Sunday, November 18, 2012

Lovely Award + Unwearable Swimmers

A few weeks ago the very lovely Karin gave me the Premio Primavera award for commenting on her blog. I'm sure you know already know Karin - she sews and knits lovely things for herself and her family, and she's such an active and supportive commenter that the award seems made for her!


I feel like a bit of a dud for taking this award as I'm really conscious of having been absent from blogging and commenting for a few weeks now, and I know the next few weeks will be similar. There has been an awful lot of life interrupting my sewing plans lately :-). Mostly the better sort of life interruptions like travel, parties and birthdays - though if you know me IRL you'll realise I'm trying to forget the weekends of minding up to 6 young kids on top of my own 2... and the scary evening where I lost 3 while looking after another 3!

I'm not sure of the exact rules or provenance of this award (I did look but couldn't find them), but basically it's a heartfelt thank you to the lovely people who support blogs with their comments. So it's with great pleasure that I pass this award on to the last commenters (yes, I know it's more than 9, but I really want to thank them all) on this blog:

Audrey of SewTawdry
kbenco of kbenco's projects

DeniseAngela of Sew Coco

Selective Fine Fabrics

MAD14kt
Fabric Epiphanies

HoffiCoffi
Karin (herself!) of Sew Here We Go Again!

Catherine Daze of cyberdaze

Robyn of Sew Love Red

Carolyn of Handmade by Carolyn
Kat of All the whimsical things
thecuriouskiwi

Thank you all, I appreciate your comments and support so much!


And for the unwearable swimmers of the post title let me show you my most recent fail (screams in frustration). I was in love with the idea of this one - lovely wide aqua and while stripes on a simple swimming costume.  I read up on loads of swimming construction reviews and posts, took careful measurements, etc etc etc. Sometimes winging it works better (it sure doesn't take as long).

Front view (in progress)
Back view (in progress)
It kind of looked OK in the flat... but it was too short. Well, let me correct that - it's not that it was too short, it's that the length was in the wrong places. There was too much length in the straps and not enough in the waist-bust section - ie too, too low cut (think that Baywatch look). I shortened the straps by 3 (!!) cm but then the body was really stretched. Maybe that sounds wearable in desperate circumstances, if I hadn't then also stuffed up the leg elastic. Oops. And with the swimmers stretching out lengthwise combined with narrow seam allowances, there wasn't any extra fabric around the legs for a fix. No picture of that, sorry.

Bust darts (did I need those???) are way too low on me


The pattern I used was KwikSew 3064, which I modified in a few ways. I changed the main view from a two-piece to a one-piece sans belt, and I fully lined it with extra lining at the bust - with all the effort I was going to I thought a thorough lining would make it last longer (ha!).


View of full lining PLUS bust lining, no cups as yet
Although I do think this a good basic pattern with quite a bit of detail in the instructions, I think it needs a few more changes next time around:
  • I'll remove the bust darts (it's lycra innit!).
  • I'll measure my body length in sections and add the length in the areas where it's needed rather than in the standard "lengthen here" place.
  • I'll do lots of practise in sewing in elastic first.
  • I'll try to work out the KwikSew formula of elastic length vs opening length for those areas where I need to use multiple sizes or where I've adjusted the shape of the opening. If I crack it I'll share.
  • I'll narrow the crotch to match my RTW swimmers (that's def. a measurement to check in private...).
  • I'll watch out for sneaky stripe tricks. Although this rear view looks OK in the flat it looks highly attention seeking when worn - NOT good!

That's a wide crotch!

Inappropriate

The good news is that I have heaps more of this fabric, so I'll be able to have another crack at it. Not for a few weeks though as there's a busy few weeks coming up...

Thursday, November 1, 2012

Breezy Linen Dress with Contrast Sash (M6553)

Close-up of Dinosaur Designs resin fish necklace by Miss Upsewlate

Close up of sash by Miss Upsewlate

Here's a dress I finished not last weekend but the one before - can't believe it's taken me this many days to post it! At this time of year the days just seem to fly past - one minute it's October, the next it's Christmas! Well that's a slight exaggeration, but last weekend was a sewing write-off since we were living it up in the Yarra Valley sans kids, doing degustation meals and wine tastings left, right and centre with 14 other friends. 

Anyway, food and wine are off topic, and I would hate to make anyone really, really jealous.

Big loose pleats in the back

So to the M6553 dress... to which Mr Upsewlate seems rather partial, despite its lack of body-skimming properties... and whose colour and twirling potential Miss Upsewlate covets:

The sash goes through some side seam holes to leave the back billowing


Back view on the dummy. The sash is what's sitting around the neck.

Side view - here you can see in an inseam pocekt and one of the sash openings.

Apparently this is what I look like mid-conversation! Note the pocket :-) 
Too big. Maybe even 2 sizes too big (I made a 14, thinking of Vogue sizing) - it's extremely loose on the upper bodice and bust. I did eyeball the pattern pieces before cutting out and I probably didn't realise where the various pieces started and ended, because once sewn up it looked much bigger than my normal size. Luckily the sizing is quite forgiving :-). Interestingly I would say that the dress on the pattern cover is also too big for the model!


Too short too. Oops. I know the up-down hemline is fashionable but I didn't really mean to show this much above-knee - I do not love that above-knee section. Please avert your eyes from that area so I don't get embarrassed. Not so bad though when I wear it without the belt (like today - incidentally a real scorcher of a spring day, expected to get to 35C). If you're wondering how long it would be on you, I'm just under 5'9".

Photo by Miss Upsewlate, who made me change shoes
If you're thinking of making this pattern, I'd suggest you measure the widths carefully - what with the wide neckline, separate facings, top stitching (ahh - I decided not to do that) and varying hem lengths it'd be a pain to size down later on. The pattern uses a lot of fabric, far more than your average knee-length no-sleeve dress, so check the fabric requirements rather than just guessing (like I did - hence the contrast sash).  Although it's recommended for double knits, cotton knits, gabardines and suiting, mine's made from a heavy linen which I think will be perfect on sticky summer days. Fingers crossed the linen will shrink some more, though only in the width (please washing gods).

Next up I am going to try to force myself to make an adult swimsuit. Scary! I know another dress would be more fun but I've only got one (old) pair of swimmers at the moment and the weather is heating up! Wish me luck...

see you
G x
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