Monday, 30 April 2012

Summer Dress from Pattern Runway

First garment from my Spring & Summer 2012 palette - check. Simple summer dress from Pattern Runway.

Garment info:
Fabric: 100% cotton, Lecien Spicy Scrap Palette fabric collection. I bought 4m ages ago from Miss Matatabi on Etsy for something like $16/m. For this dress I used 1.6m (exactly as the instruction suggested).
Time spent: 3 hours without muslin + 1.5 for the wearable muslin.
Notions: 1 button covered with black silk, recycled from an old skirt.
Sizing: XS for the bodice and S for the top. But now  when I look at my bum in the pictures, maybe I should've made in M?

The instructions that go together with the pattern are super easy to follow. But if you feel lost, Pattern Runway posted a detailed tutorial with photos on their blog.

I wanted to have this dress ASAP! Moving apartment took us ages and I was not able to sew for several weeks! Therefore, I overlocked all of the edges and used handwork only to catchstitch the armhole and neck facing to the dress.

I would recommend this pattern to everybody: from beginners to experienced sewers. You can do so much with it - from using different fabrics to
tweaking the pattern itself. I can see this dress with a lower neckline in sheer fabric. Another one could be drafted as one piece in a knit fabric. I also plan to make several tops playing with the sleeves length. Unlimited choice!!!!

Lizz from A Good Wardrobe created two variations of the same pattern in the past. Have a look here and here. I particularly like her Art Nouveau dress with a navy bow. It suits her beautifully, don't you think?

This fabric is so pretty and colorful! It's so me! (When I show you my new sewing room you'll understand why ;)) Besides, I'm glad I got 4m of it, just not sure what I'll use it for next. Any ideas? Last, but not least, I have a garment that matches my cute flowery shoes :) I know, it's stupid to admit, but I bought these shoes because I loved them and not because they matched anything in my wardrobe. Finally!!! The dress + the shoes = Spring & Summer palette + happy me!!!

All in all, I can feel that this dress will become one of my favorites. My only minor regret is that fabric is not as sheer and draped as I'd like it to be. The dress ended up being a little bit stiff. I hope that after several washes the structure will change.  

Tuesday, 24 April 2012

Nice surprises

Waiting for the spring to come any day soon, I started working on the summer short sleeved dress from Pattern Runway.  Excited by the patterns, I wanted to cut the fabric without preparing the muslin. But the voice of reason told me "Cut the muslin!" Few weeks ago when I was reading a discussion on Tilly's blog about the cost of sewing. Somebody suggested to use old sheets/curtains instead of muslin to break the cost of the garment down. Another person mentioned using cheap fashion fabric in case the muslin garments fits from the first attempt.  I decided to adapt the tip and used cheap batik as a muslin.

The photos were taken late in the evening, sorry for the bad lighting.

Bodice back detail

At the end, the voice of reason was right: the bodice of the muslin turned out to be a cute summer top! This batik is so light! Will be perfect for the hot and humid Tokyo summer.

Overall I spent about 1.5 hours on muslin. I ended up cutting XS size for the bodice and S size for the skirt. The only change made to the pattern was the lengthening of the bodice by 7cm.
In couple of days I'll show you the finished dress which is a part of my Spring/Summer palette challenge.

Saturday, 21 April 2012

Threads April/May issue

We have moved! Yay! But my sewing room is still not ready. This means one more week of daydreaming and organizing my sewing projects for 2012. After creating Spring&Summer 2012 palette I started thinking about the techniques I'd be using for the garments from the challenge. One of the knowledge sources, Threads Magazine, turned out to be a great help.

2 years subscription was only $66.95, delivery fees included. I think it's really cheap for a great quality magazine. Quick preview of April/May issued.

I loved the section about tailoring. Many interesting insights into jacket construction
My absolutely favorite is this part!!!! Claire Shaeffer shares 3 different methods bound buttonholes

Pattern review with some cute spring/supper ideas
This year I wanted to try create my own prints. The article came in timely

Three ways to home-made pleats! Can't wait to try.
Do you also read Threads Magazine? Online or off-line version, or both? Do you like it?

