Friday, 30 December 2011

Finished Project & Pattern Review: McCall 's 5845, Burnt Orange NYE Mini Dress.

My last dress for 2011.
My last pattern review for 2011.
My last post for 2011.
Hurrah! 2012 is almost here. How quick does time fly!!!

Last NYE I wore an orange dress to NYE dinner. I bought the dress on sale for $20!
This year I'll be wearing my McCalls 5845 burnt orange mini dress, which cost $40 to make (pattern was $30 from BMV).

I decided yesterday afternoon (29th) to make the M5845 dress to wear for NYE. It's also my 'toile' for my sisters version of this dress which I am going to make for her to wear to a wedding in February 2012. I am finally convinced, with absolutely no more doubts, that the sizing on Butterick/McCalls/Vogue is out of whack!!!! My measurements indicate I am an 8 bust, 12 waist, 8 hips. So far, every dress I have made using those sizes have ended up being taken in at the seams heaps!

The last Butterick dress I made, I made using size 6 bodice and it fit. Because M5845 is a very fitted dress, I thought I should make a size 8 to fit my "size 12 waist", but I still ended up taking in 1" or 2" at the back seams. It is so annoying because I ended up almost destroying my dress because I sleepily cut off too much excess fabric and was left with a dress that zipped up so tight that I couldn't breathe! Very pissed off! Partially my fault, I started the project at 5pm (cutting) and finished sewing around 11pm. I should have left the zipper till today, but I was keen so I did the fitting and made some fatal errors!! I could no longer use the invisible for the dress :( All this could've been avoided, if BMV pattern makers made the sizes more accurate, and if I was more patient.
Meh. Next time, I'm cutting size 6.

To save my dress, I used a black trouser zipper. The contrast in colour is nice, but I was trying to avoid the 'exposed zipper' look that I have on 3 of the dresses I have already made. The exposed zipper gave me an extra inch at the back, so now I can breathe! And sit! The only downer is, the zipper is 23cm (7cm less than the required zipper for this dress!!) so it is so damn hard to get the dress over my head. Sad face. Oh well, at least I have a dress for tomorrow night. I have other options to wear, but it is so much more satisfying to wear something I made. I'm happy cos I have never been able to fit a ready-to-wear dress that is fitted (those tube-style dresses) unless it is super stretchy. Because of my "large" waist I can't zip past the waist!

Now the good bits!
This dress is fully lined. My first fully lined dress. I didn't bother reading the instructions, I attached the bodice and skirt and lining together how I thought made sense in my head. I stitched everything together with the lining and dress fabric sandwiching the bodice, when the dress is flipped up the correct way, the seams are hidden between the lining and the fabric. I will learn the correct way when I start my dressmaking class again next year. Unless this is the correct way! Someone tell me :)


M5845 Lined Dress.
See? Bad zipper. 
My favourite feature is the bodice, it's only 2 pieces to cut and trace (no midriff!) and 3 pieces to sew. The darts takes some patience, but with my chalk pen, it's so much easier. I also press the fabric down before I stitch the darts. I toyed with the idea of having the darts on the outside like the pattern suggests, but my backstitching is terrible sometimes, I didn't want that on display. I think the outside darts could look interesting, if you pressed them open? The back of the dress is what attracted me to the pattern, and what convinced me I had to have this out-of-print pattern. As usual, I made the skirt short so it won't overwhelmed my short frame.

For my dress, I used a burnt orange cotton sateen. I love the bright orange, but I think some of the "brightness" faded in the wash.

It's hard to tell which is the right and wrong side of the fabric, but the lady at the store told me to look at the selvage, the right side is "raised". I only realised it when taking the photos, but it is so much easier to tell right from wrong from looking at the photos!! I bought 1.15cm of fabric, but I really only needed about 90cm of fabric. Will remember for next time. I hate wasting fabric.


Right side - Wrong side
Cotton Sateen, $20/m.
The zipper is disappointing, not my best work, it's messy, lumpy, you can't really tell when the dress is on, but I still hate it.

