Monday, 28 December 2015

Love Sewing Magazine/Simple Sew, Velvet Skater Dress

This pattern is a favourite of mine! I have worn my black jersey skater dress I made back at the start of Autumn loads (did I mention how versatile it is?!), so fancied making a slightly glitzier version in black velour, ideal for gigging.

I flicked back through my last two posts about this dress and remembered the fact I needed to add an inch or so onto the bodice length, and on my last version (due to stretch-factor), side seam allowance was 2.5 cm. I applied these changes to the pattern but somehow the bodice length is still much too short! The skirt should start on my waist but instead starts much too high. I attempted to attach a kind of waistband to the dress but it added an awkward layer of bulk around my midriff which I definitely wasn't going for! I can sort of disguise the bodice length with a craftily placed belt, but it's still a bit of a bummer.

What I lacked in bodice length though, I made up for in sneakiness elsewhere. I completely omitted the zip or any kind of fastening from from the dress! The velour is really stretchy so can get away with pulling it over my head no problems!

I made one other main change to the pattern, and that was cutting the circle skirt in four separate bits instead of two. Due to the nap of the fabric (it only goes one way, other wise the touch makes everyone criiiiinge), cutting on the fold would have made the velour lie at a weird kind of diagonal angle. Instead I opted for 4 panels, all with correct nap. I wish I could recite some kind of mathematical formula for how I altered the pattern (I'm sure there is one?), but it was just good old trial and (hopefully not too much) error. I was determined not to have a seam up the centre front of the skirt, so the front panel lines up exactly between the front darts. The side panels on left and right go between front and back darts and the back panel between the two back darts. The fabric I had wasn't quite wide enough for full circle so I took a little off of each panel side. Like I say, all trial and error- I'm still surprised myself I didn't end up with four misshapen skirt bits good for nothing!

Skirt length would be fine if I'd made the bodice a little longer! It hangs a little on the short side- but hey, that could work in my favour. I'm toying with the idea of maybe adding a black lace trim to the bottom? I'm hoping Aimee is reading this as I know she will give me the best advice!


Currently listening to: Please Don't Call, Chris Isaak
Location: Fulwood Old Chapel, Sheffield

Sunday, 6 December 2015

Burda Sewing Vintage Modern, Frank Button-Down Shirt #6073

Finally! I've got round to making a proper man-make. An early xmas prezzy for my Brother. I found this pattern in a Burda book full of projects and pattern hack ideas. The Frank Button-Down Shirt didn't require any changes to the paper pattern supplied so seemed like a good place to start.
I've heard mixed things about Burda patterns so was expecting the worst. The only tedious part of using this pattern though was having to draw on all the seam allowances after tracing the pattern out. Very time consuming! The book says to add 1.3 cm to each seam allowance but I used a 1.5cm to make life much easier!

Once the paper pattern was drawn out and cut out, I knew that my next challenge would be tackling the pattern matching of the plaids. Despite the pattern not telling me so, I decided to cut what I could on the bias. This included the cuffs, button plackets, pocket flaps and yoke x2. Cutting these pieces diagonally meant that these seams didn't have to be pattern matched. For the pieces that did- the two front pieces, the back and the sleeves, I opted to cut on a single layer instead of on the fold then match up the mirrored piece by laying my first cut piece on top of the fabric and making sure plaids matched exactly. I lay my back paper piece on top of the front fabric piece and drew on the dominant plaid lines at the side seams so that I could line these up on the back fabric piece. This meant my horizontal stripes run straight across the front and back of the shirt, as well as on the sleeve seams and quite importantly the pocket placement.

Although cutting like this requires patience and accuracy (and also takes up twice as much space as cutting on the fold!), I found it made actual assemblage of the shirt loads easier! Instead of matching up notches, I made sure I was matching up checks. I used a red vertical column (? I'm sure there's a sewing name?), as the centre back and made sure this matched at the collar and the centre of the diagonal plaids on the yoke. Precise cutting out made stitching all fall into place.

There were only a few small problems I ran into- The first that the fabric was very heat sensitive! I managed to scorch my collar when applying my interfacing- Thankfully plenty of fabric left to cut another! Ooops.

Check out the pattern matching on that side seam!

-My cuffs seemed a little longer than the end of the sleeves when it came to attaching them. The only thing I could think was that they had stretched out a little as they were cut on the bias. Better too long than too short- I made the seam allowance a little bigger and it was fine. I was worried then that the cuffs would be too small, but after a try-on found there were no problems at all.

-The main problem I found was that sewing on button holes where fabric was bulky around seams was a nightmare. Does anyone have any tips for this? The buttons on the placket were a dream, but the cuff buttons were horrible! My machine really seemed to struggle when it met a bit of bulk, particularly where the sleeve pleat and sleeve slit facing and cuff all met.

I was glad I'd had a few practice runs when it came to attaching collar/collar band, though Burda suggest doing it a little different. In the past I have attached the band to the neckline then the collar and inner band, however this time I put together all 4 pieces (collar x2 collar band x2) THEN attached to the neck line. I was surprised to find I found this much better as it was much easier to get a neater curve on the collar band when it wasn't already attached to the rest of the shirt.

Burda rate this pattern a 3 out of four on the difficulty rating! I think I did pretty well!

I'm very excited about getting an overlocker for Christmas so I can maybe actually start enjoying hemming. Either that or completely destroy them..... Time will tell!


Currently listening to: Magic Hour, Franc Cinelli
Location: Wyming Brook, Sheffield