Wednesday, 25 March 2015

The dress

The dress - needs no introduction really.
From Terry's blog
And it's a significant part of the Outlander story, hence I didn't attempt to make this as is. Terry's work on this dress is amazing. There's lots of detailing involved. You can read about it on her blog.

So I've taken elements of this dress as I've never made a corset. My version is not a replica. It couldn't be.
But this is a reminder of the awesome work the show's costumers put into the original dress.

White Tree Fabrics provided the fabrics and they were excited with this dress concept. 

Here are my starting fabrics from White Tree and I used Simplicity 3809.

It was the white bonded fabric that spurred on my idea to make something like the wedding dress. White Tree Fabrics has the 'right' fabrics to make the dress. Sometimes it's hard to get everything you need from one place but not this time.
The bonded fabric is a knit so I interfaced so it morphed into a woven fabric. The silver fabric is much finer than the original dress so I lined the skirt as well as the bodice.

The cream fabric was perfect for the underblouse. I used two layers on the blouse sleeves and pulled the hem edges for a similar fringed edge. This fabric doesn't fray too much so it was easy to create a similar fringe.


The silver fabric is metallic so I cut it out using paper scissors. I used fabric scissors for the other fabrics.
This version was edited back
Then came the fun part, adjusting the bodice for the corset.

What you see here is my test version using quilting cotton and the boning. This was good practice.

And here's a close up of the corset being prepped with boning.
 The boning is sewn onto the lining and not in the seams.

Below is the inside after I finished the seams. I hand stitched the lining onto the zipper seams. And internal layer of fabric could have been included for a firmer fit. The silver fabric is very light so I used white calico for more firmness but less bulk.
Below is the finished corset.
The back of the corset is higher than the front neckline. I've also used an open ended zipper for the back centre seam.

So what does this outfit look like on me...
This dress weighs much less than the original wedding dress in Outlander.
There was plenty of work in creating the corset and I enjoyed this process.
It's very simple and uses the elements that work for me.
Thank you White Tree Fabric for these fabrics. They've kept me busy while waiting for the next part of Outlander to hit our screens in April.

Thursday, 19 March 2015

Just can't stop

...making Melissa's new Steeplechase leggings.
Front view
It's all my fault. I've got lycra pieces that need to be made up into something. I like my leggings to be fitted and these fit perfectly with my usual alterations (sway back and knee curves). These are my test versions I made as part of Melissa's pattern testing team.
Back view
I'm training for a few events, it's full on mozzie season and this capri length supports my knees as I work out. Three good reasons to make three test pairs for Melissa. Melissa's made six pairs for herself too. You should see Kathy's three pairs as well.

The basic black pair uses locally bought high density black lycra and left over Funki Fabric on the yoke. This first pair has the back pocket included. Then I had to make two more pairs.


Then the grey/green pair with reflective piping uses Funki Fabric and reflective tape piping I bought from Ebay that I wanted to try out. You've probably seen Winnie's leggings and cool top and the great work that Kbenco has done for her daughters

The plain navy pair below has reflective stickers I bought from Lightweight Safety on Kelli's recommendation. The stickers are placed on my calves so you can see me speeding away!
In case you don't know Melissa's story, have a read of her and what motivates her pattern designs on Pattern Review.

as Melissa says..."you can use SADDLE10 for 10% off all purchases from shop.fehrtrade.com until 25 March (my birthday!)." 

My 2c worth

By the way, I tried some high-end RTW leggings that cost over $AU100 this week and I can't justify buying their leggings for that price - even with my gift voucher. Sorry. But with a legging style like Melissa's, it's too easy to make leggings that rock for a whole lot less. And my gym buddies are always in awe when they see the gym gear I've made too. I think that's saying something for those of us who make our own activewear and quietly get on with maintaining our healthy lifestyle #YOLO.

PR review below

Pattern Description:
These leggings have no inseams! Instead, a curved, outer seam runs from the back of the ankle up to the centre front, where it joins a separate yoke piece. There’s an optional, hidden back pocket, elasticated waistband, and your choice of three lengths: biker short, capri, or full length leggings.
Pattern Sizing:
XXS - XL
Did it look like the photo/drawing on the pattern envelope once you were done sewing with it?
Yes.
Were the instructions easy to follow?
Initially this design had me 'for a sixer' but once I walked through the instructions, they're easy to follow and the notches on the patterns are the best guide to making this leggings.

What did you particularly like or dislike about the pattern?

This pattern in unique. I've only seen one no-inseam legging pattern. 
This pattern is as cutting edge as the latest RTW on the market. 
This style is easy to make but doesn't look 'home made'.

Fabric Used:

Polyester spandex.

Pattern alterations or any design changes you made:

I raised the centre back seam on the yoke for my sway back by 2.5cm.
I made the first pair of leggings to assess where the knee is on me, and then I adjusted this for a better fit - and promptly made two more pairs.
Second version with reflective tape.
The third version with reflective sticker on the back calf.

Would you sew it again? Would you recommend it to others?

Yes. I have two more ideas that I'll share once I've sewn these up.

This pattern has ignited my activewear sewing mojo beyond what I've done before. Probably because this is such an edgy design that Melissa has developed using the latest style influences.

Sunday, 15 March 2015

Keilo wrap

Now I'm sure you've seen the Keilo wrap dress online.

Here's my version to see out the Summer.
Heading out to dinner with friends
Allison from AllisonC Sewing Gallery blog gave me this lovely knit when she visited Sydney this month. We had a great day fabric shopping in Sydney as Allison had been my fabric enabler when I visited Hong Kong last year.

