Tuesday, July 29, 2008

What I've been sewing lately ...

This pile of stuff on the chair is bits and pieces of six shirt muslins and a pattern that has been chopped and restuck so many times there is more tape than paper. This is part of an outfit I am making for the too muscular man in my life. When I say too muscular, I don't really mean that he's TOO muscly, it's just that he's too well built for a regular shirt pattern. His chest and shoulders are about six sizes bigger than his waist, so to get a pattern to fit his chest, the waist goes around him three times. So I've chopped and redrawn, done a sloping shoulder adjustment - years of weight lifting have created a big wedge of muscle near his neck that has become the biggest fitting problem I've ever encountered - and now I think I have a reasonable fit.

I was a little suprised to find that there is a complete dearth of sewing patterns for men. I can find voluminous business shirts and basic pants, but what about funky, modern wear for modern men who don't want to dress like they're off to the RSL or Bowls Club. BWOF has the odd shirt and jacket, but even they are not too exciting.

Where are the panelled, fitted shirts for men, the knit shirts and tops? I couldn't even find a vintage body shirt pattern for jersey. Are the only people who sew for men making clothes for middle aged men with beer guts and no arse and no interest in how they dress?

My muscle man has chosen this fabric for his shirt. It's a little more loud in the flesh. There is quite a bit of glittery gold in it. The ladies in the quilting shop (it's a quilting cotton) where he bought it were quite excited and he's promised to model it for them when it's done.

The shirt is part of an outfit that DH has wanted for some time. It is to go with a buttercup yellow safari suit that I am in the middle of making. It's from a vintage pattern Simplicity 7647 which I forgot to photograph to include here.

I was relieved and pleased to find that the pants fit straight from the pattern, with the exception of the six inches I had to chop off the length. (DH is a little height challenged). You'll see a picture of his perfect little behind in buttercup yellow suiting very soon. The jacket had to be widened about 50cm, but it's been a relatively simple alteration after the shirt. Two days worth of top stitching has paid off and tonight I will put in the sleeves and lining.

It's been fun and the results are worth the effort, not to mention the fact that DH is thrilled. The ladies in the shop where he bought the yellow fabric are convinced this outfit is for a fancy dress party, but no, he just wants a yellow 70's safari suit and I didn't have the heart to refuse.

Sunday, July 13, 2008

July sewing still going ...

My July sewing is progressing nicely. Here's what I've achieved so far.

This is the Vogue 8409 dress nearly completed, save for the hem which will be sewn tonight whilst watching television. It's been a really easy pattern to construct, even with the addition of a self drafted lining. I put in a regular zipper, but then took it out and put in an invsible one. Much better that way. I only lined the front of the bodice and the skirt, not the back of the bodice. I'm not sure why I decided to do that, but it works fine. Depending on what I make it out of next time, I may do the same again or I may line it. The cuffs need extra handstitching. This has been the only time I found myself frustrated by the microfibre. Otherwise, it's been a dream.

Here is the other thing I've worked on this weekend. The chenille knit long cardigan dress thing. It looks like a sack on Vera, but it actually looks quite nice on with a wide crocodile belt and my brown and caramel FMHFM boots. This is from a vintage pattern, the manufacturer and number of which I have forgotten in the time it took me to walk upstairs from my sewing room to the computer room.

I hope to have a pair of hotpants made soon to go with this, although I don't have a pattern in mind.

Next up is BWOF 1/2008 116 from this golden brown paisley jersey as modelled here by Vera.

I'll be cutting this out and have some progress shots in the next day or two.

Wednesday, July 9, 2008

There is a July sewalong

Thanks to Margaret left a comment on my blog, I now know there is a July sewalong.

Here's my official notification of what I intend to sew;

The Vogue dress shown in my previous post
A gold knit/chenille long cardigan/dress thing from a 70's vintage pattern. I aim to wear it over the dress or it can stand alone as a dress (I think - it may be frumpy - we will see)
A pair of pants of perhaps winter shorts - think hotpants and boots with the long 70's cardigan
The BWOF wrap top from the JCC that I rather foolishly decided not to make at the time

I will post some sort of story board tomorrow.

Tuesday, July 8, 2008

Still doing it in July ...

The June Capsule Contest is over and judging has commenced. The standard of work is spectacular and in a way I'm not sorry to have pulled out, even though my garments were techinically complete in the time frame. My work is simply not up to the standard of the others.

