Tuesday, 26 June 2012

WIP: M5850, Fitting and Boning.

Tonight has to be the coldest night ever! It's going to be zero degrees tonight. I am blogging this as I sit on the floor, wrapped in a blanket, sipping tea, in front of the heater, watching The Simpsons. Brrr. What I would give to own a snuggie. 

At sewing class tonight, last one for the term, I inserted boning into the lining of my bodice.

I did most of the hard work at home on Sunday. I was very reluctant to sew last weekend, I was in a food coma for most of Saturday and Sunday. Just look at some of the delicious food I ate!!!

From left to right: assortment of brioches from Parisian Patisserie Boulangerie, 'Fritters Lane' and 'Magic' breakfast from The Reading Room cafe, the signature almond croissant from Parisian Patisserie Boulangerie, Birthday cake at my cousin's 21st. My baby sister got her wisdom teeth out yesterday so on Saturday I made it my mission to stuff her face (and mine) with the most delicious food I could find in Melbourne. 

I promised myself that I would cut up my lining and sew up parts of the bodice over the weekend, but it was just too cold to do anything! On Sunday, the gardener came over to do some work in the garden and because I had to stay home while he was there, I got off my ass and did some cutting. Later that evening, I sewed up the bodice lining (2 of them) and the dress fabric. Before I knew it, I was almost finished!

Tonight at class, we did a fitting. It fit! Perfectly! We took the SA at the waist out to 1cm (instead of 1.5cm) but the rest was fine. I just know this dress will turn out perfect, I am so excited!!!!

The boning was easier than I imagined, actually, the whole dress was easier than I imagined. 
I think I was just intimidated by the many, many bodice pieces.

Poly-Boning in my sunsilky bodice lining.

Took the boning out of the casing while I sewed it to the bodice.

Inserted the boning back into the casing. Easy!

Strange thing. Pattern called for 70cm of boning... but we can't figure out where the rest of the boning is suppose to go. Also, the second bodice lining was made redundant. I might use that for V2 of this dress (yep, I take this extra bodice and extra boning as a sign that I should make V2).

I am very curious about the extra boning... I guess pattern companies can make mistakes. Meh.

The bodice looks awesome, I am extremely happy with how it turned out. The iron-on interfacing made a lot of difference. The linen was easier to handle and matching of the notches was more precise. Love it. I want to interface everything! 

I am so glad I did some sewing over the weekend because my dress is almost finished. Over the break I will sew the gathering stitches on the skirt and lining. 

To be continued... 

Stay warm peeps.

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Tuesday, 19 June 2012

Earthquake in Melbourne... & my next project McCall's 5850.

Did you feel it?? The earthquake in Melbourne?

I didn't. I was at sewing class and nobody felt it. We only knew there was an earthquake because one of the  girls got a call from her hubby asking if we were alright.

I don't think I would've felt anything because I was concentrating that hard on the careful placement of my pattern pieces and measuring my grainlines. I get really OCD about my grainlines. 

McCall's 5850.

This fabric was purchased last year, purchased at full price because of my FOMO (fear of missing out). I fell in love with the fabric when I saw it pinned as a dress on to a mannequin. It looked so beautiful, I had to have it and didn't want to risk it selling out, so I paid full price. Few weeks later I heard it was half off. Zz.

1.4m is such a random length to buy, I'm not sure what I had originally planned for the fabric, but it never happened and it's been sitting in my fabric box for the last six months, waiting to be picked for a special project. The time has finally come!

From memory, it's linen blend (oh hey, my memory is quite good, here's the blog post about that fabric purchase, and I bought it for the V8511). 

It's 55% linen, 45% rayon. 

It was a tight squeeze but I managed (with the help of my teacher) to fit all the pieces on to 1.4m of fabric when the pattern called for 1.55m. Too good!

Directional fabric... hope it's the right way! 

