Thursday, October 1, 2015

Gingham Dress / El vestit de quadrets vichy

 Gingham is a medium-weight balanced plain-woven fabric made from dyed cotton or cotton-blend yarn.[1] It is made of carded, medium or fine yarns, where the colouring is on the warp yarns and always along the grain (weft). Gingham has no right or wrong side with respect to colour.

The inspiration was Emy Rossum /La inspiració fou l'Emmy Rossum

I was looking for a good black and white gingham and I found this at  Stone Fabrics. It was not cheap, but it was 100% cotton, I cannot stand plastic fibers.

For the pattern, I used Burda Magazine. It had a similar design, and I only had to make three small alterations:
  • I added some space around my bust, just where the lateral front pannel and the central piece meet.
  • I closed the neckline 4 cm all around, since the design was really low cut.
  • I added a neck similar to Emmy's dress, which I designed with the help of Alcrich's book, and it became perfect.
  • The fourth alteration was a failure, but it is worht it recording it for future projects. I added some fabric at the waist, thinking I would need it, but then the dres is too roomy in that area. Nothing a belt can't solve, but not necessary in future projects.

The pattern includes pockets, wich are a very practical and nice touch.

I made self enclosed seams all over the dress, and for the neck line and amrsythes I used facings that I zigzagged and secured to the dress with a blind-stitch.

I made the buttonholes with the machine, and it broke there. The cost of the reparing has helped me decide I need a new machine!
The result is very nice and confortable, it is a wonderful fabric. 

El cotó de quadrets vichy es una roba típicament de cotó, tot i que ara a les botigues de roba en trobem de polièster o barrejat.
Vaig comprar aquesta roba a Anglaterra per internet,  perquè per aquí, com sovint em passa, no era de cotó 100%. Tinc la sensació que a Catalunya no donem importància a la composició dels teixits, un fet cabdal per mi.
Vaig utilitzar el patró d'un vestit de la revista Burda, al qual vaig fer algunes modificacions:
  • Vaig afegir roba al voltant del pit, un parell de cm a cada costat, entre el costadet i la peça central. La modificació va resultar perfecta.
  • Vaig fer l'escot molt menys pronunciat, ja que a la revista era un vestit molt escotat. Hi vaig afegir 4 cm tot al voltant.
  • Vaig dissenyar i afegir un coll similar al que porta l'Emmy. El patró el vaig dibuixar jo mateixa seguint les instruccions al llibre de Aldrich.
  • La quarta modificació va ser una errada. Vagi eixamplar la cintura del cosses i la faldilla uns 8 cm en total (4 a cada costat), i va resulta massa ample. Com que va amb cinturó no hi ha cap problema, però la propera vegada he de deixar el patró tal i com està en aquesta zona.

El patró inclou butxaques, que resulten pràctiques i molt boniques.
Vaig decidir entornar totes les costures i polir-les amb repunts. A l'escolt i les sises vaig utilitzar vistes, que vaig sobrefilar a màquina, i les vaig cosir al vestit amb un punt invisible.
Vaig fer els traus a màquina. Fent els traus precisament, se'm va trencar la meva vella Alfa, i em sembla que he decidit comprar-me'n una de nova!

El resultat és força bo, el porto molt de gust.

Sunday, September 6, 2015

Girlie T-Shirt Modification

Ha ha! It sounds like a The Big Bang Theory title, but this post is about a very practical and recurrent process to transform one regular t-shirt into a piece of clothing that actually fits us girls better. I love collecting my favourite bands' merch, but too often they do not have the girlie version, so I have to customize it.
I think that the pictures speak for themselves. We must use a jersey neddle in the machine and sew the seam with a very narrow zigzag for elasticity. Next to this stiching, we will make a wide and short zig zag, and we will cut the seam allowance reeeeally close to it. In that way we will have something similar to the job done by sergers, only we have to make it in three steps instead of one.

For the sleeves and bottom hem, we will roll the fabric towands the inside twice (1.5 cm each turn), and we'll machine-stitch it with a jersey double needle.

Finally, we'll remove the original t-shirt's neck and sew it again in place but in a deeper cut line. We will place the neck elastic band in the inside, under the folded neckline. We will machine stitch it with the double needle too.

And do not forget the ironing in every step.
This procedure is the same I use to adjust my boy's t-shirts when they are too big, minus the neck adjustment.

