"Resign yourself, Catherine! Shops must be visited! Money must be spent! Do you think you could bear it?" - Northanger Abbey

Monday, March 24, 2014

Sewing bee - WWID - week 5

Unusual Materials. This week was a bit random. As most of the fabrics I doubt any homesewer would choose to sew with willingly. ;)

Nylon Anorak
One thing that stood out was not to get pinholes in the jacket. I think I would tape it or just hand tack it. It did see like far to much fuss for such an ugly anorak that you could buy.
The raglan sleeves sounded interesting...might see if I can find a top to do with those sleeves.

Altering a high street top with leather. I was thinking of making something like Lynda did when I first saw the top. Or actually making a little bodice with sweetheart neckline all in the leather but then the jerset top for the rest of it and little sleeves from the discarded lower half of the jersey.

Velvet Trousers
Two things 1. I HATE sewing velvet. Last time I was coughing for a week and it was horrible to sew hand or machine. 2. I avoid front flys.
So the thought of sewing with velvet doesn't appeal. Although maybe its easier with proper cutting tables etc. If I was low on time I'd go for elasticated waist and no pockets. lol!
But probably go to my TNT 'swing' trouser pattern. I know how to fit that already. Just would need fit buddy to pin up the trouser hem.

Thursday, March 20, 2014

Sewing bee - WWID - week 4

Sewing for children was this weeks theme. Well I have never and probably will never sew any childrenswear. So looked at it in terms of how you might scale up the skills.

The pattern seemed quite simple....and left me wondering if I could make a pair my size. lol!
I wouldn't have chosen cord (I've never had good results with cord). I think I'd prefer a cotton or a lightweight denim.

Upcycle jumper and leggings into a fancy dress costume
I saw quite a few posibilities...but then I'm used to seeing potential costumes in old clothes.
I was thinking pirate or sailor like one of the other contestants. The other thought was nurse or perhaps a medevil knight.

Prom Dress
I'm not a fan of the term 'prom dress'. Its just a bit...vague. I think I'd have gone for a simple halterneck dress with a gathered skirt. Going for style and elegance.

Tuesday, March 18, 2014

HSF 2014 - Challenge #5 - Bodice (bustle era bodice) EPIC FAIL!

The Challenge: #5 Bodice
Fabric: polycotton, calico
Pattern: none. self drafted.
Year: 1880's
Notions: boning, buttons, hook & eye
How historically accurate is it? N/A
Hours to complete: N/A
First worn:N/A
Total cost:N/A

So as part of the overall ensemble I'm making I need a bodice. Not having a commercial pattern on hand I decided to use the instructions in 'Draping Period Costumes' to create one from scratch.

 In my toile I changed a waist dart into a seam so I can hide a pocket there.

 Initially I tried to put in two darts but only seem to be able to put in one without messing up the fit.
But I needed 2 darts for the accuracy...so after getting some help from other HSF participants I decided to try it on myself wearing the right foundations. Managed to take out front waist seam and create 2 bust darts.
I wanted pockets...lots of pockets as it would save carrying a large bag around all day. Transfered the fabric pattern to paper...ready to work on the next stage.

That was when I realised if I wanted to do the faux waistcoat I'd need to change one of the darts into a princess seam.
Now to cut out the interlining which would also be my toile.
 I managed to make it look ok but when I transferred to calico it just didn't look right.

Not sure what was wrong. So I took it apart and started again...
 I used the trick I'd read about taping in the bones on a mock up to try it on.
The shape was looking closer to what I wanted. It looks better on me than the dressform.
Made a few alterations to the neckline and armhole. Then added the sleeves.
Then after double checking the fit. I undid all my hard work and unpicked the seams. Ironed out the peices ready to use to flatline the bodice.
I then tacked the main seams together and pinned others so I can check the fit again before I sew in place.

I ended up needing to split the back so it would fit over the extra padding (see above). I'll also need to add a waist stay in addition to the bones to keep the bodice waistline in place or else I get some gapping.
 I also pinned my bustle drapery on to see how it would look.

The bodice was looking ok...still think its a bit stocky queen victoria in shape.

Looks ok from the side but from the front....it looks awful.

This was the point at which I gave up. No amount of tweaking and reworking was going to make it look acceptable. The skirt was all wrong. The bodice made me look dumpy. the neckline was wonkey and I'd cut too much off the length.
It goes on the FAIL pile.

