Monday, October 28, 2013

McCalls 6828 : Raccoon Jacket

I love these little animal themed jackets and tried (rather disastrously) to draft one my self last year so when I saw this pattern out I downloaded it. My little birthday baby turns one next week so this is getting sent off to him for his birthday.

This is a sz 2 and its quite generous, I think it would fit easily a 3 or maybe even a 4 year old over a light shirt or work really well as a winter jacket over heavier clothing.

Its all out of polar fleece, lining as well as the outer fabric. I found the fabric amounts on the envelope pretty accurate, I had some left over but not much.


Buttons are from my stash

I had a few issues with the instructions
  • The hood is appliqued. I haven't done any applique before and I found the instructions pretty lacking to be honest. This is the second hood I made, the first rippled badly. So my tips if you haven't done applique before on polar fleece is to interface under where you'll be doing it (it made a huge difference), reduce your foot pressure slightly (I went to 2 from 3) and to not do too tight of a satin stitch. I first did it with a .5 width and it was too tight so I backed it off to a .7 (this is on a Janome 6030 if that helps). Practice on a scrap first to get some idea of what your machine needs.
  • Also because the polar fleece is so fluffy I found after I cut out the appliques if you pull off any loose fluff and trim the fluff at the edges it doesn't stick out from the satin stitch and look all messy.
  • Applique so the stitch wraps over the edge of the fabric, if you go too far into the fabric there is a lip of fleece that sticks out and looks all messy.
  • Before fusing the webbing on the appliques it helps to mark on the webbing paper what colour they are for (just makes it faster when you are at the ironing board)
  • The inner black dot is a button. I didn't realise that until after I had tried to sew a black circle in satin stitch......a good thing about the polar fleece is you can unpick a lot and not see stitch marks, lol. Its written into the instructions after you have appliqued the hood and sewn it onto the main body.
  • I would recommend you interface the back of the ears too, I didn't and found them a bit floppy now.
  • The ear instruction just tells you to 'sew them onto the hood'. I decided to hand sew them on so they would sit up nice and straight and found it best to slip stitch around the back and the front of both ears.
  • Because of the thickness of the polar fleece I had to cut the hood lining down to get it to sit smooth. I actually sewed it all up but it looked too baggy and terrible so I unpicked it and pinned in inside and trimmed what hung out and then when I resewed it, it fit in beautifully.
  • I found the button markings to be off centre and not high enough (the pattern actually recommend to sew snaps inside the button band at the top and bottom but I didn't want to do that on a kids jacket) so I respaced the buttons and made them in the centre of the band.
  • The instructions have you hand sew a lot (all the hems and at the front where the button band goes) so instead I bagged out the lining, leaving at gap at the bottom back hem to turn it out with and the top stitched that shut. So if you do that it helps to know that the hem on the jacket is 2" (for the life of me I couldn't find it marked anywhere on the pattern).
After all that whinging notes I will say I am very happy with it, its just so damn cute! I keep looking at it and smiling!
The eyes are a little wonky, I went over the green inner eye twice to try and even them up but I don't think its too noticeable?
I'll be making these as a standard birthday present for little kids from now on (the jacket only uses 1m fleece for the lining and 1 for the outer so if you pick it up on sale its quite a reasonable/cheap sewn gift). I have visions of purple or pink owl jackets for girls and maybe a blue version of this raccoon one.

Sunday, October 13, 2013

Collete 1020: Lily dress

Everytime I sew a Colette dress I wonder why on earth I use any other brand of pattern! This is a straight sz 18 with only taking it in at the sides on the bodice and shortening the bodice by 1". I didn't even muslin it, I feel so naughty saying that!

Fabric is a sateen from Spotlight same with the contrast fabric. I found the skirt a bit short so added the band to the hem.

The skirt has a kick pleat but I don't think its needed and wouldn't bother sewing it on other versions. The bodice is finished with facings but I used bias tape instead. I really don't like facings, they seem bulky and never seem to sit as smoothly as bias binding.


Thursday, October 3, 2013

Lolita Patterns 3013: Sugar Plum

I was lucky enough to pattern test this dress and I gotta say, I love it! I've always admired this type of dress that looks like a skirt/blouse combo but could never find a RTW one that fit and always imagined that fitting one would be a nightmare. This came together really easily though and I had to make minimal fit adjustments. Lolita Patterns have a different sloper for the larger sizes rather than just grading up a small size and it really does make a difference.

I made a Sz18 with the waist graded into a sz16. I still had to do a 1"FBA and I added 1" to the back width but the shoulders fit perfectly and I think if you were a D cup (I'm an F), the bust would have been perfect. I rotated most of the fba into a side dart and the rest into the under bust pleat. The underbust pleat was giving me grief when I first did it, I had it pressed towards the side and as soon as I pressed it the other way towards the front it sat beautifully!

I found the sleeves nice and generous without being too puffy or sticking out and for once I didn't need to do a bicep width adjustment!

 I used a nice Japanese cotton Lawn from Spotlight for the blouse and a Ponte knit from my stash for the skirt. I never wear woven tops so I was pleasantly surprised at how comfy they can be, not as much movement as a knit but not too bad all in all.
I did do a couple of design changes, I just can't seem to help myself! There's meant to be a zip in the back but I found when I muslined it up that I could just pull it on and off so I left the zip out. The skirt has in seam pockets too but they gaped a bit so I decided to leave them off too.
The original neckline is a high one so I changed it to more of a V-neck which I find more comfortable. Finally, the blouse is meant to be lined but my cotton lawn was thick enough it didn't need to be lined so I made some self fabric bias binding and finished it around the neckline and sleeves with that and just serged the rest of the seams.

It's such a pretty dress with the neck ruffles, I finished them with a rolled hem on my serger. First time I've done that and I am so impressed with how it looks! The buttons have been sitting in my stash for a couple of years and it was so nice to finally use them!

I'm really impressed with the dress, the fit and the construction/instructions was very nice, what I'd class as a higher-end rtw finish which is what I always strive to achieve. I can't wait to see what Lolita patterns comes out with next!