Tuesday, 26 November 2013

FO: Lady Skater dress

Image of The Lady Skater sewing pattern (for teens and women)

I have seen this dress by Kitschy Coo popping up around the blogosphere for a while now. The dress started as a pattern for children, but Amanda the designer had so many requests for an adult version, she spent a considerable time drafting a version for us grown-ups! I particularly liked a few that were on the Lady Skater dress tour, this one from Cirque du Bebe, this from Emmyloubeedoo and of course all three dresses from Lladybird. Lastly and most recently I saw this dress by Handmade Jane, which is my current favourite, you'll see why in a bit.

I finally got around to buying the download a few weeks ago and spent a happy evening piecing it all together. I actually quite like doing this - downloadable patterns were how I got back into sewing whilst the family and I were living in New Zealand a while ago.

I was looking for an easy dress that would be easy to wear in winter.  I am a bit bored and cold wearing jeans and tops all the time, so I thought a warm winter dress and wooly tights might be just right. I choose a dark teal/petrol colour of a fabric I have used before here and here - I think it is ponte.  It wears well, sews well and comes in a range of lovely colours.  My only slight problem with it is that it bobbles/pills quite quickly. I have one of those nifty bobble removers, but need put new batteries in it...

Anyway, back to the dress.
photos have been lightened - the perils of winter indoor photography
I cut a size 4 going on my high bust measurement which seems to fit perfectly.  I followed most of the instructions, including the use of clear elastic in the shoulder and waistband seams. I wasn't sure where I would find clear elastic, but to my surprise, John Lewis had it in packs of 3 metres.
Clear elastic at waist

I had bit of a brain freeze working out the neckband instructions -  there didn't seem to be enough of the band to go round the whole neck - and I tried several times. I ended up pinning one end of the neckband to the open shoulder seam and just pulling it tight as I sewed round the neck.  This left me with a small excess of neckband, which I just trimmed off - after checking that it looked ok from the right side. On previous knits I have secured the neckband seam allowance with a zigzag, but this time I tried using a straight stitch, but longer than normal, which has worked fine and looks better on the right side
terrible colour representation
I also followed the instructions to check fit as I went along as this has been an issue in the (very distant) past. I basted it together and found that the waist probably needed moving.  As it was, the waist was neither on my true waist nor my high hip. I decided to raise the waist a couple of inches/5cms to my true waist level, but having worn it a couple of times I rather think I should have lowered it to my high hip. I am sooo unused to having things at my true waist, it just doesn't feel quite right.
trying to show how much I took out of the waist
Having taken quite a wedge out of the bodice, the skirt is a bit shorter than I would normally go for, but as I will be wearing it with tights or leggings (if I ever get round to making some that actually fit) I don't think that will be too much of a problem.

I while ago I bought myself a twin needle to try and improve the finish on my knits.  I tried it on my previous knit make without out success - the machine kept eating the fabric and when I tried my usual trick of putting tissue paper underneath the fabric, the finish was terrible.

I very carefully tested it on a scrap of the same fabric before trying it on my dress. It worked! I was very excited - probably a little more than than was strictly needed, and ran downstairs to show Husband, who made all the right appreciative type noises.
twin needled hem
Also when sewing my hem I used the aptly named 'wonder tape'. This is double sided narrow sticky tape that... dissolves in the wash!  I used it to 'pin' the hem up before I twin needled it and it was so much easier than dealing with pins all the way round.

Over all, I think this is a success. If I make it again I will have to think carefully about where I want the waist to hit, but other than that I am very pleased.  When I wore it the other day my friend didn't realise that I had made it - which is always nice!

And to finish off, some twirling...

Wednesday, 13 November 2013

FO: Stripey 70's vibe top - Burda Raglan Shirt 02/2013 #127

I made my first version of this top earlier this year, in a rather slinky sludge coloured jersey.  I really liked the style and was sure I would make it again. I found a suitable fabric during Rachel's epic meet-up in London in April:
the stripey ribbed fabric at the bottom
I thought that it would be perfect for an Autumn version.  The top was a long time in the making. I had all the bits to make this but couldn't quite find the oomph.  Over the summer we spent a few days with my sister-in law in Norfolk. Whilst the kids were enjoying various water based activities, which I don't enjoy, I finally cut out this top.  My S-i-L has a lovely long dining table and I had the foresight to bring nearly everything I needed, plus tracing paper and the Burda mag so that I could trace off some other patterns.

When laying out the fabric and pattern pieces I realized that I hadn't had the foresight to buy the right quantity of fabric. However..... I did manage to squeak all the pieces out by cutting the sleeves with the stripe running down the sleeve instead of across.

I think the stripe makes me look thicker than I am around the middle...
As you can see it is an interesting look.  I am not entirely convinced, but my girls said it looked good. You can't see in these pictures, but I haven't hemmed the sleeves. The only way I could fit them on was to use the selvedge as the edge of the sleeve - it has a slightly fringed look.
and bustier than I am around the. .. um... bust
I shortened the body again, but not as much as last time, although I think I am wearing different jeans with slightly different pocket placement, so it's hard to tell.
As this fabric was ribbed, it seemed to stretch during sewing.  It seems pretty big all round. 
 It is hard to tell, but the silvery grey stripe is actually sparkly silver.  The colours are very 1970's to me, having been brought up in a house that was decorated in shades of brown, yellow and mustard, with big dark brown corduroy Habitat sofas that were impossible to get out of! It also makes me think of Cagney and Lacey for some reason.

I don't know what the fibre content is, but it feels very man-made. I have worn it several times and I feel simultaneously a bit hot and a bit cool and clammy - which also reminds me of the 1970's. I made it for Autumn, but we seemed to have skipped through that quite quickly, so I will continue to wear it, albeit hidden under another layer of clothing.

Refashion: a black flowery dress

This refashion made it onto the blog in May, but I have had this dress for years.  It is a bias cut dress in what would be called 'maxi length' these days, but was just 'long' when I bought it.

It was from Jigsaw and it is made from a wool crepe I think. I wore it a lot for a while and even managed to wear it to a friends party when I was 8 months pregnant, the bias cut was very accommodating to my large bump. Even though it got a lot of wear, the one thing I didn't like was the neck line - I really don't like high necks. I don't think they are flattering to me and I hate feeling that I am choking. I always thought I could do something about it, but it spent a very long time on my list of things to do.

Earlier this year, I needed a dress for the funeral of Husband's Grandmother. We were told not to be too sombre, so I thought a black dress with flowers might be suitable, and realized this was the perfect time to attempt my refashion..

I cut a good length off the skirt which brought it to my knee. I drew a better neckline on the dress with chalk, basted the dress and lining together along the line that I had drawn then cut into the dress being sure to leave enough for a seam allowance. I had visions of creating a large floppy cowl type collar with the portion of skirt that I had cut off. This didn't quite work - I spent ages pinning and draping, and ended recreating a similar neckline to the Colette Jasmine top, including the little loop to feed 'ties' through.

I only got one photo that day, which can be seen here, but have since worn it to our local Cricket Club Dinner Dance - where Husband received the cup for the highest batting average of the season for the 2nd XI.

Friday, 8 November 2013

What's on my sewing table...

I have been sewing quite a lot recently, but not blogging. There are a few finished items to catch up with, but for starters here is snap of what I am working on right now:

 I have spent far too long looking up attaching neckbands, so I have decided to just get on with it.
This is also the first post I have done on my tablet (with a photo taken with said tablet) so I hope it looks OK!