Friday 27 July 2012

Pre-wedding update - BM dress

2 sleeps to go! 

Thankfully I have finally finished the bridesmaid's dress today (would you believe it? this last minute? it's really not my style) so thought I would share some photos with you before my lovely bridesmaid wears it on the big day and takes the dress away with her!

The zip closed - it's a pink silk dupion dress with a yellow zip, and it will be worn with a lemony yellow ribbon. 
 The (contrasting) bodice lining with the waist stay inserted
 Hand finished zip between the layers. 

 Very wide hem! I had to shorten the dress by a rather lot, but I was too fearful to cut it short at this late stage (especially as I had hand overcasted the bottom of the dress already). I had to include "ruffles" for the hem so that the fullness is distributed evenly. 
Some non-sewing related sneaky peeks of the sweets jars (centrepieces) and our wine classes for the big day:

 for the top table

See you after the wedding! I'll have so much to upload then, from the wedding day and the mini-moon! 

Wednesday 11 July 2012

"Easy" skirt - take one

As inspired by so many bloggers' elastic waist skirts, I've finally decided to make my own. Amongst all the very helpful tutorials, this was my favourite as it was inspiring on many levels for me:

Level #1 : it's called 20-minute skirt tutorial. The efficiency attracted my attention immediately; 
Level #2: it was an upcycle - I loooove upcycling!
Level #3: the fabric used reminded me of something I've had for ages... 

So this is what I ended up with - look at how much effort I was putting in to put this spin on? 

Do you see the resemblance in the fabric, as compared to Alli's skirt? I think both have a vintage feel, with floral prints, and the colours that sort of thing. I think you'll see what I mean. Funnily enough the fabric was from a oversized (for me) maxi dress that I bought from a Warehouse store that was closing down, for £5, with the view of unpicking it all and making it into something I'll like. I did do the unpicking part straight away, though waited over a year to actually refashion it. 

So I used 3 pieces of this lovely fabric from my stash (woohoo I still have quite a lot left!), one that was 105cm x 48cm, and two that were 52.5 x 48cm. I attached them together to form a long loop with French seams, and hemmed the bottom edge. 

I formed the elastic loop, and gathered the top of the skirt. 

And then the troublesome part came! I must admit that this took me much longer than 20 minutes... I was not having a good sewing day. I had great trouble with the elastic... Previously when I worked with elastic, I stretched as I sewed with a zigzag stitch, so I tried to do the same with the top of this gathered skirt. Unfortunately I lost control of it all, so the stitches were not a straight line, in fact, very far from it. 

Oh dear. After unpicking patiently, I started again, this time with my fiancĂ©e's help, who stretched one side whilst I kept hold of the other. Nope, still no control whatsoever. 

More unpicking, but this time less patiently... the time had come that I decided to risk the stitches breaking, but gaining more control by no longer stretching the elastic. Instead, I gathered the skirt some more. This time the stitches formed a lovely straight line,except that a lot of the stitches were skipped. 

This 20-minute skirt really became a test of my patience. After unpicking bitterly this time, I re-threaded my machine, and tried again. Skipped stitches again. It was only then I decided to refer to my sewing books (maybe I'll do some reviews of those at some point?). I don't know how I managed to sew with elastic without any issue before (pure luck?) but apparently what I should have used was a ball point needle which will "slide" better with the elastic without breaking and pulling all the elastic threads. As I didn't have any ball point needle at the time, and that I could not possibly let a 20-minute project drag on overnight, I zig zagged it a few more times to ensure that everything was attached securely, and was done with it. 

So this really was far from perfect, but now I can't wait to make another version to use what I've learned from this! After debating for ages with the perfectionist in me, we agreed that it wasn't terrible after all. Now I have a summery skirt that is light and comfy to wear, and who knows, it may just about make the cut to my mini-moon suitcase! 

More photos: 

My usual pose
I like the fullness!

Alice in action... not sure doing what!

Sunday 8 July 2012

Fresh as a daisy

Dear readers, before we start the double bill this weekend, do you like the new look of my blog? It's coming up to a year now since the birth of this baby, so I thought it was time to give it a simpler and fresher look. 

Anyhow, I was too excited to have finished my second version of Simplicity 2444, and just couldn't wait to share it with you. 

I think I will gladly add this to my mini-moon wardrobe, and I just hope that the weather will be nice and hot in Paris!

I just love how summery it looks - the fabric was a polyester that I bought from my Prague trip. Now I don't usually go for manmade materials other than viscose, but I fell in love with this daisy print and gladly paid about £10 a metre for it. 

What's more, this dress gave me a chance to wear those yellow shoes that I've had for a while ;)
I made a few adjustments to the pattern based on my wearable toile
  • I cut a size 4 this time, and graded to a 6 at the waistline (as the waist was tight enough last time!)
  • I made a small bust adjustment ("SBA"), having finally come to terms with the fact that I do, in fact, need to do this for most patterns... I think usually commercial patterns "cater for" a B cup, with a number of exceptions (eg Colette patterns have a C cup). I followed the very helpful tutorial here, which oddly meant that I ended up with a bodice pattern with only one set of darts rather than 2! But it did fit me much better. 
  • I omitted the centre front seam of the skirt, and cut it on fold instead. To ensure that the side seams still align, I took the seam allowances off at the sides and it worked fine. 
  • I took 15cm off the skirt length this time, and was happy with the length. 
  • I did the neckline facing, but unfortunately the fabric was rather sheer so it showed through! It bothered me no end so I unpicked it all... and finished the neckline with a self-fabric bias tape instead. 
          This is what it looked like with the facing... ewww 

              I used the tutorial here to finish the neckline. Here're a couple of in-progress photos:

And that's it, my second version of the great Simplicity 2444. I love this pattern, especially now I have managed to get it to fit. I can't wait to make it again! 

Saturday 7 July 2012

"Mini-moon" wardrobe starts here

With less than a month to go before we hop on the Eurostar for our so-called "mini-moon", I have, of course, started mentally packing (by which I mean packing in my head, as opposed to packing in a crazy manner). I mean, we are only going to Paris, the fashion capital of the world, and are only going to be on a "mini-moon" once in our lives... so no pressure...

Thankfully my sewing machine came to mind. What better way to start my mini-moon wardrobe than making a few items myself? I thought I'd start with a very simple project that I've been wanting to do for ages, a quick refashion. 

A year or so ago, I bought this maxi skirt in the sale (obviously.. can you see all the price reduction stickers?), which refused to stay on my hips, with the view of upcycling it into a sundress. I had my eyes on the super soft floral fabric, the fullness of the skirt, and the pleats at the bottom.    

One year on, I finally got round to implementing my genius plan. After some mild unpicking, and approx. 3 whole hours of intensive shirring on a school night, my first mini-moon wardrobe item is complete! 
So there you have it, a very quick and effective project! This is what I did:

  • I removed the top "tier" of the maxi skirt; 
  • I measured the length of the skirt to position the pleats to start just above my hips so I get a dropped waist effect;
  • I finished the edges of the top of the dress, sewing a casing for a piece of elastic;
  • Then I shirred, shirred, and shirred some more, using a whole spool of elastic thread; 
  • Finally I inserted some white elastic into the top, et voila! I have a new sundress! 

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