Tuesday, 27 January 2015

All in one facing

I know I've done my dash on pineapple prints but I had some leftover and made another dress using my basic block pattern. Why? Because I wanted to use it before this blistering heat ends and to perfect an me-made 'all in one' facing.

Last week a few of us were after talking all things sewing and facings came up in the conversation. I decided to watch the Great British Sewing Bee series 2 because it's finally showing on pay tv. Series 2 used a basic top with an all-in-one facing is challenge 1 episode 1. So on the weekend I experimented with an all-in-one facing on two types of fabric.

Here are my me-made drafted facings for my basic block dress.
The seams are built into my basic block pattern.
The key points for making smooth finish are clipping the seams and understitching close to the seamline.
I've used a cotton fabric because I ran out of this pineapple linen print.
It felt good to see I can sew facings. I do shy away from facings. 
Can you see the pocket sewn on the outside of the skirt?
As we're currently living in hot, humid conditions, this sleeveless linen dress with last minute pockets is going to be worn quiet a bit now.
Then I decided to try and all in one facing on a stable knit dress using McCalls 6559,
The finish on the neckline and arms worked nicely.
Mr V likes this dress better than the green pineapple romper.
There was excess fabric at the waist so I pinched it out and formed a french dart.
The centre back has shaping to overcome my sway back. The back still needs a back dart at the waist because there's a bit more excess fabric under the arm.

It's good to reuse handy sewing skills like all-in-one facings again. And that's all my pineapple fabric for this Summer.
As Nicole mentioned below, Jenny has a great bunch of posts about all in one facings.  You have to enjoy her well-written, well-photographed posts.
Update: Go to the Sewing Directory for details about the Great British Sewing Bee Series 3.

Wednesday, 21 January 2015

#pineapplesaresohotrightnow

Call it Summer madness - #pineapples. Here's the top/skirt pineapple combo I made last year.
 
Then Darn Cheap Fabrics put up pics of their pineapple print fabrics on IG. All I'm saying is their phone purchasing service is quick, just like their mailing service.

Here's a simple romper - made in one day. McCalls 6362.
This pattern is designed for wovens and since this fabric has very little stretch, I made it without a zipper in the back but used lace elastic at the neckline and armholes. I'm rethinking this and about to add a zipper at the centre front neckline - in black of course.
I've used this as a go-to piece when the weather is hot/steamy and I'm lazying around the house. Well I don't lazy too much when I can sew instead.

You know how they say 'what you do on the first day of the year, you'll do all year?" Well I cut and made this dress on NY Day - Vogue 8949.
I'm aiming to blend into the garden.
I originally used this dress pattern for my December Minerva Make and it's such a great fit and my current fitted go-to dress for Summer - 'now with sleeves'. Yes. It's fully lined. 
The day I wore it is was great to wear but I felt a bit meh, so I added the zipper to the front right seam for a 'bit of interest' and raised the hem to just above the knees.
I keep the zip closed for work. 
Now I'm thinking of applying a longer zipper in the front skirt seam for an evening version. 

Uhm ... I have enough of this print left to make another dress but this fabric is fairly firm (linen) so I'll have to pattern dive and find something with interest.

Thursday, 15 January 2015

What was I thinking

This is one project I just could not understand - making a stock-standard bra. Nothing spesh. Plain and ordinary.
Kwik Sew 3300 has been around and has been reviewed by lots of really competent sewing bloggers. Right now there are so many new bra patterns that it made no sense for me to buy another pattern until I cracked this pattern.

This underwire bra pattern uses 

  • power net for the back bands, 
  • plush elastic for the band base and top, 
  • picot elastic for the top cup edges finished, 
  • self made shoulder straps from tricot and 
  • self made wire channelling. 
View A cups are made from lace and tricot, and view B cups are made from tricot.
I decided to use pre-made shoulder straps and re-made underwire chanelling.
Most of my notions were bought at Metro Fabrics, the Remnant Warehouse and from an ebay seller who was selling their lingerie fabrics and notions. I should have bought 3x3 hook/eye sets.
My ignorance
My first two attempts were plain stupid. I had no knowledge about the fabrics needed, types of elastics, underwires, shoulder straps, hooks and the list goes on and on.
This is my 3rd attempt and I've salvage some of the notions.
I decided to make the 34B but I kept changing my mind about elastics, laces, hooks/eyes, straps because I had no idea about what was what.
Here's my 4th attempt.
This plain white attempt is my 4th attempt and it fits nicely. #success

It's taken me two years to go back to the first two attempts and try again. The first two attempts were failures but I was able to tweak the pattern pieces for a better fit.

