Monday 23 June 2014

The dress that almost didn't happen...

The dress that almost didn't happen is my butterfly Colette Parfait. You might remember from my last striped version that I had fitting issues: When doing the small bust adjustment (SBA) I had to take out 1.5" from the back and front bodice, which resulted in the back sitting to high and the appearance of a "propeller" at the back skirt. To solve this problem, I took out the too much "propeller" fabric. But because of this, the dress is bunching around my belly when sitting down.

The final dress
My first attempt in solving this problem, was just to make the backstraps 1.5" longer. This perfectly solved the propeller issue. And because the waist seam was not sitting on the waist, I also added another 1" to front and back waistband. I also decided to make a colour blocked version by adding a white waistband, which would be a nice contrast. Contrary to my usual "I make a muslin first" attitude, I immediately cut the fabric (and made my butterfly Sorbetto Top from the leftovers).

That's the first version I took apart. 
It took me two weeks to assemble the dress, because I was not really convinced by it. And only when I had inserted the zipper (and the only thing left to do was the hemming), I admitted to myself that I didn't like the dress: The colour blocking looked awful with putting all the emphasis on my bust - but not in a good way. And because I had lengthened the straps, the back bodice had dropped so far that you could actually see my bra closure.

The waistband proportions didn't look good either. There was no way I would wear this dress. But the fabric I used is the most expensive cotton lawn I ever bought. So I put the dress away for a few days and decided the day before my PhD viva (and encouraged by a 35°C weather forecast in Germany) to adjust the pattern and cut a new bodice. The fitting and sewing kept me from freaking out :) and directed my thoughts away from the viva. Sewing IS good for you . . .

The only problem I haven't solved yet is that the backstraps don't cover the bra straps.
First of all, I unpicked the zipper and also separated skirt, bodice and straps. The skirt was good to use further, as were the straps.

Added centre back seam at bodice pieces.
Button details.

Adjustments: I started from the beginning and this time used Shaerie's flat pattern method to do a SBA - I removed 1" from the bust. The advantage of this method was, that the side seams were not changed at all and I could keep the original back bodice. I made a muslin of the bodice.  I pinned the skirt to the bodice muslin and checked that the waistseam was on my waist and I didn't have a propeller. I noticed that my front waist seam was riding up over the belly and added a wedge of fabric there: 1" at the centre front that tapered to nothing at the side seam. I made another muslin and it turned out fine and I was ready to cut the fabric.

Pockets with contrast detail and stripey buttons.

Cutting: I still had some butterfly fabric scraps left and managed to cut the front bodice pieces on the fold. But none of the scraps were big enough to cut the back bodice on the fold. Thus I added seam allowances to the centre back, cut the pieces twice and stitched them together. They do have a centre seam now, but it's on the back, so I don't mind. I cut the facing from white cotton lawn because there was no butterfly fabric left.

The hem is finished with a narrow hem.

Construction: As I had skirt, pockets and straps already assembled, it took me only a couple of hours to finish the dress. When stitching skirt and bodice together, I took out 3/4" at the centre back tapering to nothing at the side seams on both bodice and skirt. This accounted for my sway back. I stitched the whole dress with my sewing machine, but finished the raw edges with my overlocker first. I finished the hem with a narrow rolled hem, also with the overlocker (I love this function of my Bernina).

Have a worn it? Twice already. I had my PhD viva on the forth of June and I am now a Doctor of Philosophy  :) A day later I went to Germany to celebrate with my family and spent there an entire week. We had up to 35°C the first few days and I was wearing both of my Parfaits, yeah! They are both the perfect summer dresses and I felt very happy to wear them. So, although having troubles and almost not finishing the butterfly Parfait, I am so glad I did!

Wednesday 18 June 2014

Meet Fox and Panda for Dinner!

Can you imagine: I haven't been sewing for the last two and a half weeks! I went to Germany for a week and then I send my sewing machine on holidays (check-up) at the same time. I was hoping she would be back when I returned, but she isn't. I called the engineer today and he promised to bring her back tomorrow! I can't wait! I am showing withdrawal symptoms: What do you do when you can't sew? Buy sewing books (Hello "Love at first stitch" and "Colette Guide to sewing knits"), patterns (Hello Bronte Top) and knit fabrics.

Why are placemats more difficult to photograph than people?

Have you ever gotten a check-up for your sewing machine? I wanted to do it for the last year, but just couldn't part from my machine. But now she became really noisy and I had troubles getting all the dust out of her. Then I had a problem with the bobbin case that somehow got stuck. I had to force it out and in the process scratched some of the plastic. If even possible, the noise level went up further. So, I am really excited to see how she is going to perform after her check-up!

Today is my little sisters Birthday (Happy Birthday Tina :) ) and I made her two placemats as a Birthday present: a Panda and Fox. I didn't come up with this pattern by myself, but found it and a tutorial on Chrissy's blog "One crafty place".  The only change I made, was to print the pattern slightly larger so that I could make bigger placemats. 