After all the issues with the sizing, fading colour, zipper... I just wanted to pack up, so I finished the hem on the machine.

Overall, I love the dress. Definitely making it again. The dress has everything I want to be in the new year: bright, bold and modest :)

Pattern Review: M5845

Size: 8
Fabric: 1.15m cotton sateen (burnt orange), 1.10m sunsilky polyester, lining (red)
Notions: Trouser zipper 9" (black), Gutermann thread (351)
Modifications: 
    • Darts on the inside, instead of outside
    • Shortened skirt pattern by 8"
    • Skirt hem 1"
    • Trouser zipper instead of dress zipper
    • Back seam allowance is all out of wack because of my reckless cutting
    • No skirt vent


Have a prosperous new year!!
See you in 2012 xx


     
  
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Tuesday, 20 December 2011

Finished Project: Half Circle Emerald Skirt.

So excited to finally sew with my delusted satin from Clegs! I bought the fabric a few months ago to make an evening dress, but my tutor said it might not have enough stiffness for me to sew with, so I decided to sew it at home without her help. I have sewn with polyester before, and had no trouble, so I knew I could manage this fabric.

I used the B5455 pattern for the bodice. I love this bodice, it has nice details around the neck, which is a V, and the back is also a V, very pretty. Even though my measurements indicate my size is 8/12, I cut a size 6. I see no point in cutting size 8/12 and then having to take it in 5cm at the back seams. Size 6 is a good fit for me.

Darts and more darts.
In total there are 14 darts on the bodice (dress fabric and lining).

The bodice is fully lined, and there is interfacing on the midriff. I used sunsilky polyester lining. To achieve a clean machine finish around the neck and arm holes, I used the bagging technique.

When bagging/sewing the neck and back seams, I wanted to create a lower neckline, so instead of 1.5cm seam allowance, I stitched with 2.5cm seam allowance. The result was a lower neckline, back, and thinner shoulder straps (by 1cm).

Bagging my bodice.
For the skirt, I drafted my own pattern for a half circle skirt. I followed a tutorial I found on a blog.

Basically, you measure your waist where you would like the skirt to sit (my measurement 65cm), add the seam allowance (my seam allowance is also 1.5cm) so I add 3cm, equals 68cm.
Divide 68cm by 3.14 to get the radius... which is 21.6cm. I am not great at maths, so I can’t explain the rest, so read it here J

I then drafted the pattern following the tutorial, which didn’t take long. It would have been handy to have a compass (for drawing circles) to draw from “point A” to the hem on the pattern.

The skirt is 20” in length.

Drafting my own half circle skirt pattern.
The skirt and the bodice fit together well, there was a little bit of excess fabric at the back seams (2cm on each side) so I trimmed it to be in line with the back bodice seams.

I am very confident inserting zippers now since my tutor showed me how to do it in class. Previously I had watched online tutorials and after many attempts eventually got a perfect zip!

With an invisible zipper, you leave the back seams open all the way down. Baste the zipper, then stitch zipper using concealed zipper foot attachment. Repeat on the other side. Stitch the back seams of the skirt, finish the little gap (between the bottom of the zipper and seam) by handstitching.

Perfect zip.
The skirt I cut was 20" in length, I ended up shortening the length by 1", and turned up 1" to hem.

After much consideration, I decided to finish the hem by hand. I love the look of a hem finished by hand, but was dreading handstitch this particular skirt because there is over 2 meters (2.4m) of hem! Handstitching took me 50 minutes, but the finished look is worth it.

I love the colours I used for this dress, I love green. I am not used to wearing half circle skirts, so I’m not sure how flattering it is for my body shape, I still love what I made though.

This is so annoying but I have misplaced my camera!!! I wanted to take some photos on my camera show to the true colour of the skirt... hopefully I remember where I left it and can take some proper photos! In the meantime, hope these photos taken on my iphone look ok.