The skirt is a full gathered skirt. I could've cut out rectangles like I usually do, but hey I paid a full $1.99 for the pattern so I'm gonna make the most of it!!! :P

The bodice only takes about 25cm of fabric! Nuts!

The bodice will be double lined though. I bought 1.8m of the good lining (sunsilky) - 0.5m for bodice, 1.3m for the skirt. 

Other notions: thread, polyboning, interfacing, zipper.

We tried my muslin on and teacher says it fits but may need to let out the waist. 

It's an 8 waist so I know it should fit, but I'm concerned because it has no straps to hold it up it might be loose and I don't really have much bust to hold it up! 

We cut a size 6 bust. We went by the finished measurements. I reckon I could've got away with a 4 bust, but then again I don't want no side-boob-muffin-top situation. I'll leave it with my teacher to fit me. 

I'll be cutting out the lining at home and next week we will do a second fitting with the boning inserted. 

Bodice pieces.

I made a lot of progress tonight at class. I ironed my fabric, traced my skirt pattern, cut my fabric and ironed on all my interfacing. 

Originally, I was going to make the dress with silk dupioni or some kind of evening fabric, but sadly I don't have any events coming up to wear the dress to. I'll definitely get a lot of wear out of it in this floral linen though. I love floral! So far, every single garment I have made at class is floral! 

New Look 6936
Vogue 8469
Butterick 5455
Vintage Simplicity 3222

I am obsessed with florals!

I only have one more class for this term, then I'm on break for 3 weeks! Really keen to start sewing this baby up, finish it in time for spring and Spring Racing Carnival!

So that's it for tonight, I'm off to watch another episode of Breaking Bad. I got through 3 season in 7 days!
I am determined to finish season 4 this week. Breaking Bad has me craving fried chicken every day.

Is Los Pollos Hermanos even a real restaurant? I wanna go there!

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Sunday, 17 June 2012

Finished Project: They see me rollin' (hems) they hatin'... Full Gathered Skirt with Rolled Hem.

Jokes, no one is hatin'. But I did try rolled hems for the first time.

I have been feeling very lazy lately, haven't been sewing at home, only at class. It might have something to do with getting hooked on Breaking Bad! How have I never seen this show before? Anyway, since I have been glued to my laptop watching hours of Breaking Bad whenever I have spare time, my sewing has been suffering.

I have been making progress at class, I'm up to the next project, the M5850 strapless dress with gathered skirt. I have finished making the muslin, just gotta go shopping for the lining and boning, interfacing and thread. I already have the fabric, I'm using my floral linen/rayon. I'll blog about it when I make further progress.

Back to me being lazy and my latest finished project. I needed something quick to sew to get me out of my sewing rut... to unblock my sewing block. I went shopping today, I was suppose to pick up stuff for my M5850, instead I bought some quilting cotton. I was mesmerized with it so I bought it and decided to make a gathered skirt, the easiest thing I know how to make, and my favourite type of skirt.

'Rendezvous Floral Wavey Redburg' 112cm.

I have never sewed with quilting cotton, not even sure if you are suppose to make clothes with it, but it was too pretty to pass up. It was also nice texture.

I bought 1 metre of it, and a 7" zipper. 

At home, after watching Hank Schrader almost got hacked to death by those crazy Mexicans, I took a break and got cutting! 

I cut the fabric using my rotary cutter, I'm getting more confident and accurate with my cutting.. then again I was just cutting rectangles :/

I cut two rectangular pieces for the waist band measuring 74cm x 10cm. I used leftover red cotton sateen from my red dress with peter pan collars.

The skirt is simply two pieces as wide as the width of the fabric and just under 50cm long and two long rectangular pieces for the waistband.

I used my overlocker/serger for most of the skirt which sped the process up a bit. I think the most time consuming part of this skirt was picking out the gathering stitches.

I serged the back skirt pieces and front skirts together, serged the front and back waistband together. 

Stitched three lines of gathering stitches, gathered, then sewed skirt and waistband together.

