Sunday, December 31, 2017

2018 Make a Garment A Month Guidelines

Hello everyone,

This is a slightly different post from my usual posts about garments I have made.  I will resume those next year...And I hope to get back to commenting and posting regularly.  2017 was a bit topsy turvy
and challenging so I really found it hard to blog.

This post is  a long and wordy post, quite unlike my usual picture and quick notational style that I use for my sewing posts. But sometimes lots of words are necessary...

Anyway, without further ado, To Business

Some of you know that I facilitate the Make a Garment a Month Challenge on both Facebook (closed group) and Instagram.

And some of you don't.  Some of you are visiting this post because you found out about this challenge on Instagram and want to see what we are doing this year.

And some of you may be regular readers of this blog but not know that I run this challenge.  And some of you will want to join in.

Make a Garment a Month has been running for some years now.  It started with me mentioning on one of my blog posts that I was going to get quite busy and that I would aim to make a garment a month. Other people thought that was a good idea, and wanted to join in.  That led to us writing a communal blog during 2013 and 2014 called, yes, you guessed it,  Make a Garment a Month.  (click on the link if you want to see what we got up to...)

Running a group blog got a little too demanding for poor old me, who works, studied at the time, runs a domestic world (doesn't that sound grand) and tries to sew and write her own blog too.  So we moved to Facebook and work within a closed group.

And then Instagram started to become quite the place to also be, so I let the IG sewing world know about this challenge.  Many of us post on the Facebook page as well as Instagram...the two approaches are quite different and also some people only do Facebook or Instagram, so it is a way of opening up the challenge.

Of course, when I first uttered my thought about Making a Garment a Month I had no idea it was going to become a global sewing challenge.   It still amazes me.  And is wonderful to see such dedicated and talented sewists all coming together to share and sew.

My original themes were always rather fun and abstract and many of you got the hang of it and had a lot of fun, and made some great theme suggestions.  I have continued this idea, but I think that as we are now entering our fifth full year, it is time to freshen up the concept and get a new focus.  Especially as so many more of you are taking part.

My original concept was to encourage sewers to set aside a small amount of time to regularly sew.  So often life suggests we give up sewing, even though we love it, as if it was not important.  But to most of us it is important and helps to restore calm and balance in our lives.  I also made it a rule that sewing was to be Selfish Sewing only, because, well,  in a nutshell, you are important and deserve your own Me Made Clothes and you deserve your well earned sewing time.

I always encouraged sewers to make garments that worked for many challenges are not always what you want to wear.  Also, I find that we are so influenced by what is going on in the social media world of sewing, that we sometimes make things that look good on other people and for other lifestyles that do not work for us!  So, first and foremost, I always said sew what works for you.

This year I want to up the ante a bit and change the challenge slightly:

Over the years, I have discovered that there are consistent themes that keep recurring with sewers...the need for basics, the need to use up stash, and the need to use up a hoard of sewing patterns that you keep adding to...And consistently, we get sidetracked and still need to make up those basics, use the stash, and tackle that backlog of patterns waiting for us.

In addition, there are all sorts of stimulating challenges on the wonderful internet sewing world, from the #makenine2018 on Instagram, #2018rtwfast on Instagram and also see Sarah's blog Goodbye Valentino, Sewing Pattern Reviews   various contests, stashbusting challenges, and all sorts of other wonderful sewing events that are hosted by the internet sewing community.

Now this is all very well, wonderful fun but for 2018 for 2018 I will be asking you to think about your main sewing needs and objectives. As you probably already know, I never want you to make something that does not fit your lifestyle and wardrobe needs. So, I want you to sit down and work out what you want to do this year.  You also have limited time, so I want you to think about what time you have and how you want to tackle your wardrobe and sewing needs this year.

Make More Basics? Make Mini Capsule Wardrobes? Explore the Pattern Stash? Sew the Stash? Are you doing other challenger such as Makenine ?

Do you have a pile of UFOs you want to tackle?  Or USI's (unrealized sewing ideas)?

Are you doing the RTW fast – in which case you may need to check what is missing in your wardrobe and prioritize that.

And are you one of these people that loves to combine all the challenges going around into one garment? That's okay too.  Or do you like to just join in everything?  Yes, that's okay too, just make sure one of them works for the Make a Garment a Month Challenge.

Some of you have commented that you make more than one garment a month...and yes, that is okay, I am not going to discourage you there! I often sew more than one garment a month as well, or am in the stages of toiling a garment behind the scenes.  But sometimes I don't have much time to those months I always make sure though to make one garment a month for myself just to stay sane.

