chebe: (Purple - DanceLikeNooneisWatching)
Fourth skirt from the 'Sew What! Skirts' book, Short and Sassy (page 73), a simple square (a.k.a. handkerchief) skirt with elasticated waist. ... Well, almost. I added a yoke. I've added yokes before, but this time I was following the 'very simple low-waist skirt block' (page 134) from Winifred Aldrich's 'Metric Pattern Cutting for Women's Wear'. This particular block is good for easy-fits and fabrics with stretch/elastic waists. The only alteration made to the general instructions from 'Sew What! Skirts' (SWS) was that the circle was measured as my hips, and the waistband left out (as the yoke took care of that).

Construction is very straight forward; sew up the side-seams of the yoke, make the elastic casing, insert elastic. Add yoke to skirt (slight gathering may be needed). Hem.

Okay, ready for the maths? Really pretty simple, promise.

In theory )

Adding yokes or not is simply another variation you can try. There are also other waistband and closure methods that can be used. There are so many possibilities you can make, and all without buying a single pattern!


In practice )



There we are. A little light twirly skirt perfect for dancing in. And I've learned a lot about how square and circle skirts are made so I'll be able to make the next one perfectly first time. I'm also loving the yoke block based on Aldrich's block and am looking forward to trying the other blocks.
chebe: (Sewing Machine)
Went to Craft Night at tog on Tuesday (15th), and actually had a productive evening! I did have to hog a large table, but other than using the floor there isn't any other way to cut out large pattern pieces. In that sew-along news I have all the underlining pieces cut out! Woo! But. I've decided that the fashion fabric, the second one, the purple crepe, is too shiny for this style of dress. *sigh* So I'm again at a standstill until I can find a fabric I'm happy with.

But that's okay, because in the meantime I've wandered off into a short little project; making a camisole.
Trials and tribulations of construction )

But, for now, Ta-da, done!

View of finished top on mannequin from front View of finished top on mannequin from back

More Sewing Plans

2011-Sep-27, Tuesday 03:17 pm
chebe: (DearDiary)
Today I got a new book, 'Vintage Lingerie, Historical Patterns & Techniques' by Jill Salen. Despite its name it only contains two full projects with instructions; one a bra, and one a petticoat. But it does contain scaled patterns worked from existing pieces presented in the book, that you are left to assemble by yourself. Still, I enjoyed looking through it and am glad to add it to my growing collection of lingerie and underwear books. And it has inspired me to start a plan-of-action. This isn't targeted for any set time-frame, and I don't expect to get through it all in any reasonable amount of time, but it's the way I want to proceed. However long it takes me.

I'm going to leave out modern books and patterns, as well as chemises and panties (which I'll deal with in a more ad-hoc manner), and just focus on the evolution of the bra. As the years pass designs get more convoluted and complicated, so it makes sense to start at the beginning.

1930's: Black Brassiere and Kestos Brassiere, scaled patterns from 'Vintage Lingerie'
1941: Brassiere, description (make own pattern) from 'Sew and Save'
1947: Set of bra tops (four styles) from Simplicity pattern #2026
1949: Bra top (from a pattern also including shorts and a jacket) from Simplicity #2825
1957: Bras (two styles from a pattern also including elongated versions as blouses) from Simplicity #2118

1971: Bra top of bikini (pattern also includes top/dress) from Simplicity #9378
1976: Bra top of a two-piece swimsuit (pattern also includes shirt and pants) from McCalls #5025
1976: Convertible Body Bra, Leisure Bra, Convertible Bandeau Bra, scaled patterns from 'The Undies Book'

Hmm, I'll have to keep an eye out for something from the 60's. As most of these patterns are vintage and in only one size I will make them up as is, not intending for them to fit anyone. Though hopefully Felicity will still be able to model them. (Indeed, as evidenced by the Crepe catastrophe worrying over fit keeps me stuck for a long time, so if after making it up I like the style, only then will I try to resize it to fit me.) This list may grow as I stumble across more patterns, but for now I think it's a fairly decent list to get started on.
chebe: (Spools of thread)
There are two sewing books I'd like to introduce you to;
Lingerie books, and a few photos. )

Really, wide stretch lace seems so easy to use, I think I'll stock up!

