Sunday, 1 March 2015

A small post about smalls

I've posted about undie-making before, having made made myself pants from Ohhh Lulu, and some for my fella too, from Thread Theory. The blogosphere seems to be a bit obsessed with bra-sewing at the moment (see SewaholicLladybird, Very Purple Person, and Clothing Engineer for a few examples!) but I haven't ventured that far yet! (Though I certainly would like to... I'm definitely a bit scared though- mainly of the fitting I admit!)

Anyway, this is a super simple free undies pattern from "So, Zo, What do you know?". It's faster to sew than the Ohhh Lulu pattern I have used, because this one only has side seams, rather than side panels! I still like the Ohhh Lulu pattern though, because it gives you more fun opportunities to play with fabrics. However, I can't deny that the speed of sewing these ones from So, Zo up is extremely satisfying.


This was my first encounter with fold-over elastic, having used picot for my previous underwear efforts. I must say, I really like the finish, and found it quite easy to sew on! It feels more durable than picot and feels really smooth and comfortable (some nasty-quality picots I've gotten are a bit scratchy). I also think it looks great. I used So, Zo's instructions for how to assemble them, but I have decided I don't like that way (though it is perfectly fine).  

You can see in the picture below, the top edge has been finished my preferred way. This way, I enclose the side seam in the elastic. It looks smooth and neat.
The bottom edge has been done with the side seam finished last. I don't like this because it looks lumpier, and also my overlocker struggles to get over all those layers.

And oops, omg rogue threads need clipping!

I made the UK size 12, which equates to an Australian size 14. That's larger than I wear, but I thought I'd better size up. And I'm glad I did! They're definitely not too loose.

I chose to sew my elastic on simply by sandwiching the fabric in between the two layers, although some instructions advise you to sew it in two passes. One to secure the first side of the elastic, and then another pass to secure the other side. That way is slower, but more fool-proof. I lived on the edge and did it in one pass, and it worked fine, so hooray!

As you can see, I sewed the elastic on with a wide zig zag (and not a terribly straight one, but hey, I was learning as I went). I stretched the elastic slightly, as I'm used to stretching picot in the same way. However, I'll try doing it without stretching next time; the undies pinch in a bit at the elastic.  Not in a way that hurts, but it is enough to give me subtle lumps, haha! I don't wear clothes tight enough to reveal the pinches though, so it doesn't matter.

For next time, I've added a little bit more butt-coverage, so hopefully that works well! I'm looking forward to perfecting this pattern in terms of construction and fit, and then making a little run of them, production-line style. I'll never want for undies again!

The fabric is the leftovers from the dress I made here. Using leftover knit fabric means the elastic and thread is really the only cost. :)
This post has been a little sparse on pictures, but I hope it's helpful to anyone considering making their own undies. I encourage it, as they are cheap, fast, and fun :)

I know a lot of you have made your own, and I'm keen to hear your opinion on which elastic you like and your fav finishing techniques!

Sunday, 22 February 2015

(Finally) Complete: Red Linen Skirt

Hello there! This post comes to you from the depths of the U.F.O (UnFinished Object) pile. This skirt sat unfinished for probably... a year?

The pattern is New Look 6106, a simple A-line skirt with pockets. As you can see, there is a band around the hem, which allows for contrast fabrics. I don't think that style appeals to me currently though. I feel like colour-blocking works better for a dress; I like the idea of keeping the skirt simple. That way, mixing and matching it seems easier.

The fabric is linen, and I heroically fit the skirt out of the remnants of my linen dress (which I totally don't wear because I over-tightened the shoulders). Wow, my blog's getting old now! That dress was blogged over 2 years ago... I'm pleased to say I've improved my sewing since then, heh.

The top is actually a Sewaholic Pendrell blouse I made ages ago, but I found the big pleated footballer-looking sleeves inhibited its wearability. The fabric is lightweight, but has lots of body to it, so the sleeves stuck out! It took very little time to unpick that part of the seam, pull them out, and re-sew it, and I'm glad I did! I'll get way more wear out of it now.

