Saturday, 25 June 2011

Polka Dot Crescent Skirt

I have now finished my second Crescent Skirt!  I've got a splitting headache but I still managed to get around to a late night photo session.  Here are the pictures.

If this is familiar that's because it's the muslin Crescent Skirt I wrote about a month back using Sewaholic's pattern.   True to my word I unpicked it and sewed it up into a final garment.  I did wonder if the material would be compromised but not a bit.  I gave the pieces a good steam iron and they were good to go.  I love this fabric.  I bought this from Hobbycraft in Norwich.  I liked the colour in the shop but when I got it home I thought it may be a bit stiff.  I'm not sure if this is quilting cotton or not.  Anyway, Tasia is right.  This skirt is great made with quilting cotton (or slightly stiffer cotton).

This is a size 12 with absolutely no alterations.    I turned up the hem about 2 cm rather than the 3.5 cm recommended in the pattern so it wouldn't be so short.  My Jade Crescent skirt was cut about 3 cm longer.   As I wasn't lining the skirt I felt that I didn't need interfacing on both the waistband and the facing.  I cut out interfacing on the facing piece only.

I also french seamed the pockets and the two side seams.  I didn't do any topstitching this time which I think is right for a less stiffer fabric than linen or denim.  I still haven't mastered the zip.  I don't know how they get the material to cover it as I haven't managed to do this very well on either skirt (and on any of my projects to be honest).  I didn't topstitch around the zip either.

I machined the stitch in the ditch on my Jade Crescent skirt (ie sewing the waistband facing to the skirt in the "ditch" between the waistband and the top of the skirt).   This time I didn't have a great matching thread for this skirt so I tested a couple of areas at the back of the skirt using the sewing machine.  Although I did well to get it in the ditch there was an obvious darker line along the waistband where the stitches were.  I have spent an hour  this evening hand sewing in the ditch with tiny stitches.

I used the invisible hem foot again for this skirt.  Even though I didn't have a great matching thread, after a good steam iron the stitching is hardly noticeable.

I had one silly mishap on the way with this skirt.  I sewed the waistband on the wrong way around so the point was facing the top!  It was looking a bit like the new Ginger Skirt waistband from Collette patterns!  I wasn't tempted to try and leave it there so I was very good and unpicked it all!

Apparently it is going to be very hot tomorrow.  Now that the photos are out of the way I'm going to wear the skirt tomorrow!

Happy sewing.

Sunday, 19 June 2011

Introducing Katya ...

Look who's arrived in my sewing room:

Meet my sewing assistant, Katya.  Here she is modelling my Jade Crescent skirt accessorised with a tape measure necklace.  My other half surprised me with this gift - I was delighted.  It came with the tape measure in the picture (a lovely soft one) and a hem marker.

As I don't have much room in my sewing room I have moved her into the landing, pictured above.  She is actually quite a nice feature.  I haven't yet used her for fitting or hemming yet.  However one great use that I have discovered is to leave a newly sewn garment hanging overnight.   Amazingly this does a lot to improve the hang of the garment  and any kinks in the hem.

I'm working on my second Crescent Skirt, making up my muslin into a final skirt.  It's looking good so far!  That's where I'm headed now.

Happy Sunday.

Sunday, 12 June 2011

Jade Crescent Skirt

I have now finished my Crescent Skirt.  Without further ado here are the pictures.

I used the wonderful Crescent skirt pattern from Sewaholic.  I followed Tasia's sew-a-long posts which are clearly written and illustrated with lots of photos.   She answers all questions left on the comments sections if there is anything you are unclear on.  I always read all the comments as they often have useful tips, tricks and links from other sewers.

Following my muslin (which I posted a couple of weeks ago) I cut out a size 12 which needed no alterations apart from lengthening it.  I ended up using lots of techniques on this skirt.  I did french seams on the side seams, back seams and the pockets.  I did a lot of topstitching and ended up topstitching nearly every possible edge apart from the bottom of the hem.  I also topstitched the side seams!  I used a linen blend and so the fabric is quite thick.  The topstitching helped to flatten the seams at the waistband and skirt joining seams.

The waistband has ended up being quite structured.  Both the front waistband and the waistband facings are interfaced.  As my fabric is quite thick there are quite a few layers.  My "one size fits all" interfacing may not have been suitable for so many layers and Tasia recommends a very soft interfacing. One option to reduce the layers is to interface the facing only.  You end up stitching the interfacing to the front waistband anyway so I think this would work and produce a softer waistband.

