Monday, 22 May 2017

Sewaholic Renfrew x2 (and one is upcycled)

I got annoyed pretty quickly with how I somehow left all my me-made basics behind with this move.  I wear a uniform at work and sportswear most of the time when I'm not at work and there's no way I could have attempted me-made-may under these conditions!  The result is that I basically listed up a capsule wardrobe of basics to sew, just so I can make sure I'm always wearing something I've made myself.  Tshirts were the first on the list because I hadn't brought enough with me.

I got settled into my new place and turned my room into a sweatshop producing tshirts like never before...I've decided to categorise my blog posts by pattern and I'm actually pretty curious which of my tshirts will stand the test of time and become my favourites.

First the boring, tried, tested Renfrew.  Size 4, modification: 2" waist shortening.  I am 33-27-37 and very short waisted, 5'4".

The periwinkle fabric is a merino blend with some poly in it, and has a very small terrycloth knit inside, which does give it a bit of a variegated look, although it's not actually striped.  It's moderately warm and I snagged it at The Fabric Store to make some new Anima sleep pants.  (More on those later.)

I think the wrinkles above the bust are just because I didn't pull it down because I never notice them when I wear it!

The red top is upcycled from an XL shapeless top by one of New Zealand's real sweatshop chains, Glassons.  It was about $4 in an op-shop.  As you can see it had some gathers in the middle.  What you can't see is the ridiculous elastic neckband.  Sorry as always I forgot to take before photographs.

I have nothing to say about construction except that as always, with upcycling you have to let go just a little and it makes things more exciting.  The jersey was tissue thin and my room was cold so it got fiddly.  I used the original arm bands, just cutting them shorter to match the pattern.  The neck band is my own, and the gathered bottom is the original.  It was mostly luck that made it match up lengthwise on the front and the back, although I did try, I thought the front would be shorter.

I love both of these, as the Renfrew really is my favourite pattern ever, and these both went into immediate rotation.  Although my upcycled top might be made of older fabric that will fall apart, I was particularly in love with how it turned out.  The waist feature makes it that something different and the ancient fabric means it already feels soft and worn-in.

Thursday, 11 May 2017

Cowl neck Geodesic sweatshirt, by Blueprints for Sewing

I had a lot of Geodesics planned in my head, mostly involving various colours of merino.  For some reason I couldn't get inspired by the colours available. I concluded at some point that if I did the version with pockets it would be too long.  I also fell in love with this Frank & Eileen tee lab sweatshirt, which uses rib knit for the arms to make them tighter.  The Fabric Store provided, with matching terry jersey and binding.

This is still size C/D although I think I was having body image issues in Ukraine when I traced the pattern, and should have gone a size smaller.  Many of the patterns I prepped in Ukraine were sizes too big!

So I used the binding for the sleeves as well as bindings, and I lengthened the bottom binding double its initial length.  I wasn't sure it would create the same effect because the binding is still very loose.  Also, with the loose fit to start it was a challenge.  I cut off quite a bit at the side seam through the armpit but didn't want to overdo it because then you cut into the geometry of the armpit itself - was I overthinking?

I added the cowl from the Halifax Hoody pattern, with no changes.  I found it weird that it wasn't doubled over.  You just fold over the top after making two button holes and that is the track for the string, and it's not got a clean finish or anything.  I guess in the end if you had a double layer it might be too heavy.  But I don't really like that edge being so obvious.  I think if I used this technique again I would cut two so there's a clean finish throughout.

I will comment that I'm a bit grubby in the pictures because I didn't have the best week.  It involved staples to the forehead.  I jumped at the chance to have a photographer and a nice backdrop so just overlook the hair and the melancholy poses...

Although I'm really happy how this Geodesic hack came out, I wasn't super inspired by the loose fit.  My friend Nicole took my pictures in Taupo and she was inspired so I gave it to her.  Old habits...but now I'm on a tshirt making binge and I'll keep all those cause I need them desperately. 

