Sunday, April 12, 2015

Back to Basics

I have to say that I had a great time with my TG sewing, and when I finished the pieces that I had in mind, I was at a bit of a loss as to what to sew next.  It is almost like coming down off an adrenalin rush, well not really, but there is definitely some kind feeling of loss.

So, what to sew next?  Well, my 'go to' project when I am feeling a little down, or need to sew but don't have anything planned, it to make something small like a mug-rug, or a pouch.  The thing is, I am planing on attending another bra making course in Hamilton later in the year with the lovely Beverly of Bra Makers Supplies, and I had picked up a half yard of 'bra' quilting fabric.  So I made a pouch!

The lining is made from some Ikea pillowcases - we buy the cheap duvets and covers for our greyhounds to lie on.  When they need laundering it is a lot easier that washing a regular dog bed of the size that would be suitable for greyhounds - they are big dogs! The pillowcases are always unused, but the print worked really well with this pouch as a lining.

Having made a lovely pouch that I will use to hold some sewing notions on my bra-making trip, I thought I'd make a bra.  Just like that!  I recently bought the Craftsy Class, Sewing Bras, Designer Techniques by Beverly Johnson.  This course is a follow on from the basic bra making course, Sewing Bras, Construction and Fit.  There were a couple of details that I was particularly interested in, the first was sewing a bra with a partial band.  In other words, the band does not go under the cups.  Secondly, Beverly shows you how to change the back band to help prevent bra straps falling down.  I have sloping shoulders (I guess we probably all have) and this seemed an ideal opportunity to try it out.

I used my Classic Bra pattern from Beverly's Pin Up line - I have made this many times before and it is very comfortable, and then followed the Craftsy Class to make the necessary alterations.  You could purchase the pattern complete, without have to made the changes, and it is called the Linda Bra.  However, the pattern is $20 plus P&P, and the Craftsy course is currently on sale for $24.99, so it makes sense to get the course if you already have a fitted Classic Bra pattern.  The construction is pretty straightforward, although there were a few changes in comparison to the Classic Bra, but it went together well:

I will wear this tomorrow and give it a good 'try out'!  It seems a little too big around my rib cage so I have trimmed 1/2" of the back band on the pattern.  I will need to wear this bra on the middle hook and eye setting, so I think it will be OK.  I also noted that the bridge does not sit flat on my chest, so I'll have to look into that.  It is not out by much, so a small adjustment is probably all that is needed.  Other than that, all seems good.  I like the feel of there being no band under the cups, so once I have these two little issues sorted out, I will start making some fancy smanchy versions!  As I have made the back band higher to help prevent the strap slippage, there is not much space for strap adjustment.  I used the elastic that comes with one of Beverly's findings kits, but that only gives you a maximum of 10" per strap.  I will either have to buy it by the metre in future, or see if she would add 2-3" more in a pack.  I think that would do the job!

Again, I can't recommend Beverly's patterns and classes enough - I think that they are great!

So, that was my weekend sewing - how was yours?

Friday, April 10, 2015

Out of Alberta - the Details

I am a 'multiples maker' - in other words, when I get a pattern all worked out I like to make it again, and again, and again.  So it was no surprise that it should happen when working on my Tina Givens Collection for the Artisans Square 2015 SWAP (sewing with a plan) as you can see from my last post!

I had a lot of fun with details, and wanted to talk more about them, and the actual patterns.  The instructions that come with TG patterns, are quite different than the instructions that you would get with the Big 4.  Two pages, letter/A4 sized, a few pictures and some written instructions.  They are adequate, but there may be some head scratching if you are new to this sewing game.  But fear not - there is always Google!  So what did I do and what did I change?  I rather liked the cute patchwork detail - but not your Grannies patchwork - where random fabric scraps are added to your garments:

In comparison to the details on TG clothes, this is ultra conservative, but for me this is wildly way out there!!  As the clothes get washed then the edges will ruffle and fray a bit more adding character.

As you can also see from these pics, I have also top and edge-stitched pretty much all the seams.  I like the strength it adds as well as a kind of utilitarian tidiness.

