Sunday 30 January 2011

Crepe bodice mistake and the game winner!

There we have it! With all fitting forwards and backwards I managed to end with the bodice back pieces one good inch shorter than front bodice. How annoying is that! Need to think about what to do now.
And the winner of the game is....
...wonderful Debi from My happy sewing place.... If you do not yet follow her blog, go now and do it. It is absolutely gorgeous.
Congratulations Debi, I hope you make more use of this cute sewing book than I did! Drop me an email at suzysewingblog[at]yahoo[dot]co[dot]uk and I'll make sure it's on its way this week.

Trousers Sewalong: Conquered

I am over the moon for having finished my trousers as part of The Cupcake Goddess Trousers Sewalong. The sew along is still ongoing but as I was working on a different pattern I decided to crack on and finish them off.
They are super wide which, with this pattern, doesn't look too bad. They are also very hight waisted, which was one the main reasons I picked this pattern. I spent yesterday hemming and opted by mid high suitable length. By the way, don't you find annoying that you always have to choose beforehand, if you going to wear high heels or flats with your trousers?
The corduroy I used (purchased from the great The Fabric Loft) is very soft so bulk wasn't an issue for most of the part. The only part where it gets a bit bulky is where the waistband (with facing) meets the pocket and the outer fabric. Using my newly found and already much loved overlocker foot I treated all my seams that way. It takes a whole lot of thread but it looks so pretty.
I mentioned in my fitting post I wasn't 100% happy with the zipper length but because the trousers are quite snug waist wise and high, I couldn't put a shorter one. I don't have a photo os my back but it doesn't look as bad as I thought it would.
I really really love this trousers and will definitely do a summer pair, with a few alterations:

  • I like them wide but for the next pair I will try to remove some of the wideness. Not much though, as I do believe this style suits wide legs.
  • I am quite petite so will probably cut one inch off top/ waistband
  • I have already cut the smaller size for these but will try and reduce that for my next pair. These are great winter trousers and fit perfectly with a jumper tucked inside. But if I'm to wear a thin summer blouse, they are not so snug.  

Friday 28 January 2011

SewHip Magazine star prize...yay!!

I have received the prize I won from SewHip Magazine last August...Yay!! Behold the assortment that reached my post box this week:

It took me many, many, many emails but I'm glad I chase it up and didn't give up because I really like what I've got. None of the fabric is big enough to make clothing (which is my thing really) but I have been thinking accessories. Bags? Belts? What do you think?

I sent the photo below to the editor as I was super impressed with the quality of the magazine and the easy instructions of its patterns. I also provided some feedback from the eyes of a beginner and bought a subscription. This dress, believe it or not, was the first piece of clothing I ever sewn and only possible because the instructions were so straightforward and clear. And obviously I like to think I have some talent too ;) Totally wearable dress but I have to tell you, the sleeves are disgraceful and the stripes make my eyes hurt, if I look for too long.

Wednesday 26 January 2011

Crepe Sew Along progress and a game... with a prize!

The Crepe sew along is moving along nicely and I'm happy to be up to date with the help of Gertie's brilliant tutorials and posts. The schedule for this sew along has gone out of the window and I confess the thought of racing ahead passed through my head. But then I remembered the reasons why I joined this sew along and started other projects to keep me busy.

My pieces were all cut so first thing was to adjust facings to the changes I made in the fitting process. There were only slight differences and I didn't need to draft my own facings. Started by sewing the darts, and then moved on to shoulder seams.

Gertie has chosen to pink her seams but I was keen to try the overlocker foot in my sewing machine (after Toria alerted me there is one). I have never used or seen an overlocker so not sure of the differences but I quite liked the look and decided to finish my allowances that way. Doesn't it look pretty? Attaching the armhole facing to bodice was ok but the U curve made me sweat a bit. I went on to sweat even further with grading seam allowances. I get very, very nervous doing this as I think I'm going to cut something I shouldn't. Next step was understicthing (by hand) the facings and at first thought I panicked (hand sewing is not my strong) but after seeing Gertie's brilliant video tutorial I dare say it was easy peasy!

