Tuesday, 25 April 2017

McCall's 7534 Mock Wrap Dress

The last month has been very busy with lots of house guests which means my sewing room has been out of action for most of that time.  Fun as it has been, I'm so happy to be able to get back in there and I have been working on a few dresses.

First up is McCall's 7534.

I do love the look of a wrap dress, but I dislike the potential wardrobe malfunctions that can occur with them so this surplice bodice dress with lots of variations caught my eye.  It's quite a basic design, but I like all the views which make it pretty versatile, the fact it has no fastenings and that it can be made in wovens, sheers and knits.

McCall's 7534

I made View A, minus the belt in this navy and gold bird print crepe.   I'm going through a bit of a nature print phase at the moment, my stash is sprinkled with birds and butterflies!

I eliminated the neck facings and just replaced with bias strips of fabric and made extensive changes to the fit of the bodice by draping on my dressform.  I really wish I had thought to make a pattern piece at this point mostly so I can easily recreate this dress, but also to see how it compares to the original.  I think I will go back and redo it in muslin fabric and create new front bodice pieces.

You can get an idea of what I did from the photos below.  The neckline length needed to be significantly shorter and I wanted it to hug more closely to the body as it was gaping a lot.  I pinned in some pleats at the waistline,  changed the angle of the wrap so that the front pieces no longer extend to the side seams and then I cut off the excess below the waist.  I did make sure I could still get it on over my head first!

Once that was done it was very simple to attach the skirt and insert elastic at the waist seam.  I took a bit of fullness out of the skirt at the side seams just because I preferred the look of it that way.

I only have dress form photos to show you at the moment, but when I make this again (and I will!) I will take some then.  I am currently sporting an attractive black eye caused by my skittish cat jumping off my lap and catching me in the face with his back legs.  I'm really embarrassed that I look like I have been in a fight, but I feel quite lucky that it's only superficial damage.  So for now.....

Saturday, 4 March 2017

BurdaStyle 12/2015 - 108 Moto Peplum Jacket

Despite whinging about Burda throughout 2015, towards the end of the year things definitely improved and one of my favourite patterns from the whole year was this jacket.

There are 2 versions - a cropped collarless version, shown in boucle in the magazine and the peplum version with a mandarin collar, shown in wool and leather.

I made version B, but all in one fabric, a stretch denim.  I left off the armband pieces, sleeve zippers and lining and added topstitching to the section seams.

Tracing this pattern is a bit of a chore, there are lots of small pieces.  However once that work is done it goes together pretty quickly.  In fact I got a bit carried away and sewed up (and serged and topstitched!) the left middle front seam before remembering I needed to put a zip in it!

Ah, the zip.  This is where I ran into problems.  The pattern requires a 12 inch separating zip  I wanted navy with metal teeth and a nice zipper pull and I could only find longer ones.  No problem I thought, I can easily shorten it.  Ha!  I don't know if I bought the strongest zip known to man or I am a complete weakling, but getting those teeth off even with the recommended wire cutting pliers
was an exercise in frustration and really hard to do without damaging the zip tape or my hands.  All the tutorials I found online went into great detail about measuring the zip and then just basically said "now pull off the teeth".   I managed in the end, but I couldn't get the stoppers off at all to move them so I just sewed thread stoppers which will hopefully be OK.   I do really like this jacket so if I ever spot any 12 inch zips while shopping I am buying them!

As usual with shirts and jackets I put in the collar and facings before sewing up the side seams.  I find it much easier to handle the garment when it is still flat and that means I can do final fit adjustments in the side seams.

The collar is assembled like a regular notched collar, which is a bit fiddly - I'm wondering whether it would work to just sandwich the completed collar between the jacket and facing and sew in one pass. Other than that, I think this jacket is easier to sew than it looks (zipper issues aside) and of course the collarless View A would be simpler still.

I think denim is a neutral that works with just about anything - except more denim although that's just my opinion, I know it was a thing recently.  I also think this fitted style will work styled in lots of ways, say as a casual topper thrown over a dress to a smarter look over a pencil skirt.  I think I prefer it slightly unzipped than how the model is wearing it, but it's always good to have options.

Friday, 17 February 2017

Style Arc Nina Cardigan

A big thank you to Jen and Valerie for the photography tips, I have a decent, if aging a bit, Sony compact digital and I will definitely take the time to explore more of the white balance & snow settings.  I hope neither of you are going to be too disappointed in my efforts in this post, I experimented a bit, but realised I have a lot to learn and it's going to take time!

