Monday, March 26, 2012

McCalls M6436

I made this shirt, which is version D of McCalls M6436, a couple of weeks ago but just haven't made the time to post about it.

It's made in Liberty Tana Lawn, Pamela Judith, in the brown colourway. I love it.
I chose wooden buttons, which I'm really pleased with, and I've worn it a few times now and it feels great to wear. Liberty lawn is so light and airy and very well suited to shirts and blouses.

The fit on this is quite relaxed; it's not terribly fitted. Having said that, it still looks fitted enough when it's tucked in. Good grief, it's long, though! I know I'm only 5ft 2 but this is almost a dress on me. I think I may shorten the next, sleeveless, version I make.
I've discovered I really like making shirts. I liked using the sew-in interfacing, and I enjoyed all the slipstitching by hand, on the collar, cuffs and button bands. Also, I've found I like making buttonholes and even sewing on buttons. I find this hand finishing very satisfying (though I do the buttonholes by machine - I'm not completely insane). I french seamed the whole thing, except for the armhole seams, which I "overlocked" on my sewing machine.
Next I will make a short sleeved, pocketed version in the blue colourway. And I want to make a more fitted shirt after that, possibly Vogue 8772, which I already have the pattern for.

I have made a dress over the weekend, and it just needs hemming and I want to topstitch through the shell and lining around the armholes, by hand. I'll post it in the next few days, hopefully.

Wednesday, March 14, 2012

Colette Beignet Skirt

Well, my back recovered very quickly, as it happens, but I've had little time to sew. However, that didn't stop me from making my Beignet Skirt little by little in the evenings last week. It's surprising what can be achieved in just 30 mins or so every day.

This version was only ever meant to be a muslin, and not a wearable one. I had planned only to fit the shell of the skirt and "waste" this fabric in the process because I had thought the fabric to be unwearable itself. It's a stretch cotton drill and when I washed it (originally for a pair of Clover trousers, but that's another story altogether) no matter what I did to it I couldn't remove the creases made in the washing process. I even tried washing it again on a slower spin, ironing it almost wet...but nothing worked. Once I started making up the skirt, I was delighted to find that although the fabric wasn't behaving any better, it didn't show enough to be detrimental to the appearance of the garment, so I quickly fished out a remnant of Kaffe Fassett cotton and some really terrible, stiff lining that I had nearly thrown away a couple of years ago (after washing, the lining was much softer, though it frayed like a devil).
This pattern is made for a much more curvy, pear shaped individual than me. Therefore, although the size 4 waist fitted just right, the hips and bottom were HUGE on me. I took some of the excess out but there is still a lot of room in the hip area.

I really enjoyed putting this one together; I enjoyed attaching the shiny lining to the crisp, matt cotton and the curve where they join at the front (inside). I enjoyed making the little belt loops (though my drill fabric was so think I had to make my loops up in a totally different way to the pattern) and I even enjoyed making all the buttonholes. I must say, I think I got more satisfaction in making this skirt than I ever have in my sewing before! I keep looking at it and thinking "brilliant". I just love how everything came together so nicely, even though there were so many opportunities for things to go wrong, with three different fabric types and all those buttons, and the loops.

Things I have learnt and could really improve upon next time (I have already bought some navy drill - no stretch, and washes MUCH better - red lining and navy polka dot cotton for the facings):

Next time I will make sure the thread I use for understitching the facings matches the facings and not the shell. On the inside, the stitching really shows.

I don't think I can face ever using fabric covered buttons ever ever again. It took me and hour and a half to cover my metal buttons with such thick drill, even though I have the little "instrument" required. Honestly, the palm of my left hand was purple the following day, from pressing so hard. And I ruined about seven buttons by denting the metal.

I learnt to do blind herringbone stitch for the hem. It can't be seen at all from the inside, as it all happens within the hem. On the outside I still have lots of tiny puckers where I picked up threads from the outer. I found Sherry's advice so helpful - I just need more practise (or maybe stretch drill is tricky to do an invisible hem on). My stitches look beautiful anyway, if you pull the hem down and take a look!
Will I wear this skirt? You bet. I love it! (Will take pics of the skirt being worn when I get more time).

To finish off, here is yet another V2091 (it's one of the five versions I have made, and I must also say...please don't think I only ever wear these socks! I do have plenty of other types!):


Thursday, March 01, 2012

Vogue V8184

I haven't sewn anything since the last time I posted, as I have hurt my lower back (a recurring problem) and cutting out fabric on the floor definitely makes it worse, as I have found in the past. It's frustrating as I have so, so many things I want to make and I can't. Well, I could, but then I would pay for it later!

So, I thought I would post a couple of dresses I made some time ago. I had already posted about this pattern, with different fabric, but it was almost two years ago (gosh) and I think I deleted the photo from my blog by accident.

I really wouldn't have thought I was a strapless-dress sort of person, finding them a bit twee and "alice-band-ish" in the main. However, I changed my mind for this dress. And it helps to style it in an unexpected way. For instance I would never ever wear this type of girly dress with heels (not unless it was boots). I would rather wear clumpy clogs or something to give it a bit more edge and balance the look a bit.
It's a lovely dress to make up; I found it very easy and enjoyable (that must be why I have so far made three of them). The bodice is self-lined and boned, but the skirt is unlined. The cotton I used is quite a thick one (Amy Butler) so, with the self lining and the boning, it could stand up on its own. I like it having some structure. It doesn't wrinkle but it still feels very comfortable to wear. In fact, I wore a version of this dress (in one size bigger) on the beach and found it practical and comfortable, even playing ball and running about in general.

I also sewed it up in denim, but a ridiculously thick denim. Seriously, the great all-knowing Universal Consciousness only knows what was at work in my brain when I chose this fabric. It's far too thick. As a result I have never been able to wear the dress, as it's turned out smaller than it should, and I can hardly breathe when it's on. Shame, as I really like it. The lining has sentimental value: it came from a huge pair of pyjamas I wore in hospital after I gave birth to Charles. One day I will fit into this dress. But then all the others will be too big. Hmmm.
I do like these dresses so much but I think it's because the skirt is straight. I'm not sure I would like the pattern so much with the full skirt. I did buy some black and white gingham and some stiff interfacing to make a sort of fifties style version but I think I went off the idea.

I'm waiting for some blue drill to arrive, for a Beignet skirt. That could be my next project. Or it might be V1236 in a black, slightly twinkly fabric.
I got the book Patternmaking For a Perfect Fit by Steffani Lincecum and I'd like to try the rub-off technique on a fave simple top to start off with. Again, it's having the time.

I am still trying to come up with enough names for the Leibster Award but only have two so far, as most of the blogs I read already have more than two-hundred followers.