24 November 2015

WIP: Advance 7729 Circle Skirt and Butterick 5171 Pinafore

I never got photos of my completed whale dress for Vintage Pledge, I realized, but these might make up for it and will put me at 6 (sort of) makes.

Advance 7729 is a unique circle skirt pattern in that the waist hole is actually a rectangle, resulting in the draping you see below. It was trickier than I thought it would be to sew, and I don't know how long it will last before the combination of clipping and all the wight being drawn to those points produces holes.

Sadly, even though the waist size was listed as the same on the 40s patterns I've been using, it is much more snug, even with slimming panty hose. I managed to let it out a little, but the side seams are on the selvedge and I can't let it out anymore without showing the selvedge. I suppose it will help me keep on track with exercising, but I was hoping to wear it to Christmas parties. As of right now all it needs is a hem.

Can you tell my fabric choice was influenced by the pattern illustration? It was quite a bargain - a cotton sateen with a little lycra from JoAnns. $30 for 6 yards! I have almost 2 yards leftover too, so I'm already rummaging through my vintage patterns for more ideas.

I picked this up to make as a birthday gift for a friend's kid. Sometimes they bake cookies, so I figured a pinafore would be perfect. I'll bet it will get worn for other occasions too.

It is a December birthday and her mom loves Christmas and midcentury/scandinavian things, so I managed to get the perfect fabric for it...

I can't believe the year is almost over! Have you accomplished all you sewing goals?

22 November 2015

What's On The Needles 11/15

This is my progress so far on the Pretty Woman Cowl I started. I've gotten a bit further since the photo was taken, and I'm quite pleased with how fast this is coming along. I know other people could finish this in a day, but I know myself and this will probably take me a month and a half.
Best of all, I'm really pleased with the yarn. It is Merino DK by The Periwinkle Sheep. When I was looking my list of requirements were a) It was wool b) It was washable and c) It was in some way local. This yarn fulfilled all three requirements and I got it at the Southern Adirondack Fiber Festival. I don't know where the yarn base is from, but the woman who sells it does all the dyeing herself.

This is a Cuppow Cozy I have been working on since May for my best friend from high school. She travels all over the world for work but still tries to be as green as possible by doing things like bringing her reusable coffee mug (made from a mason jar!) with her. It is made from yarn leftover from other projects. I have 5" left before I seam it.

20 November 2015

Completed: Edwardian Wedding Gown from Butterick 5970

This is the last and best of my makes for "Our Town". We weren't originally slated to do a wedding dress so when that got changed at a very late date, combined with fabric.com shipping the order late as well meant this was finished during the first performance! Fortunately it doesn't appear until the end of Act 2.
There are a few things I would do differently if given more time, but even so I love it! It was based on the "lingerie dresses" popular at the time. Even though it didn't have to mirror the design from the video we used, I opted to make something similar because the original was so beautiful.
We diverged from the original pattern quite a bit. One of my assistants made the veil, but I forget the pattern she used.

Pattern: Butterick 5970
Size: 10
Rating: 3/5  
Fabric, etc.: 100% cotton muslinand 100% cotton voile from Fabric.com
Cost: Will look this up...but it was less than $75 I believe.
Time: A week and a half
  • Here is the original pattern. It is actually a two piece dress, the bodice is separate from the skirt. I wish we'd had time to do some sort of sash for the waist, but not the one in the pattern, which has several tiny bows attached at the center front of it.
  • The fit was great, but the actress is a very fit girl so it might not be quite the same on the average person.
  • While I mostly used the same pattern pieces, I constructed the bodice very differently. I made a bodice from the voile and a bodice from the muslin. Then I attached them both to a yoke made of the voile. I detest the way the front of the bodice is draped on this pattern. Without the proper period corset, which you can tell they did not use in the photo shoot, you can't achieve the "pigeon breast" look it was designed for (think cousin Violet from Downton Abbey). Rather, it just looks like a blob o' fabric on her abdomen. Since we were using modern bras in the show as well, I opted to re-drape the front into a sunburst of pleats. The back draping was fine.
  • The bottom of the bodice is then bound off with bias binding. I used packaged binding, but I wish I had made it form the pattern because it wasn't quite wide enough.
  • We later found that without the sash to hide it, the bodice just meets the top of the skirt. To fix this I employed a tactic I had seen done at other theaters. We sewed hooks around the inside of the skirt waistband and then we added bars to the bottom of the bodice and hooked it all together. During a rehearsal some of it came undone so we did end up sewing most of the front together anyways.
  • Instead of hooks and eyes we used a separating zipper inserted upside down to close the bodice. This is common in theatre, because when you are changing someone quickly into a tight dress, it is easier to have the zipper go with gravity and start somewhere where there is less strain, like the collar. The zipper is left long and the extra length is tucked into the skirt. If you are trying to start a zipper at a very tight waist instead, it often requires the actress to suck in her waist as much as possible and push at the sides to help you and even then it is quite a struggle.
  • The collar was made with a muslin base and the ruching was done in the voile fabric. They have you hand gather the ruching after it is assembled. I think next time I would machine gather and then apply the voile to the muslin and then construct the collar.
  • The sleeves were made entirely in voile. The "bell" shapes at the end were just constructed of rectangles that we gathered to fit the sleeves. They were starched to get the proper shape.
  • Out last addition to the bodice was a gathered bias-cut piece attached at the yoke. Since this was our last last-minute piece of sewing, it wasn't as full and ruffly as we'd hoped and the front ended up too flat. The back, however, turned out nicely.
  • When we made the skirt, we made two skirts; one of the muslin and one of the voile. Then they were sewn together at the waist, pleated in the back and the waistband was attached. All seams in the voile are french seams.
  • Instead of hooks and eyes in the skirt we did snaps and a hook and bar.
  • We did not use binding to hem the skirt - they include a rather wide pattern piece for this and while I could see using it if you constructed the skirt as they did, with a stiff lining fabric, it was unnecessary for us. It also explains why we ended up with a lot of leftover fabric (even though making our own trim ate up most of the voile)!
  • Last, we added a gathered ruffle to the bottom of the skirt made from the voile.
Overall, my favorite part of this pattern was the skirt - very well drafted in my opinion and similar to the Folkwear pattern for an edwardian walking skirt. My least favorite part was the bubbly front bodice and the 8 pages of instructions. This pattern is best left to a more advanced sewist.

