New Look 6145 – Do you know an architect called Maya?

One year ago – well, one year and 13 days to be exact – I went to my first sewing meetup. It was the big London meeting at V&A organised by Rachel at House of Pinheiro. I was living in London for less than a year and I didn’t know anyone there. There were so many ladies in the V&A cafe and most of them seemed to know at least 2-3 other there. I am not the most sociable person, quite the contrary, it took me a lot of courage to go there. But as it usually happens, I was very happy I went. I met many lovely sewing ladies like Amy, Jodie, Lou, Vicki and Maya. I spent most of the shopping time on Goldhawk Road with facebook-less, instagram-less, blog-less Maya, and it was her who found this fabric:

It was a 3 m piece of what I suspect is a cotton-silk blend based on a burn test. We loved it as soon as we’ve seen it but none of us was committed to buying the whole piece. So we shared it. Each of us took half and I held on to it until I found the perfect pattern.

That happened 2 months ago when I found out about Simplicity’s blogger challenge. The ‘Best dressmaking project’ category pattern was New Look 6145, a basic shift dress that not only was a perfect canvas for my special fabric, but it’s the style that Maya loved best. I wouldn’t be surprised if she had a dress similar to mine, maybe just a little more a-line.

I love this length on me, I have to make a version as long as my muslin.

 

I started with size 14, removed 5 cm from the skirt length and made the following changes to the pattern after a muslin:

  • shortened the bodice above the bust by 1 cm
  • shortened the shoulder length again by 1 cm
  • moved the shoulder seam 1 cm forward at the armscye
  • removed 1 cm wedge from CB
  • widened the back darts by 1 cm each
  • lengthen the back darts by 1 cm on the upper end

Apparently I do everything in 1’s :).

I think the back could be even more shaped and there is a little bit of dragging at the armscye, but I don’t know what more I could do, I’m not sure what needs changed. It still fits good for a woven dress, but every wrinkle and line is highlighted by the shiny fabric. Look at that zip – urghhh! – I interfaced the fabric there! 😦


I’ve planned another dress using this pattern – I’m going to make it out of a colorful viscose I bought recently, omit the zip as I can get into and out of the dress without it, and use the 3/4 sleeve, lightly gathered at the bottom.

And please, if you know Maya, the Finnish architect who lives in SE London, wears mostly a-line dresses with leggings, braids her hair and cycles to work, please let me know, I’d like to see her again! 🙂

 

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Simplicity 2451 – the almost perfect skirt

I had a plan, you see? I was going create a wardrobe and enter the wardrobe contest on PR. But I have to admit, I knew 9 pieces of clothing in 6 weeks was not going to happen. But I still wanted to think of a mini wardrobe – “an organized closet where one can pull an outfit together at a moment’s notice”.
wardrobe contest
I’ve only done 3 so far and one of them is the skirt I’m talking about today. I wanted a red skirt. A basic red skirt that I could wear with every top in my closet. Red is a neutral in my book.
I recently gave in and bought Simplicity 2451 after being exposed to many beautiful specimens in the last couple of years.
So the plan was to have a red skirt. I didn’t have any red fabric but I had plenty of other colors and a pack of tulip red dye. The color turned out great, but I dyed only half a meter of fabric. Sometimes my brain goes dead. I’d like to blame it on my age but I’m only 30.
Half a meter wasn’t enough to cut all the pieces out and in another strike of genius I decided to use scraps from my skinny barb for the plackets. Now the skirt doesn’t go with anything in my wardrobe.
EXHIBIT A – where’s my waist?
EXHIBIT B – red, navy gingham and dark floral – are you dizzy yet?
EXHIBIT C – This one kind of works, I’m not one to save red and green for the holiday season :). I’ll probably wear it with a black cardigan. The only (small) problem is I didn’t make the top or the black cardigan I’m going to wear it with.
EXHIBIT D – this is probably the best match, but this old shirt is gaping at the bust so I can’t wear it outside my garden.
Try to imagine all of the above with a full red skirt – a totally different story! I’m thinking of dying this one black and make another red one. What would you do? I’m not looking forward to another hour of stirring the fabric in the dye bath. Have you ever used machine dye? Did it ruin your next 3 laundry loads?