Embroidery Sampler Bag

2010-Sep-25, Saturday 04:04 pm
chebe: (AliceWithTea)
I love books. Most things I learn outside of classes come from books. So naturally when I wanted to refresh all the mad embroidery skillz I'd forgotten I found a book to help me. 'Doodle Stitching' teaches the basics of embroidery, and how to get started. Of all the crafts I do embroidery really requires the least amount of stuff. You have the piece of fabric you're working on, the pattern (and maybe a way to transfer it), embroidery hoop, needles, scissors, and threads. That's it. You can get stuck in quickly, and leave it down quickly, great for those stolen few minutes here and there.

This really is a lovely little book. It focuses on the simple, almost naive, kind of embroidery that's rather popular now and has some nice projects with clear instructions. The first project is very clever. It's a bag for carrying around your embroidery hoops. But, it's also a sampler, and forces you to practice every stitch described in the book. Of course I had to make it!

However, I happened to make the circle too small for the hoop, so I altered the project. I took my circular sampler, and attached it onto a regular square bag (big enough to hold the book as well). I then stuffed the sampler with polyester filling to make it a large pin-cushion. Now it carries everything I need. (I do still have to attach the strap, but otherwise am all done.)

Embroidery bag pic )
chebe: (Individuality)
The beading log I'd hoped to keep didn't work out. Needless to say the last couple of beading posts were a result of my frustration with a certain brand of beads and their inexact sizings. And I'm nothing if not exacting. Noting the other information, like what size needles, thread, and beads go together is helpful, but more something that can be summed up at the end of a project. Like now :)

First up we have the aforementioned Square Stitch[1] bracelet. I didn't like the design in the book[0] so I changed it a little. Inspired by my favourite terminal colours I went for green-on-black, with just two kinds of beads; the green metal-lined rounded cubes, and the plain glossy black seed beads. And because I spend a lot of time typing I've found bracelets can often get in the way or hurt, I want all mine to be as thin as possible. So instead of large round beads I've used flat diamond beads.

The seed beads are size 11, and two fit side-by-side to each of the cubes. Black Nymo thread, size D (0.012" diameter), with size 10 beading needle. You make each panel individually, and then string them together. You start in the middle (with the green beads) then add five rows, then start decreasing by two at each end. Repeat for other side. Make three, and two half panels. String together with the diamond beads, measure for fit, adding extra rows to the two half-panels as needed. Attach 5-bar clasp. (This is all the instruction given in the book. I attempted to Square Stitch it in, but don't think it worked too well. Will have to look up how to do it properly.)

Pictures )

Second we have a simple little bracelet that uses both Ladder Stitch[2] and Brick Stitch[3], and isn't actually in the book. Black Nymo thread, size D (0.012" diameter), with size 10 beading needle (two needles are needed for doing the clasp). The bugle beads (~6mm) in gunmetal gray are done first in Ladder Stitch to the desired length. Then the black glossy size 11 seed beads are added as a trim. I started at the bobble-clasp end, worked down one end in Brick Stitch, added the loop-clasp end, then worked back up the other end in Brick Stitch.

I like this bracelet, the metallic bugles catch the light and seem to have a thick black outline as if drawn, kinda unusual. Yet it's very light and thin, and was made without any findings.


References )

The Breezy Beach Wrap

2010-Sep-04, Saturday 03:51 pm
chebe: (Default)
My second skirt from 'Sew What! Skirts', the so-called Breezy Beach Wrap. I mentioned earlier that I found the instructions hard to follow, and the resultant skirt is not great.

