Tuesday, 26 April 2016

Peacock (D)ruyere

Well I did it – I have completed the thing I always wanted to do but never have previously managed – I made something that fit, kept the pattern in a useable and understandable state and then made another thing using it without faffing about! Yeah! Unprecedented. Which is very silly given the dramas I have fitting things.

I took my Bruyere shirt pattern and made it into a dress! (Apologies for the creases -I had been wearing it!) The dress part was easy enough –I just lengthened the bottom section and added in extra width to the skirt so that it would fit over my hips properly. To make it a bit different on top I lowered the front and back neckline into deep scoops and took off the sleeves. I again dodged the buttonholes (my machine has been playing up and also, I just hate doing buttonholes!) and instead added on my new bright blue snaps.

It’s very comfortable dress to wear, I again used some lovely eBay rayon, this time from here, in this fabulous peacock print. I made no attempt to match as the pattern is massive and a sort of border print with a repeat so giant I couldn’t really spot it.  I did try and avoid any massive peacock print mishaps with pattern placement but I didn’t quite manage it –though the massive print across the bust is much less obvious in person.

In fact, that’s basically the story of the whole dress – I foresaw several problems and took steps to avoid them, and yet they all still seem to have snuck in anyway (though presumably less than they would otherwise have! So close! Just like the print issue however they all look way worse in the photos than in real life! (Oh unforgiving cameras! Anyone else like a project less once they’d photographed it?

I know from previous experience that if you drastically scoop out a neckline you get massive neckline/armpit gaping (not entirely sure why.. but is a definitely a general principle). I therefore rotated the straps in a bit on the front and back to stop this – I clearly did not do this enough though so at some point I’ll put in some darts which will hopefully help reduce the gap and strap slippage.

I feared that the skirt might hang a bit flat with the inverted box pleats. It does. I ironed the pleats quite a long way down and I don’t think this helped. It will probably look better when they've relaxed a bit. It looks much better in real life though as it moves quite nicely.

I also feared that my press on snaps wouldn’t go through the extra thick bits of the placket, and they didn’t, but I bodged that by sewing large snaps on the inside (with extras at the key gap spots) and then glued snap parts onto the front at those places so it looks like each one is a normal snap. This worked well.

Overall I like it – it’s very cool and comfy to wear and though the neckline is a bit gapey it’s also very flattering. I see myself getting a lot of wear out of this in the summer. I am also very pleased that for the first time ever I sewed up a bodice from a pattern and it fit perfectly (neckline aside obs!). I shall adjust the strappy pattern and put it aside carefully!

(In other news - I obviously didn’t have my lovely paparazzi sister to take these pictures and I couldn’t find my camera or tripod so I did it myself using my phone and a complex web of tape and pins stuck to the shoulder of my dress form! Worked pretty well! I am especially pleased with the burst function on my new phone camera app that I can set to take 10 pictures in a row, one every 2 seconds – really takes the stress out of photos without a remote). 

Tuesday, 19 April 2016

Fitting clues

One of the hardest things about sewing is working out how to fit yourself- but it's also the most rewarding -and often the reason we started in the first place! As a beginner though it is very hard to know where to start. There is a wealth of tutorials out there for every fitting dilemma, but without knowing what you are googling its harder to find them.

I have therefore made a diagram with many of the common fitting changes on it. Obviously I haven't included everything - but I hope I've got most of them (let me know if you think any obvious ones are missing!). I have also not included any links (except to the insanely thorough pants fitting guide by Colette patterns which is amazingly detailed and I know nothing about pant fitting myself!) as everyone finds different resources helpful and I certainly haven't seen the whole internet!

I've done it by body area, and generally stuck to things which wouldn't automatically require you to just make a different size -though I have pointed this out as an option in some places. For each problem I have just listed possible solutions -obviously you need to look at your body and google stuff and see which one is likely to help you.

I hope this is helpful!

(EDIT -for some reason the image isn't coming up on mobiles-probably too big, so click through to the full page if you want to see it or here.)

Monday, 4 April 2016

Check out the "pins" on this lady!

It's only been a bajillion years since I made Agentha (my dressmakers dummy) (see here and here for the how to) and since then she's been attached to an extremely wobbly lamp stand. This meant that she kept falling over backwards and sideways - not entirely helpful! She also had stuffing falling out from having to wedge her on the lamp (which led to some impertinent remarks from my mother!). In addition -she was a good 5 inches shorter than me - not helpful for hems.

So I finally got round to giving her legs! (Well one leg!) It's a simple metal coatstand - only I attached the hooky bits upside down.  Somewhat magically it's exactly the right height and hooked perfectly into her neck so she needs no stuffing at all! She's now super stable, very light and perfect! She looks somewhat wonky in the picture - sadly that's because I am! Nothing like blog photos to show you how uneven your shoulders are!