Sunday 30 December 2012

Goodbye 2012

Well the last month of 2012 has been pretty unproductive on the sewing front with moving apartments, hosting parents and in-laws (not at the same time thank goodness!) and general Christmas madness.  I still haven't figured out how to arrange my new sewing space, I think I just need to start using it and see what works and what doesn't and go from there.  I'm also planning a new year present to myself - a trip to the fabric market next week to get things moving.

Goodbye old apartment

Hello new apartment - awaiting our Christmas day lunch guests
But I have been diligently putting my completed garments from 2012 into a separate flickr folder so I could look back at them easily at year end and see at a glance just how few garments I have made compared to everyone else!

First, just for completeness are two gym tops I made from rehashing old ones, I used Jalie's crossover top pattern and even over the excesses of Christmas these have been thoroughly tested and I'm really pleased with the results, I'll definitely be making more next year, gym clothes are ridiculously expensive.

I made two of these, one is just plain black, but otherwise looks the same so no photo.
 So below is a summary of what I made in 2012, just like last year it seems like a really low output to me, but at least it is all stuff that has seen lots of wear.  This was the year of Burda magazine for me, I think as a result of trying to buy less patterns, it was also the year of the dress, but I didn't make a single pair of pants!  For those who like stats, 34 completed items break down like this;

Lets see how 2013 compares....  Happy New Year everyone!!

Monday 17 December 2012

Burda Style 11/2012 - 136 Top

A few weeks ago I found a plus sized top in one of the sample shops here costing less than the equivalent of US$2 in a great quality inky blue jersey.  So I snapped it up and then chopped it up and made this very simple top from the November issue of Burda Style.  There are just two pieces and I kept the original hem of the top making it a really quick make.  It isn't a terribly exciting top, but a great basic and the wide cut on sleeves and narrow waist give it a good shape.

The styling in the magazine gives the impression this is supposed to be worn over another top and this would explain why the armhole is drafted so low.  I just sewed up the side seam a few inches.  This photo shows the alteration although it's a bit confusing because it's on it's side (I rotated it in iphoto, but blogger isn't ready to pick up that version yet, don't ask me why!).  The stitching line is the original, to the right is the armhole and the pins mark my new stitching.

You already saw me wearing this top with the pencil skirt from my last post, but here it is a bit closer.

Thursday 13 December 2012

Burda Style 07/2012 - 120 Pencil Skirt

There wasn't much to interest me in this July's Burda, but I did find the darts on this pencil skirt interesting.  Still, at the end of the day it is just a pencil skirt and the two versions I made are in prints that means you can barely see the dart detail!  The fit though is great and if you don't already have a TNT pencil skirt pattern you might want to consider this one.

This is my first version, in a blue/green/brown/cream woven fabric I purchased a few years ago from Metro Textiles in NY while visiting.  I love the colours and texture in this fabric and there will be lots of options for mixing it with different tops.  Maybe not with my existing wardrobe of course......

I can't remember for certain now and all my Burdas are packed away for the impending house move, but I think this pattern was originally unlined, it's easy enough to add a lining although I cut my front lining a bit big and added in a couple of pleats to take up the excess.  I used a grey silk satin from my lining stash, it feels so nice to wear.

The instructions said to clip the curved front dart along the centre and press it open which I duly did and then worried about this fabric fraying so I fused a piece of interfacing over the raw edges.  (In my second version below and in both linings I didn't clip it, just pressed it and it was fine).

Gee I sure hope I can take better self timer photos in my new place!

This is version 2, in another multicoloured fabric, this time a metallic brocade fabric that is brown, gold and a bit of orange and impossible to photograph.  There seem to be a lot of glam fabric pencil skirts around at the moment, often paired with simple relaxed sweaters and t shirts which I think will be a good look for holiday nights out.  Again, my wardrobe needs to do some catching up to match the ideas in my head!

You can see the side front dart detail here.

This fabric is a little bit scratchy so instead of using the facings I reinforced the top of the skirt with fusible tape and fully lined it, understitching the lining to stop it showing on the right side.

Wednesday 28 November 2012

Butterick 5576 Handbags

Well this is how UFO's are born, but I have a few inbetween my inbetween jacket projects to post.  I am full of excuses why, but mainly while trying to sell our apartment I have had to keep the spare room tidy and constantly putting away the jacket was driving me nuts whereas one evening start to finish projects were good for my sanity.  We've now sold it so I can go back to my messy ways, although we have a very tight schedule now and will be moving the week before Christmas.  And my dad arrives for a two week visit tonight.  Argh!

It's becoming a Christmas tradition that I give my nieces a handmade handbag filled with treats and girly accessories.  This year I made two variations on Butterick 5576, View B (the yellow and silver ones from the pattern envelope below).

I used some leftover purple silk dupion and bits of trim from my stash to make them look a bit different to each other.  I changed the strap to a short shoulder style, but otherwise made them up following the instructions.  I used a medium weight canvas for the interfacings and although I would prefer a much stiffer bag for myself, these will be fine for kids dressing up, plus I'm not sure my machine would cope with many more layers.

Here they are, I have even mailed them already which is somewhat of a miracle!

With bow and satin ribbon trim

With pleated front flap and diamante trim

I have some more stuff to post, but today managed to snap two feet of my dressform stand and I am waiting for the superglue to set.  I promise I'll get back to finishing off the jacket soon and answer your questions from my earlier post then.

Not what I should be doing with my packing boxes!

Friday 2 November 2012

My inbetween project - Burdastyle 08/2008 - 115 Jacket

Thank you for all the advice on the bias nightmare of a dress, I haven't given up on it yet, just parked it to one side.  It's good to know that we have similar ideas and I had already tried some of the suggestions before and during the 3 separate assaults on the side seams.

