Sunday, 14 February 2016

Valentine's day collection

Sewing activewear is my addiction and White Tree Fabrics asked me to use Sewaholic's Dunbar top and Pacific leggings using fabrics from their 'Aladdin' fabric cave.

I chose black and pink plus two mesh fabrics for my 'Valentine's day collection'.

Two Pacific leggings. Two Dunbar tops. One Dunbar sports bra.
These White Tree Fabrics fabrics have great two-way stretch and feels strong enough to sew compression wear. They're not moisture wicking but are supportive and flexible.

During the week I practically live at the gym and now have a few new pieces to wear.


Pacific leggings

It's the middle of Summer here and I train both indoors and outdoors. Dodging mozzies during sunrise training sessions outdoors is an ongoing challenge. At the moment I do long runs on weekends and I've found compression wear tights help me train stronger and recover well.
The bottom line is I need to train in supportive leggings. I wear lots of black or dark colour leggings but I splashed out and chose this strong Valentine's day pink as a contrast.
Left to right: View A test leggings, pink mesh reflective View B and pink View B.
While I don't run on the road, I do like to wear activewear with some reflective piping, so I've added some reflective piping to these leggings with the fine mesh overlay.
 Here's the working photo prepping the mesh zipper and pieces of reflective piping.
The fine mesh is quite strong but isn't as stretchy as the lycra. The mesh on pink fabric can look like purple so that gives me more wear options. 

The reflective piping has no stretch so I've learnt to apply it in small amounts and not have any piping in seam allowances. This creates bulk that can cause chafing or my overlocker to stop stitching.

Technical changes:

On the pattern pieces, I added 2cm to the centre back seam length and lowered the derriere curve. I also shortened legs by 3cm at the lengthen/shorten line. 
After making the test pair using View A or the 'leggings basics' pair, I took out more room around the knees. 

On both Views A and B I then took another 4cm off the leg length and some more room out of the knee area. 

On View B, I took the additional 4cm out of the lower leg panel rather than chop it off the lower panel length.
Sewaholic's instructions are very straight forward. 

Sewaholic has put up a blog post about sewing in the gusset so you really can't go too wrong. Sewing in the gusset took me a few attempts but I'm more confident now. I've shortened the gusset and made it slimmer.

Design play:

The beauty of Pacific leggings is you have 3 views you can 'play' with. In my case, the first pair (View A) used the plain waistband. The second version has the back zipper pocket and mesh and pink panels at the back. 
Here's how the mesh pocket looks before constructing the waistband.
The third pair had no zipper but the back pocket had a 1.5cm overlap. 
This was my 'bright idea' and not part of the pattern.
Nice idea but it didn't work.  
The pocket kept gaping open so I inserted a zipper and kept the original topstitching. 
Problem resolved.
I learnt a lot making these leggings.
Here's the effect of the reflective tape piping. I dream about looking like a seeded runner wearing this pair. A girl can dream right?

Dunbar top

This top has all the ready to wear features I want in a sports bra and/or support tee. The colour pieces and the binding are great for more design freedom. The internal bra has insert pieces so you can add bra cups. I'm searching for the right bra cups now.
Left to right: The prints are test versions. Pink mesh top, pink crop and black top wear really well.
Technical changes
The test crop bra is a 10. I adjusted the cup curves and width for a better fit and it ended up matching size 6. I then made the test top as a 6 and that's the size I kept using.
These are my test pieces.
I tried to add reflective piping on the back seam of the crop top.
The piping did work but as the width was too much, I resorted to taking out the width using the overlocker.

I didn't use reflective piping on these tops but I will in future tops.

I used powermesh from my stash for the support layer.