 What Make A Garment a Month is about is making sure you commit to one garment a month that you actually make specifically for that month. It's about regular, selfish sewing time. It's also about interacting with other sewers, and making new friends, and new ideas and all the other lovely things that come with being involved.

Each month I will have a theme that you are to use along with your 2018 Sewing Plan. I use the theme to keep us motivated.

This month I will be asking you to post your 2018 MAGAM plans...this will help you focus and it will help my set my themes this will be so interesting to see how other sewers think and plan!  And I will also ask you to post your plans as you normally do.  Instructions are always on the monthly button that I publish.

Some of you will be wanting to know how to join in. If you are on Instagram, you use your own account and publish on that, and just use the #makeagarmentamonth@sarahlizsewstyle.  That way I will be able to find your posts.  I also use my own account, not a dedicated account for Make a Garment a Month.  It just becomes too much work for me...I volunteer my time to co-ordinate this, and it does have limits.

And if you want to join our Facebook group, you must have a Facebook account.  Email me and I will send you an invite.

Here's to a great new Make a Garment a Month Sewing Year...

Sarah Liz

P.S.  My plans are somewhat scatty at the moment, but I think I will be focused on making basics every month that plug wardrobe gaps.  I am choosing simple basics because I know that I have a lot of responsibilities and demands in 2018.  I also need to finish some started projects and USI's.  AS for the stash...and the patterns that I need to use...the Indies I need to explore...Like you, I need to focus and write my MAGAM 2018 sewing plan and post it!

Tuesday, December 19, 2017

Summertime and the dresses are easy...McCall's 7120.

I say every summer that I need to make some loose throw on dresses to wear on very hot days. Trouble is, I don't like this sort of dress, so I procrastinate on making them.  A few days ago, the annual script started again, only this time I pulled out a remnant of rayon and made a wearable muslin.  

Now, pull on dresses by their very nature are a bit sack like - they do, after all have to pull on.  I wasn't sure which pull on sack like dress pattern I should choose, but eventually settled on McCall's 7120, a learn to sew pattern:

 Picture 1 of 2

I wasn't sure what size to make, because I do find I need quite a bit of ease across my back - I am quite an active person and also need to be able to bend over fully as I do back stretches during the day or my back will get stiff and sore.

So I settled on my bust size of 34 inches.  I did a quick muslin of my shoulder and arm area and established I needed small shoulders.  As for the neckline, it was nearly down to my navel.  So I spent quite some time altering that - first I made a little neckline shape to make sure that the eventual neckline would fit over my head.  It does, with a little to clear.  But as you can see from the photos, any larger and it would be too large and slide all over the place.

For the body, I cut size M but altered the bust point in to close to the small point.  I chose to cut the dress quite long as the oversized flowal print needed this.  I was guided by how much fabric I had, but I think the length turned out about right for the large scale of the pattern.

I cut the shorter sleeve - I needed to cut this on the crosswise grain, as I only had 1.1 metres of rayon (137 wide).  Facings were made from scraps of voile and pockets from some muslin I had left from something.  They only need to hold tissues so don't need to be too thick and weigh the dress down.

Sleeves are just a tiny bit shorter than the pattern as I had run out of material.  But I think this is about right as I can move my arms freely. Any longer and range of movement may be more restricted.

Then I sewed it up - the bulk of the time really was in changing the pattern and fiddling with the neckline.  Hems were turned over twice ( /1.5 cm total) and stitched.

As usual, McCall's runs quite large, and the final result is no exception.  Still, for a hot and humid day, I think this may be a virtue.  We are expecting 40 tomorrow...

Can I go now???  At least I can move and walk briskly in my floral frangipani dress:

Yes, generous and loose and floppy and so cool to wear.  I will be ready for 40 degrees and high humidity tomorrow.  A really fantastic use of $2.20 worth of a remnant of floral rayon that I didn't really like.  I collect remnants for making wearable muslins...sometimes also a nice garment!

As for the pattern, now I have the neckline sorted out, I might make a loose dress again.  But I would probably make the Small size.  Or look for a pattern that is loose and generous but a little nicer in shape. 

I think that a beginner would be very disappointed with this pattern - neck too low, and far too generous in size.   But for me, for now, it's a tick off the list...

Take care everyone, it's a busy and stressful time in the lead up to Christmas...

Bye for now,

Sarah Liz

UPDATE:  I am wearing the dress today.  It is a very hot day (up to 39C already) and the dress is just perfect for the weather.  In very hot weather you need really loose clothes, so although my first thoughts were that this dress was too large, it is actually just right for this sort of weather as it allows air to circulate around the body, so sweat can evaporate and cool the body down.  Very important in hot climates.  There is no cling at all and it is really comfortable!  

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