Wednesday, 30 December 2015

Year in Review 2015

Well, it's the end of another year of sewing adventures.  Looking back, I noticed that I've had some difficult challenges and learned a lot.  One of the reasons I even do this blog is a kind of record keeping for myself.  For example, if I decide to sew something up again I can go back and see what adjustments I had made etc. Because after a couple of years, I may not remember exactly what I did.  The second reason is to inspire others to start sewing or continue to enjoy their sewing and perhaps see it as a continual adventure.  I know reading sewing blogs is initially what inspired me to challenge myself sewing-wise and of course, I love seeing what fellow sewists are making!  The third reason, which I recently discovered is that I get to look back over time and see changes and trends in what I've learned.

This year, I learned some new couture sewing techniques.  I kicked off the year by discovering the magic of underlining with silk organza.  I also got to practice some couture hand sewing techniques with my Garden Party Dress, complete with first-time ever hand picked zipper!  This book by Claire Shaeffer has been a fantastic resource.  It's a very high-quality sewing book for anyone interested couture sewing.  I pretty much devoured it as soon as it arrived in the mail! 


Secondly, I feel a lot more confident in the fitting process.  A few years ago, fitting used to be a complete mystery to me.  Other than lengthening patterns, I used to just hope that if I followed the instructions, maybe I'll get something wearable.  Ok, I am a HUGE advocate for learning to fit once you've learned basic sewing skills.  The reason is that it will make your garments look great.  If your garments look and feel great, you'll enjoy your sewing that much more.  So pleeeease, don't be afraid to learn fitting.  It's so worth it.  I promise!  Ok, I'll stop my rant now.  So, anyways,  I've been determined to get a great fit with each garment I made this year, and I made fitting the number one step in pretty much each project.  I made, at least, one muslin for each garment I sewed this year.  It was not entirely free of frustration as evidenced by my Granville fitting woes but in the end, it's worth it.  I know, it feels like a lot of work when you just want to get sewing, but if you slow down, focus on one step at a time, you won't feel rushed.  Also, the more you practice, the easier it becomes.  I'm sure I still have LOTS to learn about fitting because with sewing, the learning never stops.

In the quilting arena:  I couldn't believe it when I actually finished hand quilting my Sanctuary Quilt!  I've definitely learned a lot about quilting by hand this year.  Although I still like to quilt some projects by machine,  I've discovered I also love the look of hand quilting.   I haven't posted much about my quilting projects so I promise I'll post some soon!

This year I also started a bit of knitting which I hope to post more of as things progress. 

Overall a pretty good sewing year, I'd say!

Some Goals for 2016

1. Continue to make fitting a priority for all garments

2.  Learn some tailoring techniques

3.  Learn more couture sewing techniques

4.  Work on more intricate (and beautiful) quilts

5.  Draft my own bodice sloper

6.  Draft my own pants sloper

7.  Do some knitting but not too much!

I'm looking forward to a wonderful 2016.  I wish everyone happiness, health, and love.  And remember to enjoy your hobbies because hobbies are the spice of life, right?

Happy New Year and
Happy Sewing!

Sunday, 27 December 2015

Sneak peek Snapshot!

Here's a candid, unaltered snapshot of what is happening on my sewing table at this moment in time. Nope,  I didn't clean up my pins or my scissors.  Nor did I arrange anything specifically for this shot. This is an action shot!  A little window into the happenings, progress and mess on my sewing table.  Yes,  I'm showing the sewing world my messy table, and I'm proud of it.  So here it is!

Be proud of your messy sewing table and
Happy Sewing !!

Wednesday, 23 December 2015

Completed: Wool Dress

I finished my winter wool dress.  Yay!  This is McCall's 7014 view A. 

I finally got some photo's of myself wearing it so now you can tell what it looks like on a real person!

I made it in a stretch wool herringbone fabric and lined it with Bemberg Rayon.  When I ordered the fabric, I was not aware that it was a stretch wool; otherwise, I wouldn't have bought it.  But I decided to use it anyways and see how it goes.

Well, I think it turned out ok, but it was not my favourite fabric to work with.  It was annoying and didn't hold a crease very well.  It was thick and bulky too.  By the end, I couldn't wait for it to be finished.  The rayon lining was getting annoying too.  I think next time I'd like to try lining with silk charmeuse

Anyways,  Here's the full-length view.  So, when I first prepared the fabric, I couldn't decide whether to use the darker side or, the lighter side, so I used both!  This created a side panel look.  Pretty cool hey?

Here's the zipper.  I did a hand picked zipper, which I love because not only does it look good but I feel I have more control doing it by hand.

I also did some hand topstitching on the front and back princess seams.

Constructions Details!

So, I made two muslins before sewing this up.  I ended up using a size 12 C bodice grading to size 14 at waist and hip.  I did a 3/8" forward shoulder adjustment.  I lengthened the bodice by 1" and I bowed in the darts for a better fit.  I'll add some photos of me wearing it as soon as I get them.

I always love the part of attaching the lining!

Getting ready for fell-stitching.  I know they always call it slip stitching in the instructions, but I think mine is more of a fell stitch.

This is where I get to sit down and relax with some hand sewing.

Well, that about wraps up my winter wool dress.  I'm sure I'll have a chance to wear it this winter.  It was fun, but I'm glad it's done because I can't wait to get my hands on this luscious Liberty of London cotton lawn just waiting to be made into a gorgeous '50s apron!

Until next time, 
Happy Sewing and Merry Christmas!