Friday, April 24, 2015

Spring For Cotton: The Blouse and the Sewing Notebook

I finished my Simplicity 1538 blouse this week, just in time for the Spring for Cotton finale!

1948 Simplicity Blouse pattern and polka dot fabric.
It all started with the yellow polka dot fabric, and the 1948 pattern that I have made twice before. Both of those are blogged on here. Well sort of. My view 3 can be seen here, and my view 1 with short sleeves, view 3 collar and no pocket can be seen here, at the end of the post.

Fabric, bias tape and the novelty buttons.
I carefully chose some novelty buttons, for which I have a definite fondness, and opted to bind all my seams with a matching single-fold bias tape. (This makes for pretty seams, but I am definitely going to try some of the rayon seam binding next time!

Grading book, Grading ruler and pattern.
Using Connie Crawford's grading book and ruler, I graded my pattern up one size (that's a full 2 inch grading). It was definitely worth the money!

Fully graded pattern
It was a little time consuming. I also messed up a total of three times before getting it right! The first time I hadn't done the lines correctly, the second time I was moving my pattern in the wrong direction, and the third time, I was using the wrong pattern piece. I learned though- yes I learned NOT to try doing this at night- after a long day!

After shoulder and side seams, with pinned on collar.
Once I had the pattern pieces done, I was able to cut them out and start on the blouse pretty quickly. Some of that was thanks to the new rotary cutter and self-healing mat I purchased!

Bound seams and hem.
I bound all the seams with single-fold bias tape, and used it for the hem too.  I machine stitched it in place since it will always be tucked in. It does make for slightly bulky junctions, which is why I said I would love to try the rayon seam binding next time!

Still have the fronts, sleeves and collar to finish.
I took my time. I refused to sew after about 8pm (which is when I start to get tired and mess up!), and the blouse gradually came together.

Buttons added to front.
I was ecstatic when I got to add my buttons- they looked just as I hoped they would!

Everything but the sleeve hems!
The last thing I did was the hems on the sleeves. Those are not bound, just double folded and hand-hemmed.
Finished blouse.
And then I waited a few days to wear it! It's such a lightweight cotton, it is perfect for spring or summer wear. Here I am wearing it with my 1960s wrap skirt. The sun was rather bright this morning, so my hat is shading my eyes!

Blouse back.
And a back view. Surprisingly, the seam binding helps give the sleeves a little shoulder structure- especially since I left out the shoulder pads. I had intended to make my own, but decided in the end to leave them out. I kind of like my blouse as it is!

There are a lot of side view photos of the blouse, because I apparently was unable to look directly into the sun for my photo!

While I am here, I thought it might be nice to take a peek at my sewing diary. I never know quite what to call these- notebooks, diaries, journals... but it is a handwritten record of the project. 
I spent some time the other day trying to find other people's notebooks, and I pinned those I could find, but none were quite like mine.

Most of the time I record everything about the project on the blog, but that is not very convenient when I want to see something when I am sewing. So I decided to make a hard copy too. My notebook started out as a sketchbook, but I decided I didn't like that very much. It has no room to rearrange things!
Then I remembered the tiny 5" x 8" binders I had bought some time ago. I purchased some 5" x 8" index cards, and I was off.

Sewing notebook, front view.
The binder is plain. I am still debating whether it will stay plain, or whether I will sew it a cover! I created tabbed dividers from some cardstock I had around the house. And I added some decorative tape to the tabs after accidentally writing on the wrong side of them!

The Simplicity 1538 blouse project pages.
Currently I am dividing my notebook into categories- so far blouses, dresses, ideas and fabric. Or something like that - it will probably change. You can see the blouse project recorded above and below. I also added the issues I had with the fit of the other blouses and the changes I made.

And the rest of the blouse project pages.
My former project recorded in the sketchbook, was my 4th July 1930s dress from a couple of years ago. I had the fabric, the pattern and my thoughts about it all down.

The 1930's 4th July dress.
I stapled the old sketchbook page onto an index card, where I also glued a photo of the finished product- cool huh?

4th July Dress completed project.
 Some fabrics in my stash are also recorded in here- so I can remember what they are and how much of them I have - and how to take care of them if they have special instructions for washing. This piece is a piece of rayon. And these were in the sketchbook too...

Fabric pages.
I also have some pages of sketches and ideas there, but forgot to photograph those.
So there you have it, a quick view into my sewing notebook. I'm hoping I keep the habit up, because it is kind of fun having the resource at my fingertips!

Saturday, April 04, 2015

Spring for Cotton: Pattern Resizing

So I'm resizing my blouse pattern using the techniques in this Connie Crawford workbook.
It's a great book, with different types of garment and detailed instructions. I also bought the grading ruler that goes with the book.

