vendredi 8 juin 2012

Pattern composing

It's been more than a month since I delivered the dress ordered by my sister, who wanted an elegant dress for a wedding. Finally, here are the pictures of this project. The request was for a long dress with a square neckline, veil sleeves, fitted waist line (as much as possible, because we don't really have top model body shape in my family), and at least one layer of veil for the skirt to bring a kind a vaporous ambiance.

After many emails - yes, my sister is 200km far so we made the whole project remotely, after shopping in all fabric stores I could find in Rennes, here is the set of fabrics I proposed:

- black lace on silver satin for the bodice
- waist band in black satin decorated with ribbons
- 2 asymetric layers of fabric for the skirt: a dark silver fabric and black organza
- black taffeta for the petticoat
- and not shown on picture: sleeves made of black organza

This set was immediatly approved, so I could start searching for the right pattern. Of course, when you know exactly what you want, you can't find it. And I don't know how to draw a pattern from scratch [not yet]. But no problem. With a little inspiration, it is not really difficult to create a pattern from several existing patterns. Here are those I used for the project:

Burda 7572 for the bodice and waist band

Burda 8058 for the asymetric skirt

Simplicity 3673 (black view), the skirt only as a petticoat

It's the first time I use and alter so many patterns for one project, plus draw a size not provided by the original pattern. Well, actually, yes, I already have drawn extra-sizes, but not for a very fitted shape. But I have to say that the whole project is a "first times" project.

1st time I make a muslin:
I never needed it before. But with the distance, and all patterns and alterations to work with, I though it would be a good idea to make one. And it was ! After the muslin was made, I could send it to my sister, who tried it quietly at home. She just sent me back comments and pictures so that I could improve the pattern.

1st time I use 2 layers of fabric as one, one being lace:
I was so scared one layer moved or to see creases through the lace, so I basted the lace on satin until all bodice seams are done.

1st time I sew an invisible zipper which is really invisible:
I guess it could be better, but compared to my previous (and very first) invisible zipper which is finally a large visible stripe in the center back of a dress, this time I was so proud of the result that I couldn't believe I could make it better. Unfortunately, after the dress was finished I still had some little alterations to do, and I had to take the zipper off and sew it again. What a wonderfull surprise it is still invisible after this second time !

1st time I attach beads to ribbons:
I've already made some little decorating with beads for a bag, but the ribbon was only going through a ring. This time, I used some little clips to attach beads. I was scared that the clips slide, but they didn't.

And finally, here is the result:

In situation:

mercredi 23 mai 2012

Dots, dots, dots

Yes, as the title says, I like dots. But I have to admit I didn't know it until I read so many posts on so many blogs, where polka dots are one of the trends of the year - but the only one for me, I don't really like the other trends.

Another trend I like: vintage outfits. In particular vintage dresses. I find them more flattering than shapeless clothes one can find in shops. Put these 2 trends together, and this is a big YES !!!

As a result, I only bought fabrics with dots this year. Well, it's not only because I only want dots, but I also have a large stash, and each time I see a nice fabric in a shop, I realize I already have something better, or sometimes I already have it. So, here are the fabrics I couldn't resist:

Red with white dots

Dark brown with white dots

Black with white dots

I wasn't alone when I bought the red and brown fabrics. And as a joke, we imagined we could make a vintage dress with one of them for the World Wide Knit In Public Day which is the 9th of June in Rennes. This could be funny, and a could way to be visible, if we could wear such a dress in public ! At least, this would be different from usual blue jean or black pants we usually wear. So I took this idea as a serious challenge. Maybe I'm the only one, but anyway this is a good way to avoid adding some new fabric to my large stash !

The fabric was bought on Monday, I started to draw the pattern on Friday, and here is the result !

The basic pattern is Vogue 8470 - yes, same pattern as the dress not finished yet ! Finally, I made so many alterations that it's hard to recognize the basic pattern, and it makes it much easier to do !!!

For the bodice, I continued the neckline until it reaches the middle front, to avoid this additional pieces that make the dress so complicated to sew. I kept the alterations I had already done for the bust height and midriff height.

The main problem I had with Vogue 8470 is that the length of the skirt is not the same in the middle and on side seams. I don't know why, maybe because I altered the midriff ? Anyway, to avoid this problem again, I used a full circle skirt, which was a very good idea finally !

For the back, I tried to match dots. Even with my very visible zipper, it's not too bad.

