Wednesday, 19 November 2014

Progress on Vogue 8766 and honest feedback really needed please.

I've been working away on Vogue 8766.  Its been rather irritating actually as I was rather underwhelmed on the fit of this pattern, it is clearly based on a very different shape to mine.  In contrast the bodice of Simplicity 1873 (which I just realised I've never blogged) fit me very well (and Simplicity patterns in general seem to fit me well once I do my standard alterations for no-shoulders). Plus I had to do the most massive sway back adjustment I think I have ever needed to do.

The extra adjustments are no doubt in part due to the muslin being in a stable cotton and the actual dress being an open weave lace with very drapey silk underlining.  So once the dress was mostly assembled I had to do my "method" of making adjustments as I sew which consists on trying the offending item on about a thousand times, pinning, checking, basting, checking, sewing, repeat, repeat, repeat. 

I finally came up with something I am almost happy with. Almost.  The neckline and sleeves on me looked so frumpy on me, which led me down the internet rabbit hole of googling "what is frumpy" and "how to stop a dress from looking frumpy".  After said googling I lowered the neckline slightly and removed the sleeves, which seems to make a difference.

I need to tweak a couple of things - namely the neckline is stretched out slightly on one side so I will be sewing some tape to the neckline seam to bring that in again (involves having to undo and restitch the bias facing) plus the waistline position at the back needs to be moved a bit as it somehow manages to still be a bit wonky on one side.

My other disappointment has been despite my care, the join of the lace on the front bodice is rather more visible than I would like.  Le sigh.  You can see it as the darker strip running vertically down not quite the centre of the bodice. Can you see it? Does it look as awful and "home sewing" as I think it does?

This fabric is rather special for me as its the first thing I ever won when I started blogging about my sewing.  I really really want to do it justice but I am feeling the universe is not agreeing with me at this point.

So I need to choose - do I finish fiddling with getting the fit and finish perfect (as perfect as my current skill level can make it) which is a few hours worth of sewing or do you think that the join down the front makes that a waste of time?  This would still make a lovely pencil skirt - I'd just take off the bodice and add a small waistband.  I have no fabric to recut anything - just tiny scraps of the lace, the elbow length sleeves I removed and a very small amount of the silk.

Thanks in advance for any and all feedback.

Wednesday, 17 September 2014

Jackie Sewalong Prizes and Winning Stuff!!!!

Want to win some cool stuff? As you know, Maria and I have posted a series of sewalong posts for the Jackie Coat pattern by Iconic Patterns.

Iconic Patterns Jackie Coat jackie-hair-done 

Its never too late to join in and as the northern hemisphere shifts into fall and cooler weather, here is some added motivation to make something snuggly for the cooler weather.

Iconic Patterns is offering some cool prizes for anyone who makes (or who has made) a Jackie anytime from the start of the sewalong (15 July) up until the end of October (31 October).


1st prize - $30 fabric voucher for winner

If the winner is from Australia or NZ, you'll receive a Remnant Fabric Warehouse AUS$30 voucher. If the winner is from the rest of the world, you'll receive a US$30 voucher.  Mmmm.  Fabric. 

2nd prize

Your pick of any Iconic Pattern pdf pattern.  I've already got the cool Wiggle Skirt which would look great with your Jackie.  Or maybe you'd like the Knot Dress or Jess Jeans.  Lots there to choose from for one lucky winner.

Winner will be picked by random number generator so everyone has a chance to win.

To enter you just need to hop on over to this post over on Maria's website and leave a comment linking to your make anytime between now and 31 October.  There are some more details about entry there too.

Tuesday, 16 September 2014

Making Vogue 8766 - prepping and what makes something "couture".

I have so many unblogged makes at the moment its a bit sad - especially a particularly nice Victoria Blazer which I hope to get photos of sometime soon.

Next up on my queue is a special occasion dress that I have decided to make using as many couture techniques as I can including hand catchstitched seam allowances, hand stitched hems, a hand picked zip, and a lace overlay with silk underlining among other things

I am using Vogue 8766 and will be making View E (the sleeved pencil skirt version) with shorter sleeves as that is all my fabric will allow.

The lace is a lovely cotton lace from Tessuti,  which I won some time ago (almost two years ago, gulp) from a giveaway by the wonderful and talented seamstress Melanie from Poppykettle. You can see the beautiful dress she made using this lace here and I have been waiting for the right project and occasion to come along as I really wanted to do this fabric justice.

My underlining is a lovely blue grey silk from the Fabric Store Surry Hills, a remnant from my Jackie coat lining.

I have already muslined this pattern and I needed to make rather alot of changes to the bodice to get it to fit as well as significantly grading out the skirt portion as I have put on rather a few kilos from when I initially purchased this pattern as part of the Perfect Fit Craftsy Course.

