Tuesday, September 17, 2013

I nearly did something so stupid ....

Has anyone else ever fallen for the old trap of seeing something made up on a model and falling in love with the pattern and fabric displayed without giving any serious thought to their body shape!  

It happened to me last week when I went to a fabric store.  I don't get over to this store very often because it isn't that close to my home but when I do I always spend lots of money :-/    One of the reasons I spend so much in the store is that they make up sample garments in fabrics they have in stock.  I am such a sucker. I always fall for something they have on display when the truth of the matter is that the pattern featured is normally made in a size 12 or 14 so chances are that it isn't going to look like the sample on me.   Oh yes I have forgotten to mention that the fabric in these display garments is never cheap.

Last week I went over looking for something casual and a little cute that I could wear to work and on weekends.  On the display model was a tunic made up in a lovely grey linen with little white poka dots.  They teamed it with a white 3/4 sleeve top.  It looked so good on the model that I had a complete brain fade and forgot my curvy pear shaped body and bought the pattern and enough fabric to make up this tunic.   On my way home I slowly started to come to my senses and knew in my heart of hearts that this just wasn't going to work for me.   But I really wanted it to...     After preparing my linen fabric by washing it and drying it in the dryer  I decided this was one pattern that I needed to make a toile of before cutting into my good fabric.  Well am I glad I did!   McCalls 6739 could well have been my biggest sewing disaster ever.   Thank goodness I didn't cut straight into $59 of linen to learn my lesson. 

The moral to this tale is "never forget your age and body shape when choosing a pattern.  Just because you love the look of something doesn't mean you can wear it".  Choose something similar that suits your shape.

I am now searching for a tunic pattern that will suit my body shape and my new linen fabric. Hopefully my next post will reveal I have been successful.

Tuesday, June 18, 2013

My little black dress Vogue 1254

Back in January this year our daughter got married in Paris.  Yes Paris! My favourite place in the world :-)  The wedding was a small affair with only 25 guests who were immediate family of the bride and groom and a handful of their very close friends who were in their wedding party.

After I got over the excitement of having an excuse to go back to Paris again, the dilemma of what to wear set in.   Paris in January is pretty cold.  Colder than what our winters here in Australia ever are.  I wanted to wear dress because I feel much more comfortable in dresses rather than pants but I didn't want to freeze.  My solution was to choose a classic dress sheath style dress V1254 and make it up in black wool crepe and fully line it.  

It was my good friend (and fellow sewer) that suggested that this pattern was a classic style with a stylish twist that I could easily adjust to fit me.  When I saw the picture on the envelope I did love the dress but couldn't imagine this dress on me. I look nothing like that model.   After some convincing my friend made a calico muslin up of the dress for me to try on to prove her point.  She was convinced it would look good on me and it did.   Even in the calico I could see the potential for this pattern.   There were two things about the original pattern that I didn't think would work for me.  The first thing was that the dress sits quite wide across the shoulders. I knew this would annoy me.   I don't like wearing things that slip and slide around on me.  We worked out that we could adjust the pattern to bring in the neckline a little without too much trouble and we did so.   The only other adjustment that was made other than increasing the width over the hips was to raise the back neckline a little more.   The two adjustments we made to the neckline required that we had to take a little off the collar pieces where they joined the centre back seam which really wasn't very complicated.  We just laid the collar pattern onto the front and back pattern pieces and worked out how much needed to come off.

Once the pattern adjustments were made the sewing of this dress was a piece of cake.  The pattern instructions were really pretty straight forward. Although the part where the collar pieces crossed over in the front did require me to sit and read through the instructions a couple of times before the penny dropped.   Then disaster struck!  I lost the pattern instructions just at the part where I was suppose to insert a piece of netting into a triangle shape space under were the collars crossed in the centre front.  Do you think for the life of me I could work out how to do this  without the instructions.  The pattern cost me about $27 to buy so I was determined I was not going to pay for another pattern just for the instructions.    I searched the house from top to bottom but couldn't find it anywhere.   Time was running out we were going to be leaving for Paris the next week.   I then decided that perhaps I could hide the space with a really nice brooch but do you think I could find one that I liked that didn't cost a few hundred dollars.  Nup!   So in the end I sewed on a button as a temporary measure to get me out of trouble.   Now that I think about it I couldn't have chosen a worse button  and it was such a LAZY thing to do but it did serve its purpose.  My excuse was I was desperate ;-)

Anyway below are the pictures of the dress on me and a close up of part of the dress that caused my problems and that ugly button..  Its hard to distinguish the style details as black doesn't photograph very well.   It does look like the dress isn't sitting well across the right side of the front but this is just because I was rushing around to get this photo with the self timer and didn't adjust myself properly before the shot was taken.

Unfortunately my dressmakers dummy is not the same shape as I am (no boobs and slim)  It does look better on me.  Oh dear I am so ashamed of that button....  