My pattern is a 1948 Simplicity, printed pattern. I've made view 3 and 1 (with short sleeves) before. My first attempt was a little snug over my shoulders (I still wore it a lot) while my second attempt with view 3 was a little roomy! I'm hoping this new technique will do the trick!
I also picked out some buttons to go with my fabric... and since I am a sucker for novelty buttons, that's what I got!

The daisies just screamed "springlike" to me! I shall try to record some of my pattern grading as I go, and maybe blog about it some. Wish me luck!

Thursday, April 02, 2015

Spring For Cotton

It's been a while, but this would seem to be the perfect time to restart the blog. At least for the duration of Spring for Cotton.
Yes, Rochelle over at Lucky Lucille is doing it again. This time it is one garment, 100% cotton and vintage inspired. That definitely is my kind of challenge!
I have other projects on my list- a demanding child who has at least three things lined up for me to make her :), so I thought I would try for something simple.
I picked up a guide to resizing patterns a few months back, and I plan to use it with this blouse pattern. I've made it before, twice, but both times messed up the size a little. This makes it perfect for a trial run!
The fabric is a lightweight yellow, polka-dot cotton. I have been dying for some spring colours, and some blouses, so hopefully I'll be working on this soon!

Sunday, October 20, 2013

Sewing along...

I've been a little preoccupied recently. Basically, homeschool started up again, and trying to write a blog got put WAY back on the back burner. You know- after sewing, reading and schooling ;). So I planned a few blogs in my head (in places where there was no laptop of course LOL) and had to settle for that!

Now, suddenly I remembered while I have time, so I shall go ahead and post some fun. Where was I?

Right, last time I posted, it was my shorts. Which I ruined just last week by splashing bleach on them :( I was pretty upset- because every handmade item is a priceless one of a kind. Well, that is not strictly true- because the shorts didn't fit quite the way I wanted, so I wasn't very fond of them, but I certainly didn't want to ruin them either!

There was a brief break after making the shorts- while we laid hardwood floors down in the house. They look awfully pretty, and have the distinct advantage of not having holes in them (unlike the carpet they replaced).

At some point after that, not sure when, I made both this button back blouse and the capris.

The capris are from Gertie's pattern. This pair I actually raised the waist a little on (I have a long torso). I think maybe too much! The first pair I made, are actually a little too low... so maybe a half inch lower. Either that or go down a size as the waist bags a little. Judging from these photos alone, I need to go down a size!

The blouse is a peasant style one from an old mail order pattern. I don't think it has a brand name.

I loved the styling from the moment I saw it, and the button back... yes, that was a must have!

You can't tell from this photo (many of the pictures in this post are taken with my iPad, which conveniently goes with me) but the buttons are cute little flower shaped ones. I've had compliments on the blouse too, one woman actually asking me where I got it! You might recognise my old circle skirt!

Here it is from the front, where you can see the peasant blouse styling. This fabric, a broadcloth, was actually chosen to go with my circle skirt, which has tiny blue flowers in this very colour! (Hey look, you can see those new floors behind me ;) )

Next, I decided to participate in the "Fall For Cotton" sewalong hosted by Tasha at By Gum by Golly and Rochelle at Lucky Lucille. I had originally planned to sew a skirt and top, but school kicked in and sidetracked me!

I started off with Hollywood Pattern 435, which was alarming because I would need to size it up a lot!

Instead, after looking carefully at the pattern, I realised it is a half circle skirt (link goes to a half circle skirt tutorial), all I needed to do after that was to resize the waistband and place the markings. The belt tabs I could use as is.

I chose to use a lovely large polka-dot fabric I discovered at Joann Fabrics some time ago. I picked it because it was so very retro all by itself. And I knew it would one day be a skirt!

It is a fabulous skirt, so sassy! At least that is what the lady at the library told me! I have had many compliments on it- and I think a good amount of the compliments are because of the fabric!

The cut is very flattering for me, I think. In fact I liked it so much, I actually made a second one later (more below).

I got kind of fancy here and used lace hem tape on the hem. I wish I could remember how I did it! However, the website says "Application: To finish hem, position lace 1/4" from edge of fabric (right side). Machine stitch in place. Turn up, press. Hand stitch free edge to garment."
I think it looks very pretty!

After the skirt, and once "Fall for Cotton" was completed, I had an urgent need. My sister was due to get married on October 5th (my birthday) and I decided (very last minute) to make myself a dress. My daughter had been sent a beautiful flower girl dress, and I, virtual bridesmaid extraordinaire, did not have a teal dress like the others! I did, however, have teal fabric and a dress I have been dying to make!

This is a 1950's Anne Adams (my favourite mail order pattern company) pattern- Anne Adams 4705. It is a wrap dress with rick-rack trim and really cool pockets. It took me one and a half days from tracing the pattern to wearing it for the wedding (which I attended via iPad).

