Sunday, 11 October 2015

Grains de Couture Onyx, Renfrew, Cambie and an owl skirt!

This is a post full of the things I got roped into doing specifically for other people this summer.  I knew I was sewing for other people anyway so it wasn't much of a step to let a few of my favourites choose what they got...

First: Onyx from the book Grains de Couture.  I used this as a way of gaining some confidence on adding seam allowances to these patterns.  I messed up the Opale previously by not adding the correct seam allowances so it was nice to do something straightforward.

The Onyx here is with the neckline of Basalte - a simple sweatshirt neck.  I left the binding a bit loose because the neckhole ended up (it seemed to me) a bit small.  As most sweatshirts, this took less than an hour to sew.  The recipient seemed satisfied!

Second Emmeline-Polly top:
I had planned this for a friend from silk that she chose in Italy. We had a falling out but I decided to make it for her anyway. It is the same as my practice version in navy except that this time I rolled all the edges prior to sewing the seams.  I am not sure which way is better - when doing it this way you get discontinuity at the seams which is also not optimal.  Of course the quality on this version was better because I put more effort into it.

Renfrew from stretch silk: cut my usual size 4 without any shortening of the bodice, Sarah is smaller than me and the silk generally creates a tighter fit.  This is the stretch silk which I dyed last summer using various shibori techniques.  The colour of the dye has become a bit mixed with pink and purple along some edges.  I don't know how it will wash, and in the meantime I am waiting for model photos...

Cambie in red:
My friend G is very partial to red things and had already aquired a love for the Cambie last year. We spotted a fabric that she adored but when we bought it on etsy we accidentally got a more orange shade than initially planned...luckily she says she still likes it.  For my very slender friend I used a Cambie size 4, being a bit nervous because that is the same size as my Cambie, and while it is very formfitting, I would have expected her to need a smaller size.

The Cambie instructions are always amazing.  There were various small setbacks due to how very much I hate gathering and gathering hates me.  I was actually very surprised how normal the dress looked.  I have this weird perception that gathering makes everything puff out so much that it is terrible.  This was not so at all!  I might need to admit a tiny bit more gathering into my life...

I left the hemming and the shoulder insertion to do after seeing G - she has a sewing machine and I planned to let her finish everything, but she was too nervous to try.  I got about halfway through the finishing touches, but her ancient Pfaff was making threadnests so I took the dress home to hem.  In exchange she is knitting me amazing rainbow striped socks!!

And finally, although it was the first project planned, it is the last finished: an owl skirt.
My friend Meike and I browsed a fabric market in Berlin in February and I very stupidly offered to make her a skirt out of a meter of any fabric, despite the fact that I knew I didn't know anything about making skirts out of one meter of fabric without a pattern.  My anxiety over this lack of knowledge held things up...funny how that works.  I used the skirt piece from Lucie ("cut two rectangles 47x100cm"), french seamed the sides, hemmed, and then used what seems to my hazy brain to be a modification of the simplicity men's underwear elastic application.  I realised that I had to gather the skirt for it to fit the elastic.  I split it into quadrants, and basically it has to be gathered such that each quadrant is exactly the same length as the elastic at full extension.  Trying to sew this while holding onto everything was an adventure, meaning it's not quite even, but I am so completely shocked to have this beautiful, wearable result that I certainly don't care and I suspect Meike will be happy too.

And I am glad now to have had three recent bouts of gathering behind me as it appears I am gaining experience, if not expertise.  It ends up that it's not quite fair to hate an aspect of clothing sewing until you are proficient at it.  (ie I dislike gathering mostly because I suck at gathering and my gathers look retarded.) 

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