Side seams were then sewn, seams finished and this is what I have so far:

Now what's this talk about a game and a prize? In the midst of all this, I discovered a rather stupid mistake from my part which has left me pretty annoyed but not defeated. Find my mistake (in the photos or in the text) and leave a comment on this post by Sunday 30th January 6pm (GMT London time) and you can bag yourself a Simple Sewn Gifts book. I bought this book some time ago in an effort to use fabric scraps but haven't done anything. The little, gorgeous things in this book also call for a lot of hand sewing and cross stitch, which in not my thing.
All correct entries will enter and winner will be chosen at random.
You have to be a follower of this blog.
Open to the whole world.

Monday 24 January 2011

Lounge Trousers

After spending Christmas holidays in my pink fleece pyjamas, I vowed to make myself some cool, trendy and warm lounge trousers to wear around the house. I set along choosing patterns and materials and, despite being a bit ill for the last couple of days, I finished them this weekend. However I am not sure I achieved the cool and trendy I wanted because a) they just look like pyjama bottoms and b) the leopard print might have been a sad choice. They remind me of the 80s or Meet the Flintstones.Nevertheless I am not going to dwell on it because I achieved the primary goal, which was to make some nice and warm lounge trousers. You just won't catch me popping over to Sainsburys on these!

I looked for a easy to sew pattern aimed at fleeces and decided on Kwik Sew 3837. When looking at the back of the envelope and at sizing I decided to cut a Children size XL. Sad, I know! Construction was very easy and very straightforward with no issues. With the pieces cut and marked it took me probably less than one hour to make them. It was my first time doing a elastic waistband but again, dead easy!

On the first photo you might spot that I'm reading a knitting book. That's right, I'm trying to work on my appalling knitting skills. I have some exciting train holidays coming up soon and knitting is just ideal for that.

Thursday 20 January 2011

Are you monogamous or polygamous?

Do you like to stick with one thing till the end or do you think variety is the spice of life? Worry not, I am actually talking about sewing projects. Your preferences at other levels are your own.
The idea for this post came after a brief exchange of tweets with a great fellow blogger Toria from Welsh Pixie. Make sure you check her blog.

With sewing, just like with many other things in life, I need variety. I need options. I need to feel I'm not stuck to a particular project. I like the freedom of getting home and be able to choose what I want to do. I love all the projects under my sewing machine and wouldn't have started them if I didn't. But sometimes there are particular things I might not be in the mood for. I might not want to hand sew or hem. Or the tracing/ cutting is putting me off. But most of the times I will still have a sewing itch and that's where different projects at different stages come in very handy.
All the photos here are from the current five projects I'm doing and they are all making me happy!

So what are you? Monogamous or polygamous? And what do you consider to be the advantages and disadvantages or each?

Sunday 16 January 2011

Construction Over - Vogue 8413 Double Knit Dress

I was on a roll yesterday and as a result finished the Vogue 8413 pattern in a gorgeous double knit turquoise. I actually finished it this morning as last night I had no energy for hand hemming. I had a bit of a hard time getting the photos to show the true colour but in these it's very close.
The fabric is lush! It feels so comfortable and warm against the skin making it perfect for winter. It's also crease resistant, which is always a bonus. I have some train holidays booked for later this winter so this will be a perfect travel dress.
Good construction points includes the fabric itself. It doesn't ravel at all which is brilliant. I used a universal needle as I don't have any ball points and found it not to be a problem. I understand the latter is better so will stock some for the next time. 
I decided not to make a muslin/ toile as it would be a bit silly to use a non-stretch fabric to test a stretch fabric. I also deviated from the pattern instructions asking for a 22" zipper. I estimated the knit to have enough stretch to not put a zip at all. And it worked, as you can see from the photo below. (Apologies for the strange photo. I swear it's my back. I think the back collar makes it look like it's backwards.)
The fit was interesting. I've cut the size 8 and it's definitely a tad big on me. After constructing the bodice I decided to take in 1/4" from side seams. That made it better (not perfect). The skirt includes darts at back and pleats at front but was way to large on me. I took a good 2" off side seams and fits much better (again, not perfect). I also shortened the length. 
Other issues that made me sweat was marking the pleats in fabric. Nothing (other than good old thread) seems to stay! Pressing seams open was also difficult especially because of the amount of bulk i.e. neckline.

