Simplicity 1873+1610 and Vianne – a late oal2015 outfit

I wanted to take part in the OAL this year and I actually managed to finish the cardigan on time but not the dress, which is surprising considering the amount of time needed for each.

My gauge was spot on for the cardigan, but I made a mistake I no longer make when sewing – I knit it in size M, based on my bust measurement. Therefore the cardigan is big at the shoulders and the sleeves are too wide.

For the dress I used Simplicity 1873 on top and 1610 on the bottom. I’ve made the 1610 dress before and I love that skirt – perfect pockets that stay in place and are better located than in-seam pockets (they look better too imo), plus the width of the skirt feels just right for me.

I don’t love the top though. I tried Nancy Zieman’s pivot an slide method (see video at the end) and started with size 10 based on my front shoulder measurement. I had to add quite a lot of width at the bust and waist and I’m afraid that distorted the overall shape. The top has a lot of ease above and below the bust at the sides, but at least the armhole doesn’t gape. I made a muslin and made a few other changes to the pattern after that – moved the front waist dart a few cm to the side, lowered the bust dart and removed a 1.5cm wedge for sway back. One other alteration I meant to do but somehow forgot was to add length at center front. This is not mentioned in the video but it makes sense to add some space vertically too. I did squeeze a little bit of length by reducing the seam allowance, but that was not enough and I think the proportions are off because of the bodice length. It is just too short.

Modified pattern before muslin

Front view – the too short and boxy bodice is obvious here. And notice the green on green – this is why my other pictures are inside even though it was a beautiful sunny day.

Even though I moaned all through this post, I don’t dislike and the dress and I will continue to wear it. It’s not perfect and I hope all my future projects turn out better than this, but sometimes less than perfect is enough. At least from some angles.

 

Since I made this I bought Nancy Zieman’s pattern fitting book, I’m not giving up on her method yet. It looks easier than other I’ve seen/tried, I hope I can make it work.

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! 🙂

 

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?

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?

Pattern Pyramid still in London

Second stop in London and 4th in the UK, the pyramid had a great time here in her home land, but she now wants to see the world again 🙂

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I picked 2 lovely 1960s patterns – The People 143 added by Joanne and McCalls 5996 added by Jennifer via Amy.

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Have a look at some of the other awesome patterns that long to travel

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I love that Simplicity 3552

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I added 3 patterns but I’ll add a Burda mag too if the pyramid goes to Australia or NZ, or other countries where Burdas are rare.

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If you want to spend some quality time with the pyramid and show her around your place of the world, leave a comment below. I will be travelling in the next 2 weeks so I’ll pick the pyramid’s new destination when I come back, on the 5th of May.

P.S. I am so lucky! Not only did the pyramid visit me this week, I have also won 4 yards of fabric from a sewnews giveaway.