Saturday, July 28, 2012

Shona Vest

I picked up the Trendsetter Yarns Shona Vest and Mitered Skirt knitting pattern and wool whilst I was visiting Puyallup last year and I did start to knit it during our trip especially during the long flights.

I finished knitting the vest late last year and then realised I had forgotten the buttonholes (this is my first knitted garment that includes buttonholes and seeing the notes for the buttonholes were by themselves at the end of the pattern, I thought like a sewer, you do them at the end, how wrong was I).  I wasn't going to undo all those cables for some buttonholes, so I had to work out another way to close the vest.

Then the instructions told me to block the vest.  This was another first, I have knitted a few garments but I realised with all the cables that this vest would need to be blocked and of course this made me delay even further, and when I did bite the bullet and block it I couldn't figure out why I was so reluctant!

I purchased the buttons separately directly from Jane Slicer-Smith when I saw her at one the Craft Shows in Darling Harbour and for the button loops I plaited 3 strands of wool together.

I am very happy how this vest has turned out and will work quite well into my wardrobe.

Saturday, July 21, 2012

The "Audrey Dress"

I downloaded this pattern when The Selfish Seamstress made it available after seeing her version for the Little Black Dress competition on Pattern Review a few years ago.

Then DH advised me we are off to the annual convention for his business and we have a fancy dress night (dress as someone famous) and the Gala dinner to attend.

I soon realized that when I printed off this pattern I hadn't checked the print size box so the pattern wasn't a true size 32 so I started with my TNT dress Simplicity 2648 and changed this pattern by:

  • Straightened the shoulders (the forward shoulder adjustment didn't work with this style). 
  • Joined the back bodice and skirt together at the waist and made a full back piece on the fold. 
  • Took out a further .5cm (2/8") sway back adjustment. 
  • Reduced the length of the back darts at the top by 2.5cm (1").
  • Moved the zip to the left side seam. 
  • Took a .8cm (3/8") gaposis tuck out of the back neck band.
  • Drafted an all-in-one facing for the neck line and armholes. 
This brown linen has been maturing in my stash since 2009 purchased from The Fabric Store and it is fully lined with Sun Silky.

For the back neck pieces I used Textureweft and fused it with two layers making sure that I had the grain lines going in opposite directions and I fused the top of the back point.


As I wanted a clean finish on the neckline and back sections I used the information in the Singer Sewing Book dated 1969.

The rest of the dress was was straightforward and of course the lining has a lace edge.

For the Gala dinner (they tend to be rather low key).

and for the Fancy Dress:

I have a number of garments planned but the next project is to work on the Jean-ius course with Kenneth King through Craftsy using a pair of Levis 550 that I love the fit of.

Thursday, July 5, 2012

Lining a Skirt

dlogan asked a few posts ago how I lined my Vogue 7937 skirt, so here is the way I  was shown by Roberta Thompson (who wrote many articles for Australian Stitches) many years ago when she held sewing classes here in Sydney.

Fashion Fabric - Black wool
Lining - Charcoal Sun Silky

Cut out my fashion fabric.

Cut out the lining using exactly the same pattern pieces I used for the fashion fabric except I fold back the vent pieces as these are cut off when I do the lining hem.

The fashion fabric is sewn together as per the pattern excluding the waistband/facing. 
The lining is sewn together leaving the right hand side open for the zip, opposite to the fashion fabric zip opening (you will see why later). 

Now you have two skirts, one in your fashion fabric and one in lining. 

Pin the two skirts together at the waist, right sides together.

I then baste this seam together so nothing can move.

I am not a fan of facings on my skirts, so I use cotton twill tape* as my waistband/facing stabiliser. I don’t cut the twill tape to any length, I just have it on my lap and place it under the machine foot and start it off for the final waistband stitching.  Whilst sewing you pull the twill tape slightly so there is some tension on the tape sewing it along the 1.5cm/5.8" seam line. This then helps the waist cup to my body.

Turn the lining to the inside of the skirt and I then stitch using my 1/4inch foot and 3.0 stitch length on my Janome MC 3500 on the right side of the skirt along the edge of the waistband.

As I am not level, I have the assistance from my darling husband to level the skirt and then I prepare the hems:

Fashion Fabric
  • Press the hem edge, making sure not to press a pin head. 
  • Open up the hem and trim the excess fabric so that I have a hem width of 3cm/1 1/8".
  • I fuse a 4cm/1 1/2" wide (1cm/3/8" wider then the hem width) strip of Textureweft (pinked along the top edge**) along the hem fold line (I do not fuse the strip over any seam allowances) to give the hem some body and this gives you a great base for doing your Herringbone stitch for the hem.   
  • I also mitre the hem/vent corners on the fashion fabric.

For the skirt lining I cut this to be shorter than the fashion fabric by 2.5cm/1" *** all the way around, disregarding the extra fabric at the vents.
Once I have shortened the skirt lining, I then work on the fabric around the vents.
  • From the corner of each vent I measure in 6cm/2.4" and put a chalk mark.

  • Then using my French Ruler I draw a curve like this from the vent edge to the hem edge.

  • Cut away the excess lining fabric and this is how the inside of the skirt looks around the vents.

  • Finish off your lining hem as you wish.
Here is the finished skirt!

Centre back vent showing mitred corners and Hong Kong finishes

* I pre-shrink the cotton twill tape.
**I have a bag full of these strips already cut on hand.
*** Another thing I like to do is to add lace to the lining hem.  So this doesn't show I cut the lining to be shorter than the fashion fabric by the lace width + 2.5cm/1" e.g. my lace for this skirt is 2cm/7/8" so I cut my lining hem shorter by 4.5cm/1 7/8". I do like having a little hidden secret that only gets to be seen if the wind decides to play with my skirt.