Wednesday, April 16, 2014

March 2014 Sewing Camp

Just over two weeks ago I had a chance to spend some more quality sewing time with the BSCP, during the March 2014 Sewing Camp.
 As before the location was Moondyne Convention Centre, lovely as always even if the pastures were looking a bit dry (another really long hot summer here).
 How's this for serenity?:

So, to the sewing! First up here's some bunting the club made to celebrate their first birthday (I joined sometime in the year after):
Pretty huh?
 MY project for the weekend was padding out my dressform so that it looked more "me" shaped and less standard factory line dummy shaped.
This was much more work than I expected as I've found out my body has some interesting fitting issue- one shoulder higher than the other, long shoulder to bust point measurement , one hip higher than the other and one leg longer than the other which no doubt explains some of the shoulder/hip discrepancies.
Thank goodness Sandra had agreed to help me with this- in between her own sewing projects- as it was so out of my area of sewing "knowledge" (I have only recently started to understand fitting issues).
Thank you Sandra and I hope I didn't pester you too much!!!
First up Sandra measured me (pre-camp) and we used then we used the FREE women's fitting bodice from Patternmaker  to print out a basic block.
(**I highly recommend having someone help you take the measurements for you if possible to ensure accuracy of the finished pattern- I was very lucky to have an experienced pattern designer/ dressmaker do mine.**)
Sandra suggested extending the block so that it went past the bottom of the dressform, and raising the armhole (less space to fill in after). 
What I ended up with was a rather nice basic dress pattern, which fit better than anything else I've ever sewn straight from a pattern sans major alterations (sorry forgot to take a picture here)
Then all the ease was taken in, with Sandra pinning it as close to my body as possible:
Yeah that was FUN to wriggle out of! 
I had some awesome pin scratches after- what we do for our hobbies eh?
As a note we didn't insert a zip into this toile, just pinned up the back where the zip would have been. In hindsight I think it would have been heaps easier to just leave the centre back seam unsewn - at least for getting in/out of.
Then came the wadding/padding:
 A couple of layers around the abdomen, a few stacks of wadding to lift the shoulder and some pads of flattened hobbyfill to pad out the breast area:
Hand stitching the wadding
This is still an unfinished work-in-progress. I need to make another session with Sandra so she can cross check the measurements with mine, help me to finesse the padding so that it represents my own body fluff and show me how to finish neck/arm holes /"hem" area.
This is one of the hardest sewing projects I have done lately but I think it will be so worth it when its finally done. Even "as is"  it looks so much more lifelike (if not a little eerie late at night):
Oh and I've decided on a name for my dummy- Hilda! In honour of the redhead pin-up girl :D
Happy Sewing!
Kate x

Saturday, March 29, 2014

Topstitching on the edge

Tried out a tip I read somewhere (might have been a forum or on a facebook sewing group page, not sure...) about how to get neat edge top-stiching without a special topstitching foot: use a blind hem foot!
You simply adjust the little wheely/screw (?) thing until the white plastic bit is the desired distance from the stitching line and use it as a guide for the garment edge. Great for when you are working with very small amounts such as 1/8" and 2/8".

Much more accurate (and idiot proof for me) than just "eyeballing" it ;) 

If you have a Janome like me your blindhemming foot could look like foot "G" in the pic below.
Such a simple and effective tip, using what I already have- why didn't I think of it?

Happy Sewing!

Kate :)

Tuesday, March 25, 2014

Voila: Le tablier! (The apron is done)

Just a few little extra details worked on and this apron is now finished:
The McCalls 5643 pattern is retro in style, with three different designs in the envelope. I made version 'A" as it seemed to have the most simplest design and hopefully would be the easiest to alter if I needed to. In the end I added about 10 cm to the torso length, bringing the waist ties in line with my actual waistline. Nice to be able to tie on an apron without having the neckties pull on my neck!
This little project was a chance to try out a couple of new embellishments I'd been itching to use: a simple running stitch around the collar to complement the main fabric, ric-rac as "piping" trim on the pocket and fabric covered buttons (made from some button covering kits I'd picked up over the years- great to finally use those). 

Making my own fabric covered buttons has always daunted me- the finished product looks so "professional" that I'd put the whole idea into the too fiddly/tricky [for me] category.
 Gladly I am happy to say that it is soo much easier than I ever expected :)
I'm hooked and am now wishing I'd given it a go much sooner. Already I'm imagining all the different projects these would look great on!
 Also I now have an extra option open to me for when I can't find buttons to match a particular fabric - yay!

