dimanche 6 septembre 2015

Linen Summer Shorts

Last year I bought a piece of linen in the renmant bin at Fabricana. Since I only had very little of it (less than a meter I think, my original idea was to make a safari-style vest with it. But this summer got unusually hot, unusually early here in Vancouver (unfortunately causing a lot of forest fires). So by end of May, I already had all my summer wardrobe out, and realized I needed a critical addition to it: a nice pair of shorts that i could wear to work (as opposed to denim cut offs :P)

For the pattern, I used Burda Magazine #115 from june 2010, which I already had in my stash. It is a cuffed pair of shorts with front pleats and single-welt back pockets.

(apologies for all the wrinkles...I tried ironing them in a hurry before the photos but i obviously didn't do a very good job. Also, it's linen, I doubt they will ever be wrinkle-free again)

I made a muslin first and managed to figure out alterations pretty easily. There was way too much fabric at the crotch (which seems to be a constant for me with burda pants patterns that involve pleats...actually any burda bottoms involving pleats, i don't know why I keep making pleated bottoms...).To fix that, I pinned a horizontal pleat accross the whole front, from side seam to side seam (about 2cm). I also took in about 2cm at CB at the waist, tapering to nothing at the crotch.

After that the shorts came together really nicely. I really took my time for each step. I made the welt pockets first, then assembled the front pockets. On my wide-legged pants, I struggled with the front pocket lining peaking out took much. This time I was careful to press it in properly, with a slight turn-of-cloth of the main fabric from the front, and careful understitching. The lining does tend to show a bit through the welt pockets in the back, but I'm ok with it.

A few weird things happened while constructing these shors. First, I thought that because I had shortened the front crotch, i also needed to shorten the inside pocket piece...but even after I'd done the alteration to the front on the pattern piece, the pocket still matched at the notch...I wonder if I traced the wrong size to start with...obviously not a big deal since it didn't create an issue, but I was a bit puzzled...
The secone puzzling thing that happened had to do with the waist band. I cut the outer piece and inner piece exactly the same, but after I attached the outer piece to the short, the inner piece ended up too short (the side seams didn't match at all). Again, pretty puzzled about that, looked like the outerpiece might have stretched out after i stitched it to the short or something, but I clearly had to recut the inner piece longer. I ran out of main fabric so I used the lining fabric instead (which was probably better anyway in the end).The lining fabric also came from my stash - remnants of the rayon I used for this skirt.

Aside from that, no big problems putting these shorts together. I did change the construction of the cuffs. In this pattern, the cuff pieces are integarted to the bottom of the shorts. (If I understood correctly) Burda will have you fold the bottom portion towards the inside, sew the edge to the inside of the shorts, then fold again towards the outside, and secure the pleat with a slip stitch. That's kind of a weird construction in my opinion as you technically end up with a seam accross the short leg, even though it gets hidden by the cuff.

Instead, I mesured where I wanted my cuffs to hit, and chopped off the necessary amount from the leg, and used it as a seperate cuff piece. I used the Inari Dress construction for sleeve cuffs to attach them back to the bottom of the shorts. Much cleaner.

In the end, I am so happy with these shorts. They fit perfectly, and they are exactly what I wanted: a pair of simple, work-appropriate (for my casual-dress work everonment anyways) shorts, that can be paired up with anything. I'm also feeling a lot more confident diving into my next pair of pants now that I have sort of figured out my basic alterations with Burda pants - although my next pair will most likely NOT involve pleats.

I finished these shorts back in early august, just in time to put them in my suitcase for my trip to Montreal. I've worn them quite a few times since then. We didn't get a chance to take photos in august though, and all of a sudden Vancouver weather changed from hot summer to cold, rainy fall (we actually had one of the strongest wind storm in recorded BC history that day, with thousands of homes without power over the week-end). I had kind of lost hope that we would be able to take outside pictures of them, but suddenly around 7:00pm, we noticed that the sky had cleared up. We rushed outside to our photo spot and managed to get this really nice sunset light (only lasted long enough for the photos).

As a side note, and in the spirit of the recent #UnsungSewingBlogHero trend on the blogosphere, I just wanted to reaiterate my thanks to B, for being such a good sport in not only taking my blog photos - especially that day, when the poor guy was still sore all over from running a 50km trail race a week before, but also for spending the time processing them so I really get the best result (and by processing I mean enhancing brightness and colors and maybe hiding a couple of blemishes here and there. No crazy body enhancing photoshop action here, this is really what I look like :P).
There's always a bit of bargaining when it comes to processing:
Him: Really, you're going to put 20 photos of your shorts on your blog? These four are basically all the same, except for the direction of your face!
Me: But they're all so great (cause you're such a talented photographer, wink wink), it's hard to choose!
Him: well, let's try to cut it down to 15 at least.
Me: ok, fine...I guess i can live without this photo of my (cut-off) face looking to the right...

I'd done a post about B. a few years back, to acknowledge how grateful I was that he took all these photos, but it can't hurt to say it again, can it :)

Now I'm currently finishing up my Inari Dress, and then I have a bit of a crazy project of sewing up running gear for the both of us for a race in October...and potentially pants in the mean time...yeah my sewing list isn't getting smaller anytime soon...

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.