Sunday, 17 August 2014

Love At First Stitch: Margot Pyjamas

I was eager to make something simple after spending a couple of weeks on my Megan Dress, so I flipped to the front of the book and eyes up the Margot Pyjamas. Having already made a pair of tartan trousers before I got Tilly's book (they are much too big and currently sat in my wardrobe waiting for alterations...) I decided to make a pair of shorts. This decision was confirmed even further when it transpired that there was only 3/4s of a metre of the fabric I wanted left at the market!

They were pretty easy to make, I was particularly proud of my neat drawstring and drawstring hole! The drawstring was basically just a long strip made the same way I'd made bias-binding threaded through a fold at the top of the shorts.

I attempted to put some turn-ups on the bottoms as they were a bit too long, but it was a lot of messing about to get the stitching in the right place to have the right-side of the fabric showing. Not to worry though, I didn't mind having a simple hem along the bottom instead.


Currently listening to: 'Let's Jump The Broomstick' Brenda Lee

Love At First Stitch: Megan Dress

Gulp! This was the first time I had to trace off a pattern! I followed Tilly's favourite method of using a tracing wheel which worked well until I had to get my yellow carbon paper to show up!

After getting all my bits cut out I did my usual thing of thinking that my garment was going to be too big and played it close to the edge with the seam allowances. As I result I had to change the angle of the shoulder seams but that seemed to go okay.
This was the first item I'd put some proper dars into, which was a bit scary, I didn't want my boobs to look dodgy! Without paying enough attention to the instructions I rushed into putting my darts in and sewed them on the wrong side! What a fool! I soon learned to take my time with it though and was much more careful with the rest of the seams.

When it came to putting in the zip, I had quite a bit of left over fabric (But hey, over-estimating is better than under-estimating right?) so turned under quite a bit of fabric when pinning in the zip. I got it fitting quite snugly until I re-read the instructions and found it was meant to be a CONCEALED zip, not a normal zip. Then after going out to buy a concealed zip I read I needed a concealed zip foot for my machine... and then also a standard zip foot! I didn't really mind spending money on these though as I knew they were things I was going to hopefully be using time after time again. And it made for a great result on on dress! the zip is completely concealed! Yay!

I was a bit of a wimp when it came to doing the neckline-facing the way Tilly suggested in her book. After getting on so well with bias-binding on my past projects I decided I would make quite a thick neck out of the same fabric as the skirt. Stupidly I didn't really consider how much taller it would make the dress and the back and as a result meant that I should have put the zip in a little higher. Not to worry though, I made do with a sneaky hook and eye to stop my neck flapping around. The neckband I sewed in also has a tendency to pull at the bodice on one shoulder a bit, but once I've had the dress on for a little while it seems to settle onto my body a bit better.

I learned loads and gained a lot of confidence from making the Megan Dress. So far I've worn it out to dinner with friends who couldn't believe I'd made it and also on a Saturday night date :-)


Currently listening to: 'Above As Below' Nicole Atkins

DIY Couture Skater Skirt

After a resounding success of my Grecian Dress I gave another pattern in the book a go. I took another trip to the market and picked up some yellow gingham. There really seems to be a lack of yellow gingham items in the shops! So I thought making my own would be the perfect solution.

I eagerly followed all the instructions in the book and cut out two half circles to make the skirt. It wasn't until I got them sewn up that I realised the skirt was MUCH too big to fit around my waist! All the pies in the world weren't going to make this guy fit snugly! So I re-read the instructions and tried to make it smaller, this time really buggering it up and making something big enough to fit Barbie. I ended up buying more fabric and re-reading again. I found the skirt was frustratingly STILL much too big. It said in the book if it was too big then you could cut some off, but I found it really difficult to know what angle to cut my chunk off. The result of this, it warned me, was that it could slightly change the way the skirt hangs. You can kind of tell a little bit when I am wearing it, but if I don't tell anyone I don't think they will know!

After putting it together I was quite disappointed to find that the fabric was ridiculously see-through! I was so disappointed! I knew I was faced with the options of either putting in a lining (erk!), or making an underskirt. I ended up knocking together a really tiny skirt with a simple elastic waistband with what little gingham I had left to wear underneath. I really wish I'd picked a heavier fabric to make the whole thing out of. I find it's a bit too flappy and despite having a cased-bottom around the hem, the skirt is much too light and doesn't hang very well at all. So far I've only worn it out once, and that was just to watch telly at John's. I'm a bit timid to make another one out of something heavier as I really couldn't work out why the sizing wasn't working in the first place.

For the sake of these photos and bragging on Facebook, the skirt doesn't look to bad, but it's not something I want to wear on a windy day. Lesson learned.


Currently listening to: 'We Wait Too Long' Nicole Atkins

Grecian Dress (It's My Best Dream)

Project number one was the easiest looking pattern I could find out of my D.I.Y Couture book by Rosie Martin that John got me for my birthday.

The book is awesome because it talks even the blindest beginner right through each step. Superbly illustrated, I knew when I unwrapped this gem that I would have no excuses not to make things anymore. Each project in the book features variations on the pattern so you can make the garment really individual.

I picked up my fabric from the local market, asking the lady rather excitedly for some advice. I was looking for something a bit tropical looking, but fell in love with a rather vividly patterned cartoon fabric. I was told it would be easy to sew as it wasn't too thick and had a good stretch so it should be easy to make it fit.
Having never really done anything like this before, I didn't realise that stretch fabrics are a nightmare to sew!! I felt like I was stumped before I'd even really got going!
After swapping my machine needle for a smaller one and with a bit of perseverance I stitched in a few wobbly seams and assembled the garment!
I was particularly impressed at how easy it was to sew in the elastic waistband, the trick being to match it up with all the mid-points on the dress and keep it taught. In hindsight I would probably have used a thicker band of elastic, but there is chance for that next time!

The fabric is hilarious because it doesn't actually make sense, (my favourite quote being 'It's my best dream!') but I love it all the same. It never fails to pick up a few comments from customers when I wear it to work.
The stretch of it came in handy when I added a bias bound neckline. The prospect terrified me, but it actually turned out really well!

I think I made it a bit too short, which is a bummer because I actually cut quite a bit off thinking it was too long! I can easily get away with it if I'm wearing leggins but wouldn't like to try it without!


Finally finally, it really looks like I am indeed making it...

... If by 'it' I mean a fine mess of textile and thread all over my living room floor every weekend.

After making a few silly decisions in my teens and thinking maybe my future lay in painting and such, I lost sight of what it was that actually made me happy. Earlier this year I saw Hillsborough College has an evening class in sewing and knew that I had to sign up if I ever wanted to feel good about myself again (dramatic eh?). The course starts in September, but I couldn't really wait that long. After finally getting my own machine and John getting me a great book for beginners I've started a few projects of my own.

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T x