Monday, January 27, 2020

Swapping a Knit for a Woven

Almost as soon as I finished my rose print version of this Claire McCardell design, I wanted to make another.  The design is that good!

This time, just for fun, I thought it would be nice to try it in a ponte knit since I have been having a fair amount of success with the textile lately.

I actually wanted this dress to be made from a brighter royal blue that I ordered from, but it never arrived.  I had also ordered this deep navy for another project, but since I couldn't get the McCardell dress out of my head, I decided that a navy dress is always a classic, and I might as well go ahead with the fabric that I had.

I was a bit trepidatious about adding pockets to a knit, even if it is relatively stable.  I decided to go ahead, figuring if they turned out lumpy and horrible looking, it wouldn't be too much trouble to remove them.  It did take a bit of ironing with a ham and a press cloth to get the lower hip to lay flat, but in the end, I think it works.

For the hem, I decided to try something new.  On the interior, I marked twice the wide of my hem so that I could match up the cut edge with that mark at the ironing board.  It worked, but I am not sure it is my favorite method.

And I added a length of rayon seam binding to the waist seam.  Although the fabric is stable, it also is quite heavy with a nice drape, so I am hoping the added stability will keep this piece from stretching out of shape.

The skirt and sleeve hems are done by hand.  I know there is a place for top-stitching, but I think this looks a lot more polished with the less obvious stitching.

Of course, a belt was needed.  In the end, there was only enough fabric to piece the belt.  My original thought was to have the knot placed at center back as it is on this dress, but because of the seamline, I have decided to keep the tie the belt at center front.

Lingerie guard were added to this dress as I did for my first version.  The neckline is not exceptionally wide, but some of my bra straps are more narrow set than others, and this ensures that nothing will peek out.

I prefer to make my own with a length of ribbon and a snap.  It doesn't take very long, and they look so much nicer than the store bought ones.

The knit fabric definitely gives a different look to this dress, but I am quite pleased with it.

And I would normally close with a view of the back of the garment, but this is the best I can do since my dress form has no squishy bits and the finished waist is the same size as she is at that point.  The original dress design calls for a size zipper, but I decided to place the opening at center back.  This way, I have a little bit more zipper length and the opening is easier to get in and out of.  A distant memory of putting together this Vintage Vogue pattern gave me the idea, and I can say that pulling this dress on is much easier than any side zip I have ever come across!  So I will definitely be using the technique where appropriate in the future.

Saturday, January 18, 2020

Hexie Obsessed

Now that my hexi quilt top is finished, I thought I would share more of my process and adventures in English Paper Piecing.

Using my first Instagram post on the subject as a guide, I began this journey in April of 2018.

As I shared on the blog, part of the reason I began the project was to find a use for the smaller scraps leftover from my rag rug project.

And this turned about to be an excellent way to go about it.

The process appeals to me on many levels, one of the most obvious being my love of hand sewing.

I also like a long term project that I keep coming back to between the fast ones.

One added bonus with hexies is that the smaller chunks are totally portable.  And while I didn't spend a whole lot of time working on this out of the house, it was a welcome distraction on the occasions that I did.

And the more the quilt top grew, the more intent I was on finishing it!

Of course, that meant a whole lot of hand sewing, and more than a few pricked fingers.

When will I learn to properly use a thimble?  I am beginning to doubt that I ever will.

A project like this also allowed me to switch back and forth between cutting paper hexagons out, stitching single flower pieces together, and finally, stitching big chunks of the quilt together.

And I will say that working on smaller sections feels a lot different than wrangling a mostly finished quilt on your lap while rotating multiple parts so that the stitching faces in the right direction and the paper pieces don't pop out before those edges are stitched together!

It also turns out that I needed to supplement my fabric scraps along the way.  And it should also be noted that fat quarters from JoAnns are not to be trusted when it comes to grainline, just like the way their fabric bolts are cut.  Frustrating, but true.

I also did a deep dive through my stashed cottons and came up with a few more print options along the way.

All the while, the quilt kept growing.

In fact, after a year or so, it had taken over most of my coffee table when it wasn't laid out on the floor to figure out the placement of the next chunk of hexagons.

But eventually, all things must come to an end.

The final pieces were stitched together on January 2, 2020.

Which means I now have two quilt tops to actually quilt!

And now I need to figure out how to do that.

The batting has been purchased, now I just need to find a quilt backing that I like and jump right in!  I also have a few more paper pieces to pull out, although I believe I will keep them in for the moment since the quilt top feels a lot more stable with some of them in, especially around the edges.  I am thrilled with the finished top, but I am also having a little bit of hexi withdrawal, and may have even started another project, although on a much smaller scale!

Saturday, January 11, 2020

2019, A Year in Review

I am a little late this year with my Year in Review, but I really wanted to post finished pictures of my Haslam gown and call the project complete within a single calendar year.  And if I don't take photos of my finished garments and blog about them, do they really exist?!

Vogue 8685 / McCalls 8766
Simplicity 8509 / Eva Dress

I know that sounds ridiculous, but posting finished projects gives me finality, and after quite a few years of doing this blogging thing, that is the way my mind works.

Haslam Gown / Simplicity 1459
Butterick 4985 & Simplicity 8019 / Vogue 8772 & Simplicity 8458

So quite a few of these pieces actually belong in another Year in Review, but for my purposes, blogged in a calendar year means finished in a calendar year.

Vogue 9345 / Self-Drafted
Wearing History & Simplicity 8019 / Butterick 6484

And, yes, there are other projects that were technically completed in 2019 but have yet to make it to the blog.  Those will hopefully be posted in the near future!  Until then, happy sewing, and knitting, and crocheting, and quilting, and crafting, etc.  And here is to a wonderfully creative year!

Cap Sleeved Jumper & Simplicity 8458 / Vogue 2354
Jelly Roll Rug / Simplicity 1426 & Simplicity 8458

Thursday, January 9, 2020

A Brocade Gown

Although I didn't manage to post the finished photos of my Haslam System of Dresscutting project in 2019, I am going to pretend that I did, and add it to my finished projects for the year!

This was, by far, my most involved sewing project of 2019.  From studying the drafting system itself, to drafting a made to measure pattern, sewing up a muslin, and finally, making the dress, it was a lot of work!

I will always have fond memories of the fabric since it reminds me of my trip to New York, and visiting Elliott Berman Textiles with Peter.

And I do love the Ellen Tracey brocade, but I have also come to the conclusion that any fabric made with a fair amount of polyester (this is a wool/poly blend) is never going to be my favorite textile, to work with, or to wear.

In this instance, the partially polyester blend doesn't have the weight that it would if it was made with rayon or silk, nor does it drape as beautifully.

But despite the fabric content, I really do like the way this turned out.

The system itself was a nice challenge, and while I do think there are a few issues to contend with, for the most part, it works quite well.

In other words, I could definitely see myself making another design using The Haslam System in the future.  And it's always a good idea to try something new every once in a while!

I think any drafting system is always going to require some tweaking and at least one muslin, so for the moment, I have other patterns and projects that are taking my time and attention.  But someday, I am going to have to go through and look for another dress to tackle and draft from scratch.

And I have not completely decided against making another version of this design, probably knee length, and with a couple of design alterations - this time in a rayon to see how that turns out.  I also have a need for more of this style sleeve in my life, so I definitely want to use that pattern piece again.

I mean, after all that work, I might as well get a second dress out of it, right!?

Dress:  Made by me, self-drafted with The Haslam System of Dresscutting
Shoes:  Remix "Miranda"
Purse:  Vintage
Hair Braid:  Made by me
Earrings:  Vintage
Bracelet:  necklace from Banana Republic