Thursday, 14 February 2019

Papercut Patterns Fjord cardi x 2

As per my new usual, I made two of these.

The first fabric is a ponte.  It's my first time working with ponte.  I loved the idea of it and was really excited when I ordered it. (From Drygoods Design, who have so many amazing fabrics!) A problem with buying all my fabric online - I don't get to touch it, and I have to acquire a lot of fabric in order to even start matching fabric to patterns. I am trying not to hoard and it is frustrating to see the pile of fabric grow! (As always, I'll be moving soon enough.) 

So it ends up I do not like ponte.  It feels like cheap old polyester.
I made the XS and the long version of this cardi, best to make all my friends happy.  I didn't make any changes.  Up to the final step - attaching the front yoke, I did the entire thing on my overlocker without even ironing. 

This is partly because I hate the Singer Fashion Mate with a passion.  My entire review of this particular sewing machine is: don't get one.  If you have one and like it, you have founts of patience beyond mine.  Sewing with it is a trial.  The feed dogs are lazy.  Birds nests form from perfectly wound bobbins.  Don't even consider buttonholes - the alignment is off and it will make your buttonhole in the wrong place, and that's if it's willing to make it.

Back to the pattern: you are told to sew the bottom edge of the front yoke, but then to fold over the yoke SA to the inside to get a clean finish. That means the inevitable terrible corner at the bottom front is present - multiple layers that won't sew together neatly.  I recommend only sewing the front corner and leaving a very large SA at that bottom edge, in order to mitre or tuck in when you sew the front down.

Otherwise everything done smoothly.  I topstitched the yoke down which doesn't look very good.  Next time I'd probably baste the SA, iron it prior to attaching that front yoke, and then stitch in the ditch.

I found this a bit too long for my taste, and of course I continued to hate the fabric.  I think in the right fabric the length would drape nicely but I was excited to move onto the short version.
As usual for Papercut, the arms are quite loose.  Otherwise I was happy with the fit. I gave it to my climbing partner and she loves it.

Version 2 is the short version, in a heavy wool fabric with a kind of irregular "plaid" to it.  It does stretch a bit but feels more like mechanical stretch.  I didn't size down because I knew this bulky fabric would make everything fit more snugly.  I considered changing the hem to a ribbing, but the sleeves are bulky enough not to need different cuffs, and overall I wasn't sure I cared enough to go hunting for such specific findings.  I discovered on the short version that the pockets are basically in line with the armpits.  That's just a fact based on the pattern pieces.  Also, the fronts lie far open on me.  I expected to love this short version, but even careful attention didn't help me to get the trifecta of the hem band, front band and body to match up - the front band was way too short to have a seam allowance below the level of the hem band.  It took me ages to finish it as I just lost enthusiasm when it came to fixing these small final matters and applying the front collar, and it sat in a pile underneath my ironing board for over a month. I had been really excited about this, but completely forgot about that.

I finally finished it shortly before leaving (deja vu! Leaving again!) and honestly it's fine.  I like it. But I'm moving, so I'm sending it to a friend. This was quite a lesson to me.  Sometimes an item really does need time out to be a UFO, and you need that time to dissociate your hopes from the start of the project and the end result.  But the end result is often still lovable!  I was a bit sad to give this away in the end though my friend will hopefully get loads of wear out of it.

Channelling my inner grumpy old man today...

In order to fix it, I overlocked the hem band to the body at the level to allow the front facing to still be longer and overlap it a bit, so I could finish it. In this fabric it's hard to see any messes I made and overlocking is good for keeping things neat even when they seemed hopeless.  My "topstitching" of the front facing band is laughable.  Again, I think the whole jacket itself makes that an invisible issue.

This pattern hangs open a LOT in the front. There is enough fabric to close the front, but the drape and the hang are further out.  I would add a button of some kind if I were to make this again.  In the heavier fabric I think the short version is good and the size is great too - it's loose enough not to need different bands.

