Wednesday, 4 November 2015

Completed: Bunny Dress with Pom Pom Trim

Yay the weather is finally warming up!! Summer clothing time! <3

Alright! Time to start off with a dress covered in bunnies. What? I enjoy dressing like a five year old, don't judge! lol :)

This is self-drafted using my bodice block. I know what you're thinking though... isn't that just like the Sewaholic Cambie Dress? Why didn't I just use that? Well, for one, I already made it, and the fit was bad. It bugs me every time I wear it *shudder*. Secondly, I like to draft stuff. And third, this IS slightly different: It has a front button opening, and has full straps, instead of front straps that attach to a full back bodice.

The Cambie back bodice, for your reference.

The strap thing is important: I wanted to incorporate this adorable pom pom trim I had, and thought it would work way better as straps, instead of trying to weirdly make it work with the strap/bodice combo.

The pom pom trim and the pockets are my favourite things about this dress! SO CUTE! Oh, and the fabric of course!

This is similar to the fabric I used in my Cat Lady dress, and the reason for that is that they are part of the same range of fabric, "Dear Little World". I don't usually buy quilting cotton, but sometimes I just want an obnoxiously cute dress.

Cat Lady Dress!

Next time I would straighten out the centre front bodice earlier, as it sort of curves up subtly at the centre. But clearly I enjoy the pockets way too much to focus on that...

The biggest thing I would change is the straps. I like where they sit on the front just fine, but I think they are too far out to the sides at the back.  The shaping at the shoulders is also off - too high at the inner edge, and too low at the outer edge!

Look how far apart the straps are... whoops! lol :P 

All of this means they easily fall off my shoulders. I installed bra strap holders (bought at local store Made Marion) on the inside so my bra would help keep them in check. Because I was too lazy to fix the straps, I just made more work somewhere else. Perfectly logical.

I was too lazy to make the changes the straps needed for this dress, and I'm happy enough with them this time, but if I made it again, I'd try to improve them! Anyway, I've already worn it out and about, and the straps didn't bother me, so it was fine.

I think I like how they curve off the shoulder, but tried them sitting on the shoulder, and that's an option know, IF I make this again.

Straps ON the shoulder. I prefer them curving off it though, it's kinda like a cap sleeve!

I love how drafting from my block means I don't have to worry about fit. I don't understand why more people don't do this. Drafting is fun!

Also, I made a tulle petticoat. Most of these pictures I don't have it on underneath, but it does add a bit of puffiness. I mixed up the photos and don't care enough to figure it out. Hah! I'll have to post about the petticoat in a separate post!

I lined the dress in cream voile. One of the bits about drafting your own stuff is making up your own instructions. Which admittedly slows down my sewing, but I made it work!
It also helps to have crafty friends like fellow blogger A Charm of Magpies to donate her sewing brains!

I wanted to self-line the whole bodice, but didn't have enough fabric! I interfaced the whole outer shell of the bodice as the fabric is lightweight. I also interfaced the self-facing at the centre front, but only on the button part. Same with the skirt; the narrow facing for the button band is interfaced. I wasn't sure if it looked weird jumping from the wide bodice facing to the narrow skirt facing, but I can't think of a better way to do it. Construction advice gratefully received, as always!

Anyway, that's my dress... bring on summer, and bring on more summer dresses (and better photos... lol!)

Sunday, 18 October 2015

Completed (again): McCalls Knit Dress

Hello! I made a merino dress! I've made this knit pattern a few times now (McCalls 5974), so for a more in-depth look at the pattern, check those out, particularly my first encounter with it, where I grumped about the pattern, lol.
Update on the older makes: I definitely wear the merino one the most. The other ones are more thin and clingy so I feel a bit more self-conscious in them. Plus the merino one is perfect with tights, which feels less exposed again.
Oh, and apologies for the wrinkles in my dress!

To summarise the problems I have with this pattern:
-Big 4 and their notorious ease. I went down 3 sizes to start with, and took it in from there. LOL at them including 4" of ease in a fitted knit dress. Guys, what are you UP TO?

-The construction instructions are dumb and time-wasting. I elaborated on this in my first post. Also, lol at their instructions including an option for a zip (so unnecessary for a knit, I guess unless you used a super-stable non-stretchy knit).

Oh! I also made my lovely Mum one out of some super luscious merino. She looks beautiful right?? And the dress is only a small part of that :)  I made a similar size to mine with just a few minor tweaks to improve the fit. Adjustments to the shoulders, waist and a slight FBA.

