Friday, 19 October 2018

Grainline Uniform tunic in double gauze

This double gauze travelled a long way with me!  It's from Nancy's in Seattle, before it closed.  I was going to use it for an Archer...and then a dress...and then...stashbusting time!

I cut this tunic in a size 4.  Grainline is usually consistent (a recent experience with the Farrow is the exception, more on that later.)  I was worried that it would pool in my back and not fit over my hips in the pockets version, so I did v. 2 with the overlapping sides.  I'm 33-27-37.

I french seamed, and unfortunately got a hairy seam at the waist from making my seam too small.  No one else can see it.

It has facings than can be sewn down.  I mean, I suppose you don't have to sew them down.  But I did.

The fit is good.  The pattern is straightforward.  I had no moments of irritation or panic.  I don't think gauze suits this pattern very well.  Linen would be good and drapey fabrics would be good.  The gauze just sort of sits there.  I wore this to work and realised I Need Pockets (if only to have somewhere to hang my ID badge) so I might do up the other version in a different fabric and just preventatively widen the back or grade out to a 6 to ensure it doesn't hang up on my swayback and hips. 

I'm not sure it's very flattering, but I think that is more a feature of the fabric.  I don't think I had realised the absolute drapelessness of double gauze!

Saturday, 13 October 2018

Ready to sew Jimmy sweatshirt in scuba

This pattern is for yet another variation on a knit tshirt, by French company Ready to Sew.  The exciting features include raglan, 2 part sleeves, detail pintucks on the front sleeves, and two hem options both including godets.

The instructions are in English and are pretty decent as far as translation goes.   For some reason their theme for patterns is to use men's names starting with the letter J.  Though I see now they've expanded to a few female names too.

I made this in red merino last year, in version 2 with the hem band.  I made the size 36.  That seemed like a small size to me but it was way too big.  I gave it to a friend.   In a heavier weight material the size might have been ok but in the merino it was just very long and drapey. Seems like the sleeves were pretty long too.  I didn't take very good notes before I gave it away!

So I had few notes, no photos to inspect, and decided to take the leap and go for a size 34.
The pattern pieces are interesting.  You have the option to not cut off edges, but to abut them.  This is great.  I don't much like the cutting.  However the result is that there are wide margins without any lines on them - you have to extrapolate the lines there.

The first time I printed the 36 with all the layers, it was impossible to tell which were the pintuck lines and the marks for my size because they are only differentiated by colour not by the shape of the line.  For the 34 I only printed the layer for my size and although the pattern looked a bit naked, it seemed to have all the marks...except 1 of the 4 pintuck lines, which was lost in between pages!!  So these pdfs are not as straightforward as average and make me hesitate to consider this company for more complex patterns (I was in love with the Joseph coat when I discovered this company, but I've hesitated to make it.)

I was also really jumping in the deep end - I cut straight into this gorgeous scuba that I bought sometime last year.  It was a ridiculous purchase; I think I bought it while I was in Nepal because I saw it on somebody on Instagram.  It shipped to my parents and then I just petted it for awhile and thought of all the things I could make.  So now it's here, and soon I won't be sewing much, so now seemed like a good time!

I barely followed the instructions because anyway, it's like a tshirt.  My borrowed sewing machine seems to be generally miserable.  One entire bobbin was catching and not stitching well even after changing needles - magically fixed with the next bobbin of thread, but means that I flipped it over and redid every seam.  And I made this right before dinner and was both desperate to make a work of art, and desperate to hurry on to dinner!

sleeves are a tiny bit short.  But ok
and otherwise I love it!!!
I top stitched the sleeves and the raglans.  I left the hem for now as I thought anything I did would mess it up - I was thinking of leaving it raw but after wearing it I think it would be better to have the weight of a hem.  I might still shorten it an additional inch or two.

The light weight fabric means that the godets kind of flow.  It would have a lot of volume in a heavier weight fabric and I can see why sweater knits are recommended.  I can actually see this being nice in a pretty heavy sweater knit.  I didn't like it in merino, though I think now that I have the correct size it would work better.  I think in sweatshirting or other fabric with a lot of body, I would find annoying how much it would stick out and create a bell shape. 

Of note, it has a high low hem, and if you want to shorten it, because of the godets, you have to use the lengthen-shorten lines (which are provided).  Version A is fine the way it is but I recall the version with the hem band was really really long - because you have the full length plus a band.  I would probably shorten it 3 inches.  I'd be tempted to do that above the godets.  I don't remember where the shorten lines are in the pattern, seems like they might be through the godets, which seems like too much work.

