Sunday, December 16, 2007

Outfit for a wedding and a party (McCall's 4781, Simplicity New Look 6415)

This was an outfit for a wedding and a party. The idea was that I didn't want to freeze in a dress; I wanted to make something relatively warm -- like pants. The outfit is the outcome of cutting, ironing, sewing, ripping, re-sewing, 3 days straight with my Dad.

Top, Jacket: McCall's 4781, Pants: Simplicity New Look 6415
View: McCall's 4781 F, Simplicity New Look 6415 D
Size: McCall's 4781 XS, Simplicity New Look 6415 8
Fabric: Jacket: red brocade, with 1/4" double fold bias tape; Top and Pants: black moleskin, with ribbon strap on top, twill tape in pants waistline.
Things I learned:
  • We were extra careful with these fabrics: we used loops of Scotch tape to lightly tape the pattern pieces to the fabric in oder to avoid having to pin, and maybe snag the fabrics.
  • In the raglan jacket, we had to trim the underarm seam allowance, and serge the underarm seam, otherwise it wouldn't lie flat; it would bunch up.
  • We drafted a bell-shaped sleeve that looked a lot better than the original straight sleeve.
  • Twill tape stabilizes the waistline well.
  • Interfacing paid off. My new iron worked really well.
  • We couldn't deal with the brocade without FrayCheck.
  • Note to self: Think twice before buying brocade, especially synthetic brocade. It looks great, but it's very hard to sew, and it snags very easily when worn.
  • Moleskin is relatively easy to work with and looks great!
  • This pants pattern looks great, but next time I make it, I should add 1.5 cm to the back pieces' waistline, and lover the front pieces' waist by 1.5 cm.
  • It pays off to be patient, and detail-oriented. The outcome was a very comfortable outfit. The inside seams look nice, too.
I think next time I make them (and very likely I will), I need to make the following modifications:
  • Raise the back waist line by 1/2 to 1 in.
  • Lower the front waist line by 1/2 to 1 in.
  • Shorten at both thigh- and shin-level to keep proportions.
  • Use a flexible ruler to define more accurate crotch curve.
  • Press size seams better while sewing.

Monday, October 22, 2007

Trumpet skirt (Simplicity 5914)

I had another brown fabric, and was curious to make a trumpet skirt. I have some RTW trumpet skirts, and they look the second best on me beside A-lines.

Pattern: Simplicity 5914
View: B
Brown woven suiting

Things I learned:

  • I figured out that in the last Simplicity pattern, the one for the A-line skirt, I had to choose size 10 for a good fit, I went with size 10 for this one as well. Well, in this patterns, size 10 was a little too big. I shoud have done size 8.
  • I could also have drafted a horizontal shortening line on the pattern to make the pattern a bit smaller. Now it looks nice with boots, but not with regular heels.
  • The fact that it's not lined (I juset used facings), does not make is very warm for winter when i would normally wear boots, so the number of times I put this skirt on is sort of limited. When the wethaer is getting warner, but it's still okay to wear boots, in that window of about 2 days, I can wear it.
  • The side zipper could be nicer too. (These skirts are still made in a way that I put in the zipper almost at the very end, instead of when the skirt is still fairly flat. Note to self: Put in the zipper in the early stages, when the skirt's other side seam has not been sewn yet.)

And again... A-line (brown) (Simplicity 5173)

The size 10 black A-line skirt may be a bit too big I thought. When I lose a bit of weight, it hangs a bit too loose. So I tried this one in size 8, lined.
Pattern: Simplicity 5173
View: C
Brown woven suiting

Things I learned:

  • I should have stuck with size 10. even thought this skirt looks lovely when I am a bit thinner, it starts to pull a bit at the waist when I put on a bit of weight. Also, given that this skirt is a tiny bit shorter than the other one (for lack of fabric), I really should have stuck with the size 10.
  • I might be able to let it out at some point, but I'll have to see if I want to take it apart or not.

A-line again (black) (Simplicity 5173)

I got some fabric from my friend for my birthday a while back, and I figured out what I could make out of them that i would really like. Yes, another one of those great A-line skirts.
Pattern: Simplicity 5173
View: C
Black woven suiting

Things I learned:

  • This was the first time I tried to make a lined skirt. last time, I drafted a facing for the summer skirt instead of a lining, but since my friend was so nice as to send me matching lining, I had to give it a try. It worked very well.
  • I understitched the lining to the waist seam to keep the lining in place.

