Wednesday, 28 November 2012

Colette Juniper Pants

Colette Juniper wide legged pants
This pattern did my head in.  But it wasn't the patterns fault, it was my own insistence on total perfection combined with having no idea what I was doing which resulted in me unpicking and resewing seams more times than I would like to admit.

I also resewed the pockets THREE TIMES:

Attempt 1: Using cheap acetate lining - I have metres of this stuff that I bought when I had only just started to line everything I made and before I realised just how horrid this stuff is to sew and also to wear, ugh.  I have since been converted to how amazing real cotton or silk feels as a lining fabric and can't imagine myself using acetate ever again. 

Attempt 2: Using some quilting cotton scraps I had in my stash.  Then I realised it was too bulky, stiff and thick for pocket lining.  I lazily serged the edges in black thread and then could see the serged seam outline on the outside of the pants, plus the black blah on the inside was just WRONG.  This was when I also decided the big dinner plate shape was not for me as I don't put anything in front pockets except for maybe a tissue or a scrap of paper/shopping list - my hips dont need any more bulges.

Original "dinner plate" pockets with ugly seam finishing
Attempt 3: Some lovely japanese cotton SCORED from Spotlight for $3 for 1.3 metres.  I am going to make a sleeveless blouse/top with the scraps.  Its beautiful.  It feels divine.  I redrafted the pocket shape by eyeballing my RTW jeans interior and also the Thurlow front pocket tutorial by the lovely Lauren from Lladybird.

My only problem I had with the construction was that I would have liked a side seam notch on pattern piece C (the top/under piece of the slash pocket) as, by george, I had a tough time getting the fit/positioning to my satisfaction on that part when I used the original pocket shape.

When I changed the pocket shape it became much easier as the pocket gets lined up/sewn into the side seam.

This is piece C after I added some bits to it for the new pocket shape. 
But see, no notches except on the bottom edge which gets attached to pocket lining.
The problem was that the position of this piece was determined by the notches on the pocket pieces, which are helpfully removed as the first step is to finish the pocket seams before sewing them together and even a small misalignment means the top piece C doesn't sit properly.  I found this out in pocket attempt 1 and 2.  My inexperience was REALLY showing.
  
My new pocket piece, professionally ineptly drafted on office paper scraps

The new pocket starting to take shape.


Revised interior using Thurlow inspired pocket shapes = much neater
french seams and much happier with overall look, inside and out.


I also took in the legs as I felt they were too wide and baggy for my 5'4" / 164 cm frame (aka short legs).  This took me a couple of tries before I was happy, although I am still not sure if I did it "correctly".  After googling to not a huge amount of success I ended up tapering the legs from crotch to hem on both the inside and outside leg seam.  I am seriously thinking of taking the Craftsy course Pant Fitting Techniques and Pant Construction Techniques next time they come on sale or perhaps getting the Pants for Real People book. 

The inside is lined in a nice japanese cotton I got for a bargain at Spotlight.
Back view.  Its ok.

Oohhh, pockets.

Side view, mmm, not sure.  Hopefully, they just look like
pants that I bought somewhere and not "happy home sewing".
So, to sum up.  I like the pattern, I will probably make again in a better fabric.  I made the size 6 and they fit perfectly around my waist, hips and only a tiny adjustment to the crotch curve.  They also hug my back with no gaping and no need for a sway back adjustment.  I made these up in a unexciting basic black cotton sateen with a slight stretch from (wait for it) Spotlight.  Next time I think I will use a lovely linen.

I learnt alot and spent way more time on these than can really be justified but if I consider it learning then it was time well spent.

I have always been terrified to make pants so this is a real accomplishment for me to even think about tackling them, let alone have something (hopefully) wearable at the end of it.

Based on making these and also from silently following along Lauren's Thurlow Sewalong  I have purchased the Thurlow pattern and plan to make them next to compare the two patterns and decide which one will work best for my pear/heavy leg shape.  I got mine (plus a Sewaholic Cambie dress) from Sew Squirrel, who sells with free shipping for Australians

Sunday, 18 November 2012

Springtime Jasmine Blouse

Continuing on my Colette Patterns lovefest I made the Jasmine Blouse this week using a lovely lightweight cotton voile (Spotlight, of course, the only fabric shop I have been able to get to in months).


Anyway, feeling confident after making the blue Peony I decided to ditch the muslin and go right ahead, and I made the following adjustments before cutting out the pattern:
  • Small Bust Adjustment (lapped lines 3/8"/9mm)
  • Moved bust darts, determined placement by holding up tissue pattern to front.
  • Forward shoulder adjustment of 3/8" (smidge under 1cm) for shoulder seams and then the sleeve. 
  • Narrow shoulder adjustment using the method from the Colette website.
  • Cut a straight size 2.  I usually grade out in the hips but didn't need to do this for this pattern.
  • Cut a size 6 sleeve cuff as it seemed a bit tight otherwise.
I love the sleeves, glad I made the cuffs a bit looser.

