The fabric tornado, and What’s the deal with all the teal part 1

Wow time really does fly when you have a baby in your mist. I can not believe it has been since early August when i last put up a post, ooops. Never fear, I think I will just squeeze this post in before the end of September and stick to my goal of one a month!

So, what have I been sewing since my last post? I finished The Husband’s bag (blog post on that soon), had an epic fabric tidy up, and sewed teal with the Wellington Sewing Bloggers Network…. The fabric tidy up was a dire necessity as this was proving hard to navigate while sewing:

The fabric tornado: the closed cupboard was full of unsorted fabric too

The fabric tornado: the closed cupboard was full of unsorted fabric too

Sofa? What sofa?

Sofa? What sofa?

And it has now become this:

Beauty of organisation! On the left side from top to bottom we have: sewing machine and overlocker storage, printer, a box for 'current' projects alongside my 'sewing machine toolbox', then a shelf of stretch knits and other fabrics with any stretch, above that cottons, and above that heavy weight fabrics. On the right we have just the top two shelves for sewing stuff...

Beauty of organisation!

On the left side from top to bottom we have: sewing machine and overlocker storage, printer, a box for ‘current’ projects alongside my ‘sewing machine toolbox’, then a shelf of stretch knits and other fabrics with any stretch, above that cottons, and above that heavy weight fabrics.

Close up of left hand side

Close up of left hand side with the largest lengths of fabric neatly folded (there’s fabric behind the boxes)

On the right we have just the two shelves for sewing stuff…

Right hand side.....

Right hand side…..

Which has boxes grouping together all my enclosures (zips, steam a seam, buttons etc), a box for things like lace, binding, ribbon and elastic, and then a box for applique, patches, belt fastenings etc etc. The big blue boxes then contain 1) interfacing & muslin, 2) fabric for kids clothes, 3) craft cotton, 4) laces, silks and satins, and 5) a box of all the crazy fabric for fancy dress and any party outfits in The Little Lady’s future…..

Yay! I feel so much more inspired to sew in the office sewing room now 🙂 I didn’t send as much fabric in to the wellington sewing community as I would have liked, but I had a good review of my fabric and now have lots of ideas for clothes to make, including skirts, shorts and tops….

So, what about that teal fabric? It has been the focus of my sewing over the last few months – the lovely ladies of the Wellington Sewing Bloggers Network have had this September challenge lined up since early 2013. The long and the short of it is: all challenge peeps bought the same silk/cotton teal fabric from Global Fabrics (sorry I can’t give it it’s new name, I get it confused with Fabric Warehouse when I do that!), and we all sew a garment in this fabric and then pose for “the ultimate matchy-matchy photo”!

pretty teal!

pretty teal!

Now I love teal, just love it – I made my wedding dress out of a beautiful multi-layered satin and crushed chiffon teal (definitely will blog about that some time!). So when I saw this challenge I jumped at the chance to get my hands on some teal… But what to sew with it? Initially, when I joined this challenge, Global had run out of this fabric and so I had this crazy awesome idea to use other people’s scraps to make a multi-pannelled self drafted top. I love this idea. However, Global got some more fabric in in August so I jumped at the chance to get some ‘virgin’ fabric and choose a pattern. I’ll definitely do the multi-pannelled top soon — but for now I chose to sew Colette’s Hawthorn:

I love pattern deliveries :)

I love pattern deliveries 🙂

I really like the simplicity of this pattern, and I find tops with a peplum (that’s the circle type bottom from the waist down peeps) are really flattering on me.  I have a major shortage of shirts and blouses due to my shape not being suited to the high street offerings (that’s why i got in to sewing!), so I chose the blouse version with short sleeves…

As this design only has one set of darts at the waist for the front of the bodice, I knew I would have to do a full bust alteration and most likely add a side dart – but I had NO idea I would have to make the trillion alterations I would have to do to get it to fit…. I ended up making two muslins… baha… I will now explain these corrections via photos – but I started to loose the will to live and stopped taking photos after a while!!

First I cut it out in a thin interfacing fabric that I use as a tracing 'paper' and tried it on

First I cut it out in a thin interfacing fabric that I use as a tracing ‘paper’ and tried it on

From that I lowered the bust point

From that I lowered the bust point

From that I did a FBA which added a side dart, widened the waist dart and added length to the front, I then added a bit at the side seam and centre front (the latter of which I shouldn't have done - it messed with the neckline)

From that I did an FBA which added a side dart, widened the waist dart and added length to the front, I then added a bit at the side seam and centre front (the latter of which I shouldn’t have done – it messed with the neckline). Colette explain one way to do a FBA – my way is a bit different, I’ll explain in a future post!

