Saturday, June 4, 2016

Ferrante on sewing

"For all the days of her life she had reduced the uneasiness of bodies to paper and fabric, and perhaps it had become a habit, and so, out of habit, she tacitly rethought what was out of proportion, giving it the proper measure." - Elena Ferrante, Troubling Love, p.103.

Monday, April 18, 2016

beach photos: Gillian top & Endeavour trousers

Brighid & I went out with camera before her swimming lesson today, and took turns playing photographer.
Endeavour trousers (Cake Patterns) in green linen from Spotlight
Gillian wrap top (Muse Patterns) in grey knit from The Fabric Store.

I've been working on culling my wardrobe, perhaps as preparation for attempting to read Marie Kondo.  I took two bags to the Sallies (yes it's school holidays!) and both times came home with fabric, clothes and bowls.  I think overall there is less in the house after the exchange. Next is book culling.  I'm doing that to the Rotary sale people, which means I can't purchase while I'm dropping off.  Most necessary after the op shop experience.

Blue merino Appleton

I finished my first Appleton yesterday, and persuaded my daughter to take a picture.  I didn't follow instructions and line the shoulder point up correctly, but otherwise I'm really pleased with it.  The fabric was $8 per metre in the Fabric Store bargain bin.  I'd make this again.  Next time I will lengthen the sleeves and I will make two right fronts.  The amount of crossover isn't as much as I would like.  I'd like to do this in Lillestoff fabric next time.

I've also made another pair of Endeavour Trousers (Cake Patterns) and another Gillian wrap top (Muse Patterns).  I really like them both, and will share if I organise myself to iron and find a photographer.

Saturday, March 5, 2016

the full caboodle shirt making wadder

There may not be a photograph.

I made a muslin of the Blank Slate Novelista pattern out of an old sheet.  I've discussed my learning on shoulders here.  All week I've looked forward to two things: drinking Captain Cooker beer with my husband on Friday night and finishing my Novelista shirt.

It's finished, and all mistakes are mine and not the pattern.  How can there be so much to fitting?  My new shirt, which is definitely a triumph in terms of new sewing skills, fits across the bust in terms of no gaping buttons.  But above the bust is a disaster - there is far too much fabric just where everything should be smooth.  And the collar looks enormous on me.  At the back, everything blouses out and I lose all back waist definition.  Sometimes I read that even an ill fitting blouse fits better than a RTW one.  But in my case, I can't do a fitted RTW blouse up, and this is the next step in terms of ill fitting but functionally wearable.

Back I went to previously unmined topics on the internet in search of explanations.  I can now add hollow chest to my list of fitting challenges.  A hollow chest + FBA combination is apparently rather common.

Somehow I'd imbibed the idea that a collar + stand button front shirt was the best kind of button front shirt.  Don't ask me how I got this, but I did.  Now, as I look at my collar points almost touching the edge of my shoulders and the collar generally out of proportion to my neck, and consult the internet for ideas, I realise that my short neck, narrow shoulders and goiter are more suited to a simpler collar option.  The simpler, standless collars on my Sewaholic Nicola dresses are much better suited to me.

I did consider making another Novelista shirt with the back of the Sewaholic Granville substituted, but as the pattern is $NZ30, just to sub a back, I'll pass.  I would like to have another go at princess seams one day.

Meantime, I've sought refuge in the comfort a previously sewn knit pattern for my next make - the Gillian top by Muse Patterns.  I have some grey fabric from my Wellington fabric shopping last year.  It's the last piece of fabric in my stash (apart from remnants of previous makes and some lining fabric), meaning I will HAVE to go fabric shopping soon.

Friday, February 19, 2016

On shoulders

I spent many years sorting out full bust adjustments.  I still spend a long time on most patterns making full bust adjustments, but I'd branched out into other fitting challenges.  When sewing up some Jenna cardigans this summer (not yet photographed or blogged, but I'm wearing the yellow one as I type), I kept narrowing the shoulder on every iteration.  Finally, the blue version had a good shoulder fit, but it still fell off my shoulders if I didn't pull it on firmly.

That made me think some more about items which DO fit on my shoulders.  I have a favourite Max brand green merino hoodie top.  I measured the shoulders on that (they fit perfectly) and they were tiny shoulders.  But because of the style of the hoodie, it didn't slip off easily.  My Sewaholic Nicola dresses are slightly wide in the shoulders, but because of the little cap sleeve, they look fine.

