Sencha and Bust

I’m suffering from a lack of discipline in the sewing department at the moment.  I’m not starting a project and seeing it through before starting another one.  So as of this evening I have:

  • a mostly (apart from the hem, and a bit of stitching of the facing) finished Crescent skirt
  • a muslined but in need of some serious downsizing and flat pattern altering Beignet
  • and now a fully bust adjusted Sencha, in need of a muslin

See, can’t finish one project without starting another!

Well, casting a veil over my lack of focus, this evening my project was altering the flat pattern of the Sencha top by Colette patterns.  I’m probably looking in the wrong place but I couldn’t find very much in interweb land about doing a FBA on this pattern, but here’s the only one I found:

The Naked Seamstress’ post.

And what I did was different!  Because I’m like that.  And because I read the section in Fit for Real People about a billion times before doing this and trusted that their technique was the right thing to do!

Slashed, spread and pinned

So here’s my slashed, spread and pinned traced pattern piece (I get the heebie-jeebies just thinking about doing this to an original pattern!).  I traced a 16 going by my high bust measurement of 43″ (the 16 is for a 44″ bust).  My full bust measurement is 47.5″ so I need another 3.5″ of room in that department.

I followed the Y Full Bust Adjustment in Fit for Real People which is recommended where you need to add more than 1.5″ (I needed to add 1.75″).  I also followed the instructions for a dart less, cut on sleeve bodice:

First off was removing the sleeve.  There’s a tiny green mark where the bottom of the sleeve meets the bodice.  I also had to make a note which was the top of the sleeve, not in the instructions, but good to know later!

Slashed, spread and pinned - is this any clearer?

I also needed to work out where my apex was and draw a line from that to somewhere along the side seam.  I chose about an inch below where the sleeve joins the bodice – no particular reason, it just seemed right.  When I make the muslin I’ll find out whether that was the right thing to do (I may want a steeper angle to my dart, or need to move it so that it points to my apex properly).

Now that I had a dart line I could follow the instructions for the Y adjustment.

I drew and cut a line (1) from the hem up to the apex and then continued that line at an angle to the centre of the shoulder, stopping at the seam line. I spread this apart 7/8″ between the centre front and the apex and pinned it into place.

I drew and cut a second line from the apex to halfway(ish) down where the sleeve was (1a).  This was all the way to that edge but leaving a tiny bit of paper for a pivot point. I spread this apart 7/8″ from it’s starting point and then pinned so it couldn’t move either.  I’ve now got 1.75″ extra room at the bust.

I cut from the side seam almost to the apex along the dart line I drew earlier, again leaving a tiny bit of paper to pivot (2). I then moved the side that’s closest to the side seam so that each side of line (1) was parallel.  More pins.

I drew a final line parallel to the waist line, above the tuck marks, from centre to the gap created by (1).  I then moved this part down so that the cut edges remained parallel and the bottom hem was smooth.

Next I filled all the gaps in with paper, trued the lines and created the dart ‘wings’.

Altered Sencha pattern view 1

I also taped the sleeve back on, truing as necessary.  I hope the photo above shows you what has been added!  So I’ve got another 1.75″ each side at the bust (3.5″ total), plus another 3.5″ total at the waist.  This will fit, but with only 1″ ease at the waist, so I may add a little at the side seams, pivoting out from the armpit.  But I’ll muslin it first with generous side seams and go from there…

Apologies for the lighting - inside and at night does not make for bright photos!

The other thing to consider is the neck line.  A lot of people have commented that it’s very high and can feel choking.  I’ll leave it as is for the muslin and if I’m not a fan I can then mark out where I want it to be with tape and transfer that back to the pattern front and facings.

Assuming I don’t get distracted again?!  I really should make a list of projects and fabric and put it somewhere I’ll keep seeing it – my sewing room door maybe…

Hurrah! And Botheration.

Well, it’s lots more HURRAH and only a little bit of botheration really.  With lots of exclamation marks and smiley faces and happy little jigs.

Ah, yes.  It’d help if I told you what this was all about!

I had traced my beignet pattern and graded it as per my measurements from a couple of weeks ago.  Well tonight I finally got round to making up a muslin of the skirt and dang me if it isn’t too big!  And too big pretty much everywhere too! See – told you it was all about HURRAHs!

