Sunday, January 17, 2016

Endeavour Trousers by Cake Patterns

I love these trousers.  I bought them as soon as they came out.  I made a test shorts version and thought they were a little snug.  That's until I realised I had sewn 1.5cm seams when I was supposed to have sewn 1.2cm seams.  Cake Patterns have a great personalised fit and I chose the 35" waist and the 45" hip.  This meant going down from my actual waist size and slightly up in the hip.  I'd made Cake Patterns' straight skirt pattern last summer and knew this was the sizing I wanted from then.  The fit is fantastic.  The photos don't do justice to the fit, as I'm on wonky ground and didn't bother to smooth the trousers before the photo.  I'm making some more as soon as I find the mid blue, heavier weight linen which I covet for the next version.  It's fabric shop sale season coming up, but most unfortunately my children need new shoes and school uniforms instead.  Ah well. The top is the Muse Patterns Gillian top, which I made last summer and wear a lot.

Speedy dresses: Myrtle & Lady Skater

 After spending weeks on two shirtdresses, these were super speedy and satisfying makes by comparison.  The Myrtle is made from some not very stretchy cheap knit which I didn't know what to do with.  I'm wearing this dress now and it is very comfortable.  It's not work appropriate as much is revealed when bending down.  I could see it being more practical in a winter version with a long sleeved t-shirt underneath.  I made a FBA on this dress, and then found it was a bit more than I needed.  So for the next version I've altered the pattern to take out 1 cm at the front and back shoulder and a sway back chunk out of the back bodice.  I've straightened out the curve made at the side seam by the FBA and taken 1 centimetre off the bottom of the front bodice.  I've added 2 inches to the pattern (yes, I use whatever measurements work for me in a mixed up fashion for sewing.  My cutting board is organised into inches which makes adding length easier in inches) as I'd like a more elegant length and swish in the next version.

 This is the Lady Skater, also satisfyingly quick to make.  I spent ages getting the pattern to work and made a lovely one with Lillestoff fabric which I haven't photographed or blogged.  Then, after identifying that I had nothing to wear for evening work functions, I made this up.  Although it is the same size as the cotton knit Lillestoff version, it comes up snugger in feel.  If I started this one again with the same fabric, I would make the sleeves full length and hem with a narrower band of blue velvet fabric, scoop the front neck out a bit and add to the length to get a lower mid calf length.  Nice shoes though, eh?  I don't expect to need to wear this for a few months, so will see what I think then.

Sewaholic Nicola in linen

This is my second version of the Sewaholic Nicola pattern and I love it.  My first version is here.  This time, there is no bra showing, and I'm really happy with the fit.  I adore the fabric.  If I was a dedicated blogger, I would have had a shower, done my hair and moved the photo shoot down to the beach.  I'm not, though there is a slew of pictures/posts coming because I did persuade my husband to photograph various recent makes.  I don't have a lot to say about this make, as the changes from the first make are documented in the first version.  I did learn a lot from making this dress, and am even feeling like I might be an intermediate sewist rather than an advanced beginner now that I can do yokes, collars and buttonholes.  I've discovered that I can put this on over my head without recourse to the buttons, which is useful in a hurry.  It does require ironing but I think it's worth it in order to wear such lovely fabric.  I don't know if I will make it again soon - two shirtdresses is enough for the moment - but I do recommend the pattern.  I'm not the pear shape which Sewaholic drafts for, but I think this dress works for the busty figure as well.

Wednesday, December 30, 2015

Spotty paradise

Eight months since I posted last...  I have had the sewing machine in action in that time though, especially lately.

Brighid in a Kitschy Coo Mini Penny Pinafore dress.  This is really nice and easy to sew. Brighid likes it long, but I think a shorter version in a beefier knit would be great for winter, possibly sleeveless so it is a genuine pinafore.

The Sewaholic Nicola.  Even though Sewaholic explicitly designs for a pear shape, I could see the potential for making the bodice work by rotating the FBA to the shoulder pleats.  At first, I didn't like the finished result, but it is so comfortable, and I'm getting kinder to myself on the imperfections, such that I'm now thinking of making a second.  I've got some beautiful fabric put aside for this.

Usually I have to narrow the shoulder of everything, but this one I did not.I cut a 16 almost everywhere except the skirt, which I cut a 16 in the back and an 18 in the front.  I added a 1 1/2 inch FBA which I rotated to the shoulders.  I had to unpick the waist seam and cut length off the back and front as I had not measured and allowed for my short torso.  I was so unconfident that I would ever make it again by that stage that I didn't even write down the length that I had chopped off, but it was more in the front than the back - perhaps I had just needed width in the FBA to some extent.

The hem isn't exactly right in the photo, and I need to fix that, and put an invisible dome in between the 2nd and 3rd buttons.  For the next version, I will measure the current dress in order to adjust the back and front bodice length on the pattern.  When I rotated the darts, I curved the bodice up a little too much (leavivng a baggy bit above the bust) and I'm going to straighten that out a bit.  I'm also going to raise the armscye so that my bra does not show. I did think of making a short sleeve, but the cap sleeve is nice, and has the effect of balancing my otherwise uneven and sloping shoulders.

