Made by Me!

Monday, 31 March 2014

By Hand London - Kickstarter Campaign...what a brilliant idea

I have just pledged to the By Hand London kickstarter campaign to help them set up a custom fabric printing company... and I just thought what a brilliant idea! So great to have a fresh company like them setting something like this up. Its a little like the very well established American company Spoonflower but it feels nice to be able to help a young company, and a British one at that - think of the lower postage costs to get hold of all that lovely fabric!! What is nice is you also get a little something to say thank you which is always lovely. I really hope they raise the money needed to make it happen.

Think of the endless possibilities! When its up and running then you can create and upload your own designs to be printed out on demand or choose from other young up and coming designers patterns. Not to mention that they plan to stock wider fabrics as standard and the ability to have as much or as little as you need. I cant wait to give my designs a go! It looks like they will start with cotton poplin before moving on to other types of fabrics. I already have some inspiration for designing my own fabric. Following my holiday in Jordan I got to see so many beautiful and colourful Roman mosaics and I can just imagine how some of these could be made into beautiful fabrics. What do you think?

Basically the quicker everyone backs the kickstarter campaign the closer we all come to getting the ability to design something special!! How I say get on to kickstarter and pledge some money - and it can be anything from £1 upwards. By Hand Kickstarter Campaign Happy pledging!!

Sunday, 30 March 2014

Miette and Burda Style folk skirt finished!

At last I am able to show the two projects I have finished recently; the Miette skirt from the wonderful Tilly and the Buttons, and a folk style skirt from Burda Style.

I have just come back from a holiday in Jordan and a little mini spa break in Bath - a holiday to get over the holiday!! - hence no posts for a few weeks. I had been frantically making both skirts to take away with me. I thought that the weather over there would be better but as it poured down with rain for half the holiday I only got to wear one of them from the vast amount of excess baggage I carted around with me!

In the end the Miette skirt came out well and I think it has a nice 70's air about it. The fabric was a little chunky for the design but I actually like the way the skirt falls because of it. My machine struggled through some of the layers though so I would choose something a little lighter next time otherwise I fear it could self combust....

 The Burda skirt was a nightmare. I had to buy four metres of fabric, make up patterns for each tier and then spend ages cutting the tiers out. The fabric seemed to cover the entire floor of my tiny flat. It was the epitome of dull! I normally don't mind this part of clothes making so much because it's the precursor to finally making something fun but on this occasion I just kept looking at the cut out lengths of fabric, the bottom tier itself was four metres long, that I just kept finding reasons not to make it. I had left it so late before my holiday I spent the last Sunday before I left literally sewing all day. The skirt itself is a simple construction but I fooled myself that I could do it in one day and once I started I wouldn't give up. I did pretty much achieve my goal but it has become a bit quirky through speed sewing!! Each section is gathered and sewn to the piece above. I sewed french seams throughout which was good for a lovely finish but a pain when gathering four meters in one go and also it was effectively sewing up eight metres just on the bottom tier alone. It was by this point I was sure I was loosing my marbles. I also lined it as the fabric is really see through in certain lights so that just added another layer of fun to the creative making process!!

It was a frustrating skirt to make and may have been less so if I had made more time in my life to do it. But essentially it's a boring sewing experience and not one I plan to repeat any time soon! I rushed it so much that I managed to cut a piece of the main fabric because it was hard to see what I was doing which was almost the last straw! Luckily the fabric is busy and the cut small so I hand patched it and moved on!!

Time ran out on that Sunday and I was busy hemming it before I flew out of the UK the next day meaning I think the whole thing is potentially ever so slightly wonky! Definitely not my best work!! But I actually really like it and have wanted something floaty, comfortable and girly to wear during summer for a while and it definitely ticks the boxes. Maybe not such an epic fail after all.... Well as long as no-one looks too closely!

Sunday, 2 March 2014

Pattern Cutting - Making a Skirt Sloper – Part 2

The most important thing to do first before trying to start on your sloper is to take your measurements. Don't do it when you are wearing lots of clothing but maybe just underwear, a vest top and leggings or similar as you don't want to add unintentional bulk. Remember that when you take your measurements don’t pull the tape measure too tight as you want to comfortably wear the clothes not feel restricted. Being able to fit a finger in the waistband for example and also trying to sit down in your sloper mock up will be the test of a good fit.