Friday, 25 January 2019

Metamorphic dress by Sew Liberated, take 2 x 2

I was pretty sad to have messed up my first Metamorphic but I definitely wanted more. So I undid the bodice shortening and ordered some pretty linen.

While waiting for my linen to arrive from Lithuania, I realised I had the perfect combination for #2.  Two layers of cotton voile, one in "sage green" (bad advertising) from Mood and the other a Nanette Lepore silk/cotton voile from Harts Fabrics.  I haven't worked with voile in a long time and had forgotten about how fine lightweight fabrics can be shifty, but overall I didn't have any major problems with it.  Because both layers are transparent, if I flip this dress to have the taupe side out, the flowers will show through.  Maybe I'll do that one day so I didn't put a label in it but I think the real show here is the seafoam green and flowers!

By using such light fabrics I could see how this pattern would do with a minimum of gathering fluffiness.  The bodice ends where it should end.  In fact, I'd say that if you have a large bust it would be wise to lengthen the bodice so it hangs below the bustline - by shortening one inch I made the dress totally unwearable (see here if you really want to) and although some of my pictures make it still seem high, when worn it's obviously below the curve of my bust.

I still used a size 4.  The armholes are apparently supposed to be quite low and I could wear a layer under it, but because of my massive back and shoulder muscles, though the armhole is relatively low, it does not show my bra.  After wearing the dress for a day the front armhole got a bit stretched out but not too badly.

I've worn this dress a few times already.  I love it, I love layering it, the pockets are oddly relevant despite being quite small.

Once my linen arrived from Lithuania I was ready!  But then I worried I should have gotten grey instead of the dark olive green...too Christmasy?  I canvassed Instagram and everyone thought it was fine. Also honestly I couldn't be bothered to wait for more linen, and even looking for a different fabric just slid me down the slippery slope of buying too I went with it.

My etsy seller is Linengraphy. The linen is lightweight - gsm and it is luscious. I would definitely buy from them again. I also bought a piece in bottle green of heavier weight   gsm, which I don't really like as much.  That's a color I always like more on the screen than in reality.

This being the third time around, you'd think it would go perfectly but I got hung up on small problems - my overlocker tension went haywire so I rethreaded the entire machine and then jumped in twisting dials with zero success...ends up one thread wasn't caught tightly enough in the overlocker tension knob.  Live and learn.  Then in a bad mood one day, trying to hurry, I um burritoed the front to itself AND overlocked the SA before I realised, so I had to undo and then approximate the correct seam allowance.  That means the armhole on this dress is even a bit bigger than it's supposed to be.

Also, I found the instructions annoying regarding in-seam pockets. I don't do them very often.  I didn't know - Do I only sew to the notches?  Do I need to finish the little piece of fabric under the pocket that gets ignored?  And why are the pocket instructions sitting next to the pictures for a totally different step of the pattern?  As seems to be the case with Sew Liberated patterns - the results are great but the instructions leave me a bit annoyed.

(Answers: I overlocked that orphan seam, no it doesn't matter if you sew the entire pocket to the side of the dress, and the appropriate drawing is further down the page.)  

I was reassured that my dress doesn't look too festive.  I'm very grinchy at baseline but I also want to be able to wear my dress all the time without people having holiday flashbacks. The greyer shade of green might indeed have solved this concern, too bad shipping takes so long.

After wearing this dress a few times I think I'll size down to a 2 next time I make it.  I am unlikely to layer under it, and I'd prefer a bit less ease.  I will also stabilise the armhole staystitching?  Gasp!  

Wednesday, 23 January 2019

Grainline Farrow review

Well, hello Farrow - a dress with built in pockets and a cute triangle shape.  I bought this pattern in Seattle and carried it around for a bit, waiting for the right fabric to spring it to the top of my queue.

Fiinally, I cut this dress in a size 4 out of some heavyweight designer fabric with sparkle in it.  I always get excited over this type of sparkly fabric at The Fabric Store and then it sits around when I realise I won't ever wear anything made of that.  Ugh.  So this was planned to be for a friend of mine who appreciates all the shiny clothes. Plus it is great to make practice versions of things - when I get around to making the thing for me, I get even better results!  (Amazing, right?)

