Sewing and Style

A blog for anyone interested in sewing their own clothes and creating a sense of personal style...


Saturday, August 30, 2014

Summertime and the Living is Easy


 Here is this weeks garment - a loose dress for wearing around the house on hot summer nights when you just want something big and baggy to throw on after a shower.  I used Burda 7066:


This is a loose A-Line dress that you just pull on over the head - simple and straightforward sewing.  Even though the dress is not much more than a simple bag, I did make a calico to see how the neckline sat as it looked quite wide and deep on the pattern envelope (I made view B).

I used a furnishing cotton from Spotlight, which is not high quality, but works well for these simple garments.  It's not heavy weight, just a nice lightweight cotton with a bit of body (mostly from the screen printed stripes).

Not a pretty sight, but here is is:


Not very inspirational is it?  A piece of old sheet never looks very elegant.  But it does tell me that the sleeve length is fine as I cut them the finished length, the waist position is fine, and the neck is fine as it is.  However, don't forget there is a seam allowance attached, so if it is fine as it is, it needs a seam allowance extra added, if that makes sense!  As for length, this was the length of the leftover piece of sheet, and not the planned length.

I altered the pattern then by adding 5/8 inch (1.5 cm) to the neck edge, and adding length to the hem.  Luckily this was a multi-sized pattern to size 24 - I just drew the size 24 hemline as my hemline.  I don't always measure, preferring often to work by sight.  I also added pockets in the side seams.  I did not add belt loops, as I prefer to sit my belt where I feel like it should sit on the day.

For those of you wanting to make this dress, the arms are quite slim - so if you are larger in the arm than me, do make sure the pattern piece fits you.

Now let's look at the bag- whoops,  I mean smart house dress:


As I said, nice and cool and roomy.  The hemline is even, I am just standing with my right shoulder a little down in this picture.

The next picture  shows you the roomy A-Line shape and the pocket placements:


A side view- there are slits at the sides of the dress for movement (complete with my signature button):


 And the back view:


 The pattern also included a belt, so I made that as well - I thought that would make the dress a bit smarter- it might even get worn to the supermarket:



And the back view with belt:


I think this dress is a great success and has quite a future.  It was an economical make, with the fabric costing $10.99.  The pattern cost $5.00 and was purchased especially for this project.  Add a bit of interfacing, thread and serger thread, so AU $20.00 will well and truly cover this dress.  

*****
I did hope to make two of these dresses this week as I am on semester break.  I have, though, neglected lots of things over the last few weeks, so there was some catching up to do, at home and at the practice.  So dress #2 will happen next week.

  I also decided it was time to start the style transition that I talked about some posts back.  So now I have a smart little bob - there is still some growing out of layers to do, especially at the front, but I think this cut suits me nicely.  I feel more like me, so I think that is a good indication that I am on the right track :)
 
To everyone, I hope you are happy and healthy, take care,

Sarah Liz :)

Sunday, August 24, 2014

Holiday Time Top, Burda 7079 #2

I quickly made this top yesterday, after finishing Assignment #2. (Hooray!)  It's another version of Burda 7079.  My first version can be found here.  

This is the pattern envelope - I used the bodice of dress B as a top pattern - I just added the bottom of top A.
 
For this version, I cut a smaller size - size 36 instead of 38.  This is because for this top I used a much firmer fabric, so in the slightly larger size was going to sit like a box.  The first version was a lot more soft and drapey, so the larger size worked well.  I wouldn't go any smaller - this top has no opening, and if any smaller, I wouldn't be able to pull it on!

I used a cheap furnishing cotton that I purchased from Spotlight.  I frequently check furnishing fabrics "just in case".    It was only AU $4.99 a metre. 

It's a simple quick make - sew back seam, sew shoulders, sew facings, attach facings, attach sleeves (flat), stitch side seams together, hem.

I chose to add a button at the front slit (which was also shortened a little - I'm uncomfortable with very deep front openings). 