Here, let me show you. )
chebe: (AliceWithTea)
I don't know how it happened, but I've never learned to bead. I have played with metal and wire-wrap jewellery, just never beading. Not even bead-looms, which are apparently things children learn to use the world over. So, I'm endeavouring to correct that oversight. I picked up The Beader's Bible in a local shop (at nearly three times the cost that Amazon has it, eek), and am using it to pick up the basics. It's a beautiful book, lots of helpful tips and instructions. But, there are very few projects, it's more of a reference book to use when other projects don't explain what a specific stitch is, or how to do it. I'm making up projects, making simple chokers and bracelets as a way to practice the various stitches. But progress is slow. Which tends to be the case when learning something new. So I'm going to keep a log of things I try.

Log )
chebe: (South Park)
I mentioned in an earlier post about a book I'm using to make skirts. I'm currently on my second skirt, the 'Breezy Beach Wrap' (wishful thinking), and am finding some of the instructions quite confusing.

Firstly, you have to cut out two pieces that overlap, with right-sides together, that you then sew onto either side of the main(front) piece. Only... when I tried this I ended up with the back edge sewn to one side of the front piece, and the overlap edge of the other back piece sewn to the other side of the front. I should be okay because my pattern is non-directional, but I am still worried about the lines of the skirt lining up right.

Secondly, it says to sew the two strips of waistband together (on the short edge as far as I can make out) to create one much larger strip. Except, now I'm left with a strip of fabric that seems way, way too long.

So I went looking for any possible errata that were published. There are at least three versions of this book. The first one was published through Storey Publishing in the States. They seemingly put up errata (which have since disappeared) and republished a corrected version in 2006. My copy of the book was published in 2007, by UK publishers David&Charles, and still contains the mistakes. With no errata I could find on their website.

For those interested, here is what the errata pdf contained once upon a time:

Sew What? Skirts
Page 65 Half Circle Wrap:
All you need is 1 length of 42"–45" fabric (about 2 1⁄2 yards for the average person), plus 1⁄8 yard for the waistband and ties. If you are larger than average, or prefer a fuller skirt, it’s better to use fabric that is 58"–60" wide (about 3 1⁄2 yards, plus waistband yardage).
. . .
You will need to add to the W measurement to allow
for fabric overlap in the back of the skirt. To do this, measure where your waistline will be, then add 12" to 14" (or the amount you want it to overlap). Divide by 3 and round up to the nearest 1⁄2". Then make your string compass as instructed.

p. 117 Nature's Child:
under Stuff You Need it should read:
2 lengths* of 42"–45" fabric
3⁄4–1 yard of complementary fabric


No mention of any of the problems I'm having, so maybe it's just me... but I'd be interested to hear thoughts from anyone who has tried these projects.

Adventures in Sewing

2010-May-07, Friday 06:43 pm
chebe: (Default)
I made a skirt yesterday. One from the book 'Sew What! Skirts'. I'm not sure if I mentioned this book here before or not, but I like it, and recommend it, even if none of it is metric, and it says you need a sewing machine. It basically teaches you how to make skirts to fit you, without patterns. It involves a little bit of maths, and some rulers, and really what you are doing is drafting your own skirt blocks, for one time use only, directly on the fabric. I made the first skirt, called 'Singing the Blues', a drawstring A-line skirt, only I didn't add the pocket or the rickrack.

It took me about four hours, including re-threading my overlocker, and learning how to sew a buttonhole on my machine. I ended up making the skirt a bit too big (I have to stop rounding up my measurements!), but I think it still works in a Summery kind of way. I actually wasn't too sure about the fabric, it's floral, and reminds me of Hawaiian shirts. Yet the colours are striking and bold, and the flowers themselves remind me of blood-red splashes. It's certainly not the sort of pattern I'm used to wearing. But it is a medium-weight cotton, and the selection was poor.

I wore it to work today. That was quite a bold move for me. I have never worn anything I made myself out-of-doors, except costumes. I suffer from thinking that nothing I can do is good enough, for whatever that means. But I did, and received several compliments on it, none of which were 'Did you make that yourself?'. I aim for a handmade look, not homemade. And, I say this with relief, I think this a step in the right direction.

Photo behind cut )
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