Tuesday, 20 September 2016

Trench coat wrapped

Sewing coats and jackets are my fav. It was a simple choice to make Simple Sew’s Trench Coat this month to welcome our warmer weather.
I love strong colours so I zeroed into the strongest Liberty colour-way print (MILLINERB) from White Tree Fabrics UK as the basis of this trench.
Granted, this lawn wouldn't be a coat choice fabric. It’s true to say an Australian Spring can be quite hot so I only needed a light layer and this fabric works.
Oh. The print doesn’t readily show creasing and that’s the other reason I chose this fabric. 

I really should have read the suitable fabrics list, but now this coat is finished, I'm glad I didn't (Breathable waterproof fabrics, heavyweight cotton, suiting, tweed, taffeta, denim,boiled wool).
Coats are an over layer and they often get thrown around – with respect of course. 
With that in mind, the two aspects I kept in mind was to ensure the:
  • inside finishes would show and
  • need for interfacing and reinforced seams were a must.
Nice inside finishes = binding the facings and pockets
Reinforces seaming = fake machine felled seams
Interfacing for the facings, pocket opening and the belt.
Remember, if you don’t want to do this type of work, this coat is simple to sew by using a medium-weight fabric with overlocked seams.

Sewing planning:
There’s only 24 hours in a day and with work and family commitments this trench coat was sewn. In the wee hours of the morning before work I sewed up the initial pieces of the coat.
I kept the front coat pleating for when there were no family interruption. MrV was at the gym for the night so I had more time to work out the pleating.

Because the fabric is cotton, I ironed the front pleats from the waist to the hem. The skirt of this coat now sits better on me and is more balanced for my height.

The coat facings are interfaced.
The pocket openings are also interfaced because I use coat pockets a lot, so I felt it worth the effort to reinforce them.
I used bias binding to finish the pocket seams, facings and the waist join.

As the coat came together I kept thinking this trench coat could be a fab wrap dress. Is that crazy? The front bodice has bust darts and all you'd need are a couple of snaps at the waistline and 'bam', there's your wrap dress.

1. Mark and sew in bust darts in front bodice pieces.
2. Sew in a know and thread at end of dart, do not back stitch. Press dart downwards.
3. Right sides together, join back bodice pieces together. Press seam open. I used fake machine felled seams to reinforce this fabric.
4. Join and sew front and back bodice together at the shoulders. Press seams open or finish using fake machine felled finish. Join and sew front and back side seams. Press seams open and finish them.
5. Join back skirt pieces together and sew at the centre back seam.
6. Press open. I finished this seam with fake machine felled finish.
7. Take two pocket pieces and with right sides together sew them where the pocket markings should be. I finished the pocket seams with fake machine felling.

My pattern didn't have the pocket markings on the back skirt pattern so I traced off this marking from the front skirt pocket markings. Claire knows about this issue and the pocket markings will be on the next print run of this pattern.
8. Moving onto the from skirt pieces and mark in your pleats along the skirt waist. Hand tack or pin them in place. Claire recommends hand tacking and pressing them in. 
My fabric was a cotton so I was able to simply use pins and the iron. The fabric is great to work with.
8a. On the right side of the fabric, machine stitch the pleats in place and press them.
I pressed my pleats from the waist to the hem.

9. Take two pocket pieces and with right sides together sew them where the pocket markings are. Make sure these pockets align with the bottom pocket piece.
I finished the pocket seams with fake machine felling.
10. Pin your front skirt in place on top of the back skirt with right sides together. Match up the opening of the pockets.
11. Stitch from the top of waist to the start of the pocket opening. Back stitch and cut thread. Start stitching again from the bottom of the pocket opening all the way down to the hem. Press the seam open. Now stitch all the way around the curve of the pocket. You can overlock or zigzag stitch the pocket curves. I used bias binding for a neater look. 

12. Your coat skirt will look like a wrap skirt.

13. With right sides together, join and sew the skirt and bodice together, aligning the side seams. Press open. I finished the seams with bias binding.

14. With right sides together, join back neck facing to front facing. Press seams open. I finished the seams with bias binding.

15. With right sides together, pin the facing onto the coat and stitch it in place all the way around from one hem to the other. The seam allowance here is 1cm.
Press seams open. Snip around the neckline curves. Then turn facing inside the coat and press flat.

16. With right sides together, attach and sew under-sleeve to top-sleeve. Press sleeve seam open. I finished the seams with fake machine felling. Attach remaining side of the under-sleeve to the remaining side of the top-sleeve. I did a french seam here. Turn up the sleeve hem, press and stitch in place.

17. Fit sleeve head into armhole right sides together and ease sleeve in to fit. The seam allowance here is 1cm. Stitch in place. Press.
 I finished the seams with bias binding.
18. Right sides together, join belt pieces together. Start sewing from one side and sew all the way around, leaving a turning opening along one side. Turn through to right sides, press and the slip-stitch the opening closed. I machine finished this opening.
Fold the edges of the belt loops flat, top stitch the edges down carefully and then machine stitch the first side onto your coat right side together where marked on the pattern.

19. Turn up the hem all the way around, press flat and stitch in place.
While I like fitted styles, this wrap trench has a great shape to it.
Cheers and thanks Claire and White Tree Fabrics Uk for this coat.

Thursday, 15 September 2016

Easy slip

Burda 6964 was a breeze to use for a couple of very quick slips.
The burgundy slip was the test version. I felt more comfortable wearing the Bella dress with this slip.
On this black version, I moved the shoulders closer to the centre so it sits better on me.
You might also be able to see I've added lace to the hem of this version. The lace was bought from some fabric shopping excursion and had been sitting in my stash for a while so I was really happy to use it.