While I was obsessively trying it on I thought another very cool variation would be to not use the godets at all, but to add about 2" to the front and back at the sides and overlap them.  It would be a tunic with high cut sides - almost like a sari top....

Monday, 27 August 2018

Sandal making with Shoe Camaraderie

I did this course in April but for some reason took ages to get nice photos.  Literally the minute my sandals had cured, the warm weather went away and never came back.

Lisa runs the workshops out of Brisbane but has them in various cities.  When I signed up for the course I was struggling to make any long term plans and booking this one month in advance was the riskiest move I could think of!  Here is her website.

The class size is pretty small and Lisa requested that we make measurements of our feet and choose a style ahead of time. We had flexibility to change out minds, and I did - opting for multiple straps instead of a single slide. 

We started by gluing the pigskin to the underpiece of the foot. 
Then we built our straps which takes ages and lots of trying on. 
Once I had my straps half done, the sandal wouldn't fit onto the plastic shoe model anymore so I had to just hold them.

I hadn't meant to make the easiest sandals in the class, but my three straps were really straightforward so I had lots of time sitting around while the other class members went through the long process of getting the leather bits trimmed and glued in place. 

Then we glued on the bottoms - Lisa cut the edges so we wouldn't mess up. 
After that, we applied a nice supportive rand, which makes it look very professional.

Finally the heels!

Because of all the trying on, of course the pigskin lining of my shoes was already a bit dirty...

I like these sandals. It is cool to have something you made yourself. The shoemaking process, it ends up, is really straightforward, not unlike sewing.  It mainly just includes different supplies and different tools.

But they aren't broken in yet so I don't know if they will become comfortable as the leather stretches. I also think that technically, the pigskin sole should have been larger - these were prepared ahead of time by Lisa according to our foot measurements.  They were exactly the size of my feet.  Well, my foot is wider above its base and so I think about 2-3 mm extra room is necessary for comfort - as it is, my actual foot and step is onto the edges of the sandal because they are cut so precisely to the line of the bottom of my foot.  They have not been comfortable to wear.

It would be interesting to do a course elsewhere and see how someone else's teaching and supplies compare. 

Also - my class was the last one where we used leather bottoms for the sandals - Lisa was planning to go to rubber soles after this.  So I had the soles rubbered by my local shoe guy. 

Thursday, 9 August 2018

Colette Mabel miniskirt x 2 and a bonus tank top comparison

I went to work one nightshift, and in the middle of the shift realised the thing missing in my life was a miniskirt.  The Mabel Colette miniskirt.  Because, like everyone before me, though I know I could draft my own or muddle my way through, the interests of a well fitting miniskirt in 1 hour flat trumped any interest I had in the self-drafting learning process.

So two days later I had two miniskirts!

First of all I took that pattern home and decided to sew the size S, based on my hips.  I shortened the version B by a few inches - making it 19" long.  The version A is supposed to be 17" long.  I removed the kick pleat.  This is a lovely purple stretchy merino with a funny texture that almost looks felted, which I have had around for a long time and really adore.  I'm happy to finally be using it.  The skirt turned out way too big though, hanging on my hips pretty loosely.  I also used a zig zag that was pretty loose and so my stitches came undone rapidly.

Version two is view A, size XS, and in a funny merino that is smooth faced with a terry like interior that is scratchy.  It is a blend with some poly and retains its shape well.  It is the perfect miniskirt, and I'm hoping the scratchiness will go away with time.  Despite that I have worn it a lot!  I've worn the other one too even though it was big, but I plan to take off the waistband and take it in when I can get to the overlocker.

The pictures of Skirt 2 are with a bonus Deer & Doe Givre tank top.  It's a size 36 at the bust sloping to a 38, and other than needing a little scoop out of the armscye it fits great.  I was comparing it to the Patterns for Pirates Essential tank, though I know they have quite different shapes I was curious how they would compare.

The P4P top is a size XS.  I shortened it by 2 inches but kept the shape of the hem.  I made these two tops too fast, and so the hems are not done very well.  That bothers me a lot.  The shape of this tank top is otherwise really nice and I like the racerback.  Probably it's good to have both some racerback tops and some plain tops in my wardrobe.  I also find the Mission Maxi tanktop to be a perennial favourite (that's what the jungle plant top is, above). 

