Saturday, 11 November 2017

I sewed a little more

[Oh darn: this draft is from some time earlier in the year. Oops, forgot]

I have made a bit more progress on a couple of things. But nothing seems to get done easily, let alone quickly.

Issues with two skirts:

My black and white wool skirt still needs the inside corner of the vent sorted out, I'm not happy that I haven't done that yet. And I thought I was done with my second self-drafted wool skirt, the one in the heathery pinkish-red.  It isn't!  Sneef!

I had blind hemmed the bottom of the wool fabric hem to make sure it would lie flat. Then I hand sewed the lining to it. Well guess what: now the lining pulls at the skirt in plenty of places and I basically have to re-do that.

Or pull the blind hemming back out and I'd have to un-do and re-do at least some of the sewing on the lining for that too. It's not exactly a win-win situation - I'll have to do quite a bit of work either way. I do have the feeling that the blind hemming could continue to be a problem. Bother!

Update: I finally got started on this and it didn't even take long. Does it ever? You just build up this problem in your head and it seems insurmountable!  I put lots of pins into place and released the lining - sewing it back was the work of a half hour at most.

Here is the problem of the black and white skirt:

Folding the hem the wrong way at the back vent looks terrible!  Really amateurish.

Here is the inside:

I did plumb up the open bit a little so it's easier to see in a photo. But the fabric might have done that by inside when wearing so this definitely couldn't stay the way it was.

Another update: I finally got over the "but I've already hand-sewn it on!" feeling and re-did it. Again, it didn't take nearly as long as anticipated.

I don't like the asymetric jersey top in the Brushstrokes pattern, I can't see myself wear it because it doesn't look very nice on me. I am losing weight at the moment because I'm counting calories but it doesn't seem to affect my waist line in the slightest so the problem with this top will continue. Plus I'm bound to put weight back on at some point.

I need to get a photo taken of me wearing this to illustrate the issue:


Also: it doesn't help that the lining now turns towards the outside which you can see in the badly fuzzy photo on the left. Grumble.

- - -

I long wanted to make a dress with a waist seam in the shape of an inverted V or chevron. This shape might be called 'swallow wings'.  I didn't have the right sort of pattern and thought I could draw this myself, but I never did.

I found New Look 6183 which has this waist seam but it also has some rouching along the top of the front side panels where they meet the centre front panel. I wasn't keen on those but I tried the original side panel piece when I tried out my toile, and then folded the side panel piece to suppress some of the excessive length so I could sew this other side with less gathering.

I liked the lesser amount better because I feel that it won't show up my big tummy as much as the original rouching would.  Not sure if that's wishful thinking.


There are no bust darts: the top pieces are gathered under each bust. This is a style I have not tried before so it'll be interesting to evaluate.

I had set aside a cheap viscose fabric that I got in a closing down sale. This is a fabric that irons wonderfully well and drapes quite well too.  It is a fabric that's quite light though and the flimsiness means that this is slightly difficult to sew: both my overlocking and the straight stitches wrinkle up and make the seams pull.

A good press makes this a bit better but doesn't fix it altogether.  Rough skin on my hands also gets stuck on this fabric and I find that I have to drag it over my ironing board because it clings to it as well. I've never encountered this problem before!

These problems mean that I got rather disenchanted with carrying on with this dress and feel that I need to try the pattern in another fabric. It would be interesting to see if which gathering I prefer in a less light fabric.

So glad I managed to sort out the vent on the black and white skirt, hopefully I'm making progress with other things too. Fingers crossed.

Onwards and upwards!

Sunday, 29 October 2017

Spiral flounces!

Oh dear, I haven't posted in too long. I have been crafting but just not blogged about it. Still, there's lots ot catch up on then!

Just to show you what I'm working on right now, i.e. a little taster:

Spiral flounces!

I already pinned the two layers together. The outside curve is not perfect in so far as the distance between them meanders in and out rather a bit but I don't care.

I reckon they're pretty good for a first attempt. And it wasn't even as difficult as I feared:

This is what spiral ruffles look like when you straighten them out:

The top part will follow the curve of the neckline to begin with, starting from the shoulder yoke:

And the bottom part will then run alongside the blouse's button band:

I wasn't able to straighten this out completely for the photo, but you get the idea.

This is traced off the Oxfam blouse that I bought and liked a lot, expect for its pasty light blue colour and the fact that it is rather baggy under the arms. That the bust darts didn't point in quite the right direction didn't help either - all issues I can solve in a traced off pattern!

I will re-visit the paper pattern pieces and check about the outside curve. I hadn't thought to superimpose them to check how they would look one on top of the other. Now that I think about it, that would have been the obvious course of action! But you live and you learn.

I'll adjust the pattern pieces for the event that I want to make this again in another fabric.

I must say that I really adore the shapes that this spiral ruffles make. I wonder how big you could go? Must try that.

Monday, 20 March 2017

One red top: modified!

I am so very pleased!  I altered a red top that I had for some years and I still love, love, love the colour, but the fit is much too tight over the bust and I got bored with the overall look.

My good friend Tash unwittingly gave me a great design idea.  She was going to use a scallop hem tutorial and this made me think about what other shapes you could do.

This top makes a great project to try out my shaped hem idea. If it works then great, but if it doesn't then I can either chop off the hem and straighten it back out, or just let this go.

It worked out well!

This is what I started with:

It was only when I looked that I realised that I already had to do a repair job on the top of the side seams.  I hadn't worn this in a while so I didn't recall that there were holes, - and my hand sewing wasn't all that great either:

I machine basted the hem to turn out and press (I pressed to the inside first but realised that this wouldn't work. Lucky escape!).  Then I drew the pattern on and started to v-e-r-y slowly stitch it. It wasn't as easy as I expected:

My shape is a bit overly complex.  But I like it a lot.

I then turned this inside out and prodded and poked until all the little corners and peaks looked okay.  Again not as easy as I blithely assumed:  my scissor tip method did end in a couple of frayed tread ends poking through.  I ruthlessly cut those off.  This isn't a high value item - I just want to enjoy it while it lasts.

Then I edge-stitched this to retain the shape when I wash this next time:

No idea why this is upside down

I also ripped the long sleeves out and inserts wedge shaped gussets into the top of the side seams. This way I could make the top big enough to fit at the bust, and it also had the added advantage of getting rid of those pesky holes. Win-win!

I scooped the armholes out a bit to make a pleasing shape.  That ended up being a bit of a problem: the armholes probably gaped before but this emphasises it.  So I sewed bust darts in, longer ones at first but these looked awful, then shorter ones.  I am still not over the moon with this area, but I think top is wearable.

Here it is:

I think this is a successful project that I hope to get lots of wear out of in the summer!

Thank you Tash for the inspiration!