Sunday 23 June 2013

Alma blouse!

After drooling over the Alma blouse pattern since the day it was introduced to us all, I have finally taken the plunge to buy the pattern and make my first version. 
I must admit, I had really high expectations for this pattern, especially after seeing all the great versions on the blogsphere. But I was not a little bit disappointed! Thank you, Tasia, for such a wonderful pattern!

I made view B, cut a size 0, and needed no alteration what so ever! I know that Sewaholic patterns are great for pear shaped ladies, and although I am not exactly pear shaped, this was perfect for me as I would usually do a SBA.  

The pattern instructions were clear and concise, with all steps for all views fitted onto one single page. The pictures are really helpful, too. I liked the over and under collar pieces; in fact this is the first time that I have seen such distinction -- when I made the 1940s fitted blouse, the Peter Pan collar used the same pieces for the collar itself and facing.   

I used a floral stretch cotton for the top and polycotton for the collar. I was really pleased with how it's turned out. I love the way it fits -- the invisible side zipper really helps! 
Now I just can't wait to make another version - View A, here I come! 

Saturday 8 June 2013

Picnic time!

Update 16/07/2015 - You can now make your own version with the free pattern here! Enjoy ;)

Summer is here, people!!! After the longest winter in the history of the earth, and the shortest ever spring, I am so very pleased that summer has finally arrived! Hooray! 

What better time to enjoy a picnic in the sun by the Thames? For a change of scenery, we visited the lovely town of Marlow, and sat by the Marlow lock, watching the world go by. 

As soon as I bought this beautifully bright cotton fabric (all 5 yards for £5! can you believe it?!), I knew that I wanted to make a copycat of Betty's floral dress which was worn in two different episodes in Season 2 of Mad Men:
Having looked through my pattern stash, disappointingly I could not see anything that fitted the bill. So with sleeves rolled up, I drafted the pattern with a simple gathered rectangle skirt, with a princess lined bodice. I then added self-fabric spaghetti straps, with a couple of little bows as decorative details. All in all it took me a day to complete this project, and I had to wear it to my own picnic today!

I also made the picnic blanket last week, in one of the evenings. I used a 1.5m x 1.5m piece of cotton fabric which was leftover from my peplum dress, matched by some hardwearing outdoor fabric of the same size to make it more stain/water-proof. I stitched all four edges but about 10cm with right sides together, clipped corners, turned around and top stitched the edges again. Basically I made a baby blanket again, but with non-baby friendly fabric this time! 

Sunday 2 June 2013

What's on my sewing blackboard

I'm  not even speaking metaphorically!  
Do you see all the lovely rulers? Isn't it just fitting (get it?) for a sewing space? 
To complete the tailoring theme, I also tracked down a lovely photo frame!  

Do you have any sewing-related home furnishing items, too? Or is it just me that's this obsessed? 

Have a lovely week everyone! XX

Saturday 1 June 2013

Tutorial: how to add lining to a skirt with waistband

As promised when I shared my ultimate work skirt with you, here is a tutorial on how I added lining to the skirt when the pattern did not call for one, with the added waistband. If you are not using a waistband, I hope this could still be useful but you would have to pick and choose the relevant steps.

The pattern I used was McCalls 3830 -- if you haven't tried this already, please do! It has quickly become one of my favourites, as it's so simple but gives great results.

Please allow me to say that the steps below set out how I added lining to McCalls 3830, mainly by studying a RTW skirt that I had. This method may well not be the right or only way to achieve this, but as it worked for me, I thought I would share it in case it would be of help to someone.

Before we start, you may want to decide whether you want to make any design changes. I added a waistband by following this helpful tutorial on Coletterie here. My waistband was 2.5cm wide, but if I were to do this again, I would widen it to maybe 3cm or 3.5cm.

Now the lining. You will need slightly less lining fabric as the fashion fabric, as you won't need to cut out the waistband or the waistband facing pieces from the lining. To choose lining fabric, broadly anything that is marked as "lining" in the shop should work. However I tend to go for lightweight/thin and silky material (a faux habotai, or a lightweight satin), and if they are anti-static, that also helps. You could try and match the colours, contrast it, or insert some funky lining that no one would be expecting -- anything goes!

Part A: Making the skirt and waistband 

I have not gone into that much detail here, as each skirt pattern is different, so the key is to follow the pattern instructions.   

Step 1: Make darts, stitch skirt sections together, leaving room at the top of the centre back seams for the zip

Step 2: Stitch waistband sections (after interfacing them) together, leaving the centre back open. Do the same for waistband facing sections

Step 3: Attach waistband and facing right side together at the top edge 

Step 4: Attach skirt to waistband with right side together

Step 5: With the waistband facing flipped out (see picture below), insert the zip ensuring that the top edge comes in slightly below the top of the waistband (rather than the facing)

After step 5, your skirt should look something like this:

Part B: Prepare the lining 

Step 6: Cut the lining pieces
I used the skirt pattern pieces, without any change. I lay the pattern pieces so that the centre back seams of the skirt fall right on the selvage of the lining fabric. I often find that lining fabric frays very badly, so using the selvage would make your job a lot easier later on.

Step 7: Make tucks rather than darts in lining pieces
One thing that I noted from examining my RTW skirt was that whilst the skirt pieces had darts to fit the contour of the body, the lining pieces adjusted for this by tucks, leaving more ease and flexibility in the lining. So I did the same, and it worked. That said, I think if you made darts in the lining pieces to match the skirt pieces, that should not be an issue, either.

Step 8: Stitch lining sections together, leaving space at the top of the centre back just slightly longer than the zip length. 

Part C: Attach lining to skirt

Step 9: Turn the skirt inside out, flip the waistband facing back inside the skirt (on the right side). After this you should have the top of the skirt seam which is attached to the bottom of the waistband seam at the very top, ready to also have the lining sewn to it. Pin the top of the lining to those seam allowances with wrong sides together. 

You will see here that I have already graded the seam allowances so that the waistband seem is shorter than the skirt seam. 
When you are close to the centre back, where the seams are folded over, pin as far as you can, leaving a small gap. 

Step 10: Sew as pinned, within the seam allowance. I did a 1cm seam here, but really anything within the 1.5cm seam allowance is fine, so that this new stitching won't show on the right side of the skirt. 
 Step 11: Hand finish the small gap close to the zipper

Step 12: Slip stitch the lining to the zipper tape, leaving extra room at the bottom for the tab 
Part D: Finishing touches

Step 13: Press 1.3cm if you are using a 1.5cm seam allowances throughout (or just a slightly narrower seam than whatever you are using) down on the open edge of the waistband facing. 

Step 14: Fold the waistband facing to the inside of the skirt, overlapping the folded edge over the seams (bottom of waistband and top of skirt). Pin on the right side of the skirt. 

 This is what it looks like on the inside:
Step 15: Stitch on the right side of the skirt. I went very slowly so that the stitching fell right into the previous stitching line so it's almost invisible
Step 16: Hem
I pinned the hemline for the skirt layer first, blind catchstitching it by hand (see Sherry's tutorial here). Then I pinned the skirt lining to be a tad shorter than the skirt itself, so it won't be seen easily when I'm wearing it (despite a part of me wanting to show off the beautiful lining!)

Can you see how the pinned lining ends slightly above the skirt hem?
And there you have it! A fully lined skirt with a waistband! Give me a shout if you have any questions or would like to share your experience :)
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