I understitched the waistband then inserted the invisible zipper, stitched up the back seam, stitched back waistband/facing to skirt, shortened skirt by 2", then tried my luck at rolled hems.

I figured out to deactivate the cutting blade then got rolling... half way through realised I was suppose to have the right side of fabric facing up... my hem was being rolled onto the right side! :(

I had to chop off the rolled hem and started again.

16.06.2012 - the day I did my first rolled hem!
Front waistband, stitching to stitch the inside waistband to the skirt.
The inside waistband.
Pretty and perfect gathering.
Understiching on the waistband.

Pattern: No pattern used
Size/Finished measurements: 70cm waist, width 2 metres, 45cm length
Fabric: 1m quilting cotton, 25cm cotton sateen
Notions: Invisible zipper (black) 7", Gutermann thread (156)
Time: 3 hours from cutting to slip stitching the facing/waistband
Cost: $8.50 for quilting cotton (on sale, RRP $17/m) and invisible zipper 

Techniques used: 
  •  Understitching
  •  Slip stiching
  •  Rolled hem
  • Gathering

This skirt was a joy to make. So simple and I got to brush up on some basic skills such as cutting and understitching (which I have only recently become a fan of). 

I have actually for once willingly incorporated some ease into the waist, it's not as figure hugging as I would like, but I'm sure I will be grateful for the ease one day when I'm at a family BBQ.

I decided to try the rolled hem on this skirt because I didn't want them hem to be finished on the machine and I didn't want to hand sew 2 metres of hem. Rolled hem sounded like the perfect solution. 

Looking back, maybe I should've used the "narrow" or baby hem... but either way I am happy with this skirt. 

I have to start sewing more separates! 

The print is so delicious!!!!!

Did I mention that the skirt is not lined??? Surprised! I am! These days I refuse to wear skirts without lining... all my RTW skirts must have lining too. I made the mistake of buying an unlined skirt last week and it is HELL when wearing it with stockings in winter. 

I also have to point out that I am so fussy now when I go shopping. I inspect the garments closely and I refuse to buy anything I can make. And everything must be lined. Is anyone else like this?

Next time I sew this, I might look at using a midriff piece (from one of my patterns) to give it some "curve" to wrap better around the waist. Or cut the waistband on the bias? Thoughts?

I am now very curious about quilting cotton and predict I might start using it to make fun skirts and dresses. The prints on quilting fabric is just so adorable! 

I'm glad I figured out the rolled hem function on my overlocker, very handy!

That's it from me, going to go back to my Breaking Bad marathon. Enjoy your weekend, "yo".

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Thursday, 7 June 2012

Finished Project & Pattern Review: Vintage Simplicity 3222 Wiggle Dress with Self-Fabric Cummerbund.

My beautiful vintage style floral dress with wiggle skirt, notched collar, raglan sleeves and cummerbund is complete. The finished garment is so gorgeous, the only thing that would make it even better is if it were lined.

This dress was my sewing project for Term 2 at my weekly dressmaking class. I made it using the floral cotton sateen I got on sale at Spotty for $3/m (rrp $16/m). I used the leftover fabric to make my floral V8511.

From cutting to sewing the hook and bar on the cummerbund took 7 sewing lessons (14 hours).

Vintage Floral Wiggle Dress with Self-Fabric Cummerbund.

I sew very slowly at sewing class, keep it relaxing and social. I like to wander around and chat to the other ladies and see what wonderful garments they are making.

The hardest part of putting this dress together was the facing. The notched collar made it incredibly tricky, I left it to my sewing teacher to pin it up for me. The mistake I made last time with my hot pink version was pinning it all together at once, sewing it, and ended up with some bumps.

If I had bothered reading the instructions, it says to pin the sides of the facings first, sew, the pin the centre facing and it all matches up – no bumps.

The raglan sleeves were surprisingly easy. If anyone is thinking about trying a pattern with raglan sleeves, I strongly encourage it, it’s super easy.

Beautiful notched collar.

