Friday, 30 August 2013

Butterick 4273 - twice more for good measure

Thank you all for the lovely comments on the plaid dress - once again I was being hyper critical of myself pointing out flaws that probably no one else would notice at all! I haven't actually worn it yet, mainly because I don't have a jacket to go with it and it's been too cold in my office to wear it alone. I think I'll wear it a few times to see how wrinkly it gets to judge whether it's worth salvaging by dyeing a solid colour and taking it in a fraction, but I do like the idea of wearing a scarf with it to hide the mish mash of plaid at the neckline.

And I'm so glad you all liked the background fabric too - trust me you'll be seeing a lot of it in future, but it's a nice change from boring beige lounge which is usually in the background!

During my recent clean up of my sewing room when I was deep in procrastination mode I discovered dresses for Anna that I had cut out ages ago in a rare fit of efficiency, but had only sewn the pink and purple paisley version just recently and I forgot about the other two because I was busy with other sewing projects. But you can't leave kid's clothes sitting around in the UFO pile for too long because they grow so fast there's a real danger they'll become too small before you even finish them.

I'm currently taking part in a stash busting contest being run by the ASG, which ends this Sunday so now was the perfect time to finish them up. Plus it took a little more than an hour for each dress so no excuse not to finish them really! These two are the sister dresses to the paisley dress I made for Anna recently from Butterick 4273, an OOP basic A-line jumper style dress.

One of the dresses is made from a wide wale corduroy in a dark purple/aubergine colour that's been in the stash for a long time because it was quite a small piece. So this was the perfect use for it because there were only the tiniest scraps left after making this simple dress:

butterick-4273-purple-corduroy dress
 
Anna has been watching me take blog photos too often I think, because she's got that hands on the hips pose down pat: 
butterick-4273-purple-corduroy dress
 

butterick-4273-purple-corduroy dress

I added little decorative taps at the empire line made from a purple polka dot cotton, which is actually from another dress for Anna that I'm about 90% finished and some natural timber buttons from the stash. The mix of colours and textures makes me really happy, I think it's a pretty look:

butterick-4273-purple-corduroy dress

The other version is made from a denim that has been in the stash a long time too - I remember buying it from Home Yardage in York St in the city where Lincraft now is - personally I prefer the old Home Yardage store, it's fabric were far more interesting. Actually I made a dress for Anna from this same fabric when she was only 10 months old, and a skirt for myself not long after I had Anna and there's still a little bit of the fabric left over still.

For this one I added some pink ric rac and buttons down the centre front, and was a bit lazy by using bias binding for the neckline instead of making facings.

butterick-4273-denim-dress

butterick-4273-denim-dress

Please excuse the colour difference in that second photo - it was a cloudy day when I took that photo.

I've actually done of a lot of sewing this week but haven't had a chance to photograph or blog them. I've made a shirt and a scarf for myself, and have partly made a new shirt for Toby that I'm hoping to get done by Sunday so that I can count it in my stashbusting projects. I'm going for number of completed garments rather than most fabric used since kids clothes don't use all that much fabric and nor do my clothes either. I've surprised myself how many garments I've actually made since the beginning of this year - some months it feels like sometimes I just get my Burda project done and that's it.

Friday, 23 August 2013

Procrastination project: New Look 6144 plaid dress

I may appear to be quite efficient and productive, popping up here on a regular basis to show off my latest finished creation as well as looking after two small children, a rambunctious dog, a part time job and all that is involved in looking after a house. Plus a husband to bear with too. But the reality is if I didn't procrastinate so much I could achieve so much more, but sadly when I get the slightest bit bored or frustrated I actively start looking for distractions and I really need rock solid deadlines to get back on track. You should see how clean my desk is at work.....

And so it is with this latest dress I've made. I should be sewing my August Burda project since it's coming close to the end of August, I've traced the pattern pieces out and pre-treated the fabric, but the thought of pinning and cutting out the fabric, lining and interfacing and then going onto block fusing all those pieces is just too much. So instead I decided to make a quick dress instead. Except it didn't turn out all that quick, and I got frustrated with it and procrastinated further by cleaning up my sewing room!

