jeudi 18 septembre 2014

Finished Project - One last summer dress

On a trip to Fabricana in early July, I was supposed to only get some swatches of fabric for a special project...But of course, I fell into the remnant bin and came out with 3 random pieces of fabric.

One of them was this pink/purple cotton with a mix of tie-dye and batik print. I couldn't resist. I knew it was going to be my last summer dress of the year.

The piece was fairly small (about 115x140cm), so I had to keep it simple. I really wanted an easy dress, the kind that you just slip on on hot summer day, that's effortless and breezy, and doesn't need any addition. 

It had to be sleeveless, but I wanted to be able wear it to work, so I ruled out spaghetti straps, and I didn't want something too loose or flowy - the fabric has a nice body and wouldn't really work as well with a flowy shape anyway.

I had a lot of criterias in mind but couldn't decide on an actual silouette.

I actually looked at a lot of dresses online, hoping to pinpoint what I really wanted, and thinking I would know it when I saw it, which didn't totally happen. Eventually though, i decided it would have a v-neck and some sort of a mock-wrap bodice - I couldn't do a real wrap since I didn't have enough fabric.

For the pattern, I decided to go with pattern 108 from April 2010 of Burda magazine, which matched my idea of faux-wrap with the under-bust seam. The main design detail on that pattern are the pleats, which I removed completely by taping them out on the pattern piece. The pattern starts with size 38, so I had to grade down to a size 36.

For fit alterations, I did my usual:
-Sway back alteration
-forward shoulders adjustment
-back shoulder dart to prevent armhole gaping
-took in at the the center back seem 
-lowered bust dart by 1.5 cm

For design changes I:
-left out the sleeves and didn't add seam allowance on the armholes, so that the shoulders would end up a bit narrower.
- designed a low neckline in the back.


I wanted it to be a fast and simple project, aka, no muslin. I've been using the swedish-type tracing paper, which is great for pattern fitting, since it doesn't tear.  I was able to check the fit by pinning the pattern pieces together and putting them on, and it was actual quite good right off the bat.
I didn't have to adjust the bust length as I often do, and I didn't need a small bust alteration either. There were actually some pulling lines under the bust, which I managed to get rid of by lowering the bust darts about 1.5 cm.

I cut the fabric and basted all the piece together to check the fit in the fabric. The fit of the front was actually very good, if only a little loose, but I was ok with it.

I decided though that I wanted the neckline a little lower, so i recut it.
Then I proceeded to sew the garment for good.
Unfortunately, once all sewn back up, i realized the neckline was now massively gaping on the right side. Not sure what happened, I cut both side symmetrically, or so I thought, but somehow something went wrong. To fix that I had to slip the left bust piece to hit higher on the righ side, to get rid of the gapping. This meant I had to take in a good 2cm on the left side below the bust seam, tapering down to nothing at the hem, to accomodate for the now offset pieces.
In the end, the fix worked. The dress is slightly more fitted than I originally intended, which is actually fine as I can wear it without a belt. It does mean that the main front piece is now technically a little off-grain, so i guess the side seam could start turning after I wash it a few times. This is a pretty sturdy cotton fabric with no stretch though, so I'm hoping it won't happen.

The neckline ended up slightly off (the point of the V is not quite centered), but it's not too noticeable.

I did french seams on the inside and finished the neckline and armhole with bias tape and top stitching - I'm actually quite pleased with my finishing of the neckline point, it's very neat.

In the end, I'm very happy with this dress, it's pretty much what I had in mind (even though I wasn't quite sure what I had in mind). the faux wrap is barely visible (but I know it's there! )

I made sure to complete this dress just before flying to Montreal for a long week-end at the end of August, as I knew Vancouver weather was already getting too cool, and that week-end might be one of the last opportunities to wear it before fall came.
These photos were in fact taken last tuesday on what seems to have been the very last day of summer, as the rain has now started to fall on Vancouver.

samedi 5 juillet 2014

Finished Project: Blue Sweater

Another stash-busting project!

I purchased a piece of blue merino wool knit fabric from Gala fabric in Victoria a few years ago. It was a remnant and there wasn't enough to make a full long-sleeve top. So right away I thought I should find some complementary fabric. Fast forward three years later, when I finally decided to tackle this project, and I purchased some poly satin in a similar color, for a nice mat/shiny contrast.

