Sunday, 30 August 2015

New Look K6217 Floral T-Shirt

It's another K6217! This was the third project I had in mind using my Abakhan supplies. I kept walking past this bold print, picking it up, putting it in my basket and putting it back until I held it up and Aimee said the print was great against my skin tone. I must say I too was feeling it when I held it up and thought another simple K6217 T shirt would be as good a pattern as any.

There was very little difference in how I made my Anchor K6217 and how I made this Floral one. If you recall what really bugged me about my previous was that I didn't pattern-match the centre back seam. Well this print is much bolder so it didn't matter this time round!
I stuck with the extra inch or so that I'd added to version one as I found the extra length is really handy for tucking into a pencil skirt for work, and also for teaming with jeans for say, a date to the cinema or something!

This time I also decided to french seam the side and shoulder seams which looks dead neat. I used a twin needle to hem the bottom, just for a bit of a top-stitch feature. Very happy with my bias binding neckline- also very neat!

And that's about it really! A good example of how lovely fabric can really make a simple pattern come to life.


Currently listening to: All My Friends, LCD Soundsystem
Location: Botanical Gardens, Sheffield

Sunday, 23 August 2015

Sew Magazine, New Look K6107 Blouse

Project number two to feature fabric from the Abakhan trawl is another free pattern from Sew Magazine! I thought it was about time I made a blouse for work that wasn't a Lottie! Though this pattern is not without its similarities- a neckband/tie and gathered sleeves. The differences that attracted me however were the cute cuffs and button up front on the blouse.

I had my reservations about using such a sheer fabric. I've read about enough of other Blogger's disasters when using sheer fabric, so planned on being as accurate as possible when cutting out. I used lots of pins with my pattern which was great but did find the bottom layer of fabric did distort and in some cases ended up a rather different size to the top piece.
Also, besides being stretchy and slippery, it was also prone to fraying! I kept an eye on this though and opted for French Seams where possible- making sure raw edges were thoroughly encased! Size-wise, I cut a 12 but was a 10 for the bust so used a 2cm seam allowance for the side seams that I gradually graded out to a 1.5 at the waist and hips.

My favourite part of making the blouse was constructing the facing/button area at the front. Instead of buttonholes this pattern uses button loops like on my Crab Dress. So I'm finding I'm getting pretty good at loops! The loops are cut on the bias so they have stretch to go around the button. This is a good job otherwise my buttons would have been a squeeze too big! On the opposite side to the button loops there is an underlap which sits behind the buttons and hides any gaping between them. Never done an underlap before! I thought my debut turned out pretty neat.
Both sides of the opening are faced. I had a bit of a panic when starting the garment as I have never interfaced sheer fabric before! And I'm sure I remembered something off of this years Sewing Bee about not using standard facing for sheer fabrics. So I read up a little, and instead I cut an additional piece of that stretchy, slippery, fraying fabric and stitched it in as interfacing instead of using iron on. I've got to say- It worked out pretty well! Go me!

On my Lottie Blouses I've always seemed to have a bit of grief regarding getting the neckband to line up around the neck just quite how I want it to. This pattern being a little more detailed, I made extra effort to transfer all markings on the pattern on to the fabric. I was awash with tailors tacks! I get the feeling if I'd used friendlier fabric these tacks would have been absolutely life saving. In this instance though I would describe them as handy, but not perfect. Either way, they resulted in a swifter process of attaching neck band to blouse.
The worst bit about sewing on the neckband though was the dreaded 'Stitch in the Ditch' from the front of the band to catch the back. I absolutely hated doing this and I'm not totally happy about how it turned out. Next time I am definitely definitely doing it by hand! I think a sneaky slip stitch is much much neater.

After this it was time to make the sleeves. I've got to admit I thought I was on my way once I'd got this far. Firstly the cuffs had to be made, which was quite fun as not something I'd done before. A little gap has to be made in the bottom of the sleeve, the sleeve then gathered, then stitched to the cuff which is longer one one side when it meets the gap. Then button and button hole sewn to match up. Does that make sense? Well I wish someone had told me before I started that that was what was meant to happen. I ended up with one good cuff and one that somehow didn't reach around my arm properly (I'm putting it down to those gathers). So I repeated the process for the dodgy side and ended up with a pair of cuffs I was pretty pleased with.
The shoulders of the sleeves were also gathered- alarm bells going off slightly at this point thinking there was an awful lot of gathering going on... But I went with it anyway and stitched in my sleeves.