Elastic waist turned faced (Simplicity 5597)

The fabric was on sale, so I thought I'd give this pattern a try. I liked the way the flounce is longer in the back and shorter in the front. I thought that gave the skirt a floaty, breezy, summer look. That is, until I tried on the skirt. The pattern called for a half elastic, half tie waist. It looked awful on me. I had to make some changes to it...

Simplicity 5597 (Similar to faced 4882--I should have bought that one instead.)
View: B
10 (which was waay tooo big)
Cotton print

Things I learned:

  • I had known that an elastic waist didn't look particularly flattering on me, but this was awful. I should have known not to buy elastic waist patterns. They just don't look good on me. Note to self: Don't ever buy an elastic waist pattern.
  • This skirt is too long for me. I could shorten the pattern next time.
  • I immediately decided to change it to smooth front and elasticized back. This heloed in the sense that the skirt looked great from the front, but the elastic made the back look like a balloon.

    I wore it a few times, but then I decided that the elasticized waist just had to go. I took the waist and hip lines from a straight skirt pattern, drafted a facing, and redid the entire skirt with a side zipper. Even though it didn't turn out to be the best zipper ever that I had put in, it loooked a great deal better than the original variation on me. What a difference!

    Now the skirt fits nicely. It's not my favorite summer skirt, but it's definitely wearable.

You give it a try... (Simplicity 5173)

My friend bought this fabric to make a sarong out of it, but it didn't work out for her. She gave me the sarong and said "See if you can make somethig ot of it."
I absolutely love this fabric with this pattern. I think this is my most flattering summer skirt. This A-line pattern is a beauty. The pattern was originally meant for skorts, but I discovered that it works great (or even better) as an A-line skirt. I made 2 other skirts out of this pattern. It's my absolute favorite. It turns out great every time I use it.

Pattern: Simplicity 5173
View: ?
Cotton print

Things I learned:

  • I left out the shorts part of this pattern
  • I think I drafted a very simple facing.
  • I added a white ribbon that I had in my stash.

Summer wrap (McCall's 2129)

I loved the fabric from the moment I sew it discounted on the shelf. I had to find a pattern for it.
Pattern: McCall's 2192
View: F
8 I think (?)
Linen, with a border print

Things I learned:

  • I wanted to leave the selvage, because I liked it so much.
  • The fabric unraveled very easily so I used a French seam.
  • I changed it from a tie closure to a hook-and-eye closure.
  • Maybe the length is a tad too long...
  • And oh, yes, you have to iron it A LOT.

Another remnants bolero (McCall's 4781)

This is another leftover-fabric bolero. I wanted something nice and warm, yet one that's elegant. I had some leftover fleece from a hat and scarf set.

I made a trimmed version. The trim style and pin are from a different pattern:

I wanted to do the ruffled version, but couldn't find ready-made ruffle anywhere, and I didn't feel like making it myself. That's when I remembered my Knifty Knitter looms... I bought some eyelash yarn and knitted a looong strip of trip. I even managed to machine-sew it on. :)

Pattern: McCall's 4781, Trim: Simplicity 4029, Pin: ? [I can't remember]
View: E
Size: S
Fabric: Fleece; store-bought fleece double-fold bias tape; embroidery thread.
Things I learned:

  • A double-fold bias tape is also great to put on the edges when I feel lazy. :) If you sew it on in a way that the seam doesn't show on the right side, it looks very neat.
  • For this one, S worked, because the fabric was thicker.

For when we go dancing (McCall's 4781)

I had some leftover fabric, and I decided that a bolero would be nice to have for when we go dancing. It's always so cold in those dance schools. I decided that this bolero would be nice.

I wanted to do the ruffled version, but couldn't find ready-made ruffle anywhere, and I didn't feel like making it myself. That's when I remembered my Knifty Knitter looms... I bought some eyelash yarn and knitted a looong strip of trip. I even managed to machine-sew it on. :)

Pattern: McCall's 4781
View: E
Size: S
Fabric: Stretch knit
Things I learned:

  • A trim conceals curved edges that I don't feel like hemming beautifully!
  • I think I could have used one size smaller: XS.

