Saturday, October 27, 2018

Forward Planning - Or how do I make room in my stash for better fabric.

Well it is the night before the big unveiling of the India Wilkes dress, It sits still incomplete (I have to do the sleeve epaulets) which I will work on tonight once my little man goes to sleep and tomorrow I will get some photos to be able to do a big review of the project and probably some individual pieces going into more detail on the bodice and the skirt.

In any case the time has come to start thinking about what to do next and I think it is time to focus on some smaller scale, more usable on a daily basis pieces that use up stash fabric.  We lovingly refer to my stash as stash mountain and you can see the beginnings of it in previous posts (years ago) and the fun thing is that most of that fabric is still around..... and it's found friends along the way.

On top of the stash is unfinished projects, many that will be abandoned to time and waste due to size changing, needs passing or it just being a project that didn't work.  However in the interest of motivation I am below posting some of the ideas that I have.

Starting with an unfinished project;

the 40's floral

Most of this dress is done, I started it about 3 years ago because it was just after my son was born.  It is actually the third time I have worked with this full pattern not including when I turned the bottom half into a skirt.  Obviously I love this pattern, the fall and drape is beautiful and flattering.

I halted because as you can clearly see on the picture the front is not symmetrical and I somehow managed to cut the front right piece the wrong way.  Stupid right - yes very, especially the 4th time you have done it.

The material I had gotten on sale for $10/m and its a faux silk satin that falls like water.  I loved the vibrancy of the colours.  Eventually and randomly as I had given up hope I did find more of the fabric and bought another meter but by that stage I had moved onto another project that had a more pressing deadline and then I just never picked it up again.  I deserves another look though

Black and White Gertie Pattern

I bought this black and white gaberdine in a big spotlight sale specifically to make this super sexy 60's ish number from Butterick's Patterns by Gertie Range.  I have never even traced the pattern.  Again this was just after having my son and I wanted to lose some weight, which I did but then with a baby didn't have time and since then I have put a whole bunch on again that I am in the process of trying to lose.  Life is a never ending desire to drop weight unfortunately.

I will probably look at this again for winter time next year, simply because it is a heavier fabric and more suited to the autumn winter seasons.  It will be great for work though

Red Rayon Pattern Copy

I have had this red rayon for a long time - it was bought when Spotlight had a buy the rest of the bolt for stupid discount and I was big in love with both the 40's fashions and the no iron properties of rayon. 

Red has always been a good colour for me and there was only a few meters on the bolt making it viable to buy and so it has sat ever since. 

This is another project that has sat around since my maternity leave.  I selected this pattern because could you ask for anything more perfect for a red rayon than copying the dress on the pattern drawing.  I even remember buying black rayon for the neck though it would take a miracle to find that in my stash now.

The pattern is traced and that tracing "should" fit me now so I should probably prioritise this one even though the sleeves make more of an autumn winter number too the rayon means it shouldn't' be too hot.

1940's Blue Birds

This fabric has also been in my stash for a very long time.  It is a crepe that has zero body.  I bought it and another fabric which i made the first pattern mentioned on here out of.  The end result is a weightless beautiful drape, the work to get there though was a headache.  This slips and slides and does not like to behave.

I selected this pattern for it at time of buying and I have never changed my mind, but I would be lying to say that the creating those front gathers and curved seam in this weightless fabric is not intimidating.  Likely this is the reason I have never gotten around to this one.

It would make a very elegant summer dress though so maybe its time I grew some and cut into it.  I could always starch it first and see if that helps.  I will need to get lining though.

Random Shirts

So under this category I have a whole bunch of possible projects.  Maybe I need a day or a weekend to pump out all of them. 

The orange spot is a rayon originally purposed for a skirt but I think maybe a shirt would work better in my wardrobe - I have tones of skirts and dresses but few tops.  I just can't decide which pattern to use.  One of these or none of them.

I will be using the peplum with this Japanese lawn.  It was bought with that pattern in mind.

Outside of the above I have plans for two 1930's dresses, a 1940's military style costume, more 50's dresses and some wardrobe pieces.

But for now I better get to those India Wilkes sleeves

Happy sewing.

