Wednesday, 28 May 2014

::Sewing::FO::Grey Skating Lady

I've wanted to make a knit dress for ages. I'm really drawn to knits as the weather turns cooler here in sunny Queensland. Most of my winter wardrobe is long sleeve knit tops. I was spurred on to make this dress by The Monthly Stitch Sew Stretchy challenge  for May (here are my posts over there...there's not many...yet).

 I've been eyeing off The Lady Skater dress for a long-time, especially after it exploded all over the sewing blogasphere when it was released. I eventually bit the bullet and bought it in the first Perfect Pattern Parcel.

~Pattern Adjustments~
I looked at the sizing on the pattern and it said I should cut a 7 in the upper bodice and grade to an 8 in the waist. Of course, me being me, I just cut a straight size 8. In future I will grade from a size 7 to an 8.
(Note to self: stop being silly and just go with what the pattern says)

I changed up the construction a little. I'm not a fan of sewing on shoulder seam, attached the neckband and then sewing the other shoulder seam. I attached the clear elastic as it says in the instructions; then sewed both shoulder seams. I sewed the neckband into a loop by sewing the short ends together right sides together; then folded and basted it along the long edge wrong sides together. Then attached the neckband to the neckline in the round.

Sewing this dress was a bit back and forth. As I wasn't sure about the dress I used mostly my sewing machine. I sewed up the bodice and sleeves and tried it on before unpicking the side seams. Then I overlocked the sleeves to the bodice, attached the skirt and overlocked up the side seams.

I tried the dress on and was a bit disappointed by the neck band flipping out. So I trimmed a couple of the seams in the neckline and left one to get sewed down later.

If you follow me on Instagram you would have seen that I borrowed a coverstitch machine from my sister . I was going to use it to hem the sleeves and skirt but it was being a complete PITA so I just decided to use my twin needle.

The seams were misbehaving as I was trying to fold and press them for hemming, so I trimmed some fusible web and used it to fix the seams down in sections to stop it from flipping. It was much easier to use the twin needle to finish the hems because they weren't sliding all over the place and there wasn't any need for pins. Suweet!

After practicing with the twin needles on the sleeve hems I stitched down the neckline seam allowance I had left . Before I sewed, I pressed the neckline with heaps of steam. I didn't bother with fusible web this time because it was topstitch. When sewing, I tried to align one needle in the seam and the other over where the seam was. The neckline lies nice and flat now so top stitching with the twin needle was a winner.

I like the length of the skirt so I decided not to hem it (that and I just really wanted to wear it) I just popped some Fray Stoppa on the skirt side seams.

Kitschy Coo The Lady Skater - 3/4 sleeve

 I've had this fabric in my stash for nearly a year. I had intended on using it to make a stretch pencil skirt but I haven't gotten around to it . The fabric was lovely to handle and I would recommend it to anyone starting out in knits as it's a stable knit.
 I ran out of clear elastic while I was making this dress. I was going to resort to regular elastic, but I didn't think I be happy with that so I did end up ducking out and buying more.

~Changes I made this time~
• Attached the neckband in a different way.
• I twin needled the neckband down.
• I omitted the sleeve bands.

~What I Like~
• The shape of the dress is fantastic.
• The neckline doesn't gape!
• I think I'm in love with Ponte. I want to buy all of the Ponte. All of it!
• Twin needles are fantastic!

~What I Don't Like~
• The top of the sleeves don't fit so well
• There's a bit of excess fabric in the lower back. I'm thinking I need to do the old Full Butt Adjustment because the hem is a bit higher at the back - a usual.
• The waist seam is a bit weird

~Changes for Next Time~
• Grade from a 7 to an 8 in the bodice and sleeves
• Maybe do a swayback adjustment
• Use the overlocker to sew all seam, which might fix the weird waist seam

PatternKitschy Coo - The Lady Skater - 3/4 sleeve$5.00
Deluxe Ponte Double Knit  (Spotlight) $9.99/m * 2.5m
Notions Thread - in stash
Clear Elastic
Fusible web - in stash
Time 8 hours (* $16-ish Australian minimum wage) $128.00
Total ~$161.00
Even though it took me a while to make this dress it was worth it just for the lessons I learnt while making it.

~Final Comment~
I'm loving the Ponte fabric in this shape of dress. It will be great to wear in the cooler months with tights/stockings, a scarf and belt.  There are a few tweaks that I'll have to make when I make another. I may even tweak the sleeve heads on this dress...maybe. But, overall I'm really digging this dress. It get's two thumbs up from me.

Do you wear a lot of knits? Have you sewn with knits before? 
Leave a comment below, I'd love to hear from you :)

Until next time,

P.s. I've read a couple of posts about taking photos for sewing blogs namely this one and this one, so I'm going to try improving pictures for this blog. Holla if you have any suggestions.

