Wednesday 29 February 2012

Burda Style 08/2011 - 116 cowl dress

Actually this is only half of the dress in the title - I was a little nervous that the skirt part would be unflattering on me (Cidell ended up not liking hers either but turned it into a top she loves).  So I decided to use the top of this dress and the skirt and elastic waist treatment from the McCall's pattern that I just made to be on the safe side.

There really isn't very much to say about the construction, I just kind of cobbled the two easy patterns together.  I sliced the Burda dress pattern about 1 inch below the marked waistline.  It was wider than the McCall's skirt so I took in the side seams a bit and then stretched the skirt to fit - since I was adding some elastic into the waist seam anyway I figured it didn't have to match exactly.

Here is my finished dress - in retrospect I am sure I could have used the original Burda pattern and just added a belt.  But why make life easier right!?  I really like the cowl neck & sleeve design of this dress - I may well give the original Burda dress a go, perhaps adding some length to the skirt so I can belt it.

This dress has elastic sewn in the waist seam as per the McCall's pattern, but I also made a tie belt with leftover fabric.

Close up of the bodice.

I hurt my knee last week (it's better now) which meant I couldn't go to the gym and this tends to make me rather cranky!  So I decided to go to the fabric market instead and found some gems!  Pretty excited to get working with these pieces.

Silk charmeuse animal print 

Mystery grey floral

Sheer feather print

Extremely wide border print fabric, wonder if it was made for bed linen?  Here is a close up of the colours.

Most of the width of the piece

Mosaic print jersey - sadly just an odd shaped offcut, will see what I can do with it

Who needs another sequin t?  me apparently, just could not resist this lovely bronze on black mesh piece

I have ideas for some of these but I ordered a few new patterns in the last sale so am just waiting for those to arrive, along with Spring!

Friday 17 February 2012

McCall's 6319 Jersey Dress

Here in Hong Kong we recently got a hint of Spring and I was inspired to whip up a warm weather dress. Although this was super quick and easy to make, alas our mini Spring was over before the dress was finished. Still, for once in my sewing life I am ahead of the game and ready for some sun!

This was a popular pattern last year - McCall's 6319 a knit dress pattern with pleats and neckline variations. I made view A but without the exposed shoulder zipper - I do really like that detail but I didn't have anything suitable in my stash and I just wanted to get on with it, you know?

Here is the finished dress, it's in a sort of aqua / turquoise ITY jersey from  

(With purchased pewter snakeskin print belt from Armani Exchange)

The pattern calls for a lined bodice which I decided was unnecessary - of course then I had to figure out how to finish the edges.  I decided to apply a strip of binding to the right side of the neck and arm edges which is then understitched, turned in and topstitched with a twin needle.  I had cut the binding much wider than I needed to which made it easier to handle and then just trimmed the excess close to the stitching.  

I remembered as I was doing a sleeve to take some photos if my explanation makes no sense!

Armhole from right side after sewing facing strip (in the flat, before the side seams were sewn) and understitching to the seam allowances

Same as the above but from the wrong side

Fold facing strip to wrong side and hem with twin needle right side up

From the wrong side, the excess facing strip is trimmed off close to the stitching line

I don't know if I stretched the neckline a bit unevenly doing this (maybe all that stitching is just too much, sure looks neat though!) or if the one shoulder pleats and lack of lining support affect the drape, but my neckline does have some extra wrinkles on it and seems to hang a bit lopsided, and it looks even more obvious now I see these photos.  Oh well, since it is asymmetric anyway I am hoping I can get away with it as unpicking anything does not appeal and would probably make it worse!  

Also, the pleats at the skirt and neckline are quite subtle, if I make this again I would like to make them a bit more exaggerated - does anyone have any suggestions how I would do that - slash and spread and make the pleats deeper / add more of them?

Wednesday 8 February 2012

Stashbusting by The Four Tops

(That so should have been an album title!)

After an involved project like a jacket it's nice to make something quick and easy so I pulled out some smallish pieces of knit fabric from a stash and found some patterns that I had already traced and made a top.  And then made some more!  These were all very fast and very simple so I am bunging them altogether in one bumper post - forgive the night time mannequin shots.  I will get around to modelling all these for you soon.

