Thursday, July 19, 2012

Project 14: Jalie Scarf Top

I've been wanting to make this one up for years. Finally, I've managed to get it sewn up.

My reservations with the scarf collar top were that I hadn't seen it made up too many times for a plus sized body. I also know that Jalie runs small, particularly in the sleeves. This pattern was no different. However, a combination of it being a knit pattern and my increasing confidence , meant that the pattern alterations weren't too arduous.

My measurements put me squarely in the DD size range (with the exception of my waist, but I expected that). However, when I compared the flat pattern measurement to an existing garment with the fit I like, I realised I was going to need to add some serious width. I'm sure the pattern would have "fit" me if I hadn't added to the side seams, but it certainly wouldn't have had the ease that I like.

The {fit} alterations I made were:
  • Traced the DD size for the neck, shoulders and most of the armscye.
  • Extended the bottom of the armscye out to the FF size (the "cheater" FBA)
  • Added another 1" to the bottom of the pattern, blending it into the FF side seam just before the armscye.
  • Lengthened the pattern at the hemline by 3" (I did that for this top. I may or may not do that for others.)

I loved the method they used for attaching the scarf collar. However, like one previous reviewer on PR, I didn't leave the scarf open at one end for turning through, I just left a gap partway up one of the sides. I closed that up with a ladder stitch and am happy with that decision.

I used a very drapey rayon/lycra knit called "Letters from Venice", that I bought it a fair while ago from Catherine's Place. They still have some in stock, but it's a lot more expensive than what I remember paying for it. I bought it as part of a co-op buy.

Seeing as though I stitched the main part of this top up at my sewing lesson, I used my sewing machine for the majority of the work. (I couldn't be bothered carting my overlocker in to class.) I have to say it's been a loooooong time since I've sewn knits on a sewing machine. It's sooooooo slow! But it did the trick. I waited until I got home to do the hems on the coverstitch machine.

 I'm happy with the fit in the back. It's got some shape but doesn't cling. 

Overall, I'm very happy with this top, and can see several renditions being added to "The List". It's a very quick sew.

Tuesday, July 17, 2012

Slight Stumble

Oh dear, I've had a small fall from the fabric diet wagon.

I had to go into The Fabric Store this morning to buy some suitable fabric for the dress I'm making for my brother's wedding.

The good news is that I found the perfect fabric and they were having a 40% off VIP sale.

Here it is under the {stash} fabric I wanted to use as an overlay.

The bad news is that they were having a 40% off VIP sale and an additional 4 pieces of fabric followed me home.

Here's the guilty evidence...

I'll continue to try hard to stick to my "50 Projects" goal. I'm still finding it motivating. Obviously, it didn't stop me from buying more fabric today, but I AM sewing more as a result of the goal, so that's got to be a win!

Saturday, July 14, 2012

Project 13 of 50: Farbenmix Quiara

This is a TNT pattern for my daughter. She really loves the double sleeve and it's fabulous for using up little bits of leftover knits. I've made this pattern up several times before in both the t-shirt and the hooded tunic versions.

Farbenmix Quiara
This particular version is a bit special, though, because we've used some fabric (the striped knit) gifted to DD by my fabulous sewing cousin. It was a remnant that DD spied in the scraps box in her sewing room! Due to the economical nature of sewing for children, this t-shirt won't be the only project that incorporates this fabric. We've got a skirt planned for the rest.

The black cotton lycra was also a leftover scrap from a previous project, making this t-shirt virtually free! Yay!

I've found this pattern to be sized really well. I sewed a 134/140 for DD who is 136cm tall. She ordinarily wears a 128 for top garments and a 134 for bottom garments. The shoulders sit a little off the joint for this, but it's a t-shirt and I'm not going to be too fussy.

It was completely constructed on my overlocker/coverstitch machine.

Sadly, this garment isn't eligible for the PR Pattern Stash Contest as I've used this pattern before. However, the skirt that is next up in the queue for DD uses a pattern I've been meaning to make up for years!

Thursday, July 12, 2012

Project 12 of 50: Dressing Gown

PR Pattern Stash Contest Entry #1

Butterick 5537: Dressing Gown

Review is here.

Man, this project has been one huge mojo sucker! I don't know why. Maybe because I normally shy away from anything competitve and, while I don't have any illusions about winning the PR Pattern Stash Contest, in my mind, it's still a competition.

I keep coming up with all these projects that need to be sewn NOW - and none of them qualify for the contest. LOL. Or maybe, I'm just resisting sewing up the patterns that I've been avoiding for so long?

Anyway, I've had heaps of time to sew up this dressing gown. My daughter and I have been on school holidays. We didn't go away anywhere in particular, but we have had a few outings. Still, there's been time. I've procrastinated like crazy. First, it was because I didn't have the right piping, so I put it off until I could get to Spotlight. They didn't have what I was looking for, then neither did Lincraft. I ended up making my own from my stash (which totally could have been done two weeks ago). The pattern doesn't even call for piping!  I just thought it would look nice.

The only main reason I've pushed through with the dressing gown (and not started another project) is because I badly want to add it to my Project 50 tally. I guess that little goal setting exercise is proving its value.

Now I've got a cuddly dressing gown to see me through this winter, and, hopefully, many more after that. I can't see myself sewing another one anytime soon.

So what did I think of this pattern?

Butterick 5537

It's not bad, but it just looks sloppy. I guess that's to be expected with an oversize dressing gown made from polar fleece. I made the size that corresponded closest to my measurements and I feel like I'm swimming in it. I had to shorten the sleeves by 19cm. Admittedly, this is partly because I eliminated the cuff, but still - the garment doesn't have a 15cm cuff!