Here's the original sleeves!

So why did this skirt sit in the UFO pile for so long? Well, I wasn't having a great feeling about how it was going to turn out, so I moved onto something shinier. I'm TERRIBLE like that, and I'm trying to fix that habit!

The skirt has pockets, but they stick out a bit. I'm wondering if they stretched out on the bias? I didn't stabilise them. You can see this best from a bird's-eye view:

I took this while wearing it.
Not overly attractive! I don't know if I'll bother making this skirt again. I think the reason it was so hard to finish was because it didn't overly inspire me. But hopefully I get some wear out of it on a casual basis.

Also, it was stupidly windy when I took these photos:

I'm sure I can't be the only blogger who hates doing the photo bit? lol!

Side one, the waistband appears to tilt a little (tilting waistlines are my nemesis!). I swear it looked fine in the mirror too. Can I blame the wind? No?

I even lined the dang thing (sometimes I think I used to have more patience with my sewing, and now I rush too much!).

Aaand, these pictures of the insides totally went hot pink when I uploaded them! Thanks Blogger!! (This is a mystery to me and I'm too lazy to explore it).

At the time when I made this, I tried to tinker with the fit to give me a full butt adjustment. This involved adding length at the centre back and increasing the width of the back darts too. 
I'm not really sure this is even necessary for an A-line skirt, but oh, I just can't resist the urge to tinker. I also altered the yoke to fit my curves, and graded out at the side seams. The annoying thing about that is that it messes with the pockets, so it's not as simple when it could be. Sigh, fitting and pattern alterations!

Though it's PRETTY hard to evaluate the fit when the wind won't let the skirt settle for even a moment.

I'm glad to have finally finished and blogged this skirt. Now, how many more garments lie in the U.F.O pile, just waiting to be shown who's boss? Hmm, off the top of my head, at LEAST 3. And that doesn't count knitting U.F.Os. Go on and confess guys- how many do you have? And what's your oldest U.F.O? :D

Monday, 16 February 2015

Completed: One more Beignet Skirt (plus bonus top)

Isn't the Beignet skirt from Colette patterns great? I first made it in corduroy, then in wool, and now in a heavy cotton.

And you may recognise the top fabric from my birthday dress. Don't you love when you have leftovers enough for something else? It is the same modded-beyond-recognition pattern I used here, which I made with a scoop neckline this time. I'm still not 100% on the fit, though of course you can't really tell much when you tuck it in. The main issue I have is with the back armhole, there's something weird going on back there, and I intend to get to the bottom of it...

It looks like there's a centre back seam, but it's just a crease from being folded...
Speaking of fit, my Beignet skirt is allllmost there. I thought I had it about perfect, but there's a bit of straining on the side. I believe this indicates I need a bit more curve in my side seams at the high hip! There's also a slight bunching above the back. I first noticed it in my wool Beignet, but this confirms to me it wasn't just a fluke! I wonder if the bunching will relax when the side seams are let out?

This picture shows the strain quite well, though the (weird) way I'm standing is probably not helping.
Also, it was super windy on the day, so in most pictures I'm being blown around like crazy, heh. This is fairly standard for Wellington, but it doesn't stop me getting frustrated at it! It does not mix well with my love for floppy hats, yet I insist on wearing them...

"Curse you, wind!!"
I was a good girl and took shots of the guts, because I'm proud of them, hah!

Look at the corner, omg so sharp! That is some HOGWARTS-level magic.
I tinkered with the pattern and pattern instructions to build in turn of cloth to the facing, and just to be generally fancy. I am really pleased with how it worked, though it took me a while to figure out how to do turn of cloth on both the waistline AND the hem (I had to change the construction a bit). It was worth it though. Just because I'm a nerd really, and I find that kind of thing satisfying. I guess it's rather unnecessary, heh. 

