Wednesday 30 March 2011

Argument with a serger

Thanks for the comments on the Tracey Reese V1224 dress, I just read them all to cheer myself up. Argh, I am so annoyed with myself right now but will try and keep this rant brief!

I spent most of the evening preparing to sew Vogue 1209, this Rachel Comey pattern in some stone coloured mystery fabric.

Learning from my last dress I could see this one needed lengthening as well. It's impossible to see in the photo, but the front pieces extend down the side seams to the hem, making for an odd shaped piece that is difficult to lengthen and still fit on the fabric.

I finally just barely managed it, albeit on the cross grain and rethreaded my serger and then set about adjusting the tensions for this different fabric. Once that was done I started on the dress and wouldn't you just know it the tension randomly went off again so I re-grabbed some scraps and tried again. You know what's coming don't you?

Yes, I serged on my front dress piece instead of on the scraps. It's completely unsalvageable and the whole thing has gone in the bin. Bah, I'm cross with my serger for being temperamental and I'm cross with myself for not being better organised.

Oh well I bet that stone colour would have washed me out anyway, right?

Onwards, I need a break from that I am going to attempt to make this simple (cross your fingers) cowl neck top from Patrones 300, #30.

I'm using a remnant of a poly silk I picked up for HK$20, it's a fun print although now I look at it it looks like an exploded Louis Vuitton signature print!

Thursday 24 March 2011

Vogue 1224 Tracey Reese dress - finished

Now that the weather has stopped laughing at me long enough for even thinking about making a summer dress here it is. As always with black clothes it is difficult to see the details I'm afraid.

I realised as I was making this that I had not pre washed the fabric as my hands turned a blue-ish black colour! By then it was too late so I forged ahead, put it in the wash at the end and as with most rayon jersey type fabrics it was fine, actually it looked better, the seams and hems flattened out better than my pressing managed. My hands are back to their normal colour too.

As I mentioned before changes I made to this pattern were:

- Lengthened the skirt by 4 inches, I did not realise that the dress has quite a high waist so it's still a little short for me, next time I'll lengthen by 6 inches.
- Took skirt in a bit at the side seams - not as tight as shown on the model, but I did want a contrast between the very loose top and the straighter skirt
- Shortened the neck elastic piece by around 8 inches
- Ignored the measurement for the waist elastic and just wrapped a length around me

You could make this dress even quicker by eliminating the waist seam and elastic casing and substituting a belt or applying a separate casing. However I do like that the skirt is lined, it gives it a bit of weight and makes this a pattern suitable for thinner knits that I might otherwise only use for tops.

I'm pretty sure this one is going to get a lot of wear over the summer and I'm also sure I will make this again, but a bit longer next time.

Wednesday 16 March 2011

Vogue 1224 Tracey Reese dress

Even though the weather hasn't quite decided what to do yet, I am moving onto summer sewing. I'm starting with one of my new Vogue purchases, this Tracey Reese jersey dress.

I'm making it in black for an easy throw it on anytime dress. So far it is very straightforward to sew, but I needed to lengthen the skirt - I added 4 inches and it still looks pretty short, especially as the bodice seems to be quite high waisted too. I'm quite sure the model is somewhat taller than my 5'6 so I think Vogue must have adjusted the proportions of the pattern. I'll have a better idea if it's going to be long enough when the dress is in one piece. Here is the bodice so far;

Monday 7 March 2011

Burda Style 02/2011-103 Skirt

The recent delay in postings chez AC Gallery has been due to having my parents staying for a week which meant the sewing room had to be temporarily dismantled and turned into a bedroom. While I am sad they have left, I am happy to have my sewing room again - there is nothing like a period of enforced non-sewing to get the mojo back!

So at last here is the finished BurdaStyle 02/2011-103 skirt, a pencil skirt with a godet and unusual darts in the back.

The only change I made to the pattern was to fold the waistband pieces in half as they were very deep on an already high waisted skirt. As I mentioned before my fabric only had a limited amount of stretch and I am glad I cut wide side seam allowances as I needed them and you can see there are still a few wrinkles so I could have done with a bit more room. Or better still a bit less hip!

Like most pencil skirts, this is a pretty versatile wardrobe piece and the brown pinstripe fabric should work with lots of existing pieces in my closet.

Here it is with a Hot Patterns sunshine top that is in great need of an iron!

And here with an oldie - a shortened version of Burda 04/2008-107

Since all the detail is in the back I've tried to lighten this photo so you can sort of see them. (Take no notice of my photoshoot assistant.)

Wednesday 2 March 2011


As you can probably tell I find the hardest part of writing blog posts is coming up with titles.

No more progress on the skirt yet I'm afraid, but that should be coming very soon - thanks for all the encouraging comments. Burda actually made up a version in a pinstripe in the magazine so I can't take any credit for that idea if it comes out well or any debit (?) if it does turn out to be a big X marks the spot on my backside as one commenter pointed out!

I've just returned from a trip to Europe - visiting friends in Germany, in-laws skiing holiday in France and a quick stopover in Amsterdam en route back to Hong Kong. I've only skiied once before and am both terrible at it and pretty terrified of it, so I was quite proud of myself for getting through 5 days on skis. Unsurprisingly I found Europe absolutely freezing so off the slopes my fake fur coat got plenty of wear.

Taken by my husband in The Alps, I didn't get anywhere near as high as this!

More my style - chocolate shop window in Chamonix.

By a canal in Amsterdam.

Ok, now to get back to the skirt and then I can really think about sewing for spring. I ordered some new Vogue patterns which arrived while I was away so I will add these to my seemingly ever growing list of projects-to-do-one-of-these-days.