Thursday, July 23, 2015

Wedding Sewing and More

I can't even tell you the number of things I've sewn since I last posted.

The most important things though, were the dresses I did for my daughter's wedding.

The dress for my youngest daughter who was the bride's maid was the Sewaholic "Cambie" dress.

I made it in a aqua colored lace underlined in gray satin (my daughter's colors).

The dress went together really smoothly - it's a nice pattern.  Fitting was pretty easy, the only 'issue' being that my daughter is significantly smaller (bust wise) on one side then the other.  This is only noticeable on a fitted 'sleeveless' top like on this pattern, but a little tweaking with the fit and we had it fitting perfectly.

I also made my own dress and this one ended up being much more stressful.  It started with finding this dress online and falling in love with it.

But I knew I didn't want to do something that white.  So I picked up this lovely blue floral chiffon and mixed it with a navy chiffon I had in my stash, and got to work.

I hadn't been able to find a pattern that matched this dress, so I ended up taking what I knew about sewing and piecing it together with bits and pieces of patterns/sloapers.

The first step was to build the 'body' of the dress.  I thought I would try making my own corset to keep all my lumpy bits online and give that awesome sweetheart neckline you can see in the original.

After not one:

Not two:

bit three tries:

I gave up on trying to make this work (I was running out of time!), chopped up the last foundation 'muslin' and used it as the base and just lined the chiffon and lost the 'sweetheart' underbodice (and wore my own bra)

Then I spent some time making a few muslins of the crossover top.  That turned out to be pretty easy.  Just a standard sloaper but in half lengthwise - rotate the bust dart to the empire waistline and widen the shoulders just a little, and draft a neckline that I liked.  I made one of these in fashion fabric and one in navy blue chiffon for a lining.  The skirt was just a standard 'dirndl' skirt. Four panels of fabric sewn together and gathered like crazy (twice - once in fashion fabric and once in the navy blue chiffon for a lining.!  The 'belt was a piece (two pieces really) of fabric long enough to exactly fit around the foundation, but 2.5 times taller then I needed to fit the distance between my waist under the bust.

I then attached the skirt at the waistline of the foundation garment and checked the fit and hang.  Next tried on the bodice and determined where I wanted it to attach to the foundation garment and where I wanted it to gather under the bust and where it was going to crossover - on my body.  I transferred everything to my manikin and  hand stitched/basted it into place - tried it on again, adjusted, and repeated until I was happy.

I then sewed the two pieces of my 'belt together along one long edge.  the opposite 'raw' edge I sewed down at the waistline over the top of the skirt's raw edge so that when I pulled the belt 'up' to meet the bodice it would cover all these 'raw edges.  Then I did the final stitch to attache the belt and bodice by machine under the bustline.

A zipper (that took me about two hours to install with all the layers of chiffon etc and some hand sewing to stitch down the pleats in the belt (and hemming) and I was done!

This was my result.

For the wedding I put a fluffy petticoat under and I think the overall effect was exactly what I was looking for!

And, it was a beautiful day too!

So, that's what I've been working on here lately..

Oh, and I'll show off my 'other' project for July -- my 4th of july dress which I'm equally as happy about. Butterick 6049

Friday, January 23, 2015

Active? where?

2015 Activewear

Since my husband has asked for bike shirts - I might as well enter a contest too! :)

Monday, January 19, 2015

Sewing in 2015

It's been a good start to the New Year so far...

Got some quality sewing done, and did a deep cleaning/reorganizing of my stash and sewing area.

I really want to focus on getting through some of my fabric and pattern stash this year as well as finally finishing some of my craftsy classes.  So, the first project I started was the Islander Sewing Systems "Jacket Express"  in an adorable cotton duck that's been sitting in my stash for over a year.

I followed along with the craftsy class "Sew Better Sew Faster" that includes this pattern in the course. 

The first few evenings I got through cutting all the fabric and interfacing, applying the interfacing as well as the first round of stitching and top stitching when I ran out of top stitching thread!

That put the project on hold until I could hit the store, so I decided to tackle a second project.  Again I went to my stash and pulled out one of the 'kits' I purchased from craftsy at the end of last year when they had a HUGE sale.