As you can see, I used a light-weight cotton for the facings, as the shell fabric was quite stiff. I don't know much about the fabric as I got it at a pop-up store. I would describe it as denim-weight, but not denim. Hey, it works. I need to shorten the lining next time though as it's too close to the hem. That was my fault for adjusting for turn of cloth at the hem!

WIND, stop!
The top was fairly straight forward. Have some more guts.

I pressed one of my neck darts in the wrong direction. The shame.

On the plus side, the sleeve and neckline bias facings are some of the least terrible I've done!
I found the bias of this fabric to be rather agreeable and malleable. I pressed it into a curved shape before applying it, and I found that helped.

Overall I hope I get a lot of wear out of these garments! :) I think they'll be pretty versatile!

Saturday, 31 January 2015

Two Simple Garments with Complicated Origin Stories

So this is the Colette Meringue skirt, but actually not at all, really. Warning: long post ahead!

This skirt was one of those projects that took forever (I feel I say that a lot!). But seriously, I've had this planned since.... pretty much when I started this blog? I wanted a darted skirt that fit me. Now that was a tall order, for someone who had no idea how to fit things to my body.

At that time when I knew so little, I struggled soooo much with the fit of the original muslin. I went down into a deep sewing darkness of muslin after muslin, with no satisfaction. It was BAD, people! I never blogged it because it was just too hard, and I couldn't get anywhere! One of the worst sewing experiences of my life!
I eventually gave up. The drama.

After I abandoned the Meringue skirt, I got more experience with fitting, and tried again with the Beignet skirt. Turns out a full butt adjustment and fine tuning of the side seams, (as well as a few other things) is necessary for me! And I finally got a fit that worked, after a few muslins. So this time, I thought, why reinvent the wheel? I shall turn my princess-seamed Beignet pattern into a darted pattern.
And I did. See Kat's post for how this concept works!

For a large dart reduction, you must split the darts into two. This is pretty usual for a fitted skirt, so my backside has two large darts. I did a muslin and it looked pretty okay (at this point, I was ready to settle for "pretty good", not perfect!).

Also, it was windy that day!

The fabric is some cheap polyester I bought when I first started sewing. I didn't find it very kind. I have found with other polyesters too, they want to show every single pucker, and of course you can't press them out!

I had to finesse the darts a bit in the back, taking them in a bit more near the tip and making them longer. I probably could have done even more with this adjustment, as they still look a little puffy near the ends (much better than they did though), but I also just think this fabric doesn't press overly well. Thoughts, anyone?
Oh yeah, and I underlined the poly with a lightweight cotton to take some drape out, which may have made the dart tips a bit tricky too, who knows?

Overall though, I'm very pleased with myself with creating this shaping for my tricksy rear end:

As for the front darts, I think they look a little bit puffy too, but I didn't adjust them. If there is a second attempt (I do think it deserves one), I am considering making the front darts smaller and taking the equivalent out of the side seams, so it remains the same circumference at the waist. I've seen this in my favourite fitting book (Sarah Veblen's The Complete Photo Guide to Perfect Fitting). I'm hoping this would decrease the puffy look of the darts at the bottom as it would have less intake at the top. Not sure if that makes sense!
It also is supposed to give you a flatter look across the front.

So, the Meringue skirt has scallops. Mine DID have them!
They were a total pain in the rear, because I had to redraft them onto the bottom of my skirt (which took me stupidly long because learning), and because I screwed up the sewing.

In this Threads article (and other references I've seen too, such as the Colette Sewing book), you are recommended to notch into the curves to get them to sit nicely when turned out.
But in this article on Pattern Scissors Cloth, Sherry recommends to simply trim closely, which she says produces a superior result. Faster AND better? I'm in!!