Black and White Outfit

My last two projects go so well together that I decided to make an official outfit out of it, but in fact they are different in every sense.
The fabric for these capri pants has been in my little stash for a couple of years waiting for its turn. It is a cotton sateen with some elasticity that I bought in one of our trips to Leeds, in the city market. Suddenly I realized I did not have any capri pants and I think they are wonderful for summer, spring and early fall. I love how capri pants make our shoes more visible and sexy.
I used my own pattern for these, pants' fitting being too delicate to be toying around with new experiments. Since this was elastic fabric and I wanted a tight result, I took a couple of cm off in both sides of the pattern, from the crotch downwards. It resulted too much at the first fitting and I had to adjust and try, adjust and try for A LOT of times before I got the perfect fit. I also took 2cm (x4) off the waist of the pants to make them really tight. 
After so much trial and error, I could not even record the new pattern, because every fabric has its own give into it, and I will have to adjust the basic pattern in future projects as I did with this.

I discovered the double needle for the self bound seams I always make in pants, and I made a very good job with the zipper construction following Armstrong's instructions.
The result is almost perfect,maybe a little too tight in the waist department. I cannot gain another gram if I want to wear them comfortably, hehe...

As for the top, I used some remaining viscose from a previous project, but the fabric was scarce, so I had to include a seam in the centre back. After sewing it at the machine, I realized (my boyfriend did, in fact) that the stripes were not well-matched and it was almost impossible to undo the stitching, so I decided to take it to the haberdashery to have some metal eyes installed, and pass a black ribbon to try to hide my mistake. It is also a nice detail enhancing the top, I am really happy with it. 

Again, I used the double needle for the seams around the neck and armholes, which are rolled in themselves 1 cm. This ending in fabulous because it looks nice, it is quick, and it has elasticity like the fabric.

Thursday, August 13, 2015

Menorca Dress

We sewers-bloggers always explain three processes when we report a new project:

  1.  How did we get the fabric
  2.  How did we make the pattern 
  3. How did we get the inspiration (which often comes along process 1 or/and 2) 
Well, this particular project was ignited by the fabric. I was on holiday in Menorca (wonderful, wonderful island), which is quite close to the place we live: inland Catalonia, we have planes in summer which fly straight there. We spent some days in Ciutadella and some more in Maó, and I explored the fabric shops in both of them. Curiously, all of them had some of the same stuff, you know, being an island... but I found one that was particularly well assorted and its owner very nice and knowing of her product. She understood my need for natural fibers at once and helped me find the perfect fabric: an embroidered white cotton. And it was the end of the bolt, so I got a very good price too!
It was only 1.2 x 1.15 m, and it had an alongside embroidered border that I wanted to save for the dress hem. 
The fabric brought the inspiration, I was not in Ibiza, but very close to it, and I had a small piece of white cotton, so I started to think about the dress I would make.
Back home I had this old summer dress, so old I only wear it around the house, comfy and becoming, so I decided to rub it off.
After rubbing off the bodice and having a fitting session with it, and saw it was small at my boobs (which I had compensated, 20 years before, by elongating the back???!!!) Curiously there was too much fabric in my upper chest, so I remembered Karen's words and decided to make a FBA, which worked wonders:

For the skirt of the dress, I folded the dress by the back zipper (its only seam all around), and after securing it with pins, I placed over the bias-folded fabric, and cut.

I saw the dress was resulting too sheer, so I ripped and old white cotton dress, and used the fabric for an underskirt, The bodice I made it double, using the inside one as facing.

For the bottom hem, I cut the embroidered detail to the thread's rim, ans stitched to the skirt bottom with an embroidered stitch my machine has:

The result is wonderful, I am really happy with it. Comfortable, cool and becoming to my summer tan.

Tuesday, August 4, 2015

Jersey Sundresses: Not One But Two

Together with the fabric for my Coco dress, I bought two more jerseys in Praha last year. After seeing that 1mx1.5m is not enough for sleeves or anything fancy, I decided to use them to make two sleeveless dresses for my summer travels. I just finished them on time to put them in my Menorca suitcase, but my camera broke in the plane just before landing, and I could not take one single picture with the dresses on in jaw-dropping beaches (<3 Menorca!)

The pattern for the dresses is a variation off my CocoDress pattern, following the instructions in Aldrich's book for the Stretch Dress on pages 166, 167. I did not make the front panels though, neither the waist shaping.

With this project and the previous one, I used the lazy ass method: I cut the fabric two cm from the paper pattern, and sewed it 2cm from the edge. I had modified the skirt to perfection with the Coco, so here it was perfect at first trial.

