Wednesday, January 29, 2014

Make a Garment a Month Challenge - January's Skirt

Finally my dressings are off my face( I had a couple of troublesome moles removed, all okay) and I can take photos again.  I had fun doing the pose above - I don't wear tank tops except for showing clothes on blogs, and I don't have attitude.  Not that sort anyway:)

This skirt is made from stretch cotton sateen, which I purchased from Spotlight.  The skirt is a slim fitting, elastic waist skirt so it is really quick and simple to make.  I used Kwik Sew 3765:

I made a middle length skirt - not quite as long as skirt B above, and not quite as short as skirt C.

The first thing I did was check and measure the pattern pieces.  I planned to use XS.  I measured the hips which were to fit 35inces.  You would expect that the waist would also need to be 35 inches if it was to go over the hips.  It wasn't.  It was a lot smaller than that.  The other problem was that this skirt does not have a cut on band - you fold the waist over for casing (see picture below).  As you can see, there is no amount kicked back at the side.

So I added a bit at the side waist.  And when I cut it, I added a little kick back at the top so that the casing would work.  The skirt has a split at the back - I added more at the back so that the fold on the split was a little deeper than the 5/8 inch.  I can also add a zip if I want a snugger fit on the waist line one day. I trimmed the excess away above the split prior to sewing.

Then I made a muslin out of something lying around - this was the full length of the piece - I would never wear a skirt this short (some of you might think I could get away with it :)).

The skirt looks good and fits nicely.  So then I cut out the blue skirt.  I'll let the pictures do the talking now - so here is the skirt, front view:

And the side view:

And the back view - I should have made sure I put the split in the centre of my back when putting my skirt on - isn't it just as well we don't see our back view too often!!

Anyway, the split sits nicely and looks good - that is the main thing!

And that is Kwik Sew 3765.  A really nice, simple, quick, pull on, elastic waist straight skirt.  I will use this one often, especially for stretch fabrics.  The pattern says to use woven fabrics as well, but I think if I did I would make a slightly larger size for the amount of ease that is needed for wovens.

And yes, it looks just like the pattern envelope :)

Sarah Liz

Monday, January 27, 2014

Sewing Snippets...

Sometimes it is not always a good day for sewing.  I've had a few of those recently, although I make sure I spend 15 minutes a day working on my sewing projects.  And sometimes, on those sorts of days I also do some preparation, either for the next stage of the garment I am working on, or for a future project.  I thought I would share some of these activities with you in case you find something of use in them to help with your sewing projects.

The first little job was a burn test on some fabric I purchased from Spotlight that was just marked "fabric/textiles".  I suspected one was polyester from the handle and feel of it, but the other felt that it might have a natural fibre (cotton or viscose - probably soft cotton/mix).

 I just do burn tests now  without too much thought, but if you want to find out what to do, just google "fabric burn test"and you will find lots of information on what to do.

White - Probably polyester. Fused quickly, melted away from flame, and  hard edge afterwards

Purple - a natural fibre in this fabric - much softer ash residue, crumbles.  Feels soft at the burn edge. Has not melted as it burnt (you can see that it was burning in and not melting away - compare with the white edge).

The next little test: I will be making a dress soon out of four different colours.  When I mix colours in a garment, I always test for colour fastness first.

To do this, I snip a strip of fabric. I then put it in a little container and immerse it in boiling water and watch to see if it bleeds colour. Then I lay the strip out on a paper towel (or two, as the strips are a bit wet!).

If the colour is running at all, you will find evidence under the fabric strips. I have turned these over, and they are not running - the black has left a slight trace, but as these colours will not really be affected much by a tiny bit of black, this garment will be safe to wash with four colours.  And I will be washing it in much cooler water than boiling water :)

And my third test -  checking that  poly cotton bias binding that I want to use  is pre-shrunk

It's the boiling water trick again.  Mark the edges of your bias tape on a piece of paper, remove the strips, dunk them in boiling water for a few minutes, blot out water and replace on the paper.  If they match the marks without any shrinking - then you can assume that the binding will not shrink with normal washing.