For the skirt, I couldn't do the same. I hope this is not too visible. As a solution: either I keep moving or I have to sit down, so that people can't see the back of the skirt.

I really like the final result. Before I do it, I was a little scared the result is just a big red shape. But the dress is very comfortable and very flattering - yes, even with my size ! I hope the weather will be nice for the Knit In Public Day !

Compared to the previous fabric I used for Vogue 8470, it was so pleasant and fast to make this dress that I was really inspired for the brown fabric. So here it is on my cutting table to make view F of Vogue 8555.

But soon I realized that my table was not totally free:

It seems that M Bijou likes hiding under this fabric. I knew I likes sleeping on it, as I had to take him away from the fabric several times as I was sewing the red dress.

But hiding is so funny ! Why moving ???

Yes, this is the main problem due to the fact I have to work in the living room.

mardi 8 mai 2012

Vogue 8470 - Chapter 2

This week, the weather keeps changing almost every hour. After a nice sunny and warm moment with bees in the garden, the sky turns to grey and then rain falls. Not very easy to set a priority for the coat and the dress. But this way I could afford time to both projects. And both projects are at the same final step !

For Vogue 8470, I slightly modified the sewing steps. As I don't use lining for the skirt, and my zipper is not invisible at all, I prefered sewing the skirt to the midriff before finishing the bodice, in particular before sewing bodice side seams.

Now, I just have to finish the armholes, stitch the lining to the waist and back seams, and sew the hem.

I think the most difficult steps are done. Anyway, I can already confirm that every review I've read about this pattern is true:

1 - You have to read carefully the instructions, several times if needed, and do not try to guess anything. By default, one would probably do a different way, and this is probably possible. But if you start ignoring the instructions, do it until the dress is finished ! I think it's almost impossible to start sewing the dress without the instructions and then use them for some latter steps.

2 - I am glad I am using a very light fabric. There are so many layers at the same point in center front, I'm not sure my sewing machine would accept a thicker fabric.

3 - This pattern is not really made for beginners. Even though the instructions are complete, I guess the number of layers for the bodice plus lining can be a source of discouraging mistakes.

Now, the most difficult step still remaining is the hem. Before I sew he side seams, it seemed that the skirt was longer at center (front and back) than it is on side seams. By now I haven't tried the dress with the side seams sewn, I hope this was just an optical illusion. Otherwise, with the lightweight and fluidity of the fabric, and the flare of the skirt, I guess it will be quite difficult to adjust the hem !

Now let's talk about the rain coat, which is now composed of 2 pieces: the coat and the lining.

For the coat, nothing special to say. I didn't follow the instructions as conscientiously as I did for Vogue 8470. So I cannot report whether they are clear and complete or not.

For the lining, I used a very pretty printed cotton with little flowers. Too hard not to run to the shop and take some more fabric for other projects ! Here again, I didn't really read the instructions. I added an ease pleat in center back, as I've always done.

Now, I only have to sew the lining to the coat and finish hems. For these steps, I think I'll have to follow the instructions. I know there is a special tip that makes it easy, but there's a long time since I made a coat or a lined jacket, and I don't remember this tip...

lundi 30 avril 2012

It's raining today... Where is my umbrella ?

The title is one of the first English lessons French people can hear. And it's specially true today ! Not only today, actually. April was a very wet month this year.

I like making useful outfits, but with this weather this is not really the case for Vogue 8470. Nevertheless, May is coming, and the weather may be nice and warm at last. Anyway, to be sure I can wear what I sew, I decided to start another project: a rain coat. I am using Simplicity 2812 for this.

As a consequence, I am glad I took meters and meters of repellent or waterproof fabrics at last sales. Now it's time to use some ! This time, I want to make the coat with gathered collar and simple sleeves.

Tonight I have 2 sets of pieces ready to be sewn. Depending on the weather when I am ready to sew, I can choose which project has the highest priority. Maybe I'll make both projects at the same time ? Anyway, which one will be finished first ? And which one can I wear first ???

dimanche 29 avril 2012

One day, maybe...

The last posts of Green Apples and Lilacs and Lace both deal with the same topic: new patterns. When I read this, I immediatly had a look at Vogue pattern website to see all new patterns. Of course, I found several I absolutely need ! Maybe for the next sale of ?

Vogue 8812: I really love this one. I'm not sure I could wear it a lot here, because the weather is not hot enough, or it doesn't last for a long time. But is it a reason not to do it ?

