Tuesday, 25 January 2011

Slight change of plan

Slight moment of panic last night as I laid my patterns out on my Pendrell homage fabric and realised that due to the (frankly odd) offset raglan nature of the back of the original sleeve (much more than the front for some reason) I don’t have enough material in the back pieces – Oh dear.

So a hasty rummage through my stash was indicated. Luckily, as I had hoped there were several items I had forgotten about completely, most importantly 1m or so of bright blue blouse weight fabric which I think is rayon (never entirely sure about fabrics!). Frankly, not only had I forgotten I had this fabric, I don't even remember buying it! (never a good sign in a stash!) It looks like I have just enough, and it will go nicely with the buttons I already selected.

My only issue is that whilst I don’t think it will be see-through transparency wise, it's so soft that it probably will sit on and show every edge. I'm pretty sure I'm going to have to line it. Which is a pest but there you go, another thing to practice! 

Thursday, 20 January 2011

Pendrell homage-fabric and buttons

I spent a good hour or two in front of the tv unpicking the seams of the blue silky top for the Pendrell homage, and now I have lots of pieces!

As you can see its much bluer than it looked in the first photo. 

As its going to have buttons down the back, I had a look in my stash. A while ago, I came runner up in a competition by the lovely Zoe, who sent me lots of zips and jolly buttons. I frequently look at all the buttons just to cheer myself up (is this just me? my mum has a drawer full of buttons and I used to love playing with them as a child!) but now I had an excuse to find some nice big buttons for a actual project! I was torn between several different nautical buttons, but thought they might be uncomfortable on the back of a blouse as they aren't flat, but then I spotted these lovely big brown metal buttons! 

They are big enough that they will be simple and dramatic against the slightly decadent looking blue satin, and they have a lovely weight to them. Thanks Zoe!

Pendrell homage - FBA

At this point, I tissue fitted the pattern, as I expected it's too small and needs a full bust adjustment

Right, I now needed to do a full bust adjustment, however before I move the princess seam, Fit for real people says you should adjust the vertical proportions of the pattern first. This is basically due to the problem that if you have larger boobs, they sit lower and use more of the length of the fabric to go round, so the fullest part of the bust area will be too high on the pattern. I need to move this down, so that the curve is in the right place. 

After dismantling the the pattern again, where you can see the additional width and length marks. The next thing is to draw a box round the full bust area, just above the top notch and below the bottom one. 

Then you cut the square out. Mark the corrected bust fullness height on the other pieces or a rough sheet underneath the hole.
Then put the square back, and slide it down until the original bust apex from the pattern is over the new apex line.  Do not correct the horizontal error at this stage, just slide down (or up) as needed. 

Then fill in the gaps with more paper and true up the edges so that the curves are smooth. 

According to Fit for real people, you shouldn't just join between the edges of the original pieces for this, you should continue the lien from one side and curve to miss the other edge. As far as I can gather, if you are lowering the bust you draw from the edge that makes the piece smaller (ie you will be cutting small bits of the pattern off) and if you are raising you do it the other way. In mine the purple lines show the original edges, and the pink is the adjusted lines. 

I then carried out a FBA as described fantastically in Tasia's tutorial for the Pendrell sew-a-long. I added the width I marked on the pattern earlier.

By this point my pattern is impressively Frankensteined.

So I now have a pattern that fits my body, I will have to adjust the neckline, but so far I'm pretty pleased!

Pendrell homage- turning darts into princess seams

Right- after a mammoth pattern alteration/learning curve, I can finally reveal the various stages of pattern cutting on my Pendrell homage blouse. Exciting huh? Ok its not really but I'm quite pleased anyway.  

First -I didn't have a princess seam blouse pattern, so using my copy of How to use, adapt and design sewing patterns I took the basic bodice from the Christmas dress Woman W420 which has the standard darts, and altered it. As I mentioned in the Christmas dress post, the same pattern pieces work for three different outfits, and you have to take different amounts of each seam. Here is the basic pattern.