Sunday, June 16, 2013

Well I am finished 2475

Well it's finally done!  What do I think about Simplicity 2475 ?   Well while I was sewing it I really liked it.   I could see it was going to be a good addition to my wardrobe and fit in with my current non corporate lifestyle.  

However after the first day I wore it I soon discovered three things about the skirt that I didn't like.   Firstly the inverted pleats in the back were just a pain in the backside.  They don't sit straight.  As soon as sat down and got up they poked out all over the place.  My husband was continually telling me all day that they weren't sitting correctly.   I had a feeling they wouldn't sit correctly when I was cutting out the skirt.  I vaguely remembered making a skirt/dress many moons ago with this type of pleat and I didn't like that either but I as usual I paid no attention to the sensible part of my brain and soldiered on regardless. You know what it's like girls.  Nothing is worse than wearing an outfit that you continually have to fuss with so it sits right.   I became obsessed with how the back of my skirt looked for the whole day.  I have decided to remove the pleats completely and sew up the seam.  As the skirt is just around knee length I do not need them.

The other thing is that I think it is too big and that I should have taken it in so it was tighter to allow for the natural stretch of the denim.   Being a curvy hipped girl I really hate having anything to tight about my hips and thighs but I actually think (know) that having this looser actually makes me look bigger.   I know Gail did warn me that this skirt turns out to be more A lined that the picture on the pattern indicates and I did try pegging it in more at the hem line but that seemed to make my hips look even wider (something I do not need).  

But the most disappointing thing that is wrong with this skirt is that it makes me look like the side of house :-(    Steve took some photos of me wearing the skirt and I look HUGE in it.   It has completely put me off the skirt.   I am prepared to give it one more go and adjust the fit and then take another photo to see if it could possibly be the angle the photo was taken that makes it look so unflattering.  (I am thinking it isn't sadly).  Otherwise this will get donated to the local op shop.

When you read about styles that suit curvy shapes they all recommend designs that have vertical lines like this skirt.  But I do feel that the centre panel of this skirt is too wide.  I feel that if the centre panel was narrower that it would result in a more flattering skirt.   That is just my opinion not sure what other people would think?

Oh yes one more thing. It looks great hanging on my dressmaking model.  That doesn't have hips :-(


Friday, April 12, 2013

Not living up to my name ....

Well I am still motivated and trying to decide on my next project.   It dawned on me this week that I am certainly not living up to the name of my blog, Sewing with a Plan.  I haven't had any sewing plan at all to date.  My sewing choices have all been made purely on how easy they will be to sew.  Don't get me wrong I have needed dresses as the weather here in Melbourne over summer has been really hot.  The two dresses I made have been worn quite a few times already, and it has been good to have a few successful sewing projects under my belt to boost my confidence.

My problem is I have a wardrobe full of clothes and nothing to wear.  I am sure a few of you out there in blog land often say the same thing.   I tend to buy clothes just because I like the colour or the style but rarely give any thought to what they will go with in my existing wardrobe or how they will fit in with my lifestyle.  I am to put it bluntly an impulse buyer! 

So my plan now is to sort through my wardrobe and get rid of the things that quite frankly I am not that keen on and then look for gaps that need to be filled and make things that I need that provide me with the type of wardrobe I have often dreamed of.  One that is only made up of things I love, fit me, suit my shape and my current lifestyle.

Today I started work going through my wardrobe.  I have been losing weight (very slowly) over the last two years so the first thing I did was get rid of (donate) anything that was too big or did not fit me well.  I was quite embarrassed to see all of those practically new outfits lying on bed.  Some still had price tags on them.  Some I just looked at and thought "what was I thinking"!   Anyway they have all been taken to the Salvation Army Thrift shop and hopefully someone who needs them will enjoy them.

With my wardrobe now nice and orderly I started to look through and see what outfits I could put together with what I have.  I have to admit that things are in a little better shape than I thought they were in the wardrobe.   Now that I can actually see what is hanging there I can see the potential for a practical wardrobe is possible.

The two areas I have identified as seriously lacking are very dressy going out type of outfits and smart casual for the days that I am not working my corporate job. 

So I have decided that a nice smart denim skirt could be the answer for my casual wardrobe.  Even though we are coming into winter here in Australia I think I will still get to wear it with boots and tights. 

Even better was that I have the denim in my stash and a pattern that I think could look good made up in denim.  I have read some good reviews on the Simplicity Amazing Fit patterns so I thought I would give this one a try.  I think it has potential for some nice top stitching to compliment the denim.   Not sure about those flaps on my hips though...

