Made by Me!

Monday, 27 January 2014

The peplum progresses!

It has been pretty busy at work and at weekends recently so my sewing has been restricted to evenings – which at least in January means as I don’t go out much during the week if I’m not too tired I can cram in an hour or two before bedtime. Plus it helps that my boyfriend is currently addicted to Borderlands 2 so I can sit uninterrupted sewing my heart out. I don’t know about you but because my sewing space really is so small it over flows into the lounge and it’s sometimes hard to get going on things when you feel you are taking up space in a communal area. He never complains (apart from when I leave the odd pin on the floor for him to find...) but sewing can be a bit of a messy business – especially when I really get into it. Anyway I digress. Essentially this week has been my week of progress on my peplum top because basically I can't afford to go out! I have sewn the top together and done the peplum. I have fiddled slightly with the front of the peplum because it wasn’t falling in a way that looked flattering when I tried it on but now having sewn it to the top I am not sure I made it better or worse! I spent ages with it on my dummy fiddling and moving it around… we will see when it’s finally finished! I am now at the point where I need to insert the zip and then sew in the sleeves.  I don’t like the sleeves in the pattern so I decided to change them to a tulip sleeve. Excuse the awful drawing but I thought I should show how easy it is to do. And this is the first time I did it so it cant be that difficult!

Firstly using your favourite sleeve pattern - or the one from the pattern you are sewing - select a point half way down the sleeve cap on one side and then draw a slightly sloped line to the bottom opposite corner of the side sleeve seam. I used a french curve to get a mildly sloped line. You can mess about with the position of the point on the sleeve cap to create a full or not so full sleeve cap. My version is slightly fuller and will result in a gathered, slightly puffier sleeve cap.

Repeat the same procedure on the other side of the pattern piece as per the illustration - making sure the marks are at equal points on both sides of the sleeve cap - and then using tracing paper trace both of the pieces separately so that when you cut them out you have two separate pattern pieces.

Pin the pieces on the fabric with the grain line as per the original pattern piece - generally vertically pointing up towards the sleeve cap. Cut the fabric out - depending on how large you want the sleeves you can add seam allowances. Sew the seams together on the short sides, right sides together, and open the seam allowance and press, then hem the bottom of each piece with a small hem.You then need to assemble the two flaps together at the sleeve cap. I just hand basted the pieces together at this point to keep them together and then hand basted some stitches across the cap of the sleeve, pulled them to gather the sleeve and tested it on my top on the dummy. Do a mock up first.... this is something I didn't do but it did work pretty much first time.

I started off drafting it large but thought it looked a little weird with too much of a sleeve – a little bit like a retro throwback to the eighties and I don’t channel that decade well - so I chopped some of the fabric off and re-drafted the pattern pieces. This is a mock-up of the smaller size on the dummy. You can have the overlapped section going backwards or forwards just make sure its the same both sides!!

I think these sleeves look cute, aren't as restrictive as the ones in the pattern and just suit the pattern and fabric much better.They definitely suit thinner fabrics rather than sturdy ones I think.

On to other things I have decided that to concentrate my sewing and the blog that I want to fully get to grips with coats and take on a few challenges before I move on to another item of clothing. So in order to do this I have chosen three coat patterns to complete, all of which I think are very different in style and have new elements I haven’t sewn before; thereby increasing my sewing knowledge ever so slightly. I also want to sew them in various different fabrics to stretch myself. And the one good thing is you can’t use tana lawn for a coat so I really have to find something else to use!
The first pattern is obviously the starlet which I hope to start this week as my muslin fabric arrived today! Yippee! Then I want to try the Rigel Bomber from Papercut Patterns as its super cute! I think this would be lovely in a soft patterned silk. The other pattern is a Burda magazine pattern from 2010 called the Illusion jacket. It’s currently on the front page of their website and I just keep staring at it every time I log in.
So in the end I will have made something fitted and hand tailored, something with delicate fabrics, ribbed sleeve openings and welt pockets which are new to me and a mixed fabric coat which I think probably looks easier than it is. I would like to use thick jersey on the arms – a new fabric to me and a thicker wool fabric. I am hoping by sewing all of these that it will really help me to master jackets before I move on to another piece of clothing.
See you soon!

