Saturday, 24 September 2016

Round 3 sewing Bee - no entry for me! New starts

Sadly, I didn't make it through to round 3 of the PR sewing bee. I didn't expect to, as my bias cut top was very simple and I hadn't added any f my personality by making tweaks - I showed no creativity whatsoever! Nevertheless, I was absolutely gutted not to get through! How stupid am I?

To be honest, if I had got through , that would have caused a monumental logistical nightmare! It was really just as well.

The challenge for round 3 is Colette's new Rue dress. This dress takes Colette back to its more vintage roots. There is one version on the Colette blog, in a plaid , that I like but otherwise, this pattern is not my style. Too vintagy! Also, I understand there are some major fitting issues, so realistically , I would have no chance to produce a dress which fitted me well and had some creative spark in the time available (indeed, at all!)



So again, it's really just as well!

I really look forward to seeing all the makes.

Today, tomorrow and Monday I am playing golf in big events. Today and tomorrow are all day events at my home course and tomorrow is at a course in Scotland, 3 hours away, with the Vets. Good fun but very exhausting!

I have reluctantly decided not to rejoin my course next week when membership is due and am deciding where I should move to. This is nothing to do with the quality of the course - we have 2 courses which are the best in the area, with great facilities - and not to do with the cost even though it is the highest in the area. The focus of the club is on corporate activity and professional events, rather than common or garden members. No, a good course doesn't make a good club and there just aren't enough ladies in my club to provide golfing stimulation and variety, not to mention challenge and competition. We haven't managed to field a team in my handicap area (I have a medium/high handicap - so I'm not good but not bad either! In the County,  there are team knockout events, playing against other clubs,  for this handicap range and we used to have a team)  for the last two years as we just don't have enough women. As I am very active in the Vets (Veteran Lady Golfers), this is less of an issue than it would otherwise have been. I didn't leave last year as I might have been moving but that looks like it has temporarily been put on hold because of house price uncertainty following the Brexit vote. So, exciting but a little scary. Fortunately, I do know a lot of clubs and a lot of people in them.

I have made a couple of toiles for the dress for the Simplicity Sewing Challenge - rather put on hold for the PR Sewing Bee. I haven't quite decided whether to push on. I only have until Friday to complete the dress. I have a little time during the day on Tuesday and on Thursday I return to my daytime sewing bee - if our tutor has recovered - unfortunately, this week's class was cancelled as she was ill. This gave me the chance to finish the bias top at home. I've had to make quite a few changes to the dress already and I am running short of patience! I may yet abandon it. I'll do a separate post.


Wednesday, 21 September 2016

Simplicity 2594 - bias top. Entry to PR Sewing Bee Round 2

After some procrastination, I finally got around to making a garment for Round 2 of the PR Sewing Bee.

Because of family visiting Friday to Sunday and 3 important golf matches during this time, including today, and a tooth infection,I didn't have a great deal of time. I couldn't just decide not to do it, as then I would have deprived someone who might otherwise have got through of a place.

I looked through all my patterns - and there are a few! I looked through all my fabric of which there is quite a bit. I didn't come up with anything.

I had a pattern for a short formal dress cut on the bias - and even suitable fabric (crepe back satin) to make it but realised that really  I just didn't have time as fitting too would be crucial.

At this stage, stupidly, I decided to hack a RTW top I had. Well, it would have been okay if the top had been a perfect fit, but it wasn't. I was then going to swap the grain to the bias. The idea has merit but not when there are under 10 hours to sew.

 
Pattern envelope image of shorter view




I found the pattern for the above top - only two of the views are cut on the bias. I went shopping to try to buy some fabric with a large check or stripe. I didn't come up with anything.

So I decided to use a silky woven patterned fabric I had in my stash - I believe I bought this as a potential MOB fabric, because I love the colours. I thought it was viscose but then realised that it probably wasn't when it wasn't going to take more than a cool iron without melting. I asked Rory at class if she could identify the fabric - she did a burn test and concluded that while it looked like a polyester crepe de chine, it wasn't polyester or viscose but rather a monofilament polyamide.

I did quite a bit of reading about bias.

