Thursday, January 24, 2013

Finished: Adorable little cami for Princess K

So there as been very little blogging lately. One reason was I didn't have power for my iron until today, and I wanted to be able to press stuff before finishing and then telling about it.  I have been reading up on the importance of good pressing on several other blogs lately, and decided it was better to have a few UFOs sitting around half-finished, waiting for power to plug in the iron, than to sew on without pressing, and ending up with a finished product I wasn't all that excited about.

But here we go... When we finally received our Christmas package in the mail (about two weeks into January) there were four issues of Ottobre in it! I excitedly sat down to browse through all of them within minutes of opening the package, and decided that this cami would be the first project I'd make from them. It  is featured in Ottobre 6/2012 and is called the "Lumikello" Cami.  I wanted to make it in a very airy fabric so that Princess K would wear it even in the hottest of the African dry and hot season months of April through June. So I went with this yellow cotton batiste, really purchased thinking I'd using for lining other stuff, but hey... you take what you have, right?

I embellished it with lace I got from my mom. It's pretty, but not as gorgeous as this awesome vintage lace my mom has gathering dust in her stash at home, next time I go, I'll ask if I can take it... It would have been so adorable on this cami.

Since the fabric is so sheer, I did French seams down the sides, which turned out nice. The shorts are made from the now tried and true "Kid pants" pattern by MADE.  

Linking up to

Tuesday, January 1, 2013

The very long process of my first pants!

Consider this my second muslin of my first pants. I STILL haven't actually sewed up the pants in a decent fabric. But I'm getting there, inch by inch.

I have been sewing for about a year and a half now,  and never really attempted pants before. I figured it would be harder than dresses or tops, since you have to figure in the zipper and pockets, and of course, it has to fit around the curves of the hips... many challenges, there.

Then I came across "The Consulting Dressmaker". This is a lovely lady by the name of Steph who offers the service of creating a pants block from your personal measurements and helping you tweak it until it fits perfectly. Well, I went for it, and Steph did not disappoint. It took me about two months to finish tweaking the block, because I kept getting distracted by other projects, but she was very patient and helped me get there.  Steph, by the way, is the creator of Cake Patterns. I love the Tiramisu dress pattern... don't have it yet, but maybe soon!!

When I went to Gambia this fall, I purchased some very nice pinstriped black wool suiting fabric which I hope to use for my final pants based on this block, but since I only have one shot at getting it right after cutting it out, I figured I'd better muslin first. So first, I made a pair of shorts, in an absolutely terrible pants fabric from the local market. They turned out ok, but I realized that the Juniper pattern (by Colette Patterns) I used, is really, really wid in the legs. I thought my legs are wide enough by themselves, they don't need that much extra with, so for the second, full-lenght  muslin, I went for a flared leg, grading in from hip to knee and back out from knee to the floor. I used the Juniper pattern that I adapted to fit my pants block, and then I shaved off both inseam and side seam in an X shape to get the trumpet shape. I can see now that I can shave off even more, and leave the bottom of the legs somewhat less wide. For this muslin, I used a white sheet that I got at the flea market. You can tell it has a terrible drape and is absolutely not suited for garments at all. You might also be able to tell that my pressing leaves much to be desired. *averts eyes in shame*

The knit top I'm wearing in these pictures is sewn from Simplicty 1916, view E. This is the second time I make that top, the first one was a solid blue sleeveless one that got a lot a wear, but now has a bleach stain. Blah! This one is nice because it has sleeves, but looks its best right after coming off the clothes line. With every hour of wear, the front seam droops more and more and looks less and less flattering. I think  the fabric is at fault, as I don't have this issue with the other top I made from the same pattern.

Colette Parfait Dress

Happy New Year!

On this first day of the new year, I thought it was about time to blog some of the projects I've been playing with in the last months. First out, the Colette Parfait Dress.  I have drooled at the Colette website for a long time, but since I live far away from a mail box, it was never an option to buy any of their patterns. Before. Now that they started offering their patterns as pdf downloads, even we remote village dwellers with an internet connection get to partake of their lovely patterns!

Before choosing the Parfait, I browsed all their dress patterns, and googled each one to see how other people looked in their creations of each one. I especially looked for a dress that would look nice on a larger body like mine. The one that I found most matching those criteria, was this one. The other dresses are lovely too, but do seem to fit nicer on smaller size women. (If you can prove me wrong there, please post a link!!! I would love to be wrong this time!)

I cut this in size 18, but later regretted not cutting the bodice in 16. I had to tweak it a lot, and it would have been much less work just to start with the smaller size. I had even made a muslin, but since I didn't include the straps in it, it was really hard to see how the fit would end up, and I regret skipping that step in retrospect. I even had the pieces cut out, but felt too lazy to do all the sewing...

The fabric I chose was an "American cotton" I got on my crazy cheap shopping spree in Mexico last spring. I think it was something like the equivalent of 3 USD per meter, and sewing with it was a delight. It is a woven, but must have something elastic in it, because it has a slight stretch and drapes beautifully. The slight stretchiness is perfect for me, it makes any dress more comfy and easier to fit.  

I didn't make any significant design changes, but I felt that the V in the bodice front showed a little too much cleavage for my taste, so I sewed the facing to the front bodice at a quarter inch seam allowance instead of the standard 5/8", lifting the bottom center 3/8".  That later caused me to have to redo the whole facing application (the curve just wasn't looking very nice), which I had already understitched, and if you've ever ripped any seams sewed in interfaced material, you know what a pain in the neck that was. 

I also substituted the invisible zipper with a lapped regular zipper. I don't have an invisible zipper foot, which is the reason for that choice. I love how the patterns calls for a side zipper instead of the dreaded back ones. I just hate having to ask for help to get dressed! 

As you can see, the dress fits like a glove in the back. That made me a very happy camper. I hate things that bulge and pucker in the curve of my back, but this fit perfectly right off the bat. (After shaving off 2 inches on each side seam).  

I didn't attach the pockets right away, and wore the dress to church this Sunday without them. It looks great without them in this kind of fabric. Since I had already prepared them, though, I decided to go ahead and attach them, but they don't show that much at all, the fabric being so busy and all. But I figure that a mother of 2,5 year old twins can never get enough garments with pockets...