Friday, October 24, 2014

Pattern testing - Closet Case Files: Ginger Jeans

I was lucky enough to pattern test these, I know there was a bit of controversy over pattern testing and bloggers always saying nice things about the new pattern but I can honestly say I love these jeans!

I've always stuck to wide leg jeans, they were the only type that would ever fit over my thighs and I had a couple of horrible change room experiences that cemented the no-skinny jean rule firmly in my mind! This is why I love to pattern test though - it pushes me way out of my comfort zone and into clothes I might not normally sew or wear. This is my first ever pair of stovepipe/skinny leg jeans and I am a convert!

So the pattern: These are View A with the stovepipe leg. I made a size 18 (the test pattern was pretty generous - by my measurements I should be a sz20. This has been corrected on the finished pattern though). I muslined them up in cheap denim first and made a few adjustments;
  • Added 1" to the inner leg seam on the front pattern piece.
  • Added 1" length at the knee
  • Added 1" to the centre back height (this is a bit much though and I'll be halving it next time)
  • Adjusted the side seams - I have hyperextended calves and they were dragging the side seam backwards so I added to the back and took from the front to straighten it up.
  • Changed the front pockets to a pocket stay.
  • Shaped the side seams - my muslin was in a thin denim and the legs draped fine, this denim is a lot thicker and just looked bunchy so I shaped it to fit my lower thighs and knee area.
  • I did a couple of construction changes - I followed my fav zipper tutorial and serged the waistband facing instead of turning under (just helps to reduce bulk with a heavier weight denim).
  • Shaped the waistband to be more curved to stop the gape at the back.
  • Also I added elastic to the waistband to help stabilise/stop stretching out.

I'm really impressed with the pattern - I've sewn a few different jeans patterns now and these are the least adjusted pair so far. They are generous through the thigh and butt area and are a higher rise at the back to the front which I always look for.

The instructions are written towards someone who hasn't sewn jeans before plus there is an upcoming sewalong to follow as well. I had trouble with the original zipper instructions but I've just read the final pattern instructions and I can recommend them now, they are very similar to how I do my zipper install and nice and simple to follow.

I totally ran out of ideas to top stitch the back pockets so just left them plain, I did stitch one of my labels to the corner for something different.

All the top stitching is with upholstery thread and the bar tacks in the same colour normal thread.

Now all I can think about is more pairs of jeans! I have a nice thin purple denim that would be great in this pattern and could be rolled up to be capri length in summer and my daughter has a pair of shorts that are serged in hot pink thread and then cuffed so you can see the serging which I want to copy as well!

Wednesday, October 22, 2014

McCalls 6953: Rayon maxi dress


I think this summer's uniform is going to be the maxi skirt for me! I've been wearing my Gabriola skirt heaps lately so it just seemed natural to make a maxi dress as well.

This pattern has a few variations, I made Amber the hi-lo hem version and this is View D with the maxi skirt.

So the adjustments;
  • sz20 with d cup
  • 1" fba
  • 1" wedge from back neck alongside of the zipper
  • 2" petite bodice
  • 1" wedge out of bustline length
  • shirring panel on side
  • lowered neckline
  • added waistband
  • added pockets from Simplicity 2588
I'm not overly happy with the bodice, it took 1 tissue fitting and 2 muslins and I'm still not completely happy.

Every time I try one of these cup size patterns I end up adjusting the fit more than if I'd started with a basic B cup bodice. This time I started with a d-cup bodice and had to do a 1" fba on the first muslin then had to take a big wedge out of length on the second - its like I need the width but not the length I'm finding - I really should add to the side seams which would let me do a smaller fba and also allow for an easier sleeve adjustment each time.

I had to take a wedge out the back neckline along the zipper as it was gaping, same as I had to on Amber's dress. This is not a common adjustment for me so I tend to think its more of a fault on the pattern.

Fabric is a rayon from the clearance table at spotlight - its a nice weighty rayon. I used a cotton poplin for the lining and a cotton sateen for the waistband. The photo below is more true to the colour.

The dress isn't designed with the waistband but I found it was just too much pattern without it, this fabric really needed a break.

I think the next maxi dress I make will be a frankenpattern of this skirt with the bodice of Vogue 8648, I just need to find some more decent rayon!

Saturday, October 18, 2014

Colette 1028: Moneta Dress

I didn't get this pattern when it first came out because I didn't think the gathered waist would be that flattering. Since then I've seen a lot of great verisons online and I downloaded it!