The wedding occurred at 1pm BST, which was about 8am here. I was up early to finish my dress and try and curl my hair (I gave up on that, 6:30am is way too early for that LOL especially on a SATURDAY). It was hot here, too. The hottest birthday I have ever had, at a cool 95*F!

The first photo, shows us in the cool morning, where the fog has hardly burnt off. The second is later, after I put my hair up (because it was too hot) and purloined my daughter's flower hair ornament! I apparently never turn around in this dress, because I cannot find a photo of the back! It is a shame, as I have a fancy vintage button for the top closure!

Having finished the dress, I managed to get around to making the blouse I had originally planned for 'Fall for Cotton'. This is an old Butterick pattern, late 30's or early 40's, Butterick 8388. It was lacking a size on the envelope, and I took it out and guessed it was pretty close to mine. After making a muslin/toile, I found it was actually EXACTLY my size! How awesome is that? I chose to make the plain view (A) with the sleeves from B and minus the pocket. I hoped the fabric would provide all the great details I could ever want. I mean... it is a cherry print. Another fabric I picked for its retro appeal!

You will have to settle for a photo of my husband and me though, as I have not got any good ones of me alone! You can actually see my latest project there too- the skirt. This is the second one made from my half circle skirt pattern- the white dot on the side is where my zip has not been fastened all the way- I did not realise it at the time! I added a small touch of lace to the cuffs on the sleeve, and wore the whole thing to my husband's high school reunion last night!
The skirt is a lovely, heavy cotton twill.  It is almost the texture of denim, and will make a lovely addition to a winter wardrobe because of its nice heavy weight!
The blouse too will make it on my 'to make again' list- and watch this space for more skirts!

Saturday, June 22, 2013

Box Pleat Shorts: Simplicity 2017 (c.1947)

I have made the box pleat shorts from Simplicity 2017 several times now.

I first made them about two years ago, which is unfortunate, because I don't remember all the changes I made to the pattern to make them fit so nicely!

This is them about a year after I made them, with a blouse I made from a vintage pattern.  I made view 1, because that was the one I really liked -which was fortunate, as the pack doesn't actually have view 3, which was the other pair I really liked in this pattern!
The second time I made these, I used a red twill instead of the blue broadcloth above.  While I really liked the fabric, somehow I did not make them as well, and they fit rather badly.  Not that this stopped me from wearing them ;)  Somehow they are a little too small, and I had to shift the button to make them fit better.

One day, I had a vision of making these shorts in a print fabric, rather than the two plain fabrics I had used before.  because they look rather skirt like, I had the idea they would look rather cute.

You can see that they are a practical blue and white, and you can see below the print, more detailed, and in a more accurate colour.  And the vintage button I used to make them extra special!  The fabric is a quilting cotton- apparently it is a print I like as I have it in a couple of colours!

And a rather squinty photo of me wearing them today- in the bright morning sun.  When I first made these, I was waiting for a delivery, so no trying them on.  After a nice day of sewing and watching Poirot, I discovered they were too small!  So... I put them aside and sulked for the evening.  The next morning, since I was still waiting on the delivery (somehow it all got mistakenly forgotten), I ripped the waistband off, let out the box pleats a little, and reapplied the waistband.  Despite me trying them on before the waistband, they still ended up a little big, which meant I had to shift my button a little, creating a slight fold at the side.  I did not want to go through all that again (the fold is not terribly noticable).

Changes I made
I graded the pattern up a couple of sizes (I need to do it again, because I did it wrong last time!).
Since I missed having a second pocket EVERY time I wore them, I added one on the right- as you can see above.
I topstitched all the way around the waistband, rather than just along the bottom.  You can see it in the button photo.
I let out the box pleats on the back to get a little more room.
Pattern tips: careful with the pleats, they are best pressed before sewing, after top stitching and before hemming as well as after. If you add a second pocket, be careful to baste it to the front so it sits properly (I forgot first time around and got it backwards). You can let the pleats out a little to gain room if you somehow miscalculate, I did the back ones only. The waistband always catches me out. It needs to be the length of your waist PLUS a large overlap the size of the top of your pocket PLUS seam allowance. If you misalign the pocket on the left, you get drag marks. I always hem these fairly long, the pattern seems to indicate they should be a little shorter.  I did use a bias strip along the bottom of my shorts to neaten the hem, and I overcast all of the seams.
If you use cotton, they will crease, but adjusting them as you get up helps keep them neat.
When attaching the waistband, sew it from the right side NOT the wrong side (as the pattern says to do so). Because sometimes the top-stitching will not catch all layers!  Also stay stitch all the tops of the shorts to prevent ravelling.  Both of these are issues I saw with pair #1.

Let me know if you have any questions!