Sunday, 24 May 2015

Me Made May Week # 3

I can't believe I only managed two handmade garments this week.  My excuse is that I've been working; only two or three 12 hour shifts a week mind you,  but I have to wear a uniform at work.  And I have no desire to sew boring uniforms, ugh!  I prefer to spend my creative time sewing beautiful dresses.  Nevertheless, here's what I managed this week.

I actually wore my Gingham Cambie dress out one day.  Now, this is a success of Me Made May because I didn't think I would feel comfortable going out wearing this dress.  Were it not for the challenge, my handmade dress may have hung in the closet unworn and unloved.

I also wore my Granville Shirt.  I found it lightweight and cool but if I'm doing any kind of housework, it's a bit tight across the upper back and shoulders.

Well, that's it for Week # 3.  See you soon for the final week!

Monday, 18 May 2015

Me Made May Week # 2

Me Made May Week # 2 Update

It has been a chilly jeans and sweater kind of week!  As a matter of fact as I write this, there is snow on the ground.  Yes, snow!  This is not normal weather, and I'm a little concerned about my garden that has started to sprout lettuce, spinach, kale, and garlic.  Yesterday we had a strange storm system that started off as a rainstorm and turned to snow because the temperatures were so low overnight and into the whole day actually.  It's been generally cool this past week, and I had no desire to wear anything but comfy jeans and sweaters.   

So here I am in my handknit Nettle cardigan, my favourite everyday cardigan.  I've realized that I really need another one; perhaps in a neutral colour like beige or grey.  I haven't been knitting much at all lately, but I'll have to place this next on my queue seeing as my everyday cardigan may not last forever.

 One cool morning I even wore my Riddari Icelandic sweater!

 And, of course, my cozy Archer shirt made another appearance this week!

That's it for Week # 2!  I'm looking forward to some warmer weather and maybe some spring dresses!

Friday, 8 May 2015

Me Made May Week #1

Well, May started off with a bang and a big birthday party for my husband.  Other than that, it has been a humble start to Me-Made-May.  At least I started the first day of May by wearing my Radiating Red Dress. Yay!  I also wore my black and white Buffalo Plaid Archer Shirt and my award winning crabapple socks.  Yes, they really are award winning.  I won a sock designing contest from my local yarn shop for designing these socks a few years ago, so I guess I should be proud of them.  They've served my chilly feet well on many occasions!

Well, unfortunately, that's all for this week.  Hopefully,  I do better next week.  Wish me luck!

Happy Me-Made-May!

Tuesday, 21 April 2015

Me-Made-May 2015

I, Nayla, of Nayla's Notions sign up as a participant of Me-Made-May '15.  I endeavour to wear at least one garment handmade by myself each day for the duration of May 2015.

There's my Me-Made-May pledge for 2015!  An awesome challenge to promote the wearing of handmade garments and inspire us crafty sewists to be proud of what we made!

If you'd like to sign up, head over to the official sign up page.

I LOVE the Me-Made-May challenge! This will be my second year participating.  I love it because it counteracts the fast fashion culture of cheap and fast.  In today's fast paced, mass-production oriented world, hand made garments are very special.  People who are not sewists or otherwise aware of the sewing world are so amazed that we actually made the garments they see us wearing because it's so counter culture.  Let's be proud of what we've made and show it to the world!  Sometimes a garment doesn't get worn because there's a minor imperfection and as sewists we can be very critical of our own work.  Well, other's will probably not even notice the things we notice.  So, this is a time to be mindful about what we wear each day and in doing so, rediscover and learn to love the garments we've made in the past.

I'm excited about this years challenge.  I'll be posting weekly updates.

Happy Sewing!!

Wednesday, 15 April 2015

Handsewing and Couture Techniques

 This afternoon, I was happily stitching away in the sunshine when it dawned on me that I should do a blog post about hand sewing.  So, here it is!

My plan was to work on the lining today. I was about to start, but was concerned that the seam allowances on this curved seam may move around underneath the lining.  This is a problem because an unsightly bump in the wrong spot would be, umm, not so good.  So I decided to secure the seam allowance with a catch stitch.  This is easily done because I've underlined the bodice with cotton muslin.  So the stitches go through only the underlining, and seam allowance and hence are completely invisible from the right side, and when the lining goes in they won't be visible at all.

Here is a close up.   If you look at the first photo, you can see that once the seam allowance is secured it lies nice and flat.  And this didn't take too long at all.

The skirt is underlined with silk organza; now my favourite underlining for skirts!  I used my lazy method of attaching the organza to the fabric then trimming to match the fabric piece.   I usually draw the grain line on the back of the fabric and align it with the silk organza's grain line. See my Vintage Skirt blog post to see how I did the underlining.  I was in the zone while doing this skirt, so I forgot to take a photo of the underlining process. 

 I used silk thread and a running stitch.

I recently ordered Claire Schaeffer's book "Couture Sewing Techniques" and I've been ravenously devouring the information it contains!  This is a really high-quality sewing book that provides a whole new level of knowledge and information.  I love the attention to detail and the dedication to quality craftsmanship that the couture sewing world strives for.  I also love the fact that all these techniques are low tech and accessible to the everyday home sewer.  All you need is a needle, thread, and fabric.