This one is called "Breezy Pintuck Tunic Top" which seems kind of special, but it's actually just Butterick 6024 and some Black cotton lawn.  After checking the sizing/ease charts I decided to just cut a straight size 20 and see what happened.  In the end that was the right decision.  The shoulders fit good, the bust is ok - and I have lots and lots of ease in the rest of the blouse.  

I can't say that I'm in love with the blouse - 'billowy' doesn't really suite in figure in my opinion but I got a compliment when I wore it to work, but to offset that, my husband said it looked like a judge's robe.  The neckline seems way too wide to me as well - though it fits in the shoulders...

One thing I do love about it is the length

The front hits me at the right spot and the back is great too.  

Also, this was my first time doing pintucks so I got some learning out of it as well.  It's at least nice enough that I'll wear this while lounging around the house.  As for the fabric - it wrinkles easily, doesn't press well and attracts lint like B*&*^.  I have a few other Craftsy kits in my stash, but if this is any indication...I probably won't be buying any more.

Then it was back to the jacket...

MAN this was a lot of work!  So..Much..Top..Stitching.  And my machine just did not seem to like top stitching.  And then there was the bulky seams that I needed to sew over the top of.  This project convinced me that I need a clapper!

I will say that the craftsy class makes every part of this simple except the special "burrito method" of putting on the cuffs.  I figured it out eventually, but the explanation for finishing the back yoke was so well done that I was surprised that it wasn't the same when it came to the cuffs.  

I really didn't change the main pattern much.  I didn't really like the rounded edges on the jacket cuff, collar and bottom edge.  I changed the cuffs and collar but was a little concerned about the bottom edge because it needed to match the facing so I left it.  Now that it's done I doubly wish I had changed it too.  HOWEVER, this does not change the fact that I LOVE my new jacket.  In fact, everyone who's seen it seems to love it too!  Even my husband, who rarely compliments something (so you know he's impressed when he does) mentioned how nice/professional it looks.

I even bound all the seams so that it's got a nice clean finish on the inside!

I mean, seriously, I never show off the inside of my clothes, but this needed to be shared :)

And for the special touch - I used a fun light cotton for the pocket bag -- sure, no one sees it but me, but it gives me a happy glow knowing I have this cute little secret.

As for fit.. well.. :(  I went by the measurements on the envelope... It looked like a 1X would fit ok.  But when I got everything all sewn up and tried it on... Well, it fits in the shoulders and almost fits in the bust, but at the waist and hips...It's a no.  Totally bummer - BUT  I just left the buttons and button holes off it and plan to wear it like it is until I loose a few inches.  It's still a fun jacket that makes me happy to wear.  Just beware the fit if you choose to make it for yourself!

And, since I finished my jacket 'early' yesterday I went ahead and made myself a bra.  I'll spare showing you the pictures :)  I still need to work on getting a bra I'm happy with the fit, but they are still closer then store bought bras, so I'll just keep working at it.  In total I've 'stash busted'  over 6 yards so far this month - only 999 left to go ;)

Friday, January 9, 2015

My poor neglected Blog

Not only have I not been updating regularly, but I found two old posts in "Drafts"!!

Ah well. I'm back now and will be updating regularly again... I hope ;)

The end of the year was a nightmarish flurry of activities.

In October I spent the month sewing up our Halloween costumes.  I spent a great deal of time trying to figure out what I wanted to 'be' when (somewhere I don't remember where) I got the idea of being the Mad Hatter -- then double inspiration hit me and I asked my husband if he wanted to be the March Hare.  He said YES and I was thrilled.  A lot of research and fabric purchasing later and I had my work cut out for me.  Two costumes and both with a steampunk flair.

For my husband I started with  McCall's 7003 for my husband and sewed a coat, vest, pants and tie.  I made almost everything exactly like the pattern except a slight alteration in the tie to turn it into an oversized bow tie.

The shirt I made from Simplicity 2895.  I modified the collar though to make it super high and to have pointed tips.  (self drafted that part)

The jacket is made from felt and went together really nicely.  It's actually a nice coat for a costume and my husband liked it a lot.  The vest is a gold brocade with contrast lining.  Again this is something you could make wearable clothes out of it you chose too as the vest is fully lined and looks really neat when finished.  The pants I made from a crazy plaid 'linen like' fabric.  They were super light weight but my husband LOVED them and has asked me to make him some 'real' pants out of the pattern.  They are super comfy and the the pockets are placed, they don't gap open or pull when he sits down.  