No more cling when I wear these slips with knit dresses now.

Thursday, 1 September 2016

Poppies for Spring

John Kaldor microfibre fabric with poppies was my choice for this month's Minerva Crafts UK project. It's September and it's also Spring so I've used New Look 6067 with 3/4 length sleeves.
This dress will be a '9to5' workhorse dress because it's shapely and work appropriate.
Above is the dress kit I ordered from Minerva Crafts.

After reading previous reviews of this pattern I decided to:

  • lower the neckline to necklace height
  • lower the v-opening
  • Line the bodice
  • interface the front neckline
I did test this pattern and used size 14 but found that I could size the bust down to size 10 which I've done on this version.
This is the test bodice.
Basic alterations:
  • Forward shoulder adjustment
  • shortened the skirt
  • raised the centre back pleat 
Below are the bodice pieces showing the shoulder seams adjusted and the front facing lowered as I had lowered the neckline opening by 3cm.
The other issue I found was the back neckline was high so I dropped this by 3cm as well. 
I did grade the bodice so the bust was size 10 and the waist was size 14. You can see I redrew the back neck facing.
Below is the finished back neckline.
I shorten skirt pieces initially below my 'derriere' but then I had to shorten the hem after the test dress by 5 cm. I didn't want to waste my poppy print fabric. 
It looks like this pattern was printed in 2011 so it's not new and has been road tested by alot of good sewers.

What I was able to do is add a hint of piping at the neckline.
 You can see I checked how this looked before I progressed with making this dress.
I like how it worked out and didn't add too much weight to this neckline.
There is a lot of hand sewing involved with the lined bodice and the skirt hem. The trick that works for me is to 'wax the threads'.
Lots of threads. If you're technical, I start of with a dozen waxed threads. I usually need another two or three to sew on the hook and eye at the top of the zipper and then to sew up any loose ends.

Thanks again Minerva Crafts UK to this new Spring dress.

Sunday, 28 August 2016

Pinup girls Classic bra

This time I decided to test out the Pin-up Girls Classic bra to use up some of my bra stash. I bought this from Sew Squirrel.
So far this year I've bought three bra kits from Susan of Measuretwicecutonce so I felt is was time to give the yellow kit a try. 
Susan constantly changes her kits so I keep an eye on what she has on offer each month.
 This cream colour on is the test version I made using the Classic bra pattern.
 The cups were a bit high for me so I adjusted them for Susan's kit.
 Above the progress shot and as you can see, the lace is not lined.
I used the premade bra strap to check the ones I made using Susan's kit. The level of details in making bras can 'do your head in'. I certainly does my head in.
Here's the final version and I've applied a gold pre-made rose.
This version uses leftover pieces from both bras and I've used a bigger pre-made flower for the finishing touch. The inner lace is lined but not the side cup.

I still have two more kits to make up but I've put these aside for now. There are some foam bra cup shapes I've purchased locally so they might be the next bra projects to conquer.

Tuesday, 23 August 2016

A bra with no pattern

Yep. That’s what this post is about - making a bra from the store-bought bra I loved.
This is the second bra and it's got all the kinks ironed out of the pattern pieces.

I made this pink rose lace bra based on the black lace ‘zombie’ bra below.
These are the initial bra pieces from the black lace bra.
Susan of Measure Twice Cut Once has a really good series of posts on her blog that you really should bookmark if you want to do this like a real professional.
You can see how I've pinned the bra to paper to trace it without unpicking it.
The first rose lace bra was the test bra and the second one is the ‘bra of success’.

Notions list for two bras:
·         Sliders and bra strapping or buy premade bra straps
·         Lace for the bra cups
·         Power mesh for the bra band
·         Plush elastic
·         Premade 2 hook fastener
·         A floral motif or fine ribbon as your centre front ‘cake topping”
The bra band has all the notion and cutting instructions on it
This was the first lace option I thought about buying.
This rose lace mesh was my choice because you could see the flowers over the tricot layer.
These are all the bits and pieces I had to work with.
Beverly's craftsy bra class suggests ironing the under wire casing into a curve before sewing it in.
Sewing the bra strap elastic works well using three step zig zag stitching.

Above is where I had to figure out if the bra band matched the hook size. The plush elastic I used added width to the band so I had to adjust the back bra band to work with the hook fasteners I had on hand.
Here's the final test bra with pre-made straps.

Below are the construction steps I've made for myself that I'm happy for you to use.
Construction steps:
Step 1: Pin tracing paper to each bra piece and roughly draw the pattern shapes  #wingedit
Step 2: Add 6mm seams on all pieces and mark the grainline, if you can figure out where it is #wingedit
Step 3: Keep the zombie bra with you while you follow pattern instructions from a similar pattern. I used Beverly Johnson’s Pin Up Girls pattern that I bought from Sarah of Sew Squirrel.
Step 4: Take a deep breath and make up the first bra.
Step 5: Try it on and then adjust the pattern pieces.
Step 6: Cut out and make up your ‘bra of success’.

Caveat: If you ask your partner what they think of your first test bra, their smile and lack of words will indicate they’re your partner for life…and that’s all I’m saying.

Want to make a matching set?
Make sure you buy enough lace for to sew up 2 ‘bottoms’ of your choosing, as well as cotton lining and matching elastic and follow the same steps.


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