Next Stage Lattice

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Wow, that went quickly. I’ve done all the extra blocks and joiners. 28 blocks and 30 blacks.

Below I’m laying out the new blocks to get a good spread of fabrics. I shifted a couple after looking at this photo, including softening the proximity of those two bright yellow pieces at top right. I’m sure I’ve said it before, but taking a photo, or even just looking through a camera gives one a different view and can show up things that might be better changed.

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Now the blocks are stacked in order and labelled so I have a better chance of not confusing things.

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Then I realised I’d better label the main section too. It’s square and I mean to hang it again shortly to release the cutting table for other work. I ought be able to tell by the orientation of the colour categories in the blocks, but this makes it easy to tell which sides I’m supposed to be adding to.

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A Remodeled Wisp

I was wanting another evening dress. I hadn’t been able to settle on a plan for any of the new lengths of fabric from stash. I was however suddenly struck with an idea for remodeling a frock that has been languishing in the wardrobe for a few years. In one day I had the inspiration, cut it up and remade the outer dress.

This is the bodice, firstly after I hacked the skirt off. Silly me forgot to take a proper before photo. Then with the vintage lace separated out for reclamation. That waist section was a little too tight when I first made it and is now even more so. Drat the effects of advancing years.

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The fabric is so lovely, it’s worth reworking it so I can wear it.

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I found enough left over fabric to cut a new bodice. Short waisted, cross over. Based on the T bodice pattern I’ve used for several dresses. Not sure if I’ve posted any of them here? I’ll look later and maybe update. Anyway. I sewed that up the same morning. Then I regathered and attached the skirt, with a facing behind to form a drawstring channel.

It’s crinkle silk chiffon again. Working with this stuff is sort of like sewing air. The sewing itself tends to go fairly smoothly I find. It’s the handling and fabric placement that takes extra time. I do recommend using silk sewing thread. It blends with the fabric, doesn’t fight it.

Here is the resulting wisp of a frock

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Obviously I can’t wear it like that alone. The original frock was fully lined. So I reclaimed the lace trimmed skirt from that and made a new slip on bodice from a coordinating rayon lining fabric with the reclaimed lace strips for the neckline.

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Silly me sewed the back of the slip bodice on inside out. I decided it wasn’t important enough to be worth unpicking. So if I haven’t got my hair down, the label will be visible through the floaty frock. Oh well.

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And here they are together. Floaty, comfortable, sleeved and less formal than the original, if a bit less flattering perhaps. One wearable dress from an unusable one.

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Micro Fortuny Shirt

Sheer stretch without knit in natural fibre even. Slim fit in luxe fabric but comfy. The magic of silk crinkle chiffon.

I’ve done this before by accident. Make a garment in crinkle fabric, wet it, the fabric texture condenses and becomes closer fitting and springy. One of these garments became a favourite. Another I didn’t like because it clung to bits of my anatomy that I didn’t want to show off.  I’ve been meaning to have another go for ages and here it is.

I cut a collarless shirt in black crinkle silk chiffon straight off the bolt. It’s much easier to work with pre wash. Otherwise all the little pleats get in the way and I think it’s harder to estimate the fit, though one could possibly use patterns meant for stretch fabric. Anyway. This is yet again my standard shirt pattern, cut with the centre front on a fold. I’ve left the shirt tails off, shortened the sleeves slightly, gathered the sleeve ends, faced a slit for the neck opening and bound the neck and wrists with straight grain strips of the same fabric. No interfacing, I wanted the fabric to be able to transform freely. The narrow bindings don’t need support and the straight grain prevents unwanted stretch. All sewn with silk thread so that it moves with the fabric and stays fluid. I wore it once before I washed it. Loved it! So I might also eventually make a similar top in plain chiffon.

Here are three before and after shots of the magic transformation wrought by wetting.

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The “before” shot below was prior to making the fastenings. The tie is a twist cord made from… silk thread of course :-).

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I wore it once before I washed it. Loved it! So I might also eventually make a similar top in plain chiffon. I’m also mostly happy with how it pulled up. The body fit is lovely. I hadn’t realised that one loses a little length too, so if I make another, I should add a little length to both body and sleeves. The post wash micro pleat version hasn’t been for an outing yet but I’m looking forward to that.

Oh, and extra bonus: with careful hanging after a wash (admittedly by hand), there is no need of ironing.

 

Here we go again

Remember the Liberty lattice patchwork that I thought was finished back in July? I was concerned when I realised that the way I’d had it hanging for months was starting to distort the fabric because the whole thing had gravity pulling at it on the bias. I decided to move on and work towards finishing it. While handling the black fabric to cut the border, I got suspicious. Belatedly suspicious. I did a burn test on the black and found the ruddy stuff is polycotton!! Horrified I was. Still am, though I’ve calmed down a bit a week or so later. Several friends pointed out that polycotton is likely to stay black longer than pure cotton. Which is true, but I’m still sad.

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I’ve solved the bias drag by hanging the quilt on the diagonal, which puts the fabric on the straight. I could just fold it up I suppose, but I’d have to press it before layering. On the other hand, it’s lighter now that we are past spring equinox and perhaps I should put it away to prevent fading before it’s even finished.

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I can’t do anything about all those black squares except live with them. I am however unwilling to feature the black any more than this, so I’ve stepped away from the plan for the bold black border. I checked the measurements of the patchwork as it stands against the bed. If I make another two rows of blocks and add them to opposite sides of the current square it will make a usefully sized rectangular quilt. This needs 28 blocks plus the same number of joining squares. I think I’m up for that. Checking my remaining fabric stocks said there was enough to cut the pieces from 6 different fabrics of the 4 approx colour categories. Hopefully that’s enough variation to prevent the new rows looking like add ons.