So, this is another Style Arc pattern I have been interested in for a while and finally got around to trying, the Nina cardigan, a waterfall style cardigan with a draped front, waist seam and a fitted back.  I do find some waterfall styles a bit shapeless on me as they add volume everywhere so I wanted to try this version.

Style Arc Nina

It is incredibly quick to make on a serger.  I got a bit confused by the instructions referring to a hipband, but there aren't many pieces so it was easy to figure out -this is the lower back piece which wraps round to the front and I can't come up with a better name for it so hipband it is!

I love how this turned out, it is exactly like the illustration shows.  There are a couple of things I would (will!) change  next time:

  • lengthen the upper bodice slightly, the waist hits a bit high on me, only a problem if I want to wear a belt with it
  • I didn't like that the front and hem edges are just serge finished, I turned and stitched mine, but I'd like to explore self facing the front neck band entirely 

Difficult to see, but the front band is sewn on last and you need to pivot where the waist seam and hipband meet.  This is what gives it the nice drape at the front while still keeping some waist definition.

You can see here that the waist seam hits above the natural waistline where the belt sits.

Wednesday, 15 February 2017

BurdaStyle 3/2016 - 121 Dress

I'm very behind on my blogging and this post is not terribly exciting as it is a dress I've made before here and it's also another purple thing, what can I say, I have a bit of a problem!

03/2016 - 121

I made this version in a ponte knit which is nothing like the stretch crepe per the magazine, but a similar weight to the fabric I used in my previous version so I knew it would work.  My original post has more construction detail that I won't repeat here.  Once again I left off the zip and swapped the facings for bindings.

Changes I made this time were to sew up the slit and I scooped the front neckline a bit lower.  I also swapped out the sleeves.  The original is a one piece cap sleeve, the pattern piece is sort of rugby ball shaped and it does tend to stick out, which is OK, but I wanted something different this time around.  I just searched for cap sleeve on the BurdaStyle website and picked 01/2012 - 113, a 2 piece self lined cap sleeve.

The original sticky-out cap sleeve
My replacement sleeve

These dress form photos show the colour quite accurately, one that keeps popping up here!

As usual I had real problems getting the lighting right when it came to taking photos on me and I couldn't figure out why they came out so differently to the dress form ones.  

I came to the conclusion that as I'm using a self timer and have the camera on an automatic setting,  the settings are determined by my empty frame and then don't apply once I've dashed into position (so far I've looked in vain for a compatible remote which would fix things I think).  I've no idea if this is true, but I tried again with a manual setting and despite a couple of shots like the ones below I did sort of get somewhere in that the lighting is better although the focus is off a bit.

I really blame my photography for slowing up my blogging, but I'm getting a better idea of what to look for when it's time to get a new camera.  If anyone has any recommendations or tips though please do share them.  I know people really like to see the clothes on a real life body and I have to admit that it is really useful for me to to see things a bit more objectively.

Wednesday, 18 January 2017

BurdaStyle 01/2014 - 104 Fake Fur Jacket

This is the second Christmas gift I made for my sister.  Her style is quite different to mine, more quirky, vintage & bohemian - she's quite arty and also loves baking.  This fabric reminded me of some of her cupcake piping so I bought it and then figured out what to do with it.  It feels divine, so soft and looks like pink roses.

Fake fur is easy to sew, but my goodness it makes an unbelievable mess!  I had pink fluff everywhere and was so relieved once the lining had gone in.

As I mentioned in my last post, I had to use a pattern where sizing wasn't crucial which is quite easy in outerwear.  This one is from 01/2014 Burda, I didn't want too many seams to break up the look of the fabric  so I eliminated that waist seam and made it hip length in case a whole coat of pink roses was too much!

01/2014 - 104

I lengthened the sleeves as an afterthought by adding cuffs, it would have been better to lengthen the sleeves from the beginning.  I had originally thought the 3/4 (7/8?) length sleeves added to the vintage look, but then decided they are not that practical for a furry winter jacket.

I was really happy to find these large pink snaps in the Hong Kong garment district, not surprised necessarily because I suspect you can buy anything there, but it can be like looking for a needle in a haystack.

I also decided that a fun jacket like this deserved a special lining and I found this flamingo printed cotton which looks great, the seams are topstitched in bright pink too.

This project was so much fun to make (pink fluffy mess aside) and my sister adores it, it is a totally original piece and suits her personality perfectly.