Sunday, March 18, 2012

A Great Haul

There are 5 second hand stores I visit semi-regularly for patterns, fabric used furniture and ugly/charming vintage serving dishes. In the past, I've scored a great chair for $75 and a solid wood sideboard for $80 that is in the process of being refurbished as a vanity for our basement bathroom remodel.

Yesterday I had a mission to find two pairs of shoes for the show I am in, so I went to three of my favorite second hand stores. I got lucky. For $8 I found the perfect non-descript, character-shoe-type-with-strap nude shoes with a not too high heel.

They may not look like much, but I have TERRIBLE feet to fit (wide and flat with a narrow heel), and I will still need to employ some moleskin to avoid blisters, but there's enough wiggle room that I should be okay.

At store #2 (also an Army & Navy), I had no luck with shoes, but came across some excellent patterns. 6 for $1.74!! I've circled the styles I'm interested in. 

I was not very sure about the striped dropped-waist (top left) but I've since had a vision I will share with you later on. 

I'm very excited about the shirt-dress (top middle). I went thorough the instructions of this one, and it includes bound button holes, which I think I've done once, but don't really remember. 

I really like the green knit and it's dance-leotard-like rouching at the bust. 

I was thinking about using Style 1855 as the basis for my ombre hoodie idea . I like the idea of a poncho/batwing type shape, but I get lost in it and need more shaping, so this might work. 

The vogue jeans are for my pattern stash. I have another Vogue jean pattern from a previous second-hand store outing that I have to try as well. 

And the Butterick 6025... the pintucks. I think I'll take out the gathers on the sleeves caps though.

Next stop: Value Village. Also no luck with shoes. Again, scored patterns and also fabric, and also...
Boot shapers. Insert into boots and they stay vertical maintaining the shape. $3!

I also found some lovely patterns to add to my stash ($.99/each). I've circled the ones I'm interested in. 

I'm not one to wear a cowl, but McCall's 4236 appealed to me. 

McCall's 4325 is apparently a nightgown, which I only realized upon closer inspection once I got home, but to me it looks like a maxi-dress pattern. I'm not one to wear a maxi-dress either (at least not lately), but maybe I'll find some fabric that begs to be made into one. 

The cap sleeve on the Style dress pattern was what attracted me to it. The zipper in the front is pretty great too. Exposed maybe? 

The Simplicity shirt pattern promises a lesson in how to sew a shirt, which I'm already familiar with, but maybe I'll learn something new. 

Butterick 6519 is a maternity pattern (again, something I noticed after I got home), but I still love the colour blocked version here. 

The Simplicity men's shorts is a pattern that B and I looked at for him a while back. 

How could I pass up an adult halloween costume pattern?

Simplicity 5918 looks like a pretty cute blazer. I have another blazer in the cue that I'm working up the nerve to tackle first, so this will have to wait. 

The fabrics I found: 

Dark navy dalmation-type polka dot. 3 metres for $6.  

It feels like polyester, and after a burn test, I'm positive.

The drape is really lovely, and I think I'm going to pair it with this pattern. In my head, the drape lends itself to a flapper-type silhouette. I can see it with a long string of pearls. I can also see it with some shaping dart added and a little belt, fabric or otherwise.

Fabric #2 is a teal sweater knit with a nice multi-coloured heather. 2 metres for $8.

It has almost no stretch to it and it's quite thin, so I'm going to use it as a woven. I'm matching it with the cap sleeve dress with the zipper front: 
I'll have to see what's available for zippers to determine if it's going to be exposed or not. Probably not. More like invisible. 

I don't wear a lot of dresses, but the teal sweater knit is pretty casual and can be worn to work, and the dalmation-dot (if it works out) can be worn for my nephew's baptism. 

All in all, I spent just under $40. A good day. 

Monday, March 12, 2012

Simplicity 2191 done!

I was thrilled with my fabric but unsure about this pattern. Turns out I love them both! Of course, not being one to almost ever sew something directly out of the envelope, I changed a few things:

Style changes:
1. Shortened the sleeves 4 inches
2. Changed the shape of the neckline and sleeve facings
3. Used a 9 inch exposed zip.

