Tuesday, 17 November 2015

Hat Parade

Can't say I've ever thought of sewing a hat before. Why that should be I don't know because my mother was an amateur milliner. But she worked with felt hoods and styled them into fashion hats using wooden hat blocks and lots of steam.

I, on the other hand, am always searching for the perfect sun hat. I buy one that seems to look fine in the shop but when I get it home the brim is too big or too small or too floppy or too stiff. Or, the crown is too shallow, too deep, too wide …

I found this Lincraft pattern No 1003 for fifty cents at the charity shop and decided to have a go at making my own. The hat in the photo on the pattern cover looks much larger than it is in reality. I think the model they used is ten years old!

There are only three pattern pieces (the tie is my addition) and a choice of three sizes. I made the large but should have settled on the medium. My head measurement fell between the two so I figured I could gather up the extra should it end up too large, but nothing could be done if it were too small. It was quite simple to make and I'm not unhappy with the result, although I would like to make another with a larger brim, which will be an easy enough adjustment.

The fabric was leftover from a previous project and, as it happens, goes quite well with the seersucker and lace top featured in this post.

Saturday, 14 November 2015

The Kimono With a Difference

I'm pleased to announce the completion of the cover-up made from my 'fabric find' mentioned here.

In that post I described the fabric as being 'a sheer material, opaque rather than see-through, with a slight crepe texture, very drapey but not slippery at all'. The pattern used for this top wasn't really a pattern as such. I went along with a friend to Geelong's newest sewing school and work-space, The Sewing Room Geelong, to participate in a kimono jacket class for beginner sewers. We started with a piece of fabric the the required length of the finished garment (plus a hem allowance). We cut the fabric in half crosswise then one of the two pieces in half lengthwise. The larger piece being the back and the two smaller pieces being the front.

From there it was a simple matter of joining the two front pieces to the back with a french seam to form the shoulder seams, then finishing all the raw edges with a double fold hem on the machine. The side seam was achieved by stitching front to back leaving armholes, not unlike my Lazy Summer Days Top described here.

For beginner sewers this was a straightforward project incorporating some useful sewing skills. Being a little further up the evolutionary sewing ladder, I felt a bit of tweaking would benefit my finished garment.

The tartan style check in the fabric lent itself to some additions cut on the cross. My first deviation from the original was to cut the back panel in half lengthwise, resulting in four pieces of equal size. I cut a strip of fabric on the cross and stay stitched on the seam line to eliminate stretching then, using french seams, I stitched this panel into the centre back as seen in the photo above.

I had enough fabric for a band cut, once again, on the cross to edge the front panels and finish the neckline.

The result was pleasing but I felt the side seams needed refining. This I did by running a double row of gathering stitches on either side of the seam and pulling up the gathers to form the ruching at the side. 

Almost finished.

To complete the project I made a rosette of the same fabric plus some creamy-white organza and finished it with a button in the centre.

I thought it best to have the rosette removable in case the top needs laundering at some stage. Because the fabric is light in weight I made up two small squares and hand stitched them to the garment (one on the right side and one on the wrong side) before sewing on snap fasteners.

I'm very happy with the overall result, it being the ideal cover-up for this Chemise of a previous post.

It might be the perfect outfit to wear on Christmas Day when warm, even hot weather can be expected here in the southern regions of Australia.

Sunday, 8 November 2015

Bear With Me

Some would have it that dressmaking and crafting is an expensive hobby, my blogging mission is aimed at dispelling that myth. Sure, you can spend mega-bucks if you put your mind to it: sewing machines that do everything except dispense coffee, purpose-built sewing-room furniture, ironing presses, gadgets galore (most of which are fantastic but not essential), and fabrics costing a king's ransom. The good thing is that, with a basic sewing machine, a pair of scissors, a tape measure and some pins, you can sew up a storm.

This little bear, Bernard I've called him, is a case in point. He's made from a piece leftover after making the chemise top. The fabric cost 50 cents. So a top and a bear for 50 cents. He's now on his way to add to 'Geelong Mums' Handmade Crusade Christmas collection for distribution to kids in need of a cuddly friend. Check their Facebook page here.  

Thursday, 5 November 2015

Fabric Find of the Week

It beats me how I always seem to find just the fabric I'm looking for when I wander into my local charity shops. This week I was hoping to find something suitable to make cover-up to go over the chemise of the previous post.

Lo and behold, the perfect fabric was waiting for me. It's a sheer material, opaque rather than see-through, with a slight crepe texture, very drapey but not slippery at all. As you can see, it's black with a cream tartan pattern. The almost three metre piece was a bargain at $3. Just what style this cover-up will take shall be revealed in the next post.

Sunday, 1 November 2015

The Chemise

What is a chemise, anyway? The dictionary says it's: a dress hanging straight from the shoulders, popular in the 1920s; a women's loose-fitting undergarment or nightdress; a priest's alb or surplice. Hmm.

Do any of those descriptions cover Vogue 7607, which calls itself a chemise? I picture a chemise as a pretty silk vest, View D being closest to that image, I guess.

So, for want of a better name, here's my version of Vogue's chemise.

My last post featured the fifty cent fabric find destined to become this useful little top. It's a jersey knit, nice and firm, and worked well in spite of the pattern not being designed for knits.

The pattern is a size 10, I'm a size 12 in these old patterns, so I cut out View C just a shade bigger than the pattern, also gaining some extra width because I was eliminating the pin tucks. The button front had to go as well. View B would have been more useful but this charity-shop pattern was missing views A and B. For the band across the bodice top and the shoulder straps I used black satin (leftover from lining the handbags mentioned here).

There were no bust darts included which may have worked in a light fabric, but not with the heavier jersey. I inserted darts which are not quite in the right spot but as I plan to wear a loose wrap (up-coming post) over it, I'm not stressing.

As shoulder straps have an annoying habit of slipping off, I angled them in where they meet the back band.

The satin band is sewn into the side seam and the back finishing is a turned under and hand-stitched edge. There is enough ease in the fabric that no zips or buttons were required.

This is a comfortable top which lends itself to evening wear because of the satin trim. Pity I don't go to many evening affairs, but with Christmas getting alarmingly close there's bound to be the odd party to attend.