One of the important photos for the contest was a photo showing bias cut. They ask if someone who didn't know could look at your garment and know it was bias cut. You can't see the grain on my fabric. The best I could do was to take a photo during cutting out. This may not meet the criteria and I may be disqualified but I've finished the top and entered it into the competition, anyway, so I'm happy whatever happens.
 
Trying to show bias placement and cut. I do use a rotary cutter.
I managed to cut out on Friday night before the family arrived. I got some sewing done on Sunday evening after they left, managed a little on Monday and worked on it this evening, which is the last night it can go in.

Construction was relatively simple. It is labelled as an easy-to-sew pattern. I did struggle a bit with the yoke but really I think it's the same as a shirt yoke. I didn't use the burrito method - as I was so short of time, I followed the instructions to the letter. Next time I would have a go to see if it still works when the front is not split. Everything went swimmingly. In fact, the hardest part was getting the photos. David was out and in any case I hadn't finished the top - so the photos had to be taken in artificial light very late tonight. I don't look very happy in the photos, do I? I had to go to the dentist earlier this evening - I had a tooth out last week and there is infection now. I'm in quite a bit of pain but have started on antibiotics now.
Trying to show the back yoke and gathering beneath this.

I followed the instructions on the pattern The only modifications I made to it was to lengthen above the waist to bring the waist down lower and to cut to a larger size below the waist. I made the longer tunic to be worn with the belt but now think I'd actually prefer the shorter version. I might modify later or make another. I will wear this.
 
Front view without belt
Front view with belt
If I do make another, I will have to do a FBA. I will try to reduce bulk where the shoulder seams are turned under.
 
Back view with belt
Neckline detail
Here is my sewing bee entry:

Sewing Bee Round 2 - A Bias Garment 

Pattern or style, and how it fits the criteria: 
This is a woven top with the back and the front cut on the bias. There is a back yoke, which is cut on the straight of grain. I used a commercial pattern for which lighter weight woven fabrics such as charmeuse, crepe back satin, crepe de chine, double georgette etc. are recommended.
Fabric used - material and yardage:
I thought this was a woven viscose I bought online while I was gathering fabric to make a MOB dress (never made). I wanted a breathable fabric as I get very hot. I began to doubt that it was viscose, though, as it could only take a cool iron - a warmer iron and the fabric melted. I took it to my class and asked the tutor to try to help me identify it. She did a burn test and concluded that it was polyamide, which I couldn't list on the drop down menu. It did not burn like polyester or like viscose for that matter. My tutor thought it was a bit like a polyester crepe de chine, though not polyester from the burn test! There were strings of melted nylon like material. It is quite silky, light to medium weight, and has a nice drape. I used around 2 metres.
What other components did you use in your garment (closures, pockets, trim, etc): 
My garment has a draped neck and the bias cut allows the top to go over the head without the need for a separate closure. There is a self-faced yoke on the shoulder and to the back. I have also made a belt to go with the top. I made this extra long as I fancied tying it in a bow. I'm not sure I like the belt on, though.
Describe how the bias grain was used in your entry, and why:
The front and the back of the top were cut on the bias. The yoke is cut on the straight of grain, for stability. The use of bias cut fabric allows for greater drape, particularly for the neckline, and greater shaping.
Describe the fitting technique(s) you used to achieve shaping:/
Shaping is achieved by:
·       The use of a yoke
·       Small pleats at the front shoulder
·       Gathers in the back centre, below the yoke
·       Waistline contouring; I had to lengthen the pattern to bring the waist to a better position.
·       I had to give a little extra space at the hips and shaped the pattern outwards to a bigger size.
Have you included at least 3 pictures, including minimum one on a live model and one photo showing the bias grain? 
Yes. I found it impossible to actually show the bias grain as the fabric is print and quite fine and silky. I have shown pieces laid out ready to cut, clearly showing the fabric selvedge.
Describe what you like most about your entry:
I love the fabric! I think the bias top shows off the fabric rather nicely, although of course being a pattern rather than a directional print, stripe or check means that the fabric doesn't use some of the bias directional variations. I like the simplicity of the top. I also like that it is very cleanly finished on the inside. One advantage of using the bias was that the seam edges did not fray. I wasn't sure about this top and love that it looks like I can actually wear it.
Describe your biggest challenge in sewing this bias garment:
My absolutely biggest challenge was being realistic about what I could achieve in the very limited time I had available. I haven't sewn on the bias previously. I read through a number of articles and got a number of tips - including what fabrics NOT to use when you are starting out. Unfortunately, I couldn't buy suitable fabric locally so had to go with what I had - and that is one of the fabrics they suggest avoiding. Another challenge was finding a suitable pattern. I didn't have time to fit and make the bias dress I have planned for 'one day' (I even have the fabric for it) and decided to make a pattern for a simple top based on a RTW one I have and like - I started to pin it to make a pattern to change to bias but gave up through lack of time. Recommendations, however, when starting out are to use a commercial pattern - this was one of only two I had. Unfortunately this is not a TNT pattern.
What other information would you like to share about this project and your process?
I chose a pretty simple top for my first attempt at bias sewing. I didn't expect to get through to round 2 of the sewing bee - I only entered round 1 because of the garment required. However, having made it through, I was completely committed to following through - I certainly didn't want to deprive someone else of the opportunity. The sewing bee certainly stretches me. It also makes me do things faster!! In addition, I tend to procrastinate and there isn't time to do that in the sewing bee! That must help me in the long run.
I have read quite a bit and looked at a lot of info on bias sewing and will feel more confident about it on a future occasion. To be honest, I didn't find it that difficult.
I followed instructions to hang the top for a while before hemming it as I understand that hems can drop unevenly.
Overall, I am delighted that I have made a wearable garment within a very tight timeframe (due to other commitments), without first making a toile and getting totally tied up by and turned off by what is usually an interminable fitting process for me. That's not to say I think this top is perfect - I will make it again and alter a few things about fit and about the construction order.

