Thursday, September 29, 2011

Here's where we started - Kwik sew 3463. A lovely heavy merino (wool) knit. Fabric too heavy for this design, and too much stretch. I think if the fabric were lighter and drapier the loose style would be fine, but this is not the kind of knit that wants to be made up with room to spare. It's a touchy feely huggy kind of fabric.

Oh how I wish I could take the time to get a decent photo at the right time of day. I know there are other bloggers in my position (young children chomping at the bit) who would wait several days to get a good shot because they wouldn't sully their beauty spot with crap photography. I am not one of those bloggers. I take my moments when I find them and sometimes they are just a few seconds before dusk.

To the back, I added a elastic casing and pulled in the waist. I reduced the whole tunic one size. I added a bottom band, which I made a little smaller so I could gather in the a-line slightly. The tie you can see is what I attached to the ends of the elastic I threaded trough the neck band so I could pull in the upper torso.

A more detailed shot of the front - I added the tie pockets to match the back tie and you can see the effects of the gathering on the front neckline. I tried to make the top dress length, because I don't wear a lot of tunics, but I can see proportionally it's not working for me - the whole dress is too heavy and it needs something solid to ground it - some boots would work, or some skinny jeans underneath. And here's another thing to consider - if it's cool enough to wear wool, it's too cool for short sleeves.

Learning, learning, always learning.

Still I am much happier with this incarnation and some restyling could just make it.

Well I had another 2 things to work on in my "remix" box which I never got a chance to for my September challenge. One month self-challenges work really well for me. Long enough to keep me focussed, not too long to become arduous, and every month I get to come up with a new naff title!

Tell me, who could resist?

Monday, September 26, 2011

Tartan jacket

Burda 05-2009-112

The back, with the box pleat and the elasticated sleeve band, are really nice features I think.

Although I really liked my twist bubble skirt I could see it wasn't working for me. Fortunately the pleats used a lot of fabric which was easy to repurpose.

I saw a very funky outfit in a cafe recently - a simple skirt and top with a gorgeous plaid jacket and a hand crocheted scarf and suddenly I really wanted a plaid jacket.

I was a little hesitant about the style on me since the line under the bust and the bold fabric are what my husband calls "brave design decisions."

I liked this pattern because it was made of lots of small pieces so I could use the skirt pieces running with the grain and I had enough scraps left to cut out the bottom half and match the side check too. I couldn't do anything really clever with the other bits because I didn't have enough fabric, and I am a little relieved about that because plaid matching is something that makes me cross-eyed.

And who can argue with those "eat all you like" tummy pleats? Definitely a jacket for a night out.

I made some important "learning experiences" with this jacket which I want to share with you so you too can *learn*.

I put in one of the welts back to front, ripped it out, and then reinserted it upside down! Third time I got it right, but I had damaged the fabric quite a lot with all the unpicking and resewing. The golden rule of welt sewing should be "interface under the pocket before you cut to the corner" for such eventualities - it really helps to hold the fabric together.

All in all - considering I cut and resewed it three times it doesn't look too bad:

The other mistake is that I didn't read the instructions carefully enough for the front zipper. I am still kicking myself for rushing ahead without double checking - I wanted to make sure the lines across the jacket matched when the zipper was up, so I used 'steam a seam' to secure the front zipper in place. As you know, that stuff sets like concrete. Once I had steamed it in, there is no moving that zipper. Imagine my horror on realising that by attaching the front 1 cm back from the teeth that I had inadvertently increased the front by a size!

The whole point was to make it so fitted through and under the bust to avoid that 'puppies in a sack' look!

And no way to fix it! In the end, I took in the side seams which in itself was no easy task since the under bust bias strip is attached over the top, meaning I had to resew it as well.

But I am really pleased with the end result. I really like my jacket - while not the most flattering shape for me, I think it works well enough. It also adds a nice layer of warmth for our blustery spring days.

I hope to manage one more "selvage/salvage" (thank you Carolyn) project for September, and then it's time to welcome "outfits October!"

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

Selvage September

Alliterative September themes are popular in blogworld and I thought I'd add one of my own. I want to rework some duds - things where I was quite invested because I made a good job of them, or I loved the fabric, or I just couldn't quite admit defeat just yet.

These jeans - the madras pants ( 06-2011-109 ) are a case in point. From a technical point of view they look like they could be made into jeans - but in reality they are designed for a SOFTLY DRAPING FABRIC. Way too much ease for denim. That is my mistake entirely and I still see great potential for this pattern.

However, I had made a nice job with the topstiching and following KBenco's lead, had finished the waistband with bias (made from Liberty fabric). In short, I was too invested in these to let them go. So I reworked them.

Here's what I did - on the front I sewed straight down from the zipper and cut off the hem just as the bootleg started to flare out again, creating a mermaid type hem.

On the back, 8 1/2 inches down (20 cms) I inserted a godet, and sloped out the hem to create a mermaid tail, adding a few lines of ruffles to suggest scales. The godet was cut from the bottom half of the pant leg, it was a little short, so the ruffles are on a separate panel. I was able to resew this skirt using pieces entirely from the original jeans, so it bodes well with other pants in my wardrobe needing a little rethinking. The godet is the only essential design feature, as you need to remove the crotch, but I imagine there are endlessly possibilities for incorporating it, so I might try a few different looks.

Eh voila! One dud now creatively reworked into my wardrobe. I will wear this skirt, as I am very fond of the quirk factor in clothing. I wouldn't have worn the jeans - not just because they were a little baggy, but they were "butt munchers" - you know the type where you can feel the crotch seam gnawing at your knickers. I tried scooping more out but it didn't work - something else is wrong so I might need to get a lesson or two from a private teacher to sort that out. (good to know when you just don't know enough to fix it yourself).