mercredi 8 juillet 2015

Finished project: Adelaide Dress

As soon as the May 2015 issue of Seamwork came out, I new I wanted to make the Adelaide dress. Actually, I hesitated a bit between Adelaide and the Southport dress, which have some similarities, but in the end I decided to go with this one.

The fabric is from my stash. I originally had a different pattern in mind for it, but decided to use it for Adelaide instead. The fabric is a lightweight cotton, and it was a bit see-through, so I decided to underline it with white fabric of similar weight. Oddly enough, I couldn't find a 100% cotton fabric for the underlining, so I ended up buying a poly-cotton blend that had the appropriate weight. I think in the end it's ok, it still remains pretty breathable.

I didn't want to go through the trouble of making a muslin for this simple summer dress, so instead I tried comparing the pattern that of another summer dress I made last year, and make pattern alterations based on that. That seemed like a logical thing to do at the time, but it turned out to be a false good idea.
the alterations I made to the pattern were:
  • Added 3cm to the bust length - this is pretty standard with every pattern I make, and it was needed
  • Lowered bust dart 2cm - i did thise based on the comparison with the other pattern. It turned out to be a bad idea, and I ended up shifting the darts back to their original position after cutting the fabric.
  • -Did a forward shoulder alteration: I do this pretty consistently on burda patterns, but in hindsight, it was not necessary on Adelaide. The shoulder seam ended up too much forward I think but with the busy print it's probably not that noticeable.

I've used the pattern comparing method before to figure out alterations, but I think that might only work for patterns from the same company? Not sure, or maybe these two dresses were too different to compare...

I also made a couple of design changes:
  •  Added pockets in side seams, because all good dresses should come with pockets :) I used this free pocket pattern from SeeKateSew
  • Changed the hemline to be curved at the side seam (following this tutorial, but keeping the same length in front and back). I have been seeing this design feature quite a bit lately, and it seemed like Adelaide would be a good dress to add it to.

When I first tried on the dress, I had mixed feeling. The print felt a bit old and I wasn't sure about the shape of the neckline on me. But as I was finishing it, it actually grew on me, and I quite like it now. 
I think I might like to make it again in a slightly heavier fabric, and I would probably make the following adjustments:
  • Lower the armmholes at least 1.5 cm. They're a bit tight at the moment. I considered re-doing them but after wearing the dress for a whole day, it didn't bother me that much so i decided to leave as is.
  • Try to get a better fit in the back: there's too much fabric I think below the darts. I'm not sure if the darts go down too low, or if I need to make a sway back alterations on the pattern, or just take in at the side seams. I was going to unstitch the back dart and try to re-adjust their size, but I had already clipped them, as suggested in the instructions, so I had to leave them. It's ok though, and when belted, it looks fine (you can't even tell in the photos).
  • Try to get a more straight down shape in the skirt, rather than A-line. This probably has to do with the extra fabric, and i could easily take in at the side seam. I might try to accentuate the curved hem a bit more, and having a straighter silhouette would probably help make that feature more visible.

One quick note about the pattern: I think there might be a mistake or missing information about the belt piece. I sewed it with a 1.5cm seam allowance, since there were no other instructions, but it came out much thinner than the belt looks on the model photo. So either the allowances are actually missing from the pattern, or we're supposed to use smaller allowances, but this part had me a bit confused. I don't mind the thinner belt, although I probably should have interfaced it. 

I didn't add the belt loops. I got super frustrated trying to turn the strip of fabric (it was late at night), so I put it away, thinking I would do it later. But then I tried on the dress with the belt tied up and it didn't slip down at all so I never added the loops. I might have to if I want to wear a different belt with this, but for now it's fine...

I bought the snap button from Cowgirl Snaps on Etsy. I wanted the pearl-y kind to give a bit more interest to the dress..."dress it up" a bit if you will :). attaching the snaps was not as easy as I thought. the non-pearly side went in fine with pliers, but the pearl bits turned out to be a bit more finicky and I ended up using a hammer to set them in. 

I'm quite pleased with the pattern matching in the front. It took a bit of playing around, I wanted the pattern to match at center front while keeping an eye on what kind of shape would end up on my boobs. In the end, I had to cut the back shoulder strap as a seperate piece as I didn't have enough length of fabric to fit the back piece after I'd cut the fronts. But I figured with the busy pattern, that extra seam would be barely noticeable...

Overall, a cute summer dress that I'm happy with in spite of the fitting flaws. I really wanted to make it on time for my trip to Montreal in August, so mission accomplished! 
Next up on the list: shorts!

lundi 1 juin 2015

Recap: Me Made May 2015

This was my first time taking part in Me Made May, and i have to be honnest, I probably wouldn't have done it if it wasn't for instagram. It was so great to see so many hand-made items pop up throughout the day, and cyber-meet all these amazing sewist out there...

