Friday, 7 August 2015

Rest of August Plans - and exam distinction

I have a number of plans, including finishing off 'UFOs' or unfinished projects.

Two unfinished projects:

The first has been sitting around for well over a year. I need to finish or discard. I find the presence of these unsettling and I feel I can't move on until I finish. In part that's why I persist with projects when a more sensible person might give up.
In this case, the project, a simple skirt, is not difficult. The problem is pattern matching. Having already cut out the pieces before realising a smaller size was needed; I'm finding pattern matching all but impossible. I might have to finish but forget about matching - some say no matching is required with this pattern.

The second is V1082 which I think is a lovely looking skirt. The double contour waistband elevated the skirt from ordinary but also increases the complexity of fitting. The skirt has a few negative reviews on PR which surprised me.  This is a Sandra Betzina Today's Fit pattern. I think her sizes are closer to mine than regular big 4 patterns.

I planned to make this skirt for my college course. I realised that, as always, fit would be an issue, but I felt I wanted to make a skirt that was beyond a beginner's skills - I'm keen to develop (and practice) new skills.

We had 4 weeks in class (max 2h per class - in reality, much less time than that) to sort this out. It's not a great deal of time.  I find I get on better at home than in class but I like going to class as there is available advice. Anyway, in the first week, I cut out the pieces in calico with a view to making a toile to fit the skirt.

The instructions have you try on the waistband before you proceed. So I sewed the double waistbands together. I needed to adjust the top part of the band as it was too loose, so I took in a small wedge/dart at each side.

It was the end of class by this time and I didn't get a chance to carry on at home (or have it checked by the tutor).  When I was getting stuff ready to take to class the following week, I found I had misplaced the skirt pieces. They weren't in class. So at that stage I felt I didn't have time to search further - besides I had nowhere else to look. I'm a rather messy worker, I'm afraid. I thought the pattern pieces could have been binned in error.  I abandoned and moved on to the dress I eventually submitted instead.

However, I've since found the pieces! While fetching another pattern's pieces from my portfolio, I found the skirt pieces! I don't remember carrying the portfolio to class on the night I lost them - I find it so cumbersome and awkward to carry that I tend not to take it.
I made the adjustments I thought were required to the waistband and then sewed up the whole toile. I was fortunate that I had a summer sewing bee session, run jointly by my two college tutors and they fitted me into the skirt (view A). I had additional changes to make - they made it altogether tighter by taking in the back yoke at the zip area, 1.5cms each side, 1cm at side seams and enlarging and continuing the dart I had sewn out on the front yoke right through upper and middle yokes, through lower yoke and into side front piece. I have already modified the pattern based on these but have yet to sew up the toile.

I'm moving on to a toile for a bodice for my daughter. I previously made her a dress, which I fitted at a distance,  but which worked out pretty well. She wears the dress a lot and gets many compliments.

I found the pieces for the pattern for my daughter. I made her V8766 

with some modifications -  increased height at shoulder,  removed 1.25 inches from central back and a few other minor tweaks; the major changes were to the neckline, which was lowered and semi-squared back and front.

I had stored a tracing of the pattern pieces for her size (I made from a 12, the smallest size available on the pattern I had, though a 10 would have been a better starting point). Plus I had stored a copy of the altered pattern with its lowered neckline - this was looking rather the worse for wear!  I therefore

  • Traced a clean copy of the modified pattern
  • Traced a second clean copy but not completing the neckline
  • Took the original pattern tracing, laid it over my modified version and altered the neckline.

So I believe I now have a basic pattern modified to fit my daughter. I will make up a toile and fit her the next time I see her. My pattern cutting tutor had requested that I make a hip length toile for my daughter, ready to start designing her wedding dress in class in September, which is the plan. What I have done so far will take her down to waist length and I need to add the waist to full hip portion to the toile - but I don’t have those measurements. The dress I made had a circle skirt, so hip width was pretty much irrelevant.

I have drawn up a pencil skirt in a straight size 12 to act as a toile when I see her - I need something to start with.

