twisted jersey skirt

twisted jersey skirt

John’s camera did some really wacky blurring on this photo, but I thought it was still cool! This weekend Bergen has been host to 70 sailing ships in this years Tall Ship races, the couple thousand crew members of the ships, and about half a million in visitors. It’s been a lively weekend, to say the least! There has been concerts, beer gardens, activities and open ships to visit. We took a stroll on Saturday and enjoyed the sunshine and the crowds, and I made a skirt for the occasion. This was seriously a 30 minute project from start to finish! It might look like a dress in the picture above, which is of course because I’m wearing my nearly perfect tshirt in the same fabric. A belt in a contrasting fabric helps the illusion that the two pieces are actually a dress – double duty garments are the best!

Fabric: A rayon jersey from Stoff og Stil, in a heathered blue.
Pattern: Totally and experimentally made up.
Techniques: None. Well, if you count overlocking and twisting fabric, then sure, those.

twisted jersey skirt

That is the Russian vessel Kruzenshtern in the background, the largest participating ship. It’s crazy big! And that is me cooling my feet on a recordbreaking warm day for Bergen. It felt so nice.  So, the skirt! I’ve been wanting to make a jersey miniskirt to fill a gap in my wardrobe – I’ve realized I reach for my striped miniskirt a whole lot, and it’s the only miniskirt I have! I’ve seen these twisting jersey skirts several places, and think it’s a great way to make a jersey skirt more interesting. The tutorials I found on the webs were really confusing to me, so I sort of went with what I thought would work.

This is pretty much just a tube that has been twisted before being joined together along the short end. Let me explain: I cut a square about 1 yard x 1 yard (that is 2x the length of a well-fitting miniskirt x a little less than the hip circumference of a well-fitting miniskirt), folded in half with right sides facing in, and sewed the long edge shut. Then I turned the tube right side out, and before lining up the two short ends to overlock across the four layers, I twisted one side so the first seam intersection was nudged about 1/3 of the way down from the top. This means that the long, first seam runs from the top edge on one side of the center back seam, around the body but spiralling very gently downwards, and ending at the center back seam further down than the starting point. Yeah, so not the easiest thing to explain, but I can expand if anyone is interested! I did have to shape the back seam a bit, to hug the waist but not be super-tight across the hips.

twisted jersey skirt

Later in the evening we went back downtown to sit outside and have a beer after it had cooled down a bit. We took these pictures right about midnight actually, so that tells you 1. how warm it still was, and 2. how much light we’re still getting here at night! Love that. I did an outfit change too, so you can really see that it’s actually a skirt, haha! I call this a success, and looking forward to wearing this well into fall with tights and boots. But for now, I’ll be baring legs for as long as I can. Happy summer!

change of lace plans

Thanks for your feedback on which color lining to use with my lace skirt! It was a pretty clear vote for the purple, which is probably the color combination most in line with my style as well, so purple it is!

Lace skirt in progress, purple lining

The process and comments I got from you guys threw me for a loop though. You see, I was planning on using Sewaholic’s newest skirt pattern Rae, which is an easy panelled a-line skirt. I was a pattern-tester for this one, and after making  the test-skirt I thought it would make for a fun skirt in lace. My thought was that a fancier fabric like lace paired with an easy-going silhouette like the Rae skirt and a colorful lining, would dress it down and make for a fun but more casual skirt. I still think I’m right, but what I didn’t fully take into consideration were my own preferences for dressing! The truth is, I don’t really wear that style of skirts. I feel better in straight and fitted silhouettes, and the fuller skirts that I have are panelled and flared rather than gathered.

Anyways, I stood in front of the mirror and lamented how little the purple would be visible if it was hanging freely like I had planned. As I smoothed the fabrics taut across my legs to see how close the lining would need to be to show through, it made a pencil skirt shape, and bam! I should be making a pencil skirt instead! I might have smacked my head at this point, since duh – I wear a whole lot more pencil-shapes in skirts and dresses than I do gathered waists, and it makes sense to make what I would actually buy. So, new plan is to make a pencil skirt instead, and I am far more excited about that, so that’s a good sign.

portrait_blouse1  Ireland-dress_crop  Zemanta Related Posts Thumbnail  Zemanta Related Posts Thumbnail

Since I’ve already cut the panels, I’ll stick with those – there are six of them; four side pieces, one front, and one back. I’ll need to take the sewn skirt apart though, since I’ll be underlining with the purple polyester, and I’m thinking a wide facing on the inside to work as a waistband. I’m not putting an invisible zipper into lace fabric, so I’m thinking either a lapped zipper on one side or an exposed zipper in the back.

