Sew Me Love

Wednesday, 22 October 2014

Finished Project: My first, ever, midi-length dress; frock for Get Your Frock On!

Georgia knee length
Georgia, Georgia, Georgia!
Georgia knee length
I absolutely heart this floral cotton sateen.
Georgia knee length
Pretty perf pattern matching... couldn't have matched it better if I tried ;)

Lets quickly skip past the fact that I made another Georgia (groan, groan, groan), and focus on the fact that this is my first, ever, midi-length dress. 

Okay, I know it’s not technically midi; but it’s below the knee and bordering on calves territory, so that’s enough for me to call this a midi-Georgia . Just easing myself into the trend, guys, plus only had 1.5m of fabric ;)

It’s no secret that my love for Georgia is bordering on obsessive – this is my fifth Georgia – so with this version I was committed to perfecting the fit, everywhere.
I went into this project with the mentality that Clover unpicker and I would be spending a lot of time together.

Here we go....

Fitting the bodice - I pointed out in my last post that I noticed the bodice was sitting about 3cms above the underwire of my bra, therefore not doing their job as cups. It was challenging because adding 3cm back into the ‘length’ of the bodice was essentially reversing the SBA I had already done. I gave it a shot anyway, making sure that the 3cm added were above the apex, and making sure that it did not affect the measurement of the neckline. It seems to have worked.

Lengthen bodice
In both photos, I have my finger on my bra underwire.
You can see the difference between the last bodice I made and this bodice, where I have lengthened it by 3cm.

Lower back - I usually avoid RTW dresses that are fitted around the hips/lower back/bum area because I can guarantee that there will be unattractive drag lines; and when sewing, every pattern needs massive tweaking.

With this dress, there was pool of fabric in the lower back (no surprise), had to 'pinch it out'.
This adjustment does get easier and easier, but I figured it was time to transfer the adjustment to my pattern pieces.

Georgia knee length
Goodbye pool of fabric in the lower back. The purple dots is where I snipped.

The straps – I recall the original straps are quite long and I shortened them when I traced the pattern – here both straps the same length, but ended up taking out some length as I was fitting. 

Georgia knee length
Difference between left and right strap is 0.75cm.

Lengthening the mini-Georgia skirt -  I am a complete air head because the Georgia pattern comes with a knee-length version. Duh.  Anyway, I added 18cm to the mini-Georgia cos that's all I could afford with my yardage; was aiming for above-the-knee, but hello, look who can't do maths.

I rarely wear skirts/dresses that are mid-knee or below knee because anything longer than above-the-knee makes me look dowdy, and emphasizes the fullness of my calves, and not in a good way.

Originally I was aiming for above-the-knee, but added too much length. Decided to just go for it... it did look dowdy but after I pegged the skirt, I loved it.

Pegging the skirt and adding split/vent – I used my favourite pencil skirt as a guide and pegged (in?) the side seams. Of course this meant that the skirt could no longer be hitched up after having too many vodka-sodas... so I added a split/vent on the left side of the dress, cos I can't get enough of thigh splits.
I had to shave off some width at the hips as well.

Georgia knee length
Pegging! The purple dots is where I snipped.
Georgia knee length
Split/vent.
Georgia knee length
Very proud of my hand stitching. Best so far.
Georgia knee length
If at first you don't succeed... just keep sewing randomly.
Georgia knee length
Had to unpick the zipper, but the result was worth it.
Georgia knee length
Finished project. Very happy ending.

This dress turned out exactly how I pictured in my mind. This is the dress I have wanted to make ever since I started sewing. This dress is why I am grateful that #isew.

Georgia
Georgia

I have never been able to fit anything RTW that has this fitted silhouette or is this length.
A small upper body and larger lower body means that anything that fits my bust, won’t fit my bum and vice versa; anything slightly lowcut will gape; lower back will have drag lines and a pool of fabric; and the length is always unflattering.

Georgia knee length
Skirt split.
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Skirt split in action.

The inside seams were 'turned and stitched' on the machine, the lining was hand stitched using the 'fell stitch', and hem was finished using same method.

