SewAlong Ruby Slip

I have to thank SuzySewing for alerting me to this sew along – particularly as I’m in need of night wear!

PatternScissorsCloth is running the sew along and the free pattern and instructions are up, as is the first post on materials.  Maybe I’ll get myself sorted and get this done as well as my long anticipated Cinnamon.  Oh, and my Sencha of course!  I have pre washed and pressed the fabric for MkI though, so I haven’t been totally slacking?

I have to admit though that the last few days have been taken up with Christmas preparations.  The house is decorated and covered in lights, we finished the gift buying today all except some B&Q vouchers and a DVD (I must go onto Amazon and order that…) and we’re also in the process of switching our broadband and phone provider, to go live in the new year…

So, once again I have plans and good intentions.  But first I must finish the wrapping I’ve started and make one last final present and then maybe I can sew for myself…  Roll on time off over Christmas!

Beignet Plotting – Facing Fabric Found!

Do you remember the fabric and buttons I showed you earlier?  The one’s that I plan to use for my Beignet.  I was pondering what fabric to use for the facings, as I thought my moleskin would be too thick.

Fabric for the facings

Well look at this!  I found it whilst mooching on Etsy, having been distracted from lingerie patterns.  Oh, and I was looking at lingerie patterns because of A Few Threads Loose’s proposed lingerie sewalong.

Isn’t it amazing?  I count three of my palette colours in there too – the gold, teal and chocolate brown.  I think it will look fabulous against the navy moleskin and navy lining fabric.  A real blam of colour that will only be hinted at, but I’ll know.  A zing of summer in an autumn and winter skirt.  Besides, I’m not brave enough to use a print this mad as a fashion fabric, but it’ll be a fun detail.  What do you reckon?

This evening I hope to start the hem on my circle skirt.  I say start as it’ll be a multi stage event:  attaching the horse hair braid then the actual hemming its self.  Which will have to be done by hand as I don’t want it to go through to the plaid.  I don’t want to work out the circumference of the skirt at the hem.  I’m pretty sure it’ll be about 4 metres / 4.5 yards.  Of hand catch stitching.

So I’ll probably break it up and do the horse hair braid tonight, then allow myself the distraction of sewing some of my Pendrell (which was planned for yesterday but didn’t happen), then do the hand stitching on Friday evening.  At least that way if it takes me hours I don’t have to get up for work the next day!

Oh, and I have begun scheming for a giveaway at the end of November when I’m (gulp) 30.  I hope you’ll love it…

Matching Plaid

OK, for a long while I thought you said plaid so that it rhymed with fade.  Apparently it rhymes with fad!

Yesterday evening I cut out my circle skirt and I thought I’d share how I (hope I’ve) matched the plaid design on the pattern.  And I unashamedly credit the Selfish Seamstress herself in educating me in this method…

First I used my paper pattern piece to cut through one thickness of the cloth.  I then matched this cut piece over the rest of my fabric, carefully pinning so that the lines ran seamlessly across the cut and uncut piece.

Mostly uninterrupted lines between the cut and uncut fabric

I hope the above photo helps.  They say a picture is worth a thousand words?!  I used a LOT of pins around the outer curve, the waist line and each straight edge!  I tried taking an over view photo showing the whole cut piece overlaid on the fabric but it just looked like a big bit of fabric with my magnetic pin cushion plonked in the middle of it!

Even more pins!!

The Selfish Seamstress does a much more thorough explanation of this, please go and have a look if this is something you want to do.  I also checked out the tutorial on Coletterie which focused on stripes.

One thing though, I have not unpinned my two skirt pieces!  They’re staying pinned together until it’s time to do the seams as I think my head will explode if I have to match it all up again, and the fabric is very fluid and shifts quite easily.  But thinking about it, I’ve got a right side and a wrong side together so I’m going to have to!!!!  Definitely a job for another evening.  I’m not sure either that I’ll get a chevron effect on the seams as they’re parallel to the selvedges – instead the pattern just wont be interrupted?  I can’t envisage it at the moment, so I guess time will tell!

I’m going to have to think about the seam finishes too as the fabric seems to fray quite easily.  I’d decided not to line the skirt, but due to the fluidity of it I’m wondering whether a lining might save it from being pulled out of shape when I sit in it.  Last thing I want is a saggy bit of circle skirt over the derrier!

Lonsdale and a Sew Along!

OK, I’m getting a little over excited over here!  The Lonsdale pattern is being shipped imminently and I can’t wait to get my paws on it!  It’s got to make it to me here in the UK from Canada, but it’ll soon be on its way – Hurrah!