The bust size (32”) is larger than my measurement, so it doesn't fit as snug as I would like, nothing a good push up bra can’t fix, right?  

I learnt that bust adjustments (to make smaller) can’t be made on bodice patterns with darts. That’s discrimination. No fair!! If I make this pattern again, I may research how to transform the bodice to a princess seam and take it in that way next time.

I also learnt that I have a sway-back. My teacher made the sway back adjustment for me. I think she shortened the back bodice.

Slim, wiggle skirt with soft pleats at the front.
Skirt vent (back).

I cut the whole pattern as per original size, with some minor adjustments: Skirt shortened, 4cm added to the waist, 7cm added to the cummerbund. The women of the 60s were so small-waisted!

The cummerbund: I love it!!! The cummerbund was cut on a bias, gathered, boned, hem finished with hemming tape, hooks and bars hand sewed on.

This was my first time working with boning. I used polyboning which was easy to use. It was simply pinned on the cummerbund then sewed on both sides.


Hand sewed the hooks.

Hand sewed the bars.

Gathered and boned. Hehe.

Hem finished with hemming tape.

I hand sewed the sleeves and hem, and of course the hook/bars on the cummerbund. I dreaded sewing the hooks/bars. I don’t have a lot of patience and hand sewing seems so tedious, but it’s actually quite relaxing. It took one hour to sew 3 pairs of hooks/bars.

Pattern Review: Vintage Simplicity 3222, View 2, slim wiggle skirt and self-fabric cummerbund, no bows

Size: 12, Bust 32”  
Fabric: 2m floral cotton sateen
Notions: Invisible zipper (black) 22", Gutermann thread (000), 25cm polyboning, 60cm whisperweft interfacing, hooks/bars
Time: 7 sewing classes (14 hours)
Cost: $40ish – pattern $20, fabric $6 (on sale!), zip $4, polyboning $1, whisperweft interfacing $6, hooks/bars $4

Techniques used: 
  •  Understitching
  •  Tailors tacks
  •  Invisible hem
  •  Bias cut (cummerbund)
  • Added 4cm to waist
  • Added 7cm to cummerbund
  • Shortened skirt
  • Sway back

This dress fits perfectly everywhere but the chest, it gapes because it's too big. If I stand straight, it's fine though.

I love the length! 

The cummerbund gives the dress a nice silhouette, pulls it in at the waist and gives gorgeous gathered detail. Without the cummerbund, it looks kind of bland so I would have to wear a belt, but the self-fabric cummerbund is so much better!

In conclusion, I love this pattern, I love the fabric, I love the cummerbund and the fit is great (except the bust). I would love to sew this dress again and fully line it. I'd like to try and modify the bodice to a princess seamed bodice and try to take it in a size :) Hope you guys like the dress. 

I've just realised that I can also wear the cummerbund with my floral V8511 because the fabric matches!

PS. Thank you for all your lovely comments on my M6201 dress and suggestions on the length.
I have decided to go with the short length because I'd like to wear the dress with black tights and I think the short length will look better. I'll post a pic once I finish the hem and wear it out.

Enjoy you Friday and long weekend (to the peeps in Australia). Happy Birthday to the Queen :D

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Sunday, 3 June 2012

Finished Project & Pattern Review: McCall's 6201, View A.

On Saturday I spent the day with my little sister. We got our eyebrows threaded then she came with me to visit GJ Fabrics and Rathdowne Remnants (Brunswick). I felt obligated to go because I been promising myself to go for the last fortnight. I didn't buy anything.

I was whinging to Little J that I was feeling lazy. She sympathized, she was also feeling lazy with studying for exams. So we made a pact. She promised that she would spend some of her weekend studying and I would spend some of my weekend sewing. She said that because we had "sister instincts" we would know if the other wasn't keeping her promise.

So I kept my word and I sewed the McCalls 6201 (OOP), View A with cap sleeves.

