RSS

Tag Archives: sewing with stretch fabrics

what was going to be and what was

It ended up looking a bit like this but not really, mostly because I was wearing it 🙂

This is what it was going to be. I love the pattern and the range of style options. It’s elegant enough for a wedding but not intimidatingly difficult. However, tracing and cutting required more space than I presently have or can create. This is what it ended up being. I’ve made it at least twice before, all the pattern pieces were already cut out and it is indeed an easy sew. It is, however, a 1980’s pattern, which means quite loose-fitting. Perfect. I wanted something more fitted. I measured carefully and reread the instructions, as well as measuring an RTW dress I use for work to ensure that the finished measurements wouldn’t be indecently tight. It worked out well. Both Dr B and YoungB were surprised by how nice the finished article was. (Don’t you just love their confidence in my ability?!)

My wonderful, expensive fabric behaved beautifully and sewed up a treat. Except, sadly, when I was sewing on the right side of the fabric (eg, to make the neckband or hem, or doing any topstitching). Then, no matter what I adjusted, there were skipped stitches. I tweaked all sorts of things, to no avail. Finally with time running away from me, the light fading, my neck aching (from bending over all that unpicking) and my patience fraying ever so slightly, I decided that I’d simply use a smaller stitch length, sew slowly and steadily and accept whatever I got at the end of that process. It didn’t do away with the skipped stitches, but it did minimise their number. And I accepted that result. (You’d have to look closely to notice the skipped stitches.)

I made version 1, including the long sleeves because, you know, cool afternoons  and evenings up in the HIlls, winter on its way and all of that. And, as I said, my end result was, as intended, a great deal more fitted than the envelope photo would suggest.

I changed the neckline entirely. I have interfacing somewhere, but since tidying my sewing room I’m no longer certain of its whereabouts. Therefore, I decided to do something whose construction was akin to that of a t-shirt collar, but I made it with a slight twist. I let the dress hang for a couple of nights before I finally hemmed it. Dr B measured it for me, and estimated I’d need to remove 5 inches. That sounded like rather a lot! I shortened it by 4 inches and turned up a half-inch hem. That gave me a flattering, just-below-knee hemline. Funnily enough, I don’t recall shortening it last time, and I haven’t marked the pattern to indicate that I did. But I haven’t got any taller in the intervening 33-odd years.

Rather than leave it languishing in the wardrobe simply because the neckline could use adjusting, I’ve worn it on Board meeting days.

Also, partly because I have T. Rex arms, I had to chop off some of the sleeve length. I hadn’t made the long sleeved version before, but I ought to have remembered the 1980’s penchant for Very Long Sleeves and taken heed from the pushed-up sleeves in the photo. No harm done and the dress finished in ample time (honestly, I reckon I was done with the last of the threads by mid-morning on the day of the late-afternoon wedding). We ended up being a party in blue because Dr B and YoungB both elected to wear blue shirts. It wasn’t done intentionally to match my dress, merely serendipity.

Serendipity had us all in blue, just like half the wedding party.

Advertisements
 
Leave a comment

Posted by on May 14, 2017 in Sewing

 

Tags: , , , , , , , ,

prototype or wearable toile

Yalta top in a stiffer fabric than suits it with a bigger cowl than I wanted; the faults are mine!

Yalta top in a stiffer fabric than suits it with a bigger cowl than I wanted; the faults are mine!

I think the galactic fabric – really; it’s described as photoreal and, things cosmic being always hot topics in our house, it seemed to be good choice – turned into what ought to be considered a wearable toile. Therefore, since it won’t meet the stringent demands of the challenge I set for Sewlutions, I might as well carry on and make a few comments about it now.

Firstly, the fabric is quite strange, having an almost rubbery feel to it. I chose it because of the colour. I needed a knit fabric and would have been happy with a plainer one but there was nothing to be had that was at all appealing (and certainly nothing in my stash, which was the first place I looked). The slight rubberiness makes it surprisingly warm (not always a good thing in an Aussie summer) and it holds shape well. In fact, for the pattern I used, a softer fabric with a correspondingly softer drape might be a good thing. No matter. It’s a toile, however wearable (and of course I’ll wear it; I’m like that) and the whole idea of such a thing is to learn from what you have done so that you can improve when you do it again. Yes, I like the top enough to want to do a better job.

I’ve nutted out a lower profile way of having the gathered effect on this fabric – using good, old-fashioned gathering threads, which didn’t cause too much bulk – and I ended up hemming it for the sake of tidiness. I haven’t yet rescued the armscyes but may do so at some stage. It’s wearable and all right. Its many errors of construction mean it’s less than brilliant but the fault is mine, not the pattern’s. The pattern, the ladies’ Yalta top by Lena Merrin, is great. And when I make my next one – perhaps not immediately but fairly soon, I think – I’ll take a bit more time to do it properly. Whether I’ll use the required self-tape to obtain the gathered look I’m not too sure. I might go with clear elastic to reduce bulk. Or perhaps when I take a bit more time, finish things properly and use a less bulky fabric, there’ll be no problem.

