Friday, 29 July 2016

Rockabilly circle skirt dress - pt2

I've been hard at work on my new dress today. I really wanted to get a move on and get it finished for our holiday trip which is coming up in a few days.

As discussed in the previous post, I felt the bodice cups needed padding and some support, so I looked through my stash to see if I had anything that could be used. I found a pair of foam shoulder pads I bougth ages ago. They were not very thick, so could easily be remodelled into bra cups.

I made a small dart in each pad, and stitched them shut. To reduce bulk, I trimmed out some of the fold on the inside, and whip stitched everything flat.

 The pads now mirrored the bust shape in the bodice and was ready to be attached.

First, I tacked the point of the bust dart, to the point of the pad, so the pad would not shift around inside the bra cup. I shaped the bodice smoothly over the pads, pinned them loosely in place and carefully catch stitched the pads to the inside of the cups, making sure not to catch the outside fabric.

I love catch stitching, it looks so couture!

I am really happy with how the bust improved by doing this. I also realized that I will not be able to wear a bra with this dress, because of the low cut back. So integrated cups are gold! The dress looks, and feel, so much better.

I also put in some boning in the side seams. I used plain plastic boning, 1 cm wide. I just stitched it to the seam allowance using a three-step zig-zig, and handtacked it down to the underlining. This simple step will hopefully stop the bodice from sagging and folding at the sides, keeping a smooth shape.

Lastly, I got the skirt back sorted to take up the excess at the waist. I basically just opened up the back seam, trimmed off about an inch on both edges, and sewed the back seam together again. I decided to continue my "couture detailing" with a hand picked zipper. I haven't done those before, but it looks wonderful! Almost impossible to spot :)

The much improved bust,
properly period, bullet silhouette!

All remaining now, is stitching the bodice lining to the waist, and hemming!

Thursday, 28 July 2016

Rockabilly circle skirt dress - pt1

As I mentioned in my last post, I have a new sewing project going! One which really just partially involve a pattern, so it has been a bit daunting and exciting at the same time.

Ever since I made the striped beach outfit using the Mrs. Depew sun top pattern, I have had that top in my mind, because I always thought it would make an awesome dress bodice. Not long after the stripey sun top, I got hold of some fabric that was just screaming halterneck full skirt dress. But you know, winters came and dresses were not the priority (and to be honest, I was lacking skills), but I just couldn't forget about that dress.

Big bold florals!

Top pattern in question, Depew #1018.

So last week as I rummaged through the pattern stash, the sun top pattern emerged. Elvis hollered "It's now or never!!!" from the back of my mind, and I decided to just get on with it :)

The top obviously needed to be lenghtened a bit to reach my waist, but other than that I didn't do anything to it. I made a quick muslin with a zipper in the back to check the lenght, but I didn't attach a skirt to it. Nor did I bother with the bust trim. The top don't take much fabric and I had lots of the fashion fabric, so in the event of a small disaster I would be able to cut another.

The striped top is two layers of quilting cotton and is nice and sturdy. The dress fabric is very light, and it needed more structure, so I underlined it with cotton canvas. The bust trim is "party satin" (a midweigth fabric) and is backed with fusible interfacing. The bodice also has a layer of acetate lining next to the skin. I was debating on whether to put boning in, but I was so eagerly sewing, that it was kind of too late when the debating was over... Oh well. I can still get some boning done, at the back and sides. And you know what, I think I probably will. I also think the cups are too soft, and I really should put *something* into them, to "perk" them up a little (preferably boobs, but you know). Some foam would be swell, I just need to see what is available in the stash.

You can see the cup is slightly imploding. Miss Cardboard is obviously
lacking soft fleshy bits, but I feel the cups would benefit from some padding.

The upper edge of the cups caused me some struggles, as the interfaced trim bit across the bust is a double piece of satin with fusable. It is quite stiff and thick, and at the center front it got very bulky. I even had problems here with the cotton version. It's just so many layers that meet up in that seam. I graded and trimmed as much as I dared, and understitched the lining to the seam allowance and tacked it to the underlining layer all along the bust to keep it from flipping up. It's alright, but it took a lot of fiddling and pressing!