Here is the basic pattern, with bust dart and waist dart.
 (sorry its a little pale-I did my best with contrast but its in pencil)
To turn it into a princess seam, you continue the dart lines till they join at the bust apex, then draw up in a curve to the middle of the shoulder seam. You cant see it in the picture, but I also marked bust notches on the princess seam line, basically mark the line 2 inches above and below the bust apex, this marks the fullest part of the bust and is useful for other alterations.

You then cut along the bottom line of the bust dart (the one in my pattern didn't go all the way to the princess line so I extended it), along the princess seam and along both sides of the waist dart. Then open the waist dart by sliding the bust dart up so the cut line meets the uncut line, then stick this down (as if you'd sewed the dart)

And there you go-a princess seam pattern, if you wanted you could smooth out the curve on the waist dart area a little (if you aren't using a pattern where the waist dart goes in and out again this isn't a problem), but mine's going to get hacked about a lot yet so I'm not going to. 

Better late than never- the silky cami top- muslin

Well I know I was meant to be finishing the silky pyjama lounging set before Christmas so I could make my sister a set too-well surprise surprise it didn't happen! Luckily my sister was not fazed by the delay and once she had seen my Madeleine shorts and Gertie's slip she wanted some for herself. so I am back on the case.

I took some time out from the Pendrell homage pattern alterations-post coming soon, to cut out a muslin for the top. I based it on this vintage nightgown pattern, making version 2, which has bias bound wide straps and gathering under the bust (version 4 has ruffles but I felt that was going a bit far). For the muslin I chopped off the length, and as I wasn't sure how much ease the bodice was going to have with the gathers and I have no idea how to do a FBA on a gathered bodice. I decided to just cut it and see.

Overall it came together pretty easily, and had I made it out of nice fabric would probably have been wearable, it is not however good. The cup area looks like it fits but (as shown when I pinned the waist ease out), it actually needs a few extra inches in depth (marked in the thick pen). The waist then needs to be narrowed to fit lower down. Frankly in this respect it fits pretty much like all ready made tops of this kind do on me. ie making me look much fatter than I am. Other than the bust adjustment, and the fact that the back has ended up oddly short (not sure what happened there-must have measured wrong), the only other point is the edge round the arms, which needs a couple of cm or so extra into the armpit and then a dart, as it doesn't lie flat.

I'll next have a try in the pale turquoise fabric, and then onto Ellie's version. I forgot to measure her when I was at home over Christmas but not many measurements are needed-she is pretty much the same shape as me so if it fits me it should fit her in a size down.

Tuesday, 11 January 2011

Pendrell Homage Blouse

I love Tasia over at Sewaholic, she's one of the first blogs I found and she makes amazingly pretty clothes from vintage patterns, though she frequently makes them look really modern and not "dressed up" which appeals to me as I am not very good at the rest of the vintage look! She is super talented and has just started up her own pattern range for pear shaped ladies. Now I am not pear shaped. At all. But I love her first pattern-the Pendrell blouse -its so pretty and versatile and I love the ruffles and the different fabrics she uses for it. She has just started a sew along for the blouse and I want to join! I need more smart tops, I tend to just wear fitted Ts, and I've been looking for nice silky blouse patterns for ages. Trouble is I am not pear shaped. I've got wide shoulders, so high necks and ruffly shoulders are going to make me look pretty darn peculiar. Plus, I'd promised myself I wouldn't buy any more patterns due to my addiction, and as much as I want to support Tasia, breaking my pledge to buy a pattern that wouldn't fit or suit me seems a little unwise. Therefore-I am going to make my own version-the Pendrell Homage blouse. This is an excellent opportunity to continue my learning curve from the Christmas dress and try some things I really need to master doing.

My favourite of Tasia's Pendrells is View B in blue with the ruffles  so I am going to be homaging this one. I  luckily have some similar fabric that I can use from my charity shop find here -the blue of mine is much brighter than it looks in the phot and is quite similar to Tasia's.

