Liberty Sureau Anniversary Dress

I haven’t forgotten sewing or my blog or your blogs, I’ve just been out and about but now I’m back.

I made my first Deer and Doe Sureau dress with some of the Liberty Tana Lawn I bought in London. I think Deer and Doe is fast becoming my favorite sewing pattern company because I just love everything about this dress (and their blog!). I used Anna from Paunnet’s Sureau Sew-Along (which was very helpful). I didn’t have to make any adjustments to size, but the neckline was a little too deep and slightly gaping. So I used Anna’s trick, and also took a tuck out of the neckline as well. I made two bodice muslins before I cut into my Tana Lawn. I didn’t line this dress because I don’t like so many layers in summer. I finished this dress at midnight just 6 hours before we had to head to the airport. Here’s are some (headless) pictures of the dress in action (it is a little wrinkly in the pictures) on the Hollywood walk of fame! I got compliments on the dress and the print! I left out the buttons but I may add them later on.

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If you want to adjust the neckline, you can do what I did. In addition to straightening out the shoulder line (be mindful of seam allowances please!) as Anna posted, I took a small tuck from the neckline that eventually tapered into a point, a tiny dart from the front bodice.

Sureau Bodice Front

From the back I did the corresponding shoulder adjustment, and also shaded in the area that I would need to cut out for the neckline (see red circle) as it had to match up with the front bodice shoulder line. As usual, I had to redraft my facings with the new adjustments but that’s easy.

Sureau Bodice Back

For the next few days I’ll be catching up on all my favorite sewing blogs and seeing what you guys were doing!

 

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The Seam Method of Pattern Alteration

I had originally planned for a final post on items I’d made in 2012 but my husband was playing around with the camera and accidentally deleted the pictures so I will have to save that for a later date (I know, it’s nearly 5 months into 2013 and I’m still talking about 2012 clothes).

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I’ve been in a sewing rut lately, It’s not so unproductive as I’ve been quilting and needlepointing while I figure out my next few garment makes. I had originally planned to start the Colette Violet blouse (I traced my pattern out and prepped my muslin fabric) but I’m wary of all the alterations I need to do on it as I don’t like the boxy fit and it runs a little large and short I hear. In the meantime I’ve been researching and writing down all the possible alterations I may need to do for it.

Fablous Fit
A few months ago I picked up this book at the local library sale for 50 cents. Fabulous Fit by Judith Rasband is all about the Seam Method of Pattern Alteration. The premise of the book is that the slash and spread and pivot methods cause distortions in the pattern that create many more problems, so Judith shows us (with many interesting illustrations) how to make precise changes to the seamline of the pattern. If you want more information, check out this article from the Threads magazine website.  The book is a little dated in it’s advice on body shapes and types and I don’t  necessarily agree with the generalizations about body type, but it does have great advice for common fitting problems and I like the illustrations.

I can’t say if this fitting method is better or worse than other methods because I don’t often have to do pattern alterations other than a sway back adjustment or transitioning between different sizes, but I do have broad shoulders and as this garment has sleeves and is not a knit pattern I may have to make some adjustments.

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Here is the adjustment advised by the book. My only concern is that is appears to have shortened the armscye in the front (I don’t know if you can see it but the zigzag lines indicate pattern overlap, whereas white spaces indicate spreading), which may create another set of problems as I set in my sleeves. I could try the method Sunni demonstrates and see where that takes me.

To fix the boxy fit of the top I will likely add  double pointed darts, this is my mother’s favorite way of fitting a garment.

What do you guys advise?  Do you have a preferred alteration method and why?

McCalls 5578 (OOP)

I finished McCalls 5578 dress last week and got around to taking some pictures to share. I’m not as crazy about it as I thought I would be. It’s a cute and easy project and when I saw Sew Tessuti’s version on Burdastyle I thought I would really love it. It’s supposed to look like this:

M5578And mine looks like this ( I eliminated the color blocking, the facings and used bias tape made from the same fabric instead):

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I tried it on and It’s not a very flattering look for me as my natural waist is significantly smaller than my bust and hip measurement and I have a long torso (It’s fitting a little tighter on my dressform because I lost a little bit of weight and didn’t adjust it on my dressform). It looks much better with a belt, maybe I’ll make a black Obi belt with it.  I do love the fabric – a light and airy voile. My husband suggested, it would make for great beachwear, so beachwear it is. It wasn’t a totally useless project because I finally got a chance to use my one step buttonhole on my machine and I am impressed!

