Tuesday, 21 October 2014

Jalie shapewear

Shapewear. Do you bother wearing shapewear? Would you make shapewear? Well it was a slow news day when this article came up last week. So I reacted to this 'celebrity secret' in a sewing way.
Control brief with tummy panel on the left and shape shorts on the right
If you've sewn activewear, shapewear is easy enough to achieve. Jalie 2572 has been in my pattern stash for a while so as I'm sewing a bunch of activewear at the moment, I thought my current sewing skills could handle sewing shapewear. 

I was curious about the techniques and fit so while these test pieces look 'questionable', they do fit. I used size 'T'. This control brief has a stretchy powermesh body and a more stable power mesh tummy control panel. I follow Jalie's suggested seam sewing method and it worked wonderfully. I only needed a normal sewing machine to finish these pieces.
Tested the shape shorts with some stash fabric.
The shaping shorts are made from poly/lycra that was in my stash and swimwear elastic. So now I need to get the right FOE picot elastic, powermesh and matching lace in nude and black colours to take this to a more useable/wearable make (on my sewing notion shopping list). These patterns don't take long to sew together.

Mum used to wear 'steppings' or a girdle when she was a social butterfly in the 60s and 70s. Now we call these 'shapewear'.

...Then the day after I made these two test pieces, I felt compelled to make the waist cincher in the stash poly/lycra fabric. No boning sew into it but I did sew on the tummy panel. Just a straight size T with a firmer tummy control powermesh panel. 

So I then wore my Burda wrap dress to work with the waist cincher on.
At the beginning of the day, the base of the waist cincher kept rolling upwards so I placed my 'hose' over the top of the cincher and the 'rolling up' stopped. All day I had this cheeky smile on my face because I didn't let a soul know what I was testing/wearing. I mean - would you? #Not likely.

At the end of the day my torso and lower back felt well supported I could still eat normally and breath normally.

So my notion shopping list has now expanded to include boning.

And this all started because of that news item.

Sunday, 19 October 2014

For what it's worth

I’ve sewn activewear for a few years now. 

Lessons learned
When I first started working with activewear fabric I got it wrong for a lot of reasons.
  • I didn’t understand how to finish the seams properly
  • The fabrics I chose didn’t have enough recovery or were a one-way stretch
  • I kept choosing cotton/lycra that show sweat and don’t breathe well.
  • The elastic I used wasn’t designed for activewear.

In June guest post Susan of Measuretwicecutonce talked about so many aspects of activewear from her industry knowledge. And the technology behind activewear has improved in leaps and bounds.

Environment
Where I live we don’t get really cold winters and our weather is usually mild to hot and humid. When I train I need as much support through the clothes I wear.
I train in a gym at 6am in the morning and the air con hasn’t quiet kicked in as yet. The spin class is dominated by guys who don’t like the fans on but they are very well trained to mop the floor up at the end of the class. My Funkifabric makes can take the heat.

Why Funkifabrics
The fabrics I’ve been using from Funkifabrics have been provided by Funkifabrics.
So what have I found so far?
  • The fabric is a good weight to work with on my sewing machine, overlocker and coverstitch machines. Does this make a difference? Yes it does. This means I can grab any pattern and sew it up in a couple hours because it runs through these machines without fear of the fabric getting chewed up.
  • The prints don’t run and are true to their colour. I machined washed these fabrics and hung them out to dry on a stinking hot day. The duathlons have been worn again and again since I made them.
  • Funkifabrics feel soft. I’ve used lots of harsh feeling activewear fabric and put up with it because that’s all I could get. At times, I would also fully line swimsuits because the fabric print was great but the fabric was thin. Lining makes a lot of difference and if it’s good lining, it hugs/holds me in place.
  • The fabric moves with me and supports me. That includes the Funkifabrics lining too. It has to be the technology behind the manufacture of these fabrics. These fabrics aren’t your 'run-of-the-mill poly with a bit of spandex'.


Cycling
I’ve yet to test the fabric as cycling gear and with the hot months ahead and more daylight hours, I’ll make up a cycling kit and let you know how this fabric fares after a morning’s road ride in the heat. Deal. Now to get cracking.

Sample sheet
I've you're read this whole post you'll realise I've shown you the Funkifabrics prints I'm working with. These were all chosen from their website. As Winnie mentions in her Funkifabric post, you can order a sample sheet of Funkifabrics latest autumn prints. I made my choices from their website and I've kept a bunch of other prints I like in my Funkifabric account for future reference.

Sewing queue
I have a bunch of Jalie and KwikSew makes that I've just finished for myself and the youngest DN. This weekend has been hot so that spurred me to finish a couple of bathers and other beachwear.