Vogue 8812

Vogue 8808: with plain fabric or flowers, I love it. Maybe not such a high collar. Anyway, this knid of shape is very comfortable to go dancing...

Vogue 8808

Vogue 8814. I admit I'm a little scared when I see how deep the neckline is. But I really like the flare of the skirt. Why am I still surprised that I need 4 to 5 meters of fabric for a dress ?

Vogue 8814

Vogue 8804. Like many bloggers, I think I absolutely need this one. Maybe I have other patterns I could use to get the same result. But this one seems to be well adjusted.

Vogue 8804

Vogue 8813: I don't like the fabrics used for the pictures. But I think this can be a great dress or top. I can already imagine it done with some fabrics in my stash. Anyway, I would like to read some pattern reviews to know how difficult this pattern is. The result seems to be simple, but I wouldn't be surprised that it's not so easy to do...

Vogue 8813

Vogue 8470 - Chapter 1

After I had delivered the dress ordered by my sister, and the pet bed tuto, I could start focusing a on project for myself. My choice was dress B of Vogue 8470 - a little longer, because I prefer dresses with hem at ankle.

As I recently learned how and why to make a muslin, I thought it would be a good idea to make one for this dress. And it was ! I knew I needed some alterations for the midriff, but it happened to be more than I imagined.

1st essay: I just wanted to be sure that the lower edge of the bodice would be at the right place. I often have to add some height to the bodice. This time, I don't know why, I tried a new way to do so, but it was a very bad idea. After sewing only one dart, I knew it wouldn't fit at all. My alterations were absolutely horrible and useless, and moreover the midriff wouldn't be large enough.

2nd essay: ok, my new alterations didn't work, maybe I should try the ones I usually do for the bodice. And to get the midriff large enough, I took it 1 size larger than the bodice. Much better, but not perfect yet ! On this muslin, the midriff is too large, mainly at the sewing line between the bodice and the midriff. When I tried it, I had the impression I had a little parachute there...

So, 3rd essay, the good one, at last ! This time, I kept my alterations of muslin #2 for the bodice, and for the midriff I used the same size as bodice for the upper edge, and one size larger for the lower edge. Moreover, I added 7 cm to the midriff height to have the pattern waist line matching my waist line.

Now I know I can cut the final fabric and start sewing...

mercredi 25 avril 2012

The cursed muslin

I've often read about making muslin and seen people courageous enough to take the time to make one, in order to find the right pattern alterations. I had never tried it, but this time it was mandatory. Why ? Because I had to redraw a pattern based on 2 or 3 basic patterns, for someone I've never worked for, and who lives 200km away from my home. So, I thought it would be a good opportunity to try making a muslin: it's a good way to test the pattern with cheap fabric, and I can send it to my "customer" so that she can try it and report mistakes, preferences or bad fitting features.

Fine. But what fabric should I use ? As I was in a shop to find some fabrics for the final projects, I asked for some information about muslin. The vendor helped me to find a wonderful fabric, wonderfully cheap, and wonderfully easy to work.

Fine. Next step now: cut the fabric. Easy to say. But not so easy to do with a young funny cat playing with the fabric: no, this fabric is not made to hide you inside, or sleep on, or hide behind in order to better jump onto the dog ! After many interruptions, I finally end drawing. I was about to start cutting the fabric, when the dog decided he could "help me" with a little mark of urine. Hmm ! There's nothing better, specially at 2a.m. ! Fortunately, it was not on one of the pieces I had drawn. But not too far. So, as I was cutting the pieces, I also cut around the mark...

A few weeks later, muslin again, this time for a dress for me. This time, I found the right organisation so that the cat couldn't play with the fabric. This time, I kept a sharp eye on the dog to avoid any new problem. This time, as soon as I finished darwing on the fabric, before cutting the pieces I cut the main piece of fabric to save the unused part in a clean place. This time, after cutting the pieces of the muslin, I saved them in a clean place too. But..... But I forgot the large remaining piece of fabric. I left it on the table. During the next dinner, or after the next dinner should I say, I had to interrupt because the cat and the dog were a little too noisy playing together. The cat, who is always ready to  please me, as far as he can, stopped immediatly. And he came to sit right in my plate ! My first reaction, not the best one now I know, I said "NO !". And he moved... to sit right on the remaining piece of fabric. So, this time, I have a piece of fabric with a good smell of ginger and nutmeg !

I still have 3m of this fabric. Please, Bijou, Dreamy, I am allowed to work it with no new surprise ???