Saturday, February 14, 2015

Liberty Wool Dress

Hello! This is a really good work I am so proud of! I receive compliments every time I wear it. The fabric is a cheap poly blend I found in a remnant shop, but I must say I elevated it to heaven with this pattern. Now I am only left wishing for a better wool to remake it.My first idea was to make some kind of CocoDress replica, but in a moment of illumination I thought it would be a good chance to try a cut at the waist and circle skirt. The fabric had a great drape and fall, and it was quite thin.So first, I looked into my pattern stash for a bodice. I made a dress pattern last winter which could be perfect. It is the Close Fitting Bodice Block pattern in page 164 of Aldrich's book. I only had to cut it at the waist (which I had properly marked at the pattern). I thought the fabric, since it was a little transparent at the light, would need a lining, which would also serve the purpose of a muslin. I had some black elasticated jersey (another cheap poly blend, but the dress wool was not wonderful neither), in which I cut the bodice and a full circle skirt (instructions are also in Alddrich's, page 86). At the first fitting, I saw the full skirt was too much. It was so full it produced folds falling from my poor waist that had a widening effect. But apart from that it looked OK and it fitted me. I only had to modify the front armsythe a couple of cm off and enter a couple of cm off the waist too. Easy easy even for my poor fitting skills.

I proceeded to cut the dress wool, but I decided a half circular skirt would be enough. At the first fitting I saw the result would be stunning. I looked feminine, gracious, and it fitted me like a glove. The half circular skirt was perfect. I only had to take 2 cm off the back bodice length (and consequently off the skirt bottom hem. I also realised the bodice did not need a lining. It was faintly transparent, but in an attractive way. So I cut the lining skirt off, and change it into a half circular.I machine stitched all the dress (previously basted for fitting) with a very narrow zigzag (to allow some give at the seams). I cut the seam allowances at 0.5cm and machine zigzagged it, imitating an overlock work. I attached the skirt lining to the waist seam allowance, and finished the neck, sleeves and bottom hem with a hidden slipstitch.Finally, I made some tabs for a small leather belt, and tadaaaa...

Finally, I modified the paper bodice pattern for safe keeping. This is a definite keeper!

Monday, February 2, 2015

Print Dress Cut at the Waist

I bought this beautiful/ugly/weird print fabric as a remnant last winter, and finally I found a good reason to make it: one has never dresses enough! The fabric is beautiful, an expensive designer fabric with a wonderful coloured print that I suspect is some poly blend. I am growing to hate artificial plastic fabrics, but maybe I had a bad day last winter... or maybe it was the cheap price of the remnant, I can't remember...I was also inspired by the idea of a "flowery" dress cut at the waist with a gathered skirt, so feminine and becoming to the figure. So I decided to review all my Burda magazines to look for a suitable pattern. I love Burda magazines because for 5 euros you have a bunch of different patterns in different sizes. The individual pattern system you girls get from the states or the UK are VERY expensive in my view. I've only bought 4 or 5 of them, specially vintage patterns or very special ones. How I regret throwing away my mum's Burda magazine collection (thinking they were old fashioned) is beyond words, by the way.
Well, I found a pattern which, with some modifications, could be what I imagined for my fabric.
The main changes were three:

  • Adding a hidden waist band to keep the dress in its place.
  • Enlarging the bodice 4cm to get to my waist (the pattern has a high waist).
  • I changed the bust darts, and made them regular bust darts from waist to bust point. I did this with the help of my dressmaker, placing the darts at the same point of the skirt darts.
After so many modifications, and a result that is just OK but not wonderful, makes that pattern not really a keeper. Next time, I will test another pattern or make my own, for a dress cut at the waist. But meanwhile, I have yet another dress for next spring.

Here I am wearing it with my new Pedro Miralles low boots and a leather belt.

Saturday, January 31, 2015

Wrap Linton Tartan Miniskirt

This is a wonderful outcome of the Françoise Dress I made a couple of months ago. I bought this fabric at Linton, and after cutting the dress I had some left, so I decided I had to make a preppy wrap miniskirt, which I've always adored. The fabric just asked for it! I also had some Hong Kong black silk habotai, left from the dress lining, so it was a perfect leftovers project. 

For this skirt I used my long skirt flared skirt pattern, which is perfect and it has had so many different versions and uses. I love it because it has no darts, and just the perfect flare. For the wrap fronts, I cut two three quarters (+4cm) fronts.

