Wednesday, August 31, 2011

The plaid is making me mad...

So, I'm doing the plaid thingy this week too. As usual, I can't be happy with doing something simple, so I'm making a suit (skirt and jacket). Well, it wasn't like I just decided on it on Monday, the whole plaid suit idea was already part of my autumn sewing plan. I already had the fabric, and a pattern from a pattern book I had forgotten that I had (until this Sunday...)

You may ask - what is it that is making you mad then? Well, lots of things. Learning that sewing sleeves that consists of two pieces means you actually have to think about how you put them together - otherwise you will end up with two left sleeves. Shortly after that I realized that ripping seams in loosely woven fabrics is hard. Or, at least that's how it felt until I came to hand sewing in the lining...

Now "all I have left" (famous last words...) is putting in the buttons and buttonholes in both garments, and sewing in shoulder pads on the jacket (really fun I realized I need those after sewing in the lining). Tomorrow you will see the result... I hope...!

Until then: here's some of my inspiration: Cool and a little edgy plaid, mainly by Vivienne Westwood, Alexander McQueen and Ralph Lauren!

Sunday, August 28, 2011

Finished: 70's glam girl party dress!

Better late than never! Just before the week is over - and by that "That 70's Sew" over at Sew Weekly, I managed to finish my dress! (Well, actually I was done half past ten last night, but I wanted to post some good pictures for once, so therefore I waited before blogging about it... ).

Without further ado: Here is the early 70's glam girl dress! (And me all glammed up in it!)

All the pictures from the photoshoot are a bit pale, It was very bright outside today and the dress is very very shiny so it reflects the light a lot!

I went all in with big hair parted in the middle, green eye shadow, loads of bronzer on the cheeks and peachy lipgloss... And I love it, hah!

This picture is the closest to what the dress colors looks like in real life!

Keeping to my new habit I did not have a pattern for the kind of dress I wanted to make, so I went online searching for inspiration, and possible pattern envelopes to use as guidance when drafting.

I showed you my inspiration collage in a post below - here are the patterns that I looked at before I drafted my own!

I don't have any exact year on either pattern, but I read somewhere that the 2235 Vogue one was featured in the Vogue pattern book dec/jan 1969/1970, so it's right there in the beginning! My pattern is 90% drafted from the 2235 Vogue, View E, except for the sleeves which I borrowed from the 8734 Vogue. I just love that dropped waist, it feels super elegant and glamorous!  I made a few more alterations, because of lack of fabric, as usual, I made the skirt just a half circle skirt instead of the full circle one that is on the original pattern.

When I drafted/cut the skirt, I realized I really didn't have enough fabric to make the skirt full length... (The fabric was only 90 cm wide.) To fix this I used the fabric scraps that were left to add a bit of length. You can see the detail here on the right. I really used every last bit of fabric, thus the big splice, and below it the smaller one! Lucky me the fabric is so busy it's even hard to see I did splice it! I am so happy I found out about my narrow hemmer foot as well, it really came in handy making that tiny hem in the end!

The fabric was one that I already had in my stash, and I have been wondering what on earth to do with it... until now, yay! I have no idea what kind of fabric it is, super shiny on the outside, and soft and cozy (almost like the inside of a sweatshirt) on the inside. Weird! Any of you who knows what it is? (I got it in a bag of different vintage fabrics, so I had no idea what I got at that time... or now.) Also - quite a difference in how the fabric colors look when inside and in close up, huh?!

Friday, August 26, 2011

Some new old(ish) patterns plus inspiration collage for my next dress!

So - I've been comfort shopping again. The other day I got some new patterns in the mail! This time I got a bunch of patterns for simpler everyday clothes, mostly from the late 80's to early 90's. I like these simple, classic patterns, some of the 80's/90's ones also have similarities to great 40's patterns, and they are perfect for making stuff to wear to work. (I don't actually have a job yet, summer has been a total pain in more ways than one, and now I have to try to either work out money issues to be able to finish up my studies this autumn or get a job. I'm trying for the latter.) In the bunch is a knitting pattern that I got as a bonus and a great underwear pattern as well! I got the whole bunch for less than 100SEK (that's about 15USD)! Yay!

I have started to use my duct tape dress form today, learning a couple of things:

*Just because I have a dress form doesn't mean draping paper patterns any more fun. I still hate that I have to change almost all commercial patterns because of those darn bazonkas.
*My personal pattern that I made to fit me, actually didn't fit me that well. (Still a lot better than the commercial ones though) I kinda already knew that since I always change it a bit once I cut the fabric and try it on a first time. Anyway now it fits!
*It is WOW so easy to draft a pattern when you can just drape the muslin over the dress form to shape the pattern pieces! I love this!

