Tuesday, 30 December 2014

Year in Review From My Sewing Room to Yours

Well, this marks the end of another year of sewing adventures!  I've learned a lot, made some mistakes and had some happy surprises.  I've learned a bit of pattern drafting, improved my fitting techniques, and I've even learned to enjoy slow and relaxing hand sewing.  The main thing is that sewing has become more and more of an adventure over time.  I find the more I learn, the more enjoyable it is to sew, and I hope to inspire anyone who may have the slightest desire to learn.

 I now have what is pretty much my dream sewing room, complete with bright natural lighting and a view of the trees, birds and, of course, the squirrel.  It's a lovely space to spend a cold winter day.  I always have something on my sewing table, and my sewing queue just keeps getting longer and longer.  I'm a relatively slow sewer, and I like to take my time and pay attention to the details of each project but hopefully I'll be able to tackle the majority of projects on my list.  This list keeps changing so who knows!  My goals for 2015 include continuing to work towards an entirely handmade wardrobe.  But for now,  I enjoy one project at a time.  One stitch at a time.

Coming up next is a 1940's vintage wool/cashmere skirt that I have already started, but won't be blogged until next year :)

Thank you so much for reading my blog!  Looking forward to a fresh new year ahead and wishing everyone a Happy New Year and Happy Sewing!

Saturday, 13 December 2014

Radiating Red Dress Completed

This dress was fun to sew up.  This was my first time working with ponte de roma knit fabric.  I'm usually reluctant to sew with knit fabrics because I'm not as familiar with them as my usual wovens.  But this is a beautiful heavy weight stable knit that has a lot of structure and a flattering drape.  It worked perfectly with all those radiating tucks. 

The pattern is Butterick 5559.  I love it, and I'm sure I'll use again.
I used a size 12 which is one size smaller than my actual measurements because I was concerned the shoulders, and neckline area would be too wide and I'm glad I went a size smaller.   With all the tuck lines, it would be difficult to alter the pattern without messing with the design.  So I guess I was counting on the stretchy fabric to do its magic.  It turned out quite comfortable.  I lengthened the skirt by four whole inches that took it to just above my knee.  But then again, I often need to lengthen my skirts.

It was a bit of a challenge to match the tuck lines at the side seams, but if you use your pins diligently and take it slow, it's not so bad.

I used fusible tricot knit interfacing for the facing.  This was the first time using this stuff, and boy is it ever lovely!

I have issues with sewing in sleeves.  I'm so worried about getting pleats or puckers that I had to baste it carefully by hand before sewing it.  Also, the pattern doesn't mention putting in ease stitches for the sleeve cap but I put in 2 rows of basting and eased the cap slightly.  Then I steamed it a bit to shrink out some puckering after which I pinned and hand basted.  It worked out well.  I only got one tiny pleat that I unpicked and re-sewed (only about 3 cm).

Well, that's it for my Radiating Red Dress.  I think there may be a shorter skirted sleeveless version in my future.  (I even have the fabric for it already!)

Happy Sewing!

Saturday, 22 November 2014

Alabama Chanin Update!

I haven't been working on my Alabama Chanin project much lately but the reverse appliqué portion is completed and so are the shoulder seams.  So, all that's left to do is the side seams and finishing the neck and armholes with binding strips.  I still have to decide what kind of decorative hand stitching to use on the binding.   I really enjoyed doing all the reverse appliqué hand stitching.  It was so relaxing!

This project is almost done.  I haven't been paying as much attention to it as I should.  I guess I see it as more of a slow relaxing project; kind of like knitting a sweater ( which takes time!).  So I end up doing a little here and a little there.  Soon though, very soon it will be done!

Happy Sewing!

Wednesday, 19 November 2014

Self-drafted Pencil Skirt

 I finished my self-drafted pencil skirt.  This is the first of many skirts from my personal custom skirt sloper.  It feels incredible to have such a well fitting skirt.  It's like it was made specifically for me!(something I never felt when sewing any skirt pattern, let alone buying ready to wear.)

I used the fabric I purchased from  A Spool of Thread when I was in Vancouver.  It's gorgeous stretch denim, but it stretches on the lengthwise grain instead of crosswise.  I was confused by it at first because I've never seen fabric like that before.  But I decided it would be perfect for a pencil skirt.  Having the stretch lengthwise allows for comfortable sitting!

Here's my "invisible" hot pink zipper.  I love invisible zippers with a pop of colour!


 Floral print facing!

Hot pink zipper... again!

