Monday, 1 January 2018

Making my wedding dress: Part two

 My first attempt at a bodice was lacking structure so I thought what kind of bodice will give me structure? A corset of course! Maybe I could have drafted a corset from scratch? I dunno, what I do know is one of my trusty sewing bee books already has a corset pattern I can use!

I made the corset up in some muslin first with the plan of making alterations to it if necessary and then using the pieces as my pattern. As it turned out the first attempt fit well so I made it up in some satin.

I'm awaiting the boning now, channels are all in place ready. Prior to that I think I'll attach the bias binding to the front top edge. Then I'll be able to insert the boning all the way to the top before hand stitching the back of the binding. The original pattern has a lace up back but I prefer to use an invisible zip.

Whilst I'm waiting for bits and bobs in the post I moved onto the skirt. I like the idea of having some big pleats, maybe all the way around or perhaps starting on the hips. I've looked at millions of pics online and big box pleats just catch my eye.

Im going to make my wedding dress floor length. This outfit is purely for trying out some techniques I've never done before. I decided to cut the hem to mid calf left just to take a bit of drama out of it and I may stand a chance of actually wearing it... Somewhere...

I've added a waistband and invisible zip to the skirt, there's some horsehair braid on order to give the hem some structure. This is another thing I've never done before so learning lots with this project. My next posts will cover finishing off the bodice and the skirt hem. The grand finale will be adding some lace to the mix. I have a few more YouTube videos to watch before then though!!!

Making my wedding dress: Part one

Sew..... This happened!

Obviously my thoughts quickly turned to making a dress!!! I pretty much jumped straight in and starting drafting a bodice using my dress form.

 My original idea was a satin bodice which I'd then drape tulle over.

 I added some shoulder straps partly for stability but also to have something to anchor the tulle to. I had some mocha coloured satin which matching chiffon knocking about so decided to play around with draping. The way the bodice is connected below the bust requires gathering and I quickly realised this wasn't going to give the sleek under bodice I was after.

 It was back to the drawing board to adjust that bodice and take out the gathers!

I spent many frustrating hours trying different ways of draping the fabric. Having never done this before I really was winging it. I just couldn't get the tension right; the chiffon was either too taught and pulling on the bodice underneath or it was too slack and looking like a baggy mess. In hindsight, chiffon wasn't the best fabric for this style and I was planning of using tulle anyway, with it's sturdier structure I might have achieved what I had in mind... However I got frustrated and decided to start all over again with a different look. We'll, I haven't set a date yet so where's the hurry? 😂

My own sewing room!

Haven't posted for a while after a busy year of moving home, decorating and most importantly setting up my first sewing room!! Obviously my sewing machine were some of the first things that got unpacked 😀

Along with a few other rooms the sewing room received a lock of paint

Lots of sewing has been done over the last 12 months. Having a dedicated space has left me brimming with ideas....

Monday, 13 June 2016

Pattern blocks: Bodice

Today i have been making my own pattern blocks so i have the made to measure foundations of as many different clothing patterns as i can imagine! I have been using a great book called 'How to use, adapt and design sewing patterns' by Lee Hollahan.

The book contains basic pattern blocks for a bodice, sleeves and skirt. Firstly take some measurements of your body so you know what size pattern blocks to cut out. Then, you simply scale them up onto some pattern drafting paper in the correct size for you. Today i have worked on the bodice. I found that the length of the shoulder was going to be too long for me so i adjusting the pattern at this point. Once i was happy with my paper pattern i added 1.5cm seam allowance and drew the design onto some medium weight calico:

Next i sewed up all the darts and then finally attached the pieces together at the shoulders and side seams:

Now it was time to try it on and check how close the fit was.... turns out the neck hole was too small...

I cut into the fabric to make the neck slighter wider. The fabric i removed from the toile was then used to update the paper pattern.

Time to try it on again...

 Ta da! Now we have a very well fitting bodice :) The paper pattern can now be used as the basis for many different types of tops and dresses that will fit me perfectly every time. The next task is to draft some sleeves....

Sunday, 3 January 2016

Embroidery bird

This year Santa brought me my first embroidery kit! This is a Nancy Nicholson kit that, once finished, can be framed or turned into a cushion, or whatever you like.

The kit come with a printed cloth with markings showing you where to sew. You also get, your needle, threads and a guide to the different embroidery stitches. I found i had to google some of the stitches to get a clearer idea of how to do them. Here's my progress so far...

The kit came with a light grey for the back ground but i've decided to keep it bright and go with green instead.

Still undecided what to do with it when it's finished, leaning towards framing it to protect it from cats....

Patchwork duvet cover

The only patchwork i have done was a hand made quilted blanket using the Victorian paper piecing method. It was a very long project and very time consuming but I'm tempted to do it again, the final results were very pleasing. In the meantime i thought a patchwork duvet cover made using my sewing machine would be a much speedier option. It was indeed faster, however very repetitive and boring. I hope i don't forget that and embark on another patch work machine project....

The duvet cover was to match my green bedroom so the first task took many weeks: finding the right fabric.

I decided to try a basic chevron design thinking i'll start with something easy and advance to a more technical design for my next project (won't be doing that in a hurry). My chevrons were compiled of triangles which i cut out using a rotary cutter. Firstly i cut some plain cream coloured squares (25x25cm) and the same again in my patterned fabric then overlocked them right sides together.

I then cut through the two fabrics diagonally to get four squares; half plain half patterned.

Then i lined up the colours to make a chevron.

I made up eight rows which gave me a finished piece measuring two metres by two metres. I took the cream fabric from a pre-made duvet cover and i kept the back half to add to my new chevron front. I also had the strip of poppers to re-use!

Final project modelled by Billy :)

Sunday, 25 October 2015

simplicity 1254 Leanne Marshall coat: Part Two

The next part of the construction was to attach the lining and outer coat together. With the fabric right sides together I first sewed the side seams together. I then followed the confusing instructions on how to incorporate the lining into the corners of the coat whilst leaving a border of coat fabric around it...

Here's some close up shots of this bit, the instructions on the pattern were pretty useless so anyone wanting to make this coat might find colour photos useful!

Looks great when you flip it back around the right way!

The zip is the easiest bit, its just plonked on top so i bought one with nice metal teeth.

Next you turn the coat inside out again to sew up the bottom seam a couple of cms up from the bottom. You also want to leave the lining a bit longer than your coat to allow for movement. The last thing you want is for all your seams to pop open the first time you bend over!

Ta da! Side and bottom seams done :) I attached the bottoms of the sleeves together and then sewed some discrete stitches by hand to anchor the tops of the sleeve lining to the coat so it wasn't all sitting loose.

I decided against doing the caped hood which, ironically, was the feature that drew me to this pattern in the first place. The main reason was the hood wouldn't have been functional at all and i like a hood so i don't have to carry a brolly! Also, i like the ruffles on my sleeve seams and didn't want this detail hid beneath a cape. So, i drew around a hood off another coat and made one from the wool and one from the lining. I made the lining version slightly smaller so that the wool would roll around into the inside and make a border preventing the lining from poking out.

Here's my little border created by cutting the lining a bit smaller. I top stitched all the edges on the coat to make it look a little bit more professional.

I used the machine to attach the wool part of the hood to the coat then sewed the lining up by hand, adding a useful little hook.

And here's the finished product :)

I'm really pleased with the coat. I like it more and more as i wear it. Once i've worn this one out i'm sure i'll make another...

UPDATE: recently added some applique patches which really seem to be catching on lately...