Wednesday, 30 January 2013

Fitted Sheath Dress V1137 (1950) V2

Phew - what a relief to produce something that fits OK and that I know I'll wear!

I made this dress using Vogue 1137, a reissue of an original design from 1950.  I also used this pattern to make a dress last year in a stripey dark blue fabric, but last year's version was according to the pattern and this year's includes some changes.

The original is a mid-calf length dress with side vent openings and a demure v-neckline. Since I only had 2 metres of a narrow fabric, this one is above knee length, which means no need for side vents. And the neckline on this one is completely different looking now...

I tried to make this as a quick (ie no muslin, minimal adjustments) dress, but when I tried it on and showed Mr UpSewLate he said something like "what's wrong with the neckline?". The neckline was loose, front and back and the shoulder seams were too wide for my shoulders. I took inspiration from the pleated necklines I've seen at Veronika Maine and pinned away at myself until the fit seemed good enough. Below you can see an inside out view of the bodice against the light - pleats in front and back necklines, angled towards the fullest part of the bodice (well, that's what I tried to do).

I also took the opportunity to add in a bit of a swayback adjustment but looks like I could have taken out more! The upper back is not super tight but sits better than this when I'm not trying to hold my shoulders back for the photo. I quite like the effect of those new pleats...

Do you want a side view too?  The bodice was lengthened in this version by about 1.5cm, and the bust darts lowered by about the same amount.

And because the thought of machine stitching hems now makes me feel guilty (Sherry!), there ended up being hand stitching involved:

Although I'm really slow at hand stitching, the slowest part of the dress ended up being this little feature... which does such a fine job of drawing attention to my lack of waist (maybe a sheath dress wasn't a clever idea!):

The belt strap was fun - made with the buckram from a second hand belt kit - as was choosing the buckle from my small vintage collection. I got stuck on the belt holes though!  Mr UpSewLate and I experimented with hammer and nails, the thing that you use to bang nailheads into the floor, and even a hole punch - he even pulled out a rivet gun (que? well he was going to repair rivets on the lawn mower), but it looked a bit too dangerous. In the end I sewed eyelets on the sewing machine, hacked out the little centres with a quik-unpik, then sewed over them by hand with embroidery floss. 

Ah, a gratuitous "kicking up the legs to celebrate small sewing successes and the sunshine that comes after heavy rain" photo...


Wishing you good luck with your weather and sewing over the next days!

-Gabrielle x 

Tuesday, 22 January 2013

Denim + Stripes

Sorry, that's not a compelling post title is it... but all I have to show tonight are basics, a basic denim skirt and a basic stripey t-shirt.

Very nice fabrics, but both garments are kind of loose and boring. And practical. Comfortable...

Straight skirt in a dark denim, from a modified Vogue 1093 by Donna Karan:

That yellow top stitching is THE skirt detail.
Loose fitting t-shirt in stripey double knit, from Vogue 1387 by John Anthony (very much OOP):

The neckband is the t-shirt's best feature.
Put them together and what do you get?

Something boring!  Even the shoes are boring, but that's because I broke a toe.

The most interesting question is whether or not there was superglue on my hand...  answer 1 below.

Answer 1: no, 10 points; yes, 0 points.

I do realise this skirt makes me look like I'm ensconced in a denim-covered refrigerator, but it is very comfortable and cool (wait, that's nothing to do with refrigeration) and it did look nice on the pattern envelope (how did they get the skirt to taper inwards? There's a vent in the back of the skirt that stops only centimetres away from the zipper! Answer 2 below.)

This skirt was a UFO from last year which I put aside when I grew outwards and didn't have enough seam allowance to cater for myself. Lately I seem to have shrunk back a bit past where I was back then, so now I have a sack skirt to wear. I suppose if I keep it for a while at some point it'll fit just right... but for now it's so comfortable it was worn all day Sunday and all evening today.

I made a few changes but am not sure why my skirt doesn't look right - I removed the waistband, replaced by a waist stay on the inside and hook and eye at the top of the zip, used a heavy duty metal zip instead of invisible zip, left off the side pockets to get rid of extra hip width, OH and used regular denim instead of stretch canvas or stretch denim. Now I understand!  This skirt would be a lot better with a bit of stretch.

Answer 2: stretch, 10 points; clothes pegs, 0 points.

OK, moving on then. T-shirt time.