From this i made the first muslin

From this i made the first muslin

The first muslin - i used a zip down the front so i could quickly take it off to make small adjustments to the darts etc

The first muslin – i used a zip down the front so i could quickly take it off to make small adjustments to the darts etc

the back of the first muslin - had to make some changes to these darts

the back of the first muslin – had to make some changes to these darts

I also did a ‘narrow shoulder adjustment‘ to this version of the muslin, and realised I needed to do something about the length of the pattern between the bust point and the shoulders. At first I thought about taking height off the shoulders, but that messed with the shape of the shoulders and neck too much. So instead I explored the interweb and decided to shorten the pattern along the line between the bottom of the two arm scyes – i.e. above the bust. This meant I had to redraw the neckline (and later the collar pieces and the facing), but it was the best way to remove length above the bust without messing up the arm holes and shoulders too much… I took out 2 inches in length at the front (!!!) and 1 inch in the back — I wonder is this because I lowered the bust point too much in the first step??? Who knows! I was getting pretty darn confused!

In this update, the shortening line can be seen above the bust, as well as the narrow shoulder adjustment - i also messed around with the darts more.....

In this update, the shortening line can be seen above the bust, as well as the narrow shoulder adjustment – i also messed around with the darts more…..

But there was a bit of a change to the armhole, so I had to make corresponding changes to the sleeve

sleeve adjustment through tucks in the pattern for the 'shorter' armhole

sleeve adjustment through tucks in the pattern for the ‘shorter’ armhole

I decided i should make a second muslin to make sure that the shortening hadn’t messed with the entire pattern

muslin number 2

muslin number 2

which needed changes made to the armhole as it was too tight when the sleeve was put on — with some tips from Caroline at the Fabric Hoarders meetup we decided we needed to make the arm hole bigger and add that difference to the sleeve itself

new arm hole in red -- the smaller version would be ideal for a sleeveless or capped sleeve garment, but needs to be bigger for sleeves so i can raise my arms!

new arm hole in red — the smaller version would be ideal for a sleeveless or capped sleeve garment, but needs to be bigger for sleeves so i can raise my arms!

Around this point I was finally happy with the muslin and ready to cut into the gorgeous teal…. Alas i stopped taking photos – doh!!! I’d also used up nearly all my sewing time before the challenge meetup on 22nd Sept, so I was madly cutting and sewing to get the garment finished (including a rapid basting of sleeves just 30 minutes before heading out) and photos didn’t even enter my mind. Unfortunately i didn’t complete the buttonholes, buttons or the hem — hence why this is part 1 of the ‘what’s the deal with all the teal’ blog! I’m hoping to get them done over the next week so I can take some decent photos of the top and blog a bit about the construction 🙂

In the mean time, here’s a sneak peak of the back of our teal garments:

539754_10151924392905817_3206028_n

it was a bit windy! Thank you to Sarah Wheaton for the awesome photos on the day!!

From left to right we have Juliet, Nikki, Holly, Me, Joy and Jo. More WSBN ladies have sewn the teal too, but they couldn’t make the day – so we will have a second photo another day!!

What have i taken away from this crazy alteration experience? that I may ditch patterns for now (as much as I love them), update my block/sloper from 2009 (which I drafted in an awesome pattern drafting class), and use that as a base from which I adjust patterns. My Reader’s Digest book of sewing has a nice little description of this process here:

from the Reader's Digest book of sewing

from the Reader’s Digest book of sewing

I’m also planning to use patterns as inspiration for self-drafts from my block. I mean really why go through all this alteration for a relatively simple blouse, when I could have drawn it up from scratch from my block in a tenth of the time??  I have learnt my lesson!!!  What have you guys learnt from an epic sewing misadventure??

PS: does anyone know how to easily rotate photos in wordpress??!!! sorry if your neck is a bit crooked!

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Categories: Uncategorized | 3 Comments

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3 thoughts on “The fabric tornado, and What’s the deal with all the teal part 1

  1. Truly an awesome,epic pattern journey. I could learn a lot from your fitting skills I reckon 🙂 looking forward to part 2!

  2. Oh my that was like drafting a whole new pattern – but such a really nice top in the end. Your epic tidy-up is super impressive!

  3. Pingback: DRAFT FO: green dress | acharmofmagpies

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