Saturday, February 7, 2015
The one on the left is made with some block printed fabric I bought in India. It has been languishing in my stash for years and I have been looking for a suitable pattern. Who knew it would be so cute on a doll? I omitted the yoke pieces and cut the front and back from the lining pieces. Yes, the bodice is lined on a doll's dress! The hem band was made from the border on the fabric. Indian fabrics typically have a fancy border which will be used to dress up necklines and sleeve hems.
The dress on the right uses a cotton with purple, pink & red flowers and a matching purple cotton for the contrast yoke and hem band.
For both dresses, I used sew on snaps rather than velcro for the back closure.
They were so cute, I almost hated to give them away.
Saturday, January 31, 2015
I made view A with the open back and sweetheart neckline. I made a straight size Y. I initially did a FBA on the cups, but I wound up tearing the whole thing apart when the cups were WAY too big. To conserve fabric I re-cut the same pieces to be a straight size Y and they are fine now. If you are small busted, you might find the cups to be very roomy. I would have preferred the straps to be wider and firmer to give more support. That's a change that can be easily implemented next time.
I added sew-in swim bra cups and hand sewed them in.
It has been a while since I have worn a 1 piece swimsuit, and to be honest, I'm not sure how much I will wear this one. There's nothing wrong with the suit itself, it's just how I feel in it.
This suit is not the only thing I have been working on. I have made a few more versions of the Orange Lingerie Marlborough Bra. My reason for learning how to make bras was to incorporate an underwire into a swimsuit. I have been working on a bikini top with an underwire and a foam cup!
This is highly experimental and is very much a case of sewing by the seat of my pants, but I am learning. I have purchased 2 book on bra making and I'm hoping to devour all of the information in them and apply it to swimwear and bra making.:)
Monday, December 29, 2014
I managed to do a bit of sewing for my girls this Christmas. First up is a blue corduroy skirt that I made using Jalie 2908 (yes, the jeans pattern) for a starting point. I wanted to replace a denim skirt that she had loved to death, and I could not find a fly front denim-type skirt pattern. This was my result:
I used gray topstitching thread for all of the topstitching. The pockets and fly shield were made from light blue poly crepe.
I made the length of the skirt a few inches below the knee and added a kick pleat to the back.
Altering my pattern from jeans to a skirt was very straightforward. I angled out from the widest point of the hip creating a flare for the front and back. For the center front and back seams, I drew a straight line extending the center front at the fly, and center back at the widest part of the hip, down to my new hemline. The only change I made was rotating the lower edge of back pockets outward toward the side seam. As located per the pattern the pockets were a little odd looking and too parallel to the center back seam:
After rotating them outward...much better:
Next up for my Christmas sewing was a Jalie 2566 cardigan made with an argyle interlock knit.
My buttons were small pink hearts. I thought I should use them while my daughter is still young enough to think they are cute. She really likes this top. I think the band lays strangely at the top button. My version of this cardigan has this same issue, perhaps it is a pattern issue rather than an operator issue. Much to my surprise, this pattern seems to be OOP.
Next up are 2 long sleeve versions of McCalls 6787 for my youngest. The first one is made from a printed cotton jersey from Spandexworld.com.
The second version used a rayon knit for the top and a quilting cotton for the skirt. I think it came out adorable:
That's it for my Christmas sewing. It was a big success. :)
Monday, December 22, 2014
I cut a size 14 for the bodice and did a 1" FBA, which added a bust dart to the right side. Since I have a narrow upper back, I followed the cutting lines for the size 12 across the upper back. My pattern only went up to a size 16, so I needed to grade out a bit for the skirt. I added about 4" to the hip circumference.
I lowered the neckline by 1.5". As drafted, the neckline is a too high for my liking.
I did make a muslin and quickly discovered that I needed to add some width to the bicep. I actually added with to the entire sleeve, with 2" added to the bicep and 1" added at the sleeve hem. Now that I have worn it, the bottom of the sleeve should be a little more snug. Right now, the sleeves fit a like tee-shirt, which isn't classy enough for a LBD.