For the ric-rac "piping" I hand basted the ric-rac to the inside of the pocket around the edge. I then machine-sewed  the pocket to the apron with two lines of topstitching (one line would have been enough to secure it but I wanted to be more "decorative").  

This apron has been sitting on my mannequin -finished- for nearly a week and tonight I finally decided to wear it while making dinner (after all an apron IS a working garment). 
I had forgotten how comfy quilting cotton can be to wear, nice and cool in a hot kitchen :) 
This apron also has good coverage/protection for clothing and I can easily see myself making it again in all manner of pretty fabrics :)

Gotta love a good apron!


Happy [Apron] Sewing!

Kate x

Wednesday, March 19, 2014

Fabric FAIL

Please excuse the wrinkles in these pictures but I am so annoyed I couldn't bring myself to make it look "nice" for the camera! 
(Yeah bad blogging practice but it's one of those days).

Finally got around to making another Staple Dress (the first one I made here).
 Wore it for like three hours while a friend was over for lunch. Afterwards when I went to put in the laundry I noticed this laddering/fraying happening one of the back shoulder areas:
I kinda feel like the sewing universe is against me at the moment :( 

The textile content was listed as rayon and I can only guess that this batch was a little bit more prone to weakness/splitting than usual. 
As far as I can remember I didn't catch my dress on anything, so it appears to have split at a stress point (shoulder blades pulling, maybe need more room there?).

Soo annoying as the fabric did feel lovely to wear and the print is quite pretty:

I'm going to hack it off just above the waistline shirring and see if I can salvage a skirt from it.


Think it might be time to start investing in better quality fabrics.

Til next time....

Happy Sewing :)



Monday, March 10, 2014

Retro-style Paris apron (W.I.P)
Nearly finished this apron has been a bit of a "palate cleanser" for me in between bigger projects. A chance to play around with some pretty fabrics and try out some new embellishments, without worrying about multiple pattern alterations/fitting! As a apron ties up it extremely adjustable for fit but still I had to add a bit to length to get the waist ties to sit at my actual waist.
The pattern is McCalls 5643 (OOP) and the apron comes in 3 different misses sizes, which is a surprise to me as I always thought adult aprons were "one size fits most".
Also surprising is that the apron is lined, as most aprons I've brought (new and thrifted) are not. 
I tend to actually use aprons a lot for cooking. I hate having stuff on my hands so having an apron saves my clothes from copping it. 
Also no matter what I'm cooking I always feel a tad more capable and sophisticated with one on ;)

Happy Sewing!

Kate :)

Friday, March 7, 2014

Blue floral shark

A quick stuffie I made up for Cooper when he got sick of playing with my fabric scraps and asked me to make him a "fish":
Yeah I know it looks more shark than fish but that's OK as sharks are one of his favorite animals too at the moment (along with whales, dolphins, beetles, grasshoppers, dinosaurs....).

The fabric is a small sample square of upholstery fabric from a local curtain shop. They stock very nice and very $$$ fabrics. 
Obviously my son has an appreciation for quality textiles as he picked this one out himself ;)

"Sharkey" (the stuffie not the 1980's singer) sleeps with Cooper in his bed everynight and will no doubt be accompanying us when Coop gets his tonsils out next week.
 My poor boy, I'm hoping that having a few things from home will make his overnight stay (I'll be there too) and recovery a little bit easier...

Til next time (one nervous mum)

Kate x

Monday, February 24, 2014

In between projects (a little bit of knicker making)
I'm sure that by now you have already seen way too many images of my homemade undies so I'll just let you know that yes I'm at it again.
Same Kwik Sew pattern, maybe a few different fabrics (this time I splurged and brought some bamboo knit from Fabulous Fabrics...woo-hoo!).
I must say that knicker making is becoming a regular feature in my yearly sewing calendar. Every few months or so (as seasons change or a new wardrobe item demands) I'll pull out [my now] TNT pattern and cut a batch out. Then sloooooooowly (only because I find it a bit tedious after the cutting!) over the next few weeks sew them up. Maybe it's time to shake things up a bit an try out a new pattern? I have quite a few "retro" (circa 1980's) underwear patterns in my stash BUT the Jalie 2568 pattern has caught my eye recently, so who knows ;)

And to those who DIY their own...

Happy Undies Sewing!

Kate :)