Have a great week everyone,

Sarah Liz

Saturday, January 25, 2014

The Lucky Pattern Game - Draw #1

 A week or so ago I told you about the Lucky Pattern Game - you can find details here.

After a tedious week or so ( my husband's practice is moving soon and guess who is "helping"),  I was in need of some light relief today.  I have done some sewing, and do have a few plans to make some basics for winter, but I needed something a little more interesting to look forward to.  Or at least something not "planned and useful".  So I thought today would be a good day to play the game...

Out with the pot:

Close eyes (with one open for the camera shot) , rummage and take out a slip:

 What do we have:  Vogue 1316, in the Designer patterns (that is what the D is for).

And when I go and find the pattern, this is what I have "pulled out".

 A Rachel Comey design, now OOP.  Funnily enough, it was on my list to make for winter this year - to wear over a jumper, not as a low neck dress.  More as a pinafore dress.  In fact, I had already stashed for it - when Spotlight had a range of colours all in the store at once that would work and suit me.  A very rare occurence, so I stashed it straight away (even though I had taken my stashbusting pledge, but there are exceptional circumstances sometimes.  An as luck would have it, I am going to use it soon, so I think I haven't really done too much damage to the pledge).

These pieces are all the same type and weight of fabric - a polyester/viscose mix gabardine.  I will have some black lining in the stash, so this project is meant to be :)

Sarah Liz :)

Wednesday, January 22, 2014

The last of 2013 - New Look 6129, Skirt

It's taken me a while to post this little skirt - I made a lot of casual "bottoms" last year - all of them fairly forgiving if the figure changes.  This means I won't have to make any more casual bottoms for years - and can start making other things!

This is also the last of my unposted 2013 garments.

This little skirt is my current favourite - New Look 6129.  It is slightly A-Line, has options for pockets, and elasticised waist with a drawstring - I didn't add the drawstring as it adds a bulky line under little t-tops:

New Look 6129

I made this skirt out of leftover broadcloth - I didn't have enough for a skirt, so I added a band at the bottom - like the skirt in the top left hand corner of the pattern picture above.  I thought that the slight difference in colour from the different dyelots would not be so obvious with a seam and topstitching - and if it was, I decided that this was alright as well - it would be a subtle design feature!:

As you can see, there is a slight difference in colour, but it doesn't really affect the look of the garment at all.  the camera flash washes out a lot of colour - so as the skirt is actually quite saturated with colour, the difference is not that obvious.

I'll show you the waistband:

The waistband is not too gathered and the elastic edge suits the style.

The pockets are sewn in with one row of stitching, but I did two to match the flat fell seam at the fabric join:

Now, pictures of the skirt, front, back and sides as is my usual:

Front view
Side view
Back view

I would wear this skirt with a button down blouse or a nice t-top, not with a camisole, bare back and bare arms, tucked in!  This is just to show you the skirt.  In future blogs I will start putting my me-mades together as little outfits.

I have made this skirt three times now - once as a refashion out of polished poplin, once in black calico, and now in cotton broadcloth:

Polished poplin refashion version - longer length

Black Calico version - longer length

Navy Broadcloth version - shorter length
I think this pattern will be remade many times over the next twenty years.  It really is a nice, useful, wearable little skirt.

Saturday, January 18, 2014

Calico Collection...Part Three, McCalls Pants 6514.

I decided that it was time to replace the trousers I made years ago - when baggy pants were last in style - that had come to an unfortunate end after I attempted to redye them black - only to find that when I wore them on a 45C degree day that the dye ran as I was so sweaty.  They were a well loved lightweight linen pair, and so I thought I might like to make  another linen pair if I found the right pattern.  The pattern that I chose to test for this was  McCalls 6514:

McCalls 6514.
I thought that the view on the top right hand corner would work, but first I thought a test garment was needed.  So I used up the rest of my stashed black calico to trial the pants.  I laid out a pair that already fitted me around the crotch, and these pants did not look too bad.  I adjusted for a flat seat, and then cut straight out.  I wasn't too worried about the fit,  because baggy pants always tend to hang down quite nicely.

The pants have a flat waistband at the front and elastic at the back.  And pocket.  They have three pleats either side of the CF, whereas my old pair had two pleats.

