Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Pretty Pattern Shop

I have to make this post in support of some of the best customer service I have recieved in a long time.

Last night (Australian time) at about 5:30pm I bought 4 patterns from the pretty pattern shop on etsy. This morning at about 9:00am I logged in to find a note from the seller.

"Hello! Thanks so much for your order from my shop! Just wanted to let you know that your pretty vintage patterns shipped out this morning. I tucked in an extra pattern that I hope you will like as a thank you for your large order. I hope your patterns arrive quickly and that you love them!"

My "large" order was 4 patterns. This seller has shipped out mere hours after my order and given me a freebie... what more could I possibly ask for.

The prices (if you check the link) are more than reasonable in todays vintage pattern market, and whilst there is not a huge variety of stock it appears well described and photographed.

The pretty pattern shop comes highly recommended by me.

Now onto the patterns.

Thursday, September 16, 2010

I am now a Shearer

I just got back from my lunch break at Lincraft, I went alone, with no one to stop me, Bad idea for my bank account.

$82AUD later I have new shinies.

I got pinking shears - that really was what I went there for. I figure it may be an easier way to finish off my seam edges where I can't (or didn't) french. I also got bias tape to finish off a hem tonight - which will finish an entire dress off, 2 spools of thread - massive ones in black and in white, as I rarely bother to match thread to fabric unless absolutely necessary... some colours are just to dark for white to light for black but not many. I also got a new set of scissors as the ones I am using have gotten too blunt for some of my heavier fabrics and 4 cards of buttons. 2 for a shirt I am making and 2 for a dress which will be my next project.

So far at the halfway mark of stash busting my tally stands thus.

Onsie and Skirt - complete - used about 2m on the onsie and about 3m on the skirt
halter Dress - Complete - used about 4m
Pretty Dress - has some issues almost done used about 4m
Pretty Petticoat - needs internals hand finished - used about 3.5m
Blue Dress - needs hemming - used about 4m
1940's outfit - needs zip in skirt that does not fit me :( - used 5.5m
Mushroom Skirt - complete - used about 2m


The sad part is the stash is 28m lighter but does not look any smaller. Cloth mountain is trying to prove that it is unconquerable.

I know that is a long list of posts I need to get up, but really I shouldn't post about them until I have completed them, at least that is what I think. The completed ones have posts, except the mushroom skirt, as I am going to make a blouse to match (that's what some of those buttons are for)

Well Ange is coming over tonight and we will be working on completing these incomplete's as fast as possible.

Hopefully made faster with the help of pinking shears.

Thursday, September 9, 2010

The Boxy Dress

Hef has already told you about her version of the boxy dress here. Well this is my version, technically my post should have been first since I made mine first but, you can’t have everything.

This dress was from a Butterick reproduction pattern 4792. When I first started sewing I purchased it along with a whole bunch of other Butterick reproduction patterns when spotlight was having a half price sale. I liked it because it was retro 50’s, which was the era I was concentrating on, and also really liked the backwards halter of the top. In the drawing it looked like it may be a challenge, but it was also something different, something that made this dress unique to all the other reproduction dresses.

Admittedly this was when I had first started sewing and I didn’t realise the world of actual vintage patterns was waiting for me on etsy, or that there were other patterns out there which would suit me better, but more on that later.

I purchased some awesome orange floral cotton. The orange on it was very vibrant and so I thought it would make a great summer dress. Unfortunately the white of the cotton was not as opaque as I would have liked so I decided to line the dress in white cotton, so as to not have the orange showing through from the self lining the pattern asked for.

To do that I had to slice the bodice pieces which are designed to fold over and line themselves. Although it was a small change it added to the challenge of this dress for a very new sewer and I was amazed when I was able to do it and it all turned out right.

I had seen this dress made up before, and it looked boxy but I thought that was perhaps just how it had turned out that time. Unfortunately it was not just that girl, on my frame it did not hold any shape, and so it was dubbed the box dress. The only shape I could get out of it was if I pulled the belt quite tight, which makes it slightly less boxy but still not the beautiful nipped waist look of the drawing.

I like the skirt part on it. You can lift it all the way up and it looks like bat wings. It is soooo large! (you will see from the photos of me I like to hold my skirt up and show how large they are, hef likens it to a peacock). I think it’s supposed to have less, or at least is supposed to be gathered in specific spots, but I didn’t do that. I gathered all the way round and it seemed to be ok, like I said I was very new to sewing at this point.

I still like it, but the backwards halter top seems to make my shoulders look really prominent and it does not pull in enough for a waist. I mean I don’t have a waist anyway.

When we were doing the photos for this blog I accidently put it around the wrong way and wow it look sooo much better! The boobs were put into the back which was the only issue, that and well I was wearing a dress backwards. I’m tempted to make it that way for good, but to do that I’d have to do something with the boobs. Take a look at the pictures and let me know your thoughts/ideas. Would turning it backwards permanently make it work or do you have other suggestions on how to save this box dress.

The "Perfect" Dress - a cautionary tale

Let me start this post by telling you all that I can never make anything perfect, I just can't do it. Be it a wonky hem, a rushed dart, stitching escaping the ditch it does not matter what the issue is there will always be one. Mostly this comes down to the fact that I rush most things, even the things I make a conscious effort not to rush somehow end up finished in a week of nights at most with some issue, or slip up for me to focus on at later dates thinking if I just... but being to lazy to re-do.