Originally I was going to make this dress with this fabric but I asked Twitter and Scared Stitchless suggested this fabric instead so I went with her choice :)

I got both fabrics from Spotty on sale. 1.5m for $3.5. It's cotton sateen. I wasn't overly excited by the design. I just bought it cos I didn't want to leave empty handed, and it was on sale. I am still trying to figure out if purple is my colour. I only own one purple RTW top.

I consider this dress my 'wearable muslin'. I also made a muslin-muslin. I wanted to make sure I would fit into a size 4 bust, size 8 waist and hips. I measured myself and cut the size that corresponded with the "finished measurements" on the pattern (found on the pattern paper, the 'circle' with a 'cross' in it).

My main concern was my waist. Since I started sewing, it's been brought to my attention that I have a thick waist so I wanted to make sure there was *just* enough ease in the waist, I didn't want it tight, but I didn't want it loose either, I wanted it to *just* fit. 

My second problem area is my butt, last time I made a size 6, I had weird lines on the back of the skirt, according to my sewing guide it was because the skirt was too small.

It was hard to judge the fit up the back. Because I was home alone, there was no one to pin me up. After some thought, I pinned a zipper to the bodice and zipped myself up. The fit was good on my small bust. I found that the dart points ended too high, another Pattern Review member also pointed this out. 

I loved how quick this dress was to sew. I started late Saturday afternoon. Traced the pattern on to easy-trace, did a bit of cutting... with my rotary cutter! I am getting better at controlling it. Made my first muslin. A muslin for my wearable muslin, lol.

Then I took a three hour nap. 

I then moved on to muslin #2, the wearable muslin. I ironed and cut the fabric. Marked the darts with tailors tacks then I went to bed.

Sunday morning, I woke up at 9AM and started sewing. Darts (x6), stay stitching, shoulder seams, sleeve pieces, sleeves to bodice. Then repeat on the lining.

Inside. The darts are horrendous! I don't know why my machine gets all knotted when I back-stitch.
Quickest dress to whip up. Three pieces, plus two sleeves. Six darts... x's two for lining.

I finished the dress just before I went out for dinner, where I ate too much dessert (almond tart, almond croissant, french vanilla slice. Omg diabetes). When I got home, it was the perfect time to try the dress on and take photos. This was the moment of truth, if I could fit comfortably into this dress after a huge meal then I have the sizing correct!

M6201, View A
Bust: 4
Waist: 8
Hips: 8
I haven't hemmed the dress yet. I am still deciding if I should leave it as it is, and hem it 5cm (as above) or shorten the skirt by 5cm and hem it 5cm and make it into a mini dress. 

I sometimes feel that the length makes the dress look dowdy on me. I'm also not sure about this print on me, so I don't want too much of it on my body. I also think if it's shorter, I will get more wear out of it (if I wear it at all). I'm going to leave it for a few days till I can decide what to do with the hem length.

Pattern Review: M6201, View A.

Pattern: M6201 (out-of-print), View A.
Size: Bust: 4, Waist: 8, Hips: 8 (see finished measurements on this post).  
Fabric: 1.3m cotton sateen (magenta sacha hound fuschia), 1.3m lining (navy).
Notions: Invisible zipper (dark navy) 22", Gutermann thread (000).
Time: On and off sewing over the weekend... 9 hours?
Cost: $15ish (fabric, lining, zip), pattern and thread from my stash. Fabric was on sale for $3.50/m, lining was on sale $7/m, zipper $4.
Techniques used: 
    • Understitching
    • Tailors tacks
    • Practiced cutting fabric with rotary cutter
    • Bagging (lining)
    • Cap sleeves - joining concaves and convex (??)

I am extremely happy that the cap sleeves were easy to make and to join to the arms. Last time I had to deal with concaves and convexes, it took three dressmaking classes to get it right (six hours!!) 

I really like the look of the cap sleeves. They look kinda 'spacey', reminds me of the Hanna-Barbera cartoon The Jetsons.

View A, cap sleeves.

