Sunday, 29 July 2012

Skirts on Sunday

Warning: Lenghty post ahead but I make up for it with plenty of pictures.

This is what I finished yesterday afternoon and immediately wore for a leisurely ice-cream-laden stroll around the park with my lovely fiancé.

It has quite the history. If you've been following my hen night dress posts you know that I'm trying to tackle bodice fitting issues resulting from a full bust and a taller than average height. Given the nature of the Jamie dress pattern I've eschewed learning how to properly make an FBA (full bust adjustment) once more.* But last summer I tried to bypass the issue by making a tank top dress. I'd seen this tutorial floating on Pinterest and thought, "Hey, that's just perfect because tanks tend to fit just fine". However, obviously I had to make a few changes:

1) Make the skirt hip level rather than high-waisted as that isn't the best look when you're top heavy, in my opinion.
2) Make a scalloped hem because they were all the rage this time last year.
3) Make a two separate layers for more fullness and swishiness. (Is that even a word? I doubt it.)
4) Make the top layer of the skirt out of a wider piece of fabric so it adds even more fullness.

For several reasons I wasn't over the moon with the results and thought about detaching and redoing the skirt as early as late summer. But the amount of seams and gathering stitches to take out put me off until last Sunday.

On 1) I don't think attaching the skirt lower than in the tutorial really was an issue. Attaching something to a Jersey top, however, especially in a hurry, was. The incredibly wonky seam might have been hidden by a sash but I never really got over it. Further, always having to make sure that a sash is sitting right can be annoying. It kept riding up, exposing the seam. This was the main reason why I didn't wear the dress as often as I'd imagined.

On 2) I followed a Coletterie tutorial for an easy scalloped hem but finished it with a zig zag stitch as I don't own a serger. Further, I added a row of stitches close to the turned scallops to make sure they'd stay that way. I didn't trust them to retain their form without further means and wanted to be able to easily iron them after a wash.

The result was pretty from the outside but not so much from the inside and there were always stray threads to look after. Therefore I cleaned up my hems by turning the top under, giving it a press, and hand stitching them down. If you're interested in a good tutorial on a classic blind hem stitch I used this youtube video to teach myself around Christmas last year. See? Much nicer! No checking for loose threads.

But I was and am terribly in love with the scallops and that's the main reason why I had to salvage the skirt. Also, I simply adore the print and could never waste all that pretty fabric. I had already made another skirt (A-line, yoke, zipper, 56 cm length) from it before making this that I've been wearing tons since last summer.**

On 3) I didn't just make the same scallops on both layers. Rather I made those on the top layer smaller for a petal effect.

On 4) Obviously I've kept the two layers but I trimmed down the top layer so both would be of equal length. Makes inserting the elastic easier. Whilst doing so I redid my French seams as well. Last year's were hurried and slightly scruffy.

Elastic in skirts tends to wander, sometimes twist. Especially with gathered skirts you have to check whether equal parts of the skirt are in the front and back when you wear it/after washing. To rid myself of this nuisance I sewed the elastic down in the side seams.

Et voila, I've got a favourite new skirt that I just know I'll wear until it comes apart.

I'm off to finally sew up my hen night dress whilst watching Baywatch and A-Team re-runs. Gotta love ever so slightly awful TV! I'm very excited but if you're not into fashion sewing all that much, don't fear, I've got a baby quilt lined up which will feature heavily in the next couple of weeks.

Happy Sunday sewing!

*I promise to tackle it in the future.
** Oh, you want to know what that skirt looks like, too? Alright, I'll happily comply.

Wednesday, 25 July 2012

W.i.P. - My Hen Night Dress (4)

On Sunday afternoon I worked on the second toile of my hen night dress. Before we go into the details, let's have another look at the first.

It was way too short, the shelf-like front bodice was pulled up somewhat by my chest and it seemed as if I could go down a size overall. So I did. I cut the pattern for my second toile a size smaller but with the pattern piece for large chests to ensure the same chest circumference. Further, I manipulated the waistband and the back bodice to be 4cm longer and I cut and slashed the front bodice to add space for my chest in a curve - from about 1.5cm toward the middle easing into none in the side. See the top pattern piece in this picture.

Finally, I distributed the gathers differently, letting them go further down the side as to smooth out around the fullness of all my chest and not just the front. That looked odd before.

The results were a bit of a mixed bag.