Sometimes you throw caution to the wind and go with the flow, which is rather what I did on Saturday afternoon because time was pressing. I decided that, if I spent any more time trying to look up hints on the computer, I’d never get anything sewn. I’d looked at the tutorial on how to do the cowl which was not a lot of help to me because there’s insufficient contrast in colour for it to be easy to follow; but I think the idea is what I’d arrived at as the answer (only after a third attempt, which took me to a different solution, was the one I’d decided would have to do or we’d never be getting to the party at all): a pillowcase-style closure method.

Next time, I’ll be careful to cut the cowl to match whatever size I’ve decided on for the shoulders, rather than what I decided would fit for the bust, as I think perhaps I did this time. That should give me a smaller cowl, which was partly what attracted me to the Yalta; I do like the softness of a cowl and the slight variation of neckline that’s achieved with only a small alteration but am perhaps too small myself to carry a large cowl with much confidence these days. Plus, you know, cleavage-visibility problems are much likelier with a larger cowl. Acceptable at 17, perhaps, but 40 years later? Not so much.

And, although I can’t measure across my own back, I’m not so truly indolent that I hadn’t checked any measurements. I had measured my circumferences and checked against the chart Lena gives and I can see that there’s a significant mismatch for me and/or the pattern runs quite large. It’s voluminous on me, except at the hip (which is probably about right). Do I care? Not much. It’s a bit different, the fabric is fun and a pretty colour and, all in all, if every garment I made, toile or not, turned out as well, I’d be very happy. Yes, there are a few bumpy bits of sewing, and the fact that – of course – they occur where the black thread crosses the patches of pale fabric means they’re quite obvious, I don’t suppose many people really will notice, particularly if I’m wearing a jacket.

So if I could consider that a successful toile but probably not suitable for a place of employment or perhaps a really decent top, then I’m still well behind in my Sewlution sewing! How about you?

 
Leave a comment

Posted by on December 17, 2013 in Sewing, Uncategorized

 

Tags: , , , , , , , ,

is this really spring?

Springy enough but winterly warm

Springy enough but winterly warm

If it is – and if the swooping magpies didn’t suggest so, then the amount of sneezing and general misery associated with hay fever certainly would – then I think my knitting is likely to be put into some form of storage, the sewing machine come out of semi-hibernation and the seasonal swap take place. I don’t really sew much but I think I do more of it in the warmer months. That’s plain silly, really, when YoungB is always on the lookout for warm, knit-fabric sweaters and the frankensweater is yet to be made. On the other hand, it’s generally far too cold in the sewing room for me to use it during winter. It’s clear, though, because I checked on my Ravelry page, that I have been reasonably productive this year with knitting projects, many of which haven’t been hanging around forever but were actually started this year. Of course, some have been around for a good bit longer. By about now, though, I’ve run out of steam and I’m sneezing too much to be bothered with knitting.

Sewing seems to be the answer. I went so far as to purchase a couple of sewing patterns this year, with stash fabric in mind, but whether I’ll ever actually get around to making them up is quite another thing altogether. The PDF one that I have to stick together, then trace my size onto lightweight interfacing, then actually cut out on fabric, is just sitting there patiently awaiting sufficient clear floor space – and enthusiasm – for all of that to happen. The one that has to be ironed, spread out and then traced and cut out? Yeah, see previous comment about floor space or implied lack thereof. I have made up some shopping totes and lavender bags and no doubt I’ll make a few more of those sorts of things with Christmas in mind. But, you know, I’m tired (hence the lack of enthusiasm). It’s been an odd sort of year and it’s quite scary to think it’s nearly over.

YoungB is nearing the end of his first year at university. I don’t understand that at all. It’s only yesterday, surely, that he was starting primary school. Although, come to think of it, I do have some photos of his last primary school sports day and I can tell you he’s grown some since then. Actually, I have photos of his last assembly at high school. They were taken about a year ago. Oh. My. Giddy. Aunt.

We are presently in the throes of organising YoungB’s application for a year of exchange study in Italy. In the interests of assessing his language skills so we can get an idea of his proficiency levels (and what summer courses he might need to do to boost them if they’re not as they should be), I’ve been looking up a few applications and trawling the web for sites that might be of assistance. I tried out a few of them. I have a great verb trainer on my smartphone. It turns out I’m very good at knowing what the verbs mean, even some of the less common ones.

I’m not so good, and this doesn’t surprise me at all, at conjugating anything much beyond fairly oft-used verbs in ordinary tenses but not moods. I think I’ve said before that I get stuck when I’m faced with having to choose between conditionals and subjunctives. It was ever thus, hence my relative silence whilst I was living in Italy. By the time I’d worked out which of them I should be using, the conversation had moved on so far that it didn’t matter any more. YoungB is much more inclined to just jump in and have a go. I’m hoping he’ll have such a fantastic immersion experience that he’ll come back fluent in all conjugations, whatever the moods or tenses and whether it be spring or any other season.

Of course, that’s all very well. But needing a quick, undemanding project (read, something to fill my hands while we’re discussing all the implications of such an exchange at the kitchen table), I had to dash off today to buy some yarn to make a winter scarf for someone in the family. It will be a Christmas present though not required till next year; but if I wait till her birthday, the poor thing will have died of cold in the interim! So, you know, what I was saying about giving up knitting for a bit? Yeah, maybe not just yet.

 
Leave a comment

Posted by on October 21, 2013 in Knitting, Musing, Sewing

 

Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , ,