My second project from Gertie Sews Vintage Casual is the 40s Style Shirt. What I like about this book is that for many of the projects variations are given. For instance, this sleeveless version. You are told to add 3" to the hem front and back, and add a fifth button. There are two tucks on both the front and back. You are instructed to turn them into double-ended darts. I did this for the back, and simply left the front tuck- and dart-less. (Except for the the two front shoulder darts.) The patch pocket is left off. As are the sleeves and cuffs. Instead you finish the arms with bias tape.

My fabric is cream with a yellow, green, and blue floral pattern, in 100% non-stretch cotton. I made bias tape from the same fabric. I again got to play with my overedge stitch/foot and buttonhole stitch/foot. The buttons are of a dark blue/navy. The bottom of the side seams are split.

My favourite part was using the bias tape to finish the sleeves. It's so straight forward and neat. One technique I hope to use again. My least favourite part was the very fiddly way the collar and facings were attached. I mean, there was hand-sewing and a tailoring ham. I suppose vintage techniques are part of vintage clothing, but I found it quite frustrating. And I messed up the collar/lapel on the left-hand side because of it. I'm also not sure about the excess fabric on the back above the darts. Is this a vintage feature? Or do I need to elongate my darts? Other than that it's a lovely little pattern, and I'd like to make one in a drapier fabric.



Finished 40s Style Shirt, sleeveless modification, front view
Photo by chebegeek



Photos )
Gertie combined kickstarter with sewing patterns. I was instantly hooked. I backed the Rita Blouse. An elasticised gathered neckline, almost boho style, on top of a six panelled princess seamed bodice with invisible zipper opening. It even comes with B/C/D/DD cup sizes. And Gertie ran a sew-along on her blog.

I made mine up in a black crepe, which is a tad too translucent, but at least gives me an excuse to make a suitable slip.

I had many fit problems with this pattern. Which I hadn't come across in any of Gertie's previous patterns. I think it mostly has to do with this not really being the right shape/style for me. For one it has a very fitted underbust and midriff. Which is not what my untamed middle likes to do. But I also had to make extensive changes to the back and sleeves.
Fitting toile )

I'd made up a toile beforehand, and the back piece ballooned out unflatteringly and the sleeves were too loose/long. Seems this was a not-uncommon experience for us more petite lasses. I ended up taking 2" out of the Upper Back, 2" out of each of the Sleeves, and 12" total off the neckline elastic (even adjusting for the 6" of fabric I removed that's still 6" of excess elastic). Ahh, the joys of sewing wovens.



Finished Rita, front view
Photo by chebegeek



Finished blouse )
My first project from Gertie's New Book for Better Sewing is the Portrait Blouse. It's also my first woven project in a while.

It involves a lapped zipper, facings, bust darts, and waist tucks (front and back). It also assumes that you know when to finish your seams, so watch out for that. (Especially leaving extra space for the zipper to go in when you trim that seam.) The arms and hem are all narrow turned hems. The facings involve some hand stitching. I used up the last of the Crepe crepe fabric.



Finished Portrait Blouse
Photo by chebegeek


Modeled )
My first project from Gertie Sews Vintage Casual is the Easy Knit Pencil Skirt. The name says it all really. I made mine in a nice dotted Ponte de Roma knit. Sew it up, wear. The length hits about mid/upper shin/calf, and it is so comfortable to wear, but looks so smart. Will have to make more.

Notes;
The book says to use 30mm elastic, but I couldn't find any anywhere. It's either 25mm or 38mm. I used 25mm, it doesn't seem to affect the outcome.

It also says to use a twin needle to hem. Which seems straight forward, but whether it was the fabric or the machine, this just refused to work for me. Used a stretch/lightning stitch instead.



Finished Easy Knit Pencil Skirt
Photo by chebegeek

I'm feeling a little despondent over things I have no influence over. So I'm distracting myself with blogging. Here's something I made earlier in the year.

Remember the Butterick 6031 slip sew-along? (Here's version one.) Well, I finally got around to making it up in the kit fabric and notions.

It's straight forward, easy to put together (even with the slippery fabric). The lace straps are a little fiddly, but otherwise it's a joy to make and wear.

Photos )
In sad news, it appears my new sewing machine and I will not be immediate bffs just yet. I am rather appalled at how it has handled stretch knit fabric and elastics.

I finally got around to making up a test of the panties to go with the Butterick 6031 slip. The last part of the sew-along is here.

The pattern is very simple and straight forward. A good fit and style. (Clearly much better than my attempt at the Kwik Sew 2100 panties.) But as this is just a test I swapped the waist stretch lace for folded-over elastic, and just hemmed the legs without any elastic.

Underwear underneath )
Ah, the Butterick 6031 slip sew-along. In one sense I'm behind. In another, I'm finished. See, I forgot for a moment that pattern company sizes are not regular sizes, and got the pattern in the wrong size. But, after measuring (myself, and the pattern) it became clear that the pattern included quite a bit of wearing ease. Which I would find unusual for a regular knit fabric, let alone the two-way-stretch knits we're actually using. So I chanced my arm and made up a toile in the largest size included.

