Saturday, 31 May 2014

Vichy shorts

I wanted a quick project before attacking yet another dress. The summer is still not coming and we are wearing sweaters and coats, but I figured out that I should be ready for the high temperatures when they come.
Last year it was quite difficult to find shorts for my summer vacation, most of all because I am not used to buying trousers at all and finding the correct fit is far from easy.
I have seen the Burdastyle Ruby shorts in a vintage version on and thought the black&white combination was actually a good plan.

The original pattern is Burdastyle Ruby 6005. As I have totally no idea on the Burda trousers fit, I sew up a quick muslin and realized that it did not fit AT ALL. I ended up taking my favorite winter short and adjusting the pattern according to it. Basically, I only kept the idea of side button closing, the waistband and the pockets.
Another quite disturbing thing was the included seam allowance. Usually, I tend to cut little less than the 1.5 cm seam allowance, but I count with the same when sewing. Not having the seam lines marked on the fabric was somehow strange. As I redid the pattern, I got rid of the seam allowances and worked my usual way.

I might not be a fan of pockets on skirts and dresses, however, on my shorts I did not hesitate a minute. The Burda shorts have one welted and one pouch pocket, so there we go, two things to learn on one project.
The instructions for the welted pocket were totally incomprehensible to me so I ended up watching a tutorial on Youtube to clarify the problematic. I realize that I could have done even better in pattern-matching, but basically I think the pockets are pretty neat.

From the outside, as well as from the inside. Ok, they might not be very large, but a metro ticket gets in. 

As for the pouch pocket, that was much easier to sew and match correctly on the shorts. With the same detail inside. 

The pouch pockets, the button closings and the waistband asked for topstitching. I am not used to that but just following the pattern helped me a lot to make clear lines.

Then comes the story of buttonholes. So far, I have not managed to sew a complete buttonhole on my machine which is supposed to be fully automatic. It was out of question not to do it in this case: there are 10 buttons on the shorts! Going back to google and to the machine manual I thought doing everything correctly, nothing helped, the machine got the left part correctly, only to continue straight on the right side. After an hour of desperation, I found 2 Dutch videos which showed ALL the settings in detail, and there I had it: the complete buttonhole done in a few seconds. All ten in 5 minutes, yohoooo. 

When the shorts was almost ready, I tried it on only to realize the big mistake I had made. The buttons are supposed to be sewn on a piece extending the shorts part. However, when attaching the waistband, I pinned this part inside the short and sewn it in. Result: I was missing a few centimeters needed to close it up. Fortunately, I had enough fabric to cut the back waistband again (I always have a lot of fabric remnants - see here)
 and redo the whole thing, including the topstitching.

In the end, the shorts took me some time to finish, due to the form adjusting, numerous details and my big mistake, but it is good to know that I do have nice and simple shorts pattern which I will do again for sure. 

Inspiration: We sew retro
Pattern: Burdastyle Ruby 6005
Pattern changes: deeper crotch, narrower waist
Fabric: Vichy cotton
Notions: welted pocket, pouch pocket, buttonholes
Time to Complete: 1 week
Total Cost: 17 EUR
First Worn: Not yet, too cold outside... 

Thursday, 8 May 2014

Khaki Dress

I am getting late with blogging, as well as with sewing. My wedding-guest dress is finally in process and I am still counting on the long week-ends in May to get it done. The problem is that my agenda is getting full in May, so hopefully will find some time to sew as well.

The weather is still somehow springy, so instead of a summer dress I got back to a wool woven fabric I bought a month ago. It is rather stiff, but in a great khaki colour which is just so difficult to find and I like it so much. I went by it in the shop at least twice before I ended up buying the 1.5m coupon. Of course, 1.5m is for a whole dress, it would be rather pity to make just a skirt. After days of hesitating on whether the fabric is suitable for a dress, I stopped thinking and just cut it out.

The model is Burda 116-02/2014 (again, I think this issue really paid for itself), which recommended rather cotton satin, so my anxiety only increased. This time I did not line the dress, I think it would get even thicker and due to the back closing half of the back would be anyway covered by the fabric and not by the lining.
I did only a quick muslin of the bodice to adjust the sleeves and the cleavage, the dress itself does not have any darts (apart from a small one on the sleeve), the whole adjustment is being created by the middle belt.

Already when trying it on, I realized I do not need the back closing, so I ended up sewing the small buttons directly on the dress, without buttonholes. I also run out of the green thread on the last minutes, so the big buttonholes on the belt are sewn with black, which is quite fine for me as the fabric has black threads in it as well.

