Sunday, 18 March 2018

SewMyStyle The Kalle dress

I wasn't sure about the Kalle dress.  You may know I have a bit of a love/hate relationship with baggy dresses, mostly they drown me, so when the Kalle came out I gave it a wide birth, but I thought as it was this month's Sew My Style (#SewMyStyle2018)  I would give it a try, and I'm glad I did.

This is fabric from my stash.  I'm can't remember what it is something like a peachskin or cupro and I think it is perfect for the Kalle, which I think needs something drapey but with , weight.  I love it for this dress including the colour.  The only downside is that it doesn't press and thus wasn't easy to manage particularly with the placket.  By the way I did get a little confused by the instructions relating to the placket and I used the sewalong for additional help.  One thing I did find was how crucial it is to get real accuracy with your strips of interfacing and your folds.

One of the things I am going to need if I wear it with tights is a shorter slip!  It's peeking in the photo above.  I cut the size 10, a 36.5" bust sizing (I'm 37.5" bust).  I then graded down at the waist/hips by 1/4" at each seam, so a total of 1" .  I think the ease is pretty generous.

I used the box pleat because I think it hangs better.  The only real change I made was to reduce the difference between the front and back hem lengths and also to reduce the side split, I didn't want to flash too much thigh.  I also didn't notice that the hem facing was for the cropped shirt and so having drafted and cut one, I thought I would use it any way.    I'm it w not sure yet whether I will wear loose  or chicken out and add a belt.    Either way I like it, glad to have had a go and I've already bought some cupro for the next one.

Monday, 12 March 2018

Simplicity 8511 and IAM Casiope

Sometimes you really don't enjoy the sew but like the dress and sometimes you enjoy the sew but don't like the dress .... here is one of each!

First Simplicity 8511, and just in case it isn't obvious this is the one I like, but it really was a nightmare to make. 

I cut my ususal size 14, though looking at the photos it could have been a little more fitted. 

I love, love  the sleeves, I removed 1/2" from the length (and they are still a bit too long) , but the main difficulty was that the cuffs were far too big by at least 3".  You can see below that I have had to overlap the cuffs which you aren't supposed to.

The main problem was due to bulk.  This crepe is quite heavy and doesn't press.  The neckband was particularly bad, although I love the look of it, you end up with 8 layers at the shoulder seams, and although the zip went in really well, it was awful at the top (and rooky mistake but I actually poked the corner though on one side and had to resort to a bit of glue!  The kick-pleat was bulky and difficult to hem (better to just have a slit), and the sleeves had lots of bulk in the seams.   The cuffs were cut in 2 parts and they could be made in one, so cutting down on bulk.  With all this it, did the pattern go in the bin?  No, cause actually I do like this dress and think it has a lot of potential with the right fabric (which unfortunately I haven't figured out yet), it needs to be lighter than this crepe, but still with some structure.  Ideas welcome!

So one to the one I enjoyed sewing, particularly as I love this babycord from Higgs and Higgs, but I will never wear.  This is the IAM Patterns Casiope, and there are some lovely versions.

I cut the size 42 (37" bust and I am 37.5"), however, even though I took 1" off each side seam and it is still enormous.  Room for two more in here!  Perhaps you need to be taller to pull it off!  Or maybe the fabric isn't drapey enough.  Likely a combination of all.    Anyway,  shame, but this one for the British Heart Foundation!  Anyone made this with more success!

Wednesday, 28 February 2018

The Burda Style challenge Feburary; The Tunic Dress

The second challenge of the month!  I'm taking part in Hila's BurdaStyle challenge #burdachallenge2018, so this is my second garment, this time from the February 2018 magazine.  I love Hila's blog and Vlog (SaturdayNightStitch), if you don't follow her what are you waiting for?

I have actually never made a tunic before, because I'm not sure I like the shape on me (I really like fitted garments), so I'm not sure why I picked this pattern.  I think it was partly because after the January difficulties I thought this would be straightforward but mostly because I had this fabulour Nano Iro fabric in my stash and I thought it would be just right.
The pattern recommended fabric with some body and this is quite a stiff fabric (actually I think it will soften with washing and it might look better then).

The other thing I wouldn't normally do is mix patterns, but I have to say I love this combination.  I used another Nano Iro for the placket, cuffs, hem and inside yoke.  Because this fabric was a little thinner it really helped with the bulk, and I think the darker teal really lifts the main fabric.

When I said straightforward, it wasn't, I found the placket instructions difficult and I've come to the conclusion that I really miss diagrams on instructions and that it's much better when I don't need instructions.  In this case I did the placket my way and it seems to have worked.  The rest was straightforward.

I cut a size 14 (for a 36 1/4 bust).  I'm a 37 1/2" bust, but even so I think I could have gone down a size.  There is a lot of fabric in the body.  I took over an 1" out of the shoulder width (I usually need 5/8"), so I think the yoke is particularly wide.

