Sunday, 17 February 2013

My sewing tip No. 1

 Today felt like Spring has arrived, and for the first time this year I have managed to get out into the garden and tidy it up.   It is still very water logged so I wont show the pictures of our grass the looks like a penalty area on a football pitch.  However here are the first flowers at No. 23 of 2013

The garden is a hive of activity with buds sprouting everywhere, so nice to see after all the snow

Now onto "Louise's Sewing Tip No. 1" apologies if you know this already.

I have been sewing a very long time and  back in 1992 I used to go to a sewing class.  It was a marvelous class,  mostly very experienced sewers who came along while their husbands were probably playing golf.  We had 2 overlockers (I hadnt never seen one before)  and a professional steam press.  Here is my tip that I learnt from there and have used ever since.

If like me you use the actual pattern tissue it can be very hard to get it to lay smooth on the fabric when cutting it out, you run your hand across as you pin it and it springs back.  But If you iron it first you will find it lays smoothly and clings to the  fabric.

See  perfectly smooth, ready to pin or weight down.

Why do I do this?  It irons out an creases  in the  pattern  pieces from when they were stored.   Also it enables more precise cutting out , which makes matching up pieces, notches  easier. Every centimetre counts.  Hope you give it a try, and see what you think.

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Saturday, 16 February 2013

Divine Details Vogue 8576 - A bit like childbirth!

Firstly thank you for the kind comments received, they are appreciated.  We are having a better week.  I do want to blog about my life around my crafts, and sometimes life isn't always rosy.

Today I popped into town and headed to a Charity Shop.  Readers what do you think of this fabric, does it look like curtains?  Be honest now

It is in fact a double cotton duvet. loads of fabric for £1.00.  Im visualising a summer dress with it, the vintage vogue on my sewlutions list,  But Im not 100% convinced.   Its really nice quality.  comments appreciated please.

So onto Vogue 8576, not the quickest of makes for me. 

"Its a bit short said one of my sons, and if you put a tabard on you'd like a care worker in an old folks home." Thanks, not quite the look I was going for and I did lengthen it by 21/2 inches But once he said it I knew what he meant, I think its the colour, it definitely needs accessories.   

The pattern said easy, and it is. But I have never made a pattern up  before with so many unconventional shaped pieces, 14 pieces in all, and my inexperience in handling these pieces showed. I just found it baffling, especially as I couldn't tell right from wrong on the fabric.

I think my fabric choice was poor, it showed every sewing mistake possible and it creases easy, it is also too dark not showing off the composition of this dress and the top-stitching.  I cannot count the amount of times I unpicked it in my search for perfection, getting the seams straight and centered up to the points on the skirt part.  I made a mistake, not noticing because I was busy concentrating on getting the fit right on my shoulders and bust.  (the points on the neck line are not in line with the seam.)  I  dont know how it came about.

My negative comments are not with the pattern but my own efforts  and the fabric choice, I actually like  this pattern  and it is worth the effort.  My next one will be much  quicker and with modifications, omitting the horizontal seam at waist level for a start (very unflattering)  and maybe making it more A-line, the pattern didnt look so straight on the pattern sleeve.  

skirt inserts I found these quite tricky 
Close up of the inserts at waist level where they meet together
apologies for picture quality.

So back to that title, a bit like childbirth........  I probably wouldn't want to make another one for a while because it seemed to go on for ever, there was a lot of frustration,  and halfway through  I wanted to give up, but Im so pleased I didn't because I was rewarded with something really nice. I will also more than likely forget what a headache it was and want to make another.  Sounds familiar.!!

Now for some thing less taxing.
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Friday, 8 February 2013

A turbulent week

It started off a  turbulent week, followed by sadness and a sewing disaster.  For the past few weeks we have been on tenterhooks awaiting the outcome of hubby and sons jobs.  Thankfully their jobs are saved but with fewer hours, and for how long time will tell. Then on Tuesday we received sad news that a good friend had passed away.  We are devastated, and finding it hard to come to terms with, especially my husband as its his oldest friend

I have been sewing in between all this upset and turmoil to keep my mind occupied, it definitely wasn't working as I have just wasted some material trying to make vogue 8576.

