Wednesday, July 9, 2014

And the stash grows...

I recently had a chance to go fabric shopping in London (England). I know, right? I went over to visit a good friend, and had only three plans for my vacation: see friends, eat amazing vegetarian food, and buy fabric. It was a good vacation!

Top left: A funky chartreuse paisley soft cotton from one of the great cramped shops on Goldhawk Road. I can't totally remember, but I think I bought enough for a dress.

Top middle: Michael Miller from a cute quilting shop in Bury St. Edmunds. I'm thinking a-line skirt.

Top right: Yes, that's right, I splurged on some Liberty Tana Lawn. It was NOT CHEAP. But I'd budgeted for it. I'm thinking a blouse of some sort, maybe with something contrasting as trim.

Bottom right: A fairly heavyweight jersey that will be a dress, and my first attempt at sewing stretch fabrics. Like I promised I would do this year!

Bottom middle: Also bought at Liberty, but I believe it's another designer. I'm in love with this. I've really started falling for navy recently, especially with orange.

Bottom left: This is a 1.5 metre remnant from a great store on Berwick St. in London - mostly too pricey, but they have a wonderful sale basement. Kitty cats! And wonderfully drapey. I should be able to get a basic top out of this.

I can't wait! I've been fondling these for days.

In less exciting news, I think I'm going to abandon the dress I was fitting. I'm still not thrilled with the fit, plus now, after packing things up for the housesitter, I'm not sure which altered tissue was the last one. Argh. So I'm going to put it aside, and then start again in a bit. For now, I'm thinking skirt. I need something that doesn't require an FBA!

Sunday, April 27, 2014

Pants in the wild

I finished my pants! And I wore them to work, and they (mostly) held up.

It's surprisingly hard to hem pants on yourself - skirts are somehow easier. But pants, pants have two legs that both have to be the same length. Not to mention that I had to decide what length to make them in the first place. But it's done, and I'm quite pleased with myself.

The one small problem is with the zipper - I had to shorten it, since I shortened the crotch length. But I think that stitching came out. It still works, it just comes completely apart if I zip it fully open. I'm pretty sure I can fix that without having to take anything apart.

Yes, I will probably make these again. I really do need more trousers. Sadly, although I made all the adjustments to the leg pieces, I forgot to adjust any of the other pattern pieces (fly, pocket, waistband) so I made all those adjustments as I was going. So they won't be quite as quick as I would have hoped a second time.

In the mean time, as I was procrastinating hand hemming the legs, I started fitting another pattern - the next thing in the Colette Sewing Handbook, a shift dress of sorts. I'm having a very hard time with this one! I did the same adjustments I did for the Cambie dress (shortened the bodice, swayback, FBA). Colette patterns are built for a C cup instead of the standard B, so I did a smaller FBA. But wow, the muslin did not fit.

I think it's just too big in the bust. I cut a 12 top to a 16 at the waist, and all that seemed okay, but perhaps I overdid the FBA. Just a touch. :) It's also too short in the middle. And I couldn't get a good picture of the back, but it was TERRIBLE - still too long, I think, and weirdly blousy.

Looking at the back pieces again, I think the problem is that the darts were shortened when I shortened the pattern, and I should have redrawn then back to the original length. And for the front, I've gone down to a 1 1/2" FBA. Once I can get the bodice part fitted properly, I can look at the length again. And this time I'm going to remember to make adjustments to the facing pattern pieces as well.

Thursday, March 6, 2014

A Long Day's Journey into Pants

Remember me?

You'd think that a long (very long), cold (very cold) winter would be perfect for lots of sewing. But sewing requires taking your hands out from under the blankets. So, you know. But I finally struggled out from under the cats and pulled out the trousers.

Look, they actually look like pants! I had a moment of panic when I put them on and they felt tight (you can actually see it in the photo. You can also see that my fly is kind of janky, but it does what it needs to do). I muslined these! They should be perfect! And then I realized that I'd sewn the outside seams of the muslin at 5/8", but the real pants at 1" (what the pattern actually called for). So I re-basted the top part at 5/8" and they're pretty good now. I just need to pull the waistband in at the top of the sides a bit so the front doesn't stick out so much.

So there you have it. I have to properly sew the seams, finish the waistband, and hem them. See you soon with real live PANTS.

Sunday, January 5, 2014

...and so it goes: 2014

Look, it's 2014! ALREADY. And it's a good thing I don't pretend to be a real blogger, because I've totally failed on that point. Of course, it's hard to write about sewing when I'm not doing any! But the holiday season is over and I'm determined to finally finish those pants. Then move on to more!

