Sunday 31 October 2010

Lady Grey Update

I had great sewing plans for the weekend and it all went exactly (ok, almost exactly) like planned. I worked  only on the Lady Grey Coat and I'm very happy with my progress.
I (finally!) finished slipstiching the hem, including the sleeves. As I'm sure I mentioned in some previous post, hand sewing is not a strong point so it was quite laborious and tiring. In the process I broke three needles, pricked my fingers many, many times and gained a back ache. It is finished nonetheless. Because of the fact my coat fabric does not shrink and the coat is flared I had to slash and overlap the hem, which is not the prettiest thing but does the trick. To disguise this ugliness I'm bringing my lining all the way down and will slipstitch it too (oh the joy!)

                                     Not the cutest hem around but it works!

I also assembled the lining this weekend. I had to order more after the Hem Problem and with some help from my boyfriend went for a burgundy habotai. The photo below is not really representing its true colour, as the light wasn't great when I took it and couldn't be bothered photoshopping it in great detail.
The construction was fairly easy, with more attention needed in curved areas. The tricky bit was sewing the back facing to the back lining. I did it and re-did it a few times and it was driving me a bit crazy. The seam is so curved that even with clipping it's quite difficult. But I did it and below you can see the lining loosely attached to my dummy. It looks better in real life, trust me!

I'm tempted to move on and sew the front facings to the lining, as it was also part of my plan, but might resist and rest for the evening. After all tomorrow is back to 9-5 :(

Tuesday 26 October 2010

Winter Dress Project

For quite some time I had been looking for a long sleeved 50s/60s inspired dress pattern to make up for winter. I found a few but the fact that they are truly vintage patterns scared me a bit. I don't think I'm ready to deal with challenging sewing patterns. I need the pattern to be fairly easy to understand and the dress easy to construct.
On my weekly shopping trip I had a peek at the magazines section and found the new issue of Sew Magazine. To my great pleasure, I saw that their free pattern are vintage inspired dresses and one has a 3/4 sleeve, which will do for my project. Don't be scared readers, I am not using a similar fabric to the one depicted on the envelope.
After looking at some gorgeous dresses made with corduroy, I decided to give that a go. It will be black and planning to accessorise it with brown hues, which actually go quite well with my recent shoe addition.

Have your worked with corduroy? Any thing I should consider when sewing with it?

Sunday 24 October 2010

Sewing struggles

It's been more than a week since I last posted and I can only apologise for that. Believe me it's not for lack of sewing adventures. It's just laziness. I had a busy week at work and lacked energy to spend any length of time at my computer at home. One can be forgiven, I hope.
I've been facing a few sewing struggles but threading along and certainly not giving up. Regarding the Lady Grey Coat, I've assembled the main body, including the collar and sleeves and as per Gertie's recommendation proceeded to hem before doing any linings. I started using the tutorial she presented and that failed miserably. Because I'm using an artificial fibre, the coat won't shrink one inch. That left me with a few folds and pleats in the hem which, I think we all agree, is not very nice. Gertie came to the rescue (after I screamed for help) and recommended slashing the hem and overlapping and that has made it look a bit nicer. I am now in the process of hand slipstitching the hem which is a laborious and tiring task. My hand sewing skills are a bit crap, which doesn't help. The other problem is that I had already cut all the lining pieces but because of this alteration I need the lining to completely encase the coat, not to show any slashes. Placed an order for more lining today, some cheap habotai will do. I have no photos to show you because every time I remember to take them it's already dark.
The other project I'm doing is the Burda 8488 trousers I mentioned here. I finally cut the fabric and assembled the main pieces. I started days and days ago but spent too much time on toiles trying to make alterations which, in the end, didn't suit me or the style of the trousers. I have now a tiny wee bit of a problem which I need to resolve. The inside seam of my left leg is not straight at the side. It's falling/ twisting forwards and so does the whole leg. If you understand what I meant but the confusion sentence above please help me! I think it's the inner/crotch seam that might be a bit twisted.
My last struggle relates to this pattern, more precisely the chemise and drawers. As you can see at the back of the envelope it asks for "double edged flat eyelet", "flat lace edging" and "eyelet beading". I'm pretty sure these are not fasteners, they are trimmings but I cannot find them by those names in any UK online shop and have no idea what to search for. I got some alternative name suggestions but still struggling to understand what exactly I need to buy. Again, if you know anything about this I would very much appreciate your help.

