Saturday, 18 December 2010

Simplicity 2440 - Part 4 - Bodice Boning

Its been a few weeks since I've posted, and a few weeks since I've even done some sewing.  Oops!  Finishing this dress for Christmas day is going to be a bit touch and go now...

My next step is the bodice boning.  I'm using some thin 7mm wide reinforced flexible plastic boning which is suppose to resist twisting.  I moulded the boning into shape by holding it over the kettle spout as it boiled, this made it pliable for a few seconds whilst I bent and straighted.   Shaping the boning will help with the fit and look of the bodice; you can see below, the one on the right is as sold and doesn't sit nicely in the bodice channels when worn.

Next I need to cut out the taffeta, the good fabric, a step I am quite nervous about this time, cross fingers!

Sunday, 28 November 2010

Simplicity 2440 - Part 3 - Fitting woes

Lucky I made a muslin first.  This is a bizarre fit for me - strangely this pattern had a LOT of gaping around the neckline.  It comes with different cup sizes - B, C & D - so yes, us small busted women have been forgotten - again!  Even my google search on how to alter the bust area resulted in FBA help rather than SBA help!  Sigh.  In the end, to alter the cup size on the princess seam, I drew a new line on the front side pattern piece about 1/4 inch in and graduated it back out to the usual line once under the bust.  No idea if this is the right thing to do...

The pattern ease is once again way too large - who wants 4 inches of ease on a spaghetti strapped dress?! I cut a size 10 and not the guideline's 14! 

And after all this, as you can see, a good 2 inches needs to come out of the top.  Cutting a size 6 out in the top half of the bodice should sort the 2 inches. 

2440 front


2440 front


I did add 3 inches to the bodice length, but after fitting this on, I'm going to reduce that by 1 inch as it's a little long and the boning may not sit nicely when I'm sat down.  Taking all my alterations into account, I'm going to cut out my lining next...

Sunday, 21 November 2010

Simplicity 2440 - Part 2 - The Fabric

I have been umming and ahhing over this pattern for a few weeks now; I bought it, but then decided perhaps it wasn't for me.  And let's face it, even if I made this dress an exact replica of Danniis, I still wouldn't look like Dannii in it!  But I've finally decided I'm going to make it, just in a more 'Mrs C' style type of way.

I've chosen this pretty taffeta fabric whilst up in Norfolk this weekend.  You can see its pretty print in pink yellow and black.

I'm going to adjust the pattern to have a side zipper rather than a back one - most of my shop bought dresses have side zips and this will keep the fabric print unbroken in the back.  My zipper skills aren't quite mastered yet either, so this is probably best as it will be more hidden under the arm. 

Next step is the muslin....

Saturday, 13 November 2010

Butterick B5249

For something nice and quick to make whilst pondering on my dress alterations, I chose skirt B in this Butterick pattern.

5249 cover

5249 view B

The material used was a polyester wool mix in a tiny checkered multi brown pattern.

I used my new toy - a Juki MO 644D over locker for the edging, pocket seams and waistband seam - I discovered that I could over lock the seam, then under stitch using the sewing machine, it was a very neat and compact finish. 

pic name

pic name

I made 2 small pattern alterations - I took the waistband down by 1.5 inches so that it sat more on my hips which I prefer, and I also lined the skirt.  All up, this took me about 8 hours, which for me is pretty good (I'm not the fastest sewer!).  I like the pocket pleat detail as it's something different for a work skirt, and also the edge finishes from my over locker was pretty satisfying too. 

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Perfect for the office, and today I bought more of that fabric to make a matching jacket in this Burda pattern:

Saturday, 30 October 2010

Simplicity 2648 version 2

I'm sewing this 2648 pattern again, this time though I'm making view A with the sleeves, but without the belt.  I'm also going to line it so that I can wear it to work over winter.  The material is a polyester fabric that's really smooth and silky.  This is the pattern up close:

And the dress so far:

Yes, all just a bit matronly really, not good.  The neckline is much higher than I thought it would be, so before I progress anymore I've got to figure out how I can make the scoop bigger and then make new facing pattern pieces to match.   Stay tuned.....

