Saturday, 31 March 2012

Renfrew Fitting

After celebrating the success of making my first Renfrew, I thought I'd take a critical look at it to hopefully make my next even better!

There are a few fitting issues I noticed.  Firstly, in my original post picture, I had pulled it down which eliminated some wrinkles.  However, the dirty secret is that it likes to sit a bit higher than that.

This is the reality of my Renfrew:

So what do we have?  Firstly, horizontal wrinkles around the stomach- my diagnosis, too much length.  I think I shall take out a centimetre or two from here.

Next up, slightly more troubling wrinkles-  See the horizontal strain lines around the neckline?  They are also present across the shoulders:

So, my uneducated thoughts on this:  It's too tight around the neckline and shoulder so perhaps I should have gone up a size!  Perhaps based on my bust measurement (size 2), the pattern assumes I have a smaller frame and bigger bust.  Yup, maybe my bust is too small for a pear shaped pattern.  I get it, it's small!  lol :)  Either that or I just have wide shoulders?

The only problem is I also tampered with the pattern by cutting off some of the neckband as per Lauren's advice.  I shouldn't have done that- lesson learned, don't make alterations to the first test of a garment.  So perhaps the smaller neckband is causing these issues?  Aw, shucks, I don't know!

Oh shoot, almost forgot!

Sway back?
The old sway back-  I'm actually not super bothered about this.  But I might give it a whack anyway!  I enjoy how casual the fit on knits is, I don't feel the need to get it perfect!  I may give it a try using this tutorial.  We'll see!    

So, those are my thoughts- take out some length through the torso, maybe try a sway back adjustment and cut a size larger for the shoulders (probably).  Any thoughts or insights guys? :)

Tuesday, 27 March 2012

The Renfrew Top

All the things I seem to be posting are firsts!  I guess that's part of being a beginner :)  So here we have my first knit top, and my first Sewaholic pattern!  Oh, and my first "wearable muslin".

On the envelope I was size 2 for bust and hips, and size 4 for waist.  I just made a straight size 2, since I'm a crazy rebel, plus I like a fitted waist.

The pattern is for "stable knits", but the man at the fabric recommended a knit with spandex in it.  I think this knit has slightly more stretch, but apparently spandex knits have better recovery.  Or something.

I've heard lots of bloggers say how easy it is, but never mind- I managed to find plenty of challenges for myself.   I didn't even know what the right side was at first (it's the one with the vertical ribs btw, lol), and I got all freaked out about cutting it out!

Then, after reading Lauren's advice about cutting off more of the neckband since my fabric was a bit extra stretchy, I haphazardly hacked off an inch and a half  (3.8cm), and then realised the markings I was supposed to match up weren't right anymore... Hmm.  So I decided I'd just wing it, stretching it to fit and it'd magically work out.  It didn't...

So puckered!
Then I tried doing maths, which is always annoying.  In the end I sort of figured it out.  It still ended up a teeny bit puckered in places.  But you know what?  After I did the zig zag on top it seemed to fix itself!  So that was nice!  After all that though, I don't even know if I needed to hack any off. 
I figured out the original pattern's neckband is 12% shorter, so it IS a bit shorter already.  But then again, if Lauren queen of knits says so, it must be so!  But then again, other bloggers have made nice Renfrews without this rigamarole!  So basically, what I'm trying to say is.... I overthink things.  A lot :)

Here are some thoughts on the project:
-I found the internet recommended to use a stitch length of 3 and a width of 0.5.  I always heard you use a zig zag to sew knits but it's so narrow, you can barely tell it is one!  It works though!

-I used a stitch length of 2 and a width of 2 for the zig zag topstitching.

-Not having to finish the seams was weird!  Yet liberating :)  I still wonder if maybe I should have done something to them though?  (I don't have an overlocker).  I trimmed them but I don't even think I needed to do that, for most of them.

-Some of the bits were a bit bulky due to lots of layers. 

-Ooh, the fiddly little cuffs were hard to put in!  Having to stretch them while you sew, and they don't even fit around the machine's arm!

-I was expecting the pattern to be really in-depth because of Tasia's really awesome sewalongs (I was disappointed when she said she wasn't doing one for Renfrew), but the pattern instructions were quite simple.  I guess if I succeeded then they were enough!

