Monday, 11 August 2014

Pixie Shorts

I am having physiotherapy on my knee so I needed shorts. I know a lot of religious women won't wear them out of modesty, but when you have to do a lot of leg exercises, shorts are more modest than skirts. :)

So I made these from my brother's too-short trousers. They were a sort of moleskin fabric, and are is apparently Italian-made (when they were trousers). I adjusted my Audrey Short pattern (which I haven't told you about yet) to have princess seams and those petal shapes at the front.

When I put them on yesterday, with socks after my bath, my legs looked quite stocky in them. (I think I look much better in tights.) Rather than think of my legs as stocky though, I would rather think of them as pixie-ish, like Tinkerbell. It's much better to put a nice spin on things, isn't it? I think that's the start of a good body-image for anyone and you might as well like yourself because you're the only self you'll get. :)

Pixie Shorts
Upcycled Pixie Shorts (worn with upcycled t-shirt)

The hardest thing was sewing the curves neatly, which I didn't quite manage to do. In retrospect, I ought to have done a faced hem, but I was upcycling and it was a miracle that the waist-facing was exactly the right length (by accident). I also ought to have used cotton tape to stay the waistline because it's ever-s0-slightly stretched now.
I didn't need to add a gusset to these shorts. I pressed the seam open (well, finger-pressed) and they're perfectly comfortable as they are. Calico seems to be unreliable for fitting purposes because it's so unlike any fabric you'd actually wear.


P.S. Yes, these are inspired by the Pattern Runway shorts, and there's the link to make up for my not buying the pattern (how can I when I can draft one?).

Thursday, 7 August 2014

Craftsy's Big Course Sale Starts Today!

 (Sponsered post)

I don't like to have too many commercial posts on this blog (I try to keep them few, I really do), but this one is so good! Today and until Monday 11:59pm (MT) (That's 5:59am on Tuesday to us in the UK). Craftsy is having a sale on all their courses having 50% off! Just click on the banner below to go and have a look!

The Secret Garden Tea Dress Blogroll: Ana Sofia

Ana Sofia of S is for Sewing just sent me this teaser photo of the dress she has made:
Ana Sofia's Secret Garden Tea Dress
Ana Sofia's Secret Garden Tea Dress
Why is it a teaser? Because tomorrow she will publish her blog post about the pattern. I'll link to it when it is published.

When other people sew my pattern, it's like being a fashion designer by magic: I'm not sewing all these dresses, but they appear in the world! It's like the Elves and the Shoemaker (or the Elves and the Dressmaker)! I'm so grateful to the lovely seamstress on the Student Designer team for helping me with this! :) (Thank you all!)

Till tomorrow!

Monday, 4 August 2014

Free Sample of the Instructions from The Secret Garden Tea Dress

I've always thought that a lot of the value in the patterns I am making is in the instructions. You can learn how to achieve professional results in your sewing by logical steps and pattern preparation. So that you can see what you get with Student Designer patterns, here's a small sample:


Sunday, 3 August 2014

Ode to Me-Made Jeans

I'm currently working on a pattern for shorts for some of the designs in my first women's wear collection of sewing pattern. I'm using the jeans block and started investigating the monobutt again (I want to be quite sure my pattern does not have that fitting issue, even if some people think jeans are supposed to have it). I came across this poem I wrote as part a response to this post ages ago. I thought you might get a smile out of it so I've copied it to here.
No more jeans that bind and twist,
Or other problems on the list.
I’ll make my own just as a like,
And Calvin Klein can take a hike.

Saggy legs will disappear,
Muffin-tops belong not here.
A contoured waistband I prefer,
I’ll draft my own, not be deterred.

My jeans will not drag on the floor,
My hems will rag and fray no more.
The pocket lining will be sweet,
As will the stitching on pockets-seat.

The monobutt has no place here,
I’ll have some jeans to suit my rear.
No skinny jeans that look like tights,
I’ll make my own and fit them right.

