Monday, 19 August 2013

Paisley Tiramisu

So I made a dress from knit fabric. Those who know me will realise that me using a knit fabric is a very rare occurrence. In fact I've only ever made one item from knit fabric before. I didn't really enjoy the experience and wasn't enamoured by the outcome, although saying that I wear the dress a lot, so it can't have been too bad! It was also made long before this blog existed, so that's probably double reason it can't have been that bad, as it's still going strong!

Anyway to join in with the WSBN's Cake day, I decided I'd be brave and make Steph's Tiramisu dress.

Tiramisu Knit Dress from Cake Patterns- Multi-Size 30"-50" high bust, 25"-50" waist 

I love the image on the front of this pattern and all the other versions around the blogasphere have tempted me that I needed to really give it a go.

So armed with my pattern and some paisley knit I secured from the Arthur Toye half price sale, I got creative. I'm not really sure what the fabric is, it's polyester knit, but it has a kind of sheen to it.

The first problem was what size to cut. The back and midriff pieces are sized by the high bust measurement. The front pieces are sized by the full bust measurement and the skirt is taken from the waist measurement. It all sounds good, it ensures the dress has a good fit where it's needed. 

However, I was stumped. My high bust measured 39", and my full bust 40". Very odd, because the pattern actually states cup sizes, well using these measurements I was cutting a 35 back and 40A front. There's no way I'm an A cup. I think the problem is I have a broad upper back, which was possibly skewing the upper bust measurement. But after consultation with others and the creator herself, I went with these sizes.

I had loads of fabric left over, look at this lot!

I encountered all sorts of strange problems which I kind of cobbled through. 
  • Having a 35 back and 40 front, my shoulder seams were completely different lengths, so I had to trim the front ones to fit the back.
  • I didn't know whether to cut the front midriff with a 40 measurement to match my front bust pieces, but in the end went with the 35. [The midriff pieces actually have the bust measurement along one size and the waist along the other.]
  • The pattern asks for gathering stitches to be run through the bottom of the front bust pieces, I don't know why these were there, as when I put the front bust pieces together, the bottom of the front as well as the bottom of the back pieces were shorter than the tops of the midriff pieces. I even wondered if I was supposed to add a seam allowance to the back, the difference was so great.
  • I ended up trimming about half an inch from the top of each midriff piece so the side seams would match up.
When I tried the bodice at the first fit check, I was decidedly concerned. It fit, but it was like a decidedly fitted T-shirt. In fact you can see the pulling there from the under bust seam.

I really didn't know what to do. I was considering completely starting again with the spare fabric....

After consultation with members of the WSBN (I feel so lucky to have them all at the end of a Facebook page!), I was told that the weight of the skirt would probably lengthen the bodice and also help with the fit. So I soldiered on.

I unpicked my basted side seams and attached the skirt pieces to the midriff pieces. Mindful of how tight it had been I finally stitched the side seams as narrow as I possibly could. I like the way the whole side seam is stitched as one from the armhole to the bottom hem as with a men's shirt.

I kept my fingers and toes crossed (which made the sewing difficult :-) ) hoping it would work out. I think the gods were on my side. The finished dress looked OK...

I left the dress hanging to drop out the hem. Then had a panic about two hours before our tea party, when I realised I'd not hemmed it! I contemplated leaving it, but decided I'd probably not cut it straight. Thought about using my new twin needle, but decided I didn't want it much shorter, plus didn't really know how the needle would behave. So in an hour I hand stitched the hem, stuck the dress on and rushed out the door, nearly forgetting my lemon drizzle cake I promised to take along!

This is only the second item of clothing I've ever made from a knit fabric. I think I did much better with this, using a very narrow, but long-ish zig-zag stitch. All this is suggested on the pattern, which is great for a beginner or a novice with knit fabrics. The pattern also recommends the use of interfacing to ensure particular seams keep their shape. I cut lengths of about an inch wide to face the shoulder seams and the pockets.

Oh, pockets, did I mention this pattern has pockets! I've put pockets in each side seam. Great, I love pockets! However with the drape and feel of this fabric, in hindsight I might have left them out, they just don't lay flat and bulge unless I really am careful how I fold my handkerchief! :-)

None of the seams are finished. I don't have an overlocker and the fabric doesn't fray, so, why should I? I'm please with how the edging went on the neckline and the sleeves. They look quite tidy!

So the finished dress...

Mm, methinks the wind had blown my hair somewhat!

I think I possibly could have got away with it a bit shorter, this is a very ladylike hem length! Anyone would think I was a librarian! :-)

I don't really need a swayback adjustment, I just didn't pull the dress down

Can't resist an excuse for a twirl and this does twirl quite well!