I put my muslin pattern pieces on the wool trying to match the tartan at the side seams. I staystiched the three patterns, and zigzagged all the selvages, since this fabric unravels like crazy. 

I machine stitched the two lateral seams and I did the same with the silk for  the lining. After ironing both, I attached the silk tot the wool, and sewed it together all around except for the bottom seam. Then, I turned it over, and topstitched all around it. I ironed it again, both fabrics together, and started to baste the quilting lines on the three pieces. This Linton fabric typically sags, and it has to be machine quilted as a Chanel jacket would.

Finally, I made the bottom seam. First, I basted it. I hand sewed it (this fabric conceals any stitches you can make, it's wonderful!), and finally I hand sewed with a slipstitch the silk at the bottom, covering the seam ending and protecting it from unraveling. Since the silk was quilted to the wool, it was really easy and fast to sew it at the bottom. 

The result is stunning, I really love it. I've always loved preppy tartan wrap miniskirts, and this is not the first one I make, but the fabric and the tricks I've learnt and used, make this my best go at it.

Here I just on my way to work at the school. I am wearing it with a black cotton bodyshaper, a cachemir jacket, dark stockings and my wonderful Timberland boots.

Thursday, January 15, 2015

Flower Power

This is another very simple and quick to do design, but still a wonderful piece of clothing. I got this flowery jersey in a remnant shop we have in our town, where you can buy industry leftovers by weight. It cost me 3 or 4 euros, the fabric.
I used my own skirt pattern, which is proving to be priceless, and very versatile. I simply cut it sorter, and gave 10 cm more of bell shape to each side. I cut it on bias. Like with the previous jersey pieces, I zigzagged the seam allowances, put an elastic band inside the waist, and sew the hem by machine sewing it.
Today I wore it at my school, and it felt just perfect, comfortable, simple, and yet, beautiful.

This was my inspiration. I can't wait for the weather to allow me to wear it with my denim jacket! This is gathered at the waist, but I thought I could do without more volume in my waist ;-)

Thursday, January 8, 2015

Jersey Basics

After the last complicated and long projects, I decided to get back to basics, and sew myself some jersey pieces, two bodyshapers and some leggings. I am quite satisfied with the outcome.
I use the bodyshapers a lot in winter, under pullovers or dresses, and leggins are a basic in my wardrobe. 
Both are my patterns, from Aldrich's book, but I've had to make some adjustments (too much ease).
With this kind of pieces, I use the simple method of pinning the paper patterns to the fabric and cutting around them leaving only 1 cm seam allowance every where. No need to mark the fabric or baste it previously, only hold it in place with pins before...
...I machine stitched all the seams with a very narrow zigzag to allow them to give, since they are stretch jerseys (cotton/lycra). Then, I cut the seam allowances to 0.5cm, and zigzagged them, getting something similar to the overlock finish. I do not have a serger yet, so this is quite a good substitute.

This jersey skirt, also cotton/lycra, is for comfort at home. I simply used the ruboff method of putting my old but perfect skirt over the folded fabric and cutting around it, leaving 1 cm for seam allowance. I also made a pocket in front, put an ellasticated band into the waistband, made a machine-stitched hem, and started to enjoy it in fron of the fireplace!

Thursday, December 25, 2014

Reversible V1419 Ralph Rucci for Vogue Coat

This has been a long laborious project with a happy ending.

The story started with the Sewalong proposed by Meg, at the McCall Pattern Company and Lladybird in September.

The pattern was beautiful and appropriate for my double-sided wool I had bough in Lleida last winter, because it has raglan sleeves and the seams are easy enough for the double sided technique, explained to me by the seamstress who sold me the fabric, Herminia.
So, I bought the pattern. I don't like the "seams included" method (and sewing with pins only), at all, so first I had to draw the real pattern subtracting 1.5 cm all around. Fortunately, the pattern included wonderful indications at critical spots, so I had no problems doing this. I transferred the pattern to the muslin, which proved too big for me in the first fitting trial.

 I thank the sewalongers and hosts who helped me see that the problem was simply one size too big. They were totally right, but I could no see it on my own (I am not too good at fitting solutions).

 So, the second muslin proved to be just perfect for me. I proceeded to put the pattern pieces over the wool, pinning them down and cutting the wool.