Monday, 18 October 2010

Simplicity 2440 - Part 1 - The thought

I'm going to make myself a Christmas party dress.  I haven't actually got a party to go to yet, but I'm sure it'll happen! 

I was watching x-factor last weekend (don't we all?) and the lovely Dannii wore one of her own designs from Project D - jingle dress - it was just amazing. 

I'm thinking I could make this with Simplicity's 2440, view D, with some adaptations to get the ruffles on the skirt, what do you think?

Saturday, 16 October 2010

Jalie 3024

I'd never heard of Jalie patterns before coming across them in Pattern Review.  I checked out their website and found this dress pattern:

I like that necklace as well...

This will be the first time I've made something in a knit fabric.  The pattern's suggested fabric was a 40% stretch across the grain AND lengthwise.  Yes, the pattern actually put the word 'and' in capitals.  So it must be important right?  I set off searching all my fav online fabric stores, but none of them had this type of stretch description - not a good start.  Gorgeous Fabrics website had some great knit prints though, so I emailed and asked their advice; within 5 minutes I had a reply (very impressed) that went:
"I don't know why Jalie puts 4 way on all their patterns. You need 4 way stretch for leggings and leotards, but not for that dress. You only need stretch in the cross-wise direction to go around the body."
Not that important after all then!

Buying from GF unfortunately didn't work for me with the expensive postage costs from the US, but I found some lovely fabric on The Remnant House website, and on sale too.  We all love a bargain! 

This fabric is a single knit medium weight jersey.  Laying it out and cutting it was really difficult - it probably was not a good idea to use a print for my first foray into knits, but after a while of fiddling and trying to match up the print repeats down the fabric, I was happy enough to lay the pattern pieces on.  I also put sheets of newspaper underneath and pinned that in as well to try and stop the jersey moving when cutting.  That seemed to work pretty well.

This was a really easy pattern to put together taking about 4 hours all up.  Beware though - there is no ease at all.  Mine only just fits! 

Saturday, 9 October 2010

Knitting & Stitching Show London 2010

Today I went to the knitting and stitching show held in London's Alexandra Palace.  It was a big day, really tiring, but enjoyable.  It was predominately knitting and craft related stands, but there was quite a few stands dedicated to dress materials and notions too.    But I can't believe I didn't buy anything!!

There was a lot of space dedicated to displays of all things wool and fabric related.  I loved the hand knitting area, this stuff is really impressive:

I also did a 2 hour workshop to learn a technique for pattern making.  It's based on building the pattern on the dress form so as to be creative with seam placement and design.  The technique consists of wrapping tape around paper on the form, then drawing the design onto it.  Once the paper is cut off the form, it's flattened out in order to trace it out to make a pattern piece. 

I think my design needs a little (well okay, a lot!) of work, but this really is a great concept and it would be brilliant to actually use it and make something by it one day.

Sunday, 3 October 2010

McCall's M5759

This McCall's coat should help to see me through the chilly autumn weather.  I've made it in a wool mix, so it may even see through some of the winter...
No major dramas with making this jacket.  The instructions where quite good and the pictures helped out when the words got a bit brief in sections.  I made a size 12, which was probably one size too big.  The shoulders were also a really wide fit and I had to bring in each one an inch.

I really like the funky button hole placement on this pattern - they sit within the seams so it looks clean.  However the bottom front of this jacket is too high for my liking - the cross over sits around belly button height, so it can really only be worn with high waisted skirts.  If I made it again, I would take some of the curve out which should bring it down.  I also left the pockets off as they just didn't sit right.

M5759 front

M5759 back


Bring on the chill!

Saturday, 11 September 2010

Future Project ideas

Even before I've finished my current project, I'm on the outlook for more!  I've seen some great patterns which I can't wait to try:

First favourite is the Badgley Mishka design, Vogue V1195.  This just looks so stylish and I love the flowy over-top, but I wouldn't make this until I found just the right material as that pattern makes this outfit.