I'll probably make this dress again (or a different view from same pattern) but will aim for a snugger fit.

Monday 10 January 2011

Trousers Sewalong: The first muslin

I have completed the first muslin from the Vogue 8604 Trousers I'm making for the Sewalong hosted by The Cupcake Goddess. I am really liking the shape of these trousers and have identified a few fitting issues and potential alterations to make. I am very new to fitting so I welcome any feedback, comments, opinions from you all!
Front view
Side View
Back View
Issues identified (trying not too sound too rude):

  • I have thin legs so the back is quite full and straight. According to my recent book purchase, Pants for Real People, I might need to take in the back inseam to add more shape to it.
  • The crotch length my be too big. It's about 2" longer than me (if that makes sense). However, it doesn't feel odd or uncomfortable and possibly when I take back inseams it might change.
  • The trousers are too long but that is something that I am used too as I am short.
  • The pattern asks for a regular zip but I am contemplating an invisible one, as it will look much nicer. Either that or I will put a shorter zip. I don't like how the bottom of the zip goes ...err...on my bottom and would probably get away with a smaller one.
What do you think? I'll be posting this photos to the flickr group to get further feedback and also appreciate your comments, fitting related or not!

Saturday 8 January 2011

Double Knit Dress - New Project

As if I don't have much sewing related activities going on I'm starting a new project this weekend. This time a double knit dress which I will hopefully finish in time to wear this winter. The pattern is Vogue 8413 and I'll be using a lovely turquoise double knit.

I first started thinking about double knits when I read Gertie's post on a quick dress she had put together at the time of the Lady Grey Sewalong. In fact she made another one shortly after. Afterwards I saw Mrs Exeter had also embarked on a double knit adventure with a gorgeous red number.

The dress idea came back after seeing some gorgeous double knit on sale at an online fabric shop. I decided there and then to do something and ordered about 3 metres. There were many colour options but I quite liked the turquoise and it's a colour I do not have in my wardrobe. After that I hunted for a pattern that asked for double knits and this was the only I found that had some long sleeve versions. I will probably do view D or E.  You can see an example of view D here. (I couldn't find a blog for this talented lady).

If you have sewn with double knits and have some advice or tips I'll be more than happy to hear about them.

Wednesday 5 January 2011

In the Park

Not many words today, just some photos taken last weekend from a walk in the park.

Photos by my lovely BF
Dress handmade by me
Corset underneath dress handmade by me
Faux fur bolero/capelet charity shop find
My gorgeous sewing shoes by Irregular Choices

Monday 3 January 2011

Underbust Corset

After a big struggle with these:
Sewing many of these:
And a bigger struggle with these (being cut by my BF):
I have finished the underbust corset and managed a waist reduction of 2 inches:
Photo by my lovely BF. Editing by me. Kimono bought.
I am quite happy with this corset and wore it today underneath my corduroy winter dress for a walk by the lake. Photos were taken and I will share them with you in the next couple of days.
Regarding the construction of the corset the major fault is the bias binding at the top and bottom. In all honesty, it's a mess! I struggled big time to sew it on a straight line, on the edge so close to the bones. It doesn't look pretty at all but I'm so happy with the rest of the corset I can forgive myself.
Photo by my lovely BF. Editing by me. Kimono bought.
I loved sewing it and wearing it and have big thanks to say to Julia from Sew Curvy Corsetry for selling these wonderful corset kits, for the amazing tutorials on the website and the advice given. I'm sure my next corset will be even better!

Edit: I just realised my contrast/ brightness settings are not what they should be and you might be seeing the above images very dark with hardly any details in the blacks. It is not intended that way and I'm trying to figure out the problem. 


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