Sunday, 26 September 2010

New hair and little sewing!

I have decided to abandon the golden highlights of my hair for something a bit warmer and suitable for colder months. As you can see from the photo right at the end of this post my hair is now a copper/ reddish tone. This will, however, change. Because I had blonde highlights it's not easy for the red to stick and it will fade away quite quick. Therefore I need to have a second coating in about a month. I am also planning a different cut.
But this has nothing to do with sewing, you are probably thinking. And you're right, nothing to do with sewing. I have been rather inactive with sewing. I'm still waiting for some golden advice from Gertie on how to best assemble sleeves for me Lady Grey Sew along so not much development there. I tried my hand at a couple of things though but stumbled a bit and welcome your advice with bag making: I tried to do a coin purse but had a hard time with some firm fusible interfacing. The thing won't bend so how am I suppose to work with it?! I'm sure the answer is simple.

That's all for today and possible for next week or so as I'm on holidays :) 

Tuesday, 21 September 2010

Lady Grey Muslin Progress

I started work on the Lady Grey coat and have completed the muslin with the exception of sleeves and collar. As I'm a novice on tailoring and pretty much on sewing, I decided to follow step by step Gertie's instructions to make sure I learn along the way and pick up useful hints. She started by publishing a tutorial on princess seams which are the kind of seams featured in this coat. I read many horror stories about princess seams so welcomed a comprehensive tutorial. After I finished my first princess seam I felt like a genius as it was quite easy to do. No huge challenges there, I'm afraid.
I finished assembling the main body of the muslin and leaving sleeves and collar for when Gertie's posts something about these, probably in the next couple of days. Never done a collar and sleeves can be a nightmare so definitely will welcome the help.

I'm fairly happy with the fit, but then fitting clothes to me is a new concept and I suspect I still don't recognise a perfect fit from a reasonable fit (if that makes sense?). I've cut a number above my measurements to be able to wear tick jumpers. The back feels pretty good and comfortable but in the front I not 100% sure. The thing I'm sure I want to change is the length. It almost reaches my knees so will definitely shorten it.

I'll leave you with two quick snaps of front and back. Really welcome any thoughts and suggestions! Thank you!

Saturday, 18 September 2010

Progress on Lady Grey Sew Along

The Lady Grey Sew Along hosted by Gertie is under way with the construction of the muslin/ toile. I traced and cut my US size 4 pattern pieces last week. I suspect this size will be way to big but it's easier to take out than to put in (even though I confess I have no idea how to do it if needs be). Even though this is a Autumn coat I plan to wear it (if finished wearable) during winter with some nice long gloves, so the coat needs space for some bulky wool sweaters; which, by the way, I LOVE, but can't knit :(

I started off by tracing seam lines and markings onto wrong side of fabric using a tracing wheel. Can you see the lines on the right hand side in the fabric? No? Don't worry, neither can I. The tracing/ carbon paper I have is either yellow or white so it doesn't show very well. After tracing a couple of pieces I hurried to my local Hobbycraft to see if I could get some red or blue carbon paper. I did find some but pieces are like 20cm x 20cm which is not helpful really. I went along with the yellow and put some strain in my eyes sewing the lines.

My next stage was to sew all seam lines. With some blue chalk pencil, I marked the pattern piece number and name and notches.

Several pieces later I was finished and have all pieces ready for the next stage: assembling the muslin/ toile.

When I looked at the sew along Flickr group pool I saw that many people have already assembled their muslin. However, I decided to wait for Gertie to publish the assembling post. She might include tips and hints on construction which I sure want to follow. Getting well excited with this and hope I manage to do something wearable and most important, I learn a bit of tailoring along the way. The schedule is to start sewing on the 27th and that is leaving me a bit concerned. I'm going on holidays on the 28th for about 2 weeks and know I will get behind everyone else. Maybe it's not a problem as I can always catch up and refer to previous posts but hope that there will still be someone around with patience to help me if I have any issues.

On other sewing news...
...I have started gathering supplies to do some awesome jewellery stuff featured in the P.S.-I made this... book .
... I decided to freestyle a blouse/ t-shirt and so far is looking odd but wearable. Need to buy some supplies to finish it off.
... I have some ideas I want to see if I can pull off. Can't share many details now but will do as soon as I know.
... My turn of the century ladies costume is not forgotten. However, with holidays and sew along it will take some time.

Friday, 10 September 2010

Fabric choices and a wonderful book!

