Saturday, 18 April 2015

Floral Turia Dungarees

 Hi everyone! For my second Minerva Crafts Blogger make I decided to bite the bullet and make some floral dungarees. There were a lot of firsts in this particular sewing project; mainly the sewing of flat-fell seams and figuring out how to attach a dungaree buckle! But, I made them because I wanted to try something new. Dungarees have not featured in my wardrobe since I was a toddler and I wanted to try out a new silhouette, which is more casual than my usual style.

 I don't normally wear jeans or trousers because I just find skirts and dresses more comfortable, but I thought that using a stretch cotton could make my dungarees more comfortable to wear and it really does. That little bit of stretch makes a world of difference. I went with a floral, to make my dungarees more original, and so they fit in more with my style!
The fabric (being cotton) presses extremely well, which was really useful when doing the flat-felled seams. For flat-felled seams I'd recommend cutting your notches outside of the seam allowance, because they caught me out when I tried to fold them over. My top-stitching is decidedly iffy in places, but it's getting there! The floral print is fantastic at hiding the dodgy bits. You can hardly see the pockets!
 The pattern I used was Pauline Alice's Turia Dungarees. I interfaced the sides of the bib (which are on the bias) because after 1 line of top-stitching they were looking decidedly wavy. I hoped that the interfacing would straighten the sides of the bib out a bit, which it did. Next time, I would probably interface the whole bib, just to make it a bit more sturdy.
The trousers are designed to be slightly cropped, but I cut the length to that of the largest size. Next time I would add a couple more cm's. The back pockets are actually invisible! There are 5 pockets in the pattern, but I ended up doing 4, and leaving out the one on the front bib because I'd already done 4 and no-one would really be able to see it anyway!
Overall, I'm really pleased with them, and am glad that I decided to try a new silhouette. I will be getting a lot of wear out of them!
Thank you very much to Minerva Crafts for providing the fabric, and to Ed for taking pictures!
Lauren xx

Sunday, 12 April 2015

A Floral Anna

Hi All! Today I'm continuing the spring dress theme with a floral Anna. My last Anna was pretty special occasion, so hasn't had a lot of wear, but this one is going to get worn all the time. 
 I found the fabric when shopping with Susan in Sydney last summer (I still haven't used it all up yet) and it's this beautiful buttery soft viscose which I think was $10 for 2 metres. I just love the colours in the print.
Like my last Anna I paired it with a nearly-circle skirt, making it as full as I could with the fabric that I had. I always forget just how much there is to hem with full skirts. For this dress I neatened the neck and arm holes with bias binding, which was slipstitched in place. The hem was machine stitched. Why do dresses typically have quite large hem allowances? Are they better than a 1.5 cm hem allowance? Does it make them hang better?
Although my hair is covering the invisible zip in the centre back seam, it is there! I happened to have the perfect matching zip, also from my trip to Sydney. Love it when that happens. I think I might try my next version without the kimono sleeves, to see what it does to the silhouette. I would like to try the maxi version of the pattern, but I'm not sure how practical it would be.
Thanks very much for reading and to Dad for taking the photos!
Lauren xx

Monday, 6 April 2015

Purple Drapey Cardi

Hi everyone! I hope you all had a lovely Easter. My daily outfits usually consist around a top, skirt, cardigan and blazer. For a long while I only had a cropped black cardigan which to be frank, is incredibly boring. I like my cardigans to be cropped, because I usually wear dresses or skirts that sit on my waist, but cropped cardigans are nowhere to be found on the high street. So, I decided to make cardigans in a rainbow of different colours to make my wardrobe slightly more interesting. I've already talked about my green one, this purple one has just been finished and I've got some burgundy knit waiting ready to go.

To mix things up a bit from my other cardigans I decided to have a go at Megan Nielsen's tutorial for a draped cardigan, cutting it as specified in the tutorial and then trimming the offhanging bits to make it cropped. I used the basic top pattern from Sew U Home Stretch for the back and sleeves and the armscythe and side seams of the front piece. After making my green cardi, the back was cut in two pieces and taken in, in that seam to make the back more fitted.

The fabric is a wool/polyester/elastane knit bought from a fabric shop on the way home from my university interview. One side is a bit scratchy, so I took care to have that be the 'right side' so the softer side would be against my skin.

The sleeves were also quite baggy in my previous cardi, so these were narrowed down. I decided last minute to make them 3/4 sleeves with a cuff just to add another design detail. I think it works well with the length of the cardigan.
The colour of the knit goes perfectly with the purple in my Joesph skirt! Upon reflection, I might have made it a tad too cropped. If it bugs me, I'll just add a hem band at a later date. Another design detail, right? ;)

Apparently in this photo it was time for stuck in the mud...
Anyway, thank you so much for reading and to Edward for dragging his camera kit around on our annual 'Easter walk'. 
Lauren xx

Saturday, 28 March 2015

A Floral 60's Number

My friend Esther hosted a murder mystery for her 18th birthday party and my character was called Babs Crayfish. The key word that described my character was pink. The party was set in the 60s, so a pink shift dress complete with massive beehive it was then! Do you want to know a secret? 3 pairs of tights went into the making of that beehive. 3,
I used Tilly's Francoise pattern for the dress (the third time I've sewed it up) and embellished it with a lot of tiny lace flowers. I secured each little flower with tiny little stitches in the centre, which seems to have held them in place alright. I just embellished the front to save me time, as it was the day of the party and I was quickly running out of time!
All of the raw edges were finished with bias tape. The hem is in a "contrasting" white because I didn't have enough time to hand stitch it and I had no matching thread colour. Whoops...I carried on the "contrast theme" with a white invisible zipper which really wasn't that invisible.
The fabric was just a simple pink cotton poplin, and it attracted fluff like anything. I had to take a lint roller with me so I could be defluffed when I arrived! I had a great night at the party and the dress really helped me get into character so a double win!