The merino I used for mine was on special, and it's definitely not as nice in quality; it feels a bit thinner, and not as delightfully soft as that gorgeous teal merino. Still, I've been wearing it plenty as a casual, warm dress. I wish my fabric was a little beefier though, as I think a thicker knit makes it more dressy. As I mentioned, I'm not a fan of thin and clingy knits!

Actually, looking at these pictures now, I think I would have done better to shorten it a little; I think that gives a more youthful look. Also, I feel quite comfortable in shorter skirts when I know I'm going to always wear tights with them!

Okay, let's talk about the hem. It is wonky as heck. Because I was too lazy to level it. I ALWAYS regret not levelling hems. Okay, hopefully the lesson sticks this time. I thought I'd be smart and lengthen the back, as that always needs less taken off when levelling (due to my butt!). As you can see, I over-compensated and it's actually too long in the back. Better than too short I guess? lol.

I've covered my construction notes in the previous posts, but for your reference, it is mainly overlocked. The hem on the neckline is nothing fancy, just double rolled and topstitched. I know some people finish this with a shorter band that pulls the neckline in, to prevent gape, but for this dress I've found this actually unnecessary! Another tecnhique I considered was putting some clear elastic in it, but I went without, and it is fine. This may vary between knits though.

Even though hemming around a neckline curve would be a disaster on a woven, the knits I've used have taken this treatment without complaint. Even after going through the wash multiple times, the neckline on my grey dress is holding up great. So sometimes keeping it simple totally works.

The sleeve and skirt hems are finished with a twin needle. Pretty standard stuff.
This dress is on the practical end of the spectrum so I can't say I'm totally excited about it, but I'm glad to have it. :)

Looking like a dork giving a twirl! As you can see I wear a half-slip with this dress to combat the cling-factor.

Anyway, HOORAY I don't have to wear this much anymore - the weather is warming up and I'm so happy! Bring on the warm weather, and bring on Summer :) And Summer dresses ;)

Saturday, 5 September 2015

Completed Knit: Berwick

Hi! It's been quite a while since I posted; life has been really busy with school work.
Here's a jersey I made. This took me, oh, about a year? I stopped knitting it mid-project because I decided I wasn't a fan of the style after all. It's just so clingy around my bum and I knew it was going to turn out too short for my comfort.

Later, I decided to complete it as I'd already knitted so much of it, and I knew I'd at least find it comfy around the home.

The pattern is Berwick, found here on Ravelry. The original pattern is a bit different; it's shorter and has a kangaroo pocket.

I find that a really awkward length, hence my decision to lengthen it. But I didn't lengthen it enough! And I also forgot how much I disliked garments that were clingy on my butt and thighs and stomach. Ugh, I'm never wearing this out (even though I have publicly blogged it, which doesn't make much logical sense). I hate clothing that makes me feel like I have to suck my gut in and worry about it riding up to show my butt!

So uncomfortable 

It's too bad, because I really love the squishy collar! It is knitted in a brioche rib, which takes forever, but I must admit, is a very nice effect.

I also like the buttons....

...which are a total fake out!! As you can see, it's done up with snaps. This is the way the pattern instructs and I am not a fan. What's the point?? It would have been easy enough to write buttonholes into the pattern, and then I wouldn't have to sew on two sets of snaps, thus saving me time and annoyance.

There's ribbon sewn on the back of each snap section to stabilise the area. Another gripe with this pattern - it asks you to buy 45cm of ribbon (which I did), and then asks you to cut two 25cm lengths. Which adds up to a total of 50cm. That's a problem. As you can see, my ribbon is a bit skimpy, which doesn't really matter, but still. Basic maths.
ALSO! Did you notice the different shade of blue along the top of the collar?? Turns out, my laaaast little bit of wool was dyed differently and did not match. This annoyed me a bit, but as I am not too invested in the garment, I'm actually fine with it. Like I said, I won't be out and about in this.

You may have noticed , one side of the hem is saggy. I put this down to lazy and careless blocking, as I had really become pretty blasé about the garment by that point! It must have gotten stretched out! Either that or my knitting went horribly wrong without me noticing.

I don't have heaps to say about this garment, but I'm glad to blog again after not posting for a while. Hopefully next time I will be more excited about what I have to show you guys. Heh! Anyway, I don't think I've mentioned this on my blog yet, so this is a little bit of news for those of you who stuck around till the end. lol! I've switched to studying fashion design, and I'm really enjoying it! I don't think I'll be sharing my school work on my blog, but I'm thinking of sharing some snaps of my school life on my instagram. Would you guys be interested? :)

Anyway, I'm still reading everyone's blogs, even if mine is a little quiet right now! Would you guys blog something you feel uncomfortable in? I guessed I've learned one more lesson about what is and isn't right for me!