I was lucky enough to have landed in my hands the gorgeous book : "P.S.-I made this..." by Erica Domesek. The book explores innovative and creative ways of using everyday things to recreate fashions trends, from gorgeous jewellery to pimping up a pair of leggings or t-shirt. A huge thank you to The Fabric Loft is due. Alongside drop dead gorgeous fabrics on their website  The Fabric Loft also has an excellent review of this book in the  blog.
There's a lot of things I want to try, but high on the list are the military earring, using tassels and upholstery cord, and the knee high leather boots.  Keep your eyes peeled, coming to you soon :)

I have finally received some of the material needed for the Lady Grey sew along. At the bottom of this post you'll see a photo with main fabric, interfacing and muslin, but don't hold your breath. It's probably the most boring fabric photo you've seen. So what do we have:
Main fabric:  After much deliberation I've decided for a gabardine which I strongly suspect is artificial, not wool, as it was very cheap. Let me say that I took ages to decide. I was set on some nice wool flannel but stepped back after seeing 4mtrs would set me back about £100. I know a good coat is worth it but I am absolutely new to tailoring and even sewing in general I'm still green. Do I want to risk plus £££ is a coat which might be catastrophically build? No.
Lining: I have not yet purchased lining. I have some black habutai short of 2mtr (which is what I need) so will see if it's enough. Again, I was tempted with some silk but thought of coat disaster vs £££.
Interfacing: It's lightweight, as recommended by pattern but it's soooo soft I'm actually worried.
Muslin: What can I say, it's medium weight calico.

I'm expecting to receive my pattern tomorrow so can go about tracing it in preparation to pin/mark/cut. The flickr pool for the sew along is also up so getting quite excited over this.

I will definitely try my best at this coat and will definitely do a wool flannel version if confident after this one. I have even commissioned a pretty extraordinary talented lady to do me some custom buttons. But I'll leave that for another time.

Sunday, 5 September 2010

Ladies Street Costume

I have a keen interest in period costumes and to that effect bought 2 books on the subject quite some time ago. One is Reconstructing Era Fashions by Frances Grimble and the other one is 56 Authentic Turn of the century Fashion Patterns by Kristina Harris. A lot of the clothing designs I have lurking in my mind have period elements so for me is essential to learn how to do these so I can incorporate them in my own designs. One day in the future, of course!
Upon looking through the books and dribbling at the sight of gorgeous period pieces I got a bit overwhelmed and put them aside. Let's face it, they are way too complicated for the novice sewer. The instructions are practically non- existing, the patterns need to be enlarged using a grading method and the techniques used look too complicated.  One day, I thought (and still think), one day!!

Because I'm waiting for the Lady Grey sew along when the weekend arrived I was bored. I decided to look into the above mentioned books and choose an outfit and start work on it. I though to myself, why not? I can at least have a go and see how it goes. So I picked the style below ignoring the skirt for now and concentrating on the bodice. Or I should say basque.

First I had to grade the pattern.They are very small and have a huge amount of measurings printed vertically and horizontally. These were the numbers that scared my so much when I first laid eyes on them. But when reading the instructions, it's not that complicated. The vertical numbers mean actual length of the full size pattern and the horizontal are the width. All you need is a ruler a pen and paper to transfer the measurements. I had to overcome the fact it's all in inches. Hello, I'm from the continent, I don't do inches. I guess now I do! Not a problem, even getting used to them. The other problem for me is drawing curves. Definitely need to get myself a french fashion curve. The patterns include seams but do not include allowances for any buttons, collars, etc. I decided not to worry about these for now. I'll start by checking fit.

I transfered all the basque pieces and re traced them onto new paper, keeping the originals as master copies. I then progressed to cutting and marking in calico. The front has two big darts which I had to eye a bit as the pattern measurements are a bit off. There are no instructions on what to sew where but with pieces at hand and names on them it was relatively easy. Little problems of edges not matching which I will address in paper pattern. There's 2 fronts (which remain open in front to put buttons), 2 underarm gore, 2 side back and 2 backs. Nothing is cut on the fold (I think!) The author warns us that even after grading patterns up the sizes are quite small to modern standards. I thought I would get away with it as I'm quite petite but I was wrong. It is very, very small and tight.

At this stage, you're probably looking at the sleeve. I definitely need to practice sleeves. It's way to tight and I cannot raise my arm. It's nothing to do with sizing, it's the way I gathered and set it. There's an extra bulk in the back that I don't know how it got that. To add to that, I sewed it on the wrong side. Duh!! I shall the picking that up tomorrow with my trusted seam ripper and attempt again.

Next stage is to practice putting the sleeves in :) When I'm moderately happy with it I will alter the pattern to my size and start all over again. And it might take a while!

The Lady Grey sew along is soon starting and I also have a few photoshoots in the pipeline, so work on this will be slow. I finally bought the fabric, lining and other indispensables for the sew along and should receive all middle week. I will share my fabric choices with you as soon as I get them.

Thank you for reading and feel free to leave a comment! 


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