Quick guipure update

Yesterday I did a quick rework on this guipure lace dress.
The added lace on the skirt part of this dress.

Awkward pose

The based of the dress now has a layer of guipure – more rambling rose garden that works based on the flowers in this lace.

For the purposes of the PR lace contest, valid entries must have 75% lace. This dress now qualifies for the contest.


Shirt or blouse?

When is a blouse not a shirt? Uhm. I’m not too sure but I can say this shirt/blouse got me through PR’s Sewing Bee for Round 1.
Can you see the stress on my face? I avoid contests where possible.

This fabric from White Tree Fabrics UK, was originally earmarked for a wrap blouse, until Round 1 was announced. So I put the brakes on that project and grabbed McCalls 5433 and decided on making View A with all the sleeve bells and whistles of Views B/D.

I was really, really lucky MyHung Parramatta had matching buttons.
What was my challenge?
  •   Picking the style for this fabric
  •   Using the fabric to highlight its print
  •   Not this shirt look like a PJ shirt
  •   Making it fit me again
  •   Picking the seam finishes because this shirt is going to be inspected inside and out!

I’ve been working with Liberty prints lately so I cut out each body pieces separately and tried to match the print lines. They run diagonally.

Top Left clockwise: buttons on cuff; collar on shirt; two part collar; cutting front bodice

However there’s a button tab so I decided to cut this piece a wee bit longer to accommodate matching or not matching the print. My plan was to place the shirt buttons on the flowers of the print.

So technically, this is a shirt.  But I still can’t tell you when a blouse is not a shirt.
An inside view
The inside of the back.

The seams are French seams. I machine felled the sleeve seam allowances to the shirt.

The collar, collar band, button tabs, cuffs and sleeve band are interfaced.
This progress shot showed me I was on the right pattern placement track.

Fit adjustments

Roll shoulder on the shoulder seams and sleeve curve. I left the sleeve length long so I can roll it up to bracelet length when I need to.
This already had a centre back seam to accommodate my sway back.

To make sure I could size this up at the hips, I cut a 12 at the hips.

A back view shot for fit.

Long story short, once I finished this shirt and took the photos I wore the shirt the next day at work. Well I felt it was too loose at the front, I before work I sewed the front dart in by 1cm and it fit a whole lot better but there were no ripples.

So I tried to smile but ‘sheesh’, this is stressful.

The ladies at work love my shirt. The roll up sleeves were just what I needed to work at my desk and I did not dirty my sleeves. I hate cleaning cuffs on business shirts and I don’t intend on ruining this shirt simply because I love wearing it.

Sue and Yoshimi got through to Round 2 with over 40 others who burnt the candle at both ends to get through. There were 116 of us who were judged in Round 1.

Holiday sewing contest

There’s a lot of challenges and contests that sewers can join throughout the year. Right now I’m currently managing the Holiday Sewing Contest for Pattern Review (PR). PR offers contests all year around.

Managing contests:
This is my fifth contest managing role and I choose to manage different contests to support other sewers take part and this increases my knowledge of how I can use what I know for different projects. It works both ways.

Everyone has their own style and take on how they tackle their projects so this gives myself and others the opportunity to ‘watch and learn’ or get motivated and sew along.

The first contest I managed was the Vintage contest and that was a steep learning curve but there were so many helpful PR members that gave the contestants a hand with dating their patterns, it was a great contest to learn from.

The rules
Here’s a link to the rules.
This is a really long contest – 6 weeks. You can choose to sew any holiday-themed item, not just the coming festive season.
Here’s a link to the discussion.
So while this doesn’t include cocktail dresses, which has it’s own contest coming up, you can choose any holiday. 

By the way, contest manager are volunteers.


Recycle the 80s

It’s big. It’s very wide. It’s a bit whiffy (on the nose). It’s from the 80s. It’s textured leather. It was $20. It’s my first recycling project. It could have been owned by a tall, dark, handsome man with very little dress sense who hung out at discos. Mmm. I’ll take it!

When I unpicked this jacket, the glue on the seams was still good but I could rip it apart without tearing the skin. Twill tape was used on the sleeve joins to the jacket, in the hem and in the side seams. The buttonholes were reinforced and the self cover buttons had a small button on the wrong side to hold them in place. It’s a big big jacket so it would suit a ‘simple’ straight skirt.

After using leather reconditioner (leather balsam), the colour became a deeper grey than green. I spoke to a leather expert and her view was that because the leather has already been treated, she said it would be hard to recolour. Then the question was, should I still use this? Yep. This is now a ‘no fear’ leather practice piece.   It’s still smells whiffy.

Since making the eyelet Derby Day Peony, I felt this skirt could do with an exposed separating zipper. I’ve used the original hem for this skirt so the real challenges are:
– make this skirt fit around the waist
– get the hem length right
– line the skirt properly with thick lining fabric.
– use a separating zipper that enhances the look of this skirt
– finally sew with real leather using real leather seam tape and glue!
I bought the leather double sided tape and leather glue from Birdsalls Leather at Botany. I got some useful leather sewing advice when I phoned and then visited the store.
And they have lots of leather saddlery things to look at in awe. Well I did anyway. They stocked buckles and pre-pressed leather for the belts you see worn at the Easter Show or on spaghetti western movies.

Prep work
I used a leather needle in my machine and replaced the sewing foot on machine with a teflon foot. I also eased the feeder pressure and used the longest stitching thread to sew the seams.

I used the darkest pieces of leather because some pieces had started to yellow. The hem was noticeably yellow so while I did want to reuse the hem, it was too obviously yellow, so I cut this off.

I love this red lining but for your purposes, this is a closer view of the insides of the skirt after sewing on the exposed zipper.

On the front, I’ve added extra seaming to give the waistline shaping without using darts. The hem also has a binding piece to make it long enough for my zipper. The zipper was a stash piece as was the lining.

Hooray. The back zip is now straight because I resewed the back seams and evened them out!!! The jacket McCalls 6292 was made earlier this year to test out the jacket style for a future pleather jacket with the matching gloves. Next step is to make this jacket from real leather – one day.

By the way, I did iron the leather with a cloth on the leather but learnt real quick to move my hand away when the steam hits to avoid some serious skin burns. The next version will have the glue and double sided tape. I didn’t want to pass out from the glue smell in my sewing room while making this skirt. I was sewing to a deadline to enter the PR refashion contest.

Better online leather bloggers to really learn about leather sewing are the sewing lawyer, Kbenco, Clio and Phineas, Ann’s sewing studio, Gorgeous Ann and  LyndsayT. It was Lyndsay’s post that started my quest to sew leather. These are some tips for sewing leather on a normal sewing machine too.

Peony update:
Sarah of Rhinestones and Telephones and featured my Derby Day Peony with Erin’s version. And I found out that Erin of Miss Crayola Creepy loves Hawaiian print fabric, so she featured by test Peony. They’ve been hosting a Colette Pattern sewalong with Rochelle of Lucky Lucille. Love your Halloween Peony Rochelle. Thanks ladies. I’ve really enjoyed your sewalong.
And I’ve switched off anonymous again. I got lots of laughable spam so once the joke wore off, I switched anonymous off too:)