This is a great pattern. I can already imagine myself hacking it. The other views are also cute, with shoulder pads, ruffled sleeves. The pattern is great because it has custom sizes for cup sizes ABCD so no FBA ladies! 

I am very happy with the fit but I still have some weird issues with the back of the skirt. I always get a weird little bump where the zipper ends. If anyone can tell me why I get this and how I can fix it that would be great. 

Choosing the size to cut using the "finished measurements" have definitely worked for me for this pattern.

The finished length of the pattern is perfect for me. Perfect for work. I'd love to make this up in a colour I can wear in the office or in some nice evening fabric.

For this particular dress I am leaning towards making it a shorter length.

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Friday, 1 June 2012

The whole month of Me-Made-May'12.

I, Neeno of Sew Me Love, signed up as a participant of Me-Made-May '12. 
I endeavoured to wear at least one item made by me each day, 
minimum three times a week, for the duration of May 2012.

My first Me-Made-May challenge and boy was it challenging! Because I have only been sewing dresses for my whole sewing life, my options were very limited. Throw in Melbourne winter and my outfit each day had mandatory stockings and coat. Boring and dull!!! I am such a lazy accesorizer so I apologise in advance for the lack of accessories. My idea of accessorizing is a handbag and stockings :/ 

I have been so envious of all the peeps in the other side of the world whole with gorgeous photos outside in the beautiful sunshine (Lladybird!!). Everyone's MMM outfits were adorable and inspiring. Every morning on the train I was kept occupied with constant streams of MMM updates. Loved it. Thank you to everyone that made the effort to post daily/weekly, you "Made My May"!!

Shout out to Oona for her highly amusing photos with the (sometimes) moustache'od man in the background, cracks me up every time. Those photos would make such a cool book for the coffee table! 

For my own photos, I thought about dressing my dress form because I was hesitant about taking a photo of myself for every outfit. I feared that if all the photos were in one post, my flaws would be exposed (BAM! Hair hasn't been washed in two days. BAM! Complexion looks dull. BAM! Double chin). I am a very self-conscious person. By the last day the end of the month, I was tired of trying to get a good picture so I let go and just smiled. The photo turned out cute, my favorite photo actually. Too bad it was the end of MMM. 

What I have learnt from the Me-Made-May challenge:
  • I don't like linen - my LBWD got so crinkly during the day at work
  • I do have a long torso - the waist of all my dresses sit on my ribs - which I don't really mind!
  • I don't really like shiny fabric
  • I wear too much black
  • Despite the dress not being perfect, I really enjoy wearing my  50s Inspired Work Dress
  • I need more work clothes - RTW or handmade, I need more
  • I need to sew other garments besides dresses
  • There's 5 weeks in a month... not 4!
I have identified a huge gap in my wardrobe. I always knew this gap existed, but I ignored it - until I was forced to wear the same me-made to work three times this month.

I struggled Monday to Friday. I love my full skirted dresses but they just didn't suit the office. Though I look cute in them, I look too much like a little girl. Doesn't help that I am petite and always get told I look 16.

I got away with the full skirt LBWD, only because it was black. I really wanted to wear my full skirted red dress (peter pan collars) but I didn't get the opportunity to. I wanted to get around to all the dresses but things like the weather and work got in the way :P

May is generally a quiet month on my social calendar so unfortunately my colorful and mini dresses didn't get a chance to go partying.

Thank you Zoe for hosting this challenge because I'm now super motivated to learn how to make other garments besides dresses. After seeing all the other bloggers' outfits and exceptional styling, I am inspired!

Next up in sewing class, I am thinking about making a cape.

If I can learn to sew a coat, a shirt, some more skirts, I might be able to participate in SSS! Wouldn't that be an exciting challenge! I am now truly over my fear of my clothes falling apart in public. Once upon a time, I used to carry spare clothes in my handbag, just in case a zipper broke or my stitching fell apart.

So that was my May. It was a cold and hectic month but MMM brought some excitement. How was your MMM? Did you participate in MMM and how did you find it?

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