Friday, 27 November 2015

6: Warm black top with piping,

I was cold the last few days at work so decided I had to make a warm top to wear as soon as posible. I had this black quilted material in my stash again bought from Weston Fabrics on ebay. I am not too sure what the fibre content is but it has a small diamond quilting and is identical on both sides. Its quite a firm fabric and feels like it will be warm. Possibly a cotton/ polyester or cotton/acrylic mix? I already owned this pattern: Butterick B5679

which is meant to be easy so I reckon should also be a quick make.

Well if I had stuck to the original pattern it would have been even quicker since I decided to miss out the front and back centre seams. However I also decided to add piping around the raglan sleeves. See the last post about this.

In fact the hardest bit of this top was re-threading my overlocker with black thread. That actually took me nearly 3 hours to achieve! I still do not know where I was going wrong either so it is likely to remain threaded with black for some time  I think.

Even with a few alterations it only took me an evening to cut out and about two hours to sew it up. That includes my struggle with inserting piping using an overlocker.

Well if you do try this it IS possible but I suspect better to first sew it in with a normal stretch stitch on a regular sewing machine rather than jump straight into overlocking. In the end that is what I did.

First I made the piping from waterproof reflective fabric which I had left over from making my two dog coats. That is what I actually bought this stuff for because it keeps them warm and dry being as it is waterprooof and also keeps us safe beacuse it reflects in car head lamps. It is similar to the ribbon tape on High-Vis Jackets. Anyway, where I live there are not many street lamps, and often the traffic drives fast through the village even though it is not meant to do so. That makes walking my boys very unsafe at night in winter. Since it tends to rain a lot in the UK as well and my boys are both 12 years old and feel the cold and have arthritus I made them these coats:

These are not the best photos but it is not easy getting them to stay still long enough for a good photo despite them being on leads. You can see better photos of my dog coats here: Dog Coat

I think since these are garments for dogs not people they probably should not really count towards my aim of 100 garments so I will simply add them in here as a project I made. To make them I just drew round some existing coats they had that are getting rather old and tatty now. These are a good design because the go lower down the back and around the tail keeping their sides, kidneys and rear end warm. Most dog coats seem to be shorter. They also have leg straps made from 1" wide elastic which stop them from moving around when they are wearing them. Most commercial dog coats do not have these leg straps and the coats constantly move and fall off sideways on the dogs. These are based on Bala dog coats which if you want to buy one I would recommend.

I will post a photo of my dog coats here in the next couple of days.

Since dogs tend to get arthritus in their back legs first I am hoping these will help. Also one of my dogs, Ron, hates going out in the rain so this will hopefully help. Both my dogs seem to like them.

Anyway back to my top.

I made the piping as detailed in a my previous post. Then I cut out my quilted black fabric. I changed the pattern slightly and put the centre front and centre back pieces on a fold because I didn't want a seam there.

 Since I did not need to sew the front and back seams as directed by the pattern I first I sewed the side seams using an overlocker. Then I sewed the front piece and the piping around where the raglan sleeves go in using my sewing machine and I cut off the excess fabric.

I then sewed the sleeves on using my overlocker or serger. This was a big mistake! It is really difficult to keep the piping in the correct place whilst serging. Even though I had sewn the piping to one side using a regular sewing machine then serged the other side onto it I had great problems getting this to work.  Some of the piping I actually serged over.

As it turned out where I serged over the piping on one side I ended up cutting the overlocked stitches and re-sewing using a regular sewing machine to fix it. You can just about see it in the above picture.
Some piping I didn't get close enough to so this I also sewed with my sewing machine to bodge it so ity looks ok.

The next picture shows where I got a wrinkly finish on some of it:


 This is the top after my attempts at fixing the mistakes:

 Hopefully time will not mean it just all falls apart.

Finally the easy bit was adding the collar:

As it turned out it looks good and I am very happy with it because it is a lovely warm top. I have yet to find out if it will survive for long though after I had to fix it!

