niedziela, 19 lutego 2017

A bouquet of grey roses



Dear Readers,
 

do you know this feeling when you've been making one thing for so long that you can't even look at it any more? ;-) I've been working on this dress on and off since December and few days ago I finally finished it. It's a good thing as it really has tired me out. But - off we go to the photos.




       I've used a modern pattern with a modern design, which could be easily modified for a vintage look; it's Butterick B5984. As I've suspected, quite a few changes were needed-the most important of which was to modify the princess seams of the front and side bodice panels to accommodate the bullet/cone shape bra. I didn't have to make the ususal FBA as the pattern had the A-B-C-D cup options, which was a nice change. The pattern was drafted to accommodate a modern, sphere-like, heavy bust shape and I had to change the seam curve below the bust from convex to a clearly pronounced concave one.




      I've lengthened the skirt, shaved off a little bit of the décolletage and altered the sleeves' length as well. As for the above-mentioned décolletage, I think it's the most beautiful element of the design. It's quite big and geometrical, but it doesn't expose the breasts at all and therefore does not look cheap, even with so much skin exposed. The extra emphasis on it  made with contrasting band is also wonderful, making a portrait-perfect frame for the face.






        The main fabric was bought by my Husband in...IKEA. It's a heavy, quilting weight cotton and it works wonderful with the circle cut of the skirt. The belt and the contrasting bands are made from  some heavy cotton twill. The bodice and sleeves are lined with ivory cotton batiste, having all of the seam allowances enclosed in a snow-white satin bias binding. 



I'd like to thank my Husband once again for these photos and his patience to take them.


        The skirt has its own separate lining, made from the one-and-only superior lining from Truro Fabrics; it's attached only at the waist and the zipper opening. The zipper is hidden behind a placket, prick-stitched to make it almost invisible. The circle skirt and the separate circle lining are both finished with a hand-stitched rolled hem, which took more than enough time. ;) There are satin lingerie guards to help hide the bra straps and a cream grosgrain waist-stay. I think I'll make a whole new post for you just to show you the insides and finishing techniques used making the dress. Meanwhile-


 a bow

 ...and a cat bonus

Thank you for reading!


piątek, 6 stycznia 2017

Trying not to jade the jade

   Hello, dear Readers!
The first post of 2017 is actually a past make. I had made this dress in October 2015, and since it was much too big for me now, as I've reduced, I decided to take it in. And as it's finally sunny here, me and my Husband could take some decent photos.


   This was my first "big" project: first time with silk, first time with evening clothes, first time with two fabrics treated as one, finally-first time with overcasting by hand all the seam allowances.


Big bow to my Husband for taking the photos and for helping (as always) with fitting and hemming!

    The pattern is Vogue 5456 from 1961 and the main fabric is a silk dupioni in a shade of jade green from Truro Fabrics.


It is fully backed with a medium-weight cotton canvas in dark green, for three reasons:
-to give the dress more body and make it "fall heavier"
-to reduce the crazy-wrinkling properties of dupioni (it crinkles from even looking at it)
-to have something to hand sew to without marking the outside fabric.





    As for the fit, I had to make regular alterations, such as FBA, but I had to go much further with back adjustments than I usually do; I have a short and narrow back and I ended up taking out 3,5(!) inches of back width and 2,5 of back lenght in this pattern.


    I lenghtened the dress by an inch.The dress fastens with my favourite lapped zipper, finished off with a tiny snap and the neck.


   The dress took about 100 hours to make, and most of the time was spent basting the seams and hand-overcasting the seam allowances. On the bright side, it was such a training that my hand sewing skills grew significantly.


 Some details

    



    I love sewing with stable silk fabrics and I love wearing silk; it keeps me warm when it's cold and cool when it's sizzling hot outside; ever since that dress was made I was lost in a silk fever.
Dupioni is a wonderful silk to start sewing with-it's stable, doesn't shift and takes the corrections gracefully.

Thank you for reading. Have a wonderful day! :-)


poniedziałek, 26 grudnia 2016

60(s) squares

     When I made the  Simplicity 1609 for a gift, I liked it enough to give it a try as a nice, breezy summer dress (yay for sewing warm weather garments in mid-December...). I had some fresh, luminous white cotton sateen in a period-perfect abstract/square print (I have no idea what decade it comes from, as it was given to me. It may actually be from the 1960s).

So without further ado...



     I made only minor adjustments:
-I shortened and rounded the bust dart to make it lay better, as well as re-drafted the pattern to give it a bit more room around the chest
- I made it longer, as over-the-knee lenght is terrible for my legs
-I interfaced the hem, which was done using a separate facing; this helped to accentuate the A-line shape.


