Wednesday, 29 August 2012

Mad Macaron - Colette 1001

Rhinestones and telephones has been hosting a Colette sewalong on her blog. I recieved this pattern as a gift of appreciation and I really appreciated the opportunity to make this up with other fellow Macaron sewers.

These are the pieces I had planned to use. The print is on the yoke and sleeves. The burgundy is on the bodice, midriff and skirt pieces.
I've used organza to line the sleeves so the print remains defined and the colours aren't washed out.
The sleeves lined with organza sit nicely and they didn't take too much work to set them into the bodice. Whether you use 1 or 2 rows of gathering stitches, they still sit nicely.

Macaron bloopers:
- The pockets didn't turn out right. I'll have to have another go at these on the next version. Note to self: read the notes and pay more attention.
- One of the sleeves was a bit puffy. That's because I didn't clip it where the hem is inverted.
- When I attached the skirt to the bodice, I managed to sew the front skirt to the back bodice. I thought the pleats were a bit funny... At least the skirt was sewn in at the waist and not at the hem. I've done that before.
- The front waistband is a bit twisted. I'll be ironing on interfacing to the waistband to keep it looking firm.
- The skirt length needs to go above the knees.
Below is my pattern pose.

All in all, this dress worked. And the back pleats have been modified so I don't have volume where it's not needed. The outer back pleats are wider than the centre back pleats.

I can see why Colette patterns are so popular. There are lots of good instructions for new sewers. The order of sewing this dress are a bit out of sequence IMHO. I expected to work on the front bodice in total and then the back bodice but the midriff sequence is after sewing the yokes. This isn't a biggy or a deal breaker. It's just a sequencing thing that's different to what I'm used to.

A fave - vogue 1271 & B3833 vintage jacket

This dress was the overwhelming favourite from your supportive comments; with PRers who regularly chat on the message boards; the ladies at Highlands to the sea retreat and with Rhodes ASGers. I'll be wearing this dress to the 2nd family wedding and the bias dress will be worn to the church for the 1st family wedding with a ink navy linen jacket that I made a while ago with Roberta Thompson. The jacket is further down this post:)

I've used Pitt Trading remnant fabrics (plural) to test out this dress and it's worked out really nicely. You'll see by the inside shot that I've used lots of lining remnants to make sure it fit properly.
Below is my pattern pose. Thanks to Sharon for getting my hem to a great length.
That's an earring that I've clipped on the front belt. The earrings and bracelets were made by me and they are matching.
Below I took out the back skirt darts because it was disco/clubbing tight and that's not where I'll be wearing this outfit :)
The next version will be a summer version because I love the short sleeves and there are a couple of pieces in my stash that would work well in this style. And they won't be work based but I'll try and make them more retro in appearance.
Jacket - B3833
This little vintage jacket is a throw-on for the evening. It is fully lined and while I had planned to use fishing line to on the hem and neckline, the fabric is so stiff that I didn't need to use it. Oh well, maybe next time.
The bodice organza was the end of the roll (yes an addiction of mine) so I used plain organza for the sleeves and the lining. Below is my pattern pose.
The button loops are twists of the organza and some silver ribbon I added in to make the button loops a) show and b) work so that the buttons would fit through and stay in place.
You can see that I've made the neckline a V so that the dress neckline shows through.
I learnt that organza, while it is quiet stiff, is compliant so the shoulder seams were easy to manipulate into place. I showed the fabric who's the boss. Then the fabric was brilliant under the steam station. It handled the steaming really well and didn't melt when I didn't used a ironing cloth when I first ironed it. That was a lucky break.

Galaxy dress - Vogue 8280

It's taken me a while to get to this pattern but it's always been in the back of my mind to do. . This is one of the set of formal dresses I've been working on. Thank you for your comments about this dress.
Again the fabrics are remnants from Pitt Trading. That $20 garbage bag of remnants was huge and the fabrics were more formal fabrics so they have been excellent for these dress patterns.
Below is my pattern pose. OMG.
I've used two dark teal wovens. The top of the dress is a crushed looking teal with a shininess to it. The skirt is another dark teal but kinda suiting like. The lining is not true lining, but it's a dark colour and it's very soft. The hem is now above the knees and I will wear the dress to the wedding but with a huge smile and less Victoria Beckham (ha).

I've made this in size 12 and it sits really well. The front flange pieces were hand stitched to the bodice so it sits well. Apart from that, this is a great style and I'd love to make this again.

