Sunday 18 November 2018

Floral Dress

The Fabric
The fabric is a lightweight satin with a polyester composition; it is a non-stretch woven fabric which comes in four different colours; blue, grey, purple and pink.
As soon as I received the two metres of fabric, I popped it into the machine. It can withstand a 40-degree wash, but I placed it on a quick 30-degree wash.   It dried in a matter of minutes on the washing line. The fabric then sat for a couple of days, so I could admire it, touch it and drape it and think about what it would become. I knew that I wanted to make a dress, but I just wasn’t sure of the style.  Another factor I had to contend with; the fabric is quite sheer when you hold it up to the light, this isn’t a criticism on my part, it just meant that any pattern I did choose it would need lining for it to be wearable. 
The Pattern
It took me a further couple of days to find the perfect pattern; New Look 6263, I opted for Version A. This is a style I have used before, but as a top (in heavy cotton), not a dress, so I knew this would work with my body shape.  When I saw the suggested fabric list on the back of the packaging; silky types,  I knew my fabric of choice was going to be perfect. 
The Construction
The Tricky Part
 I have only worked with one other slippy fabric (a georgette) during my time sewing, so armed with some tricks from the previous venture I knew I was on a good footing.  I started by spraying a fine mist of starch on my cutting board so the fabric would stick and not move around. I used silk pins for fixing the pattern pieces to the fabric, these are extremely sharp, and they protect the fabric from becoming snagged.  When cutting,  I find I tend to lift the fabric when using scissors, but this wasn’t going to work with this slippy fabric, so I opted for my rotary cutter instead.  During cutting, I decided to alter the front and back piece length by over three inches; this is just a preference on my part, I like dresses either sitting on the knee or just below. 
The lining: I was going to go for a silky fabric, but in the end, I went with a lightweight 100% cotton in black, that I had in my stash.  Armed with all the bits and bobs I needed I started constructing some of the lining features and then jumped to place the same features on the floral fabric; bust darts, stabilising the neckline front and back with a row of stitching and overlocking all the seams.  I then pinned the lining and front piece of the dress together to put in the cut out ‘v’ in the neckline, but then I changed the pins to tailor's tack as the fabric kept slipping at this crucial stage.  From this point onwards the dress came along really quickly. I did change the needle size to a finer size 60, and I also placed a piece of tissue between the feed dogs of my machine and the fabric.  On too many occasions I have wound up with the fine fabric being sucked into the machine and becoming tangled with the bobbin. This technique stops that from happening,  and once you tear the tissue away, you are left with an undamaged piece of fabric.  
The Finishing Touches
The dress is sleeveless and asks for a bias binding finish, a half inch wide single fold cotton tape to be precise.  At the onset, I thought this would be too small for the finish, but it actually looks very elegant.  This finish also dictated the collar for the dress; I opted for the black cotton instead of the floral fabric, and I’m so glad I did because it makes the floral fabric stand out more.   At this point, I have a confession to make I forgot to cut out one of the pieces of the pattern, the piece for the button loops because I was too excited to finish the dress.  I used folded over bias tape to make them.  I know, but honest, it does look good.
The lining and the dress hems are both hand sewn using the blindstitch method, to make the stitches on the right side of the garment inconspicuous.  Both hems were then pressed for a smooth finish, the floral on a cool silk setting and the cotton, on the maximum iron setting.
Overall,  I was pleasantly surprised by the drape and the feel of the fabric.  Yes, it was slippery to work with, but boy, the finish of this dress is beautiful.  It’s smooth to the touch, silky and luxurious and I can see myself making a version two in the purple colourway very soon.

Sunday 11 November 2018

Lest We Forget

This is my contribution to the Untangled Threads Sawdust Hearts Project. My piece forms part of the Sawdust and Calico Heart Exhibition at Woodend Scarborough from the 3rd to the 30th of November 2018. This is a commemorative  exhibition and public event to be held on the centenary of Armistice Day 2018.

 My heart is one of 1568 handcrafted hearts commemorating 100 years since the armistice. It represents day 218 of the 1568 days of the war; the date the 2nd of March 1915. On this day the British Battleship HMS Canopus joined in the assault missions on the Dardanelles.

Each one represents a day of the First World War. 
Mine is one of fourteen hearts made in Scotland (Clackmannanshire) and now being displayed at Woodend, Scarborough as part of the Sawdust Heart Exhibition for Armistice Day. 

 This is my contribution to the exhibition:   #0218 "Hope Soars on the Wings of a Lark." 

This is to honour all those who fought to keep us safe.  
We will remember! 

In memory of my Great Grandfather William Rae who served as a Merchant Seaman during the war. ❤

Saturday 10 November 2018

Drapey Blouse Make

This is my third time sewing with silky type fabric, and the second time (I only realised while making this blouse) constructing a keyhole neckline.  I’m going to talk you through my journey of making this pattern.
The fabric is lightweight with a polyester composition;, andis a non-stretch woven fabric.
This colourful floral fabric has a smooth finish and has the mbeautifulrful drape. I washed the fabric as soon as it arrived at a 30 degrees wash (this fabric can handle 40 degrees).  There is a lot of colour going on in this design, and I’m pleased to say that no colour poured or drained after its wash.
I knew straight away that I wanted to make a top with this material and I had the ideal pattern in mind.  I had recently participated in a swap held on Instagram called the Great Big Pattern Swap and had received this pattern from my swap partner. The pattern in question is the Simplicity K1280.  This pattern asks for a silky type fabric, which made my material choice perfect for the job. There are four different styles of top contained in this pattern, and I had a hard time choosing between two of the styles; B and C to be precise.  I wasn’t sure if I wanted a fitted elasticated cuff or a wide floaty sleeve. It wasn’t really until the top was nearing its finished state that I made the final decision.  
The pattern instructions are great, but there are some construction tips that I want to offer after making this version. I’m not afraid to admit that this pattern and this silky fabric threw up some challenges for me.  I had nearly completed the blouse; I still had the sleeves to add when I decided the whole piece needed to be de-constructed back to its pattern cut-out state.
Why? I hear you ask. The construction of the front crossover piece is interesting.  The instructions tell you to topstitch the two front panels together before you attach the front bodice to the back bodice. If like me you use a lightweight fabric, you don’t really know if the drape is going to look good until the top is sewn together. In my case, I topstitched the two front pieces together with Gutermann Thread colour 107 only to find when the top was fully put together that there were some gathers and puckers that had to be corrected.  Personally, I hate unpicking stitches on delicate fabric, so, next time I’m going to pass on the topstitch step until I’ve tried the top on and checked the fit and drape.
On a more positive note, once you have the crossover pieces topstitched together, they don’t move or gape as you wear the top
The shape of this blouse is incredibly flattering, and I will definitely be sewing this pattern again. As I mentioned earlier on in my post, I was torn between style B and C of the pattern.  So, I took a look at my current wardrobe and decided I wanted to create a new piece, one which I would have the opportunity to wear often. In the end, I made view C with long floaty sleeves and skipped the elastic at the cuff.  I feel this gives the top a bit more of a boho look. This sleeve type shows off the fine-looking drape of the fabric, and it is a sleeve which is also on trend for this season. The floral pattern I feel makes this blouse both compatible with jeans or formal dress trousers.