Sunday, 13 July 2014

The Psychedelia Dress (Vogue#8852)

For those of you waiting for the announced 60s dress... Well you just have to wait a bit!
I sewed another dress! Wow, I really am on a roll here. I've made three dresses in a week, and that never happens!

This is also my very first go at knit fabric. Oh boy!!

This is the Vogue #8852 (very easy) halter dress from 1974, which I got from Retro Monkeys on Etsy (if you have left over money bothering you, go check it out).  It has princess darts in the front and regular fisheye ones in the back. The pattern called for a center back zipper, but I figured my fabric had so much stretch that I could omit that. So I did :) It was indeed very easy and I made the dress in an afternoon.

My fabric is something I found in a remnant bin for 70 NOK, that's about £6.7 or $11. So not alot.
The piece was 1.40m x 1.40m, just enough for the dress (and a wee bit left for a top). It is a "viscose mix" jersey, VERY stretchy and drapey. I thought the print was kinda funky, and I knew I had to try this knit-business eventually. So it was perfect for something that might or might not be ruined!

I do appologize for the weird exposure in these photos.
My camera was acting up in the cloudy conditions,
I was too pms'y and hissy to argue.

I think it went pretty well. The pattern is actually for a 34" bust (I'm a 37"), but I just cut it anyway. Someone once tipped me on sizing down for knits, and had I graded the pattern up to my size, I would've ended up with a tent! So good tip! I think the dress fit me rather perfectly. I also got to try new settings on my machine. Helpfully, I found I had misplaced the manual, so I just had to try every knob-combo until it produced something stretchy. It was good experience, and I now know my Singer even better!

The only issue I had with the fit was the back. It ended up a bit saggy, so it is low backed, and nothing that looks remotely elegant with any kind of underwear... I guess the seventies was the era of no bras, so it wouldn't have been an issue. I tried fixing it by attaching a drawstring to the side seams and running them through a "corridor" made by sewing the facing to the back piece itself. I dunno. It didn't work as planned, and the spaghetti-strap I made is stretchy too, so the tightening effect is virtually non-existent. So I now just call it a decorative touch, and artistic freedom!

Hard to see, but here's my drawstring back!

Even though my first experience with knits went fairly well, I obviously still have lots to learn. The facing pieces do not behave as they do on stable fabrics, and I suspect it would look better if I had stabilized the seams around the top area with something. Or added interfacing to facings. Also, when making buttonholes in something stretchy, it needs something stable underneath. I attempted  it on plain jersey, and the result was my Singer eating the neck strap to the point where I had to disassemble half of my machine to get it out. Needless to say, there was no buttonhole, and I just sewed the straps together at the neck and stuck a button on there for eye appeal.

Eye candy button :)

So there it is! My first knit garment! It might not be my best work, but it will do for a simple sun dress to wear around the house. It was not worth all the procrastination, knits are totally okay, even without a serger!

Wednesday, 9 July 2014

The Camodress (Simplicity #2406)

Hi all!

All the while I was working on the fiddly playsuit, I was longing to start something else... I know, not a sign of focus or determination. But then again, doing something else, make you come back stronger and with fresh eyes :)


This is Cynthia Rowley's design for Simplicity #2406.
I made view B in a size 12. Following the size guide, I was supposed to make a 14. But when checking the finished garment measurement on the pattern pieces, I noticed it allowed for 6" of ease and then promptly cut a size down. This dress is sack-like enough as is, thank you.

The dress has cutout sleeves, side seam pockets, and a self sash. It also has gathering at the front and back neck line. Zipper in the back is optional, but I decided against it... You know, to add some oooh la la :)

Practical pockets!

Sewing instructions were straight forward, and I really enjoyed making this. It is not fitted, so no need for nail biting and hairpulling during the process, which was nice!

Everytime I make something, I try to learn a new skill, or perfect one I have already tried. This time I learned how to make a lovely thread loop for the button closing in the neck, using this tutorial. It came out just the way I wanted it to, and is such a lovely handmade touch.