Next step is tailor tucks all around the coat pieces. That was easy and fast compared to the arduous work of splitting the two sides open around all the pieces, for 2 cm. The two sides are tied together by small threads that one has to cut little by little. 

It took me ages! I had to be careful not to remove the loose stitches, but no problem there.
Then, I started with the basting, which I consider indispensable before machine sewing anything. 

In this picture we can only see the staystitching I did (previously to basting the pieces together), following the instructions in the pattern. With this double-sided wool, one cannot use any foundation, so any holding the structure technique was welcome. 

I decided to sew the clear grey side. Then, remove the basting thread and iron the seams open, until I assembled the whole thing.

After that, I cut the seam allowance of the darker wool side to 1 cm and basted all before I started to hand sew it close with and invisible stitch.

I enjoyed this part so much, because the fabric was wonderful to the touch, and I could dominate it so sweetly, closing all the seams and making them disappear. 
I also hand sewed the coat and sleeves hem, removing the basting thread as I was sewing.

I was thinking over the buttons and buttonholes possibilities for weeks. I made several trials, and finally decided to use metallic claps, which are invisible outside the coat. In the clear grey side, I sewed some flat metallic buttons and left the dark side with nothing visible at the centre. It works perfectly right for me. the buttonholes proposed in the sewalong are gorgeous, but they only have one good side, so they were not an option for me.
I am totally happy with my two new coats in one. The fabric is really pricey and I've worked many hours, but the result is stunning, comfortable and outstanding.
What do you think??

I thank Lauren and Meg for their help and guidance, and my colleague sewers for their opinions, advice and inspiration. It was a wonderful experience, and it is a wonderful pattern.

Watch the rest of the sewalongers coats, they are gorgeous!

Sunday, December 14, 2014

Tilly's Françoise Dress!

Phhewww! I've been sewing like crazy this last week. My husband is missing me (that is a positive thing, haha!). But I am soooooo satisfieeeeeeed!

I had in mind a dress in wool with a "Chanel Jacket" to go with it, and when I saw Tilly's pattern I though it was perfect to be made of wool: the 60s style, the raglan 3/4 sleeves, the little neck on a contrast fabric... besides, she was setting a contest and a deadline, and I don't know why but I am always into crazy sewing deadlines (for example, now I have to sew the jacket in 9 days, 'cause I want to wear it at the School Christmas Festival with the dress, kill me!).
So, I bought some wonderful fabric at Linton's, and believe me, their fame is justified. The fabric is just awsome, and their service top.
So, come on, come on, I downloaded the pattern last saturday, cut it, ensambled it, made some adjustments (my bust size is bigger than waist and hips), and copied it into a muslim. I was so madly working than I forgot to take pics of most of the process, but I'll explain...
The muslim was almost perfect, I only had to take some fabric off the centre back. Easy thing.
Since I did no t have the fabric yet (it was flying towards me), I started to do the lining. I used some wonderful black silk I had in my stash, bought from China. I ADORE natural fibers, kill me!
Then, at perfect timing (thanks Linton), my fabric arrived on monday evening. So, I passed the muslim pieces into the fabric itself (which required no pretreatment) and marked it with tailor stitches. This is the method my mum taught me, and it is perfect for me.
After marking, basting the pieces togehter and machine sewing it. I did not use any interfacing, I had no time to get silk organza, and I could not find nothing suiting the purpose... so I decided to baste the sleeves seams tight until I put the silk lining and sew them to it to prevent them from giving (bias cut).
At first trial, I had to make some adjustments which I had not seen in the muslim, but it was easy, I only took some fabric off the side seams, specially under the arms. 
There is lots of hand sewing done here. The seam allowances, the zipper, the lining, the sleeve seams, etc etc... I've been sewing some hours everyday after work, and all the weekend.
But it was totally worth it. Today I wore the dress to a big event, and it was so beautiful, special, and confortable, I felt like a queen, hehe... One of my students told me the dress was so pretty (he had seen the swatches from Linton and recognized the fabric inmediately, he is 7)
The pattern is really nice, and I will use it again for sure.
So, here goes a proud woman to watch some TV and do nothing for a while, hehe (tomorrow I start the jacket!)

Tilly, I hope to have done a good rendition of your wonderful pattern! And I hope you all like it ;-)!
PS: I did not even pass the first selection. That is my last sewing contest ever!