Georgia knee length
'Fell stitch' - practically invisible. Need to unpick my stay-stitching.
Georgia knee length
Still can't believe I forgot the pattern comes with a knee-length version. Facepalm.
Georgia knee length
Inside, understitching on the machine.

Project details -
Pattern: sounding like a broken record, but it's my all time favourite pattern, BHL 'Georgia'.
Size: Bust 2/6, Waist 6/10, Hips 2/6.
Fabric:  1.5m cotton sateen; selvedge folded the middle to fit all the pieces.
Notions: 16" invisible zipper, thread.
Cost: $25 fabric, $5 zipper.
Pattern Modification/Adjustments: as detailed in post.
Hours: roughly 13 hours; most of the time spent was on unpicking, adjustments and tweeting.
Completed on: Tuesday 14th October 2014.
First worn: Thursday 16th October 2014, to GYFO Melbourne Fundraiser.

I made this dress to wear to GYFO Melbourne Charity Frocktails fundraiser for Ovarian Cancer.
It was a fun night; the function was at Fall from Grace, a beautiful venue hidden behind a bookcase; entertaining us was Emily Williams; and there were awesome raffle prizes kindly donated by sponsors - skincare, wine, expensive candles, restaurant gift cards, movie tickets, kilos of chocolate goodies...

GYFO
I'm gonna swing from the chandelier...
GYFO
I'm blue, da ba dee da ba die... 
GYFO
I ain't goin' no where, I can't be stopped now cos it's "Tim Tams" for life.

Bonus points if anyone can pick the lyrics in the photo captions.

I won one of the Arnott's Hamper!!!! I spent the following 4 days aggressively eating them on my lounge room floor, till my sister came and took the hamper away. This is the third "prize" I've won in my life, so got over excited: first thing I ever won was the Hanson 'Snowed In' CD when I was 10 years old, second thing I won was Gold Class movie tickets from a function last year, probably cos I was the only person there who used social media and knew what hashtags were uploading photos on to Twitter using their event hashtag, lol.

I have two events coming up in November, you bet your sweet ass I will be sewing something for them. Happy sewing!



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Monday, 6 October 2014

Finished Project: Another 'Georgia' Maxi Dress.

#instacollage

I hope you don't mind that I have a habit making the same dresses over and over. 

In 2011/2012 I was obsessed with full gathered skirt; 2013/2014 I'm in love with maxi dresses.

If I have to make a billion adjustments to a pattern to accommodate my small bust, erect back, hollow chest, swayback, forward shoulders, long torso, short legs, narrow underbust, long upper torso "unique" body, why not sew it to death.

With Georgia, I didn't encounter many fitting issues as I did with Anna (fitting posts here), so only one 'fitting post' was blogged... however, now that I've made my fourth Georgia, I'm picking up on things that are bugging me...

1) The bodice cups: I think this was discussed in the comments of one of my previous Georgia posts, or on Twitter; but the cups don't sit correctly over my boob/bra cup. It sits about 3cm above the underwire of my bra (refer to pic below). Even when I am bra-less, the cups don't 'cup' my boobs. 

Does anyone else have the same issue with the bodice cups?

There was a discussion on an old blog post, and another sewist said I may have a 'narrow underbust' and 'long upper torso' so simply lengthening the straps probably won't fix the issue, because it will then expose more skin up top, which I hate.

I will be lengthening the bodice (cups and back piece) on my next Georgia. Fingers crossed.

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My finger is sitting just under my bra underwire. Cups are so not in the correct spot! 

2) The lower back: I had to "pinch" out some excess fabric in the lower back of this skirt. This adjustment was made last minute on my Georgia mini but not on my rayon maxi or Valentines Day mini.

I thought the problem was with my buns; but I think it could be due to my long torso extending into the area where my buns should be. I got validation from a lovely follower on Twitter that my buns are sufficient and anacondas want. Haha, Nicki Minaj, you kill me with that song.

Lengthening the bodice will "drop" the skirt 3cm lower and may solve all my issues, so I'll start with lengthening the bodice. 

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How much fabric I "pinched" out of my lower back. 
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Before and after.
Any thoughts on why this happens to me? It happens on RTW and all patterns that skim my back.

