Saturday, 28 February 2015

2015 Design / Inspiration Challenge - March

Ok sewing peeps - March is upon us.

The topic for March is to create something inspired by an unrelated object. It does not have to be completely made! Concept ideas and sketches are fine. A project a month is fairly ambitious. Again, it can be  a project you've made in the past. 

The original idea for this came from teacup corsets. I came across this site some years ago, and thought they were one of the coolest, sewing geekiest things ever. And I wanted to make some too.

Check out this blog for another example: 

I loved the idea that design could spill from one thing to another and capture the essence of something in both forms.

Last month, (quite unrelated to this challenge) Carolyn from Handmade by Carolyn made something unexpected inspired by this frog.
Original frog photo from

Go and check out her blog if you haven't already. Her stuff is amazing!

And for a related, tongue in cheek giggle  - go here, for some celebrities dressed as lampshades.

For me, I frequently purchase an accessory with an idea that I could make a whole outfit to go with it (am I the only one guilty of this?) and while it's not *strictly* unrelated, I am thinking of pulling out an unmatched accessory to use as inspiration for a garment. Mostly because I'd like to be able to wear it out and about! But I certainly expect that there is scope to take this idea somewhere completely crazy, and I'm looking forward to seeing what ideas people come up with this month. 

Due Wednesday 25th of March. I will publish on Thursday 26th of March.

Thursday, 26 February 2015

February Challenge - The Reveal!

Oh my goodness, how quickly did February rush past?

This challenge was indeed a challenge, and most of us got a concept in hand but didn't get to complete a garment. This is totally ok! The goal is to think about our sewing, to push our limits and consider our work in a different way. Perhaps find some new resources, and start some conversations!

Ivory is taking on drafting her own pattern. Its a shirt multiple layers. She plans to make the back angled area sheer, the angled bottom a sheerish blue-gold fabric and  the square triangle front thing is white satin covered with sheer white sparkly fabric. It creates a dramatic asymmetrical line. 

Daria looked at some very classic shapes, and investigated pencil skirts, as she doesn't wear them. She also created a sheath dress sketch, and sourced patterns to create the shape she wanted to achieve. It goes to show that something doesn't need to be complicated to be different!

Helen from Cut it Out Stitch It Up experimented with mixing up a shift dress. She drew inspiration from this lovely dress from Behind the Hedgerow, but drafted the pattern herself. Again the simplicity of this style is in keeping with Helen's usual makes, but slightly different. 
I checked out the inspiration page, and those pockets are a super cute detail! 

Jennifer took a few different approaches to this challenge, and created a garment for a non human shape.
Awww! 'Abby' is clearly a master of the sultry 'model' pout.

There is no denying that this is certainly a most unusual shape! As most prolific participant in the February Challenge, Jennifer also made some triangular quilt pieces,

 And mixed it up with a curved pillow! The pillow is Jennifer's first 'all curves' project.

And me? I also struggled to complete the project this month. And by struggled, I kind of mean failed. February got stupid busy. But I did play with skirt shapes, to break out of my usual just past the knee straight or a-line rut.

And I did some investigating of other skirts, and I came out with this.
It is a panel for a gored skirt. But more on that later...

Sunday, 1 February 2015

Drafting A Shoulder Princess Line

For today's post, I'm going to go through the drafting of the dress I made for the January Challenge.

Not the best photos in the world, I'm afraid. Winter lighting. What can I say?

The dress is a long sleeve, knee length dress with a slight flare to the skirt, and a shoulder princess line. I talked about armhole princess lines before, and my yellow dress is really very similar to this style, although it was made in a woven fabric, and here I am using a knit.

The instructions for this drafting is based on my knit dress block, however this procedure would work in exactly the same way for a woven fabric, just based on a woven block. I am not including instructions for sleeves, as the sleeves are just a regular long sleeve. Obviously, you could put any sleeve style on there.

Starting with a knit dress, which has darts in the front and back. I have full instructions for creating this block, although it is a step by step process. See copying a t-shirt, Tank top with darts, tank dress, and tank dress front darts for further information on that. I can see it's time to streamline a few of these tutorials! But any knit block or basic knit dress which fits well will do.

I started with my block. Shown here front left, back right. It already includes seam allowances on the sides / shoulders. Also marked are bustline and bust point, under bust and waist line, and darts.
 Draw in a line to create the princess seam. It goes from mid shoulder, through the bust point on the front, through the dart. My front line sweeps to the side to create a smooth line on the front panel, but touches the edge of the dart.
 From here the pieces are split.
 I tidied up the edge, and smoothed the lines out.
 Split through from the bust dart to the bust point, and rotate to close the dart.
 Part of the dart will overlap. That's cool. The dart needs to close without opening up on the new line.
 Once alls split and moved apart, that gives us these shapes.
I flared the skirt about 3cm (1 3/6") on each side of the skirt, from the hip line. Note that the flare is not added to the centre front and back, as they are placed on the fold. The hemline is curved slightly. 

 Now like this.
I already have a seam allowance on the sides/shoulders, but I need to put a new seam allowance in where the pattern pieces have been cut. I also included a hem.
 At this point we have a basic shoulder line princess with a flared skirt. Because my print was so geometric, I wanted to create a squared neckline. Not strictly square, it has a slant. I put the new neckline in no deeper than the existing neckline.

 From here I created a split to make a facing.

 I add a seam allowance onto each of those pieces
 I also included a pocket. On the yellow dress, I had a pocket bag, made with lining fabric. This has a very similar cut. But in this case I am making a patch pocket. Looking at the side panel, I draw in the position of the pocket. I then copy that piece - plus seam allowance at the bottom, and a fold allowance at the top.
 And there you have it.
Since the neckline facing will be made of 2 pieces, it's important to consider the treatment of the back neck. You could bind it, or you might consider an additional facing to create a smooth join.