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Friday, 16 May 2014

::Sewing::FO:: Spot the S2444 Dress

Hey there!

I attended a wedding mid April (What do you mean it's mid May!) and I made a dress, as I mentioned in my ambitions post. In true procrastinator style I didn't start making this dress until a couple of weeks before the wedding.

Of course on the day I forgot to take blog pictures of me in the dress but totally forgot so had to duck out into the garden the next day for a few quick pics.

This is another S2444, but instead of pleating the skirt (I just could not be bothered mucking around with it aaand I didn't have enough fabric anyway) I added a gathered skirt instead.

I've been wanting to make a dress with spots on a black background for some time. I don't know where the idea came from, maybe it's all the spotty goodness that happens on the sewing blogasphere.

The fabric is pretty great, it has a nice hand and I think the spots are a great way to break up the black. I think I could wear this dress to an event schmancy event. It's from the spots and stripes range from Spotlight. The lining fabric I used is some pure black cotton lawn also from spotlight. I bought 5 metres at $4.99 per metre but got a 20% discount by using a voucher (that they were handing out at the door :-O. So essentially I got a metre free. Woop woop!

After having made this dress before I made the bodice up just as I did before, lining and all. I was going to add sleeves, but I haven't fitted that pattern piece yet. I cut the sleeves out anyway in hope that they would fit (I totes knew they wouldn't, but I thought I'd try my luck). I cut them so they  ended at the shorten/lengthen line instead of at the 3/4 quarter line. I eased in one sleeve and basted up the bodice side and sleeve, but the sleeves where just slim for my biceps :( , but I liked the length :)  So that was a no go on the sleeves… this time.

Luckily though I was able to salvage the fabric but cutting out a pair of pocket pieces from the fabric. I was going to make the pocket linings out of the lining fabric, but when I went to sew them together I realised that the lining fabric would be too flimsy for pockets.

Putting the pockets in with a gathered skirt posed a challenge and I had to have a bit of a think before I did it. The skirt was made up of 3 skirt panels, 1 front and 2 back to allow for a centre zip. I sewed the pockets to the skirt side seams, leaving a 1 inch gap at the top. Then I sewed the skirt side seams and pocket together. Sewing the top 1 inch of the skirt side seams together meant that I could sew the 3 lines of gathering stitches along the top of all 3 skirt panels. Gathering the skirt was a pain in the arse and my gathers weren't perfect, but I just had to sigh and say "progress, not perfection" and keep going.

To finish off it was a matter of attaching the skirt to the bodice, inserting the zipper; hand stitching the bodice lining to the zipper and waist seam allowance; and hemming. The zipper puckered a bit, which probably could have been avoided if I had used some stabiliser. I would like to find some fusible web for puckering zips.

Once I finished my dress I wasn't sure about how I was going to accessorise. I was totally going to default to my usual black, but then I thought red might be a nice change. So, the day before I went out and bought red shoes, belt and bag.
I'm so glad that I went with red, they really pop against the black.

The front neckline on this dress gapes, I'm able to pinch about 2 inches out of the front neckline; but the back seems fine. The bodice lining makes it a bit of bitch to iron. I probably didn't need to line the bodice on this dress because it is a cotton and breathes ok. So next time I'll have to think about fibre content of the fashion fabric before I add a lining. The pockets being attached at the waistline make it hard to iron the skirt properly at the side seams, but I can live with that.

Simplicity 2444 - Bodice
Self drafted (kinda) gathered skirt

~Changes I made this time~
  • Lined bodice - like last dress
  • Pockets extended to waist seam - like last dress
  • Gathered skirt instead of pleated skirt
~What I Like~
  • Fabric
  • Gathered skirt
  • Pockets!!!
~What I Don't Like~
  • Neckline gapes a bit
  • Zipper wrinkled when it went in
~Changes for Next Time~
  • Pinch out about 2 inches from the neckline (1 inch on the pattern neckline and rotate it out to one of the bust darts) 
  • Try fitting the sleeves on this dress
PatternSimplicity 2444 - I've used it before - Free$0.00
Spotlight Spots and Stripes100% cotton 2.5 m @ 9.99/m
Black lawn 100% cotton 1.5 m @ about $4/m
Notions Thread had it on hand - Free $0.00
Time 8 hours (* $16-ish Australian minimum wage) $128.00
Total ~$159.00

~Final Comment~
I'm really happy with this dress. Even though gathering was a pain I really like the gathered skirt. I like how the red accessories I wore with this dress popped. This is a great dress that I can wear to any occasion. I've already worn it to a few other social gatherings and I'm really happy with it and want to make more. With a few tweaks this bodice would devinately be a great TNT (tried and true) pattern.

Do you  make things based on ideas you have first or do you make something based on the materials you have?
I'd really like to hear from you, leave a comment below :)

Until next time,

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