Sunday, May 20, 2012

Button Back Top - 2nd Draft

This week I finished up my second version of "Style 2". That's it's working title at least. When I've perfected it, I might give it a name of it's own (open to suggestions!). I'm classing this as another wearable muslin as there are elements that still need tweaking....
Front back
Whilst the sleeve treatment is a vast improvement on my slight deviation previously (stick to the plan P, stick to the plan), and is an accurate reflection of the original design, it still needs a little refining. Essentially, the sleeves look perfect from the front, but there are too many drag lines at the back shoulder. My best guess is that I drafted a slightly too acute underarm curve and  also need to enlarge the armhole slightly. Either that, or I'm thinking I may bite the bullet and try it with a set in cap sleeve.  To accommodate the kimono sleeve I rotated the bust dart into a French dart eminating from the waist. I included a "faux" button placket (complete with buttonholes) just to test out the look of it before I went into all the faff of drafting a placket and facings. What's particularly pleasing is that my sway back issues are nowhere to be seen with this draft. Yay! I used a light to medium weight cotton, and whilst the previous fabric was too light, I'd say this is marginally too stiff to be perfect. So somewhere in the middle for the next go methinks. Having said that, I don't want to sound like I'm on a downer with this top at all. I'm not. Overall I'm really pleased with it. I like the fit of the French darts. I drafted a neckline facing for this version and am really happy with the neckline as a result. I'm so pleased with the effect of the faux button back that I probably won't even bother with drafting a functioning placket for this design; and as before I love the contrast of the scooping hems front and back. Essentially the only changes I'll make to this will be the sleeves (set in and cap next) and the weight of the fabric. Not bad really :) If I wanted to make the sleeveless version it would be near as darn it perfect!
Full details of the process after the jump...

Thursday, May 17, 2012

My Brother

Have ever I mentioned I have an older brother? (I think I've alluded to his IT skills in the past). I say older brother, but there's only a 1 year and 9 days between us. In fact if it wasn't for the fact that he's 6ft 4 with dark hair (well it used to be anyway ;) a nice tan and blue eyes, and I'm 5ft 5 with red hair (once naturally ;) freckles and brown eyes, well you'd be forgiven for thinking we were twins...;)

Anyhow, my bruv, is one of those special people. The "nice guy" that doesn't have a nasty bone in his body. Oh and just happens to be super talented at anything he turns his attention to.  But then I'm biased of course. So I thought I'd see what you thought.  By day he's something very techy in IT in London. But by night, on the way home, he takes photos like this....

and this...

and this...

I was blown away by these pics. I love them. I've always been a bit of a night owl and love the way a city comes "alive" at night in a way that is very distinct from it's daytime persona. I think these pictures really capture that vibrance.  Now, tell me, is it just me, or is my big brother just a little bit of a clever clogs or what?

Monday, May 14, 2012

MMM '12 - Week 2!

So another week down! I must admit, the last couple of Me Made challenges I've participated in were a struggle. Being relatively new to sewing I had only a handful of "wearable" MM items to choose from which made putting together outfitsVERY tricky; and often resulted in somewhat bizarre combinations that certainly didn't reflect my personal style very much. This time around, it's proving easier. Namely because I have a growing number of MM items to play with AND, more and more of them are reflective of my personal style. I've never really had a "personal style aesthetic" before. It really was a bit incoherent, mismatched and I had alot of "stuff" that just didn't go with other "stuff" or just didn't suit me! But the ability to sew and adapt my own clothes seems to have opened the door for me to experiment with different shapes/styles and I can definately see a few patterns emerging in how I dress....

Monday (no photo): Grey top- Self drafted (fabric £4/m),  Flared Jeans - thrifted (£4)
Tuesday: Grey Polka top - Self drafted (fabric £4/m),  Trousers - Thrifted (£2) and refashioned
Wednesday: Thrifted top and cardi, Trousers - Thrifted (£1.50) and refashioned (not blogged)
Thursday: Striped Tee- Thrifted (99p) and refashioned (not blogged), Thrifted (£1.50) and refashioned (not blogged)