Acorn trail or how I realised that I choose my knit patterns the same way I buy my fabric

The busier the better that is. I like textured knits the same way I’m attracted to prints rather than solid fabrics.

Yes! I have finally finished this one! I started working on it just before the new year and I worked almost two months on it. But only this bank holiday weekend I got around hand sewing the button bands.

I got the horn buttons from Kleins. The salesman was very nice and showed interest in my cardigan. I’m not sure if it was for real or not, but he was friendly and helpful and I ended up buying more items than I intended to. 🙂

The pattern is an Amy Herzog design and I enjoyed making this so much! It looks complicated at first, but I memorised the stitch patterns in no time. I used Cascade 220 (a lucky find on ebay, I still have some left plus another 800g in a deep purple heather) and made a few changes:

  • my gauge was different, I had 17 st/4″ instead of 18, so I knit a size smaller
  • my row gauge was different too so I made the decreases/increases every 6 rows instead of 8
  • I changed the neckline to a V neck as I think it goes better with everything (I find my Miette is really difficult to wear because all my dresses have a high neckline)

For the V neck I started decreasing at the armhole, placing the decreases at the side of the lace pattern. This made the v neck go from the armholes to the center, but seaming the shoulders and blocking gave it the correct shape.

You can still see it a bit when it’s unbuttoned.

But it’s no biggie, I don’t mind it and I’m sure no one will notice. 🙂

Do you have a neater way of sewing buttons on your knits? Do you hide the loose ends somehow?

Simplicity 1610 – a Christmas dress

This was going to be my Christmas dress. Early in December last year I’ve found this fabric on ebay, immediately bought it and then stumbled upon a lovely kitty dress. Fabric aside (gorgeous but sold out everywhere), I loved the skirt pattern – pleated, not too full and inset pockets.

It’s been too long since I started working on it, so I don’t remember why I jumped at changing the pattern so much without making a muslin first. I probably based my actions on measuring the pattern.

I started out tracing size 12 – the biggest in the range I had and made quite a generous FBA. You can see that I added half of it at center front and half in the side panel.

I’ve shortened the bodice 1/2″ above the bust, something I’ve done a lot in the past but I’m starting to question that alteration. It worked in the past but now it seems unnecessary, maybe because I put on some weight and I need more fabric in that area?

I removed a wedge form the front neckline to compensate for the width added at CF and I guess that’s causing all the drag lines radiating from my neck. I didn’t take a picture of the pattern after that, but you can see it in this photo evidence of my son helping me out.

I know I say it every time, but he must have been a cat in a past life. I had 3 cats before and all of them loved to mess with my fabric on the floor. It was easier with cats, I can’t lock my son in the hallway while I’m cutting 😀

Ok, so how did all these changes work out? BAD! I had to try the bodice several times and adjust the princess seams. The curve on the seams was too high on my bust and I had to take in a lot. Clearly, I went a bit overboard with my FBA.

So I had this done before Christmas, it only needed a zip, hem and bindings, but I didn’t have energy to finish it. Then we had guests until the new year. Then I started to question my choice of fabric – I was worried the fabric was too stiff (wax print) for that skirt and I will loo like a big red and yellow pouf. Until this weekend when I decided to finish some of my UFOs before they get out of hand. And I’m so happy I did! I think the skirt looks great. It holds its shape due to the stiffness of the fabric, but is not too full.

Let’s talk about print placement. I don’t remember thinking about anything else than “keep the rows even front to back”, and I did that. Horses are on the same level across both sides of skirt and bodice and are consistently running up or down. But the fact that the horse are running just above and not exactly on my bosom it’s pure luck. It would’ve been more lucky if the horses weren’t legs up, but we can’t have it all, can we?

These shoes make me look like I’m wearing size 11 and they are size 3! Not that’s something wrong with size 11, but with my height I’d look like a right isosceles triangle 🙂

Do you have any unfinished projects? Do you get excited about new projects and start everything, or are you disciplined and always finish one before starting another?