Sunday 31 January 2016

Last years Bettine Dress

Pattern: Bettine Dress by Tilly and the Buttons. It is already my second version - my first version I made for our Honeymoon.

Fabric: This time I used a very drapy viscose. I think I got it from Walthamstow Market last autumn. As always when I see a fabric with butterflies on it - I just can't leave without it. I tried, but came back at the end of the shopping trip. I knew immediately that it would be perfect for Bettine!

Alterations: I have some minor fitting issues with my first Bettine. A) it is too short, B) it rips under the arms when I try to bend and stretch forward, and C) the shoulder seams slip backwards. The length was easy to fix, I just added 4 cm to the pattern. For the shoulder seams, I added 1.5 cm to the back shoulder seam tapering to nothing towards the sleeve and removed the same amount from the front shoulder seam. Tapering again to nothing towards the sleeve. As you will see in the photos, the shoulder seam is still slipping backwards.

Lastly, I did a broad upper back adjustment and added 1 cm to the front and back bodice in the shoulder area. I'm not sure if this adjustment is actually the right one for me because I have a narrow back. The problem of ripping underarm seams is not completely solved yet, as they still tend to rip if I'm not careful (although there is some more give). I guess the actual problem are my broad shoulders, so I have to look into fitting these.

For this version I also added the optional sleeve taps and small white buttons that came from my Kiev shed find. I didn't make the pocket version as I felt the fabric is not stable enough.

Have I worn it yet? I did loads in autumn and I really love the fabric. It is super soft! However being so soft can also be disadvantageous. I noticed already that something weird was going on with the fabric when I tried to straighten it before cutting it out. I was using the thread pull method to identify the grain. I did not pull hard but the thread kept breaking. Not snapping but just disintegrating.

So, when I was wearing the dress the first time after a couple of hours I noticed pulled threads on the front of the skirt! The culprit was my kitchen table. The wood of the table apparently pulled the threads out. Leaving white spaces behind where the thread had been before. That has never happened to me before. With none of my garments.

I'm still wearing it because the marks are not that visible but they are there (you can actually see them on most photographs). Has anything like that happened to you before? I have not sewn with soft viscose much, so maybe it is a usual feature of this fabric? Or maybe it is just bad quality...

Sunday 24 January 2016

Foxy Coco

Thanks a lot for all your lovely comments last week. I had a rummage through my wardrobe and have indeed found a few of the colors that you suggested I should wear with my black and white polka dot sweater. I would have taken some pictures to show you, but with it raining all weekend there is just not enough light! So, be patient :)

Fabric: A thick sweater knit with fleece on the inside (you might remember it from my last weeks make - Moneta Sweater). I bought it from Yakhlaf Stoffen - a fabric store in Albert Cuypstraat in Amsterdam. The shop had a lovely choice of sweater knits and jerseys (so difficult to decide which one to buy) and the sweater knits were only 8.95 Euros/meter.

Pattern: Coco Dress by Tilly and the Buttons. It's already my third version (version 1 and version 2), but I'm still tweaking it for a better fit! The fabric is a bit stiff so I imagined it would hold the A-line shape of Coco very well. It does!

For this version of Coco, I decided to sew a simple turned neckline which I stabilised with hem tape before sewing. I love to use hem tape for knits - to stabilise not only hems but necklines and cuffs that are only turned over. The hem tape prevents them from stretching out and also makes sewing much easier. Nonetheless my sewing machine had troubles to sew the neckline at the shoulder seams. With the fabric being so thick it took some convincing to get over the seams.

Alterations: You will notice as with my previous versions, I added two back darts to mimic the shape of my sway back. I also shaved off some excess fabric from the front and back armholes as well as from the sleeves. I think I could have removed even more as there is still a fabric bulge close to the armpit.

Embellishments: I added a little fox embroidery to make the dress more interesting (and yes it is a fox and no cat, mum). A fox came to my mind because, obviously, the dress is orange. On google I found this adorable little fellow - he is a free pattern - from Alicia and just had to have him on my dress.

I've pencil copied the fox on some piece of thin fusible interfacing and then fused the interfacing to the wrong side of the fabric. The interfacing added some stability as well. I then used two threads of embroidery thread and with some difficulties started to embroider. The curios thing with embroidering such a heavy knit is, that the needle does not go in and come out at the same position. I had to unpick a lot until I was satisfied with the result. The dress has been in the wash several times and so far the fox is still staying on. No unraveling of stitches, phew.

Have I worn it? Yes, I've worn the dress almost every week since I made it in November! It is really warm and cosy as you would expect from a sweater knit. There is only one annoying thing: when walking the dress sticks to my thighs and starts to ride up in the front. I'm not sure if this is because the dress is (too) short or because of the fabric. I've noticed that it is not as bad when I walk slowly, but unfortunately I'm a fast walker!

Saturday 16 January 2016

Sweater Mania

I'm having a massive shortage of sweaters in my wardrobe. Especially sweaters that I can wear with my high-waisted skirts. But you know how it is, basics usually end up at the end of the sewing list. Not anymore.

Before Christmas I decided it is time to overcome that sweater shortage and dug out my Colette Moneta dress pattern. Colette patterns have a great tutorial on their website showing how to turn the Moneta bodice into a vintage-style sweater.

I've made the Moneta once before (here) and struggled with the big sleeves. This time I substituted the sleeves with the sleeves from my Tilly and the Buttons pattern Coco - the sleeves fit me much better. I also copied over the armholes to make sure the sleeves will fit.

Although not perfect (yet) I'm more than happy with the result: three sweaters :) and all are made from leftovers! (Although not all of the main projects have made it to the blog)

Sweater No 1: Made from an orange sweater fabric (it has fleece on the inside) with beige rib knit for the waist and cuffs. The neckline is only turned and stitched with a zigzag stitch. I found it quite hard to find a color that goes with the orange and think my color combination is a bit retro (but very autumny). The sweater goes best with my Colette Beignet which I'm wearing in the pictures. I've made a Coco from the fabric, it is already photographed so you will see it soon.

Sweater No 2: I've made the Oslo Sweater (Seamwork) from this fabric and sadly didn't like the outcome at all (I think the Oslo in this fabric is just not my style). But I do love this sweater. For the waist and cuffs I used the wrong side of the fabric to have a bit of a contrast. Also I added a neckband to stabilise the neckline. For this version I made another change: I tightened the sleeves as they were massive on me. They don't look as massive on my version 1, because the orange sweater fabric is much more stable than this blue (ikat?) knit. This sweater goes best with my denim Delphine skirt.

Sweater No 3: This was the sweater I was most looking forward to. Because I've made a Coco from the fabric that I love (here). But for some reason I have not fallen in love with this sweater. It might be that I have troubles to pair it up with any of the garments I have. I'm wearing it in these pictures with an old H&M chiffon skirt. Lescha doesn't like this combination at all. I think it goes well together and the outfit looks very 1970s. This is probably enhanced by the rolled collar. So far I hadn't the courage to wear the outfit in public. Any suggestion what you would wear with this sweater?

In other news: As I said in my last blog post, we were house hunting for the last couple of month. Beginning of November we've made an offer that got accepted. However, the chain here moves rather slowly so we haven't moved yet. But because of all the house buying stress, I was depressed and not in the mood to look at my sewing machine at all (I'm one of these people who get easily overwhelmed with big projects - it reminded me of certain phases when I was sewing my wedding dress). Hence my absence from the blog. I'm much more relaxed now (probably because we can't do anything anyway) so I've made a couple of things that I want to share with you. Happy sewing ;)

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