Negatives first: I ended up with a bodice that I could not pin down on me because it was too tight. No seam allowance left. It was impossible to take good pics and I had no one around to take them for me. Sorry, you must take my words for granted. Despite allegedly allowing for the same amount of chest as the size larger without the extra pattern piece, the second toile looks as if it has way more fabric which makes the gathers look odd on my chest and hollowed out in between them. The neckline is looser and less flattering than the first toile's, too.

Positives: The length is perfect now, hitting slightly below my natural waist as to allow for a seam allowance for the skirt. The shelf is not being pulled up by my chest any longer, rather the seam sits nicely under it giving it a great silhouette. Finally, it was a good idea to spread out the gathers, I might even go for another centimetre there. See?

So I will take my changes and apply them to the pattern pieces of the first toile. I think the lengthening of the waistband (and the weight of the skirt) will make it sit better on my waist and less loose than the first time around. Also, I think the pulling up of the shelf was a big contributor to the way the waistband pulled up and away from my stomach, too.

I might have to add another alteration to the front bodice to get rid of that vertical fabric pulling which always originates from the point at which the gathers stop. Hmm, any ideas? Just go for gathers all the way round? I'll mull over it this week but I'm confident that I can cut into the 'real' fabric this weekend and make my dress!

And now for something completely different to reward you for all that dress talk - 23 stacked hexies.

On Sunday and Monday evening I finally took my seam ripper to a tank top dress I made last summer which I fell out of love with. I want to salvage the double-layered scalloped skirt by turning it into an elasticated skirt. Huuuge step take, I tell you. More to follow another time.

Also, a parcel chock-full of gorgeous fabric for the baby quilt has been delivered this morning. Yay. I'll wash these now and press them in the evening. (Finally some sunshine and higher temps!)

Happy sewing!

Stats for the Week

Finished Projects - 0

Ongoing Projects - 7
EPP hexies - 23 finished flowers and tons basted hexies
Polaroid blocks - still need to make a tote!
Hen Night dress - let's make the dress!
EPP parallelograms/stars
Kirby pillow - needs borders, batting, quilting, and backing
Repurpose last year's scalloped skirt dress to a skirt - add elastic
Viking Baby quilt - fabric will be washed and pressed in the evening

Planning Stage - 5
Wedding Anniversary quilt
Wedding clutch
ET Phone Home EPP project
Moe Moe's Star quilt
Chair cushions for my sister

Linking up with W.i.P Wednesday at Freshly Pieced.

Sunday, 22 July 2012

Kirby's Adventure in My Living/Sewing Room (3)

Last night we left Kirby looking like this.

Ten seams and some severe pressing later he's finally himself again.

Can I get a hooray? It's quite a way (and size) from this.

 And yep, he is slightly wonky which is best witnessed in this shot of the wrong side.

Single strips evidently weren't a great idea after all. I don't really mind though. I keep on carrying it over to the fiancé shouting "KIRBYYY!! KIRBYYY!!". Yes, I'm in love. Not sure I can keep this secret from my sis until her birthday in November. That's an awful lot time to keep secret what you're excited about and I think this will be finished in two weeks the latest if my sewing time allows.

As for the wonkiness, I've got a cunning plan (cool points if you know what I'm referencing!). Haha, nah, not really cunning. I guess I'll just square it up again and don't care about the cut pixels. Or I'll add angled borders and increase the size to 50cm² rather than the aimed at 40cm²

Look here if you've missed Part 1 and/or Part 2.

I'm off to finally sew up the second toile of my hen night dress. Happy sewing!

Saturday, 21 July 2012

Kirby's Adventure in My Living/Sewing Room (2)

This is where we left off in Part 1 of Kirby's Adventure in my Living/Sewing Room.

And now he's shrinking!!

Looking all skinny and hungry.

Intriguing even from the wrong side.

All scrunched up and funky looking after half the horizontal seams are sewn and before cutting the seam allowances open to iron them down.

After a press, looking less skinny but still not finished.


Watchful eyes will already have noticed that Kirby is slightly unbalanced and the square don't match up in perfect straight seams. I guess I should have bitten the bullet and ironed my squares onto a larger piece of fusible web after all - but as shown here by quilting princess with a pencil grid (!) on it and in sections (minus the daughter, obviously). Ah well, we never stop learning!

Kirby is a lot stiffer now and the horizontal seams are a bit of a pain to take care of with my big iron. Right now I'm not sure I'd make another pixellated thing. Probably not a pillow but rather a quilt with much bigger pixels and without fusible web. It's absolutely possible that I turn the literal 180° once this baby is all done and fab, though. I've even got a tentative idea for quilting but will keep mum about it for the moment.