Somehow I have cut it out wrong (all those pieces) Im hoping I can salvage it somehow, but I havent much spare fabric and this was a piece I bought when  I visited Shipley. I  wish I had used a fabric, which is easier to differentiate between right and wrong side.  I love this pattern and ope it will become a favourite piece, once mastered.  This will also tick one the boxes on my Sewlutions pledges, where Ive read, the organiser will do random checks to see if we are keeping to our pledges.

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Saturday, 2 February 2013

Sewing thought for the Day

 Someone commented the other day that they liked dressmaking but whatever they made never looked like on the pattern.  Well Im sure a few of us have felt like that  I definately have.  It made me think why is this so  I believe this occurs in all dressmakers experienced and inexperienced.  After all most people that buy sewing patterns have knowledge of how to sew, and there are great resources and sewing instructions to help. So why?

After alot of thought, Here is my theory

1. Style  It is the first choice we make when starting a garment. Do you know what suits your shape?
Are you buying the pattern because it looks good in the picture or because its a style you know suits you. I often see a pattern and think its great but I  know wouldnt work on me, but sometime you can pick out what you like about a pattern and make it work for you

                              vogue 8813

"OOh I love this pattern" the grey version. (This picture isn't showing up on my draft but is on preview. Hope it works )
 its so fresh, my favourite colours,. I like the contrast stripes and also the pockets.
But I know this wouldnt suit me. I personally  feel I need a more structured shape
Also this is a clever  photo shoot. When I started viewing other images of it, it look different.  Either that dress is pinned at the back or its incredibly fine material, the terracotta version  gives a better idea.


Vogue  8577 I would suit this style better . It has the  Same V neck, and similar  pockets, but more structured which I prefer. You could even use 2 fabrics like in the other style, as it is constructed of many pieces.
I also find surfing the internet, like sewing pattern review is brilliant.  Not only do you see the pattern on all shapes and sizes, tips on how to make it but you also see the different fabric choices. which brings me on to

2. Fabric Choice
So you have the pattern  that you know works well for your shape, now if you have chosen the wrong fabric you will probably  not be happy with the final result.  Again do your homework  drape the fabric on you in the shop and look at it (hoping the shop has a mirror)  Read the pattern suggestions, take note about stripes checks etc. Also the weight of the fabric, how it hangs.    Yes  this is logic.  Of course you could go down another route and topic of conversation "Colour Analysis   The do say if you arent wearing the right colours, it ages you, makes you look washed out, If wearing the right colours, people say you look well etc.
Im sure we all have an outfit in our wardrobe which we feel happy in. Is it the style, the colour, or the fit that you like about it?

3. Fittng
We have the pattern and the right fabric and if you are bothered about such things the right colour. So what else can make it look wrong.    You cannot expect to just make up a pattern and expect it to look like on the envelope without taking the time to tweak it to fit properly.  For me the fitting makes the outfit   Here is my example.

Vogue 8151

The pattern stated make in 11/2 hours. Ok this is a pretty straight forward pattern for me, I tacked up the pattern and tried it on  (humour me I enjoy tacking) the top looked like a sack of potatoes on me, I had to take in alot of fabric under the bust to give it shape.  Now if I had just made it up it as specified it would have taken 11/2 hours but because of the fitting it took me alot longer and looked alot different, and yes I was happy with the result.

So Readers  I believe it is a mixture of  choices.  This is only my account that I am sharing with you. Iam  no expert and will more than likely still make sewing boo boos.  Sewing is an ongoing learning curve, this is what I have learnt personally over time.

Not my usual post I write,  hope you find this informative and enjoyed it.   I would love to hear any other tips and views please