Anyway it's finished now, mostly - after seeing how it looks in photos I realise a few things need fixing that weren't obvious from looking at it in the mirror.  So, the finished dress:

new-look-6144-plaid-dress

I made New Look 6144, view B without a belt, from some teal green plaid cotton that I've had in the stash for ages and have been wanting to use for a while. Unfortunately I should have waited a bit longer to use this fabric because this pattern and this fabric are not the ideal match. I was so careful to match up the plaid on the front and back shoulder seams, the outside sleeve seam (it's a two piece sleeve), the side seams and the back seam. I did a pretty good job too, here's the back:

new-look-6144-plaid-dress

and the sleeves:

new-look-6144-plaid-dress

new-look-6144-plaid-dress
 but look at the front:

new-look-6144-plaid-dress
I was so concentrating on getting the plaid to match at the shoulder seam that I totally didn't think about what would happen to the plaid with all those angled darts at the front. As you can see those darts totally mess up the yellow line across the front and makes it look quite messy. It was about this point that I got out the vacuum and started to clean......

But I forced myself to finish it (no new UFOs being my mantra these days) and decided just to treat this as a wearable muslin if it looked ok. And mostly it does, except that the lining is peeking out at the neckline - I'll need to press the neckline again and understitch. I also concentrated so much on getting the plaid at the centre back to match (which it does) that I didn't do the top of the neckline very well - one side sits higher than the other so I'll have to resew that.

I also think that overall it's a smidgen too big, which is why the lower darts at the centre front of the skirt are a bit puffy. I cut my usual 8 at the bust, 10 at the waist and 12 at the hips which has worked really well for the other New Look dresses I made recently, but this time not so well. Usually I overfit my dresses to have minimal ease, but on this one I only reduced the ease a little because the fabric is quite thin and I didn't want the fabric to tear or the plaid to become too distorted from stress or pulling at the seams.

This fabric also wrinkles really easily, the wrinkles you can see in the front near the hem are just from kneeling down to set up for this photo shoot, so I'd hate to see what it's like at the end of a long work day. (Oh and please excuse the rather wild and bouffy hair - I took these photos this morning which is a non work day so I didn't straighten my hair.)

new-look-6144-plaid-dress
new-look-6144-plaid-dress

It is a lovely pattern though, it just doesn't suit plaids and probably not stripes either. I should have used the other view with the pleat at the neckline instead, but you live and learn. I will make this dress again in a solid colour so I don't drive myself nuts with all that seam matching again!

And now I would like to say that I will be getting on to my August Burda project next, but I've promised Anna a new dress for a birthday party on Sunday morning so I have to deliver that first. Luckily I'll be spending tomorrow at my local ASG group so I may be able to get it finished in amongst all the chatting that goes on at those days!

Finally what do you all think of the new background? It's just some bright fabric from Ikea which I thought was more attractive than my beige lounge and antique chinese wooden screen you normally have to see in the background. But is it too distracting or overwhelming?

Wednesday, 14 August 2013

Groovy baby: Butterick 4273

Thanks everyone for your positive and encouraging comments on my entry into the Tessuti Awards. The finalists were announced and sadly I'm not one of them - the ones that were selected are really outstanding and look like they came off a catwalk. I know that my dress is sewn perfectly, but it was very bland compared to the others because I sew what I like to wear, which I guess is the difference between a home sewist and a fashion designer. And let's face it, I didn't exactly spend a long time planning it and working on it did I? But as Vicki pointed out I do have a great dress, winner or not. And Meredith I'll definitely have to organise an occasion to wear this dress, as fancy cocktail parties are not a regular occurrence in my social life these days!

I've been feeling a little burnt out after that frantic bout of sewing, although it was exhilarating at the time and it's good to know if there's ever a sewing emergency I could probably conquer it in a short time! But I needed something simple to recharge, and since Anna has been asking me for a new dress every time I bring something new out of my sewing room it was about time I made her something.  And now she's become even more clever at asking, picking out a pattern using my ipad and putting in specific requests for how she wants it to turn out. So I let her pick out some fabric from the stash and quickly whipped up a dress for her so I can get back to my own sewing.

butterick-4273-paisley-girls-dress

butterick-4273-paisley-girls-dress

She picked out Butterick 4273 (now OOP) which is just a simple a-line dress with embellishment options and this rather loud pink and purple paisley print cotton fabric that has been a long term stash resident, origin long since forgotten (and possibly a vintage fabric given that it's only 90cm wide and the print is very 70s):

butterick-4273-paisley-fabric

I did double and triple check with her that she understood that this wasn't a twirly dress pattern because I didn't want to hear any complaints about it being 'broken' later on, but she told me in a very serious voice that she would wear it on days she didn't feel like twirling. She's getting to be so grown up in her mannerisms now! But it didn't stop her having fun, twirling or not:

butterick-4273-paisley-fabric-darling-harbour-playground

Because the fabric print is so busy I didn't add any embellishments or pockets, and I literally made this in about 90 minutes including cutting out and finishing. So I have no excuses not to make a few more really.

butterick-4273-paisley-fabric

The fabric she picked out is quite a sturdy cotton, but is not really a winter fabric so it needed to be worn over a few layers, but it certainly brightens up a cold winter day don't you think?

