Sunday, 23 November 2014

Silky floral shirt

I went over to Kiren's and imposed upon her to finally take some pictures of this shirt that I made a couple of weeks ago.

Now that it gets dark so early, it's even harder to take photos! Also, Kiren baked us cookies. Cookies are my greatest weakness.

I used the same self-drafted blouse pattern that I used to make this shirt and the bodice of this dress. I did lengthen it a bit, and made the curved hem a bit more dramatic. I think it's a really flattering look! A big reason for me choosing this pattern is that I wanted something with a simple shape that would be a good vehicle for the large, fairly busy floral print. This shirt fit the bill.

Though I have to admit, I'm not 100% convinced that I did the best job with print placement. I think I might have been a bit too careful about making sure that I didn't end up with a big gaudy peony on my boob. I guess it's better safe than sorry, though.

I used my new felled seam foot for all the seams (all four of them!). I tried using my new rolled hem foot but a combination of the fabric being shifty and me not having had a lot of practice with it made the machine rolled hem look terrible. I ended up hand rolling it, which I actually really enjoyed. There are facings for the neckline and armholes and the edges of the facings are finished with a silk Hong Kong binding. All in all, the finishing of this shirt is really nice. I'm very happy with it!

As I said, I finished this shirt a couple of weeks ago and I've already gotten so much use out of it! I like it because it's kind of casual (I mostly just throw it on with a pair of jeans) but still very pretty and luxurious. I used the same silk as my skirt.

I can actually wear these two together and they look like a dress (like one of my inspiration photos) but that would only be right in very particular (read: fancy) circumstances.

Speaking of particular circumstances, I got to wear my floral silk skirt out to dinner last week! It was our 8th anniversary (!) so we went out to a great restaurant. I felt very lovely wearing it.

God, did I use enough hyperlinks in this post?

Sunday, 26 October 2014

Extremely glamorous and luxurious floral pencil skirt

It seems like a lot of the clothes that I've made this year are a little more glamorous than I really need. I just...really love beautiful things! Is there a name for that?

Oh, I just looked it up and there is a word for that.

It's aesthete.

You're welcome.

With that being said...

Saturday, 18 October 2014

Lap seam foot tutorial

Hello! Do you love specialized presser feet? I do. It's certainly a perk of having a Bernina. I ordered a couple of feet right away when I bought my machine, and they arrived this week! 

One of my very favorite feet is the lap seam foot (AKA the flat felled seam foot) so I've put together a little tutorial on how to make seams with these feet

The Bernina Lap Seam foot #70 (top) and the Pfaff 41242 Fell Seam foot (bottom)
 The two sides of a flat-felled seam

Flat felled seams are great because:
  • they're sturdy - the stress on the seam is distributed between two rows of stitching
  • they're clean - all the raw edges are enclosed
  • they're thrifty - the seam allowances you need are tiny
The downsides
  • its difficult to make alterations, plus the small seam allowances mean you can't let out no matter what
  • they can be tricky to make on curved seams

1. Prepare you pattern. This means adjusting the seam allowances. The two sides of the seam that you want to join together with the flat felled seam require different allowances. See that little channel in the bottom of the foot? The width of the channel equals the width of the seam (in this case, 4 mm). The seam allowance must be equal to this width on one side and double this width on the other. For example, one pattern piece would have a 4 mm seam allowance and it would be joined to another pattern piece with an 8 mm seam allowance.

2. Align your seam. Because the two pieces that you're sewing together have different seam allowances from each other, the edges of the fabric will be offset by the width of the difference, in this case, 4 mm. If you start with the right sides together, the double line of stitching will be on the inside. If you start with wrong sides together, the double line of stitching will be on the outside.

3. Sew the first line of stitches. Place the fabric under the foot with the lower layer folded over the upper layer. Use a stiletto or a pin to get everything lined up just right as you lower the presser foot.

Once you start sewing, the foot will continue to guide the fabric so that the lower piece of fabric encloses the edge of the upper piece. Sew that first line of stitches! Then press the seam open.

