a mini (skirt) success!

My dressmaking course requires lots of samples. To be frank, I find it boring to sew things just for a sample book, which I doubt I’ll look at too much in the future (not being flippant, based on experience of last years course where I had to also create a sample book).

So, how to make things more interesting? I’ve decided to approach each sample artistically. What else could it be? so hem finishes have become a flower with many petals (of hems) and I’ve made a picture frame of seam finishes etc.

On to today’s project. Pleats and tucks. With the added twist of using them in the pattern block I have drafted for myself. Oh great. The news was not met by a cheer of joy by the class to say the least. I decided to make it less painful and do both in one go.

Half way through I thought, why not finish the thing by adding a waist band to the skirt top I was making, and a band of contrast fabric to the hem to make it (half) decent. This is not something I am ever going to wear, I hasten to add. It would be a bit too short! but it is my first ever pattern where I have done all the drafting work. Its certainly not perfect – but its something I am proud of. First of all, the all important pattern pieces. Traced off my master copy and “tweaked”.

 

front pattern piece, showing pleat extension (1cm spacing)

front pattern piece, showing pleat extension (1cm spacing)

pattern pieces for contrast side pleats. Sew a standard seam allowance, then treat as normal pleat

pattern pieces for contrast side pleats. Sew a standard seam allowance, then treat as normal pleat

 

and finally, the actual skirt (all made out of scraps!). No zip added (left a side opening) as this is just a sample and I really cant muster up the energy for a zip.

 

front

front

 

back

back

close up of pleats, all done in black thread so you can see where I've sewn

close up of pleats, all done in black thread so you can see where I’ve sewn

 

sew what now? sew much to do!

will I see light at the end of tunnel?

will I see light at the end of tunnel?

The end of my course is in July. So only a few months left now before everything has to be handed in and finished. A brief summary is in order for those who are interested in my progress (or lack of it) whilst picking (and unpicking) my way through the syllabus.

So, to start – the good news. I have a dress design, I have a fabric, I have made a good start on my folder. I have finished quite a few of the samples needed. I feel like I understand a lot more about what I am doing then last year (thank goodness). Pattern drafting is no longer a complete mystery, though still rather daunting.

I now have a personally drafted for me bodice (close fitting and loose fitting), sleeve, and skirt. They all fit.

 

But there is no avoiding the fact, there is still a LOT to do. In no particular order I have to:

 

  • start/complete about half a dozen samples.
  • complete draping on the stand of a toile, then transfer on to 2D (aka paper)
  • make a toile of my dress design
  • make the actual dress
  • research two designers (as if the six from last year was not enough! save me……)
  • work out a pattern envelope (like for a commercial dressmaking pattern) for my dress design (e.g. pattern layout etc)
  • do the same for all of the pattern drafting unit pieces I have made
  • if I get a chance, draft a loose fitting sleeve
  • get my (scribbled on various loose bits of paper) notes in to some kind of order
  • work out how to display/write about the rest of my portfolio as Lady Cynthia – all in character
  • press all of the above tasks which require fabric – and wont that be fun
  • somehow keep my sanity throughout the entire experience….

OK, that will do for now. Dont want to scare myself too much.

getting in to the flow (of fabric)

So, after the important question of design, next comes the almost equally important question of fabric. This next step will either make my journey towards the end of my course much easier, or make it ten times harder. Given that I have a propensity towards making life more “interesting” for myself, guess which I am hoping for…

Lets start with the good news. My eye fell on the interesting fabric description tag at my local fabric shop. Union fabric. Hmmm, no flag in sight, what does this mean? one dictionary definition later the answer is as follows. The warp is made from one fibre, and weft from another. In this case, linen (20%) and cotton (80%). How interesting. Several attractive other features unveil themselves. Cheap (under £5 a meter!), nice finish, lots of body and its white, so I can dye it any colour I want.

The big question is of course, does it actually live up to expectations. Fortunately, for this price I can afford to splash out on a sample to play with – it can always be used for something else if it doesn’t work out. Without further introduction, here are my attempts at displaying the draping qualities of this fabric – I think it will hold the pleats/tucks and skirt quite well, feel free to give your opinion!

(disclaimer, I dont have a photographer to hand, so these are taken by my computer, alas its a tad grainy)

holds the fold well

holds the fold well

yes, those are clothes pegs. The easiest things to hand that would hold the fabric (its heavy, so not sure a few pins would do the trick)

yes, those are clothes pegs. The easiest things to hand that would hold the fabric (its heavy, so not sure a few pins would do the trick)

draped

draped

a dress to impress?

I do believe after much searching I may at last have found a dress which is a starting point to design a dress for my dressmaking course. The challenge was to find something both interesting in design, and doable to actually draft and make. I also (to add to the challenge) want something that I can (when I want) wear to work so I can get some more use out of it.

So, here is the inspiration dress:

 

 

and here is my initial musings about interpreting it:

 

with ample help from my french curve ruler!

with ample help from my french curve ruler!

 

knackered knicker replacement crusade

I’ll be honest, my last batch of RTW underwear (retail wear, aka shop bought) are starting to bite the dust. It’s occurred to me they hardly compliment the wardrobe I am slowly sewing together. So I thought I should have some new (NOT black!) underwear to match.  Welcome to Kwiksew 3881, version C. Modified by reducing the elastic for the back waist by an inch, adding an extra cm to the waist height and using slightly narrower elastic than recommended.

What better way to create the colour/fabric thickness/fit of my choice than to make my own? here follows the first of hopefully many. I’d like to make enough to do away with the shop bought multi pack. In case you are think I am not yet showing enough dedication, fear not, I plan to also expand (literally) in to more comfortable summer wear. French knickers in cotton lawn (with scalloped selvage finish) are to follow). I have gone as far as buying TWO new patterns to enable me to use woven fabrics.

This is also an attempt to use up more left over fabric. So far its not working too well. I’ve bought another 80cm more of fabric. Still, this is less than my usual new fabric purchase!

 

front

front

back

back

 

the actual purple colour, close up

the actual purple colour, close up

 

on edge, with a beady eye

What can I say, beads have not stolen my heart. More like I count them slowly as they grudgingly build in to a bigger mass. I like the bigger ones which can be made in to pretty necklaces.

Anyway, a final sample was in order to complete the beading portion of my sample work. How to create something linked to Dior. To be honest, I havent actually seen any edge worked beading. His skirts were often so long it would have been entirely lost in all that fabric.

I’ve latched on to a recent picture showing Christian Dior buttons with a CD monogram. So, without further ado here is my “D” decorated with beads. Hopefully the grade for it will be higher!

P1040124