Monday, May 18, 2015

Jotera Outfit

This is the traditional dress for Aragon girls who dance its traditional dance: la jota. My two nieces are now five year old and they are training themselves to dance the jota, so we decided to make them the complete outfit. Since we have their birthday as the deadline and it is next week, we have to hurry hurry and their mom has distributed the work: granny is making the skirts and underskrits, I am making the overalls, the knee-breeches they wear under their underskirts and the bodice.
I copied a borrowed model, which with the overall was simple enough. With the knee-breeches, I followed the rub-off method I've learnt from this book.
As for the bodice, I also have a model I plan to rub-off, but I prefer to fit it on them before I start cutting the fabric, because this is a pretty tight piece and it has to be well fit. As soon as I have them made, I will publish them too. And I hope to publish a picture with my awsome models wearing the complete outfit.
Notice the pintucks all over the aprons and breeches. They are meant to be undone progresively as the kids grow up.

Thursday, May 7, 2015

Widow's Set

Well, I must reckon this project is a letdown somewhow. Although, I don't know yet...
Let me explain. I had this wonderful sheer fabric with little white stars on a black backgorund. It was perfect for a blouse with a bow at the neck and had been sitting in my little stash for a couple of years, wainting for inspiration.
One day, in the library on wheels that visits our small village once a month (which brings pattern magazines, it's wonderful!!!) I saw this wonderful design:
It was perfect for my fabric! Two pieces for a set, perfect for spring! I had some cotton with ellastane to make the sleveless dress, and I bought some black sheer fabric to make the underskirt. 

I did not have any problem during contruction. For the skirt hem, I used a stright machine stitch in a very small double loop that I was doing as I was sewing.
For the elasticated band at the bottom of the blouse, I used the shirring method: you put some elastic thread in the bobin (withour pulling it) and machine sew it in straight lines, four or five, every 1 cm. I did the same with the sleves.
The result is quite nice theoretically, but I am not crazy about how it looks on me :-( Probably because I am not tanned and my legs are not that nice without stockings now. And this has to be worn with sandals. I will give it a try soon enough, and if it wears nice I might upload a picture with the set on actual me, hehe... Meanwhile, enjoy it in my manequin:

Friday, April 3, 2015

Linton Wool, Chanel Style


I wanted to have another Chanel style jacket, after the success of my first one, and I bought this black wool at Linton. But then I changed my mind and decided to use it for my mother in law, Teresa. She deserves it!
I followed a mix of advice from Shaeffer and Kalhje: silk organza as interfacing, silk lining, some fusible interlining for buttonholes. 
First of all, I decided to use Claire Shaeffer's pattern for Vogue. I have her book on jacket construction, and I did not feel like drawing the pattern myself. Ignorant me thought a commercial pattern would be better. WRONG. In the first place, the sizes are too big, so I directly made a size down than Teresa's measures indicated (Ralph Rucci's coat experience).
 After the muslin fitting and adjustments done, I still don't like the sleeve heads, the side panel is ridiculously small, sleeves are very short and I hate the buttons placement in the front and the sleeves. It was 25 euros for nothing. 

Well, after the first mistake (acknowledged), I went on to cut the organza pieces using the slightly modified muslin pieces. And then I used the organza pieces to cut the fabric pieces themselves. I learnt this method in Susan Kahlje's course in Crafsy. It consists of machine sewing the interlining organza to the fabric, aiming to mark it and to prevent it from shape shifting. I used a pale colour organza to make it easy on my eyes.
When I had all the pieces attached to their interlining, I started to baste the pieces together for the first (real fabric) fitting, which proved the sleeves where too short and poorly shaped at the back. I tried to repair that by moving them inwards in their back part. I also made a modification for a curved back that consisted on a dart in the center of the neck (interlining), eased with the iron in the fabric.

After assembling the sleeves, with opening and buttonholes, I applied the silk lining and finished it completely, sewing it by hand all around the bottom of the sleeve and the last remaining seam.

In this last picture we can also see how I quilted the sleeves to the lining, as characteristical in Chanel jackets. Then I basted the sleeves to the jacket and made all the modifications fitting the jacket to the model. I finally sew the sleeves permanently by hand back stitching them. 
The next step was basting all the hem, which goes around the neck, front and bottom of the jacket. 

Once basted, I proceeded to hand sew it with a feltstitch. I also secured the seam allowances open here and there, to prevent them from messing up.
All this with a good pressing every now and then.

In this pic we can see the use of shoulder pads, and sleeve heads (as explained in this Thread's video). I do not see any dramatic improvement with the last.

I decided to make the buttonholes by machine. In the lining, I made coat buttonholes calculating precisely where they went.
Finally I machine sewed all the lining pieces, and pinned them to the jacket as it stood in the mannequin wrong side up. I made a major change here regarding Shaeffer's method (and classic Chanel): I did not quilt the lining to the fabric. I thought the stitching wouldn't look nice in the black wool fabric, and I also dreaded the days and days of delicate hand sewing that this method requires. So, I made a feltsitch to secure it to the jacket, removed all the bastings and...  voliá!

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 ;-)