The back- hmm does that look like a sway back?
Overall I'm pretty happy with how this turned out!  Once I got on track, it was satisfyingly fast!  And my husband said it "blew his mind" cos it looked like a shirt you could buy!  Heh heh :)  There are a few fitting issues I'll try to work on before my next one, but that's a post for another day.

I got lots of awkward pictures taken by my husband.  I'm very shy about posing in front of a camera, so most of them turned out pretty bad!  I had to put this one on because it made me laugh.  I was trying to run away from the camera!

Saturday, 24 March 2012

My first crochet hat! :)

Wow, I can't believe I've made a crochet hat!  I didn't know how to crochet at all at the start of the year, learnt the basics with amigurumi, and now this!  I have to say, it's not that I'm good, it's just that crochet is well.. pretty easy, once you know the basics!  :)  Well, this project was easy.  I'm sure there are plenty of hard projects out there!
It's addictive too.  It's always "just one more row...".  The project went so quickly that I was sad when it was over.

I made this for a friend's baby :)

Without further ado, some pics:
Here is the work in progress

Once it's done, you spray it with water and put in on a balloon for shaping!

I was pleased to find out that it was the right size, with just a little extra for growing.  (I was good and did a gauge swatch!)  And here it is on the recipient!

What a cutie :)

This was lots of fun, and now I'm hungry for more crochet!  There are more details of my project here on Ravelry.
p.s The project is a free pattern! :)

Wednesday, 21 March 2012

Playing Dress Up!

Well, like I mentioned in my previous post, I've gone and made a croquis!  Now, there's no point in having one if you aren't going to dress it up so here we go!

I didn't go the fancy-schmancy technology route since I quite like hand-drawing :)  I simply did tracings, and sketched on top of those.  And then to make them a little more internet-ready, I sharpened up the contrast in image editing since my lines were very timid!

I'm sure the Meringue looks familiar, seems everyone is making one these days!  And then New Look 6808, aka adventures in fitting.

I actually was inspired by the Palette Challenges at Colette Patterns, so I made a palette.  However, I am not a fast sewer, so instead of Fall/Spring Palette or whatever, it will be "Till Whenever I'm Done Palette Challenge".

I think these work so well together!
Maybe in time I will learn how to do fancy palettes like other people, but for now it's good enough for me!  All the ones I've planned on my croquis fall roughly into this palette so I'm hoping they'll make a little capsule wardrobe :)
Okay,  next pics :)

The top on the left is going to be white, the skirt shall be navy :)
 I can't wait to make the Sewaholic Pendrell blouse above:  I absolutely love the fabric I got for it.  Unfortunately I'm too scared to use the fabric yet so I'll make Pendrell in something simpler first :)  Here is the beloved rayon:

So in love

plans for my first knit top!
The same applies with this one- Too scared of ruining the striped knit I have for this, so I have bought another fabric to practice with!  (Hopefully will have that done soon!)

more top plans
Have you noticed the abundance of New Look 6808s?  Well, if it's going to be such a bear to fit, once I get it fitted, I'm going to make it work hard for me! :)
Here is the fabric I'm planning to use for the peter pan collar one:

isn't it the CUTEST?
 As you can see, I have grand plans!

The problem is that I get so excited planning that I forget how long it will take me to actually do it!

The other problem is that we are coming into winter here in New Zealand and all I have planned are summery items!  Well, I am pretty slow, so probably some of these won't be made until summer, haha.

Sunday, 18 March 2012

I Made My Own Dress Form!

Here she is!  My paper-tape double!  Woohoo! 

Can you tell which one is the real me?

Wow, I’m so happy this worked!  This is a great way to get a dress form without having to spend hundreds of dollars, and the best part is it replicates your unique body shape!  All of the mannequins I’ve looked at have a bust that is still bigger than mine at their smallest measurement, and I am no expert on mannequins but I think you’d probably be hard-pressed to find one with a sway back!

I researched this method of making a dress form on the internet quite a lot, and I found most of the information I found glossed over some of the aspects I wanted to know about.  So I thought I might just make a mini tutorial about what I’ve learned!  And here it is!