Pattern: Bodice: Butterick B5455, Skirt: Drafted my own pattern
Pattern size: 6 bodice, 6 midriff, 6 skirt
Fabric: 0.7m delusted satin, bodice (champagne), 0.7m delusted satin, skirt (emerald), 0.6m sunsilky polyester, lining (buff)
Notions: Invisible zipper 10" (natural), Gutermann thread (169, 402)
Modifications: 
    • 2cm seam allowance instead of 1.5cm (back seams) 
    • 2.5cm seam allowance when bagging bodice, around neck & back
    • Shortened shoulders by 2cm
    • Instead of fitted skirt in B5455 pattern, drafted my own skirt
    • Invisible zipper instead of dress zipper

  
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2011 Christmas Gifts!

The first of my Christmas presents for 2011. Actually, probably the only gifts I will get this year, I've told everyone not to worry about buying me presents. There's nothing that I really need. But I do want books on dresses and vintage fashion. Hehe.

I went to my friend's house for dinner, she is the girl I met this year at dressmaking class. She is adorable, she invited me over for dinner and gave me presents! Except the book, I'm just borrowing that.

We hung out in her sewing room and went through her massive fabric stash. Wow. She has storage container after storage container of fabric! And so many patterns!!! She has an awesome collection. Then we had lasagna for dinner. My favourite :)

When I got home, I finished the zipper on my 'champagne and emerald' cocktail dress. I still need to figure out the best way to finish the hem... the fabric is delusted satin, and the skirt circumference is over 2 meters (half circle skirt)! Not sure if I should handstitch it or finish it on the machine. The dress will be (!!) finished by Christmas... I will be wearing it in January 2012 to a wedding. Can't wait till it is complete so I can upload all my pics!! 


Clover chalk pen, 2m cotton sateen (green... jade).


     
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Finished Project & Pattern Review: Butterick 5455 for my sister.

A dress for my sister <3


I promised my sister I would make her a dress, and I finally did! This is the first (actually, second, I have already made her a skirt) of many I will make for her. I have already promised to make her more, lucky we are a similar size!

Using the B5455 pattern I already cut for my dressmaking class, I made my sister's version with navy poplin and some of my left over fabric for the back bodice to give it some colour.

Unfortunately you cannot see the bodice detail or pockets in the photos, but I assure you they look very good :) I lined the bodice (bagging technique) using the same poplin to give the bodice so body.

Instead of a dress or invisible zipper, I used a jean zipper. I really like the exposed zip look.

All up, the dress took about 8 hours to make, the most time consuming task: the darts. 



B5455, View B.

Pattern Review: Butterick 5455, View B

Pattern size: 8 bodice, 12 midriff, 8 skirt
Fabric: 1.7 meters poplin (navy)
Notions: Jean zipper zip 10" (navy), Gutermann thread (310)
Modifications: 
    • 2cm seam allowance instead of 1.5cm (back seams) 
    • Did not include the skirt vent
    • Took the skirt up about 5cm.



    
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Saturday, 17 December 2011

Tutorial: Half, Full & Quarter Circle Skirt

I have always wanted to make circle skirts for my dresses... and I finally found a tutorial.
It looks easy! I'll be giving it a go very soon!!

Andrea Tung's Tutorials
Tutorial for FULL SKIRT
Tutorial for HALF CIRCLE SKIRT

Hand By London Tutorial - found this tutorial on 19.10.2012.
Tutorial for FULL, HALF & QUARTER SKIRT

Updates: Below are photos of half and full circle skirts I have made following the instructions on Andrea Tung's tutorials. Click on the links to read the post & see more photos.

Butterick 5455 bodice with half circle skirt.

New Look 6723 bodice with full circle skirt.

Vogue 8511 bodice front with full circle skirt.

McCall's 5845 with full circle skirt.




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Thursday, 15 December 2011

ETSY, my first order, Vintage Simplicity!

