Monday, 17 March 2014

gekkeiju (japanese laurel)

'gekkeiju' as i am reliably informed by google translator, means laurel in japanese.  this is a sleeveless colette laurel in a soft japanese cotton from tessuti.  one of the things i love about a sleeveless shift is the ability to wear it all year round - when it is cooler i wear them with a long sleeve tee, tights and boots.

i bought this fabric during the recent sydney sewcial - a fantastic day of eating, drinking, chatting sewing and fabric shopping.

here's an awesome pic taken by susan from measure twice cut once inside tessuti's surry hills store of little betty, sew amy sew and i having a great old chat behind these amazing japanese cottons.  i loved them all but decided on the blue.  actually looking at this pic i wouldn't mind getting the pink for a laurel top.

here's another one of susan's pics of me purchasing the fabric.  i had no idea she was taking these - i was too engrossed in the sewing chat and buying fabrics! i do love having a photographic memory of purchasing the fabric - wish i had susan out fabric shopping with me all the time.

on to the dress.  i hadn't made the laurel before, i bought it recently as i like the sleeve and top options.  i was a bit turned off previously that colette patterns are drafted for a c cup, but decided i really should just buy the pattern and do a sba.  i didn't realise it before i bought the pattern but the front does not have waist darts, meaning the pattern on this fabric remains intact.  like.

you can see the back waist darts here which mess with the look of the print.  overall i am pretty happy with the fit - i can still do some slight tweaking for future versions, but in general am pretty happy. particularly as the photo below shows my first muslin.

according to the pattern size chart i am a size 4 bust and size 8 waist.  i hadn't read anything on any of the blog reviews i read saying the pattern ran super large for them so i cut a straight size 8 and did my first sba. though i must admit i mainly just checked out the photos and scanned the reviews.

looking back i really should have flat measured the pattern and paid a bit more attention to the clues in the blog posts i read, particularly posts from similar sized sewists noting that they cut size 0 - 2.    after a couple of muslins i finally settled on cutting a size 2 bust (no sba) and graded down to 0 for waist and hips, with the following alterations:

  • 3/8" forward shoulder adjustment (next time i will do 5/8" - this alteration was a first for me)
  • redrafted armscye for a sleeveless version, i did this using style 2622 as a guide, as well as trial and error - as i wanted to be able to wear this dress in winter with a black tee underneath
  • i also tapered the side seams further from the waist down when sewing up the dress.  i will probably taper a bit more next time.

i lined the dress with 'elegance' from martha pullen - 55% cotton and 45% silk, which i purchased online for $5m during a sale.  i read about this fabric on gertie's blog when the topic was suitable linings for summer dresses.  it was great to sew with and feels really nice on.

i finished the neck, arms and hem with black bias binding also from tessuti.  i sewed it on with the sewing machine and hand stitched it down.  it was a great job to do in front of the tv, particularly as the opening round of the afl took place over the weekend.

it's great to have a dress to remember the fun of the sydney march 2014 sydney sewcial by. 

just one last pic of the first outing for the dress - billy bragg @ the sydney opera house.


Thursday, 13 March 2014

plan b: vogue 8805

in the spirit of the real ernest flagg i am going to start a 'plan b' series on this blog.  plan b meaning a pattern that i make up twice or more.  i often seem to do this - while i'm making a pattern for the first time i am already thinking about another look for the pattern.  this is plan b: vogue 8805.

this pattern was popular on blogs a while back. i have been keen to make it up in ponte so i can wear it for work when i ride my bike and stuff my clothes in my panniers - we don't have ironing equipment at my office.

lucky for me i was able to check out some blog reviews and knew the pattern ran large before cutting.  according to the pattern i am a 12 for the bust and 16 for waist and hips, but i cut a straight 10.  its a straightforward quick make and am happy that it fits quite nicely.

the only change i made was to omit the back neck opening and cut 1cm from the neckline so i can pull on the dress over my head. for my taste the back of this dress is a bit boxy, i will probably go back and put some darts in.

for the second version i used a printed rayon and black cotton sateen after seeing this version on the tessuti blog. i also cut a 10.

i made a few more alterations to this one:
  • extended the length of the middle piece and reduced the length on the lower piece
  • cut 1.5cm off the neckline so i could again omit the back opening and still be able to pull the dress on
  • added back darts
  • tapered the sides at the waist fractionally 

i gathered the rayon to ease fit it to the top piece.  I did get a couple of small puckers but they aren't really noticeable.  i bound both necks with bias binding. i also finished the arm holes on the first version with bias binding as i sewed up the side seams before pressing up the hems, so used the binding to avoid fiddly turning and pressing.

for the second version i pressed up the arm hems prior to sewing the side seams and finished with a regular sewn hem. i went for red bias binding on the neck, as if you follow this blog you may have noticed there has been a lot of black and white around here.  some regular coloured programming will return soon!