31 Jul 2013

Colette Hawthorn - 19 hour dress

Untitled by SewSleepy
pattern matching or happy accident

Grunge Hawthorn Front by SewSleepy
the front
I had been intending to make this dress from the moment the contest was launched.  I say from then because, the previous day when the dress was launched I was very underwhelmed.  You see it was another dress - I had just made two Laurels.  It was a dress that looks like it would need ironing, had aprox 1000 buttons and I've never worn a shirt dress in my life - well they never fit in the shops so I've never bought one.  So when the contest was announced it was my competitive side that made me buy the pattern.

So the pattern sat on my computer waiting for me to download it whilst I busied myself with finishing off a few other projects and generally avoiding it.  Anyway last Friday I remembered that it needed to be made before Sunday and so went fabric shopping.  I had been looking online and had seen some lovely fabric - a violet chambray, a blue cherries and flower print, purple gingham and a multicoloured seersucker plaid but had not got round to ordering them so fabric shop on the way home it was.

 It was 20 minutes before the shop closed and so I rushed around like a crazy lady trying to find the most fabulous fabric. I had vowed to stay away from anything where the pattern would need to be matched so imagine my surprise on returning home  to have bought grey, black and blue cotton plaid - puzzled look???

Untitled by SewSleepy
the back
I then went camping for two days - on my return and very sleepy-  i decided to start the dress; and whats more set about completing it in time for the contest,  well it finishes PST so there was plenty of time.

I printed it out, stuck it together and cut it out and then set about cutting out the fabric.  I have never liked this bit so tried using cutting mat and cutting wheel instead of shears.  Not sure if its a combination of the cotton and the wheel but the finished pieces looked really like the template.  My confidence increased and so I set about making the dress.  Using both the sewalong tutorial and the pattern instructions it was a breeze and when I finished for the day (3am) I had completed the collar and the bodice and just needed to attach the skirt and buttons.

I woke up at 8am and started again.  Trying to be quick I made two mistakes when attaching the skirt pieces together and attaching the skirt to the bodice which both had to be carefully unpicked and sewed together again.  Both involved not checking before sewing.  Seams showing on the outside is not a good look.

Well that just left the buttonholes and buttons - The sewalong suggested looking at the manual for my sewing machine, I had lost this so practised with a scrap of felt until I had mastered it.  I am very proud of the buttonholes - so neat. Then there's the slow process of sewing on the buttons and the hem.

Untitled by SewSleepy
the inside -
check out the bias binding at the arms
So all in all the dress took 24 hours - well 19 if you take out sleeping.  I mentioned at the beginning that I don't own any shirt dresses and I think I know why now.  Like all shop bought clothes it is made for an average person and I am not average.  My body shape does not have any very obvious places where adjustments would need to be made but on shop dresses the buttons around the bust would be pulled too tight or in the next size up the back would not be fitted.  I did not do a FBA but I did take the seams out on the sides from 5/8 to 1/4. Also shop dresses are straight cut and not the beautifully flattering circle skirt.  This shape skirt is very practical to move in yet very feminine to.

How do I feel about my dress?  Well i love it!!! its a perfect combination of 50's housewife uber femme and grungy 90's throwback.  Also perfect camouflage when picnicking.   I am also very proud of the attention to detail and how far i have come since January when i started sewing clothes.  Thank you Sarai for pushing me out of my comfort zone each time and supporting me with brilliant patterns and tutorials.

The dress has been placed onto Flickr and you never know the 19 hour dress may just make it though to the second round of the contest,  fingers crossed

UPDATE - It didn't make it through to the second round - sad face.  But I still get to wear it and wear it i shall.  I love this pattern and |I am already planning on making some new ones.  Also if you haven't already go place your votes there are some beautiful versions out there and  some great inspiration if you've not yet made this pattern.  Oh and feel free to leave a comment too.

29 Jul 2013

Colette hawthorn update

Untitled by SewSleepy

Grunge Hawthorn Front by SewSleepy
After a fabulous weekend camping I got back home in the mood for sewing.  So I whipped up a Hawthorn in a day.  This is an intermediate pattern -  but don't be scared.  The hardest part for me was finding a supply of 15 buttons.

The fabric is plaid cotton and is so lovely.  The collar took the longest but the rest just assembled itself - well not literally.  I had hoped to put it in the contest and it looked like I was too late  - very sad face -but fortunately there is to be a second round so fingers crossed my beautiful grungy picnic blanket dress will go through.  Either way I win as I get to wear it.  If the weather stays good I will be taking it to the zoo tomorrow.

Full write up tomorow...

