. . . . . . A place to contribute, exchange tips and ideas and find further info on the LDC group on Meetup.

Friday, 29 April 2016

Tracing pattern and creating a toile in one go

Wilko Get Gardening Protection Fleece 1.5mx8m
OK, you would be forgiven for thinking you had stumbled upon a gardening blog because this is a roll of horticultural fleece, currently available at Wilco for the princely sum of £3.45 for 8 metres of 150 cm width.  That works out at about 44p a metre.  I had heard mention that this fleece was useful for tracing patterns so decided to give it a go.  So here is an account of my experience trying it out on a pattern for a edge to edge jacket with a two piece raglan sleeve.
The neat little roll, once unwrapped, expands into a vast cloud of white stuff.  It is difficult to stop it from creasing and you need to get it smooth to trace.  I found the easiest way to do this was to cut off an amount appropriate to the pattern you wish to trace and press it  with a very low heat and a sheet of paper over the top, I used greaseproof paper (my previous pattern tracing favourite).  You must treat it gently otherwise it will melt.
You can then smooth it over your pattern and weight it down.  In the photograph below you can probably see that the second from innermost line is darker where I have traced the outline but look how easy it is to see the pattern underneath the fleece.

I found that the easiest pen to use was a brush tip felt pen, intended for use by children, although the colour did fade somewhat after a couple of days, I think it is intended to be easily washed away if the kids manage to get it all over themselves and the curtains as well as their colouring book.  Pencil and biro dragged the fleece too much  but the colour was stable.  Any suggestions as to a non-fading alternative would be gratefully received.  I just used what I had available at the time.
Then I used the pieces I had traced (all of which had the instruction "Cut Two") to cut out the second pieces and copied the pattern markings.
Next stage was to mark the seam allowances, using a seam gauge and a different colour felt tip.
And then pin all the pieces together for pin fitting.
As you can see the jacket seems to fit my old Adustoform dummy quite well.  I am showing you the back because the front fits well.
But, although the bust, waist, hip and back length of the dummy are adjusted to my size, it is not me as you can see from the next photograph  where you can see that I will need a rounded back adjustment and the shoulder curve reducing.  I also need to try it on over a thin blouse instead of a thick polo neck jumper but it was too cold today! 
So there you are, your pattern traced and a cheap as chips toile as well.  Agreed, it will not be in the same weight and drape as your intended actual fabric.  However it does have the advantage that you can see through it and thereby get a better idea of what it is about your body that may be causing any problem than you would have when using an opaque fabric.
Have you any suggestions to have about inexpensive ways of tracing patterns and creating toiles?

Wednesday, 13 April 2016

Guilt...and Gratification

I knew it was going to be difficult for me to stick to a resolution not to buy any more fabric when I headed, with LDC member Joy, for the Stitching, Sewing & Hobbycrafts show at Excel on 7 April.  It only took us 45 minutes to get there, 45 minutes of non-stop sewing chatter.  In fact, we were so busy talking that we went straight past the entrance to the show and had to turn round and retrace our steps.
Once inside we headed to book some of the free workshops available.  We both signed up for one on ribbon embroidery techniques and Joy also bagged a place on one just about to start and headed off to take her seat in the workshop area.  That left me with about 40 minutes before the start of a talk by Wendy Dolan on the techniques that she uses for her textile art, techniques that I thought might be useful for dress making embellishment. Should you have the chance to hear Wendy talk and show how she creates her work then take it.  She showed some wonderful examples and the lace she created for a wedding gown, using only sewing machine stitching, is just amazing.
Those 40 minutes led me into temptation and by the time I met up with Joy, who had spent the time being very creative in her workshop, I had 2 metres of jersey knit in my bag purchased from the stall of Lili Fabrics .  I had not been able to resist  the dark blue, grey and tan colour way,  as I knew it would go with many items in my wardrobe but I still felt Guilty for breaking the resolution yet again.  The plan was to make a simple knit dress using a pattern that was in the May 2016 issue of Prima magazine.  It had to be something simple because I have had two frustrating makes in the past few weeks, one being a disastrous pair of trousers and the other a dress, which turned out well but caused a number of headaches in the making.  I needed some easy sewing Gratification to restore my confidence.
The yardage requirements for the pattern were stated to be 1.80 metres but the length was just under 20 cm shorter than I wanted so I bought 2 metres.  I should have remembered that in the past I had found that Prima overcalculated the amount I would need and so it proved.  I decided to make a skirt and top instead, giving me the chance to wear them together or separately.
The top was taken from a pattern that I bought in the 1970's  and had made previously.  In fact I still wear the top, now even more fashionable than when I first made it as it is in a quilted knit.  It is worn by the middle figure on the pattern envelope - and check out the flare on those trousers!
The skirt was View D from New Look 6164, bought a couple of years ago in a closing down sale of a Brixton fabric store.  It has an elasticated waist and a centre back seam with a slit for ease of movement.
I made only two adjustments to the skirt pattern , the first was to lengthen it and the second was my usual one for flat buttocks by pinching out an amount from the centre back seam accross the pattern along the hip line, graduating  the amount of the reduction to nothing at the side seam.  I do it by slashing the pattern across the hipline and pivoting it the required amount, then taping it in position.  If I don't do this my skirt side seam will swing forward because I do not have enough derriere to support the shape at the back.
Fortunately for me and my sewing sanity, all went smoothly, the only hiccup being that I cut the top sleeves separately and was just about to cut the second one when, in the nick of time, I realised I had failed to reverse the fabric and was about to cut another left sleeve.
I am pleased with the result.  I am not a fan of elasticated waists but it certainly gives a quick and easy result and is easily disguised with a belt or by a top worn over it plus no worries about overeating as the skirt waistline expands with you.  My only niggle is that the centre back slit seems rather high for modesty but it does mean that I shall have no worries about there being enough leg room for bicycling.
So here it is, top and skirt worn together.
 And taking a leaf out of the book of member Pia, who writes this inspiring blog , I have attempted to coerce my partner into taking some other photos to show the two items worn in other ways.  First the casual jeans mode-

 and next the efficient secretary at work mode-
I wore the top and skirt on 12 April to the Monthly LDC meetup at Ev's, where almost everybody was wearing great examples of their makes- jackets, skirts, blouses and dresses. I can see that I will wear these two pieces a lot as it doesn't crease and can be dressed up or down.  I don't feel quite so guilty now and got so much gratification that I am likely to make these again soon using some knit fabric from my stash to take part in the sewalong starting on 22 April, details here , thus allowing me to feel very virtuous.