Saturday, 17 December 2016

The Sheath Dress, by The Avid Seamstress

Greetings Stitchers. Today, I want to share with you a very wearable toile.

This, as the title says, is the sheath dress by The Avid Seamstress. It looks similar in style to Tilly and the Buttons's Bettine dress.  At first I wasn't desperately drawn to it, until I saw it on Josie aka The Fabric Godmother, and then I thought... I NEED that dress!

The sheath dress

The pattern envelope says it needs 2.5 metres of fabric; this was a stumbling block, as I didn't have anything appropriate in that length. Luckily, wise counsel from sewists advised: "trace it out, and I bet it doesn't need that much".  And indeed they were right! I got this out of 1.5 metres, though I did shorten the pattern piece, as I am tiny (5ft, FYI) in height. The sleeves are one piece with the bodice, kimono style; it creates a bat-wing effect and drape under the arm.

Excuse odd facial expressions, but this pic shows the almost bat-wing sleeve shape.

I wanted to make a toile to check out the fit/shape/feel of this dress. Clearly I have chosen not to include the waist elastic, but I may do in the future: I love the silhouette anyway. The toile feels comfy and looks stylish.  I feel this dress is crying out for a big broach or colourful necklace to make it sing (so I am hoping for the perfect big necklace for Christmas!).

The pattern includes in-seam pockets, but I chose to remove them from this version as they were distorting the side seams. Perhaps I did them wrong?  I will try again on my next version as they would be good to have. I also ballsed up the hem.  I always stabilise the hem before sewing with knit tape and always have great results. With this make, I couldn't find the tape, but carried on regardless. Wavy hems ahoy - lesson learnt.
Think I need a sway back adjustment here to get rid of pooling fabric.
I left out the back zip, as the dress is roomy and the neckline big enough that it's not needed. I love the feel of this dress, classy but also cosy.  To amp up the comfort factor, I plan to make my next version in fleece-backed sweatshirting for a real winter dress. I also have a great Ikat woven fabric that I think will look good with the cinched-in middle. A lovely pattern, and I look forward to making more!

Wednesday, 7 December 2016

A tale of three toiles, one of them wearable!

Hello Sewing buddies.  A little while ago I decided to try making some trousers. I have made elastic waist trousers in the past, and wear them happily; but, I wanted to try a pair of proper fitted high-waisted trews. Out came the old paint splattered bed-sheets - it was toile time!

Looks okay standing very still, but lots of extra fabric at the front.

This pattern is Simplicity K1699 and it's very straightforward: no pockets, no fly zip - so I could just focus on getting it to fit me!  Toile number one was baggy in the front crotch, as if my front rise was drastically shorter than the pattern.

After sewing this toile, I have noticed bagginess on many old RTW trousers that I'd never noticed before! This actually made me feel better; although I should try and get them to fit the best I can, I shouldn't get too hung up on being a perfectionist with fit, as most flaws we don't even notice day to day. That realisation gave me the confidence just to have a go with fitting.

The seam on the front is where I have taken out a triangular wedge of excess fabric.

For toile number two, I have pinched out the front excess on the crotch, and it fits me much better. I also added back to the top what height I'd pinched from the crotch curve, so that the front and back of the trousers were still level. At the back, I took a small slice out under the bum to get rid of the bagging.

I am really pleased with both of these adjustments, and was keen to next try out on fabric I could wear out of the house. I believe the test of a garment's fit is only complete once you've worn it all day.

Drag lines at the back- too much fabric.

Wearable toile number three is from some cheap jumbo cord. The material, although a nice colour, has a high acrylic content; it was, though, very cheap and has a similar weight to my fashion fabric. For this version, I kept the previous adjustments and tried to tackle the bagging at of the back just under the bum. For this, I created a new seam line on the back pattern pieces, losing a good inch on both sides but keeping the front pieces as they were.

I have taken them out for a spin. Conclusions: They are comfy. They hit my waist, which is how I like to wear my trousers. I could pinch a little more out of the front crotch, they are still a little baggy - although I only really see that in the photos and don't scrutinise my clothes that deeply in real life.

You can see in this photo that there is still too much fabric at the front crotch.

Whats next?  I am not sure. I have bought the most gorgeous wool/viscose blend in dark grey suiting from Ditto Fabrics to make my final version, but I feel I should get the fit better before cracking open the lovely fabric. I may have one more toile in me; perhaps I will play with adding the bib of a dungaree pattern on my next go, just to keep the project fun and appealing. Time will tell!

Even with a less than perfect fit, they are still perfectly wearable! Ha-Yah - take that fit issues!

What do you do when you have nice fabric you are aching to use?