Wrapped at the back
This is the test Keilo and it's the quickest piece I've made for a while.
I can't wait until the painting is done.
I needed a fast sewing fix as we're in the middle of painting and I have to pack up my sewing room. 

On the pattern I raised the armhole curve and wrap points and then shortened the bust darts. You'll see these changes on the next version after my sewing room is packed up.

Saturday, 7 March 2015

White Tree lace jumpsuit

Functional and practical is what I've always strived for when I've sewn clothes for myself. The proportions have to be balanced and not swamp me because I'm short. Jumpsuits are really practical and if they're made using a knit fabric, that's the most comfortable option I can create and perfect for travelling.
White Tree fabrics asked me if I would be able to make something using this really open lace and I immediately thought 'jumpsuit' with a contrasting underlayer. This lace is really lovely to see and I wanted the lace circles to show up and not be hidden if I have used a matching blue under layer. #GBSB series 3 episode 5 featured lace in the semi final.

And here it is.

Ok, so you can't really see this jumpsuit too well when I'm sitting under the Sydney Harbour Bridge. 

Here's the close up view (McCalls 6969).

What about this view with the Sydney Opera House in the background.


Here's a close up of the collar lace detail. It clearly shows how lovely this lace knit is. I've hand stitched the collar facing to the contrasting lining. The fabric doesn't unravel so you could cut out the circles for other projects. 

The inside seams of the collar and lapel provide a strong blueness to emphasis these edges.

I've used satin bias binding to finish off the sleeve edges and on the back collar seam. Even the soft knit lining doesn't unravel but I did overlock the seam edges.
lace binding on the back collar
We (Mr V and I) were having such a ball taking photos along the harbour foreshores we forgot to take a photo of the back of the jumpsuit.
All the circle matched up.
There was definitely a lot of work planning how to cut this fabric. 
Here's an 'on the hanger' close up so you can see where the buttons were placed. 

The buttonholes are hand sewn because this fabric is quite textured and may have needed nerves of steel to machine sew them. This was the main hand sewing I needed to do.
So now you've seen my first White Tree Fabrics piece and you can certainly figure out how gorgeous Sydney's Summer has been too.

Thursday, 5 March 2015

The Gathering dress

The Gathering was the elaborate party in Series 1 episode 4 and I’ve used plaid and embroidered fabrics for my next Minerva project.
This photo and more are on Terry Dresbach's website
Using my basic block pattern, I tested the bodice to have a shaped centre piece for the embroidered fabric. Initially I was thinking this would be an overlay but I decided to swing out the darts and create my own princess seam-like bodice for this dress.
I did test the bodice pieces using poplin from my stash. I'm glad I did. 

When I ordered the fabrics from Minerva Crafts UK, I thought this dress would need lacing detailing. I didn't use the ribbon detail this time, but will use the ribbon on the remnant pieces because there's plenty left for a skirt and blouse.

The original dress uses gold braid-like trim on the panel edges. I’ve used the embroidered fabric as the centre panel piece on the dress. I felt that was all the embellishment my height could handle.

Bodice
The plaid fabric has a lovely feel to it and can be manipulated as you sew. This fabric is soft so I used interfacing across the front bodice, across the back bodice and along the back zipper to give more structure and longer term durability to this dress.

When I initially sewn the bodice together and lined it, the neckline was a bit low for me. So I unpicked the shoulders and took off the sleeves before I raised the neckline and resewed in the sleeves.

Sleeves
The sleeves are ¾ length with three side pleats at the elbow and lots of loveliness added. I've used interfacing on the sleeve from the elbow to the sleeve hem so the folds stay crisp.

Plaids
The plaid lines run across the body. This took a lot of planning at fabric cutting stage. The plaids on this fabric are very even - that was a huge help in lining it up properly. I took my time when I cut out this dress.

If the plaids weren't even, I would have needed more fabric to achieve the same balance.

Skirt 
The costume is floor length so I’ve made this skirt sit just above the knee for everyday wear.
I 'passed' on the gathered/pleated skirt and went with an a-line skirt. I swung out the waist darts on my skirt block pattern to create this skirt.

The skirt sits out nicely because I've hemmed it with the lining fabric instead of adding a gathered underskirt. The pockets are sewn in the side seams.

Side pockets
Speaking of side pockets - I used a strip of interfacing on the skirt so the side pockets don't bag out. The top of the pocket bag is also sewn into the waistline seam for long term durability.


Other considerations
I wanted to include inverted pleats on the skirt but I couldn't figure out where to include them without interrupting the plaid on this dress. #tricky.

Does this dress work for everyday wear?
I think it does. (November 2017 - I wear this to work a lot).

The weather here is still hot and humid so when I took these photos around Sydney Olympic Park, it was 8am in the morning. The heat of the day was just starting to sizzle.

This dress is a fairly conservative look so I know I can pair this with a simple navy jacket. No one would realise this dress was influenced by a TV series based on books that have been around for over 20 years and have huge, global fan base.

Thanks again Minerva Crafts UK for these fabrics and notions. It makes this Outlander fan grin from ear to ear.

Monday, 2 March 2015

Cargo pockets

Jenny needed some help with her sewing so I got diverted to give her helping hand.

She's a great photographer, cook and sewer. She's always coming up with some individual looking clothes and has the best smile too.
Cargo pocket courtesy of Mr V
So below is a really crude way of preparing a pattern for this pocket. Really crude.

So while I'm working through the next two Outlander outfits, this fun conundrum gave me a bit of time out.

You'll see my next Outlander inspired dress later this week.

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