Saturday, 22 November 2014

Lovely Ladies in London!!

I left my house this morning to meet a bunch of strangers off the Internet...
Sounds like the beginning of  a bad made for TV movie that doesn't end well doesn't it?

Well, I never! Did Miss J come out from behind her sewing machine and socialise with the sewing community!??

Oh yes she did.
Today I went to the fabric shopping and social meet up organised by Lauren of Lladybird

Turns out to have been a good day! Met ladies with fabulous sewing/patternmaking skills who's blogs I follow so I recognised them from the Internet (obviously Lauren) and also Sally which in a way was a bit weird, but good weird, kinda like meeting a celeb!  Of course nobody had a bloody clue who I was, but that's what you expect from never posting your picture on your blog!

Met some very talented, friendly, interesting women today. Some of them have great eye for fabric
 (very dangerous to go fabric shopping with them as they notice all the hot fabrics - you know who you are!) Amazed at some of the garms they had made not just in sewing but other crafts also. Some are sewing vets and some are just starting out, just a shame I didn't get to speak with everyone.

Got lost in all the talk about Renfrews and Collett patterns etc. but as I've been on a major pattern fast and spending untold time trying to draft my own, it all seems like another language to me! Will have to lurk these Indie patterns to know what the hell everyone is on about!
Believe I've made some new friends,  looking forward to future meet ups and keeping in touch and comparing what we've made!

Today has taught me:

1. It's good to meet up with like minded folks

2. Miss J, please sew something that is weather appropriate!! You don't live in Southern California so what's with all the floral dresses and pencil skirts?! Please sew a pair of trousers and a jacket so you coulda had something to wear to a Winter meet up to show peeps you can actually string a needle.

3. Close the purse sooner.  Do you really need to add to that fabric stash? You're a metre of cotton away from being declared a hoarder.

4. I'm an antisocial luddite.  Must get on this Pinterest/ Instagram/ Twitter stuff.

Here's what I bought.  Very conservative colours for me, seems like this Autumn/Winter thing might be kicking in!


Thursday, 13 November 2014

Books, Bloggers and You Tube to the Rescue!!

I line most of my items because I like the way it makes the garments feel a bit more expensive and well made. It even makes them easier to iron, the VPL doesn't show through and I like the idea that the inside of the garment can be as cute as you like!

 BUT lining vented skirts was something that I just couldn't get.  I went to a class where it was demonstrated and it just seemed like some form of magic that I wouldn't ever be able to get.   I just didn't get it and I wasn't even sure about drafting the pattern for the lining. I'm okay with drafting the pattern for the skirt itself.

Now, I could have just left the linings free hanging like this dress I bought from Marks and Spencer, but I wasn't feeling it, I mean I'm trying to get skills here!

The lining on the back of this vented dress ain't sayin' nothing!
Now Connie Long's Easy Guide to Sewing linings is a great book which I used as a basis for cutting the pattern for lining my pencil skirt but even then I was still being a bit thick on the mechanics of actually sewing the thing together.   Thanks "A Fashionable Stitch" and "Fashion SewingBlog" your clear descriptions and diagrams were the final piece of the puzzle in explaining the conundrum of how to line a vented skirt! If you need help with lining vented skirts see here for Sunni's great tutorial. and see's excellent video explains it all.  Thanks guys.

Now, I've got a thing about pencil skirts.  They go with so much, lend themselves to all kinds of fabrics, patterned or plain. I hope to make more, here are my two lined, vented creations.

Memo to self - cotton linings and opaque tights are not really friends.  The skirt seems to want to ride up. Very annoying! I'll try the smooth viscose lining for my winter skirts. 

Pencil skirt with invisible zip through waistband
The lining, made with viscose material that bad colour run on the test wash and then an even worse dye job to repair, but waste not, want not eh?

Yeahhhh!!! No more shop bought pencil skirts that are too big in the waist and too tight in the hip. No more compromise on the length,  now I can have vents in the back, side or front of my skirt if I want!

Love it!!!!

Pencil skirt made with scraps of mustard cotton with a decorative pleated waistband,
poppers closure with belt loops and lapped zip. Lining is polycotton.

Tuesday, 26 August 2014

1950's Cherry Dress- Ms J's Flat Pattern Cutting and Draping!!!

Just as the Summer draws to a close, I finally finish my Cherry Dress.  It took my so long to make in between my other commitments, but it was so worth the effort! This dress is just lovely.  Even if I say so myself!!!
These dresses were my inspiration.

My challenge was:
Can you, seriously, draft a dress similar to this from scratch and sew it together??

This took me out of my patternmaking box, as I had to think about how to draft these design features instead of just doing what I know to do. Although I didn't do the pockets. Old habits die hard eh?

I had to call on my trusty tailors dummy so we could do some draping together. I then translated that into a flat paper pattern.

This cherry fabric is louder than I usually wear, but sometimes a girl needs a change.  It's a lovely cotton but to make the double pleats pop like I wanted, I decided to underline with a plain cream cotton instead of lining the traditional way.

Yes, I know, I could have ironed the fabic before taking the picture. Hangs head in shame.

And here it is!

 Low back, double inverted box pleats, waistband, lapped zip and underlined thoughout.
The Cherry Dress feels heavy, pleats look crisp, it's very eyecatching and looks even better on, but there's no picture coz you know me, I'm shy!!

Thursday, 12 June 2014

I Love a Peplum! I never had one so I designed my own!!!

I don't even know if peplums are  in fashion anymore and I don't care ! I fancied a pepum so I made my own.

I found some old black cotton blend material from years ago that I never used, if I spoiled this then it's no disaster.

 I like a princess seam, so challenge number 1 was to change my basic bodice block with the darts into princess seams. I wanted the princess seams coming from the armhole not the seams coming from the shoulder. Like this...

My basic block

I got a thing for pleats at the moment  Not pleated skirts coz I got enough going on in the hip department, but pleats as detail. This frock needed to have a pleat in the peplum.

To make the peplum I measured the amount of fabric I'd need to go around  ( allowing for the pleat), cut paper to match and then slashed and spread the paper to get the pepum width at the bottom.  I them stuck this template to another piece of paper and that became the peplum.
I know there are much more elegant, mathematical means of doing this, but I can't be doing with them.
Can't believe one frock has so many pattern pieces!

The finished article!

The sleeves were orginally three-quarter length, but since I had a lil bit of the fabric left, I decided to make a decision to add an additional pleat detail to the sleeve to match the peplum.


My first peplum!

Saturday, 10 May 2014

My fully lined self drafted floral Summer frock

It was a cold wet rainy day, but when I saw this fabric I was transported to a world where it's tropical and I I'm soaking up the sun and looking fabulous in my full skirted summer frock.

Four meters of material and loads of pattern paper later, here is the frock I created.  All from my imagination and lined with green polycotton that I got for a bargain.

Well pleased, but one silly mistake, decided last minute to shorten the shoulder seam and in doing so, raised up my bust darts by 0.5 cm.   The fabric kinda hides it so its OK and it got a couple of complements.

Overall I'm happy with my design, I'll be making this again.

Here is my wonderful assistant modelling the frock
The line drawing my self drafted pattern is based on