Wednesday, 30 November 2011

Rooibos and Peony fabric choice dilemmas!

So my Rooibos and Peony patterns are altered and ready to go.  I had some existing fabric in my stash that I could possibly use, but I also bought some new fabric in a recent splurge in Ditto.

But now I've sat down and looked at the fabrics I am stumped about what to use!  I am totally overwhelmed by fabric, weight, composition, draperyness, it's all so confusing!  I usually just go for cotton poplins or twills when making things as they are so easy to find and don't scare me.  But I really fancied trying something a bit different with these makes.

But onto the actual possible choices.  First up Peony:

I have this lovely cotton sateen in my stash, it's heavy and quite stiff, but still has movement:

It's quite thick though and I wasn't sure it's work with this dress pattern, it feels like it needs something lighter.

I found this lush viscose fabric in Ditto, it is so soft and drapey and lovely I just fell for it.

But this pattern recommends a crisp fabric, and this fabric is anything but crisp!  The pattern actually suggests a poplin, but this is something that Karen at Did you make that, does not recommend.  And she's made up a fab version of this dress, so she should know!  So could I get away with a drapey soft soft fabric rather than something more crisp and stiff?

Is it worth doing a wearable muslin in a poplin to see whether the pattern works better with stiff or drapey?


And then there's my possible choice for Rooibos:

I wanted a nice thick warm fabric and was looking for a gabardine, but have struggled to find any, and anyway is wool gabardine machine washable? If not can you get a cotton/wool mix?? 

I did find this lovely olive green needlecord with orange running through it.  It was so hard to photograph though!.
But now I have it home it seems really drapey and I think drapey is bad with Rooibos, I want stiff right?  Also it is fairly light (for a corduroy) which I think is also bad. 

I did also buy some more needlcord, it's almost velvety, the cording is so fine. 

But it has a pattern on it, and Rooibos has a lot of seams, so I wasn't sure it would work for this make.  I just couldn't pass up this cord, it' so pretty!

Argh maybe I should just buy a cotton twill and be done with it. I so wanted to be more adventurous with my fabric choice though.

I repeat, help!

Wednesday, 23 November 2011

Pattern fitting class - result!

I finally had my private pattern fitting class, and it was a revelation!

Firstly the teacher took my measurements, she measured pretty much everything you’d need when making a bodice, including my wrist (it's 15cm).

Then we tried on my toiles.  Now I wonder how anyone manages to do adjustments to a toile on their own!  You could just about do the front yourself, but the back!!?? I’m not even sure using a dress form could work unless you’re 100% certain the measurements are exactly the same as yours.  Even if you do one of those gaffer tape dress forms of your own shape, you’ve effectively added a few millimetres to yourself all the way around.  Seriously how do people do fitting on their own?

Now in the end I chose to fit Colette Peony and Colette Rooibos.  Now the size I cut was not the one I probably should have gone for.  Having made the Beignet skirt (which is quite fitted) I knew the size 12 fit me well from the waist down, and rather than start with a bodice too small for my waist and add to it I thought it’d be easier to get a bodice that fitted my waist and take it in in other areas.  My full bust and high bust measurements were 37.5 inches and 35 inches respectively, so if anything I “should” have gone with a size 4 or 8, but I have a 31 inch waist so I knew that even the 8 was never going to fit me, heck I wouldn’t even be able to pin it up.

I admit that the 12 didn’t fit in the shoulders and we had to take it in loads, but we did practically the same adjustments to both the Rooibos and Peony toiles so now I have some standard adjustments for Colette patterns I can use straight away.

So this is what we did:
  • Took in the shoulders by 0.5cm on the front and back (so 1cm in total)
  • Took in the centre back by 2cm
  • Reduced the armhole by 2cm.  Peony: moving the dart to the armhole and increasing this dart by 2cm.  Rooibos: pivoting this amount from the armhole and adding it to the under bust darts
  • Adding a bit more length to the front of the Rooibos under the darts because of the additional dart fullness there.
  • Increasing the length of the back waist dart in the Peony to 13cm, and in the Rooibos by a fair bit too
  • Taking off another 1cm the Peony back by adding it to the upper back/shoulder dart
  • Reducing the length of the centre back of the Peony by 1cm, tapering to nothing at the side seam.
  • Lowering the Peony neckline a little as it was cutting into my neck a bit
Phew, that was a lot of adjustments!  Here are the results
Rooibos front bodice
Rooibos back bodice
Peony front bodice
Peony back bodice
Although I don’t feel confident that I could grab a random pattern and fit it, I have seen the process of fitting close up and now know how to adjust the pattern pieces to take account of toile adjustments.  I have also seen that in a lot of cases it involves just pinching up fabric to increase darts etc.  I also have some standard(ish) adjustments I can now apply to the other Colette patterns I have, and will have confidence that the fit will be good.
Now I just need to sew these babies :o)
Other things I learnt:
  • How to draft facings (and it couldn’t be easier)
  • How to alter a neckline shape (who knew it was literally just a case of redrawing the neckline however you like!)
  • If you are redrawing a dart, how to draw the bottom of it (the other pointy bit that sticks out of the pattern).