I 100% should have made a sample; I am really bad at doing this. The stupid thing is it's because I'm impatient, but it would save me a lot of time in some instances (like this one)!
I had to clip in very close to the points to get them to turn out, yuck. I keep saying I hate this, because I do.

I opted to top-stitch because I wanted to make sure the little suckers stayed in place, and to try to bully out the stubborn puckers at the apex. Also, according to Sherry, this strengthens them (since they're clipped in so close, they're a lot weaker!)

After all that....I decided the scallops were too poorly executed, so I chopped them off. Argh!! I don't want to look "Becky Home-Ecky" as Michael Kors would say... haha! It wasn't a good feeling though, with all the time and effort I put in.

Taking this blog back to its roots with poor quality in-progress shots.

The thread lines are where I basted the underlining to the shell fabric through the darts to keep them together. Also, you can really see the dodgy puckers at the tops of the scallops here.

For next time, I think I would have better success with scallops if I pivoted more at the points. For points such as scallops and collar points, you should take a horizontal stitch or more (depending on the bulk of the fabric) at the top of the point, to help it turn better. The ones where I didn't pivot enough looked the worst. Overall, I think I can blame the fabric a tiny bit, though. This polyester didn't enjoy being pressed (which I think also made the darts not look as good either).

I still love scallops though. I'll have you one day, my dears. Here is some scalloped inspiration for you from Colette.

Construction stuff:

I drafted a facing and lining. I pleated the lining instead of darting it. This is supposed to reduce the strain on the lining. As for the lapped zip application, I always end up bodging them in, as the weird seam allowances mean the facing doesn't line up right. This has always annoyed me, so I found this lapped zip tutorial from Fashion Incubator. BUT, I'd already put my zip in the normal way, so I decided to try this one next time, instead of working out how to apply the tutorial to my already-in zip!

Okay, so this project was totally frustrating for me and I felt pretty annoyed at it, so here is a list of positives:

-Even though I screwed up the scallops, hey, at least I learned something! (And hopefully I'll remember those lessons for next time. That's always the tricky bit.)

-At least the plainness of the skirt will make it versatile.

-Whoa, I finally fitted a skirt to my butt, that's amazing! I should be able to get some decent mileage out of this!

Oh, and by the way, if you're still here, I made the top too!

THIS garment has a convoluted story behind it too. It started life as this:

This was an Anna dress, and I put LOADS of work into it. Check out that lovely chevron in centre front! I got so far with it, and decided I just hated it. I'd never wear it, I wasn't satisfied with the fit, and it had to go. So I chopped the dang thing up and made a singlet. I did have to seam the singlet to fit the pattern pieces, but I think it's very unnoticeable.

Eagle eyed viewers might spot the shadow of the seam allowance just above the waist, since the fabric is slightly sheer.
Anyway, I totally self-drafted this top, so I'm patting myself on the back for it. I won't blather on about that for now, as this post is already feeling mega-long. I opted for no vertical darts, as I didn't want to disrupt the lovely stripes. So it's very loose, but I love the blousey look tucked in.

Awkward pose!!! Haha! Showin' off that side seam though. Such matching stripes.
As you can see, it has a bust dart. And omg, don't you love striped tops? They go with everything!
I finished the neckline of this top with hand-stitched bias tape. Also, my apologies for the lack of garment guts shots in this post. I'll remember next time I hope. :)

So....are you tired from reading all about the making of these garments?? Here's to simpler garment-making processes in the future, eh? Haha!

Saturday, 24 January 2015

Birthday Polka Dots! La Slyphide, again!

You guys, I had the best birthday this year! And I made this dress just in time to wear it on said occasion! Hmm, combining nearly all my favourite things. Dresses, pink, polka dots, and bows. What could be better? I've already made this dress twice before, but one more couldn't hurt. This is a delightful silk cotton blend that my dear sewing friend who blogs at A Charm of Magpies convinced me to get, and she was SO RIGHT.

