Wednesday, 1 July 2015

wearing what I make - Vogue 2117

It's hot at the moment, so today I'm wearing a sundress I made back when I lived in Knoxville. It's made using Vogue 2117 and it looks like I cut a straight 10.  This dress is quite neat inside, with seams finished off, which is good for some of my previous sewing!

It doesn't often come out of my wardrobe, although I don't think it looks too bad... I'm just naturally a dress wearer.  So, why don't I wear it - apart from the not really wearing dress thing?

I'm not sure if you can tell from this photo, but the straps have ended up a bit wide on me and the armholes are a little high - the edges are all finished off using bias binding, so if I could find some that's similar to what I used originally I could at least sort out the armhole problem, which might make me wear it more.  I've pinned the straps to my bra so they don't slide down all the time. 

Today I've been mostly wearing it with a cardigan, which covers up all the problems and keeps the straps in place, I've felt pretty comfortable in it - so I think I should give it a few more outings out of the wardrobe than it's used to.

Wednesday, 24 June 2015

Frances and baby Janet matchy matchy

I decided to make Frances another sun dress after making her princess dress and thought I would give the free Oliver + s popover sundress a spin.

I used some pale pink with white spots cotton fabric which I picked up in Just Sew in Penrith a little while ago - it turned out to be thinner than I remember, but that doesn't really matter for a sun dress for a nearly 6 year old.  I also used some plain pink fabric for the yoke and ties.

I cut out the 6 year old size but left the 8 year old length, added some rickrack at the yoke edge and french seamed the side seams.

There's not a lot really to say about this dress, it's such a simple little pattern - well written and not very hard to sew.  I made continuous bias tape for the bias binding rather than using the pattern piece - basically to not eat into too much fabric.

I think it looks good on Frances and although she's not looking very happy about her dress in this photo - she does like it... 

and here's her "smile" to prove it...

 It went so well I thought I'd better make baby Janet a matching dress....

 I used the free doll popover sundress from Oliver + s this time - it's meant to be for an 18" doll so I took 1cm out of the centre front and back and the yoke.  I also removed about 1 cm from the top of the dress and a couple of cm off the length.  Luckily I had a bit of rickrack left, but went with shop-bought bias binding out of shear laziness.

Thursday, 18 June 2015

wearing what I make - self drafted skirt x3

Now that the weather's better I'm able to start carrying through a promise I made to myself of not just wearing jeans all the time - but making an effort to wear more skirts.  My jeans are pretty much all worn out, and although I have a pattern and some denim to have a go at making my own jeans... I had a go many years ago, but it's time to do it again and make a staple in my wardrobe me-made.  I haven't got to them yet.  Anyway, back to now and the skirts. 

I think it was back when we were living in Norway in 2006/7 part of our TV package included fashion TV, or something similar and I would sit and watch some fashion shows when I was having my lunch (I was working from home at the time).  I watched a Tom Ford for YSL Rive Gauche show and saw this skirt....

I liked how it is a pencil skirt but loved the movement in the hem. 

A little later I came across this in a magazine (Don't ask me which one as I have no idea :-)) and thought I should give some pattern drafting a go.  I'd already made some self drafted slopers and this was an opportunity to test them out....

I ended up having three goes (or wearable muslins) and or course, it's so long ago I can't remember which order they were made it... but from how they fit I suspect this one was my first:

It's a bit baggy around the stomach/hip area and looks more A-line than the original inspiration.

I think this one was second:

It fits a bit better around the waist and I think is a bit flared.

And, finally I think this one was third:

None of them really look like my inspiration but they're all wearable.  I've still got the pattern I made so maybe I should have another go at some point and try to make one that's even closer to the original.... I think it needs to nip in more a couple of inches above the knee and then flare out to give the more dynamic shape needed rather than the pleasant enough, safe, A-line shape.

And this is also proof that I wear one of the sorbettos that I made in March 2014.

Tuesday, 9 June 2015

Princess dress

Not long ago I mentioned to Frances that I was planning to make her a new dress - she's now at the age that she likes to have a bit of input in what I make her so went away saying she was going to be a fashion designer and came back a little while later having drawn the following picture:

It's nice, isn't it?  Frances is 5 (6 in September) and I find it really interesting how she draws things.  Anyway, back to the dress.  She explained that she wanted it to have puffy sleeves (like a princess has) and be really long so that it covers her feet (again as this is apparently how princesses wear their dresses), she also wanted a flower on the front and bows around the bottom.  No pressure Mummy!

I explained that I had some spotty fabric that her Grandma had brought us last time she visited, so we were going to make it out of that - but I'd do my best on the other design elements.

I don't think I did too bad... I used the bodice from the Absolutely A-line book, sleeves from Burda 2463 with added band cuffs and the rest is two rectangles inspired by this free Boho Maxi dress pattern

It's unlined apart from facing in the bodice,

And the fashion designer's reaction?

This is her doing her princess pose (we probably should have brushed her hair too - but I guess she's going for the tousled princess look).  She would still like bows and flowers, but I'm trying to stall on that... I wonder if I could find or make her a flower broach.

Tuesday, 26 May 2015

Tiger update

Rory's tiger costume is finally fully finished.  It's been mostly finished for ages, but he repeatedly said he wanted back paws too.

Anyway, back to his costume:

I made it using patterns in the cute and easy costumes for kids sewing book that I have.  The book has loads of simple costumes that can very easily be adapted into whatever you fancy.  I mostly used the lion costume, but used the black cat head and then the back paws are adapted from another pattern.

