Summer 6PAC – Item 2 (and last)

Oh I have had a an odd week. I was still fully intending to get stuck in and finish at least three more garments for the 6PAC (which would have made it a 4PAC I suppose…) but I have been forced to concede that the jacket I made as item 2 will definitely have to be the last – not chance of any more sewing for me by the end of the month.

I got back from a fantastic break, scuba diving in Penzance, with what I thought was a sensible workload to come back to. Unfortunately things didn’t go as planned. A client  advised me of the death of a lovely lady, for whom I was making a special occasion dress, which came as a complete shock. I worked to finish this dress at her husbands request this week, which was a very sad job to do.

Other clients have also taken the opportunity to decide that as the weather looks as though it may be getting better they need me NOW! Nothing like forward planning! All this means that there will be no sewing for me for a little while.

6PAC 2 - JacketAnyway….. I mentioned a jacket. I clattered this one together after being given a very similar jacket from a client for alteration (there are some perks!) This is self drafted, and made from some black cotton twill from stash. The buttons are the only thing I needed to buy, and so this felt like a very virtuous project.

I used my basic bodice block (sloper) from the Winifred Aldrich book again, but just added a little  extra ease at the side seams. The last time I used this i decided that the shoulders needed to be reduced by 1/2″ before next use, so I made the adjustment to the pattern. Unfortunately I had already made the adjustment to the block (Note to self: Please mark any adjustments to blocks on the margins in future). The jacket is now a bit too narrow in the shoulder and as it was ‘clattered together’ I didn’t try this on until it was finished so I didn’t find out in time to do anything about it. It is still wearable but I will adjust the pattern before I put it away. And mark the adjustment.

The original jacket had bound seams which looked wonderful, but as I said I had ‘clattered’ this together you may guess that I just 6PAC 2 - Jacketoverlocked them. The topstitching which was such a lovely feature of the original jacket was an opportunity to use a technique shown on Shams blog which used the machine stretch stitch to give a heavier looking seam using  ordinary thread. Whilst I wouldn’t have had any difficulty obtaining a suitable thread to topstitch this in black, it is often difficult getting a good match in other colours. Apart from having to concentrate, and count stitches as they were machined towards corners, to ensure you ‘turned the corner’ at the right moment this was a very easy, and useful, process to have learned. Thanks Shams!

The original also had actual pockets rather than just the flaps that I put into the yoke seam. As I am inclined to fill pockets with anything to hand – and I really don’t need any extra padding at that point – I decided mock was best.

Despite not being a perfect fit this jacket has already been worn several times and I expect it to become quite a useful jacket to just ‘chuck on’ for general wear. Even without the trousers that were planned to go with it. And t-shirt…..

When things calm down a bit I will be back but meanwhile there is a wedding dress (manufactured – not made to order) which needs an urgent and major alteration. Back when I get my workload under control.


Summer 6PAC – Item 1

I have had the first item in my Summer 6PAC finished for a few days now – I actually managed to finish my dress from Vogue pattern 1287  on Sunday during the European Cup final (Football/soccer for anyone lucky enough to not know what I am talking about!) but have only just managed to pin the management down to take photographs.

Vogue 1287

Front view

As I said in my last post there were a gazillion markings to be transfered onto the fabric before sewing.

Vogue 1287

Back view

Don’t be tempted to skip this part – they really are essential. Even with all the marks tailor tacked I had to refer to the pattern pieces a couple of times. I think when I make this again (because I really LOVE this one!) I will use different coloured threads to keep me organised. I feel much happier in this more fitted skirt than I am in the other DKNY (Vogue 1027) pattern I made. I like that dress but don’t feel as comfortable wearing it as this one, or the Vena Cava (Vogue 1258) ‘Yowsa’ dress I made late last year. Any ideas why ladies?

This dress was fairly easy to sew, even given the amount of tacks and tucks, and although I made a straight size 16 it fits fine. I would say that it could be considered to come up large so if you are considering it I would probably advise using a smaller size than you would usually use  but do check the ease allowance you want. I have fairly sizable ‘assetts’  but no hips to speak of and I love the fit. This dress disguises all the ‘baggy bits’ around my tum but doesn’t look like a tent. I took a lead from Alison C who had already made this dress and put elastic all round the waist rather than just into the back section. I stitched the sides of the front section to keep that area flat, but having the elastic inside the casing just keeps the front stiffer and looking neat.

The pattern suggests using stretch silk or similar for the dress but I really like it made in this viscose jersey print from stock. I have been looking for an excuse to sew this snake print and I am very happy with this dress. I didn’t make the slip which is included in the pattern – I have other slips I could wear if required but I think this looks just fine without.

I am going away diving next week and packing space is always a bit short on those trips but this is going into the bag (rolled up to save space) as my one ‘smart’  garment.