Wednesday, 14 September 2016

PR Sewing Bee Round 2 Challenge

My challenge:
We have to sew a garment made with a woven fabric (no stretch) cut on the bias, for an adult, male or female, by 11.59pm EST on Tuesday next.
So it's not the creativity challenge, after all! I'm almost disappointed!

I'm not sure what to make. 25 of the 60 who graduated from the first round will go through to the second and anything I make needs to stands out (but I'm not keen on doing stripes, though they show the bias better). It stands to reason it must be well done. It must fit - me or my husband to avoid the issues I had in the first round. The two necessary photos are one on the person and one close up showing that the grain is cut on the bias - this can be during or after construction.

Shirt? A plaid shirt is often on the straight grain with a bias yoke. I'm wondering if it could be the other way around?
Skirt?
Dress?
I don't think a top? I have done a bias camisole in the past but I didn't like it and it looked pretty unexciting.

I need to raid my pattern stash and my fabric stash and if nothing comes to hand, go shopping before the shops close tonight as I'm away tomorrow. It's nearly 4pm here.

Any thoughts?

Tuesday, 13 September 2016

I'm through to the PR Sewing Bee round 2!

This is very brief post.

With 59 others, I'm through to the next round of Pattern Review's Sewing Bee.
There were 104 completed entries, of which the majority were shorts - capris were also possible.



My entry, from my last post, was another pair of lace edged lined georgette  shorts for Joanne. She has received them now and she likes them as much as the first pair. I don't have a photo of her in them as yet. She's visiting in 3 weeks so I'll take some then. I won't be making another pair for her by then though I will make more. Joanne joked that as the two pairs I made have the same lace and this is very similar to the original RTW pair, that people will think there is only one pair. I fancy making some dark purple ones if I can source the lace.

I'm very grateful to Dan for modelling for me. One of the contest criteria was fit, so I'm glad that they fitted well enough even though Dan and Joanne are different heights. Perhaps this type of shorts is more forgiving in fit.

I will find out tomorrow afternoon what I have to do for the second round. As the contest is modelled on GBSB, this is likely to be an alteration or embellishment challenge - certainly one to show some creativity which,  I'm afraid, is certainly not my strong point! I'll let you know what I plan to do! Fortunately, the time scale is not the same as GBSB and we'll  have just short of a week - but that's still too short for me!

While I was waiting for the results, I worked on my Simplicity dress. There are problems with the style and I'm not sure I will continue with it. I have written  a post and will put it up in a few days.

Thursday, 8 September 2016

A Surrogate Model and a Deadline Made

You will no doubt remember that I made a pair of shorts for Joanne,  hacked from a disintegrating RTW pair that she had worn to death.  I didn't get them made in time for her birthday, 3rd week in August, but posted them off shortly afterwards and wrote a post here and a review on PR.

