Friday, July 31, 2015

bright new simplicity 2258 skirt

Back when this blog was brand new and I was just starting to sew my own clothes, I made a teal, denim skirt using Simplicity 2258. I LOVE that skirt! Even with my just-developing sewing skills, that skirt came out great and I continue to wear it often, because this pattern is drafted so well, fits great, looks good, and is very quick and easy to sew. Ever since, I've been saying I'll sew another, and finally I did:

Despite a little bit of weight gain in those years, my original skirt still fits nicely so I sewed up the same size as before. I used a beautiful "linen look" print from Joann Fabric. The only change I made to the pattern was to take the hemline up about a 1/2" in the front, to even out the hem all around (due to my little booty).

This fabric has more drape than my original denim, making my pretty bow a bit "floppier." I may end up wearing the bow pieces as just a simple side-tie instead.

My favorite feature are the big pockets!

Here's a peek inside. I finished my seams and pockets with the serger, and double-folded than machined-stitched the hem.

And the best part is, I can wear this with just about any color top! Guess I'll need to be making some more Scout Tees...

Wednesday, July 29, 2015

inside a tilly and the buttons printed pattern

Hello again! I've been sewing up a bunch of fun new things to wear and promise to have them photographed and posted soon, but in the meantime I wanted to share a Tilly and the Buttons printed pattern, for anyone who hasn't purchased one before! (Like me, until just the other day!)

I ordered both of her new patterns, FIFI and BETTINE. Tilly's whole brand is designed around garment patterns your can use to learn to sew your own clothes. The Bettine seems especially straight forward and a great beginner dress, but let's open up Fifi to see what you are really getting when you order one of her printed patterns!

The envelope is a nice, heavy paper, with all the details you'd expect on the back. The flap is held in place by a resealable sticky patch.

The sides expand out, which I suspect will come in handy when trying to cram all the pieces back inside later. (Who's ruined a big 4 envelope by trying to put the pieces back inside?)

Inside we get a full-color booklet on heavy paper, with both written and visual instructions as well as other handy tips for making your pattern, especially for a beginner who might not be used to sewing jargon or techniques.

And of course, the pattern! These are also printed on really heavy paper! I will choose to trace mine, and these will stand up to a lot of wear.

I'm very pleased with my purchase, even having to ship it from the U.K. Tilly has put a lot of thought into creating a high-value package here that seams easy to use and will stand up to a lot of use. I'm sold! Can't wait to make something and show you!

Monday, July 20, 2015

custom drafted coral lace skirt

Fitting patterns is hard.

So when BurdaStyle Academy advertised a 6-week online course on how to draft your own personal sloper collection, I decided that that might be a good investment of my time and money. It's a 6-week course, with access to the videos and material forever. From their website:  "Through this 6 week long course Meg will guide you through the entire detailed process of developing a sloper library consisting of a bodice and sleeve, skirt, pants, dress, and knit sloper."

The first project is a skirt. As I've mentioned in my last few posts, I've been searching for a really nice fitting slim skirt pattern... so why one make one myself from my own measurements! I've been seeing these coral lace skirts in stores that I really liked, and found some pretty coral lace and matching mid-weight poly for lining... but first to draft the pattern!

J. Crew Dresses & Skirts - new J.Crew Collection Lace Pencil Skirt size 0

Meg Healy takes you step by step through videos and handout on how to measure along many lines on your body (and how to do it without a friend, too!), then draft your skirt pattern. Here is my finished drafted pattern:

I traced it, added seam allowances and made up a quick version in muslin to test the fit:

Overall not bad fit at all!!! For my lace skirt, I decided to lower the waist 1", taper the side seams starting at the hip line to take in a total of 4" at the hemline, and moved the side seams forward an inch at the waistline, as it felt to me like they sat too far back on my body. Here are the new adjustments traced on paper, with seam allowances (and my drafting buddy):

Forgot to lower the waist 1" in this photo. You can see it below.

I  decided to finish the waist with double-fold bias tape, so I removed the seam allowance.

I constructed the skirt by underlining the lace with the poly, basting the layers together by hand before cutting, then machine basting the edges of all the cut out pieces, treating it as one fabric from that point on. On the original draft there were two 3/8" front darts on each side, but with the combined fabric thickness I needed to combine them to one 3/4" dart. I think it looks better with just one front dart anyway. Raw edges were serged (with minor fits from my machine), and the top was finished with matching double fold bias tape, with I finished on the inside by hand. In fact, I was able to find everything to match perfectly EXCEPT the invisible zipper. I'll most likely wear it with a shirt untucked to it won't show too bad.

The indoor lighting totally throws off the color!

I'm very pleased with the invisible zipper insertion! I found the trick to avoiding a bump or pucker where the zipper ends it to hand sew that transition after completing the seam. 

The outside lighting show the color much better! After constructing the basic pieces, I did straighten out the hip line a little more, shaving off about an inch overall at the hip. Next time I will want to add a little more length so it hits just above my knee. I also may not lower the waist so much in my next version.

I needed to straighten out the waistline by trimming off a small wedge of fabric from the front dart to first back dart on each side. It was only about 1/2" at the worst of it, but if you compare the side view below with the side view of the muslin test, you can see a big difference.

Here you can also see where I moved the side seam forward at the waistline. The seam certainly no longer makes a straight line up and down, but maybe it makes the tummy less noticeable. What do you think? The side seam as pictured in the muslin or below? 

So remember how I decided to treat the lace and lining as one fabric? Well, after pre-washing the lace it become much less stiff than it was in the store, and even had a little stretch, so once sewn together the lace began to sag compared to the firm lining fabric. It's very clear along the hem pictured below, and along the side seam above. Guess I should have sewn and hemmed them separately. I wonder if I could shrink the lace layer back up a little with a spin in the dryer? Or carefully tack the layers together throughout the skirt? (With the perfectly matching thread, which let me tell you really blends in, especially when you are trying to unpick it!) Or maybe I could find a way to re-do the hem so the layers can hang separately, at least at the hemline? Suggestions and thoughts welcome! 

But aside from that, look how nice that fit and finish is! So far, this course (and new skirt pattern) is a winner!

Monday, July 6, 2015

scout tee success!

Who would have thought that a woven t-shirt with NO dart shaping would look this good?!?!?!

Sorry for the lame bathroom mirror selfie... you do what you gatta do!

I'm totally diggin' the Grainline Scout Tee. My mom bought the pattern for herself, loved it, and sent a copy to me (yay thanks mom!). It sews up super easy, the hardest part being self bias binding for the neck facing... which came out pretty well is I do say so!

I just sewed up the seams on my regular machine, then finished them on my serger (I prefer this to just doing the seams with the serger...  maybe because I'm not always on good speaking terms with that machine). The bottom was finished with a simple narrow hem, and the sleeves were serged than turned over once to hem... and that's it! 

I love the A-line shape, especially in this drapy rayon, which you may have seen here before. I've already picked out some more fabric for another, and would love to do a version in an ivory cotton/silk, or maybe extend to an a-line t-dress.... so very much a fan of this pattern!