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? :)