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.

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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 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!


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!