Sunday, 27 December 2015

Completed: Christmas Candy-Cane Dress

Merry Christmas! It seems I always seem to end up making red dresses (see 1 and 2, but looks like I skipped the tradition last year) at Christmas, and this year I inadvertently dressed as a candy cane. No regrets!

This project was a resurrection of an old UFO. I'd cut it out and abandoned it, mostly because I wasn't convinced on the style I'd chosen.
This fabric is quite stiff, which made me a bit cautious about what to make with it. I was concerned it wouldn't work as a dress.
The original design I'd chosen was another one of this Vogue pattern but I'd planned to do the gathers as pleats for my 2nd version of it. The reason I abandoned it was that I decided I didn't like that plan after all. When I dug it out I decided to cut a different design from the scraps and existing cut pieces. I had just enough!

I just made this from my bodice block (no surprises there). The button placket is a separate pattern piece so I could have the stripes running in different directions.

I figured pleats were the only choice for the skirt. I wanted the stripes running straight across, which limited me to a gathered rectangle or a pleated rectangle. No way would gathering a fabric this stiff work!
I'm sure you can see from the photos it is quite crisp. It would probably work really well as a summer jacket.

Creating the pleated skirt was based on my best guess at what would look good, in terms of the spacing and depth of pleats.
I wanted the first pleat to align with the waist dart and went from there. It's basically a very similar look to the skirt on my shirt dress pattern, but with deeper pleats and no flare to the side seam.

Overall I'm pretty happy with the pleats, although maybe I would move the back skirt pleats inwards  so there wasn't such a large gap at centre back. Maybe the centre pleat could align with the back dart instead of the inner pleat...

Also, butt wrinkles from sitting.

I think the last dress I made I mentioned I wanted to properly conquer dress linings so I have started on that mission.
There are so many different ways of lining different bodices that it can be overwhelming!
With a bit of research I figured out how I wanted to do it.
In a few words, I bagged out the whole bodice except for the centre front and waist seam.
Then, I attached the skirt to the shell. Then I reached through the centre front opening and pulled it inside-out to enclose the waist seam in the lining.  Then I sewed the button plackets on at cf, enclosing the edges of the lining and shell in there.
That probably makes no sense!

Anyway, I'm pretty committed to figuring things out for myself these days as searching for the perfect tutorial actually makes life harder.  Once you've got the gist of a technique, I say go for it and figure the rest out as you go.

Let's talk about the bow. I tossed up between red buttons and no bow, and white buttons with a bow. I know the bow is ludicrous but I couldn't resist. Sorry, it's too cute. My husband said it looked weird but I kinda love it so there.

As you can see, I placed a button underneath it to hold the dress shut there, with the button hole on the opposite side to all the others. Fastening it is a bit of a pain but not too bad!

So I actually cut this fabric on the cross grain, because I didn't want the stripes going vertically. It is a 97% cotton, 3% spandex fabric so that unfortunately means the stretch runs vertically! Oh well! I didn't even bother trying to match the stripes across the seams. They're too small for me to care about.

Ooh and there are pockets in the side seams (of course). I tried a different way of putting them in where I sewed the side seam above and below the pocket opening first, and then sewed the pocket bags to each of the seam allowances. Then I sewed around the edges of the pocket bags to join them together, finished the edges and tacked them to the seam allowance above and below the pocket opening so the top and bottom didn't flop around. Clear as mud? I like how you can finish the edge of the pocket bags together instead of separately, and that the seam can be pressed open without clipping.

However, I normally do it a different way, and I think I prefer the original way as it is easier (Sew pockets to front and back skirt separately, then sew around pocket edges as you sew the side seam).

I also find these gape open more easily than my normal pocket technique... boo! I'm sure I could edit this technique to set the pockets back from the seamline just like my normal technique though. 

Pocket grump face

I kept the furry selvage as the hem, and thought I was very clever to cover it with rayon seam binding, but as you can see, my shonky top-stitched hem didn't catch the hem perfectly at the edge of the seam binding, so after sitting on it, it got mushed down and my selvage shame was revealed. lol :P

Anyway, that's my dress! Thanks to my friend Joy for taking the photos. You can thank her for this lovely shot of my armpit as I take flight! After she took this I flew off into the sky in search of fabric stores in the clouds.

Saturday, 19 December 2015

Completed: Self-written Cardigan!

Hello! I made a cardigan!
I'm not sure why I'm looking so highly mischievous in this photo though. Maybe I was feeling smug that I made my top and skirt too? (Both old makes though!)

I made this cardigan from the frogged remains of this top I made quite a while ago. I never really wore it, so I decided this yarn would be happier as a cardigan, as they are so versatile!
Because I often end up totally rewriting patterns for my fit preferences, I decided I would just knock off a pattern I liked the look of. What's the point of buying a pattern, only to rewrite it?

