"Resign yourself, Catherine! Shops must be visited! Money must be spent! Do you think you could bear it?" - Northanger Abbey

Saturday, January 28, 2012

Simplicity 3847 - the shirt - part 1

So after buying the fabric I dove stright in and cut out the fabric. Before we get to that lets take a step back. Cutting diagrams...anyone else find them confusing?
Confused face???
I wasn't sure weather I needed to cut the fabric into two peices then lay the pattern out? And I couldn't remeber if selvadge was cut or uncut edge...In the end I folded the end of the fabric and cut a bit at a time.

Folding over the end just enough for each section so as to save fabric.

Hope this was right. The interfacing may be my downfall. As you now the grainline on the pattern peice it didn't match the grainline on the interfacing (not on the bias just 90degrees to the right of the grain)..but I was trying to fit as much on as little as possible.
I fused the interfacing to the fabric...I really have to work on my cutting accuracy. And voila!
Next to sew it together. I'm still dreading the buttonholes. Actually there's a question...there was a pattern peice with buttonholes marked on but it wasn't on the cutting diagram. What am I supposed to do with it?

Just getting stressed out by collars and facings...the instructions contradict everything other sources say. Maybe I'm just misreading the rubbish diagrams. (Below is my sketch outlining issues)

Friday, January 27, 2012

1950's shirt...or near enough

Simplicity 3847
Look what I found...I loved the fabric print so bought 2 meters of each colour. I am gonna use the blue fabric first with the matching buttons. Hopefully it will be easy. The instructions seem to make sense...well most of the time. I have already cut out the paper pattern. Might cut out the fabric today.
So what do you think? Did I make the right choice. Its not authentically vintage looking but I think it might give a nod to the era.

I also bought some stuff for my 40's skirt...but that's project for another day.

In other news bought a copy of 'Sew' magazine...got tempted by 'free pattern' just flicked through it looks good. Will have to get next issue, looks like shirt dress pattern is included.

Simplicity 3847 - Shirt - Links
Part 1
Part 2 
Part 3 
Part 4
Part 5

Thursday, January 26, 2012

Making V Buying

So there comes a point when you face that dilemma buy or make yourself...which then leads to buy cheap or buy more expensive in the hope it will last forever (or near enough).

I see dresses I like such as these online* and I think I could make it for less...but it wouldn't look anywhere as professional nor would the fabrics be anywhere near the same quality...plus it would take me ages. I know I haven't got the skills or materials to come close but then I worry about buying clothes online as I'm not sure about the fit. I always prefer to try before I buy something over £20.
I know one of the staples of my wardrobe is the 'shirt dress' I have two which I love and as soon as they are out of the wash I'm wearing them again. So I think when it comes to something like that I'd pay a premium to have one custom made.

But when it comes to the more costume-y historically inspired clothing I really have to try hard to resist getting it made up....because I know it'll be the case of getting the outfit then finding a place to wear it. ;) (I have a whole sketchbook full of designs).

But then I've seen quite a few 'cheap' shirt dresses in high street shops....although they tend to be too short...I really don't have the knees for a mini skirt and skinny jeans really aren't my thing.

So its the case of my skills not matching up to my needs and wants clothes wise (and not finding patterns that match what I have in my minds eye). I can't possibly make all that I want so sacrifices will have to be made.

*I do love all those dresses BTW

Monday, January 23, 2012

Fabric 'stash' sort out

So I decided to sort through my fabric/sewing box as I was struggling to cram more fabric in.
First I found any useful bits of fabric and put it in one pile and the rest went in the bin...I was quite ruthless with it. In my sort out stumbled across some interfacing and my paper cutting scissors that had gone missing.
I then went through the useful pile and ironed everything...sorting it into Project (set aside for projects) big (1 metre +) Medium (big enough to do patchwork with) small (scraps too small/awkwardly shaped to cut into decent squares and triangles for patchwork.)
Left to Right: project, small, big, medium
As you can see its a motley crew. I never quite have enough stash for a outfit or item of clothing. Might turn my 'medium' pile into a patchwork blanket. The small pile is supposed to get incorporated into crazy patchwork quilt.

As you can see still got a lot of that green material left to use up....I paid quite a bit for it so can't stand to throw it away.
I now have room for a couple more meters of fabric....

Tuesday, January 17, 2012

Learning to make clothes

Sewing and Clothes Making
I consider them two different skills. I can sew by hand quite competently and sometimes prettily as you can see from my embroidery. I can even make a quilt without too much fuss and hats work for me.

But fitting, constructing and completing an outfit I find extremely difficult. Altering patterns to fit my shape (I don't seem to be anywhere near pattern makers model) take me ages to do and a lot of it has been a bit trial and error. Once everything is cut and pinned I'm fine and can happily sew away (if I'm impatient using machine...if not I prefer to sew by hand).

Now I have issues with come items of clothing as I can't fit them on my own (and until I get the space I can't get a dressform either shop bought or homemade). So in the meantime I have decided to try and work on some skills and have chosen 2 projects to help with this (see previous post about my 40's/50's style spring plans).

- The 40's skirt which involves learning to do a zip. Which to get round fit problems I'm doing a test version and fitting it on mum (she gets to keep it of course).
- A simple blouse which involves buttonholes. I'll be able to adjust the front and hope the back is ok. lol!
I'm doing both things by hand as my sewing machine is only basic.

Now to get back to what I was gonna say. Recently I found on the BBC site and archive with some old programs about sewing from the 60's. I found the instruction very clear. I now know how to sew a collar...well in theory anyway, I won't know till I actually do it.
Its such a shame they don't do programs like that anymore.

I also have just got through the post The dressmakers technique bible. After a skim read it looks like it has all the info I need.

Now all I have to do is go fabric shopping....of course that's the bit I like the most.

Friday, January 13, 2012

The problem with shoes

My fave pair of sensible shoes have died. One heel is now shorter than the other. Its worn down a ridiculous amount. So now I'm on the hunt for a replacement. Problem is fashion dictates you either have flat pumps or ridiculously high stiletto platform shoes no sane person could possible walk in let alone stand. I want sensible without being ugly shoes. Nither do I want 'old lady' type shoes but that seems to be only option if you and a sensible heel. And that doesn't take into account my awkward feet size. (A UK size 4 wide fit is my usual compromise)

Excuse my quick sketches
Anyone suggest a shop in UK that sells anything like this?

I'm still 'wearing in' my new clogs in so when 'resting them' I am forced to wear trainers or pumps which is now starting to give me back ache. I need to swap between heels and flats to stop that happening. I think I will have to dig out my summer sandal sensible heels  to tie me over.

Wednesday, January 11, 2012

1940's & 1950's Fashion

1940's & 1950's Fashion.
I'm hoping to go 40's/50's style for the summer this year.

I have already made my first 50's wraparound dress (Well nearly...I will get round at adding the closures eventually) and I have 2 shirtdresses I use for my 40's look.

Now on my list to make:

Doing some research (Which involves googling and looking through videos of the era on british pathé) I've looked at lots of dresses and I've come to conclusion I don't like the 'pin up' style dresses that you can buy. I have one halterneck one and find it emphasizes what I don't want emphasized. I'm looking for everyday rather than a 'party' dress.

What I do like is the Horrockses dresses. I don't think there is one I've seen that I don't like. They are so stylish.
I like this cut and pattern


I've even discovered there is a free pattern
that you can make from duvet and pillowcase.
Now that's something to try. Although on a cheap bedlinen set first....in case I mess it up.