Saturday, 23 May 2015

See spot run

McCalls 4261 has a basic round neck tee pattern and I had some white knit fabric with huge silver spots on it, hence this post.

Melissa and Winnie recently ran the London Marathon. An awesome feat in itself. They both wore outfits that didn't hinder their efforts but ensured they could be spotted in the crowd. Or at least that's my take on their running outfits.

This month I'm ran my only half marathon and to distract my training and a dress I've working on, I played with this tee. 

The test top is a daywear basic made from this highly textured knit. There's a matching skirt but that's another story...

The test top showed me I needed to use the small size for the waist up and medium size for the waist down. The long sleeves are not long enough for me. I think this fabric is a piece I bought at Clear it in Melbourne some time ago. It has no wicking properties at all. It just looks good.

Here's the short sleeve and long sleeve training versions.
I still have enough of this fabric for a panel on something. 
Before the run my estimated running time was over 2 hours and I finished in 2 hours 18 minutes. After running in the short sleeve top for over 2 hours on a cool day, I could do this again.
The whole time I ran my main concern was to finish and not fall or 'hitting the wall'. Now to cheer on Kathy in her half marathon later this month.

Oh, while I was recovering this week, I made these three versions post-half marathon because these scrap fabrics were begging to be used. 
Check blue top, brown pleather top and basic blue top
 The blue version was comfy to wear to work this week.

Wednesday, 6 May 2015

Getting it right

McCalls 6028 has taken me a while to make this fit me. There's a satin/lace dress I'm planning on making so I've tested this pattern three times because I want to 'get it right'.

Version 1: Check cotton fabric

This version is a size 14 based on my current measurements and I used a green/white check cotton to test out my initial adjustments.
Forward shoulder adjustment and sway back adjustment were the two changes I made on the tissue. I did drop the bust apex by 2.5cm.
Once I made up the dress, it was too big from the waist up.
Currently unpicked and ready to be resized.
This print was a piece I bought in Portland 4 years ago so I was eager to see if this fabric was still a goer. I also practiced sewing in an invisible zipper on this finer cotton fabric.

Conclusion: Go down a size and raise the hemline.

Version 2: Heavy slub cotton fabric

This version is a size 12 using a heavier cotton fabric with the new adjustments from #1. 
The bodice back bodice needed taking in below the shoulders and the front bodice also needed taking in above the waist. 
You can just see the piping added along the front seam lines.
Once I tweaked the seams, I overlocked them. There wasn't enough fabric for the facings so I used bias binding to finish the neckline and hem.

The back was very simple to construct - even the invisible zipper.
This is already a handy work dress.
This cotton fabric was a Spotlight find from a few years ago. I added a strange trim that I bought online to practice piping. This isn't my best work so I'll have to practice some more...
I've used the piping feature on the sleeve hem - again this is hard to see.
The invisible zipper sits really neatly on this fabric. I unpicked a RTW skirt and found the invisible zipper had two sets of stitching - one close to the zipper teeth and the other mid way along the zipper tape.

Conclusion: Try it again with the facing this time.

Version 3: Printed ponte knit

Size 12 using the facing pieces on ponte and making the sleeve 'winter' length.
This version is so comfortable to wear.
The facing pieces added a bit of bulk and after wearing the dress, I've added a fine knit from the facing to skirt length to avoid the fabric clinging to me.
This pic shows the grey knit lining I've used inside the dress. This stops it from clinging.
I bought this printed ponte knit from Minerva Crafts UK when I visited their store last year.  Sam used the same printed ponte for her separates last year.
Everything lined up along the back.
The invisible zipper sat nicely on this version. I used a dark green thread so that I could see the thread when I had to unpick the seams.
Here's a close up of the trim I added along the front seaming.
The sleeve pattern doesn't extend to the wrist so I lengthened the pattern and rechecked the width of the sleeve. It took me a couple of goes at slimming the sleeves in. Otherwise I would have drowned in the print and I do like this print.
This fabric works with this pattern.
There are a lot of ways this dress can be made up and I think by trialling the pattern for fit, I've discovered a few ways this dress can become a favourite.
Here's how this works together with my Quart coat for Winter.
I'm hoping my chances of the satin/lace version works. I still need to adjust the neckline for the style that I want. More soon.

Thursday, 30 April 2015

A gorgeous hoodie

I saw a 'little red riding hood jacket' with a Steam punk feel for my Minerva Crafts make using McCalls 4261 as the jacket basis.
Here's how I wore this jacket during the week.
Here's how I wore this jacket for the weekend.
What did I use?
These are the materials provided by Minerva Crafts UK.
What did I change?
I laced the ribbon from my March Minerva make through the shank of the buttons.
You might notice the hood is lined. 

The whole jacket is lined with the fine black knit fabric suggested by Vicki. Annette prefers this fine knit to line jackets, skirts and dresses with. I know I used this knit lining last year with my Vogue houndstooth dress.

From the picture below you can see that I extended the jacket length and added width at the hem. This provides the added width so I could use the ribbon lacing at the back of the jacket.
The picture below shows the front jacket hem extended with a slight amount of added width for my hips. I've overlayed the new pocket piece and checked the pocket placement and depth at the side seam.
The hem is curved so I've tried to match the side seams for this new hem style.
Here's my little riding hood smile.
Thanks Minerva Crafts for letting me update my casual jacket for something that's just a bit different again.
Not bad against red too.

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.


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.


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.
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.


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.


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