As always with Colette patterns, the instructions are fantastic and the fit is pretty good too. This is a XL at the shoulders graded out to a 2xl from the bust down. Its a bit too tight, I'll do a FBA next time, I think that what causing the drag lines at the armholes, it also needs the armholes dropped and a bit of length taken out from the back bodice. I went for sleeves half way inbetween the 3/4 length and the short sleeves. Otherwise everything else is straight out of the printer.

I did drop the neckline down, its very much a boat neck but I like more of a scoop and I added binding to the neckline as well to help lift up the back neck height and because I just don't like the idea of turn and stitch for a knit neckline. This fabric didn't stretch enough though and the band looks a bit ripply

I got this fabric from the clearance table at spotlight, its just a mystery blend knit. Its way too shiny to wear out in public and too clingy too, especially at the back. It doesn't have quite enough stretch either, so its fitting a bit tighter than I'd expected. It honestly didn't look too bad until I sewed it up!

The skirt is gathered using clear elastic. It didn't gather it enough at the front for me and next version I think I'll gather with a few rows of basting stitches and then just reinforce the seam with clear elastic.

So I'll call the pattern a win but this version a fail because of the horrid shiny fabric!

Monday, October 13, 2014

Vogue 8648: Lace dress


I have a wedding coming up in October so needed a special dress for it (any excuse to sew some frosting!)

I bought this fabric a couple of years ago just after I'd started sewing. I found it in Spotlight and fell in love with it back then.....Well, now I look at it and mostly notice the fact that its a poly knit with the lace overlayed and the stretch runs opposite to how I'd prefer - I feel like the lace is on its side but that's what you get for poly knit from spotlight I guess.

Size wise: its a sz 20 with a 1" FBA, 1" swayback and a forward shoulder of 1". I sewed the underbust seam with only a 1/4" seam allowance, I've adjusted the pattern for in the future with another 3/4" of length to the front only to add a bit more length.

The waistband is pleated, easier than I thought even though I wasted a heap of paper trying to understand how to pleat it and how wide to do the pleats. I am pretty happy with my pleat matching at the sides though!

The bodice is lined, I didn't worry about lining the waistband, it seems quite sturdy because of the pleating.

Added pockets from Simplicity 2588. These are my go to in-seam pockets, I like how they attach into the waistband which keeps them in place.

I'm really happy with the bodice fit on this - after a couple more tweaks I think it will be my TNT dress bodice.

Friday, October 3, 2014

McCalls 6953: Chiffon dress


Ambers been wanting a chiffon high-low dress for awhile. I downloaded Lekala 4262 and made a muslin but she didn't like the hem line or the elastic waist. Luckily I had gotten this pattern with my haul from the last Spotlight $5 sale. It still has the high-low hem but has a nice fitted bodice.

Pattern details;
  • This is View C without the hem band (She's 5'4".
  • Sz 14 B-cup with the sides taken in by 1/4".
  • Petite bodice 2"
  • Swayback adjustment 1/2"
  • Changed pleated skirt to gathers
  • Took a wedge out at the top of centre back because the neckline was gaping.
  • Added a skirt lining.
Fabric is a poly chiffon from Spotlight. I underlined the bodice with cotton poplin and also lined the bodice in the cotton poplin. The skirt lining is a poly lining fabric from my stash.

I wanted a free hanging chiffon overlay which I spent ages thinking about. In the end it was pretty simple, it's pretty much the same as the Sewaholic Saltspring dress but opposite sides up. Amber wants another dress similar to this so I'll take some pics and make a tutorial (mostly so I can refer back to it!)

Chiffon overlay hangs free with the top edges of the hem finished

You can access the zipper through the slit

When the dress is zipped up you cant see the slit or zipper in the skirt
I did a rolled hem on the overlocker to the skirt and lining, French seamed the chiffon skirt and used a normal zipper instead of an invisible one, the dress has a bit of bulk at the back and I never really trust an invisible one when the seams a bit bulky plus I'm trying to use my stash and its what I had!

I haven't really sewn with chiffon before but with the underlined bodice the dress has a nice bit of weight to it, the skirts a little bit short, I think having the long hem at the back seems to exaggerate how short the front it so I've added another couple of inches to the length at the front for next time.

In summary, I'm really happy with this pattern, we have another dress planned for Amber and I'd like a maxi rayon version for me!