Below is a closer view of the finer mesh on the top.

front view
This mesh is easy to work with.
back view
Design play:
This pink black version has a cool but not functional pocket on the back using the larger black mesh White Tree Fabrics has. This pocket idea is one I'd seen before so I thought it would be fun trying. 
Pretty mesh pocket
Sewaholic now has a blog post about sewing on the binding.
Sewing the mesh on the fabric before constructing was the only additional step I needed to for this top.
Work in progress to keep the mesh flat during construction
I misread the instructions and used normal elastic on the support bra panels. This elastic doesn't cause chafing and it's really firm so in effect, I have medium support bras built into these tops.
The second sports bra used the rest of the fabric remnants.
As I've said, sewing activewear is addictive. During this sewing frenzy, I decided to relearn how to use my coverpro machine watching free You Tube videos hence the neat top stitching on these pieces.
As a sewing addict, I sewed up the last pieces of fabric using New Look 6160 to make this top using the larger black mesh on the shoulder panels. 
Here's a closer view of the mesh on the shoulder. 
I've used a touch of coverstitching in white.
I'm actually wearing the pink Dunbar crop top underneath this top as my sports bra.
This is my 'ta da' picture.
I still have plenty of the larger mesh fabric so I hope to develop a topper to these pieces soon.
While these pieces form a great collection, I'll be wearing these with other gym pieces I already have so I don't match all the time. But the beauty of this collection is I have a 'gym collection'. 
Each piece fits me perfectly. 
Each piece is functional. 
Each piece is 'one of a kind'.

That's the beauty of sewing your own clothes - gymwear included.


Thanks White Tree Fabrics for encouraging me to undertake this project. I've had such a ball making each piece and having the encouragement to be creative.

I can honestly say Sewaholic's patterns work and look great.

Hmm...the Sewaholic's Seymour Cape is now looking tempting for Autumn.

Thursday, 4 February 2016

Snake sass

February is when Sydney swelters, so a sassy dress using Eliza M's Wanda dress and some silky snake print from Minerva Crafts UK sounded sumptuous.
Then I read the magic word - Tencel. Love the feel and quality of this viscose. 
Grey is also great for pairing with black or white or a contrasting colour. Or anything really.
When you look at 'Wanda' above, she demands attention so I thought, maybe, just maybe, I could be as sassy as 'Wanda'.

Online I could only find one review by Sewing Angela. So I read this review thoroughly and made a test version as a top.

The review reading and test top resulted in a lovely Summer sass dress.

Piping
A dress this simple called for piping and Minerva Crafts has a pre-made piping I snaffled for this dress.  I do prewash my fabrics and this time I also prewashed the piping too. 
So the piping came out of the wash all crumpled but it ironed up like new #phew.
This version is a 12 size at the bust and 14 size from the waist. 
It's Summer and everything sticks to me with the humidity so a flowy, tencel dress is what makes Summer events more fun.
The pattern:
This is the first Eliza M design pattern I've used. The pattern is printed on brown paper bag type paper so it's firm and noisy. There was plenty of spare paper so I was able to trace off the bodice in the redrafted sizing with the adjustments I needed.

Adjustments:

Once I had the correct size, the two adjustments were folded out 2cm from the front bodice and took out 2cm from the centre back neckline, for a closer fit.
These are the redrawn adjusted bodice patterns.

This is the test top and you can see the gaping at the back neckline.
My plan was to use french seams for this fabric but I chose to use a three-thread overlocked edge. It's very smooth a delicate while not creating a ridge under the seam.

What's to love about this pattern?
The neckline, the skirt style and the fabric. 

The neckline is a sweetheart style and the fabric just flows and flows.

The challenges
The instructions don't have illustrations to show the right and wrong side of the pattern. Only RS and WS are used so I found it hard to double check my work as I sewed.

If you have a look at the pattern photos above, you'll see there are no markings for the bust, waist or hips, so I worked that out for myself. I need these markings so I can paper fit quicker without making a test version.
The pattern has a waistband that gets sewn inside the dress. I couldn't figure out how (steps 10, 14 and 15) and I added piping at the front seam so I didn't use it.

The overall instructions made sense.

Conclusion
This is a great Summer dress made from a lovely Summer tencel fabric that I can dress up or not. I'm still glad that I've made this dress and definitely using tencel fabric. 

Thanks Minerva Crafts!

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