Wednesday, 11 April 2012

Spring & Summer 2012 palette

While there are still 4 days before we move to the new apartment and our current apartment is full of boxes, I cannot sew but I can dream and start developping my Spring & Summer palette. If you don't know what is it, visit or click the little pin on the right for more details.

Thursday, 5 April 2012

Moving with the new body

Finally! We are moving to a big(ger) apartment! I can't tell you how happy and relieved I am. For the last 2 years my tiny 40m2 apartment was a prison for me. Some of you might laugh, but in fact 40m2 is a pretty small place for 2 adults, 2 sewing machines and 1 overlock. 

To give you an idea what the sewing has been to me in the past, here is our living room which was also a sewing room, laundry room (you can't actually see the laundry, it's behind the sewing machine on the left), study and dining room. 

Trying to cut silk organza for my skirt. 
Sewing in such conditions has been quite a challenge. I was lucky enough to use the ESMOD classroom before or after the class and cut the fabric for my personal projects. But during holidays, which are ending this weekend, it's been a nightmare. 4-5 hours of laying out the fabric on and cutting it on the floor would give me a 5-6 days back and neck pain. "Bloody hell!"  I said few days ago, waking up with the most horrible pain. I have stopped sewing until I move to a better place. SOOOOOOOOOOOONNNNNNNN..

Crazy house!
It's all happening next weekend (in 8 days) and guess what? I am entitled to a sewing room! Just for myself and nobody else!

All excited for the new room and dreaming how to equip it, I've ordered this adjustable body form from Amazon. I think it's the best of all the adjustable forms that I could find on the internet. Many people complain that the body is pretty light (almost 5kg) and wobbly. But at the moment being mentally prepared for this, I am quite OK. When I start feeling like I am Coco Chanel, I might order the custom-made mannequin, but for the time being this perfectly matches my needs.

Do you own a similar body form? What's your experience of it?

Sunday, 1 April 2012

Joy of Minoru :)

Sunny Sunday in Shimokitazawa

It's ready! It's been ready for two weeks but the weather in Tokyo was crap. But today the sun prevailed and I had to show off my Minoru ^.^

This year the winter in Tokyo lasted forever. This yellow cotton canvas was the first fabric I saw in the store and I did not hesitate a second. It was so springy and cheerful and warm! For the lining in picked the comics' superhero cotton fabric by Kokka. I am not a comics fan at all but his particular print was so funny and matched the jacket fabric perfectly. 

Time-wise it took me 10 to 12 hours to work on Minoru. One week for muslin and fitting and 2 weeks for sewing. I have to admit I did not work consistently on it but in alternation with other non-sewing related projects

Funky comics pattern. I could not resist it.

What did I change? For my figure, this pattern did not require many major alterations. I was pleasantly surprised to see that the first muslin fitted almost perfectly, I cut it in size 4. Being tall (177cm) with long wast line I usually add 3-8cm to industrial patterns to lengthen my waist. But with pattern was heaven! 

Since I am not hourglass I shortened the bottom by 4cm from both sides. I did not sew in neither cuffs nor hood, but I added the pockets. And lastly I shortened the collar by 4cm.

When I was attaching elastic I decided to sew it directly to the jacket and not to both layers (main fabric and the lining). This change gives me more movement at the waist. In this construction I did not tuck the lining into the hem of the main fabric but let it hang freely. To hold it in place, I catstitched the lining to the front pannel  on both sides (see picture bellow).

Me being silly

Pretending to be cold

Being silly again

Yellow is a perfect color for spring

Lining from the inside

I zigzagged the lining and then catstitched it to the shell
What would I change in the future Minoru? I plan to make 2 more Minoru: one in the waterproof fabric with the hood and another one in more solid fabric for the colder weather. I would add pockets just bellow the bust-line which I find more cozy. Zipper pannel and collar would be made in contrasting fabric.