Saturday, 29 April 2017

Deer & Doe Chataigne Shorts in stretch & flowers

Whenever I'm in The Fabric Store I lose track of my original set of plans and get a new set.  But after my last move I'm trying to be fluid with my projects and also move slower...less fast fashion!  Nonetheless while I was there I fell in love with some liberty cord that had flowers on it.  And I decided I needed Chataigne shorts. 

But this isn't liberty cord, you cry! the leftovers bin I found a piece of this amazing stretchy sateen - I was totally eyeing it online last year but never bought any.  I thought I'd use it for the pockets on my Hampshire pants.  But once I got home I decided it would be even better to make practice Chataigne shorts from a stretchy fabric, especially when I realised I had enough original fabric for the Hampshire pants to do the pockets in the same stuff.  I'm totally milking the end of summer for all it's worth in my year of always-winter...

I have made this pattern before - in fact I think I bought it because I liked the waist detailing and I wanted to make pants.  What I learnt from that experience was that drafting a well fitted, shapely pant leg is not just a matter of extending lines.  Here is my Chataigne pants experiment, which I gave to a friend in Switzerland.  I didn't love the bagginess, the legs twisted a bit, and the hemp fabric didn't match my hopes but she loved it all.

The size 38 had also been way too big.  So I took a big leap and traced the 34 out of my pattern pieces.  Also I still had to get an invisible zip foot.  And as you see I didn't have enough fabric for the pocket facing or the waist facings so I had to get a scrap from elsewhere for that.  At the moment my stash is all future projects, no scraps yet so I didn't have anything lying around that I could use.

I actually french seamed the crotch on these and did some extra top stitching, mainly with the interest of everything lying smoothly.  The crotch seam idea is from my Hampshire trousers which will be up on my blog sort of soon...

I had a big hiccup when I was putting the front yoke in, naturally I didn't take it too seriously at first, sewed half of it, got the center V off center, and it was a big hairy mess.  The result does have a tiny crimp right in the middle but it's basically invisible so I left things at that.

I hand sewed the waistband down which was not really necessary but meant I could do it in the car.  I was literally finishing these at the last minute because I was only given a few hours notice to move out of my temporary housing, but I was so so keen to wear them!

Since then I've been nomadic waiting for May when I take possession of my new things have stalled a bit.  I have about 12 projects to do and itchy fingers, mainly because of how I somehow didn't pack any tshirts.  (wtf?)

After wearing these I am so so so pleased with them.  I'm going to make some teal blue leggings to go with them for winter.  But I do think I'll size back up to the 36 for the non-stretchy version because the fit is so perfect I just can't imagine it being ok without stretch.  Or?  smaller seam allowance?    I might start to use this waistband to measure my size because I don't think I have ever had one that fit so well!


Sunday, 9 April 2017

DP Studio 504 sweatshirt

Ever since Sophie of @adaspragg changed our world on Instagram with a post about DP Studio, people have been pinning and tagging and generally lusting over these patterns.  French pattern companies have something that we all want these days.  These patterns are available directly from the studio and they have instructions in English.  I had some issues with my order and was in contact by email with the studio, who were friendly and helpful the whole way through.  I know that Stitch56 in Australia also has them in stock, but not sure of other stockists yet. 

Upon moving to New Zealand, as always, my luggage was a mess and most of my stuff was left behind.  Although this is tragic, it does give me a free canvas of things to sew because I actually need stuff!  That plus my new sewing machine plus overall overwhelm led me to choose this sweatshirt as my first sew.  To simplify the crazy options I picked a doublefaced merino blend from The Fabric Store.  I used the lighter pink face as the exterior and the bright side as all the details.

You can go really crazy with details for this - the sleeve stripes on the pattern are one contrast fabric, with a second contrast fabric/ribbon sewn over the top.  