 Once I had the pattern cut out I pinned together and based on that made the following further adjustments:
  •  Trimmed off a bit from both front and back centre seams at top to remove gape at front and back neck. I think I took off a good 1/2"/1cm, tapering down to nothing just past the bust darts.
  • Added some back neck darts as well.
  • Adjusted the curve at the back of the sleeve, shaving off a bit more (more forward shoulder stuff going on there).  I seem to need the back curve of the sleeve to be quite "flat" to fit my shape.
  • Recut a new sleeve cuff in a size 10 to get a more comfortable fit.
Whew, seems like alot of adjustments but all that is fairly typical for me.

The bias cut and back seam gives a perfect fit.  No sway back alteration needed.

I'm glad I left the cutting out of the neck facings and collar until after I had the body all sewn together so I could transfer the final adjustments to these pieces.

I now have a TNT blouse pattern that fits me great.  I love the beautiful drape and bias cut of the blouse.  The collar sits beautifully and I really liked the way the collar and facings are attached.  Normally I am not a fan of facings but in this case they worked beautifully.

So the firsts for me for this pattern are:
  • First time sewing a bias garment.
  • First SBA (which resulted in a great fit)
Side view, Colette Jasmine.  The forward shoulder adjustment
made a HUGE difference to the comfort and fit. 

Am planning a couple more of these in some voile fabric for summer, including a sleeveless version, which I think will be really cute.

Next up: Colette Juniper Pants, in a black cotton sateen (so far looking great), Simplicity 1872 (I'm really excited about that one, its my first chiffon project) and a New Look 6808 in a cotton lace.

Sunday, 4 November 2012

A Blue Peony Dress

I've been following along the Sew Colette sew-along but this is the first time I've sewn along.  I ended up using a on-sale quilting cotton, not my first choice but limited as I am to mostly quick trips to Spotlight, it was the only thing I could find with a print I liked and didn't seems like it would crush too badly.  And hey, this dress only cost me less than $10 to make, (not counting pattern).

I have been reading and learning all I can about fitting issues and like many I had to adjust the darts on this pattern.  I also did my usual adjustments, of which I am getting better at as I get to know my own body and its unique characteristics.

My fitting changes were:


Peony bust darts
Peony back view - lapped zipper and no gaping.
  • Moved and lengthened bust darts
  • Moved and reshaped bodice darts using Gerties tutorial as a guide  (and thanks to Sewing Princess who pointed me in right direction - very useful dart shape for smaller busted ladies). 
  • Lengthened back darts
  • Did a slice and pivot adjustment of the back neck dart, to take out excess fabric from the back neck.  It worked like a dream. Basically, I sliced down the back neck dart to the the top of the waist back dart.  Then I sliced up one side of the the back waist dart to open up the waist dart.  Then I rotated the back neck in from the shoulder about the same width as the neck dart.  Taped.  Redrew darts into original position.  To my shock: perfect fit in the back.  It was basically the same as doing a double the width neck dart. My terminology is probably all wrong but hopefully this may help someone.  I was inspired to do this by this post at Bernie and I  I thought I would try it for the back and it did work for me although I did pivot in from the shoulder not from the centre back so that the centre back line remain unchanged.  I usually need to do a narrow shoulder adjustment I think this kinda achieved that as well so perhaps this adjustment might not work for other body types.
  • Did a sloping and forward shoulder adjustment on shoulder seams and sleeve. I also added a smidge to the sleeve cap height.
  • Changed waist gathers to two small pleats.
  • Smoothed out "bottom" curve at centre back skirt as I didn't need it (not enough booty I guess)
  • Lengthened the skirt (just cut an 18 in length)
  • I cut a 0 in the shoulders and tapered out to a 4 in the waist and cut a 6 in the skirt.  
My changes to construction were:
  • I sewed the front bodice and skirt together, then the back bodice and skirt together, then sewed up the side seams in one long seam.  This is because I am still losing baby weight and I wanted to be able to easily adjust the dress if I need to.  My side seams ended up being 2cm wide (3/4").
  • Installed a lapped zip (my first) 
  • Set in the sleeves flat before I sewed up the side seams.
Peony pockets
I added some rick rack trim to the sleeve and the hem, it just peeks out.
Colette Patterns Peony Dress
Cool stuff I learnt:
  • That I have a forward shoulder and how to adjust for it.  I now can get rid of those vertical wrinkles I was getting at the back of my sleeve.  My back fits much better after this adjustment.
  • Lapped zippers look really nice.
  • Instead of doing a complicated narrow shoulder adjustment, I just need to cut a smaller size.
  • And as always, the seam ripper remains my best friend.


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