Friday, 30 November 2012

Size matters

We used Connie Crawford's Butterick 5538 pattern at a bust cup adjustment workshop. Our tutor Marea Drayton, had lots of patterns to look at for fitting ideas, and she gave use a sheet to record our measurements and calculate the adjustments we needed for the pattern.

Marea had lots of patience, she was great at keeping up with the less demanding sewers, but most importantly Marea was genuinely interested in helping us achieve a good fit.
She used Fit for real people used because she's Palmer Pletsch trained. Later I was told Marea used Connie Crawford's fitting techniques. I missed out on Connie's visit to Sydney last year but I have her books and I saw her at Sew Expo in 2011. Connie's amazing and a straight forward speaker with industry experience. Talk about a wealth of sewing industry knowledge! Connie is a real sewing treasure.

Anyway the pics below show the steps Marea took to increase the bust width on a princess seam. This pattern below had the width added by adding a vertical line that pivots from the shoulder seam. What you see below is Marea closing the side dart and adding room at the bust point. 
The side dart below is being taped closed.
Below you'll see the the front side is longer that the centre front so the centre front is then dropped to match the side front hem.
I did this workshop because I do need to know how to make this adjustment for anyone who is C cup and above like Mum or SIL or my first dear niece.
Pondering my next sewing project... You can see I need to get out into the sun eventhough summer is here.

Sway back XD
I'm wearing the mustard pants Vogue 1204 I made earlier this year. I also made these in festive green and a red test pair.
The back now fits better.
We were also asked to bring Frixion pens.  I had no idea what these pens were for but I bought a couple anyway. They're erasable pens so I suppose you can scribble out your markings and rewrite over your paper or fabric. I'll buy anything that gives me the best outcome. Have you used these pens before? Mine pens are still in the pack!

Here's what's on the net about these pens...
The ink laid down by the Frixion rollerball disappears under friction! The end of the pen has a hard plastic eraser, which when rubbed over the writing causes the colour to disappear from the ink. You can then write over it again with the same pen. How does it work? It's a type of thermo-reactive ink. The heat generated by the friction causes the ink to become translucent (at 65°C fact-hounds!). Stick it in the freezer (-20°C) and your scribblings will re-appear - albeit slightly faded.

Tuesday, 27 November 2012

SIL dresses

Making a couple of knit dresses is motivation. I can cut the dress out before work and after work, pull it together within a couple more hours. That's if I've made it before and the fabric is behaving.

McCalls 5752
This was a pattern I made for myself a couple of years ago in a zebra print knit so the bodice already have an FBA. The blue version is a well worn work version. So this was easy to cut out and sew up again. Would you believe I found a mistake in my original version by sewing it again? Anyhew..

The green knit is toile fabric which you've seen recently from the Missoni dress. This fabric is still from the Pitt Trading $20 garbage bag of fabric remnants.
The mistake was not including the vertical gather on the front ruching.

McCalls 5974
Instead of adjusting the round neck version, I used the cross over bodice that creates a v-neckline. No zipper was used for this version but I've kept the back shaping even though it would have been easier placing the centre back seam on the fold. I'm hoping the back fit will be great on SIL.

Now to do a fitting. I'm hoping I'll only need to adjust the width and length. My unpicker and I are becoming great friends.

Sydney sewing blogger meet up
I attended my second Sydney sewing blogger meet up last Saturday. My first Sydney catch up was during Made Me May. Our summer weather was just kicking in so by the time we'd chatted and fabric shopped at Tessuti's and The Fabric Store, we earnt a well deserved drink at the Clock Hotel on Crown St in Surry Hills. Here's the great pic Christy took.
It was a great way to end a fun afternoon fabric shopping and catching up with our blogger friends in real life. Thanks Christy of Little Betty and Kristy of Lower your presser foot for organising the meet up. They both have lovely posts about our meet up and hopefully we can do this again in February.

Thanks to Kyle for letting me know about this meet up. Kyle let me know about the meeting up while she was keeping safe during Hurricane Sandy in the States.

