Tuesday, 25 February 2014

Fitting Vogue 8766: Final Thoughts and Review of "Sew the Perfect Fit"

Woo! With the bodice-fitting done, let's get back to more fun garment posts on this blog soon (well, hopefully)!
Previous posts on this bodice: post #1post #2post #3.


After! Garment post is here. (must tweak the CF waist seam upwards slightly for next time ;) )
I'd like to round up with a review of the course and what I've learned.

I learned to face what is non-standard about my body. 
First off, everyone is different. To expect to have the exact body the pattern is drafted for is silly.

Secondly, after all my years of illness, it's probably impacted my body shape. And now I'm well, I'm still unfit! There, I said it. I'm unfit, world!! I feel this may be another reason for some of the things I have to adjust for.

Should I beat myself up about this? Or should I just accept who I am right now and that I may change in the future? (Hint: it's the second one).
The point is, even if I become a bodybuilder or a total hunchback, at least I'm building fitting tools to help me if and when my body changes.

It's a challenge, but I am learning to accept my body for what it is!
It was actually good to see all the other students' photos within the Craftsy class, because it was nice to see that I'm not the only one who struggles to get a good fit, and that there are other non-standard bodies out there :)

I learned that my fitting issues are pretty consistent.
I found myself making the alterations I've discovered a need for across the many pattern companies I've tried out, so I suppose that's good to know. I'm no longer hoping for some magical pattern to come along that will happen to fit me from the envelope!

I learned new methods of tackling fitting and pattern alteration.
The more ways I try, I more I discover what feels right for me. The great thing is that there is no "wrong" way, as long as it works for you!

I learned that internet people are the coolest.
I want to say, thank you SO much to all the lovely, lovely comments you guys gave me, encouraging me, giving me advice, and letting me know you guys have fit issues too. It really helped me along, and I highly appreciate them! You guys are fantastic! :D

And now for my review of the class:

Sew the Perfect Fit on Craftsy
-Content-wise, it was good value, though I wouldn't call it a comprehensive resource for fitting. Three different models were fitted, so a variety of fitting challenges were covered. The initial muslin-altering stage was followed up with how to transfer it to the pattern, which was great to see. I learned a lot of new ways to tackle pattern-work.

-I enjoyed the slash and hack approach to pattern fitting. I enjoy the intuition of this approach, and also, who doesn't like slicing up fabric? She describes the muslin as a laboratory, which is a great way to think of it. There's such freedom to it; drawing on the fabric, cutting slits to relieve tension... which is why I don't believe in wearable muslins, unless the fitting issues are extremely minor.

-I was impressed by the prompt replies from the teacher, though the answers were not always thorough enough to address the questions I brought up. I like to understand everything about what I'm doing, so it was sometimes frustrating.
The difficulty in communication is a standard downfall of such a medium though, I suppose.

-This is more of an annoyance at the Craftsy platform, but the commenting system kinda sucks when you want to add photos. You can only add one photo per comment, and when viewing comment threads you have to click on each photo individually to view them at a good size. It's a real pain to deal with.

-I liked the personality of the teacher. No fluff, just good information. I've viewed other classes where the teacher waffles on and on about irrelevant material for minutes, which is so frustrating.

-The pattern is included as part of the class, and I think it is a good choice of pattern. A basic darted bodice and fitted skirt, which I feel is a great tool once the fit is correct! One thing I would have preferred is for the sleeve to be a standard set-in sleeve with no darts in the head. I haven't tackled fitting the sleeve at all yet. The journey is just getting started!

Final thoughts:
YAY IT'S OVER!! I hope to use this bodice for the base of many garments, to avoid future fitting headaches. Also, huge thanks to my husband for pinning me in so many times and taking photos of me wearing hideous bedsheets. What a gem right? :)
I hope these fitting posts helped some people. Now let's make some garments!

Tuesday, 18 February 2014

Giveaway Winner and Boss Me Around!