For his mask and ears I got really creative - I started with a plaster cat mask and a rabbit ear template.  I added a bunch of length to the ear template (to make it more hare like) and sewed them up in fur and leather.  I then altered the eye shape on the mask and covered it too with fur. 

My husband hated it.. So I attached the ears to a hat and did major surgery on the mask and came up with this..

My costume ended up being the easier of the two.  I purchased a corset and saved myself the frustration of sewing that.  For the rest of the costume I used Simplicity 1558.  I made just minor changes to the pattern.  The skirt I made out of some polyester suiting and to add a bit of 'flair' I added a lining and attached tulle around the bottom.  The blouse I just changed the neckline a slight bit to show a bit more skin :)

For my hat I used an online tutorial found here and it worked perfectly!

Together I think we made a quite striking pair and I think all the hard work was worth it!

As soon at that was done I had to focus on my HUGE 'paid for' project (my first one)  I had done measurements and mockups earlier, but now it was time to start on the real things...  6 Jr Bridesmaids Dresses, a dress for the mother of the bride and a dress for the bride (to wear for a rehearsal dinner)

For the girls we started with Simplicity 1510, but the bride wanted some changes.  One, she wanted the straps to be thin, 2 she wanted the top to have a gathered chiffon overlay, and a chiffon 'belt' in the front and the back needed a tie.  I didn't really realize how much work it was going to take to draft those extra pattern pieces for 6 dresses!

With the chiffon ruffle across the top, I couldn't find any pre-made trim to fit so I ended up hand cutting all the chiffon flowers and sewing them on one at a time!  X 6 DRESSES!  Let's just say this was a LOT of work and the month that I gave myself to work on it wasn't enough!  But the dresses turned out really cute and I was proud of my work.

the other two projects.. well.. *sigh*

When we went in for the fitting the weekend before thanksgiving I was shocked to find that Mom had lost 6 inches!  That meant tearing the whole thing apart and reconstructing it - in the end it was still a little too big!  And that jacket *sigh*  The original design for the dress to have a lace long sleaved overlay, but at the pre-thanksgiving fitting Mom decided she wanted to turn the overlay into a bolero jacket.  I told her I could do that... Then a week before I was supposed to give her the dress she called and wanted a fully lined jacket!  The end result was a MESS.  I hated it, she hated it and she ended up not wearing the dress at the wedding.  I feel terrible and there's a part of me that feels like I should give her some of her money back - I still don't know.  I can say that I learned a lot from this process IF I ever sew clothes for someone else again.

And the rehersal dinner dress... well we started with McCalls 6838 and everything went together ok.  Except the bride grew several inches between fittings and even after I let the blouse out she didn't like it much - *sigh* another failure.

On top of all this I also altered two dresses for her brides maids - taking one in and shortening the straps and another hemming (with THREE skirts).

But the holiday season did have a bright spot.  I had made myself a dress last year for Christmas and only got to wear it once... so I already had something special made that I could wear out without having to stop any of the wedding sewing.

I've been sewing! I swear!

No, I have not taken a break for the past four months - not even close... I'll just post some pictures here of what I've been working on. (in no particular order)

Vogue 8812 finally got finished!  I love this dress and wear it constantly!!

This is Lekala 4160 and has to be one of my favorite dresses of all time.  the color, the fit the pockets....

Another Lekala pattern, this one is 4284 - I like this shirt but haven't work it much, mainly because i don't have anything to wear it with -- I need to work on that!

Lekala again, this time 5088 - their free skirt - this is out of a pinstriped wool with a fun polka-dot lining.

This is a vintage pattern out of a fantastic stretch cotton searsucker.  Love love love this and I really should wear it more!  The pattern is Advance 632

Ahhh - Lekala 4042 - love the neckline - it just could be a smidge longer.

vogue 1172 - I made this for the fouth of July, wear it constantly and get compliments on it often.  I'm most proud of all the work I did to match the pattern for this, it's really quite good.

Simplicity 1459 - my feeling about this is.. Meh.  But I've only worn it once and I need to do some fiddling with it so it's back on my 'to be sewn some more) pile

And yes I made another (my fourth) version of Vogue 8789.  My original version of this dress was getting worn out, and I never was really happy with the color pallet.