Monday, 23 May 2016

My first jacket - Francine @sewoverit

I set myself the task of making myself a few jackets this year- something I've never done before. To get started I signed up for the Sew Over It Francine jacket class, taught over 3 evenings with the lovely Julie.

First up getting all my materials ready. I was super excited (well still am!) about the amazing fabric from Mood NYC- it is the most  delicious reversible wool and proved to be a total joy to sew. Along with that I have lining (black spotty) interfacing and buttons. 

So I m packed and off to my first class with 5 other ladies. The first class involves no sewing at all!! Julie walked us through the process and we got started on choosing the right sizes. What is very cool is that Sewoverit have jackets made up i each size so you try on to find the perfect fit. For me that was a 12, but the arms were too tight so we went for a 14 on the arms. Julie then helped all of us amend the pattern pieces to be right for each of us. Then it was cutting out time. 

I thought I was good to go but then I was asked if I d measured the grain line. Why would I do that? I be always ignored the grain line, I thought they were for patterns. Anyway now I know, you need your grain line to be measured correctly so the fabric hangs right. Measure the grain line from the selvege in- keeping perfectly parallel. 

So then I did really start cutting! Lots of pieces- for the outer, lining and then the interfacing.  Didn't get it all finished in class so my homework starts here.  Next job iron on the interfacing. This is what it looks like at this stage:

Now sewing time! Julie shared a very cool way of doing darts using some extra fabric to even it out so the dart lies flat:

How fancy does that look!!
So then sewing all the easy bits together wraps up my week one homework:

So onto my second class! Good news, what I did for my homework was correct except I found stay tape I was supposed to have put in the shoulders but forgot. Tacked it in quickly by hand in class. Big job this class is the neckline and lapel. We start by attaching it. Then comes the interesting bit with how you bend it slightly to ensure you don t see the under side and tailors tack it. 

Glad I m at class for this bit as there is no way I would have worked it out from the instructions!! Then we roll the collar back, pin in place then hand tack in the ditch so it holds in place but stitches can't
be seen. I hate hand sewing but I do see the value in this!  It's so exciting seeing it come together, the contrast lapel is starting to look brilliant!

So next job the sleeves. I learn how to 'ease in' excess fabric with the use of a lot of pins. I was convinced the sleeve was much too big for the hole but Julie promised it won fit and it did of course. Tack the sleeve in and try on.  Unfortunately I m not 100% happy with the fit so we decide to take the jacket and sleeve in a bit. Julie pins it right for me whilst I wear it, then I get on to making the adjustments: 
Adjustments done & the  sleeves can go in.  Do you think I used enough pins?!
So thats my homework for wk2 done. Class for week 3 starts with sleeve head wadding and shoulder pads !  Who ever knew such a thing as sleeve head wadding exists and that I would be doing it!!!
So sleeve head wadding is some stuff (thin fluffy material) that you sew along the inside of the top sleeve so it looks nice & full (opposite where shoulder pad would go.  Its simply tacked  in:
 then you put the shoulder pad opposite it.

Now thats all finished, I can start sewing the lining into the jacket!  The bottom facing piece is tacked in & then the lining is hand stitched to it.  Not my favourite job, I have to admit.

Then sewing the lining in at the armholes....

And nearly there... Just button holes to do!!  On recommendation from Julie I took it to DMButtons in Soho to get the to do the buttons on their industrial machines- they literally did it in seconds and they look much nicer than I would ever manage on my machine:
Then just to add the final buttons & give it a final press!

AND after months & months of work, I can proudly say its finished!! I so enjoyed making this and feel very proud that I have made it - I m still a bit in shock that I managed something 'tailored' and I really think it looks & fits great.  I will have a break before doing another jacket (as its such a big undertaking) but I will do another for sure & put all I learned back into practice.  I would highly recommend doing this course at Sew over it.  It was really great- There is no way I would have a jacket finished like this without the course & I learnt so so much from Julie- thank-you!!

Messyessymakes.  x
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Friday, 13 May 2016

Burda Cherry Blossom Collection Dress - Oct 2015 issue

When I saw this dress in the Cherry Blossom Collection, I immediately bought the magazine- in fact I loved that whole collection but I knew I HAD to make that dress- the shape just looked perfect for me.  And infact I had the perfect fabric in my stash that  had been waiting for the perfect dress pattern.

Of course being from the Burda magazine it takes most of the time to get the pattern traced off, working out which lines to follow & which pieces are required from the crazy pattern sheets!  But once I had got that done, this is a super, super easy make.  