I used the same modified pattern pieces to compare her sizes v Simplicity 1418. I have worked out how to move on with this.  I will make up the dress and take to my daughter when I see her next; I'll be using an inexpensive fabric from the market. I am going to use a blue chambray-type fabric with white capstans and put white mini-piping in the seams, instead of finishing with bias tape.

The other toile I have to make for when I see my daughter is for her fiancĂ©. He has requested a waistcoat - more details much later. I don’t even have his sizes yet.

I'd also like to make up toiles for my two daughters who will be bridesmaids so that I can do some initial fitting when I see them next. I have some idea of my oldest daughter's sizes as I made her a blouse, not altogether successfully, but little or no idea of my middle daughter's sizes as she is rather body shy. She has however agreed to the process. So I'll see what I can do.

My oldest daughter was coming this weekend, for a christening, so I thought I would see her. I made up a toile based on the sizes I already had but I'm sure this will require a lot of adjustment. Unfortunately, they have now called their visit off as my son in law is unwell.
So I have lots of toiles to make to start the fitting process for the wedding next year, a dress to practice skills, and two UFO skirts for me. I have a pattern modified ready to make a start on a sheath dress for me, one that I have made before, but that will have to wait for the moment. I haven't decided what I want to wear for the wedding, though I think a dress and jacket is likely.

I'm having problems with posting (and everything else!) since I upgraded to Windows 10 - apparently Microsoft Edge is not what I expected and I might have to change to Chrome before Blogger will work properly. What with freezing and not allowing editing in Drive docs, this post has taken 10 times as long as it should have! (Edited to add - I've banished Microsoft Edge and installed Chrome and now things are working as expected)

To end on a very positive note, I learned today when my certificate arrived that I got distinction in both courses I undertook (Pattern Cutting and Garment Construction Techniques). I'm looking forward to going on to the next stage.


  1. Many Congratulations on the Distinction....well deserve it all!
    What a lot of work you have in store but I suspect in the end a lot of satisfaction too.
    I read and a few folk said they wouldn't touch Windows 10 - others are all for it. I shall stick with what I have as I wouldn't have a clue about those things.
    Weather remains miserable indeed - yes, yesterday was quite good but today we are back to rain and dark days.
    We haven't even got to Northumberland this year as yet as we have builders doing a new porch for us and it just seems to be taking forever.
    I keep working on and have too many orders at the moment. I just feel I am created out and in need of a change and a break.
    Renewed congratulations!

    1. Thank you, Joyce. Everything working fine now with Chrome, still with Windows 10. I'm rather looking forward to the tasks I've planned. Today was a gorgeous day - terrific for golf, in short sleeves.
      I'm sorry to hear you feel created out - you must have a break to renew your creativity. Northumberland is beautiful...

  2. Firstly many congratulations for the two distinctions Anne. You worked very hard for them. I am also very impressed by the fitting of the bodice on your daughter's dress - you are going to have so much fun with the wedding dress.

    In terms of the UFOs I wouldn't worry about the pattern matching on the first skirt. Just finish it quickly and then get the V 1082 made up as I am sure it will be a great skirt for you and I am dying to see it!

    1. Thank you. I made the dress for my daughter before I had a blog - it's reviewed on PR. I used the PO to send toiles back and forward from London, and emails (her connection not good enough for Skype). My daughter was going on holiday so I had that deadline a well as the PR comp deadline. I hope I'm up to the wedding dress with help from my tutors - that is my project for next year's course. I'm concerned, though, as I've struggled today trying to make up Simplicity 1418, above - admittedly because I've made a change. I'm planning to do another toile for V1082 but will make it up properly; will l take to sewing bee on Tuesday evening (I don't usually go to that as I play bridge on a Tuesday evening but that's off for 3 weeks - all to the good as my other class doesn't start again until mid September). I'm using a wearable fabric so maybe wearable; I'm not sure that I should put the piping in that one, though, so I'll maybe just do the topstitching if it fits.


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