Thursday, 23 January 2014

The stalling of the Starlet and the beginning of new things....

So its post Christmas, nearing the end of a very long January and I have very little money left for treating myself (make that no money, I just haven’t accepted reality yet!). It’s at this point that I realise I forgot to stock up on the muslin for completing the toile of the starlet jacket so my progress may be a bit slower than planned whilst I order some in even though my bank manager may hate me for doing so. 

In the meantime I have printed out the pattern and pieced it together. I really don’t like digital patterns all that much. They satisfy my need for ‘want it now’ but I always feel there’s a little too much of a potential for error on my part. I’m not always hot on accuracy when it comes to paper and sellotape. Plus you can’t beat a lovely tissue paper pattern in a beautifully printed package. In the interim whilst I wait for the toile fabric to turn up I have decided to try out a couple of other patterns that I have been looking at for a while.

The first pattern that I am going to make up is the Burda magazine peplum top featured in the August 2013 edition and available on their site.
This is I admit something I have had on the back burner for a little while so I have already traced the pattern pieces – it always takes me ages to work up to do a burda magazine pattern because I find this bit a touch loathsome - and I have cut it out in Liberty tana lawn….the addiction continues….Today I have serged all the edges to stop the top unravelling at the edges and of course it keeps the edges neat and professional looking on the inside. This took a little while as I always have to play mind games with my serger to make it work when I re-thread it with another colour! I have also added interfacing and sewn the darts and facing on so it’s all ready to go. It was actually a really quick straight forward bodice which I wasn't expecting for some reason.

The only changes I have made to the pattern is to double up the fabric on the peplum section as it is actually meant to be made of sturdy fabric but what with my addiction to Liberty and the need to reduce the stash I couldn’t resist using it for this top. Plus the double layer adds the weight I wanted in that section of the top and in all honesty I am pretty sure I can make anything from tana lawn if I try hard enough… I hope…this could be an epic fail!!

I also bought some denim from one of my favourite shops MacCulloch and Wallis in Dering Street in central London the other day. This lovely denim is now going to become a Miette skirt from Tilly and the Buttons. It is another digital pattern but straight forward enough that I don’t mind piecing it together. This one I hope will be quite a quick one to make.

Anyway I think that is enough pre-sewing prep work for today! I shall get on to the fun stuff tomorrow! See you soon.  

Tuesday, 21 January 2014

The start of the Starlet

I have chosen the fabric for my starlet jacket, along with the blue lining. 

Oooh it’s a lovely wool tartan fabric with blues, greens and yellows running through it. Beautiful. Very excited to get started on the project but firstly to deal with the subject of how to pre-treat the fabric. The final coat will only be dry cleaned and the lady in the shop assured me I wouldn’t have to pre-shrink it but having looked at so many different sites about this it seems that even if you don’t intend to physically wash the fabric it’s important to make sure you steam it which can shrink wool quite a lot. And considering I intend to iron it during the actual making of the garment I have to assume any steam would shrink areas of fabric if not treated in this way. After some research I have collated three ways of doing this…

1 – with your iron on the steam setting at home hovering the iron above the fabric. I imagine this takes ages and honestly I don’t think I have the patience for it. It would also require space to lay out the fabric flat to dry…and space isn’t something I have a lot of!

2 – in the tumble dryer for about 30 minutes along with a couple of thick wet (with very hot water) and ringed out towels which produce the steam. The towels will probably still be damp when they come out but the wool shouldn’t really get wet at all. The following off the cuff blog has a great step by step instruction about how to do this here

3 – take it to your local dry cleaner and ask them to do it for you! A more expensive method so not one you may want to use but worthwhile if you don’t have a tumble dryer or are a little nervous about the method.

So even though it honestly makes me nervous as hell to stick my expensive wool in the tumble dryer – it does sound a little counter intuitive doesn’t it?? – the reviews I have read seem to present it as a  successful way of doing it so I think it’s the method I am going to go for. Eek!!