Monday 28 April 2014

Fabric shopping in Kiev and update on fabric stash

When we went to Kiev, I naturally couldn't resist visiting the fabric and haberdashery shops. Unfortunately, I had forgotten my mobile at home and couldn't take any photos from the shops. The shops displayed their cut fabrics on the walls, and only one of the shops displayed the actual bolts. The shops in Kiev have the most amazing haberdashery I have seen so far. So many amazing trims (you had to look through books and choose the one you want), buttons in every collar and different types of zippers.

I restricted myself to 4 fabrics (one more than I am actually allowed according to my stash diet rules, ups).

1. Some really soft stretch denim. Who was I, to resist this amazing polka dot denim? I just had to have it. I bought 1 meter and plan to make a skirt from it. Do you have any skirt pattern suggestions for stretch cotton? I initially thought I could make the Colette Beignet, but am worried that because of the stretch it will be too loose.

2. Patterned wool jersey. I spotted this fabric immediately, because it is purple and it has flowers woven (knitted?) into it. It appears a bit old-fashioned, but I think with a thin cream jersey as an lining the flowers will pop and it will make a nice winter dress. I don't have a specific pattern in mind yet, but I am eyeballing the new Moneta dress from Colette patterns.

3. White flower lace cotton. There was some confusion when I bought the fabric, because initially I wanted to have a similar lace cotton with smaller flowers. I wanted two meters to make a summer dress, but there were only 1.3 meters left. Thus the sales person recommended to buy the fabric I got, because it was from their new range - indicating that there should be more. But it turned out they only had 1.5 meters. Maybe something got lost in translation :) I don't speak Russian and relied on Leschas translation. But hopefully it will be enough for a nice floaty summer dress.

4. Hot red corduroy. I was looking for a baby-ribbed corduroy for ages in Goldhawk Road, but couldn't find what I wanted. And then I saw this fabric in Kiev and knew it was what I wanted. Again, they had only 1.5 meters left, but that should just be enough for the Colette Parfait I am planning to make out of it!

I also got some buttons and trims in the haberdashery shops. And why should it be different, I bought the last of the white buttons and the denim trim. I love trims and for some reason haven't used them in a while. But now you can look forward to seeing them soon on one of the summer dresses.

I also found some buttons in an old allotment that belongs to Lescha's family. I was really happy that I could take them (and they might have been happy that the buttons were gone). These buttons were probably cut off old clothes to be thrown away. I don't know how old they are, but I like the idea to wear a piece of history :)

That's were I found the buttons. A good scrub and they will be as good as new.

Back home I organised my fabric stash - to make space for the new arrivals. I have to admit that at the beginning of March I went twice to Goldhawk Road with some lovely blogging friends and naturally couldn't resist buying fabric. However, I stayed true to my stash diet pledge and didn't buy any poplins or quilting cottons.

Contrary, I bought 3 chiffons - a fabric that I haven't sewn with yet and the thought of cutting and sewing it scares me like crazy. But I just couldn't resist: butterflies and birds - my most favorite motives. Actually, Kelly, Claire and I bought 1 meter each of the white and blue bird silk chiffon. Let's see what we all come up with!

I also got some linen with pink flowers on it and some white and gold-striped jersey. Finally, I bough a great rose jersey (not shown), which I wanted to make a slip from (Gerties slip). But as I don't have all the little ingredients for it yet, half of the fabric has already been turned into a jumper from the Burda magazine (as soon as I manage to take photos, you will see it). The blue cotton lawn I got as a Birthday present :)

So my stash in total:
old: 26
in: 9
out: 8
new: 27

Anybody else struggling with keeping to the stash diet rules???

Friday 25 April 2014

Spring Lady Skater Dress (No 3)

I am back from Kiev and despite the unrest happening all over Ukraine, we had an amazing holiday which involved loads of food (I gained 3 kg, buh), fishing, reading, sauna and fabric shopping. Before leaving for Kiev, I managed to sew two further Lady Skater dresses and finish knitting my Agatha cardigan.