3) The straps: Might add some length back into them, and reassess their position at the back, particularly the left (my RHS) strap, did I put it in wrong spot??? WTHHHHH! 

I swear both straps are in the same position and when I hold up the dress, it looks fine; when I wear it, it looks odd. GAHHH. The photo below annoys me so much!!!! 

The strap on right (my LHS) is the shortened one.

Georgia maxidress SEWMELOVE
There is something NQR with the strap on the left (my RHS).

Apart from the three issues above, I absolutely LOVE this version!!!!
I love it so much that I wore the dress to dinner with Ling on Saturday, then again on Sunday out to lunch with Libby (The Very Very Hungry Caterpillar).

I also took a nap in it and Georgia was very comfy to sleep in, just like my floral Anna.

Thanks Libby for taking pics... ignore the wrinkles on the back, that's just from sitting down for a 2 hour American food feast at Le Bon Ton; I couldn't be more happy with the fit. Best so far, I think.

The sweetheart-style neckline is very flattering, gives the appearance of a fuller bust. The dress as a whole makes me feel womanly cos it hugs in all the right places, and the fabric is just so pretty.

I kinda regret not putting in the side split; although it is walk-able, I tend to run late to everything and am power walking most of the time.

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Georgia maxidress SEWMELOVE
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Front bodice.
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Inside, back bodice.
#instacollage
Sorry for selfies, still camera-less... but like that I can blog straight from my iphone. No need to hook camera up to laptop.

Project details -
Pattern: BHL 'Georgia' + 53cm!
Size: 2/6 bust, 6/10 waist, 2/6 hips
Fabric:  2.5m cotton voile
Notions: 16" invisible zipper, thread, cotton tape
Cost: The fabric was in my stash reserved for a Flora wearable muslin, bought it months ago. My guess is $25 for cotton voile and $5 for zipper. $30 maxi dress. Bargain, if you ask me.
Pattern Modification/Adjustments: 
  • The usual adjustments I made for previous Georgia dresses:
    • moving the position of the straps to sit more to the side of front bodice, just next to the outside of cup seams
    • took a chunk out of my lower back skirt
  • Added 53cm to skirt, for maxi length
Hours: I know for sure that cutting and construction of entire dress took 5hrs. The zipper, hemming and hand-sewing took another 2 hours or so, plus another hour for final adjustments on lower back. Lets say, 8 hours total.
Completed on: Thursday 2nd October 2014.
First worn: Saturday 5th October 2014, to Ling's (Six Inch Heel) birthday dinner.

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Happy Birthday Ling!!

Ling and I have been friends for almost 4 years... she was the first person I met from Twitter.
We bonded quickly in real life over blogging and food, I'm a frequent guest at her family BBQs and her boys call me 'Aunty Nee'.

Ling's birthday dinner was at Teppanyaki Inn. It was delicious, best wagyu steak I have had, ever. Her boys made me laugh constantly, they are so smart and funny, well behaved too. Yep, am kinda clucky! I spent most of the night saying "awwwwwwww, he's sooo cute, awww!!" Was a wonderful night out. Thanks for the invite, Ling!!!!

Next up on my sewing table will be a dress for the 'GYFOMelbourne 2014 Charity Frocktails' hosted by Team Get Your Frock OnTheir mission is to raise awareness and funds for Ovarian Cancer Research Foundation.

The event is on Thursday 16th October 2014, so still plenty of time for you to get yourself a ticket (here).

I have a couple of ideas for my GYFO dress; maybe a houndstooth maxi (I hear you groaning, haha) or a floral strapless mini. I am being so predictable and boring, but I can't move on till I have nailed the pattern (typical Virgo - perfectionist, fussy, borderline OCD).

I need to ace the bodice cups; does anyone else have the same issue as me with the bodice cups?
How did you fix it?



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Monday, 29 September 2014

WIP: Georgia, maxi dress.


Hello, hello!!

Guess who caught the maxi dress sewing bug again? ME!! 