Firstly measure your waist measurement. My teacher at fashion antidote told me to move the tape measure around at your waist by loosely pulling back and forth until you find your true waist which is the smallest part of your body on the torso. It's easy to think its lower than it actually is. Then you need to take the hip measurement which is the fullest part around your bottom.

I would re-measure yourself even if you think you know what your measurements are because if you are anything like me I do this infrequently assuming I don’t change that much. There isn’t any point in putting the effort in and getting the fit wrong so it’s best to double check.

The next measurement you want to take is your waist line to your hip line. And finally the length you require the skirt to be from your waist to above, below or on the knee. Don’t go too long or too short. It's useful to have someone else to help with taking these measurements down as they are easy to get wrong inadvertently on your own.

My measurements are -
Waist – 78 cms
Hip – 105 cms
Waist to hip – 23 cms
Length – 60 cms

The next bit requires a little mathematics but don't let that put you off as it really is very easy. Sometimes it's about breaking each section down before moving on, don't get fazed! Get your pattern paper ready and turn it on its side and draw a straight horizontal line along the bottom of your paper to the length of your waist to skirt length – in my case it would 60 cms long. This will form the centre back line of your sloper, or the skirt length. You should mark the left hand end point as point one and the right hand end point as point 3. Now you are ready to go!

To illustrate how the skirt sloper will look when drawn on to pattern paper take a look at the image below. It has point numbers on it from 1-22. The measurements and simple sums you will be asked to do will be transferred from point to point.
To get point 1-2 which is the width across the top of sloper you need to half your hip measurement and add 1.5cms – for me this is 105/2 = 52.5 + 1.5 = 54.5cms. Take your ruler and measure the length and draw a straight line away from you from point 1.

Next you want to measure down the centre back line – from points 1-3 to mark off point 5 which is the waist to hip measurement. I have a measurement 23 cms so I measured down the line and squared off accurately towards point 6 on the centre front line. This will be your hip line and also the line you would put a zip in to etc…. When you sew up the canvas to test the fit this would be the part of the back seam you would leave open so you can get into it.

Now you want to create the hip line across your sloper. If you quarter your hip measurement and add 1.5 cms ease you will have the distance to the side seam on your sloper – the line that goes from point 7-8. For me it would 105/4 = 26.25 +1.5 = 27.75cms. Take your ruler and across the squared off line from point 5 draw a line away from you to that length. Square down to point 8 on the hemline.

To get your hip curve you need to measure across the top of the sloper to where the curve of your hip starts – this is point 1-9 in the diagram. To get this measurement you need to quarter your waist measurement and add 4.25cms. For me it was 78/4=19.5+4.25=23.8cms. Take your ruler and draw away from point one to this measurement. Then put your ruler on point 9 and align it with point 7 and draw a dotted line from point to point, extending the line above point 9 by 1.25cms to get point 10. You should now also draw a dotted line from point 1 – 10. The reason that these are not solid lines is because they will not be your final hip curve or waist lines – as neither the waist nor hips are straight! It will make sense later.

To get to point 15 you need to half the measurement of point 1-9 – for me this was 23.8/2 = 11.9cms. Mark off this point, square down and measure 13cms. Mark the end of this measurement as point 16. This is the base of the dart on the back of your skirt sloper. To create the dart itself go back to point 15 and measure 2cms either side of this point and mark the measurements up. You can then draw the dart lines from point 16 through the marked up points either side of point 15 until you reach point 1-10. Draw a cross on point 16 and draw a couple of lines up and away from either points at the top of the dart to create a triangular shape at the top of the dart.

From point 16 draw a line directly downwards to the hemline. At the point it reaches the hemline this becomes point 17.

The next measurements will construct the front of the skirt block and we are almost there! Promise!

To get point 2-18 you need to quarter the waist measurement and add 2.25cms 78/4=19.5+2.25=21.8cms. Draw from point 2 towards yourself to this measurement and then place your ruler on point 7 to 18 and draw a dotted line. Extend the line by 1.25cms and then mark the end of the line point 19.