When I sit down, I’ll show no more,
Than could be seen when I stood before.
No sweat-shop labour in my clothes,
At ready-to-wear I’ll turn up my nose.

Custom-made, by me no less,
My me-made jeans will be my best.


Saturday, 2 August 2014

Accidental Scaling in Adobe Illustrator, and How to Fix it.

Today I toiled my dress block, the one I drafted on illustrator. According to the program, the measurements are correct. What made me check is that the dress came out too big.

What happens when you print "borderless" in Illustrator
What happens when you print "borderless" in Illustrator
What happens when you print "borderless" in Illustrator
What happens when you print "borderless" in Illustrator

In case you came to this post by google and don't know about sewing, this dress is supposed to be close-fitting, not a semi-fitting sheath dress. It also ended up too long in the bodice so the bust darts are about 3cm too low! The armscyes are also too low so raising my arms lifts the whole dress.
What caused all this you may ask. Well, I printed "borderless". On the little print preview, I couldn't see a difference. Just to check, I printed out two test squares. Each measured 10cm x 10cm on Illustrator. These are the results:
What happens when you print "with border" in Illustrator
What happens when you print "with border" in Illustrator
What happens when you print "borderless" in Illustrator
What happens when you print "borderless" in Illustrator
As you can see, it adds 2.5mm onto 10cm. That's an automatic scale of 102.5%! Over the length of a dress this can make a big difference, going up by about half a dress size. When you're sewing close-fitting clothes, this is a paramount difference. I've learned my difference: do NOT print "borderless" in Adobe Illustrator.
I thought I'd better post about this for the benefit of everyone who has this trouble, not just sewers and pattern makers. I hope it has helped you as much as it will me. :)

Friday, 1 August 2014

Secret Garden Tea Dress: Elodie

The lovely Elodie at Coccol e Sole has posted her review of The Secret Garden Tea Dress on her blog. It made my day, I can tell you! Just look at the lovely dress she made:


Quick! Go over to her blog now to see more pictures and read all about it! :)

The Secret Garden Tea Dress Now Available!

I'm so excited! I've put my new pattern up at Etsy and Craftsy for £7.50 (seems to be the standard price for indie sewing patterns, so I thought I'd test that amount). This is part of my hand-in, so I'm a bit late. (I would have been quicker if the printer at college had been more co-operative!)

This is what the dress looks like (just finished sewing it on Wednesday):

Design board for The Secret Garden Tea Dress
Design board for The Secret Garden Tea Dress
This dress is inspired by Frances Hodgson Burnett's story "The Secret Garden" and the happy, innocent childhood enjoyed by the characters. As the story is about change, this dress quickly changes from a day-dress to a party-dress when you arrive at the Secret Garden Tea Party, by the addition of a layered organza skirt.
The pattern instructions show you how to improve sewing patterns and draft a button-fly placket while the sewing instructions show you how to line a sleeveless garment completely by machine for a professional finish. The pattern does not include seam allowances. This allows you to better practice the pattern cutting techniques taught in the instructions and get a better result in your dressmaking with other patterns you use.
This design was created as part of my university project as I study to get my degree in Fashion Design, and build my indie pattern company. I hope you enjoy it!

Size range: 
3 years: chest 55cm  (21.6")        height 98cm    (38.6")
4 years: chest 57cm  (22.5")        height 104cm  (41")
5 years: chest 59cm  (23.25")      height 110cm   (43.5")
6 years: chest 61cm  (24")           height 116cm   (45.75")
(Conversions to imperial are approximate guides only.)
This pattern requires:
1m of the main fabric (in this case blue percale cotton) 
0.5m of the contrast fabric/lining (in this case white percale cotton).
1-1.25m of organza
a packet of 9mm wide elastic
2-3 spools of thread
a packet of fusible interfacing.
5-6 buttons, depending on size and choice.
Good fabric choices for this dress are soft cottons that will be comfortable to wear in the Summer, e.g. percale.