I added the button because the fabric has squiggly lines, and doesn't finish symmetrically at the opening - so the button sort of hides that and makes things work.

I'll quickly show you the various views:

Front - lining the pattern up was a challenge!

Side view, which looks quite nice :)


Back view - gorgeously squiffy stripes!

 So that's my little holiday top, because I am in the holiday mood.  Yes, I am on Semester Break , the second assignment has gone:

(P.S.  The total fabric cost was $6.98, so add a bit for thread/interfacing/button so about $10-00)



And so I can catch up on some neglected jobs - and start the next batch of study so it doesn't sneak up on me "undone". (some holiday!)  But I am promising myself a sewing day next week.

In other news, another year has gone, which meant another birthday - and I received this lovely gift:


Fabric Sewing Guide, by Claire Shaeffer.  I've heard it is an excellent book, and it really is quite comprehensive - I think every fabric known is in there.  Some nice evening reading coming up!

Take care everyone, I'm off to do the rounds of your blogs next...

Sarah Liz :)





Saturday, August 16, 2014

A Very Wearable Muslin Top - Burda 7079.

 

 Yesterday I had a sewing afternoon after a week of not feeling well - the usual winter sinus/ear syndrome arrived.  This top was a quick and easy sew and did not need fitting at all, so it was just an easy sewing job - just what I needed :).

I used Burda 7079 and adapted the pattern - I used the bodice hemline from view and the sleeves from view B. View B is a dress, but I preferred the adaptability of a top that can be worn with a variety of other clothes (increasingly me-mades).


I used a piece of black calico that was hiding in my stash.  I like black calico for trial run garments - black always looks smart, and no-one can really tell what the fabric is.  This was a nice soft calico, perfect for this sort of top.

This top has no fasteners of any kind - just the front and back pieces with facings for the neck area. The slit is easy to sew - I use embroidery scissors for clipping into the corners. The front is shaped by bust darts, and the back has a centre seam that is shaped. The sleeves are sewn in flat, and the side seams and sleeved seams sewn in one.    Finish seams and hem edges, hem sleeves and bottom edge, and you are done!  New top in a very short space of time.  The only alteration I made was in shortening the front slit about half an inch.

The top is a very generous size - I made size 38, and the finished bust measurements are 41 3/4 inches (108 cms). The only alteration I made was to shorten the bodice about half an inch (1 cm) along the L/S line.   I like the generous ease  - this will be cool to wear in summer.  And in black, it doesn't look too voluminous - if I made it in white, I would go down a size.

Enough sewing chit-chat, now for the pictures:

As you can see in the photo above,  the top, although generous, is still quite flattering, especially on my shape.


A view of the sleeves - although long, I find the length quite attractive in this top.  I think in some shirts, it would be a downright dowdy length.


The top is nice and generous around the mid section - nothing to cling to the tummy area at all :)

  
 And the back looks nice as well!

I'm wearing the top with another me made garment, a stretch cotton twill straight skirt.  It really needs a petticoat underneath for wearing out of the house, and I usually put one on then - I have neat little petticoats that sit nicely with back splits. But today, for the photo, I forgot!

Tomorrow it is back to writing my assignment again - this one is not bad.  I might even manage to make another one of these tops next week, a little bit each day.  It's so easy to make, and will be the sort of thing you can do a little bit of sewing on when you want a few minutes break.  That's the right sort of sewing to have on hand when you have more pressing demands.

Sarah Liz





Monday, August 11, 2014

A Skirt and an Essay Completed.



 I finally managed to do an hour or so of sewing - a quick and simple elastic waist skirt for wearing when I study.  I like to have something on hand that I don't  have to think about, so I can concentrate on what needs doing.  Doing assignments can be tedious, and I find the best way to tackle them is to just get up and get on with it, and I don't need any excuse to procrastinate.