The new shorts - lace edging (shown two layered here0
 
Original damaged RTW shorts

What with helping my mother move and my plans to enter the Simplicity Sewing Challenge plus a busy golf season with a major deadline Thursday 8th September for which I had a very large printing job, I had no intentions of entering the PR Sewing Bee.  Just a week to make something?  Maybe something that wasn't my style?  No thanks. But then the challenge was posted - a pair of shorts! I just had to make another pair for Joanne!
The latest version, hanging on a hanger

Time differences and an all day into the evening golf match meant that I didn't find out about the challenge until late on Thursday 1 SeptemberThe closing date for this contest was 11.59pm EST on Wednesday 7th September. That's probably about 5am on Thursday morning here. So I didn't have much time (for me - for others it might be no problem!).

On Friday 2nd September, I decided to enter it, making another pair of shorts for Joanne. I haven't seen her in the ones I made, other than a pretty bad photo, but she says they fit and she loves them. Okay then. 
Photo of Joanne wearing the previous shorts I made
I first tried to seek clarification  on the forum that these counted as shorts and therefore meet the contest criteria. The consensus was that they did. I had previously called them culottes, not allowed in contest, but these had a number of specific criteria and mine were not culottes.

Same day, I went to Dainty Supplies in Washington (Tyne and Wear not DC) and bought single georgette in black and guipure lace in black. 
I wanted to use the top lace but there wasn't enough
This new georgette was much thinner and drapier than the double georgette I used last time, which was a very nice fabric available in a range of colours. I didn't have time to buy again. Anyway,  although I'd like to make in a different colour, I don't know of a stockist of coloured lace. I'm sure there must be one. I saw a black lace in Dainty I loved (the top one in photo above) but it was the end of the role and there wasn't enough, though I bought it just in case. I bought the only other suitable lace they had which turned out to be identical to the one I'd  used previously (in the shop,  I thought it was different). They didn't have a lovely flexible lightweight invisible zip so I had to make do with an ordinary one.

I got home and washed my fabric and lace.

I looked out my pattern pieces (easier said than done!!)  and slightly tidied my sewing room aka dining room. I cut out pieces in the later evening once the fabric was dry.
 

 Here I met my first problem!  Trying to be frugal with the fabric, I didn't notice I was cutting out over a slash. Two front pieces had to be redone. I interfaced the facing of the shaped waistband.  I sewed the pockets on the front and then interfaced the left back piece ready for zip insertion. I melted the fabric of this piece while fusing the interfacing and ruined my brand new ironing cover! It was really too late to carry on. Don't sew when tired!
Melted fabric

My brand new ironing board cover!

Saturday 3rd September and Sunday 4th September, I was in Scotland helping my mother. No sewing. When I got back late on Sunday I was really too tired to start. I did some of the golf printing  preparation

Monday 5th September - busy part of day and sewing bee in the evening. I spent ages looking for a lost back - realising eventually this was the one I'd melted but I hadn't re-cut! Re-cut it. No problem with making up lining this time, got the opening on the correct side! I have major problems with that. I overlocked the edges of all pieces to minimise fraying, except the crotch seam which I sewed together and then overlocked the two sides together, on the lining only. 

I found that despite having only made these shorts a couple of weeks previously, I didn't find it that easy. My unpicker saw a lot of business. I took to the sewing bee to continue working on it. Dan felt this fabric was closer to the original RTW than the double georgette, but I know which one I prefer!  I found it helpful to look at my toile from the previous time to help me with the steps. I asked Dan if she would model the shorts for a live model photo of the toile fitted. It did and she agreed. When I returned home I had to work on the golf stuff.

I had arranged to post to my daughter who had set up with a friend to take a photo when the shorts arrived. That meant I had to post special delivery on Tuesday and hope and pray her shifts would allow her to be in when they arrived, she wasn't busy,  the friend would be available etc. The more I thought about it, I reckoned it wouldn't work. I was rather a long way from finishing on Monday and the shorts would really need to be posted by 3.30 pm on Tuesday.

David suggested I may as well finish them anyway as Joanne would want them but forget about the sewing bee.