Me getting water from the well - I think we were watering around 30 fruit trees
 and needed loads of water!
Pattern: Today, I am showing you my Lady Skater No 3, which has short sleeves.

First I was not sure if I like this print on me, but having worn the dress a few times,
I feel more happy with the busy print.

Adjustment: After the rather tight fitting bodice of my Lady Skater No 2, I made a few adjustments to it. Essentially, I took one of my much-loved Fat Face jersey dresses (that's what I mainly wear, when not wearing hand-made clothes) and traced the bodice. I then overlayed this bodice with the Lady Skater bodice. The difference between both patterns was mostly apparent at the bust and armholes, which were a bit bigger in the Fat Face bodice. So, I transferred these changes to the Lady Skater and that was it :) Later I found out that I had actually done a cheater full bust adjustment as described here by Amanda from Kitschy Coo.

Still a few wrinkles at the back.
Fabric: A really thin jersey that I bought in Goldhawk Road. Usually I wouldn't go for such a print but it just spoke to me because of all the pink in it! Luckily, my stash diet does not restrict me buying jersey! But otherwise, jersey is not really part of my stash as I use it almost immediately :)

Do I like it? I do, although I am still not 100% happy with the fit. There is a massive fabric fold under my arms and having a look on the Kitschy Coo website, I think that is because the upper chest/armhole is too long. But that can easily be resolved by just pinching out the fabric, measuring the pinched amount and shorten the pattern pieces by this amount (Amanda describes it here as well).

Here you can see the wrinkles under the arms and my top-stitched neckline.

Have I worn it yet? Yes I did in Kiev! As you can see on the photos it was an amazing warm day and the thin dress turned out to be perfect. Please excuse my footwear, but we were gardening and walking on the river that day and I had no shoes with me to change.

You will see these shoes a few more times, ups.

Also thanks so much for your comments about my latest Simplicity dress. They really motivate me to get started with the next dress, especially because I have everything I need in my stash.

Have a lovely weekend everybody!

Friday 18 April 2014

Simplicity 1882: The finished dress!

As promised in my fitting post, I am finally going to show you the DRESS!

Pattern: Simplicity 1882, which is an amazing fit pattern. This means this pattern comes with an 1" seam allowance at the side seams and contains some detailed instructions about fitting the dress. The only thing it did not have was a pattern for the lining. So I drafted that by myself after watching the Craftsy class "Underneath it all" by Linda Lee. The lining is by no means perfect as you will see soon, but wearable.

Fabric: I used a poly-cotton for the shell (it is my first flower dress, yeah) and some polyester and anti-static fabric for the lining. And I really had to sew a lining, because when fitting the dress it was clinging like crazy to my legs.

Construction: Was straight forward because I had assembled so may muslins and knew what to do :) There is not much that I can add to my fitting post, so this post will mainly show you some pictures! I planned to add a collar as well, but I needed to redraft it and just couldn't be bothered after all the troubles I had.

The dress features an invisible zipper, which I put in with the help of  Tanias tutorial. 

Zipper - what zipper?
To show off the design lines I added some piping, but unluckily the cotton I picked is a bit stiff and thick and thus I feel a bit like wearing a life belt. But at least, my "food baby" fits. In the next picture, you can see the stiff piping under the bust. I hope that after another wash (with loads of fabric conditioner), the piping will get a bit softer and does not show any more

Here I would just like to point out the nice fitting princess seams! I know there are some wrinkles under the arm, but I think these are because of my lining.