So as you may or may not know, I participate in The Monthly Stitch, a blog where a bunch of sewers get together and sew to a theme each month (though I don't always succeed at that!).
March's challenge is to sew up a pattern that's been lurking in your stash, but the catch is, the readers get to decide. Eep! My fate is in your hands...
Here are my three choices:

#1: The Colette Beignet Skirt:
Fear factor: 4/5
This is such an elegant design; I've wanted to sew it forever, but it scares me for these reasons:
-A semi-fitted skirt, eeeeep! Muslin time! (I have tried to muslin a fitted skirt pattern before and it didn't end well. I think I've learned from that though, so it might WILL go better this time.)
-Loads of seams!
-The challenge of sewing with corduroy

This won't be a quick make but it really is a beautiful pattern. I have burgundy corduroy in mind.

#2: The Kelly Skirt by Megan Neilsen:

Fear Factor: 2/5
This is quite similar to Beignet I admit, but a lot simpler. It's more casual and fun I think. Again I have corduroy in mind! I'm not trying to cheat the poll by putting in two patterns so similar, I promise! It's just that both patterns have been lurking on me! Haha.

-The challenge of sewing with corduroy

#3: The Shirtwaist Dress from Gertie's Book for Better Sewing

Fear factor: 5/5
-Buttoooooons (Seems I've set myself up for buttons whatever I do. Oh dear.)
-Sleeves and collar!
-Last year I went through the muslin fail-zone with this pattern so I'm still a bit scarred (TWO awful muslins and no finished garment. Yeah.). My new idea is to use my new fitted bodice from Vogue 8766 as a base, and Frankenpattern the rest together. Which I have no idea how to do...Heh.

I have a navy linen in mind for this.

So yes, for these patterns I'm simultaneously excited and terrified.
Please vote here and you can add your reasons in the comments too! :D

Which Pattern Should I Make?
pollcode.com free polls 

Oh, and let's not forget the giveaway for my blog's second birthday!
The winner of the giveaway is...
Kirsty of Tea and Rainbows who wanted the Hot Cider Pullover... good choice!
Please get in touch with me to claim your prize, you lucky thing you :)

Friday, 14 February 2014

Complete: My Fitted Bodice Dress!

Oh yeah, after my fitting odyssey, it's easy to forget I can actually make a garment from the damn pattern, instead of endless muslins!
The BEST thing about this garment was that I didn't have to try on and attempt to fit as I went. I knew I'd invested the time to make it turn out right!
Sooo.... here it is :O

For my other posts in the fitting series, here's a link to post #1post #2, and post #3.

I spent a while deciding what to make first with my new darted bodice block. In the end I decided I would show off my good fit by letting it speak for itself. No distracting design details, no patterned fabric. (However I am looking forward to playing with both of those things!) The pure simplicity of light pink linen. There's nowhere to hide!

This pattern is a true Frankenpattern; the bodice is Vogue 8766, the skirt is a Sewaholic Cambie, and I used the instructions for the Colette Truffle dress!
The instructions were good, if a little sparse. I finally got to try out the different way of lining a bodice which eliminates the need to hand-stitch! Yay! I've seen it floating around the web and have wanted to try it! I give it a thumbs up, though I will work to improve my technique in the future.
However, I did still hand-stitch the lining down at the waist, as stitching in the ditch from the right side is a bigger pain, in my opinion! (Maybe I just need more practice!)

I also need lots more practice at putting in invisible zips; I definitely still find them a bit scary, and it takes me a while to make sure everything's lined up right! But I got there, and it's rather invisible, so yay :) (And this was done with a regular zip foot, I still don't own a specialised foot. IT CAN BE DONE!)