So the pattern I knocked off was Velynda. I could see I'd have to totally rewrite the pattern to my preferences anyway, as I didn't like the neckline, length, or loose sleeves. In other words, all I liked was the stitch pattern. So I figured out what it was by looking at it, and wrote my own pattern.

However,  I still like to buy patterns with complicated stitch patterns, as I don't want to write my own complicated charts. Often I also pick up some construction tips along the way!

This was a really simple pattern so I just went for it on my own. Overall I'm pleased with it. It really wasn't so hard to make my own pattern after all the practice I've had at alterations!

One of the things I would improve next time is to not place all the waist shaping at the side. It's a better look to place it more at the side front and side back so it's not all at the same spot. In this way the shaping is spread over the body and looks less obvious. When the bottom of my cardigan is left unbuttoned you can see the hip shaping poking out a bit.
But I'm probably the only one who would notice!

I usually like to add ribbon to my button bands to stabilise, but I couldn't find any in the right colour so I left it! I'm so matchy-matchy I can't stand the idea of a contrast colour peeking out. Lol :)

I knitted this from the top down as I find it the easiest way to knit a cardigan, as well as having the bonus as being able to try on as you go! I hate when I knit a cardigan bottom up and it ends up too long! I used the short row sleeve cap method that I've become quite comfortable with (Andi Satterlunds patterns use this a lot!). I also knit it with no side seams, and the sleeves were knit in the round on DPNs.
One thing I didn't plan quite right was the neckline. I intended it to be higher, but at least this way I can wear bow-neck dresses underneath. Which I DO NOT own enough of. I must remedy this.

I think this muted blue colour works really well with some of my favourite colours, so I'm hoping this cardigan gets used more than its previous incarnation as a top!
Honestly there's not too much more to say about this, so I'll just leave it there!

Sunday, 6 December 2015

Completed: Shirt!

I made this shirt hmm, over 6 months ago. By the time I finished it, the weather was too cold to wear it! So it's only just being blogged now. It's my first shirt!
I look kind of glum in these photos, and it's not just that I'm not in love with the garment, but also because I was a bit under the weather when I took them!

The pattern is Butterick 5526, but I opted to leave the sleeves off and finished the armholes with self-bias facing. Sorry, no pics of the inside, I forgot!

Funnily, when I got it out to photograph it for the blog, I was like WHOA, this looks so legit! Then I remembered all the mistakes I made during it and looked a little bit closer and was like... oh yeah, I definitely made this. Haha. For instance, I got too frustrated with the collar, so when I realised I'd sewn the stand with the interfacing on the outside of the garment, I decided I didn't care, HAH. It's white so doesn't show. But you can see if you look closely... I wonder if it will survive the wash?? :P

I made this way harder than it needed to be. For one, I tried to alter the pattern to fit me, so there was a whole muslining/toileing business. It was quite a while ago, but I think I made three. The whole reason I chose to make this pattern was because I didn't feel confident frankenpatterning the collar onto a different pattern, but really, that would have saved me a lot of time!

I was also really nervous about the collar construction as it seemed fiddly and scary. It's really not as bad as all that. I mean, I stuffed up a bunch and did a LOT of unpicking, but that's part of the process of learning. Haha!
Since I made this shirt I've become more confident and I'm trying to train myself out of being scared of new sewing techniques!

The fit turned out okay after all my tweaks- I did end up over-fitting it a little though. I also realised that since I'm such a lover of high-waisted skirts, I'm probably going to be tucking it in a lot anyway! No one will see how the back princess seams accommodate my rear. Lol!
I feel like it's a bit weird at the back armhole area though. I compared it to my bodice block and the bodice block has a much longer back armhole. I think it's also a little wide in the back armhole area.
I don't know if I should leave it as is, or try to tweak it. Lol, I don't want to get that thing where you try to fix a fitting issue and end up making it worse!

It's a bit hard to diagnose fitting issues when it's tucked in though!!

Then of course, there's also the fact that I want to make a full-sleeved version (ooh, cuffs!), so I'll have to fit the sleeve. I supposed I should try to fix the armhole if I do that. Yawn! I want some instant gratification!!

You can really see a difference in the strain lines at the neck when the top two buttons are undone though!

Fully done up neckline

Button undone at top helps it relax a bit!

I put it on with some pants so I could show the fit. These photos and this fabric really show every crease. Oof! I think it looks worst at the back waist, but at least the shape fits over my rear properly (unlike most tops). Also, there's a black bug on me in these photos. Haha!

So anyway, the style. It's a pretty basic shirt, and well, it kinda bores me. Plus the colour! No, no, this won't do. It's not cute enough! I look like a sensible adult! (Noooo!)
I'd like to make some more shirts, but I will have to make them more "me".
I even tried adding a cute necklace, but I still feel so boring in it. I mean, the skirt is pretty plain too. So that doesn't help (I do love this skirt a lot though- the post on that is here).