The buttonholes drove me crazy though. My Pfaff machine pretends being able to sew the buttonholes automatically but I have not managed to sew one completely. My machine always sewed the left part, the endings and never got to the right part. Finally, I managed to do it in two steps: let the machine do the left part with endings, then move it little bit to the right and sew the left part as the right one. I will have to do some research on this, because what is the point of having a good machine when you are using only two stitches.

In the end, I am pretty happy with the final result (and probably will not cut the dress again to transform it into a skirt as my BF had suggested seeing my initial apprehension). The fabric is not the most comfortable I have ever worn (compared to the Bordeaux wool), but I just love the colour. And it will be a nice warm mid-season dress.
I am even thinking about sewing another model from a cotton print as a home dress.

Inspiration: the fabric itself :o)
Pattern: Burda 02.2014
Pattern changes: higher cleavage, narrower shoulders, higher front darts, shorter skirt
Fabric: khaki wool woven
Notions: buttonholes
Time to Complete: 1 week
Total Cost: 27 EUR
First Worn: MMM 2014

Not-so-Black Skirt

A quick project to see a quick result. The idea was to replace my old black skirt which I had to throw away as it was too large and too used. The fabric is not exactly black (more a very dark grey) and has a design. I bought a coupon of 3 meters so am planning a jacket, as well as a top to add to this skirt.

I used Burda’s 120-02/2014 mini-skirt without any modification (!!!), for once the pattern was perfect, but I usually do not have any problems with fitting the skirts, it is the upper body which makes problems. Also, the Burda miniskirt makes a normal skirt for me :o)

The skirt is fully lined with a side zipper and a large waist band. What I did not think through is the suitability of the fabric design to my pattern. The skirt part is not exactly straight so matching the sides and the skirt to the belt was not an easy task.

What was great with this project was the instant gratification. After one evening the skirt was pretty much completed, the other evening was spent only on hemming, as I hem even the lining by hand, and small finishing on the zipper. Thanks to its looser form, I did not have to adjust the pattern, be it in the beginning or in the end.

After having it worn, I realized that the fabric creases a lot and is not as stiff or universal as my original black skirt. So this skirt will probably be transformed into a summer one, rather than a spring one. I am also planning a short top in the same fabric to create a “sort-of-a-dress”.
Anyhow, I still need a new replacement for my old black skirt…

I have seen this kind of “pattern review” on several blogs, and actually consider it quite useful, so let's try:
Inspiration: my old black skirt
Pattern: Burda 120-02/2014
Pattern changes: none
Fabric: grey cotton satin
Notions: pattern matching
Time to Complete: 2 days
Total Cost: 14 eur
First Worn: April 2014, for work
Wear Again: MMM, for work

Wedding-guest dress – muslins

My sewing is completely blocked by muslining a dress for a wedding I will be attending in June. (My blogging, though, is blocked by the missing photo shoots of the last 2 project, but hopefully coming soon).

I was thinking of sewing a dress for the occasion from the beginning, even though my original idea was a 1950’ dress in lila or similar colour. However, in February I bought a great fascinator (in dark blue), so the dress needed to be adapted.
As for the pattern, I fell in love with the Burda 139-02/2010, the problem being this pattern only comes in large sizes (European 44-50), knowing I usually cut Burda’s 34.
The first big task consisted in the downgrading the pattern on the paper to get as close as possible to my size, the cat was of a big help, as usual:

The muslin 1.0 was too narrow (it is not even zipped up in this picture), too long (see where the point on the left side is going?) and too large in the shoulders. 

After a few alterations I at least managed to slip in correctly, however, the muslin 1.1 shows big changes still to be made in the waist area and on the shoulders.

Here comes the second geometry exercise (in blue):

And the muslin 2.0: fitting gets better even though not perfect yet and I am opening a debate whether to keep the narrow skirt (best seen on the 1.1 version) of the original model or whether to make a larger one. I am afraid my consultants are largely being influenced by the different colours of the muslins, especially the panel effect on its first version. Also, the stiffness of the muslin fabric is quite far away from the silk crepe I will be using on the final dress.

To prove my point that a larger skirt would balance the large shoulders better I ended up making a version 2.1 of my muslin: 

The good question is why do I need to prove my point of view – I will be sewing and wearing the dress in the end.
Anyhow, final version of adjustments on the pattern (in green):

Hopefully any time soon I will get to sew the final dress, as I do not want to start creating UFOs and at a certain point of time also need to see the result of my work.