1) Burda Style magazine 11/2011 - 114

In my year end tidy up I found that I had lost the instructions for this one because they were in the photo portion of the magazine which I no longer keep after a year.  It was easy to figure out though.  I made my usual size 38 but needed to unpick the side seams a bit on this one as I found that the wrap was a bit sad and droopy looking.  Maybe it depends on the fabric - mine is a very soft drapy khaki cotton jersey.  I experimented a bit and pulled the top of the side seam out a bit as shown below.  I love the double layer front on this top and the shoulder / back design.

Droopy look before adjustment

The back - there is no shoulder seam, the fronts wrap over the back

The adjustment I made to each side seam

The finished top after adjusting.

 2) Burda Style magazine 05/2004 - 111
I'm sure I will get sick of twist tops one day, but not yet.  This was very quick and easy, but the pattern has cut on sleeves so you need wide fabric to make the pattern properly.  I was working with leftovers of a grey jersey so I cut the sleeves as long as I could and added a doubled over band cut from scraps.  It still only has 3/4 length sleeves but I quite like it.  I sewed up the gaps left around the twist after making it and stitched further up the centre front seam as I found it a bit revealing as it was.

3) Jalie 2804 Empire Crossover top
I'm sorry to say this one has been cut out for at least a year, probably 2!  When I finally got around to sewing it up on my serger it too no more than an hour so I don't know why I left it so long.  I have a co-ordinating cotton print from which I plan to make a matching skirt, hopefully in less time than I got round to the top.

4) Patrones issue 300 #29
This is a loose fitting cowl neck top, here made up in a sheer, almost mesh, butterfly print.  The side and shoulders are stitched with french seams and the hems are just left unfinished so this really was a speedy make.  Of course I will need to wear a cami or something underneath it, but because it is sheer it doesn't always need to be worn with a belt as loose tops often do on me - I just thought it worked with this obi belt I already own.

Friday 3 February 2012

Jacket - The Inside Story

As promised here are some photos showing the work on the inside of the jacket.  The Singer tailoring book I referred to is really well written, with 3 different options for tailoring a jacket;

  • Custom tailoring (lots of hand padstitching etc.)
  • Machine tailoring (using a machine to do padstitching)
  • Speed (or fusible) tailoring (using fusible interfacings)
I'm sure it will come as no surprise that I used the method with the word "speed" in it!  In addition to the book and DVD I already mentioned in my last post some other great resources are;

Sewing tutorials site (a collection of tutorials from various bloggers helpfully put in one place by Sigrid)

Here is the front (fully fused) and side front (partially fused) with the fused chest piece below the shoulder.  I think next time I would fuse the whole side piece and make the chest piece a bit larger, particularly with the weight of this fabric & the pocket I just think both these areas could do with a bit more support.  

The back piece, upper back is interfaced and fusible bias stay tape applied to the neck and armscyes. 

Bound buttonhole (on the left) and the window in the front facing.

Inside view of the above, I used a bias piece of lining on the buttonhole window, organza would be better but lining works.  (There are some great tutorials for bound buttonholes in the sewing tutorials link above if you don't have the Singer Tailoring book).

Here is the whole inside jacket before the lining went in.  I finished the pockets and the collar before sewing the side seams and then setting in the sleeves - it is much easier to work in the flat and also you can fine tune the fit.  This jacket also had back darts and I left those pinned until I was ready to finish the side seams too for the same fitting reasons.

 Here is a closer look at the shoulder and sleeve.  Instead of a sleeve head I bind the top of the armscye with a strip of fleece, it serves the same purpose (I think) and gives a nice rounded finish.  I'm not sure if this is a standard method, it's something I picked up from the English Couture Company course and DVD.  At this stage the shoulder pad was just tacked at the shoulder seam, but I also tacked it about 2/3 of the way down each side.

I don't have photos, but the hem was also fused from the bottom of the jacket to just above the finished hem, which was handstitched, as were the sleeve hems.

I separately assembled the lining and then machined it to the front and back facings.  I then finished attaching it at the hems (jacket and sleeves) by hand, I never enjoy this part but I find I have a lot more control than when I try to do a fully bagged lining by machine.  Something to work on next time!