So overall, love the fabric, not as sure about the dress, though as I look at the photos it is growing on me, so I will definitely wear it.  I was hoping to get my March BurdaStyle today to pick next month's choice , but no post due to the snow! 

Friday, 23 February 2018

The Rumana Coat; Sew My Style

Well this was an epic effort and not one I really enjoyed.  In the main this was due to the fabric, it is Lux melton from Fabworks and when it arrived I thought it was going to be great, but I just don't think I like melton.  It just has a feel like felted carboard, and I think you can see in the photos that it just has a peculiar look.  Plus I found when I was trying out my fusing that it really easily pilled.  So I felt put off by it, but I had bought 3 metres and I so I carried on.  This is the By Hand Rumana Coat and it was the Sew My Style challenge which I had decided to join in.

Given how much work there was I'm not sure it was worth the effort.   First there was printing and sticking the PDF then I had to make changes, raising the waistline by 1", reducing the shoulder width and taking first 4 3/4" from the length and then later another 2".  Given the number of pieces and that there were no lengthen/shorten lines that took considerable time.

The instructions weren't always clear; the diagram for step 4 is actually incorrect, the collar took a little figuring out and I had a nightmare with the lining.  At certain points there was so much thickness that I thought my machine might struggle, particularly sewing the facing/collar, thank goodness my trusty Pfaff coped.  The sleeves were difficult to ease in and I have seen some others found this.    I bought a gorgeous button from Akahban, but it was 1 1/4" inches wide and my button-hole foot didn't make button holes that big, so I went for a  bound button-hole.  I thought the wool would be too thick for this so made the lips from some silk.  Not sure that has really worked and from the photos it also looks a little high.  I added shoulder pads to fill out my rather narrow shoulders.

Sorry there is a lot of whinging here.  As you can see I didn't really enjoy this make  (and because I was trying to finish it for Sew My Style I did it in a week).  I'm not really pleased with the result, mainly because of the fabric ... but .... I may try it again.  I do think this coat has potential.  I love the shape, love the easy welt pockets, look the topstitching and in the right fabric could be great.   Also there is a sewalong currently happening, which will clarify any difficulties.   There are changes I would make:  the sleeves seem a little big, narrow slightly, lower the button hole, perhaps put an inch back on the length, and length the lining to avoid pulling and the welts would benefit from light interfacing  By the way I love this lining!

Monday, 5 February 2018

#burdachallenge2018 the drape top

Firstly welcome new readers and I am very excited to now have over 400 followers on Bloglovin and I will shortly be having a give-away. 

I'm a little late posting my latest make which is part of the Burda Style Challenge organized by Hila.  I posted on my dressform in time on Instagram but didn't get any photos of me wearing it ... so here it is!  The drape top from the January 2018 issue.

This is a sort of hit/miss make.  I do like a garment where the front is quite plain and the drama is in the back, but in this case I'm just not sure how wearable it is.  You wouldn't wear it to exercise in as the drape would flop about!  It was much more complicated to make than it looks.  I used some lovely bamboo jersey from Ray Stitch, which is lovely though expensive at £15 a metre.  But I'm really not sure what is the right fabric for this top because the weight of the drape means it is pulling at the back.  I cut a size 40 and thought it might be a little tight so added a tiny bit at the fold, and in retrospect that was a mistake as it had added a bit too much fabric around the waist.  I shortened the sleeves because I didn't want the thumb holes.

Making the key-hole and drape was a bit of a nightmare.  Burda have you make the drape as a closed-ended piece and there is just no reason for this as it adds an extra 2 layers of thickness at the side seam (which makes 6 layers), so I just cut that seam off.  You can probably imagine the weight at the bottom here (and the bamboo is quite weighty).

On the left hand piece here there are multiple thicknesses to cope with and there was a problem with the size of the facings and key-hole,which may have been my mistake or the pattern.  Also the bit of interfacing at the bottom of the key-hole still shows which I don't like.  Here are the insides.

You can see the problem I had below  .... definitely a dog's dinner.  So not an entire success, but I can still wear it, though in retrospect there were better choices to have made from January's issue.

I am much happier with my progress on making leggings though using Vogue 1517.  I have had a Marks and Spencer pair and have worn them to death, and they don't seem to make them anymore, so I am desperate to be able to whip up replacements. My first version was above my ankles and unwearable.  This is the second and almost there, if I can just sort out the lines at the crotch (any ideas?), but I'm pretty pleased and wouldn't wear them with tops tucked in.  When I make my next pair I'll give more details.  Just to say they come up big, I'm usually a size 14 in Vogue, these ended up around a 12- and there is still a little more to take out.    These are made in Croft Mill ponte roma at only £7 a metre and its lovely, really soft, though for leggings something less soft (and thus showing lumps and bumps) is probably better. 

Monday, 22 January 2018

Sew Over It bonanza

I've had a quite productive sewing time since Christmas and it starts with a bit of a splurge on Sew Over It patterns.

