Welcome to the Jungle

The dress with draped design is finished, and….  I had some issues with it.

  1. This is not the right sort of fabric for this design.  The georgette is way too slippery and hasn’t enough body to hold the drape at the front.
  2. It’s too long.  I know, the last dress I made I thought was too short, this is just a bit too long.
  3. In the book, Tomoko Nakamichi says that if you don’t want the skirt flopping open in the front, just sew it up.  This doesn’t work, as it twists the “twist” in the front to the wrong side.
  4. Trying to stick to my “don’t buy anyting unless absolutely necessary until Sewing for Pleasure” rule was sorely tested.  I had a turquoise silk satin blouse that I didn’t like and was happy to chop to make a camisole, but I had absolutely nothing for lining the bottom part of the dress.  I bought some crepe de chine from the Fancy Silk Store in Birmingham to make a slip in the end.  Of course, the colours are not the same, so it’s an un-matching set, which is not ideal.  Luckily all the lace and picot elastic was in my stash.
  5. I am not entirely sure this shape works for me, and that is a real shame because I really wanted to make something I’d get lots of wear out of with this fabric.  Maybe it will grow on me.

So this is it with the cami and slip.

Jungle dress.
Jungle Dress and slip

And this is it styled slightly differently, an idea from the mum of a friend of mine.  She said it may look good with a pair of fitted silk trousers…  lightbulbs went off in my head.  I had made a pair of stretch satin trousers from a Burda magazine 12/09, no 104 about 2 years ago, and they are pretty fitted.  So what do we think?  Maybe with the trousers the dress does need to be shorter…

Jungle Dress with Trousers

Or maybe I should just leave it in the “remake this” pile.  Maybe if this dress was made in a different fabric, something with more body, it would be better.  Either that or it needs a body in it with smaller boobs and more of a waist!  I have a very good feeling this style will look fantastic on Daughters 1 & 2!

So to cope with the disappointment of this dress, I have made 4 Renfrew t-shirts and a vintage cotton dress in 3 days.  Sometimes you just need to get it out of your system by making something that someone else has spent time and effort perfecting, and all you need do is cut and sew!  I may feel better by Monday.  🙂

Can you tell what it is yet?

Can you tell what it is yet??

What it is is a lot of paper, magic tape and head scratching!  I have been mucking about with paper and Pattern Magic again, this time working on the “dress with draped design” pattern.  I guess I had a little more working through to do because I am not using the block that comes from the book.  As I am a million miles for the average Japanese woman in size and shape, there is pretty much no point in going there!  So I have my trusty Winnifred Aldrich bodice block to fiddle with instead.  It isn’t a hard pattern to make, just fiddly.

In the beginning

So this is how the front started off, bust dart moved to armhole, and lots of lines to cut up.  The waistline is moved 7cm up (on the back too) and neckline drawn in with a slight dip.  Then the fun started!!  I needed an extra hand and an automatic tape dispenser..  😀

The back was not that tricky and took about 5 – 10 minutes to adapt.  Then there is the sleeve to consider.  I like interesting sleeves, in case you hadn’t noticed by now.  I just wasn’t sure how much fabric I had to play with, same old story!!

Print georgette and crepe de chine

The fabric was sent to my by a very good friend who has relocated to Chicago.  I recon if I make her feel guilty enough about leaving me she’ll send me plenty of care packages with fabric in…  ;p  Anyway, the fabric is a polyester georgette with a fabulous print on it.  The colours are great and I really hope this dress turns out the way I see it in my head because I want to wear it to death in the summer.  The plain crepe de chine is for lining the skirt section.  I didn’t want the linings to be attached, so I am basically going to make a slip with the crepe and make a little cami with some turquoise silk satin I had left over from a previous project.

Testing the pattern lay

So before I got too carried away I placed the pattern pieces I had finished onto the fabric to see just how little I’d be left with…  Not an awful lot to be honest.  So out the window went ideas for a cowl drape elbow length sleeve and in came a shorter, plain sleeve.  The twisted draped front will just have to do!

So the front and back are stitched, French seams throughout on this fabric, and all that is left to do are the sleeves and hem.  And the cami.  And the slip.  In the meantime daughter no 2 needs a pattern for a prom dress she has designed, so I had better get my skates on!

