Sunday, August 6, 2017

Purple Black Plaid Claire Wrap Dress

As soon as I finished my first Claire Wrap dress from Pattern Review I knew I wanted to make another, there were a couple of tweaks I wanted to make to see if I could get a bit better fit.

To make my second version I chose from my stash a piece of cotton fabric in purple, black and white plaid.    This is a material with no stretch so according to the pattern instructions I really should have gone up a size, however this totally didn't cross my mind when I started the project so I went ahead and again cut out a size 14.  This means that I've ended up with a dress that is just slightly to small.

I only had 2 yards of this fabric so I knew I was going to have to do a contrast, thankfully I managed to find in my stash just enough purple poplin cotton to make the yoke neckbands and ties.  I did have to piece the longer tie together to get it out of the scrap of purple and I also had to make the neckband and yoke facings out of a plain black cotton to fit all the pattern pieces on.

The changes that I made to the bodice pattern were to take a 1/2" out of the length of the bodice above the bust and through the arm hole.  I then added that 1/2" back in at the lengthen line where I originally took out 1", so that is back to a 1/2" adjustment. (Still a total of 1" taken out of the length of the bodice).

I like the way this sits around the arm holes better, but there are still some issues under my bust.  I'm hoping that most of them are just due to the the lack of stretch making the dress sit in the wrong place on my bust, but I'll have to try again at the larger size to see for sure.

Unfortunately that does mean that the dress has a tendency to gape at the neckline - I've pinned it together here to get it to sit nicely.

I made a mistake when cutting out the back piece.  I didn't have enough material to place the back piece on the fold so I planned to cut an extra seam allowance and put a seam up the back, but forgot when it came to cutting.

Thankfully I had one scrap piece big enough that I was able to cut an extra strip of fabric and pattern match it so that it's not too noticeable.

For the sleeves I again used the same cap sleeve pattern piece as last time rather than the sleeve that came with this pattern.  I cut the sleeve on the bias to provide a bit more contrast (and so I didn't have to worry about pattern matching).

As for the skirt I found that the skirt on my original dress poofed out a bit at the hips so this time I folded both the front and the back skirt pattern pieces straight down from the waist, taking about 2" off the width of the skirt at the hem.  What I didn't think about was how that was going to make the side seams sit.  I should have changed only the front piece and not the back.  As it sits now there's not quite enough material to go around my butt anymore.   If - sorry make that when - I make this again I think I'll put darts into the back skirt piece to provide more room for my butt without creating extra width at the side.

But back to this version - due to my lack of forethought, the side seams are now a bit too far back on my body, which makes the pockets a bit hard to get my hands into, and it means that the overlap in the front isn't quite as deep as it could be.

So overall I'm not 100% happy with how this dress fits.  It probably would have been better if I had gone up a size, as is I will need a snap/safety pin to be put in to hold the neckline closed, but I'll still wear it as a day dress I'm sure.

Next up I'd  like to try this pattern in a knit fabric to see how that fits.

Thursday, August 3, 2017

Silver Batik Dress

In my last post I mentioned some more peacock fabric that I picked up on my last vacation.  My plan for this fabric is to make another dress similar to my Avian Dress.  However upon further wearing I've noticed a few minor issues with the fit of that dress  - specifically the neckline gapes a little and I don't like the racer back.  Rather than risk ruining my good peacock fabric I decided to try the design changes I wanted to make on another material first.

I've had this material in my stash for a couple of month now, I picked it up at my favourite store one day when I found it, but had no idea what I was going to do with it.  Its a cotton fabric in a grey colour with large splodges of bright colours randomly placed all over it.  On top of this is a silver embossed geometric design in stripes.

As far as the pattern goes I made a modification to the shoulder slope for the front piece to make the front neckline sit flatter,

And then in the back I removed the racer back and created a deep scoop instead.

 I cut out the bodice and tried it on and liked the way it was sitting so went ahead and created  an all in one facing for the neck line and arm holes.  I finished the bodice seams using the overlocker then cut two strips to use as the waistband flaring them from the bodice out by about 1" each side.

