Thursday, 23 April 2015

Eliana: Beach and Autumn

While planning a few Autumn items, I made a last minute beach Eliana. Pauline Alice sent me her new pattern to try. I used a January sale rayon print from Pitt Trading to make this beach friendly version.
Test dress for fit.
I prefer dresses that allow me to wear support and since this summer version has exposed shoulder (gasp) I made a modest adjustment this version is henceforth known as the beach Eliana. When I'm on holidays at the beach I'll wear my swimmers underneath and not fuss with the straps showing - C'est la vie.

It was this beach Eliana that forced me to make my convertible bra, so 'it's all good'...


Fluoro prints aren't my first choice but this print is certainly a great play on LBD. 

The rayon fabric is soft and not see-through (yay). I should have bought more...

Pauline has added pockets that are sewn into the waistband so the pockets don't drag the skirt down. The only change I made to the pockets was to shorten them by 5cm and I've used this pocket pattern for a future make.

Finished neckline view. This fabric and notions are courtesy of Pitt Trading.
I've also shortened the bodice by 2.5cm. The both versions are 38 bust, 40 waist, 38 hips. 
The Autumn version has shortened sleeves (8cm) and adjusted the sleeve dart for forward shoulders for the Autumn version.
Sleeve hem finish
After making the test version, this Autumn version was a much quicker make.
I spent a fair bit of time making the gathers on the neckline even. You can see the stitching and a bit of hand stitching to keep the gathers in place during sewing.
It's nice having a warmer dress from the same pattern.

Tuesday, 14 April 2015

A convertible

Bra kit test
Here's a sweet convertible bra using powermesh, lace and bra notions from White TreeFabrics UK. This is an idea Lisa was happy for me to work on and I've used KwikSew 3300 as my bra template. I say template because the pattern doesn't provide the cross back feature. This bra style is something I developed following a 'ready to wear' bra that I own.
The power mesh is soft and stretchy so I've used two layers of powermesh on the bra band. This gives the bra band more stability and I've cut one layer on grain and one layer cut off grain.
Now the flesh colour tricot fabric and underwire piping was from my stash. The bra hooks provided by White Tree Fabrics give you the convertible version (slider, o-ring and garter hook).
What I found is the best result for bras is to have the rings and sliders either the same width or wider than the bra strap.
I used the lace across the top of the bra cup only and I tried to balance the bows in the lace.
Here's where I was deciding on how long the underwire piping should be. I ended up lining the whole cup with underwire piping even though this hemline underwire is a half wire shape.

I wore this bra on a humid Summer's day and it was very comfortable and supportive.
The cups are lined and all the seams are enclosed so I think that helped me feel comfortable.
The bra you see has been washed a couple of times now so I know this bra is durable as well as lovely.

Thanks WhiteTree Fabrics for letting me indulge in sewing a new bra using lovely lace. 

Tuesday, 7 April 2015

Quart Coat: Autumn

Finally Autumn has arrived and I've jumped into coat making - Paulinealice Quart coat.
I hope you've already read Sewmanju's Quart Coat review. Or maybe Claire's review. There are a bunch of great Quart Coats around now. Beth's reviews have lots of good.

Paulinealice Quart Coat is certainly distinctive and requires good sewing skills to achieve but she's done the leg work with her pattern pieces (separate lining pieces with wiggle room) and since the Quart Coat was launched last year, Pauline has developed a few more distinct styles from this pattern.


Did you see her biker jacket version? She's such a helpful designer that Pauline has posted a 'how to' so you can create your own biker jacket version.


Pitt Trading

The first Autumn fabric haul at Pitt Trading was too good to ignore and coats are something I adore making because of the work that goes into them. Each coat extends my sewing skills - or at least that's what motivates me to keep making coats and jackets. Thank you again Pitt Trading for these fabrics and notions.

If you're looking at planning posts, Sewmanju, Claire and Beth have great posts to learn from.


Dualling coats

I did test this pattern on some navy wool fabric I purchased in New York two years ago. Let me clarify this. I wanted to test and practice bound buttonholes, the pleats, check the centre back seam and following the sleeve zipper instructions correctly on the real version. 
The test navy coat
I do make a lot of mistakes and my handy unpicker saved me on a number of occasions as I wanted to get the stitching right. Having a test coat prepped at the same time as the real coat let me relax a bit when I started working on the 'real' fabric. So I was sewing 'in parallel'.

Once I had constructed the sleeves and bound buttonholes I got stuck into the real coat. The real fabric from Pitt Trading was much easier to work with. There are lines in the weave so I used this as an additional sewing guide.


Bound buttonholes
The technique Pauline suggests is easy to follow. You can make this coat without bound buttonholes but I decided to include these. After practising on the navy test version, my bound buttonholes became more accurate. Both fabrics had varying thicknesses and movement so when I sewed machine buttonholes on the epaulets, they were a welcome relief. Making bound buttonholes means I have to be accurate (#anxiety) and hand stitch them closed (#sorefingers). 

Swayback adjustment

On the pattern, the centre back is cut on the fold. To cater for my sway back, I've created a centre back seam to follow my curve ie no fabric pooling. Yay.

Epaulets

I love epaulets. I added a longer epaulet to the centre back waist as an additional military feature. Pauline suggests using the lining as the underside of the epaulets. I did this on the grey version but I used a lighter weight dark purple for the navy version.