Thursday, 16 October 2014

Burda wrap dress

This is my first Burda dress (11/2012 #116) this year using Spotlight fabric and lined with tricot. This pattern doesn’t need lining and doesn't come with lining pieces. I added the lining so there are no ‘visible lines’ or 'clinging skirt' syndrome.
Burda patterns provide just the pattern with no seam allowance. In the past this was a stumbling block for me. Lately I’ve been enjoying sewing patterns with 6mm seams so I’ve used my little magnet thingy to add the seams at the 'tracing off the pattern onto paper' stage. I then use the little magnet thingy again for cutting out those tricky fabric bits with the pattern.
Magnet thingy
While the fabric has a subtle all-over print, there is a repeat in it. Love a good repeat challenge. It adds that extra hurdle to get my sewing projects to look more spesh.
Here's the final dress
If you sew Burda patterns then you would know the aspects I'm about to mention below. These notes are mostly for me to use as a reference for making future BurdaStyle patterns.
Burda sizing
This is a petite pattern. I chose size 20 for the bust and hips and 18 for the waist. When I checked the bodice during the project it was too big so I sewed 18 at the bust. If I'd checked the actual body ease on the pattern pieces, I've probably taken out the built-in pattern ease.
Checking for bodice fit
Burda notches
Even with my dodgy tracing skills, the notches were spot on.
Back view
Petite
The Burda sizing /proportions for a petite like me were also spot on. There are two petite modifications I've made.

Pocket petite: I made was to cut the pocket bag to a smaller depth. I don’t adjust the pocket opening, just the depth of the pocket.
A shorter pocket
To keep the pockets from bagging, I've used seams great a tricot trim on the pocket seams. The pockets are sewn into the skirt side seams. 


What is clever is the top of the pocket piece is also sewn into the waist seam, so the pocket doesn't flip backwards.

Sleeve petite: I've shortened the sleeve at the elbow so that the wrist width is at my natural width. If I'd lopped it off at the hem, the wrist width would have bagged out. 

Adjustments
Roll shoulder adjustment across the whole shoulder and on the sleeve head.
Sway back adjustment on the back bodice and the back skirt pieces. That’s why my version has a centre back seam – to add the shaping I need.
Back bodice view
Lining
This pattern isn’t lined but I prefer lining. So the easiest way to make the lining pattern was to trace off the bodice pieces again minus the facings. That’s the beauty of having a pattern with no seam allowances.
The skirt has the facing built into the skirt front so I had to sew the lining in a few stages, in between three coffees and a good night’s rest.
Aligning and hand stitching the hem with the lining on the floor.
Hem
My fabric was too wriggly for a mitre corner. I’ve hand sewn the hem onto the lining. I’ll try this again on the next version. If the next version is also very fine, I might interface the corner so it’s easier to mitre.
Cutting out the collar pieces
Detailing
The sleeves have two versions – one with a cuff and one without the cuff. There’s a belt and belt loops. The closure used are two snaps. I’ve used three – one clear snap at the bust because this is a work dress. If this wasn’t a work dress, I wouldn’t add that third safety snap.

Matching the print on the sleeve pieces
What didn’t work
I tried to add piping on the collar and the fabric was way too thin to handle the extra weight without adding additional layers of fabric. Piping is not part of this pattern. It was a feature I wanted to add. Oh well...
Ready for work
Wrap top or wrap skirt
On the pdf, there are some lines on the front bodice indicating it could be for #115 of the same issue. I don't have Burda 11/2012 so I can't confirm this.
So I’m guessing it’s for a wrap top pattern. The back pattern pieces can be modified if I decide to remake this as a wrap top. That’s what I’m thinking.
Which also means I could easily use this pattern for the wrap dress, a wrap skirt and a wrap top too.

I have another four BurdaStyle patterns to make and you'll see these over the coming months: 
Cigarette pants 02/2014 #129
Split neck dress 09/2014 #101
Structured peplum top 02/2014 #115
Asymmetric jersey dress 05/2014 #115

Saturday, 11 October 2014

Thanks Yoshimi

Yoshimi sent me some amazing fabric last year and I felt this jumpsuit McCalls 6969 would do it justice with a hint of lining to 'make it work'.
With a bit of fabric stash diving I came up with a light weight black stretch woven for lining and some buttons. 
Earlier this year I made a couple of jumpsuits using McCalls 6083 but this style had a bit more structure to it so I bought it when McCalls had one of their sales. 
You really don't need too much structure in a jumpsuit/romper/onesie because you need to be able to move, avoiding a possible 'wardrobe malfunction'. 

The challenges 
- making it fit the first time 
- matching the pattern across the body
- lining up the dots on the collar and lapel
- sewing with a knit that kept curling 
- sewing with a slippery interlining
- my overlocker was playing up too.

Lining up the print on the jumpsuit body
Adjustments
- Took out 3" from the leg width.
- Lowered the buttons for a deeper but v-neckline
- Used elastic on the waistline
- Added 3cm to the centre back trouser seam.
Lining up the pattern on the collar facing.
The outcome
- Exactly what I wanted.
- Not too tight.
- I don't look like a council worker 
- No wardrobe malfunctions.
Back view
Finesse changes or what I'll do next time
- Raise the armhole depth by 2.5cm.
Ensuring the collar had the print at the collar points.
I hope I've given this fabric some justice to the potential vision Yoshimi had when she originally bought this fabric. 