The skirt is two rectangles sewed together with the silver stripes running horizontally as opposed to the rest of the dress where the silver stripes run vertically.  The top of the skirt is simply gathered and sewed onto the waistband and overlocked.  Pockets were sewed into the side seams of the skirt as all dresses need pockets as far as I'm concerned.

This dress is pretty simple, it only took one morning to make.  It slips on over my head so no closures are required and is a bit more relaxed fitting than my avian dress, I think because the waistband is a bit more flared.  Its cool, its comfortable and I really love wearing it.  I still don't love a gathered skirt and will go back to pleats on my next version, but for this dress I'm happy with the gathers.

Wednesday, August 2, 2017

Another Simple Tank

During our latest vacation we spent a couple of days in the Amish country in Pennsylvania.  This of course required many stops at quilt shops to look at the beautiful quilts.

There was one quilt pattern in particular that I was really drawn to,  the Cathedral Window Quilt.  I'm not a great fan of the muslin white as a background as was typically found in the Amish quilts, but I was really intrigued by how this went together so I allowed myself to be talked into buying the pattern.

Once we were home I grabbed a few scraps of fabric and started sewing.  This was done all by hand sitting in front of the TV at nights which was very relaxing.  I'm not sure what I can use this for, I've run out of the scrap material I was using and can't find any more so I can't make it any bigger, but I really like the way it turns out. (mind you there was no pressing involved here, this was just a trial to see how the pieces go together.)

Out of all the quilt stores that we went into (and just ask my kids - it was a lot)  my favourite was also a fabric store.  Of course most of the fabric was quilting cotton but I had to look anyway.  I found two pieces of fabric that I just had to have.

The first is another peacock design.  I don't love the light background colour, but I just knew I had to have this material, the colours on the peacock are just so bright and vibrant and me.  I bought a full 3 yards of this material and have plans to make another dress similar to my Avian dress.

The second piece of fabric I found is probably not me, but again it was an "I have to have this" fabric. I think more than anything I love the metallic gold print with the purples and blues.  Add to that the combination of floral and geometric design and I really love this.

I only bought 1 meter (sorry yard) of this fabric.  I knew that it was going to be another little tank top like my peacock tank.  I used the same pattern, although this time I skipped on the front wrap/overlap and just cut the front piece on the fold.

I modified the neckline a little too making both the front and the back into a deeper V.  I also cut the top a little longer, but an inch or so, and skipped using a band at the bottom.

As I only bought 1 yard of the fabric I ended up having to put a seam down the back.

Not too bad a job on pattern matching.

All openings were finished using facings which were then turned under and top stitched in place. I used french seams throughout the top for a really clean finish inside.

This top somehow ended up being a little tighter than my peacock top, but not in a bad way.  It's still comfortable and easy wearing.   I think one more iteration on this pattern and I should have it down, there's still a little pulling at the back I want to get rid of.

Tuesday, August 1, 2017

A Peacock Tank

I've been playing around with a lot more woven fabrics at the moment and I've been trying to create a basic tank pattern.  After a couple of disasterous draping attempts I decided that rather than reinvent the wheel I'd start with a free tank pattern and decided on the Sorbetto Tank from Collette.  I knew that there were a few issues with the pattern but I also knew that I was going to have to do a lot of adjustments anyway so just decided to start with that.

To begin the process I used a piece of satin left over from making a pajama set for my mum. As I was limited with fabric I eliminated the front pleat.

I cut the sorbetto to a size 12 all around and then basted it together and tried it on.  Quite a few modifications were required.  Once I was happy with my modifications I trimmed all the seam lines down, took everything apart and compared it to the pattern.

The shoulders and neckline were cut to about a size 6.  On the back piece I graded between a 6 under the arms, a 12 at the waist and a 10 at the hips.  On the front piece I graded between 10 under the arms, 8 at the waist and 12 at the hips.

Of course I couldn't leave it there though. I decided to try and make the pattern into a cross over top. I made the back neckline into a shallow V  and brought the front neckline down from the shoulder to about 3" across the center line.

To make the shirt I used a peacock fabric that I picked up at Walmart of all places.  I've noticed that my local Walmarts have started stocking Pellon interfacing really cheaply and I wanted to pick some up and I saw this fabric on the shelf.  I  have a love affair going with peacocks and couldn't resist buying this.