Anyone else change their tactics in the middle of a project? Sometimes I keep going, even though something feels a bit amiss, but it usually results in a garment I end up not wearing much!

help me choose lace skirt lining

I am making a skirt in a black lace fabric, and I want to do something fun with the lining so you can actually see the lace pattern! It won’t be underlined, just a free-hanging lining layer. If you’re thinking this is the same lace I used for the Oh lulu Grace panties I made recently, you’d be totally correct. I’m thinking a couple of Belcarra blouses might be my next project, and I’m picturing using this lace again for the raglan sleeves, with maybe some black bamboo twill for the main part. We’ll see!

Lace skirt in progressKitten… “helping”.

Anyways – I pulled out some lining options from my stash, but I’d like some help in choosing which one to use! I took some close-ups and some bigger-picture pictures to help see how it looks up close and from a bit further away. Inside, in front of a mirror, these all definitely looked a little more muted.

Purple

 Lace skirt in progress, purple lining Lace skirt in progress, purple lining

Pros: I like the color. It feels classy. Cons: Polyester staticy fabric. Very little contrast.

Pink

Lace skirt in progress, pink lining Lace skirt in progress, pink lining

Pros: Fun color! Awesome silk charmeuse (same as the lining in my Valentine’s day skirt!). Cons: A little too much contrast in brightness?

Yellow-green

Lace skirt in progress, yellow-green lining Lace skirt in progress, yellow-green lining

Pros: Another nice fabric, dyed china silk. I do love the color. Cons: So much contrast! I think that is too much for me.

Yellow-orange

Lace skirt in progress, yellow-orange lining Lace skirt in progress, yellow-orange lining

Pros: Slinky fabric, it’s remnants after my Ireland-dress. Cons: I love the color, but paired with black it just reads Halloween to me. No?

Patterned warm colors

Lace skirt in progress, patterned lining Lace skirt in progress, patterned lining

Pros: Not as… abrasive in contrast as a few of the other options. A little unexpected! Cons: It might look a little messy?

Alright! Please chime in guys! Any favorites? Any clear “no way”? I’m thinking of this as a fun and casual dressy skirt – going out to dinner and a movie, birthday parties… the like. I’m just having a hard time deciding what looks fun and casual and what looks like “too much”!

Ohhh Lulu Grace panties

Ohhh Lulu Grace panties in silk and lace.

I think the sewing world is obsessed with underwear right now! I’m not complaining, I’m loving seeing all the people who are whipping up gorgeous looking bras and underwear sets – like Tasia and her longline quilted fabric bra, Maddie’s stunningly photographed underwear set, and Novita of very purple person and this graphically cool bra in progress. Seeing all these projects has definitely piqued my interest in trying to sew bras, but for the moment I will continue with the panties part of underwear. The ultimate instant gratification project! Not to mention stashbusting project – I was really intrigued by how this pattern combines both woven and stretch fabrics, which means pretty small scraps of all kinds of fabric now has potential to become underwear!

Fabric: Remnants of sandwashed silk and black stretch lace
Pattern: Grace Panties from Ohhh Lulu, size M
Techniques: bias cut fabric, stretch fabric, FOE (fold over elastic)

Ohhh Lulu Grace panties in silk and lace.

I really like the fabric combination in this pair, with the blue silk and black lace – a touch of sexy! I cut a straight size M, and depending on the fabric selection for my next pair, I might go up in size. The woven portion in the middle gets cut on the bias, so that will always have the same amount of stretch. The black lace I used for the side panel isn’t super stretchy, so the underwear is a little snug on. If I use a stretchy jersey for the side panels next time, I think the size M will fit me just fine though. I followed the instructions exactly, which are good, with illustrative step-by-step pictures.