And what’s even better is that there’s going to be a sewalong for the dress.  Starting the 1st of August by the sounds of it.  I haven’t actually participated in one of Tasia’s sewalongs but have read the posts for the Pendrell blouse and followed along with the crescent skirt sewalong.  Both have had all sorts of tips and tricks and techniques in them, so I’m looking forward to this as a learning experience as well as having a lovely dress by the end of it.

I'm planning view B

I’m planning on doing the maxi length, so according to the pattern envelope I’ll need 5 1/4 yards of 44″ fabric or 4 1/2 yards of 59″ fabric.

This is the one I think I’m going to go for:

Fabric for a Maxi Dress

It’s an ivory back ground with blue water colour style roses all over it.  Each rose is a little larger than a 5 pence piece, or about 6/8″ across, so a small-ish print.  It’s a poly-cotton so should be reasonably easy care.  It’s 44″ wide so I’ll need 4.8m of it but as I’ll need to grade the bodice pattern I’ll order 6m so I’ve got spare fabric should I need it.

Speaking of grading I’m working on grading the Pendrell blouse pattern up and will share my progress with you soon…  I’ve done the maths side of things, I now need to trace the pattern, slash and spread and then re-trace the sized pattern before making a muslin…  I’ll take photos as I go so you can see what I did.  Wish me luck!

Two Finished Objects

Well, I’ve finished two items of clothing now!  My Ginger skirt and the free Colette pattern Sorbeto.

Sorbetto & Ginger

So, Sorbeto first:

The Facts

Fabric: white cotton lawn printed with pink rosebuds found on eBay
Pattern: Colette Sorbeto (2011) with pleat inverted
Notions: Thread and self bias tape
Time to complete: 2hrs including making the bias tape
First worn: 5 June 2011
Wear Again: Yes
Total cost: £6.50

Things I like
It’s a really pretty top and it fits with no adjustment over my ridiculous chest.  It was also very simple to make and uses less fabric than Colette lists.

Things I’d change 
Not a lot really!  I’d sew the pleat down for 2″ rather than the 4″ I did on this version, and I’d also flip all the bias to the right side at the neck rather than the 1/2 width I did – I was finishing it late at night and I misread the instructions!  My fault entirely and not Colette’s instructions which, as ever, are very clear!

And now, Ginger:

The Facts

Fabric: dusky rose, white polka dot 100% cotton, with dusky rose lining
Pattern: Colette Ginger (2011) view A
Notions: 9″ invisible zipper, thread, fusible interfacing
Time to complete: I have no idea as it was done in bits and pieces all over the place!  No more than 4 hours though.
First worn: 11 June 2011
Wear Again: Jury’s out
Total cost: £20

the facing and lining of my Ginger

Things I like
I love the colour and print of the fabric, and that I mad the effort to line it.  I’m also really pleased with the zip insertion and the french seams on the lining.  Also the neatness of the facing and lining inside.

Things I’d change
In all honesty, nothing about the pattern.  Next time I’ll sew the lining to the waistband facing and hand stitch the lining to the zipper tape.  I also need to come up with a better way of hemming the lining, because this one is very rough and ready!

Ginger Progress

I made a revised muslin, adding only 5/8″ to each piece and that one worked a lot better! Thank goodness. So I’ve now made up my skirt, complete with lining and it just needs hemming.

I’m a little behind , as the show and tell party started yesterday, but it’ll be done by Sunday – I promise!

Hemming:   Sunni mentioned her little gadget for marking the hem, as well as an alternative method in her hemming sewalong post last week.  She linked to her original post about it and I had a little read. Then got a case of vintage-notion-want-it-isis.  So I had a mooch on eBay, both here in the UK and the US, but no joy. I wanted a pin marker, and not chalk. There were no pin markers in the UK and the ones in the US weren’t really what I was looking for. Plus there were loads of them so if necessary I could go back.

So I thought I’d put “Singer pin marker” into Google. Not a lot of joy so I trundled onto page two of the results and came across a link to an online retailer of collectables in the US who had one. So for $14.99 and $22.89 for the shipping or £23.63 total I will be the proud owner of a Singer Skirt Marker.

It’s going to come in the original box which has the instructions on the back and has the pin cushion. It’s described as having a worn box but the marker is in excellent, new like condition. Yay!

