Monday, 8 December 2014

Rachel Comey Skirt and Maria Denmark Kirsten Kimono Tee Take Two.

Front in seam pockets.
After reading the many rave reviews of Vogue 1247, and seeing the multitude of various takes on this pattern in the blogging community...I was persuaded to try it for myself. I will only be discussing the skirt as I have not made the top yet.

Line Art

Invisible zip

This skirt is super short. I added 10cm (almost 4 inches) to the length. This has still resulted in the skirt being quite short, and I will add more length before I make this again. I also added a bit of flare to the side seams to exaggerate the A-line shape.

Side view

Originally I cut a size 16 which fitted well in the waist but was quite loose at hip level. I took the side seams in quite a bit to fit better at the hip line. In hindsight I should have cut size 14 and graded the waist up to size 16.

Inside front showing pocket bags.

I didn't bother with using bias binding to bind the raw edges as instructed. I just overlocked the raw edges to finish them off which has worked out fine, just not as pretty.

Inside back

The fabric used was a non stretch denim purchased from Spotlight quite a while ago. It was really too heavy for this skirt. It is quite stiff and tends to ride up a lot when sitting, and is not very comfortable to wear. The waistband was cut with one edge along the selvedge of the fabric. You can see the green stripe along the edge of the waistband. I secured it by stitching in the ditch from the right side and because the raw edge did not require turning under, this method eliminated some bulk. The hem was hand stitched.

Maria Denmark Kirsten Kimono Tee
With the remaining white cotton lycra from my quest to find the perfect white T-Shirt, I have made another Kirsten Kimono Tee by Maria Denmark. 

Side view
I have made a few adjustments to the pattern to improve the look and the fit. Firstly, I lowered the neckline by 5cm (2 inches) at the centre front, using a french curve to redraw the neckline. When laying the front pattern piece on the fold of the fabric, I skewed the centre front slightly so that it pinched out about 1cm from the neckline and added 1.5cm width to the centre front at the hem line. I also did a swayback alteration according to the last method in this tutorial. To balance the extra width added to the hemline of the front, I added 1.5 cm to the side seam width of the back at hem level, blending back up to the waistline. 

Maria Denmark Kirsten Kimono Tees

In the photo collage above you can compare my first version with my second version, after my alterations. I think the second version definitely looks and fits better. 

These two additions to my summer casual wardrobe work well together and can be combined with many other tops and bottoms as well, making these very useful garments.

Happy Sewing

Monday, 1 December 2014

Anne Klein Shift Dress

I have made a colour blocked shift dress. This is Vogue 1382 designed by Anne Klein. 

I have been wanting to try this pattern for a while now after seeing a few others around that have inspired me. Sue from FadanistaKnitting Jenny and Binding Off have all made lovely versions. I have been trying to choose patterns that suit my figure rather than just making patterns that appeal to me.

Vogue 1382 Line Art
According to the pattern envelope this is a semi fitted, lined dress (fitted through bust) has yokes, side front seams, pockets and invisible back zipper. It is classed as easy and is suitable for all figure types.

I cut a straight size 14. The only alteration I made to the pattern was to add 4cm to the length at the hemline.

The fabric is a linen/cotton blend in natural and khaki, purchased from Spotlight at Rockingham on my recent visit to Perth. The lining is a mystery 100% cotton purchased from Bargain Box Fabrics in Batemans Bay. This is the first time I have sewed with linen and I love it. It pressed beautifully and was very easy to work with. These photos were taken after a day at work in the office and it hasn't creased as badly as I was expecting.

After taking this dress for a wearing test run at work today, I have decided it is a little too snug around the hip/bottom area. When sitting it really rides up (especially in the car) and there was a lot of strain put on the centre back seam around the seating area.

The photos above show the details: the seams have been top stitched where the contrasting fabrics join; the pockets have been top stitched (the pattern instructions said to hand sew the pockets to the dress?) and the invisible zip at centre back (notice the strained seam at the lower centre back).

For next time I think I might cut size 14 in the neck/shoulder area and grade up to a size 16 below the armsceye to give me a little more wiggle room. 

The dress is fully lined with 100% cotton. I thought this would be cooler for the summer than a slippery poly lining. I really out smarted myself and made a terrible blunder during the construction of this dress. I was determined to eliminate any hand sewing and attach the lining entirely by machine...but I rushed ahead without fully thinking it through. I inserted the zip in the centre back and finished the centre back seam. Then I joined the front to the back at the shoulder seams. Then I sewed the lining together at the shoulder seams too. Next step was to attach the lining to the dress (all the side seams are left open at this stage). I sewed the lining to the neck and armholes and also to the zip. The seam allowances were graded and clipped and under stitched.I was super pleased with myself and proceeded to turn it all right side out through the shoulder. After a lot of pulling and wriggling I got it all pulled through...only to find that I was right back where I started, with an inside out dress.

It was late at night and I was tired and not thinking straight so I put it aside till the following night. After a bit of googling, I realized my mistake. You must have three seams open for this to work. My mistake was that I had sewed the centre back seam (and inserted the zip). I think if I had left this seam open it would have worked. I think the centre back seam should be sewn after the dress has been turned right side out. Anyway, I will be referring to this post before I attempt this again.

In order to fix my dilemma, I worked out that if I unpicked the shoulder seams of both the dress and the lining I could turn it right side out. After some very tedious unpicking (remember I had graded and clipped and under stitched) I made it work. Such a relief! I then proceeded to resew the shoulder seams by hand. This was quite fiddly due to the seams being graded and clipped, but I was saved by this lovely fabric that presses so beautifully. 

Despite all my troubles with the construction of this dress, I feel that I have stretched my sewing skills and learned a lot. I am quite pleased with the standard of finishing that I achieved on this dress and I am so glad that I figured out how to make it work. 

Unfortunately, I just don't really like it on me. I think it is the colour. I am usually drawn to bright colours and this dress is just a little too drab for me. Anyway, I would like to try it again maybe with a looser fit and some brighter colours.

Happy Sewing