Saturday, April 27, 2013

Who's Afraid of the Big, Bold Print?: Another Colette Laurel

Who's afraid of a big, bold print?  I am.  I wanted to sew up a Laurel without sleeves for summer.  I chose a new Amy Butler print in sateen and paired it with a quilting cotton polka dot for the binding and pockets.  As usual, I was very excited when the package arrived in the mail.  Then I opened it up and realized the print was very big, which meant I would have to do pattern matching. A new experience for me!  I wish I would have chosen to place the front on the fold so that the big circles were running down the center instead of two on the sides.  I don't dislike it so much that I won't wear it, though. 

My main concern was getting the pattern on the front piece to match up with the pattern on the back pieces.  I forgot to take into account the bust darts, so the line up was thrown off.  I was so focused on getting the front and back prints to match up that it didn't occur to me to be concerned with where I was placing the back pieces.  I would move them to a different location on the fabric if I had it to do over again because the print is off center.  Also, the invisible zipper used up 5/8 inch on each side of the fabric, so the print doesn't meet up in the center.  I don't know how to fix that so I'll have to read up on it.  Invisible zipper:

This was my first foray into pattern matching.  Now I know what to look out for in the future. 

I knew that I wanted to use the polka dot fabric for the pocket flap.  When I put the main fabric pockets on the front of the dress, I realized you weren't even going to know they were there because the print is so busy.  Then it was going to look like I sewed two flaps on my dress for no reason.  I cut out two polka dot pockets but didn't like the way it looked, so I decided to sew polka dot bias tape around the pocket edge as well.  I should have lined up the polka dots on the bias tape in a straight line.  I didn't notice they were off until I had already sewn the pockets onto the dress, and I was running out of polka dot fabric for the armhole and neckline binding.  However, I love my little pockets.  And again, I'll know better next time.

I also love the way the polka dots look against the bold main fabric. I love a polka dot. I tried sewing the binding on completely by machine but decided I didn't like it as much as slipstitching the back.  I ripped it off and did it the way I like it.  It takes longer but I like it better. 

Techniques I practiced:
1. Pattern matching (ouch)
2. Patch pockets
3. Binding tape.  I have struggled in the past sewing binding tape together but, as usual, the instructions on the Laurel E-Book helped me out.
4. Invisible zippers
5. Blind hemming.  Takes me forever!
6. Slipstiching

What to work on in the future:
1. Pattern matching!
2. General attention to detail (like making sure the polka dots were lined up).

Overall I'm happy!

Saturday, April 20, 2013

"There's A First Time For Everything Dress": Colette Laurel in Teal Corduroy

This dress marks a "first" for several things:

1. My first blog post!
2. The first time I made something to enter into a competition.
3. The first time I used my new serger on a garment (which was a disaster but I'm still counting it)
4. The first time I inserted a sleeve in under an hour with no tucks or crying.

For starters, taking pictures of a garment for a blog post is way harder than I anticipated it would be. I didn't know where to go to take one, I don't have a tripod, and I don't know much about taking pictures (or even using my camera).  I decided to go to the large field at the end of our street using my husband as the camera man. The pictures were taken while our twins were crying in their stroller saying, "OUT!" and I was telling my husband, "Could you PLEASE get a closer shot?!"  Someone we know drove by and chatted for a few minutes.  Somehow the subject of us standing in a field taking pictures while our kids were crying never came up.

I've been learning to sew clothing since late 2011.  I've always wanted to participate in a sew-a-long but never got around to doing it.  When Colette Patterns released Laurel and announced the contest, I decided I was going to enter no matter what I ended up with.  For practice I used teal corduroy that I had sitting on my shelf.  The back of the envelope doesn't suggest corduroy but I think it turned out OK. I will wear it in the fall, or next week if our weather doesn't warm up!

I am still working very hard at picking the right size to sew. I usually fail with the first muslin. I've made the Colette Sorbetto before so I knew I wanted a size 2 in the bust. My initial muslin was sewn with a size 2 in the bust graded to a size 6 under the bust. I tried it on and wondered what I was thinking because it was way too big.  The dress I ended up with is a size 2 that I graded down to a 0 a few inches under the bust.  I do NOT buy size 0 clothing at stores, but when I had all the seams sewn and tried it on it looked too baggy in the hips. I think that might be because corduroy doesn't drape very well. Starting under the bust dart, I sewed 1/2 inch inside the original seam all the way down.  I don't know if that's how you're supposed to do it but it worked out OK!  I added a few inches to the length of my pattern piece but it was still very short.  I ended up doing a simple hem instead of a 2 inch blind hem because I didn't feel I could spare the extra 2 inches at the bottom.  What can I say?  I don't like short skirts. 

I used Colette Patterns video on inserting an invisible zipper and I think the zipper turned out well.  I love that video!  "Flip once, flip twice' really made things easier for me.  It looks like the tops of the collar don't line up in this picture but in real life they do. Too bad because I'm not taking another picture!

I didn't take pictures of the sleeves.  I feel slightly self conscious about them even though the whole process went well for me.  Apparently I don't know how to work a steam iron so it looks like there are tucks in them but there aren't!  I completed a Colette Anise jacket and almost ended up with a vest because the sleeves were SO challenging for me.  This time I followed the advice in Fit For Real People and sewed the bottom of the sleeve separately prior to gathering the top of it.  I also used 3 rows of basting stiches instead of the two I normally do (even though I know you're supposed to use 3). 

As for the serger:  I want to love it but right now I just can't.  Threading it is like rocket science.  I'm not posting pictures of what the serged seams look like.  I just don't have healthy enough self esteem. Let's just say they don't look like any serged seams I've ever seen!  Back to the shop for a second class for me!