Next up was the neckline and arm opening.  I started using my usual smart finish - no raw edges, like this:

I used to find that binding made the edges gap outwards, and so I changed the way I attached the binding and this is what works for me.  I cut my own binding using a rotary cutter at 1.25" wide.  I then feed it through my bias binder making thingy and I find that the extra 1/4" means that the binding meets nicely in the centre.  I sew the binding to the top from the inside (so the right side of the binding is sewn to the wrong side arm/neckline, stretching the binding a little as I sew it on.  I then flip it ALL to the right side of the garment and sew it down using a edge foot that keeps my stitching nice and tidy.

Miss TG applies her binding like this:

So I tried it too!  Same width binding, folded in half and pressed, then sewed it to the raw edges from the right side - top and edge-stitching (do you see the pattern?  I will try the raw edge finishes but don't take away my top stitching!)  As the garment gets washed, the bindings will fray and ruffle.  I am hoping that I did not sew too close to the edge and that the binding will stay put!

Another detail I utilized was adding a few buttons to my Kika dress:

You may recognize this finish and you get top marks if you recognized it from Colette's Sorbetto as seen here.

I know a lot of people would shy away from this kind of design due to the thin fabrics, wide and uneven hems.  If you have a serger, the chances are that you can do a rolled hem like I did:

Just how quick and easy is that?  I rolled the hems on the pieces before serging the side seams so that I did not need to 'roll' over a seam.  I think that the finish looks pretty good.  And yes, I have to match my serger thread!!

So there you have it - a few details that would have mde the previous post waaaaay too long!  I hope that there was something there that you found useful.  What are your favorite details that you use with your sewing?  Do tell!!

Tuesday, April 7, 2015

Out of Alberta - Part Deux

I have to say that I love long weekends - and I managed to make this Easter weekend a five day sewfest.  And where to begin?  To start with, I picked up some lovely linen/viscose blend (Azalia Natural Prints and Solids) from my local fabric shop (Fabricland).

You can just about tell from the photos that the fabric has a lovely linen texture, but doesn't crease quite so much.  It also is a great weight and drapes beautifully.  I wanted to add some more colour to my Tina Givens Collection, and thought that these would go well with the mostly neutral pallette that I have so far.

And this is what I made:

Let me talk you through these goodies.  From the left is a white Zelda dress, the Peplone jacket from before - but now with buttons (!), two pairs of Jaqueline trousers, one pair floral and the other from the same fabric as the Peplone, a green Kika top (minus the frills) and a fushia Jacqueline slip.

Here are all the garments so far:

The very first white slip that I made, from rayon, is not included here - I plan on making a better fitting slip out of white cotton - the same fabric as I used for the longer skirt on the pink and white dress.

Now some photos and details!

White Kika dress made from the linen/viscose fabric.  The top is based on my 'Sorbetto' top and and I added the pleat and some pretty buttons.  I am wearing it here with another pair of Jacqueline trousers made from the same fabric as the Peplone jacket.

Green Zelda slip - without a frill!  Again with the same traousers as above.

Pink Jaqueline slip.

Peplone jacket from my last post worn with some floral Jaqueline trousers.

And with the fushia slip . . . .

And the green Kika.

I then thought that the Peplone and matching trousers would make a great TG suit, so I paired them with a green Sorbetto that I made a couple of years ago - looks pretty good I think/  And then my camera battery ran out!!

I have loads more to write about - close ups, comments on the patterns as well as playing around with 'looks' using these garments, but it is getting late and I need to go to work tomorrow (something to do with earning the money to pay for the fabric . . . . !)

Monday, March 30, 2015

Out of Alberta - My Tina Givens Style

I mentioned in a couple of previous posts (here and here), that I was exploring Lagenlook and in particular, the patterns by Tina Givens who describes her style as 'Out of Africa with a 1920's twist.  I am paraphrasing here and there is more involved, but this is what I am drawn to!  Would you like to see what I have been up to?!