 I have learned from this project though and if I make this again I will do it differently. But then I am learning to sew here and isn't that the reason why I am writing this blog and doing this project?

Thanks for reading

Top preparations - piping

I want to use this Butterick pattern to make a warm top. I need to make it fast because I have been very cold this week. I have some black quilted fabric similar to sweatshirt fabric but with diamond quilting.
I decided I wanted to use some reflective fabric I have for the piping on my quilted top on the raglan sleeves, but I was unsure exactly how to make it because I have not done this in about 15-20 years. I found an excellent explanation here:

I used nylon string and cut my fabric on the bias.

To make piping:
First, measure how much piping you are going to need. Then add a bit on to that measurement. I added about 10cm or 2" to each end so about 20 cm (4") in total.
Cut your strips of piping fabric on the bias so they are as wide as your string plus the seam allowance of about 1.5cm then double this. Fold over your fabric and ideally you iron it in half. I couldn't do this due to using waterproof plastic coated fabric which the iron would have melted. That made the whole job a bit harder.

Put the string inside your folded fabric. Sew close to your string using a zipper foot and hold the fabric tight as you do this. You should end up with home made piping in the fabric of your choice.

Unfortunately I did not take a good photo of my finished piping but you can see it in the next post when I make my top.
Thanks for reading and hope you come back soon

Monday, 16 November 2015

5: Burdastyle dress- Lace Cowl Dress 12/2014 #121

 I made the original purple version of this dress about a year ago when I first got the magazine. The purple one is totally made using a  zigzag stitch. The red lace one is made using a serger with a twin needle hem.

Please excuse the messy house. I was still unpacking when this was taken.

Unfortunately I had the idea it would make a lovely winter dress/top so I made it using two purple IKEA fleece blankets. Also because it has a fancy cut hem I did not need to hem it. At that time I had a machine that struggled with stretch fabrics and this was made using just a zigzag. The final dress looks great but is really not that wearable. Firstly it is not very comfortable and tends to "ride up" possibly because its tight and fleece. It is really good when its very cold because I do not need much on top of it and have worn it in winter over jeans. Generally though the UK is not that cold and so far it is simply too hot to wear it indoors most of the time. Also because its fleece if I wear for example a Tshirt under it when I get hot and try to take it off the Tshirt comes off with it so it is not something I feel comfortable wearing somewhere like to work since I dare not take off my top layer in public!

The burdastyle dress was also made in lacy so maybe that is why it my newer version works so well.
This is the pattern:


Anyway, since I bought this lovely dark red lacey-acrylic stretch fabric from Yvonne at Weston Fabrics, UK, I decided it would be time to have another attempt at this pattern.

I can honestly say I am very pleased with the final garment. I do have a few issues though. Firstly the elastic ruching at the side did not work as well with this fabric as with the fleece which was perfect. It is just not very ruched. If I do another one I will probably put in two cords so I can just ruche it by hand and tie it to where-ever I fancy. Then it would also be adjustable so giving different looks to one garment. Though to be honest I may just not bother with ruching at all if I made this particular design again since I also like it just with a straight side seam. Also I had yellow and green cotton in my Brother sewing machine which I had set up to do twin needle sewing and to be honest having finally sorted out how to do this I was in two minds as to risk un-doing the threads so I was lazy and left them so they do not match the colour of the dress. I thought it would be a contrast but to be honest it was a mistake and I should have changed to a darker coloured thread ideally red so it didn't show as much. Other than this though I love this dress so much. Considering it is lacy and light in weight it also seems quite warm so will be ideal for the next few months. I now need to make some slip dresses to wear underneath with this type of fabric. 
Thanks for reading

4: Burdastyle 09/2015 hooded cowl neck dress or top - my trials

Well what can I say? This was the most frustrating thing I have made in ages!
Now it actually looks reasonable despite my having hacked it appart several times and resewn. Also I do mean hacked appart. I started off quite normally using a seam ripper but I had overlocked it and it was not at all right. I sewed the back on inside out, I didn't join the hood together so ended up with a huge "collar". You name it I did it. Then because I actually cut it all appart  (several times!) none of the pattern pieces are actually the right shape or size to what they should be.

