Sunday, January 11, 2015

Print placement - planning for a Kim Dress

After seeing some gorgeous versions (and excellent pattern reviews) I am excited to make the  Kim dress from By Hand London. 

I'm planning to make variation 2 with the full skirt. The pattern is at home, but I'm in a hotel - all weekend and next week, with only my laptop and photoshop... Print placement fun. This is the first time I've used photoshop for sewing ideas. Maybe not a bad idea in the future.

So, here it is! My ideal Kim dress minus the pintucks.

I just ordered the amazing Vlisco print above... I was planning to use a different print with a border, but I am completely enamored with this one. I hope it arrives at my home before I do.

I based the bodice shape selections on a lovely flickr photo by Idle Fancy. (By Hand London's technical drawing is not realistic.) Then, I overlaid the selections on a rotated jpg of the fabric from the vlisco site, moving them around to try different alignments. I like the stripe mismatch between the center front bodice and the sides. I'm not an expert at this so it's a little wonky.

 For the skirt, I doubled the vlisco image,  and used the transform, warp option to narrow one edge. I can't mimic the folds of the gather, just the effect.  The fabric is about 45 inches wide so from waist to hem, whilst the pattern finished measurements are 23.5 inches. Sad! I would so love to get the full edge... I can certainly lengthen the skirt by 5 inches or so, but more than that might get too formal or drag on the ground!

Maybe I'll cut out the bottom edge and add it as a band on the edge of the skirt like this:

We'll see once I get back to my scissors. :)

UPDATE! Months later...
The red triangles are just too big to be oriented on the bodice as such, so I cut it on the same grain as the skirt.

Saturday, January 10, 2015

Hazel with a Flora skirt

A dress from August, 2014 (I'm finally publishing all my draft posts from 2014!)

Pattern: Colette Hazel bodice + By Hand London Flora skirt (modified)

Fabric: Vlisco Java print from a clearance sale

Cut & Size: Bodice size 10 - with FBA. 1/2 seams on bust, to 5/8 underbust... The skirt is a modified Flora, US waist 12 graded out to 14 hips with added 20cm. length and no pleats in the back (I ran out of fabric!). Not enough fabric to match prints.

Deer & Doe Centauree three

Another older post - I made the dresses in the early spring/summer, 2014. 

This pattern is AWESOME.

I have made three versions - the first is my wearable muslin out of my go-to Brussels washer linen. I made it based on my full bust measurements (before I knew how to measure for upper bust and do a FBA) and it ended up being slip-over-the-head huge. So no zipper. However, it's very comfortable and good for the beach. Sometimes it's nice to have a huge swingy linen dress. :)

 Version two - is a japanese double gauze. I cut smaller and used french seams everywhere, which upon reflection, is maybe not the best for double gauze...  It worked, but gave me less control over subtle shaping in the bust and some of the seams are a little bulky. Still, the result is comfy and cute... also good for the beach! For the neckline, I ignored the cut in the middle bias tape instructions and applied a full length from shoulder to shoulder in the front. This worked out okay and seems stronger than instructed method. Oh, and pockets!

Version three -  is a quilting cotton with gold detailing. Very sturdy.... I used flat felled seams which allowed me to subtly decrease the seam allowances along the curving bust lines and increase them in the underbust. This is a bit of a cheat, but it worked well, and the dress fits very nicely. I added gold pre-made bias tape for detailing... and a quilting ribbon along the hem. I'm amazed it washes and wears as well as it does. Lucky me. :)

Asymmetry with Vogue 8787

I'm traveling for work right now, so no sewing. Instead, I'm going through a few drafts that I never published, for various reasons.

The dress below was a failure but taught me several things.

Late in the summer, after gaining confidence in my abilities, I decicded to make a dress with an asymmetrical neckline. I found Vogue pattern 8787.  I used the bodice, and adding my favorite By Hand London paneled Anna skirt.

Thankfully, I found an excellent FBA on flickr. The woman who posted the picture also has several gorgeous variations of the dress.

I think my big mistake here was using a voile cotton, the dress should really be made out of a stretchier fabric, or a stable knit, just like they recommend on the envelope...

LESSON - Believe the envelope, at least for the muslin stage.
LESSON - Muslin stage.

 This cotton voile (Birch organics, Taking flight collection) was a bit weird, it's not very soft and it creases easily. It might need to be washed a few more times to improve.

LESSON - If the fabric is still unpleasant after one wash (I know enough to wash at least once), wash it again a few times BEFORE sewing.

So, the bodice:

During the making of the dress, I realized the wide waistband would not work with my short waist so I folded it in half which did the trick, without needing a lining piece.

LESSON - Wide bands are not good on short waists (Promptly forgotten when the Dahlia pattern appeared) but it's easy enough to shorten them.

Unfortunately, it doubled the already awful interfacing I used, making the band weird and stiff.

LESSON - Not all interfacing is the same. Get the good lightweight stuff! 90% of it, the heavy stuff is not meant for summer garments... or garments at all.

Saturday, January 3, 2015

A shirt for Aaron

After success with a dragon shirt, I made my youngest brother a shirt from the awesome McCall's 6044 pattern for his birthday. It's such a simple, easy to adjust, well fitted design.

 I used a cotton poplin from L'ouiseau fabrics upon recommendation from my other brother... he said it would bring out his blue eyes- and that the kids these days liked looking like a grandmother's tablecloth. Our own grandmother thought it was feminine and expressed vague outrage that would have been more effective if she didn't express vague outrage over almost everything that is not British. Ah, grandma. I'm going to try and make her a shirt out of the remnants.