That is all for today. I might be back tomorrow with details of another project to my list (oh boy)!!

Saturday 16 October 2010

New fabric and some doubts

Last weekend the awesome Lizzet from The Fabric Loft celebrated her birthday and to make it even more special she offered a 20% discount on everything in the shop. I couldn't say no to it as I had been lusting over a few fabrics for a while. I placed an order and a couple of days later a package arrived with some gorgeousness inside.

I know exactly what I want to do with it but unsure if I can pull it off. I'm going to keep this project a little secret and share when completed, deal? It might be a while as per usual I have lots of projects ticking along.
One of them is the Burda 8488 trousers I blogged about in my last post. I bought some wool blend in Portugal and plan on making some nice and warm winter trousers. I have been wrecking my head, however, in how to care for this fabric. It is composed on 30% wool and 70% polyester. I have read that if it has wool it is better to dry clean as machine wash might not only shrink but alter the fabric appearance. However, and if I'm completely honest, I really don't fancy going to dry cleaners every week and have been trying to research more about caring for wools. I've cut a 10cmx10cm swatch and machine washed it at 30% wool setting and it didn't shrink or got damaged.  So dear readers, maybe you can help me? How should I care for this fabric? Not risk it and dry clean? Or trust the polyester content and do a delicate 30% or even cold wash? I welcome your knowledge on this.

Last but not least the Lady Grey coat. When I made up my mind to join Gertie's sew along, I decided I would do a simplified version of the coat, following the pattern envelope instructions. Gertie decided to do a more tailored version with pad-stitching, back stays, etc but I got to overwhelmed with it. However, after seeing some tutorials on bound buttonholes and hair canvas I got tempted to attempt the more tailored version and started my hunt for hair canvas. That has probably saved me. I got so confused over hair canvas and found little help from staff at John Lewis (technical help, I must add) that I retreated to my original plan. After all, I have only sewn two dresses and a mouse. Am I being weak? Did I fail you all?

Saturday 9 October 2010

Back from Holiday Sewing Progress

I'm back in the UK after what seemed a short 10 day holiday in southern Portugal. The weather was lovely, the food, family and friends awesome and I definitely didn't want to come back to my day job. I have to confess, however, that I missed my sewing machine and my ongoing sewing projects. Whilst away, my mother managed to help me hold knitting needles properly so I will start a scarf attempt soon. On to sewing now and I'm way behind everyone else at the Gertie's Lady Grey Sew Along. I finished fitting my muslin and I think I'm relatively happy with fit so started cutting and marking my main fabric, which you might recall is a cheap gabardine I bought online. With the muslin I had some issues with sleeves so if you know any good tutorials/ instructions on sleeves, please let me know.

I have a photo shoot tomorrow and will be busy editing photos so will not have much time to move along quickly. But I'll definitely let you know once I move on to tailoring.

On my holiday I have also managed to add a sewing project to my list. One of my work trousers has a busted zip and whilst I'm trying to mend it I thought it would be a good idea to do some smart trousers for winter. I scouted for bargains in Portugal and found some 'cheaper than in the UK' wool blend. In fact, and quite oddly in my opinion, in the Algarve if you want to buy wool fabric you'll find lots and cheaper than here but lighter fabrics, such as cottons are more expensive. Weird! I went for a dark green wool blend and had in mind a flared high waisted trouser. Within the same week I spotted this blog post by Butterflies and Hurricanes and loved the trousers so today I have acquired Burda 8488 pattern. I will probably only start this once I finish the Lady Grey coat.

Also whilst in Portugal my mother decided to give me some fabric she had bought more than 20 years, when we lived in Germany. The material is a sort of rayon/ nylon for the top two pieces and the bottom one is a cotton blend. I love the top ones and can't wait to think what to do with them. I have about 2 mtr but the width is quite narrow. Aren't they lovely? She also gave me some satin which I will probably try and do some night gown or undergarments and some big scraps of upholstery fabric which I will try and do a corset with. One day!!


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