I also stitched in a little label that my sister gave me for my birthday. It felt great to put it in :)

The first time I tried to pull up the zipper it caught my lining! Lescha was trying to free the zipper teeth which proofed to be difficult as the dress was on my mannequin and I had tried several times to free the zipper (which made things worse, naturally). But the internet helped! I only used a pencil to "grease" the zipper teeth and was able to pull the zipper don again. I then decided it would be best to handstitch the lining to the zipper to avoid a similar situations whilst wearing the dress! How do you keep
 your lining out of the zippers reach? Ant tricks? Please let me know.

Another question: How would you stitch your lining to the sleeves seams? I didn't know what to do and also couldn't find any advice on the internet. But I remembered I had seen a dress whose armholes + lining had been finished with bias tape. I really like the clean finish, but have the feeling that it adds a lot of bulk to the armhole seams. So, if you have any advice, it would be great if you could share it.

Here is a pic from the whole lining. It actually is the dress pattern plus facing. For the facing I used the same stiff cotton as for the piping, because I wanted to have a crisp neckline. I only had problems at the bottom of the V, which was difficult to stitch. So next time, I would redraft this V maybe into a little curve to make sewing easier.

The front!
Here is the back - with the shifted lining. It is so annoying that I didn't manage to match these seams. That's why the bottom of this zipper is not smooth either. 

It was my first try making a lining, so it is a bit wonky.
So, I am off to Ukraine now for some well deserved holidays and family visit :) Hopefully the situation will stay calm... Speak to you soon :)

Tuesday 15 April 2014

Fitting Simplicity 1882

I have submitted my thesis - after 7 month. My boyfriend jokingly said it was almost like giving birth to a baby. After being scared for four days (because I might have forgotten something), I have started to feel relieved. And I have spent loads of time sewing (more Ladyskater dresses to come!).

Naturally, I couldn't totally abandon my sewing machine when writing up and thus I spend 3 month to fit and sew Simplicity 1882. When putting this post together, I realised that I have too many photos and details to put into one post. So today, I am going to show you my fitting progress and problems that I encountered.

No this was not muslin No 1, probably No 4 or 5? I just included it so you have an idea how the whole dress might look like.
I planned to make this dress already in autumn from a fabric that I had bought in Brighton (fabric stash: one down, yeah). But I was scared by the princess seams. This uneasy feeling about princess seams turned out to be justified, as it took me SEVEN (!) muslins to fit the bodice of this dress.

Fitting: As you might have guessed after so many muslins - a nightmare! It took me 3 month (with breaks) to fit and another 2 weeks to sew the dress. The main problems were:

my apex was 3 cm under the apex of the pattern: Can you see the red line on the photo below? That's were the apex is supposed to be, but because mine is so low there is far to much fabric (around 2"). I ended up fixing this problem with the help of the "Fit for real people" book - I shifted the apex 3 cm down and then actually had to do a full-bust adjustment. But it helped :) (it took me only 3 muslins to get it right)

I actually never realised that my bust is this low :( Are your apexes really are at the underarm seamline?
apparently I have square shoulders: Can you see the massive wrinkle on my left side and also the puckering neckline in the photo below? Although you can't see it here, but there were also little "suns" (loads of wrinkles) radiating from my shoulder bones. This meant that I have square shoulders. I was really surprised, because I didn't know.

But after several attempts I was able to minimize this fabric pulling by adding a strip of fabric at the shoulder seam: the dots show the middle of my shoulder and as you can see I added a big strip of fabric. This in turn meant I had to make my sleeve cap bigger, which I did with the help of this tutorial from the Threads magazine. (If you ever need to make your sleeve cap smaller, I also tried and liked this one from Sallioh.)

- prominent shoulder blades were also in the mix: Can you see the little sun on my shoulder blades? I tried to fix this by adding a strip of fabric that started in the dart and finished at the shoulder seam.

the sleeves were pulling: I fiddled a lot with the sleeves because I really wanted them to be perfect. I always have the problem that they are contorted because of my forward shoulder adjustment. I don't have a really good picture for that problem (although there are some diagonal wrinkles in the pictures below), but you can see it on my latest Ladyskater dress as well. Luckily I found this amazing tutorial by Heather and it helped to solve this problem.