Sunday, 12 July 2015

Agatha 2.0 for OAL 2015

As I mentioned in my previous post, I'm participating in #OAL2015 (outfit-along 2015). Here is the cardigan I made to match my dress!

I made another Agatha cardigan (a lovely design by Andi Satterlund); you can see my first one here.

Because I started this project when I was busy at uni and I didn't feel I had time to plan it out, I made some dumb mistakes.

First of all, sit down because I'm going to shock you. I did NOT swatch for this project. Unprecedented for a religious swatcher such as myself! I just cast on, thinking "my gauge will probably be the same". Well it wasn't, and after knitting a little bit of the back, I compared it to my first Agatha and could see it was too big. No big deal; I just ripped it out and started with a size smaller needle! I guess I just live on the edge these days. Lol!

Here is a comparison of my first cast on (too big) compared to my second.

As I become a more experienced knitter I seem to get more and more reckless. Frogging barely fazes me anymore (though I take the opportunity for a hearty grumble). This wool is actually frogged from an old project (a jersey blogged here)!! Yes, I decided that I'd get more wear and enjoyment out of it as a cardigan. Not to mention, FREE WOOL! Hah!

If I had bothered to read my notes on my previous Agatha, that would have helped.
I ended up making the EXACT same mistake I'd made on the sleeves the first time. Hah! Proof my brain works in the same way it used to. I accidentally did some of the lace decreases going the wrong direction on the sleeves. AGAIN. lol!

Anyway, after knitting about a third of the sleeve, I started to recall the fact that I felt the sleeves were snug on my first one, and I'd chosen a size DOWN from that. Hmm, to start again or not? I hate these kind of decisions... I seem to have a history of bad sleeve choices! Seriously, on my current project, I've restarted the sleeve 3 times. Ugh. Anyway, after trying it on I decided it was okay, and it would probably loosen up a bit with blocking. This WAS partly my laziness talking.

Anyway, I knitted to about 3/4 and then had to admit it was too tight. I knew it would just annoy me.

Froggy old sleeve.

One mod I made to the pattern this time was to bring the inner neck point in. I find the wide neck on Agatha a bit weird for a cardigan so did a bit of fiddling with the pattern. Agatha is knit top-down starting with the shoulders. So I started with four MORE stitches for each shoulder, but increased four less for each side of the neckline. This meant I had the same amount of stitches as the pattern by the time the neckline was complete. I did have to start the lace a bit earlier but it turned out to be pretty minimal fuss. I just counted back the rows to make sure my lace was at the same place (row-wise) as the pattern's at the centre front neckline. That probably makes NO sense.

And then I go and show off my neckline by completely covering it with a collar.

Moving on, another mod was lengthening it past the waist and changing the waist shaping to reflect that. My shaping actually goes out again a little bit after the waist and is less drastic than the original pattern. The original pattern has bizarrely steep decreases in the body and sleeves, and I suspect this is to make the converging lines of the ribs look dramatic. I was happy to sacrifice that though.

Again, I then proceeded to neglect to get any photos of me wearing it that really show off the side decreases. Oops

The same extreme shaping is found in the sleeves. I decided to space these out more, and also do less decreases so it was less tight at the wrist.

Look how extreme the first sleeve is! Mine slopes gently. And again, I should have gotten a finished pic of it, but you get the idea lol....sorry!
Here's a picture I call "why you SHOULD block":

See how much more nice, flat, and open my finished dark purple Agatha is? My lilac one is pre-block here and it looks much less pretty. This picture also shows my waist decreases and increases located on the sides of the lilac garment.

I sewed ribbon to the button bands to stablise them and stop them from stretching and pulling.

I often find it hard to find matching ribbon, but I totally lucked out with this adorable polka dot ribbon from Made on Marion, a local craft store! I try to support local whenever possible instead of soulless big-box stores. Sorry, didn't mean to preach there.

Honestly, it's not as flattering totally buttoned up. It makes my boobs look kinda saggy or something, but this is probably more a function of my horrible bra situation than anything else. TMI? Yeah that's probably TMI, but us sewing bloggers are all frank when it comes to garments :P

I like it best partially done up. And I hope to make a bra that is nicer one day. Lol. I even have some of the supplies!

I think I'll definitely enjoy this cardigan more than in its previous life as a jersey. Thanks Andi and Lauren for hosting the event. If you didn't already know, Lauren is a sewing idol of mine and Andi is a knitting design hero! You guys both RULE! Thanks for being mega-inspiring!!

