Tuesday, 6 October 2015

Self Drafted Skandi Skirt

Hi there!

I'd like to share my first attempt at pattern drafting with you today.  I've seen a lot of box pleated midi skirts around lately and thought I'd have a go at drafting my own.  It was a lot of fun.

I started with this highly technical drawing:

The dimensions are taken from a 8 panelled RTW midi skirt I bought a couple of years ago.  I thought it was a pretty good place to start from.

Even though the "inspiration" skirt has a straight waistband I drafted a curved one based on my skirt block.  I find curved waistbands much more comfortable than straight ones.

Once that was done, I divided the measurement along the bottom seamline of the waistband by 8 to get the top width of my panels.  It was almost exactly the same as the measurement from the RTW skirt, so I used the same hem width for each panel as the RTW skirt has. 

I then decided how deep I wanted the pleats to be - 1 inch - and therefore added 2 inches to each side of my basic panel piece, curving the waist and hem with my pattern master.

I made it a bit more complicated than I needed to initially because for some reason I decided I needed to make it panelled, as the RTW skirt was, hiding the seams inside the pleats.  I was going to have 2 centre panels front and back, with pleats either side and between them, and then side panels without pleats at the side seam. 

The dashed line in the photo above shows where I marked the cutting line for the side panels.  I traced this off and ended up with the two pieces below.

However when it actually came to cutting out I came to my senses and realised I didn't need seamed panels, so I pinned the side piece over the seam allowance for the centre panel and cut one complete front and one complete back, marking the top of the pleats with snips into the fabric.

When it came to sewing I stitched the tops of the pleats down 2 inches from the edge, and then pressed and stitched them in place.

Here's a photo of one piece before I sewed them together and added the waistband.

The construction was pretty straightforward.  I cut two front and two back waistbands and interfaced one of each.  Then there was just two side seams to sew, a lapped zip to insert and the hem.  The seam allowances are all finished with the overlocker.

This is a pretty different style for me, both in terms of shape and fabric, but I think I like it.  The fabric by the way is from Ikea, I think it was £4.00 a metre.  I easily got this out of 2 metres, even allowing for pattern matching.

I envisage wearing it like this most often, with a black top and opaque tights, but also like it with the denim shirt I've styled it with below.  I think that needs sheer tights though, the black look a bit heavy.  I'd also like it with a black blouse - I think I'll feel most comfortable pairing it with black - or a cropped top that sits just over the waistband.

So that's my first attempt at pattern drafting.  It was a pretty straightforward style for a first go, but I'm really pleased with how it turned out.  Now to make some tops to go with it!

Tuesday, 29 September 2015

This week...

I'm a bit behind on my "This Week" post, I normally do them on Fridays, but better late than never, eh?

So, what have I been up to since the last time I chatted to you?

There doesn't appear to have been much actual sewing taking place.  I'm in that weird mood where there is lots I want to sew, but I'm having trouble matching patterns with fabric and vice versa.  I keep pairing things up and then wondering if I'm making the right choice, or if I'll regret my choices once I've started cutting out.  I'll show you a few other bits first, and then I might talk through my ideas.  You can chip in if you feel like it.

I did another fused glass workshop last Friday.  It was great fun again, probably better this time as I had a much better idea of what to expect.  I managed to cut myself several times though, although luckily only tiny cuts.  That glass is sharp!  I made another picture panel, here it is in progress.  I just need to wait for it to be fired now and mounted onto canvas.

I went to the Handmade Fair the weekend before last, and it was fab.  I could have spent a fortune, but I was actually very restrained and only bought the new Joan dress pattern from Sew Over It

I've loved this dress since I saw a sample in Sew Over It in Clapham about three years ago, but until the Handmade Fair (when the pattern was released) it's only been available as a class.

I love both versions shown in the link above, and funnily enough I have both red crepe and a grey stretch suiting fabric in my stash.   I thought about using the red for a Christmas version, but then am also liking the idea of red for my next pattern pick, which is the Named Patterns Lexi dress and top

I'm not sure about the top on me, although it might be worth a go, but I love the look of the dress.  That's all printed, taped together and cut out waiting for me to decide which fabric I'm going to use for it.  Currently my fabric choices for this are either the red crepe I mentioned above, some cream/black houndstooth check suiting or I think there is enough of the fabric left from my Sew Over It Anderson blouse for a dress. The red crepe is probably a better weight - the houndstooth might be a bit too stiff and the satin a bit light - and I think the Lexi would look good in a plain fabric to show off the dart/pleat.

My sewing plans also include a box pleated skirt, there seem to be lots about at the moment, and I'm wondering if I can do something similar to the double pleats on this dress. 

I do actually know what fabric I'll be using for the skirt, this polyester crepe I bought on Ebay recently.  I absolutely love the colours and the print.  I think it will look amazing paired with a black top.

I might actually use the satin left over from my Anderson blouse for a (hopefully) wearable muslin of this skirt. 

I'm also in the process of muslining a trouser pattern, which I'm putting off because although I really need to find a trouser pattern that fits me well I dislike the fitting process with trousers.  There always seems to be far too many places they need altering and I can never work out exactly where!

So, those are my musings for this week.  If you've any suggestions regarding pairing fabric with pattern I'd love to hear them. 

Wednesday, 16 September 2015

Made by Me: Sew Over It Anderson Blouse

I'm working from home today so I thought I'd spend my lunch break telling you about my latest project, my Sew Over It Anderson blouse.