To get the mid point of the dart – point 20 – you need to divide the distance between point 2 and 19 into 3. For the sake of ease I am rounding my figure up to 22cms – so my measurement would be 22/3 = 7.3cms. From point 19 draw the length of your measurement and mark this point as point 20. Square downwards from point 20 and measure 10 cms and this point is the base of your front dart. Draw a cross over this dart point and mark it as point 21.

To make the dart measure 1 cm either side of point 20 and then draw down to point 21 and draw a couple of lines up and away from either points at the top of the dart to create a triangular shape at the top of the dart.

From point 21 draw a line directly downwards to the hemline. At the point it reaches the hemline this becomes point 22.

Now extend you hip line across to point 6 and draw a line between 2 – 4 to create your centre front line.

The final thing you have to do is curve your lines. This needs to be done on the front and back of your sloper at your waistline and hip between your waist and your hip line – as I mentioned earlier these points on your body are not straight. This is where the curved element of the pattern master comes into play or your French curve. Between point 10 and 7 and 19 and 7 curve off your hip line. Then you need to curve off the waistlines between points 1-10 and 19 -2. Then you are done!

Now you have measured and drawn out your pattern make sure to label it - put what it is, front skirt, back skirt, hip lines and centre front and centre back etc...put who the measurements relate to or a size if you are doing a standard size.

Phew! Next time you will need to add seam allowances to your pattern pieces and make up a toile to fit it properly.

Saturday, 1 March 2014

Pattern Cutting - Making a Skirt Sloper - Part 1

Okay so I was going to post this sooner but it has taken a little while to get all the information together and for it to sink in and make proper sense of it following the start of my pattern cutting skirt sloper course at Fashion Antidote. I am going to break down what I have learnt into a few posts because I think it’s easier to deal with that way. Hopefully this will be useful to someone. I just wanted to try and do a clear, concise instructional step by step which I found so difficult to find on the Internet.

This skirt sloper is for a fitted skirt that isn’t connected to a top so it has slightly less ease. Firstly you will need a few basic instruments to help you to accurately make your sloper. I have listed these below with some outlets to buy them - UK based I'm afraid - and if you want to take pattern cutting seriously you will need to invest in some of these things to do it properly.

A set square to get accurate corners, take measurements accurately across your block etc... I got mine from William Gee but it wasn't the cheapest thing to buy.

A metre rule - useful for drawing long accurate lines. A smaller ruler is also fine but it may be harder to get accurate lines. I bought mine in a local sewing shop but you can also get them on Ebay pretty cheap.

A French curve - this helps to draw the curved elements at the top of the sloper and from the waist to hip. Try morplan online, sew essential, Fred Aldous, Amazon or Ebay (everything is on Ebay!).

Or instead of all those you can get a pattern master - this useful little thing has curves on it and a ruler for measurements and straight lines. So you can avoid investing in a set square, ruler and French curve (which I did!). Try morplan online or Fred Aldous (cheaper).

Pencils and a rubber - pencils not too soft and because you will make mistakes a nice rubber to rub it all away again!

Pattern paper - I was taught using dot and cross paper which you can buy from Ebay in varying lengths including a huge roll if you want to! There is also squared off paper but it's quite busy to learn on so I prefer the other stuff as it feels like you can see what's happening.

Pattern notches - I had no idea these existed but basically it puts a little notch on your pattern piece where you want to mark essential elements like your hip line or dart. Pretty essential as scissors don't really cut it! Morplan does them but I got mine from Fred Aldous.

An awl - useful for poking holes in your pattern pieces where the dart point is although I am sure you could use something else sharp and pointy!

Tracing wheel - this little tool marks out essential points on to your card when you are moving your finalised paper pattern on to a solid stable card piece to keep as your base skirt pattern sloper. Get these from online sewing places such as William Gee.

**A quick note about the two items above - they are very sharp so make sure when you store them you do so carefully - its not pleasant picking up the wrong side of a tracing wheel a little too enthusiastically** 

Fabric - Choose some cotton to do a toile and check your sloper pattern on. You can get cheap fabric from any sewing store - don't go for any flimsy fabric as it may stretch when trying it on.

And finally paper scissors (never use your sewing fabric ones), pins, card for the final section and a little bit of patience.

Once you have all of this collected together then you are ready to move on to part 2! I promise to post that soon!!