Hoping you're having a splendid weekend!

Friday, 20 July 2012

Kirby's Adventure in My Living/Sewing Room

Remember these? I finally started putting them together.

When I first mentioned my plans, Emily from Phone Home Designs by E.T. recommended that I use fusible web to speed up the assembling process and prevent pulling. I liked that idea a lot but since the project (still) isn't urgent, I have waited for the tutorial that Angela promised for her Super Mario Bros. QAL to see whether she might have found another ingenuous method. She has, but unfortunately I cannot find Angela's recommended wash-out stabiliser over here, so I resorted to Vilene H 200 - one of the thinnest fusible webs that I've used before to interface waistbands of summery light skirts. That way I hope to prevent too much stiffness because I still want the pillow to cuddly.

However, I didn't lay out the whole image onto a large piece of interfacing. I was too scared of accidentally moving bits and ruining everything. So I cut strips of interfacing that I ironed onto single rows of pixels.

My little book for crafty plans and the necessary math with the sketched layout - can you see that I ticked off each vertical row as I went? OCD or carefulness? (Yes, I used it to count the necessary amount of pixels per colour, too! And nearly forgot the black 'mouth' pixel. I wondered for the longest time why I only counted 399 pixels all in all. Duh.)

This is how far I got on Wednesday until I ran out of fusible web of an appropriate length. Meh. I thought I'd quickly rush to my regular supply shop should the rain deem to subside for a moment (yep, our weather is just as bad as yours, British friends, I literally feel your pain) but then I had to get some pressing grocery shopping done and the fickle weather held me back. So the fun had to be delayed until after yesterday's trip to the citizen centre where I wanted to request my new ID (I want to have it as soon as I'm married and not weeks after).

The wait was long. Looong. Long enough to finish all these. And only the grey ones were pre-assembled!

Today I spent my lunch break to finish the remaining eight pixel strips and this is what Kirby looks like at the moment.

Oooh, I can't wait sew the rows together. He'll shrink so much but it'll be fun to see that happening. Like the mushroom over at Sarah's blog? Fingers crossed I find time for it and the second toile of my hen night dress this weekend. We're rather busy at the moment.

Have a great weekend and happy sewing!

Wednesday, 18 July 2012

W.i.P. - My Hen Night Dress (3)

Just a real quick post with pics of a few current projects today. Excuse the lameness, fingers crossed my Viking fabric arrives soon for another baby quilt. And there's still the potential of fabulous snaps of a dress in the near future. Maybe not only the snaps but the dress itself will be fabulous?

Here we go, more fabric for hexies.

And more hexies pre-assembled for train rides.

Tadaa, second toile cut with manipulated pattern pieces. I'm looking forward to assembling this on Saturday. Hopefully it'll fit just fine so I can progress onto the 'real' fabric.

Once more linking up with W.i.P Wednesday at Freshly Pieced, so here are my stats.

Stats for the Week

Finished Projects - 1
Zippered Hexie Pouch

Ongoing Projects - 4.5
EPP hexies - 11 finished flowers and tons basted hexies
Polaroid blocks - still need to make a tote!
Hen Night dress - 2nd toile cut
EPP parallelograms/stars
Kirby pillow

Planning Stage - 7
Wedding Anniversary quilt
Wedding clutch
ET Phone Home EPP project
Moe Moe's Star quilt
Repurpose last year's scalloped skirt dress to a skirt
Chair cushions for my sister
Viking Baby quilt

Hmm, I really need to get some from the planning stage moved to ongoing - the clutch especially! And I must do the math for the chair cushions so fabric can be ordered.

Happy hump day and happy sewing!

Sunday, 15 July 2012

Sew Stitchy Hexie Pouch

After a spectacularly productive week, this past week has seen way less sewing. Nevertheless it's been very productive, only borderline stressful, with lots of important things checked off the wedding to-do list. You know the drill: find a hairdresser, find something to put in my hair, decide on flowers for the wedding bouquet, get more serious about the seating plan, find a dress for my sister/witness, buy earrings... So yay! There's only very little left to do and I'm hopeful to have everything done by the end of next week and therefore five weeks in advance. Fingers crossed.

This afternoon I finally had some proper me-time and I spent it in one of the best ways known to us - plotting, cutting, sewing. First, I manipulated the pattern pieces of my hen night dress and cut the second mock-up which will be assembled next Saturday.

