Wednesday, 15 February 2012

Sew Grateful Giveaway Winners

Well thanks very much to everyone who volunteered to take patterns off my hands (I may now actually be able to shut the drawer with my patterns in (who am I kidding, it’s drawers and they still don’t really fit!)
I accordingly made a set of lists and random number picked people. Drum roll please…

The Simplicity 8228 dress is going to Little Red Emo Hood who blogs over at skates and stitches

The Woman’s Own 5257 blouse pattern is going to Jill of laugh but not loudly 

The lederhosen companion dress/blouse/apron  Burda 2 9050 is going to Megan and the machine

The furry sleeved Simplicity 6618 is going to Roobeedoo 

The Maudella 5829 smock is going to Gabrielle of Up Sew Late.

And finally, the most hotly desired item, the Style 1157 overall, is going to Ashley Nicole of Bramblewood Fashion. and Bramblewood Dress Diary 

And just to say that I am Sew Grateful to the lovely Debi, who put all this week together with her fantastic summary posts, there is going to be a little surprise for her also…

In other news, I have been holding off making pattern tracings recently as I wasn’t very happy with the paper I was using. I had been using normal tissue paper, but the sheets were too small which was annoying me (far too much wastage). So I finally got round to hopping over to the Edinburgh College of Art student shop (where they don’t seem to care if you are a student or not, or at least don’t ask you) and bought some massive (about 70cm x 100cm) sheets of greaseproof paper, thin enough to see through but more study than standard tissue. They were only 15p each! Yay! I have now traced about 4 different patterns and can get round to starting to make them!

Thursday, 9 February 2012

The Skirt du Soleil

As part of Sew Grateful, we are meant to finish or make things with materials we have been given. At the pattern swap at the Crafter's Ceilidh, there was some bright orange glossy eyelet fabric that no one could think what to do with. It was quite stiff and looked like it might have been a table cloth. As no one knew what to do with it, it was given to me to take home, as a challenge to my ingenuity. CHALLENGE ACCEPTED! 

Except that my ingenuity wasn't needed, the moment I showed it to Lindsey she wanted a full gathered skirt made of it. And the material was perfect, it was a border fabric, with the edges finished in a deep glossy scalloped band, so I didn't have to hem it or anything, and I used that part for the waistband too. It was very easy to make, I made a lining out of some cream pillowcases from my stash, which were the perfect size, and put in the zip I had put in her pencil skirt upside down the other week (I hadn't wanted to put it back in that tight skirt in case it wasn't as robust anymore). 

It is a great success, Lindsey danced about in it looking very cheerful! It has a little girl party skirt feel, but in the orange it is fine for day. It is very cheerful, both in shape and colour, so Lindsey named it the Skirt du Soleil. CHALLENGE FULFILLED. 

Tutorial: the Tree Skirt

This tutorial, again as part of Sew Grateful Week, is covering one of the first sewing projects I ever did, and (certainly the first I was really pleased with), and is a great easy project for anyone. It's a nice alternative to the basic gathered, A-line and circle skirts that are good to make as quick projects, and is very fabric efficient.

My flatmate Lindsey asked if I could make her a copy of a skirt she had bought and loved. It was a simple skirt with small box pleats and buttons and it was made of a fun tree print cotton. It was my first experience of cutting a pattern off something, and luckily it turned out to be very simple!

The skirt is unlike other box pleat skirts I have in that the pleats don't hold in all the way down, the skirt fluffs out about halfway down, creating a sort of tulipish effect, but with the simplest pattern. It has an easy button fly opening. I have only put 2 buttons on, but you could continue them all the way down if you wanted that effect.

Since making that copy I have made two more, one for myself and one for my other flatmate! Lindsey has worn her skirt a huge amount of times, its one of her favourite pieces, I always feel really fun in mine and Charlotte insisted on having one for her birthday recently to complete the set!

The three skirts are all slightly different. Lindsey's ditsy flowery skirt has very narrow box pleats, about 3/4" each side and has a slim tulip shape. For my geometric flower skirt I used larger 1 1/4" each side pleats and it therefore jumps out more, like a rounded cheerleader skirt. After mine ended up sticking on my tights, I lined it retrospectively, and so when I did Charlottes' bird skirt I put the lining in properly and hemmed it so that the green lining showed out the bottom properly.


The skirt requires very little fabric, and you draw the pattern yourself. It is based on a simple rectangle made from your measurements. You only need the cotton (unless you want to line it, in which case you need a similar amount of lining fabric as the main fabric), interfacing to stiffen the waistband, and 2 buttons. 

The only measurements you need is your waist (well the bit where you want the waistband to sit) and the length you want it to be. The skirt ends up as a long strip of skirt and waistband with pleats in it that then overlaps by 1 1/2" at the front for the button placket. 
Draw a rectangle that is the the length of the skirt + 05" seam allowance and 1" hem allowance, and the width of a 1/4 of your waist measurement + the pleat. This is your basic pattern block.  
You then cut out a back piece that is two of these with a seam allowance on each side.  You also need two front pieces, one of which is the piece plus a seam allowance on one side and 1 3/4" allowance on the other side (for the underside of the button placket) and another which is a piece plus seam allowance plus 3 1/4" (for the top of the placket). You also need a piece for the waistband which is your waist, plus 1 1/2" and two lots of seam allowance, and twice the width you want plus 2 lots of seam allowance.
Iron fusible interfacing onto the inside of the waistband piece. Mark the position of the pleats on the pieces. You can then finish all the edges (I used a zig zag stitch). 