Monday, October 15, 2018

Buttons? Buttons? Who's got the Buttons?

At last count this dress will have over 90 buttons on it.  Most of them cloth covered and only 23 of them functional  These buttons (and the phone replacement issue) account for the delay in these posts.

The plan for the buttons included around 25 functional buttons for the front of the bodice, 20 for the sleeve epaulet detail (10 per sleeve), and 8 skirt epaulets with 7 buttons each for a total of 56 - 101 buttons in total (Plus what will be used on the under sleeves).

I wanted the functional buttons to be about half an inch, smaller for the sleeve detail - but the hardest to find would be the skirt buttons.

Anyway, I went searching for buttons online.  I could have gone to the local spotlight but there cloth covered buttons are expensive at $8 for 10, have crappy plastic backs and the size range isn't as extensive as I would need.

This brought but the next issue in the planning, how to attach the buttons to the skirt and not have them flop about, I wanted them to sit flat.  Shanks on functional buttons are both necessary but also get held into position by the extra material around the button hole.  Without a button hole it flops around which wouldn't work for what I was after.

So I found on ebay a listing that had not only metal backed cloth cover button kits but came in both flat back (for gluing on jewellery apparently) and shanked.  A bit more searching and I found the website I like big Buttons and placed an order. 

I decided on the small 12mm (25), for the sleeves, 15mm (25) for the functional buttons, and huge 1.5inch for the skirt (50).  I was able to get shanks only on the functional buttons and flat backs on the rest.  You may have noticed that I had to cut down the plan for the skirt buttons because they came in packs of 50 or 100 and I didn't want 44 unnecessary 1.5inch flat back buttons on my hands.  Seemed easier on the pocket and storage to cut down each epaulet by 1 button and only need 48.

There was only one issue with the delivery which is that one of my shank backs came shankless which cut down the number I had to work with by one.  Otherwise, service was fast, friendly and the website easy to use.  I also found that the smaller button sizes were smaller than I had anticipated.  I think maybe if you flattened out the metal circle it would measure 1.5cm but the front buttons came in more the size I wanted for the sleeves and the sleeves are tiny - but we make do and I don't think it will make too much difference to the final look

Then set about the epic task of covering these bad boys.  The process is long winded enough when you have 5 to do for a dress, 89 (as the final count was) took a long time and patience that I am not well known for.  But I did promise myself that I would spend more time and effort on the finer details of the things I make so  I persevered.

To cover the buttons, first I had to cut the circles out of the fabric - a process made slightly easier by spending the extra buck on the plastic sizing tool which provides an exact template of the size that circle.  Then you stitch a run around the circle, put it in the rubber setting tool, place the metal to cover in pull the stitch tight and then push the back in with the plastic finishing tool.  To make things a bit more secure I added some craft glue between the inside and the back.  Then I did this about 90 times.

Pro tip, the bigger the button the easier it is to get the back in.  For the really small ones I used a vice, for the really big ones my own hand strength was fine.

Once all done I attached the buttons to the bodice front the traditional way (shanked) though I screwed up on spacing and will have to redo them today :(.

For the Skirt Epaulets I sewed through the the fabric where it curls under into the button.

I will provide further details of the process of making the epaulets when I do the post regarding the skirt and the one for the bodice, but for now progress continues and with only a couple of weeks to go I better get back to it.

Tuesday, October 2, 2018

The Sound of Silence

I know I really should be posting some kind of update about now.  I even have the subject as my buttons have come in and I have spent time covering them and have reviews of the site I got them from but alas - I lost my phone this weekend and thus I have no way of documenting the progress

In related news I feel so lost without the phone, I can hardly remember life without a 24/7 connection to the world.  I can't count the amount of times in the last 3 days I have had a thought and reached to get my phone and look something up on google.

The positive is there has been little to distract me so I have had to focus on things like covering my buttons rather than procrastinating on whatever the weird ottoman empire game is that I had been playing.  I hope that in the next week I will have a temporary replacement in place.  Until then I may have so see if my husband can help out though his photography is a little advanced so I doubt he will be happy with my quick snaps