25 March 2011

Spring is here!

Thank you for all the advice about cutting. It was really helpful with my most recent project.

I used a combination of all suggestions to see what worked best for me: a bit of rotary cutting, a bit of tracing, using a table (not the floor), and pin-pin-pin. And ta-da!!! Neat and accurate cutting!
on the "very unsuitable for any craft work" dining table
And here's the end result:
The "Spring is here" top
I am so pleased with how this turned out. I used Simplicity 2593 and the lovely Liberty Claire-Aude. The fabric was a dream to work with and is so comfortable to wear.

The pattern itself is very easy and straightforward. I used french seams throughout and the only adjustment I made was to lengthen by 1", but next time I might add another 0.5". It was my first time sewing binding on garments (I've done it for quilts before), and I think it turned out pretty well. It's a bit wonky in some places, but the print is so busy, it's hardly noticeable. I should probably sew closer to the edge next time.

I wore my new top to work yesterday. It was such a great feeling to wear something beautiful that I made myself. Even though it isn't perfect, I think I love it more than anything else in my wardrobe!

And while I'm on the Liberty-love, I treated myself to a little notebook for all my sewing notes. The plan was to pick up an plain black, spiral-bound notebook. But really, how could anyone resist this?
Speaking of new purchases, I also treated myself to some new fabric from Croft Mill.
This white cotton lawn with dobby dots is lovely and soft, but a bit sheer. I think I'll make another version of the Simplicity 2593 for summer (I'm hoping for a hot hot summer this year!).
Another cotton lawn. I'm saving this for the Pendrell blouse. I've seen so many wonderful versions of Tasia's pattern, that I simply must make one for myself!
And yes, another cotton lawn! This has a slightly satin finish and is sort of bluey-black with a grey-light blue and cream pattern, and it's what I will use for my next project.
I'm going to try View 1. I think I'll adjust the neckline - it's a tiny bit too high for my liking - and I think I'll need to do some fitting work for my not-especially-generous bust measurement.

Has anyone else tried this pattern, and if so, do you have any tips/advice?

No sewing for me this weekend - I'm off to Cambridge to visit with my lovely in-laws.

Have a lovely weekend & speak soon!

11 March 2011

First dress finished! and problem with cutting (help!)

I've finished my first dress! Behold, the Crepe:
I love this sweetheart neckline
This was my first experience using a Colette Pattern and it certainly won't be my last. Lovely pattern, amazingly detailed instructions and that great little booklet keeping it all together - what's not to love! I also followed Gertie's sew-along posts, which really helped (isn't she amazing?). I will definitely make this again in a different fabric.

Although the end result is a dress that I'm unlikely to ever wear, I have learned so much from the whole process so I'm actually quite pleased to have gone through with it. In no order of importance, I've learned:
  • To check what stitch the machine is set to before sewing. It was set to zig-zag, I popped in a quilting foot for 1/4" seam allowance and hit the pedal. Of course I smashed up the needle very dramatically, the machine made a very grumpy sound and I felt very very silly (but also v lucky - I remembered Tilly's accident with the broken needle). I'll be much more careful next time.
  • Flip flops are not suitable footwear for sewing machine driving.
  • French seams - who knew they were so easy? I love love love them.
  • I am no good at cutting (see further below).
  • In future, I must read the instructions, look at pattern pieces, check the instructions again. I think I over-estimate my ability to follow instructions, which is not good for a beginner. At some stages, I spent quite a lot of time with the old seam ripper, undoing very silly mistakes.
  • Adding length to the bodice means adding length to the back facing. It didn't even occur to me that I should do this until the dress was finished! Also, next time I must remember to make a similar adjustment to the placing of the ties - I didn't adjust them, and so they now sit 1.5" too high.
  • Pick a nice fabric.
  • Wash-off fabric markers do not always wash off.
hurrah for french seams!

The problem
As I mentioned, I had some problem with cutting the pattern pieces. I traced the pieces (using Swedish tracing paper) and pinned those pieces to the fabric. So far, so good. But when it came to actually cutting out the pieces, it went a bit wrong. No matter how hard I tried, I just couldn't cut accurately. I have a silly dining table, totally unsuited to any craft work, so laid everything out on the floor and I used pretty decent tailors' shears. But still I ended up with inaccurately cut pieces, which made it difficult when putting together the garment. help please! Am I doing something wrong? Would I be better off using a rotary cutter instead of shears/scissors? Should I trace the pieces onto the fabric directly using carbon paper? Or is it just a case of practice makes perfect?

Any advice is most gratefully received.

So, what's next on the sewing list?  A couple of tops, perhaps. Methinks I'll start with this:
Using this lovely Liberty:

I fished it out of the Liberty clearance bin in the January sale, and there's only 1 metre's worth, so it will be the version without sleeves or collar. I might even have to use a contrast binding if I can't squeeze all the pieces on!

hurrah for spring!


Have a lovely weekend & speak soon!

6 March 2011

FOs and a U-UFO

I finally finished the project that has taken up most of my spare time over the past few months. I present the Birds Quilt:
The quilt is for my BFF, who got married in December. it took me much longer to sew than expected, and they only received it yesterday! It's my first full-size(ish) quilt and I'm v proud of it. I used a selection of Nest by Valori Wells, the backing is Kaffe Fassett dots in duck egg, and the binding is Klona cotton in blush pink:

I quilted in the ditch and forgot to pre-shrink the batting, hence the puckering in the seams. Here's a close-up:

Now I can really focus on my Crepe dress (the U(gly)UFO). I've almost completed the bodice, and am hoping to get the dress finished by Tuesday. When I make it up again, I'll chose much more attractive fabric. I love the simple white dress with blue sash on the Colette Patterns website, so I might try something like that, using white swiss dot perhaps.
not pretty
I'm highly adept at procrastination, and when I should have been focusing on the Crepe dress, I made myself a pin cushion and a needlecase. Well I need somewhere to put my pins and needles, after all!

I used Kelly's tutorial for this

speak soon!