So I re-did my measurements and safe to say they are definitely smaller than what they were.  Even after eating dinner.  So I now need to do another muslin (hence the botheration) on a straight tracing of the pattern – no alterations should be required…  So I now need to un-alter my traced pattern, pull apart my muslin, re-cut it and re-sew it.

You never know, I might actually then be able to cut my skirt out of the fashion fabric!

Colette’s New Patterns!

Ooh, have a look at these beauties!

Colette's New Pattern - Jasmine
Notched sleeved Jasmine and Cigarette Pants Clover

This shirt is called Jasmine and has gathered or notched sleeves with such a cute tie detail around the neck.  To my eye a sort-of peter pan with a twist collar.  Either way I love this…  Would navy with a white collar be a bit too much, or classic?  I’m loving the turquoise on white print of the first view.

Clover is a trouser (OK, pants for my trans-atlantic friends) pattern.  Cigarette pants to be precise. Cigarette pants however do me no favours, but if they look amazing on you then get yourself the pattern!

Colette's New Peony Dress
Peony with short sleeves

And this is the Peony dress.  It’s the boat neck, or slash neck that I’m loving the most.  And the 3/4 length sleeves.  Perfect for showing off bracelets and bangles, and not getting dragged on grubby desks!  I’m thinking about grey with the waist band in teal (it’s removable dontcha know!).  I love the black and white with neon tights ensemble though too.  Although I would never get away with this where I work.  Sigh.

They’re available to pre-order now, but I am trying to be good and not click on checkout just yet…  Hmm, more contenders for my birthday wish list maybe?

And as a random thought, I love the model’s hair in the shoots.  Whilst I have no fringe, anyone have any thoughts on how to recreate that look?

Oh. WOW!

Image from Casey's Blog

OK, the start of my week was pretty Meh.  I’ve been back to the hospital to see the consultant about the Prolactinoma and it’s as rubbish as ever and the drugs are here to stay for a considerable while longer.  Then at lunch time I had two visits from companies we’re in dispute with regarding damage to our kitchen floor (that was laid in June) which was caused when our washing machine (that was less than 4 months old) broke and was subsequntly repaired.  To put it mildy I felt pretty down in the dumps yesterday, verging on sorry for myself and pretty close to tearful.

And then I got an email.  From Casey.  Yep, THAT Casey.  Of Casey’s Elegant Musings.  Just to say that I’d won the Dritz Bound Buttonhole tool from the giveaway she held on her blog.

This was a beautiful ray of sunshine in a very very grey day.

And today, in my feeder, this has popped up from Colette!  I love Colette patterns anyway (must start to sew some of the ones lurking in my stash…) and this is due out in November, so it’s on the birthday list…  You can pre-order from Amazon (US and UK), but I’m resisting at the moment as I’m really hoping that with some very unsubtle hinting I’ll be presented with a copy of my very own…

I’m still toying with the idea of the Rooibos Sew Along, but it will have to be a catch up rather than keeping pace.  I STILL haven’t started my Lonsdale!

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!

Ginger Catch Up

Rutland Water on a Very Windy Day

We had a pretty good break in Rutland with cycling and exploring.  Plus a few mishaps!  I lost a contact lens so my sight wasn’t great as I’d forgotten to pack my glasses, even though I’d put them out and it was a tad windy.  OK, very windy and there were concerns about the awning blowing away or getting ripped.  It was so windy that it ripped the door of the Land Rover out of my husband’s hand so that now needs repairing and means it doesn’t shut easily.  Plus some family drama that kicked off at about 8pm last night, and is still rumbling…  But it was good to get away, honest!

Now that we’re home, apart from unpacking and the usual washing and sorting that goes on, I’ve been playing catch up with all of Sunni’s Ginger sewalong posts.  I thought there’d be three or four as I’d only miss two days of the sewalong.  How wrong am I?!  Sunni has been providing so much information it’s un-real.  So catch-up has been a bit of an undertaking.  And I’m not fully caught up yet.

So, following Sunni’s posts, here’s what’s on the to-do list:

Picking the size of the Ginger that I’m going to sew.  This isn’t as straight forward as I’d like it to be.  My hip measurement falls within the size chart.  My waist measurement definitely doesn’t, in part because I’m overweight (although working  on it) and in part because my stomach will never be the same post baby.  Sounds like an excuse, but also a fact of life.  In full disclosure, my waist (which is somewhere between my ribs and hips, but pretty indeterminable) is 46″ and my hips are a whole 1″ bigger at 47″.  From the back of the pattern you can see that my hips are an 18 which is 48″ and my waist aint even on the chart.  The 18 waist is 38″.  One day it will be though.