I am just about the start the underlining process and have decided to follow Mel's lead and hand baste the lace to the underlining in rows to stabilise the lace so it doesn't stretch out.

In my understanding, for something to be "couture" it needs to meet the following criteria:
  • Perfect fit and design customised for the individual shape and proportions of wearer.
  • Great attention to design - motif and print matching must be exact
  • Craftmanship - seams are finished by hand, minimal machine stitching, maximum hand sewing, fabric is high quality, underlining or lining is used as appropriate.
  • Techniques such as thread tracing, hand basting, multiple hand stitches are used.
By those criteria my garment will not be completely couture as though the techniques will be used throughout I did not have enough fabric to pattern match at the sleeves and the front and back bodice are completely different, although they will match at the centre back seams.
    Case in point - I couldn't cut the front bodice on the fold so I cut it as two pieces and then joined the lace down the centre front by carefully overlapping and then hand stitching and pattern matching as well as I could as a sewed.  Here are the pieces before joining:

    And after:

    And the front bodice underlined.  As you can see (click to enlarge) in this photo the join is slghtly visible but I am hoping once the dress is done it won't be too bad.

    My reference for this project is one of my favourite books from my personal library Couture Sewing Techniques* (FYI affiliate link).

    So, I'd love to hear, what makes something done by a home sewer "couture"?  This won't make the grade at all but one day (soon) I hope to make something that does.

    Friday, 12 September 2014

    #OWOP One Week One Pattern - Lady Skater Dress

    For funsies, I joined in on the One Week One Pattern challenge using Kitschy Koo Lady Skater Dress.   I chose the Lady Skater because it looks like a dress but feels like a tracksuit so fits in with my daily housebound grind, plus I have a few versions to choose from.


    The challenge runs from Saturday 6th to Friday the 12th September 2014 and involves using a single pattern for the entire week - either just styling a single item many ways, or wearing multiple versions of a pattern to demonstrate its versatility and wearability (and how many of us tend to make something over and over again if we love it).

    So here are my pictures for the week.  Prepare yourself for an onslaught of headless and blurry selfies.  I got off to a shaky start on the weekend due to a sinus infection which is still ongoing (fun times, people) but by Tuesday was well into the swing of things and worked out how to get the photo taking part done and dusted with minimal fuss and bother. 

    Lady Skater Skirt
    Saturday.  You get a photo of my butt because my face was not fit for public viewing.  This is my first Lady Skater.  I used a double knit with minimal stretch so the bodice did not fit but I saved it but making it into a skirt with some wide back elastic as a waistband.  I wear this heaps and it is a very flattering make, plus still fits me despite putting on several kgs/pounds since I made it.    Verdict: a great TNT knit skirt pattern. 

    Sunday. A very lovely soft and super stretchy knit from Girl Charlee, just blogged.  This version has short sleeves and feels amazing to wear.

    Monday.  Hand dyed dark green cotton jersey knit from  Blogged (and better photos) here.   I usually wear it with my knee high black leather boots.

    Tuesday. A recently blogged version in a blue floraly print from Girl Charlee.  This one is a cotton knit and doesn't have as much stretch as the black roses dress but is still a nice make.  I feel very "pretty" when I wear it and not terribly age appropriate but I tend to get lots of compliments from random strangers when I wear it, which is always very lovely to receive. (Thank you, random strangers).

    Wednesday. A refashioned very old (Pre-babies! Which means I've had this sitting around for almost a decade) lightweight denim maxi skirt that has never fit properly but for some reason I still owned.  I've been meaning to refashion for years so this week I finally got the motivation.  The lady skater skirt piece fit perfectly.  I recut the pieces and resewed, adding a (hand picked, lapped because I am OTT like that) zipper as this fabric has no stretch, and some polka dot bias tape as a waistband.  Surprisingly, the same size (a 4) still fits me very well - I didn't need to size up because it was a woven.  The navy lace jacket is me-made as well.

    Thursday. Black roses dress again, the weeks only repeat. I'm wearing with my favourite cream lace jacket and black boots. 

    Friday.  I used the skirt pattern to refashion an old maxi skirt (blogged about it here).  Wearing today with (yawn) my staples of boots and a long sleeved T. The skater pattern has a very nice more-than-an-a-line-less-than-a-circle skirt which I love not only because it looks nice but also fits on a smaller piece of fabric so it works well for this type of refashion. 

    Thoughts.  I have made three dresses and three skirts using this pattern and have at least a couple more in the pipeline.  It only needed very minor tweaking to get a perfect fit I am happy with.  From all of the patterns I own and have made, this is the one I return to again and again due to its ease of sewing, its versatility and extreme comfort when wearing.   I tend to buy patterns rather compulsively (ahhh, my pretties) so it is good to be reminded that one pattern can stretch much further in application and uses than I sometimes think.   Thank you Jane for hosting.
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