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!

Monday, 7 April 2014

Playsuit progress

Hello all!
Most of the weekend was spent doing test runs on the pattern for the SewForVictory sew-along.
And fondling the lobsters...

Ever since I decided on the Wearing History  Sailor Girl pattern, I was actually having some doubts as to whether or not it was such a good idea. I mean, I LOVE the high waisted look on every single one I see wearing it, but I DO remember how I felt with regards to my WWII Overalls. I am really not sure it is very flattering on flat bottoms and narrow hips, like those I am blessed with :)

So, I decided to make a (proper) muslin of the shorts to test for fit (which I didn't bother to with the overall), and if I felt awful, those lobsters would not be turned into something that would be stuffed in some Pile of Shame! They deserve to be worn, and if not playsuit, than definitely DRESS :)

Anyways, here's the result:

Please PLEASE disregard the fabric; my mother will no doubt recognize them as her faded bedroom curtains from the early 90s (Thanks, Mom!). And no, I will not be wearing this item of clothing. But nevertheless, they have filled an important purpose, and will pass over to my "there-will-be-a-quilt-pile".

And you know, I don't think they look that bad. Fit wise. They sort of look like a little skirt, and are very comfortable. The pattern was great, and this is straight out of the envelope, no alterations! I even feel it gives me some shape (whereas the overalls just made me look like a board)! Mr P even approved slightly, and he HATES high waisted styles, so I think I will go for it. I really like the side buttoning on both sides, it gives a lovely close fit and some nice detailing.

If anyone thinks these should not be, speak now, or forever keep your mouth shut hold your peace :)
(No, seriously; tell me what you think!)

Friday, 4 April 2014

Victory lobsters are in da house!!

Phew! That was quick!

I ordered this lobster print for the Sew for Victory 2.0 just last Friday, and yesterday they were here!
Although  I had sworn to stay away from Ebay, it was the only option I could find that had it in Europe. Sure there were other lobsters around, but you know how it is when you want THOSE ones...

I was also sure I had made a giant mistake when I (after ordering) went to check the sellers feedback. There were lots of issues with items not turning up, and people getting the wrong fabric. And it was recent too. Over 30 cases in March alone. The seller seemed ok to me and answered promptly to my requests, so I had my fingers crossed that it would be ok.

And here they are!!!!!

I was a bit surprised the fabric was this light. You can see it is a bit sheer even, as the print shows through. I find fabric descriptions difficult, because I don't really know what is which. The ad just stated 100% cotton, and to be honest any more info would probably just confuse me. I really need a fabric encyclopedia/ dictionary! But anyways, this fabric is a bit light for shorts. I probably should have gotten twill or canvas, or heavier cotton, but there were no options for different types of cotton fabric. I wonder if I can underline it with plain white cotton? Has anyone got any tips?
I'd really appreciate your input :)

Light or not, I am still in love with the little guys, and I hope I will not ruin the fabric by sewing the wrong garment. It is awesome sun dress material, but that's not what I am making, sadly... (maybe I should get some more...?!?)

I am in any case making a mock up of the shorts for fit in some other fabric, and make a final decision about it later.

I have already sewn most of the shirt up now, the Wearing History Sailor girl play suit pattern is lovely so far.
This is looking to be a fun project, and I can't wait to see it take shape!

How is YOUR victory sewing coming along?

Thursday, 3 April 2014

The Hidden Gem dress (Vogue 1371)


While waiting for my lobsters to arrive for the Sew for Victory sew-along, I made a dress!
A while back I came across a gorgeous dress posted on the Willow homestead blog, and wanted to make it. I ordered the pattern the instant I finished reading said post, but didn't get around to sew it until spring arrived (last week). Norwegian winter doesn't call for much dress sewing, but now was a great time to do it.

Vogue 1371, designed by Tracy Reese.

The worst thing about this pattern must be it's envelope. All the wonderful pleating on the bodice is COMPLETELY lost in the fabric print, and I know I have seen this pattern before. Just never SEEN it. And it is a shame. So I decided to make it in a solid color to show off the details.
I chose a grey, inexpensive polyester fabric with good drape, just to try out the pattern for fit. Maybe not the wisest choice because the construction calls for vast amounts of pressing, and that's really hard with a fabric that melts. So I needed to use a press cloth and a lotta steam, and even then it just bounced back when I lifted the cloth. But it was doable, it just took time and effort.

A tiny bit of bling in the neck closing :)
A hidden gem!

The pattern went together nicely. However, I did make some small changes. First of all; I omitted the ginormous shoulder pads. The instructions tell you to gather under the bust and also on the back, but I wanted to just continue the pleats all the way down. The dress is described as a loose fitting garment so there was no issue with the bodice getting too tight with this alteration .Skirt and bodice are completed separately, and joined together last. I then figured out I didn't like the rather shapeless fit, and took it in about 2" in the sides. The bodice was then too wide for the skirt and there was some fiddling with the pleats again to make it match. The pleats furthest to the sides ended up wider at the bottom than on top, so not the best result. Not very noticeable, and an elegant save. I just call it artistic freedom.....heh.


I also got the wrong zipper, not the invisible kind. Insertion went kind of perfect (for once!!) if I must say so myself, but I didn't like how the puller was showing. So I covered it with another bow. It works :)

If I were to make this again (and I will!) I will lengthen the bodice a bit, because it is short. In the end I had to use 1/5 of an inch for seam allowance, and had I been busty it simply wouldn't fit. So if someone else wants to make this, that's my top tip. I also think this dress would look better with a larger/wider hem. Of course, I could be less lazy and just measure the pattern pieces before cutting, but you all know I am not that diligent.
At least I tried to be accurate and really take my time with the construction, so I am happy with that.
I also liked the finishing. It is unlined, but has french seams just about everywhere, and bias binding on neck and arm openings, so not a raw edge in sight!

Because of the low split in the back bodice, it was hard finding undergarments that wouldn't show. The pattern suggest a hook and eye to close it but I like the open slit effect. I guess I will need to get a low backed bra of some sort. Or just go without. I don't have much to throw around anyway!

All in all, very happy with my first go at this pattern. It is an easy, wearable and flattering style, and I think it is a pattern that can easily be altered and customized to one's liking. It can also be dressy or more casual with the right fabric choices, in silk and maybe with a bolero for evening, or a cotton version with a light cardigan for a more relaxed style. Endless possibilities!

So, have you got your spring sewing going? I see lots of dresses in the near future!