Here's what my mind is circling around right now...

Oh yes - I've seen the 70's theme over at Sew Weekly... Hopefully I'll be done with my dress before the week is over! ;)

Thursday, August 25, 2011

Duct tape dress form!

Today after dinner it was finally time to try to make that duct tape dress form! I've been wanting to make one for months, and finally I got around to try! Expectations were of course low, but me and my wonderful boyfriend figured it was worth a try. Without him this would so not have worked. Although he cut off my bra while getting me out. But anyway... I am lucky to have a boyfriend who really liked to make things out of paper and tape when he was a kid... So, as it turns out - my dress form became a lot better than expected!

And now for the ever so humiliating, but hilarious, pictures of the construction process!

You start with  an old t-shirt and cover the rest with plastic bags.

Then it's tape time. First a whole bunch of times around the torso, then crosswise over the bust area. About three layers are enough.

The tape goes on vertically on the upper back.

Almost finished...

All done!

Oh sweet joy - about to get out. Do not do this on a warm summer day, cause it gets really warm in there...

To get out, the tape bodice is cut along the mid back from bottom up to the neck. Just to make sure we wouldn't loose any measurements I marked center front, bustline and "side seams" with masking tape before we cut.

Once I was out of the tape and before we put it back together and filled it, this is what it looked like. Sumo, anyone?

The form is filled with old newspaper and a bag of fabric scraps. It's a little lumpy here and there, but hopefully that will even out in time.

To make the dress form pin-able I put on an old dress I never use. Looks fairly good if I may say so myself!

Me and my replica! This will be very helpful for pattern drafting! Wohoo, complicated constructions, here I come!

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

A midi skirt and some taking care of that to-be-mended pile!

So... I've been up to some quite boring but rewarding sewing the last few days. Yesterday I finally dug into that pile of things that needs mending (like, let's see... um ALL my favorite pairs of jeans? Oh.)

Also I've been doing some sort of test garment, a skirt where I basically just wanted to see how these thick stretchy 70's fabrics work (they're horrible), test the right way to put in a hidden zipper, and test my rolled hemmer foot (I've been thinking that I really wanted one - turns out I have one, it came with the old sewing machine when I bought it, heh.)

The skirt is a midi skirt, like the ones in the August issue of British Vogue. I just love that we're moving towards a more elegant fashion. And midi skirts are so 40's style gorgeous!

Here's what they look like in Vogue: (Both pictures borrowed from British Vogue August 2011)

And my version, which I actually really like now that it's done, looks like this:

 (I will need to get some lining for it, it's somewhat seethrough...)

And to get back to yesterdays work, here are some pics of what was mended. Sorry that I don't have any "before" pictures, but there was not really much to see with these ones anyway, just some basic mending...

 My old skinny party jean. Time in the pile: about three-four years... (Partly because I wouldn't have been able to button them anyway, but... you know.)
 Low waisted jeans where the 2 inch zipper had broke. I've been thinking about replacing it for a year, but been put off by the thought of trying to sew in something that small. Turns out I can get the pants on without the place for the zipper open, so I just sewed it shut by hand instead. Quite uncomfortable to get into, but looks great when they're finally on, lol!
 Stretchy top that had a hole in the front from when that sewn on ribbon broke. Has been in that state since 2007, took five minutes to mend. How I felt when I was done? Happy, but stupid!
 And another pair of jeans with a hole below the bum. These are my favorite 70's style jeans as well, so I'm really glad I fixed them! Both these rips (this one and the huge one on the glittery jean above) are mended by putting a piece of muslin underneath and just zigzaging a hundred times over both layers. Super simple!
Last piece this time - these wool shorts. The holes are still there, but the fabric is now zigzaged to the lining (the thread is exactly the same orange as the one in the shorts! Yay, lucky!) so hopefully it won't tear further...

Thursday, August 18, 2011

Secret project done! (oh yes, already!)

...So, I've been hand sewing all day. Literally all day. But hey, it is a really good way to make me feel better! No machine to fight with (only the knitting yarn I sewed with, but anyway), and a calming feeling of actually really making something with just my own hands! Almost like meditation! ;)

Turns out my crazy project was a good idea! Here it is: (including my funny face while I'm trying to tell my boyfriend who is taking the photos what I don't want to look like in them...)

It's a sixties jacket! Made of fleece... At first I just planned on using it as a nice warm thing to lounge around in at home on cold days but now that it's finished I really like it and think I will wear it a lot more than that! It's a little big, but considering I'm planning to use this when winter comes too it might not be bad to be able to fit in a sweater underneath as well, even if this thing is incredibly warm and cosy!