Biased bias - v1208

This is a one of the formal dresses I've testing for a couple of family weddings. Thanks again for your comments. Your comments made me realise I had picked the right styles to suit my figure.

Here's my pattern pose. The skirt will be adjusted before Saturday so that it's above the knees.

Retro spring - B6582

This is a great pattern and I used interlined georgette to extend my georgette sewing skills and test this retro dress pattern. The result isn't as formal as I had envisioned, but this version will be a Spring dress. Thank you for your comments about this dress.
I made the guts of this dress up on the Sunday at the 3 day sewing retreat and by the time I got home, I had shortened the back darts and undid the front darts on the right of the dress. As the lining is being used as interlining, the front darts were bubbling up, so a bit of unpicking and resewing these darts did the trick.
Did I say that I bought this print from Spotlight for $1.30/m, so I bought 5 metres for some Spring sewing. The lining is orange and this keeps the print colours strong. Below is my pattern pose. What were you thinking?
Then Sharon hemmed two of the dresses for me and so I took another 4" or 10cm off the hem so that this hem suits my height. The kick pleat doesn't exist anymore and I don't need a kick pleat on this dress but I do know how to sew a kick pleat:)

BTW: There's another one in the always.

Sunday, 19 August 2012

What do you think?

Which dress should I wear for the family wedding? I do like each dress and I'll have a go at testing the Macaron this week so that next weekend I'll finish 'the dress' that I'll wear on the day. We're still in winter but I have a couple of long woollen coats that I can wear on the day depending on the weather. As for shoes - I have no idea where to start.
Vogue 8280 - To be hemmed.

Vogue 8271 - to be hemmed

Vogue 1208 complete

Butterick 6282 1960's Retro complete
This taffeta is earmarked for the retro dress.
Taffeta for Butterick 6582
This organza is going to be a simple lined bolero jacket. Would you believe I'm thinking of using fishing line to reinforce the jacket edges?
Jacket fabric for Vogue 1271
Ok. Let me know what you think I should concentrate on.
PS: I'll post the pattern reviews shortly.
Earlier I forgot to say we have another family wedding next year so that's why I've gone overboard with these dresses - Sorry.

Friday, 17 August 2012

Pattern testing weekend

Last Friday to Sunday I was at a sewing retreat with 3 of my sewing buddies and 30 other sewers at Stanwell Tops. Below we were being blown away when we went to the beach for a break on the Saturday.

In the lead up I decided to use this time to test dress patterns for myself. I prepared 5 and aimed to get 1 dress tested. By Sunday, I managed to test 3 dresses with the help of my sewing buddies with a bit of finishing work to do ie seam finishing, hems and lots of hand sewing.

Vogue 1208 in a dark print and lined with Sunsilky lining
Vogue 1271 in a blue purple remnant with Sunsilky lining.

Butterick 6582 in a tulip print chiffon and orange bemsilky lining.
Vogue 8280 in dark teal stretch woven and remnant lining.

Colette Macaron 1001 in deep maroon and maroon/black print georgette.
The first three are complete and the last 2 are being tested this week. I'll post up the finished dresses as soon as I can get proper pics done.
In the meantime I received some buttons from Sharon contacted me with a $10 voucher so I used the voucher and spent more $ on a range of their buttons. I love the packaging and there are a few projects I have these earmarked for. Thank you Sharon.

Monday, 13 August 2012

UFO request - Vogue 8426

In June I received a PR message about this kick pleat skirt I made two years ago.
Hello Velosewer,
I saw that you made Vogue 8426 and that you mention having made a sway back adjustment. I wonder if you might be willing to share a tip on this? I've put together my muslin and I need to take it in somehow at the small of my back by an inch. I'd rather not take it in along the middle panels as they look so nice being straight and not vee'd like a dart but I don't see another way. I would be most appreciative if you could tell me how you accomplished this!!!
Thanks for your consideration.
XYZ, Boston, MA
Well XYZ, here's the ugly side of how I adjusted this pattern to fit me again. I've called her XYZ because I haven't had a reply from her since I let her know that I've redone this skirt again to show the sway back adjustment.
This skirt took some time to initially make because I had lots of fitting issues, but I didn't want to interrupt the curved design lines. Below are the pattern pieces in their new very hacked state as I've made it again and the sizing is smaller again. The curve pieces are very wide, so I've folded them back so the skirt doesn't billow out. Before I use this pattern again, I will need to trace off the pieces onto new paper.