On to the skirt bit! I have never ever made a circle skirt of any kind, and was dreading the waist calculating. Since a great portion of the cut hole will be on the bias, it will stretch. Luckily, there is an online calculator for that, which I used. You basically plot in your waist size, and the calculator tells you the radius on your.. well, hole. My radius was apparently 12.5 cm.
My pattern piece ended up like so. I opted for a generous length as I had not yet settled on a specific skirt length. I made sure to include some for seam allowance on top, and also the hem. I think I want the skirt to at least cover my knees when standing.

My skirt is made up of three pieces, even though I could have cut two full half circles. The dress has a back zipper, so I figured I needed a back seam to set it in. I felt really brainy as I had it all figured out, with seam allowances for all three skirt pieces and everything! (Usually, those are the small details that just slip ones mind..) I underlined the skirt pieces too, but not with canvas, that would be too heavy. I had plenty of cotton batiste, which is light as kitten fluff, super smooth and just perfect for the job. It also made the colours pop on the white background.

With all six pieces cut for the skirt (minus the hole), I basted the doubles together, and sewed the three seams between the panels. I decided to just trust the calculator, and braved the scissors to the waist hole. Just as I finished the cut, it dawned on me that I hadn't deducted the seam allowance for the waist seam!!!!!!!!!!!! Oh no!

I was quick to sew a row of staystitching around the hole, because I was not having any more room in that waist, by letting it stretch even a tiny fraction! I have now basted the skirt to the dress, and I think I can do a little trick with the back seam in the skirt, to take care of that extra room in the waist.

When attaching the skirt, I also noticed that the side seams on the skirt and bodice don't line up. This didn't even cross my mind when planning the dress. I just assumed the side seam was at the side of the top, but it actually sits a bit to the front. And I made it worse when I lenghtened the bodice. So the skirt side seam now sits 1.5 inches to the back. I really don't mind too much, because the print is so busy. But if I were to make this dress again, I'd adjust the pattern pieces

I am actually glad it happened, because those are the things that you learn so much from :)

Ooopsie....! Fantastically non-matching seams :P

The dress is now hanging a day or two, to let the hem settle. Then I'll try to get it all sorted, with cup padding, maybe some boning, inserting a zipper, and then the hemming itself (good grief that's a long hem).

Wish me luck!

Wednesday, 27 July 2016

All kinds of distractions!

Well, hello there!
I'm sorry for the absence, but there has been so many things to do now that summer is here. But I suspect y'all are familiar with the phenomenon :) Gardening, sun bathing, kayaking, local spinning get-togethers, knitting, sewing, it all has to be done!

I am still procrastinating taking photos of my finished linen outfit. There is nothing wrong with it, it's just me never getting round to making the effort to dress up.
Besides, these last weeks I've been properly busy spinning wool. During the weeks of Le Tour de France cycling race, there was a tour of its own for spinning called Tour de Fleece, on Ravelry.

Norway had a national team, and I guesstimate we were about 30 spinners, spinning and posting our produce online every day. It was fun and inspiring, and I got lots of spinning done! And at the end there were prizes drawn! I actually won something, but I don't yet know what it is. Only that it's spinning related :)

Here's what I spun; first up my fractal yarn I wrote about in my previous post. I am very happy with it, but I won't see the true magic of it until I knit it!

Fractal spun Corriedale wool from YummyYarns on Etsy.

Next up is wool I actually dyed myself! One thread is gradient blues, and the other thread is from yellow, orange, red and every shade in between :)

Selfdyed Norwegian White wool, Ashford acid dyes.