Friday, March 14, 2014

HSF 2014 - Challenge #5 - Bodice (1790's 'Jumps')

The Challenge: #5 Bodice
Fabric: Calico
Pattern: I scaled up the pattern from Corsets: Historic Patterns and Techniques by Jill Salen.
Year: 1790's
Notions: boning, eyelets, bias binding, lacing.
How historically accurate is it? well the pattern is based on exhaunt corset c.1790 held at Hereford Museum. So the 'cut' is right. But I used modern boning, metal eyelets and partially sewed on machine.
Hours to complete: Took me several evenings.
First worn:
Total cost:

 I started by enlarging the pattern in the book by 200%. Measured the 'waist' 29" so almost perfect. Added seam allowances and cut out a toile from leftover polycotton fabric.
Adjusted the side seams slightly and took some fabric off the centre front. Then used that to cut out my 'fashion fabric' some calico.
I added in the boning channels. Sewn on the machine for speed. Once I'd added in the bones I sewed up the side seams and added the straps. then came the tricky bit. I started trying to bias bind the 'tabs' but it did my fingers in hand sewing it. (Yes I'm not following the instructions in the book). So I turned over each tab and did a small hem. I did however bias bind the top edge. Started by hand sewing but my fingers were so sore I finished on the machine.
I then used a kit of adding eyelets - the kind you hit with a hammer- first to the straps and then to the CF.

I wanted to spiral lace it... so I tried to off set the eyelets....unfortunately I wasn't good at getting them to align. Every time I hit the hammer the fabric moved. lol!
 I then laced up the stays on the dress form over my new chemise.
 The back looked good although I think the CB bone needed to be longer.
I added my petticoat on top to finish off the look. Of course I can't lace it shut on the dress form but looks like a good enough fit.

Wednesday, March 12, 2014

HSF 2014 - Challenge #4 - Under it all (18th Centrury Petticoat)

The Challenge: #4 Under it all
Fabric: blue polycotton
Pattern: I used the tutorial from a fashionable frolick
Year:18th Century (but I hope it will be useful to multiple eras)
Notions: well I'm not sure what it is but it mades good ties.
How historically accurate is it?well its made 50/50 hand/machine sewing.
Hours to complete: did it in one day.
First worn: For fitting.
Total cost: £8 I think.

the only change I made from the original instructions was to have a wide hem....so I could alter the hight later.

Tuesday, March 11, 2014

Sewing bee - WWID - week 3

Stretch Fabrics....
Can I just say Eeeep! The are my nemisis...I'd rather do corsetry or and sew a buttonhole than use stretch fabric. It scares me.
I don't know how to cut it or treat it or.....well work with it.

Challenge 1 - Stretch Leggings
As I mentioned I'm scared of stretch...and I was confused by the term "2-way stretch" (Till they explained it..thought two way meant side to side and up n down. lol)
Also the explination of how to do the waistband...it seemed quite simple. It would be nice to show how to sew the leggings with a normal machine rather than just an overlocker.

Challenge 2 -T-shirt upcycle
My first thought was a tankini or a playsuit....

Challenge 3 - Wrap Dress
Scary...I'd probably try to find the simplist pattern and something with not much stretch....just cos the combination of both wrap and stretch I would find daunting.

Tuesday, March 4, 2014

Sewing bee - WWID - week 2

Patterns. So its pattern week. My approach to pattern is generally slapdash but it usually works in the end. I know some people will take hours matching patterns...me...my priority is usually getting the most out of the fabric rather than matching the 'lines' of the print.

Challenge 1 - Pleated Skirt
Well with pattern I usually use floral prints or polkadots...but that wouldn't have shown the skill they wanted. I think I would have gone for a striped fabric. Really want to make a pleated skirt now. lol!

Challenge 2 - Combine two shirts
I think I would turn into a gored skirt. Alternating the fabric from each shirt. With button closure of course.

Challenge 3 - Men's Pajamas
I think I'd be tempted to choose a fun print like something with cars on and of course pipe the seams...and it would be collarless.

Saturday, March 1, 2014

A Patchwork Skirt - Inspired by film

Inspired By The Movies
On the TV the other day was the film seven brides for seven brothers. I have to say I love the costumes.
Especially how patchwork is incorporated into the girls costumes.
 Oh and I have soft spot for gingham....but that's for another project.
I initially planned to make something like the one above 'crazy patchwork' and quite long. But I hadn't the time nor enough of the right fabrics.
That's when I came across this tutorial on craftster. It would give me the shape and be fairly quick to put together. I went fabric shopping. Found green, red and mustard colourway type fabrics.
Took me 1 evening to prep fabric. Cutting the patches and sewing the strips.

Then a second to sew the strips together and add a waistband.

Threaded the elastic through. Then I had to wait till the next evening to finish hemming...by hand.

I unfortunately didn't have a chance to post the review before the deadline for the competition. It turned out much more A-line which suits a more 40's style...