Wednesday, October 19, 2016

Black Jersey Minishort Copycat

A very simple but necessary kind of project, when I saw these Adidas minishorts on my friend Meri, I had to have them. 
So I borrowed them, and used the rub off technique described in this book, which is proving VERY useful, to copy them. They fitted me like a globe, so I only had to reproduce them exactly. In the final stages of construction I decided to put a couple of elasticated bands at the top insteat of a cord, between the topstitching lines.
For future reproductions, better not to topstitch the top part, only understitch it like in the model, to avoid some ruffling. Nothing serious, since it disappears when wearing them, but it makes the piece to protude slightly off the body.
Other than that, and the fact that this is not 100% cotton (thanks to the man in front of Saintbury's, who lied to me) perfect!

Saturday, September 24, 2016

Cotton Sundress

I bought this wonderful printed cotton in my summer holidays in Lisboa. It is made in Portugal, with a beautiful Japanese pattern, good quality old cotton, only at 9 Euros per metre. Traveling to Lisboa is worth it only for fabric hunting. And food. And Alfama. And weather, beaches, nice people...
When I came back, I decided to replicate another sundress I already have, this time to make it with a lower waist, since the first version is lovely but has this unconfortable problem.
So I used the same pattern than the previous version. The bodice is my pattern, with the waist enlargement modification, and the skirt is a masterpiece I love, by Burda. It is a flared skirt with inverted, unpressed pleats, two in front and two in the back.
I self-encased all the seam allowances in the dress, and topstitched them, since black thread is really invisible in this fabric.
First, I finished the skirt with a waist band, and then I made the bodice, sewing it to the same waistband, which becomes invisible, but works as a stay to the waist when wearing the dress. I had to calculate precisely the waist measure to make it conformtable to wear, not to tight or loose.
I also modified the shoulders, moving them towards the inside, because in the previous version they had a tendency to fall off.
I installed a 70 cm long zipper in the back. Due to the waist sructure, this cannot be sewed as invisible, but as the old lapped zipper thing.
The dress is very confortable to wear, beautiful and becoming, I think. Total success!


Sunday, September 4, 2016

Classic Bodice Bust Dart: My First Draping Project

Every summer I try to learn something new in sewing, and this 2016 draping it was. I bought this massive book:

which is proving to be really impressive and worth it. I have only had time for the first 5 projects, but I can already apply the newly acquired learning to my sewing projects.

The first project is a tunic; which I did wrong, thinking it was whole front and back, when it was only half of each. 

This is a study on breast darts. Much more easier and graphic than the horizontal paper alternative!!
On top of that, I believe new learnings are better acquired  if applied with a real purpose, so I plan to use the projects the book presents to me as real sewing projects whenever possible. And this presented as a wonderful possibility. I had some remaining fabric from my last dress. It is a wonderful cotton Liberty print fabric, not to be disregarded, and it was perfect for the Classic Bodice Bust Dart project:

 The book gives you graffic ideas of how to transfer the studies to actual clothes. This was a blouse with a bust dart, no waist shaping and a bias neck-bow piece.

This is the pattern as I made it over my dress form. I invented the armscyes and the neck-cut, but in fact I pretty much followed the book suggestions.

And this is the result. With a deep-blue background, it is screaming for some jeans to go with, poor thing.

When I was draping my pattern, I put a little on at the waist. To be able to visualize that and do it there! is great. I love that!

This is a blouse to put in your suitcase for holidays in warm places. Really wearable.

The fabric was so scarce, I had to attach different pieces to make the bias neck tie.

I will go on practicing... maybe not so much in winter (I must work and study, so less hobby time), but the projects are candy for my eyes, really. Great book, it seems!

Friday, August 26, 2016

Shirt Dress V8970

 I love shirt dresses! Specially in summer, cotton shirtdresses are great. Retro and yet modern. Very femenine, specially with a Liberty print cotton like this. I bought it when I got my new Bernina, in the same shop. Expensive, but worth it. Light, sweet, cool and not much wrinkles. I took these photos after a long morning shopping around the city with my car in a VERY hot day, in Lleida.
The pattern I found it in the internet, and it is the last commercial pattern I will ever buy. EVER. I promise that. Two sizes big. I mean, two sizes!! After drawing the pattern pieces, taking the seam allowances off, checking they were roomy enough, but... that roomy????!!! 

I took a whole size down after the first fitting, with all the dress basted, and I think it is probably still too big. But in a way I like it being big, loooots of ease. 

And that is why I loved this pattern in the first place, because in spite of being a shirt dress, small at the waist and with a flared skirt, it is not trying to pretend I have some waist by putting a LOT of pressure in my reverse waist. I don't need that to drive and do errands in a hot summer morning. But I still like walking in style! Ha!
The pattern is still nice, though. I am not quite sure about those huge darts under the breast and over the skirt, shaping them both at the same time. Clever. But are they too high? Too deep? Would they be better if multiplied? I have the intention of revisiting this pattern again, the dress is comfy and becoming, so... not bad after all!


