Tuesday, 30 July 2013

The basic skirt.

There is a lot of glamour in the blogosphere. But it turns out, I can't even fake glamour. I have had the most ridiculous sewing morning, and I have gotten out the unpicker poodle more than once. But I have completed, and I am proud that I have completed, the basic skirt.

Ta Daaa!
This is not the best skirt I've ever made. But it's functional, and it serves a purpose as a foundation for the dress and other skirts.

I used an existing skirt that I had. Initially I was planning to use my brown skirt. But I couldn't find it, because (as it turns out) it was hanging in the wardrobe where it belongs. Meh.
I started with this:

Which doesn't resemble the shape I am after in the slightest. But that doesn't matter. The important things here are that it fits over the hips, doesn't have any dart, and (yay!) sits exactly on the waist. 
You might wonder why I get all excited over things, and that would be because it makes stuff easier.

So I popped it on, and got out the safety pins.
I put pins on the hip (the widest part) and a couple where I think a flattering length would be. This skirt, incidentally, is not a flattering length. I bought it because the design was pretty.

The second arrow down shows where it looks like my hips should be, but actually the first arrow is my hip, because my bottom sticks out most there. The next two arrows are where I want to mark my hem lines.

After I got the pins sorted, I took the skirt and folded it in half.
I laid it out on the edge of some brown paper, on which I had drawn a line at right angles for the waist.

I lined the top of the waistband up with that line, and the fold with the edge of the paper, making sure it was not bunched up underneath.

I made a mark for the waistband and the safety pin which indicated the hip.
Then I joined the dots.

So that is effectively the seam line for the hip. I need to add a seam allowance. I work with 1cm seams, so normally I would add 1cm. But in this case I am going to add 2.

There is totally a reason for this. 

From there, I drew a line straight down, parallel to the edge of the paper.

And marked the length according to the pins I put on the original skirt.

I included a decent hem allowance because I will check it before I sew it - some parts might need to be a little longer. So I included 3.5cm hems knowing that if I need an extra centimetre over the back, it won't be a problem.

Which left me with this:

So I cut it out. Twice. :)

One for the front, and one for the back (duh!). I folded it to make it fast. Go me!

But here's where that extra centimeter comes in. The front needs to be marginally larger than the back. So I marked off one centimeter down the edge of the seam line on the back piece.

Then chopped it off.
Back and front complete! I think it's important to say at this point that the waistline should be shaped. I'm not doing it just now because I really am going for the most simple of steps to get the ball rolling. I will make one skirt with the pattern like this, and then go into shaping the waistline on a separate post.

I put labels on. I've learned the hard way that this is absolutely worth doing. Sorting through a pile of pieces which you thought you would remember what they were is a pain in the butt.  So I write: 
* What it is (garment and piece name)
*Cutting directions
*Seam allowance included
Including the date means if I update the pattern later I will know which is the version I want to use.

This pattern includes seam allowance and hem allowance. It doesn't include a waistband. For the trial of this skirt, I'm going to do a simple casing with elastic. For the record, I think most elastic cased stuff looks stupid. But I'm going to do it anyway, because a) the point here is the creation of a skirt pattern, so a speedy test is useful, and b) No-one will see the elastic if I wear a shirt over the top (which I will). I will make other skirt patterns with bands and stuff later.

But here goes.

I've got my elastic, its about 1.2cm wide.

A quick measure, and I figure I need about 2.5cm for the casing.
 I am not going to mess about making a whole new pattern for a skirt I won't make twice because I don't like elastic casings. I'm just going to add the bit on as I'm cutting out. So I pin my pattern piece to the fabric, and draw it on. When I cut it out, I have 2.5cm for casing.

So from here, I pin front and back together, and sew up the sides. I then pin and press the casing and sew it, leaving the required space at the back.

I will add at this point, that it did not go smoothly. My bobbin ran out (I should have checked it) and when I inserted the elastic and joined it, I accidentally made a Möbius waistband (I should have checked that too). It was as if the skirt felt that I considered its elastic waist was somehow beneath me, and decided to be difficult about it. Although, actually I just wasn't paying attention to what I was doing.

 After that, I tried it on and sorted the hem. I made a note on my pattern piece for where the hem actually went, so that I don't need to fuss about with the measurements as much next time. I did find that my back hem needed to be dropped slightly lower than my front hem. By pinning and trying it on a few times, I got something I was happy with.

Here is the result:


Incidentally, it is difficult to take a photograph of your own rear-end. Just saying.

Friday, 12 July 2013

T-Shirt Dress

It's been hot.

UK hot, not Australia hot, but it seems I've adjusted. I'm always perfectly dressed for yesterday's weather - so since it has already been hot, I thought I would whip up a dress.
I liked my tank dress, but I wanted something I could wear to work and a tank dress feels just a bit too holiday - I need sleeves for work.

So I went for a t-shirt dress based on the tank dress.

I found some inexpensive fabric to play with, and got started.

I cut it out exactly the same as the tank dress, except the shoulders. The shoulder on a tank top is narrower than on a t-shirt - so you have the effect of a thick strap. So I put that extra bit (about 2cm but I think 1cm would have been ok) back on as I cut it out, using chalk to extend the cutting line from the shoulder, and then drawing the line back in with a french curve.

Way faster than making a new pattern.
I also cut out a sleeve from the original t-shirt pattern.

Then I put it together as per the tank dress, and inserted the sleeves. Because the arm scythe has changed a bit with the dart, it wasn't a big surprise that the sleeve was a little loose, and I had to stretch the dress a bit to get it in. Next time I make one of these, I'm going to play with the sleeves a little bit to make them tighter. I find sleeves a little intimidating, and I can't really explain why. So I'm just jumping in and doing it. As it turned out, the sleeves were comfortably loose and I rather like them like that.

I had almost completed the dress and tried it on with a couple of different belts. Then I found this gem on my way home from work on Thursday.

And here is the completed outfit:

I'm going to have to practice smiling for the camera. :/

Just to show what a difference the belt makes, here it is without it:
I guess this just shows how much something can be dressed up or down with small details. This is important to me because I am a little detail shy  - I tend to 'play it safe' rather than experimenting with stuff, and sometimes that lets my dresses down.

But on this occasion, I feel I've done well.

I almost wore this to work today. Then I remembered that we were doing art, so I didn't. Sure enough, one of the boys managed to accidentally stab me with a whiteboard marker. He also managed to draw two stripes on his right cheek - something he was completely oblivious about. Despite my gentle suggestions that perhaps he should remove it, he remained absolutely insistent that he did not have marker on his face and did not need to wash it off. Not wearing my dress today was a pretty good call.

Update: Just clearing out my junk email. Wallis is offering this:

I feel like I'm a step ahead. :) Well, of the mainstream shops which isn't saying a lot...
Whateves. Mine fits.