The instructions were good. I followed them loosely, but deviated a little at times. For example, I inserted piping in between the facing and the body of the garment, I left off the pockets, I did a Hong Kong binding on the edge of the facing (turning it under 1/4" and topstitching just wasn't going to cut it) and I interfaced the hem and sleeve hems before stitching. The instructions for the collar result in a relatively nice finish, the handstitches hiding in the polar fleece nicely.

Overall, I'm sure I'll get plenty of wear out of this dressing gown and I'm glad to have the project finished!

(I even left my hair unbrushed for these photos for the authentic dressing gown experience! LOL)

Next up, a t-shirt for my daughter. She's requested another Farbenmix Quiara shirt with the double sleeves. Pity. I can't use that one for the PR contest either. That's OK. I know what's more important to me.

Thursday, July 5, 2012

Project 11 of 50: Flower girl test dress #2

This dress is another make of the modified Ottobre pattern I used for my daughter's dress (just in a much smaller size). This time around it's for my niece, who, along with my daughter, is going to be a flower girl at my brother's wedding. I don't have too much access to her for fittings, so I thought I'd sew a test version for her to work out sizing. As you can see, it's a pretty simple dress, but I just wanted to get the length right and the empire line in the right spot.

I purchased this fabric in Kiribati when my husband and I visited his parents in 2000, so it's matured nicely.

Just a couple of notes about this dress (for me, mainly, as I'll probably lose a piece of paper by the time I get around to sewing the actual dresses):
  • Sleeve elastic = 20cm
  • Neckline elastic = 61cm
  • Waist elastic = 60 cm
  • Remove 13cm from hem
  • Cut pattern at 43.5 cm from hem and add seam allowances. This will be easier to manage with the satin and chiffon than trying to sew a bias casing on straight.
The fabric for the actual dresses has now been bought and I've received a few tips on how to sew chiffon (without going mad) on PR (Man, I love that place). I think I'll try a trick that margk suggested (by Lena):

"The recipe: take 3 teaspoons of gelatine and put it in a glass of cold water, leave it for 30 minutes. Then bring to boil, but do not boil. Add 3 litres of cool water. Pour this gelatine water in the bucket, put your chiffon there, leave it for an hour, then gently squeeze water out and spread out on the clothing line. Iron it ( when completely dry ) and it is ready to cut. The fabric will be tame but still flexible."

Sounds interesting. I'm going to try that trick sooner rather than later, just in case I need to figure out another plan. :-)

Now I'm going to work on a couple of entries for the PR Pattern Stash Contest. I've got plans for a polar fleece dressing gown for me (but I've got to pick up some white piping for that tomorrow), a knit top for me and one for Erin, along with a knit dress and a cardigan for me. Today will be spent mainly tracing patterns and altering them, but I might get Erin's top done.

I've got a couple more days of holidays left, but I also need to be preparing to go back to work. Lots to fit in to the next 4 days!

Sunday, July 1, 2012

Project 10 of 50: Flower Girl Dress Test #1

Well, here goes nothing!

My favourite brother is getting married in September. I've offered to make the flowergirl dresses for my daughter and my niece. The bride has chosen a style for the girls which is both easy to sew and cute.

Here's a picture of what she wants:

Upon close inspection, the original dress is lined and has an invisible zip - no elastic anywhere. Fortunately, my soon-to-be-official sister-in-law is very laid back and easy-going. She's not fussed if I make some changes.

I'm using, as always, an Ottobre pattern (02-2005-11) as the base for this dress. It's a peasant style blouse with shirring at the empire line to give it some shape.

I'd already raised the armholes a little to stop any modesty issues when I used this pattern for Erin last year for her Red Riding Hood costume. To make it more closely resemble the dress, I've lengthed the skirt portion by 8" and cut the front and back apart at the empire line. I'm going to add in another 6" evenly across the front and the back to emulate the fullness of the original dress. I think I may need to add some fullness and length to the sleeves as well.

It will be sewn from white chiffon and some kind of white shiny fabric. I think I'll bind the neckline and sleeve edges with a satin bias binding and insert some skinny elastic through the bias. I'll have to find some kind of sparkly stretchy trim to be sewn over the empire seam, otherwise, I may have to insert a zip in the side seam. I'd prefer not to do a zip, so I'm guessing a trip to the local dance supplier is in order.

First things first, though. I have to test out the pattern. I'm making a test dress for my daughter, to be fitted when she comes home from her visit to her grandparents. I also have to make a test dress for my niece to be fitted when she comes down to visit next week. That one is the most important because I don't have easy access to her for a lot of fittings. It shouldn't be too hard, though, it's a pretty simple dress.

Test Dress #1: Tropical Sundress for DD

I made this one up in a gorgeous (what I think is a) rayon/cotton blend that my daughter picked out when we visited Vanuatu a few years ago. Originally, I think she just wanted a little shirred sundress, but this has turned out much cuter.

Obviously, the actual flower girl dress will be made from two layers of fabric and will have a trim around the waistline, but this is a nice little dress for summer.

I'm not too sure about the neckline. It's rounded, where the inspiration dress is straight across. Now, I'm not going to get that straight across look with an elastic casing around the neckline. I hope the bride isn't too fussed. I'll find out tomorrow if it's not going to work.

I also have to lengthen the dress for the 'real' one. Another 3 - 4" should do it, I think.

And one more close up shot. I LOVE this colour on my daughter!