Saturday, November 3, 2012

Future projects

I'm very close to the end of the shirt that I've been making forever. Side note: it's very depressing to see that you only have 2 steps left in the instructions (woo!), only to realize that one is a ton of hand sewing, and the other is make buttonholes and sew on buttons. Sigh.


I'm very close to the end of the shirt, and not quite as close to the end of the dress that I'm making in class. Side note #2: this is taking me way longer than I expected. It's embarrassing to admit, but I thought I'd be faster than the rest of the class. Not that I'm a super fast sewer (I'm actually incredibly slow), but I have made a few things on my own, so I figured I'd just need a little help with the fitting and then I'd be off. Oh, the irony! I think I'm probably the farthest from finished in the class.

Anyway. Again.

I'm very close to the end of the shirt, and not quite as close to the end of the dress that I'm making in class. And I need to get started on the shirt I'm making for my dad for Christmas. But I can't help thinking of starting new projects. And despite my best intentions, I seem to have developed a stash, both patterns and fabric. So I decided to do a little matching, indulge my interest in starting something new, and plan my next couple of projects.

I'm not convinced that this is the best fabric for the shirt, being just a basic cotton, but I think the pattern would look so cute.

This is from the Colette Sewing Handbook - it's a sewing guide arranged around a series of patterns that increase in difficulty. This is the first one. The fabric is a fairly heavy cotton so that the scallops will hang properly. And it's purple, if you can't tell - purple is so hard to photograph well.

Is that not a ridiculously cute pattern and a ridiculously cute fabric? I bought it to make for a wedding this summer. If I start now, maybe I can finish it in time for next summer.

This is the other pattern I bought for the class. I would really like to learn to make trousers.

This is one of the first patterns I bought. I think it's time to use it. I might buy some other fabric to make the contrasting bottom band.

I've been putting this one off because fitting issues, but I still like it.

So, what do you think? Which one should I start first? And by first, I mean probably not until January.

Thursday, September 27, 2012

Skipping ahead

Well, my wee audience, I've had a half a post going for ages now, waiting for me to upload photos, but I'm going to jump ahead and come back to that post. Because I've started another sewing class!

This time it's the advanced beginner, where you do your choice of project from a set list of patterns. I knew I wanted to do something more complicated - definitely not another skirt! My lastest obsession is proper fitting, so I decided to do either a pair of trousers (because how amazing would it be to be able to sew pants that actually fit?) or a dress (fitting the bodice; lining). In the end I decided to do the dress, even though it's going to be far too cold to wear it, because I really want to figure out how to deal with my top and bottom being different sizes.

Did you know that you should always start with a pattern that's the right size for the top, and then adjust from there? And that most patterns are built for a B cup? Two very important things that I've learned in my readings, particularly of the fantastic book, Fit for Real People. According to that book, you measure your high bust (under the arms, above the bust) instead of your actual bust, and start with that pattern size so that the shoulders and back fit properly. And then you make a Full Bust Adjustment if needed (or a Small Bust Adjustment, but that's not happening here).

So I did that, but I made the rookie mistake in not really believing my measurements. I ended up cutting one size smaller on top than bottom, because that fit with my regular bust size. I did a tissue fitting the first class (pinning the pattern on myself along the seam allowances), mostly to check the bust and the back length. And it seemed okay. But clearly I wasn't looking closely enough, because when I tried on my bodice once it was sewn (in the second class), it was really obvious that I should have cut one size smaller - it was quite big in the back and around the armholes.  Plus it was a bit short in the front (because I didn't give myself the extra room with the FBA) and long in the back (because I am short-waisted). Basically all the problems I have with ready-to-wear dressses.

Next time, I tell you.

Anyway, the teacher pinned me up and I'm going to resew the seams, plus attempt to sew the lining with the new seams. It's mostly rescued, but it was an excellent lesson in what I'll need to do next time: cut 2 sizes smaller on top, do an FBA, shorted the back length and the shoulders, and do a good tissue fitting.

More to come!

Monday, May 21, 2012

Skirt 1; Rachel 0

Okay, the title is an exaggeration. But this skirt didn't turn out quite as nicely as the other stuff I've sewn.

On the plus side, it's finished! Yes, despite dealing with buying a condo, prepping to move, planning a vacation, and organizing the spring concert for my choir, I decided it was Very Important that I finish the skirt before I move at the end of June. Which really translated into "finish the skirt before my parents come to visit next week" since I need to put the sewing machine and ironing board away so that the room is available for eating, games, and my air mattress so I have somewhere to sleep.