The pants made up very easily and didn't need much alteration.  This is the front view:

(I'm not sure why I'm looking skyward - I think it is something to do with hating taking self timed photos - but you can at least see the pants!)

The side view actually is a nice profile - the pants hand down and hide the tummy nicely!:

And the back looks nice as well:

The only comment I can make is that I could add a bit to the back rise, and take out a bit from the front and sides  if I make these pants again.

And will I?  I don't think so.  Not in a nice linen.  I think I should leave baggy pants back in my sewing past.  If I want baggy pants ever again, I would re-use this pattern.

I do love these though, in their own right - they look nice and I will love wearing them as very very relaxed lounging pants:

I do hope you are sewing with success as well :)

Sarah Liz

Wednesday, January 15, 2014

Calico Collection Part 2 - New Look 6216, Pants

Late last year I busied myself sewing a collection of house basics in cotton fabrics - skirts and pants.  Later I will be making the tops to match.  I've long wanted a set of basics for working at home that look good enough for when you pop out to the post office or other sorts of errands.

The pattern I used for these trousers was New Look 6126.  Here is the line drawing:

The pants have an elastic waist with a drawstring at the front.  I omitted the drawstring as I do not like added bits at the tummy.  Under a top they are not needed - and just add a "lump"under the top. 

The pants also have nice roomy pockets.

I cut out a size 8 and made these up in a black calico that was in my stash.  It is a lovely soft fabric - I would never have thought of calico for garments, but in black it looks fine.  And cotton is cotton...

Now for those front and back views (and I am wearing a little camisole for these photos - in real life I would never look this undressed!):

Here is the front view:

 And now the back:

And now to show you the wonderful pockets:

The calico makes up a quite differently from the cotton broadcloth pair I made.  Here are the two pictures to compare.

Black calico
 The cotton calico pants are soft and slightly less structured looking than the navy  cotton broadcloth version:

Navy broadcloth.
The broadcloth ones look a little smarter than the calico ones - but the calico ones will be my preferred soft and slouch study pants.  The navy will probably be more my casual trousers to be "seen"in.

New Look 6216 pants work for me - I'll probably make a couple of pairs for winter in baby wale corduroy.  Yes, you guessed it, one pair will be black...

Sarah Liz

Sunday, January 12, 2014

Lucky Pattern Game

A few days ago I mentioned that I was going to play a pattern game with my pattern collection.

 I have a large and lovely pattern hoard . I will always add to it, but I have a tendency to keep buying and not using the ones I have.  Not that this matters of course - because sometimes when you really want a style line you can't buy it - so I always add things that I think may be useful.

But really, I think it would be a good idea to go through the patterns and start making them up - if there isn't a more pressing sewing obligation (such as the winter pants I really must make before winter - for work and for casual wear).  And, in all honesty, except for things I need, I tend to get stuck choosing - I want to make everything, but don't know where to start.  So I thought this game would help me decide :)

So, I will play a lucky dip pattern game if  I don't know what to choose and have nothing else planned.  Maybe you would like to play it too :)

This is what I have done:

I purchased some check ticket booklets:

 I wrote a pattern number on the tear off strip  that you find in these books:

Like this ( if you want to do this game, you don't need the check books, you could cut up bits of paper - I just found that the check books also helped me to count up how many patterns I had  (289 patterns plus 10 Burda Style Magazines, plus 12 patterns in a Japanese pattern book):

 Pull them out, shuffle them around so they don't stick together:

Put in a little jar or pot:

And put aside until you want to make a Lucky Dip Pattern Selection:

And how will I know what the pattern is and where to find it?  Because I have them all filed away in plain envelopes with the pattern brand and number written on the outside of the envelope:

 And the corresponding pattern envelope lives in a plastic envelope in a folder.  When I access a lucky dip pattern I will be able to tell from the line drawing which folder to look in :

Or I can look it up on Pattern Review.

I'm looking forward to the sheer randomness of this pattern game.  Of course, it will be the best of three, because I may strike a pattern that just won't work for the season.

Please join in this game if you would like - or make up your own variation that works for you :)