Monday, August 29, 2011

Grey Goes With.....

This winter I've been wearing my grey scallop skirt a lot - it just seems to go with everything

Like the complete rainbow, for instance:.....


A future coat
(OK, I admit that I haven't been wearing this much because it is still in the imagination stage!)

Also, imaginary at this stage - an orange top.  Currently I only have a summer tank, but I am hunting for the perfect orange ponte for a winter top!

OK, onto something that isn't imaginary...

My $1 bag from Some Shop Without A Name:

My boy was taking the shots today - and was enjoying snapping me in silly positions!

I think a good canary yellow bag is worth serious investment - I've used this a lot as it is so handy to brighten up a winter's day!


I've been wearing this over a plain black top for winter - as a loose top it is definitely more flattering with a pencil skirt than an Aline, but you know what, I really don't care!  One of my commenters gave me the idea of wearing it with grey a la Paul Smith - thanks Anne!

Teal or Turquoise:
A burda T-shirt:

This turquoise is a bit summery for this skirt, but wouldn't teal be a nice winter option?

Cobalt tights with net tights overlaid:

I love to mix and match tights, and this is one of my favourite combos at the moment!

My soon to be finished cable cardigan:

I still need to sew the sleeve seams, sew on the buttons and weave in all those ends....
I better hurry up as spring is imminent!

OK - that's enough changes of outfit for today - I think I have given you enough proof that grey goes with almost everything!

What's your favourite combination with grey - is there anything fabulous that I need haven't thought of?

(And for those of you who wondered what was wrong with my buttonholes in the last post, I have cut the welts in a different direction to the fronts - they look fine front-on at 90 degrees, but from the side on they appear darker or lighter depending on which way you look at them.  Luckily the four on the front are in the same direction, but all the others (done the night before) are running in the opposite direction!)

Thursday, August 25, 2011

Why you shouldn't sew Bound Buttonholes at night...

Seven perfect buttonholes,
Sitting straight and square,
Of even width,
And equal breadth,
Completed without fear.

Seven perfect buttonholes,
Beautifully aligned,
Laying true,
None askew,
I'm proud to say they're mine!

But what is this?
Something's amiss!
What has caused this blight?
That darned wool cloth,
With it's grain amok,
If only it was oriented right!

They say the great,
Learn from their mistakes,
So what do you think I might?
When the light ain't great,
You should always wait,
And never sew bound buttonholes at night!

Friday, August 12, 2011

Paper Buttons, and Help Me Choose!

I've finally found some suitable buttons for my trench coat that has been awaiting these necessary items for about a year now. They needed to be a neutral stone horn style (not warm but cool toned), available in size 36 and 40L or close enough, and come with a matching 50mm buckle - I didn't realise it would be so hard!

But what's that imprinted onto the reverse - shall we have a closer look?

Yip - they are made from recycled paper!  I hope they don't dissolve when I get caught out in a spring shower!

So there is actually hope for getting my trenchcoat finished. Finally.


Now I need your advice to help me choose - if this was your cardigan, would you choose lilac buttons:

or black buttons:

I got both dyed up just in case, but I'm thinking black, don't you?  Share your thoughts, or forever hold your peace!


Next on the sewing agenda is a cape - I was going to leave it as winter is practically drawing to a close, but DH showed me this last night:

If you live in the Northern Hemisphere you might want to turn this picture upside down to get an appreciation of the polar blast coming New Zealand's way - snow has actually been forecast for Auckland where it hasn't snowed since 1939!  I think this is a good enough excuse to whip up a quick cape, don't you?


Also - A big thanks to Beth and the Textile students at Sancta Maria College for having me to talk today - it was a lot of fun to share my experiences in garment design with you all, and I hope you all enjoyed it as much as I did! My email is in the sidebar as promised if you have any more questions.

Happy Sewing!

Friday, August 5, 2011

Order of Construction

For the jumpsuit I just made, I read through the sewing instructions thoroughly - like all good seamstresses should do - but I chose to totally ignore them!

I thought the order of construction for these* was a bit of a challenge. Now I love a challenge, but there is no need to make things harder when you don't need too!  The instructions said to attach the pockets and front band after the shell was sewn together.  If I followed this plan I would have put my quick-unpick to good use trying to topstitch those all pockets on, or finishing the lower end of the placket, and I am sure a relative beginner would have struggled too.

The order of garment construction can make a big difference in the ease of sewing, and whether or not a garment looks amateur or professional. In business I had to specify the best order of construction for the sewing contractor - writing sewing instructions was part of my day job.  Although in the trade these are considerably briefer than the instructions included in a commercial pattern - no pretty diagrams or anything!

Anyway, I thought it would be interesting to compare some of Vogue's methods with the ones I used.  Below I've listed five things that I did differently, and I've listed Vogue's instruction in brief, then described what I did, and why. It will be interesting to hear what you would have done too - we all have our favourite methods!


Vogue: Stitch and clip inner corner of front.
What I did: I applied a small square of lightweight fusing to the corner.  I clipped when I was ready to turn the front corner.
Why:  Fusing is quick and reinforces the whole corner not just the stitching line.  Clipping into the corner several stages before you are ready increases the risk of fraying or stretching.


Vogue: Assemble shell.
What I did: Attached front pockets.  Next I partially sewed the front crotch seam and completed the front band, before assembling the full shell.
Why: Sewing pockets (neatly) is much easier when the front is a single flat panel, compared to a front with attached pieces that pull in all directions.  Likewise sewing the front band is easier when the back has not yet been attached.

The only reason I imagine Vogue get you to assemble the shell is so that you can try it on at this stage.  I thought I should mention that this is a good way to stretch all those raw edges (neckline, CF, armholes, clipped corners) out of shape!  Even when I make a calico, I fusetape those raw edges to prevent stretching.  Most of the time.  At least I should do...


Vogue: Sew long edges of front bands, then staystitch neckline and assemble/attach collar, then finish bottom edge of front band.

What I did: Sewed long edges of front band, clipped into corner, then finished bottom edge of front band. Then I sewed the shoulder seams and attached the collar.
Why: Finishing the front band while the fronts are flat is easier than when they are attached to other pieces.


Vogue: Staystitch neckline
What I did: Nothing
Why:  If my neckline edges stretch a little during handling, they will soon be unstretched when they are sewn to the collar!  I would only stabilise a very unstable/loosely woven fabric here, and my method of choice would be fusing, unless the fabric was sheer.


Vogue: Attach collar
What I did: Much the same as their instructions, except I wrapped the collar around the front band rather than the front band around the collar, because I inserted a lining at this stage.  I also turned under the CB neckline like in my convertible collar tutorial rather than hand sewing it into place.
Why: This made it easier!
But I did make things harder for myself by using the large (1.5cm/5/8") seam allowances of the pattern around the collar - I tried, and will not try again.  It is too fiddly to sew the opposing curves accurately, and I spent about ten minutes clipping and trimming it all - I think 6mm/1/4" is the only way to go here!

I also did a lot of minor things differently - I blockfused all interfaced pieces, pressed the side bust darts up rather than down, and understitched the facings by machine rather than by hand.  I do love hand understitching though, ever since doing it on my totally unnecessary cocktail dress. I might adopt this as my method of choice for my own clothes - when I have time!

I suppose we all develop our favourite methods of construction with time, and inevitably this means varying from the instructions.  But don't you think beginners be shown the easiest way to put a garment together - the way where the best possible outcome is obtained? i don't think that was the case with this pattern. Do you often see things that you would do differently in pattern instructions? Do you even read them?!

*And when you refer to a jumpsuit, do you talk about these or this?!