     The dress closure is made with a lapped, hand stitched zip and a hook-and-eye.

 The biggest problem I and Husband-the-faithful-photographer had with blogging this dress was in fact the weather-we have such a grey, dull winter and it's always dark both in- and outside.



    I pinked the seams (the cotton is very firm and dense) and I didn't line it, as it's supposed to be a way out of my constant summer dilemma, "how not to expose too much skin but be able to stay cool in a sizzling city". I think this pattern was made for cheerful, light dresses; it's so simple and unfussy.

 
    I hope you're all getting some good rest during the holidays. Let it sew, let it sew, let is sew :-)


niedziela, 27 listopada 2016

A jump(er) into a deep end

Hello, dear Readers.

    I haven't really pampered you the last few weeks, have I... Unfortunately, I'm forced to let work consume a lot of my time, energy and good mood lately.
But! I've refitted my graduation green silk dress (I'll post about it soon) and I've been convinced by the freezing November temperature that it'd be a good idea to sew something warm to wear around the house or/and in my informal time.



    I had some soft, fluffy wool that I've bought few years ago. There was only 140cm (about 1,5 yards) of it, so the options for projects were limited. As those of you who follow me on Instagram already know, I decided to give Burda Vintage Mary jumper a try.


My Husband has the greatest patience for taking the blog photos.
    I had to squeeze the jumper into my piece of wool, so I shortened the sleeves, got creative about the facings (I've pieced them) and omitted the belt (I already had one in almost the same color as the one of my fabric). I also got to the conclusion that (not for the first time) Burda's sizing chart is crazy. Even though, according to Burda's chart, I'm a size 40, I've cut out the 34 size and it fits well, giving me some extra room to breathe. So a size 40 would probably fit both me and my Husband inside at the same time.




    I like that the armhole is quite tight and high, which helps to look slimmer even though the jumper is trapeze-shaped. What makes Mary stand out is her collar-cut on the bias. It's easy to mould; to retain the draping quality I decided to omit the interfacing. I stabilized the edge of the neckline with a strip of cotton selvage.



     Because I don't like the fuss of having many buttons to fasten at the back, I've sewn the opening shut except for the last 5cm; that is closed by two hidden snaps. I decorated the back with 3 big buttons, which are purely ornamental. To make them unobtrusive, I had covered them in the main fabric.



    We're having an awful November here in Poland; except for a few sunny days it's painfully cold, dark and rainy. Pardon me for the grainy photos; my camera isn't exactly a thoroughbred. Fortunately here comes the December! All the (wintery) best to you, my dear Reader.




piątek, 28 października 2016

Une jupe plissée

    Hello, dear Readers. Those of you who are following me on Instagram may have seen that some time ago I started sewing a skirt with an interesting pleat arrangement.


    The pattern is vintage Simplicity 2813 from 1958. I found it on Ebay and it came to me from the beautiful France. I love it so much I'm going to use it again and again; currently I'm thinking of navy silk shantung/dupioni or faille for the 2nd version. But back to my already sewn number 3:


 All photos by my patient Husband :)

    I used the same fabric as with my pants (I wrote about them here), a black wool blend. As with most of the vintage skirt patterns, once I've chosen the size the fit was perfect - so I made none alterations at all. Even the lenght was spot on.



 Hades the cat always wants to be the centre of attention. We're gonna forgive him, aren't we?



    The construction of the skirt is straightforward; it has side seams and center back seam as well as eight darts, which are the main reason for a good fit between waist and hips. All of the bottom part is separate, to be completed on its own and sewn to the main skirt pieces after they had been constructed as well.


A hat a day keeps the lady doctor sane :)

      On the top of the junction there is an ornamental strip of fabric, finished off with a bow (to add some texture to the bow I used Berisfords' velvet trim-the best one I've seen, found on jaycotts ).





     To get the bottom part to stand away from the skirt and accentuate the flare, I made the upper skirt-lower skirt junction as a kind of buttressed seam. That proved to be a quick solution which worked perfectly. The zipper is a lapped one, sewn by hand with prick stitches.




   The seam allowances were secured with zigzag stitch. The only struggle with this skirt was putting it the lining; I hate sewing with slippery fabrics. Even though this one was especially nice to touch and had a wonderful lustre (it's a 1980s rayon satin with a slightly irregular weave), it was a pain to sew with. I set it  in all by hand to have at least some control over this slippery devil; I wanted to attach the satin as far as it was possible to keep the lining from riding up, so I joined it to the seam allowance of the skirt's bottom part, leaving the pleats to hang freely. Still, it's the only part of the skirt that I'm not happy with.