This one only goes up to 20”, unlike Sunni’s that goes to 28” but I figure I could always get another yard rule and use it with the base to mark a higher hem if I need to. And let’s be honest, my hems aren’t going to go above my knee which is (having just measured my lower leg) about 17” from the floor in ballet pumps. There is/was a mini-max version on Etsy but the pin cushion base looked well abused, and it was the same price, so I’ve gone for this one.  Only problem is that it will take a couple of weeks to get to me, so way too late to Ginger mk1.

So tonight I’ll use the rule-on-the-wall method Sunni posted. I hope to pin the hem before I go to see Spirit of the Dance at the Theatre Royal in Norwich!

Muslin is Actually Calico

This was something new I learnt today.  In the UK, the fabric that seems to be called muslin in the US is Calico over here.  Muslin here is more of a mesh like fabric, as anyone who makes jam or has seen baby muslins will know.  Something I should know considering there is at least 30 baby muslins in the house, it just never occurred to me that what I actually needed was calico.

So,tonight I made a muslin / test garment from my slashed and spread pattern.  If you remember I mentioned yesterday that my waist was 10″ bigger than that on the pattern size chart, so I’d added 10″ to the pattern by adding 2 1/2″ to each piece as there were four of them. 4 x 2.5 = 10.

Anyway I made the muslin…

Hmm, just a smidge too big...

As you can see (from a slightly out of focus and dark photo – I’m trying to photograph myself in a mirror, not easy!) it is WAY too big, so I’ve ripped it and will do another one tomorrow.  That one will be the straight 18 from the pattern with no adjustments, but big seam alowances in case I need to let it out.  I am so, so pleased I made a muslin of this.  I very nearly didn’t but the thought of having wrecked my beautiful polka dots for the sake of a couple of evenings work is not worth thinking about.  It’d have involved tears and quite possibly a temper tantrum.  Two big positives from this, other than realising my sizing is way off somewhere down the line, cutting the hem at size 0 gave me the length I want, and is one of only two things that went as planned on the muslin.

My First EVER Zip!

The other was the zip!  Hurrah!  First ever zip in the history of the world by me, it’s an  invisible one and it ain’t bad if I do say so myself!  I followed this tutorial from Colette as it was straight forward and I got it, Sunni’s method didn’t suit me, but it may suit you?  I also used my special invisible zipper foot which made the whole job a pleasure rather than the common source of frustration that it seems to be.  It’s invisible and the waistband seams line up beautifully.  I hope I can repeat this level of finish as I am really rather pleased with myself on this little achievement.

So the three very important sewing related things that I’ve learnt today are:

Muslin is Calico
Making up a muslin of a pattern is a VERY good idea
Zips aren’t half as bad as I thought they’d be

I’ve also bought a darker invisible zipper for the final skirt as Sunni’s examples yesterday made a very clear point, so I’ve taken her advice.  And her posts today about sewing on the bias and inserting a zip in a bias garment were really interesting and will come in handy should I decide to tackle version 3.

Day 2 and 3 of the Ginger Sewalong

First up…  My patterns are here!!!  They come in a really cute book format with a tab closure.  You open the tab and the first page is the pattern inventory showing miniature pattern pieces, and then a key showing what they are.  Turn the page and it’s Getting Started.  I love the quote “The best advice for sewing is to relax, take your time, and enjoy the process of creating something just for you.  Remember the old sewing adage: Measure twice cut once.”  There’s even a glossary at the back.

The cutting diagrams are really clear, which is great and there’s a tip box about matching strips for view 3 and some additional ideas which Sunni’s already touched on such as adding piping between the skirt and waistband, adding a trim to the hem of the skirt such as lace, adding an applique or patch pockets, or using a sheer fabric and adding a lining.  Next up are the actual assembly instructions and they read very well with clear diagrams.

There’s a web address to follow to learn how to insert invisible zippers and understitching as well as tips on turning under set measurements.  Then in a little pocket in the back of the booklet is your pattern and a little note to say that “a portion of all proceeds from this pattern go to animal welfare”.  Fab patterns and socially active too.  What’s not to love about this?

Seeing this has made me really excited to sew more Colette patterns.  Violet and Crepe arrived at the same time and the instructions are just as good and I have Cinnamon and Lady Grey on their way to me too.

But back to the actual sewalong!

Sunni and her guest authors posts have been really interesting.  On day two Tasia of Sewaholic did a post about fabric choice and Sunni, our sewalong hostess, posted about pattern size and the notions we’re going to need.  This included a bit about zipper foots.  And guess what – I’ve got the wrong type of zipper foot so I’ve paid the £13 necessary for the Janome Invisible Zipper foot.  I intend to make more than one version of this skirt and I’m sure there’ll be other items that have invisible zips so I don’t mind the investment.  We’re also going to be making a muslin to perfect the fit before we cut into our fabric so as I have a shopping trip planned tomorrow, this has been added to my list.

