Monday, 25 July 2011

Thanks Again to Donna Karan - V1220

I love this dress - V1220 from a Vogue Donna Karan Collection pattern - but my seasons are completely out! It's the middle of the winter here and I feel the cold, so although I was brave for about 10 minutes this evening this dress will now need to wait till Spring to be worn. 

Excuse my customary lack of make-up, grooming etc - but that's a smile! Yay for proper sewing and a good pattern!

I think everyone that's made this dress has been happy with it. Mine is not a perfect version - for example, my collar pleats don't align and my hem facing inners and outers didn't match up 100%. My hair will cover the collar error and I'll pretend my extra pleats on the hemline are a design feature, so don't tell!

oops on the collar
design feature on the hem

As I was making this I wasn't sure how it would look on my not very curvy shape. I knew it looked stunning on curvy women, for whom it's recommended... but I think it's OK on me too?

thinking... is it a yay or nay?
I'll post a review at Pattern Review at some point, but the essentials are as follows:

Fabric: Stretch cotton-polyamide ("light grey check"), from Tessuti Fabrics, and just $10/metre after 50% off! I bought 2.8m - that length was needed for the belt.

Sizing: I sewed a 12 in the bodice area and sleeves, graded out to a 14 for waist and hips. "Grading out" makes it sound confident, assured, etc but it felt like a gamble as the pattern pieces are not your average shapes.


Any Other Changes: None apart from adding those feature pleats at the hemline, ha!  They aren't that great a feature when seen from behind.

Oh actually I found one - I didn't make the little loops to carry the belt as I'm not sure I'll use the belt. My mother-in-law certainly thought a bow at the waist would be an error of judgement for me and she's probably right (sigh).

Especial Likes: Concealed buttons, pockets, pleats, sleeve cuffs, faced hem... I guess that's why I made a warm weather dress in cold weather.

Watch Outs: Your fabric choice! If you choose to use checks or stripes you are making the job harder than it need be.

Also I think it would be best to use a fabric that doesn't fray too wildly as there are a couple of places where you need to reinforce and then clip in to a corner.  

Conclusion: A great summery dress!

Time to fill my hot water bottle and hit the sack!

... good night~

Sunday, 17 July 2011

His Loss, My Gain

My partner's birthday is coming up, so I considered making him something. A nice striped long sleeve T-shirt, I thought, with that navy/burgandy striped cotton jersey that I bought last year with him in mind. Got out the fabric. Good quality, yes. Very stripey, check. Sort of masculine, yes.  Measurements? Just 1.3m long. :-(

I think that I must have bought this fabric when I was looking scruffy, on a non-work day.  I remember the shop assistant convincing me to buy less fabric than I wanted to. Maybe she thought I couldn't afford it, but seriously, this was a cheap fabric by Sydney standards - I'm pretty sure it was less than $10 a metre.  It may also have been on sale.  Maybe I was looking really down at heel? 
very bunched up...

So I've made myself a long sleeved T-shirt instead - his loss and my gain! I hope it improves my casual look as well as helping me keep warm. That does mean I have to think of another birthday present though.

loose (RTW-style) shoulder fit
The top is inspired by a long-sleeved top that I was remembering from Burda 02/2011 (top 106B) - in drafting this post I've gone back to check my inspiration top, and it's a little different to what I made.

Because I didn't want to spend time on the cold floorboards tracing out the pattern, I made my top by copying an old, much-loved RTW long-sleeved T-shirt.  The old favourite was looking grotty and threadbare (maybe I am very scruffy on weekends!) so I hacked it up and then cut out the stripey fabric in approximately the same shape.I probably should have reviewed the fit first though as my resulting top is loose in the area around front shoulder / arm hold / above bustline. That's ^&*(&%$  RTW fit for you!

My fabric was insufficient for sleeves in a single piece so I have cuffs with the stripes at a 90 degree angle.  I do like this sort of end to a jersey sleeve anyway - it's neater for me to be able to omit the twin needle stitched hem, and the doubled fabric at the wrists feels somehow reliable (though I don't know what I'm relying on the cuffs for).

As usual, I've used that thin transparent elastic on shoulder seams and around the neckline (not shown). There's no seam finishing on the inside as my zigzag stitch stretches out the edges and then that shows through to the right side of the fabric - I'm not finding this lack of finishing to be an issue though with knits. 

Here's the stripes lined up down a sleeve and a side seam - there wasn't much to worry about with an easy top like this except for lining up those stripes and making a reasonable neckband!

stripe matching down the arm

stripe matching down the side seam


PS I feel I should apologise for my last post - it didn't really seem to be much about sewing. My sewing is going slowly these days because it's just too cold in my sewing area - but I've nearly finished some proper sewing that I'll share with you soon: Vogue 1220 Donna Karan Collection, the very popular summery shirt dress. I'm not sure yet whether this style is just for the curvy ladies, but you can be the judge when I finish it and brave the cold for some pics.

Saturday, 9 July 2011

Pattern Magic 2: Wearing a Square

One lot of facings flicked over shoulder
Facings hanging free

This is no doubt the easiest "pattern" in Pattern Magic 2...  there's barely any sewing to it, and not even that much measurement required.  

I made a little paper model first, like the one shown in the book, to understand how the top was to be cut from fabric and which areas needed proper measurements.  This is pre-gussets of course:

The author seems to have made all her creations from woven fabrics (linen?), but on the Wearing a Square pages she comments "It would be interesting to make up this simple garment in a stretch fabric."  Yes!  Finally time for my blue Marc Jacobs double-layer knit to have its moment in the sun! 

Mulling over my paper model and my too-large piece of fabric, I decided to modify the square by using a ridiculously large facing for the front opening - so making more a rectangle than a square. This is very easy to reduce later on though.  I also made rather long narrow sleeves, which get baggy half way down due to the large gussets.

Flat-pack top - the folded fabric down the middle is my extra-wide facing

I didn't finish the edges or sew on any closures because I kind of like unfinished knit edges but also I haven't decided what I want of this. Depending on the final width of the finished facing, this top could have a small cowl, a hood or a scarf (might take a few cuts). The look of the top changes depending how much of the facing is gathered up on the shoulders, which also depends on how much width of facing you have - but whatever extra width you have can obviously be sewn down in permanent ruching if you wish.

Facing folded in half to make a deep hood/scarf

Back view with most of the fabric gathered on shoulders
Side view showing deep gussets, narrow sleeves

Folded over facing and the long narrow sleeves

Adding other geometric shapes to the square or making the fabric folds less symmetric are some of the other possibilities that I'm thinking about...

PS I've come to this Pattern Magic fascination rather late really - if you're interested in seeing more creations from Pattern Magic 2, head over to this Flickr group.
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