Wednesday, 31 August 2016

Pocketed Charleston Dress

I finally finished the Charleston dress that I cut out almost 3 months ago (give or take, I don't actually remember). When I bought this material originally, it was for a maxi skirt. Since then, I have lost interest in maxi skirts for a variety of reasons (mostly when I walked around with them I hiked them up anyway because I take really long strides and get warm quickly), and so I repurposed the fabric into iteration 2 of the Charleston dress. I wanted to try a version with the sleeved bodice and the A-line skirt with pockets, and although this fabric was a little flimsy for that, I'm happy with the result.

I didn't bother pattern matching, as you can see, and it has yet to bother me. The neckband is the best one that I have attached yet, but we're still not best friends. Maybe the next one will be perfect, or maybe we will just stay frenemies. Either way, I don't have any glaring mistakes on this one! (I think, please don't burst my bubble) 

The goal for this dress was a work appropriate dress with pockets, and to finally get a neckband right. Mission: Accomplished! Once I finished it, I wore it for 4 out of the next 6 days, in part because I like it and in part because I just got rid of most of my other dresses in the great purge of 2016. Thank you to my lovely sister for taking these pictures, and to my lovely dad for letting us borrow his phone because it had the best camera, and no thank you to Ally for leaving me to go to the Czech Republic for a few weeks. 


Pattern: Charleston Dress from Hey June
Material: From my stash, originally intended for a maxi skirt, a jersey knit of some sort
Modifications: Added 2 inches to the body, 3 inches to the skirt, increased the size of the armsythes to accommodate my shoulders properly, and graded in at the waist. Next time I will add another inch to the body, the waist hits a little higher than I would like.
Learning: I finally got the neckband right! I just didn't bother pinning it before sewing, and stretched it pretty evenly around as I sewed so that it lay flat. This was my first time adding sleeves to a garment, and it was easier than I thought it would be. Basting everything together to check fit and keep things in place was one of my best discoveries ever, it might take some extra time up front but is totally worth it.

Next up: Chino pants! This new discovery of sewing pants that fit me is life-changing, and I want to make more.

Friday, 5 August 2016

Slim Fit Pants

As soon as I got the Frida shorts done, I knew I wanted to make them into pants as well. Unsurprisingly, Christina thought the same, so when she put out a tester call for a pants version of the Frida shorts, I signed up right away. Sure enough, I love the pants too! I cannot stress enough how excited I am to have a pair of pants that are long enough and fit both my waist and my legs.

To give you an idea of how hard it is for me to find pants, I will list some of the typical problems I have when shopping for pants in stores:
  1. They fit my legs alright, but are too large in the waist
  2. They almost fit my waist, but are too tight in the legs
  3. They are the right size for my waist, but I can't even pull them up past my thighs
  4. They are too short (not too much of an issue right now because cropped pants are in style)
  5. They fit my thighs but are too tight at my calves
As you can see, the likelihood of pants that I try on fitting in one of those categories is much higher than them fitting my body. My solution for the most part has been to get pants that are too big in the waist but fit half decently everywhere else and just wear a belt. This causes annoying bunching around the waist that I have to try and re-adjust regularly, and my belt usually ends up over the top of my waistband just sitting on my skin or whatever shirt I have tucked in.

Now I have a new solution: Sew my own pants! This was really one of my big goals when I started sewing, and I am really excited that I already have a pair of pants that fit me and I love. The fabric exceeded all my expectation, it has the perfect amount of stretch and weight, the colour is lovely and it is super soft on the inside. The waistband is the best one I've made yet, although there is still a little bit of gaping at the back that I am hoping to fix for the next pair that I sew (hopefully in black, but maybe in a fun pattern).

The shirt is the sleeveless small scoop version of the Wardrobe By Me Wardrobe Builder Tee. I need to learn how to properly fit a bodice - the armholes are a little too tight and there is some weird pulling, so I will do some research because I still dream of perfectly fitting tops.

Material: More of the free fabric from our local sewing shop that I used for my first pair of Frida Shorts, with leftover heart material from my Valentine's Day dress
Modifications: I grade out the hips 2 sizes, the thighs another size, and added 3 inches in length. So, my sizes were: size 8 waist, size 12 hips, size 14 thighs, and I used size 12 pattern pieces for the pockets. 
Learning: I learned how to fit pants....kind of. I just kept basting them and trying them on until they fit. I also learned why it's so hard to buy pants: I am actually 4 different sizes. The rest I learned when I made the Frida shorts.
Overall Impression: I love these pants, surprise surprise. I will know more this winter when I will probably wear them 3 days a week, but they are nice and warm (not ideal for summer outside, but perfect for my freezing cold air-conditioned office) and most importantly, THEY FIT!

Material: A jersey picked out at Fabricville
Modifications: None - I cut a straight size 8. I think I will size up next time as well as increase the armhole size
Learning: Have I complained about neckbands yet? I picked this one out and resewed it, but I still hate them.
Overall Impression: I can't wait to try this again with some modifications, the pattern is a quick sew and comes together very nicely. Overall, a great pattern to sew up tons of variations of shirts.

The last two pictures are me demonstrating that I have a lot of freedom of movement in them.