Saturday, December 9, 2017

Going Dotty - Burda 6671

Hello everyone,

I finally think I am getting back to weekly blogging.  It sadly went by the way over the last few months while pre-occupied with things in life.  Not that the things in life have disappeared, but are more now a known quantity.

So,  I am sorry I have not had time to reply to any of your comments.  I should be back doing that this week.  I did enjoy your thoughts about social media though - and I am sure this will be a subject for discussion in the future.  This week I have curtailed my activity on Instagram, and plan to use it more for chatting to established IG sewing friends and to post blog notices, and of  course, to facilitate the Make a Garment a Month Challenge.   So blogging will be my preferred medium.

And I think my colourful knit dress surprised you - you are so used to my rather practical sewing.  I may have more surprises in store for you in the future...


The photos I took this week are fairly natural I'm looking tired and without my normal twinkle and sparkle- not surprising, since I got up at 0430 today after a thunderstorm well and truly woke me up.  I also  have lines around legs where I had socks on while doing a few odd jobs outside - I like to protect my ankles from scratches.  Sock marks go, scratches in our humid climate are still looking unsightly weeks later as they do not heal quickly.  And my hair needs trimming and tidying up - I'm due to go before Xmas.  So, hardly model material today!!

But, that doesn't matter, because we are here to discuss THE  DRESS. My spotty, dotty Burda 6671:

I loved this dress as soon as I saw it and knew it was absolutely perfect for my type of figure.  It is also a Miss Petite pattern, and I am about 160 cm, so fit into the Miss Petite category.

I made view B, but used the tabs from view A.  The dress is unlined...and I kept it that way, because in our climate, less is more.  And this is also the first dress I have made from this pattern, and as such is more a test dress.

I used a cotton poplin, 1.3 metres (112 wide)  purchased from Spotlight.  It is black with small off white dots.  Why I purchased such a small amount, I have not idea.  Maybe I was thinking a shirt.  But, because I have very slim hips, I can occasionally squeeze garments out of not very much. To help matters, I used a poly cotton facing, and lined  the tabs with this as well. A quick lay out convinced me that with some compromises such as using the selvedge edge and losing the odd snip of a corner here and there, I would just about manage. I did take 1/4 inch of the hem and hemmed with a slightly smaller hem allowance.  And the sleeves were also cut shorter and the hem was halved to 3/4 inch.

The final dress is half an inch shorter and the sleeves are 3/4 inch shorter. I also seamed the dropped waist seam at about 1/2 inch instead of 5/8 inch, which just makes the bodice a touch longer.

I did of course make a toile.  I cut size 38, which is my starting point with Burda patterns.  I found that it was too tight over the bust - it was quite a triangular shape - wider over the hips and smaller at the bust.  I added extra to the side of the front piece and altered the bust dart slightly, and retoiled the bodice.  This worked well, except I had fullness in the back.  I removed this by doing an upright, narrow back adjustment.

And, I added pockets (poly cotton)  at the side, nestling under the tab:

The dress is fastened by an invisible zip at the back:

Somehow I got that back waist seam meeting perfectly at the zipper!

I did have trouble easing the sleeves in.  I didn't on the muslin, but of course poplin is a really firm weave.  I pushed and pulled, but still had small puckers in areas.  So I undid them - and I hate broken seams at the sleeve cos you can see them if you look hard. But, I was not going to undo what worked, and figured it was more important to look good on the outside.  More pushing and pulling - I really pulled hard on the body...and I got the sleeve in perfectly.  I have decided not to press it because it sits quite well, and any curved ease is just not going to press nicely, it will also pucker.  I know, I have learnt that before with poplin.  So if I use poplin again, I will remove just a tiny bit of ease.  A looser weave will be fine.

I consider this dress a  test dress and as such, is a great success.  The colour is not that flattering for me, but if I was not quite so tired, I think I would get away with it! And, the style is Just So Me!

Here are the front, side and back views:

Well, that's it for today, I'll be back next week with one of my large backlog of unblogged garments.

Best wishes for you all,

Sarah Liz

Sunday, November 26, 2017

Back with BURDA 7646.

 It seems weeks since I last blogged, because it has been weeks since I last blogged.  I have been really busy recently and also very tired.   The two probably go hand in hand.  And the tiredness really shows in today's pictures.

 And any social media time seems to have been taken up by Instagram.

And I find that really, although Instagram is quite addictive - and there are sound psychological reasons why this is so, which I will not go into here - I do not enjoy it that much.  And it is very intrusive, in it's own way.