Tuesday 6th September - golf committee meeting in morning and busy in evening. I managed to finish the in-seam pockets and insert the zip. 

I'm trying to show the pocket in front of the zip here

and here

First side of zip pinned next to pocket, onto back pocket piece, pinned but not yet tacked

My short pieces did not have pocket extensions - this was the pocket shape


I decided to insert the lace at this stage. I sewed the lace right side to fabric right side, facing in towards legs, using my edge stitch foot to position the stitching carefully. 
Lace tacked right side of lace to right side of fabric, facing towards legs. Funny colour!

Using edge stitch foot to sew on lace

Lining layer is added here - this shows sewing along the original stitching, fabric side up

Understitching the lace
The inside of the lace edging showing the understitching
I had just enough lace and no more!  I stitched the lace at the junction by hand. I then positioned the lining to sandwich the lace between the lining and lace and sewed along my previous stitching line and then understitched. The first leg was easy but the second leg was slightly trickier because of the crotch. Overall, still easier than the way I did it last time which involved turning through the zip opening in the lining 

I really struggled with the waistband. I'm not sure why I have this problem but I find it difficult to get waistbands opening on the correct side and not be the wrong way out. My first waistband didn't work,  yep,  cut wrong way around. I made up a new waistband,  this time interfacing both sides and sewed on to shorts.  Bedtime.
My curved waistband
Way past last posting date for Joanne! Plan B now in operation!

Wednesday 7th September (D-Day) - I was due to have been busy most of day playing in my medal but woke up so sore and stiff I didn't play, fortunately for these shorts, if not for my handicap.  I had the first session of my new tailoring course in the evening and I had to get my major printing job done for Thursday. 

I found that my waistband of Tuesday night was also wrong! I'm still not sure what the problem was, believe it or not. The side seam was in the wrong place that is not matching the side seam on the shorts  so I thought I had sewed on inside out or rather made the wrong side the right side (I had a definite right side and wrong side as I had understitched) but that wasn't it. I must have put the underlap on the wrong side, though I didn't pick that up before I unpicked it. Anyway, I decided the outside had been changed too much by the interfacing and unpicked the whole band, made a new front without interfacing and made up a new waistband.  This time it went in okay. It looked much better than the interfaced outside. I must try to source some better, finer, black fusible interfacing for future projects. I simply overlocked the inside as I had run out of patience with this.

After this, it was plain sailing. Hand stitched the lining to the zip tape; sewed on waistband fastenings.
Showing zip, waistband inside and fastenings. You can see that I have simply overlocked the inside of the waistband

Finished!
I took the shorts to my tailoring class and Dan kindly modelled them for me to take the required photo on a live model (I had already taken the other necessary photos and saved in a review as a work in progress), despite the fact that I was late and she had forgotten to tkae leggings to wear under the shorts. She is not a shorts person and didn't want to show her knees. Joanne is quite a bit taller than Dan so the shorts are rather longer on her than Joanne. I should say that Dan sportingly agreed to be identified in this blog post.



In class we were doing jetted pockets as part of jacket construction. More of the class at a later date.

I had a lot of difficulty putting in the review to PR. It seems that saving a contest entry as a WIP (a review of a piece of work in progress) leads to problems. It took me ages but I got there. I even managed to get my pre-AGM printing done for distribution on Thursday.

Today there was a major problem with our Internet server - not just us,  a big area was affected but this was fixed fairly quickly. However my PC is no longer working to link to the internet. Fortunately I got my linking and printing done last night! I'm trying to upload this post from my phone. I have some photos from construction on my phone (unedited) and I downloaded the 5 photos from my PR onto my phone here. So here goes! I managed to do some but then found that the problem was probably with my browser - I'm now on my PC with a different browser and not having the same problem. Whew!

Conclusion
I entered this contest only because I had recently made shorts for Joanne and was going to repeat them, anyway. After telling her I was doing this,  at this stage, I felt I had to carry it through. The timing was all wrong but I got them made. They look good - at first glance,  identical to the previous pair I made. David posted them off to Joanne for me today.

Fingers crossed for progression to Round 2!
My hope is that I will get through to Round 2 of the PR Sewing Bee this year.  I entered last year but was eliminated in the first round. Fingers crossed! I'll find out at the beginning of next week. Assuming I get through, which is a huge assumption considering all the wonderful entries, I will only go forward if I reasonably feel I can.