After putting on my buttons and trying on the blouse properly I realised I absolutely couldn't stand the sleeves! I think it must be something to do with the qualities of the fabric- as I have gathered sleeve-caps in the past and had no problems- but these just seemed to POOF out (one more than the other might I add) and it looked so terribly 80s that I knew I would never ever wear it. I took the worst sleeve out and realised that the whole thing looked a TON better without sleeves in at all. So I whipped up some bias binding and bound the arm holes instead. It's a shame I didn't get to use my cuffs though! At least I have learnt a new skill for next time and I'm much happier with my blouse.

There were a few sketchy moments, but I guess that's what this is all about :)


Currently listening to: Green Honeycreeper, Olivia Jean
Location: Weston Park, Sheffield

Sunday, 16 August 2015

Sew It Yourself, New Look 6799 Misses Dress

True to form, this pattern is another that came free with a sewing magazine! This time the (what appears to be) one off 'Sew It Yourself' mag from earlier this year.

Despite loving the cover design in yellow, I knew that if I went for yellow I was unlikely to wear the dress as often as I should. I knew I would know it when I found the perfect fabric so held out on making the project... Until I spotted some totally unique Crab design fabric in Abakhan Manchester with my good sewing friend Aimee. (Go check her blog RIGHT NOW) We were both pretty excited about the crabs so it ended up in my basket and Crab Dress 6799 became my first make from my Abakhan trawl.

The dress skirt is made up of 7 panels, the bodice is lined (!), the waist band is cut on the bias and also lined. The dress' main design feature though is the glorious wide, round neck band... Hmm more on that later!

I cut a size 12 according to my measurements, but knew then chance of the dress being a smidge too big was high. I took in a seam allowance of 2cm on the bodice instead of 1.5cm (same for the lining obvs), and did the same for the waistband. I found it very difficult to tell if this was enough to take in as it was difficult to try on without the neck band attaching the front and back bodice pieces. It seemed to fit ok on Celine though so thought I would wing it and attach all my pieces. I could always take in a bit more without too much drama when it came to putting in the zip.

Lining the bodice was surprisingly drama free! I literally just cut another bodice from the same fabric and matched the darts. A few tacks here and there and it was absolutely fine.

I had a bit of a nightmare trying to stitch in the zip though. It was lined up perfectly, but when reaching the slightly bulkier ridge of the waistband my thread kept breaking! I have had this before, and I'm not entirely certain if this is not because of the needle hole in the actual invisible zipper foot is not big enough for my model machine? Has anyone else found this? It seems to be if the foot changes angle at all to get over seams, the needle slightly catches on the foot... Maybe have to keep an eye out for a different model zipper foot! I ended up finishing off using a standard zip foot which was fine- though I would suggest tacking in the zip if doing this in future as I could tell it wanted to go a bit wobbly!

So that neckband. I was very excited about attaching it as it was really going to finish it off! I sewed on the neck band only to find the extra fabric around the top made my bust darts much too low! The bust point must have been about 4cm away from where it should have been! Has anyone else found this with this pattern??! I was really upset as I thought once I'd got that far it was going to be plain sailing! I wasn't really too sure what to do- I tried making the seam allowance on the shoulder seams bigger but it just made the neck band rise, then gape in the middle. The only thing I could think to do was pin the dress to Celine with bust darts aligned with bust, then lay my neck band over the top- even though there was quite a bit of overlapping, and draw round the curve. I then attached the neck band to fit this curve and trimmed off the bodice overlap (underlap?). It was a bit of a faff and resulted in my neckline being a totally different shape- more of a scoop than a slit, but I am really really pleased that I was able to make it wearable! I was worried that changing the pattern like this would have a big impact on the facing and also the fit of the back bodice, but with a little patience I was able to make it work.

Faff was also included when sewing on the button loops to the back neck. The precision required was incredible! Even when I thought my loops were in place and the same length it became evident they weren't... After sewing on the buttons and stitching down the facing! I took three or four attempts to get them lined up perfectly, but it was well worth the faff! I think the buttons are super cute and perfect for my Crab theme!

I love the smart/casual look of the dress. I am tempted to take the sides of the skirt in a little to make it slightly more fitted, but I do like the swing it currently has! I haven't seen anything quite like the crab dress in the shops which makes me very pleased indeed!


Currently listening to: So Over You, Charli XCX
Location: Derwent Valley