13 November 2015

The Home Stretch: Sewing Plans for the Rest of the Year

Now that I have a decent place to sew again, the question is how to fill up the rest of my free time this year (with sewing). I spent the past week making several mostly identical chemises for the college's production of Macbeth, photos to come. 

We have a friend's kid with a birthday coming up in December and I was thinking these plaid overalls and cap would be very cute. I made her a similar cap when she was much smaller that they still have.

 I don't have any Christmas sewing planned, except something that I already finished for my mom and something else I made for the Tiny Owl Knits "TOKmas Swap". I also bought fabric to make myself a stocking since my childhood one lives at my parent's house but I probably won't make it until next year.

I have McCall's 6446 (on my sewing list since at least 2013) halfway cut out and partially sewn. I even "discovered" a fabric in my stash from ages ago to use for the lining. It was a lightbulb moment for sure. What I'm stuck on is not only the welt pockets, but the fact that the instructions don't call for a lining and I'm trying to work out all the changes I need to make to accommodate that. At least this project is seasonally appropriate.

I have two knitting projects for Christmas planned, one is this cowl, called "Pretty Woman". You can find it on Ravelry. I'm making mine up in yarn I picked up at the Southern Adirondack Fiber Festival, from The Periwinkle Sheep. The other project is a bulky shawl, but I'm betting it won't get done in time for Christmas so I'm working on just focusing on the cowl for now. I'd rather take it slow than get a sore arm and be set back for a month anyways.

Of course, I have lots more rolling around in my head, but I feel that this is more than a reasonable amount for myself and my purse as it is.

12 November 2015

Completed: Butterick 4049 Plus Size Edwardian Blouse

This is the second to last of the sewing projects for "Our Town". Because I had to sew it in plus size, I counted it as my "Out Of My Comfort Zone" Historical Sew Monthly project. I think it would be interesting to see it worn with proper undergarments because we didn't use them so it was impossible to tell if the end result looked like the pattern illustration.

Pattern: Butterick 4049
Size: 22
Rating: 5/5  
Fabric, etc.: 100% cotton muslin from JoAnn's, a scrap of embroidered eyelet border fabric, vintage lace, buttons
Cost: I think because the fabric I used was ridiculously wide I only ended up using a yard and a smidge, so $4-5
Time: About 2 days
  • The only trim we added was lace to the collar and cuffs and I draped a ruffled yoke from the embroidered fabric.
  • Even though we added a good 7" to the bodice because she is tall, the additional length was unnecessary in the arms (as I discovered from the toile).
  • The bottom button was unable to button because we did not accomodate for her more hourglass figure but since it was tucked into the skirt that was just fine.
  • I wasn't sure the sleeves would be wide enough, but they had a beautiful amount of fullness.

  • I didn't have high expectations since I've heard how plus size patterns aren't necessarily plus-size, they're just drafted extended sizes from the misses. However, I was pleasantly surprised with the results and would recommend this to other plus size ladies!

Folks Serv