Sunday, 27 January 2013

Vintage Simplicity 3831: The Meet-Up Dress

For our recent meet-up, the goal was to wear a new garment, made from something aquired from the meet-up before that!
I knew it would be a challenge as I'm a very slow sewer.
I definitely put a lot of pressure on myself to finish it on time.  I DID get there.... but I'm ambivalent about sewing deadlines.  They can cause stress (and this one did) but I have to admit, it got results!

Thanks to Kat for taking pics of me :)
This time I made something from a bed sheet that was actually quite wearable, unlike the really bad Pendrell.  (Ugh, now why would I link that fail?)  Bed sheets, you have redeemed yourselves.  However I don't know if I'll be lucky to find another one this lovely (I don't browse op shops much).  What a beautiful print!

The pattern was Vintage Simplicity 3831, given to me in the swap.

I was actually impressed by the instructions- quite clear, which I wasn't expecting!  The pattern only had holes for markings which was new.  I traced the bodice pattern pieces, and joined the dots, heh :)  I knew I didn't want to slash and hack the vintage pattern to bits so tracing was the way to go!

There was loads of hand stitching- the hem, the sleeve facings, the waist stay (which was new to me, eep!), a hand-picked zipper, and lots of hooks and eyes!!  (5 pairs in total- top of zipper, 2 on the waist stay, and 2 on the sash).
The waist stay.
The waist stay took forever, since I hand sewed it in.  Plus I didn't really know what I was doing, lol.  But I think it helps hold up the heavy gathered skirt.  Well, I hope it does after all that work.

Detail of the hem.
Some seamstresses seem to think zig zag inferior, but I reckon if it's good enough for ladies 50 years ago, it's good enough for me.

The one thing I'm not so sure about is the kimono sleeve seams under the arms.  They have to be clipped, so I couldn't zig zag.  So they're kinda unfinished and exposed... any thoughts, people?  I'm wondering about them fraying.

Oh, and for some reason I went to the trouble of matching the centre back seam print.... There's not much point in such a full gathered skirt- you barely notice at all!  So much work for so little gain.

Centre back seam on skirt
Okay, just one more detail shot.  The hand picked zip.  So invisible.  So happy!  It sits perfectly together, except it gapes a little at the waist seam (conveniently forgot to take a picture of that bit!).   That seems to be a problem zone.

I made three toiles, which I'll probably post about as I experimented with fitting.  I'm glad it seems to have worked out!

Sans cardy and hat.  It would also go great with Miette, don't you think?
It's definitely not as practical and versatile as some other pieces I've sewn...  but I am so proud of it!  Ooh and I also got a compliment from a waitress as she walked by, "I love your dress!"  That's the first compliment I've gotten in the wild... feels good :)

My last dress made me feel like a real dunce of a seamstress.  This one was a breeze in comparison, so I actually felt competent which was nice.

Hopefully more of my future projects are as enjoyable as this one... who knows, maybe I'm getting better at sewing??

Monday, 21 January 2013

Wellington Bloggers Do It Again

Well, we did it again!
Just a quick post from me to say, meeting other bloggers rules.   We had lots of fun!

The challenge was to make something we got from our last meet-up.  I decided on the vintage pattern I nabbed last time- another post on that yet to come.   I'm really pleased with it so yes, I will be blathering on about it sometime soon.

We had a picnic lunch at the botanical gardens- so yummy!

Here we posed school-photo style.  I have a talent for never looking at the camera in group photos.

And proof we got up to silliness, here we are doing Blue Steel (or attempting to):

Check out other people's posts on the event for a less lazy account of events (lol). 
Here are Kat's, and Juliet's posts.

The bloggers were:
Maryanne from Sent from my iRon and also of Made on Marion
Nikki from Nikki's Stitches
Emily of Calico Stretch

Thanks everyone!  It was great- I only wish it was longer! :)

Friday, 18 January 2013

Nifty Acquisitions

Do you like pictures of old craft books?  Of course you do.  Silly question.

While visiting my husband's parents over Christmas, I was given some old treasures.  They are so neat.  Check them out!

