Thursday, July 29, 2010

Tailored shirt

(super goofy photo courtesy of Corey) (Ugh!)

I finished my first successful set-in sleeve shirt last night, other than the one I made in the intermediate sewing class at the Austin School of Fashion Design. If you are in Austin, I highly recommend ASFD. I learned SO MUCH in that class. Little tips and tricks that I would have never picked up on my own--how to properly mark, sew and press darts, the right way to sew on a button (with a shank) and how to set in sleeves without puckers. And that edges should be serged after the seams have been sewn. I have been serging the edges off all pattern pieces before I sew a single stitch. Apparently this is a big no-no and stretches out the fabric. It also makes the notches hard to see. Most importantly, I think I learned the importance of CAREFULLY tracing and marking each pattern piece, dart, notch, etc. My haphazard ways were causing me a lot of the issues I was having. Taking the class really helped get me past my plateau.

I have enjoyed classes at Stitch Lab too, but the classes I took there were more towards the casual home sewer. The ASFD taught how to sew the professional, perfectionist way...for models. I say that because the pattern sizes they had available for the tailored shirt were RTW 0, 2, 4, and 6--you know, model sizes. I don't think I've been a 6 since I hit puberty. ;) I can't wear the shirt I made, so I immediately began making a tailored shirt I could wear.

I made a muslin for the first time. I bought the Japanese cotton fabric at Common Thread and it wasn't cheap. I didn't want to end up with something I was embarrassed to wear like I did with my Sencha shirt. The muslin fit pretty well. I had made a 2" full arm adjustment to the pattern before I made the muslin. I ended up taking 1/2" back out when I sewed the fashion fabric.

Here are photos of the back and side:

The pattern review is here.

Sunday, July 11, 2010

Finished Elf Costume

Here are Joyce and friends in costume.

Below is the pattern review with photos. I am pretty proud of this one.

Pattern Description:
Misses Fairy/Butterfly/Elf Costume.

This is the dress part of the elf costume I'm made for my sister who will be attending the Labyrinth of Jareth Masquerade Ball. She asked for a woodland/Lord-of-the-Rings-type elf costume. These are the two pictures she sent as examples.

Elf 1

Elf 2

I've decided to make a combination of the two.

Pattern Sizing:
I made the 14

Did it look like the photo/drawing on the pattern envelope once you were done sewing with it?
No, because I made a lot of changes. See below.

Were the instructions easy to follow?
Not difficult.

What did you particularly like or dislike about the pattern?
The pattern calls for a dress (they call it a slip), an overdress, a skirt and an overskirt--all out of sheer fabrics, with the edges left raw. Four separate pieces/layers for what it essentially one dress. I got a little overzealous and bought some green silk crinkle chiffon for the overdress, which I made first. I have never sewn with that type of fabric before. It was like trying to sew air. Even though I made french seams for all the seams, it unraveled like crazy. Holes appeared wherever I tried to push elastic through a channel. When it was done it was just a hot mess. Soooooo, I decided rather than have a short sheer slip dress with a long sheer overdress, I would line the slip dress, make it long and do away with the overdress, skirt and overskirt all together.

The slip dress is body skimming and cut on the bias. It has a nice shape.

I didn't like was that the bodice of the slip dress was really low cut. I mean REALLY low. This dress is for my sis why does not like to show off her cleavage, so this was a problem. The costume does call to add some flower embellishment across the bodice. I choose to add white rose garland from JoAnn's and stitched the rest of the garland at either hip so it will trail and sway when she walks.

Here are photos of the bodice without and then with the garland.

I did like the puffy off-the-shoulder sleeves.

Fabric Used:
I used a white jacquard leaf print on sheer georgette from FFC lined with nude ambiance lining.

Pattern alterations or any design changes you made:
After the chiffon unravelling debaucle, I finished all the edges of the slip dress.

I added 15 inches to the length. There were no instructions for lining other than the bodice, and because I had so much trouble with the crinkle chiffon, I serged the lining directly to the georgette and treated it like a single layer of fabric. It was pretty easy to work with this way although I'm sure someone will tell me that there is a better way to do it. ;)

I added some fake ivy from JoAnn's to the corset vest so it would look like the elf in the first photo my sis sent.

Would you sew it again? Would you recommend it to others?
I recommend the corset vest for anyone needing a quick Ren. Faire costume. Review is here: Simplicity 2857

The idea of sewing two dresses and two skirts for one costume seams a bit much, which is probably why I'm the first to review this. If I were to sew it again, I would have to try to redraft the bodice so that it gave a lot more coverage.

I really like the way it turned out on the mannekin, which just happens to be the same size as my sister. I just hope it gives her enough coverage. But all in all, not too bad. I hope she likes it. Here are photos of the complete costume.