There has been talk of continuing the sewing spree into July, but I don't know if it's official or not. So I'm challenging myself to my own July Capsule Contest. My aim is to complete a further four garments this month, to complement the previous garments and extend the wardrobe in another direction. Stitches Magazine does this regularly, each issue adding 4 - 6 garments so that by the end of the wardrobe (which may have spanned a whole year) the garments may not match the garments from the beginning, but form part of an extensive wardrobe that spans seasons.

To this end I am starting with a dress. It's Vogue 8409. I'm making the version in green using a lovely brown paisley microfibre I purchased from Gorgeous Fabrics .

I am quite liking Vogue patterns at the moment. After years of working mainly with Burda World of Fashion, it's rather nice to have complete instructions. I still trace my patterns off, rather than cutting them, because I find sometimes I need to make different sizes, depending on the fabric but this is relatively quick.

Here's the dress so far. It's gone together really easily. I decided to add a lining, so I drafted a pattern for a front bodice lining and used the skirt pattern for the skirt lining.

Here is Vera's latest dress without the sleeves. I love this fabric. Just yesterday, after sewing the bulk of the dress, I got a copy of Claire Schaeffer's book, Sew Any Fabric and in that book she talks about how hard it is to sew microfibre. I did not find that at all, in fact before I read the book I was trawling the internet looking for more microfibre because it was such a dream to work with. Here's a close up of the bodice, although my shitty photography makes it hard to see how nicely the folds sit.

I hope to add the sleeves tonight and finish the handstitching. It should look pretty good with the jacket from the JCC and new (from the opshop) pair of tan boots I bought today.

Monday, July 7, 2008

The best laid plans ...

In my haste to complete the June Capsule Contest, I neglected to check whether or not my garments would actually look any good together. They don't.

This is my skirt. It looks pretty crappy hanging on a hanger against my crappy curtains (which only go up in winter). It's Vogue 8426, which Karen made so much better than I did. It fits really nicely on me, not so on Vera. She's not made for wearing skirts, hence the picture on a hanger. I'll never sew this skirt in corduroy again, however. I think I'll try denim like Karen's.

Now, whilst my skirt goes really well with the jacket shown here in all it's completed glory, except for the thread trimming that happened after the pic

and it goes spectacularly well with the Go Patterns dress (which I love to pieces), it does not go with the Plan C blouse from last post. In fact, it looks really bad. It makes me look fat, old and frumpy. I'm not showing those pictures. The Plan C Blouse looks great with a slim fitting pair of jeans and the sexy patent leather ankle boots I bought last weekend. I might show you that outfit next time. In the meantime you get this.
This was taken before the jacket was finished and with a piece of brown and orange ribbon tied around the waist to see how it looked. Note my very messy sewing room and the completely filthy hearth in the background (which has not been cleaned since last winter). This outfit has necessitated the purchase of a pair of shoes with the dubious name Barbarella. I couldn't import the picture, so go over and have a look. I LOVE the shoes as much as I love the dress. With my matching handbag as shown last post, I will probably be too much orange, but I can live with that.

So I have withdrawn from the June Capsule Contest, but at least I can still vote. I've seen some wonderful wardrobes so far and there are many more to come, so I know it will be a hard choice.
I really enjoyed this experience and I've learned a great deal. The most important lesson I have learned is this;

Wardrobe planning is about more than artfully draping pieces of fabric across furniture to see if they 'go together'. You also need to consider your choice of styles and make sure they go together as well.

Tuesday, July 1, 2008

The Bag and the Plan C Blouse

Here's my Plan C Blouse. It's BWOF 1/2008 style 107. I made this in the first week of June before I started the rest of the capsule, with the intention that I could wear it to work with the skirt and jacket. It looks pretty crappy on Vera, but it sits really nicely on me and is the most unbelievably soft and fine cotton. In hindsight, I should have used a slightly stiffer interfacing as the neck drops a little. I've also made version 108 from this same issue, which is the same blouse with short puffy sleeves and a cute round collar. It's a great style and the design detail on the front makes for a close and flattering fit.

Here's my accessory. It's made from a kit I purchased from http://www.nicolemdesign.com.au/ and was incredibly easy to make. The picture on the right shows how it matches the walls in my living room. I highly recommend this bag to anyone. I've never made anything like it before and I would say it took me around three hours. The instructions are very detailed and at first seemed a little daunting, but I read them through twice before cutting a single thing, then spent about half an hour cutting the fabric and lining and checking the markings. When I started sewing, I worked through it step at a time and it was surprisingly simple. I love the results and can't wait to use it. I'm definitely going to make this bag again.
Stupid me forgot to photograph my skirt, so I'll post pictures of that tomorrow.