Another problem with bias cut patterns is that they can be fabric hogs and leave you with odd shaped leftovers.  As luck would have it the front piece of the dress with the skirt on the straight grain fits perfectly onto my leftovers so I took this as a sign and promptly cut it out.  Next step is to unpick practically the whole dress so needless to say that's as far as I have got with that!

Meanwhile I am working on a jacket, this one from 08/2008 Burda in a navy superfine wool.  It has some interesting details although was originally designed to have raw edges everywhere so I am modifying it somewhat.

I am sure I bought this fabric with the intention of making a classic blazer so why I only bought 1.5 yards is a mystery to me and it took a while to find an interesting pattern that would work.  I managed to squeeze out the pieces for this cropped jacket but I have had to piece the facings and the undercollar is cut in a black wool.

Although making a jacket from start to finish can be a lengthy process, it does lend itself to sewing in small chunks of time which is sometimes the way I like to sew.  Here are a few snapshots of bits I've finished - sleeves and back.

 Despite marking you can see one buttonhole on the sleeve flap ended up out of alignment.  I contemplated ignoring it (heck I even contemplated just sewing on buttons and not making buttonholes at all since they have no function), but I knew it would annoy me so out came the unpicker.  In the process I had an epiphany and realised the little bit sticking out the front of my buttonhole foot is there to help you line up buttonholes.
Naughty buttonhole on the left!

Useful sticky out thing on the front

Completed sleeve hem and flap

Inner sleeve darts sewn on the outside

Two completed sleeves

Back peplum and half belt detail (also with real buttonholes)

Finally my thoughts go out to anyone affected by hurricane Sandy.  Here in HK I have become a little blase about the typhoons we get every summer, but the terrible pictures and tragic stories coming from the States reminds us how powerful nature can be.

Saturday 27 October 2012

Beastly Bias

I am having seemingly insurmountable problems with my second version of the Burda 10/12 118 dress, all due to the bias cut of the front skirt portion.  I've left it hanging waiting to be hemmed for a week in the hope that the problems would magically go away but they haven't so I think I am left with the following options;

  • Bin it
  • Cut it off and make it into a top, although I will probably have to reinstall the zipper upside down - stepping into a top seems kind of weird
  • Unpick it and recut the front so that the skirt part is on the straight grain if I have enough fabric (Kristy just tried this and it works)
  • Add a waist seam and recut the skirt on the straight grain 
Any other thoughts on this?  I didn't have any of these problems with version 1 so I think this is due to the looser weave of this fabric.  Here is the dress as it stands now, you can see the side seams which I have already redone 3 times are swinging to the front, plus I have lots of puckering going on and I won't even talk about how bad it looks when I attempt to hem it.

This has been driving me so crazy I even started making a jacket of all things in between working on the dress, you can just see it hanging in the background, I'm pleased to say I'm making good progress with it and no doubt that will be finished before this dress.

Friday 19 October 2012

Burda Style 10/2012 - 118 Dress

The first thing to note if you are making this dress is that (in my copy at least) there is a huge typo in the sewing instructions which is especially unfortunate given that it is the Sewing Course pattern.

The pattern pieces are the black lines on sheet B not A!  The instructions for the top versions are correct luckily - can you imagine trying to find the right pieces otherwise.  I think if you use sheet A you would end up with some kind of pants and a huge headache.

Once you have got that out of the way putting this dress together is very easy.  My sleeves are a bit long because I totally forgot to flare out the hem allowance (it even tells you to do this in the instructions) - since the sleeve itself is quite tapered if you don't flare it out then the hem allowance is too small - I just ended up taking a narrow hem.

I made this in a brown wool pinstripe which produces a slightly odd effect in that the front is on the bias and the back is on the straight grain, but I quite like it.  This will be a great dress for cooler weather, it reminds me of a woven version of the famous Vogue 1250 DKNY jersey cowl dress - just throw it on and you're good to go.  I've lightened all these photos so you can see the detail.

I have started a second version in the same cranberry wool that I made the previous skirt from and that gave me a lot more problems, I think because it has a slightly looser weave so the bias is more difficult to handle, in fact it is still hanging waiting to be hemmed.  More on that in my next post, for now here are photos of version 1.

Friday 12 October 2012

Burda Style 08/2012 - 112 Skirt with Godet

I love pencil skirts and have a few already traced that I could easily use, but as I mentioned clearly I just get a thrill out of testing my eyes and patience on those Burda sheets.  This pattern is a bit of a twist on a standard pencil skirt though as it has a godet inserted in a side seam for a bit of swishy-ness.  I liked the asymmetrical look too.

I made this in a wool crepe which I am going to call cranberry colour, although it looks very orange-red here.

The pattern calls for a petersham ribbon waistband, but instead I just used an interfaced strip of fabric which is lazily just plonked on top the lining I added, stitched in the ditch from the right side for a fairly bulk free finish and held closed with a hook & eye.

The pattern is unlined, apart from the godet which has a smaller lining piece - a godet stay I suppose to help the skirt keep it's shape.  I decided to add lining and just used the same pieces (remembering - hallelujah! - to flip the front pattern pieces upside down) leaving the side seam open below the godet and just handstitching those edges to the godet stay.  It would look better if the godet stay was the same length as the lining, but the lining was a bit of an afterthought.  As was this photo - excuse the wrinkles!

I feel like I am getting ahead with fall sewing possibly for the first time ever!  Despite the (for me) bright colour I think this will work with a lot of pieces and end up being a versatile fall skirt.