Tuesday, February 24, 2009

Jacket completed! Well almost...

Well I've completed my first jacket ever and oh boy I've learned a lot from the process. I need to go to Newtown to find buttons at my favourite button place http://www.allbuttons.com.au/

Plain black but modern, so that the jacket doesn't look too matronly.

So far I'm reasonably happy with the finished product, there are a few flaws that I know will bug me. This jacket proved to be a nightmare to complete because the pattern lining pieces are cut differently from the jacket and didn't seem to fit the outer garment correctly.

So lesson number 1: If you haven't made the pattern before make a muslin for the lining too, not just the outer shell.

Lesson number 2: Topstitching will accentuate rather than fix a construction flaw. I tried to 'stitch down' the outer to make it sit better but this just made it look puckered and horrible. End result, I unpicked about 1000 topstitches and wasted half a roll of good quality topstitching thread.

These pictures are of my garden. Sydney weather is very tropical at present. Such as contrast to the pictures of snowfilled gardens and streets that many of you Northerners are posting at present.

I'm going to start working on the skirt soon. Meanwhile I've become obsessed by a top made by the indomitable Erica Bunker http://www.flickr.com/photos/hookcouture/2852831072/ I think I will make it in some pale grey and cream silk that I have in my stash. I will wear the jacket with my black trousers and a black singlet underneath. The three-quarter sleeves are great for Sydney evenings at present, but a little too warm for day wear.

Finally, a question for those of you with design flair. I am looking for pattern suggestions for some stretch knit that I have. It have a red background with a fine white strip. I'd like a top that can be worn casually with jeans or an active wear jacket. Let me know what you think.

Thursday, February 19, 2009

Progress on Jacket

This is the first jacket I've attempted and I'm feeling very satisfied with my efforts. The fit is quite good although I think I added too much (see the photo of the cutting layout) to the centre front of the garment. I'll shave off about a centimetre from each side when the lining is attached.

I also had a problem connecting collar pieces and shoulder pieces. The pattern pieces didn't seem to fit together correctly. The solution was a small pleat which can't be seen under the collar - so annoying.

Let me know what you think?

Next I'm think of sewing a simple black pencil skirt to wear with the jacket. I love pencil skirts and used to wear them all the time when I worked in the city. Now I work from home and my clients have become used to seeing me in trousers. I want to get back to that confident, sensual and feminine look that the pencil skirt offers. My fabric (already 2 years in the stash) is a thick stretch jersey so it will ensure a snug fit without being too tight. But first ...FINISH THE JACKET! Will cut the interfacing and lining and hopefully finish the garment this weekend.

Tuesday, February 17, 2009

A work in progress

I've completed my first jacket muslin. It was again a little tight through the bust. Does this mean I am starting to look Dolly Parton! This could be a fatal error but I decided to be lazy and adjust the pattern without remaking the muslin. Also I only sewed one sleeve on the muslin - which was a nice fit - will this make a difference?

Anyway I took a deep breath and cut away.

Another question for the experts - is it a good idea to use shirring elastic in the bobbin to create even gathers? In making the muslin I found it difficult to fit the gathers evenly as the pattern pieces are both curved. My idea is that by using elastic I can stretch it evenly to fit.

I post some pictures shortly when the sewing is started.

Also big news...I have one follower. Thank you to
http://nachfreundin.blogspot.com for giving me a little encouragement. This sewing enthusiast writes in German and the translations provided by Google Translator are providing some amusement. A rather literal approach!

Australia climatic dramas are also cause for concern. I travelled to Coffs Harbour on business on Friday, two days later roads are cut and flood waters on the rise. It feels surreal. Victoria is still tinder dry and fires continue to burn in many areas.

Wednesday, February 11, 2009

A kaftan

It has been a grim week here in Australia. Such enormous loss of life, communities devastated, landscape disappearing under the weight of embers and ash, and all this at a time when northern Australia is reeling from extraordinarily destructive floods. Now we have a rather silly columnist for the Sydney Morning Herald blaming the loss of life on "green ideas".
It seems rather trivial to be thinking about what to wear, what to sew.
Nonetheless I have done some sewing. The Japanese print top is finished, well made, but it is a bit tight through the bust. Oh well, I didn't think I'd wear it anyway.

LESSON LEARNED: Jersey is very clingy..may even shrink a little when you cut it so provide extra seam allowance.

I have made a kaftan style top from McCalls M5666. If you make this pattern, it is very large. I cut a muslin first, then went down two sizes. The sleeve is cut in one piece with the body of the garment and this creates a lot of extra bulk under the arms, so a draping, lightweight fabric is essential. While I think a more tailored cut would flatter my top heavy shape more, the finished garment is well constructed and feels very comfortable to wear. What's more my daughters approve. When I tried on the Japanese print t-shirt, my youngest groaned please DON'T wear that Mum. Since taking this photo, I've adjusted the neck drawstring so that the right sleeve hangs correctly.

I am now ready for some more challenging sewing. I'm working on a muslin for a jacket and will go to my fabric stash to make up a simple blouse 113 from BWOF 11/2008. The jacket is from McCalls M5477. My fabric is a black paisley print on a beige background which I think lends itself nicely to view C.

Thursday, February 5, 2009

Like a Virgin

This is my first blog and my first blog post. I ask myself a question - "Why do you need a sewing blog?". Answer "To keep myself accountable". Like you I have a passion for fabric, line and design. I have a stash of great fabrics, big ideas but I need the motivation to put them into action.
I've started with something simple. I unpicked a long sleeved layering t-shirt as a base pattern for a t-shirt. The fabric is jersey, originally bought for one of my daughters about seven years ago! It is a little out there for me and could be deemed 'wearable muslin'. I'm adding a button down front to the t-shirt, black self covered buttons and trims to the garment.
I've armed myself with a few dressmaking and pattern-making bibles, a brand new dressmaker's mannequin, a cutting/measurement board, a rajah cloth and few simple paper patterns to get started.

So here goes...