Saturday, August 18, 2012

Project 16: Flowergirl Dress #1

I'm quite excited. I got the first flowergirl dress done and in the post yesterday. But I totally forgot to take pictures of the finished garment. Oh no! All I've got are these progress pics where I was checking with my SIL that she liked the trim.

Here the trim is just pinned on. The hem of the underskirt is stitched, but the chiffon overlayer hasn't been hemmed yet.

Pattern: Ottobre 02-2005-11. Obviously, I've lengthened it to make a dress, but I've also made a couple of other changes. Instead of running a couple of rows of shirring thread at the underbust, I created a seam which I pressed up and topstitched, creating a casing for some 1/4" elastic. I also added quite a bit of width to the bodice, skirt and sleeve pieces to create extra gathers and volume.

I've forgotten what size I made (I think it's probably around the 110 mark). I'm putting this down to me working on 4 projects at once!

Considering we were working on a budget AND the girls will only wear these dresses once or twice (at the most), price was one of the most important factors in selecting the fabric and trims. The dress is a polyester satin, with a polyester chiffon overlayer. The sequin trim is stretchy which means I didn't have to insert a zip. The fabrics were purchased at EastCoast Fabrics and the trim at Spotlight.

This is the first time that I can recall working with chiffon and I was a little apprehensive. I used the gelatin trick suggested to me by margk and it worked like a dream. Before sewing, I hand basted the chiffon to the satin pieces for the bodice and the sleeves. Because I was working on two dresses which aren't too dissimilar in size, I used different colour basting thread for each girl so I wouldn't confuse the pieces. I left the skirts separate.

To hem the satin, I overlocked the edges (I wasn't being too precious about couture sewing techniques on these dresses!) because they were unravelling like crazy, then turned and stitched a tiny hem. I then turned and stitched a tiny hem again so you couldn't see the overlocking. I roll-hemmed the chiffon skirt. It was really hard to get the skirts exactly the same length all the way around, but I figure the girls are going to be mostly on the move, so hopefully no-one will notice. ;-)

Next up, I have to finish both my daughter's flowergirl dress and MY dress for the wedding. I've got 27 days. Time to get off the computer and get sewing!

Saturday, August 11, 2012

Plans for the next season

One of my favourite aspects of this hobby is the planning. I love putting together fabrics and patterns and wardrobe plans. Sometimes I even follow them!

At the moment, I'm currently working on FOUR projects! I'm sewing a fair bit each day, but because it's spread across 4 projects, it sometimes feels like I'm not making any progress. At least they'll all be finished about the same time. Bring on the wedding!

Anyway, I've started thinking about what I'm going to create after I've finished the wedding sewing. I've put together a small storyboard for the first step of my Spring/Summer plans.

I'm want to build a wardrobe based around chocolate brown and aqua as I have quite a lot of those colours in my stash. The storyboard fits the Mini-Wardrobe Contest requirements on PR, but I don't know if I'll enter that one. I am usually quite short on time in September and this year won't be any different. Nearly all of the patterns I've chosen are new to me, too, so that'll require a bit of fitting time.

Hopefully, these plans will give me the push to finish up the dresses I'm working on. I'm getting quite excited to start sewing these fabrics. I love working with linen.

Friday, August 3, 2012

Project 15: Cardigan

This one was to be my final project for the PR Pattern Stash Contest, although I didn't end up entering it. I had it finished in time, but I didn't really like it and I couldn't muster the enthusiasm to photograph and review it. However, I've pushed through the laziness and am reviewing it now.

This is the cardigan from McCalls 5890. I really love the look of the coordinated wardrobe that this pattern offers and have long admired the simple lines of the cardigan. So, I busted out this pattern for the Pattern Stash contest and merrily set off on my cardigan journey.


 I soon came to grief, however, when I realised that the wrong side of the fabric was going to show for the shawl collar. That, in itself, wasn't too much of an issue with the fabric I'd chosen, but how on earth was I going to finish the edges on the thing? I'm not much one for the deconstructed look of leaving edges unfinished, but I was leaning towards it for this project. It made me feel quite uncomfortable. It also brought all my sewing to a halt while I came to terms with my discomfort. I procrastinated on this one like crazy! LOL.

In the end, I madly consulted all the previous reviews of this pattern on PR (which I probably should have done BEFORE I started, but, hey, you live and learn, right?). There were a few different methods used by previous reviewers. I chose to cut off the selvedge of my fabric and stitch it to the front edges because it was such an unusually pretty edge. I also trimmed the sleeve hems with the selvedge as well but you can't see it in the photo of me wearing it because I've got the sleeves rolled up. There's still the problem of the wrong side of the hem showing at the bottom of the shawl collar. While it's not that noticeable in this fabric, I just found the whole thing very clumsy.

The fit of the cardigan was fine, if a little big, but the business over the right side/wrong side dilemma has put me off sewing this pattern ever again. I have plenty of other cardigan patterns in my stash that have a far more elegant treatment of that front collar/edge.

What's in the pipeline now?

Currently, I have four garments in active progress: two flowergirl dresses, my brown linen dress (which is a test version of my silk dress) and the green silk dress for my brother's wedding.

Sneak peek of the brown linen dress.

I've started putting together a plan for Spring/Summer sewing and am thinking that I would like to base it around the colours of chocolate, aqua and white. I'm putting together a storyboard of my ideas and will post it here when I'm done.