I used this Simplicity 7256 from 1967, and cut the jacket pieces, with some minor modifications because of the fabric.

The pockets are more to the front on my version (not exactly deliberate, but I am so not taking it apart and redoing those now! Also I went for another buttoning solution:

I did a small strip of crochet to close the buttons with using the same yarn as I used for sewing the whole jacket together! And yes, the buttons are three different kinds. But they are cute, and I only had one of each... I think it goes with the rest of the quirkyness and wonkyness of the jacket! :)

Wednesday, August 17, 2011

New (and somewhat secret) project!

So... here's what I'm working on at the moment:

Yep, that's hand stitching. In purple knitting yarn. And the fabric is gray fleece. What on earth, you may think? Well, I'm not telling yet! Just that it will be a garment for the upper body, and that it's a total experiment! That's what happens when I get a bunch of fabrics that I'm not sure I even like: crazy idea time! Hopefully it will at least be useful now when autumn is well on its way...

I have some other major projects to start as well, but first I will need to make me some sort of do-it-yourself dress form. (I'm going for the duct tape one - wish me good luck!)

Why on earth are the fabrics in your stash always five inches short of what is needed to make what you want to make with them? 

Friday, August 12, 2011

Pig in a poke... (I bought some fabrics)

So, I was comfort shopping for fabrics on Tradera... Someone was selling bags of unused "fabrics". The seller had pictures of the fabric piles in the auctions, but stated that the fabrics in the bags "might not be all of/exactly the ones in the picture". I thought, ok, there's four auctions, she must have split the fabric piles after taking the pics. Oh silly me.

I got the two bags for a fairly good price, picked them up, got back home and... wait what? One bag was ok, containing actual fabrics, of the same kind that she said there would be. None of them were the ones from the picture though. The other bag was a totally different story. What was supposed to be woven fabrics turned out to be 90% old curtains, tablecloths and Christmas-y stuff. Sure, made from woven fabrics, but almost nothing would work for sewing something else. Need I say that the picture on the auction was not of those fabrics? Sigh.

Anyway, I think I can use most of it anyway, even though I just added even more halfway-to-impossible fabrics to my stash (the exact opposite of my current plan, of course). I really feel like I got the pig in the poke. Guess it was about time to learn that lesson as well...

The pig:

 The fabrics I will keep...
Two sets of fleece that will make nice sweaters for winter - ok.
Classic striped knit - yay!
Weird green loose knit - cute, but what on earth am I going to do with it?
 Stretchy less heavy knits. Perfect for warmer tops. I like red, so I might feel less intimidated by the amount when they aren't in the same pile... but the green stripey one? Hm.
These three were the only usable fabrics off the 'woven fabric' pile. I love the striped multicolor linen and plan on making some of it into hippie pants that I can lounge around in! The light green patterned one is really thick and sturdy, and I feel some sort of fifties vibe from it. Don't know what to do with it though since it is super heavy... And jeans fabric works all the time so that's fairly good as well.
Here's the rest of the fabrics I can use for sewing, the three knits on top have a nice 80's feel to them, so hopefully I can make something fun from them... 
Then there's two shades of gray sweatshirt material, not much to say about that. There's a load of dark red heavy knit that seems to be the exact same as I have in a rtw sweater I bought last winter. Kinda dull, but maybe I can make something for someone else with it? 
In the bottom is an old bedspread. The fabric is great, (I'm thinking an autumn coat, looking a bit like the one in my inspiration collage below, Vogue Paris Original 1478) but the color is a bit blah. Maybe I'll try to dye it? (Will probably weigh 600 kilos when wet though so maybe not. Hm.
 All of this is the Christmas stuff... I'm keeping the good curtains and tablecloths, so it's not a total waste anyway.
 The big bunch of baby- and kids fabrics. I will sell these next time I put things up on Tradera myself. They are cute, but even if I had babies (which will most likely not happen soon anyway) these fabrics wouldn't be my style. Hopefully they can make someone else happy instead!
Last but not least there are three sets of curtains in this fabric. And some unused fabric of it. I can see that once upon a time it was probably not cheap , and it is cute - but oh, so not my style. Should I sell it? Should I keep it for sunnier days? Does someone want it? (A fine hint here for my mum, maybe? --> Mamma, gillar du/vill du ha gardinerna?)

Overall, I know I got some really good things - just not the ones I expected. So I guess I'm fairly happy anyway! The things I don't want I can always sell (but without pig-poking it, I don't work like that!).

Hope you all will have a sew great weekend!