Thursday, 17 September 2015

An entirely handmade outfit

 My staple of handmade items to this point has been dresses, but I am beginning to dream of many summer separates. I am itching to hand in my thesis so I can have days of uninterrupted sewing. However, my days are currently more filled with referencing, and questions of twelfth century English identity through historiography.

Last Saturday night I decided to just sew something. I needed a break. I only had a metre of this absolutely beautiful floral fabric. It's Japanese, and the hand of it feels almost like Liberty lawn. I bought it at a fabric market last year. I wanted something simple, so I decided to modify the bodice of BHL's Anna dress, one of my TNT patterns.

I cut both front and back on the fold, and added about five inches to the length. This was dictated by the limited amount of fabric. I just extended down the pleats. It was a incredibly quick sew. I finished the neck with bias tape, and put in a side invisible zip. I always wear things tucked in, so the hem is actually the selvage. Very pleased with myself I then ran into a significant fitting problem. I hadn't graded out the hips. I am very much a pear shape, and the blouse no had hips narrower than my waist. There was no way this was fitting. I thought about adding a peplum, but in the end the fix was quite simple. I unpicked all the pleats and darts to their original lengths, creating enough room in the hips. I was incredibly relieved. I then also made a matching hair scarf. It's a little thinner than my previous ones, so it was a bit more a struggle to catch in all my thick hair, but it worked!

The skirt was made a few months ago. The pattern is Simplicity 6862, a one metre, four gore 1970's skirt pattern. This will certainly be a TNT. The fabric is a light weight pink wool. I didn't line it to make it a quicker make; I have a very large collection of slips as it is.

So there is the first of my summer sewing projects. I have a new outfit, and all the pieces will be able to be mixed and matched as well.

Thursday, 10 September 2015

Peasant style Mathilde blouse; my favourite ever make

Today's post has been about eighteen months in the making. Way back in February of last year I made  a Tilly and the Button's Mathilde blouse as a trial run for some lovely fabric I had in my stash. Probably within the month, I had made up my second version, pictured here. Eighteen months later I finally get it photographed.

This is hands down my favourite ever garment I have made. It is insanely comfortable, the fabric is gorgeous, and best of all I can wear it year round, it usually averages being worn at least once every ten days.

I made a few modifications to the pattern. Firstly I lowered the neckline, as it as too high originally. My other modifications were due to the drape of the fabric. I could not get the tucks to work at all, so instead I gathered the front for a more peasant style look Secondly, the neckline facing would not work with this fabric, as it frays a lot. I finished the neck with exposed bias tape, aas it was too see through to do it inside. The back closes with beautiful mother of pearl buttons.

This blouse is incredibly versatile. The fabric is very breathable, so even with the sleeves it can be a summer blouse on all but the hottest of days. In winter I layer it up with a full slip. It alo goes with a good majority of my skirts; all my black ones (the one here, black pencil, and long black pleated). It also gets a lot of wear in winter with my thick purple wool skirt and long blue coat. It will also go with some summer skirts I have in the works.

Will I make this pattern again? Certainly. The Mathilde pattern fits me really well, and there's a few versions sitting in the WIP pile as I write this.

I'm so glad I finally got around to sharing this. Do you have a favourite hand made garment that gets worn constantly?

Tuesday, 1 September 2015

Ainrmistice blouse, wedding dress muslin.

I did post about my wedding dress here back in February, but never got around to writing much about design or construction. After two months away, I just wanted to share pictures, and a lot of the details had slipped my mind. However, I will be sharing a bit today, as last night I finally finished the wearable muslin of the top half of my wedding dress. 
My inspiration for my wedding dress was the Armistice blouse pattern. I cannot remember if I found the pattern first, or the Downton Abbey picture; I just loved the style, and quickly order the Folkwear pattern. My main tweaks to the pattern had to do with the back. The pattern is very blousey, and is nipped in with ties. I don't really like the excess fabric, and it didn't work with turning it into a dress, so I modified the back piece to incorporate back darts from Simplicity 2444, and this gave me a really good fit. After playing around with muslins, I decided to make a blouse up to practice the technqiues, especially the collar, lace and pintucking. I got the blouse mostly finished half way through last year, and it lay in the sewing pile, only with a hem to go, until last night. With the warmer weather creeping up in Sydney, and my desire to shrink my UFO pile, I quickly finished it lat night. 

It's a really comfortable blouse, and I like the style. My two issues are the front panel sits a tiny bit too low (something I can pull up; I do remember now raising the panel for my wedding dress). Also, the back is much too short. I most likely added no length, so it's the same length as a dress bodice. It makes it hard to tuck in; I am very short waisted, and am wearing it with a pencil skirt that hits my natural waist, and it only just sits in. These issues are certainly not going to stop me wearing it though. 

My favourite things about this blouse are the details. 
Firstly, the fabric. Most versions of this style I've seen as done in white/cream/ivory, but as I was already doing that for the wedding dress, I decided to go floral. The fabric is from my grandma's stash, and I used cream for the collar and front panel. 

My main construction change was to use bias tape instead of facings. I rally do not like facings, and had already found lovely satin bias for my wedding dress, so used a red bias tape for the facings. I also hemmed the blouse using bias tape, again much neater, and didn't lose much length. I did the button holes in blue, with blue buttons to match. I actually did not end up using buttons on my wedding dress, as the satin facings would not take them. I used false buttons with hooks and eyes underneath. For the blouse, I also inserted an invisible zipper up the side; I don't need it, because of the buttons, but it was good practice for the dress.

 This is a close up of the sleeve hem, finished with lace, which is machined on. Although I hand sew whenever I can, machining the lace actually gave it a very neat finish. All the lace was from my grandma's stash. I cut the sleeves short, not wantingto do cuffs, as per the pattern. I was actually planning on having short sleeves on the wedding dress, but ended up going thee quarters after getting carried away with insertion.

 This is a close up of the middle panel. The hardest part was getting the pintucks centred. I know I had a method, but my brain is very murky on the details now. The whole panel is handsewn into the blouse, and finished with a row of lace up top.

This is just a collar close up, he lace here is sandwiched between the two collar layers. 

Pattern Summary:
Pattern: Folkwear 210, Armistice blouse
Fabric: Floral for main body, cream for accents, both stash
  • back turned into darts
  • bias tape facings
  • side zip
Notions: invisible zipper, blue buttons, red bias tape, a lot of lace

Wear with: a very high waisted, tight skirt. 

Make again? : I technically have for my wedding dress. I'm not sure if I would. I love the pattern, but its a blouse style that's very striking, and would look quite similar if made again, it's more of a statement piece, than a wardrobe basic. If I did make it again, I'd raise the front panel, add length to the back bodice, and grade out slightly at the hips. I do love the lace and pin tucking details though, so I will certainly be working out ways to incorporate them into future projects. 

I have two more projects to still show that were part of my wedding dress making process. One is a skirt, that was part of my self-drafting adventures, and the other is a blouse, that is still unfinished a year later where I set to work practicing insertion. 

It feels good to finally have another project finished, and shared. 
Thanks to my best friend Mim for the photos.