This is what the last few weeks have been like:


Fun.  By Thursday last week, I was really tired and fed up, so decided a break would do me good - so  I ran up this little skirt.  Just as well, because on Thursday night I think we all found out we had not quite done what we should in the essay, and I spent the weekend working on it.  Anyway, it's finished now :) :) :)

Tomorrow I start the next one!

Anyway, back to the skirt. I used Kwik Sew 3765:


I've made this skirt before in stretch fabrics:

 

The slightly under-dressed look ( I wouldn't normally wear a singlet top)  is just to show you the skirt and how it fits :)

Because the skirt was a stretch woven I cut an XS.

This skirt though, is made in a woven fabric so needs a bit more ease . So I cut S. 

A very unglamorous shot, but I   wanted to show you the top of the skirt.

Most elastic waist skirts are rectangles sewn together at the sides, and then elastic put in at the top.  This skirt is tapered in a bit going into the waist.  When cutting measure, and if it fits your hips, then it will work.  If you have large hips, you might need to add more at the waist.

With less fabric at the waist than most elastic waist skirts, the look is not quite so bulky.


I used to be a real sewing snob, and would never sew elastic waist anything. But elastic waist garments do have a place - sewing basics like this becomes quick and simple.  And very easy to put on, as well .

Now the usual front, back and side views:


I also want to show you the little split at the back.  I always finish the split so it can't split more through the stitching or fabric. Sometimes I put a hook and eye on the back, but often I use buttons - one to anchor the split, and sometimes some decorative ones as well.  That's what I did with this skirt:


As you can see, that split is not going to tear - always the weak point in garments like this, especially if you tend to stride, like I do:)

That's it for today, not sure when I will be able to catch up with you all again - after I have done the next assignment, I think, not before :)

Sarah Liz








Sunday, August 3, 2014

Sunday Sewing News

Hello everyone,

Thank you for your wonderful comments about my frustrations with recent sewing endeavours.  I put it down to energy  being used for challenges elsewhere.  Demanding life changes always catch you out for a while.  However, I am slowly easing back into a routine where both study and sewing can co-exist.  Maybe not always peacefully, but none-the-less.

So, energy this week went into more of doing the essay and working out my summer sewing direction.  I have done a wardrobe audit, and need tops to go with all the casual bottoms I made last year.

So, it was into the stash (and I also added to the stash during the Spotlight sale - but with a purpose and plan, not just stashing because something appealed to me):



I need a pair of trousers for work - I have some fabric in the stash that will do.  I have two shirts that need the sleeves shortened and that will get me out of the crisis for summer necessaries at the office.  It won't be a perfect solution, but a start.

And I need a house skirt to go with lots of black t-shirts that are past their best prime and are now house prime. Something to quickly throw on and then to the computer and study.  Simple and straightforward little study uniform.  I thought this fabric would do.


I also think a little fashion outfit won't go astray - it's a bit of a thing to mix prints, so I thought a gingham skirt and a floral top:

Both of these garments will go with lots of other garments as well - I do try to make multi use garments.

I also am considering this high fashion dress, which is again, really a nice summer basic - loose and comfortable.   With Vogue Patterns at $5.00 this week at Spotlight (sale ends today), and some cotton in the stash, I think a nice little summer dress will be made.  And, no fitting needed :)

Vogue 1400 by Guy Larouche

Sewing activities have started again.  I did trace off the patterns I will be making up over the next few weeks (more likely months):

I always trace patterns - it's tedious and hard work, but I can cut and alter tracings and still have the master pattern should I make a mistake or need a different size.

And, I altered a skirt.  I made a little cotton drill skirt out of a piece of leftover fabric last year - it had a small kick pleat, but it was too skimpy and did not sit well.  Now, I hate alterations, but I knew that I would never wear a skirt that had a skimpy kick pleat that did not sit well. Some sewing imperfections I can live with, and some I can't.  And this was in the can't live with category.