 I used a 1.5" band folded over and clean finished to complete the front and back necklines and 1" facings on the armhole that I turned under and stitched down.  After trying on the shirt the cross over gaped quite a bit so in the end I top stitched the whole neckline down.

I added a 3" band to the bottom of the shirt, but after trying it on decided I didn't like that length.  Rather than take it all apart I just turned the band up and stitched it in place. I like the way the extra weight makes the shirt hang.

I love the way the shirt feels.  Its cool and airy and very comfortable so I find myself reaching for it quite a bit.  I just need to make more shorts to match it!

It looks from these pictures like I need to do a few modifications to the back piece - it seems to be pulling up in the center a bit.

Monday, July 31, 2017

#OAL2017 Green Lace Cardigan

As I detailed in this post I've been attempting to join in with the 2017 Outfit Along #OAL2017 this year.  I had the sewn dress made quite early in the competition, but the knitted portion took a lot longer.  I also took a couple of weeks off knitting as I did a road trip with the kids and my best friend for 2 weeks, and avoided touching any wool during a couple of heatwaves so I wasn't entirely sure that I was going to finish this in time.

But finally two days before the deadline I managed the knit the last stitch.  I got the buttons sewed on, sewed in all the ends and did a quick steam block then headed out to take photos.

So onto the details:

The wool is  Classic Elite Yarns "Villa" in Emerald.  A  70% baby alpaca, 30% bamboo Viscose yarn that is soooo super soft and snuggly.  

The pattern is self drafted but based loosely on the OAL official pattern the Anaheim by Andi Satterlund.  I was planning on using the actual pattern, but when I looked at my swatch in the wool that I wanted to use I realised that I was going to have to do too many modifications to the pattern to make it worth it.  So I took the basic style and created my own pattern from scratch.  

I originally wanted to use a more complicated lace pattern but after a couple of repeats of the pattern where I messed it up every time I ripped it all out and started again.

This time I used a very simple pattern, the Diamond Eyelet Mesh. which was much easier to keep track of especially with all the increases etc.

I knitted the sweater in the raglan style from the top down using a basic garter stitch for the neckline, the eyelet pattern for front and back sections and plain stockinette for the arms.

The arm cuffs and bottom  were finished with 20 rows of 1x1 twisted rib.

I used two buttons from my stash to close the bottom band creating small loops on the edge of the band to go over the buttons.

This is a great little addition to my wardrobe.  Since I started wearing a lot of sleeveless dresses I've noticed I need a few more little cardigans to go with them. This works perfectly and now I think I need another one.

Overview for the #OAL2017

Tuesday, July 4, 2017

Black Pattern Review Claire Wrap Dress

When I first heard about the new Pattern Review dress pattern that was coming out I was quite excited.  A wrap dress that works for larger busted women, now that I wanted to see.  Then I saw the measurement chart and got even more excited - for a change my measurements were not all over the place.  My bust, hips and shoulders all seemed to fit within the size 14 range.  Of course my waist measurement was still larger than specified, but that's always going to be the case, and I figured with a wrap dress that wasn't going to be too much of an issue.

So after a bit of deliberating I went ahead and actually bought the pattern, printed it out and taped it all together.  I went for view B with the fuller skirt option.  I decided that I was going to try and stick to the pattern as much as possible for my first try with the pattern but I knew there was going to have to be some adjustment for height.

Based on the back waist measurement I decided to take 1" out of the top at the lengthen/shorten line, and then just based on holding the pattern up against my body, chopped the bottom off at the size 00 line, which took about 2" off the bottom of the pattern.

Now to chose fabric.  I wanted something light weight for summer.  I had a couple of options in my stash, but finally decided on a piece of black 100% cotton gauze.  It has a crepe type texture that provides quite a bit of stretch, is beautifully light and airy - and hey who doesn't need a little black dress.

I only had 2 yards of this fabric but I decided that that probably wouldn't be a problem as I wasn't going to do the long sleeves, or the collar and since I cut quite a bit off the length as well.