Ooh boy, Thirteen HUNDRED!! :O

With all these stitch patterns, I could design fancy knitwear of my own!  (Well, maybe not YET!)  It also has a tips section.  And cool looking 70s illustrations:

Here are just some of the fancy stitch patterns.

And this too:  The Reader's Digest Complete Guide to Needlecraft!

This covers a huge variety of crafts, some of which I'll probably never explore... but still.  Neat!
The knitting and crochet sections are great, and I'm sure I could learn a lot from them.  I'd better get studying!

Just one example of the wonders within.
Do you guys sometimes feel like books are awesome to have, but find it hard to get around to reading and utilising them?  It's my goal to pick up at least a few tips from these great books.

I probably won't make lace.  But look at the lace!!
By the way... it's my birthday today!  (Yes, my real one, unlike last time.)  My husband was so sweet as to get me this:

Isn't it great?  I'mma put so many things in it.  Also how cute is the tape measure trim?
And a book too!  Isn't he the best?  I'm thinking of putting up a review.  Is anyone interested in this book?  I'd love to show you the designs!

It's a very happy birthday when you get crafty gifts! :D

Also, in other news, this weekend I am meeting up with my fellow Wellington Bloggers for the second time!  I'll be wearing a new dress made from something I obtained on our last adventure... You'll just have to wait and see (and guess!).  But the result is very vintage-looking indeed.  Stay tuned folks!

Monday, 14 January 2013

Knitted Work in Progress: Mary Jane

Right now I'm working on Mary Jane, a top-down raglan pattern.

I always look through the finished projects page on Ravelry to check out what other users had to say about the pattern before I attempt my own.

One of the major issues people seem to have is the neckline turning out too low.  I think it's mainly an issue on the larger sizes, as on all sizes of the pattern, the neckline is cast on in the same row you put the sleeves on scrap yarn.
So for larger busts, you do more increases, thus more rows to get to the armholes, so the neckline ends up lower.  I think.  lol.

So with this in mind I decided to raise the neckline slightly (only two rows though).  But it looks like that's not the biggest neckline problem I have:

Look at it droop!
My thoughts on this are:
-Maybe with more rows of knitting, it would firm up.  I'm none too sure on this though
-Perhaps, when the ribbing is added too, that would help.  Again, not convinced.
-What if the cast on is the problem?  (I used backwards loop- not firm enough?)
-Did casting it on slightly higher accentuate the width issue?  (I don't think I want it lower though!)

What I'm mainly thinking though is I just need to cast on less stitches!  Do you have any thoughts?

The other issue I need to rip back and fix is the armholes- I'm not sure they'll feel good this high.

I don't know if I'm comfortable showing my armpit to the world, but there you have it.

Another thing someone mentioned was the recommended yardage was skimpy, so eep!  Hopefully I have enough.  The bad thing about the top down construction is I can't save yarn by opting for less full sleeves- they're knitted in already!

As for ease, this top is designed for 0-3" of ease.  I'm thinking I'll go for 1-2" of negative ease, as I'd like to save yarn, as well as for a more flattering shape (well, hopefully).  So I'll be adding in some waist shaping too!

I've been a bit stymied by the neckline but I'm looking forward to getting back into it!  Just gotta get over that neckline- what do you guys think about it?  :)

Tuesday, 8 January 2013

Vogue 8469: Red Christmas Dress

Guess what?  Now I'm just like Neeno!
When I first decided to make this pattern, my googlings led me to her fabulous blog.. she has made many wonderful versions of this pattern :)

And here is my version of Vogue 8469 in red linen:

Ahem, the fitting post I did on this dress was about...6 months ago, lol!  So making this dress was not a fast process I'm afraid.  And to be honest, the construction was a bit of a nightmare for me!

I'm really pleased with the fit though.  It even has neck darts.. yay!  However, after wearing it all day on Christmas, it was beginning to feel constricting in the shoulders.  Yup, I think I was a victim of over-fitting.  I hope to make it again, and I'll lighten up my sloping shoulder adjustment... maybe decrease the intake of the neck darts too.

