Thursday, May 17, 2012

Jersey Wrap Dress

I had persued this design for a long time, trying to get a similar pattern modifying similar ones, but last year I finally saw this VOGUE in the net and I bought it.
I bought the material because the print was as nice as the touch of the fabric, very good fall, lots of give, soft... but it did not occur to me what to do with it.
I took a while to do the match, having them -the pattern and the fabric- both at home in the same shelf, until one day inspiration arrived and I was so happy with the idea!

The result has been nice, very nice. The skirt, really wide at the bottom, in a bell shape, falls graciously around my legs. Also, and most important, I have learned a lot in the process! The most important of my new discoveries (you never stop learning!) is that American patterns, which are sold individually (I discovered this only last year!) include the seam allowances! Pitty that i discovered this after having finished my dress, which, now I see, is maybe too generous at the superior front. Of course I realised that in the first fitting, but I wanted to play safe, and be sure the two sides would not open easily when wearing it.
I really prefer our system here, in which the pattern is the pattern, and you add to it the seam allowances you consider safe. For example, in a new design, you better leave big allowances in certain parts until the first fitting, but in designs you know well and store (like a toile), allowances can be minimum. So I think it is more accurate if the pattern is without the seam allowances, which you add when cutting the material arround it. Anyway, good to know, and something to have into consideration. Before cutting a pattern, check if the seams allowances are included.
Apart form that, the pattern was accurate and really flattering, so I put VOGUE in my list of trustable patterns.

Tuesday, May 1, 2012

Pink Polar Fleeze Jacket: a Step By Step Process

Since I've been reading blogs by sewing enthusiasts from all over the world, I have realized the process I follow to make a piece is not the same everywhere. In this post, I will explain what is this process step by step.
 I collect pattern magazines, sold in kiosks. Nowadays in Catalonia, we can buy Burda, from Germany, and Patrones, Spanish. They publish a new number every other month, but I try to have a look first before deciding if it is worth it, since most of the times (specially in last years, or maybe because I already have a big collection of patterns) it is not worth it -it is not a matter of price, they are only around 4 euros, but the space in my shelves!
Once I've chosen a design from the magazine, I decide what size is going to fit me, having into account the magazine style. Burda, for example makes its patterns much bigger than Patrones. Both magazines have a chart with measures. One has also to consider the kind of piece you are working with, and the fabric used before deciding a size. And often, I have to make it smaller or bigger, as in the folloing example.
Once the item and the size are chosen, I proceed to calc the pattern from the big sheets of paper where all the patterns are drawn. Knowing the colour and number dessigning your piece, I follow with a pencill over the lines, reproducing it in pattern paper.
When I have copied all the pieces, I cut them off and proceed to place them on the material, respecting the grain direction, and all the directions the magazine gives us. Once all the pieces are placed and hold with headpins, I proceed to cut the fabric, leaving good seam allowances, for possible variations.

The following step is markig the pattern into the material. I usually do it with taylor tucks, a sittch done with basting cotton thread, similar to basting, but with big loops of thread. After marking every sign, mark, or line, I take the paper off and proceed to separate the two pieces of cloth, cutting the thread between them, which stays attached to both of them.
Now, all the pieces ara thus marked before assembling them. It's time to baste the basic pieces together to the first fitting. In this particular case, the first fitting proves the jacket needed major adjustments. I had to add a seam at the center back, because it was toooo wide. I also entered it at the sides seams, and gave some shape towards the waist. I also made the sleeves narrower that they were in the original pattern. In the second fitting I regained some hope. I regret now not having photographed the fustration-happy-ending process, but of course at the time I just thought in the high possibilities of total failure. Bunt, alas... no!
I decided to apply fusible backing to the neck and arount the pockets, which I also changed form the original. They were to be sawn on top, and I made some inside pockets instead.
The result is great, I think. So, happy ending. It is also very confy, nice to the touch, lightweight and very warm.