Monday, April 29, 2013

Maggie Mae

Blogging and sewing is hard to go hand in hand. At least that's how I feel nowadays. I hardly have time to take photographs and upload and write post on my blog. But like any sewers out there, I'm glad I've a platform to share my finish products, especially when my girls happily wear them!

I've been thinking about buying the Maggie Mae pattern from Shwin& Shwin for some time now. But since I've one 8 year old and one 3 year old, the previous patterns for both sizes come in 2 kit. So, when I saw that they are offering size 6m to 10Y, I couldn't resist and bought them.  

I was not disappointed.  There is only 2 pattern pieces to cut. Front and back bodice and pockets. The skirts are just rectangles. The instruction is quite simple and I think I sew up one quite quickly.  For my 3 year old, I use her favorite Pink and Purple mix.  The pink fabric is from Sarah Jane's Out To Sea range "Find the Narwhal in Bloom" and purple is some cotton from Spotlight. I did the fabric cover buttons using the $2 kit from Daiso. So pretty right?


The 3T fits my 3 year old just fine, but the arm hole is a tad tight so next time, I'll probably trace a 4T.  She loves her new dress, especially it got pockets which I think is the right size for her. I put the pockets 2" below the waistline since it was not specified in the instruction.

For my 8 year old, I sewn her a tunic, without pockets. I also do away with the bottom band and measure her to get the length of the tunic since I find the original length pretty long. Now the tunic length is just right since it falls just nicely when she sits down and not fold under her bottom when she sits. The yellow fabric is Dress Up Bikes from Riley Blake and the brown is some suede fabric I got from Spotlight donkey years ago.

some more view of the fabric covered buttons.

I think this is a very simple but pretty outfit and I can see more to come since there is no need to set the sleeves. I will highly recommend it if you want something cute and simple. Till the next time...

Thursday, April 11, 2013

Purple Dress

I made another dress for myself. The pattern is from this Japanese sewing book that I got from Kinokuniya called "Dressmaking at home" by Machiko Kayaki.  The book is in Japanese but I think if you have sewn from Japanese pattern book before, this is not a very difficult book to understand. The book come in pattern for 3 sizes "9, 11 and 13".   For each pattern, they will give you the bust, waist and length of the finished garments in 3 sizes since these measurements will differ based on the design.

I have many favorites and one of it is the Folklore embroidered dress on page 10.  I love the silhouette of the dress but didn't have any fabric with embroidery so I made it up with Kona Purple Cotton. The lovely purple with swirl print is really pretty. The dress has very basic shapes and only few pattern pieces like the front and back bodice, front and back waist yoke and 2 rectangle pieces for the skirt. The sleeve is a continuation of the bodice so no sleeves to set, easy.

If you are familiar with Japanese pattern, you will know that they usually run BIG. So, I usually measure the paper pattern to get the 3 vitals on the bust, waist and hip.  For this dress, it is important to follow the bust and waist since it is a pleated skirt with fitted waist so I go for size 9 but use size 11 on the waist.

Although the dress is simple, it has some fine details that add charm to the dress. I like the little gathers below the bust area that define some shape. It helps the dress to look more feminine.  I also love the waist yoke that enhance your waist. The combination of the soft gathers at the bust area and the high waist yoke really gives the dress a nice shape. If you are long waist like me, the dress will be perfect. If not, good to try on the bodice before you sew on the skirt so you can adjust the waist yoke first.

The pattern called for double layer for the waist yoke but since I've lined the skirt, I only have the 2 pieces. The skirt is simple 2 rectangles with 3 pleats on each sides, front and back so not a big problem. But I did shorten the skirt a little to just touch my knee.

I had to complicate the matter to add lining on my own. That took me some time as I didn't know how to line a dress with a side zipper.  I think the side zipper is necessary since all fabric are cut on fold and putting it in the back seems to break up the flow, imho. Finally I resort to hand sewing the zipper on at the lining. Anyone can advise on other faster method? I also didn't have a purple zipper so make do with the black one that I got in the right size.

I just love the overall shape of the dress. If I'm to make this again, which I think I will, I'll try using a thicker material and do away with the lining.

Here am I wearing the dress. Pardon the crease as i had the dress on for the whole day. It was after the Good Friday service and we went for dim sum lunch and did some shopping before dropping at my mother in law place for dinner. You can see how fitting the dress was on me. : )

Monday, April 8, 2013

Green Floral Cambie

Oh...I love love love this dress! It's Sewaholic Cambie. I know, I'm a bit slow in catching up with the trend in the sewing world but better late than never right?

I'm not sure of the fabric that i made this with. Bought from Spotlight some time ago. It was quite soft to touch with some stretch in it. Love the green floral print and thought it would be nice as a dress.  I did View A as I was thinking maybe View B will look too 'informal' for office wear? I intend to wear it to office when I made it. But I will like to try View B in future and change the neckline to straight-across like the one in Sewaholic blog. 

What I love about the Cambie is I can adjust the strap last and this help me to do a better fitting and prevent any gaping problem in front. Also, I tried on the dress many times during the sewing to get the exact position of the strap so that my 'extra fats under my arm sync area' are properly covered with the positioning of the strap! Clever.

Another love factor is the pockets. Very neat and didn't add bulk. The depth of the pockets were just right for me too.

Here's the back view of the dress.  I did marking on the zipper and the waistband so that they will be aligned on both sides. It's important to do this step especially when you have a waistband because any mismatch will be very obvious. I learnt this the hard way when I was sewing the Macaron.