4. Added piping to the neckline and sleeve hems

Fitting changes:
1. my usual 1/2" broad upper back (pivot method used here from the Slapdash Sewist)
2. grade out 1/4" at the hips

My measurements matched best with a 12 at the bust, and 14 at the waist and hip, but I cut a straight 12, A-cup.

The piping. Oh the piping. I had some faux brown leather in my stash that I thought worked really well with the feel/colour scheme of my fabric and decided to make my own piping. I bought what I thought was a light-weight cord, but because my fabric was quite light, it was like I had a wire insert in my neckline. I took out the cord which fixed the problem. On the sleeves I should have sewed my piped facings in the round, but I was being lazy and applied them to my sleeves before sewing the sleeves in flat and then sewing up the sides. This left me with a raw edge on the inside of my cuffs instead of a nicely faced hem, but I serged it and am not loosing sleep over it.

I will not be modifying the neckline again this much as doesn't always sit quite right, and the front opening "flaps" don't always lie flat. The fabric is quite light and the top is quite slouchy so it's forgivable.

The shape of the bodice is really flattering. It's roomy but NOT boxy which is something I'm always looking for. It looks good tucked in and not tucked; belted and not belted.

My fabric is a cotton voile?? It's a lightweight cotton with a loose weave and a slightly crinkly texture. I fell in love with the pattern/colour and it was on sale.

I will be sewing this again, and I recommend this to others. I'm looking forward to sewing up the short sleeve version.

It's an A++. Very rarely, if ever, have I ever wanted to sew a pattern up more than once, but I have lots of ideas for this one.

Belted (I need a new belt): 

Untucked, no belt: 

Sunday, March 4, 2012

Exposed Zipper Tutorial

I've started Simplicity 2191. I made my muslin and my pattern revisions (full review to come later). I wanted to change the back zipper to an exposed one (and a much shorter one at that). All of the tutorials I found on the web were for the zip to be placed on the outside of the garment, with wasn't exactly the look I was going for so I put this tutorial together of what I ended up doing. I guess you could also call it an inset zipper??

1. Firstly, determine where the bottom of your zipper will hit on the seam (here it is marked with a green head pin). Line up the top of the zipper tape with the edge of your fabric. The extra will be included in the seam at the neckline, so the zipper pull will go all the way to the top once the facing is installed later on.

2. Sew your seam. Here it's 5/8". I've basted the seam up to where the zip ends (green head pin) and then sewed at a standard stitch length for the rest of the seam below the zip. This is so it's easy to open those stitches later on.

3. Press the seam open. Next, determine how much of the zipper tape you want exposed. In this instance it's just over 1/4", or to the edge of my presser foot. You will now be working from the wrong side of the fabric.

4. Sew the distance you determined in step 3 (to the edge of my presserfoot) away from the seam through the seam allowance and the fabric.

5. Cut down the middle through the basting threads (from step 2) stopping about 1/2" before you get to the right angle stitches and cut diagonally to the stitches in the corners.

6. Here you can see these diagonal cuts into the corners. Now you have three "flaps": two long and one triangle

7. Press the "flaps" over to the inside of the garment along the stitching (from step 4).

8. Turn your work over to the right side over the zipper (facing up) so it shows through the opening you made in step 7. Line up the top of the zipper tape with the top of your fabric. Centre the zipper stop in the open space lining it up with the seam below.

9. Pin and/or baste the zipper in place.

10. Sew it in using your zipper foot.

Below is the final zipper insertion into my blouse:

I'm pretty happy with how it turned out. I had some issues with pivoting at the bottom. My fabric doesn't have a lot of weight and I think my tension was off.

Here you can see at the zipper stop it's a bit of a gong-show because of the problems with the corners. With how busy my fabric is, I'm not going to worry about it. It's in the back of my garment, so I'll never see it!

Here is the reverse.

Here you can see that the edges that extend past the zipper tape are already folded over/finished, so it's all nice and neat inside.

That's it! This is my first tutorial so let me know if you don't understand anything. I'm hoping that my pictures will pick up any of the slack from my written directions. Also, if there's a different way you know of that would work better, by all means—please let me know.

Now off to work on my shirt. I'm aiming to have it done for a friends birthday outing on Wednesday. We'll see...