I'm so excited! Just ordered from Etsy for the first time!
$41AUD including p&h.




....Simplicity 4673 ©1954





Misses' One-Piece Dress

Size 12 / 30" bust, 24" waist, 33" hip

From 1954 comes this marvelous vintage printed pattern by Simplicity for a simply lovely dress with unique vintage details include a shaped neckline, dropped waist, and full-ish skirt with a flat front and pleats/gathers near the hips.
Neckline is shaped, Upper edges of skirt side front and back are gathered and joined to a yoke. Skirt front and yoke are cut in one. View 2 bodice has contrasting bias trim and bows.

Suggested fabrics:
Cottons, linen, chambray, surah, shantung, chiffon, nylon, faille, fancy rayons, rayon crepe, taffeta.

Simplicity 4673





....Simplicity 3222 ©




Jr. and Misses' Dress
Size 12/ 32" Bust, 25" waist, 34" hip
Finished back length 43"

This original vintage printed pattern from Simplicity is for a gorgeous party dress with a slim, wiggle skirt or full, balloonish skirt. It has a fancy notched collar, choice of short or three-quarter length sleeves, and the option of a pleated cummerbund belt and bow trim.

Jr. and Misses' Dress with Two Skirts and Cummerbund: Dress has a round neckline and raglan sleeves. V.1 and 2 have bow trim and slim skirt with soft pleats at front waistline and a back vent. V.1 features 3/4 length sleeves and self or purchased belt. V.2 features self fabric cummerbund. V.3 skirt has soft pleats at waistline and ribbon tie belt.

Suggested fabric:
Cottons, blends, challis, velveteen, sateen, linen, rayons, silks, synthetics, brocades, shantung, satin, peau de soie, crepe, wools, jersey, crepe.

Simplicity 3222

               
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B5455, Lining and Darts

The last dressmaking class of 2011. Sad face. What am I going to do for the next 5 weeks? Still sew, probably. 

Last night, I sewed my sister's poplin version of the B5455. It turned out beautiful and fits great on my sister! It took about 6 hours (give or take) to sew and finish the zipper and hem. I'm not happy with the machine finished hem so I've unpicked it, and will be finishing the hem by hand. Photos and review to come once I get a photo of my sister wearing it. 


In tonight's class, I cut all the pieces in lining out. Sunsilky lining. So nice and slippery! Can imagine it will feel so nice against my skin!!


Bodice front, Bodice back, Midriff, Skirt front, Skirt back, Pocket. 

I am using whisperweft interfacing on the neck. I ironed the interfacing onto the lining, and unfortunately stuffed up one of the back bodice piece! The piece s t r e t c h e d! Luckily, I had some leftover sunsilky and whisperweft to cut the piece out again. Phew.

Note to self, polyester will s t r e t c h !


Bodice back, bodice front, midriff, with interfacing.

I then marked all the markings for the darts on the front bodice. Very time consuming. 

TIP: Use thread that is easy to see! As you can (clearly) see, I am using orange thread.




I use a pin to help me line up the points where the markings meet. Once again, time consuming, but the end result is gorgeous. This has to be my favourite neckline so far.


Front and back of pinned darts.


How pretty!!!

Next I will stitch the darts. I will do this while I am on break. By the end of this, I should be pro at stitching darts! My tutor let me borrow her Clover chalk pen... wow... it is the BEST!!! It's going on my Christmas present list!!!


Clover chalk pen!!!

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Friday, 9 December 2011

Reflecting on my 6 months of sewing & projects for 2012...

It's been 6 months! 
I can't believe I have learnt how to sew, and actually completed 8 garments!
I did the math, and during the last 6 months, I have spent $130 on patterns, and a total of $700  $900 on fabrics and notions. I finally bought an adult ironing board, know how to use the iron, own a wire mannequin, and became a member of Club BMV. My pattern collection and fabric stash is slowly growing, and so is my addiction to sewing!


Fabric stash...!