Tasia's instruction was really clear and she has some helpful tutorial in her blog that helped me a lot. Her tutorial on lining the Cambie is a life saver and really got me motivated to try this technique for other dresses with the same made-up.  See, so pretty even in the inside. This is the first time that I've sewn the inside of a garment that I've sewn.

The waistband was slightly off in the back but I'll live with this since it is very small difference and I think it matter more that the outside is matched up.

I've worn this dress to office and got many compliments. It has come to the stage that everyone in office will be asking me if I have sewn the clothes that I wear whenever they see me in new outfit. Sort of scary but at the same time, motivate me to continue sewing and improve myself.

I wore this to church during the Easter Sunday service. And I can say that I still love this dress. I'm thinking of making this into a peplum top too since the bodice is so fitting. What do you think?

Thursday, April 4, 2013

Colour block skirt with Buttons

When I saw this skirt from the Japanese book that I borrowed from the library, I had in mind to make this skirt.

The skirt is knee length with color blocking. There is also a stripe of white in between the solid black and red.  What draws me was the row of buttons at the sides. The skirt don't have zip and the buttons are actually functional.

My color scheme was quite similar to the photograph. I use black and tangerine orange.  I added a strip of turquoise green piping in between them to give it some structure since my fabric was quite light. The piping really add some color pop and hold up the shape of the skirt well without the lining.

The construction of the button closure throws me off at first as I can't quite understand the diagram. Basically you interface the button facings and sew them to the back and front side of the skirt button placket. Then, you align the facing and sew them down at the front of the skirt. Hard to describe but you will understand when you see the diagram on the book.

The skirt has no waistband and you need to sew the waistband facing onto the button facing as well. There is a clear diagram on how to attach the waistband facing to the button facing.  Read carefully and just follow instruction. You will be surprise that everything just worked out when you turn them to the wrong side. It's kinda hard to explain but you will understand when you are doing it.

Got the golden buttons from Textile centre for the cropped jacket but didn't use them as my friends said  brown buttons suit the jacket better.  I'm glad the buttons didn't go to waste since they were quite expensive. The original design has more buttons but since my buttons are quite big, I used only 3.  Sewing buttonholes using my automated janome buttonhole options is really easy. I got 3 pretty buttonholes in no time.

My final skirt! I love the golden buttons closure and the piping and contrasting band. The skirt falls nicely at my knee and is so fitting like it's made for me. No funny gapping at waist or bunching at the hip. I think I'll use this pattern block for my future skirts, minus the button closure.

Monday, April 1, 2013

Short Cropped Jacket

Remember this cropped jacket from the Cotton Friends book that I got from the library?

Here it is!

front view

back view

I cut mine S size and it is still big on me.  I took it to my office and everyone tried the jacket on. Seems like it is able to fit quite a lot of body with S to L size! If you have keen eyes, you would have notice that my jacket don't have any buttons. My colleague has graciously helped me to try on the jacket and give me lots of advice on the position for the buttons.

The instruction diagram is very clear and you should be able to follow through. I was taking my time since I decided to line the jacket. The fabric is from Michael Miller Tweedle Dee Tile. I have lined the jacket with a soft flannel from Amy Butler collection to give it some shape and also makes it warmer for me to wear in office.  I didn't know how to bag a jacket so I just cut the same front and back bodice as the lining. The neck facing and collar are cut from the main outer fabric since it is visible on the outside. I didn't line the sleeve since I'm not sure if the arm sync is wide enough for the thick flannel.  I'm also worried that it will make the sleeve stiff and hard to put on.

Because I've lined the jacket with the thick flannel, it is very warm but at the same time, the pleats at the back wouldn't stay down! In the end, I just tack the middle of the pleat down. I've also make the pleat for the flannel but sew in down a little further than the outer piece. I can't omit the pleats totally as I need to hem both outer and lining pieces and they have to be of same length. Or should I have modify the pattern for lining to omit the pleats but add the width to the lining hem? and learn.

And because I line the jacket, all my seams are conceal so I didn't have to treat the seams.  Yay! The instruction called for using hong kong seams for the side seams [ie. bind the seams with bias tapes].  So, the inside is quite neat even without lining.  The diagram describing the attaching of collar to front facing and jacket is quite clear. I baste the outer and lining pieces together at the neckline so I treat them as one piece when I attach the collar and hand sew the collar to the lining.

First time attaching the sleeves for jacket.  If you notice the sleeves for jacket, the seams are actually off centre and they don't match up with your bodice side seams.  First I determine the front and back sleeve and pin the sleeve head first, aligning them to the shoulder seams of the bodice. Then, I find the marking on the back arm sync and pin to the sleeve seam line at the back. Then, I pin the rest of the sleeve to the arm sync and sew carefully. The seams for the sleeves are then bind with bias tapes to keep it neat.

I had second mind to just omit the buttons or go with one button at the collar but my friends were against it saying the 4 buttons were better.  The buttons on the patterns were actually not functional. They are closed with snaps.  I was happy to find 4 nice brown buttons at textile centre and sew them on the jacket. I decided to make the 2 of the buttons functional since my automated buttonhole option on my machine is quite fuss free. The other 2 are just for decoration.

The jacket is really easy to put on and I would highly recommend it, especially if you don't intend to line it. Next up, I'll show you a skirt that I've sewn from the same book.