Wednesday, August 3, 2016

Fabric Hunting in Lovely Lisboa

We recently traveled to Lisboa and spent one wonderful there.
We stayed in Alfama, and toured the city everyday enjoying its light, its wonderful food, specially fish, seafood and seafood rice, its beer, its peoples... it was a wonderful wonderful holiday. I hope we can go back sometime soon.
One of the things we enjoyed most was the authenticity of the place. The characteristic and typical food, drinks, traditions, products were Portuguese all around and they were proud of it. In this globalized world that is difficult to find. Some places are so alike- with the same chain clothing, gadgetting, food stores- that travel has no point anymore. Not with Lisboa. If you want to drink Ginjinha you must go to Lisboa!
During our stay there I discovered two fabric stores, both in the same street nearing Rossio, Rua Áurea.

The first one is in the very Rosio square. It has loads of remnants and cheap fabric, but I missed good, quality fabric, only some silks, denims and viscoses. I could not buy anything. They had SALDOS, discounted sales, and prices were very good, though. I spotted a very nice black cotton sateen, but it was gone when I went back there to buy it.

The last day I discovered another shop, and that was a different matter. Ouro texteis was a cave of wonders. Only the summer patterned cotton collection was amazing, but they had everything one can wish, plus a very well supplied haberdashary downstairs. They told me 70-80% was made in Portugal and prices were excellent. I bought four pieces of fabric, and wished I had more space in my suitcase, but from Lisboa we were traveling to Czeckia for a festival and we only carried hand luggage, so I managed to put those four fabrics inside but that was it. You will see them in my future projects!

We loved our holiday in Lisboa, specially because it still resists globalization and retains its characteristi authenticity. In Rua da Conceição, for example, there still are a bunch of retrosarias (haberdashery shops) with that falvour from the past. They are gorgeous. In that very street I encountered another fabric shop, but I was not in the mood that morning!

Saturday, July 23, 2016

Liberty Sundress in Lovely Lisboa

Just before leaving for our lovely week in Lisboa, I realized I TOTALLY needed a sundress made of liberty fabric. You know the benefits of the pricy cotton lawn: it dries fast, it's lightweight, cool to wear in hot weather, does not wrinkle (relatively speaking) and it is not sheer. 

Plus, the flowery patterns are just lovely. I kept day dreaming about sewing this jewel since I bought it in my last trip to London.

So I decided to replicate a very simple sundress I have in my wardrobe (twice already). I took it from a pattern magazine years ago, and I still wear it. It has passed the test of time. Of my two previous versions, one is cut in the bias and the other has some elastic thread. 

This cotton is not elastic at all, so I decided to cut it on bias, thinking it is stable enough to stand to it, and I have been proved right. I only bought 1.5m, but again thanks to the generosity of the sales lady (18cm extra), it was enough for the bias version. I found my pattern in my collection and cut it folding the fabric through one corner and then the oposite one, upside down.

I marked the pattern pieces with tailor tucks.I was in a hurry (as I always am, to my own dismal!), so I took the pinned pieces to the machine without previously basting them (OMG!). Of course the pattern allows it. Bust darts, skirt darts, side seams and imperium seam, under the bust, are all quite simple and straight seams to sew. 

I applied some fusible interfacing along the invisible zip at the back. 

 I self encaged the skirt side seams for a neat finish, and instead of facings for neck and arms openings, I used a whole second bodice as facing. I left the shoulder seams open, and I sewed the neck and armscyes, turned it over, machine-stitched the shoulders closed of both bodice and facing and then finished that border by tinny handstitches. I enclosed the seam allowances under bust inside the facing, securing it by hand sewing there. Have a look at the inside:

This fabric fame and price is worth it, if we carefully choose the project. I still question my last one, but this one is a 10. It does not take space in my tinny hand suitcasse, it does not wrinkle (I amb wearing it here after unpacking), and it is supercool for hot weather. Plus, it is a bliss to work with. A win-win-win!

I love Lisboa! More about my fabric hunt in Lisboa in my next post.

Wednesday, July 20, 2016

Black Silk Jersey Sleveless Coco Dress

 WOW! What a luxury dress!
The inspiration was brought by Kate Middleton, the English princess, who in terms of clothing is candy to any sewist eyes when she wears those magnificent custom-fitted dresses and tailored coats.
 I saw in a magazine she was wearing a blue jersey dress with the most exquisite drape and shade I had ever seen, and I read there was something called silk jersey. I was in love.

 So when I travelled to London last easter, this was in my treasure hunt. I bought only one metre in Broadwick Silks (Soho), since the price is very expensive.
Because I only had 1 m x 1.05m, it had to be a short sleeveless dress, so I decided to go with my Coco pattern, which it has proved infallible over the last months, winter and summer alike. I had to cut the back upside down, to align the skirt wide bottom next to the narrower bodice part.
I raised the underarm part of the sleeves a couple of cm and deeped the front neck cutting.
I zig-zagged all the raw ends with my machine and handsewed them with an invisible stitch to the dress by rolling them once. Easy does it.
It is a jewel of a dress! I hope it will not be my last silk jersey piece.