As soon as I saw this pattern had been released I knew I had to have it.  It's the kind of blouse I love, no collar, no fastenings, just stylish.  I've always disliked blouses or shirts with collars - ever since school - I find the collars rarely sit well on me, and often button front blouses or shirts gape between the buttons, or if they fit well across the bust are too big in the shoulders and waist.  I suppose all of these issues could be solved by sewing my own, and maybe one day I will, but for now I've gone the Anderson route.

Pattern Description:

Based on the iconic silk blouses worn by Gillian Anderson in hit series The Fall, the Anderson Blouse is a gorgeous, glamorous classic. The delicious wrap front is sexy and sophisticated, and its stunning drape gives the blouse an effortlessly feminine feel - though it definitely still means business!

Pattern Sizing:

UK sizes 8 - 20 (33 - 45 inch bust).  I made a size 10.

Did it look like the photo/drawing on the pattern envelope once you were done sewing with it?


Were the instructions easy to follow?
Yes, I found the instructions very clear and easy to follow.  It was my first Sew Over It pattern, and based on this experience I'd happily use other patterns.

What did you particularly like or dislike about the pattern?

I liked the clear instructions and the photographs.  I love the design of the blouse, although thought it might be a little oversized for me.  I would normally be a UK size 12, but this had a finished bust measurement of 42 inches, which gave a bit more ease than I wanted.  I made a size 10 instead and am completely happy with the amount of ease.

Fabric Used:

Polyester satin with a twill weave, bought very cheaply from a market in Spain.  This version is actually a muslin, but is very wearable (as I'd hoped it would be).

Pattern alterations or any design changes you made:
No changes made.  The only thing I did differently was to omit the drawstring from the hem, as I would never wear the blouse loose.  I thought the drawstring might add (unneeded) bulk when the blouse was tucked into trousers.  
I'm going to add a small clear press-stud to the front overlap.  Lisa suggests a few stitches if you're worrying about it staying put, but I think I'd prefer a popper.
When I make it again I'll narrow the shoulders slightly, as they are a little too wide.  This is a common alteration for me as I have quite narrow shoulders in comparison to my bust.  The shoulders on this version are fine though.

Would you sew it again? Would you recommend it to others?

Definitely and yes.  This style wouldn't suit everyone, but then I don't think there is any style that would suit absolutely everyone, but its a smart alternative to a jersey top for people that don't like traditional buttoned blouses.


I'm very happy with how this turned out.  It's definitely the kind of top I need in my wardrobe so I can see there being a couple more joining this one.  I'm wondering if it would work in jersey, with a wide band at the hem for a more casual look to be worn over trousers rather than tucked in.

Friday, 11 September 2015

This week...

Well, I don't know what happened there.  After getting right back into the blogging scheme of things for a couple of weeks it suddenly all went to pot again. 

I've been procrastinating again.  If only I spent as much time actually sewing as I do thinking about sewing and piddling about on t'internet many, many more projects would be completed.

I didn't even show you my final week or so of Sew Photo Hop, so I'll start with that.  This covers the last 10 days.

Day 22: Last thing I made: my black and white Marthe top.
Day 23: Favourite sewing technique: Hong Kong seams, without a doubt.
Day 24: Worst part of sewing: tidying/vacuuming up the mess afterwards.
Day 25: Behind the seams: the insides of the first coat I made a couple of years ago.
Day 26: Labour of love: my sisters wedding dress... with 4000 tiny pearls sewn on by me!
Day 27: It's been a while: since I picked up my knitting... I still haven't!
Day 28: Trims and haberdashery: pretty trims from Sew Over It.
Day 29: Eye level: my inspiration shelf just above my sewing table contains postcards from Valentino and Alexander McQueen exhibitions.
Day 30: Favourite era: I don't suit vintage fashion, but I love a good 1930's evening dress.
Day 31: Last thing I bought: Style Arc Zoe pencil skirt pdf.

So what else have I been up to?  As I said, procrastinating largely (some would call it wasting time - they'd probably be right!).

I've fallen in love with a coat I want to make for this winter.  It's this:

Of course - you know me - it's not a coat you can buy a pattern for.  It's a Vivienne Westwood Anglomania coat.  I'm going to start experimenting with patterns soon.  I will not be doing the asymmetric shoulders though - both would be the plain one on the left.  I have a plain double breasted coat pattern that I think I might be able to hack... watch this space!

Hmm, what else?

It was my birthday at the beginning of the month and earlier this week I treated myself to a couple of new books with some of my birthday money.  Another Alexander McQueen one, Genius of a Generation.

What can I say, I'm obsessed.  This one is lovely, almost all photographs.  Some of the designs are so beautiful they make me want to cry. 

The other one is the Mood Guide to Fabric and Fashion.  I didn't even know this existed until I saw it in Waterstones, but it looks really good.

I'll report further once I've had a chance to have a good read through.

I've got some sewing plans for the weekend. There's a Sew Over It Anderson blouse all ready cut out and waiting to be sewn up, and then I really need to sort out a decent trouser pattern to muslin.  I'm not really sure what style I want to go with though.  I like slim legged cigarette type trousers in the summer, but I'm thinking more of a wider leg for winter, maybe slimmer at the hip and thigh and then flared a bit?  Any recommendations gratefully received.  I'm wondering if the Sewaholic Thurlow's are what I'm after?

Do you have any sewing or other crafty plans for the weekend?