Hemmed with bias tape

 So... this was supposed to be a peplum pencil skirt. Thus, I didn't draft a waistband and made a facing instead.  It turned out I hated the peplum.  There's no way I was going to even try putting it on the skirt.  To me it looks like a clown collar.  Maybe it was the medium weight fabric that lacked a soft drape; maybe it was the polka dots.  I just couldn't get clown collar out of my head.  And so  the peplum will never be.  I can't stand looking at it.  I'm putting it in the garbage as soon as I'm done typing this.  The good thing is that it was a valuable experience.  I may make a peplum skirt with a softer fabric and absolutley no polka dots!  Otherwise,  I would also make a waistband.  That way it adds some waist definition and just looks like it's actually finished!

I'm just going to enjoy sitting in my comfy stretchy pencil skirt!

Happy Sewing!

Monday, 27 October 2014

Perfect Fit Skirt Sloper

I've dived into the world of pattern drafting head first!  I'm really inspired by all the possibilities and excited about what I've learned thus far.  There are so many possibilities once you have a well fitting sloper.  I'm learning from Suzy Furrer and her textbook "Building Patterns: The Architecture of Women's Clothing".  She also has a few really awesome Craftsy classes which I highly recommend.

I decided to start simple with a skirt sloper.  After taking accurate measurements I drafted a basic skirt sloper and sewed it up in muslin.  I had to make a few adjustments to improve the fit.  I moved the front darts over 11/4" toward the side seam to reduce fabric pooling under the dart.  I also trimmed 1/8" off the low hip.  The sideseam was not perfectly vertical so I brought down the front waist shaping line an extra 1/2".  After that there was gaping in the back waist so I took in an extra 1/4" back contouring on both sides.Then I dropped the waist line at the sideseam 1/4" to get rid of a few pull lines in the front.

I learned how to true my darts and of course sideseams.

 Here is my final skirt sloper on poster board.  I'll use this template to draft whatever style skirt I wish.  Pretty awesome eh?  Freedom from searching and searching for just the right pattern!

The final muslin looked really good and I was excited to draft a skirt pattern from this and make an awesome skirt in fashion fabric.

Coming up next:  Pencil Skirt with peplum!

Happy Sewing!

Thursday, 23 October 2014

Buffalo Plaid Archer!

My second Archer shirt is completed!  I like this one better mainly because I think I did a better job on it than the first time around.  I lengthened it by 2 inches.  Otherwise, I sewed view A as per pattern instructions.

 I cut the pockets, yoke, cuffs and front placket on the bias.

I tried to pattern match the seams at least vertically.

Inside the shirt:  French seams and bias tape hem. 

I chose these royal blue pearl snaps just because I love the pop of colour! 

I marked my seam allowances on the cuff in order to get the corners just right. 

Here's what I did to my pattern: 2 inch lengthening in the bodice.  This makes the shirt fit a bit better on me.  I also feel that the extra length counteracts the boxiness of the fit. 

Well, I'm quite happy with my casual, comfy shirts but I think that's it for now.  I'm eager to go back to my feminine, fitted patterns! 

Happy Sewing!

Friday, 3 October 2014

Autumn Archer Shirt

Yah!  I just finished the Archer Button up shirt from Grainline Studio.  This project was definitely a learning adventure for me.  Mostly learning to pay more attention to right vs. left and such.  Yeah, I had a little bit of sewing dyslexia.  But the reason I'm extra proud of this project is because I partially completed one of my sewing goals.  That goal is to sew more casual comfy everyday garments and a flannel shirt for fall... and boy is this ever a comfy warm shirt.  It's like wearing a hug.

This shirt is not actually flannel but brushed cotton.  I wanted a yarn dyed woven fabric as opposed to a printed flannel.  That ensures I get the plaid pattern and grainline working as one.  Oh yeah and I kind of did some pattern matching on the side seams but that's about it.

Things I've learned:  I mixed up the left and right front pattern pieces so my shirt closes like a mans shirt.  I don't mind it but next time I'll pay more attention to the way I place my pattern pieces.  I also sewed the collar on backwards and couldn't undo it because I already trimmed my seam allowances!  Yikes,  I was about to give up but I figured it's salvageable.  I ended up carefully slipstitching the collarstand to the outside of the shirt.  I'm happy the way it turned out but next time I need to pay more attention to putting things together the right way.  With my next shirt I think I'll also pay more attention to pattern matching.

 Yep, there's my dyslexic collar...

I decided to do a bias tape hem.  It's a neat finish and I felt that I wished the shirt was a tiny bit longer so this way I only lost 1/4 inch in length during the hemming process.

I love the cuffs and the white pearl snaps!

This was the sideseam and sleeve topstitching process.

I graded the seam allowances using pinking shears for one layer.

 I hand basted in the shoulder seam prior to the burrito method seen below.

My little flannel burrito

 I've always disliked setting in sleeves.  I'm always worried about getting puckers.  I hand basted one of the sleeves prior to sewing it in.  It takes a little more time but really makes a huge difference.

Awesome pattern,  I'm definitely going to make another one.

Happy Sewing.