I’m in a quilty sort of mood lately, finally picked up my Craftsy BOM 2012 quilt and started working on it last week. Let’s see how it goes.

Bloglovin’ and Buttons

Greetings to you, to April and to spring!

First things first I’ve been using Bloglovin for while now but I didn’t actually claim my blog though so if you’d like to follow me on Bloglovin, click here:

<a href=”http://www.bloglovin.com/blog/3766806/?claim=zanzgcuz9hp”>Follow my blog with Bloglovin</a>

In other news, I’ve been working towards a light and airy summer wardrobe. Summer for me means lots of lightweight cotton clothing. I’m not finished  with this particular project yet but I did get to try out the one step buttonhole feature on my Janome Magnolia 7330 (I love this machine more and more). I trained myself to make  4- step buttonholes using my mother’s old Singer Merrit 1812 so this was quite an experience for me. It took a few tries for me to realize that I do not need to actually do anything  except gently keep my fabric straight so now I don’t think I’ll ever go back to the 4-step one!

I didn’t use any interfacing on my placket (I want to minimize facings and linings on my summer outfits) so I just used fusible webbing tape (stitch witchery). They’re not as straightly lined up as I’d like but not bad eh?

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They’re not exactly straight and even, so I had to improvise on marking my button placement. I placed my buttonhole plackett on top of the button one, lining everything up as even as I could.

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Then I took my marking tool and used the opening of my buttonhole as a guide to mark where I would place my buttons.

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And here is the corresponding button placement!

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I try to make buttonholes as evenly spaced as possible but sometimes it doesn’t happen, so the next best thing  (assuming you don’t want to start all over again with buttonholes) is place your buttons in the corresponding place to minimize fabric distortion. I think it turned out fine, I’ll share pictures of the completed dress as soon as it’s done and you can tell me what you think.

Back to it!

Liberty and Minoru

It’s been a little quiet here lately because we went to London and Paris for a little break, and it was absolutely lovely. It was my first time in London and it truly is such a wonderful place to visit. Each big city has it’s own culture and vibrancy and I love feeling like I’m part of it, even if only for a little while. Only 2 days back and I miss hearing “mind the gap” or “doors will open on the right/left hand side” – Londoners, you guys have an amazing public transportation system! I can’t wait to visit again!

I also made the expected pilgrimage for any sewist visiting London – to Liberty of London on Regent Street and came back with some lovely treats! Tana Lawn (well actually I bought this from the infamous Shaukats – they’re licensed to sell Liberty prints at slightly cheaper price) and an adorable little cross stitch kit by Jane Greenoff with a pattern for the Liberty of London building (a befitting souvenir for a stitcher – this was from Liberty though!). I really love that place (esp the 3rd floor!), I saw the most amazing sewing and crafting things (case in point have you seen Felicity Hall’s DIY handbag kits? On my wishlist!), it was like a little slice of crafting paradise! Back to the fabric, I admire my tana lawn daily, a little creepy I know but it’s so buttery soft and I love the prints! William Morris’ “Strawberry Thief” is one of my favorite classic textile prints.

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The city of Paris is just so beautiful, and filled with such effortlessly fashionable people. It was chilly there so I was able to admire all the different styles of coats that I saw. I kept thinking “Oh I have to make that for myself!”, so while I didn’t do any fabric shopping in Paris I did get inspired! That’s not to say Londoners aren’t fashionable, they’re very fashionable and I loved reading the fashion magazines there,  but the weather was just too cold and unpredictable (snowstorms, wind, hail, and sunshine all in one day) to actually do as much detailed people watching as I did in Paris.

Before I left for Europe, I went into a last minute sewing frenzy to finish up what I started a year ago – my Minoru jacket! Well it’s complete and I can finally share it with you. I took the pics with a nicer camera (well, my husband took them) and I think they turned out so much nicer. I still have much to learn about proper photo styling though.