So. My objective for 2013 was to become a faster sewer. Did this happen? Sort of, I guess. I think my actual sewing has gotten faster - I'm faster at reading patterns and doing the stitching. But the process has gotten slower, since I started tracing my patterns and working with muslins. Is this a bad thing? No. I'd like to speed up the whole process, but I think everything I'm doing is only going to mean better clothes in the end.

I didn't, sadly, complete my goal of one outfit each month. I was doing so well right up to May! And then it slowed down and slowed down, and stopped entirely. Part of that is that I hate cutting out fabric (it's so uncomfortable to do on the floor), so I put off starting new projects. Oh well!

For 2014, my objective is to broaden my horizons - specifically, try things I haven't done before. Use the Craftsy classes I've bought. Learn how to sew with knits! Try sewing with different materials. But mostly, just keep sewing. Happy 2014, everyone!

Sunday, November 10, 2013

Muslin take 2

I have a new sewing machine! After many struggles attempting to sew anything more than a couple of layers of fabric, I realized that I needed something better if I were to improve.

It's nothing super fancy, just better. So much smoother! The fabric doesn't bunch up when I cross a seam, which was a continual problem before.

I tested it out on a second muslin of my pants. I forgot to take any photos, sorry! But I think I worked out most of the problems. The only thing is that I'm not convinced of the width of the legs. I did narrow them, but I might narrow them more. These are meant to be wide legged pants, but they are dramatically wider than the pattern pictures.

In other news, a sewing school is opening at the end of my block. I'm hoping they'll offer some advanced classes so I can take one and then have access to studio time with giant tables for cutting patterns. I'm so tired of cutting on the floor.

Saturday, November 2, 2013

Pants, round 1

Oh poor blog, how I've neglected you. Don't worry, it's not you, it's me. Let's catch up.

I started a pair of pants! And then I promptly ignored them for ages, because I was scared of them. Hence the silence. However, I finally worked through the pattern and made a muslin.

First problem: I totally cut the wrong size. I was between sizes and cut the larger one. Should have listened to the books that say cut the smaller size when you're in between. These photos are after I took in an inch on each outer seam, hence the giant seam allowance.

After that I was kind of stumped. I could see they didn't fit properly, but I had a hard time telling where the problem was. In the end I shortened the crotch length (so they weren't so saggy in the crotch, and the waist wasn't so high), increased the crotch depth (to accommodate the derriere - this should hopefully also make the side seam straight), took a little off the centre back height (for my sway back) and added a tiny bit to the centre front height (for better stomach coverage). I'm not convinced about the width either - I was looking for something wide-leg dress trouser-like, but these might be too wide for me. I'll play with that in the real fabric, though.

I've cut a second muslin (or really just re-cut the original muslin pieces) since I'm cutting  a new size. Hopefully it'll feel better!

In other news, I've bought a new sewing machine! I'm very excited. When I actually have it in hand (it was on sale and they ran out of stock, but I got the sale price) I'll share all the details. Sadly, I thought I was going to get to pick it up on Wednesday, so I sold my old machine, and now I have no machine at all. Boo.

Oh, and in other other news, I knit a scarf.

Saturday, September 21, 2013


I'm not convinced by this one. The fact that I finished it a week ago and haven't worn it yet says a lot to me. It just doesn't fit right. I did do a muslin, but I was focused entirely on the bust (which worked out quite well, thanks to this tutorial: Gathered bodice full bust adjustment). Here's a little secret. I'm a lazy musliner. I do the basics, but I don't go as far as zippers and buttons. I did get as far as putting on one sleeve - a giant puffed sleeve which I promptly rejected in favour of these slightly fluttery ones. But because I didn't properly fit the closure, I didn't notice that it didn't totally fit around the hips, or in the shoulders.

I don't know why I didn't think to make the two adjustments I made so successfully with the Cambie (swayback adjustment, and an inch off the bodice length). It's too bad, because those are exactly the problems. Note to self: FBA, swayback, and bodice length! Every time. Maybe one day I'll figure out how to do that before the muslin, even.

The thing is, I'm not sure it's a great style for me anyway, at least not around the neckline. Doesn't it look better without the collar? (And it would look even better without the sunburn.)

So, all in all, unconvinced. I'm going to make myself wear it next week and see how it is in real life - with that skirt, I think; it perfectly matches some of the flowers in the pretty yellow fabric.