Except for the dotted fabric, all materials came from my stash/scrap bin. I love the placemats and really want to make them for myself as well! But I doubt that will be soon, as there is always another project that is more urgent to sew, haha.

Placemats modeled with a lemon cake :)

Wednesday 11 June 2014

Sewing for "Little Ones"

There seems to be a baby boom this summer. At least in my vicinity as neighbors, relatives and friends are becoming babies. So, this is a perfect excuse for me to venture into the world of tiny sewing. For long I have been admiring the baby clothes made by fellow bloggers and now I can do it as well, yeah.

My friend is having a little baby girl and thus I decided to make a little summer dress from jersey. I searched the internet for ages and saw so many beautiful clothes, hats and sleeping bags (to the point that I also wanted to have a baby to sew for - I think Lescha was scarred!). Surprisingly, most of the dress patterns I saw, were made from cotton. But I also found an easy tutorial from Delia creates for a suspender dress.

I was able to use leftover jerseys and sewed two little dresses. It took me only 1 hour from cutting out to the finished dress. I stitched the whole dress on my overlocker - so fast! The only visible seam is the one at the waistline.

I am only a little bit worried that the dress is too small. Delia says it should fit a 3-6 month old baby. I really hope so. I don't really have an imagination how little/big babies are, as there haven't been any so far among my friends. But in the photo below, you can see the approximate size of the dresses when comparing them with my arm.

Should the dress not fit the baby, maybe her doll can wear it, haha.

Thursday 5 June 2014

More Flowers: Burda Skirt

Pattern: Burda No 0005A from Burda Style Special autumn/winter No5/2013. This is already my fourth make from this Burda issue, which is actually the only Burda issue I have. So, I am proud that I have used several patterns from it and no, I am not done yet, there is another pattern that I want to make.

The skirt has a front and back yoke and a front and back skirt panel. It comes with a facing, which is essentially the yoke pattern. I also made a lining by just cutting out the back and front skirt panels from lining fabric. The skirt has an invisible side zipper.

Fabric: When I bought the shell fabric, I was convinced it is some kind of linen. But now I am not so sure anymore. Because linen creases and I have been wearing the skirt/sitting in the bus and no single crease appeared! So, maybe its a linen/polyester mix - with loads of polyester!

Annoyingly, there was a blue mark on the fabric, which I didn't spot when it was cut. It looked like somebody had scribbled lines with a blue pen on it. The stains didn't go out after washing and I couldn't avoid them, because I had just enough fabric to cut the shortest version of the skirt. There is a blue line on the front skirt panel, but luckily it is difficult to spot.

Looking at this pic, I think the hem is still not level.
For the facing I used some white cotton voile. I was worried that the "linen" would loose its shape and to avoid the yoke growing on me, I used the cotton and a woven fusible interfacing. The lining is made from a nude-colored polyester. I made a lining because I was worried that the white parts of the skirt might be a bit see through.

Nude lining - it felt a bit weird lifting my skirt in public :D

Size: I cut a straight size 40, but had to take in a couple of cm when trying on the basted skirt. Otherwise I didn't do any alterations, yeah.

Construction: I didn't follow the instructions at all, but just sewed however I though it is right. For putting in the invisible zipper, I followed Sunni's tutorial from the free Craftsy Zipper Class and when adding the facing used the technique from the Colette Sewing Book.

I wanted to have a pic with the flowers.
Facing and shell fabric are stitched together at the top of the yoke (obviously) and at the yoke/skirt panel seam line. The problem was that my shell was slightly bigger than the facing and I decided to just ease it in. But because of the easing there are now a few bulges on the front yoke. (That was the moment I asked myself: Why is my sewing never going smooth? I don't think I ever had a garment that I sewed without any problems.)

The part that took me longest was the hemming. Because of my sway back, the back was shorter than the front. I was standing in front of the mirror and tried to guess how much I have to chop off. It took some trial and error (and more chopping off than I wanted to), before I had it right. Then I just couldn't decide how to hem the skirt. I wanted to have something like a lettuce hem, but didn't know how to archive this with the linen. I then settled on just turning the hem up once, because I wanted to avoid a stiff hem as much as possible.

But I just couldn't convince myself to hand stitch the hem on a full circle skirt! But I still wanted to have a hand stitched look (or rather invisible stitches). Thus I used the invisible hem stitch foot that came with my sewing machine. I didn't want to use this foot, because it doesn't give me a nice and neat finish. I can't say that it behaved - I had to go back and stitch a few areas twice, but in the end the result is alright. And I was faster by machine then by hand.

Do I like it? Yes I do! But not in combination with the Pink Burda Top that I made and that the model wears together with the skirt in the Burda magazine. I don't know why, but the skirt/top combination doesn't look good on me. You have to take my word, because I just couldn't take pictures of this mismatched ensemble!

But fret not! I still have some of the pink jersey left and now that I have finally gotten my hands on the Renfrew pattern, I will make a pink jersey top soon.

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