About the construction- I must have resewed each seam about 3 times, haha.  I laugh now, but at the time it wasn't funny at all.  This was my first fully lined dress.  I decided to follow the pattern instructions for this, but it didn't include how to line the skirt portion... I thought it would be so easy.  It was not- apparently my brain is not smart at figuring this stuff out.  So I resewed the lining-related stuff a lot, and also ended up making up a janky fix involving hand stitching, lol.  But I have to admit, it looks great on the inside... I just need to find a better method next time!

The lining is slip-stitched to the zipper.
I did a pick stitched zipper too.  Mmm, it looks so neat! 

My zips will look even better when I get more practice!
I have heard that this method for lining a bodice is much easier, with a nicer finish.  But I decided to give Vogue a fair chance.  I wouldn't say it turned out horribly, but I will definitely try out the other method next time.  It'll be good to be able to compare them!  (and I totally expect the other method to be better.  I think most pattern instructions really stink.)
Guys, if you have any tips for a fully lined dress, let me know!  I don't want to cry next time!

This fabric is pure linen, and the tales of its wrinkle factor are not exaggerated.  I still very much like the fabric though... it has such a beautiful feel to it, and the way it moves is so nice!  I choose to find the wrinkliness charming, lol.

Photographing this was a nightmare... it was super blustery outside, so a lot of my pictures looked like this:

If only I had a nice wall in my house like all the cool bloggers do, lol!

Oh, can't forget a photo of the back:
I'm quite happy with the fit on the back.  I took it in a good chunk at the waist at centre back for my sway back.  It makes a big difference to the silhouette from side on.  And of course, I didn't get a photo showing that.  Just... imagine it.

I've found that I default to a certain pose- my husband complained I do it all the time:

So I decided to imitate the pattern envelope, which turned out badly.
I tried figuring out how to put these next to each other but I failed.  Technology, why you gotta be so hard to use?

Anyway, I made a dress.  Yay!

Friday, 4 January 2013

2013- The Goals

Alright, I've been enjoying reading everyone's goals too much so I'm jumping on the bandwagon- just like I did with the Top Five post... lol! 
Thanks again to Gillian for spreading the concept around :)

2012 was the first year I really got into sewing and it hasn't been plain sailing!
I think I've learned a lot though.  So here are my goals:

1:  Plan less!  The problem with following other blogs is just that they're TOO inspiring!  The amount of time I've spent thinking about all the things I'd love to make is just crazy.  I must have at least 2 years worth of projects dreamed up.  And that's great!  It's also enough!!  So I aim to calm the heck down on the planning and focus on the now.

2:  Practice Project Monogamy.  This ties into number 1-with all that inspiration swirling about, it's easy to get carried away trying to make 5 things at once.  I've learned that works really BADLY- ending up stressful and messy.  It also makes me feel like it takes forever to accomplish anything!  This year I'll try to stick to one thing at time. 

3:  Don't Buy New Patterns.  Okay, this one might be hard to do... but the fact is I have quite a few patterns I haven't made yet, and some I'd like to make again.  And again it ties into my previous two goals- I gotta keep it simple!  This goal excludes knitting patterns by the way :D  I haven't got a hoard of those!

4:  Learn More About Fitting.  Oh boy, I sure tried hard on this in 2012 (see fitting posts here.  Many embarrassing pictures were taken).  This is the most challenging aspect of sewing for me so far.  However, I went it mainly alone, with the internet and its citizens for guidance.  It was hard!  But I also aim to go a bit easier on myself this year about fit.  It's the kind of thing that most people don't even notice.  I'm sure I'll continue learning, even if I push myself a little less!

5:  Less Perfection.  Anyone who's a perfectionist will know that often it can prevent you from doing things.  Constantly nitpicking yourself and comparing yourself to others is a good way to go mad!  I'm going to make an effort to stop myself going down that road... this is probably the hardest goal among the lot, don't you think?

So, have you noticed only one of these is technique related?  That's because I've realised this year that the main thing getting in my way was ME! 
Hopefully I can pull these goals off and have a calmer, more centred year ahead.
Gosh this "making stuff" is pretty psychological huh?

Anyway, I'm looking forward to the new year- onward and upwards!  And I can't let this post end without mentioning how awesome and inspiring the community is.  You guys rock, and thanks for sharing your goals, inspiration and projects with me :)

Bring on 2013, eh? :)