Wednesday, 26 October 2011

Pattern fitting advice needed

I’ve booked a private sewing lesson in a few weeks to focus solely on my fitting issues on my top half.  The teacher has suggested either making up a couple if muslins in advance using unadjusted pattern pieces and then adjusting them and then making the appropriate changes on the paper pattern, or starting from scratch by adjusting the pattern pieces first then making up a muslin from those.

I prefer the idea of having some muslins ready to go.  I can always take more fabric with me to make new muslins, plus I intend to make copies of the pattern pieces, so I will have unadjusted originals whatever we do.

The class will be 4 hours long so it’s going to be an intense one-on-one class.  My main aim is to be able to look at a muslin and see the fitting issues and know how to adjust them to make the fit better.  But I am unsure on which patterns to use.

I think my options are:

a) Focus on one pattern for an item I am keen to make - in this case it’s the Rooibos dress
Positives: I will have a good-to-go adjusted pattern that I can use straight away
Negatives: I will learn very specific adjustments to a non-standard bodice so I may not be able to apply what I have learnt to other garments

b) Make up a couple of muslins for two basic bodices, I’m thinking a princess seamed bodice and a standard darted bodice, and then work on those

Positives: I will hopefully have the skills to adjust most bodices
Negatives: I may be trying to cram too much in here, 4 hours may not be enough to do two different bodices

c) Pick one basic bodice that I think I can learn the most from and focus on this

Positives: Will have plenty of time to get it right
Negatives: Which type of bodice to pick?? I really struggled fitting a princess seam, but only have two princess seamed patterns and am unsure if learning adjustments on these types of bodice will be that useful to me. I have quite a few gathered bodice patterns, but would rather get the fit a standard darted bodice right as I think these adjustments will be applicable to most bodices as you can always pivot darts into gathers and so on.

d) Same as C but take a Rooibos muslin with me in case we have time to look at that too

Positives: If there is time I will be able to adjust the Rooibos
Negatives: Same as c) – which bodice to pick??

I am erring towards d) – taking a basic darted bodice and a Roobios in case we have time to look at that too, and for the time being avoiding princess seams.

In terms of basic bodice patterns, I had a rummage in my pattern stash and I only own about two top patterns, one is Colette Jasmin, which as it's bias cut is no good for me at this stage.  In my dress pattern stash the only simple darted bodice pattern I could find was this:
Burda Style Danielle
So I was thinking of buying this pattern as it looks pretty good for my purposes:

Colette - Peony
In terms of a princess seam pattern I was thinking of New Look 6457, View A destroyed me but I am thinking view E might be good to try out
New Look 6457
What do you think?  I basically need advice on what bodice to take and whether you think my plan makes sense?  What do you think is realistically achievable in 4 hours?  Do you have any other suggestions for simple bodice patterns I could use?

Sunday, 16 October 2011

Finished Beignet, now known as my happy autumn skirt

Yay, I have finally completed my Beignet skirt.

This is a great pattern, it definitely deserves it's intermediate status though, as I found it a quite time consuming and complex project.  I did deliberately take my time with it, as I wanted it to feel solid and well made.  I have to say I love the result. No wonder this pattern is so popular.

I made mine from a medium weight denim for the shell, some polyester anti-static lining fabric for the lining and used a patterned cotton for the facings.

I had a few new sewing experiences with this project, most notably:
  • Sewing buttonholes
My machine has a 4 step buttonhole function, and once I'd had a few practice goes, these were pretty easy to do.  My machine makes them quite neatly I think, but making 12 was pretty stressful!
  • Sewing with polyester lining fabric
All I can say on this subject is argh!  It frays ridiculously, it slips and slides all over the place, it wouldn't hold a crease when I was trying to press the hem and my chalk marks wouldn't even stay on it for more than 5 seconds.
  • Sewing with denim
This fabric was the polar opposite of the lining fabric, it's sturdy, hardly frays at all, chalk loves it and I love it. Would be tempted to make an entire denim wardrobe just because it's so easy to handle.
  • Basting
I am a cheat, if a pattern tells me to pin, then hand baste and then sew, I usually skip the basting.  I mean come on, I have to pin it then sew the thing up a bit rubbishly and then do it again properly, and finally pull out my basting stitches after I'm done.  What's the point.  However on this pattern, those two evil curves on the lining and facing, one concave one convex, well basting twas the only way to go.  And even then I had to unpick and re-sew them because I fudged it up the first time.  Rubbish slippery lining fabric got caught up underneath my needle, grrr.
  • Under stitching
I'd not done this on anything before, but the pattern instructions suggested under-stitching the facing to stop it rolling out to the outside.  I found sewing right into the corners a bit tricky though.  Did anyone else have this problem?

It's such a relief to have a well fitting garment that I have made myself.  After all my fitting issues with the upper half of my body, this skirt has really improved my sewing confidence. 
It's not perfect by any means.  I got bored when sewing the buttons on and Downton Abbey was on the telly and I'd had a glass (or two) of wine by this point, so a few are a bit wonky.  Plus the hem of the lining is dreadful, but it's on the inside so nobody will ever see that it isn't straight.

Thursday, 13 October 2011

Saturday, 1 October 2011

Sewing plans - and I (really) mean it this time!

Ok ok I admit it, I’m just plain un-motivated when it comes to sewing.  I think my enthusiasm has taken a fair few knocks thanks to my fitting woes and I have been just plain avoiding going anywhere near my sewing machine.  But I have got a fair way through making my Beignet skirt and hope to get most of it done by the end of the weekend (update: not this weekend, the weather is amazing outside so indoor activity is not happening!). 

See I've finished the shell and facings, and lining except for hemming.  Just need to finish the lining hem, sew the facing onto the lining, then onto the shell, hem the shell do the buttonholes and then sew on the buttons.  Oh and add the belt loops - ok maybe there's more to do than I realised!

Unfortunately my bank balance just wouldn’t allow me to sign up for any sewing classes in the end, which I am gutted about.  But I am exploring getting a private lesson or two with someone in the hope they can help me a bit with fitting a couple of bodice patterns, to kinda kick-start me in the right direction there.

In the meantime I have decided to steer clear of dresses and tops for a little while and make a couple more skirts.  Just so I can get a few successful makes under my belt before trying to fit my top half again.

Luckily my bank balance would stretch to a couple of new patterns, so I decided on Colette’s Ginger skirt, and also because it is so darn cute (again I went for a Colette) the Jasmine top.

Yes I realise I said I wasn’t making any tops for a while, but this purchase is totally justified.  Firstly it’s a semi-fitted style so doesn’t need to fit perfectly, second it’s cut on the bias so is designed to stretch and fit round you more easily, lastly I repeat my earlier statement, it’s just so darn cute.

So after I have finished Beignet, I will be making up a Ginger.  I have some black cotton drill so will be making a wearable muslin in that.  I'm also thinking of making one in corduroy, but am unsure if this will work.

images from Croft Mill
What do you think?  Will corduroy work? I like the Navy best, but I always go for blues.
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