Friday, March 29, 2013

New Look 6144

I can't believe I have been sewing so much!!!   Three dresses in three weeks.  It must be a record for me.  The weather in Melbourne has been so hot for the last few months and I just didn't have many dresses to wear to work.  There is only one thing bigger than my fabric stash and that is my pattern stash! I cannot believe how many patterns I have bought over the years and I never make most of them up.  Such a waste of money, as here in Australia sewing patterns are quite expensive.  It would be frightening to add the cost of them up :-/

Again I was looking for a dress that was easy to whip up for work but something that could also be worn with flatter more casual shoes when I was not working.   I really liked the style of New Look 6144 but had never made anything from a New Look pattern before as most of the time their sizing stops at size 16.  Why I had this pattern in my pattern stash is anyone's guess.   I liked the pleated detail on the front of the dress but was a bit worried it would make me look a bit 'booby'. This pattern is one of the few New Look patterns that do go up to a size 18 so I thought it wouldn't be too difficult to adjust it over the hips.  It was easy to fit this dress on myself also which is something I often struggle to do. I did worry that with just the two darts in the front and back  it may be hard to achieve a good fit but in the end it worked out OK.  I am pretty happy with the way this dress turned out.  I normally would wear something with this to cover my arms but the other day it was just so hot here I threw caution to the wind and just went out and bared my flabby arms. Very brave of me I think. 

I purchased this fabric from Spotlight.  It is cotton with a bit of stretch in which makes it really comfortable to wear.  This fabric was only $12 per meter so I managed to make this dress for the grand sum of $24 as I had the pattern and the zip already.

Thursday, March 28, 2013

I know that everyone has made this ...

Yes I know that everyone has made Vogue 1250 but after the success of my Vogue 2988 jacket I wanted some thing that would be quick to sew and work out for me.   I noticed that a lot of my favourite sewing bloggers had made this dress and were really happy with it.  Although most of them were much slimmer than I was so I wasn't sure that it would suit my shape.   Also because this pattern has no side seams I was really struggling to work out how to make it larger over the hips.  A standard pattern adjustment for anything I make unfortunately.

Then I came across Carolyn's version of this dress.  Carolyn is always looking for stylish ways to adapt patterns to suit her shape.  I loved this dress on her!  I think she ended up making another 4 or 5 of them.  

So I chose a piece of material from my stash and started sewing.  I couldn't believe how quick this dress was to sew.  The worst part for me was working out how to increase it around my hips.  I love the way it turned out.  I am not one for wearing sleeveless dresses so I will  wear this with a cardigan.  I would normally not even consider making a fitted dress like this but after reading all the blog posts about this dress I thought it was worth a try.   I have had some nice compliments from people when I wear this so I am taking that as a good thing.  I have a feeling there could be a couple more Vogue 1250's in my wardrobe too ;-)

At the moment I am trying to work out how I could put a sleeve into this pattern.  As the weather is starting to cool down in Australia I need a winter version!

Yes I am back!

Well it's only taken me two years, but I have finally come back to trying to start my sewing blog.  The idea of creating a sewing blog to keep me accountable didn't work.   I had such good intentions when I entered those first two posts back in 2011 but I just couldn't get my sewing mojo back.

The problem was that every time I made something I just wasn't happy with how it turned out.  It never looked as good as I hoped it would and I felt I was wasting my expensive fabrics on wadders.  So I just stopped sewing.  I got it in my head that it just isn't possible to look good in anything if you aren't size 16 or below.  I know that is silly now but that was what my crazy mind was telling me.

Then out of a necessity I had to sew something for myself.   Out of necessity you ask!  Well Steve's gorgeous daughter Simone told us she was going to get married in Paris on the 4th January.  As usual I shopped around for an outfit to wear but could find nothing that really suited me or more importantly fitted me.  As it was already quite hot here in Australia our winter clothing was  already out of the stores.  I had never been to Europe in winter before but I knew it would be MUCH colder than a winter here in Australia could ever be. Possibly even snowing.  

What could I wear that was still a little classy but warm?  The wedding was just going to be for family and close friends.  Not a big affair.  Just 25 of us.

A year before I had started making Vogue 2988 (sorry OOP now) in the most beautiful fabric, which I purchased from Astratex here in Melbourne.  I paid an absolute bomb for the fabric. It was an imported European wool and cashmere blend that came in panels.  The colour of the panel started off as black at the bottom and graduated through to a animal print then up to a lovely taupe colour.   Because of my size I needed to purchase two of these panels and I think they were around $80 each!!!  I don't know what possessed me but they had made the jacket up as a sample in the shop and I just loved it. 

The problem was that the sample in the shop was a petite little size 10-12 and I needed to cut a size 20-22.   So when I cut mine out it looked nothing like I envisioned it would be on me.  So I did what I normally do and stuffed it into a plastic bag and put it away in the cupboard.  I was so angry at myself for wasting that beautiful fabric. 

While thinking of what kind of jacket/coat I could make for the wedding I remembered that beautiful expensive fabric and went searching for the bag.   When I pulled it out and looked at it again I thought it could look nice with a classic black wool crepe sheath style dress.   When I tried it on, to my delight it was too big :-)    Fortunately I had sewn this to the stage that all it needed was the lining attached and I was able to alter the fit of the jacket easily by just running it in through the side seams up through the arm. 

This isn't the black dress I wore to the wedding.  The black dress I made for the wedding is at the dry cleaners at the moment.  I will do a post on the fun and games I had making that shortly :-)