There are just 4 pieces- front, back and 2 armhole facing pieces.  The front piece is a odd shape as it has the cowl neck plus pieces which wrap around the back to form a v neck down to the mid point of the back:

So you simply sew the sides together, put in a zip & do these darts.  Its the first time I ve done dart/pleats like this and it won' t be the last, I loved them.  They are like darts but you only sew the middle section like this, then at the top & bottom it looks like a pleat.  I find it perfect on- it gives a nice fullness around the bust, pulls it in to give a good shape at the waist, then again has enough fullness to comfortably fit around the hips.

 this is what it looks like from the right way around:

The most tricky bit I found on the dress was the neck line.  For 2 reasons.  Firstly I ignored the pattern and put the zip down the back instead of down the side as I always prefer back zips.  But then I came to realise that this doesn't work with the back neck detail... Oh well, too late.   Then, the pieces that fold down to complete the v down the back turned out to be too short. I guess I just didn't cut enough seam allowance on it - next time I d cut those sticky out bits much much longer, then trim to size when I m sewing as too big would be no problem, too short is a problem.  Anyway as a compromise I did this:  The back pieces fall short of meeting but I figured it looked ok & like a 'detail' to have it stopping a bit before the zip.  The pieces are supposed to meet & be sewn together which would not have been an option anyway given I had put the zip there.  So learning 1. follow pattern and put the side zip and 2. cut those v bits extra long.

Final job was just to do the armhole facing & the hem.   And here is how it comes together.  I really, really love it.  Its difficult to photo in this print as you can't really see the detail too much but I do adore the fabric too- its from Fabric godmother.

 Neck view front:

Neck view back:

Full dress:

And of course, here it is on:

I'd highly recommend this one.  Happy sewing, Messyessymakes x

I d love to see you on Instagram @Messyessymakes

Wednesday, 11 May 2016

Clearance dress re-imagined

I was in the supermarket and spotted this dress in the clearance for only £12- It was plus size with a gathered skirt so had huge amounts of Broiderie Anglaise fabric in it, lined, so I couldn't resist buying it to cut up & re-make to fit!  I had almost bought some Broiderie earlier in the day so it was a bit like fate!
 So it was the wrong size in every way so I cut out all the different elements - I carefully removed the sleeves by cutting as close to the seam as I could (with a view to re-using them), I cut the  skirt off from the waistband, then I cut down the side seams of the bodice, leaving only the shoulder seam intact.  I kept the lining & top fabric together at all times as I wanted to keep it lined
First job was to fit the bodice, so I put it on my dress form inside out.  Firstly I pinned in some darts at front and back to get the fit right.  There was the nice detailing in the pattern down the front & back so I got the darts as close as I could manage to those, without going over them so I kept that looking good.  Once the darts were pinned, I then realised the shoulders were a bit low (armholes were too low) so I took up the shoulder seam a bit to get it all into the right position.  Final job fitting the bodice was to then fit the side seams.  The dress form makes this super easy...

Once I was happy with the fit on the bodice, I moved to the skirt.  Just look how much fabric I had to play with!!
I cut the skirt down the side seams given it needed a lot of reshaping & I decided I would put pleats, directly aligned with the bodice detailing.  I also matched up the zig zag of the pattern top & skirt.  I marked the mid point on the fabric, then measured out to the pleats on either side.  I made the pleats 12cm each, so folded over at 6 cm and sewed down for 15cm.  I then pressed it open & sewed it open.

I then shaped darts into the back skirt piece &  using the dress form again & fitting it to the bodice sewed the side seams back together.     Whilst working on it, I sewed the lining to the top fabric down all the seams so it didn't move: 

Next job was simply attaching the bodice & skirt.

Next job the sleeves.  I basically just cut the arm hole so it was in the right place on the bodice & then re-attached the sleeves  on all sides but at the top - as you can see there was a lot of extra fabric there:

I then just put in a pleat to take in the extra fabric, aligned with the shoulder seam:

I wanted to add some detailing to jazz it up a bit and I had the wonderful thick ribbon I bought recently - so that was destined for the waistband!  Here I first just pinned it on to check that it was sitting right, then I stitched it carefully in cream down the cream stripes top & bottom of the ribbon.

And it was nearly finished!!  I had originally planned not to touch the hem (lazy :), but I realised it was just too long so I did cut it and re-hemmed  it to the right length.  And a zip had to go in-, down the side seam (site of the original zip but a lot further in) big job was lining the ribbon up so the stripes sat well - it would look terrible if that was off (well it was off the first time I tacked it and it did look awful, but I got it right with a bit of alteration)

So then it was finished- except I felt the sleeve was a bit boring, so I went for a bit of added detail and made a placket to add to it using a small button:

And then it really was finished!! I thought it may have been a quick project given I was starting from a finished dress, but I re did everything apart from the neckline & avoiding to make a separate lining- but it is a very cost effective dress and I like it a lot !!!