By the way, I have to thank Burdastyle for making my Rise Above This jacket their featured member project of the week!!  I was pretty amazed!  😀

 

 

 

Silver Lining

Silver Lining blouse

Ok, so this post has nothing to do with an actual lining – but it felt right as a name for this next project, and it’s a pretty good song too!  (Silver Lining, by Hurts)  The fabric is a Liberty print cotton voile with what looks like draped fabric printed in shades of grey on white.  I loved it when I saw it in the shop, and loved it even more when I noticed it was only £6.99/m!  Naturally I hadn’t a clue what it was to become, so I played it safe and got 2m.  I am so glad I did, because when I finally made a pattern I had just about enough.  Here’s the sketch again:

Blouse with oversized polo placket

The pintucks were substituted with twin needle tucks as the voile was so soft, the last thing I wanted was wobbly tuck lines!  I have made the yoke a double layer, I just think it looks better that way.  The remainder of the bust dart was incorporated into gathers, and the bodice front was widened 3cm to allow for some draping and fullness.  I also made the back a little wider, basically cutting up the back dart and opening up 3cm there as well.  Originally I had added more width at the centre back, but when I did the toile it was too full, and I didn’t like it.  The yoke at the back also has twin needle tucks.

Silver Lining - blouse

But it’s the sleeves that really catch the attention!  That big poofy bit was cool to make!  I had fun with that.   First, I drew a line 5cm above the elbow line, then another 5cm below the halfway point between the elbow and the wrist.  That was to be the extent of the poof.  To keep that poof, however, you need a stay on the inside.  So I traced that bit of the pattern, adding balance points and grainlines, then divided it into 9 sections, adding 2.5cm between each piece.  This made a very wide section, perfect for lots of poof!  Then I added 8cm at the lower edge for “blousing.  Once it was toiled, I realised the blousing was hiding the cuff completely, so I chopped 3cm off, and now it works quite well.

The three sleeve sections, the top, the "poof", and the stay to hold the poof in place!

I really like this blouse, and am definitely going to use the pattern again to make more!

Poofy sleeve

Pictures are a little dark, I got daughter no 2 to take them after the sewing class today, we were way too busy to do it earlier!  It is amazing how busy a class with 6 people in it can be!  Here’s a peak at the class today:

Working hard today! And yes, that's me on the right at the back.
Yup, we're Burdastyle fans too!

So it is half term this week, Daughter no 1 will be galivanting with friends, except for Thursday when we head into Birmingham for another University interview and possibly a little fabric shopping at the Fancy silk store then straight home!!  Yeah, right!!  Daughter no 2 needs to start work on her prom dress, so guess what I’ll be doing..  playing with paper again!  Yay!  😀

Marching On with photos

Jersey dress, double jersey from Ditto Fabrics

Now I have the photos for this dress I realise I could do with the dress being a tad longer..  Lesson?  Make the pattern before buying fabric?  Make sure there is enough fabric before getting carried away making patterns?  Probably both to be honest, but I seriously doubt either is going to happen anytime soon!  I have a whole stack of fabric begging to be made up, so I will just have to made do!  😀

Flower is a brooch, detachable and changeable!

Oh, and it is Sewing for Pleasure at the N.E.C. at the end of March – if you are going, what are you going to buy?  Do you have favourite stalls to hit first?  I am looking forward to Rosenberg & son, Fabulous Fabric, Fabrics Galore, and of course, Gill Arnold.  I need to replenish my very dwindling interfacing supply.

Marching On

Brr, it’s been a cold week!  Snow last night falling on unmelted snow from last weekend has made for a pretty countryside.  But, not good for going outside to take photos of finished work!  On top of the cold, it has also been a different week.  Our most beloved kitty cat passed away on Saturday after being quite unwell, and I cannot get used to the emptyness of the house now that he has gone.  I am without his company as I sew, even if his idea of the best sleeping places wasn’t quite what I would have had in mind!

The best place for a cat to sleep - on my fabric and patterns!

Anyway, life for the rest of us goes on, and we definitely plan to have another fluffy family member soon!  In the meantime I have got on with another couple of projects.  I had some fabulous double jersey from Ditto in Brighton – these guys have some fab fabric, and have very nearly been the cause of me breaking a New Year’s resolution.  I had no idea what I was going to make with it when I bought it, I just had to get it while it was still available, and I figured inspiration would come later.

The fabric is great, but quite bulky, so many of the ideas were quashed.  It doesn’t do multiple pleats or tucks, definitely no gathers either.  So I thought something pared down with a detail in a contrast fabric would do quite nicely.