Enter Buttericks retro reprint 6582. To start with I made this in the full skirt version, which I will post about later once I have pics of me actually in the dress, sufficed to say it has some issues but generally I was happy with the outcome of the size 10 full skirt version, the wonky hem I can ignore the arm holes made for barbie thin arms I can handle, it is one of my favourite works. But this is supposed to be about the wiggle version right there on the front in the black.

Just look at it, doesn't it scream sex kitten? Is it not the hottest little number you have ever seen? The sexy curves the modest yet alluring neckline, surely the perfect pattern. And look at the fabric I found. A beautiful cotton sateen, with an abstract rose pattern in fuchsia and gray and cream. Modern and Retro all in one and sexily perfect for my perfectly sexy pattern.

The problems started at get go. I didn't have enough material to cut it with the stretch and so I cut it against the stretch. No biggie. It fit Just.

Then I realised that I had cut a piece the wrong way - so I re-cut it out of my minimal scraps only to realise then that I was an idiot because it was already cut the right way. Then I located another piece that was cut the wrong way and I had nothing left to cut it from but hey it was a facing piece so again no biggy.

I really took my time on it - taking a week of nights to finish a pattern that has only limited pieces and I would normally run together in a couple of hours. I took extra care that my double ended darts started and finished symmetrically, I painstakingly lined up and re-lined up my zip, I read and re-read the kick pleat instructions until I got it all just perfect. And it is - you can see it here on Mavis, this dress is everything it promised, sexy but classy, slinky but elegant. Beautiful.

Want to know why it is on Mavis, well because the bastard is at least 2 sizes to small for me!!!!! So maybe I didn't measure myself first up, generally I would accept a slip up like this to be my own fault, I obviously made the wrong size. Except remember above where I said I had made the other version, the full skirted version, in the same size. Remember how I said it fits me fine. Well the very same pattern has a wiggle dress that is two sizes smaller than the skirted dress. They share only one piece, and due to changes I made on the full skirt I didn't even use that piece the first time (the small triangle-ish piece that makes the false cross-over effect, on the full skirt I made it a proper cross-over).

So I made changes to the full skirt - but those changes should have made it tighter not looser!!! How could Butterick, a normally reputable company make such an error, just to mess with the heads of impatient people like me who assume that they put to much ease into all there patterns? For the record I measure up to a 14 or 16 bust on most modern patterns but all that measurement is out front, my back is quite small. I usually make a 10 or 12 and that fits fine, but this one I made a 10 and should have made a 14 or 16, and it isn't even the bust that is the biggest problem. It is the hips, that sexy curve is not so curvy on the real thing, infact it is pretty straight. Even if I had of cut with the stretch there would still not be enough butter to grease me into this dress.

The lesson I learnt -, learn it, live it, love it. Had I but read some of the reviews available on this site, I would have known the inherent problems with Butterick 6582 and all of this angst could have been avoided.

To those with the discerning eye yes I have not hemmed the dress yet - despite it being finished for months. It is too perfect to forget so I have been hunting for the person who will fit this perfect dress, so that they may enjoy it's wonders. That does mean however that it will need to be hemmed to them and unfortunately not me.

Monday, September 6, 2010

The internet Dress

This dress is called the internet dress because I downloaded the pattern off the internet. Just because I am nice, here is the link.

It was the first dress I made all by myself. I had worked on stuff with Heather a lot but wanted to make something that was wearable without aid, so I worked on this one from start to finish alone. I chose the brown and pink polka dots because I wanted black and pink and they didn’t have any (has anyone else noticed how hard this combo is to find?). The dress was from a historical society and most importantly it was free.

The first attempt was good. It was sewn on a larger stitch than I would use now so it made it less hardy than the other ones I have. It was also made before I knew about my waist being high. In fact, it is the reason I know that my waist is higher than normal peoples. This version sits quite low for me but the subsequent version has the adjustment on it.

The dress has a bow on the back which I thought looked a bit blech, so I left it out. Also I was not really good enough to try and create it. I didn’t really know what I was doing. But I sewed it a second time and left the bow out of that because of the not liking factor.

So the problems with this dress is that the section that goes under the bust and hits the waist is too long and so it bunches in a funny way. The zipper makes it funny also. I could probably unpick and fix it now but I don’t care too much. I ended up making a belt to compensate it which works fine even though the pattern has no belt.

The second attempt was made with a bright pink floral cotton. This time I spent AGES fitting that small section to my body. It fits quite well now. I put some pink ribbon around the top and hem as a little bit of decoration. It is a great picnic dress. This one does not need a belt. The skirt is not 100% straight on the bodice which makes it look a little odd but I was still getting into the swing of the tricks of the trade at the time.

I have since made a THIRD version of this dress, which included some pattern changes, including changing the zipper to be at the side, dropping the neckline and changing the way the skirt panels were done to accommodate the new side zip. It was done for Heathers Birthday last year where 3 of us went as 1950’s Hogwarts pupils. I got told I should wear mine out as normal clothes but I don’t know about that. The picture of this dress (and the other two house dresses) can be found here.