Thread loop.

The fabric is a flowy printed viscose.  The tag stated army camo print, hence the name for my dress. I am not exactly sure what you could possibly camoflague yourself amongst in this print, but nevermind! I like it!!
It was very nice to work with, although it wanted to shift around a bit. It is also nice to wear, and has such lovely drape.

Inside front.

Constructing the self faced sleeves was the most fun part, it is a clever design, and looks really good both outside and in. There is also a neck and back facing that gives the dress an easy clean finish.

Inside back.

The casual look :)

The self sash disappears a bit in my print, but is nice for casual wear. I dressed it up a bit with a wide purchased belt, but it is also nice without any belt at all. It all depends on what you like :)

Open back.
Underwear might be an issue here...

Looks cool without sash too, I think!

If I am to be critical of my dress, I would have wanted it to be a tad longer. When cinched, it is a bit short for my liking. It also billows terribly in the back when I wear a belt with it, and it looks weird sometimes from the side. The hem is also sometimes uneven because of the belt, so a check in the mirror is a good idea if one is picky :)

So that's my instant gratification project! I think I should do more of these.
Oh wait; I have! I also made a 60s dress! More on that later ;)

Thursday, 3 July 2014

A fiddly playsuit #1

Say hello to Simplicity #2444!
A gorgeous 40s playsuit pattern that I dug out of my stash sometime in early june.
I am making view 1 without the long skirt. I love how it looks like a little dress. Shorts and bodice are joined together with a set in waistband.

I was meaning to participate in a sew-along, but it all kind of ground to a halt when I realised the amount of fiddling involved with the bodice. 

The first bout of fiddling was getting the corner of the shoulder yoke and front piece to not look like something a blind chimp had sewn. I have little practice with  such details, but after ripping them and redoing a couple of times, I got my head around it and it was fine.

Next problem was how the armholes are constructed. The pattern said to cut 2 sleeves (I get that part) and then 2 pieces for facings. Only that the facings were amputated sort of. I cut all the pieces without much tought of it, but when I went to sew it up they wouldn't come together at the side seam.. So I drafted new pieces that were slightly longer so they could reach eachother (which also meant redoing the cornering bit).

Those pointy ends would not touch :(

Then it started to bug me how the facing edge showed through on the shoulders, and decided to make facings that mirrored the shoulder yoke.  
And that's where I am currently at. I have ripped off the old facings and attached the new ones. Next is a truckload of hand stitching.... Both collar and facings needs to be slip stitched in place. It is not my favorite bit.

Not a good look..
I was very enthusiastic when I started this pattern, but now I feel like I'm working on a wearable muslin. Even though the color combo is cute, I am not happy with the fabric. It is not the best quality cotton and the white is so see-through despite being middle weight. I have lots to learn still about fabrics, but I notice I am slowly beginning to get more picky about these things and look for better quality. In the process, I have become disenchanted with my local fabric store. While I previously found all kinds of lovely fabric (because of crazy/novelty prints and cheap remnants), I now struggle to find things I really want.

I guess it is natural as ones skills evolve :)

Stay tuned for the joining of the top and bottom, I can not help thinking I might get a surprise.
Murphy's law anyone?

Tuesday, 1 July 2014

A bit out of sync!

Hello everyone!

I just had to make a real effort today, getting a blog post done.
If not for any readers that might drop by, then definitely for my own sake. I seem to have lost my focus big time as summer came upon us. I have hardly sewn a thing, knitted some rows half-heartedly, and neglected my blog. Time to get back on track now!

Even if my sewing machine has felt lonely lately, I've gotten lots done. I finished a humongous flowerbed, after a couple of years planning. We also laid all that cobblestone, and things are starting to look nice around our house. Finally!

This is what the front of our house looked like when we bought it.
Just sad, really.

Looking better!
Still some way to go..