But I do enjoy blogging. So after I have finished my current Instagram challenge, I will use Instagram sparingly and as an add to my blogging, not the other way around.

Today I am quickly going to show you my latest make.  It's a simple dress made out of a Spotlight remnant of a very fine rayon knit.  I think it also has elastane in it, because it is rather stretchy.

I wanted a dress that I could wear on very hot, humid evenings at home.  I thought this rather bright remnant would do the job nicely.  I chose a Burda pattern,   BURDA 7646:

As you can see, it is a very simple pattern, a front and a back.  I didn't like the V neckline so changed it to a scoop neckline.  The neckline is faced.  I wasn't sure about this on a knit, but decided to try it and see what happened.   What happened is that it is okay, but I don't really like it.  With the fabric I was using though, it probably helps to keep the neckline stable.  

While the dress is certainly as shown on the picture, if you make allowances for the fact that the fabric I used is a lot more flimsy and floppy, and for my altered neckline -  the dress is just like the picture.  I don't think this bright, colourful  and large pattern suits me me, but I  knew that - but thought it would be perfect for the planned activity. And sometimes it's fun to wear something quite different! 

The dress certainly feels like wearing nothing much at all, it is so soft and silky and roomy.  I'm ready for that first really hot night - or day, if it comes to that!

It was also the first time I had sewn this type of knit, and I knew I would probably have problems - and I did.  I could not sew the facing to the neckline easily - the machine did not like this fabric.  So I got out the Coverstitch machine and used a chainstitch for the first time.  And I top stitched with the chainstitch as well.  First time I have done that, so the results are not perfect, but quite passable.

The seams were not problematic, the overlocker had no trouble with them.

Then I did the hem.  I did a sample two thread coverstitch hem and it looked okay.  So I then did the hem - and it tunnelled.  I played with the tension and this still happened.  And the sleeve hems, which go against the direction of stretch, tunnelled so much that I seem to have achieved a pin tuck effect!  So I am calling that a unique design feature.

Puzzled by why this had happened, I played around with the machine settings.  I later discovered that the differential feed needed to be altered.  However, you don't really find examples in books anymore - visuals to show you what various settings do - it's trial and error with these machines.

I am also still having trouble with sewing a hem blind, but that will come with time and practice.

So the dress was a learning experience - which is why I used a remnant piece in a pattern that I was not sure about - so that if the learning experience turned out to be more so, the end result could be binned (or re-used more likely) with nothing lost and much gained.

Now my pictures:

That's it for today, it's nice to be back with you all...

Sarah Liz

Saturday, October 28, 2017

October Slow Sewing - and What I Found Out.

October  has been a strange sort of month - both on the personal front and the sewing front.   The personal front is not that interesting to write about - just that our transition from a secure contract to full self employment has been a little tedious.  So I settled on a simple hand sewn skirt for the month of October, thinking that slow sewing Alabama Chanin style would sooth my soul.

I found a picture that rather appealed to me as it is geometric.  I happen to like geometric patterns.


The randomness of the shapes I thought would work well with cotton jersey, because it is not easy to cut straight.  Some easy hand stitching, nice and relaxing, and voila, a nice me made Alabama Chanin  inspired skirt.

I notice that my inspiration design had stencilled stripes applied to the background fabric.  So I decided to draw on some stripes with a wax dye crayon. I then ironed them to fix the dye (with of course paper on top of the wax to protect the iron and sop up residue).

Then I set to work stitching on shapes.  A nice cuppa, some hand sewing, should be bliss.

Only it wasn't.  I soon got very, very, bored.  I have always like hand sewing and embroidery, but this was just too basic for me.  However, I thought this was just a mood due to life stresses. So I thought that I should proceed and a stitched  quite a few patches on the front of the skirt:

At this stage I thought I should hold it up and admire my handiwork and think how great this will look as a casual skirt.

So I held it up (in front of a mirror of course, so I could see what it looked like) and tried to like it, I really did.  I tried hard.

Only I did not like it.  I did not like the rustic, first time I have ever attempted hand sewing look.  I know this look works for some people, but I just did not like it.   I think it just looked too handhewn and casual for me.

I thought about this for a while, and decided that yes, I do like the Alabama Chanin  look, but really, I prefer a much more polished look.  I think I would like to revisit a hand worked technique on cotton jersey, but in a much more complex and refined way. I am quite capable of that - beading and lots of work. And to only attempt to do a small amount every day to relax, and not as an activity in itself.    This sort of slow but quick handhewn sewing is just not me.   I like my needlework and embroidery to be detailed and exquisite.  Even if it takes ages to finish.  So I shall revisit the Alabama Chanin techniques outlined  in her book "Studio Sewing and Design" at some future point in time and aim for something a little more detailed.  I also like her takes on  classic garments - things like jackets for instance, that are hand sewn and sometimes embroidered.