Pleating

On the test version, the pleats threw me. They have to point to the back so by the time I made them with the real fabric, they worked out.
The ironing press made these pleats a whole lot sharper. I'll be using the old ironing press again for a future pleated project #hint.
As Beth did, I initially sewed the lining onto the pleats and then I took them off.

Petite change

The only change was to make the pocket bag shallower, but still keeping the bag part, if that makes sense. 
I left the coat length, sleeve length and collar width as is. When is frightfully cold, this coat style is going to come into it's own. 

The main part I focused on was getting the shoulder positioning and kept the lengths as is.

Excuse my 'zipper in sleeve' joy.
Zippers
Any jacket with zippers on the sleeves has me at 'hello'. 
I collect unusual zippers and buckles because they can be difficult to get when you actually need them. These zips were just what I needed for the navy version.
Pitt Trading provided me with their zippers for the grey version.
Navy coat lining.
Lining and trims
Let's just say, great colours under a dark cover keeps me motivated.

The fabric used for the grey version wasn't lining fabric but when I saw it on the shop floor at Pitt Trading both Sylvia and I loved it as lining.

Hems

Pauline suggests interfacing the hems and this gives a much sharper finish. I know a good press at the dry cleaner will make this coat look less home made. 
Thank you Pitt Trading for providing the fabrics and notions for my grey coat. Their new website is being filled with fabric every week.
Pauline's done it again with a lovely and unique coat pattern.

Thursday, 2 April 2015

The Hunger Games

I love great activewear so this month I've made my version of the activewear worn in The Hunger Games for my Minerva Crafts make.
Here's Katniss training for the Hunger Games. Judianna Makovsky was the designer for the first movie.  Lucas Hugh designed the training gear for the second movie which is on my future list of activewear but for now the picture above is what I've made.

Using great knits from Minerva Crafts, I used Kwik Sew 3567 for the top and Fehr Trade's duathlons for the track pants.

The blue knit is soft and has good recovery, So does the red sparkly fabric. The cornflower colour knit is bonded so I originally wasn't sure if this would work but having a bonded knit was an advantage to developing the sleeves and track pants.

I used the navy and cornflower fabrics for the track pants and added reflective tape.

Here's the no flash view.
Here's the flash view.
The top base used the navy knit. It has a lovely feel to it.
However I changed the back bodice to use the red knit and some reflective tape.
Then I used my french curve ruler to mark out the sleeve design and you can see the pieces cut out with seam allowance and ready to sew.
Most of this outfit was sewn using the overlocker and I used the sewing machine to add the piping.

So here's the front view using flash. I added reflective tape to the zipper.
And here's how the back turned out. I don't have a photo of the back view of the outfit Katniss wears so this is my interpretation... The red fabric has a shine to it so it made sense to put the reflective tape piping with this.
What's great is I can use these pieces to train outside now that it's Autumn in Australia.
These fabrics have such strength to them. I chose these fabric based on the colours on the Minerva Crafts website. They do a much better job of showing the colours on their website than I can.
I've still got fabric left to make a could more Autumn workout pieces. Now that it's getting cooler in the mornings, I can use these pieces for outdoor training and still be seen. Thanks again Minerva Fabrics for letting me indulge a bit in films/books I love and my current pattern drafting binge.

Wednesday, 25 March 2015

The dress

The dress - needs no introduction really.
From Terry's blog
And it's a significant part of the Outlander story, hence I didn't attempt to make this as is. Terry's work on this dress is amazing. There's lots of detailing involved. You can read about it on her blog.

So I've taken elements of this dress as I've never made a corset. My version is not a replica. It couldn't be.
But this is a reminder of the awesome work the show's costumers put into the original dress.

White Tree Fabrics provided the fabrics and they were excited with this dress concept. 

Here are my starting fabrics from White Tree and I used Simplicity 3809.

It was the white bonded fabric that spurred on my idea to make something like the wedding dress. White Tree Fabrics has the 'right' fabrics to make the dress. Sometimes it's hard to get everything you need from one place but not this time.
The bonded fabric is a knit so I interfaced so it morphed into a woven fabric. The silver fabric is much finer than the original dress so I lined the skirt as well as the bodice.

The cream fabric was perfect for the underblouse. I used two layers on the blouse sleeves and pulled the hem edges for a similar fringed edge. This fabric doesn't fray too much so it was easy to create a similar fringe.


The silver fabric is metallic so I cut it out using paper scissors. I used fabric scissors for the other fabrics.
This version was edited back
Then came the fun part, adjusting the bodice for the corset.

What you see here is my test version using quilting cotton and the boning. This was good practice.

And here's a close up of the corset being prepped with boning.
 The boning is sewn onto the lining and not in the seams.

Below is the inside after I finished the seams. I hand stitched the lining onto the zipper seams. And internal layer of fabric could have been included for a firmer fit. The silver fabric is very light so I used white calico for more firmness but less bulk.
Below is the finished corset.
The back of the corset is higher than the front neckline. I've also used an open ended zipper for the back centre seam.

So what does this outfit look like on me...
This dress weighs much less than the original wedding dress in Outlander.
There was plenty of work in creating the corset and I enjoyed this process.
It's very simple and uses the elements that work for me.
Thank you White Tree Fabric for these fabrics. They've kept me busy while waiting for the next part of Outlander to hit our screens in April.

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