Thursday, 8 August 2013

Last minute craziness: Tessuti awards dress entry

I didn't think it was going to be possible, but I managed to make a cocktail dress in 8 hours over two nights to enter in the Tessuti awards by the deadline, and it doesn't look too shabby either!

Tessuti-awards-2013-entry-dress

I hadn't planned on entering this year because I was lacking in inspiration and they usually get so many brilliant and creative entries from very talented people. But when I read their blog post last weekend pointing out that they had received only a few entries, I decided to make an entry after all. The only problem being that I was in Brisbane visiting the inlaws last weekend, and I didn't get a chance to buy the fabric for the dress until Monday at lunchtime (seriously, check out that receipt below). And I might have accidentally picked up two other pieces while I was there - I can never pass by the remnant table!


So on Monday and Tuesday nights, working from 8pm to midnight on both nights I managed to finish my dress, take some photos on Wednesday morning and upload them to the competition website in time for the lunchtime deadline. Unfortunately with such a rush to get it finished it meant that I had to take boring self photos in my loungeroom again instead of some fantastic location, so I think that like the last time I entered I haven't presented my creation in it's best light. Oh well, I'm still happy with it.

Of course by the time I uploaded my entry there were lots of other entries added too, including some really stunning and detailed entries. But I'm not in it to win it, in fact I'd rather get third prize - $500 worth of fabric from Tessuti sounds far more appealing than the first prize of a $2500 travel voucher at this point in time (travel with two small children is just not fun!).

The competition called for a knee length cocktail dress, using either a specific black or red fabric from their store. I was going to sew a simple fitted sheath dress with a deep cowl on the back neckline using Simplicity 9218, now OOP, which is exactly the type of dress I would wear to a fancy soiree. But this is a design competition afterall that will be judged on design and creativity as well as fit and technical skill, so I thought that I should try a little harder to make some different. But not so different that I wouldn't wear the end product though.

So in the end I decided I wanted something with a bit of volume using pleats and darts and tucks because the fabric has a bit of stiffness to it and I thought a dress with structure would work better than trying to get it to drape.  My dress is a combination of the bodice from a vintage 1975 Simplicity pattern that I've been wanting to sew for a while, the pleated skirt from Burda 8/09 #128 (not online unfortunately) which is one of my favourite dresses of all time and some self drafted cap sleeves.


The triangular waist panel looks a bit Wonderwoman-ish, but unfortunately my chestal region lacks Wonderwoman's impressive assets so the top is a little puffy and the keyhole opening at the front is not so va-va-voom.

Tessuti-awards-2013-entry-dress

At the back I used an invisible zip, and made a keyhole opening at the neckline - not only does this echo the front of the dress, but it also solves the problem of those rounded edges I always seem to get at the top of invisible zips:
 
Tessuti-awards-2013-entry-dress

I managed to get a very good fit at the back and I lined up the waistline panels at the sides and the centre back too. I also added a vent at the centre back to make walking in this dress possible, the original Burda pattern doesn't have one and it's so difficult to take proper walking length steps when wearing it!

Tessuti-awards-2013-entry-dress

Tessuti-awards-2013-entry-dress

I just love those waistline pleats. It seems counter intuitive that extra fabric at the waistline would be flattering, but somehow the angles of the pleats gives the skirt volume but not bulk, and they fall gracefully from the cinched in waistline so it is a flattering silhouette:

Tessuti-awards-2013-entry-dress

The sleeves turned out a bit more puffy than I wanted, I feel a bit like an American footballer with the exaggerated shoulder armour! I guess that's what happens when you self draft something and don't have time to muslin test them first....


Tessuti-awards-2013-entry-dress

If I had allowed myself enough time to make this properly I might have added some piping around the midriff band and possibly the neckline, but I think it has turned out alright for a spur of the moment, spontaneous project. I didn't prewash the fabric either, not having the time, so fingers crossed it doesn't shrink too much because it's already a very close fitting dress!

And now for a bit of a rest before I get back to my regular sewing. Although this demonstrates why I can never commit to SWAPs or capsule collections - something always comes up and I it seems I like sewing on a whim best!