Tuesday, 29 July 2014

The Floral Frock (Simplicity #5780)

I finally got to photograph this dress I mentioned a few posts ago. So without further ado... Here it is; The 60s Floral Frock!

The 'I need to wee' pose.
Oh well.

This is a pattern from 1964 for a simple sleeveless, unlined dress with gathers at the waist and in the back. It has a back zipper closure. Meet Simplicity #5780!


The pattern is a size 16, for a 36" bust, 28" waist. As I am neither of those two measurements, and have a high bust measurement of 37" and a 30" waist, I redrafted the bodice, adding some wiggle-room by slash'n'spread. I also added 1.5" in lenght. I had a piece of brushed cotton sateen in my stash, just barely enough to eek out a dress, so no more for extra pieces should there be cock-ups! I made an effort to get the print to match in the back, and it went quite well. There was not enough for matching in the skirt pieces, but I am not very bothered by that.

Rather happy with that print matching on the bodice :)

The dress sewed up quickly. As I have no dress form, I had to sew the whole thing together (including the zipper) before trying it on for fit, and I was really surprised to find it was too big overall.
I unpicked everything, and made adjustments. I actually took away more than I added to begin with, so I guess ease is different in 60s patterns compared to the 40s ones. I did even measure the pattern pieces for a rough guide, but something has obviously happened underway. Maybe I am not as big as I think? Huh?!

The dress ended up not super fitted, but I really don't mind that much. It is better to have some breathing (and eating)room, than to look like a stuffed sausage, anyway!
The biggest problem with trying to grade down the bodice, was to preserve my stellar print matching! It would have been easy taking some out at center back, but now I had to shave off the armscyes and side seams instead. I don't think the fit around the arms is perfect, I could have taken more away. But I tried to calculate the bit that would go away with the binding of the edges, but obviously it was not enough.

The pattern instructed to make a self belt,
but as I didn't have a belt kit
it is currently sans belt.

The pattern said to use facings for the armholes, but after all that snipping and trimming , the precut facing pieces didn't fit anymore, so I bias bound them instead. I found a great tutorial that taught me how to insert bias binding to an armhole without getting a bulky seam where the ends meet. This was news to me, and worked wonderfully! If you don't already know this trick, I highly recommend it. Yay for new skills!

So, new dress AND a new trick in my sewing bag! That's a double win :)

Monday, 28 July 2014

Stripey Beach outfit!

Hi all!
Summer holiday this year has been delightful! The weather has been sunny and HOT for weeks and weeks, totally novel for Norway but great non the less!
I went up north for a week to visit my parents, always nice to see them since we live so far apart.
The rest of my three weeks off work, I've spent at home. So this is the final week of freedom before it's back to factory life again. But let's not talk about that!

I have some new makes to show you!
It all started with reading this blog post, and then totally falling in love with the stripey 50s sun top made from Mrs Depew's pattern. I just had to make one for myself, and I had the perfect fabric in my stash too!

It was such a quick and easy make, and I finally got to try stripe matching. It went rather well, if my eyes are not deceiving me. When the top was done, I realized I had nothing that matched it, other than black jeans. And that's just out of the question in this heat. So, I had to make shorts too!

I used the Wearing History Sailor girl short pattern I used to make my lobster shorts. It is a great pattern, but now that they are made up, I don't know if it was the best choice. The stripes make me look bigger somehow, and I am not sure I am loving that! It is also maybe a bit costumy for everyday wear, but they do look fun in the pictures. That being said, I enjoyed making these, and I even lined them with white cotton voile! Another new skill.

Fully lined, oh yes!

Found some blingy buttons too!

I think I will try to find a pattern for "normal" shorts to go with this sun top, and make it in black fabric. Or maybe a pair of white capris?

I know I will wear this top to death, I love love LOVE how it looks! I already got new ones planned...
But the shorts....meh.

I only show you this to boast my stripe matching.

My rear looks just sad in these shorts, the lobster ones looks so much better... So let's just look at the top again, shall we?? ;)

I am a bit proud of the matching on the front.
I am allowed, right?

So there you have it! A Mrs Depew top and a WH Sailor Girl short.
Have you been getting any sunny sewing done? Or are you suffering in the heat?

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 :)