Wednesday, 27 April 2016

Thoughts on seams and seam allowances; wedding update

When I use commercial patterns, the seam allowances are usually 1.5 cm or ⅝”. The two are not absolutely equivalent. The big 4 are ⅝” and they tend to have all seam allowances this size and then get you to trim. I'm not very good at trimming. However, I do use their seam allowances if I'm making one of their patterns. It would probably be better to trim some of the allowances on the paper pattern before I start and that's my intention in the future.
1.5cm v 5/8"
I ran into an issue when sewing up a skirt with several panels, drafted with 1.5 cm seam allowances. My sewing machine is marked at 5/8" and I sewed up using this marking. However this is 1.6cm approx,  in fact. So each seam allowance was 1mm x 2 larger than it should have been. 5 seams mean that the skirt is 1cm tighter than it should have been. This doesn't seem much but was decidedly problematic. I'm going to mark the seam allowance on the machine which should make it easier to follow the correct straight line. I tried this but the tape I used isn't too easy to follow; I need to find a better method.

When I make my own patterns,  I tend to use metric.  I use 1 cm seams a lot. I find these good for princess seams, neck and armhole edges etc. This is the size we use most in class. There is no doubt that particular sizes are best for particular purposes, however.

Reading pattern making books which use imperial measurements,  they often recommend ¼” for collar edges, for example. Different sizes for different purposes.

For fitting, larger seam allowances are best. The big 4 amazing fit patterns suggest 1” as do many of the imperial pattern books. Our class tutor suggests 2cms.

I find in practice that I often use 1.5 cm,  approximately ⅝”, as that is so widely used (but see issue, above) 

1 cm for shoulder seams,  armholes, neckline, facings
1.5 cm for side seams and back seams if a zip is going to be included, 1 cm otherwise.
1.5 cm for waistline seams.

However, when I started making my own patterns,  before I started my college  course, I used Sure Fit Designs, SFD. This is in imperial, ⅝”.

When I started drafting patterns for my daughters, I used SFD - draping and using some of the other systems weren't really possible.

As I fit the toiles, I alter the seam allowances.

Why do I mention this?
I've already said in other posts that I'm not very organised.

I'm doing patterns for two pretty much identical bridesmaid dresses, each custom sized for my two older daughters. For the bodice of each, I started with SFD.
I was sewing up a further bodice toile before posting it off. 
The shoulder seams on one were 1.5 cm  and on the other 1 cm as I had adjusted one and not the other. Needless to say,  I sewed one at the wrong place! Just as well this wasn't the final fabric.
I'm regularly getting them wrong as I'm just not consistent.
This leads to slowness as I keep having to check with the pattern what size the seam should be.

Rory and Dan have agreed to sew up the bridesmaids dresses for me. So I reckon I'd better sort out those patterns! I'll do that after these two toiles are fitted, which will be done by post. ( edited to add - Joanne's is fine but Alison's needs taken in quite a bit,  so her pattern will have to be altered; I've asked her to get a local dressmaker to do this.)

Update Wednesday 27th April 
Quite a while has passed since I started writing this post. Helen's dress isn't going well. I posted her a toile this week as the last one was so bad - but there are still problems. Alison was going to get a local dressmaker to pin fit her toile on her but has been so busy with her open university course, work, life and motherhood and organising the hen-do for Helen that she hasn't managed; she just realised when I tired to chase her up that it was nearly the end of April. I've decided I do have to travel to meet the girls. I decided against attending the hen do, originally (it's a full weekend and Monday is a bank holiday, too). Firstly, I personally don't feel that this is for my generation(!) and secondly, my mother was due to be moving into sheltered accommodation this weekend and I was involved in moving her. However,that has been postponed slightly. So I'm visiting my mother Friday and Saturday to help out and then travelling home (car) then on Sunday/Monday will visit Cambridge and attend part of Helen's hen do on Sunday night. On Monday I should get a chance to fit both Helen (in the yet another new) toile I'm making at the moment to take with me - and Alison. I have a couple of things to check out with Joanne too. Wish me luck!! It's still more than a month to the wedding, but only just!

Wednesday, 13 April 2016

Changing direction

I'm not sure where to start so I'll keep it simple and brief.

Lots of you were expressing concern that I had overloaded myself with wedding related sewing and was becoming way too stressed. True,  of course.

A couple of you suggested deferring my course. This wasn't possible. However, I have managed to change my final project to the wedding dress and am being allowed to submit photographic evidence of the final garment  - obviously I couldn't hand in the dress! The tutor has been involved throughout the process.

This means I have dropped the MOB dress, which wasn't required by me and I was doing purely to fulfill course obligations. I have purchased an outfit and have arranged to get shoes and bag dyed to the right shade - very dark navy. So that part is completely sorted.

I have arranged for Rory and Dan to make up the final bridesmaid dresses. Joanne's final toile looks fine but Alison's needs some work. I've suggested she tries to find a local dressmaker to pin fit her - a lot cheaper than either of us travelling to the other. Then the pattern will get modified and that can get passed over.

My course starts again tomorrow. I need to do a fair bit of writing up but that's no major problem as I was tracking what I did. I might have to do a new mood board. Again no problem as we have a Pinterest board.There will be a final presentation but first things first!

I've nearly finished the final toile for the wedding dress. I've found a couple of the techniques extremely tricky - and difficult. Helen is trying on this weekend - then I make the proper dress. Scary and exciting! I have 3 weeks.

I'm visiting my mother a few times to help her move into sheltered accommodation. It's very small and requires a lot of downsizing. I feel less panicky about the time I'm spending with her at this stage. Travelling is 3 hours each way so a lot of time gets used up.

Everything comes together,  of course. My tooth broke and that had to be fixed.

We still have a large and noisy fan running, trying to dry out the wall after the toilet flood. The builders were here today planning their next steps. Not looking forward to the mess! But of course it will be nice to have this toilet back in action - it was a real miss over the Easter weekend when we had a full house. Just as well we weren't completely reliant on it.

Thank you for your good wishes.

Back to finishing a piece of work (lining) to take to course tomorrow. 

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