Melbourne is warming up and the thought of wearing jeans is making me sweat! Was crying at the gym on Saturday cos I wore tights and was wishing I was in shorts instead. It's certainly heating up. I'm so excited for summer :)

This time last year, I made a couple of maxi dresses (strapless McCall's 6349 and a frankenpattern) but those two dresses don't get much wear; mostly cos of fitting issues. Damn you, small boobs.

The maxi dresses that get the most wear are my BHL Anna dresses (pink floral and spotty).
The Georgia maxidress only got to go out in the wild for the second time on Saturday!!!! I have this *thing* where I will make a dress for a specific occasion... then I will never wear the dress again. So silly. I need to get over that.

I was in a really good mood on Saturday cos my football team, Hawthorn, was playing in the AFL Grand Final (and they WON!!!) and I had dinner plans with one of my gal pals, Ling (Six Inch Heel) at one of those restaurants that are too cool to take reservations. 

Photos of my OOTD/N and dinner etc are on my Instagram, but here is a pic from the game on Saturday; this photo broke my heart because my favourite player is Buddy Franklin (23), and he now plays for Sydney Swans.

The Swans got smashed by Hawks (final score: Hawks 137, Swans 74).

Grand final 2014
(original photo source: unknown, found it RT'd/regrammed on the internet)

video


It was a beautiful 28c degrees, so I decided to wear something 'summery' to dinner. 

As soon as I put my Georgia maxi dress on, I was in love with the pattern all over again. I decided that I would sew another one in cotton later that night after dinner.
Sewing didn't happen that night cos I was to buggered, plus I didn't turn my washing machine on so the fabric didn't prewash while I was out, omg.

Sunday, I made sure the washing machine was turned on, went out for breakfast and errands, came home and started on my second Georgia maxi dress. 

I usually work on the bodice first when I sew a dress, but this time I started with the skirt cos it was the easy and boring part of this dress.

Pin, sew, overlock; repeat.

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Pretty much the only time the dinner table gets used... 
After 1 hour of cutting, and 1 hour of sewing; we have a skirt! 

The prepping didn't take long as the pattern was already traced.
My small bust adjustment was already transferred on to the pattern so it was a stress free session. 

The cutting took one hour. The skirt took another hour to put together, this included overlocking the raw edges.

TIP: remember to stay-stitch the waist :)

The bodice is self-lined, so I had to cut each piece out twice. Cotton voile is so beautiful to work with.

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Untitled

For the shoulder straps, I stitched them with some cotton tape to stabilise the seam and to stop it from stretching. 

Seam allowance: roughly 0.5cm, want to keep the straps wide.

Using cotton tape on the shoulder straps.

I used to struggle with joining the bodice to the skirt at the centre front, where the "V" peak is. Practice makes perfect, follow BHL's sewalong (part #7) and you will ace it in no time. 

I still struggle with the joining the back, and will be redoing the centre back seam. I forgot to "snip" into the SA so I could open up and pivot the fabric. 

LOVE the BHL instructions and sewalongs.  Very, very helpful.

Centre front, V peak. It just gets easier!
Use all the pins.

After 5 hours, I ended up with this gorgeous, pink dress. I was on a roll and could have finished the whole dress last night, but I still had chores to do around the house... I never got around to them cos I was busy meal prepping for the week. Need a maid.



I have Ling's birthday dinner this weekend, and lunch with my food blogger bestie, Libby (The Very, Very Hungry Caterpillar) so I am motivated to finish the dress during the week; as long as The Bachelor doesn't get in the way. 

All that's left to do is:
  • redo centre back waist seam
  • size zipper (left side)
  • side seam (left)
  • hand sew lining to shell
  • hem
I wanted to have no split in the skirt, but I think I will need to have a small side split so I can walk in the dress, haha. 
The finished measurement for skirt hem is not that wide because I simply lengthened the Georgia skirt pattern pieces by 53cm.

I'll pin it all up and see how I go ;)


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Monday, 15 September 2014

Away from Sewing: Melbourne Frocktails!

What a night. 

I walked into BMH wearing my Flora, feeling a little nervous and intimidated - the venue was bigger than I expected and the main hall was full.

How the hell was I going to find my "party"?