I used some two-way-stretch knit I had laying around, which is just a bit heavier than the kit fabric. It doesn't really fray so I could skip most seam finishes. And I couldn't find any of my lace, so I made do with just some quarter-inch elastic.

Details and pictures )

The knit used is just about heavy enough to be a non-underwear fabric, and without the tell-tale lace details, well, my 90s self would like to wear this out dancing. She probably won't get her way, but I do adore this slip/lounge dress. It's so comfortable, and the different sized cups provided means I actually have something that fits properly with very little effort! I think with the actual fabric I'll narrow the side seams a bit, just to take the pressure off. But otherwise, I'm very happy. Talk about your wearable toiles!
Gertie is running a new sew-along! Before you panic, this one should be much, much shorter than the last one. I don't have many details yet except that it's starting sometime in April, and her tag will either be Butterick 6031 or slip sew-along. I made things easy on myself by purchasing the kit and pattern directly, so all I need worry about is the fitting and sewing. Here's to more adventures in sewing!




It's a dress! Actually, it's the Crepe dress I started two years ago! (You can find previous posts with the tag gerties crepe sew along.) The astute among you will notice a couple of things.

Firstly that it's finished. I didn't want to risk posting another in-progress update in case I put it down and ignored it again for another few months. But yesterday was the annual Crafters Sugar-overdose Night (which has unofficially become the TOG Christmas party), and I was determined to have something to show at it. So despite my intense hatred for hemming I spent all of Sunday doing just that, and felt the relief of actually finishing something. This is my first (non-costume) dress, so I now feel justified in calling myself a 'dressmaker'!

As Craft Night is directly after work I ended up wearing my dress to work. It was a peculiar experience. I have never worn a dress to work before, not even when I worked in retail. Skirts sure, but not a full dress. Being the middle of winter I made one concession, the stockings were swapped for leggings, so please excuse the bagginess in the photos.

Secondly, oh observant followers, you'll have noticed that you've never seen this fabric before. Indeed, the project came to a rather definite halt when I gave up on the fitting and was about to cut the fashion fabric and realised that the fabric wouldn't work well with this dress design. Time passed, and I happened on an online fabric sale. The moment I saw this fabric I knew the dress was back on!

Here, let me do a twirl for you! (These photos are not instagrammed, just shot in poor, yellow, light. That first photo was taken with flash and shows the colours better.)

Photos! )


Did you spot the pockets? Pockets! Such wonderful inventions. Okay, since this was a sew-along I should talk a bit about the actual construction. The lovely patterned crepe is rather translucent, so it is underlined with black polycotton, which gives it a nice (but slightly stiff) body. Although, the hand-basting took such an impossibly long time that in future I will be saving this technique for particularly special gowns.

This was also my first time doing facings, and it was an adventure. The points on the neckline could have been done better. And my interfacing was so delicate that I melted a few pieces with the iron. That took getting used to. And they are so light that they have to be tacked down in several places to stop them flipping out. (That is one advantage of the underlining; I can tack to the lining without having the stitches visible on the outside.)

My usual method of seam construction is straight-stitch finished with overlocker. In some places, like the skirt side-seams with the pockets, I had to leave the seams open, so I overlocked both sides. Speaking of pockets; I initially put them in the wrong way around. So I had to cut them out and put them back the right way around. Silly mistake, and reminds me to not sew when I'm tired.

Other than that my skirt is 62cm long measured from the waist seam. The ties don't want to lay flat and keep compacting, and there seems to be a bit extra fabric in the body, but I figure that's part of the pattern. I am glad I spent so much time working on getting the fit just so, because this really is a very comfortable dress to wear. (Like it was made for me or something :P )

Here are some shots of the inside of the dress )

Okay, that's that. *dusts off hands*
Woah. Don't you hate it when time gets away from you, for weeks on end? After last you heard from me I was at Electric Picnic (running electro-craft workshops with the amazing Cat and tog), after which I found myself in Rome (for what I thought was a holiday but featured more walking than I'd anticipated). I attended my first Freshmeat training session (and then my second just yesterday *ouch*), and have come down with a head-cold/sinus-infection which I am attacking with a vast quantity of medicines. I had been holding off on posting here until I got some photos to add, but I kept forgetting to copy the Rome photos from J and the tog websites are in the process of moving hosts, so alas I have no pictures. (Maybe that's a good thing, I was indoctrinated at a young age in the ways of my parents holiday slides... carousel after carousel of slides...)

But, I figured I've been silent too long, so you get some waffle instead. At the moment I'm reading two books that I'm enjoying immensely.

Books )

In other news, my Colette patterns; Jasmine and Clover have arrived, and so enthused me that I think I've gotten the sewing bug back! But first things first; have to finish that Crepe! I've decided (inspired by the aforementioned two books) that I'm going to go with the last set of darts I'd tried (removing them didn't work out as well as I'd hoped) even though everything in all the sewing books say that darts shouldn't extend above the apex. It simply comes down to the fact that that's the shaping my body needs, so that's what I'm going to do. No more mock-ups, next stop, cutting the real fabric!

[Next steps: (1) Underlining & cutting out fabric, (2) Stabilising neck and arms, (3) Final pre-sew checklist. Check have enough underlining fabric is prewashed, and have fusible interfacing.]