Thanks for reading and to Ed for taking pictures as usual!
Lauren xx

Sunday, 22 March 2015

Spring Dress 2015

 This dress has been announced to everyone as the "Hi spring I made a dress for you, so the least you can do is turn up" dress. The fabric is an incredible cotton sateen which was part of my birthday fabric stash, in the most gorgeous spring colours.

The bodice is my bodice block and the skirt is the pleated Chardon without the top-stitching down of the pleats. The Chardon is just perfect for a full-ish skirt that really doesn't need a lot of fabric. I managed to get the dress out of 1 metre, including pocket bags!
The new thing I learnt with this dress was how to insert a zip into a seam with pockets in it, which I managed to figure out alright in the end, The trick is to sew the pocket onto the front of the skirt, and not sewing down one side of it which inserting the zip, leaving an opening.
The neckline, armscythes and hem were all finished with contrasting turquoise bias binding, because I really didn't have any fabric left over for anything. It was a nice, quick and simple make, and is fast becoming the dress that I always want to wear but I can't because it's in the wash!

That's all I've got to say about this dress so Happy Spring everyone and thanks for reading!
Also thank you to Edward for taking the photos.
Lauren xx

Sunday, 15 March 2015

Burnt out cotton dress

Exciting news! I'm now part of the Minerva Crafts Blogger Network. For my first project I wanted to do something that was moving towards spring whilst still being winter appropriate. I settled on the navy burn out cotton so I could play with hiding bright colours underneath it, muting them a bit, but spicing the dress up more than if I put navy under the navy. I was hesitating about whether to put a burgundy or emerald underneath, but emerald was definitely the right choice. It contrasts really nicely with the navy, whereas I think the burgundy would have been too dark and the contrast wouldn't have been so good.
To make the most of the almost sheer parts of the fabric, I decided to draft a yoke for the upper bodice front and back from my bodice sloper. To do this I copied the front and back bodice onto pattern paper, and drew a horizontal line where I wanted my yoke to be. I wanted it to start at the start of the top of the side seam so I dress a line across from there on both the front and the back and cut along that line. I then added a seam allowance to the bottom of the yoke and the top of the new bodice piece. This was then repeated for the back bodice.
 I cut the yokes just out of the burn out cotton and the bodice pieces and skirt pieces out of both fabrics. The skirt was a quarter circle skirt. It was supposed to be a half circle skirt but I only realised after I'd cut the pieces out that they were no where near full enough for a half circle skirt, so a quarter circle skirt it was! I actually quite like how it looks. The navy skirt pieces were cut 3 inches longer, so again highlight the floral pattern in the fabric. I used the emerald cotton poplin as an underlining, and tacked the bodice pieces to their respective underlinings to keep them from shifting. From then onwards, the two bodice fronts and two bodice backs were treated as 1 bodice front and 1 bodice back. Both fabrics were fairly easy to cut and didn't shift around a lot.
The overskirt was  attached to the emerald poplin by the waist seam only, so that each hem could hang freely. This meant that the zip was attached only to the bodice and the emerald underskirt. The poplin was really bright when it wasn't covered by the burn out cotton! The invisible zip attached well, with the nicely behaved cottons. Getting that waist seam level on each side of the zip is so satisfying!
I spent many a night wondering how I was going to finish my seams. I was very aware of the sheerness of parts of the fabric and wanted the neatest finish possible. The answer that I came up with was bias binding. I used masking tape to make out my strips, which is a great way of getting them all the same width. I repeated the same method to make bias binding from the emerald poplin. Now, I had a few difficulties with attaching said bias binding because i thought that I'd skip the ironing in half and half again stage. That was not a wise decision. Take note: bias binding is ironed in half and half again for a reason, and I made it really difficult for myself trying to attach it without doing that first! Thankfully a quick iron when it was all attached seemed to sort it out alright.
The neckline, armholes and hem were all finished with the self made bias binding. The underlining only needed bias binding for the hem. I didn't even think about pattern matching, but I really should have attempted it across the yoke. Never mind.
Looking at the back now, it's incredibly wrinkly so I'm going to have to make some adjustments to my bodice sloper. The skirt fits nicely though and the floral pattern on the back yoke looks fab!

And there you have it! Thanks very much for reading,
Lauren xx

Sunday, 8 March 2015

Navy Wool Chardon

 Hello all! Today I have to present to you my wool Chardon skirt to go with the Victoria blazer I blogged about a couple of weeks ago. I wanted a fuller skirt on rotation in my school wardrobe because the practical subjects I do (textiles and drama) involve a lot of moving around and sitting cross legged on the floor, which is incredibly hard to do in a pencil skirt which most people wear with their blazers.
I didn't have a lot of fabric left, so I opted to make a Chardon which doesn't take metres and metres of fabric, but is still full enough to move around in. Plus, it has pockets and the pleats are adorable. It's great to have a navy suit now, because it's opened up a whole different range of wardrobe options. I can also sneakily wear dresses underneath, which just makes me happy to be able to wear garments in lots of different ways. And guys, pockets are so useful! I don't know what I did without them!
It's fastened with an invisible zip in the back , all raw edges were zigzagged for some reason that I can't remember and I used an awesome floral bias binding for the hem which I bought when I first started sewing and only now have had the right project to use it on! I had just enough. 
All in all, it's a great skirt and I feel great wearing it! 
Thanks for reading and to Ed for taking pictures! We moved to a different corner of the garden today. 
Lauren xx