Although no one is holding me to account I was going to try not to make t-shirts this year... oops.  Doesn't matter, right? I'm happy with this one. Quite voluminous (again), but this time it's supposed to be - it's an 80s pattern! Anyway voluminous is comfortable and works when you're too tired to check what size you are this week (as for something more fitted).

Stripe matching up the sides.

The very nice fabric from The Fabric Store, plus neckband.

Gratuitious blue sky and palm tree shot...

On this pattern I sewed a straight size 14 but enlarged the neckline and used a straight line of fabric rather than a bias strip for the edge - I didn't want lots of angled lines encircling my neck.

So - next up hopefully some frosting. I have some beautiful fabric that I am absolutely itching to sew into dresses...

See you!
Gabrielle x

Monday, 7 January 2013

Week 1

Week 1 of 2013! Wow! I have one more week of leave before going back to work; it doesn't feel like there's been much time for sewing lately but perhaps there has been. [WARNING: Picture heavy post!]

This week I've:

1. Worked on a muslin for the jacket from V2823, to be made from this sea-green silk velvet and perhaps with this wild pink fabric as lining:


Is it too OTT? the green velvet is more vibrant than it appears in this photo... 

I'm currently removing some excess from the front bodice. SBA I guess.

2. Had a trip out with Miss UpSewLate for a zipper and threads that ended in fabric purchases at Tessuti, including the above lining and these couple of scrummy fabrics drying in the sun after their baptisms in the washing machine:

plain turquoise colour is hanging over the edge
a 2.3m stretch remnant!
as well as 0.5m of this stretch fabric

3. that I turned into a KwikSew 3169 top for Miss UpSewLate:

Size 6, arm elastic omitted. Coordinating skirt for Barbie highly recommended.

4. Whipped up a quick sewing room cushion with a centre back zip. I used my new cutting mat (thank you Mr UpSewLate) to get lovely straight lines and proper right angles.

Obviously this photo was not taken in my sewing room. It is Sydney, but it's not hot all year round!

5. Got through the initial stages of a pair of shorts...

... starting with a comparison of pattern shapes (would that be your first step too?). My Vogue 1098 Anne Klein trousers fit me really well in the critical areas, but I was interested in the Vogue Basic Design shorts pattern. I thought they'd be a similar shape in those critical areas and that the leg shape might be different - perhaps a bit flared below the hips?

I was honestly really surprised at how different the pattern shapes were! The photos below show these two patterns line up - both have been cut as size 12 except on the inner thigh where the Vogue Basic pattern is cut as a 16 (and please note I am not responsible for this hacking - it's a second hand pattern). 

FRONT comparison.  What a difference in crotch shape, crotch length, and hip width!

BACK comparison. Same differences!
I'd be interested to hear if you think I'm aligning these pattern pieces incorrectly.  But for the record, I then made the same comparison with the pattern pieces for three different Anne Klein trouser patterns - and found they all had the same crotch shape and length but slight (much, much smaller than those pictured above) differences in hip width and crotch length. I don't know if each designer has their own standard shape, but I'm planning to make some more comparisons with other trouser patterns.

Anyway, I decided to stick with the pattern that fits me...

... and this afternoon I cut the Vogue 1098 Anne Klein trousers shorts out of an emerald green linen and serged them, using the shorts pattern just for shorts length and some side pockets. I hope to get these sewn up soon!

6. Ignored a half-made top - double gauze Nani Iro fabric lined in silk but all looking really wrong. I just don't get the drape on double gauze fabric!
 7. Made vintage pattern purchases on Etsy, including these:

 and these:


Now by the way, have you ever wondered why old McCalls pattern envelopes came in colour and in black and white? Like this one:

Patterns for sale in Australia and New Zealand were printed in Sydney in black and white while the American versions were printed in colour.  I've seen Australian black and white prints of patterns for all the major brands, and single colour envelopes for the smaller Australian brands (Pauline patterns, for example).  


8. Supervised Miss UpSewLate in a craft project. She wanted to make herself a top to match her own special design from a tiny scrap of green linen. Instead we made a simple paper pattern for her, then a muslin, which she decorated.

the proud artist
The front picture is trees on either side of a rocket house (NOT a hammock), with a flower in the foreground and small grey fluffy clouds in the sky. The painting on the back is of a bride throwing petals, with a flower girl walking behind her.

I now need to find out how to make crayons and water colours stay :-), and later we'll have a go at turning her fabric scraps into a top using her pattern.  

Phew, it sounds like I've been busy! 

Back soon with a normal sewing project, Gabrielle x

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