Upcoming and Planned Projects

Sunday, 25 November 2018

Lorenzo Jungle Dress

This is the Lorenzo Jungle Dress, a casual winter/trans-seasonal dress.  The fabric is a Liberty Lantana called Lorenzo from The Fabric Store. It's 80% cotton and 20% wool, so it's a similar weight to a flannelette but nicer feel and quality.

My initial thought for this fabric was to make a pinafore. But the fabric is very colourful and the print pretty kitschy so I was concerned it might be a bit too childish made into a pinafore. I flicked through my patterns to see what else I had that might work for the fabric and saw the dress on the cover of Stylish Dress Book (pattern E in the book) and thought it could work. I couldn't decide between the two so posted both options on Instagram asking for opinions, and the stylish dress book pattern narrowly won out.

I have made this before in a wool a number of years ago and retired it from my wardrobe earlier this year. So I knew it was something I could make easily, and knew the changes I'd want to make sewing it up a second time. Given how loose and full the dress is I decided to lengthen the hem and also narrow the pieces. The front is pleated and the lower back of the dress is gathered, so it was easy to reduce the bulk by placing the pieces over the fold line so that they were smaller. I also cut the pieces straight up the sides as the weight of this material didn't need anything extra.

This dress is an incredibly easy make. There are very few pieces, one for the front, two for the back, sleeves and patch pockets. The sleeves are cut a little narrow and do not have much in the way of fullness and the sleeve cap. Combined with the loose trapeze shape this can mean that the dress rises up when lifting up your arms, another reason why I lengthened the hem. For the hem I added around 10cm so that I would have enough extra fabric there to do some trial and error on deciding the right length.

In the end I think this dress struck a good balance in using the kitschy fabric but not turning out too childish. It's a fun print, and while it's probably designed with childrenswear in mind, I love a great print and don't think there's any problem with adults wearing something bright. This definitely isn't work wear, but I think it will find a good place in my wardrobe.

Thursday, 8 November 2018

Watermelon and Ginger Jeans

I made jeans!And they're colourful and they fit and they look reasonably professional. And they're jeans that I made! It's definitely an exciting achievement. Exciting enough to jump for joy.

These are the Ginger Jeans from Closet Case Patterns. I cut out the size 2 although I should be a size 0 - I measured the test square and discovered that it had printed slightly under scale. I've never had that happen before with a digital pattern before so I'm not sure what went wrong, but fortunately it was as easily solved as cutting out the next size up. I'd also printed the low rise version but decided I wanted them high waisted. Instead of printing out the high waisted version - or even just the pages for the waist - I simply sketched the seams for size 2 up to the top of the size 20.

I've been planning to make jeans for a while. I had planned to make some last year and bought the pattern and a different piece of denim, but it was more expensive and I was too daunted to use it. So instead I bought this cheaper denim. The fabric is a very stretchy and lightweight denim from My Hung fabrics. It came in both this watermelon red and a rich aqua, but I decided I liked the watermelon shade best.

The pattern recommended basting the pieces together first and trying them on just to check for any major fit issues. I normally don't bother with any of those precautionary steps - I've never made a muslin in my life - but I decided this time I would be good and follow every step. I tried them on and the fit was great. Even my sketching the waist from low rise to high rise had worked well!

The pattern is generally well written with clear instructions and accompanying pictures. However, I did have issues with the fly. Because I tend to find the fly tricky to do, I made sure I read through the instructions and look at the pictures before sewing and also made sure each step that I followed exactly. However, when I undid the basting stitches it wasn't centred. So I unstitched the lefthand side of the zipper, repinned it further in and stitched it back in so it sat flat and straight.

I only have the one sewing machine so I couldn't do what the pattern recommends and have one machine threaded with normal thread and one with topstitching thread. Howver my machine does a spot for an additional spool pin, so I threaded jeans needles with both normal and topstitching thread, put the normal thread on the normal spool pin and the topstitching spool on the additional pin so I only had to change the needles rather than rethreading.

I used a red topstitching thread because I haven't really used it before and didn't want it to show up too much in case it was wonky and uneven. I decided I wanted wavy lines for the back pocket topstitching which I marked on with tailor's chalk and then very carefully tried to follow my lines. They aren't perfect, and my other topstitching definitely isn't even straight lines, but it's probably better than I thought it would be.

The pattern is for skinny jeans, but they don't taper in right at the bottom but are instead straight from the calf. This is the only thing I dislike about the pattern itself, and if I use it again I will definitely change it so that they are skinny all the way down. However, this is only a minor issue.

I also would make the waistband piece smaller and more tapered. The pattern says the piece is slightly longer so that it can be trimmed and adjusted to each person's waist size, and while I did trim it shorter I found that after I'd ironed my interfacing on it stretched it slightly out of shape. Ironing the waistband after it was inserted helped even the slight waviness a bit, but next time I'll make the waistband a bit too small so that it can stretch after insertion.

Anyway I am very proud of myself making jeans. It was daunting and definitely more involved than most sewing but surprisingly not hugely difficult. And I'm really happy with the fit and how they turned out. I'm even tempted to go and buy the aqua denim and make a matching pair. Akthough maybe not right away.