Next up is McCall's M5525 mac.  I love the sleeves on the black mac in the picture, but I'd probably make it with the standard collar rather than the rounded one.

And this Butterick pattern B5520 reminds me of Victoria Beckham's design as worn by Elle.

Wednesday, 8 September 2010

Simplicity 2413

Okay, already onto my next project!  View A, tulip skirt style is up next.

Making the muslin trial of this skirt, I realised it was pretty simple, but if not done just right, it would look really home-made.  For instance I will get a tracing wheel and paper to get the pleats exact so it doesn't look unbalanced.  And I need to pay attention to pinning and sewing the pleats as you'll notice below the front pleats should be facing outwards not inwards (oops!).  I haven't got my material yet for this skirt so the project is on hold for now; I'm hoping to find something great at the Knitting and Stitching fair in a few weeks time.

After posting the above, I could see it wasn't just the direction the pleats faced that was the only thing wrong.  Now, I'm not sure if I was being a numpty, but I just couldn't get how I should be folding them.  It took me quite some time to figure it out too!  So for all of you who are also struggling with this, here's some help:

On each side of the centre, fold on the 2nd dotted line and bring to the first dotted line.  Next fold on the 4th line and bring to the 3rd, and so-on.  Wrong side should then look like this:

Front skirt wrong side view
Flipping that over it will look like this (better than the muslin look right?!):

Front skirt view
Update - 28/10/2010

Yes, I got stuck again, hence the reason why it's taken me sooooo long to finish this project.  This skirt has pockets built into the side seams, and I've been perplexed about how to insert the zipper into the side seam as well as having the pocket there.  Wouldn't the pocket be unusable if the zip was closed??   Anyhow, the pattern instructions were absolutely terrible at this point which meant I had to figure it out myself.  I admit, I gave up. I left the pocket out and just sewed in the zipper.  There, skirt finished, job done.

If only! I had to solve it so my mind could rest.  So, after a lot of pinning, unpinning, pinning again, still with no luck, I went onto the web and finally came across a forum question in PR where another confused sewer had this same problem (at least I'm not the only one!).  The forum response directed me to a blog where a picture made it all go "click" in my brain - yay!

So to help any fellow sewers out there struggling to understand as well, here is how I did it:

Sew the pocket pieces right sides together. 

Attach the front part of the pocket to the front of the skirt in the normal way. 

Attach the invisible zipper to the back piece of the skirt normally also - ie. the pocket does not get sewn onto the back of the skirt at all. 

Then, the front of the zipper attaches to the back of the pocket and to the front part of skirt above pocket top.  Difficult to explain but I hope the pictures have helped.

And now the final product...

I do love this skirt, I wore it out to dinner in London and it was a hit :)  I will definitely make it again and next time with no dramas at all!

Wednesday, 1 September 2010

Simplicity 2648

I like the look of this Amazing Fit pattern, really suitable for work.  I have high hopes for this pattern since I should be able to easily tailor the sizing to fit.  But I'm going to make it first in muslin just in case...!

Overall I'm pretty happy with the result, it was simple to make and took about 12 hours all up.  My measurements were for a 12, but when I made the muslin trial it was way too big, so cut an 8 in good fabric.  Black doesn't photograph very well, but I made view C which is the same as above picture.

Monday, 30 August 2010

Making the dress form

I've had a few failed attempts now at garment making, so I've decided to invest in a dress form; hopefully this will help with the fitting and look of my garments.  After researching, and seeing the prices!, I decided to make my own form which would be true to my actual shape, and a lot cheaper!  Threads website had instructions, and my husband helpfully, but begrudgingly, wrapped me up in duct tape.  I've filled the inside with stuffing and put the form onto a hat stand bought from Ikea.  It's not the neatest thing (next one would be a lot better I think), but hopefully it will do the job.