Sunday, 17 March 2019

Adding the skirt and frills to TVW dress

So its not quite a copy of The Vampires Wife (TVW) due to having normal fitted sleeves but I had to use these sleeves to check my sleeve block works because to be perfectly honest I did not expect them to work first time. Well they do work and fit very well so my next version will have the puffed sleeeves its meant to have. My next task for this project will be to convert this sleeve into a TVW type of puffed sleeve.

I am so amazed it seems that its going to be wearable!

I am in fact going to have to go and attempt to overlock the waist seam and the side seams and sleeve seams because despite me thinking I would never want to wear such a floral dress I do want to wear this and it will make a lovely if slightly OTT summer dress.

I suppose that proves I do not hate florals as well!

There are quite a few adjustments  need to make for version two though despite this being a serious success.

I have a slight "V" neck when it needs more of a curve but I will fix that on version 2.

Another thing I think I may change on version 2 is a slight lowering of the darts at the bust points.

I also left the frill gather threads in on the frills in this version - well it is meant to just be a muslin - due to laziness but actually I quite like the extra gathering effect tho suspect over time these may come out. My rolled edges on my hems are far from perfect as well and I will need to play around with the overlocker tension for version 2.

So last time I blogged about this I had just put the bodice together and added the sleeves. Previous to that I had to make the blocks.

I then of course added the skirt.

When I first made the skirt block I did it as a fitted dress but decided before cutting out to redo the skirt completely and just gofor an Aline. I was taking a risk because I did nto know if my basic skirt block would fit but decidedto go ahead anyway. I ahve loads of this fabric so it does nto mater so if you were doing this and hadless fabric then try a basic block first elses you coudl just waste more I think. Anyway it did work for me.  So below are my basic skirt blocks:

 I then traced these:

 Using Winifred Aldrich's Metric patter cutting as a guide I made the A line block and sectioned it approximately to be used for 4 differnt skirt lengths. 

 These as you will read below may well be incorrect because I had to shorten the longest skirt to fit me. However to make from a block - cut up side seam, I added 3cm to the flare at hem and angledit out from hip points to give a flare. Removed darts etc as directed by Ms Aldrich to give a block as shown below.
 Then a roughly sectioned this for the different lengths of these dresses. According to the Vampires Wife website/shop the dresses are available as follows - measurement from waist to hem of skirt:
Ankle length Festival dress = 100 cm to hem
Velvet Veneration dress midi = 86cm to hem
Gypsy Cinderella = 105cm to hem
Birthday Party waist to hem = 44cm

Then you also need to add hem allowance ( not included on the blocks) for hem and/ or rolled edge.

The hardest part of making this - apart from actually making the blocks - was adding the skirt to the bodice because I wanted that French dart to line up to the side seam. This is a feature if you look at The Vampires Wife dresses because they all have the same bodice and dart construction with an A-line skirt with frills and puffed sleeves.

The skirt took quite a few pinnings and undoing and re-adjusting before I got it right. Its almost perfect. You have to look really close to see one side is about a mm off but its good enough for me to leave it alone

So shocking but really exciting that as I tried on first the sleeveless bodice and it fitted then added the sleeve and it still fitted and then the skirt and still it fits……………..well what can I say. Just so exciting to do this despite the number of tracings and manipulating of the blocks. Several times I have felt like just giving in and using a different pattern but I do want to complete this challenge I have set for myself.

At this point I had to stop because silly me I did not have a suitable zip!

Yes, frustration of frustrating things to have no zip. So at this point which is just over a week ago I had to stop my construction and wait forsome zips to arrive.

Well actually I have lots of zips but none are the right colour. When I began this I thought I could use a normal black zip with metal teeth or a bright yellow one because it was not going to be a dress I would ever wear but just a toile. The yellow zip is invisible ( well would be if the dress was yellow!) but is too short and the black zip is just wrong for this and it could at the point I go to adding a zip that I realised that that although this will not have the inner edges overlocked that I might actually wear this after all.

I never expected that so the original zip idea did not matter but as this dress went together I decided that actually yes it does matter cos I do want to wear this even if it is floral. So I will actually go back and overlock what I can later but it will not be as well made as I would normally make cos its difficult once its all together – as you will know.

So now to finish this I have to wait for my zips to arrive. That only too a couple of days but then I had no time after work so it had to wait.  I went for 22inch invisible zips in several colours so I can make a few more of these after this one is finished. I found an Ebay seller doing buy 5 and get 5 free so I am getting 10 new 22inch zips in several colours for my several versions of TVW dresses.