Time for something easier (Simplicity 4779)

In an ttempt to sew something easier, something more my level, I wanted to try this pattern out of a stretch knit fabric. The pattern seemed fairly easy.
Pattern: Simplicity 4779
View: A, C
Size: 10
Fabric: Stretch knit
Things I learned:
  • ...but oh, those curved edges can be sew difficult! I finally ended up cutting out facings for the edges. This helped, but I should have interfaced the facings.
  • I like wearing them, but I think I could have used one size smaller for the jacket.

Let's make a suit... (Simplicity 4638)

Let's make a suit...
...but please, I don't want to hem any of the cruvy edges!

Pattern: Simplicity 4638
View: G, D
Size: 8
Fabric: Synthetic woven
Things I learned:
  • Making that pointy corner work was sew painful. My bad iron sure didn't help either...
  • The two-thread overlock stitch that is on my sewing machine just doesn't finish the edges and seams so nicely. How about double fold bias binding? That works, but a narrower width would be nicer next time.
  • I sure had no idea about how to ease a set-in sleeve at this point.
  • Oh, and also, you do need to clip princess seam curves! Clipping the curves does pay off.
  • The jacket of this pattern looks a bit too boxy on me.
  • The skirt is a bit too long. I could shorten the pattern next time.

Remnants skirt (Simplicity 9825)

I made this skirt out of broadcloth that I had left over, just to try out the pattern.
Pattern: Simplicity 9825
View: F
Size: 8
Fabric: Broadcloth
Things I learned:
  • A-line is the single best cut for me.
  • The skirt yoke adds bulk where I really don't need it. Faced skirts look sew much better on me.
I still like to wear this skirt in the summer. I can wear it with basically any top.

I also made the long version of this skirt, but it didn't turn out as nicely as the short A-line.
View: A
Size: 8

T's "Lucky shirt"

A shirt for T that matched my "Hawaiian" dress. I know, it's cheesy, but it was fun for the party.
I copied the pattern off of a borrowed shirt. I am quite proud of that, given that this was the second garment that I had ever sewn.
View: n/a
Size: medium
Fabric: Batik cotton
Things I learned:
  • It's not sew hard to copy a shirt, but you do need to add seam allowances.

Sunday, October 21, 2007

Hawaiian dress: my first attempt at sewing (Butterick See & Sew 3878)

My first attempt at garment sewing was this "Hawaiian" dress that I wore to a luau.
Pattern: Butterick - See & Sew 3878
Size: 6
Fabric: Batik cotton
Things I learned:

  • I had to shorten the shoulder straps about an inch.
  • Well, okay, the turn-of-cloth at the neck line does leave something to be desired... Unfortunately, I still struggle with that. Any ideas how to master it better?

An inventory of my "collection"

I decided to make an inventory of all the things I have sewn so far and write down information about the pattern, the size that I chose, the process, the fabric, and any alterations that I had to do on the patterns. I am hoping this will help me remember things about the patterns later on if I want to use them again. I find myself often forgetting to write down information about the garments I make.

Sunday, August 26, 2007

Lining a dress

I am working on a dress that I have taken apart 2 or 3 times already. But I really like the fabric, sew I don't want to just give up on it. Now I found a couple of links on the web which I am hoping will help me finally finish it:

Also, this dress will be the first one in which I'll try to insert an invisible or concealed zipper.

Meet my new assistant: Singer DF150

I am excited to try out draping, pattern making, alterations with my new dressform. After a detailed search, I determined that the Singer 150 will fit my size and has a wide enough range that it should also allow me to make clothes for others. I am a little disappointed that it's sew bright red... I'll just have to make a dust cover for it.

Friday, August 10, 2007

My newest inspiration

This article about how to easily assemble pants was my newest inspiration: "Patterns: Guidelines, not Gospel." I am ready to try out a faced pants pattern with a side zipper. The description makes it sound sew easy. Here is a tip from the Threads website to illustrate how it is done.

There is also a video about fly-front zipper insertion, which seems quite easy.

Sew how to start?

It's time to collect, and organize my sewing thoughts, ideas, handy links, and completed projects (yay!)... Sew that's what this blog will be about.