Sunday, 17 December 2017

Vogue 2266 - Yves Saint Laurent Jacket

This is the story of how I came to sew an Yves Saint Laurent jacket...

About two and a half years ago Mr B and I went to the Yves Saint Laurent Style is Eternal exhibition at the Bowes Museum - an extra special treat as we went to a Durham University Alumni event involving an interesting talk about how the exhibition came to the Bowes Museum and free wine (most of the pictures I took are therefore a little blurry).

I decided rather than buy a souvenir I would buy a Yves Saint Laurent Vogue pattern instead and sew that up.  I found the pattern and fabric quite quickly but for some reason actually getting started took another two years.

It turned out that my Mother owned the pattern I chose back in the 1970s but had never made it (she also got rid of all her old patterns and regrets it severely).  She could remember the features in amazing detail and its been great discussing progress with her each week.

I dispensed with making a muslin as I think that would have prolonged the project even further (in hindsight there are a couple of alterations that I should have made but I'm still happy with the outcome) and dived right in.

My fabric, a black boucle with sequins, was quite stretchy and the pattern said to underline so I did so with black polycotton which was cheap, lightweight and stable.  I didn't interface as much as the pattern suggested as my Mother said that 1960s/70s jackets were designed to be much more structured than I might like.  I interfaced the upper back and front edges only with a lightweight sew-in interfacing and it seems to be fine.

I didn't want to put the frogging on the front as I wasn't planning on doing it up and didn't think I'd be able to find any nice frogging easily. Where do you even buy frogging?

My original plan was to use topstitching thread for the topstitching and machine the buttonholes but my machine wasn't having any of this so I used normal thread for the topstitching and didn't bother with buttonholes.  I've never hand sewn a buttonhole and think that having to do ten at a first attempt might not have been the wisest choice.

I decided to spend twenty minutes each day when I got home from work sewing which worked really well for something like this where there are lots of small steps, I was amazed at how much could actually be achieved in such a small amount of time.

The instructions were a joy and have resulted in a really professional looking and feeling garment - the pleat in the lining is particularly pleasing me for some reason.  I'm looking out for another jacket to try now as I really enjoyed my attempt at tailoring.

The body and sleeves could maybe have been a bit longer and the shoulders a little narrower but its fine as it is and really useful for wearing to parties (I rarely go to parties).

This post has been quite long, which is what you get for not writing up as you go along.  If anyone has any questions about any of the details just ask!

Sunday, 27 August 2017

Vogue 1247 - Don't worry I'm wearing a vest

"Its, err, quite low cut" said Mr B *.
"Hmm, yes, definitely a vest required"

I think I'm a bit behind with making Vogue 1247, now out of print, so far in fact that I had to buy it off ebay. I knew I had discounted it when I first saw it but wasn't sure why.  I really like Rachel Comey patterns as they usually have interesting details and the instructions for finishing given with the pattern are great, this one has french seams throughout.

I realised when I came to cut out why I might have passed this one by at first, its one of very few vogue patterns not recommended for pear shaped people.  Now I don't usually hold with the idea that certain shaped people have to wear certain clothes but it does make sense when you start to look at the finished dimensions.

My measurements put me at a size 12 bust (just), 14 waist and 16 hip but I usually go for at least a size, if not two or even three, smaller at the bust (I'm not sure why Vogue insist on putting massive amounts of ease at the top and hardly any at the bottom of their patterns, as a Mathematician I suspect its due to them sticking with absolute rather than relative ease which means garments will be more closely fitting as you move up the size range - is this true?).
I ended up, after measuring a loose fitting top that I already own, cutting a size 6 at the top (43" at the bust - 9 inches of ease for my size 12 bust!) grading out to a 12 at the bottom.  It involved a bit of fudging at the side seams as the front top and lower side front pieces didn't seem to match (I checked the pattern pieces and I'm not convinced the notches and small circles would line up anyway).

Its not noticeable on my version but the lower front pieces are cut on the bias, I'm not sure if there is any particular reason for doing this, and they don't hang very well for me but its not a major issue. The major issue is the deepness of the v-neck, which if I had read some reviews first I would have known about, and the lowness of the bust but this is easily solved by a) wearing it pulled back on the shoulders and b) wearing a vest.  If I made it again I would shorten it by one or two inches above the bust and add some extra length near the bottom.