There are very few Sewaholic Nicolas on the internet, and none by anyone curvy.  I waited for inspiration but eventually just started, and now I'm pleased with the result.  I think the original pattern is for a softer fabric, but this is soft enough, and multiple washings will soften it more.  This cotton makes it more sturdy for work and play and suits me better, I think.  Sometimes I tie a bow, but mostly a knot.  I'm a big fan of dresses, but bows and ruffles not so much.

Friday, April 24, 2015

Muse Natalie Dress #2

So, I had a go at an FBA for this dress, and it does fit better.  I don't think it is a perfect fit, but I'm not sure that I'm up for more changes and another round at the moment.  I found the fabric at Fabric Vision in Christchurch recently for $15/metre.  Two aspects of this dress are particularly attractive from the sewist's point of view: it only uses two metres of fabric, and it sews up quite fast.

When I made the fit changes, I dropped the triangle insert and because I wanted this dress to be work appropriate, I sewed up the part above it.  It has successfully ensured that it is work appropriate, but looking in the photos, it does change the style lines of the garment.  That was not so noticeable to me looking at it in the mirror.  The Muse Gillian pattern is much easier to fit on me (wrap dress, so no surprise), but it is a longer make and uses more fabric.

I like the fabric, but it is all polyester and I've realised it is going to be quite warm to wear.  I suspect a problem could be that it doesn't breath well and I end up smelly wearing it.  I have the fabric to make a top in this pattern.  That doesn't have the gathers at the front.  I'm thinking of making it longer than the top in the pattern piece, to be more like a tunic.

When I made the first version, I thought I wanted it a shade shorter.  Now I think it ideally needs flowy fabric and to be longer.  Maybe I will make another one....  A merino version, perhaps without the front gathers, and with the lower neckline (I can do a camisole underneath), would be nice.

I tried using a twin needle for the first time.  It worked.

Tuesday, April 14, 2015

Muse Natalie dress & Burda 9755

Burda 9755.  Don't make it.  My first experience with Burda and it was appalling.  The instructions were terrible and I ended up making my own up.  The fit in the upper chest isn't fantastic but I won't be changing it and doing another version.  This is Brighid after we went to see Cinderella at the movies, where Cinderella herself wore a similar colour blue for most of the film.  She does have two feet, but is practising curtseying in this photo.  It's a win because Brighid likes it, and chose the fabric and pattern herself when we went to Blenheim last summer.  If I made another pattern with a band/ribbon around the waist for a child, I would pipe it or make it in contrast fabric so it stood out better than this.

 The Natalie Dress by Muse Patterns.  I cut a 40 at the neck and shoulders, a 42 for the sleeves and a 44 everywhere else.  I like the dress, but I need to work out how to do a FBA on this and also to use my CSBCC tonic tee shape which I've been working on to put a centre back seam in which takes the sway back wrinkles out and puts some more width in over my bum.  The sleeve length is also wrong on me - I think I shortened it too much.  I might also go to a 44 sleeve for the next version, to be sure I can comfortably fit a thin winter layer underneath.  Given that it will always have leggings underneath it, I'm thinking the next version will be one centimetre shorte in length.

Of course, some blogs (most) have fabulous photos and the models style their hair before the photo shoot.  The photo shoots for such blogs don't involve an eight year old taking some pics on her ipod after kung fu and before the merry-go-round called bedtime begins.

Mine doesn't.  It does document my sewing journey, and it's my small testament to myself that I can do more than just work and work and work and parent all night and day.  I'm still sewing, I'm still learning and this is my small contribution to curvy sewing confidence.  I'm also not doing that thing where you make yourself look skinny in your pose for every camera shot.  The feminist implications of learnning always to take up less space are crap.

Grey is okay.  It is very drab compared to my usual colour choices.  I have a mint green and black print ready for the next dress version and a red stripe for a top version.  I also bought some hot pink merino on sale and it will either be a Natalie Dress or a McCalls 6408 cardigan.

I've also got some slips to make.  Shop bought slips are either very short or very long.  Those nice stretchy ones with no lace are also only made for skinnier persons than myself, which is a bit outrageous.  So slip making is high on the agenda.

Friday, April 10, 2015

sewing still, blogging once more

April, and the first post of 2015.   Hmmmmm.

Still, I have been sewing, and hopefully this school holidays I will photograph and post the Muse Patterns Gillian dress, Natalie dress and two Jenna cardigans I have made.  I've pleased with both dresses.  The cardigans fit, but I'm not sure they are the cardigan shape I really want to wear.  Sounds like last year's McCalls 6844, a pattern that I was the only person in the online sewing world not to be successful with.  The cardigan project continues.

I'm just back from a trip to Christchurch where they have fabric shops.  Real ones.  I got some fabric at Fabric Vision, and some at The Fabric Shop and some at my latest and greatest shop find - Bolt of Cloth.  Bolt of Cloth is heaven for those of us who like bold colour.

I also bought Butterick 6031, so that I can make slips that fit me.  The best fitting slip ever, a blue one I found for 50 cents at the Sallies at least five years ago, gave up the ghost just as soon as I bought the pattern.  I could only find beige tricot (seriously) at Fabric Vision, but then I went to Lincraft on my last day in the middle sized smoke and found some swirly bright green fabric to make a slip with.

No pictures today, but I have prewashed almost all of my new fabric.  I believe the final purchase total was about 18 metres.  I'm posting now and hoping to follow up with pictures very soon.