Sewing for Children Contest
Voting is still underway. Please vote for me!! I certainly don't expect to win but would like to come in the top half. Results should be out in a couple of days


Simplicity Sewing Challenge
As far as the Simplicity Sewing Challenge is concerned, I'd hoped to start that tomorrow (Friday) but now I'm going to my mother's for two days, so perhaps I might get to start on Sunday! I'm very busy for the rest of the month but still hope to achieve this. I should do, really, just as long as I'm not too much of a perfectionist and instead follow the mantra 'finished is better than perfect' or something like that, the implication being that I can spend so much time trying to perfect I don't get it done and lose my sewjo into the bargain. That's so true in my case. Rory has spent ages trying to get me to be faster, to just 'do it', to allow creativity to flow. I fear she's fighting a losing battle, but I'm trying and entry into these contests helps with that.

Friday, 26 August 2016

Entering the Simplicity Sewing Challenge - Part 1

As usual, time has run away with me. I was watching the Olympics and I had to finish both Joanne's culottes and Jack's shirt for their birthdays in the middle of August (didn't manage to finish either in time!).  Then I was going away for a few days,  camping, then helping my mother move. So a very busy time.


I saw this Simplicity Sewing Challenge advertised and decided I'd do it as I liked the dress. My sewjo hadn't returned and this seemed like a bit of a challenge, complete with deadline,  but for something I'd wear, to spur me into activity.


I thought I had until the end of September for this challenge but noticed tonight (Monday 22nd August),  to my horror, when I was showing the info to Dan, that the poster said end of August. I emailed Simplicity for clarification when I got home. Simplicity responded quickly and I had a satisfactory reply at breakfast time next morning. The deadline was extended to 30th September. Thank goodness! I simply wouldn't have been able to finish by the end of August.


We cancelled the camping trip as neither David nor I were very well which gave me a few days to sew.  I hoped that would be enough time for my challenge (and finishing Jack's shirt!). I planned out how I might achieve this and although I now have a month, I think I'll follow the same plan. Over a longer period of time, allowing some golf, housework etc too!


So my challenge is Simplicity 1458,  an Amazing Fit seamed princess shift dress. I like this dress as I think I will suit the style.  

This is the envelope for the smaller size range

I do like the ines
It's similar to McCall's 6028, which I like a lot,


I loved the look of this

Great lines

I entered this into PR's Little White Dress contest. 3 stylings - daytime here

This is more of an evening look

Dress in the unadorned state


and to the Mother of the bride dress that I didn't get around to making!. The princess seams allow a lot of flexibility in fitting. I can add extra space just where my derriere needs it! I certainly needed to add in this area on my most recent toile when I was trying to modify the MOB dress. On the other hand, this dress has A-line flares below the hip line so I may not need to adjust as much as I do with a sheath dress.

Those of you who know my blog will know that I am tall, a plus sized pear shape, a bit of a perfectionist and usually make multiple toiles. I don't have time for that. So I plan to follow the Amazing Fit pattern method more closely than usual! But not to the letter.


I chose the larger size range (20W-28W)as I thought this might mean that fewer pattern adjustments are needed, although I fit into the top of the smaller size range,  too. I note that the larger size range has a longer back length but I'm not sure about bust apex position. Standard cup size in the smaller size range is B but it seems to be C in the larger range. The pattern has cup sizes, so that's a bonus. I'm hoping starting with a size 20 won't be too big at the upper bust area. When you read some suggestions regarding sizing by upper bust measurement, my size would be 18. On the other hand, I am 'big boned' and 5'11" so the larger size might be ok.


Plan:
  • Cut out tissue based on my high bust measurement (or size 20) but using multi size to accommodate my larger hips.
  • Use pattern recommendations to choose bust cup size (the pattern is multi sized)
  • Use pattern recommendations to choose curvy or average for hips (certainly not slim!)
  • Pin tissue together and try on.
  • Likely changes needed
    • Bust apex position (may need lowered)
    • Waistline position (may need lowered/lengthened)
    • Waistline position (may need altered for forward tilt)
    • Hip shape (full high hip)
    • More space for derriere (not a sway back alteration)
    • Skirt length - may need to be longer
  • Based on alterations made to tissue,  cut out and try on a toile. I plan to insert piping so I need to get the fit sorted before I do that. The pattern method doesn't actually include a toile so an extra stage but I think worth it.
  • Adjust toile and adjust pattern pieces
  • Cut out final dress with larger seam allowances as per Amazing Fit method


I have sufficient calico for a toile and David will help me with the tissue fitting
I will use double crepe for the dress and single crepe for the piping. I need to buy some black cord for the piping filling. These are the fabrics I had intended for the MOB dress.