Second, I wanted to make something quick and fun and very useful. My hexies are overflowing so I made a zippered pouch to keep them in check. And what better fabric to use than some of the Sew Stitchy layer cake that I won the other week? It arrived on Tuesday and I'd been trying to come up with an instant gratification project ever since. I chose the grey pins and hexies for the outside. So apt! And much prettier than a plastic ziplock bag. Right size to take outside, too.

It's sized 23cm by 19cm. Here's a shot with eleven finished hexie flowers for reference. Hexies are 5cm in diameter.

I'm making much more progress on them now I'm taking pre-assembled sets (the petals attached to the centre, but not each other) with me on the train. That way I can finish one flower on my way to and another on my way from work. Pre-assembling takes place whilst watching a movie, for instance tonight.

To celebrate having more space for my hexies I decided to cut fabric for even more hexies. Hehe, slightly addicted.

The pouch used only four pieces of the layer cake, so I've got another 38 left to make awesome things with. Maybe a sewing machine cover? More pouches? It's already proved a real treat. Thanks again, Fiona!

So what did you get done?

Linking up with Manic Monday over at SewHappyGeek.

Wednesday, 11 July 2012

W.i.P. - My Hen Night Dress (2)

First, the state of my EPP hexies. Nine flowers and nearly 100 basted hexies, about 60 of which were added on Sunday evening. By this time I've sewn together another two red flowers.

More important, earlier on Sunday I sewed up the first toile of my hen night dress' bodice. I'd read somewhere that the dress is a little on the tight side so I cut it one size larger than I usually would have. Because of the measurements of that size that I did not use the extra front bodice piece for larger chests. Here are a couple of awful shots of the results. It's so difficult to snap yourself, or pin yourself into a toile for that matter.*

It's not all bad... The chest fits nicely across, I like that (I might change the gathers a bit, though, have them extend further left and right). Unfortunately everything else is at once too big and too small. Haha. The waistband is way too loose as you can see but the shelf for the bust rides up a little and creates folds on the side, it's not long enough, same goes for the waistband - it ends waaay too high.

How to amend things: I will definitely cut another toile one size smaller but will use the extra pattern piece that increases the bust size to just my measurement. Further, I'll add 2cm to the gathered front bodice piece so it won't ride up anymore. That might have to be added in a curve, right? No need to change the side look of the seam too much and the riding up happens mainly in the front). The waistband will be lengthened by about 3cm to bring down the waistline to my natural waist. I might make it 4-5 just to be on the safe side and make a final decision later. I'll also have to lengthen the back bodice piece to bring everything to the same length. Can you think of anything else I might have forgotten/got wrong?

I originally put an elasticated skirt next to the bodice's waistline to get a better impression of the finished product, but sorry, no pics. You must take my word for it that it looked awfully awful. Yep, I said awfully awful and I mean it.

In sum, I'm happy to have made the toile (of course) and don't even mind having gone for a size too large because of something I've read because it's given me a good idea about issues that are beyond the sizing. Also, I've had a good first run sewing this up and after a second one the real dress should come together even more easily and without any problems. Getting all excited now!

Happy sewing!

*The pinning had no impact on the fit, though. I pinched things in front of the mirror and it was just as bad/was just as loose.

Stats for the Week

Finished Projects - 0.5
Polaroid blocks - pillows done!

Ongoing Projects - 4.5
EPP hexies
Polaroid blocks - still need to make a tote!
Hen Night dress
EPP parallelograms/stars
Kirby pillow

Planning Stage - 7
Wedding Anniversary quilt
Wedding clutch
ET Phone Home EPP project
Moe Moe's Star quilt
Repurpose last year's scalloped skirt dress to a skirt
Chair cushions for my sister
Viking Baby quilt

Saturday, 7 July 2012

We have a Winner!

Welcome back to the draw! Since Tabatha mentioned the metaphorical hat and we had one in our closet, I thought it'd be nice touch to use a literal hat instead of a random number generator. Lots of pics for transparency's and nostalgia's sake and the fiancé watched to ensure that the draw went above board.

The hat.

26 names...

...turned into 26 tickets...

...and put in the hat.

And the winner is...drum roll...

...who said...

Congratulations Cecilia! I've already emailed you. Let me know which cover you'd like to call your own and I'll make sure to send it to you asap. I think we're all curious to know which one you will choose!

The brown one?

Or the multicoloured one?

Also, let us know once you've made your own Dresden and how they look together!

Thank you all for your enthusiasm. I'm stunned so many of you professed interest in my little project and took time to encourage me along the way. I hope you're enjoying a splendid weekend!