For the pattern, I used an RTW sweater that I had in my closet. It's a raglan sleeve, V neck top with fitted sleeve and a loose body.

I traced the sweater and made it into a paper pattern then proceeded to put the pieces together.
I made one rookie mistake though. I didn't account for the fact that my original sweater was a knit, and the complimentary fabric that I purchased for the back was a woven with no stretch whatsoever. As a result, I had to use as much of the seam allowances as i could to get a bit more ease. It's still a little tight if I reach both my arms out in front of me, but I can live with it.

The neckline on the original sweater has no finishing (raw edge) but for this I prefered adding a collar band. I replicated the instructions from Sewaholic's Renfrew top to create the collar band and sleeve cuffs.
I added a strip of satin fabric over the raglan seam in the front for a bit of contrast. I only wish the seam was a little lower below the shoulder so that the seam would be more straight.  

I love a buttoned back, and this seemed like the perfect opportunity, so I added a button placket to the center back seam.

Refashion: Jeans to Skirt

A while back, I had bought four pairs of jeans from Value Village for 5 bucks each. I turned two into shorts and kept one as is. The last one had been sitting in my "refashion" pile since then.

I have seen a lot of denim skirts coming back in trends (I mean really, denim is never out of trend), and decided to go with the most classic of all refashions: turning jeans into skirts.

 Nothing new about how I made these: I cut the legs off and un-stitched the crotch, then I used a piece of the leg to fill the gap in the front.

The jeans had a good amount of stretch, which allowed me to go with a pencil shape rather than a-line. The gap in the back was small enough that I didn't need to add fabric to fill it and could keep it as a "slit" for walking ease.

This was a super easy refasion, and it's become one of my favorite skirts.

PS: this necklace is from an online store called Happiness Boutique. I found out about it on this lady's blog. I ordered two "statement" necklaces from them and I found they had a really nice selection and prices where quite reasonable. Plus free worldwide shopping! Just thought I'd share...

jeudi 26 juin 2014

Finished Project: Neon Dress

I whipped up this dress in two evenings, after decided on a whim to make it for an office party.
The party theme was neon. At first I didn't want to buy anything as neon isn't really something that I wear a lot of. So I tried borrowing from friends but didn't really find anything I flet comfortable wearing. So I started looking in stores afterall, but couldn't find anything that I thought I'd wear again. Finally, a co-worker and I were going to the fabric store to pick up neon fabric to make table clothes, so i though "heck, I'll just make a dress".

I found this awesome print in the polyesther section. I don't usually go for synthetics, but this one was just so perfect. At $26 a meter, it's also significantly more expensive than what I usually pay, but the polyesther is really good quality, super soft and buttery. It was a bit too light to be used just as is though, but instead of doing a lining, I thought I wouldn underline the main fabric with a black fabric of similar stretch and weight.
I found some super soft black lycra in the knit section and knew it was going to work. I also picked up a bright pink exposed zipper for the back closure.

Both fabrics were a dream to work with, easy to cut and with no fraying, and super forgiving. I'm pretty sure I could use the remnants to make a bathing suit (I think I just might).

Since I didn't have time to make a muslin, I thought I'd use a pattern I'd already made: I used Pattern 107 from Burda magasine March 2009 (previously seen here ).
It is a simple shift dress with raglan shoulders and princess seams, which makes it super easy to adjust the fit of, since I can just pinch the excess along the princess seams where needed.

Back when I made the first one, I had no concept of pattern adjustments, so when I put it on, I could see all the issues, but also how to fix them. Also by now, I've figured out most of the adjustments that I pretty much need to make right off the bat:
- lowered the waistline by 2 cm
- did a forward shoulder adjustment
- sway back adjustment: this one was interesting. The amount of fabric I was able to pinch on my original dress was crazy, so I ended up taking that extra fabric out in two places on the pattern (I read a tutorial suggesting to do that, but I can't seem to find it online). As a result, I added quite a bit of fabric in the CB to make the CB seam straight, which I ended up taking in anyways on the final dress. Not sure if that was the right process, but in the end it worked.
Additionnally, when putting the dress together I did the following:
-Took in about 1cm from princess seam at bust point, tapering to nothing at waist
-took in 1 cm from side seams at hips, tapering to nothing at bottom hem
- shortenned the dress by about 2 1/2 inches.

