Sew Colette: A finished Peony

Peony looks like such an easy dress to sew, doesn’t it?

Pattern: Colette Patterns‘ Peony
Time taken: About a month, give or take
Fabric: Dyed cotton fabric plus some scraps for the facings
Details: Velvet ricrac

As other sewists taking part in this round of Sew Colette have found, Peony is not as easy as it seems. Despite making a muslin and sewing with extra-large seam allowances, I’ve ended up with a bodice which isn’t as comfortable as I’d like it yet has some unfortunate sagging around the neckline. So, while I can barely lift my arms (see below), the top part still looks as though it’s just a bit too big.

Hence I found myself nervously tugging at the bodice as I sweated profusely in the Scott Room at the Guardian’s offices – and it wasn’t just because I was up for an award. (I’d also been stuck on the Tube for half an hour AND had to run from work to catch my train… sweaty is probably an understatement)

But it’s funny how you can forget absolutely all of this when Charlie Stayt off of BBC Breakfast announces you as the Guardian’s Digital Student Journalist of the Year. It’s been a bit more than a week now, but I still can’t quite believe it happened!

I swear, the almighty roar my buddy Tom (pictured above) gave when the winner was announced is STILL ringing in my ear. Other souvniers include a lovely sign Tom acquired, which he managed to lug into the bar for the after party before he handed it to me to make its way back to Guildford. I got some funny looks on the last train home from those not snoozin’ from Thursday night debauchery.

All said, it’s hard to write off a dress with such obvious problems when it has that kind of memory AS WELL AS velvet ric rac attached to it. Sweatiness be damned!

On the sewing front, I really would like to get these terrible fitting issues sorted. Inspired by Sarah’s Peony, I was rather hoping to make a green lace version in time for Christmas. Does anyone have any suggestions what I could do to improve the fit?

Those of you who have entered the giveaway… the winners will be announced later this week! I still need to get one part of the package, so keep your eyes peeled for that…

Oh, and on a final note. THANK YOU for being lovely readers. I wouldn’t have won this award without you!

Sew Colette: Muslin or no muslin?

sew colette meringue sewalong

In the Sew Colette sewalong organised by Sarah and Erin, this week was designated Meringue muslin week.

As you know, my week has most certainly not been a sewing week! With an exam on public administration on Monday and an essay on phone hacking due on Thursday, it was all journo hands on deck, which, as I’ve mentioned before, doesn’t tend to leave a lot of time for sewing!

The Flickr group is already filling up with bloggers’ renditions of the a-line skirt, but I’ve decided to skip the muslin part of the project. Not exactly in-keeping with my less quantity more quality sewing ideal for 2012!

After all, winging it and skipping the muslin stage is probably one of my worst sewing habits! There are a couple of reasons for this:

  • Laziness: One of those fast fashion habits I’m afraid! When I have made muslins, I’ve rushed through the process without really taking the time to check fit and wearability.
  • Cost: While muslins tend to be made from easily-afforded cheap fabrics, my fabric budget isn’t exactly significant while I’m still training as a journalist.
  • Waste: If I buy fabric, I want to use it and wear it. Where’s the sense in my taking a pledge against buying unnecessary garments from the high-street when I’m sewing garments which gather dust after I’m done adjusting the fit?

A popular tactic in the sewing blogosphere is to make a wearable muslin. The fabric may be cheaper than what you’ve bought for the garment proper, but it’s still a garment you would wear. Take Melizza for example, who has made a wearable muslin to see how the scallops would look in a lightweight cotton.

Photo by Martha Moreno

Before Christmas, I drafted up my own pencil skirt pattern. In this case, a muslin was a must because it’s such a closely fitted garment which had been drafted up based on my measurements in the summer – even a minute change in measurements is going to affect the fit on a garment as form fitting as this one.

The result is a pencil skirt I’m still going to wear (because I’m stubborn!) but with clear indications of fit issues. Take the wrinkles across the front and on the zipper – this means I need to add a bit more width to this garment.

Photo by Martha Moreno

I made this in a cheap-as-chips polycotton I had lying around in my stash – imagine if I’d made it with something a bit more expensive? Mind you, the fabric wrinkles very, very easily – does anyone know if the wrinkling would be less obvious in another fabric?

I’ve popped more photos of the skirt up on my Flickr page if you want to take a further look! 

The Meringue skirt is less formfitting than my pencil skirt, so I should be OK if I make sure to use a generous seam allowance in case any adjustment is required! I was gong to draft a waistband according to the Coletterie’s helpful tutorial, but I’m not sure if this would be sensible when I’m not making a muslin.

Any readers taking part in the sewalong? I can’t wait to see everyone’s finished garments! I have no internet at my new house which has made catching up with blog reading a bit more difficult!

Chunky Knitted Snood Action

Finished Purple Knitted Snood

I did it! Say hello to my first ever knitted creation! After much unravelling, swearing at the knitting needles and wrestling the yarn from the cat (true story), it’s DONE.

It wouldn’t be a first-ever knitting project if it didn’t have its flaws mind you. The yarn I bought specifically said it was enough for a chunky snood, so I just kept knitting until I ran out of wool and sewed a seam at the back.

Cheeeeeeeeeeeeese

The only problem is, it’s a bit of an awkward length – not quite cosying up to my neck like Karen’s but also not nearly long enough to wrap around twice as hoped. Oops! Never mind though – at least this way I can layer it up with an extra snood or a scarf if it’s bitterly cold.

That’s my last project of 2011 right there! It’s hardly inspirational like the ones a few of you have been sending me, but I’m happy enough. New skills ahoy!

Tomorrow I’ll be posting up the inspirational makes I’ve been sent – there’s still a bit of time left for you to send a couple in, so get to it!

Disaster!

As I mentioned in my previous post, I managed to get the graduation ball dress finished on time, meaning I had a fabulous dress to wear to the do. Now, I had noticed a fair bit of spillage on the dress, which was a shame as I’d originally planned to wear it to a wedding the following Saturday, but figured it would come off in the wash. However, I did notice a bit of discolouration on the dress as well. I somewhat foolishly assumed it would come off in the wash, despite the gnawing feeling this would not be the case.

After having washed it, I’ve come to the horrifying realisation that something may well have bleached the fabric, and there are tonnes of very noticeable splashes of pink/purple all over the dress. As you can imagine, I’m less than pleased. Sure, I could always remake the dress in another fabric, but I really don’t have the funds to accommodate that, so I’m in somewhat of a pickle.

I have no idea what could have caused this – the fabric is a combed cotton I’d pre-washed before sewing the dress. It looks an awful lot like bleach to me. A possible solution could be to just throw caution to the wind and get the entire thing bleach-splashed, though I worry about how that would look. Alternatively, I could potentially dye the entire thing with a fabric dye, but I don’t know if that would evenly balance out the colour of the dress.

Has anyone ever had this problem before? Any thoughts you guys have would be greatly appreciated!