I also realised that the bodice has to be fitted differently when wearing sleeves! Sleeveless, I would have been done much earlier, but the square shoulder problem only showed after setting in the sleeves. The fit is much better now, but my arm movement still feels a little bit restricted when I try to put the arms toward the front.

I actually only fitted the bodice and not the waist band or skirt. Although I had to make minor corrections to the top half of the waist band because of changes I made in the bodice. But luckily, I didn't need to make a muslin for that.

So I am just leaving you with this sneak peek preview and you have to be patient until you can see the whole dress (which will not be long)!

Friday 4 April 2014

Ladyskater No2 - Do I like it? I am not so sure...

I couldn't decide if I want to show you this dress, because I am not really happy with how it turned out. Especially after I made a Ladyskater before. But then, I like to show all the garments I have ever made on my blog. I actually love to scroll down my "Made by Me" page and see what I have made so far! It keeps me motivated to do more and gives me the feeling that I have accomplished something :) Anybody else has similar feelings when looking at your makes (blog, Flickr, wardrobe)?

But back to the dress in question! It gave me a big reminder that my learning curve in sewing and especially sewing with knits is still steep!

Fabric: I used a stable knit. It is a lovely knit I bought in Goldhawk Road and it was only £3.50/meter (or £4.50/m - I can't remember, but I found it really cheap for a print). I knew immediately it would be the perfect Ladyskater dress. It would have been, if I would have gone up one size at the bust and sleeves, because that's the areas where the dress is too tight!

More wrinkles at the back.
Unresolved fitting problems: You see the wrinkles under my armpits? Thea pointed out that these might be because my armhole is too tight. Actually I noticed that I have that problem on several knits, so I will scoop the armpits a bit out next time (yeah there will be a next time).

I also have to change the sleeves slightly - I am not a fan of these drag lines!

To make my whole sewing experience more difficult, I also forgot that the pattern has only a 3/8" seam allowance. Luckily, I realised that before starting to sew the dress together. But when I marked the notches on my dress, I accidentally cut to deep and as you can imagine this became a problem at the sleeve/shoulder seam! So, I had to sew the curve like 2/8" deeper. (Are you thinking now: no wonder that it doesn't fit you there?)

I am always amazed by the seamstresses that finish a garment in one day. And because I had made the dress before, I told myself I should be able to do this as well. So, when I realised that I didn't have enough clear elastic to stabilise my shoulder and waist seams, I just took out some cotton twill tape. This might have been working for the shoulders, but not for the waist seams. I had enough elastic for the shoulders and for the front waist seam. So, I put the twill tape at the back waist seam. (It was not my best idea.) The seam is stable, but not stretchy at all. Luckily, the front is stretchy enough so that I can get the dress on and off!!

Are you still with me? Or have you left because of all this silliness (I don't want to say stupidity)?

Do I like the dress? I do love the print! And I have worn the dress several times - you might have actually seen me wearing it during my shoemaking class. :) So if you had the feeling, you have seen the dress before - you are right! The dress is really warm, so perfect for winter weather.

Will I make it again? I will and I have already the jersey in my stash! It is much thinner, has more stretch and is pink. So it will be a lovely summer dress with short sleeves! I might change the neckline of the dress a bit, because I have been totally inspired by Charlies lovely boat neck version! Her dress has puff-sleeves as well!!!

What did I learn?
- Take your time when sewing and don't put yourself under pressure! Enjoy the experience!
- Even if you have made a pattern before, take the time and check the instructions.
- Don't make you notches to deep!
- If working with a jersey, test the stretch before cutting. If in doubt, go one size up!
- Gather your notions before starting the project!
Have I forgotten anything?

So, now I am back to finishing up my thesis - one week to go!!! And after handing-in, I am hopefully going to Ukraine for a lovely and much needed Easter break!

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