Sunday, 23 November 2014

A Lace Francoise

A friend of mine is having a 20's inspired party for her birthday, and obviously I wanted to make a dress for it. It would be inspired by the 20's but with a bit more shape because that's how I like my dresses to fit. Cue Tilly's new sewing pattern Francoise. Although the party is in March (I know...) I wanted to get cracking on the dress now in time for the competition and Mum's birthday meal!
The original design was for a scallop hemmed overdress with a flounce sewn to the lining which would show underneath the overdress. This didn't quite work out so I had to go to plan B, as illustrated colourfully below.
I had lots of excess in the bust area of my first muslin, and the darts were too low down.
I unpicked the darts and moved them higher up and hey presto, it fit!
I choose to make my Francoise with a beautiful gold lace found in a vintage charity shop (5 pounds for about 2 metres) paired with a red underlining. Even though it's quite a simple dress to make, the time it took me to make it was doubled due to basting the lace together to the underlining to make sure nothing shifted around. Below you can see me starting off that process in costa before school with a hot chocolate with cream and marshmallows. Obviously by the time I got round to taking the pic, the cream and marshmallows were long gone.
I then sewed the dress together and scalloped the hem in accordance with the lace pattern, as seen in the pic below.
As seen in the design above, it didn't work with the flounce attached to the lining so I evened out the hem and attached the flounce to the outer layer instead. This, however made all the proportions wrong.
To fix this I took a chunk out of the seam where the dress hem and the flounce met and now it's just the right length!
Being a bit strapped for cash at the moment, I salvaged a burgandy invisible zip from a prom dress that we found in a charity shop a couple of years ago that never fit right.
This dress makes a nice change from my usual fit and flare silhouette. I can see more happening in the future.
Thank you very much for reading and to Ed for taking the pictures!
Lauren xx

Sunday, 16 November 2014

Dotty Shirtdress

I'm calling this dress a shirtdress even though it's collarless, so I'm not sure if it fully qualifies to enter Mary of Idle Fancy's Autumn of 1000 Shirtdresses but I'm joining in anyway!  The only reason why this dress became a button down dress was because I didn't have any matching zips, but I'm so glad that this was how it ended up.
This was what I had in mind for the dress, using the same self drafted pattern as the V&A dress, making it a V neck and adding room in the centre front for buttonholes. The fabric is a viscose I bought in Birmingham whilst there for a concert at one of the market stalls for a fantastic 2.50 per metre (I bought 2 metres). It was in Birmingham that I bumped into one of my readers for the first time!
I first traced the original pattern, then I changed the neckline to a V. I then added 1 cm which was the button width and 1.5cm seam allowance. I also did that for the front waistband piece. The back pieces I kept the same as they are cut on the fold.
For the facing I pinned together the front and back shoulder seams and traced the neckline curve, then I drew straight downwards for the length of the dress. Mine wasn't long enough, I think I added about 15cm on the end. I added seam allowance for the centre back.
Then I sewed it all up, treating the facing as you would a normal one. I added 2.5cm to the front skirt width. 
This dress has turned out quite loose compared to the first one which is interesting, probably down to using the lightweight fabric. 
The shaped waistband gets a bit lost in the print, so I'm wondering about doing some white top stitching to make it a bit more obvious. The armholes were neatened with bias binding and I top-stitched the facing down to make sure that it stays down. The waistband is lined like the last one.
Thanks for reading and to Ed for taking the pictures!
Lauren xx

Sunday, 9 November 2014

Grey Suit Part 2: The Blazer

 After a fair few issues my blazer is finally finished! I adapted the Deer and Doe Pavot jacket pattern for the third time, this time drafting a shawl collar and double breasted aspect to it. It was originally going to be mid-hip length and tied at the waist but that didn't work out so I cropped it instead.
As this was my first time drafting a shawl collar I did encounter some issues. There were drag lines at the collar as I hadn't allowed enough ease. To fix this I snipped into the collar until the drag lines were gone, so it isn't as wide as it was supposed to be!
The blazer closes with a magnetic snap, which you usually find on bags.
I've only just noticed when looking at the photos that the sleeves are having major issues which is sad. Next time I'll pay more attention when setting them in.  The rest of the back seems to fit alright.
I fully lined the blazer with some amazing floral silk in my stash. I did bag it, but one of the sleeves got twisted and the hem was wrong so they both got unpicked, sorted out and slip stitched back together meaning that only one of the sleeves is clean!The facing was also slip stitched in.
That's it for this week. Thank you Edward for taking the photos, and thanks for reading!
Lauren xx

Sunday, 2 November 2014

Grey Suit Part 1: The Skirt

So, today I was planning on showing you my blazer, but unforeseen difficulties mean that you'll be seeing it next week instead. Instead you can feast your eyes upon the skirt part of the suit.
 You may be thinking oooh panels, what an interesting design feature! I was short on fabric so had to improvise. I had 3 metres of this grey suiting.  I used a metre to half make a blazer last year which really didn't work out well leaving me with 2 metres. From this I decided I wanted to make a new blazer, pencil skirt and dress consisting of a princess seam bodice and a half circle skirt. And I think I've just about managed it. The first "stripe" was from the under-sleeves of the first blazer and the hem band was salvaged from the peplum of said blazer. The first "stripe" had to be sewn on the cross-grain  which is why there's a bit of a change in colour.
I did have a few issues with the skirt, mainly with figuring out where the darts were because they weren't marked on the pattern pieces I had. I think I got them okay in the end. The back is a bit wrinkly but I'm not quite sure why. I did put a bit of a slit in so I can move about easily. The zip is handpicked. 