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It’s been long enough since the previous efforts that I actually quite enjoyed this little bit of basting.

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Shopping Bag Mk II

The floppiness of the Mk I version did not please me. Looking again at the synthetic original, it has bound edges which act as stiffening. I’ve made up the same pattern again with a few significant changes:
1. The seams are done as inside out french seams for the stiffening effect
2. The base reinforcement only extends to the fold line, not beyond
3. Stiffer fabric. This is a pretty linen canvas (or so I conclude) remnant from Laura Ashley. Good fabric for the purpose.

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This folds nicely more easily too, which pleases me. If I make the handles a cm shorter each side, the folding will work even better. Hurrah, I have a workable pattern and several bags to be going on with.

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Prosaic Project

This isn’t fascinating but I’m still pleased to have done it. I’ve been meaning to replace my collection of synthetic shopping bags with cotton or linen ones. This is a good start. I like the shape of the supermarket issued ones, so I copied the measurements. Mine are floppier which might be a bit irritating in use. They sure feel nicer to the fingers though. The fabric is a brushed, dense cotton twill suiting left over from a pair of trousers.

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They look neater folded flat. I doubt this will happen often though. They may never look this neat again.

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I’m a little disappointed that I miss positioned one of the handles. Oh well.

These are done with my first thought on construction. Front/base/back is all one piece for strength. There is an extra layer in the base for reinforcing. The sides are separate pieces. I have a few other different thoughts and plans to make a few more. Patterning and/or construction decisions might well be influenced by the shape of the fabric pieces.

Of course I had to put labels on.

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Gold Waistcoat

I’ve been meaning to make a waistcoat for a while. My old ones don’t fit (sadness). There was a party last night that made a good excuse. I took the fitted bodice pattern from this dress, converted it to princess seams, added length and flare below the waist. Then pin fitted it and proceeded with little more review so I could have one made in time. It has come out a bit too roomy, but it’s wearable. I’ll have a another look at it when I have enough brain to possess the needed critical eye.

The plaid shirt is not the best pairing, but it was hanging to hand. The gold fabric was left over from a waistcoat I made maybe 20yrs ago. Old cabbage! It’s a loose woven cotton with a hand loomed look and lurex thread through it.

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The back and lining is fine linen and has a simple tie belt set into a pair of tucks.

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Here  it is on. I wanted this one as a comfy corset alternative, so I do need to take it some I suppose.

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With the rest of the ensemble. I adore my top hat, any excuse to wear it! The tail coat is well worn but not by me. I bought it cheaply in NZ over 2yrs ago. This is it’s first wearing since. The poor thing needs a bunch of mending. I really must do that and have it cleaned so it can be safely put away for next time. It’ll look tattier with the moth holes mended, but still wearable, at least as fancy dress.

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Possibly the best thing about this project…. it’s the first thing I’ve sewn on the 1230 after it came home from it’s service. She has behaved so far. Fingers very crossed for that to continue as long as possible. Completely ridiculous though if it turns out that I put myself through over six weeks of drama and distress for a machine that just needed a service.

Shirt for a New Blog Year

I knew I’d started Makkinschtuff about a year ago but I wasn’t sure quite when. Turns out that WordPress tells you, and the answer was yesterday. 113 posts, 2824 views in my first year here. So I’ve been posting about every 3 days on average. Not bad. I never promised or intended to post daily.

Today then is a new blog year. To celebrate, or just because this is where I’m at, I’ll show you the shirt I’ve just made on the new/old Bernina 830.

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The machine came home on Tuesday, running smooth and smelling of machine oil. I had therefore to take her for a spin. This length of fine cotton plaid shirting was washed, pressed and hanging in the corridor waiting. I bought it in a Christchurch opshop back in early February. Now it’s a shirt.

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I thought the neck frill would soften the plaid and the plaid would soften the costumey effect of the frill. I’ll see how I feel about it in the wearing. Instead of a collar stand, the frill is sewn straight onto the shirt neckline and bound with self bias.

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The cuff fullness is gathered to echo the neck frill. Buttons are of course shell, shiny caramel coloured this time to pick up the caramel stripe.

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The machine behaved beautifully. Maybe it was running even better by the end of the shirt? Maybe I was just getting used to it. I like the sound of it better than my 1230 but I sure miss the stepping motor. I’ll be picking up the 1230 later today after nothing more than a thorough service.  I wonder how she will behave? I suspect some of the problems might recur, we will see.

 

Chocolate Velvet Jacket

I’ve been wanting a new evening jacket and a big special birthday party gave me a good excuse to make one. I had a piece of chocolate brown silk velvet in stash that I kept coming back to. It’s sombre but luscious. There was only 2 metres. Not enough for my first design thought that involved a handkerchief type hem. A redesigned version was manageable though. I figured that I needed to work with an existing pattern to get it done in time. So this is my much used shirt pattern, cut short at waist level, with a few pleats for shaping and an eight gore peplum with a high low hem.

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I’m pretty pleased with it. It comes out with a bit of an early 20thC feel. Here are a couple more views:

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The velvet behaved itself better than I expected and consented to be sewn by machine as long as the seam was pile to pile. Any joins that were pile to flat fabric were sewn by hand. The lining is ultra slippery rayon satin. Gorgeous cloth to feel, really frustrating to work with. It wouldn’t stay on the ironing board, on my lap, on the sewing table. It just slithered off! Lovely to wear though now it’s trapped inside the jacket.

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The buttons are shell again but with a difference. Cowrie shell this time, which have a bit of a leopard print look. They also tie in the white dress I was planning to wear on the night. The button loops are done in a lovely vintage silk twist that a friend found a few years back.

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Here is a pic of it on. Of course there are a few mistakes and things I might do differently. Never mind, it’s wearable and rather lovely anyway.

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