I tried to sew with my Janome sewing machine and it ate the fabric so then I reverted back to the overlocker. I then changed to my older Brother PX100 sewing machine in frustration with the overlocker which I broke a needle on, but then that jammed up too. Finally when I got it together in a similar way to what it should be ( I think) the sleeeve did not fit right so I again overlocked that to take it in. I think perhaps this problem though is the shoulder seam not the sleeve. And if I wear the collar/hood/cowl over the left hand side a bit you cannot see my dodgy sleeve! I have given up trying to alter it. Considering all this it is very forgiving and is actually wearable. Though I have not hemmed it at all and ended up just overlocking all edges. To be honest by the time I finally made something vaguely "normal" I had had enough and just wanted to wear it. I may do a proper hem later. Although I love the flowing sleeves. I suspect a hem will make them a bit less flowing.

The fabric was bought off Ebay from Weston Fabrics in the UK. Its some kind of synthetic mix I think. Possibly it is a bit heavy weight for the hood since you end up with two layers, but it will be a warm addition to my Autumn/Fall wardrobe this year and probably my Spring wardrobe too.
Unfortunately my desire to do everything properly and let the fabric sit to relax overnight in order to try to be a good seamstress all got scuppered right at the start when my first pattern piece had to hang over the table since my table was not big enough to accomodate it. I also do not really have much free floor space since it is a small house I live in and my two dogs have a habit of walking on my pattern pieces whenever I have tried to use the floor so the table was my best bet. At least that way I do not get holes in my pattern from the paws and also avoid most of teh dog hair that they deposit as and when! Ah well! I ended up cutting it out immediately since leaving it overnight would probably have made it stretch more out of shape than having it folded had already done. The end result is actually not so bad anyway.

In the end its a kind of wearable musin I suppose since I now intend to make a second version which hopefully will be  more like the original pattern. I have worn this out and about and it is a very comfortable dress. In fact I truly love the design. Anyway it is based on this dress pattern from Burda Magazine 09/2015:

I did eventually end up with something very similar to what it is meant to look like but that was after probably taking it appart, cutting it appart and feeling like binning the offending thing before I got there.

And heres the rest of the photos:

Because of my problems with this dress I am now making a second one and I intend to attempt a tutorial for anyone else out there who has similar problems with this pattern. Hopefully the second version will be perfect, so here goes with my tutorial over the next few posts. I hope it may help somone else who gets frustrated with this pattern.

Apologies if there are already any bloggers out there who have already covered a tutorial for this dress. Now onward to my second attempt. Does it count as a seperate garment if you make two from the same pattern? Or would it be cheating if several of my 100 garments were similar? Ah well for now I think it will count but maybe when I get to 100 garments then I might make make it uncount so then I can sew some more. Right this minute 100 is seeming like a great deal of sewing. But I already have two more items cut out! And neither is this pattern so it is still going to happen I think!!!
Thanks for reading and hope to see you again soon

Tuesday, 3 November 2015

2: Remodelled fairy/halloween dress part 2

The fairy dress finally got finished the day before Halloween. Only then I decided it was too pretty - or not ghoulish enough for a Halloween party so wore something else instead. Anyway the final dress is actually the original short dress with a petticoat or slip under it. It seemed the most sensible way to finish this project since then I can still wear the short version with leggings and a bike jacket but can also wear it as a fairy dress for next summer's festivals.

So here are the photos:

This is how it started after my first post

 And this is what I ended up making it look like:

The slip/petticoat is simply a layer of navy blue mesh which has been spliced quite roughly to give it a zigzag hem, over a satin layer which again is zigzagged and under it all is the chifon layer which was the top layer of the original dress before I decided to start hacking and sabeurtaging it into this new creation. I left the hemline of the chiffon intact. The waistband is made from the original lining fabric and has 1 inch wide elastic in it and is all simply overlocked together.

I love it. Now I just need some wings!

Thanks for visiting and come back soon