Here is the finished dress (photos are lightened so you can see some details)
|Odd facial expression due to 8 y.o. photographer|
Sunday, November 30, 2014
1. Fashionable Foundations for Frosty Weather : bottoms, trousers, skirts, jeans, etc
Tania Culottes, Jalie 2908 Gray jeans, McCalls 3830 (modified to A-line), HP Marrakesh Pants
2. Chic Chemises for Cool Climates: blouses, tops, cardigans, sweaters:
New Look 6808, New Look 6407, Jalie 2556, Butterick 5354, Jalie 2449 Crossover Tee, Kwik Sew 3555, New Look 6150 (unblogged), Kitchy Coo Lady Skater Dress as a Tee (unblogged)
3. Fabulous Frocks: any type of dress
4. Underneath It All: underwear, bra
5. Tender Tootsies (no plans to make socks)
6. Those Cozy Nights: pajamas
Very exciting (ha ha), knit PJ pants made from New Look 6110 (yes, I have very short legs!)
7. Baby It's Cold Outside: Outerwear, hats, mittens
Sigh...I really wanted to make a coat, but it just didn't happen. I did, however, make 2 very cute Halloween costumes: Anna & Elsa
|The cold never bothered me anyway|
Hopefully my coat-making will start up soon. All in all, I think the FESA was a big success.
Wednesday, November 19, 2014
I bought all of my supplies and fabric from SewSassy.com The fabric is called techsheen which is a satin powernet. For the back band, I used swimwear powernet from my swimwear stash (purchased from Spandexworld.com)
The Marlborough bra is from Orange Lingerie and is a pdf download available here. I had a few questions about the bra and emailed Norma at Orange Lingerie, and she was kind enough to get right back to me. (I love good customer service!)
Per the Orange Lingerie website:
The Marlborough is a pretty and supportive full frame underwire bra for everyday featuring:
◾• A three piece cup that allows for increased shaping and more ability to play with pattern prints and color combinations;
◾• A power bar that moves the breasts toward the front of the body for a slimming effect;
◾• A comfortable scoop back that lies smoothly under clothes and enhances support; and
◾• A lace upper cup to feel and look pretty everyday.
One great thing about this pattern is that the each size is grouped together and is printed on 2 sheets of paper so you can choose which pages to print which saves on printer ink. There is also NO TAPING because the pieces fit on whole sheets of paper. Woo Hoo!
The pattern comes in sizes 30A to 40DD. The sizing was quite a bit different from RTW sizes. Per my measurements I was directed to make a 38D (!!) My ribcage measurement is 33", so the 38 really threw me for a loop. But I plodded on and wouldn't you know...it wasn't bad! The cup size was great but I found the band to be too tight.
I really liked the shape of the cups. It is a 3 piece cup with and upper cup, lower cup, and a powerbar along the side. I thought this would provide nice shaping. I have found that unpadded RTW bras with only a 2 piece cup tend to be pointy on me. This was not the case with this one.
I made 2 test versions before this one.
I made the size 38D and the band was really tight. My ribcage is 33". I added 1" to the length of the band.
Finding the correct wire size took a little trial and error. I used the printouts from the Craftsy class, transferred the most likely wire sizes to a cardboard template and checked the fit. Since I wasn't ordering my wires from Bra Maker's Supply (Beverly Johnson's company) I needed to translate her wire sized to Sew Sassy's wires. I measured the length, width and depth of the cardboard template that fit and searched for the best match on Sew Sassy's website. I bought 2 different sizes whose main difference was the overall length, (same width and depth) and the shorter one was best.
This is how long the first set was:
I had flat spots in the lower cup above the underwire near the center of the bra. According to Beverly Johnson's Bra making class on Craftsy, this happens when your breast is rounder than the bra will allow and you need more volume in the lower cup. Per her instructions, I split the lower cup in 2 from the apex down and added 1/8" of width to each piece while keeping the seam lines the same. Here are my before and after pattern pieces:
|Photo doesn't show it, but I added seam allowances too!|
I marked the seam lines, and using a French curve, made a new stitching line that curved out to a maximum of 1/8" from the original. This gave me 1/4" more width/volume on the lower cup. Don't forget to add seam allowances to this new seam line! (My photo doesn't show them). I then altered the Direction of Greatest Stretch (DoGS) as shown in the photo.