Machine stitching

There are a number of stitch types used to a decent bra that I hadn't used before. It took several viewings of Craftsy's bra making course to learn about the stitching. Beverly Johnson is a certainly a bra fairy or bra-whisperer and owner of Bra makers supply. I bought this course on sale and it's now got me over the line.
Beverley advises to place all your pieces and notions on a board when you're about to start sewing.
Beverly's bra knowledge especially her bra notions and hardware knowledge were and are invaluable to me and she'll remain my 'go-to' bra resource.

What did I change
The lace version is full lace cup and some lace on the side and on the bridge.
The main cup shape change was on the upper cup piece. I altered the shoulder strap location to be closer to my neck as RTW bra straps sliding off my shoulders.

I also darted out some space in the upper cup piece because it seemed too wide at the top.

The bridge is also slimmer than the pattern.
Measuretwicecutonce Mary knickers with Kwik Sew 3300
Ongoing learning
Beverly's knowledge made the Kwik Sew instructions a lot more workable. When I first attempted this pattern I put it aside because there were too many variables that I did not understand #noidea.

There isn't a local bra making workshop so being able to go back through the class steps when I needed them has helped me made this bra pattern work.

My main blogger sewing references are Fehr Trade, kathhhhy, Ms McCall, Sigrid and measuretwicecutonce


After I made these bras I found this pattern freebie page.

Road test
I've since worn the lace bra all day: it sits properly; is comfortable to wear; and has been through the wash and come out unscathed.

I'll only post up future bras posts if:

  • they look amazing or 
  • I've used a different pattern or
  • I attempt to sew a sports bra.

So for now, that's my bra making story.

Monday, 12 January 2015

Stormset cycling jersey

This is the real cycling jersey from Fehr Trade - Summit to Surf top using Funki Fabrics.
The reflective tape is used on the front and back panel seams.
It's odd when you sew wovens and knit fabrics together
Here's a close up of the finished back pocket with a secure pocket on the right hand seam.
This new cycling version is certainly smaller and more fitted than the test version - just like a RTW cycling jersey.

Last Saturday I road tested this jersey in the heat. When I say road test I mean a 52km ride that went for more than 2 hours on the road.
You can see how well the back pocket sits in the right position.
The sky was overcast but it was quite humid. There was no additional breeze but cycling does provide a breeze.
Just checking the spare tyre in the bike bag :)
I was on the road by 6am which is considered late by some keen cyclists. I usually get home in time to have breakfast with Mr V. 

This Stormset cycling jersey is a keeper for Summer training. The fit is great for riding and the fabric is light, supportive and provides good sun protection.

Thanks Melissa for this pattern. You're really thorough with your testing process.
Thank you Funki Fabrics for this fabric and all the fabrics I've been provided with. I'm so thankful to be using such good quality lycra.

Wednesday, 7 January 2015

Creating a secure pocket

For Fehr Trade's latest Surf to Summit top, I added a secure pocket. Here's how I did it.
My RTW cycling jerseys have close fitting pockets so I adjusted the back pocket and drafted a pocket bag pattern piece.
The new cycling jersey uses left over Stormset print fabric from Funki Fabrics and an invisible zipper from my stash.
Checking for zipper length
Checking secure pocket so it fits my phone.
I checked the pattern to make sure it fit my phone and also checked the zipper length I need to get the phone into my pocket.

Next I had to figure out the steps to actually sew the pocket together.
Step 1: Sew the zipper to the outer pocket first (right side of the zipper). Use the invisible zipper foot. A 15cm invisible zipper will do.
Step 2: Sew the zipper (left side of the zipper) onto the zipper bag, leaving room for the seam allowance.
Here's what it should look like.
Step 3: Sew the zipper seams closed at top and bottom. This will take some negotiating because the fabric stretches but the zipper doesn't.
Step 4: If the zipper needs to be shortened, zigzag the zipper base and cut it to size.
Step 5: Pin the zipper bag to the main pocket piece, ready to sew it closed.
Below is how the back pocket fits on the jersey. I've used Fehr Trade's Surf to Summit sewing instructions to sew the jersey.
I'll show the finished cycling jersey next post.
Cheers.

Tuesday, 6 January 2015

DIY reflective tape ideas

Road cycling can be hazardous if drivers don’t see you. I’ve had a few cycling bingles in the past and none were car-related #touchwood. Now that I’ve made a few activewear pieces I wanted to add reflective tape for cycling/running gear.

Last year I managed to buy a couple of rolls of reflective tape from the fabric district in Hong Kong with Allison Churchman. Here's what I learnt so far...

Reflective zipper:
Before the Christmas break I had a look at what reflective zippers were available and Rose City Textiles has a few reflective zipper options. I couldn’t find any reflective zippers locally and I felt silly pre-buying reflective zippers when I didn't have a project in mind.