I'm not sure about a full lining at this stage.The pattern doesn't specify a full lining but I added one to McCall's 6028 and liked that. Unlike many people,  I quite like facings, so I have a decision to make. I'm much less keen on a bias tape finish to neck and armscye edges. I tried it out on my previous toile for a modified 6028 (MOB dress) and while it was okay I didn't like it as much as either facings or a full lining,  both of which I've done.


Can I do it in time? I hope so! At least I have a month now not just 3 days! Well, 3 weeks, really , as I'll be away for around a week from Monday, helping out my mother. I feel really guilty that I didn't help her enough first time she moved, due to the wedding sewing (is that a factor in her not settling?), so she has to come first this time! At least because we downsized last time, there is less to deal with.

My next planned post will have details of fitting a toile. Hopefully in about 2 weeks time. Really the final making takes least time - I find that all my time is taken up in fitting.

Thursday, 25 August 2016

A shirt for my grandson. Burda 9419

A shirt for my grandson


Front of shirt with collar down

Front of shirt with collar up to show contrasting under collar

Last year I saw that Deepika from PR had made a shirt. I think it was her, anyway. I absolutely loved the fabric and decided to buy some and make a shirt for Jack. The fabrics are Robert Kaufman/Sarah Johnston Mod Geek #14563 and #14565 


I had some difficulty locating the fabric which I eventually bought from the US - even with import duty,  VAT and postage it was cheaper than I could source in the UK.  I bought 2 yards of the main fabric and 1 yard of the contrast. I'd hoped to get a shirt for Ben out of it too but there is probably not enough (Ben and Jack both growing and mistakes - see later)

I didn't get around to the shirt until this year. I bought a Burda  kids pattern 9419 and decided to go for it. I had Jack's birthday and the PR children's wear contest to spur me on! Jack turned 7 last week (no, didn't make it in time). I saw him a couple of weeks before that and had an age 9 toile in plain calico for him to try on. It was a good fit. Really too good, though, and I decided to go with age 10. He's growing like a weed. He's very tall for his age and his width is in proportion so the shirt width was fine.

I love the fabric but it is a little bulky. Perhaps this is quilting cotton rather than garment cotton? It's certainly not shirting cotton. I pre-washed and tumble dried the fabric - I wouldn't tumble dry but my daughter could well do. It has a nice handle and actually doesn't fray too much.

I traced out size 10. I left myself too much to do and too little time to achieve what I had hoped for. I had to finish Joanne's culottes (part of her birthday present the day after Jack's) and that took a lot longer than I thought. I got them posted though and could start on the shirt. I then intended to take it down with me when we visited to camp with them for a few days, which would have been on Tuesday past but we pulled out as neither if us is very well at the moment.

I very carefully pattern matched the front pieces. No major problems in cutting out main or contrast fabric or with the interfacing. I worked as suggested by the pattern - except I used the clean finish method for yoke insertion (aka burrito method) using my course notes from last year. I used a clean finish method for the pocket too.  I used the pattern instructions for the collar and stand but would have been better using my course notes for that too, possibly. Both the collar and stand were interfaced on both sides.

Inside of shirt to show clean sewn contrast yoke and under collar



This also shows contrast internal yoke

I had made a miscalculation! My perfect matching was perfect - if the shirt was edge to edge and not buttoned! I had failed to take into account the overlap!  I cut out another right side front, using see-through tracing paper to help with the pattern matching. I had enough fabric but perhaps not enough now for a shirt for Ben.