I do like it though, the fabric is very soft and drapes well and it sewed up really nicely.
Mr B took me to Washington Old Hall this afternoon so he could practice taking pictures of me but I think its my posing that needs practice!

* Mr B isn't necessarily against low cut tops but he knows that I wouldn't like to be flashing my bra entire torso if I needed to bend down lean forward move.

Friday, 11 August 2017

Vogue 1121 - Part Two

Time for an update on Vogue 1121!

I'm going to be honest and say that I hated finishing this off.  It just seemed to take for ever.
Soon after my last post I adjusted the bodice pattern pieces - a half inch narrow shoulder adjustment and adding half an inch at each side seam - and then stalled.  The lining fabric I had ordered took a month to arrive and usually I like to sew the lining first, one last chance to check the fit.  In the end I had to start with the fashion fabric, John Kaldor Coast.  I have sewn with this fabric before, here, and it came flooding back to me how easily this frays, soon the whole house seemed to be covered in pale blue thread!
Actually sewing the dress wasn't too tricky and even the top stitching went smoothly (I used proper topstitching thread for the first time ever) but I wasn't able to tackle the lining before going on holiday.

I would never normally have a two week break from a project and coming back to it when you've had two weeks to dream about what you might make next seemed tortuous.
And I made it even more tortuous by following the instructions!  I like to do this when I come across something I've not done before so that I can evaluate the technique and decide whether to do it in future (I would never have realised how brilliant hand picked zips are otherwise).

The instructions have you sew the lining in by hand at the neck facing, hem (rather that leaving it free at the bottom) and armholes and then hand sew the sleeves in as well.

I've not encountered this method before and I'm not sure of the advantage of doing this as opposed to making the lining version of the dress and then sewing it in at the neck and end of sleeves.  Needless to say I am sick of hand sewing and won't be doing lining like this again.

I'm always sad when I take against a project like this because all I can do is see the faults in it at the end.  I know full well that these perceived imperfections are not obvious to non-sewers and if they are to fellow sewers they are never mentioned.

How on earth do you ease in the fullness of a 3 inch hem on a flared skirt?  Please let me know. Please!

Sunday, 4 June 2017

Rachel Comey Top

On our first visit to Cragside this year Mr B reminded me of a top I made last summer so I thought I'd share it now.
It's Vogue 1503 a Rachel Comey design.  I bought the pattern for the blouse (Vogue must have been feeling generous to put two completely different tops in the same envelope) but on a whim decided to make view A first.

It's really not my style, or so I thought, but I've worn this top loads.  I cut a straight size 8, which is two sizes down on my actual measurements, and reduced the front ruffle's rufflyness by folding the pattern piece.

It was really pleasing to sew, everything went together nicely - the instructions for the seam finishes are particularly detailed.  I love the overlapping shoulder pieces, which I obviously don't have a good picture of, and the sleeve cuff weirdly.

 I do have a lot of back view photos though...

I have made view B also but it wasn't nearly as successful, mainly due to fabric and thread choice, and sadly I've only ended up wearing it once. I have however just cut out a second version of view A.
PS - I can't recommend Cragside highly enough - such an interesting house and amazing grounds!

Vogue 1121 - Part One

Well I'm not sure where the last two months have gone! Lots of boring stuff has happened - Mr B has had a very stressful half term at work, cyber attack at my work, we've been decorating the spare room at a snail's pace, the world is rubbish...
I've started work on an outfit to wear to a wedding in August.  I've had Vogue 1121 in my pattern stash for some years now but the right occasion has never presented itself.

My original vision was that I would make it out of linen and be a sophisticated Kate Middleton-esque figure until my Mother pointed out that linen equals creases (any slight differences in our builds and disposable incomes were not mentioned).

I've had a few fabric samples and I'm pretty sure I'm going to go with a pale blue John Kaldor linen look fabric (the one on the left).  I would imagine all of Kate's dresses are made of wool crepe or silk but I really can't countenance the expense so will have to settle for a cotton lining to deal with any 'glowing' that may occur on the day.
The pattern is single sized 32 1/2" bust and I've made an initial toile with no alterations (I have found in the past that this size fits fairly well around the bust and shoulders despite it being a size smaller than my measurements would suggest).

(Please excuse the tatty hair/face/elbow, I really haven't been well this week.  Not sure why Mr B didn't tell me to stand up straight)

The fit isn't too bad - if it was ready to wear I would just put up with it and accept that I would have to hold my stomach in all day/wear those hold your tummy in tights that make it difficult to go to the toilet.  But I'm going to let the waist out maybe as much as two inches (half an inch on each side seam) and possibly narrow the shoulders also.

