15 augustus 2018

Garbage Dragon

So, I don't know if you noticed, but more and more women's patterns are appearing on freesewing.org! I didn't have anything to do with any of them (apart from the Carlita coat of course) but I was keen to try the Sandy skirt because circle skirts are pretty high on my list of things I like to wear!

I have drafted a full circle skirt for myself so I set the circle percentage to 75%, making this slightly less dramatic. My own pattern has a straight waistband which works reasonably well because it sits on the natural waist, but I had been thinking about drafting a curved waistband instead. Now I can just be lazy!

I did make some extra modifications, the biggest one adding side seams so I could have pockets! I had set the waistband position at 50% because I thought trying something that doesn't sit at my natural waist could make for a nice change (and it would be a good way to test the effectiveness of the curved waistband), but I quickly gave up on that. It might just be in my head but I feel like skirts that sit lower on my hips make it look like I have this really long body and no legs. I couldn't just take in the back seam because that would move the pockets back too much, so I had to add a center front seam.

I had a cotton canvas with a tropical leaf print in mind for this, but even my pattern tetris skills were no match for the (small) amount of fabric I had. All in all that turned out to be a good thing, because the extra front seam would have been very jarring in that print! Instead I used a sort of coated bouclé I'd had in my stash for a while, making it more of a winter skirt (hence the tights, which came off as soon as the last picture was taken). The texture reminds me both of dragon skin and garbage bags. Both are fine.

I inserted a good old exposed zipper in the back because that's what I had around and exposed zips look cool. I'll definitely use this waistband again, since it fits really well! It's basically a reminder that I should have stopped being lazy and drafted a curved waistband ages ago.

Yay for all these new patterns! I'm curious to see what else is coming up in terms of women's stuff (or men's clothes I can wear as well, because it's not like women are very well represented in the sewing world or anything).

12 augustus 2018

I Almost Fell Off This Tiny Wall

So, it's been pretty warm these past few weeks. And most of the clothes I have that are suitable for these temperatures are either shorts and tank tops or old and too large. I had bought some pretty cotton-linen fabric on my recent trip to Brighton and thought it would be perfect for a summer dress!

Now, I had some plans for this fabric at first. My initial vision was a grey linen dress covered in golden beetles, so I carved a few stamps and got ready to print. Alas, I forgot that these kind of yarn dyed, slightly textured or two-toned fabrics don't play well with block printing, so I had to abandon that idea and go for something more basic instead! (I did end up using the beetle stamps on some black sweatshirt jersey)

So, no beetles, but not a bad result after all! I decided to try the Ariana dress by Style Arc, a pattern company I haven't used before. There are a few of these button-front strappy sundresses around at the moment, but I liked the comfort of the shirred back and the overall shape of this one the most!

My measurements put me between sizes, which meant there were some alterations involved. With Style Arc you buy one size and get the one below and the one above along with it, but they aren't nested, so grading between them isn't really an option. My bust circumference put me in a size 10 but my waist was a 6, so in the end I decided to go for the size 8 (hoping that the elastic back would provide enough ease in the bust area) and removed a bit from the side seams at the waist. For a while  I was a little worried it would be too small (and the seam allowances are tiny, so no letting out) but things turned out fine in the end, and the fit was pretty bang on right away.

The only thing new (to me) about this pattern was the shirring. I read a few tutorials and wasn't really looking forward to it since most people said it would take a lot of trial and error and tension adjustments to get this right. In the end, it pretty much worked out immediately. I wound my bobbin by hand and lowered the tension a bit, and that did the trick. The biggest challenge was keeping parallel lines (not always succesful) and making sure the elastic didn't disappear into the bobbin after cutting it. I like how comfortable the panel feels, but I do feel like it adds some bulk.

There is a pattern piece provided for the interfacing on the front bodice edge, but not for the skirt. The instructions briefly mention to interface the front skirt edges as well, and I definitely wouldn't skip that, especially on a lightweight fabric!

The main change I made was to shorten the skirt considerably. I cut the original length because it's a style I don't usually wear and I was curious to see if I could make it work, but it ended up feeling very frumpy, especially combined with the colour and texture of the fabric. I kind of felt like I should be wearing clogs and hauling pails of fresh milk, and while that does sound pretty cool it wasn't the look I was going for. So out came the scissors and up went the hem!

After finishing, it did feel a little bit plain, so I added a beaded bee I still had around (its little sister is hanging out on this shirt!). I'm still not entirely sure about the placement, but it works for now!

I did not follow the order of construction as given by Style Arc, inspired by this blog post. It just seemed a lot cleaner/less fussy/more logical! The given instructions are really minimal anyway, and I didn't really look at them, just gave them a quick glance to make sure I didn't miss anything important.

I did enjoy my first experience with a Style Arc pattern, it was really well drafted and easy to put together (if you have some sewing experience). I've had the Ziggi biker jacket waiting for a while now, just have to find the right fabric! Until then I'll just keep exploring slightly industrial backgrounds in a sundress and sandals. Or something.

04 augustus 2018

Practical Hiking Gear Is Overrated

As I said in my previous post, I've been sewing a bit, but haven't found the time or opportunity to document things! So when I wore this dress to Hanne's baby shower I grabbed my chance and asked Lieke to take some pictures while I was pretending to be a forest goblin.

This is McCalls 7591, and a rare foray into Big 4 territory for me. I often tend to dismiss these patterns and it's not necessarily because of the sizing issues (measure your pattern pieces people!) but mostly because these aren't readily available in stores here... Burda is a bit more common so you can browse a catalog (but the catalog styles are often a bit too boring and conservative for me) but the only way to get these patterns is by looking at tiny pictures of them on a website, and I sometimes feel like I'm missing out on some gems that way.

I know my bra straps are on show but I honestly don't see the point of making something that feels like pyjamas and then wearing a strapless bra with it.
Eleonore alerted me and some others of a sale on McCall's patterns, so I made the effort to take a look and thought this would make a really good slightly fancy summer dress. I was determined to make the maxi length in some black viscose twill from the stash and did not let the 40 cm I lacked according to the pattern envelope deter me! It took some INSANE pattern tetris but I made it work.

I had measured the pattern pieces beforehand and thought it would be fine (since the fit is very forgiving) but when I tried on the bodice after it was almost entirely assembled I noticed something weird: the fit in the back and across the bust was really good, but there was so much extra fabric in the sides the underarms drooped down and my entire bra was on show. This was easy to fix by taking some out of the side seams, but I wonder who this was drafted for. Very flat and very wide people?

Sewing was pretty uneventful after this minor adjustment. I added inseam pockets because I hate myself if I don't, and hemmed everything by hand for a clean finish. The instructions tell you to sew the waist seam and sew a second line of stitching near the edge to create a casing for the elastic, but I though it would get bulky and weird if the casing could just move around so I sewed the waist seam and topstitched it down instead. If I make this again I'd definitely increase the seam allowance and make a wider casing, since the very narrow elastic the pattern tells you to use doesn't feel substantial enough to really cinch in the waist.

I managed to cut every piece, including the self fabric tie, and I'm really happy I did because it makes everything look way nicer. I still have to add a snap on the wrap part in the front to keep it from gaping, but a safety pin keeps things decent for now!

I like this dress a lot but I'm not sure if I'll sew it again anytime soon, there's not really a suitable fabric in my stash right now and I have a lot of other projects planned! There are quite a few new patterns in my life at the moment and it's all very exciting.