Ohhh Lulu Grace panties in silk and lace.

The design of this low-rise pair of underwear is really nice. I love being able to combine woven and knit fabrics, the princess-line and cut of the underwear is flattering, and the finished panties look pretty professional in finish. I think they are comfortable on, though a smidge tight because of my newbie fabric choices! The only thing I’m planning to change for my next version is to trim down the lining piece, since it ends of bunching because of “turn of cloth“. I think taking an 1/8″ or 1/4″ of each long side will fix that. I am very pleased with how these turned out! I’m planning to reorganize my stash tomorrow, and I wonder if I will come across any little gems of fabric scraps that can become more awesome homemade undies!

another perfect t-shirt

I am continuing with the knit-kick! After two t-shirts, two sweatshirts, and two pairs of underwear I am continuing with… another t-shirt.

perfect_tshirt_2 (2)

I mentioned in my first post about the perfect t-shirt quest that the original was a light grey, heathered cotton shirt from H&M. On the last trip to my local fabric store for some costume sewing supplies, I found a yard of mystery jersey that looked pretty perfect to make my replacement t-shirt out of! Again, it’s a little heavier of a jersey (and probably a poly-cotton blend) than the original, but unlike the previous shirt I made, this seems to be more cotton and less viscose. It’s not as drapey, a little more stable, and wow – so soft and comfortable.

Fabric: Mystery jersey in a heathered grey from my local fabric store.
Pattern: Self-drafted from a beloved old H&M t-shirt.
Techniques: jersey fabric, neck binding, serged seams.

I did make a couple of changes from last version, which were to reduce the width at the bottom of the sleeve by taking a wedge out, and to add a few inches of width to the bottom hem. I came across a tip to use dental floss and a zig-zag stitch to gather jersey, which sounds like a clever idea. It went ok, but I think the length that needed to be gathered is so short that the dental floss method wasn’t really necessary. This time I just handbasted to gather instead, and it worked fine. The gathers are actually the trickiest part of making this t-shirt!

perfect_tshirt_2 (4)

Other than that, quite simple and straight forward. The thing that’s taken the longest is waiting for my sewing machine to come back from boot-camp a tune-up, so I could hem the shirt! After so many knits lately, I’m switching gears and working on a plaid shirtdress, like I mentioned in the last post. It’s coming along nicely, but slowly – those stripes require some focus and attention matching up, and lets not even talk about the bias cut hem pieces. Hello interfacing!  But don’t worry, I still have some yardage left of jersey fabrics, I’m sure there will be more t-shirts soon!

plaid shirtdress in progress

plaid_shirtdress_patter+fabrics

I’ve started working on a shirtdress – the 0451/2246 Traveler dresses by Lisette. I know – that fabric does not exactly scream summer, which is finally coming here in Norway. What can I say? I was browsing Lauren of Lladybird‘s archives and it made me really want to make a plaid shirtdress! You can see on my pattern stash Pinterest board that I have a handful of shirtdress patterns; several vintage ones and this modern one. I wanted a fairly straight silhouette for the skirt, since they have done me well in the past, so Simplicity and Lisette is the pattern of choice. I’ll be using the fitted bodice of view C, the long sleeves of view A/B, and a hybrid skirt of view A but with darts to match the bodice. I wonder if the fabric is some sort of linen/poly blend, I’m not sure. It does have some puckering texture going on.

Since this is a pattern line I’ve never made anything from before, and since I wanted a fitted bodice I went ahead and made a muslin. Actually – I made two! Knowing wearing ease can be quite… ahem, excessive in the big four-patterns, I measured a well-fitting shirtdress across the bust and compared it to the pattern envelope (the bust measurement is the only listed finished garment measurement) which indicated a size 6. I sewed one up and it was completely wrong, way too tight. So this is a size 8, which is much closer to the fit I want. I took the pictures so I could record the changes I want to make, so here goes!

plaid_shirtdress_muslin (3)