Then I decided to have a go at a button through top.  At first I was all set to go taping up the Muse Patterns Melissa dress.  Then I decided that reviews that Melissa was on the wide shoulder side plus it was double princess seams to alter suggested it wasn't the perfect starter experience for princess seams.  I bought the Blank Slate Novelista pattern and ran up a muslin.I altered the shoulder straight off as it seemed that shoulders were ALWAYS too wide on me.

First. Time.  Shoulders were too narrow.  So when I remeasured using the muslin on me, it turned out that I should have sewn up the blouse shoulders as printed.  Fancy that!  So now I am sewing the Novelista again, with a huge FBA to the princess seams, but shoulders as printed for the XL size.  This time in fashion fabric.

I have a goiter which is quite prominent on one side of my neck and less so on the other side.  Then I have shoulders which are quite differently shaped.  So visual symmetry around my neck isn't going to happen.  I think these aspects contribute to cardigans falling off me, and I will be conscious of this as I choose outer layer garment sewing patterns.  Cardigans have been the most difficult item for me to find in a form that I actually like the fit and style, and maybe the neck issues are part of that.

I'm tempted next (as part of my desire to make another hoodie style merino top like my shop bought one) to make the Blank Slate Denver tunic, but altered to make a looser fit for the tunic.  By the time I FBA those princess seams, I think I'd have a looser style front.

Sunday, January 17, 2016

Endeavour Trousers by Cake Patterns

I love these trousers.  I bought them as soon as they came out.  I made a test shorts version and thought they were a little snug.  That's until I realised I had sewn 1.5cm seams when I was supposed to have sewn 1.2cm seams.  Cake Patterns have a great personalised fit and I chose the 35" waist and the 45" hip.  This meant going down from my actual waist size and slightly up in the hip.  I'd made Cake Patterns' straight skirt pattern last summer and knew this was the sizing I wanted from then.  The fit is fantastic.  The photos don't do justice to the fit, as I'm on wonky ground and didn't bother to smooth the trousers before the photo.  I'm making some more as soon as I find the mid blue, heavier weight linen which I covet for the next version.  It's fabric shop sale season coming up, but most unfortunately my children need new shoes and school uniforms instead.  Ah well. The top is the Muse Patterns Gillian top, which I made last summer and wear a lot.

Speedy dresses: Myrtle & Lady Skater

 After spending weeks on two shirtdresses, these were super speedy and satisfying makes by comparison.  The Myrtle is made from some not very stretchy cheap knit which I didn't know what to do with.  I'm wearing this dress now and it is very comfortable.  It's not work appropriate as much is revealed when bending down.  I could see it being more practical in a winter version with a long sleeved t-shirt underneath.  I made a FBA on this dress, and then found it was a bit more than I needed.  So for the next version I've altered the pattern to take out 1 cm at the front and back shoulder and a sway back chunk out of the back bodice.  I've straightened out the curve made at the side seam by the FBA and taken 1 centimetre off the bottom of the front bodice.  I've added 2 inches to the pattern (yes, I use whatever measurements work for me in a mixed up fashion for sewing.  My cutting board is organised into inches which makes adding length easier in inches) as I'd like a more elegant length and swish in the next version.

 This is the Lady Skater, also satisfyingly quick to make.  I spent ages getting the pattern to work and made a lovely one with Lillestoff fabric which I haven't photographed or blogged.  Then, after identifying that I had nothing to wear for evening work functions, I made this up.  Although it is the same size as the cotton knit Lillestoff version, it comes up snugger in feel.  If I started this one again with the same fabric, I would make the sleeves full length and hem with a narrower band of blue velvet fabric, scoop the front neck out a bit and add to the length to get a lower mid calf length.  Nice shoes though, eh?  I don't expect to need to wear this for a few months, so will see what I think then.

Sewaholic Nicola in linen

This is my second version of the Sewaholic Nicola pattern and I love it.  My first version is here.  This time, there is no bra showing, and I'm really happy with the fit.  I adore the fabric.  If I was a dedicated blogger, I would have had a shower, done my hair and moved the photo shoot down to the beach.  I'm not, though there is a slew of pictures/posts coming because I did persuade my husband to photograph various recent makes.  I don't have a lot to say about this make, as the changes from the first make are documented in the first version.  I did learn a lot from making this dress, and am even feeling like I might be an intermediate sewist rather than an advanced beginner now that I can do yokes, collars and buttonholes.  I've discovered that I can put this on over my head without recourse to the buttons, which is useful in a hurry.  It does require ironing but I think it's worth it in order to wear such lovely fabric.  I don't know if I will make it again soon - two shirtdresses is enough for the moment - but I do recommend the pattern.  I'm not the pear shape which Sewaholic drafts for, but I think this dress works for the busty figure as well.