Now all is left to do is to think about the next project :-)




czwartek, 27 października 2016

They don't make it anymore the way they used to in the 1960s

     Today's post is rather a shortie and stars Renée as the graceful model. Some time ago (oh my, 2 years to be precise) one lady from my family had heard about the fact I'm sewing and she approached me with a request. In general I don't grant "would sew me this or that" favors, but there were 3 things that made the situation different that time:
1) the lady had a fabric that we both loved
2) she has waited patiently for me to sew the dress for 2 years without as much as a word of hurrying me up
3) she wanted to have a dress like the ones worn in her youth, that is the late 60s. She sighed, looked at the clothes in her closet and said "They just don't make it anymore the way they used to in the 1960s, you know".



     The trick was that she only had a 140cm (about 1,5 yards) of the fabric. I chose Simplicity 1609, a 60s repro, because if the iconic and clearly defined A-line of the dress and clever shaping with only 4 main pieces, but the pattern called for at least 170cm of fabric.
That is why, my dear Readers, the print is awfully mismatched at the seams.
Have mercy.

 My camera had a terrible problem with focus when photographing that print.
     On the pattern cover model the dress is just above the knee, but since the future owner of this cotton frock looks her best in something just-below-the-knee, I lenghtened it by a few centimeters. I loved how the combination of bust darts and french darts shape the bodice. The lady I sewed for is big busted, so I had to modify the pattern a little bit. Aside from FBA it's a good thing to keep in mind that shortening and rounding the bust darts is a quick and simple way to flatter the D+ cups (I think I've read it somewhere in Threads).  The fabric was pure fun to sew with-a dense, cheerfully printed seersucker cotton. Beause of the yardage shortage, I made the facings out of white cotton poplin from my stash. All the seam allowances  are pinked and topstitched.


    I changed the fastening- instead of a long back zipper I made a small opening at the neck with a tiny button and a loop made of a strip os bias-cut self-fabric with the stretch steamed out of it. There is no prolem to get in and out of the dress.
As you can see in the photo above, I also made a small string-like belt to help with accentuating the waist.


 The back...

...and the insides

     Because I had so little fabric, I hemmed it with a help of white satin bias ribbon, hand stitched (as always) to avoid marking the fabric from the outside.






    I won't model the dress as it's not my size, so I hope the mannequin photos will do for you. I'm off to pack the dress as a gift :-)

wtorek, 13 września 2016

Panting for pants

a.k.a. quick note about something that's very rare in my wardrobe.

Recently, I started learning how to drive and - besides it being so much fun - it made me realise that my closet needs something which would be car-friendly. Since one needs to drive in flat shoes (ugh), separates like pencil/straight skirts are out as, when combined with above-mentioned flats, they tend to make me look like a duck. The line is awful and it doesn't work. Circle skirts do, but hey - my driving instructor lets out a quiet sigh when I try to fit a long wool circle skirt with a petticoat into a B-segment vehicle.
Soooo, long story short, it was time for pants.


Yep, the Husband was again patient enough to take these photos. <3

I rarely wear a pair in everyday life (work being an exeption), but I've always liked the look of slim 1950s pedal pushers and 1960s cigarette pants. Looking for an interesting pattern, I ended up with Burda 8/2010 108E - another rare choice for me, as I have a love-hate relationship with the magazine.
The mentioned issue landed in my mailbox after I got inspired by Marchewkowa's amazing baby blue coat (which you can see here). The Jackie Kennedy editorial had some nice lines and silhouettes, so I decided to give it a green light.



The pattern is very simple and - surprise, surprise - very well drafted. I needed almost no alterations at all (besides tightening the waist). These pants closely resemble their predecessors from the 60s. I chose a bit different fabric than what was suggested; mine is wool mix gabardine and doesn't have any stretch. I made the zipper the way I prefer (that is lapped) and I omitted the pockets, as I didn't want to destroy the slim line. The button is ornamental - pants fasten with two snaps. The belt is interfaced, as always, with heavy canvas (note: I'm wearing an additional leather belt on most on the photos to tighten the cinch).



The loveliest details are the fronts darts, which on they way become sewn-down front creases creating one, smooth line (yeah, a lot of "line" word in this note).



All in all, they do feel a bit too modern for my taste, but surprisingly I get lots of wear out of them.

P.S. In case you were wondering about the shirt I'm wearing, it's Simplicity 2154 that I made over a year ago with a cream-coloured cotton.  :)