I love the ruffles, particularly how they look on the back of the blouse, but they will make me look like a rugby player, so they are going to be re-distributed to the neck area, which will be a slightly sweetheart v that springs from the top of the princess seams like the Pendrell. Sleeve wise I am not entirely decide whether to use the same sleeves as the Christmas dress (short with tucks at the shoulder seam), or to do little cap sleeves. The tucks are tempting as they are a little like view A but less voluminous.Also, as my waist is much smaller than my other dimensions, I'm not going to be able to get it over my head unless I make it hugely baggy, so I'm going to need a fastening. Inspired by another lovely blouse that would look terrible on me Sencha by Collette Patterns, I'm going to put buttons down the back.

So some sketches - I did these before considering the shoulder tucks so they aren't shown.

The last diagram is trying to explain how the neck ruffles work-it's only showing half the blouse, as if it hasn't been buttoned up yet. There are two main ruffles on the front, both nike tick type shapes, and then one that goes along the back and over the shoulder. thee is then a facing on the inside. 

So I'm going to be learning/practising a lot of things:
1) Pattern modification. I have a copy of a great book called How to Use, Adapt and Design Sewing Patterns  which shows you how to turn one type of garment pattern into a pattern for another, using the basic principles of pattern blocks. This is a good opportunity to try this out as the Pendrell has princess seams, and I don't have a pattern that has full princess seams. The book however shows that its actually super easy to change a darted pattern into a princess seam pattern.
2) FBA. This will also give me a chance to FBA a princess seam which I haven't done before. The FBA on my Christmas dress using the darted Fit for real people method went a bit awry due to ease so I'm not exactly 100% sure I can do this either! I'm tempted to due two muslins as an experiment/practice, one where I do another darted FBA and then change it to princess seam and one where I princess seam first -if that make sense. Then I might have a clearer idea what I'm doing!
3) Proper pattern drafting. Then I've got to turn the basic pattern into something with a different neck, worlk out the ruffled collar pieces, sleeves..
4) V neck. My previous effort at this went very loose and odd, so its going to need a more concerted effort this time.
5) Collar. Its not like its going to need lots of tailoring or anything but different pieces and attaching and facings and everything will be needed.
6) lots of highly visible buttons.... previously most of my buttons have been singly or in pairs and hidden in waistbands.. I'm going to have to space them out properly and do loads and make them look nice (hopefully)
7) slippery fabric. I'm not as scared by this as other people seem to be -mainly as I possibly foolishly did my first ever major project-the dressing gown out of satin! never the less however that had some dodgy moments so making actual clothing that is worn outside is going to be a challenge!

Monday, 10 January 2011

Out with the old and more space for the new!

Sorry about the lack of posting, been hibernating over Christmas away from my sewing machine. But I’m back and I’m determined to get going quickly. I had a slight moment of depression when I couldn’t fit my new Christmas clothes into my wardrobe, prompting a “I’ve got far too much stuff and why do I need more” anti consumerist panic, but this was solved in two strikes:

-firstly a cull of all the clothes I’ve kept for when I’m thinner –this being a complete waste of time as I’ve no intention of getting any thinner and if I did, I don’t think I’d wear most of the clothes I had selected! (Always the way-I had a pair of jeans I kept for 4 years and then due to being ill I was able to get into them and realised they were hideous!) It wasn’t a particularly vigorous cull but I managed to ditch about a 5th of my wardrobe and barely touched the clothes I even consider wearing. I added in some of the items that I keep pulling out to wear and then put back every time-what’s the point of owning them! An upside was that I’ve rediscovered several things I love but had forgotten I had!

-secondly an overhaul of my storage! I have a lot of hanging things but very little hanging space. My wardrobe has lots of different bits and most of them are shelves that just have stuff dumped on them which I never wear, and the hanging area is split so it’s harder to get at things if its full. Here is what it looked like once I’d pulled out most of these piles (for the cull).

I decided to take action and popped down to Homebase to get some hanging rail and those connector things for the ends. Some irritatingly inaccurate sawing with the wrong kind of saw later – I had doubled my hanging space! I am really quite excessively pleased! (mind you the clothes still seem to fill it, but much less cramped! and now I can hang up my shirts-which means there might be some point ironing them and they might occasionally be worn!

As you can see the piles of boxes on top of the wardrobe still need a little streamlining...!