Tuesday, 30 April 2013

Christmas in July (almost)


The non-Christmas event of the year is coming up. Someone obviously needed a new dress and bag for the occasion. In one week.

 I'm using all hours outside work to get them done. Dad's Army plays on the radio in the background and I try to concentrate as Lance-Corporal Jones screams "Don't panic!".

Wish me luck...

Sunday, 21 April 2013

Don't get shirty with me!

I decided to do a bit of a Robson & Jerome today so here are some pics from up on the roof.

Possible future picnic location...

I decided to test out the Twist & Drape Blouse from Natsuno Hiraiwa's Shape Shape. I love the stuff in this book, partly because I'm hoping I won't need to adjust any of the patterns, falling squarely into the S category.

Front - bad choice of undershirt...but hey


I love the fact this can be worn both ways around too.
Back to front

Front to back

All the seams are flat felled, with a little bit of blue topstitching too. Part design feature, part thread shortage.

I tried a new interfacing with this shirt, which is a lot lighter and softer than the one I've used previously. It's absolutely fantastic, definitely going to be used in a lot of facings because it doesn't distort the drape so much. I've heard a lot of people go on about using the right kind of interfacing but  this is the first time I've actually understood why.

The fabric is an embroidered polycotton I got in a swap with Lisa at Small Things. It has been sat in the stash for a while but since the wrong side is on show a lot for this blouse, it works really well.

Instructions in the book are minimal. One BIG thing I'd draw attention to is the instructions for finishing the raw edges. I think they're overly fiddly and really didn't lend themselves well to my style of finishing. It would be a lot easier to bind/finish the whole edge before adding facings. I got a bit lax and fudged it, thinking it would be fine. Unfortunately the dodgy area below is slap bang in the middle of the drapey bit so it's going to pay to be a lot neater next time.

Now, the question is...how on EARTH do I style this? Colours? Jacket/hoodie? Grey's not my strongest colour so what can I do? Ideas please...

Right, now to take some finishing work and tea to the park


(Yesterday's meetup was fantastic, but I'm suffering a bit of a fabric hangover...more comprehensive post to follow! Massive thanks to House of Pinheiro for organising, we met so many amazing people!)

Monday, 8 April 2013

Chic Expectations - Muslin the Second*

I've spent a fair amount of time in the past couple of weeks around some amazingly creative people and it's been a bit infectious. Last weekend I sat down to  make steady planned progress on two projects I've been working on for a while. Instead I drafted a new pattern and blitzed up two tops over the course of a day and a half. One's not quite done and neither have been photographed yet but they'll surface in the near future.

One of the things I managed to catch last week was the end of A Bigger Splash at the Tate Modern. I think the objective of the exhibition was to illustrate how artists came to place value on the process of creation rather than just the value of the final product. It was a pretty enlightening exhibit and I've decided to shamelessly use it as a springboard to talk a bit about the progress on the MW dress. That way, if it does ends up accidentally looking like a piece by Kazuo Shiraga then the value in the process of this garment will still remain.

So what progress has been made? I had drafted a whole post at the end of December about a second muslin I made incorporating the changes from the first one I pinned out. But I don't even have any pictures of it, it went so badly. Nothing at all matched up, it strained and bagged, the neckline was wrong and a couple of the seams were so fudged I was going to wrap the dress up into a Thorntons gift box.

The picture below doesn't look like there's a big difference between the pieces, but the modifications were based on accidentally sewing it in the wrong way up, then applying modifications upside-down.
If only you had asked in January where the waistline was on this piece...

So I totally fell out of love with the project. It ground to a massive halt because I also couldn't decide what it should actually look like. I still don't know. But for some reason it's got to get done. It was a New Year [res]Sewlution, considering some of the other pledges in that jar, making one measly dress should be easy!

I've done the only sensible thing and started all over again: retraced the pattern and graded everything down to a 34 and a 32 just in case. I've prepared a muslin "properly" according to Linda Maynard and spent time pinning and adjusting the new one.

I've also tried to be more methodical with the flat pattern adjustments. On the first pattern I knew it was a basic bodice where the panel seams incorporated the darts, and I still wasn't sensible in how the pattern got altered.This time I've tried to reduce chances of getting confused, so I taped pieces back together, did the modification, and then separated them again.

So here's the partially altered new muslin. The opening is pinned in my right side rather than the centre back (where the zip will be), and having a pinned kimono sleeves is a right PITA (armpit), so excuse the odd arm sticking out.

The horizontal pleat above the bust has completely disappeared, and I don't think I need to adjust the waist position. I've still got to take a horizontal wedge out of the upper back and a vertical one out of the centre back. Looking at this, I could stand to put a little bit back in to the side seam, but we'll leave it at that for now.

The skirt still hasn't been properly adjusted, but it definitely needs more room. The side seam is tilting forwards. I'm not sure why, but all the extra room they've placed on the pattern is in line with about halfway up my forearm, so I've had to pinch that out and will have to add a lot of room at the level even with my wrist.

I still have no clue how to tackle the lining, facings or design but it'll get there. Slowly.

See you next time,

*No one else gets the Bleak Expectations references, do they?