Once I had attached the waistband and the facing, with all the layers, I felt that the skirt needed a lining.  I was going to follow Tasia's slip tutorial but I decided against a slip for the skirt.  Firstly I was worried it would ride up and peek out of the top of the skirt (as there is a little bit of room around the waist).  Secondly with all the layers on the waistband I didn't want yet another layer under the waistband.  I then hit upon the idea of adding a lining "after the event" on the skirt only.  I didn't use the skirt pattern pieces I just measured the width of the skirt, doubled it and added on a bit extra, and then measured the length I wanted (which ended up being about 2 to 3 inches above the hem).  It was then relatively easy to sew in the lining to the seam that joins the waistband and the skirt.  Attaching it to the zip was a bit more challenging but I did what I could with the sewing machine and then finished by hand.  I then sewed up the back seam of the lining.  No side seams on the lining as it was all one piece!  The lining is lovely and soft.  I can't remember exactly what fabric it is but it is soft and luxurious.

I couldn't face hand sewing the hem like Tasia did so I used the blind hem foot for the second time on a project.  It was very easy and it has turned out pretty much invisible from the front.  The cotton I used was also an exact match.

The thing I love about Tasia's sew-a-longs is that you feel you are making a quality garment.  I have never used twill tape before.   This pattern uses it on the pocket openings and the waist edge.  I love it.  With that and the interfacing, the finished skirt has a lot of structure.

I was going to topstitch around the bottom of the hem, but I didn't want to take the chance to ruin it at the last post.

I love the finished skirt.  I can see me making more of these.  I think I will start by unpicking my muslin and turning it into a final skirt.

Happy sewing.

Friday, 3 June 2011

My Fabric Friday for June

It's the first Friday of the month.  That means it's Dress Down Friday at work and I update my challenge to wear at least one hand made item on these days.  Here is what I wore today snapped just now (around 10.30 pm).

I couldn't be doing with getting the tripod out for this so I balanced the camera on the laundry basket.  I managed to chop my head off but never mind.   The casual photo reflects the purpose of Dress Down Friday!

I wore my "I am Sailing" jersey top made from a Burda pattern.   I have to say this top is worn to death along with my Take Two jersey top and my Burda wrap top.  It is so comfortable and perfect for Dress Down Friday.

Now that we're half way through the year I think it's an apt time to do a stock-take of my self made items.  I will count everything I have made since I unpacked my sewing machine last summer:

1.   Two stuff bags.
2.   A pin cushion
3.   A Vogue dress
4.   A flip flop summer dress
5.   Angela Kane Pinafore dress.
6.   Dotty Betty shift dress.
7.   Angela Kane jersey dress.
8.   My first leggings (and my second and third leggings)
9.   Denim skirt
10. Sparkly Pendrell blouse
11. I am Sailing jersey top
12. Take two jersey top
13. Burda wrap top
14. Here comes the sun top
15. Forever skirt
16. Beach top
17. Crescent skirt muslin (as it's a muslin it doesn't really count but I love it and it will be made into a final skirt at some point).

Wow!  I didn't realise until I did this that it was 17!  Not bad at all.    Out of this list I would say the things that I wear the most often are:

1.  The two Jersey tops.
2.  My black and blue leggings.
3.  Burda wrap top
4.  My denim skirt.
5.  Angela Kane jersey dress
6.  Angela Kane Pinafore

This is based on things that I have worn numerous times - some of them loads, in particular the first 5.

The things I have not yet worn are:

1.  Sparkly Pendrell blouse
2.  Dotty Betty chiffon shift dress

This is not because I don't love them (double negative - I think that means I love them.  Must use three words more often instead of eight).   It's because they are more dressy items, for going out to dinner or to a party and I haven't yet had an occasion to wear them.  They are too nice to just lounge about it.

My Vogue dress was a bit of a disaster.  No I didn't start off on an easy project last summer.  After finishing my pin cushion I bought the most complex pattern in the world and spent a fortune on fabric from John Lewis.  I just smile every time I look at the dress thinking how stupid was.  I hadn't even heard of Angela Kane or her Make a Dress videos when I made that dress.  I hadn't heard of sewing blogs or Burdastyle.  It's funny now to imagine my life then without those things only last year.  I check out Burdastyle and my favourite sewing blogs every day now.   It's a bit like thinking back to the 80s when there were no mobile phones, manual typewriters and telex machines.  Seems like another time and so long ago.

My Forever Skirt and Here Comes the Sun top I have not worn so much, but probably because they are more recent projects.  The Forever Skirt is hard work because it creases so much, but I will still get wear out of it.  My beach top I wore last weekend as well and enjoyed wearing it.

Tasia at Sewaholic wrote a great post this week about finished projects she doesn't love.  She made two lovely things but is thinking about giving them away.  I commented on her blog that we shouldn't beat ourselves up about self made things that we don't wear.  How many ready to wear items have we bought that we don't wear?  As long as we love wearing the majority of the pieces we have made then this is all good.  I'm pleased to say that I enjoy wearing the vast majority of my self stitched clothes.  I can see though how you have to be careful to choose the right things to ensure it will be worn.

The next dress down day is July.  We will be in the depth of summer and  I haven't yet finished anything truly summery.  I need to get going on some summer clothes!  I cut out the pieces for my Crescent skirt yesterday so I hope to start this at the weekend.

I'm falling asleep now so I'll close off.

Happy weekend!