Category Archives: New Skills

Sewn in 2011

It’s taken me so long to organise photos. Here are some snapshots of my finished wearable projects from 2011. These are just the ones that were easy to photograph and are certainly not necessarily my favourites.

Last year was a steep learning curve, in terms of sewing skills but also in terms of style and fabric choice. I went crazy with eBay to try an learn as much as I could about fabric, texture and feel. I think that was an excellent place to start and I felt comfortable cutting into anything and everything but its a bit unpredictable. I just ditched a whole stack of plastic-fantastic fabric that felt more like plastic bags than fabric. I started this year purchasing some really nice expensive (compared to ebay) and coordinated fabrics and patterns to start making a more thoughtful wardrobe.

But here is the wrap up from 2011.

Gifts

6 boxer shorts (these were the christmas presents, so I only managed to get one photo for you all to see. Boxers are so easy to make and they are great for practicing different seam finishes. They are also really fun and easy to personalise because you can choose outrageous or comic fabric, knowing that not many people other than the owner will see them, plus you can find quilting fabric with everything on it, perfect for personal jokes.

2 Laptop sleeves using the Keyka Lou 13″ laptop sleeve pattern.

Clothing

Colette Macaron – I had to have this pattern once I saw it. I was really upset when I made a muslin and subsequently put the pattern aside for a few months. I finally found a good fabric combo, retraced a smaller size and made up this version. It had sleeves but I must have snipped through the stitching when I was trimming the seam allowance because they completely unraveled the first time the dress went in the washing machine. I took the sleeves off and used white bias binding to finish the sleeves.

Simplicity 2250 Cynthia Rowley – This dress will make your eyes hurt. I completely knocked off the pattern cover version for this one. I omitted the ties on the back because I like sitting down without things digging into me. I also found a place just above the seam allowance on the bodice where I could add extra lenght. From memory I added 1 inch and redrew the darts I interfered with. I didnt include the underlining, just the lining. When I got to try on the bodice I discovered it was way to big so I added a couple more improvised darts in the same manner as the actual pattern (Easy recovery). I get a lot of compliments for this one. I just wish I had added pockets and paid more attention when I was sewing in the back ruffles.

Butterick 5317 – I love this style, but I think it’s the fabric that does it for this particular version. Sadly I havent worn this dress yet.

Colette Peony – This is the Peony bodice. I had to change the skirt to accommodate the fabric border. I had the common problem of needing to redraft the front bodice darts, but that was simple. I was really impressed with the potential of this pattern, I think its a great wardrobe staple. The first time I wore this my hand sewn zipper ripped away from the dress, luckly I was wearing a jacket. It did a bit of damage to the fabric, but I managed to save it and I quicly resewed the zipper using my machine. And thats my wardrobe malfunction for 2011 – I dont think the people I was with even noticed.

Vogue 1161 – I love this dress – and I get heaps of complements wearing it. If you like this pattern don’t let the skirt pieces of keyhole deter you – it’s not difficult, it just looks impressive. For the record this dress has a hand sewn zipper that works and looks beautiful.

Vogue 8685 – I made this one from a silk jersey I purchased from eBay. The dress came together nicely and the top stitching adds a really nice detail. I didn’t add a zipper to this one as I found I could get in and out of it without one. It looks a bit lumpy on my model but in real life its the perfect fit, not too clingy or hugging. I really wish I had gone down a bust size and will remember to do that if I ever make this one again.


McCall 6069 – This pattern was really easy to construct. I used a vintage knit from eBay and had a go at matching the stripes down the side. This dress had a lot of wear during winter, its perfect with a cardigan and leggings. The construction was really easy and there were no sizing surprises.

And the rest …

  • 1 Bolero,
  • 1 Salme cropped blazer,
  • 6 skirts including two Sewaholic Crescent’s,
  • 4 more dresses,
  • 1 Wine tote,
  • 2 Pyjama Pants,
  • 2 Pyjama Shorts,
  • Pattern Runway Scalloped hem shorts,
  • Sewaholic Pendrall top,
  • 1 quilted bedside table mat/cover (own design)
  • a self drafted tote bag and
  • a Keyka Lou curved clutch.

That’s close to 40 items … no wonder I feel like I’ve improved. Im sure at least some of these will be shown off during me-made May.

I’m sure that there are more, that I don’t like, don’t wear or have forgotten. There were also a few fails and dresses that didn’t survive the wash very well.

It seems reasonable to me to put in the time and effort to make something because I’ve been really impressed with the way that sewing allows you to fit, alter and tailor in a way which you can’t do with ready to wear. Even the simple process for adding length to the bodice of a dress and grading between sizes according to my curves has changed how comfortable I am in the clothes I wear. The satisfaction that you get from wearing something you made and the assurance of quality (most of the time) are worth continuing to pursue sewing.

So that’s where 2011 went…

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Filed under Dress, Finished Object, New Skills, Sewing for Others, Skirt, Top

Finished Project – Men’s Shorts

This pattern was made by sacrificing a pair of RTW shorts.

Most of the problems that I encountered with these shorts came from the length of time I took between cutting and sewing them up, during which I forgot how wide I had cut the seam allowance.

The leg lengths are even I promise, it’s just the way they are positioned.

These guys include:

  • My first attempt at a fly front zipper.
  • A single welt back pocket and two side pockets.
  • Flat felled and bias bound seams as well as some I just hit with the zig zag stitch.

I’m particularly pleased with the way I managed to neatly join the waist band to the shorts at the centre front. I’ve never tried a zipper that ends in a button but it went together really easily, especially compared to the amount of times I redid the fly front.

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Filed under Finished Object, New Skills, Sewing for Others