Thursday, 27 June 2013

Sewing in the Sun

Have enjoyed a rather fabulous morning spent away from the laptop with a best friend (and fellow dressmaking enthusiast.) What better way to spend a sunny Thursday morning, than to throw open the patio doors and bring out the sewing machines for an exchange of chatter and sewing inspiration.

It was also a productive one in that my toile is now complete and with happy results! The added pleats are doing what I asked them to!
And the overall fit is good, with just a bit of taking in at the waist required. The gathering at the shoulder and waist yokes is a bit tricky to achieve with a heavier curtain lining fabric and will look prettier once I get to work with my 'easier to handle' floral fabric. Despite my impatience, (excitement!) to get started with my actual fabric for the dress, the toile has been a useful exercise. Hooray ! Now onto the good stuff...a quick iron of my coveted fabric and on to the real thing!
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Wednesday, 26 June 2013

Floral Inspiration.

My little corner of rural Kent is looking stunning at the moment. A drive back from Canterbury takes me past blanket fields of oil seed rape of the strongest yellow, bordered at the edges by contrasting red poppies. My garden has sprung into life with a show of poppies the size of large teacups and purple alliums exploding like small fireworks. It put me in mind of some of the very tempting floral fabrics on the scene at the moment, waiting to be crafted in to Summer attire! A bit of a hard core Amy Butler fan I have already made three skirts in her fabulous poppies and floral prints. Sure it won't be long before something else catches my eye. I digress however! First I have my lovely purple vintage floral for which the toile is working out promisingly well. Next post on that very soon.

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Friday, 21 June 2013

Buttons and teacups.

With the onset of some 'proper' sunshine (at last!), I've broken out the bunting and the summer skirts and even enjoyed a day of bare legs for the first time this Summer! A bit of a novelty given that we are now at the longest day! Also prompting sunny mood was the chance of a happy distraction crafting invitations for a forthcoming sewing tea. Fabulously organised by a sewing pal and of course to include cake (and the wearing of our own hand-crafted apparel), it gave me a legitimate excuse to get out in the sunshine with my camera - and some cakes, buttons and teacups!
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Tuesday, 18 June 2013

Adding inverted pleats to a pattern.

With my pattern pieces cut and armed with my toile fabric, I am turning my mind to the tweaks and changes I would like to make to this pattern, (seems I'm never satisfied!) The first of these is to add some pleats into the back of the skirt. I am taking inspiration from a dress that sang my name from the window display of Jigsaw, whilst wandering Argyll Street in between meetings, (always dangerous!...and with Liberty so close by as well...a wooorld of temptation!)
I loved the extra shape it gave the back of the dress making such an elegant profile. In a kind of 'homage' to the effect this creates, I am adding one inverted box pleat on each side of the back of the skirt. Something along these lines....
With this extra detail at the back in mind, I have also decided to move the zip from the back of the dress, where the pattern places it, to the side. This means that I can now cut the upper back and lower back panels each as one piece on the fold, (rather than two pieces each, joined by the zip in the middle).

To create these pleats in the back, I am adding an extra panel into the pattern piece. First step was to cut the pattern piece in half. I measured to get a centre point of the pattern piece at the top and bottom to ensure a straight line. If you end up with a measurement that is not readily divisible by 2 in a hurry, then a trick is to fold your tape measure in half at that measurement, et voila!
I next decided how large I wanted each pleat to be with a few practise runs. Then took a measurement of the fold of the pleat in order to ascertain how much extra width I needed to add into the pattern piece. This measurement is taken on the fabric you see when you open out the fold of the pleat :

The idea...                               Sizing up on my toile & opening out the fold to measure:                  

In this case, the pleats 'depth' is 3cm so measuring the inside fold (over both sets of arrows) gives 6cm. As I am using two pleats to make each inverted box pleat, I need to make it 12cm, i.e. adding a total extra of 12cm width to the pattern piece for the back of the skirt.

Having cut the pattern piece in half, the easiest way now is to insert a piece of paper of 12cm width into the pattern piece. When cutting this piece of paper it can be a good idea to add an extra centimetre either side as well, giving a bit of extra to play with when taping or pinning it to the pattern. Next stage will be to mark up where the pleats are going on the pattern piece! Something to ponder for tomorrow!
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Monday, 10 June 2013

Fabric...tick, Pattern...tick !

I have now settled on a pattern that I think should do justice to my gorgeous, purple floral fabric, ...drum roll....New Look 6069. I think this pattern makes a polite little nod to the Forties in its style, (I'm practising my Victory Rolls) and I love the cute capped sleeves and yokes at the waistline and shoulders. I'll also be making a few other tweaks and additions to the pattern to get exactly what I want. It should be a good exercise in pattern alteration and hopefully a confidence boost when the desired result is achieved !
Pattern pieces are now all cut and I will be making a toile first off. This is a good habit to get into and is essentially a first draft, offering the chance to iron out any imperfections, check for sizing and make sure that the pattern is working for you, before you cut into your actual fabric. I will be using a cheap curtain lining fabric for my toile, but you may choose to buy a cheap fabric to use and then if the toile works out it may also be wearable! I will also be posting stage by stage progress this time. Onwards !
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Friday, 7 June 2013

Wool !

Am currently picture editing the most fabulous book on fashion knitwear. Feeling awed and inspired by the gorgeous, creative designs of Iris von Arnem and by Johan Ku's amazing glow in the dark yarn. Love my job!
What with that and the fantastic yarn bombing of late, I feel inspired to dust off the knitting needles and...well, get my mum to teach me a few moves...its been a while !

Monday, 3 June 2013

Fabric Crush !


Having a little love affair with some gorgeous new fabric purchased a few weeks ago from the lovely ladies at The Sewing Shop, Canterbury. Not quite sure how I managed to so lovingly admire it and then walk away from the shop empty-handed the first time round! I think I got caught in a self imposed, 'I'll come back for it when I know what I want to make with it' moment. I was back the next day however and am now coveting its' vintage floral, purple gorgeousness ~ and still pattern pondering as to what shape it will take.

I would like a dress with a bit of interest, perhaps some shirring, pleating at the neckline, extra fabric at the back of the skirt style perhaps...Think it may be a tall order to find a pattern with all my favourite dreamy notions in one dress, so will be a case of finding one that serves as a good base camp, and then getting creative ! One day soon I will pluck up the courage to create my own pattern. It's time.
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