I stood at the doorway, looking around like a lost puppy... then a green, sparkly dress caught my attention. 

I walked over to the group and saw a couple of friendly faces - Oanh (Unique Schmuck) who I had met before at Social Sewing; and Liz (Sewn By Elizabeth) who I talk to on Twitter a lot, so naturally I said "Hi, Sewn-by-Elizabeth!!". I had found my people :)

I was soon introduced to the sexy lady in the sparkly green number, Lara (aka Thornberry) and the rest of the group - at this point, I was so overwhelmed by the beautiful handmade dresses that I was only able to absorb pattern names, not actual names of the ladies... I'm so sorry!!!

I had MAJOR dress envy, all night long.

After about half an hour of pre-dinner cocktails, the 17 of us were seated on a long, wooden table. And yes Abby, I did go home with a sore butt from the bench too, haha.

Unfortunately I didn't get a chance to chat to everyone down the other end; but I did get to share edamame beans and conversation with Belle, RosAbbyRenee and Liz down the front end.

I had already met Belle at Social Sewing, but didn't recognise her immediately because she was rocking a hot new hairstyle. We talked about food, food trucks and blogs.

Ros showed me the shirring on her Washi dress and explained how easy it was to shir... might give it a go soon!! We immediately started following each other on Instagram. 

After entrees and mains were served, there was a little bit of seat shuffling, like speed dating! 

I had the pleasure of meeting Claire and Carita, who I kept wanting to call "Anna" cos both were wearing Anna's; which I recognised easily because I have had hour long death-stare matches with the bodice; and Helen who I have met before at Social Sewing. Helen, I want to recreate your short and sexy shift dress... I need that Go Anywhere Dress ASAP!!  

I wish I took photos with the ladies, but nowadays I feel like such a crazy fangirl when I insist on taking photos with people... photo below is from Ros' blog.

The night wrapped up just after 11:30pm. Last ones standing were Oanh, Helen, Claire and I. We left the venue with our tummies full of delicious food and heads full of sewing inspiration.

It was wonderful to put voices to the faces I already know from social media. 
Thank you ladies for a great Saturday night! Look forward to seeing you all soon :)

(photo source: Sew Delicious blog)

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Monday, 8 September 2014

Finished Project & Pattern Review: By Hand London 'Flora' for Frocktails, Melbourne edition.


Similar to my last few "relationships"; this dress was anxiety ridden, hard work, and close to being set on fire.

However, unlike my last few exes (who would set themselves on fire cos they are that dysfunctional and self destructive) Flora was worth saving, worth the effort, worth sticking around for.

I started Flora back in July, planned to finish to wear to Cicilia and Herbert's Wedding, but I bailed on Flora due to some issues. Ended up making something else the night before, post here.

Sloping waist seam. Bane of my existence!
How could such tragedy happen to a dress this beautiful. Sigh.

Was I drunk during the whole sewing process?? I mean, I had some "low calorie, low alcohol" (why even make such a drink... only bought it cos the bottle-shop threw it in for $5 when I cleaned up on wine and vodka) white wine on the night I was cutting the fabric, but I was not even tipsy.

My guesses are:

- Stuffed up the waist line when I graded pattern from size 2/6 bust to size 4/8 waist

- Fabric stretched during construction

Lesson here is always stay-stitch; and avoid low calorie, low alcohol wine - tastes like Moscato, yuk.

I did make a toile of the bodice using calico (muslin) to check the fit of the bust, but even if I attached the skirt I might not have had the sloping waist seam cos calico doesn't stretch like cotton sateen.
I would have picked up on the "dipping" waist seam though, bloody Anna all over again. I'm 100% convinced now that it's a standard adjustment for me, moving forward.

Despite construction spanning over two months, and my issues; the Flora definitely is an easy pattern to put together, suitable for a beginner.

I wasn't entirely sold on the faux-wrap bodice and dipping hem (both design features I avoid on RTW because of bust gaping and "mullet" hem) but after seeing so many stunning dipped hem versions on my Feedly, I pre ordered myself a copy. The pattern also has a tank bodice with high square neckline and regular hem circle skirt. Might give that version a go next time!