It all looks better, but it still needs time to fill out. My flowerbed is filled with two kinds of Hostas, and some Alchemilla mollis. Also bought a small japanese maple tree, which I hope one day will be tall and gorgeous with its red leaves.

Acer Japonicum 'Atropurpureum'

Alchemilla mollis

Hosta 'Franchee'

As I might have mentioned earlier, I've developed a total crush on running! I have signed up for a couple more races in september, and training hard. I really enjoy getting into shape, and have maybe channeled my focus mostly through my running shoes.... ahem. I will freely admit that buying running shoes is just as addictive as fabric shopping!

Best friends. Pathetic, I know :)

But actually, I DID sew something! My first curtain for our front door entrance. Yes, it is small and un-fancy, but I got it made. I don't know why, but I hate sewing square things! Curtains and pillow cases, and table cloths... ACK!
Such a waste of time and fabric. But once I hung the darn thing, I kind of dug it :) Maybe home decorating isn't as bad after all?

My camera is shit indoors, but you get the general idea!

In other and more exciting news; just this week and then one more to go until summer vacation! Work has been strenuous lately, so I am really looking forward to three weeks off completely. Maybe I'll get my sewing mojo going!? Stay tuned :)

Sunday, 8 June 2014

That 70s skirt (Simplicity # 5918)

Hi all!

So , it's been a while!
Well, after the Sew for Victory sewalong I found myself needing a bit of a break.
Nothing serious, just life in general.
I decided to leave the sewing alone, until I had an urge to sew again, and this weekend the urge surfaced.

So, I made a skirt!
Although unblogged, I have attempted some skirt sewing earlier, but never really had any good results. I lost interest and left it. But with summer drawing close, the skirt shaped hole in my wardrobe became to much to ignore. I love the look of cute skirts in summer and they are so easy to wear, but I have struggled finding my style. I love the look of pencil skirts, but I have found that they are difficult to sew and make look good on my boardlike figure.

This winter I came across some sewing patterns in my local thrift store (which never happens!), so I bought them all! Among these was this cute 70s pattern for pants, skirt and jacket.

The skirt would be a perfect quick project, and I had both fabric and notions in my stash. Win win!
The fabric is a medium to heavy weight linen, that was originally destined for a dress. It was gifted to me by my mom years ago :) Thanks, Mummy!
I came to the conclusion that is was too heavy for a dress (and insanely wrinkly!), so a casual skirt would be better.

Bad hairday hat.
 My most prized posession...

The construction was straight forward, and basically a breeze right up to the hemming. I'll be the first to admit that the hemming on this thing is not my brightest of sewing moments, but it was dang hard! The linen was stiff and hard to wrangle, but it works. Kind of.
I also think an invisible zipper would look better, but I am fine with this one. It came off some pants that was given to me, so totally free of charge. Recycling is rewarding!

It is hard to see from the photo, but I got to try the overlock-stitch on my machine too! I can't believe I have never tried it before, it worked great on this fray-happy fabric! I read about the stitch setting on some excellent blog some time back, and was baffled to find that my cheap little machine had it :) I love you, little Singer!

 It is good to be sewing again, and this instant satisfaction was just what I needed. Besides, I think this pattern will be great in other versions too. Finally, a tried and true favourite!
Have you done any quick 'n easy summer sewing?

Wednesday, 30 April 2014

Sew for Victory Lobster playsuit! (Wearing History #4001)

I finished, in time! Phew!

I am really happy to show you all my entry to the Sew for Victory 2.0 challenge. To be honest, I wasn't sure how this would go. This project was made using the Wearing History Sailor Girl playsuit pattern, one I have wanted to try for nearly a year. And it delivered! Just look at it! It is awesome!

Ok ok , I know a big ass sombrero isn't very nautical.
I didn't have time to sew one of those cute little
white hats. M'kay?