It just so happened the buttons were a promotional gift I received a few years ago from Lots of buttons a couple of years ago.


I felt really comfortable wearing this jumpsuit to Frocktails and chill with sewing bloggers from Melbourne, Canberra, Brisbane, Port Macquarie and Sydney. This pattern will stay at the top of my 'must sew again' list.

Tuesday, 7 October 2014

Funkifabrics gym gear

The time to wear tame gym gear is over, thanks to Funkifabrics*.
Dyesplosion was my first print choice from Funkifabrics. This print has lots of strong colours and various dyesplosion points. 

You can see the size of the print when you click on the print image. The image is framed with a ‘tape measure’. That’s what drew me to choose dyesplosion. The challenge was getting the print placement as right as possible. As Funkifabrics is a UK fabric manufacturer I then choose two of FehrTrade’s patterns for this print.

XYT top
Dyesplosion and Funkifabric’s lining are used to keep me ‘in place’. I chose XYT Y-back version and used a red lycra accent for a bit of interest. 



This dyesplosion XYT top works well whether I have a tan or not. We’ve just hit Spring or you could say Spring has hit us in Australia, and so this is as fair as my skin gets.

Duathlon leggings
There’s a huge dyesplosion spot on this print so I managed to place it on the side of my legs. 
Wearing dyesplosion duathlon leggings and one of my first XYT tops.
The pockets break up this big print. So my cyclist thighs look like their exploding.

I’ve kept these leggings to above the knee length so I can wear these for boot camp training or cycling classes.
Hamming it up before class
Styling
The ‘gym style police’ suggested I wear these pieces separately. So I’ve complied with their request.
The seams are overlocked.
Tech points
If you only have one sewing machine, you can sew this top up using a slim zigzag stitch for the seams and twin needle for top stitching.

I used the overlocker and coverstitch machines to sew these pieces together. 
Here on the left you can see the clear elastic has been zigzag stitched to the neckline.
On the right I'm coverstitching it for a clean finish.
See how nicely the coverstitching looks.
The good news is my coverstitch machine loves this fabric!!! So that means it’s a sturdy quality fabric ie not flimsy.
Here's an inside look at the XYT built in bra.
The lining from FunkiFabrics has great recovery. It’s soft on my skin and it feels nicer than some of the powermesh I’ve been able to buy locally.

Wash and wear
As soon as this fabric arrived at my door step I threw this straight into the washing machine on normal cycle and then put it out on a very warm day. The colour held fast and I didn’t notice any shrinkage or colour fade. This print is as vibrant as it was when it arrived.

Versatile
This print has no right way or ‘right side up’ to it. This fabric also has lots of stretch in all directions. So from my point of view, this is a versatile print. You can place your pattern pieces in any direction and get the most out of this fabric.

*About Funkifabrics

They manufacture unique and special activewear fabric. You can read more about them here

PS: The local gym now has me on CCTV - LOL.

Thursday, 2 October 2014

Minerva make - McCalls 6898

Florals – a classic style choice when Spring comes to Sydney. And Spring is here and so is my latest floral shirt using a lovely floral print and clever buttons from Minerva Crafts using McCalls 6898.
McCalls 6898 shirt and Vogue 1204 jeans
This is an 'unassuming' shirt style ie. plain. Although it's almost Laura Ashley meets military style. 
I love these buttons.
Styling advice for petites usually states using small prints. I’ve seen this advice a lot so when I saw this print at Minerva Crafts in June the colours and print drew me to it.

This fabric washes nicely, irons easily, is lovely to work with and easy to wear all day. This print comes in four colourways and I was really tempted to use the purple colourway but this red/blue/cream combo won out. These colours seemed to reflect the English countryside we were experiencing at the time.

The real reason I wanted to use this fabric was to include it in my business casual gear but to also team this with suits too. Hence using the long sleeves and simply the collar band.

Back to the pattern
This gem has A to D cup sizes so if you’ve been forced to do an FBA on most patterns, this is a handy pattern to have in your stash. I gravitate between B and C sizing so I’ve used C size so that I don’t feel restricted during the day. Yes there a bit of room in this shirt but because it’s for work, I like to wear shirts that don’t cling to me. Personal preference.

Length changes
This was easy but needed some thought. I’ve shortened the sleeve just below the elbow to keep the markings for the cuff.

I’ve taken the length from the lower pieces again to keep the hip shaping. Here's a link to the petite tech post for this pattern. It's pretty straightforward (simple) to achieve.
Used french seams and bound the sleeve seams together.
Pleats or gathers?
I chose pleats again. I’m not a 'gathers gal' at the best of times but this fabric gathers nicely.

Buttons
These are so cute and they just about match the size of the print. They’re adorable to me. And you really can’t see them with this print.

See how the buttons blend into the print.

How could I resist a sign like this???
The fabric is such a good shirt weight, both this pattern and fabric would lend themselves to a shirt dress. I intend on using this pattern again by extending the hem for a dress.

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