I have over come my fear of my clothes falling apart in public, and starting to wear my garments out in public more and more often. Last week I wore my floral fantasy Vogue dress to the museum, my DIY pattern 'black & wine' dress to a party, and my cobalt colour blocking skirt out to dinner. Vogue Patterns emailed me today, asking for my permission to use my V8469 finished garment photo on their Facebook page! I feel accepted into the Vogue community :)

Today I spent $75 on dress fabrics, lining, zippers and a pattern. I went to Lincraft (3x's!), Clegs and Spotlight. All in one day, and yes, I was working from 9-5! Working 2 minutes walk away from Clegs and Lincraft is baaaad... in a good way.


$75 later... 

I bought sunsilky lining (polyester) from Lincraft, they seem to be the only craft store to sell sunsilky. The sunsilky is for my B5455 fully lined dress. I bought 2 zippers, one is a gold trouser zipper I might used for an "exposed zipper" project. The other zipper is an invisible zipper for my B5455. 

At Clegs, I gave in and bought the burnt orange cotton sateen. It is the most beautiful orange ever. It is the exact same colour I was looking for when I was doing my colour blocking project


McCall's 5845 - out of print!
1.15m, Burnt orange cotton sateen, $19.99/m.

After work, I went to Spotlight to take advantage of the 1/2 price sale on paper patterns. I bought the gorgeous Burda 7494 pattern, with the peter pan collars. LOVE




Then I went to another Lincraft and bought some fabric (out of fear of loss) for my V8511. I got a floral linen blend (55% linen, 45% rayon). It's pretty. So, my fear of loss: I've been eyeing a pretty floral cotton sateen at the city Lincraft store for couple of weeks, and today found out that it was sold out, and never to return, so I went and bought the floral linen, incase it sells out too! Speaking of, my floral fantasy (red and black) sold out as well.


V8511
1.4m, Linen Rayon blend, $17.99/m.

I think I might stay away from fabric stores till the new year. I should save my money for Christmas presents!! It's so tempting when The Fabric Store has sent me a $20 off voucher (on $50 or more spend) and Cleg's Boxing Day remnants sale... but I have everything I need for my current sewing project (plus more!) so I'll take it easy for the next 3 weeks.

Projects for 2012...

In 2012 I want to start making a couple of dresses for work as well as fun and colourful dresses for events.


    


    
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Wednesday, 7 December 2011

B5455, Summer Holiday Project




1.5m x 140cm Cotton



Finally the time has come! With 2 weeks left of term I'm starting on my first Butterick dress. Super excited! I have been looking forward to making this dress for months. To think that I only bought this pattern because the other pattern I wanted was sold out, almost missed out on a good thing!

I am making this dress using the fabric my dad got from Vietnam for me (pictured above with pattern) cotton with lycra...? Not entirely sure of the composition as it didn't come with tags, but it's definitely cotton, with some stretch. I love the print! You might have noticed by now that I really like floral prints, hehe.

Tonight I spent almost 2 hours tracing the pattern on to interface.

    • Size 8 bodice, graded to size 12 waist,
    • Size 12 midriff,
    • Size 8 skirt graded to size 12 waist.

My sewing life would be so much easier if my waist was 6cm smaller. If only.

This dress has elements that I have already worked with before: pockets, darts, so I know it won't be too difficult! Something I haven't made before is a fully lined dress, and I have decided to fully line this dress. Yay!

When I bought this pattern, I wanted to make it with an ivory bodice and emerald skirt. I have the fabric for it already, so I will make one at class using to cotton, and one at home with my delusted satin. Also going to use this bodice for the dress I'm making for my sister.

Tasks this week:
• cut dress fabric
• buy 1.4m sun silky lining (black)
• buy 30cm - 35cm (12" - 14") invisible zipper (black)


 
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Monday, 5 December 2011

Finished Project: LBD - inspired by Audrey Hepburn.

My dress, inspired my Audrey Hepburn's many beautiful LBDs. Her style is so graceful. Classy. I like her era.