I'll see you next week with my blazer. Thanks to Mum for taking the photos.
Lauren xx

Sunday, 26 October 2014

Sweater Knit Two Piece

Hello all! This ensemble was inspired completely by the Sewcialists Grease sewalong. I re-watched the film, looking for something  to make that would be practical for the coming winter and suitable for fabric out of my stash. Sandy's cheerleading jumper stood out to me, as well as Rizzos pencil skirts so that's what this outfit is inspired by, albeit fairly loosely in the pencil skirt sense. 
 The fabric is an amazing sweater knit which I found in Edinburgh while I was there for the university's open day (they do a cracking course on costume for performance). When we went fabric shopping I was firmly set on finding something seasonally appropriate because I didn't want to buy some beautiful fabric, make something and then not to be able to wear it for ages. It's quite a thick knit, and the wrong side is fleecy making it really warm and snuggly.
The pattern for the sweater was the raglan tee from Wendy Mullins book "Sew U Home Stretch" which is the same pattern I made my lace bomber jacket and black hoody from. It's a great base to adapt to how you want it. The sweater isn't as fitted as it could be, but I think that's okay because I will want to fit layers under it when it gets colder.

The skirt part of the outfit is very much improvised. I started with a rectangle the width of my hip circumference and overlocked a center back seam. I then tried it on and pinned out the excess 'til it fit.To avoid a dodgy hem and to add length I used a folded rectangle, similar to the sweater. It is quite short because I had to squeeze both the sweater and skirt out of a metre.
The back of the skirt is slightly iffy. As you can see the center back seam (the only seam) is wriggling up causing a bubbly effect which ism't the most flattering thing. I tried pinning them out but they just don't seem to want to go away.
Overall I am really happy with the jumper, it's really cozy and it's great that it goes with all my highwaisted skirts and jeans.
Thanks very much for reading and to Ed for taking the photos 
(Todays price was to drive him to school tomorrow)
Lauren xx

Sunday, 19 October 2014

The hard to miss penguin dress.

Hi all! Today's dress is pretty special because a) I have a massive thing for penguins and b) because I bought this fabric when having my awesome fabric shopping day with Susan in Sydney so it has great memories attached to it.
The reason I've only used the fabric now is because the colour scheme is decidedly halloweeny and also because I wanted this dress to be a fit 'n' flare dress with a twist and I'd only just decided what I wanted the twist to be. The twist is obviously the 2 black organza strips near the hem of the skirt. This was my extremely technical drawing of how I wanted my dress to look.
I used my bodice block and then 2 gathered rectangles the width of the fabric. I then cut 4 organza strips for each rectangle with matching penguin strips. I tried to rip the penguin fabric into strips to get even rectangles but it was a disaster so maybe the fabric was off grain? In the end I just cut them instead. I did end up beheading all the penguins though... Whoops.
The rectangles were then gathered to the bodice which resulted in a really nice full skirt. I may have accidentally matched the skirt side seam to the front dart but shhh no one will notice. Also, one of my legs is missing in this photo... Weird.
The back was a bit of a total disaster. The zip was in, I tried it on but it was too tight and I couldn't get the zip done up to the top. This made me a not very happy bunny considering I wanted to wear it the next day and it was 11pm. At that point I just went to bed. This morning I unpicked the zip and the centre back seam and sewed it with a 1cm SA rather than a 1.5 SA which was fine thank goodness. The reason it ended up so low was that it originally turned back to show the black lining like in this dress so I snipped the SA for it to sit better but then it was too tight and I reduced the SA which meant there was a snip either side of the CB seam which would be seen, so I redrew the back neckline to below those snips and it was fine.
Now for some insides. I lined the bodice with some leftover black cotton so all the insides are clean.
And here's a close up of the organza insets. The bottom penguin rectangle was cut on the fold so I had no hemming to do.
Overall I'm really happy with it as a dress that now fits pretty well. And the penguins make me happy. I'm actually quite liking the longer length than usual.
That's all 'til next Sunday. Thanks for reading and to Mum for taking pictures!
Lauren xx

Sunday, 12 October 2014

Hudson Pants

 Today I have to present to you my new P.E kit! I'm in my last year of school and we still have to do 2 hours of P.E a fortnight and this year I wanted to do it in style. Enter the amazing True Bias Hudson Pant pattern and some amazing ponte knit from Minerva Crafts which is actually the most expensive fabric I've ever bought. I did only need one metre of it though but I want a whole roll of it to make a myriad of things with it. What can I say, the print and colour and comfy-ness of this fabric just makes me happy.
I was worried about the fit because my hips are a good few inches smaller than the smallest size on the pattern but it was just fine because I could just adapt the amount of elastic used for the waistband. The length is great. Next time I'll make the rise a bit higher, they feel a tad low to me, especially when I'm bending down and stuff.
Is this how people stretch?!
I used the back of the fabric for contrasting pocket bindings and cuffs. It took me 3 tries to overlock the cuffs wrong side to wrong side because I automatically always go right side to right side which in this case was the opposite!
The back of the waistband is a tad iffy because I didn't use the right width of the elastic but it's nothing that a long top can't hide!
These are really really comfy tracksuit bottoms and I can't wait to wear them more and more as the weather gets colder. 

Have a picture of me losing balance when trying to do one of those leg stretches
That's pretty much all I've got to say today and it's back to homework for me.
Thanks for reading and to Ed for taking the pics!
Lauren xx