Oh no, I still look sensible!! lol
So what do you guys think? Fit-wise, how do you like your shirts? Any tips? And what's your favourite way to style a shirt? :)

Wednesday, 4 November 2015

Completed: Bunny Dress with Pom Pom Trim

Yay the weather is finally warming up!! Summer clothing time! <3

Alright! Time to start off with a dress covered in bunnies. What? I enjoy dressing like a five year old, don't judge! lol :)

This is self-drafted using my bodice block. I know what you're thinking though... isn't that just like the Sewaholic Cambie Dress? Why didn't I just use that? Well, for one, I already made it, and the fit was bad. It bugs me every time I wear it *shudder*. Secondly, I like to draft stuff. And third, this IS slightly different: It has a front button opening, and has full straps, instead of front straps that attach to a full back bodice.

The Cambie back bodice, for your reference.

The strap thing is important: I wanted to incorporate this adorable pom pom trim I had, and thought it would work way better as straps, instead of trying to weirdly make it work with the strap/bodice combo.

The pom pom trim and the pockets are my favourite things about this dress! SO CUTE! Oh, and the fabric of course!

This is similar to the fabric I used in my Cat Lady dress, and the reason for that is that they are part of the same range of fabric, "Dear Little World". I don't usually buy quilting cotton, but sometimes I just want an obnoxiously cute dress.

Cat Lady Dress!

Next time I would straighten out the centre front bodice earlier, as it sort of curves up subtly at the centre. But clearly I enjoy the pockets way too much to focus on that...

The biggest thing I would change is the straps. I like where they sit on the front just fine, but I think they are too far out to the sides at the back.  The shaping at the shoulders is also off - too high at the inner edge, and too low at the outer edge!

Look how far apart the straps are... whoops! lol :P 

All of this means they easily fall off my shoulders. I installed bra strap holders (bought at local store Made Marion) on the inside so my bra would help keep them in check. Because I was too lazy to fix the straps, I just made more work somewhere else. Perfectly logical.

I was too lazy to make the changes the straps needed for this dress, and I'm happy enough with them this time, but if I made it again, I'd try to improve them! Anyway, I've already worn it out and about, and the straps didn't bother me, so it was fine.

I think I like how they curve off the shoulder, but tried them sitting on the shoulder, and that's an option know, IF I make this again.

Straps ON the shoulder. I prefer them curving off it though, it's kinda like a cap sleeve!

I love how drafting from my block means I don't have to worry about fit. I don't understand why more people don't do this. Drafting is fun!

Also, I made a tulle petticoat. Most of these pictures I don't have it on underneath, but it does add a bit of puffiness. I mixed up the photos and don't care enough to figure it out. Hah! I'll have to post about the petticoat in a separate post!

I lined the dress in cream voile. One of the bits about drafting your own stuff is making up your own instructions. Which admittedly slows down my sewing, but I made it work!
It also helps to have crafty friends like fellow blogger A Charm of Magpies to donate her sewing brains!

I wanted to self-line the whole bodice, but didn't have enough fabric! I interfaced the whole outer shell of the bodice as the fabric is lightweight. I also interfaced the self-facing at the centre front, but only on the button part. Same with the skirt; the narrow facing for the button band is interfaced. I wasn't sure if it looked weird jumping from the wide bodice facing to the narrow skirt facing, but I can't think of a better way to do it. Construction advice gratefully received, as always!

Anyway, that's my dress... bring on summer, and bring on more summer dresses (and better photos... lol!)

Sunday, 18 October 2015

Completed (again): McCalls Knit Dress

Hello! I made a merino dress! I've made this knit pattern a few times now (McCalls 5974), so for a more in-depth look at the pattern, check those out, particularly my first encounter with it, where I grumped about the pattern, lol.
Update on the older makes: I definitely wear the merino one the most. The other ones are more thin and clingy so I feel a bit more self-conscious in them. Plus the merino one is perfect with tights, which feels less exposed again.
Oh, and apologies for the wrinkles in my dress!

To summarise the problems I have with this pattern:
-Big 4 and their notorious ease. I went down 3 sizes to start with, and took it in from there. LOL at them including 4" of ease in a fitted knit dress. Guys, what are you UP TO?

-The construction instructions are dumb and time-wasting. I elaborated on this in my first post. Also, lol at their instructions including an option for a zip (so unnecessary for a knit, I guess unless you used a super-stable non-stretchy knit).

Oh! I also made my lovely Mum one out of some super luscious merino. She looks beautiful right?? And the dress is only a small part of that :)  I made a similar size to mine with just a few minor tweaks to improve the fit. Adjustments to the shoulders, waist and a slight FBA.