The upper cup was a little loose, so I took out a small wedge from the pattern piece, near the power band seam line.
The most difficult part of the construction for me was topstitching the channeling. It was hard to keep it neat, parallel, and wide enough for the wire to fit.
Here is the final version:
While not perfect, it is perfectly wearable, and very comfortable!
The biggest change I will make next time is to use 1/2" elastic for the straps. I only had 3/8" and I'd prefer the straps to be sturdier.
I can see how bra making can become quickly addictive. There are only a few small pieces, so cutting them out is quick. The seams are short, so sewing them is quick too. I envision a lot more bra making in my future!
I chose one lavender and one dark purple shirt and after racking my brain for quite some time, decided on McCalls 6286 (now OOP).
I used the lavender shirt for the front, back and sleeves. The dark purple would be the collar and button band.
I had a rough time fitting this top. I cut a 14 and did a 1" FBA creating a bust dart. It was a little snug so I cut my pattern apart again and made it 1.5". This made everything worse. My muslin fit better than this:
|Dear God...Avert your eyes!|
I ripped out the bust dart and pointed it up toward the apex but wow...what a mess!
Long story short: the fit was horrible. If it wasn't for the contest, this would have gone right in the re-recycle pile.
Once I put it on, it looked like a waitress uniform, or worse, a bowling shirt.
|Contest entry photo|
The collar was pretty though:
I split the raglan sleeve into a 2 piece sleeve, and made my own piping to highlight the seam which came out nice (even though it added to the waitress vibe):
The back didn't even look good:
Needless to say I did not advance to Round #3 with this atrocity. Oh well. On to more exciting things.
Thursday, November 6, 2014
3. Button/hook or any other closure
Rather than drafting an A-line skirt from scratch, I began with my trusty McCalls 3830 Pencil skirt pattern and turned it into an A line skirt with a waistband. I used Winifred Aldrich's excellent reference book "Metric Pattern Cutting for Women's Wear" to do this.
I traced my pattern pieces for the pencil skirt and started making changes. For the front piece, I cut a vertical line through the center of the front dart down to the hem. I then rotated the piece closing up the dart. This swings the hemline outward. I then added 1" to the width of the lower edge of the pattern piece and drew a straight line from that point at the hem up to the hip.
For the back piece, there was one 1" wide back dart. I am very curvy in the back and did not want to remove the back darts entirely. Instead I turned the 1" dart into a 1/2" wide dart, using the same cut and rotate method as for the front piece. I added 1" to the width of the lower edge of the pattern piece as well.
Contest or no, if I make something, I want to wear it, not have it languish in my closet. This A-line skirt needed to be a staple that would get a lot of wear. An A-line skirt can be a great item for a capsule wardrobe. I decided on a brown corduroy that I purchased in India and have had for several years. In fact, all of the fabric and notions for this project came from my stash. The lining is a brown and pink houndstooth charmeuse satin from Fabric.com. I previously used this lining fabric on my second Simplicity 2057 jacket, and there is still some left.
McCall's 3830 does not have a waistband, so I needed to make one myself. I cut a straight waistband 3" wide and a few inches longer than my waist measurement. I used 1/2" seam allowances so the finished waistband would be 1" wide. I like to make my waistbands extra long so that I can sew them to the precise length after the skirt is assembled and fitted. I shifted the original center back zipper to the left side an inserted a lapped zipper.
|Machine sewn lining at zipper|
The trickiest part of an A-line skirt is hemming it. To eliminate bulk at the hem, I serged the raw edge rather than turning the raw edge over. I put the skirt on my dressform, pulled out my handy laser level and marked the hem.
|Marking the hem|
Once the hem was folded up and pinned, I hand basted it in place along the fold. Then I hand sewed the hem, easing in the fullness.
|Hem: basted and hand sewn|
|Lining hem: Eased fullness prior to sewing|
I am very pleased with this finished skirt. I really took my time to do a nice job finishing the lining and hem. This will be a great skirt to wear this winter with tights and boots.