Otherwise, no problems, really. My collar didn't fit as well as I'd hoped, not sure why. I had to adjust the stand on the hoof. Jack doesn't use a top button so I wasn't going to make one. The fabric was bulky here and the placket and stand weren't flush with each other despite several attempts at adjusting. However, because we didn't go on holiday, I was able to go to my sewing bee and Rory helped me adjust further and it looked a lot better after the fabric was trimmed further to make it less bulky. Following the pattern instructions, I sewed the back of the collar to the  shirt but Rory feels the other way around is better. I unpicked the top stitching (not the whole collar) and redid with a narrower collar width on the inside as it was somewhat wide beyond the top stitching.

Detail of collar stand


I overlocked the side seams together and top stitched on the right side to hold down the overlocking and provide a decorative finish. I used black thread throughout as I thought this provided a nice contrast and unified the pieces.


Side seams - stitched, overlocked together and then top stitched on right side. Wrong side

Right side of side seams showing top stitiching

I have a rather large stash of buttons but couldn't find any to suit so had to buy some. I did have some very nice buttons which were really just too small only around 9mm. I decided to use black buttons and black buttonhole stitching as I think this will fit in best with the design. I couldn't do the buttonholes as I didn't have the buttons so sewed in a different order from the pattern instructions. 

I had difficulty sourcing the buttons locally. My local John Lewis had run out of black shirt buttons - but these were 15mm in any case, and a little large. I managed to get some 13mm buttons, loose, in Fenwick. I didn’t want to buy online unless I really had to as I wanted to see them for size - in any case, I did look online and didn’t see much, really, in black. I’d really have preferred atomic orbital buttons!

After getting the buttons,  I made the buttonholes and sewed on the buttons. The collar buttonhole was still a bit tricky and took two attempts. The buttons are a good size for the placket but I think this size is rather large for the collar. Jack won't button it, though, so I won't change it.

Sleeve bands. During my toile, I accidentally sewed these on upside down and then had problems stitching. Fortunately, I worked out what I had done wrong and I stitched these this time without problem.

Sleeve band

View of sleeve before band turned up

Back - collar down
Back - collar up to show under collar

Detail of back, showing yoke, loop, collar stand and under collar
I started on the hem. Please note that my self facings were already top stitched down. This is important as I then followed my course notes to finish this edge - and we hadn’t stitched them by that time. I sewed, trimmed and turned and realised that I had done this completely wrong! This was a big mistake and I thought I would have to redo the hem shorter than previously. At the sewing bee,  however, I clarified that another option was to unpick the top stitching, open out the fabric and bag the bottom. It looks much nicer. Because I had trimmed the fabric, it was a little trickier but not too much. However, I wasn't too happy with the hem. Being relatively wide, as the pattern used a 1.5cm seam allowance, the hem didn't lie as smoothly as it should have at the curves. I therefore took it out, narrowed the fabric by trimming off on the overlocker and re-hemmed with a narrower hem, which I then top stitched.


Overall, I like the shirt. This is the first I have made with a shirt collar with stand other than the practice course garment.  I hope Jack will like it too.

Because we didn't go camping, that allowed me to ask advice about the hem and the bulky collar stand front. My shirt is much better now than it was. I probably won't get a photo of Jack in the shirt in time for the PR contest, as they don't return from holiday until next week, but that's not essential to enter.

I could have rushed the changes to the shirt but I felt it more essential to tidy my sewing room (AKA dining room) - I’m afraid it was a dreadful mess and as yet is only a little better! Also, I'm still a bit unwell. 

Wednesday 9.30 pm

I've finished the shirt! I think it looks great. I'll post it tomorrow after taking some photos which I'll put in blog. If I'm lucky, I'll get a photo of Jack wearing it before the end of the month which is last date for entry for the PR Sewing for Children contest.

I see now that there are things I could have done better or rather differently - by not following the pattern instructions in some cases.

# I sewed the pocket on differently, to give a clean finish to the top
# I sewed the yoke on differently, using the clean finish (burrito) method
# I sewed the bottom of the plackets differently to give a clean finish
# I used a narrower hem allowance on the hem. I think that if I do this again I would use a narrower hem allowance all over. Even the collar here had a full 1.5 cm seam allowance which is way more than is needed.
# I wish I had completely followed my course collar instructions as I see now that the result could have been better, giving a cleaner inside which is important when the collar is being left open.
I'm not going to be hard on  myself, though - this is a perfectly wearable and presentable shirt. I like it.