Wednesday, 14 March 2012

A Skirt Toile

Yep, I started another project.  What's that?  You want to hear about the top I was working on?  Here, let me just push that under the table with my foot....  I'll work on it some more later, I swear!

I found this cute 70s pattern secondhand- I don't look in many secondhand shops but this makes me want to!  (Too bad the shop I got it from is not in my town).

Here is my toile: 

I said I looked crazy in this picture- my husband said "you always look crazy!"..  Thanks!  lol!

I really want to work with more vintage patterns now as they don't seem to include the bucket-loads of ease all the modern ones I've worked with seem to!  In fact, if anything it was too tight!

I originally thought it would sit lower than this- damn you deceptively long and slim fashion drawings!  I wondered if it would be flattering sitting on the waistline so I tried comparing it on my croquis.... but unfortunately my drawings didn't look that different, lol!  The one on the left is also drawn slimmer so it makes it even harder to compare.  I'll do better next time!

Okay, but for the record, the one on the right is higher on the waist like my toile.

So, even though my drawings are incredibly similar (lol), which do you think is more flattering?

Oh and one more thing, to get a nice swishy hem like the fashion drawings on the envelope, I'm thinking of putting either interfacing in the hem, or getting fancy with it like I've seen other bloggers do and go for a bit of horsehair braid!  Any thoughts on that? :)

Saturday, 10 March 2012

Croquis and Me

Like a lot of sewing enthusiasts I've seen around the blogosphere (sorry that word still sounds so stupid to me! Haha), I am a proud owner of the Colette Sewing Handbook.  (I have yet to make any projects from it but it's on my to-do list!)

And, like many others, I have made a croquis just like Sarai recommends.  It's supposed to be so you can plan out projects on your real body shape.  So, I dressed up in my tights, got my husband to take some pictures, printed them out and traced!  (This makes it sound so easy but trust me there was a lot of fussing, cropping, taping paper to windows etc.)

I did a few in a variety of poses, and put on some heels.  I don't like the idea of going to all that trouble to dress up my croquis all nice, and her not even bothering to put on some nice shoes!

Okay, okay, enough stalling... I will now let you see my form in all its pear shaped glory- not that that was a surprise to me!

I will do a post soon showing her all nice and dressed up.  It's an inspirational way to plan, I think!

I also came across this page explaining body proportions, so I decided to divide my body up, and see where the proportions fall-  These eight divisions are supposed to be evenly spaced in the ideal human:
I am not the ideal human.

Interesting huh?  I have a short upper body (particularly from bust to waist) and short legs, and a long "rise" as it's called (crotch to waist).  I'll be keeping this concept in mind when I think about how clothing works on me :)

If you have one too, please do comment so I can check yours out!  Aren't they fun?

Monday, 5 March 2012

More Fitting!

Well, well, fitting, we meet again.  Last time I left you I'd made some progress but I still had a nasty sway back to deal with.  Get ready to see lots of pictures of me in a bed sheet!
The dastardly sway back
Since then, I've added width to the back by slashing and spreading at the hem on each side, because it wasn't going over my bum properly.
Then, it was time to tackle the sway-back.  Again, I was pretty overwhelmed.  But I am still trying!  Here are the results of my sway back experiments.

First I pinned out some above the waist:
Well, disgusting.
As you can see it gave a lovely tented look which made me look pregnant.  Next!
Then I pinned underneath the waistline, but I took too much out:

The hem is too high in the back, but at least I have shape!
Okay, at this point I caved and asked In House Patterns' Alexandra for help- she was so lovely to help me AGAIN!  So I pinned less out ON the waistline:

Alright, not bad, a bit rumply though!
Now I'm not sure this is kosher, but here's my latest experiment, pinning out a bit BELOW that as well!

Is this anything?
As you can see the hem is still higher in the back, but I think that length gets added back in in the sway back adjustment.....
So, I'm still wondering what exactly to do, but I'm slowly getting there... maybe!

Now, to cheer myself up from all this struggle, here is something I didn't mess up!
I've been practicing my crochet skills with scrap yarn- I made these for practice using this free pattern.
Hearts can't have swaybacks, yay!
Well, if anyone has any insights, do let me know!  I appreciate the awesome feedback and support from the web that I've gotten!  You guys are the best :)