The main area that needed adjusting for the sway back was in the back pattern pieces. I did a bit of thinking and research before I had the guts to make this adjustment. Sherry does a good explanation about sway back analysis and adjustment.
The pieces that needed changing were essentially the back yoke but the adjustment was graduated through to the centre back skirt piece and the straight back skirt piece. I did have to adjust the curved side skirt pieces as part of the fitting process and not because of my sway back. Below is how this skirt looked after wearing it to work last week.
If you love this skirt design, then be prepared to make the adjustments you need to get the skirt  to hang right. It's not hard to do but it's worth the effort for a classically designed skirt.

Below is my pattern review.
Pattern Description: Skirt with shaped seams, back zipper, self-faced yoke and back pleat variation. I've made skirt A with a back kick pleat. This has a single pleat underlay that works really well if you're wearing this skirt to work.
Pattern Sizing:
6 - 10 and I think since I've adjusted it twice, I've made the 10.
Did it look like the photo/drawing on the pattern envelope once you were done sewing with it?
Yes it did.
Were the instructions easy to follow?
They were.
What did you particularly like or dislike about the pattern?
The lines on this skirt are wonderful. I love the back kick pleat.
You have to be careful with the curve lines on your hips.
Fabric Used:
Linen blend with rayon lining. This pattern doesn't have lining but I've added lining to keep the fabric color solid; remove the sheerness of the fabric; and generally help the skirt have less creases.
Pattern alterations or any design changes you made:
The skirt  length was shortened.
I did a sway back adjustment on the back yolk.
I also took out the fullness I added in the first time I made this 2 years ago.
I've folded back the full sides of the curved pieces.
Would you sew it again? Would you recommend it to others?
Yes I would.
I love this design and it can be adapted for solid fabric colours, especially if you are short.
Thumbs up.

Thursday, 9 August 2012

Sue - a budding sewing machine

Sue is a new sewing machine concept designed by industrial designer James Woods.

There's a write up about Sue on Threads insider this week and The Perfect Nose also did a write up. To be clear, this sewing machine is a prototype.
James's proposed sewing machined design makes me want to glue felt onto my sewing machines so that it has a pin cushion feature on it and add a magnet to keep me small scissors handy. I might just do that.

Can Janome please take this concept and make an affordable machine for new generations of sewers please? I'm a Janome owner.

If you think this is a cool sewing machine concept, you should take a look at a foldable sewing machine design concept by Richard Burrow. I'd be happy with either of these to take on a sewing retreat or convention.

Tuesday, 7 August 2012

Cynthia Rowley 1 - Simplicity 2406

Thank you for all your lovely words about Mum's wardrobe. She's been wonderful to me and my family and while these styles aren't exciting fashion, this is what works for her and I know her grandkids will be proud to have her looking special at their weddings. That's enough tears from me
It was worth trying this dress style with Pitt Trading remnant fabrics I still have, while I couldn't work on Mum's outfits last month.
I've made View B without the centre back split. This pattern needs lots of ironing and clipping when making up the sleeves. This style is basically a sack dress with interesting sleeves. Correction: What I mean is there's no waist, bust or hip shaping required. That's got to be a bonus for lots of fast and furious sewers.
I've used more of the Pitt Trading $20 remnants garbage bag for this dress so I didn't feel precious about making this version up. I also used an animal print remnant for the belt as an option. The gathers at the neckline aren't as obvious as the picture on the envelope but there are gathers.
 Yes. It's winter and I'm very pale. I really do need to iron this dress again. If it wasn't so cold, I would have worn this to the hens night on the weekend. Yes, my middle name is chicken. I have another Cynthia Rowley (2497) in the pipeline and it's also very forgiving like this style.
Below is the 1970's Batman tv series angle. Oh to be Batgirl and Commissioner Gordon never realised Batgirl was his daughter but Alfred knew.
Lately, a couple of local fabric retailers kept giving me extra fabric for free.
The owner who normally takes no prisoners at MyHung Parramatta gave me an extra 1.5m of knit fabric for Mum's knit tops just to get rid of the roll end. I was short (don't laugh) by 60cm for sleeves for Mum's second knit top so I asked for 1.5m (for a 3rd top) and there was .5 left on the roll piece with my original piece. There was a separate 1.5m piece rolled on the roll so I ended up with 2m for free.
Then, I managed to get to Pitt Trading and Sylvia threw in a remnant piece as well as the roll end (1m) and an end of roll piece for me as well. Fabric stash busting won't happen this year.


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