To sew the seams with a jersey fabric like this, I use a zigzag stitch with very very small width, it seems a straight line to the eye, but it has got elasticity. Next to this stitching line, I zigzag again with wide stitches, and cut the seam allowance just after the zigzag to imitate the overlock. Finally I press the small seam allowance to the side.

For the bottom hem, armsythes, and neck line, I simply rolled the seam allowances inwards twice (1cm each roll), pinned it and machine stitched them with the double needle. The result is perfect.

Monday, August 3, 2015

Coco Dress Knockoff

Tilly is an inspiration to us sewers, and her patterns are a success around the world. Specially the Coco Dress, a design for jersey fabric, an easy project for beginners that results in a very versatile, comfortable and becoming dress. 
Inspired by it, I decided to make my own pattern using Aldrich's book and its Close Fitting Bodice Block for Less Flexible Jersey fabrics, pages 164, 165. I already used this pattern in two previous projects: Liberty Wool Dress and the Black Lace Back Dress. Making your own paper patterns might seem arduous work, but it saves you money and time, specially when you use the same block again and again.
I bought the jersey stripped fabric in a Praha shop last summer, but I only bought 1 metre x 1,5 m wide and I could not make the sleeves out of it. I was lucky to have a purple jersey in my stash, and the contrasting sleeves make the dress more lively and fun (Phew!!)
I observed Tilly's Coco closely and tried to imitate the evasé line of the skirt. Parting from the waist of the pattern, I drew an opening line (10 cm at the bottom) and a curved hem line. I also added a boat neck line, which I redid after fitting the actual dress. 
And that's it. Easy peasey! I own no serger, So I zigzaged all the seam allowances and cut them at 0.5 cm, to try to imitate the serger (this is an imitation game, hahaha!)
The dress bottom and sleeve hems were rolled and machine-stitched with a double needle. And the neck as well. I used different width double needles. 0.6 cm for bottom hem and sleeves, 0.4 cm for the neck.
The result is brilliant. I planned to include pockets in contrasting fabric (=sleeves) to complete the dress and although my stylist said no, I still have doubts. What do you think?

Monday, June 29, 2015

Mad Men Dress

Betty is a hell of an inspiration for a lot of us, isn't she? Specially at the beginning of the series, still submerged in the 50s, with the American Look...because let's face it, those 50s dresses are eye candy for a sewist, aren't they? Crinolines, great silhouettes, structural rods, wonderful natural fibers dresses...
Gertie is such a sewist, and in her new book presentation, I peeped a sketch that hooked me. It is a Carolyn Schnurer red dress, a designer exemplifying the American look:

Isn't it just perfect?
On the other hand, I have been fantasizing with a red cherry fabric since I saw some in a street market in The Netherlands and I did not buy it. I have been dreaming about it for years! Finally I had a suitable project for it, so I bought it from the Fabric Godmother. It was very expensive, but the fabric is worth it: solid, good old cotton for a classic dress.
I had the clear idea of doing my own pattern. This is a tight design, and it had to be constructed to my exact measures and tastes. I consulted Armstrong book, and found a section  about strapless bodices. It has a bodice foundation that is exactly as the one I used in my previous project, with a dart under the bust that combines bust and waist darts (if you have the book at hand, it is on page 475). 

So, I followed the indications to make the necessary adjustments, added some halter straps, and made it into a muslin for a perfect fit. I only had to enlarge the bodice 2 cm at the waist, as for the rest it was so perfect it fitted me like a globe. So it was good to cut the fabric. I cut it double to use one as facing and lining.

Meanwhile I was planing my skirt... circle skirt? half circle? pleated? what kind of pleats? gathered? After cutting the bodice I had three skirt lengths left, so I sewed them together and finally decided to pleat it. I did some research about 50s pleated skirts, and chose box pleats, starting in the middle front and going around to the centre back. 
I applied fusible underlining to the whole bodice, stitching both bodices at the upper part and straps. After turning it over, I pressed and pressed and machine-stitched some channels for plastic rods at the sides and back panels.
Then I attached the pleated skirt to the bodice and machine stitched it closed. I put a long zipper at the centre back and finished the skirt: hem is rolled and machine topstitched.
I added the tulle crinoline I had from a previous dress, and the result is stunning, and yet wearable and comfortable enough to sit through a 5 hours family lunch, where I had massive success, hehe... one of my best projects, it is perfect and really special.