Today’s posts (day three) was a fashion history post, from Sarai who owns Colette patterns, about the A line skirt.  I love these sorts of posts and seeing the ancestry of designs and learning where they come from and the inspiration behind them as well as the changes and evolutions.  The Christian Dior 1955 skirt in the post is a far cry from Ginger, but you can see the heritage.

Sunni is already proving to be a really helpful hostess, responding to questions left in the comments of the different posts.  So as well as being fun this looks like it’s going to be a really informative sewalong as well – above and beyond the garment construction!


Day One: The Ginger Sewalong Starts!

So today is the first day of the Ginger sewalong.  Sunni’s post is here and she’s linked to her previous posts on this sewalong if you want to play catch up!

This is the timetable we’re planning to follow over the next couple of weeks:

Week One

  • May 16 – Opening post
  • May 17 – Tasia, the Sewaholic, gives us a dish on the best fabrics for an A-line skirt of this sort
  • May 18 – Sarai, from Colette Patterns (the Ginger’s pattern drafting company) gives us a look at the modern history of the A-line skirt
  • May 19 – Casey, from Elegant Musings, shares some of her authentic inspiration and style for A-line skirts
  • May 20 – pre-laundering tips

Week Two

  • May 23 – picking your size, pattern adjustments and muslin fitting
  • May 24 – cutting the final fabric, working with stripes & bias cut sewing tips
  • May 25 – inserting an invisible zipper
  • May 26 – a special couture technique from Gertie’s Blog for Better Sewing & finishing off the waistband area
  • May 27 – hemming and finishing

As you can see, Sunni has drafted in some of my favourite sewing bloggers to help out on this sewalong!  Tasia’s post is tomorrow about fabric (which I’ve already chosen, but maybe I could make two?!), the Sarai gives us a fashion history lesson.  Something I always find interesting but never really get round to researching on my own…  And I can’t wait for Casey’s styling post!

The pre-laundering tips on Friday will be interesting but I’ve already laundered my choice (a dusky rose cotton with small white polkadots) today as I had the time to pop it in the machine.  Then it’s the weekend so we can all play catch up, or I can go camping in Rutland!

Week Two sees me away for the first two days but back for the zipper, which will be really helpful as I’ve never put an invisible zipper in before – do I really need a dedicated foot?  Then the ultimate inspirational seamstress Gertie adds her post and we finish of the waistband then we hem and finish the skirt!  It must be a really straight forward pattern if we’re constructing it in a week?  My copy hasn’t arrived yet so I haven’t had a chance to check the instructions out.  Hopefully it’ll be here soon…  At least we aren’t sewing today otherwise I’d be a little bit miffed to be missing out and then having to play catch up.  Hopefully it’ll arrive very soon and I can make a head start.

Tweaks I’ve already planned for the dusky rose version is that it’ll be lined.  I’ve realised I’ve bought the wrong zip – it’s a regular zip rather than an invisible one, so I’ve got to go back to the fabric store anyway so I could get the fabric for another skirt.  Version two is likely to be in a deep royal blue to match the roses on some Liberty Tana Lawn that’s destined for the Violet pattern, and may have some piping around the waist band as it looks so cute on Sunni’s version.  I’ll probably line that one too.

Ginger Sew-a-Long by A Fashionable Stitch

Squeeeeeee!

I’m so excited!  I’m joining Sunni’s sewalong for the Colette pattern Ginger!  This is a gorgeous skirt and I really can’t wait to make a start on May 16.

I’ve ordered the pattern from Colette (and the Violet pattern) which will be on their way soon,  Sunni had even organised a 20% discount on the Ginger pattern which is extra brilliant.

I think I’ll be doing the pointy waist band as in this version here – there’s also a heart shaped one which is a bit too girly for me?

Ginger Skirt by Colette Patterns

The model is wearing the Violet shirt and whilst I love the peter pan collar, I’m not going a bomb on the gathered sleeves at the elbow.  I much prefer this short sleeve version…

Violet by Colette Patterns with short sleeves

I’m not sure what I’ll be making the skirt from yet.  The pattern details suggest “Medium weight fabrics such as poplin, twill, silk, dupioni, wool challis, gabardine, suiting, crepe.”  So, first off I need to find out some more about these fabrics!

I’d like to make this primarily for work so I don’t think I’ll be going too colourful?  It involves an invisible zipper so I may need to investigate an invisible zipper foot for my machine too.

I am really, really looking forward to this!