So once I’d had a mope and felt sorry for myself then hacked off about it, I traced the pattern so that I can keep the original intact.  I then slashed and spread all the pieces as I’m going to need to add 2 1/2″ to each of the 4 skirt panels to equal 10″.  I did the same to the waist band pieces.  This makes the waist OK, but has blown the hip by the same amount.  So I’ll need to cut the waist at the size 18 lines and grade to the hip of a size 6 on my new slashed pieces.

This is probably making absolutely no sense at the  moment!

Then there is the whole what length to make the skirt issue.  I want it to hit mid-knee, so I might have to shorten it.  I think about 21″ will be about right which is the size 0 cutting line…  Anyway, my height isn’t going to change, but when the rest of me does I can just dismantle the skirt and re-cut the pieces to make it fit.  See, I have a plan…

Sunni then did a really helpful post about the colour of the zip and thread and how important that choice is.  I had to go for a lighter coloured invisible zip as the next shade was brown.  Having looked at her examples though I’m really not sure and think I may be getting another zip that’s a better match…  Or at least darker!

So, now I’ve actually cut the traced and altered pattern out it’s time to make up a muslin to see if these changes actually work out!  That’s my plan for tomorrow evening as it’s getting late already.

Sunni’s done a post on cutting bias stripes (something for later down the line I think, I can’t find a stripe I like at the moment…)  Then it’ll be on to cutting out my fabric for the real deal skirt!

Tomorrow, according to the time-table, it’s invisible zipper time!  I’ll be able to practice on my muslin which is good.  Using the zip that’s the wrong colour!  Thursday is Gertie’s guest post (I am so so excited to read that one!) and finishing the waist band then Friday is hemming and final finishing!  We have a bank holiday here next weekend too so if (who am I kidding?!) I’m still playing catch up I should be all done by the end of the weekend!

Day 4 of Ginger – Fabric Picks

Sunni has shared her fabric picks for version 2, which will be a mint coloured 4-ply silk and version 3, which will be a striped cotton/poly fabric which she also intends to line.  Casey has also done an amazing inspiration post for styling the skirt.  A lot of food for thought there and some ideas!

So, as it’s fabric day I thought I’d share my choices with you.  I’ll only sew version A as I’m not too keen on the waist band detail of version 2 and version 3 is cut on the bias which neither of these fabrics lend themselves too due to a lack of stripe!

This is the fabric I intend to use for the sewalong skirt.

My Fabric Choice

It’s a dusky rose with white polka dots and is 100% cotton.  I’ve prewashed this already at 40′ along with the lining.  Sunni recommends going darker for the zip, however the next shade after this wasn’t a shade or two darker it was way way way darker, so I’ll risk it with this one and have to be really careful inserting the zip…

Blue Ginger Supplies

For my second version which will likely be made after the sewalong rather than trying to do two at the same time is a plain navy poplin.  The outside of the skirt is the lighter of the two blues, and I intend to line this one too.  Casey’s post may come in handy in lifting this from being a plain, blue skirt.  Piping at the waist is already a consideration and I quite like the idea of a bit of lace at the hem…  This rather plain choice is a deliberate decision, if not particularly exciting, as I want it to go with the fabric choice I’ve made for the Violet blouse.

Violet's Bits and Bobs

It’s Liberty Tana Lawn!!!  I’ve prewashed this already and it washed beautifully.  I may have to line this as it’s a little bit sheer which I’m definitely doing for the Pendrell blouse, which is also a lawn, but not Liberty…

Pendrell Fabric

This hasn’t been prewashed yet.  It’s so pretty and I think it’ll look lovely with Sewalong Ginger.  My experience with the Liberty lawn is that the background came up brighter after washing, which this may do, but to be honest bright white isn’t great on me and I like the natural colour to the back ground.  I plan to line it with a bright white to help the colours in the water-colour print really sing.  I intend to do version B with this as the fabric is very feminine.

So there we go, a post full of fabric choices – very fitting for day 4!

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.