It's quite a fun sew, with just enough origami to keep you paying attention. I forgot to leave the keyhole in the back neck, but could still get it on so I wasn't fussed.  I tried the dress on right before applying the fake facings*.....AND it was about 15 cm too big from just below the bust.  I mean, it was ridiculous.  And very long.  Downright sacklike.  Maybe in the lightest of silk something this massive would fall and drape, but because my fabric had loads of body that was never gonna happen.

*Fake facings YESSSS these are cut out like facings but you tuck in the underside and sew them all the way down, so no flopping about.  Hurrah!  Such a plus.

It looks so cute and innocuous!  But NO it is massive.

I thought about it for a short while and realised the solution was sitting in front of me: my sewing friend Tessa!  She is only slightly bigger than me on the top but has bigger hips.  She was planning to make the Grainline Maritime shorts and I think a size 10 muslin was too small, just so you have some scale.  I made a 6 in those shorts, I believe.  (here).

Tessa tried on the dress and it looked magical on her so I finished up those facings.

She was kind enough to send me a bunch of pictures!

It left me a bit conflicted as to whether I should try again but my interest was whetted as I really like lots of the elements of the dress.  So I managed to get size 0 out of the pattern pieces - only one piece where I had to guess, and I created new facings by copying the line of the neck pieces.  I used a lovely piece of raw silk from Drygoods Design in Seattle (I have had many plans for this) and was very worried it would end up sticking to me and needing a slip which I have not yet made but will soon.  (Probably.)

I also shortened the pattern by 3 inches (!!) at the shorten lines.  When I am shortening things at these lines, I always wonder, am I supposed to be removing fabric above or below the lines?  It's like they were made for lengthening only; it's clear you lengthen between the lines.

This time I kept the back keyhole as I thought I might need extra room in the back.  I am really really enjoying my fantastic new overlocker, and putting extra time and effort into each project.  However it means nothing is a fast sew anymore, between the first version fails, pattern adjusting, and topstitching and overlocking.  

I would have liked to scoop out about 1.5 cm from the armhole, but I didn't want to make new facings.  So I increased the SA as I went down the armhole and shaved a few mm off.  I don't think it was quite enough.  On another version of this I would use bias tape since it's functionally exactly the same, and would give me more leeway to adjust the armscye.

Finally - the size 0 is a touch tight across the bust, but manageable.  This is a sack dress.  I honestly didn't get it at first, why has this been so popular?  Also, 3 inches seems like a lot but it was about right.  (I could have shortened 2 inches, that would have been ok in the front, but left the back too long.)  I was annoyed by the tight armholes.  And then I wore it to work and forgot about all of that!

The pockets are heavy, which hold down the front of the dress, so unlike Everything Else, it doesn't crawl up tights very much.  It was super comfortable at work and the pockets are great.  I am actually considering making another one, which really surprised me!  Also, I can still get it on without the back keyhole so I would just sew that shut in the future - it doesn't add anything as far as I'm concerned.

In case you are curious, not only was it very cold, it was also very windy!

Size 0 measurements on the pattern envelope:   32-25-35.
My measurements: 33-27-37.

The only measurement of any relevance to this pattern is the bust, so my recommendation is to pick the size as close to your bust size as possible - I think size 2 would have been optimal, but the size 4 just had too much fabric in it.  Fabrics with a lot of body are better if you have big hips, but on me the size 4 in a heavy textured fabric - looked ridiculous.

I find that I struggle to pick the right size with Grainline patterns.  I'm not sure if I make wrong judgment about what to cut, or if something else is involved.  I recall the Morris fitting me perfectly, but I made so very many Scout tops before I was satisfied with the fit.  The Tamarack jacket was a ludicrous loss and also for some reason I tend to get Grainline patterns on paper so I haven't been able to try another size of the Tamarack since my pattern is somewhere else.  I see other people making really beautiful Tamaracks!