Although I knew it would be roomy I went with the size 38 as my first pattern by this company.  The pattern pieces were all clear and I just cut it out.  Using the same fabric for the bindings meant I had to pull really hard to get the front waistpiece in, and that adds to the gathered look of the front.  This was overall a pretty easy sew.  However I got to the neck and had some thoughts - I decided first to skip the neck zip.  The neck is actually a tight high neck and so without the zip, I had to make it bigger.  I went through a few tries to get a size I liked and it did end up wonky because of all the cutting by eye.  If you use the neck as designed you really must have the zip in, no matter how stretchy your fabric.  Also I found the band would have been too short for the neck as designed, but again my merino doesn't have as much stretch as some knits.

Other changes & notes:

-The sleeves were ridiculously long.  I cut off 2" or more from each arm.
-There is a little facing for the corner where the bottom tie comes out.  I found it hard to understand exactly where and how I was supposed to sew this so I sewed it on the front edge which is genius, as it creates a clean hem for the drawstring but I left the top free since it didn't seem to matter.  It's not beautiful on the inside but my fabric doesn't unravel.

The front is actually pretty short.  It hits just below my belly button and I'm very short waisted.  The back is of course very long, it covers my butt, but once the drawstring is in I pulled it quite tight so it curls inward. 

I used a silk cord from The Fabric Store as my drawstring.  This stuff is beautiful, it's really strong and has an amazing sheen.  I'll be using more of it!  I went with grey to balance all the pinks as the pink would have been too much.  Also I only had one of those little clip things for the end of the drawstring so I stuck it on and tied a knot on the other side, but I will eventually get more clips, maybe even silver ones to match better.

I've been wearing my sweatshirt all the time since I made it.  I think if I made it again I would change the hem to go straight around the back rather than dropping down over my butt, and I would be more careful with how I changed the neck.  I doubt I'll ever do the high neck as designed.  It would be tempting to take some fabric out from under the arms for a more fitted look...but for now I'm really happy.

Friday, 31 March 2017

stretch silk Sewaholic Davie

I planned, long ago, to make Davie out of a different fabric.
Plus I swear I had already written this blog post.  Or not?  I'm having deja vu as I write it, feels like again. 

I decided at some point that the initial fabric, which was a beautiful lilac merino, was too heavy and didn't have enough stretch so I changed my mind about using it.  I think also I didn't quite have enough fabric for the flare of the skirt.  This fabric is stretch silk from Ukraine.  I bathed it in gelatin thinking that would be a good idea.  And I decided I would make this for my cousin as the bright colours (as much as I love them) would suit her better than me.  Plus she lost a silk dress recently so it seemed apropos.  Luckily she is the same size as I am.

I cut a size 4 at the top tapering down to a 0 around the hips.  I just softened the hip line, and I did so only on the curved pieces, not on the straight ones.  I found as I was pulling the princess seams together that there was so little stretch and I blamed it on the silk, so I washed it to get the gelatin out but it didn't help.  So some seams were quite challenging.  I did keep the keyhole, although I debated leaving it out.

I made a standard jersey binding for the neck, but I folded over the arms to hem them.  This turned out pretty messy.  The hem is also my standard job and is a total mess, but the high low hem is in so I'm not too fussy.

End thoughts: stretch silk is too floppy for this pattern.  Because of the skirt flare, it needs a knit with some body.  As many have said it's quite large for its size too, and the top half is almost a bit too big.  It's not a very neat effort but it is wearable and the pattern distracts from a lot.

I'm not sure how much I referred to the instructions but I think they were ok.  This dress kind of represents the end of Sewaholic to me - right before Tasia left, when the amazingness of the early projects - the Lonsdale, Minoru, Cambie - just couldn't be reproduced. 

Sadly my father, who took these photos in the midst of packing hell, and who has been totally competent at taking vacation holiday photos good enough to frame and put on the wall, can't take focused pictures of me in a dress.  Sorry.  Maybe my cousin will provide.