Saturday, 28 January 2017

Pussybow Blouse, prototype

After sewing a few things in jersey I fancied a complete change so I decided to make a pussybow blouse using the free pattern in the October 2016 issue of Dressmaker magazine. I had had the material in my stash for some time with a blouse in mind and in January I think it is always nice to have some new things to wear for work.

In the end this turned into a bit of a roller-coaster. The material was very sheer and it wasn't an easy make at all. Being a free pattern the instructions weren't very detailed. For example, it said, make 5 buttonholes equally spaced  down the front, and there were no markings on the pattern to guide you. I tried the blouse on my dress form, Flossie, as I went along and as it began to take shape I was pleased with it.

When I finished my blouse and tried it on I was in for a shock. It didn't fit!! It was too tight!! I planned to wear a camisole underneath to cover my modesty but there wasn't enough room. Whenever I make something that isn't successful I always feel really depressed and I had a gloomy evening promising myself that I would never sew again. But, as usual I picked myself up, dusted myself off and now I am planning my next project.

On the brighter side, this material was one of my £1 a metre bargains from Leicester Market so not too great a loss I suppose.

I have done some detective work and discovered why the blouse came up too small for me when it fitted Flossie. Looking at the pattern it seems that, although I had measured myself, I had accidentally cut out a smaller size than I intended. Then I measured Flossie and discovered that over Christmas she had lost weight and she hadn't told me!! (She is an adjustable dress form and her settings had slipped). In addition to this Flossie doesn't have any arms so she doesn't need room in her blouse to move them around, but I do.

I don't like to be defeated so I have chosen a new piece of material and am going to have another go at a pussybow blouse. This time I have decided to combine the free pattern neck line and bow with this blouse that I have made before and that I know fits me.

This blouse was made from a Burda pattern, Burda Style 6/2013 pattern 118. I made it about 2 years ago and I have worn it to work so often that the plush is beginning to wear off on the shoulders. It has a bit more shape and feels very comfortable.  I find it a real challenge tracing over all of the lines to create the pattern from the Burda pattern sheet, but it feels worthwhile if I use the pattern more than once. I always write on the pattern to remind me that Burda don't put any seam allowances on their patterns. I have allowed 5/8 inch.

I used most of the pattern pieces from the Burda Blouse, the back and sleeves just as they were without making any changes, but I altered the neckline to fit the lovely full bow.  My grandma made all of her patterns from newspaper and I did the same with this one adding on a seam allowance as I went along.

Adding a seam allowance

Then I laid the pussy bow blouse front over the top of the newspaper front piece matching the centre lines and traced a lower neckline for the tie collar.

With the new pattern cut out in newspaper I was ready to cut out the fabric. The fabric I have chosen is also sheer and slippery so this project is taking me a while but I will post the second blouse as soon as it is finished...

Saturday, 21 January 2017

Aqua, Long sleeved T shirt

After my recent successes with Pattern B6258 from Butterick. I was quite excited to find this fabric, which I thought I had lost, in a box in the loft. We were having a post-Christmas turn out!

I loved this print at first sight, bought it about 3 years ago and have dreamed about what I was going to make so many times. It reminds me of summer camping holidays and the swallows perched on telegraph wires.  Like many of the fabric remnants I buy there was a flaw in the material, which you can see in the picture below. I had enough for this pattern to cut all of the pieces around the flaw.

One of the things I enjoy about sewing is feeling a structured garment emerging from a soft flat piece to fabric. The seam tape on the shoulder seams works well in this design, giving the shoulder seams strength and supporting the rest of the garment well.

I think I should introduce you to my sewing partner “Flossie”. We are both the same size and she has been invaluable to me in making sure that the garments I make fit me well. I bought her second hand on eBay when she was looking for a new home. I have found that if I pin the neck facings or turnings on the dress form I can be sure that I am not stretching out the neck when I am working with stretch fabrics and then the neck lies flat.

 The weather is cold and by the time I get home from work it is dark but I really wanted to take a photograph outside in natural light. Here is my first (but only one) it was much too cold today to stay out in the garden any longer.

Monday, 16 January 2017

Flowery Shift Dress

I had been looking for a dress pattern for some time that was a straight shift and had a smooth neckline that wouldn’t break up a large pattern. After my success with the reindeer top I thought I would try a dress made from the same pattern. I had this pink floral jersey in my stash (I have a weakness for flowery patterns which sometimes gets the better of me). The fabric cost me £1 a metre from Terry Meason’s stall on Leicester Market. At that price I don’t need to make a toile but can practice on a piece of fabric and wear the practice garment if it turns out OK. A win/win situation which appeals to my economical streak.

This fabric has more body. I am quite pleased with the fit of the dress, which I think skims all of the right areas, but I do think the print is a bit over-the-top. When I first put it on I didn’t like it at all. I cut the sleeves to ¾ length and took up the hem by an extra 2 inches and now I think I have a wearable dress. I did try the dress with a belt as shown on the pattern sleeve but it looked awful on me.

The twin needles I ordered from Amazon didn’t arrived in time to hem the dress so I lost patience and bought new needles from a local shop. Needless to say, the needles on order arrived the next morning! The dress is hemmed using my new 4mm twin needle. 

The fabric was too thick to make a double hem at the neck so I turned over a single layer and double stitched this. This fabric is very stable and won’t fray. The twin needle gives the hems the stretch that they need in a dress where the hem is likely to be pulled as you move and the stitches could pop.

Ta dah!

Sunday, 15 January 2017

Reindeer T shirt, Butterick 6258

My eldest son bought me the December copy of Dressmaker Magazine as a Christmas present this year. With it came the free pattern B6258 from Butterick.  Once I had finished all of the Christmas preparations and the house was full of food and opened presents I remembered this remnant that I bought earlier in the year and thought I had better use it before it was too late.

I made the size 12, which was nearest to my measurements, and I was really pleased with the result. This long sleeved top is so comfortable. I wore it over the Christmas holiday and am going to keep on wearing it at least until the end of January. I think that Rudolf’s red nose is quite inconspicuous and the design is rather Scandinavian, so not too obviously a Christmas top.

I have had my sewing machine for many years. It is a Husqvarna Viking 540 and has served me well. The other day I needed to take in the sleeves on a tee shirt for my 8 year old because they had stretched out of shape. I noticed in the machine hand book that there was an overlocking stitch which I had never tried. I was amazed to find that my machine had been capable of overlocking all this time and I didn’t know! This has been a revelation and just shows that you need to read the manual carefully no matter how long you have had your sewing machine or how often you use it. I have overlocked all of the seams for this top. I think the fabric is a stretch cotton jersey with 4 way stretch. The seams give with the fabric and they look so neat. 

I have finished the hems with a double row of stitching. I didn’t have a twin needle so I stitched two parallel rows and put in an order to Amazon to refresh my supplies. 

So here we are, my reindeer top!