Saturday, 25 October 2014

New Look 6143 - A Vision of Lace and Silk.

The most special and important part of my life as it is for most people is watching my children grow up into their own individual selves.
My middle daughter has just finished secondary school and is now preparing for the next stage of her life.
Part of the final school activities include a whole school assembly where they celebrate their academic , sporting and community achievements , a Valedictory dinner and the final celebratory day of school ( renamed because too many pupils muck up on Muck Up Day - one year it was quick set cement in the toilets causing over $30,000 worth of damage ! )

So with only three weeks until her Valedictory dinner my daughter asked if I would sew her dress and showed me a photo. This was quite a scary challenge because I think my daughter overestimates my sewing ability and I did not want to disappoint her on a very special day and did I happen to mention I only had three weeks . So the easy part was finding a pattern and New Look 6143 was virtually exactly the same as her choice of dress - a sweetheart neckline  satin lined lace dress with three quarter sleeves.

The next part was finding fabric and the time to squeeze this in amongst study and work. So one day we travelled to Melbourne and went to Spotlight . We bought the pattern and looked at their evening fabric selections. They had a  wide selection  but I suggested we keep looking and went to Darn Cheap Fabrics. 
Now Darn Cheap fabrics sounds well tacky but they actually have lots of beautiful fabrics and we found some lace and then real silk satin - in so many colours.  Once you have felt silk satin there  is  no going back to the Spotty Poly . There happened to be a full length mirror near the satins so she held up nearly every colour with the lace to her face and finally chose a muted rose colour . 

After making a quick toile and some fitting changes the sewing started. It really is a bit intimidating 
 cutting into silk but with such limited time you just have hold your breath, cross your fingers, hope for the best and do it. 

The pattern and instructions are fine. We made some minor changes to the pattern(  apart from her personal fitting alterations ). I narrowed the sleeves so they were more slim fitting . I also finished the neckline with concealed bias binding rather than it showing and using another sewing pattern added a wide sash. 

Also because we were using the sweetheart neck line bodice I had  to make some construction changes  - the bodice was fully self lined and then hand tacked to the lace. We were both mainly happy with the finished result but I should have also shortened the bodice for her and if I make this again I would consider sewing the lace and satin skirts separately .

We had a lovely night and I will have everlasting memories of my daughter running around the room  laughing and giggling  collecting about 30 helium filled balloons at the end of the night.

Saturday, 18 October 2014

I Have Piles - aka New Look 6022

pattern piles !

 At the beginning of the year I had a few sewing goals.
1. to continue to take my time when sewing and do the best possible job I can.
2. attempt some new sewing techniques.
3. reduce my pattern piles.
4. reduce my fabric stash.
Unfortunately I failed in the last two months with the final goal ( I was doing so well until September - oh well there is always 2015. )
I was about to tackle my pattern pile but my middle daughter threw a spanner in the works and announced only three weeks ago she wanted me to make her valedictory dinner dress !
So in between toiles and fittings etc I snuck in a quick top and finally started to rectify those painful piles ( sorry a little bit of doctor humour - sick I know - I will  stop now trust me ).

I chose to use my Tendances Couture magazine . This is a french magazine I bought last year in Paris for the princely price of  6.5 euros or about $10 AUD. It contains 13 different New Look and Simplicity patterns so is  an absolute bargain. It seemed to be available from just about every train station and little newsagents that frequently lined the city  streets.
It is of course all in French but unlike other pattern magazines every pattern has diagrams of all the steps .
Also after getting two different opinions from french speakers ( including a genuine Frenchman - ooh la la ! ) we worked out the patterns do include seam allowances.

 I choose New Look 6022 using a loud large printed cotton voile remnant  Mum gifted me. I don`t usually use such prints but after a very wet dreary winter this material was very cheery .It depicts tropical beaches with palm trees and flowers. How summery is that !
This pattern is for tunics and dresses with a pleated scoop neck and sleeve variations. I used the shoulder pleated sleeves with a central lower gathering ( created by sewing stretched elastic to the fabric ).
I was worried the sleeves would be too puffy which reminds me of little girl dresses but perhaps because the fabric is so thin they worked out fine. However the scoop neck is quite low and shoulders narrow so if I ever sew this again I would raise the neckline and make the shoulder wider. Also I can get the top on easily without needing the back opening so I would just cut the back on the fold .

pleated scoop neckline finished with bias binding 
gathered edge of the sleeve topped with a shell button 
Despite this I am happy with the top and it will be perfect for our hot summer days.

PS I have also finished sewing my daughters valedictory dress and just have to convince her try it on so I can get a pic.
Have a happy weekend. Janine.