4. Sew the second line of stitches. With the two pattern pieces spread apart and the enclosed edge raised, guide the raised seam into the foot so that it folds over the remaining raw edge. Stitch and press!

Monday, 22 September 2014

...we must move foreward, not backward; upward, not forward; and always twirling, twirling towards freedom

Uh, yeah, sometimes I feel like I'm not really making progress, or I'm not sure exactly what to do next to fix a fitting issue and my head just starts going around in circles!

In this case, I'm talking about by self drafted white button up. I think I might need to adopt a numbering system like computer programs to keep track of the different versions. Let's call this shirt v 4.2

Ugh, I am such a pear!

Thanks to Imogheena at Tropicalthreads,  I added some length in the front so that it doesn't flare out from my bust and make me look pregnant. Thanks Imogheena! The alteration I did looks like this.

 You can see that I slashed right through the bust dart and added 5/8", then re-drafted the bust dart to suppress the extra length so that the side seam is the same length as it was before the alteration.

Now that I've worn the shirt a few times, though, I find that I get strange wrinkles forming diagonally from about my armpit to about my belly button. Anyone have any idea what this might indicate? It sure looks like there's a problem, but I'm not sure that it is.

See the drag lines forming chevrons pointing down the button placket?

Beyond that, there are a number of other changes I will make next time I make up this pattern. I need to:
  • lengthen the arms by 3/4"
  • shape back - maybe a swayback adjustment? I feel like maybe I have too much length in the back and it's imbalanced with the side seams, so it's pouching out above my waist.
  • extend shoulder slightly
  • lower the point of the bust dart
Is it just my imagination? Is there too much length in the back above the waist? Maybe it's just because I have my hands in my pockets here? I'm so confused!

Oh man, I'm feeling pretty discouraged!

Friday, 19 September 2014

Tuesday, 16 September 2014

It's really hard to come up with a title for a post about a white button up shirt

At least the visuals will be interesting, since I took pics while I was in Istanbul! I finished the shirt just before we left so this was my first chance to wear it.

Here I am in front of our hotel. The fit isn't perfect but I like that it's a very relaxed fit, which was what I was going for. This evolved from this muslin that I drafted.

Here I am (not looking my best - that fisheye is unflattering!) but I had to post this pic because this restaurant was wonderful! It's called Tavanarasi, which means 'in the attic' in Turkish. Located at Beyoğlu Asmalı Mescit Sk No:10, with no sign, you enter a tiny lobby with just an elevator, which you take to the top floor. The vibe of the place was amazing and there were lots of vegetarian options! We watched the sun set over the rooftops.

Uh oh! Our hotel had a crazy dessert bar every night (We only indulged once. Turkey is the land of 1000 desserts!). Here I am with half of the available desserts. Whew! Good thing I'm wearing a nice roomy shirt!

Friday, 12 September 2014

A Canadian Seamstress in Istanbul

I was in Istanbul last week!

Have you been? This was my first time.

The view from Topkapi Palace

What an amazing city!

We only had a few weeks to plan. I tried Googling to find fabric stores, but aside from the fabric section of the grand bazaar, I really wasn't sure where to go.

Me, distracted at the bazaar

Most of the fabric stores in the Grand Bazaar only seemed to carry very cheap or upholstery fabrics. I was starting to despair! And then, on my last day there, I found it.

Bagzibagli Nisantasi

(OK, I have to admit, I was too excited to take a picture while I was there, I had to find a pic on the internet.)

There were a bunch of other fabric stores in the neighbouring streets but I'm pretty sure this is the best store in the city. They had so many gorgeous fabrics, prices were flexible, the store was pristine and the staff were so helpful!

If you're ever in Istanbul, I would highly recommend visiting this store. They're just a block from Osmanbey Metro Station.

Seriously, if only we had even one store like this in Toronto!

Want to see what I bought?

 A gorgeous Valentino linen!

The linen will become a dress inspired by this Carolyn Schnurer dress that I've had on my mind for years.

This delicious silk!

The silk will be a pencil skirt like this.

But I might also make a matching blouse for this kind of look.

Oh la la!

Now all I need is a working sewing machine!