserting the frill into the shoulder darts is definitely fiddly.

(The strange hairy thing in the corner is Rosie's tail!).  Worn here with my ginger jeans.  The fabric is a really soft rayon which drapes nicely but still presses.

The pattern itself has a straight sleeve and I decided I wanted some extra frill and added a gathered oblong to the sleeve which I do like.  I also reduced the size of the shoulder frills which I felt were a little too wide on the pattern by almost an inch.

I have worn it tucked in for work.  I love the neckline, it fits really well to the body with no gaping.  Just big enough to pull on without any zips or buttons.

The best part about this pattern was being able to use my rolled hem foot.  I used this for the shoulder and sleeve frills and it is fantastic.  It gives a beautiful finish.  It is a bit difficult to get started and to control throughout, and I didn't try it on the hem because I haven't mastered how to get it to work over seams.  So I was pretty pleased with this, managing the frills and the French instructions, about to give a final press and I realised I had attached one of the sleeve bottoms inside out (and I had already overlocked it), rooky error which involved a lot of unpicking and restitching with small seams.  All done now though and I like it.  I also really like the look of WearLemonade's Fabala blouse pattern which has a double frill at the cuff.  I also love their little videos showing the making which would be a big help if I go for any of their patterns, or maybe I should just learn French.  Have a great week.