Front view:
- Looking overall ok. The sleeves are too long. I’ll shorten them by 4″, so they end right under the elbow. I think I’ll taper down to size 6 right after the armpit to narrow the sleeves a bit. I also want to cut a bias piece for the cuffs for some plaid interest.
- It’s a little too long, so it ends at the waist, but bags above. I’ll take out a wedge from CF towards the side, pinching out 3/8″ or 1/2″ from the length at the side seam.
- The darts are a little high, I’ll lower them both 1/2″.
- I need an FBA. It is a little tight across the chest, but the fabric is stretchy so I’m not super worried about gaping. But I’m seeing draglines up to the mid-armhole (especially clear on the right side of the picture), so I’ll slash from that point down to the apex. I think 1/2″ at the most will do the trick, for a total extra width of 1″ across the bust.

plaid_shirtdress_muslin (6)

Back view:
- Look at all those draglines! Some of it is the length I mentioned for the front, so 1/2″ of the side seam length will be shortened in that process. It looks like I need a swayback adjustment as well, so I’ll take off another 1/2″ I think from CB.
- The wrinkles by the armhole I think is partly because it’s a little high. I’ll drop the armhole on both the bodice and the sleeve. At the same time, I want to add some width across the sleeve cap. The sleeve cap is pretty narrow, and I’ve already lowered the top to get rid of some of the height and gathers I don’t need. It still needs a little more width though.

plaid_shirtdress_muslin (1)

plaid_shirtdress_muslin (2)

Side view:
- The side view shows pretty clearly that the bust darts are too high, and that a bit more room is needed.
- Finally, the waist is a little snug, and even though I want the dress fitted, I want to be comfortable too! Since the side seams are balanced (in terms of the width of the back bodice), I’ll add the extra width to the front bodice, about 3/4″ in total. The draglines are pointing from the apex to the bottom of the side seam, but I think it would throw off the balance to add it all there, so I’ll do half and half on each bottom side of the front bodice.

plaid_shirtdress_muslin_handstitching

I know that’s a lot of changes, and usually making this many changes in one fell swoop is not the best idea. If this was a very fitted dress, like a strapless dress and in a fancy and treasured fabric, I’d probably make another muslin. But I’m not, so I won’t. All in all I’m glad that this second bodice is so much closer to functioning than the first one. Oh, and check out my neat handsewing! My sewing machine is getting a tune-up, so I basted this musling together with running stitches. It wasn’t bad! It was quicker than I thought, and a little meditative to sit with it in my lap outside in the sunshine. I’ll leave you with a picture with kitten, the photobomber. Happy weekend people!

plaid_shirtdress_muslin (5)

tiny hoodies for tiny people

Ok, maybe not tiny, but at least way smaller than what I normally make!

hoodie_blue_full1I realized after the photo-shoot-fact that there is not much to indicate scale in them! This dress form is on the small side of my size, if that is a good helps. They fit a couple of 5 year-olds!

You see, I have a pair of twin boys in my family, and for Christmas I wanted to make them something. I think it’s more fun if they can be involved themselves, so I sent them a line drawing sheet from an Ottobre design sewing magazine I have, and asked them to pick something out. They wanted hoodies, so I ordered some jersey fabrics in blue and green, and got to work!

Fabric: All from Stoff og Stil. Blue cotton isoli jersey, green cotton rough isoli jersey, grey star-printed cotton stretch jersey, blue and orange striped cotton stretch jersey. About 0.85 meters or 0.9 yards of each was enough for size 116 and 122 centilong.
Pattern: Pattern 15 (hoodie) in Ottobre design Winter 6/2012
Techniques: Jersey, fully lined, separating zipper, bound hems.

hoodie_blue_full

hoodie_green_full

Aren’t they cute? They were a lot of fun to sew, being so small that they were finished quite quickly, and looking so much like something you could actually buy. I had fun picking out and combining fabrics for these. The pattern instructions called for fake fur fabric for the lining, but I chose plain stretch jersey instead. The outside fabric is thicker, something called isoli. It’s sweatshirt-like, but for some reason the blue fabric was very loosely woven compared to the green, so I kept being afraid it was all stretching out. The green isoli was much more firm and well behaved.