This is a linen I bought when I was still a total sewing newb. I thought I'd make a top, but I realised it was too heavy and would result in a boxy top; not the look I was after. I'm glad it finally found its destiny!
The lining is a super cute lightweight floral someone from the WSBN gave to me. Score! I would have had enough to line the skirt as well as the bodice, but I accidentally cut extra pattern pieces I didn't need instead. Ugh! Lol!
But I'm so pleased at how they go together <3

Oh yeah, and frankenpatterning the pieces together was a case of "This'll be easy... *hours later* Hmmm, okay. I was wrong". I had to:
a) Make the seams of the bodice and skirt pieces the same length on both the front and back (they were quite different).
b) Make all the darts line up (again, quite different!)
I ended up increasing the waist of my bodice a little at the side seams, and decreasing the cambie skirt. On the bodice front, I didn't want to mess up the side seams because of the pockets, so I took it out of CF all the way down to the hem.
On the bodice back I took some from CF and a bit from the side seams, (On the side seams I tapered to the original side seams further down).
I was just sorta making it up as I went. Obviously since I'd fitted the bodice so carefully I tried to change it minimally, mainly changing the skirt.
For the darts, I moved them on both the bodice and the skirt, as they were quite discrepant! Phew, a lot more work than I anticipated!

By the way, I stained this fence, so admire it will you?? (I'm not DIY at all so this is a big deal haha!)
Side note: I wish I had nicer shoes to pair this with- wouldn't it look the bee's knees with some nude heels? Unfortunately I spend all the money I could be buying shoes with on fabric and yarn. Oops...

The linen was very fray-happy, so I pinked the seams that would be enclosed in the lining. I don't know if it was necessary, but it couldn't hurt... I finished some seams with zig zag and some with my overlocker (I'm still scared of chopping a hole in my garment with it by accident!).
For the hem, I pinked it, then stitched bias tape on top of it. I did this to reduce bulk, because instead of turning under the raw edge of the linen (two layers of medium-weight fabric), there is just the linen with the thin bias tape on top. I picked up this idea online. I think I'm doing it right?? Haha. I didn't have any lace which I suppose would be even better, being thinner!

Then I used my machine to blind hem it.

I switched my machine with my Mum's when I went up north for Christmas. Both of them are from the same series though, so it's almost the exact same machine! I believe these machines date from the late 1960s. Mine was the most basic level (I think it was a 732). Her 730 has a few extra features which include fancy ornamental stitches! I also like the way it runs a little better.

Last time I did a blind stitch hem, I had to use a long zig zag, and I did it this time too. It was only AFTERWARDS that I realised one of the fancy new ornamental stitches I have access to was a blind hem stitch! D'oh! I will use it next time and think I'll get a nicer result, as my wee test indicates... The stitches are spaced further apart which helps hide the hem.
Still, the jury is still out on whether it can beat a hand-stitched hem!

Bottom: dress hem. Top: Even BLINDERER sample hem! Next time!

Okay, I'm going to take a wee second to congratulate myself on my nice fit:
Boobie darts: Smooth and in the right spot.
Neckline: No gape
Side seam: Straight (YESSS)
Armholes: Not too low, follow the curves of my body.
Annnnd... Waist seam: LEVEL!!! It's Leveeeeeeeeeellllllllll!!!

Oh, and just for satisfaction, a comparison to my first muslin:

There are a few tweaks I can see myself making (I might blog that separately) but this is pretty good fit if you ask me! And boy I worked hard for it. Phew.

"I made this pretty dress, and all it took was a million hours of muslining! Simple!"
Now, bring on the squillion variations I guess! Heh :)

Ooh P.S Happy Valentine's Day! It is also my wedding anniversary today and we are going out for dinner. Naturally I shall wear this dress!
P.P.S Thanks for entering my giveaway, it is still going and I will announce the winner soon!

Tuesday, 11 February 2014

Happy Birthday, Blog!