Still using the 30 minute slots at the end of my working day I have started the first ‘column’ for the 6PAC in black. I know, not a very summery colour but one I wear a lot  and it will also see me into autumn. Despite having made the ‘dress in a linking print’ I confess that I haven’t decided what my second main fabric is going to be!

P.S. Pictures are indoors again as it is raining here. Again (or still depending on how you look at it). Perhaps when Wimbledon is over we will get some sunshine!

Summer 6PAC started

I am still busy with client sewing but have managed my 30 minute slot at the end of most days this week. I wanted to make a start on the Summer 6PAC (which you will remember I have been over planning for weeks) and rather than one of the useful basics I have jumped straight in with what should be ‘the linking print dress’.

I bought Vogue 1287 in my last batch pattern  purchase. I still prefer to make my own patterns – it is often easier than making all the alterations necessary to fit my figure. However, with the memory of the successful Vena Cava design I decided to go right in with this Donna Karan dress.

6PAC dress

Gazillions of tailor tacks

I really wanted to use my viscose snakeskin jersey for this. I have a mental image that says this should be a winner. And if we ever get any warm weather I know from my experience in Portugal that this fabric is wonderfully comfortable and cool to wear.The pattern  seemed like it would accommodate my ‘assets’ without too much messing around so I used one after work slot to prepare the pattern, one to cut out the fabric, and the next to make all the pattern markings. That session took a bit more than 30 minutes. Does anyone else hate this process?

I have to say that having started the sewing process today those marks are really necessary! I have the bodice and skirt finished now and just need to link the two together with the waist band. I hope to get this done over the weekend so I can get on with other work on Monday. Bus mans holiday anyone?

I promised to get a picture of the Management wearing his shirt – and we had an evening out to the theater last saturday when he wore it. I hope you like the grave stones as background!

The management likes the shirt!

30 minutes for me…

…again at the end of every work day. Official. Or I will never get the opportunity to make all the wonderful things on my wish list ( which seems to be getting longer almost daily). This worked well for me last time I tried it so I just have to regard this as being as important as for a client – something that I find difficult.

Anyway, today’s 30 minutes were spent gathering fabric and notions needed to make a jacket and trousers which are to be the first garments actually made for the Summer 2012 6PAC from Stitchers Guild. I have spent so long planning this (while doing other work) that the plan has changed multiple times and would continue to do so until I JUST DO IT as someone once said. I have already posted my button order so should have everything I need within the next week. I will give more detail once I have something to show you.

Tomorrow I am going to cut the jacket out. I already have the pattern cut ( I did that before my holiday) so I just need to check my patterns for a suitable trouser pattern and I am ready to start sewing.

Me Made May and beyond

I’m late again. Sorry but I have been silly busy with sewing and also had a week away on holiday (vacation for you US readers). I can usually expect an upswing in business when the weather changes significantly for any length of time – but it only changed a couple of days before I was due to go on holiday and I was already pretty swamped so I just kept my head down. I’m not going to complain – many people would be glad of my current work load.

Anyway, MMM went reasonably well, although I have noticed I repeated some clothes more than I expected (we all have favourites – don’t we?). I was good at making sure that I wore at least one self made item every day but I was not so good at getting photographs – perhaps if Zoe does it again I will be better? I made more effort to get to the back of the wardrobe, and bottom of drawers, for the garments that have been forgotten and found a couple of tops/blouses that hadn’t been worn in an age,anda skirt that I thought I had got rid of ages ago that was just perfect for the unusually warm weather we had just before my trip away. I think I can claim to have met this years challenge completely. Yay me.

T-Shirt Maxi Dress

T-Shirt Maxi Dress – self drafted

I was determined to have at least one new garment before I went to Portugal and managed to make a maxi-dress, which was self drafted but very similar to McCalls 6559. I made it  in one of the wonderful viscose jerseys that I have in stock for this summer – I had been looking for an excuse to use one of these! I used 537, the abstract flowers, eventually going with the blue  colour but it was hard to choose as I loved both colourways. I did almost all the sewing on my overlocker, using the 4 thread option to give the seam strength, and only using my sewing machine to anchor the neck bindings into place. Rather than sew a dart into the side seam I ‘curved’  the dart area of the seam on the front and eased it onto the dress back – stretching it to fit the area that the dart would have been sewn into. It looks much nicer without a dart, and proved that even my 5cm dart would ease into the side fairly easily.

T-Shirt Maxi Dress

Neck/armhole detail

This was just the quick project I needed after a whole stack of work for clients. I wore it several times on holiday and it was very cool and comfortable. I think I need another of these …. time to cut a length of green for me now I think! I have cut a pattern based on a jacket brought to me by a client which I really liked and I think that it will become the starting point of the ASG Summer 6PAC. I have been planning the 6 linked garments but not actually doing any sewing yet. I think it’s time to get the fabrics out and make a start. Wish me luck!