I also had to think about my personal style.  I think with sewing, we can get swayed by all the wonderful ideas floating around the sewing community.  And it is good to try a few of them, because you can get stuck in a bit of a sewing and style rut.  But sometimes, we just stray away from our core likes, and forget what really suits us.

And really, what suits me?  I think  at heart I am a classic style type.  And I really should make sure that I stick to a classic base for all my sewing.   I can push the edges, so long as I don't go over the sides in the future!

That's it for now, back with my next mishap story (yes, there is another!) soon...

Sarah Liz

Saturday, October 14, 2017

Back Blogging: The Saved Top, Artwear August.

Hello Everyone,

Yes, I am looking pretty pleased with myself. That's because this little knit top was a save from a garment that I made that I did not really like, and that at the last moment I cut a hole in while trimming back the neckband seam.  Yes, quite accidentally, but deep down I was quite pleased because I would not have to wear a top I did not really like.

The original plan was to make a Marcy Tilton knit top, Butterick 6218:

Image result for butterick 6218

Image result for butterick 6218

This was also my challenge top for " Make a Garment a Month Artwear August ".

(For those of you that don't know, Make a Garment a Month is a monthly sew-a-long that I facilitate both on Facebook and Instagram. ).

I planned to use a leftover piece of black combed cotton jersey, a small piece of purple combed cotton jersey living in the stash, and I purchased a small piece of midnight blue combed cotton jersey ( all combed cotton from Spotlight).

I made the colour block version of the top.  I cut size 8  - and the finished measurements for that were 40 inches bust - in a knit!!!  The neck shape was really strange - a semi circle front and back.  I always make sure the neck fits over my head - and test the band before I sew it on as well.  Let's say it was a firm fit, unlike the look in the photo.  Maybe this was because I cut a small size, but I have never had a problem like this before.  As it was, I found the top way too voluminous and didn't really like the tail at the back.  I was relieved to finish it, and was trimming away the excess fabric after finishing the neckband the pattern's way - and I hate this method - when, snip, I accidentally cut the fabric of the garment.  

Secretly relieved that the top was now ruined, so I would not have to wear it, I pondered what to do next.  You see, I hate wasting fabric.  I looked at the pieces, and thought I could recut the front and keep the asymetrical look and button band. I recut the back out of the rest of the black leftover fabric, along with the sleeves. I used my favourite T-shirt pattern, Kwik Sew 3766.

 I added blue sleeve bands, recut from the top  to tie the garment together and make a three quarter sleeve for spring and autumn wearing.  

I also became very familiar with my coverstitch with this garment, using it wherever I could.  Except the new neckband, cut from polycotton ribbing.  I overlocked this on, and then zig zagged the seam down.  I am not yet confident about doing neckbands with the coverstitch, I will need to do some practice runs first.

Close up of mock opening :

Inside the hem - narrow two stitch coverstitch - and I managed to even cover the hem!

Sleeve band - I used the coverstitch for the seamline double top-stitching effect and for the hem:

The buttons - five happy buttons, I always re-use the buttons from my husband's shirts.

And now, pictures of me wearing it, as usual, a Front, Side and Back view:

I think this is a smart looking knit top, much better for me because it is much more my style.  Only, I would not wear a longer sleeve top like this with thongs - I took all my back blogging picture on the same day, and it was quite warm.  I just wanted to get the photos done, and as you all probably realise, I only show the garment, not how it would be worn, or "styled" as they say now, in my everyday life.  I really should start taking some real life pictures of me made garments being worn.

That's it for now, next week I will be back to show you what I did with the rest of the fabric along with leftover pieces.  

See you then...

Sarah Liz

Sunday, October 8, 2017

My New Floral Trousers - New Look 6216 again.

Hello everyone,

I know I said I was going to back blog a selection of knit tops I have made, but I changed my mind because I have made another pair of trousers this week.  I wanted to blog them straight away and not put them on the back blog list as well.

I have wanted to make a pair of floral pants for about three years now, and had long ago stashed the fabric.  I decided it was time to actually make the things.  I had originally been inspired by a New Look Pattern:

This is an elastic waist pant with tapered leg, with or without ties.  I liked the ties, but it is really tedious trying to iron into gathers.  The side pockets are neither here nor there style wise, so I decided that I would use my TNT New Look elastic waist trouser pattern, New Look 6216:

I dare say it is exactly the same pattern with pocket and ankle modifications.  And I like the pockets in New Look 6216. 

