Tuesday, July 30, 2013

Blue, red and white

I had been wanting to make a shirt for my boyfriend for a long time, but I was quite afraid of all the tailored details, the topstitching and the flat-felled seams. I even had purchased McCalls 6044 about a year and a half ago, "for when I'd be ready", but it had been sitting in my pattern box since then. I'd pull it out from time to time, and dream of the day I would be skilled enough to sew it up.

So one evening, I was fabric shopping online and 4 meters of this nice cotton shirting ended up in my basket. I really liked the colors, and the simple plaid, and thought that I could always make a cute summer dress out of the fabric if I chickened out...

As it turned out, my boyfriend liked the fabric, and I thought it was time for some selfless sewing... Maybe I was high om my success with my Bombshell, or maybe I was looking forward a challenge? I pepped myself up by telling myself that I had the skills for every individual part of making a shirt, so really, I could do it, right? I read Peter's shirt sew-along in preparation, these pages are full of invaluable information. As I sewed a muslin (and even in the construction of the final shirt), I kept referring to it. Another great source of information was also Lisa, from Notes from a mad housewife, specifically this post

So I made a muslin in a size medium, then forced my boyfriend into hour-long discussions about his likes and dislikes of the shirts he have in his closet. I had him spend a long time (awfully long considering how scratchy my muslin fabric was) in the muslin so that he could tell me what he wanted differently in terms of fit. It really wasn't much, a few cms in the back and a little lenght and that was it.

I did however make quite a few changes to the pattern. I changed the sleeve to one piece and added a placket, from Lisas template, split the back and added a bias yoke, added some ease to the back with the help of two pleats, and finally, I changed the front button placket to a folded one. This one I totally fudged... the rest of the changes were measured and carefully planned, but I really couldn't wrap my mind around the provided placket pattern pieces and I could not figure out the center front, and how much more width I needed to add to the front pieces for folding. Heh. I worked out perfectly, and I'm not quite sure how it happened!

I am really chuffed with the results! It is the most technically challenging garments I have made, and yet, the results are good enough for my boyfriend to wear it. I mean, I can live with a few imperfection in the clothes I wear that I made myself, but that someone else will do it...

I am especially proud of the sleeve plackets and cuffs. I am also really pleased with the flat-felling, even though it is not perfect on the armscyes. I need to improve on my topstitching skills, though...

So this shirt proves to myself that I have no reason to be afraid of something when it comes to sewing. I do have skills, and there are always new ones to be learned! But in the end, it is only a piece of fabric and my sewing machine, and I know how that works. And there is always my good friend the seam ripper for when things don't turn out like I imagined it...

And, finally (and most importantly), the verdict of my boyfriend?

I'd say he is quite happy with the results!

Tuesday, July 23, 2013

Tea dress

I made this dress a little while back and wore it to an afternoon party in France in the beginning of July, but travelling and fabulous weather distracted me from posting it earlier. The party was however the perfect occasion for a photoshoot!

The pattern is the sweetheart sundress from Gertie's New Book for Better Sewing. I made a size 6 for the bodice, but later took in around 2 cm from the side seams, tapering to nothing at the waist. There is still some wrinkling in the bodice but I am not sure what is causing it. The skirt is a simple gathered rectangle. I gathered it only at the sides, as Gertie does. I added straps that crosses in the back, in the same fabric as the little "wings". The construction was very straight-forward, so I spent some time on making things right instead. I was careful with the grading and understitching, frenched-seamed all seams so that there is no exposed raw edges, and handpicked the centered zipper. 

The fabric is a cotton poplin, with a contrast of light dusky pink viscose. I fully lined the dress in white cotton batiste. The poplin has a bit of body, which is perfect for the style of the dress.

I am very pleased with the result! The fit is surprising, especially as there are no darts in front bodice. The skirt is very full, wich was the look I was going for, but it means I probably will not wear this dress really often, but I felt very good in it for the party. I love the retro vibe, and I am pleased with the lenght of the skirt which helps cut back on the girlyness of the look. I will definitely revisit this pattern, as it is quite versatile, in my opinion. I really want to try the tiki variation with shirring. Or maybe with a circle skirt?