I can't believe this blog has been going for 2 years now! :O
My blog is now a toddler.
I've learned a lot about sewing and knitting since I started it, but I think the main thing I've learned is how little I know!
When I started out, I totally thought it would be easier than it is. Along the way I've gotten mired in fitting issues, self-doubt, and all kinds of fails really!
But I shall keep trying, and keep learning. 
And most importantly, I shall strive to find the positivity in what I do, because there ARE successes, and I CAN get there in the end!

I would like to say, the absolute BEST thing about starting this blog is the awesome people I've gotten to know. I've met a group of bloggers here in Wellington who have made life a lot more fun, and I've also virtually met an amazing group of bloggers around the world who have taught me so much!
I am often amazed at how encouraging and helpful the online sewing community is. 
So I want to say a GIANT thank you to all of you!

And what would a celebration be without a giveaway?!
I know we all love to support indie pattern companies, so I'm giving away a pattern from In House Patterns! You can choose anything from their range.
OR, if you'd rather knit something and want to win a knitting pattern, link me to your most desired Ravelry pattern!

In-House Patterns are drafted for a D- cup, but there are tutorials on the blog on how to alter for smaller cup sizes, so don't worry!
I have made two Cool Cowl Tanks so far, but my true love is the Belle Bow Blouse. Such a sweet pattern. I really want to make it!

Note: It also has a collared view.

Sweet details <3
And straight from my knitting queue, if you want to be twinsssss, my picks are:

Blackberry Cabled Cardigan
Though you can have any pattern you want ;)

So to enter, just leave a comment and what pattern you'd like to win :)
And thanks for reading! :D

Wednesday, 5 February 2014

Completed: My Fantasy Pendrell

This is my second Sewaholic Pendrell, after my polka dot version. I love this ruffled variation the best, and it's the view that drew me to the pattern in the first place.

Wow, I look so smug here.
Why is this my fantasy Pendrell you ask? Well, because I've had the fabric forever and I've been wanting to make this with it forever too! I posted about it way back when I first started my blog and it's pretty funny how long it's taken me to realise that vision, but I guess that's pretty normal for me. The Pendrell project got bogged down in muslin-town for a while... again, not unusual for me. I'm so glad I took the time to fit it to my satisfaction though, because I love this fabric so much (omg florals and my favourite colours too!), I wanted to do it justice!

Oh and it gets bonus points for looking eerily similar to one of Tasia's Pendrells (the pattern designer)!
The fabulous Tasia of Sewaholic Patterns
Ugh now I need to make a Colette Beignet skirt like hers to complete a copycat outfit, lol! That's surely not creepy, right?? I have the pattern, but I'm afraid of how much work it might take to fit it nicely to my big ol' butt though, I confess. Heh...me and my fitting perfectionism.
These are new RTW jeans by the way, and if I made them I'd probably be upset at how they fit. But since I bought them in a shop, I'm fine with them. Such a silly mindset!

Here's a better view of the beautiful print and ruffles! Love it!

I didn't change much from my last version, just some minor adjustments like making the neckline a little wider so I can pull it over my head easier. I had a go at redrafting the bias facings since I'd messed up the armholes with my tinkering. It seemed to work pretty well. I got a good tip from Maryanne to press the bias into a curve before applying to the armholes. I'll have try to remember that one!

I can't help but want an army of Pendrells. They're flattering, and slip over the head, so no fastenings required! Well, if not an army, at least one of each view. Okay, maybe TWO of each view.
I also like how it looks with both skirts and pants, so it should be versatile!

I took these with the help of my tripod, which I'm really bad at using, haha! So the photos were all over the place. Enjoy some headless shots.

And I always end up getting shots like this, cos I think it's done taking photos and it's not, so I walk towards the camera. But I look all cool and nonchalant here, so I'll pretend I did it on purpose... :P

I guess there's not much more to say other than how satisfying it is for something so come out of my sewing machine with so little drama (now I've got the fitting out of the way)! The Pendrell has officially gained a "tried and true" stamp of approval- and remember, one of my goals this year is to sew from tried and true patterns. Bonus points there, eh?