When I do have a specific project in mind, I’ll order some zippers from Rose CityTextiles.

Here’s the RTW cycling jersey I wear which has a faux reflective zipper.


After closer inspection it is a sports zipper with reflective tape sewn on it. So I created my own reflective zipper. 

The reflective tape is woven and firm so I used the Clover wonder clips to hold the reflective tape onto the zipper for sewing.
I used Clover wonder clips to hold the tape to the zipper tape.
You can see how much reflective tape I have to play with.
Here's the finished DIY reflective zipper.

It took a few goes to sew the zipper onto this knit fabric but I got the hang of it by sewing slowly and resewing some parts just to get it to sit properly.


Lesson learnt:
Use glue if you need to hold the knit fabric in place when pins won't pierce through the layers of tape, zipper and knit fabric. 

Reflective piping:
Preparing piping is easy enough. The piping filling I’ve used is acrylic wool from a failed learning to knit attempt #idon’tknit.

On my Surf to Summit cycling jersey using Funki Fabrics, the plan was to use reflective piping
  •         at the sleeve seams
  •         on the panel lines
  •         at the base of the back pocket.

My guestimate was I would need 4m of reflective piping. Once I finished the new cycling jersey (using blue Stormset fabric) I had reflective piping left over so I was glad I only had to sew the piping once.
Here's the original Surf to Summit jersey with reflective tape.
Initially I sewed the piping on with a straight stitch. Not bad. Then I decided to use the overlocker. I wasn’t very accurate and the piping stitching was visible so in the end I sewed the seams with a straight stitch and then used the overlocker to finish the seams.
Here's a WIP view of the cycling jersey.
Lesson learnt:
Run the piping into the seam so you don’t have a layer of piping at a seam join. This simply makes seam allowance joins easier to work with.


Last year Susan from Measure twice cut once also gave me some reflective tape samples to use which I still have to test. The samples she’s given me is high quality so I need a good project to use them on #preciousstuff.

Saturday, 3 January 2015

Postcard from NZ

Here's a 'postcard' from Mr V at Whangamata beach, New Zealand:

"While in the Northern Hemisphere it’s all about wear multiple layers to keep warm, “down under” in the ”land of the long white cloud”, thoughts are on summer and days at the beach.  So, Velosewer’s fabulous “rashie" using Funki fabrics Stormset print is getting a different kind of workout!

Everyone was impressed with your rashie 'Dear'.  Even Lyndon (19 year old nephew) liked the colour!"

Even on hot days, the water is still very chilly in New Zealand. There's a surf carnival on in the background.

Thursday, 1 January 2015

Minerva make - Chillin'

Welcome 2015 with a new John Kaldor dress from Minerva Crafts UK using Vogue 1344 for Summer. Yes. We're in the middle of Summer and in Sydney it's usually hot, humid but it's also a month of celebrations and a loose dress that breathes is what gets me through this fabulous weather.

John Kaldor fabrics
Both fabrics have 55% linen and 45% cotton: navy/ivory and red/cream.
They washed nicely; kept their colour; ironed nicely and creased a bit. Good linen crushes so I expected this from these two fabrics. What I also expected was for these fabrics to be scratchy but they're soft and they softened on washing them. It was lovely to iron this dress during construction because it made my sewing look impressive.

I expected good results from a John Kaldor fabric and I got it. Well I used John Kaldor lawn for my December make and the fabric and the dress were a Christmas success.

Vogue 1344
My Google image research showed this pattern was a Summer favourite and with the amount of eating in the lead up to the New Year, an easy dress was needed for the New Year.
The testdress showed up a couple of areas I needed to 'tweak'.

I took out one of the front shoulder pleats. 

The front neckline was also shortened by 2cm so it didn't fall open.
I added 2cm to the back shoulder line and took off 2cm from the front shoulder line.
The front overlay was a bit too heavy for me so I folded out the curve at the waistline.
I took out some of the skirt hem width but used the longest hem as it sits above my knees. Just right for me.
And I also decided to pleat the front overlay instead of adding more gathers to what was going to be a gathered waistline using the elastic.
So now I have an easy to wear dress for the Summer. My version is unlined. That's another great aspect of using these John Kaldor fabrics for Summer.
It sits away from my body but keeps me cool.
This dress is so easy to wear and feels comfortable.
This has been an easy dress to make for 2015. And isn't it always the way that once you've made a great dress using great fabric you kick yourself for not getting more of it? I used every piece of the navy/ivory print but have a bit of the red/cream print to use another day...

Wishing you all a great 2015.

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