hoodie_blue_hood

I also wanted to offer a review of this pattern, since it’s the first one from Ottobre I have ever tried. When I first got seriously into sewing as a 14-year old, I would scour the library for Burda-magazines and check out stacks of them at a time. The things I made didn’t come out terribly well, which was probably a combination of my skills and fabric choices, and the fact that I would add random 2″ seam allowances, but sew at 1/4″ (yeah, I know. I don’t know what possessed me to do that other than overcationness on either end. Ha!).

hoodie_blue1

Anyways! My experience sewing with this Ottobre pattern has been good. My first thought flipping through the magazine is that the designs are modern, but so very wearable. I haven’t really paid much attention to kids patterns in sewing magazines, but I think they can easily get gimmicky or costume-like. I bought this issue (#6/2012) very intentionally for the range of patterns they have, thinking that hoodies, t-shirts, coats and jeans are great staples that are fun to sew when they’re so small! Here is a pfd with the line-drawings for that issue. One thing I appreciate is that they’ve offered the same design for several age groups. In addition to the hoodies that I sewed (number 15) for a couple of 5-year olds they have another hoodie in toddler sizes that more or less looks the same. The same is true for a pair of jeans, a set of coats, and button-down shirts. I actually love this – not only is it good for the magazine being able to double-duty the instructions across different designs, but it means that I’m not as limited. The really cute coat isn’t out of bounds because the sizing stops at kid-size, but is there in a teenage-appropriate version along with details appropriate for the size and age group as well.

Two thumbs up for the designs, and the styling is great too. They are kids, they are dressed in colorful but nice looking age apporpriate clothes, and they look modern and adorable. Yey! Ok, moving on. Tracing off the patterns! The magazine had two or three sheets with patterns, meaning that the sheets are a managable size. The patterns were printed on both sides of the paper (which was a nice weight paper too, none of the crappy tissue stuff that turns into a monster after you unfold it the first time), and marked with letters A, B, C, etc. The instructions for each garment tells you which sheet to find the pattern, what color the outline of the pattern is printed in (how clever!), and a little diagram of which pieces to cut and their numbers, and how many of each piece to cut in which fabric. The pattern sheet itself has markings almost like a map – if you’re pattern is printed in orange, and you need pattern piece number 7, you look for the orange number 7 at the bottom of the pattern sheet and then move your finger upward to find the patternpieces (how clever!). They definitely have Burda beat here! Or at the very least, my memory of what Burda was like working with.

hoodie_green_pocket

hoodie_blue_pocket

As for the instructions themselves, they are fine. Some parts were a little confusing, some I doubted the outcome of (mostly unneccessarily as usual), but overall they were perfectly fine. No illustrations and pretty bare-bones instructions, but they are fine. I did tweak a couple of them to get a neater end result, mostly agressively trimming at corners and such. The pieces all lined up perfectly, and the sewing was straight forward. I sewed this all on a regular sewing machine with a jersey sewing needle, so no overlocker is necessary! That’s of course partly because it’s partly lined, so none of the seam allowances are finished except the bound edges on the pockets and hems. The instructions called for twin needle stitching for the binding on the hems, but I did zig-zag stitches instead, and I think it came out looking rather nice and sporty!

A couple of things I thought strange was the length of the zippers, which called for a length of 42 cm (16.5″) and 43 cm (16.9″) in the two sizes I made. Anyone else see something strange? Those sizes don’t exist! The hoodies of course need separating zippers, so they can’t just be shortened either. I ended up ordering a 16″ and a 17″ zipper from the shop Zipperstop on Etsy, which were great. They have a mind-blowing selection, sooo many colors, and made a custom listing for me and were very quick to respond. O I ended up having to extend the binding around the corner at the bottom hem for the portion that wasn’t covered by the zipper, since the zippers really are supposed to go all the way to the bottom.

hoodie_green_zipper

hoodie_blue_sleeve

Another oddity is the seam allowance on these patterns. Generally, hem-allowances are included, but nothing else is. I find it odd to include some seam allowances but not all. Granted, you get to add whatever seam allowance you want, and the instructions clearly tell you where to add and where it’s already included. Still, just a little strange I think.

hoodie_green_inside

This last image is my favorite – I just love the star-printed lining! I hope these jackets fit, and will be worn to shreds. That’s always what I hope for! Anyone else doing some unselfish sewing?

 

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