I think the wrinkles at the back waist are more to do with how tight the waist is but perhaps a sway back adjustment is necessary?

Any comments/suggestions fit wise are gratefully received 
I really find making toiles dull but I know that I should test out these alterations before starting the real thing...

Sunday, 2 April 2017

DKNY Wrap Skirt

I'm not sure what came over me but I went ahead straight away and made the skirt from the recently purchased DKNY Vogue pattern.  This is unusual behaviour for me but I happened to have some fabric already (I don't have a massive fabric stash - patterns are my weakness).
The fabric is a black wool suiting remnant that was amazing until I washed it. It went slightly spongey and a little bobbly so has been sitting in a drawer for a while.  To be fair I would never get round to dry cleaning my clothes so its better this way and time has made the memory of the original quality fade.

This was quite an easy sew but involved sewing interfacing to the skirt rather than interfacing the waistband facing which I've never done before.  It wasn't tricky to do but I'm not sure of the advantages of doing it that way round.

Anyway I'm quite pleased with the end result and may get round to making the trousers if I find some suitable fabric.  I made a size 14 graded out to a 16 hip in the skirt but I don't think I needed the extra space so I might be ok to just cut a 14 for the trousers.

I other news...
  • my school is having a party in May to celebrate the result of the OFSTED inspection
    • dress code 'smart casual' - what even is that (apart from an oxymoron)? What should I make?
  • Despite appearances in the above photos, the spare room plaster has been given a coat of emulsion and the ceiling is painted.
  • the below fabric was purchased.

Wednesday, 8 March 2017

Should I bring the 90s back?

You may be wondering how the smeed diet went.
Well everything was going smoothly, I'd made it 4 days with out checking anything then my school got the call from OFSTED.  Now I know that I'm good at my job, I get observed all the time, my school is amazing but somehow OFSTED just makes me panic a little - so I gave up. And I'm ok with that, I just needed distracting or I wouldn't have been able to sleep.
As a prize for surviving the experience (OFSTED that is, not the social media diet) and doing rather well I've treated myself to a new sewing pattern (and Mr B bought me some new shoes).
Vogue 2938 a 1992 DKNY jacket, skirt and trousers.

Image result for vogue 2938 dkny

I was originally attracted by the (probably deeply unflattering) trousers but now I'm quite in to the skirt.  Should I be revisiting 90s fashion?  Teen aged Beulah was not very stylish* so perhaps this is my chance to shine 90s style?
Anyway, in other news, whilst work was going crazy we were also in the middle of getting our spare room plastered so the house was  is in turmoil.  But now we've reached the tester pot stage which is much more like it...

* whether adult Beulah is stylish is also questionable but she cares rather less.

Friday, 24 February 2017

Creatively Tired

I haven't written anything in a while nearly a year and I've kind of missed it.
Not actually writing posts but being able to look back over them.
So I'm going to start up again with low quality photos (I'm rubbish at editing) and fewer links (just can't be bothered).  I don't suppose anyone will mind.
I have made lots since last April but life took over and I got out the habit of recording things. However the point of this blog in the first place was that I plan more than I make, I wanted to make myself complete more and I'm falling back into bad habits.
Why?  Because of social media of course.
'Smeeds' says Mr B.  He has a Year 10 form class and is the authority (in our house) on youth speak.
Anyway, as I was saying, I seem to spend hours browsing, admiring other people's makes and not getting on with anything myself.
So I'm going to stop looking.  For a week (I like to set achievable targets).
You might be wondering what I'm up to right now...
Ages ago (maybe in September) Craftsy classes were on sale so I bought 'The Couture Dress' with Susan Khalje.  I'm really enjoying watching the videos, its lovely watching someone who knows what they are doing sew.  I've made the muslin and it fits as well as its going to - it turns out that Mr B finds it impossible to pin fabric.
I cut a size 12, grading out at the hips.  This isn't what I usually do but after hours of internet research I decided it was the way forward.

I've had to do a full tummy adjustment (too many biscuits?)

And a massive small bust adjustment.
I might set this aside for a week or two as I'm getting a bit fed up with not having a dress yet.  Maybe if I make something quick and easy I'll feel more inspired?