2013 ASG workshops:
In case you're interested Rhodes ASG has a few sewing workshops in the pipeline.
At this stage the workshop wish list is:
- a workshop on tips for sewing knits with zips,
- a session on trims and neckline finishes and
- a fitting workshop on sleeves and armholes.
Let me know if you're interested in attending and I'll send you the details when they're available next year. I'll keep you updated.

Silhouette Patterns webcast 17 December
If you want to check out Peggy Sagers webcast, the 2012 webcasts have officially finished. However there's a special 'off the record' webcast that won't be recorded on 17 December. That's actually 18 December at 1pm Sydney time. The official webcasts will start again in 2013 and previous webcasts are on her website.

Thursday, 22 November 2012

A finished trench coat

All I wanted was a strong coloured single breasted trench coat that needed the least amount of hand sewing possible. The lining is machine sewn to the coat and I hand sewed the buttons and some of the buttohole detailing - and that was it.

Here are the previous trenchcoat posts:
Trenchcoat sewing
Jalie city coat trench : 2680
McCalls 5525: single breast trench
McCalls 5525: a hood in the collar
McCalls 5525: pockets
McCalls 5525: shoulder detailing
McCalls 5525: bound buttonholes
McCalls 5525: belt carriers

Happy Thanksgiving to you all.

Monday, 19 November 2012

Not a bag lady

I had all good intentions of making a bag this year. I only made a hacker job doggie bag for the littlest niece.

You see I had really good intentions as I attended a zipper workshop in October and I learnt lots this year about sewing leather through the Leather workers guild association and at the Powerhouse Musuem and I even bought bag patterns and bag notions. On the weekend I joined the free Craftsy bag class. There's also my Zipperstop haul of zips that I bought last year that I can use for bags.

Each bag pattern, as lovely as they are, have become UFOs.

1: Spice of life bag
I have the pattern and have cut out leather pieces and snakeskin look lining. I even have the handbag frames that I bought from Ghees' online store. The yellow clips are holding the leather pieces together and now that I've actually sewn leather, this could be next on my sewing table. That was my intention.
The belt in the background was from a bag I had but gave away. As a sewing hoarder, I found the belt in the back of a wardrobe.

I also have the Moonshine Bella bag pattern too.

2: Computer satchel
There's the green denim leftover from my green jeans just waiting for the McCalls to be cut out and fused. There's unbleached bag tape and green pre-made binding to add. The bag feet were bought online from Ghee's. I even intended to use matching binding and lining.

3: Large satchel
This bag uses green leftover drill fabric from my skinny leg jeans. The lining zipper pocket is done as is the outside covered zipper pocket. I sewed in these 2 zippers at a workshop but I haven't wanted to revisit this piece of work while working on the trench coat.

4: Accessory pattern
Another gunna project. There are plenty of zippers from and fabric in the stash to get a bunch of these bags made. That was my intention.
Maybe next year.

I think the trenches took it out of me, although I do love making clothes that fit well and bags - I just don't know.

I'm still pondering a SWAP collection of gymwear to street wear and I'd love to do Marina's pencil skirt sewalong. My fear is the SWAP collection will also become more UFOs.

But I think it's back to sewing a knit dress for SIL either McCalls 5752 or McCalls 5974.
She has a holiday booked (a looming self imposed deadline) so I'd like to give her a dress for travellingl. I think McCalls 5752 might be first cab off the rank, with a possible waist tie, a v-neckline and no back zipper 'cause it's a knit fabric.

Wednesday, 14 November 2012

Doggie bag

The littlest niece and I have slowly been working on a fabric fusing kit and she chose the doggie design. She loves dogs and animals even though she's a city kid and has no pets.
I found the eyes at lincraft and I've zigzaged the doggy outline so that it does stand out a bit.
Inside the pillow is a fashionable pillow that her mum can use once the littlest niece has grown out of cuddly things. I'll miss that stage when it happens.

Then I had an idea to make a purse with the left over dog print fabric. Alison made the cute purse below and gave it to me for Christmas a couple of years ago. The fabric is left over silk that she's quilted the fabric before assembling this into a coin purse. It's beautiful and I keep it in a safe place.