Speaking of friends, I went out for lunch with my friends, and I'm so glad that I have friends now! Is that weird? Well, when I was so sick with CFS/ME (for 10 years), I had no social life, and I guess it's still pretty novel for me, even 3 years after recovering. Heh. I'm at the point now where I feel like an honest-to-goodness real person in the world. Spooky! Anyway, I digress. Pretty clothes.

I neglected to get close ups of the fabric, but I hope you can see the polka dots! I went with buttons to match the yellow dots. So cute! I don't normally do contrast buttons but here they are just right, I think.

Oh! And I also swapped out the usual semi-circular skirt for a gathered A-line. I always use the same one from New Look 6799, cos I don't want to reinvent the wheel! But I use the largest size, for more fullness. ALWAYS more fullness. More fullness, more bows, and more pink please. Also, less bias on the skirt means it's easier to hem, hooray!

Back view and OMG shoulder blades

As you can see, we are finding sun here in Wellington, which is a nice change, so I got out my ridiculously floppy hat.


I don't have a bunch to say about this pattern, having made it a few times already! Hooray for no fitting! One thing that still bugs me when I make it though, is how you have to clip right into the seam at the neckline at the collar to get everything sitting right. Eeeeeew, I hate clipping that close, it makes me feel like it's going to fray to pieces, so I shoved some Fray Stoppa stuff on there (it's this liquid you apply and it stops it fraying. It's my paranoid crutch). I know Sonya mentioned she hates this too recently, so I'm not alone!! 

One other thing I've noticed (I think this has happened on all three makes), is that when top-stitching the placket, the top (uninterfaced) layer wants to bubble a bit, like it's longer than the fused placket underneath. The placket is just turned under, not seamed on with a separate pattern piece. I'm not sure what causes it, but I'm thinking it could be some of these:

-my machine just wants to feed the bottom layer through faster because it's a jerk like that
-maybe the different weights of the top and bottom layer exacerbate the above process?
-the interfacing shrunk the fabric a little when fusing it?

Anyway, I managed to ease it in without puckers, but I'm just curious why it happens!

Requisite "I have a bow" photo:


Tuesday, 13 January 2015

Jacket for my Mum (kinda)

So, this jacket has been finished for... quite a few months, and I'm finally blogging it!
Do not be deceived by appearances though, I am not as unselfish as you may think. Yep, this was originally for me! But who's the gorgeous model? Why, my Mum of course!

I made this jacket as part of a class. I'd decided to take a class for both the social aspect, and for the learning too. I thought as this class was about making a jacket, that I'd learn about tailoring, but well, my assumption was wrong (it's a simple untailored style). Also, the friend I was going to do the class with couldn't come because life happened, so I ended up taking a class for none of the reasons I'd signed up for!
Also, this style of garment isn't really me, but I thought it'd be worth doing anyway for the aforementioned reasons. Fail!

I don't often see my family, as they live in a different city, but I took the opportunity to get these photos in my Mum's garden when I visited. I should have got some more pics of her garden- she's a terrific gardener (unlike myself, who has killed a cactus before).

I had to sew a snap on to keep the collar closed, but it's not strong enough. It's just a small plastic snap and needs to be replaced with something heavier duty.

I didn't get any pics on myself, but it definitely didn't suit me, just trust me on that. lol! I'm happy to see it going to a good home. It has a lining and everything. I think I'll have to make a million lined garments before I feel competent at them!
It's also got quite a lot of hand-stitching (this was just part of the class). I want to learn to do it by machine though! I think in many cases, hand-sewing is a bit of a crutch.

My Mum found being a model highly amusing, and I couldn't stop laughing when looking at these photos!

She does make a great model though, don't you think?
I don't have a whole bunch to say about this make. I feel like a bit of a lazy blogger lately; I don't feel very compelled to blog at the moment!
So have some pics.

Ooh dear, looks like I'll have to do some more unselfish sewing soon. It's much more fun to photograph others!