Anyways, I enjoyed the challenge. It was fun to try and come up with new ways of weraing dome of my me-made items. Big shout out to Brice, who agreed to take (and process) a picture of me everyday for a month, and apologies to my downstairs neighbours, who must have wandered what the heck was going on when we were moving frniture around at the same time everyday (cause obviously, we don't have a big empty wall like that in ou 650 square feet apartment).

so here's the recap!

 Renfrew top (2012)

 Pajama Pants (2015 - unblogged)

 batwing top (2015 - unblogged)

vendredi 29 mai 2015

Finished Project: Knit dress

This is Vogue 1315.  I found the pattern in the $1 bin at Fabrics, ect... in Vancouver. It's a loose-fitting dress with elasticated dress, with pleating and slouchy pocjet design which make it a bit more interesting than just plain knit dress. I bought it thinking it would go into my stash to be made at a later time, but when I saw this fabric on the top of my stash, I thought it would be a could match, and an easy project to complete.

The fabric is a wine-coloured cotton jersey bought at Gala Fabrics shortly before they closed down.It's a medium weight with a good balance of body and drape.
The most complicated step when making the dress was figuring out how to fold the pleat on the skirt before attaching the pocket. The instructions where pretty straight forward but I mistakenly made the pleat on the wrong side, which I only realized later on when trying to line up the sides of the dart and they didn't match up. Fortunately I was able to reverse the darts without having to undo all the pocket seams.

The top was a no brainer. The only thing I modified was the neckline. The neckline is supposed to be finished with two ovelapping bands with raw edges, which, when using the proper fabric weight/content, end up rolling down. I liked that design detail but my fabric would just not roll (it was either too heavy, or maybe 100% cotton doesn't roll the way lycra does?). Anyways, I didn't want to waste the pieces so I ended up sewing both bands together along their longer edge. Since one was narrower than the other, when folding in half lengthwise, the seam did not end up on the fold, but on the inside, which was perfect to conceal it.

I then attached the band to the neckline and finished it with a pretty stretch topstitch.

I attached the sleeves to the shoulders first, then sewed the sleeve seam and side seam in one go. Adding the elastic at the waist was easy,. The casing for the elastic is created by folding the seam allowance from the bodice down towards the skirt and top-stithing in place. I finished the hem with the same stretch topstich as the neckline.

Confession: I haven't actually finished the sleeve hem yet ( I was too eager to wear it). I don't think I will leave it raw, but because I like the look without any top-stitching, I might try to use an invisible hem.

Fitting-wise, I made the following pattern alterations:
Added 2.5 cm (1 inch)  to the bodice length
added 2.5 cm to the skirt along the cutting line, as well as 7cm at the hem (and boy am I glad I did, the original length would have been a tunic on me).
Added 2.5 cm to the sleeve length.
I also took out about 1inch at the armhole, tapering to nothing at the elbow and waist.

If I make this dress again I might try to cut the bodice in a size 8 instead of 10, or maybe remove 1.5-2cm from the center front and back, to make the necline slightly less wide and bring the shoulders closer to center.
Overall I'm quite happy, this is a very comfortable dress, easy to wear, I'm pretty sure it's going to be a regular in my clothing rotation.

samedi 2 mai 2015

Finished Project: Watson Bra and pantie set

I made a bra! I know a lot of sewists out there had the same realization after completing the watson, and like everyone else, I was pretty proud of myself!
Bra-making and fitting is a whole other ball game, and I had been itching to give it a try for a while. I had a total impulse-purchase moment when Caroline of Blackbird Fabrics posted photos of her latest Watson kits on instagram, and with that I was on the bra-making train!

I completed my Watson a while ago, but I didn't make the rest of the set until more recently.
This was a great pattern to start with. I had to do some alterations, but overall I figured out the fitting fairly easily. The bra is easy to assemble, it's mostly a lot of elastic-sewing. 
I'm pretty happy with my overall finishes.

I had plenty of lilac mesh left to make a couple of panties to make a complete set. First I made the Watson bikini. I used the size small, although I could probably have one up one size - or maybe I pulled a bit too much on the elastic when sewing it. Anyways, it's on the tight side, but not uncomfortable, so I guess it's fine.

The other one is the Cheeky Panty pattern (free) by Debi of So Sew-Easy. It's meant for lace but I decided to give it a try anyways, and add elastic to the openning as for the Watson bikini. I had to buy additional elastic for this one, and went with a similar peach contrasting color as the bra's straps. Since I added elastic, I also added seam allowances to the openings, which are normaly meant to line up with the lace border (i.e no hem).

Debi's pattern was super easy to put together. There was a bit of a gap on the bum when I first tried is on, but I ended up cutting the leg holes shorter so they reached more mid-bum cheek, and that took care of it. I would probably raise the waist line a smidge on my next go, but overall i'm pretty pleased with the result, it's comfortable to wear and doesn't show underneath fitted skirts or dresses.

So with that I have a full lingerie set! I definitely won't stop there and I'm already looking into more complex bras with chaneling and padded cups.