also love my bright lipstick: MAC Impassionned

I finished heming the dress on the morning of the event, and didn't even bother finishing any of the seams at first, for lack of time - i went back later to trim allowances etc, but the insides were a pretty big mess when I first wore it)

I'm super happy with how the dress turned out. Thanks to the stretch and the weight of both fabrics combined, the fit is pretty much perfect, and the dress is actually incredibly comfortable to wear. I also can't get enough of this print. That green is so bright, it looks like it might glow in the dark (it doesn't). I'll definitely wear it again to go out!

vendredi 4 avril 2014

Sneak Peek: Spring sewing

I have a few finished projects that I haven't had a chance to take proper photos of. So in the meantime here's a quick sneak peek:

My neon dress - so happy with how this one turned out, especially since I only had 10-15 hours over two days to make it.

My new denim skirt. It's actually a refashion project since I used thrifted jeans and turned them into a skirt. Probably one of the most classic refahionning there ever was, but again I,m quite happy with the result.

This one had been one my list for a couple of years. It's copied from a RTW sweater I own. It' only missing button-holes (and buttons) on the back, which hopefully I will do this week-end....

That's it for now. I have a couple summer projects that I was going to start on, but now I'm obsessed with figuring out my wardrobe for the 5 weeks trip we're taking to New Zealand and Autralia in just a couple of weeks. Since it will be Fall there, but should still be quite nice, I'm dreaming of layering, with long sleeve shirts and have been digging around the intranet and pinterest for all those free shirt patterns.  I'm hoping to make a couple of lose long sleeve shirts and maybe a maxi dress.. We'll see!

dimanche 30 mars 2014

Burda Easy fashion - Spring 2014

I regularly go to the French Burda magasine site to check out the latest issue before deciding if I want to buy it. This time the issue of Easy fashion - Spring 2014 was available. I took a quick look and I was very happily surprised by the patterns.

First, this cute little bomber jacket. I've seen quite a few around the blogoshpere (mainly the Rigel Bomber jacket by Papercut Patterns, which had me really re-think the idea of that style). I think I might actually prefer the higher, rounder neckline on this one:

I've also been dreaming of making bustier tops, for the summer or to wear under a cardigan/button down shirt. This one looks like a good one to start with. It also involves sheering in the back, which would help with fitting:

 But the big ticket that made me want to definitely buy this issue was this jumpsuit:

It is basically the same bomber jacket as above, but attached to pants. I feel like it could be really nice and comfortable in a light, silky fabric. I actually quite like the photographed version. And the best thing, there are two other variations of this jumpsuit, all based on the same top and pants:

Three quarter sleeves and shorter hem, with a tie neck instead of mandarin collar. Love.
And for those hot summer days:

Sleeveless and shorts. Love. Love. I can see it in a scarf-type fabric, maybe with a solid color for the sleeve yokes.

Jumpsuits have been on my sewing dreamlist forever but I never found a pattern that I was 100% convinced by until now. I like that these have raglan sleeves and a front zipper, it's different from the more classic button down or wrap/drape front. I want to make all three versions. And the best part is, once I fit one, I can basically make the other two with the same alterations.

This is another thing that I really liked about this issue, is that a lot of the pieces are used in different variations and paired together to form another garment. For example, the dress below is basically the bustier top from earlier, paired with a skirt thst also come as a seperate pattern:

It may seem like a cheat (you're not getting as many patterns as it seems), but I actually think it's really smart, especially since these "easy" issues are, I assume,  targetted towards less experienced sewers. It's a great way to introduce the idea of "frankernpatterns", while still making it easy and accessible to create a variety of garments.

I'll end on two more cute looks: wrap skirt and cross top on the left, another version of the bomber jacket and cute shorts on the right.

I went to my local newspaper store, but they didn't have a copy of this issue. I feel like they only get 1 or two copies of the Easy issue and i didn't want to risk missing it, so I asked my mom to find it for me in France (I'm sure she'll have no trouble), and send it via post. I can't wait!

jeudi 13 mars 2014