Saturday, 12 November 2011

A change of scenery

Do you remember a while back when I posted about my lovely sewing space

Well sadly I have had to vacate it.  Our landlord decided to sell our flat, and it was bought by someone who wanted to keep it as a rental property.  This was great for us as it meant we didn't need to find another place to live.  The downside being the new owner wanted the spare room back to use for storage.  As it has it's own door on the communal hallway, and is separate to the main flat this was something we couldn't really argue with, but we did manage to negotiate keeping half of it.  I made the ultimate sacrifice and gave up my sewing space, because at the end of the day there was no way 3 bikes, 2 surfboards, 2 snowboards, 3 wetsuits and a copious amount of camping gear could have been stored in the flat.

We managed to squeeze in my sewing desk into the bay of our bedroom window

And have moved the big Ikea shelf behind the sofa, so all my sewing patterns and fabric and stored out of sight. 
Yes I have to move the sofa to reach it but it isn't that much of an inconvenience

This turn of events initially seemed like quite a bummer for me, but as it has turned out it was a blessing in disguise.  Having my sewing room away from the flat meant it took more motivation for me to go down there, yes it's only one flight of stairs, but psychologically it did feel like I had to make a concerted effort to go and sew.  I also felt a bit cut off in there because John wouldn't be popping in and out at all.  In fact he used to ring me on my phone if he wanted to talk to me rather than come down and speak to me face to face!!  That may be more of a reflection on him than my sewing space though.  

Also having my sewing stuff far away meant there was nothing around me to remind/inspire me to sew.  Now everyday I see my sewing machine sitting opposite me when I wake up , and I kinda like that.  I have sewed (sewn??) at least every other evening over the past couple of weeks, and I hardly ever used to sew in the evenings, I'd save it all up for weekends.

This new set up clearly works for me, but I am curious about other peoples spaces.  Do you like to have a room whose sole purpose is to be your sewing room, or do you prefer to have your sewing machine in a communal room?  Do you like having your own space away from everything else, or do you feel cut off and lonely??

Saturday, 5 November 2011

No sun on the darkside

So I wanted to take some pretty autumnal pics in my darkside skirt, but the UK weather isn't playing ball, so here's some indoor pics instead.  Also my boyfriend hates being my photographer, and was not taking the process seriously, hence I got a million pics like these:

Anyway you get the idea!

This skirt was so easy to sew, and it has such a nice shape.  Colette patterns seem to fit my lower half really well which is such a relief!!

The invisible zipper insertion was a bit tricky, and it isn't completely invisible.  Not sure what I did wrong there, did I not sew close enough to the teeth?  Also do you press the zipper teeth before sewing the zip in or not?  I didn't as I didn't want to damage the zip so it got stuck or broke or something, and I thought pressing a hot iron onto plastic teeth might muck it up!

I already have my wine coloured corduroy ready to go to sew up another version of this pattern.  I'm going to line that one, I wasn't certain how to do this but now Scruffy Badger has provided me with a quick how-to on her blog I am ready to go!

Friday, 4 November 2011

The darkside skirt aka the which-side-is-the-right-side skirt

I have some fairly heavy weight cotton drill that I’d been planning to use to make a pencil skirt.  Having never got round to that I decided to make use of it and make a Ginger skirt instead. 
At first glance the fabric appeared to have no right or wrong side.  Thinking nothing of it I happily went about cutting up the fabric.  It wasn’t until I went to attach the waistband (which I had already interfaced) to the main skirt, that I realised that oops there was in fact a right and wrong side to this fabric and that I had interfaced the waistband so that the right side of the waistband didn’t match the right side of the main skirt.

As I’d already finished the centre seam on the main skirt with bias binding (the first time I'd tried this technique and it's such a nice neat finish) I decided that re-cutting and interfacing the waistband was the quicker job, so made the call that the right side of the skirt was in fact the correct right side of the fabric.

However I am not certain I made the right call.

The side which became the “right” side of my skirt has a noticeable diagonal weave to it.  My attempt to photograph it looks like this:

The side which became the “wrong” side of my skirt is very flat and it’s hard to see a weave of any kind unless you do an extreme close up, like this:

So I’m curious, which side do you think is the real right side??

Ultimately it doesn’t matter, and unless someone looks at my skirt up close with a magnifying glass I very much doubt I will encounter any public humiliation or shame because of having a the wrong side of my fabric showing.  But for future reference I would quite like to know which side I should be using on fabric like this.

P.S I have finished the darkside skirt, but haven't been at home in daylight to photograph it!
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