Fold in and sew the edges of the front pieces that make the button placket, the placket is 1 1/2" wide and the front piece folds under to be double thickness.  In the diagram, the top one shows the way the placket works at this stage (and at the top of the skirt in the finished skirt). The bottom one shows how you sew the two bits together later on. 
Sew the side seams.

Fold the long rectangle you now have into the pleats, and pin them in place at the top edge. 

Sew the front edge of the waistband onto the skirt pieces, right sides together, and then fold back up. Fold the seam allowances at the ends of the waistband in so they match the skirt edges, then fold the waistband in half and stitch in the ditch (ie along the seam line on the front of the waistband) to hold the back of the waistband down. Iron the waistband and pleats and then topstitch along the top edge of the waistband and down the edges at the placket. . 
Sew the button holes on the top layer of the waistband and placket.

Overlap the placket on the front pieces and sew up each side from the bottom until about 4 inches from the top, where you angle the seam line. 

Hem it (which should be easy, just take an inch up all round, as it is a straight bottom edge).

Attach buttons. 

And you're done! If any part of this seems confusing, I will have explained it badly, as it extremely easy, so give me a shout if I have lost you somewhere!

If you want to line the skirt, just make an identical pleated skirt out of lining but with the seams going outwards (so that all the seam edges when you are done are hidden between the lining and the outside fabric) and then sew it into the waistband. If you want the lining to be visible along the bottom, make the lining longer, sew it into the waistband but then hem both the outside fabric and the lining separately before you sew up the button placket. 

Wednesday, 8 February 2012

Sew Grateful Pattern Giveaway

OK, I am a little late with this, but better late than never right? As many of you will know, the lovely Debi has organised another Sew Grateful week, where we remember to be grateful for the free stuff, cheap stuff and fantastic support we get from our friends, real life and online! It has a schedule and everything, but due to work stuff and uni I am a little behind. Oh well.

At the recent Crafter’s Ceilidh meet up, we were meant to bring patterns to swap. I, like the chump I am, managed to leave them at work, and so couldn’t swap them. Doh. However, I got some lovely bits at the swap, and met some great fellow sewers, for which I am very grateful (I feel a lot more inspired since the meetup!), so, now that I have retrieved them from the carrier bag in my office,  I am now giving my patterns away to anyone who wants them (subject to random numbering of course on the off chance that more than one person does!). You do not have to have been in Edinburgh, and I am happy to send them anywhere in the world. To enter, just say hello in the comments and say which one you would like. Since I have started somewhat late, the give-away is open until 11.59 GMT on Tuesday 14th Feb. 

First up we have a pattern from the 60s(?) Style 1157 in a Bust 34”.
Is it a dress? Is it a coat? You could easily make it either, but it claims to be a hybrid –a “coat style overall”. Overalls sound exciting, like this would be worn by glamorous lady mechanics, in denim, or in stiff blue or white for nurses. On the other hand, if you made it in drapey material, it would be a pretty shirt dress. I like the big feature pockets. Or in gabardine a nice coat. So many options.

It is a bit battered and the envelope has some antique sellotape holding it together, but it seems to all be there except the cuffs for the sleeves, which are just rectangles so easily made.

Next, we have 60s Simplicity 8228 in a Bust 42”. A nice simple dress with more flattering darting than you often get in a shortish dress of the time. I keep wanting to do something with the one on the right, with the nice open mock skirt collar, very cute. Again, a bit battered but it has all the pieces.

This is a nice basic skirt pattern with various options of cuff, collar and darts, Woman’s Own 5257 in Bust 34”. The version with the wing cuffs appeals to me.

Now for a classic “why did you do that with the pattern cover” pattern, Burda 2 9050 in a 38 and 40” bust. For some reason they have played the cover very much towards an “I’m going to a party with some guys wearing lederhosen” angle. When I showed my flatmate this she winced. 

I quite like it however, it’s really just a pattern for a nice fitted dress with double waist darts,  and a really cute jacket/top with buttons and a mini peplum. I actually quite fancy that jacket in a nice bright green, worn over a fitted shift dress. Hmm maybe I will trace it before I give it away. Plus of course you also get a pattern for a gathered  skirt and a simple apron.  

Its been cut out in the 40, so the 38 lines are still visible so you can use either size. There’s also some extra bits where the previous owner has been playing around with button placements-I always love it when you can see how the pattern has been made up before!
Now for some kids patterns, Simplicity 6618 has two teen sizes, 33.5” and 35” bust. From the look of the pieces they were traced not cut out so both sizes are still useable. People on the Sew Weekly community may recognise this pattern - I showed it as one of the unpromising pattern cover conversations! It does seem unlikely that anyone would want some of the colour and furry combinations shown on the envelope, though furry sleeves now seem to have become fashionable again, so who knows! The basic pattern is however a fitted jacket and wide legged trousers, which could be made very plausibly in any number of less extreme fabric combination!  

And finally a children’s’ smock top pattern with a square yoke, Maudella 5829 , in a 7-8, 9-10 and 11-12 years, with all sizes still looking useable. Again, envelope is torn, but the pieces are all there, including some handmade additional sleeve pieces from the previous user.