This next skein is Finnish wool, that I bought off Etsy, from a seller called Vittoria Segreta. It is hand dyed by her, but she did not make the roving. I wasn't entirely happy with this wool, it was coarse and contained quite a lot of vegetable matter. The blue colour stained my fingers badly while spinning, and the yarn ended up quite scratchy and has no bounce or spring. A shame really, as I love the colourway. This is also fractal yarn, but since it is such poor quality, I really don't know what to do with it...

Next, is Norwegian fur sheep wool. The grey is natural, and is the same I used for my Sheeply vest.
I made two 100g skeins, and they are both chain plied on the spinning wheel.

Lastly, is another skein of my own dye. It's 50/50 fur sheep and Norwegian white. The dark thread is fur sheep, dyed dark navy blue. So dark in fact, that it look almost black. It was my very first attempt, and I overdid the colour blend, to put it mildly! Oh well, live and learn. The yarn is lovely, and one of my most successful spins :)

I also used my Turkish drop spindle, but it is so slow compared to the wheel, so I only use it for taking along in my bag if I'm going somewhere that involves waiting or riding along in a car! The fibre here is hand dyed Polwarth, a lovely soft wool (like fine merino) and I'm spinning it as thin as I can, and plying it directly in the spindle.

I also made the time to go pick some wild raspberries :) The forests are overflowing with different berries now, so the winters supply of jam should be sorted! Oh how I love homemade jam :)

I also have some exciting sewing projects going now (rockabilly circle skirt dress, anyone?), so hopefully there will pop up something interesting for you non-wool-people soon ;)

Enjoy yourselves, until next time!

Sunday, 3 July 2016

Meanwhile, in Norway.

I was hoping to have pictures of my linen project done  by today, but I had the dubious pleasure of getting food poisoning on Thursday evening. I am still not myself, but I have been well enough to eat, sit upright, and spin some wool yesterday evening, and today.

So while you just have to wait some more to see the Linen outfit, you can feast your eyes on my latest wool creations :)

Remember these two lovely bundles of colour?

Let's start with the blue one, shall we? It was gifted to me by a lovely lady I met at a spinning get-together earlier in June. For people looking to get hold of the same lovely fibre, it can be bought at Alpakka Enghaugen (which is a Norwegian site) This particular colourway is called Aquarius, and is 80% merino and 20% tussah silk. Soft as kitten-fluff!

It is spun entirely by hand on a Turkish spindle, and is plied on the go. Also known as Navajo ply, it produces a 3-ply yarn. 100 grams ended up as 568 meters ready-to-knit yarn.

I wonder what you will be, yarn!
Maybe a shawl?

I just lose myself in those colours....!

The yellow/orange/pink/purple roving is bought from YummyYarns on Etsy. It is hand painted, and the fibre is 100% Corriedale.
There is an online spinning event going now, called Tour De Fleece, and I am taking part in the Norwegian group on Ravelry. The event is just for fun, where we spin during the Tour De France.

Here, I am spinning my long repeats. I have my roving in one thick bunch,
and I spin the colours as they come but being careful not to mix them too much.
(and no, I am not spinning in the nude:)

So I started my Corriedale project yesterday for the first leg of the tour. The plan is to make fractal yarn, and I have now spun my singles. These are then being spun together to form fractal 2-ply yarn. I have never tried it before, but it should be very interesting. The spinning itself is like any other spinning, the magic is in how you treat the colours, and split your roving.

Short colour repeats on the left, long ones on the right.

A mid-construction shot of the long repeats.

To put it short, you split your roving down the middle lengthwise. Then you split one of the halves into many thin lengths, and spin those as normal. You then get one single thread with short colour-repeats. The other half, you spin as is, to produce one single with long colour-repeats. Then you ply, and VoilĂ ! Fractal yarn :)
The whole point of it, reveals itself when you knit up your yarn. It produces a lovely self-striping effect (and makes you never want to knit with plain yarns again).

These are not mine, I gracefully stole borrowed the photo from
Everything Old Crafts. Aren't they gorgeous???

If you'd like to read a bit about it, and see some more examples of fractal yarn, follow this link. Or you know, just Google it :)

That's all for now, folks!