The shirt is made up in linen for a relaxed summery feel. I should probably gotten a higher quality linen fabric, as the fibres seem short and prone to breaking. But it will do! The design is so perfect, with a side zipper, shoulder pleats and that fabulous sailor collar! It also has a little scarf loop in the front, in the event of using an under collar scarf, which also is very stylish.

I used narrow satin ribbon for trim, and it turned out great. I was thinking about having two stripes, but figured any "wobbly-ness" would be twice as noticeable so I went for the one.

Love that collar!

The shorts are made using my infamous lobster fabric. The print is just so much fun (I really want a lobster dress too!!) and perfect for this playsuit. I had to underline the shorts, because the cotton fabric was really sheer and soft, not the right weight for this type of garment. I wanted it more sturdy. Making these in the midst of Easter, meaning fabric store was closed, I had to use some plain cotton muslin as underlining.
I worked out ok, but in hindsight I would have opted for a lighter fabric. It got kind of bulky in places and finishing the seams called for some creativity. The waist facings also has fusible interfacing, so bulk galore! They feel almost like jeans, but I don't mind (ask me again in the summer when there's a gazillion degrees out). Next time I make up this pattern I will try a loose/separate lining inside, and see how that works.

Oh yes, and then there was the issue of buttons. I actually find that to be the hardest part of any buttoned project. Usually I have no idea what I want, and end up finding 50 different nice ones that I spend hours trying to decide over. But this time I knew exactly what I wanted! But do you think ANY of the haberdashers had large red glossy buttons? Take a guess.

I was running out of time (and sanity) and decided to go for white instead. I found some with anchors on them, and nautical theme is a WIN! Besides, buttons are easily replaceable and if I find the perfect ones I'll just switch.

If yo are thinking of trying this pattern, do. It is great. The instructions are easy to follow, and the pieces come together wonderfully. I didn't make any adjustments other than lengthen the shirt by an inch or so. I also scooped the back of the neck opening on the shirt, as there was some pulling on top of the shoulders towards the front. Other than that, it fit me great right out of the envelope. Still, I am very glad I made muslins of both items. I helped me having a testrun, and eliminated any end result surprises.

That's all folks! Now, go! Make playsuits.

Thursday, 10 April 2014

More muslin stuff.

So, powering on with the play suit!

I know muslins are not the most interesting of topics, but at least for my own sake I like to have some place to think out loud and maybe get some input on the fit of things.
So here it goes :

This is size 16 right out of the packet. Overall it is ok-ish, but on the right hand side of this photo there is some fabric pooling under the arm. I think maybe I should add a small dart to the side there. I am not wearing the "era appropriate" undergarments, so I will try that before I make the alteration. I don't know if adding that dart will change the fit/movement  of the sleeve though...

I feel the fit around the arm is ok, not restricted in any way, but I do wonder if I should add a small inch to the shoulder as the sleevehead sits too far in (if that makes sense). If you look at the top photo, the side without the sleeve attached, shows that the seam should go where the fabric ends.

There is some pulling from the collar towards the armscye and I think adding a bit to the shoulder would help with that. The front facing has fusible interfacing added to the whole piece, so it is a bit stiff with the muslin fabric so I struggle with getting the collar to lie nicely at the collarbone area (the "flappy" collar itself is not interfaced). I am hoping it will be better with a softer cotton. Or maybe I should go for a lightweight linen? Any suggestions?

I am happy with the back. The shirt isn't supposed to be super fitted, but I really think a small dart in front sides will give it a better shape. I also shortened the sleeves about 1.5". This is summer wear after all :)
I might add a little bit to the length of the bodice, as I feel that, for instance getting in and out of a car will have the shirt untucked. Constantly stuffing your shirt back into your shorts is not a ladylike activity....

Speaking of un-ladylike behaviour, I've turned into a snot factory. Yes. I've gotten the flu, people.
Sewing, running and knitting has ground to a halt. I really hope it passes quick, I don't have time sitting around, producing mucous....

Have a bug free week, y'all!