Friday, 27 May 2011

Crescent Muslin Finished!

After a couple of late night posts on my progress I have now finished the muslin.  Here are some photos.

I cut out size 12 of the Crescent pattern.  And guess what?  It needs no alterations.  I can't quite believe it myself as I have such an awkward figure for clothes.  I have not hemmed it and I think for the final garment I will cut some extra length so the final length is just above the knee as above.

I was not sure what this fabric would look like sewn up.  Yes it is too good for muslin (I have ordered some from Ebay as I am a muslin convert now).   I got it from Hobbycraft and I'm not sure if it is a quilting weight fabric (which Tasia says is OK for this skirt).   I also wasn't sure about the colour when I got it home.   It turns out I love the fabric.  After all my work in making the muslin I will be unpicking this and sewing it into a final skirt.  I have an aqua green linen for my final skirt so I will be making that next.

I love the shape of this skirt.  I can't wait until it's finished.

It's the long bank holiday weekend and I'm looking forward to it.

Thursday, 26 May 2011

More Crescent Skirt Progress

More late night sewing on my Crescent skirt muslin.   I sewed the pocket bags on my Crescent skirt, gathered the skirt panels and sewed the side seams.

Tasia gave out a simple but nifty tip on gathering on her sew-along.  Put a pin on the thread ends you are not pulling and wind the threads around the pin so they stay put.  Genius - who would have thought of doing that?  Forget knots or just leaving the threads untied and hoping for the best.  However you do have to put the pins on both sides and tie the top and bobbin threats around the pins.  I found this out to my cost when I gathered and ended up pulling the threads out.  No worries - I just pulled it all out and repeated the gathering.

I decided to leave sewing the waistband to the skirt until tomorrow.  One thing I would recommend doing is marking which is the centre seam of the back skirt panels (or remember to mark the notch which I didn't do).  Once they are both gathered the two sides look much the same.  It was difficult to tell which was the side of the skirt and which was the centre.  I hope I've done it right.

Nearly midnight now.  Night night.

Wednesday, 25 May 2011

Crescent Skirt Progress

I've started making the Crescent skirt at last.  I am also doing my first ever muslin with this project, following Tasia's sew along tutorials.  I am using some quite nice material so if it fits OK I may unpick it eventually and sew it properly.   I traced out the pattern on Sunday and cut out the pieces yesterday (Monday).  After arriving home late from work I decided to start sewing the waistaband at 11.20 pm as I was quite excited to get started.  I finished just after midnight.

How nice it is to use large stitches and not finish the seams and tie off the threads as you go along.  It is so fast.

I had to laugh when I realised that I sewed up the back seam as well.  That's midnight sewing for you.  Not a problem with size 5 stitching though.  One yank and the seam was undone!

I am quite excited to see the final muslin now.

Yawn.  Better go to sleep now.  Night night.

Sunday, 22 May 2011

Beach Top

I have now finished my first ever t-shirty sort of thing.  Here are the photos:

With the warmer weather upon us and summer just around the corner I wanted some t-shirts to wear with my self-stitched skirts.   I was intending to use my Jersey Top pattern with the sleeves cut short.  Then I came across pattern number 102 in the May 2011 issue of Burda.

I liked the look of the top even though the pattern recommended sweatshirt material and the neck is normally lower than I like.   I wasn't really after a beach type casual top but something a bit smarter to wear with my skirts.   Anyway a beach top is what I have ended up with and it doesn't really go with my skirts.

I came a cropper with Burda sizing again.  I cut out my usual size which worked perfectly with my long-sleeved Jersey Top (also Burda).    It came out HUGE.  No, it's not the one in the photos.   There was nothing I could do with it to make it remotely wearable.  It can maybe be tossed on around the house and in the garden but that's about it.

I should have stepped away from Burda 102 at this point and reached for the Jersey Top pattern.   I am a bit stubborn - I wanted a wearable t-shirt in this pattern so I decided to try again.  This time I cut out the smallest size, size 36 (UK size 10).  I made no alterations other than lengthening it by 1 inch.   My issues with the finished garment are:

1.  It's still big.
2.  The neckline is too big.
3.  The ribbed hem band has gone funny.

I don't know what happened with the neckline.  I cut the pattern out exactly and matched up the edges but it has ended up too big and nothing like the picture.   The sleeves are like a capped sleeve with two bits sewn together.   Altering the neckline and the sleeve pieces would have involved adjustments which are beyond me at this stage in my sewing career.

This is the first time I have used ribbing.  I cut the pieces exactly as instructed and held them against me to check they were the right size.  It should have fitted snugly against my hips but something happened in the sewing.  I must have stretched it too much.  Maybe this would have worked better on sweatshirt material like the pattern recommends.

All in all I am pleased with the end result.  I feel too exposed wearing it as a top on its own so I will be layering it with a camisole as in the pictures.   Even though this is not the top I planned I am still happy with the result and I'm looking forward to wearing it on a sunny day.

Happy sewing.

Friday, 13 May 2011

My Fabric Friday for May

Another update on My Fabric Friday challenge for May.  This is where I try and wear some of my hand stitched clothes to work on Dress Down Fridays.  Dress Down Fridays happens on the first Friday of each month.   The last one was on 6 May 2011 and here is a picture of what I wore, snapped when I got home.

I wore my Forever Skirt which had just been finished by that point.  It did crease a lot after a day of sitting at a desk so the snap includes all that.  I wore a black Jersey top that I bought from Topshop in winter 2009 and a Paul Smith waistcoat (which you can't really make out in the picture) that I bought in October 2007 from Bicester shopping village.