I have made six pieces so far, one pair of cropped trousers, three slips, one dress and a jacket/coat . . . . but first, a couple of apologies.  I can only take photos after work (I could take them at weekends, but I am too busy sewing, c'mon!) and our deck is west facing so it gets very sunny, so I am wearing sunglasses in these photos - it was that or a squinted up face.  I know which one that I prefer!  Secondly, I have been a bit boring with accessories and shoes . . . . I used the same throughout.  OK, photos:

Tan rayon trousers with the first white rayon top.  This was the first top and the armscye is too big, however, with a jacket or top on, it is perfect.   Jaqueline pattern:

And with the Peplone Jacket in a lovely, soft cotton.  I need to add some buttons to the front of this:

Tan trousers and tan slip.  This slip was supposed to be a different dress, but I cut the neckline too big so used the Jaqueline pattern as much as I can.  This top has a typical 'Tina Givens' feature - a scrap of fabric stitched to the front.  I also used my TNT Sorbetto top so this fits me better on the shoulder, bust, neckline and armscye.  I was also running short of fabric so had to add a centre front seam:

It looks great with the jacket as well!

The coral slip is made out of linen, and was mentioned with the white slip and tan trousers here:

And finally, I made the Briare Dress.  It is actually a free pattern, but I have linked to the version that you pay for as you need to sign into the website to get the freebies.  The top is a loose fitting vest top with two layers pleated and attached for the skirt.  Both fabrics are cotton - the pink has a slub finish and the white is almost a 'pulled thread' type of fabric.  Both are very light and airy:

It was really sunny outside - gorgeous!

The dress can be worn both with or without the trousers, and I was lazy here and kept them on!  I may be moving a little into milkmaid territory here, but I love it!!!

So there you go.  These are the first six pieces for the 2015 SWAP and I am rather liking how it is turning out.  I have lots of close up details and other info, but this post is getting rather long, so that will follow in the next couple of days.

As ever, my faithful boys were watching the 'shoot', checking that all was well!  My tripod was balanced on the iron table, in case you are wondering what the contraption is!

Have you started your Spring sewing yet?  Could you be tempted by loose, cool layers straight Out of Africa?!

Monday, March 16, 2015

Vogue 8048 - The Mullet Version

Ah yes, mullets.  Before we go any further, I am not a fan of mullets as such, however the 'business up front, party in the back' does rather make me snigger.  And that takes me onto another waistcoat (vest) for the Old Folk (my father) - do you like the 'translate as you go' feature?!  You may remember that I made him a waistcoat at the end of 2014 - and he was thrilled with it.  My mother was a fabulously talented dressmaker, and I used some of her fabrics in the waistcoats and so that made it extra special.

For this version, I wanted something even more special, as this Friday the 'Old Folk' will become a Canadian Citizen.  Dad moved out here in 2010 after my Mum passed away unexpectedly and the time has now come for him to have his Citizenship ceremony.  It is a very exciting time and as you can imagine - quite moving.  Here you are, having chosen a different country to live in, and that country then deems you suitable to be a citizen.

But then, who couldn't love this country?

Anyhow, it seems appropriate that he has something special to wear. . . . . !  I quite forgotten about promising this, but Dad mentioned it a few days ago so I thought that I ought to jump to it, so this weekend I made him another waistcoat:

The outer fabric is a houndstooth from Mum's collection.  She would have bought it to make a pencil skirt.

Single welt pockets in the front. 

Fabric covered buttons.  The buttons are 5/8" and the buttonholes 13/16".  That extra space should make them easier to open and close.

With cream top stitching and edge-stitching.  All pretty staid right?  Until you take a look around the back and whoa!!!

Yes, you are quite right - Canadian flag fabric!

It is quilting fabric and has a great dense weave.  It is perfect!

Above is the inside, with the flag fabric on the inside fronts.

And lining (from Mum's collection again) on the back on the inside.  It should make it easier for Dad to take it on and off.

My label needed a bit of extra treatment to look appropriate on this special waistcoat - it looks a bit wonly here, but it was quite straight.  Honest!!

Last photo - this just shows you what it looks like if you open up the front.

I'm dropping this off tomorrow so Dad can plan the rest of his outfit, and I'll get some photos from the 'Canadian' on Friday after the ceremony!

I'm pleased with this - moreover, I know Dad will love it.  Having used some of Mum's fabrics, including 'Liverpool' red.  Not to mention that he gets quite tickled when something is made for him.

Hope you all have a great week!