I'm really pleased with my outfit, and I can't wait to see everyone else's lovely garment combos! :D

Sunday, 5 July 2015

The "Trees" dress for OAL 2015

Hi guys! I finally finished the dress I made for the outfit-along 2015! It goes really well with the cardigan part of the outfit, but I'll save that for my next blog post since I have lots to say ;)

So let's talk about how this is a cuteness overload. I got given this fabric by a lovely friend who also blogs and sews! I called it the Trees dress after her :) It's not the typical kind of print I go for (I affectionately call this a grandma print).

Well, I guess it's floral and in the colours I love, so most people would think this is actually totally a Jo print. But I have extremely specific floral criteria, believe it or not. Moi? Picky???
But I felt I could definitely make it work as it was on the Jo spectrum of florals. Haha.
I thought I'd just go for it and make it as over-the-top cute as possible, since that's what it seemed to be asking for.
I wasn't sure this would end up being a "me" garment, but I actually really like it!

I drafted the pattern myself from my bodice block (same old story as usual).

Because this isn't a pattern-drafting blog, I'm not going to go into the details of everything. Here's the summary!

Drafting details:
Scooping out the neckline slightly
Drafting the collar
Drafting the skirt
Converting darts into princess seams
Removing some width from the centre front, and replacing it with button plackets
Bias strips to finish the neckline and armholes

And after all that effort, I neglected to get a close up of the star of the show: the collar! Such a disgrace. Here is a cropped-in photo so you can see it a bit better.

I sort of guessed at the size and shape of the front of the collar when I drafted it. Then I cut it out of calico (muslin for you U.S readers) and basted it onto my garment-in-progress. I decided to trim a little bit off to reshape the front points, and finalised my collar from there.

Collar love! 

You know what is a pain with plackets? You have to be really careful when sewing them down, because they try to twist! Well, mine do. I think it's due to the feed dogs pulling the fabric on the bottom through at a faster rate. Sometimes I end up with a little bubble on the top layer that needs easing in. NOT a good look. It happened on the underneath placket on the bodice and it's so ugly. I let it slide because it won't be seen, but still... I need a solution here!

I underlined the bodice, because the cotton was lightweight and thin. I underline partly out of habit really. I supposed I could have just lined the whole thing, which would have meant I didn't need the bias facing on the edges! I AM a bit scared of lining, even though I've done it before, as it complicates the construction process. I'll have a go at lining next time.

That was partly an issue with this dress- the construction process! Since I self-drafted, I didn't have any instructions to follow, so I ended up doing some things in a silly order and then unpicking them when I realised I should have done X before Y (mainly involving the button placket!).

I added some rayon seam binding to the waistline seam allowance. Partly for the idea of a waist-stay (though I'm not sure seam binding is sturdy enough to provide support). Really, I just wanted an excuse for this pretty pop of pink, and to use the seam binding Sonya of Ginger Makes sent me, cos she's AMAZING. Kindest/coolest/most talented girl ever!!

I also opted to line the skirt. I used a cheap acetate, which does the trick, though I think we all know acetate is kinda nasty. The lining is caught into the centre front. I hemmed it before catching it into the placket.
Or rather, I eventually ended up doing this after after unpicking parts of the placket due to aforementioned construction snafus. So much redoing!

Levelling the hem on this was a pain, due to the order of construction I was making up as I went along. Meh. lol. Enough said about that! I've noted down what to do for next time.

After my previous skirt's blind hem wasn't stellar, I was giving my blind hem function a mistrustful side-eye, but went through with it anyway.... and it was beautiful this time! I put it down to highly cooperative fabric. It's so invisible (I'm sure the print helps too). I just overlocked the raw edges before blind hemming.

Check out my in-seam pockets!

Fun fact: I was going to design some patch pockets once I had made the garment so I could decide their shape and placement on the body. Then I went into autopilot and managed to cut and completely sew inseam pockets into the side seams! I only realised what I'd done JUST as I finished congratulating myself on my pockets! Lol! Well, maybe less is more. Hah!

Addicted to full skirts. It's A-line AND gathered, not just a rectangle.

I'm proud of my drafting, even though it isn't anything mind-blowing. And I'd like to make another one!
I'm thinking for the next time I want to use a flat piping (no cord) in the same places as the lace. Ooh<3 Exciting!

I know I like a garment when I start pulling goofy poses... lol :)
By the way, aren't I smart, making a summer dress right in the middle of winter? What can I say, the spirit took me... Looking forward to warmer weather guys!
Have you got any self-drafting in the pipeline? Do you find it worth your time? :)