Tuesday wednesday thursday

Friday: Navy Top - Thrifted (99p) and refashioned, Trousers - Thrifted (£3)
Saturday: White Blouse - Thrifted (99p)   Cropped Jeans - Thrifted (£3) and refashioned.
SundayGrey Polka top - Self drafted (fabric £4/m), Flared Jeans - thrifted (£4)

friday saturday sunday

Friday's trousers have been banished from my wardrobe. Saturday, the shape is good but the combo is a bit "mumsy" in hindsight. Sunday is a failsafe of mine. I wear this combo alot and really like it. I'd love to hunt down some more of that polka fabric, (as I fudged the construction of this top a little) but I couldn't see it on my last trip to Goldhawk Road. The navy trousers (Weds/Thurs) I cropped and narrowed ages ago but never wore them because I'd put on a little weight. Well somehow I must've lost some because they now fit, yay! I liked the sailor style button details on the hips but the original length and leg width wasn't quite right. Both legs really are the same length I promise. When I stand like that in a photo, one knee bent, it make the perspective a little odd! The navy top (Fri) has sat in my repair pile for AGES. (I wore it to "the" blogger meetup in Goldhawk Road last year) It took MMM to give me the kick up the arse I needed to sort it out. I was in a rush to finish it and I, well erm, I didn't finish it. That is to say, I didn't finish the raw edges inside before I wore, and then washed it (several times!). I received a few compliments on the "ingenuity" of this top that day. Little did Zoe, Karen et al know the guilty secret that was on the inside! No matter, because it has all been sorted now! Amazing what a zig zag stitch can do in 5 minutes ;)
Oh, and we had some sun too!

Monday, May 07, 2012

Me Made May - 1 Week down!

So, Me Made May 2012 is well under way and I've been enjoying seeing everyones outfits. Both on their blogs and in the Flickr group. I sympathise wholly with lighting woes expressed by fellow Brit bloggers due the relentlessly grey and wet weather AND I totally relate to those that find "self photography" the only part of the MM challenge that isn't fun! You'll notice in my pics I generally can't bring myself to look at the camera. Heck, on Wednesday I look like a sulky teenager avoiding eye contact whilst being told off. The weird thing is, anyone that knows me IRL, will tell you I'm a pretty direct  and seemingly confident person. I'll always maintain eye contact when I'm speaking to someone. I just hate having my picture taken. Always have. It's the one aspect of writing a sewing related blog that I'm not entirely comfortable with. But I try! (on Sunday I gave myself a day off from photos, as I already had a photo of the exact outfit I was wearing, ha ha!) Anyway, I felt some explanation, nay, apology (!) was in order for the plonkeresque nature of my "poses" before getting on with the business of  outfits...

Tuesday: Grey top- Self drafted (fabric £4/m),  Cropped Jeans - Thrifted (£3) and refashioned.
Wednesday: Striped Tee- Refashioned (not blogged), Trousers - Thrifted (£1.50) and refashioned.
Thursday: Vintage plaid shirt - Thrifted (99p), Trousers - Thrifted (£1.50) and refashioned.

Tuesday wednesday thursday

Friday: White Blouse - Thrifted (99p), Trousers - Thrifted (£2) and refashioned
Saturday - Geometric Print Top - Self drafted (fabric £2), Flared Jeans - thrifted (£4)
Sunday- Denim Shirt - Thrifted (£1.50) and refashioned, Cropped Jeans - thrifted (£3) and refashioned

friday saturday sunday

So, what have I gleaned so far? The last 3 outfits I like. Saturday and Sunday being the most flattering on me shape wise. Tuesday's is ok. The shapes are good I think, but the fabric of the top looks too drapey. Not something I noticed whilst wearing it so self photography has it's benefits! I'm feeling a wee bit ho hum about my sky blue cropped trousers (Weds/Thurs) I LOVE my blue cropped trousers but they look odd in both photos. Possibly I narrowed them too much at the ankle. I'm hoping it's just the camera angle. Usually I only wear my plaid shirt (Thurs) with my flared jeans (Saturday) which is a combo that I think works well enough. But worn with those blue trousers? Well it's not a combo I shall be repeating!
So onwards and upwards. I desperately need to do some laundry (or some speedy sewing)!!!
Take care