This dress is far from perfect. The insides are ugly; edges frayed from hours of unpicking, very dodgy seam allowances; so thank goodness it's fully lined. Out of sight, out of mind.

There was a lot of reactive-quick-fixes; I don't want to go into too much detail, I don't want you being accessories to crimes of bad sewing.

Basically, every time I tried the dress on, there was something fcuked; dress comes off, unpicker come out, furious pinning, swear words, then praying.

Spent a gorgeous Sunday inside with my unpicker.

My issues with the dress:
  • sloping waist seam front
  • the above resulted in a very uneven front hem
  • dipped waist line (like Anna)

The fixing of sloping waist seam was me sitting on my sewing room floor; unpicker in hand, pins in mouth, strategically pinning skirt to bodice, removing the "excess" fabric from bodice by not matching the edges. See pic below. Gawd, such dodgy technique here. Shameful.

The 'right side' of fabric peeking out is the extra SA I took from the bodice front.

After the waist seam was straightened up, the front hem fixed itself. However, the lining stretched so bad; glad I left it hanging for over a month to get all stretched out, bemsilk you are mean.

EDIT: OMG, I just realised why the bemsilk stretched so much. I didn't cut it on the 'straight' because the bemsilk was not wide enough for the skirt pieces. FACEPALM. Okay, that gamble did not pay off. Lesson learnt. Please don't stretch anymore. I'm a fcuking idiot. URGH.

To "fix" the hem, I hung the dress on my mannequin and simply hacked off what was hanging past the hem of the shell. Was not a pretty sight, so much potential for disaster... I then overlocked/serged the lining hem, then handstitched it to the shell.

EDIT: I also fixed the "sloping waist" at the back using the same technique... similar to a sway-back adjustment, I suppose!



Pattern reviewBHL 'Flora'

Size: 2/6 bust, 4/8 waist, 4/8 hips
Fabric: 2.5m cotton sateen, 2.5m lining (sunsilky for the bodice, bemsilk for the skirt)
Notions: 000 Gutermann thread, 22" invisible zipper - could have used a shorter zipper, but had this in the stash

Pattern Modification/Adjustments: 
  • Removed the CB seam from back bodice and back skirt (both pieces CUT ON FOLD)
  • Side zipper
  • Had to trim off some of the circle skirt sides to fit on my fabric
  • Next Flora I need to make adjustments to the bodice. Will check if I need to cut a bigger size then do a SBA, or do a FBA on current size; I feel a little tightness across side-boob/armholes
  • I suppose I did do a swayback adjustment...
What I learnt: 
  • Always stay-stitch
  • Always make a toile
  • Moving forward, will need to make adjustments for my erect posture (or whatever it is that is causing the dipping waist seam) for all patterns
  • Don't try and outsmart fabric, cut on the grain; do the right thing. Fabric stretches, Nee!!
What I love about the pattern: Although I am not a fan of the dipped hem on myself, I do like it on other people. If I was taller or if I used a lighter weight fabric, it might look better on me.

What I didn't love about the pattern:The pattern is great, style of the dress does not suit me as nicely as the Anna and Georgia; I feel dowdy in the dipped hem circle skirt. Next time, might make Flora in cotton voile for a softer, summery feel.

Cost: Cotton sateen $30, lining $20, zip $5
Hours: Lost count. 
Completed on: Sunday 7th September 2014.
First worn: I will wear it this Saturday, 13th September 2014; Frocktails, Melbourne edition.




The dress looks beautiful on the outside; but behind closed doors there was a lot of crying, swearing, wanting to tear her apart, wanting to give up. Like most dysfunctional relationships I guess, haha ;)

Front view, back view.
Removed CB seam on bodice back and skirt back to keep beautiful floral pattern uninterrupted.

I'm very glad I persisted, worked out all the issues cos now I have something handmade to wear to Frocktails (Melbourne) this Saturday night.

Looking forward to having a drink and a feed with all you fabulous Sewcialites this weekend.
Thank you for organizing, Oanh!

To all the ladies attending the Frocktails in Sydney, I am very jelly that I can't be there!

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