Tuesday, 8 July 2014

Anna Dress completed

I completed my Anna Dress which is my first By Hand London pattern.  It seemed to fit well with little alterations.  The skirt fit better than most patterns hip wise and back curve wise.  I love the way it hugs at the upper hip area (something I rarely get with other patterns).  I suppose I should be fitting my skirts as well as my bodices.

I cut a size 12 and lengthened the bodice to size 14 line (~3/4" increase).  I also sewed the size 14 pleats instead of the size 12 pleats.  The rest of the dress is made as per instructions.  The back skirt pattern pieces were a bit confusing because the centre back was not labelled.  If they would only label the centre back and side seam it would have made my life a lot easier.  If I make it again I would label the pattern pieces centre back and side seam.  The front skirt panels were not a problem at all.

The fabric I used here is a lightweight cotton voile print with a retro feel to it.  It could have benefited from some underlining, but otherwise, it's comfortable and cool.

I got some wrinkling in the back.  I'm not sure if this is a fit issue or a fabric issue.  This fabric is thin and wrinkles so easily.  I wonder if I underlined it in some batiste if this would resolve.  I'm pretty happy with my invisible zipper.

I love wearing this dress.  It's super comfy for hot summer days.  I would definitely make it again in a better quality fabric, or take the time to underline it with some cotton batiste because the wrinkling drives me crazy.

I already have some tentative plans for using this skirt with the Cambie bodice in a floral cotton sateen!

Happy Sewing!

Monday, 30 June 2014

Alabama Chanin!

My Alabama Chanin sewing kit finally arrived in the mail!  The garment I chose is the Anna's Garden shell top.  I chose a blush colour jersey but it looks a bit more sandy than blush to me.  The kit comes with buttoncraft thread for construction by hand, and embroidery floss for the reverse appliqué/embroidery.  There's also some matching binding and a garment label.

 I was so excited I pin basted the backing as soon as I got it out of the package.  What I LOVE about Alabama Chanin is the fact that it's all constructed by hand.  Their jersey is made with 100% organic cotton which is also wonderful.  It feels soft yet sturdy. I'm going to baste it with thread so it will be a bit more portable.

The book shows a lot of different embellishing techniques including different hand stitches, embroidery stitches ribbon embroidery and beading.  In the back of the book there are the master patterns in 5 sizes; XS to XL.

I can't wait to get started on this awesome hand sewing project!

Happy Sewing!

Monday, 16 June 2014

Chambray Hawthorn!

I finished my Chambray Hawthorn dress. Yay!  This dress pattern is Colette 1026 Hawthorn.  I used Robert Kaufmann herringbone chambray fabric which is 100% cotton yarn dyed.  I also used some floral Liberty of London cotton lawn for the facings.  This fabric makes this dress soooo comfy, light and airy but also has a nice drape.  I didn't change the pattern too much. I made a size 8 and moved the bodice darts laterally by about 1cm which made a huge improvement in the fit.  I also made a 3/4" forward shoulder adjustment which got rid of some wrinkling between shoulder and bust.

Here's a pop of Liberty floral!

Originally I was thinking of making the version with 3/4 length sleeves.  I cut out all the pieces but then I changed my mind and made it sleeveless.  I saved the pieces in case I ever decide to add the sleeves.

Here it is with a belt.

I decided to slipstitch the hem by hand because I love hand stitching.  It only took me part of a leisurely afternoon sitting in the bay window while listening to some classical music on CBC radio.   This fabric is awesome to slipstitch by hand because the stitches disappear into it and it is totally invisible from the front.

So in conclusion, I'm pretty happy with this dress.  It fits fairly well but it could be taken in at the waist just a tiny bit which may make the excess fabric hanging in my low back curve sit nicer.  Photos of me wearing it are coming soon!  I may make the 3/4 length sleeve version in the future.  Maybe for fall....

Happy Sewing!

Tuesday, 10 June 2014

Hand quilting the Sanctuary Quilt

I've been working on the Sanctuary Quilt for a long time.  I had it folded away in the basement for the longest time until just recently.  I don't know what made me want to pull it out again because I have my Hawaiian quilting to work on for my hand quilting fix. It's so beautiful I would love to finish it soon so I can bind it and wash it.  This quilt was from a quilt kit, so the fabric was all co-ordinated for me.

