Tuesday 27 September 2011

Baby Hem Technique

Thank you all for the comments on the bridesmaid dress, I'm not sure if I am generous or just a bit of a nutcase, I must say it is nice to be able to get back to planning fall sewing for me and I have made a few simple pieces off my list that I will post shortly.

So before I forget how to do it, here is the technique I used for the narrow baby hem on the satin bridesmaid dress.  I did actually start by experimenting with my narrow hem foot, but ditched that idea pretty fast when I realised that I have a huge learning curve ahead of me there.  Something for another day...

I was inspired by a Threads article (Issue 145 "Bias on the Edge") on applying bias facings to armholes and I think it may be the same method used by Susan Khalje since she refers to 3 lines of stitching, but I am not sure as I don't have all her books (yet!).  This method is only slightly different to my standard approach, but the results are far superior.  Hopefully you can spot the difference, but below are samples of the old way (top) and new way (bottom).

You will need to test a sample to see how far from the finished hemline to put your first row of stitching (basically the width of the first fold, but the measurement will vary depending on the fabric).  Anyhow here is the basic method with photos;

Stitch a row of stitching just below the finished hemline.

Fold on this stitching line and press.
Stitch again very close to the fold.  This is the extra row of stitching and it makes all the difference. 
Trim as close to the second stitching line as possible.

Fold over and press again.
Stitch again - I found the finish to be better if you don't stitch directly on top of line 2.
Finished front side.

Tuesday 20 September 2011

Sewing for Others - Bridesmaid / Cocktail Dress

Phew, apologies for the lengthy absence - I was making a bridesmaid dress for a friend and whilst I had the intention to blog about it on the way it quickly became clear that I had better focus on actually sewing it so she would have something to wear at the wedding.

I delivered the dress last night and it fits perfectly and looks fantastic on her so although it was a lot of work I am feeling very satisfied, confident and relieved right now.  The dress will also be worn as a cocktail dress after the wedding, it is purple silk with a purple lace yoke.

I am no pattern drafter so this began life as a combination of 3 Burda magazine dresses and gradually came together after a muslin and 2 fittings.  Here are some photos of the dress in various stages of construction, I hope to get some of the dress being worn at the wedding to show you later as trying to pad out my dressform can only do so much!

I also - after procrastinating nervously for days - managed to do the best baby hem ever so I will explain that in a separate post, not least so I can remember how to do it again!

The finished dress - hard to photograph satin at night but this shows the true colour - a Cadbury's Dairy Milk Chocolate purple!

Interior of the bodice which was interlined with interfaced cotton lawn, boning channels and catchstitched seam allowances.  I referred to Susan Khalje's Bridal Couture book a lot for this stage.

Hanging loops - and another Susan Khalje tip to add thread loops to hold the hanging loops in the interior of the garment while being worn.

Inside the finished bodice, the lace was handstitched to the inside of the bodice and the lining handstitched on top of that.

Cover button on the back lace fastening.  I experimented with ways to finish the lace edges  - in the end I faced them with a strip of the lace and then wrapped it round the edge and stitched again.

Back of the dress, I think this is my favourite part!

Front bodice

I added a strip of gathered net to the lower edge of the lining,  it sits between the skirt and the lining and gives great volume to the lower part of the dress without adding any bulk to the hips.

The net effect!

Sunday 4 September 2011

Burda Style 05/2011 104 Dress

(With obi style belt from Burda Style 06/2009 - 110.)

You already saw a preview of this dress in my Singapore post (which it has come to my attention should have been called Self Stitched Singapore, not me made, but never mind!).  This is the dress version of the tunic top I made previously - Burda Style 05/2011 104.

It's a very basic dress but ideal for so many occasions and is made from black stretch silk, I've already worn it many times.  Instead of my usual tie belt I made an obi style belt which suddenly seem to be everywhere and liked it so much I went out and purchased two more (from Zara I think) so I can change the look depending on my mood.  

One is black leather with bronze studs in it and the other has grey python print and red ties for a pop of colour.  I have to confess I have discovered that obi belts can make you very hot, but they do encourage you to sit up straight as well!  I plan to wear these belts with different tops and jackets if it ever gets cooler.

 Obi belt pattern from BS 06/2009 - 110, the mid section is interlined with stiff canvas.

You've already seen the casual dressed down with flats version so here it is marginally more dressed up and with different belts.  As always with black (and my lousy photos) it is hard to see the details - sorry!

With the matching belt I made.

With the leather studded belt.

With the grey / red python belt.

Thursday 1 September 2011

Me Made Singapore

Me Made September starts today and I admire anyone who can commit and participate in it everyday.  While I probably do wear something that I have made everyday, especially in the summer, taking and posting photos each day for 30 days?  Well it's just not going to happen.

However I recently spent a long weekend in Singapore as my husband was working over there and as I was packing my bags with stuff I'd made decided I would do a mini Me Made Singapore Weekend.

Friday afternoon travelling
Not a lot made here, just the top version of Vogue 1250 .  Singapore is only a 3.5 hr flight so I ignored all the conventional advice to not wear jeans or heels!

Friday night bar hopping
My new Vena Cava Vogue 1258 dress.  As predicted I can't keep my hands out of the pockets, consider me a pocket convert!

Saturday shopping
Burda 05/2011 - 104 with obi belt.  Blog post to follow!
This black silk dress was perfect for shopping on a hot day (although I didn't find it as hot as Hong Kong is at the moment).  I had to (yes, genuinely had to!) go to Arab Street which is filled with fabric shops - more on that another day....

Saturday afternoon poolside
McCalls 6069, this makes a perfect beach/pool dress.  Actually I confess this photo is from Sunday afternoon as I realised looking at the photos that I had the dress on backwards on Saturday - thought the front was lower than I remembered!

Saturday night dinner
Vogue 1120 DKNY blue silk dress
Admittedly we only got around to taking photos after dinner by which time both model and photographer were tired and had got through a fair bit of wine so these are not the greatest pictures!

I wore this all day, except for another spell by the pool - Vogue 1250 LBD