(Yes, I know, it's a blue skirt. It's actually quite a dark navy. Still. More on that later.)

On the minus side, I don't really love it.
  • I think the pattern is okay - the pockets are awesome - but the zipper installation instructions were weird and it doesn't look the best (my fault more than the pattern, I'm sure, but still). 
  • Also, after buying all these patterns with yoke waists (those wide non-waistbands), I've since realized that they're not the best fit for me, what with my high waist-hip ratio. These hips need a real waistband! So technically it fits perfectly, but it doesn't really contour to my hips. I'm sure a better sewer could fix that, but I think it's really a style thing.
  • And finally, the colour. Here's the thing: I never wear blue of any sort. But I kept seeing people wearing navy and orange together (and I do wear orange) and looking fantastic. So I decided to make a navy skirt with orange topstitching. The thing is, from a distance it mostly just looks like a fake denim skirt. Not what I was going for.
 (Wow, it looks even lighter blue here. My photo skills are awesome, clearly.)

So there you have it. I'm going to wear it - like I said, it *fits* - I just don't know how long I'll keep it. We'll see! Maybe it'll grow on me.

Oh, and after all my complaining about having to go buy another zipper because I used the first and then bought one that's too long as the replacement, I ended up using the longer zipper because the shorter one didn't seem to fit. Like I said, weird zipper instructions.

Next up: I have the muslin for the shirt cut out, so after I move I'm going to zip that up and see if it fits. If it doesn't I'm going to attempt a full bust adjustment for the first time! And then, I am ambitiously going to attempt to make a dress for a friend's wedding this summer (for me to wear, not for her!). The pattern is even named after a street not that far from where the party is happening. Clearly it's fate.

Friday, April 27, 2012

Nothing much...

Apologies in advance for this photo-free update, but the camera is over there, and there are 2 cats on my lap. What can you do?

I got some gorgeous Liberty of London fabric for my birthday, and then an announcement of a super cute dress pattern in my email today. And I have a wedding to go to in August. So clearly it's fate. Although we'll see if that's actually enough time to get it done - I am a super slow sewer still.

Meanwhile I'm *thisclose* to finishing a skirt. I was zipping along until to the zipper. Mostly because I accidentally used the zipper intended for this skirt over Christmas. So I had to go get a new one, but I forgot to check the length and so bought the wrong length, and had to go get another zipper. Etc. etc. I really want to finish it before I move! I don't want this to be like the last skirt I didn't get finished before I moved, which then sat in limbo for 2 years.

I also (because I was in a sewing mood but hadn't picked up the second zipper) started cutting out a shirt pattern. I'm scared of sewing a shirt for myself, so I grabbed an old bedsheet to make a muslin first. Look at me, like a real sewer.

So, in conclusion, I am in the middle of a couple of things and dreaming of another. Maybe next week I can actually put thread to cloth!

Saturday, January 14, 2012

Christmas catch-up

Well, my Christmas sewing was a huge success. Yay! The project that I didn't mention was the 5 drawstring pouches and zippered bags I made for friends (one set was already in the mail when I took the photo).

Aren't they fun fabrics? It was so much fun picking them. Although if you can believe it, these were much more trouble than the shirt and skirt - I had to buy more fabric twice, once because the fabric I bought was far too stretchy to work with and I needed something different (the top blue flowers), and once because I bungled it so badly I had to start again (the stripes). But I got them all done in time, hurrah.

And then there's the presents for my parents. I didn't get a picture of the skirt for my mom before I gifted it, mostly because I was sewing the buttons on Christmas Eve, and the skirt didn't look like anything without them. (I got the shirt buttons sewn on minutes before leaving to catch my flight out.) But here are my parents wearing their new clothes.
No, I'm not such a terrible photographer that I cut their heads off. Close, though. Both things fit perfectly (yay, again), and they both seemed genuinely thrilled, not just with the thought, but with the final product. I was awfully happy.

Now I can do some more sewing for myself! I'd bought some fabric in the fall to make another version of the skirt I did for my class, because I liked it so much. So I pulled that out today, and struggled through the effort of prepping the fabric (side note: this is the most time consuming part for me. so annoying). In then end I decided on another pattern I had, just for fun. I layed out the pattern and started pinning, but didn't get very far - it was very hard (and painful!) to get the pins through this fabric. After putting multiple dents in my fingers I figured it was enough for the night. But still, it feels good to start another project, even if it is, yes, one more skirt.