I cut out all the main body pieces and basted it all together and was quite surprised with how well it fit off the bat, so I went ahead and sewed it all together properly.  I french seamed all seams that were visible and clean finished all the neck and yoke edges so that it looks as good on the inside as it does on the outside.  The only part that I struggled with was around the pockets.  I wasn't a fan of the pattern instructions for the pockets and ended up ignoring them and just doing my own thing.  Also the slit to pass the wrap through ended up being a bit dodgy, but no one buy me will ever see that so meh!

The final step was figuring out what to do with the sleeves.  I contemplated leaving it sleeveless, but decided I would rather have little cap sleeves instead.  I started off with the sleeve pattern pieces, and just cut them off at the length I wanted them, but the sleeve cap height on the pattern sleeves was just too high and it didn't work for the look I wanted.  Thankfully I had just enough material left to cut a new cap sleeve, though it was cut on the cross grain, rather than with the grain.  I decided to use the sleeve pattern from New Look 6704 since I really like that sleeve.  The size 14 sleeve fit perfectly into the Claire size 14 arm hole which was nice.

The final verdict.  Pretty good.  I want to make a few small changes, the pockets need to come up a bit,

And the shape of the skirt needs to be slimmed down just a bit - it poofs a bit around the hips at the moment. otherwise I'm pretty happy.  The neckline sits quite nicely and the ties seem to be in the right place so that's the main thing.  The one thing I missed in the instructions though is how to finish the ends of the ties - that seems to have been left out.  I will go back and finish them now but I think I'll make a few changes next time I make this pattern...and there will be a next time.  I already have another one planned in my head.

Monday, June 26, 2017

#OAL2017 - Self Drafted Avian Dress

Andi Satterlund of Untangling Knots  and Lauren Taylor of Llaydybird are currently hosting what they call an Outfit Along (#OAL2017) where you knit a garment along with Andi and sew a garment along with Lauren to create an entire outfit.  

 This idea sounded like it was right up my alley so I decided that this year I was going to try and join in.

Now I've been spending money what seems like hand over fist at the moment so I decided that if I was going to do this I had to do it from stash so I took myself off to my Laundry where all my fabric and wool are stored and started looking for things that I could use.

I found a couple of different options but in the end I decided to go with this:

The material is a 100% medium weight duck cotton  that goes by the name "Avian" it's technically an upholstery fabric but since when has that ever stopped me.  I found this a while ago and didn't even think about it - I just knew I had to have it - I'm just glad now that I decided to buy 2 yards of it not just the 1 I was originally thinking of.

The Yarn is Classic Elite Yarns "Villa" in Emerald.  A  70% baby alpaca, 30% bamboo Viscose yarn that is so super soft and snuggly I couldn't resist it when I found it in the 40% off bin at In The Loop.  

Next issue - patterns.  The OAL has official patterns that go with it, but it is not required that you use those exact patterns to join in.  For the sewing portion of the OAL the official pattern is Kim Dress from By Hand London.  I was temped to buy this pattern right up until the point where is traced the outlines of the dress onto a picture of my body.  The style just didn't suit me at all.  I still wanted to keep the same basic idea of a dress though, and I knew that with such a heavy fabric it was going to need to be pretty structured, so I started sketching and ended up with this idea.

I pulled out my basic sloper and started tinkering.

I'm pretty happy with how it all turned out.  The fit of the front of the bodice is great - just one minor issue with the dart points, but they seem to be diminishing with wear which is nice.  

I lined the entire back bodice and the top half of the front bodice with some purple cotton that I had and inserted an invizible zipper down the back of the dress.

I'm not entirely convinced about the back of the dress.  The racer back seems to make my shoulders look huge - and its a bit of a pain to get a bra to fit underneath - you can just see it peaking out of the top here.

I think i'd also like just a touch more width across the back so that the rolls of fat are not quite so obvious.

The skirt is just two large rectangles with 8 equally spaced inverted box pleats.

I even remembered to put pockets in.  I put the pockets into the side seams, which in turn are hidden inside the side pleat.

Whilst this is not a garment I would usually wear day to day I'm really enjoying wearing it.  It'll be interesting to see just how much wear I get out of it though.

Now I've just got to see if I can manage to finish my cardigan in time - it seems to be taking ages to get anywhere.