23 Jul 2013

Navy Ginger

This is the second completed item that I've made so far, ten more to go if I'm going to meet the challenge.  I wanted to make a navy corduroy skirt after seeing Tilly's red chunky corduroy grain-line.  So got to work straight away.  After making the pink ginger that I posted last week I was confident that the size was correct and set about cutting and assembling.  Invisible zipper was not really a problem this time as I went straight to the video, no stubborn frustration for me this time.

 I also have noticed that others were adding facing in different materials so I added a lovely purple facing at the waist.  It a quilting weight cotton and has hydrangeas on it.  I love the way it peeps over the top of the waist band.  I think my next ginger will have piping along the bottom of the waistband.

Again a nice straightforward assembly which will look lovely in the Autumn with some knee high/ calf boots.  Just need to find the perfect pair.  Any ideas?  This is also a practice skirt but definitely wearable.  I wanted to check I liked the pattern and fit  before cutting the gorgeous liberty corduroy I bought back in January.

18 Jul 2013

Pink Ginger

Colette Ginger toile

I made this toile/muslin after Alma back in the spring.  In my quest to complete 12 projects, it would be rude not to make some Colette Patterns.  Having made a blouse, I decided I should try something different and so I chose Ginger, a beautiful A line skirt with three different versions.  A favorite of bloggers and with so many examples out there, it sold itself as a pattern.  Colette patterns are awesome and like Sewaholic so easy to follow.  As this was my first Colette and first skirt I thought it best to make a muslin.  

I had been shopping for fabric in Ikea of all places back in February and had some thick cotton strange pink coloured fabric.  It looks perfect for home furnishings but not sure for clothing, although definitely hard wearing in a gabardine kinda way.  The skirt requires interfacing.  This was straightforward although like always I checked and double checked everything so it actually took a while.  Since then Tilly has put up a post on interfacing which can be found here and is her usual high standard.  The skirt came together well and was a pleasure to make especially as it has few pieces.  

not so invisible, invisible zipper

Having recently completed Alma I was confident with the invisible zipper.  I thought I no longer needed to use the fabulous Colette tutorial video and so struggled for two stubborn days before watching the video and completing it perfectly in about 30 minutes.  lesson learnt ; Use the fab video from Colette 

Rushing the sewing 

The finish of the zip is not so good but this was never supposed to be a wearable muslin.  The zip is not very invisible  but the cream zip was always going to struggle next to the pink in it camouflage abilities.  You will also note, the observant of you, that the hem is unfinished tut tut.

I hope you have enjoyed reading this post and if you have please leave a comment.  This toile/muslin was in preparation for a navy corduroy ginger skirt.  My inspiration coming from a gorgeous red chunky corduroy skirt mad by Tilly   This will feature in my next post as well as pictures of the hemmed pink ginger. 

Have you made Ginger? or are you planning one at the moment, would love to hear what you have done.

8 Jul 2013

Floral Alma

Floral Sewaholic Alma
After the last post my PC decided that it would stop working and is currently at the PC hospital.  Not realising it would take so long but glad to be back to my blog.

I may make a plain Alma
with the rest of this fabric

I made this back in February but this is the first time its made it to the blog.  It is my version of Sewaholic's Alma.  During winter and spring I was sourcing places to buy fabric and this came from one of the local Asian stores which sell fabric as suits (Salwar kameeze). This means that you buy roughly 2 meters each of two complementary fabrics one would be for the trouser (usually plain) and one would be for the top (in this case floral).  Sometimes there is also a scarf made from chiffon.

There were some very ornate fabrics with beautiful border prints and embroidery but for this project I wanted something more simple.  The floral is similar to a ditsy print and I think the fabric is polyester.  For a first fabric it was a bit slippery, especially when cutting.  I used plenty of tins of baked beans as fabric weights to hold it down.

Invisible zipper is, well, invisible
front view of Alma.
Next one will be more fitted now
 I have my dress form

I made Alma version A, but without the belt.  I love the cap sleeves which although look tricky were not too much hassle.  They are also very flattering on me  The blouse comes together easily and the invisible zipper was a triumph.  What i really love is how many times i have worn this out and I have got compliments on it from people who didn't know I had made it.  I really like the neckline although it had its own issues and I tried topstiching which again will need some practise.  This is my first piece of proper sewing and I am very proud of it.

topstiching - not sure why I chose zigzag

I will be definitely making it again and with so many variations it will be difficult to choose which one will be next.  If you haven't made an Alma yet why not give it a try.  

Have you made Alma?  How did you find it as a pattern?  what fabric did you use?  Do you wear it often or does it lurk at the back of your wardrobe ?Next time its Colette's Ginger.