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The fabric was a durable poly cotton stretch twill, I really love it and I lined it in a red rayon lining. I followed Tasia’s Sew-Along and the instructions were very straightforward. I just love the little details, like the hidden collar hood zipper, the ruffled cuffs, the gathered collar and the elastic waist. I followed Amy from Sew Well’s instruction’s on adding side seam pockets (see the little sliver of red on the hip?), and lined the hood in my own way (I wasn’t happy with the look of sewing it right sides together and turning it inside out). FYI, I found that an 18 inch zipper was too small for the collar zipper, so I got a bigger one and shortened it myself.

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I also added the inside pockets but skipped adding velcro closures because I wasn’t sure if the lining could handle it. It probably could but I didn’t want to risk it. I love rayon lining, I’m not sure if its bemberg because it was super cheap and it seems a little lower quality but it still feels so great on my skin!

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I also used a little decorative stitching on the little hanging loop, It’s one of my favorite details! Ignore the horrible “stitch in the ditch” – for some reason my  fabric and lining collars and placket’s weren’t lining up so I had to cut some off the top of the lining and that is probably why I couldn’t actually find “the ditch”.

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I feel so productive!

Sew Grateful and Vintage Wedding Dresses

“Sew Grateful Week” came and went and I was nowhere to be seen, but as always I am truly grateful for this wonderful online community of sewing bloggers, you guys have been such a wonderful source of continuity and creativity in my life, Thank You.  I know I didn’t have time to plan anything as I was out of town last weekend and busy with life the following week (lame excuse?) but maybe this post will make up for it.

This weekend I visited the exhibit “Tying the Knot – Cleveland Wedding Fashions, 1830- 1980” at the Western Reserve Historical Society in Cleveland. As you are fellow sewists you probably understand the thrill I get from looking at beautifully sewn things. It’s also a wonderful way for me to connect with the sewing history in my new hometown and look at some of the things that people right here used to love and wear. I thought I’d share a few of the pieces that really caught my eye (mostly from the 1900’s and onwards). If you’re in the area and you love sewing, check it out because the exhibit has been extended to March 31st, 2013.

First up is this luxurious golden dress from 1879, its creation is attributed to none other than Charles Frederick Worth, the founder of “Haute Couture”! No kidding once you see all the fine details on the dress:

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Here’s one that has a simple 1920’s flapper silhouette, but just as much shiny goodness. This one is interesting as it was meant to be used both as a wedding and a party dress:

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Just 10 years later,  1930’s wedding fashions changed dramatically and dresses like this gorgeous but reserved silk velvet one became more popular. Look at the train on this thing. I really love the delicate glass beading on the neckline:

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This next one is my favorite one, a delicate floaty number from the 1940’s with a sheer bolero and lovely sequin work:

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Also some pretty vintage underthings like this 1920’s camisole, robe and knickers set:

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You didn’t think I’d forget about the shoes and other important accessories did you?
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And last but not least, one for the guys, some vintage tuxedo vests that the men of Cleveland used to wear!

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In other important historical sewing news (is that an oxymoron?) I learned that the White Sewing Machine company was based out of Cleveland, Ohio. Isn’t that neat?

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I hope you enjoyed this little (limited) virtual visit! I hope you all had a wonderful “Sew Grateful Week”,

What I made in 2012 – Colette Chantilly Dress

It’s finally done! I started this dress in the spring of 2012, put it all together in the summer of 2012 and hemmed the bottom of the skirt in…2013. Last week actually, but still the majority of it was made in 2012 (I wish my pictures weren’t so fuzzy, if you click on them they’re clearer).

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I used Anna Maria Horner’s Diamond Mine Voile in Citrus Crush. Something about this fabric said “make me in a Chantilly Dress“. I’m really proud of this dress, it’s my first fully lined dress and I’m pleased with the way the top stitching and gathers turned out.

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I used a very lightweight loosely woven cotton that I bought at an ethnic Indian fabric store in the Toronto area. You may notice that some Indian men wear turbans as part of their faith, and the fabric that they use is a very lightweight cotton known as malmal/mulmul. It’s also used as lining for sari blouses. It’s very inexpensive (2-3$ a yard/meter) and breathable. I use the stuff all the time take a look:

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A fair warning though – this fabric really frays and the loose weave of the fabric also means that when gathered with the top fabric it creates volume, but this is something you might want depending on the type of skirt your dress has. In this case it makes my dress very lovely and floaty.

I’m so glad it’s all done!