Saturday, 5 July 2014

WIPS and Wadders

I'm going to a sewing workshop for 3 days next week - a birthday present from my mother. I'm going to be making a jacket.
I'll probably make Simplicity 2149, version B/C using a beautiful pure wool fabric. I'm also taking Simplicity 2341 and a couple of choices of fabric - a black jacket weight linen and a grey slightly velour fabric.
There are pink and beige tones in the wool which don't show up very well in my photos.

Both jackets are unlined. S2149 has Hong Kong seaming and I went to great efforts to get enough of an appropriate bias tape; I was going to make my own but in the end decided it was easier to buy. I bought 25 metres of 5/8" single bias binding, which I planned to fold, slightly asymmetrically along the gap in the centre; the pattern calls for 1/4" double bias binding. I can't buy already made double bias binding.
Really, however, I fancied lining any jacket I make but thought my tutor next week would consider that to be too advanced for me; however, she has responded to me saying that she would prefer me to line than do Hong Kong seam finish as it is faster and neater. I kind of broke my fabric fast by buying new lining fabric for the wool jacket, but I consider that justified so don't feel in the slightest guilty. And DH came along with me so he's not too worried about my growing fabric stash, really.

Interestingly, I asked this tutor her recommended way of pre treating my wool fabric as I had read several different options; these included dry cleaning, soaking in cold water then drying in rolled up sheet; washing in cold water; steaming all over and putting in tumble dryer with two hot wet but squeezed out towels. When she responded by email she suggested that most fabric, with the exception of denim, didn't actually need pre treatment. I have already pre-treated most of my fabric and really don't feel happy about not pre-treating the wool. I had also asked whether I needed to pre treat the bias binding - but it looks as though I won't be using that now.
However, I had several works in progress. I'd really like to have finished these before starting another!
The first is a sleeveless cowl neck top Simplicity 2594 version A, in pink crepe.

This was to be my June garment for the Make a Garment a Month Challenge. I started this in my weekly Thursday sewing class, firstly altering the pattern for length so the waist shaping would be in the right place. My tutor there didn't like the way the  shoulder yoke was added to the garment and so I started doing it her way at class, unfortunately missing the next class because of a golf match (in which we didn't do very well, regrettably). I wasn't able to continue by myself as I didn't really understand the process. I do now. At class on Thursday I was able to move the garment on and am nearly finished apart from top stitching and hemming of armholes and bottom. That shouldn't take too long but I can't think about doing it now before my jacket workshop next week. I'm back at class on Thursday, though, so should manage to finish it then. I do, however, prefer my own sewing machine so might decide to finish it at home instead. Next week is regrettably the penultimate class before the summer break -start back in mid September.

The second is a wadder. I had fabric left over from my burda dress. I like the dress and the fabric lies nicely and is reasonably flattering. After looking at options, I decided to buy Colette's Mabel, a beginner knit skirt.  

I certainly didn't want to make a mid thigh version so decided to make version 3, a pencil skirt with front princess seams designed to be just about knee length. I lengthened the pattern by 1.5" to account for my height and bring it to the correct length. I had already cut out and decided that I'd finish it today, perhaps even wear it while away. The pattern was fairly easy to make up although I had great difficulty in understanding how to attach the waistband and lining; the pattern instructions have you trim 1/8" off lining to cause it to turn in. I got this wrong, sewing the wrong side. I re-cut the pieces - well it still wasn't right, I'm afraid. I would have preferred to understitch, but maybe that isn't suitable in a stretch waistband. Finally I finished attaching the waistband ( 'a mid rise contoured waistband') and tried the skirt on before hemming. I had already basted and tried on, over my trousers (in class) and it seemed fine size wise though there was no waistband at that time. I wasn't sure about the position of the waistband, but really that was the least of my problems. I really dislike the shape of this skirt. I had seen a few pictures of completed garments, which I thought were too tight; mine isn't. However, I have a full high hip, an inward dent and full high thigh - the result when wearing this skirt is not pleasant to see! My husband immediately commented 'you really do need to lose weight' (he's right and this wasn't said in an unpleasant way - he's very supportive but I've gained a stone of the two I lost.) I'm not going to finish the skirt - I actually don't think my shape changes enough with moderate weight loss to make this a flattering style for my shape. Fitting lessons advise against emphasising this hip type and well, a knit pencil skirt does exactly that.

That's all I'm showing of the skirt. This is the waistband with the finer weight lining. Not a nice sight.
My third unfinished garment is a pair of trousers. I go to a monthly dressmaking class (now finished until September) and we tissue fitted each other into McCall's 6091, a Palmer Pletsch easy fitting pattern.

 I made a number of tissue changes to account for leg length, small waist, full hip etc. I was going to make up a muslin of the result but this was voted down in class and we went straight onto cutting out fashion fabric last week (our second class). I used a fabric that I don't mind losing if the result is not good but can wear if it is.  
I got so far in sewing up. As the next class is not until September, I will probably finish off myself before then.

My fourth unfinished garment is a skirt that we started in a make a skirt class linked to the monthly dressmaking class, but we didn't get finished within the day. Version C., knee length. 

I would definitely have preferred to make a muslin and then alter the pattern and cut out the fashion fabric. Instead, we tissue fitted and then cut out fashion fabric (same tutor as the pants ). I had some problems with my fabric. I bought suitable fabric from the shop where the class is held (a quilting shop) and prepared it ready for the skirt making class. Unfortunately, at class I then found a flaw which ran throughout the fabric at a regular interval and so my fabric was replaced by another, an art gallery fabric, but which a) wasn't prepared and b)the pattern was set at a slight diagonal and difficult to deal with.

Waistband ready to sew up. The diagonal direction of the fabric is easier to see in the next photo; I wouldn't have chosen if I had realised in time i.e. before I cut into it!!
Nice fabric but I wish I had never seen it. Some of the problems I have had with making the skirt up may be due to the accommodations I had to make to account for the fabric pattern. And of course, I had to match the pattern which was extremely difficult. There is another skirt making class in September - I may leave it until then! I don't feel any urge to fight with it at home.
Maybe by this time next week, I'll have a finished jacket and a finished top. 


  1. The Colette skirt certainly looks as though it would highlight every ripple on the pattern envelope. It's a pity your looser version did the same - still, we all make garments that are unflattering, from time to time (unfortunately). Can it be worn with a longer top?

    You are certainly ambitious with the jacket project - do take your time with these - your fabric is so lovely, so I do wish you all the best with making these.

  2. Yes, every lump, bump and ripple even though it's a fairly sturdy knit. I'm not sure if a jumper would disguise it enough - I'll have a look later in the season when hopefully I'll be slightly less bumpy!
    I got on well with the jacket though it's not yet finished, and I altered a bit when I got home, following some advice from my Thursday sewing tutor. I should have it finished this coming week - I'm in no hurry and would prefer to get it right. It's a fairly unstructured jacket and I was advised to choose this pattern as it is straightforward. The tutor suggested a few tailoring techniques. My Thursday tutor also suggested small raglan shoulder pads, so I need to chase them up. It's looking pretty good, though.
    Thank you for commenting. I hope you feel refreshed after your break and are enjoying using your new tablet.

  3. You mentioned on your MAGAM post that you had a white dress with a crease down the front. Have you tried using a white vinegar solution to remove it? I've found a 1/2 strength solution sprayed onto the crease and then pressed with an iron removes any is also great for putting them in when you want them too

    1. Thank you, Karen. No, I didn't try vinegar, I didn't come across that one. I've taken the panel out now but I'll try this to see if it would've worked. Come to think of it, of it does work I could just sew panel back in! Of to get some white vinegar!


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