Last weekend I put in my zip but had no time to make the frills. Or to blog about it so far but probably this will be a better blog post rather than splitting it into more bits.

I have also at this point traced the bodice parts again to make a one piece facing for the neck and some bias binding for the wrists. And I have cut my frills. I had to just put all this on hold though until my zips arrived.

This is how I did the facing:

I may in future make all my neck facings as one piece because I hate trying to line up those shoulder seams and half the time the facings just do nto fit. Well this worked first time!

I never bothered to interface though since did nto think I would want to actually wear it so in Version 2 I will be addng interfacing.

So now my dress was all but made except for the frills on the hem. Version 2 will of course also need sleeve frills but since I did a basic sleeve I just bias bound the sleeve edges in self made bias binding.  It works.

Ah and despite my careful calculations of the skirt length I had to chop off a further 20cm from the bottom when I had tried it on. Sorry never got a phot at this point which is a shame.

This was meant to be the ankle length dress so without removing this it would be dragging on the floor.

I think if the long street sweeper version fits me the shorter ones will be easier but it was just too long on the original pattern so means now its 20cm shorter when I add my frills it should still reach my ankles and not as it would have done trail on the floor. Well I do need to be able to walk!

Initially I thought I could do a rara type construction by using the bit I chopped off the bottom of the skirt but further study and analysis of The Vampires Wife dresses including people walking in them made me decide that in fact the skirt is constructed from two frills sewn at around the same point.

This means if you want the ruffle edged frill you need to first do and inserted frill onto the end of the skirt then top stitch the rolled edged smaller frill onto the right side just above the inserted frill. So first right sides together so frill seam is inside the dress then top stitch extra smaller frill to outside. Hopefully this is making sense.

My fabric is 135cm wide - or the useable part not including seledges is 135cm wide. I cut 3 strips 20 cm wide and joined together for the top frill.

3 strips  24cm wide for the bottom frill and again joined.

Roll edged both edges of the top frill so I can top stitch and have a frilly ruffle and just the bottom hem edge of the bigger frill.

If of course you wanted to just have the two frills long and short and both inserted then you could gather them as one piece and sew straight onto the bottom of the skirt with right sides together.

I have to say though I do think my experiment into drafting patterns for The Vampires Wife dress is working and this whole adventure into pattern cutting so far has been not only successful but very enjoyable.

It does take a long time though and lots of manipulating of the blocks to get what I am aiming for, and it makes my poor head hurt trying to understand what Winifred Aldrich is going on about, but I suppose you get faster at that kind of thing and better at understanding. Most interesting is the blocks do really seem to fit me better than any commercial pattern or as far as I can tell with no zip to fasten!

I expect I can now use them to help me to figure out how to alter the patterns I already own to get them to fit me.

 So here you go this is the bit you are waiting for:

I did it!
I made a The Vampires Wife Dress and while not quite right yet I am very encouraged to continue not only pattern cutting from my own blocks I am going to make a whole wardrobe of these dresses!

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Saturday, 16 March 2019

Cream colour block leggings McCalls M7446

This is my second pair of leggings from McCalls M7446. 

The first pair were fluorescent orange a
which you can see here:

Again these are made from the reverse side of polyester crepe which means they are warmer than real sports wear type fabric / swim wear fabric making them brilliant for this time of year

 This picture looks a bit weird where I rolled my top up to show you the colour blocking - I do nto wear themquite like this😊


 They are worn with my bright yellow top which looks better in these photos than it did in my original post which is probably down to choic of underwear.I think it goes well with these leggings.

I have a small bit left of the cream fabric so am considering a top from that. I still seem to have TONS of this crepe stretch fabric left despite my real attempt at using it all up. I am not intending to buy more of this because I hate the stuff. It does make a nice warm winter excercise fabric but really its not at all my thing. I bought loads of it very cheap off Ebay back in 2015-2017 (Weston fabrics) if you like this type of fabric or want some at a reasonable price. I had no idea then what fabric I did or did not like but now I have more experience with stretch fabrics I find this is not really my thing. I cannot afford to just waste this and throw it though so need to make it into things  and so far I am finding ways to use this up and like what I am making so really I am starting to think actually there is no such thing as a fabric you do not like. You just have to discover how to make it your style. In most colours (and I had loads) I am down to small pieces now which I will evenually have a go at making exercise crop tops/ underwear from. First though to find uses for the last few large bits I still have.

Anyway I am actually quite pleased with my recent foray into sportwear. This really does make for very warm winter leggings and to be perfectly honest I am not nowadays prepared to freeze for fashion! 

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