Alison is the queen of coin purses and bag crafts. Go and check out Alison's bag reviews.
After having another look at Alison's handy work, I decided to use her advice - make the bag to fit the zipper. So I found a standard brown zipper in the stash, checked the finishing Alison did and made a doggy bag.
The look on the doggy faces is the same look my littlest niece used when she meekly asked, "Is my pillow finished yet". How could you say no to that face. The lining is bright red with white dots and beige ribbon sewn onto the fabric. It's very girlie. The zipper pull is animal print shoe lace that I bought for no real reason this year - except that it is animal printed. What I should have done was fuse the fabric. I will from now on.

So here's her doggy set.

Can you feel the Aunty guilt lift too?

M5525 - Belt carriers

McCalls trenchcoat has a main belt across the waist as well as the faux belts near the sleeve hems so a stack of well-finished belt carriers are worth making - if you have the time.

This stage of making the trench drained my energy because I knew that I could finish it fast once I attached and finished the sleeve belts (plural) before sewing on the bagged lining. Sewing on the lining includes hemming and that's when I can really feel the end of the project near. The last steps are attaching the buttons and making the buttonholes and then the trench would be finished.
But not just yet.

At the beginning of construction, I made up the belt carriers. I didn't use tape like Steam a seam lite 2 or any fusable hemming tape. The belt carriers worked out without tape but after doing a zipper workshop, I saw how well finish this detailing becomes when you use fusable hemming tape. So I've used hemming tape on the coat hook loop at the back of the trench. 

And the sleeve belt carriers were constructed the same way.

The belt will have a buckle - now that I bought a few from Birdsall's leather, the leather saddlery place at Botany.

A note from Heavenlyprincess:
I just finished up a red wool coat with trench detailing! In fact, it won a state fashion design competition on Saturday. We'll see how it does at Nationals.
Anyway, here's a link to the post I wrote about
understitching while making this coat.
All the best at National HP!
I'm really loving the webcast Peggy Sagers(Silhouette Patterns) has on trench coat construction and finishing.

I also had the chance to 'participate' in the holiday blouse webcast that Peggy did this week. She has a lot of industry knowledge. The webcast was a great experience from a viewers point of view - if this makes sense. The whole hour was live and the audience could interact with each other via 'instant messaging' during the webcast. Peggy answered our questions as they were asked. The webcast replays are just as great to learn from but I thoroughly loved the interaction too. Thank you Peggy and your wonderful team.

007 Skyfall:
Judi Dench's character 'M' wears a double breasted light coloured trench. She also wears a dark brown/aubergene two- button duffle woollen coat with welt pockets in a country scene so even M has at least two winter coats.  M's office wardrobe is dark, fitted and fierce!

These are the trenchcoat posts:
Trenchcoat sewing
Jalie 2680: city coat trench
McCalls 5525: single breast trench
McCalls 5525: a hood in the collar
McCalls 5525: pockets
McCalls 5525: shoulder detailing
McCalls 5525: bound buttonholes
McCalls 5525: belt carriers
McCalls 5525: finished

Sunday, 11 November 2012

Recycle the 80s

It's big. It's very wide. It's a bit whiffy (on the nose). It's from the 80s. It's textured leather. It was $20. It's my first recycling project. It could have been owned by a tall, dark, handsome man with very little dress sense who hung out at discos. Mmm. I'll take it!

When I unpicked this jacket, the glue on the seams was still good but I could rip it apart without tearing the skin. Twill tape was used on the sleeve joins to the jacket, in the hem and in the side seams. The buttonholes were reinforced and the self cover buttons had a small button on the wrong side to hold them in place. It's a big big jacket so it would suit a 'simple' straight skirt.
After using leather reconditioner (leather balsam), the colour became a deeper grey than green. I spoke to a leather expert and her view was that because the leather has already been treated, she said it would be hard to recolour. Then the question was, should I still use this? Yep. This is now a 'no fear' leather practice piece.   It's still smells whiffy.

Since making the eyelet Derby Day Peony, I felt this skirt could do with an exposed separating zipper. I've used the original hem for this skirt so the real challenges are:
- make this skirt fit around the waist
- get the hem length right
- line the skirt properly with thick lining fabric.
- use a separating zipper that enhances the look of this skirt
- finally sew with real leather using real leather seam tape and glue!
I bought the leather double sided tape and leather glue from Birdsalls Leather at Botany. I got some useful leather sewing advice when I phoned and then visited the store.
And they have lots of leather saddlery things to look at in awe. Well I did anyway. They stocked buckles and pre-pressed leather for the belts you see worn at the Easter Show or on spaghetti western movies.
Prep work
I used a leather needle in my machine and replaced the sewing foot on machine with a teflon foot. I also eased the feeder pressure and used the longest stitching thread to sew the seams.
I used the darkest pieces of leather because some pieces had started to yellow. The hem was noticeably yellow so while I did want to reuse the hem, it was too obviously yellow, so I cut this off.
I love this red lining but for your purposes, this is a closer view of the insides of the skirt after sewing on the exposed zipper.
On the front, I've added extra seaming to give the waistline shaping without using darts. The hem also has a binding piece to make it long enough for my zipper. The zipper was a stash piece as was the lining.
Hooray. The back zip is now straight because I resewed the back seams and evened them out!!! The jacket McCalls 6292 was made earlier this year to test out the jacket style for a future pleather jacket with the matching gloves. Next step is to make this jacket from real leather - one day.
By the way, I did iron the leather with a cloth on the leather but learnt real quick to move my hand away when the steam hits to avoid some serious skin burns. The next version will have the glue and double sided tape. I didn't want to pass out from the glue smell in my sewing room while making this skirt. I was sewing to a deadline to enter the PR refashion contest.

Better online leather bloggers to really learn about leather sewing are the sewing lawyer, Kbenco, Clio and Phineas, Ann's sewing studio, Gorgeous Ann and  LyndsayT. It was Lyndsay's post that started my quest to sew leather. These are some tips for sewing leather on a normal sewing machine too.

Peony update:
Sarah of Rhinestones and Telephones and featured my Derby Day Peony with Erin's version. And I found out that Erin of Miss Crayola Creepy loves Hawaiian print fabric, so she featured by test Peony. They've been hosting a Colette Pattern sewalong with Rochelle of Lucky Lucille. Love your Halloween Peony Rochelle. Thanks ladies. I've really enjoyed your sewalong.
And I've switched off anonymous again. I got lots of laughable spam so once the joke wore off, I switched anonymous off too:)

Tuesday, 6 November 2012

M5525 - bound buttonholes

Bound buttonholes
After speaking with Renata about all things trench coats, I had to make bound buttonholes on this trench. She made me an offer I couldn't refuse so I decided to test out 2 methods that I found online.
I pulled out every tool in my sewing kit to attempt these button holes.
Coletterie's version worked out but the button hole was a bit bulky and to be honest, this was my first ever bound buttonhole. I showed DH the amazing bound buttonhole and he nodded politely and gave me that "walk away from the crazed sewer" look.
Then I used Sherry's method. While this was my second ever bound buttonhole, I felt more confident sewing with the basting guidelines. pencil lines would hsve worked too. I used a zipper foot for these buttonholes. The buttonhole was slimmer and flatter. What you see below are the basted guidelines and it looks messy but this worked for me.
Below is the buttonhole guide on the actual trench coat. This is where the 'rubber hits the road'. That night I gave up after making the first buttonhole and made the other two buttonholes the following day after a good night's rest.
If you think your trench could use a bound buttonhole, push yourself and learn a new skill with the sewing reference that suits you. This was a huge push/learning curve for me and I'm a bit critical of how they look.

The middle buttonhole was too closely trimmed and pulled apart when I tried to unpick the hand basting too fast. No tears were shed but I did take a very deep breath, had a nice cuppa, and then re-sewed the buttonhole again and used lots of Steam a seam lite 2 to reinforce the buttonhole. This time, I didn't trim the underside so closely.
If you use waxed thread when you sew, keep a bunch of waxed thread close by because you'll need them to finish off these impressive buttonholes.

I used
Sherry's method because she's also updated her bound buttonhole technique and I've listed Sherry's post on the side of my blog - so I can find it fast!

The next step is to read the references I have on my bookshelf and practice this technique because I'd like to use this technique again.

Peggy Sagers tutes
Jacket or trench coat collare finishes are the same. I found a handy video by Peggy Sagers on Youtube. Peggy talks about overstitching when you sew a collar and overstitching when you sew the trench facing to the trench with the finished collar piece sandwiched in between the facing and trench coat.

The same video tute includes tackling sleeve ease with a bias strip and a method for welt pockets. Peggy has a whole stack of interactive video webcasts I use from time to time. She gives up her time and knowledge so regularly and they're free.

Welt pockets and bound buttonholes:
Have some fusing tape like Steam a seam lite handy to reinforce the back of these features for a firm finish. I used quiet a bit of Steam a seam lite on my Derby Day Peony for the exposed zipper and hem.

Peony QAs:
I did wear the Derby Day Peony on Melbourne Cup to work - but not with the screamingly high strappy heels.
Carol mentioned she's been avoiding the whole exposed zipper thing. I had been too but the eyelet fabric wasn't going to behave with an invisible zip so the exposed zipper would worked really well. I think the black piping helped pull the desingn aspect together. I did this 2 days working this out. That's how I seem to learn new skills these days.

Lena commented that the eyelet fabric would have also worked with a coloured lining. I agree that it would have and I'll keep experimenting with laces/eyelets and colourful lining while it keeps my interest.

I'm still working on doing beautiful piping like Carolyn.

And I've allowed anonymous comments but I'll have to keep an eye on the non-comments/spam that keep filtering in.These are the trenchcoat posts:
Trenchcoat sewing
Jalie 2680: city coat trench
McCalls 5525: single breast trench
McCalls 5525: a hood in the collar
McCalls 5525: pockets
McCalls 5525: shoulder detailing
McCalls 5525: bound buttonholes
McCalls 5525: belt carriers
McCalls 5525: finished

Sunday, 4 November 2012

Derby Day Peony

With Spring racing in the air, this version would have been perfect for Derby Day - yesterday's race has a wear black and white tradition. What do you think?
It's a fairly well structured dress and can withstand being worn with heels or ballet flats (Colette Peony 1017). The hibiscus Peony version is also fully lined.
This version is fully lined in white poplin. And a jacket would help manage the changing weather on the day. I bought this fabric from the fabric store on Church St Parramatta for $9/m.
I got very excited when I added the bias trim on the eyelet fabric.
Then the issues was, how do you finish these seams.
I decided to pink them instead of using french seams because the eyelet stitching is very thick (I love this aspect of this fabric) so pinking helps keep the seams stable without added bulk.
So to add a bit more complexity, and skill development as we say at work, I've added an exposed zipper. Threads has an article for applying exposed zips but the layout of the article wasn't easy to follow. I tried adding an invisible zip but the cut out eyelet bits along the centre back are at least 5cm long.

Left pic - iron fusing on right side with guide stitching:
Middle pic - pin and baste for first row of stitching near zipper teeth;

Right pic - trimmed underneath before final row of stitches at the side of the zipper tape.
Then I watched Gretchen's exposed zip tutorial to see how an exposed zipper is sewn on. Wendy also had a video tutorial for more traditional craft projects and I'm guessing this topice is going to keep growing. Linda McGeHee shows lots of zipper ideas in a tute so you can then make add as as your own own and she is The exposed zipper was the perfect solution but I didn't use contrast stitching. That would have been an embarrasing outcome.

Once I watched Gretchen tute I was able to insert the exposed zip without a practice run. Talk about taking a punt! Now to go back to the form guide to pick Tuesday's winner. Lots of luck everyone.

Travel update - TBD but I'll keep you updated.

Wow. Michelle Obama wore a similar outfit recently from the Miss Wu collection.


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