The merino I used for mine was on special, and it's definitely not as nice in quality; it feels a bit thinner, and not as delightfully soft as that gorgeous teal merino. Still, I've been wearing it plenty as a casual, warm dress. I wish my fabric was a little beefier though, as I think a thicker knit makes it more dressy. As I mentioned, I'm not a fan of thin and clingy knits!

Actually, looking at these pictures now, I think I would have done better to shorten it a little; I think that gives a more youthful look. Also, I feel quite comfortable in shorter skirts when I know I'm going to always wear tights with them!

Okay, let's talk about the hem. It is wonky as heck. Because I was too lazy to level it. I ALWAYS regret not levelling hems. Okay, hopefully the lesson sticks this time. I thought I'd be smart and lengthen the back, as that always needs less taken off when levelling (due to my butt!). As you can see, I over-compensated and it's actually too long in the back. Better than too short I guess? lol.

I've covered my construction notes in the previous posts, but for your reference, it is mainly overlocked. The hem on the neckline is nothing fancy, just double rolled and topstitched. I know some people finish this with a shorter band that pulls the neckline in, to prevent gape, but for this dress I've found this actually unnecessary! Another tecnhique I considered was putting some clear elastic in it, but I went without, and it is fine. This may vary between knits though.

Even though hemming around a neckline curve would be a disaster on a woven, the knits I've used have taken this treatment without complaint. Even after going through the wash multiple times, the neckline on my grey dress is holding up great. So sometimes keeping it simple totally works.

The sleeve and skirt hems are finished with a twin needle. Pretty standard stuff.
This dress is on the practical end of the spectrum so I can't say I'm totally excited about it, but I'm glad to have it. :)

Looking like a dork giving a twirl! As you can see I wear a half-slip with this dress to combat the cling-factor.

Anyway, HOORAY I don't have to wear this much anymore - the weather is warming up and I'm so happy! Bring on the warm weather, and bring on Summer :) And Summer dresses ;)

Saturday, 5 September 2015

Completed Knit: Berwick

Hi! It's been quite a while since I posted; life has been really busy with school work.
Here's a jersey I made. This took me, oh, about a year? I stopped knitting it mid-project because I decided I wasn't a fan of the style after all. It's just so clingy around my bum and I knew it was going to turn out too short for my comfort.

Later, I decided to complete it as I'd already knitted so much of it, and I knew I'd at least find it comfy around the home.

The pattern is Berwick, found here on Ravelry. The original pattern is a bit different; it's shorter and has a kangaroo pocket.

I find that a really awkward length, hence my decision to lengthen it. But I didn't lengthen it enough! And I also forgot how much I disliked garments that were clingy on my butt and thighs and stomach. Ugh, I'm never wearing this out (even though I have publicly blogged it, which doesn't make much logical sense). I hate clothing that makes me feel like I have to suck my gut in and worry about it riding up to show my butt!

So uncomfortable 

It's too bad, because I really love the squishy collar! It is knitted in a brioche rib, which takes forever, but I must admit, is a very nice effect.

I also like the buttons....

...which are a total fake out!! As you can see, it's done up with snaps. This is the way the pattern instructs and I am not a fan. What's the point?? It would have been easy enough to write buttonholes into the pattern, and then I wouldn't have to sew on two sets of snaps, thus saving me time and annoyance.

There's ribbon sewn on the back of each snap section to stabilise the area. Another gripe with this pattern - it asks you to buy 45cm of ribbon (which I did), and then asks you to cut two 25cm lengths. Which adds up to a total of 50cm. That's a problem. As you can see, my ribbon is a bit skimpy, which doesn't really matter, but still. Basic maths.
ALSO! Did you notice the different shade of blue along the top of the collar?? Turns out, my laaaast little bit of wool was dyed differently and did not match. This annoyed me a bit, but as I am not too invested in the garment, I'm actually fine with it. Like I said, I won't be out and about in this.

You may have noticed , one side of the hem is saggy. I put this down to lazy and careless blocking, as I had really become pretty blasé about the garment by that point! It must have gotten stretched out! Either that or my knitting went horribly wrong without me noticing.

I don't have heaps to say about this garment, but I'm glad to blog again after not posting for a while. Hopefully next time I will be more excited about what I have to show you guys. Heh! Anyway, I don't think I've mentioned this on my blog yet, so this is a little bit of news for those of you who stuck around till the end. lol! I've switched to studying fashion design, and I'm really enjoying it! I don't think I'll be sharing my school work on my blog, but I'm thinking of sharing some snaps of my school life on my instagram. Would you guys be interested? :)

Anyway, I'm still reading everyone's blogs, even if mine is a little quiet right now! Would you guys blog something you feel uncomfortable in? I guessed I've learned one more lesson about what is and isn't right for me!