A Review: True Bias Hudson Pants

My sewing friend Tessa went crazy over Hudson pants.  I tried to talk her into making Anima pants since I am basically a specialist in them (see here, here and here) but something about the Hudsons had stuck in her brain.  So of course like the lemming I am, I decided that I had to do a comparison test and see why Hudsons have gained a cult following.

Size 4.  (I'm 5'4" and 27-37)
Fabric is Charley Harper organic cotton from Ugh Spotlight, and the bands are a merino wool ribbing blend by Helmut Lang which I bought at The Fabric Store last year, snagging the last 30 cm piece.  That's why I went with such a dull main colour - I wanted something to go with these bands, and the organic cotton is so soft and snuggly.

Well, making the pants is nothing special.
I skipped the drawstring.

Overall, I found the fit very different from the Anima pants.

The Anima: is very long; I remove 10 cm usually.  It has a fake fly (wtf?) and the pockets are the usual fold over types which can bag out.  They are pretty high waisted and are otherwise loose around the bum and hips.  In the Anima I've been making the XXS though it took a few tries to settle on that and stick with it.  I have permanently removed a 1 cm wedge from the front waist which makes them slope down so the waist isn't quite so high, but I'd call the fit easy - they go pretty close to the natural waist.

The Hudson: has a modern, low waistband which is thicker than the Anima.  It sits low.  I would be tempted to add an inch of raise to the back to accommodate my amazingly muscular bum.  In fact I could add that inch all the way around.  The pockets are lovely and I like the addition of the bands on the pockets, which adds heft.  The pocket construction means they won't flap out.  The fit through the bum and hips is snug.  These are short.  I didn't modify the length at all, and I think I'd prefer another inch of raise...because they are so short that if I bend my knee I feel it pulling down the waistband.

I think the Anima pants are awesome loungepants.  But the Hudson pants actually if you made them in the right material, you could wear out of the house.  I guess that's why they've become so popular.  I like them despite my dedication to Papercut patterns. 

Friday, 20 July 2018

Ida clutch binge

Around the time I discovered Kylie and the Machine and her lovely cheeky labels, I found her free Ida pattern and printed it out.  I needed something to push me to actually start making bags instead of clothes...and the Ogden-Ida swap was just the thing, so I signed up!

While I was in Seattle I picked up a pigskin at MacPherson's, the local leather dealer (sorry vegans!)  I wanted something lightweight and easy to work with and this colour just sang to me so I went with it.  It was about 30 dollars for the skin.

From it I got 3 Ida clutches, one oversized Ida yarn-bag, and one undersized Ida wallet-purse.
I have some scraps left over but I have no more desire to sew pigskin for awhile.
However I think I have mastered this pattern!!

The clutches went to: my Ida Ogden exchange partner, my sewing friend Tessa, and my friend Tina who was leaving on a trip to Switzerland. 

Learning curve pearls:
snaps are fine, but magnetic snaps are better.  A normal snap pulls at the fabric itself when you try to open it.  The magnetic snaps are easy to apply and don't pull as hard.  I had 2 magnetic snaps from Seattle and bought normal snaps locally to compare.

All the zips were from my stash, and the normal sized clutch zips were all Riri from Switzerland so they are really nice.  Pretty amazing that I had that many zips in the right size!  The big one for me was a plastic one, and the small one for me I actually bought in order to choose nice coordinating colours.

The scales-lining is Liberty tana lawn.  I forget the name.

This was really fun and such a great way to get comfortable making bags.  To make the yarn bag I basically did an FBA.  I cut the pattern in half both horizontally and vertically and increased each one and then smoothed out the curve of the top.    I added a little strap made of a single strip of pigskin.  I should have taken that more seriously and either quilted it or doubled it because it feels frail compared to the rest of the bag - but I've been using this for my knitting and adoring it so much that when pink hazel sold out of bags in 3 minutes at her last upload, I didn't cry.  Luckily knitting is not heavy so I think the strap will be fine.

When I made my little wallet purse I shrunk it with a similar technique to the knitting bag.  I decreased the height and I shrunk it across, but a few inches away from midline, and then redrew the curve back up to the same centre point.  And this time I braided a strap for it.
I also added a totally ridiculous piece of coral elastic to double around it.  It's totally for fashion but I like the additional tactile element.  

My wallet purse.  It fits a wallet, phone and keys