My LBD took 5 hours to cut and sew. Using my existing DIY pattern, I made a few adjustments in the shoulders because the last dress I made with that pattern (Black & Wine) was a little bit loose on the shoulders. I also added in seam pockets, and made the pleats more defined.

Pattern pieces.
Modified V8469 bodice.
I made this dress on Saturday night, starting at 11:30PM, I started cutting. I stitched the skirt and pockets first, because they take the least time. Then the darts on the bodice pieces (4, including lining) and gathering on front bodice. The bodice takes the longest because there is the dress fabric and the lining. Two times every step.

I used the clean machine finish technique to sew the lining. 

I stitched the front bodice and front midriff pieces together, the 2 back bodice pieces and 2 back midriff pieces together the joined the front and back at the shoulders (dress fabric, and lining).

I then stitched the dress fabric and the lining together at the neckline and arm holes. I did not sew the side seam (need to leave the seam allowance) and of course left the bottom (where the midriff meets the skirt) open so I can reverse the bodice out. Bagging

Then the skirt was stitched on, zipper (exposed zipper again!), and hemming. I finished this dress at 4:30AM. 

This dress was a delight to make. I really love it and cannot wait to wear it.




 
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Saturday, 3 December 2011

Merry Christmas 2011

My new heels for the silly season 2011.


I attended my work Christmas party last night in my Black & Wine dress. It was awesome! I felt so comfortable in the dress. Everyone liked the dress and those that didn't know I made it were very surprised when I told them. I love the lace trim. Love it. Very lingerie-esque. I wore my new heels, they were satin and needed to stay dry!! I sprayed them with fabric protector and tried not to spill any drinks on them :)
I didn't take many photos at the party, but here's one photo that shows my dress and also shows off my pretty girl friends from work. This weekend, if I have the energy I will start on a dress for my sister. It will be the same style (she loved it when she saw it). It will be navy, with a cream lace trim.


Me with my gorgeous girl friends from work.
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Thursday, 1 December 2011

Finished Project & Pattern Review: Vogue 8469, Floral Fantasy.

Last night I completed my floral fantasy V8469. Finally! I think it has taken about 8 classes (aka 16 hours!!). My tutor was just as eager as me to finish it so I could wear it to the Christmas party.


In last nights class, I put the zipper on, a long 55cm invisible zipper. I thought I would have issues for sure... 55cm is more than half a meter that I could potentially stuff up! Luckily, it all went swimmingly. 

The seam allowance was 1.5cm but I gave it 2cm seam allowance, as per tutor's fitting instructions. I basted the zipper with the machine and used my invisible zipper foot to stitch the zipper. 

I finished the back seams on the machine. 

Last week I already cut off the excess length (15cm). Last night I cut another 2cm off, serged, turned up 3cm to hem. This time my tutor let me finish the hem on the machine! What a luxury! "Just this once" she said. I got to use the twin needle function. Didn't even know it existed. 

Finishing the hem using twin needles.
I finished the hem line at home, hand stitched the gap in the back seam where it meets the zipper and hand stitched the facing.

I gave it a quick wash and tumble dry and iron.

Hand stitching.
I was suppose to wear this dress to my Christmas party tomorrow night, but last Sunday I made a back up dress (Black & Wine dress) so I decided to wear this dress tonight to an event at Melbourne Museum called Cross Species Wilderness Adventure for the Palate.

Pattern Review: Very Easy Vogue V8469

Size: 8
Fabric: 2.3 meters cotton sateen $41 
Notions: Invisible zip 22" (black) $5, Gutermann thread (000). 
Modifications: 
    • No lining, made facings instead
    • 2cm seam allowance instead of 1.5cm (back seams) 
    • Skirt pieces shortened by 17cm 
    • 3cm hem (instead of 3.2cm)
    • Ties same length on both sides so I have options to tie at the back of front side.

V8469, Floral Fantasy.


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