I remember when I was very young (maybe about 9 or 10 years old),  I found some fabric in the attic and I was determined sew a dress.  I remember my mom telling me that I need to use a sewing machine if I wanted to sew a dress.  But, I didn't know how to use the sewing machine yet. (And I don't think we had one anyways.)  "I'll do it by hand," I told her.  She shook her head.  I didn't care.  I just wanted to do it to see if I could do it.   I also had no pattern. I draped the fabric and imagined what the pieces should be.  I cut the fabric into a skirt and a tank bodice and sewed the pieces together by hand.  I was so excited to see how it would work out.  I'm sure it was not very pretty, but it was a good first experience driven by curiosity. 

So, in a way, going back to hand sewing kind of brings me back to that first memory and experience of sewing as a child.  The excitement of creating something with only my two hands is an amazing feeling.

Now, the dress I'm working on is sewn by machine.  I just used a couple couture techniques so far.  One day I'd like to make perhaps a lace evening gown completely by hand; maybe some beading on the bodice.  Just an idea!

Well, I guess you got a sneak peak of my upcoming dress!  I'm taking my time with it, but it should be done soon.

Thanks for reading my blog and

 Happy Sewing!

Sunday, 29 March 2015

Sewaholic Davie Dress

Sewaholic 1503 Davie Dress

I was fist drawn to this dress pattern because of the "fit and flare" style lines.  I love princess seams and flared skirts.  I also like the keyhole neckline detail.  The only thing I didn't like is the fact it's designed for knits.  I'm still not a huge fan of sewing with knits.  The result is quite comfortable though, so I shouldn't complain.  I used a black Ponte di Roma I had in my stash.  I decided to just sew a straight size 8 and see how it turns out.

  So, I guess you could say this is my wearable muslin.  I knew the fit would not be the best, but I was hoping the knit fabric would be forgiving enough.  The hemline is quite short; a lot shorter than I'm used to.  I should probably lengthen it a tiny bit in the bodice anyways as well as extend the hem.   Just like my Granville Shirt, there was a disappointing lack of curves in the back seams.  I was really annoyed with the flatness of it all!  I'm starting to realize that although I love Sewaholic patterns, these annoyances are going to require more time and effort to make them look good on me. 

I definitely have to work on fitting the back next time!

Overall, this was a quick sewing project and being a knit fabric, it's quite forgiving fit-wise.  Other than the pooling in the lower back it wasn't too horrible.  However, my fitting annoyances with Sewaholic Patterns is starting to outweigh my love of the designs.  I'm tempted to dive into my little pile of new McCall's dress patterns next.  They usually fit me a lot better than Sewaholic Patterns.

Thanks for reading my blog and...
Happy Sewing!

Sunday, 22 March 2015

Completed: Liberty of London Granville Shirt!

Sewaholic Patterns 1501 Granville

I finally finished my Granville shirt!  After doing all those muslins, I got distracted with other projects (which I will blog about later) but now it's done!  Yay!  And I'm actually quite happy with the results.  The fit is a lot better than I thought it would be.  I guess all my hard fitting work paid off.   Now that the fitting part is done I can easily make this again and again in different fabrics.  I find the Liberty lawn fabric is just perfect for this shirt.  It's very light yet crisp to press, and the final look is just want I wanted.  I love this brown flower print.

I chose to make view A with the two front pockets.  The only thing I'm not happy about is the front pockets.  They turned out to be a bit off even though I placed them right on pocket markings.  So I may have made a mistake with the markings or perhaps the shoulder seams are not exactly the same.  Nevertheless, this fabric is very camouflaged, and you can barely see the pockets let alone if they are exactly symmetrical unless you look very carefully.  So, I may take one pocket off and adjust it at some point but for now,  I'm not putting on any buttons to bring attention to this imperfect detail.  Next time I think I'd put the pockets on last and line them up while wearing the shirt.

I really enjoyed making the collar.  It went together a lot easier than I thought it would.  I followed the instructions with the pattern which are a bit different than previous collars I've made.

Construction Details!

This was the first time I make a proper sleeve placket.  I found making the tower peak quite fiddly, so I took my time pressing and basting it by hand to hold it in place.  This was the hardest part.  The rest of the placket came together quite easily.

 As per usual I pinned, then hand basted the sleeve in before machining it in.  When I'm worried about puckers, or I'm not able to control the fabric as much I find comfort in hand basting.  It controls the fabric so much better than just pins, and I don't have to hold my breath so much while sewing the seam!

I drew in the seam allowance on the collar stand which helped to make a nice curved shape.

So, I'm pretty happy with my pretty flowery shirt!  It was fun to make once I figured out the fit.  I'm sure I'll wear it quite a bit.  I think I'll put this one away for now because I'm going to start making some dresses for spring now.  Yay for spring!  Our snow is gone already, but it's still freezing outside.  Meanwhile, these little guys keep me company in the sewing room.  Aren't they adorable?

 Happy Sewing!