The details
Fabric:  Polyester knit in a paisley pattern from Arthur Toye's sale, July 2013.
Notions:   Just the interfacing for the seams and sewing thread.
Pattern:  Cake Tiramisu
First worn:  For the WSBN Cake Party at the end of July
Worn with:  Everybody black pumps from a shoe shop in Edinburgh (UK), and some red tights (I think they are Columbine Chilli colour from Farmers.)
Changes made:  Well none really, bar the fudged alterations mentioned above. I did cut the skirt a bit longer, but only about an inch.
Another one?  Well maybe. I like the shape of the dress. It actually gets lots of wear, I think I've worn it once a week since I made it. The fabric does lose shape with wear, so I have to remember to wash it frequently. The problem I've experienced is that I have to wear a vest top or something else under it. If I make it again I think I'd cut a larger front, so I'm not constantly wearing something under it. At the moment, it is decidedly indecent without.

So, to whet your appetite, here is a final photo with it's names sake (made by Sewist Stitch)

The nice photo...

...And the greedy one :-)

Wednesday, 14 August 2013

Home Sewn fashion


Last Saturday evening, I was lucky enough to go with the other Wellington Sewing Bloggers to the busy opening night of the Home Sewn exhibition at the Dowse Art Museum in Lower Hutt. The exhibition is a touring exhibition curated by Doris du Pont from the New Zealand Fashion Museum in Auckland. And what an evening! The museum was full of ladies (and the odd man) who was wearing something hand sewn in New Zealand.

The evening started with chatting, posing for photos and a fashion show. The judges, including designer and historian Doris du Pont, had difficulty choosing their favourites from the before clothes on show. Unfortunately I didn't get any photos of the winners (we were too far away.)

Following this we had the opportunity to view the exhibition of New Zealand Home Sewn fashions from the 1930s to the current day. So many fabulous outfits on display.

A room full of pretties!

The guy in this photo has only been sewing for a year and made both the shirt and trousers - I was definitely impressed

I love the pleated top of this dress, plus it's from the 50s, so it's an instant like for me :-)

My aunt had a dress just like the one n the left for parties!

Colours, colours, psychedelic colours! 

Look at this dress, I love the back on this!

Look at the flowers on the skirt and bodice

I love the simplicity of this dress, made in 2011

This was drafted and made about a year ago by a 94 year old

I love that this pattern is illustrated with the dress which was also on show

I'll end with our obligatory group photo, with new members! :-)

Don't we scrub up well?

OK, from left to right
Yours truly

I didn't get photos of all of us, but here are a few to keep you happy!

Making it well looking fab in pink and blue

Off-grid chic and The Sewphist (just check out Off-grid chic's shoes!)

 Piccolo Presents, The Dreamstress and MrsC show off their long creations

FlossieFT looking amazing as usual

Modern Vintage Cupcakes looking good in a vintage shirt dress, camera in hand

Oh and...

 Moi in Vogue 8020, blogged here 
With added essential floof :-)

Of course there are even better photos of us all on the Dowse Art Museum's Facebook page, here and here

Monday, 5 August 2013

Sewing social - well more like eating!

OK, so I admit, little sewing has taken place, but it hasn't stopped me being social with the Wellington Sewing Bloggers (WSBN) and chatting about things sewing/fabric, enabling (fabric purchases and otherwise) and... erm eating! We certainly know how to party!

We've had mid-winter Christmas, spending the afternoon at a Charm of Magpies, knitting or doing cross-stitch, followed by handmade Christmas ornament swapping and a lovely roast dinner...

My Christmas ornament - a purple elephant, made by the Adventures of the Girl from the Naki

Flossie FT with her kiwi I made

Look at the great selection of handmade Christmas decorations

The savoury food...

...and the sweet, with the most amazing pavlova made by MrsC

We also trekked up to Palmerston North to spend the day on the Crazy Gypsy's patch. The plan was to go to Levana in Levin, but they were closed, so we op-shopped locally, then had posh tea and cakes in Palmy and a little bit of spending in the Arthur Toye sale...

Kapiti Island at dawn on our way up

Making it Well deciding where to start

Quick Mama Gypsy (aka the Forgotten Fashionista), it'll be gone!

Taking over Arthur Toye

The Curious Kiwi eyes up some fur...

Than last week we celebrated Cake patterns by wearing a Cake pattern and eating lots of cake - you see I told you we know how to eat :-)

Lots of Cake (Group photo courtesy of Flossie FT) including three new members of our fab group

The group of Tiramisus (Tiramisi?) Anyone know the plural of Tiramisu? (Courtesy of FlossieFT)

Lots of edible cake

Tiramisu and me :-)

As for my Tiramisu dress, I shall leave that for another day...