So, I undid the kick pleat and made a split instead. The split was going to end up far too high up the back of my leg, and I prefer a modest look!!!  So I stitched the seam down a little further. This left me with the remains of the kick pleat.  I could trim that, but then there was a messy over-locking job to be done - sort of half way down the seam and over the last bit of over-locking. That is also a sewing imperfection I don't like.  So I stitched the split facing up to the original opening point. Which then had to be made to look as though it was meant to be.  I added buttons:

-

I now have a nice casual skirt for the house. And the hem is even, I just laid the back a bit lower so you could see the edge of the split.


Saturday, July 26, 2014

We all have these weeks...




We all have those weeks where nothing quite goes right, and not much sewing gets done either.  I've just had one of those. And another one of those days.  Capped off with now the internet is as slow as paint drying.  Frustrating!

Enough grumbles.  On the plus side this week, I got the dreaded BAS out of the way ( a quarterly impost from the Tax Office, AND,  I actually got a slab of my first assignment done.  I find it very tedious - the subject matter was as boring as.  So I fidgeted and fidgeted but still I persevered, and now I can see it will happen.

So, I didn't do much sewing.  I did run up a calico, then decided I didn't like it:


It's a Katherine Tilton Jacket, Butterick  5891.  Here is the line drawing.


Line Drawing 
I thought the long sleeve jacket looked quite interesting, but the calico makes me think twice.  I hated it when I first tried it on, but the more I look at it, the more I wonder if it does have some sort of potential.  I'll keep looking... The short sleeve blouse is certainly not me though. 

After chunks of essay, I allowed myself a walk - well, wouldn't you know, Spotlight has a pattern sale at the moment, all $5.00.  Who could resist dreaming of what could be after a few days of reading and writing about how to choose good evidence from treatment trials and what levels of evidence are the best levels of evidence.

And some of my fidgets were quite useful - I pre-shrunk pieces of fabric:


Only to find that the striped pieces didn't take kindly to the treatment.   Although the colour seemed fast in the water, as not much colour came out, the fabric today told a different story.  The colours have run.  I'm very disappointed.  The spots performed beautifully though.  You win some and you lose some.

Today seemed to be the lose some.  I decided to cut out a simple top out of material already washed in hot water.  After I cut the top out, I had one of those strange flashes - what if this will shrink. Strange thought, seeing I had already treated it. So I cut a square out, measured it, dunked it in very hot water for ten minutes, and measure again.  It had shrunk considerably. Another disappointment.  You win some and you lose some.
 Still looking on the bright side, if I had made it and it shrunk, I would have been even more disappointed.

 I decided to quit while I was ahead, and console myself with cataloging uncatalogued stash:

Which made me feel a little better.  The false illusion of control, but so what :)

During the week as one of my occupational health and safety computer breaks (a.k.a. as the fidgets, mentioned above) I also started assessing my wardrobe and it is time for some RTW to go:


Trousers that never did fit me huge on the hips, tight in the middle and cut right through the crotch.  I'd rather be comfortable in my still not quite perfectly fitted me mades. They  look better and fit better. Also  a shirt worthy of the office junior in horrid cheap fabric, and a black shirt bought in haste in my usual size from Rivers that didn't fit.  Time to go.  There will be more...

I also found a few garments that I don't wear because they need alterations.  They are now out on my sewing rack, and they won't go back into the wardrobe until they are fixed:


All simple things, like shirts I like but instead of long sleeves they need short sleeves, a good wool  skirt that is too short but would be worn if it was a tiny bit longer.  For those formal occasions.

On the plus side, I have managed to do some knitting.  The back of my cotton/acrylic cardigan is now complete. 
So that was my sewing week!  Next week I hope to post a garment - I have found a something in the wardrobe I haven''t worn on the blog, so I can do that.  What sewing I will manage I am not sure - but I think this was just one of those off weeks we all have from time to time.

Do you have off sewing weeks too?

Bye for now,

Sarah Liz