Sunday, May 06, 2012

FO - Geometric Self Drafted Top

I picked up this fabric a few weeks ago, at a Craft Jumble at our local church hall. It was seriously dangerous in there. Trestle tables piled high with all manner of sewing, knitting and crafting parephernalia, all at  rock bottom prices. Old ladies elbowing in to get to the best bargains. I snaffled this piece up for the pricely sum of £2, (who cares that I stamped on an old dear's foot to get to it ;) and I still have enough left to make a dress at some point. If you happen to follow me on Pinterest you'll have noticed an emerging obsession with geometric patterns, which is what really grabbed me about this fabric. It's satinised so has a very subtle sheen and a weave that reminds me of raw silk. But I genuinely have no idea what the fabric content is. I just know that it feels great and has a fab pattern, and it washed up fine on a 40 degree wash and a warm setting on the tumble drier. (Line drying in the UK is not an option right now. Flippin' rain!!) So it ticks all the boxes as far as I'm concerned. Happy days!
This was a super quick make using the pattern I'd already drafted for this tutorial. I was aiming for a boxy style shell top and that seems to have worked out pretty well. Except this time I drafted a facing for the neckline,which really enhances the bateau shape much more than the bias finish did on my previous make of this top. It was such a quick make that I even bothered to finish the facing with some deep purple bias from my stash...

Drafting a facing was one of those things that I had built up in my mind as more time consuming than it actually is, so I'd kind of avoided doing it. I couldn't have been more wrong. In fact it took less than 5 minutes, literally. For some bizarre reason I'd been labouring under the misapprehension that a bias finished neckline was quicker and easier. Ha! Sometimes there's no rhyme nor reason to the way my brain works.
What a plonker!

Saturday, May 05, 2012

Top Draftalong - Style 1 (slight deviation) - Step by Step

I finished up my toile for my first attempt at drafting this style...

I set out to draft a simple enough kimono sleeve, but got distracted from my goal (a definite personality trait!) by these instructions for drafting a "slash" style sleeve treatment in the book that originally inspired this draftalong in the first place. So I thought I'd try it out. (Hence the "slight deviation" in the title of this post)I am in the process of drafting a second toile in line with the original plan but thought I might as well share this in the meantime...
I followed the diagram above to draft the top part of the bodice. Tracing my blocks onto paper in the position shown. Then drawing in the new neckline and armhole as per the diagram. (The dotted lines are the new shape lines). There were a few variations to my draft since the block I was starting with is a variation of the free Sorbetto pattern, rather than the one from the book. For instance, I had to raise the neckline at the CF and CB before I could draw in the "bateau" neckline shape, whereas the toile pattern in the book has a high neckline to begin with.

I then drafted a new hemline shape on the front....

...and then the back of my new pattern...

The key thing here is to line up the side seams and ensure that the curve flows smoothly where the seamlines will eventually meet. It's also important to ensure that at least the first few mm or so of the new hem line is at right angles to the CF and CB. This will make for a smooth curve that flows seamlessly from front to back and will avoid a pointy look at the CF and CB...

Once I added on 5/8 seam allowance...

My pattern was finished and ready to try out...

This is the result. The fabric is super drapey and slippery (and creases and frays, ugh!) which posed a few problems with the construction. Namely with creating the self bias binding (even with my masking tape trick! Argh!) and on the curves of the hem. Overall though, It's a comfy top to wear and a good opportunity to try out the hem shape. Personally, I don't LOVE the sleeve treatment here. But then I don't hate it either. I guess I'm OK with it but not super chuffed. Which makes me a bit more keen than before to try out the original "vision" of a kimono style sleeve.
However, there were a few anomalies that surfaced during construction that make me think that this is not a great method. If you look at the diagram you'll see that it instructs you to trace the shoulder points so that they are a distance apart. (2cm to be precise). However, because this is essentially adding length at the shoulder seam, the position of the bust darts was too low as a result. You also end up dropping the armhole down a few cm. (You can see in the diagram the new armhole is lower front and back). Combined with the extra length at the shoulders this makes for a very baggy and gaping armhole and bust darts that are floating around under the bust! It was easily remedied by taking the whole thing up by an inch at the shoulders.

 But that's not really the point. If the draft is good then you shouldn't have to make adjustments like this once the toile is made up, right? So to be honest, I shall be all but abandoning the instructions in this book for future drafts and relying on my wits and my trusty Winifred Aldrich book. Anything else I can research online! Overall though, a good experience. Focussing on the positives, the hem treatement is exactly as I wanted it, the neckline is a good shape, and now I'm looking forward to drafting the sleeves as originally planned and not getting distracted from my plan!
I'll rethink my fabric choice too. This is a little toooo drapey. Look at the drag lines eminating from the neckline! Great on a grecian style look, but not on this style of top. I'm aiming for simple, smooth and uncluttered lines. This is a big area that I need to learn more about. Picking the right fabric for the right project. I have a sturdier cotton in mind for the next attempt. Fingers crossed!

Hoping you're having a lovely weekend, despite the ruddy rain
(if you're in blighty :)!