It's now nearly half way through the year and I have so far kept up with the challenge.  It has actually been an easy one as I have made a conscious effort to sew wearable items.  You won't see an endless stream of party dresses around here because that's not what I wear most of the time.  What I want at the moment are nice tops to wear with jeans, nice skirts and maybe the odd dress.  The weather is warming up now so I am trying to make some nice tee shirts, a summer skirt and maybe a dress.  I would like to make some more knitwear, like my Burda wrap top, but there doesn't seem to be any knit material in the fabric shop at present.  We still wear cardigans in the summer so I don't know why this is.

In fact I think that every weekend this year so far, and during time I have had off work, I have worn at least one hand stitched item.   The three pairs of leggings I made have been a godsend for this as I have worn them under a lot of the clothes I have made and on their own with a top and a long cardigan.   I actually look forward to getting dressed at the weekend now and choosing from my hand stitched clothes.  (I keep them all in a wardrobe in my sewing room in a dry cleaning holder - they are treated with love and care I have to say!).   I always iron my clothes now and any ready to wear item worn  with it.  I hardly ever used to iron anything I'm ashamed to say.

Not much else to report at the moment except to say that I am loving my new sewing room.   I'm about to head up there now in fact for some late Friday night sewing.

Happy weekend!

Friday, 6 May 2011

The Forever Skirt

I have now finished my red linen "Forever" skirt, so called because it took me forever to do the pockets on them.   Here are the pictures.

This is skirt 120A from the February 2011 issue of Burda magazine.   I used the red linen I bought a few weeks ago.  It was not great fabric to use.  The grainlines were not exactly straight and the material creases so easily.

This was my first time making welt pockets with a welt strip.   I was absolutely tearing my hair out over them!  There are a few tutorials on the internet but none of them exactly for this type of pocket.    I did two test welt pockets, and the first came out better than the second.  I still wasn't happy so I decided to sit down with my sewing books, the pattern instructions, and a few welt pocket tutorials and try and work it out for myself.  I made detailed notes as I was going along and I now have a very descriptive tutorial for how to make this style of welt pockets, thinking about each step as I went along.   I was so happy when I first turned the pocket to the inside carefully.  Only at that point did it all fall into place and I understood where I was going wrong.  The pockets are not perfect by any stretch.  I do think this fabric didn't help as it did seem to move quite a bit.  I'm not worried about that as I'm delighted that I have worked out now to do welt pockets.  What's more, with my step by step instructions I can now add them onto any project, with any size of welt strip.  This view of the skirt was supposed to have a welt pocket at the back.  I was losing the will for welt pockets a bit at this point so I decided not to attempt another one!

I also sewed in lining.  Facings and lining was a first for me.  I was confused looking at my ready to wear skirts as the linings were attached to the lower edge of the facings whereas in this skirt the top of the facings, linings and the skirt all meet at the top.   I thought I was reading the instructions wrong at first.  I would like to try the ready to wear method at some point.

The skirt was way too wide and I ended up taking it in about 1.5 cm on each side.  I could have done with going in another 0.5 cm at the waist but I could not face undoing the facings and lining.   (I can now see the benefits of doing muslins which I must do at some point).    I was then very good and transferred all the alterations to my pattern pieces (including the 0.5 cm at the waist which hopefully is right).  It is all ready to go for when I do the skirt again.

The pleat was very easy, although the instructions didn't make much sense.  I'm sure they were describing a different type of pleat!

I also hemmed the skirt using the blind hem foot on the sewing machine.  This is the first time I have blind stitched a hem on the machine.  I have always hand stitched them up to now save where I have topstitched the hem.   I did try to do blind hemming on a test piece of fabric ages ago but I just couldn't work out how to fold the fabric!   To be honest I just wanted to get the skirt finished and so I was not really fussed if it didn't turn out very well.  However I was pleasantly surprised at how easy it was to do.  They are virtually invisible once it has been pressed.  I wish I had made a bit more of an effort to make the hem straight now!

I have bought a swanky new steam iron and I was so impressed at how it dealt with the creases on the linen and the pleat.  

Overall I am delighted with what I have learned in making this skirt.  I'm not over enamoured with the fabric on this one (and in particular the way it creases so easily).   I am looking forward to making this one again at some point with some decent fabric.  However the skirt is totally wearable and I shall be wearing it a lot.  I'll treat it as a wearable muslin (albeit an unintentional one).

Happy sewing.

Sunday, 1 May 2011

New sewing room!

I have now joined the ranks of sewers with a dedicated sewing room.  Here are some pictures (taken before any sewing action):

We have lived in this house over 4 years now and until yesterday this room was a box room storing junk.  All the junk is now tucked away in the loft and I have a sewing room!  I am especially pleased with the table.  I found it (or rather my other half did) on Ebay 4 minutes before the auction ended and I put in a winning bid for a bargain £51!   We had fun collecting it yesterday and managed to get it into the back of my crossover type vehicle with the help of a lot of rope.  We had the boot lid open all the way home and I was nervously peering out the back to make sure it didn't fall out!

The room doesn't yet have any curtains or a lampshade.   While we were clearing out the room I found a make your own blind kit that my mother gave me so I shall be making a blind at some point!

The Coca Cola picture was a present from my brother for Christmas.  I will get round to hanging it but I actually quite like it leaning against the wall on the floor.

I have a skirt to finish off so I will start sewing in my new room later on today.   It is amazing how many loose threads accumulate around the house when you're sewing something.  I just know there will be constant hoovering but maybe at least the mess can now be confined to this room.  Maybe I should do a Kim and Aggie type catch up post in a few weeks time to see how it's going (and to see if it's still tidy!).  I hope it doesn't prove to be the dearth of productivity!

Happy sewing.