I found a free pattern for fleece boots/socks on Rhonda's Creative Life and made them up in some more of the tiger fabric - her original pattern calls for them to be overlocked together, with the overlocked edges on the outside.  As I don't have an overlocker I made them so that all the seams are on the inside.  It's meant that they're a little slim in the foot and leg, so next time I make them (as I'm sure he'll grow out of them before he grows out of the rest of the costume) I'll make them a bit wider. 

He then insisted they should have pads on them (like the front paws do) - I used some black sock stop to draw the shape of the pads which seems to have done the trick.
You can just see the pads in this photo.  

He loves the costume and apart from being a little confused when he's putting it on as the top fastens at the back, it's a real hit.  It even has a fantastic tail that's attached to the bottoms. 

 I think next we need some super hero costumes - but first I have some other WIPs I need to get shifted, and a dress request from Frances.

Wednesday, 13 May 2015

SSS blogger challenge

I mentioned back in March that I was planning on entering the Simplicity star sewer blogger challenge - I decided to enter the Best Dressmaker Project category.  The challenge was to make up New Look pattern 6145 (which was very kindly sent for free).

At first I decided to do view A using some fabric I bought in Vietnam which is a bright teal coloured broderie anglais.  I liked the look of the softly pleated sleeves and the simple neckline.  Then to change it up a bit I wanted to add a front pocket similar to a RTW tunic I'd seen.  

I chose to make a size 12 using the fit help section of the Simplicity website.

I made the pocket by cutting the front piece in two, adding seam allowances to the cut edges and then constructing two horizontal in-seam pockets.  I also shortened the dress by 12cm because I'm pretty short and I thought I would wear it more if it's more a tunic length, but maybe not so short that I couldn't wear it with thick tights and boots if I wanted.

Here is the first incarnation.  I wore it out once like that with jeans but decided that the sleeves looked too big and puffy and 80s for my liking.

Here's a close up of the sleeve - do you see what I mean?  Frances is all about puffy sleeves at the moment because that's apparently what princesses wear, but they don't suit my head.  So I ripped them off and used the sleeve pattern for view D to cobble together a sleeve from the puffy ones.

And here it is with the less puffy sleeves.  I'm really pleased with the length, I think it looks pretty good with jeans.

Here's the back - I'm not sure why there's such a long zip called for - I didn't put it in invisibly as I don't have the right foot for my machine (it's now on my wish list though!), but it's not necessary - I can pull it on and off over my head no problem without unzipping.  Note to self - always measure the head hole before cutting out as I could have saved the complete back seam if I'd been awake a bit more.  Oh, I didn't do the back vent either - I thought without made it look more tunic-like.

The pockets work well too...

The sizing is comfortable, although as you can see in that photo there's a bit of a gape at the front neck, there's also a little at the back, but not so much.  I wonder if I'd cut out a 10 bust and graded to a 12 waist (which is what I usually do, but I was persuaded otherwise by the Simplicity fit guide) this wouldn't have happened, or if I actually need to do a neck adjustment another time. 

And here's a photo with boots and tights, just because I mentioned it before. 

Inside - I'm looking for ways to improve the neatness of the insides of what I make without buying a serger.  On this piece I bound the armhole/sleeve head seam with self-made bias-binding.  The other seams are tuned and stitched. 
I've worn it a couple of times already - so that's a good win for me :-)

Monday, 27 April 2015

Dress for baby Janet

Not a huge amount of crafting happened while the kids were off school over Easter, most of the time we stayed around Bern, but we did have the middle weekend away camping.  We bought a tent that's bigger than our apartment and headed off to the Sancerre area of France.  We like Sancerre wine, which seemed like as good a reason as any to pick there as our first camping expedition with les enfants. 

It took us about 6 hours to drive to Sancerre, and of course driving time means knitting time :-)  I knit a dress for baby Janet using yarn that I got from my Mum as leftovers of a cardigan that she knit for Frances recently.

It's Patons 100% cotton, in pink (quelle surprise) and I got 4 partial balls of it, which came to about 140g in total.

The dress I knit is from a 1976 pattern, which I remember my Nanna knitting my dolls some clothes from, which by coincidence is a patons pattern.  I knit the yellow dress in the 12" doll size.  The pattern called for 3 ply and the pink is double kntting, although from poking around on the Internet I learnt that it's quite a fine DK, so I split the difference on the needle size and went for it.

The one thing that I don't like about these old patterns is that everything is knit in pieces and then seamed together - what I waste of time.  I'm all for not seaming knitting if I can help it.  I cast on with 4 fewer stitches the front and the back together and went from there (4 fewer stitches as that's the equivalent of the seam allowances).  With some looking ahead at the pattern and a little bit of thought I managed to knit the whole dress with the only bit of seaming being sewing down the bottom of the underflap at the back opening and sewing on the press studs.  I'm really quite proud that I managed - especially as most of the figuring out was done in the car.

And now for some pictures of the finished dress:

It has a knitted hem at the bottom - I've never knitted a hem before, and really like how neat it looks.  The neck is also a knitted hem - it was meant to be cast off, turned over and then sewn down, but I ran a smaller sized circular needle around the inside of the neck where I would have sewn (if I was so inclined, which I think you've probably gathered I'm not) and then did a three needle bind off. 

Construction aside I pretty much stuck to the pattern apart from knitting the sleeves longer to cover up baby Janet's "vest". 

And here she is also wearing a coffee filter sunhat made for her by Frances.  I think I need to knit her a matching pair of knickers (there's a pair as part of the same knitting pattern), as she does have a tendency to flash her knickers around.

Link to my ravelry project.