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

Sunday, 5 October 2014

V&A Dress

Hi everybody! Today I've got to share with you my first autumnal make of the season, another self drafted dress! The design has been in my head for ages and ages and ages but I ran out of time to make a summer dress out of it so made one more appropriate for autumn instead. I wore the dress on a school textiles trip to the V&A to see the wedding dress exhibition which was just incredible.
To manipulate my bodice block, I slashed and spread from the top to the bottom of the side seam to add more volume for gathers. I made it up in calico and pinned it to the mannequin. Then I drew a rough shape of what I wanted the waistband to be like, pinned it on, drew on it, and refined the shape until it was how I wanted it. I then marked where the top of the waistband was on the bodice, added a 1.5cm seam allowance and cut off the bottom part of the bodice that wasn't needed anymore. The skirt is just a gathered rectangle.
Then I made it up in the real fabric, which is a cotton that I picked out of the remnant bin at Fabricadabra. I've decided on a specific colour palette for Autumn/Winter in an effect to make my wardrobe more cohesive consisting of black and navy as neutrals and green, red purple and teal.
If I made this style of dress again I would add gathers to the back bodice because it looks a little bare without them. I was just worried about them adding unwanted volume. The dress did end up a bit short due to not enough fabric.

To keep the insides neat I lined the waistband and neatened the neckline and arm holes with bias binding made from the same fabric. The hem was overlocked and folded over twice and there's an invisible zip in one of the side seams.
As I'm slightly more long waisted than the usual and the whereabouts of the waistband was determined on the mannequin the dress is a little higher than my natural waist so next time I would lengthen the bodice a bit.
The architecture of the V&A is just so amazing!
And of course I couldn't resist doing a princessy walk down the fancy staircase...
Thanks so much to Rebecca Hurrey who took such wonderful photos, and thanks for reading!
Lauren xx

Sunday, 28 September 2014

Navy Half-Circle Skirt

Hi all! Yup, I'm still working through my Australia outfit photos! Nearly done, promise. Today I have a half circle skirt to show you, along with the beautiful background beaches of Rottnest Island which we visited whilst staying in Perth.
This one of my basic necessities that goes with pretty much everything so was great for the holiday capsule wardrobe. I made it in a ponte so it's really comfy and no fastenings are needed. I do like to wear a petticoat underneath it to give it a bit of oomph.
I traced around my black half circle skirt for the basic shape and added a rectangular waistband. A really quick and easy make. I really need to get hold of some knit interfacing, which would make the waistband just that little bit more stable. The skirt is hem-less because I didn't want it to become all fluted and distorted so I think I'll invest in some hem tape next time around. It's fine as is though.
I do feel that the outfit is a bit too basic and plain, which could have been brightened up with jewelry? But I feel that the jewelry I own is a bit much for meandering down the beach. Something to think about, anyway.
Rottnest Island was beautiful to walk around, even more so because it was practically empty and we had the beaches to ourselves. It was pure bliss, probably the best day of the holiday, excepting Sydney fabric shopping day!

Thanks so much for reading and to Ed for taking photos!
Lauren xx

Sunday, 21 September 2014

Floral Wrap Top

I know you've seen this fabric before in 2 different items, shorts and a bodice blogged here, but apparently it's the fabric that keeps on giving as I managed to squeeze this top out of it too. 
It was a very improvised top, basically a rectangle with a curve as shown in the embarrassing diagram that I made in Paint. You wouldn't believe how long it took me to draw it. a is the distance from shoulder to underarm. b is half the circumference of your hip measurement and c is shoulder to where you want the top to end. Then draw the curve where you want it. The back is a rectangle with a curve for the neck (not pictured)
After adding seam allowances cut 2 of the fronts out and a back. I then stay stitched each curve and neatened it with bias tape. Then I joined the I put the left front over the right front to make that Vneck and joined them together at the side seams and hem. The front was then attached to the back in the shoulders and side seams which were then overlocked. The arms holes were turned under twice and slipstitched and the hem was overlocked, turned under and slipstitched.

I do wear a singlet underneath it because the neckline is prone to slipping around which can be easily fixed by the use of a safety pin. Next time I'll make it a little longer as it's not very good at staying tucked in.
After looking at my jeans in these pics it's clear that I still have some tweaking to do!
That's it for now! Thanks for reading and to Ed for taking pics. These were taken in Mandurah, which is around an hour and a half away from Perth.
Lauren xx

Sunday, 14 September 2014

Grecian Costume

My friends 18th birthday party was historically themed and I decided to go as a greek, because greek clothes have a simple elegance to them that I love. Most of my research came from a very useful book entitled "Costume and Fashion, a Concise History" by James Laver. Greek men and women wore the chiton throughout the 7th to 1st century BC, which was a basically a rectangle of fabric, folded around the body. Pins and brooches held it up and it was usually belted around the waist. The upper classes wore colours like red, yellow and green and decorations such as the greek fret were at the border only. 
From this information I drew up my design which is consists of 2 rectangles (one front and one back). The top edge of the rectangle was scalloped and buttons put at the point of each scallop. The rectangle was cinched around the waist with a belt. I was going to do some fabric printing of the greek fret around the hem with gold fabric paint but time was an issue so I decided it looked fine without. 

It really needs a belt to give it some definition.

The side seams were french seams and the armholes were turned twice and hand stitched in place using a slip stitch. To get clean scallops I used a facing for the top part of the rectangle using leftover fabric. 
The facing was all over the place so I stitched it down to make sure the scallops were the right shape. The buttons I found at my local market for I think 25p each?
The fabric is a rayon polyester blend that we found at a Textile Traders in Perth. I was originally going to go with chiffon for this dress because I wanted a really nice soft, flowy drape but this fabric jumped out at me so I decided to go with it instead. I bought 3 m which I basically cut into two 1.5m lengths for my rectangles. The fabric is really cool because the warp yarns are gold, giving it a really shimmery effect when it moves.
At this birthday party there was a bouncy castle, so I needed to adapt my dress somehow to be bouncy-castle-suitable. To do this I put a circle of elastic around my waist, tucked the hem into it and put my belt on top. Ta-da! It actually worked quite well, as long as I didn't bounce too vigorously...

That's it for now, thanks for reading and to Mum for taking quick photos before we dashed off to the party!
Lauren xx