The fabric is cotton sheeting, 240 wide.  It was purchased from Spotlight, for the grand sum of $9.99 per metre.  I got about 1.2 metres, so I have plenty left over for a skirt one day. 

Now, you would think that cotton sheeting would be easy to sew.  This piece wasn't.  I think it has some sort of finish on it because it rustles a bit.  Of course I had washed the fabric, but I think the finish is sort of designed to stay for a while.  I also think it was a very dense weave.  There was zero give in it - I could tell, when I did the pockets.  So, whether dense weave or a special finish, the end result was a piece of fabric that my needle (I used a sharp) did not want to penetrate easily. Sometimes it did, but often the fabric was resistant to piercing, and just pushed down into the feeddog.   And occasionally of course, this led to skipped stitches.  I just stitched back and forth to fix this problem.  Okay, not stellar sewing, but we home sewers have to solve these little problems. I am dead against perfectionism in sewing.  Problems arise and they have to be solved.  For a home garment, it really does not matter if the seam inside had problems - no one is going to know.  In any case, I did a false flat fell seam on the outer leg, so all looks good.  My overlocker also did not like this fabric. 

All that being said, and the pants now completed, I am really happy with them.

Before I show you the photos, just a note on fit.  Some of you commented that my trousers always fit nicely, and that my elastic waist pants do not look baggy. Well, when I use a dark fabric, they do not look baggy, because dark colours minimize any baggy oversized look. This pair are a lighter colour, and stiffer fabric, and as you can see, they are quite baggy.  Now, I am very thin through the legs, so I don't mind a bit of baggy volume - it gives the illusion of a shape.  Plus I can move in them.  And, being a straight figure type, I can wear almost any sort of trouser shape.  I am lucky that way. 

Anyway, the following photos will show lots of roominess!  But these will be my relaxing trousers, sort of a dressed up PJ pant!

I think it is floral trouser love - I just have to put up a few more photos!

That's it for now.  Next week I really will start showing you the knit tops. I am also playing around with my first attempts at patternmaking a bodice block.  This takes a lot of time and has to be fitted in around more pressing demands. But i n time I will share that with you too.

Saturday, September 30, 2017

Back to Basics - Trousers. New Look 6216.

Hello everyone,

I took a week off blogging last week as I was not feeling well.  I have one of the autoimmune rheumatoid disorders, and from time to time have flares.  Probably why I was very tired and irritable when I was away - more so than usual.  Not only do you get pain and stiffness, but also cognitive interference - I could not remember how to thread one of my machines! My husband (who is a Medical Doctor and I often feel a bit like the female actor in Doc Marten!! ) even gave me sick leave the week before last.  I am improving this week and was able to work again. I guess this is one reason I have done the #sewphotohop challenge on Instagram - better to post that to sit there sore and sorry!  Normally I am too busy to do a daily challenge - I always fizzle in Me Made May, but have thought of a way to do this next year...

But I digress...back to sewing and these pants.

 Sewing was hard work, but I have managed to make two pairs of very simple elastic waist trousers. Boring as, and very simple but just right for a slightly befuddled mind and sore body to tackle.  A seam a day got a pair made each week.   I made a pair each of black cotton broadcloth and drill  trousers - fabric purchased from good old Spotlight.

These will be everyday basics for wearing at home.  You can do all your chores, sew in them, and look reasonable all at the same time.  A change of top and you can go out in them.

I used a pattern that I have made up before. New Look 6216. My navy broadcloth pair  are  still going strong and can be seen here.

 A basic pattern, pockets and elastic waist in a casing.  The pattern shows a drawstring, but I never bother with those because I wear tops over pants and don't want a lump over my tummy where the drawstring would tie up.  Or tails dangling, which always annoy me and end up getting caught in things.

I cut size 8 and these are plenty large enough on me. I didn't need to alter anything, except for shortening by 1inch/2 cm and by doing an underbottom fold.

So, I will just show you the photos, because there is so little to say about the making.

The first set of photos are the pants made in cotton broadcloth. I look rather unsmiling, but that was still when I was in my most unwell period:

And this set is of the black drill pants. With more smiles as I am starting to feel better.  Pain gone, just seedy and slow:

Well, that's it for this week, I am off to catch up with chores.  I also have lots of back blogs to post - oh, and one day, a post on my initial foray into pattern drafting.  More next week, but before I go, a taste of what's to come:

Bye for now

Sarah Liz