Jersey Dress

I ran up a toile for a two piece dress, and then coverted it for stretch fabric.  This means taking out a lot of the ease, which is not needed in stretch garments.  Toiling the stretch pattern was pretty simple, but as I didn’t have a fabric to toile in that was similar in weight to the jersey it was a bit of a flyer!  There were a few adjustments to make, but on the whole I had figured the fitting would have to be done on the garment itself.  So out came the fabric and on went the pattern pieces.  Well – some of the pattern pieces.

I had purchased 1.5m – plenty, I thought.  Nope!  Although the pattern was pretty simple, the sleeve is a bell shape and needed some space, and the fabric wasn’t as wide as I was counting on so, not enough!  AArgh!!  Thank goodness Ditto are quick off the mark with their first class postage!  And double thank goodness that there was still some of the jersey in stock!  I ordered online and only had to wait one day for an extra 70cm to arrive so I could cut the back skirt.  Thank you Ditto Fabric!!  😀

I used my overlocker on this project.  It went together like a dream, the only issue I had was the ruffle contrast.  I had started off with a black silk chiffon but it wouldn’t play ball.  As the ruffle got narrower it stood up on end, not quite the look I was going for!  So off it came and I rumaged around in my boxes for something else.  I discovered some light-weight black jersey that has done the job much better.  I used a rolled hem on all the edges, pulling slightly to get a more ruffled look, which disappeared the first time I ironed them.  :s

For fitting I ended up taking in quite a bit more on the sides, and shaping the back seam much more than I had expected to.  I do like the finished article, it is quite warm (needs a long-sleeved t-shirt in this cold though) and my favourite parts are the sleeves.  Definitely doing them again!  The only time I used my sewing machine was for the twin needle hems.

The flower is one I made using this tutorial from Wise Craft, it is such a fabulous little thing, I have made loads over the last few years.   So, photos.  I will get some done this weekend, and hopefully have the next project finished too!  Here’s a sneak peek…

Blouse with oversized polo placket

Fancier than Casual

The things I do for my girls.

Friday.  The day everyone says;  “Phew, glad that week’s over, time to chill.”  Not me.  Not today!  There is something guys just don’t get.  Girls need advance warning of plans.  Girls need to plan.  And daughter no 1’s boyfriend stumbled into this one.  He texted her last night to say he wanted to take her out to dinner tonight.  Where?  That’s a surprise.  Ok, what is she to wear?  Not jeans.  Fancier than casual.  See daughter go into a tail spin!!  She had almost her entire wardrobe out and covering every surface in her room before you could say mushroom ravioli.  Everything was either too casual, or too fancy – prom fancy.

And I walked into the next one.  Remember my New Year’s resolution to say “No”?  I forgot.  I heard myself say, “Do you want me to make you something?” before my brain had engaged to stop those very words leaving my lips.  Thank goodness I have a pretty good dress pattern run up and a stash box cupboard!  A quick rumage revealed some black silk linen, perfect for the top half, and a grey crepe backed satin, perfect for a skirt.  I intended to use the pattern I used for the Liberty Dress and the Reception Dress, with some slight modifications.

Belt made from layering grossgrain ribbon and metallic lace

The pattern I had made for the other dresses has a gathered skirt.  I couldn’t do that for this one, as the grey satin I dug out of the “fancy fabrics” box had been a dress skirt in a previous life.  It was 4 sections of a very gathered, full circle skirt.  The problem was that it was too much just to re-use onto the tiny waistline I was working with.   I halved the skirt and adjusted the top of the seams so it would just ease onto the width I had, but I left the lower width of the skirt alone.  Satin has such a lovely drape, and on this dress I am glad there is no gathering.  The silk linen bodice was completely interfaced with a fine sheer fusible interfacing for support, and I lined it with a cotton voile.  I didn’t have any black lining in my stash.

Now I am happy just to wear black and grey, but daughter no 1 needed some colour.  I fished around in my ribbon box crate, and found a length of 40mm wide black grossgrain and a length of 20mm wide dusky pink.  She was intending to wear nude shoes with the dress, so I thought I’d work this pink in somehow.  Diving into the lace box I found a left over bit of old-gold coloured metallic lace.  No idea where I got this from, I have tried to buy some recently and got nowhere fast.  I layered the three and I love how they look together.

Fancier than casual?  Check!