I used a fan design which is easy to repeat all over the quilt.  I made the templates with manila tag folders that I cut out.  There are six semi circle templates.  I used a water soluble marking pen which is now my favourite because it's easy to use and the colour shows up well and it disappears easily with a spray of water.  The brand is called "Unique"  I've tried so many marking pens, pencils and chalk and I like this one the best so far.

Here is the back.
I'm 3/4 done the main part of the quilt then I have to do the borders.  Lots more to go!

Happy Quilting!

MMM'14 Summary and Conclusion

We're already well into June, but I thought I should summarise my Me-Made-May experience.

Some observations:
1.  Beginning of May is still too cold to wear dresses and skirts unless wool leotards, socks and cardigans are involved.
2.  I realised that I mostly sew sundresses.
3.  I love wearing comfy jeans
4.  I have yet to sew a comfy pair of pants.
5.  It would be nice to have some casual, comfortable garments perhaps made with cotton knit fabrics.

 After the second week I was getting bored of my me-made wardrobe.  I was wearing mostly my jeans and hand knit sweaters.  It was good in a way because I re-discovered some nice sweaters.  But I definitely need to expand the variety of garments in my closet.  I had a couple skirts that I love but never wear because I don't have a top that looks right with either of them.  I have blouses that don't really go with anything except for jeans.  So I have some sewing goals now to improve my handmade wardrobe into something a little more realistic.

Sewing Goals:
1.  Learn to sew with knits
2.  Focus more on casual everyday garments
3.  Sew a plain top to go with my flower printed skirt.
4.  Sew with more basic print fabrics that match with other pieces
5.  Sew a pair of shorts for summer!
6.  Sew a flannel shirt for cooler days

Well, that's it for now.  I'm sure I'll come up with more goals later on.  I always have so many things I want to make and not enough time!  This list will keep me on track though as it's always tempting to sew another sundress.

Happy Sewing!

Thursday, 15 May 2014

Gingham Cambie!

My Gingham Cambie dress is completed! I used a navy blue and white cotton blend gingham.  It doesn't feel like 100% cotton. It's also fully lined in a soft cotton batiste.  I altered the bodice again to create a better fit and I used the Hollyburn skirt pattern.  It's really comfortable but next time I think I'll make it with a longer skirt.  This felt a bit too short for me.    I feel like either Alice in Wonderland or Dorothy from The Wizard of Oz!

I made some progress with my zipper skills.  This one is a bit more invisible, and the waistline matches up!  Next time though I'll be careful to do the neck edge a bit closer to the top of the zipper.  There is a teeny gap but not enough to warrant a hook and eye.  The bodice looks a bit too tight in this photo but it doesn't feel too tight at all.

A much better fit in the bodice this time.  Yay!

I lowered the darts and took in the centre front neckline to reduce the neckline gaping.  It worked wonderfully.  There is absolutely no gaping.  The fabric lies perfectly in place.

Here is my cotton batiste for underlining.

Here is a photo of the front bodice piece with the cotton batiste underlining.  I hand basted it with silk thread.  I'm glad I did this extra step because I think it creates a bit of gentle structure where it's needed the most.

Well I'm putting the Cambie dress pattern away for now.  Thank you Sewaholic for a gorgeous dress pattern!  I'm sure I'll come back to it to make different variations.

Happy Sewing!

Tuesday, 13 May 2014

Me-Made-May 2014: Week Two!

I've been too lazy to take daily photos.  I'll have to set up a tripod somewhere bright and remember to take a photo before I get busy with my day.  It's been so cold,  I've been wearing a lot of sweaters still.  I did wear 2 dresses but usually with a cardigan on top.  I also wore the knit cardigans on their own with a pair of jeans.  I wore my cozy Icelandic sweater again while working outside one morning.

I think I'm going to be wearing a lot of the same stuff over and over and I remind myself the point of this challenge is to appreciate the hand made items I have.  In that respect I think it's going well!

Happy Sewing!