First, and my favourite,  the Sew Over It Joan dress.  This is a pattern for wovens, but I though it would be more comfortable in knit and this is in some lovely wool jersey from my stash (from Fabrics Galore Nov 2016 - great fabric).

I had to make a lot of changes.  Cutting a size 12 didn't work and I had to make all the side seams and back 7/8" to get the fit.  I also took 1/2" from the shoulder width and moved the darts in by 1" (they also need lowering by 3/8").  I normally need to take the wait up by 1", but didn't for this dress and as you can see it is sitting a bit above my natural waist, so that might be an issue for those with a longer body.

Construction was quite easy.  I didn't need the zip.  The kickpleat wouldn't work as per the pattern as there were too many layers of thick fabric, so I just made a 6" slit and then topstitched.  I accidentally sewed the neck on the wrong side and so had to take 4" of one side, but I think this looks good.  The only problem I have had is that the neckband is slipstiched in place and on a stretch fabric, this does pop.  I love this dress and have already got lots of wear, it is lovely and cosy.  I will definitely make another.

Next the Sew Over It Cowl dress.  This is a pretty easy pattern.  Only 4 pieces and with a belt it is quite stylish.  The cowl is just a wider unfaced bit with a narrow hem that flops, and I'm not sure if it feels finished enough for me.

Nothing much more to say.  I love this fabric which came from Stoff and Still, but was again from my stash.  I would use the fabric again (the colour is a sort of marled dusky rose), but probably won't make the pattern again as I prefer a more significant cowl.

Finally the Vintage shirt dress made from Liberty Cord (bought for £4.50 a metre).  I'm still deciding on this one.  Perfectly wearable, but I think possibly my style has changed and I definitely prefer the Joan dress on me (60s rather than 50s, who would have thought). 

I cut a 12 grading to a 10 at the waist, and even with another 2/5" off at the side seams it is still a bit roomy.  I would cut a 10 grading to 8 another time.  I took 1/2" from the shoulders and because I don't like gathered sleeves I changed the sleeve cap to a smoothly fitted one, and this seemed to work.

It was fairly straight forward to make.  Though as I don't want to fasten right up, you can see the lapels are sticking out a bit, so more pressing needed.  The bodice fits quite well at the bust.  It's quite nice and I know lots love this pattern, I can see why ... and lovely for a swish!

So I've made a good start to 2018.  I don't really make resolutions and don't want to have too many enforced plans, however, I am going to take part in selected Sew My Style challenges.  I also want to try some new techniques;  a Sophie swimsuit, a bra and finally get trousers beaten!  I have been trying to make progress with my too large stash, however, what I have realized is that generally it is full of summer-type fabrics, so that means I don't feel too guilty about buying winter fabrics .... any excuse! 

Sunday, 24 December 2017

Vogue 1532: The Vogue Cocktail hour

Well this seems like a suitable dress to post on a Christmas-time blog.    This is a rather belated sew for the Vogue Cocktail hour (#sipandsew).

Vogue 1532 doesn't seem to have been a popular choice, but I do like it.    The dress itself is a fairly traditional, close-fitting dress, and then there is a dolman sleeved pullover top to add a bit of pizazz!


I don't know if you are like me, but sometimes I choose a pattern as much because it contains a challenge I want to try, in this case boning, rather than just a pattern I love.  I also thought if I was making a cocktail dress, I would go all out and pick a posh one.  The dress is made of stretch duchess satin and the top from a sort of dotty net fabric  (from Abakhan).

I cut a size 14, but this ended up much too big in the stretch duchess and I had to take in several inches.   It could still be a little tighter to look really good, but instead it more comfortable to wear.

The pattern has very thin straps that would not cover a bra, and so I made much wider straps.  Getting the fitting right was one of the trickier challenges.

I love the sleeves, and the net edged with the satin cuff.  Also if you don't like fully exposing your arms, this pattern is ideal, a bit of coverage but still glam!

The cuff is held together with little rouleux loops (very fiddly) and these gorgeous vintage buttons.

I made a pretty good job of the dress.    The only mistake I made was to use cheap bias binding for the neck, never again, it makes the neck stand up a little.  In hindsight I should have made my own (probably from the lining material).  The inside looks great .... yes the picture below is the inside. The lining is a poly-satin.  You can see where the boning is.  There are 8 channels of boning.
I used covered plastic boning, (also from Akahban) and sewed these to the lining, so that they didn't show on the dress.  You can see below one channel on the princess seam and one on the side seam.  To minimize any seams showing through the dress I finished them with pinking shears rather than any overlocking which showed through slightly.


This is an interesting pattern and a good one to make.  It is an intermediate/advanced and probably not for the beginner, though depending on your choice of fabric, not too difficult.  I've never really had a little black dress before, just need a chance to wear it!

If you read this on the 25th, I hope you are having a wonderful day.   Otherwise I will be early in wishing you all a very happy, healthy and successful 2018 and look forward to sharing lots of sewing with you.