...Sassy T from Thread Noir!
Thursday, 9 May 2013
There we go, my second version of McCalls 3830. I've called it the ultimate work skirt, as I have tried to address all the issues that came out of the last version/wearable toile, and I am really happy with how it's turned out. I finished it last weekend, and have already worn it to a meeting on Tuesday!
The most obvious change that I made was adding a 2.5cm waistband, by following the really helpful tutorial on Coletterie here. After studying one of my RTW skirts with a waistband, I went slowly and topstitched the waistband right on the previous stitching line, so the second stitching line is almost invisible.
I also added a aubergine satin lining, so that the skirt doesn't ride up or stick to my tights. I was surprised by how much difference this made - the skirt feels so much more expensive! I'm going to add a tutorial on how I did this (basically by studying that RTW skirt and copying it) later on in case this was helpful to anyone.
I did a blind catchstitch for the hem, and the stitch is actually completely invisible from both sides!
I did a slipstitch to attach the lining to the zipper, so that's also invisible :)
For the centre zipper, I basted it first on the wrong side, and then stitched on the right side to get the stitching nice and balanced.
The grey fabric I used was from John Lewis's remnant bin - it was a polyester and viscose blend, and the piece was only 70cm wide, which was actually more than enough for View D (at size 4). This small piece of fabric cost me a mere £4.18 precisely, cheap as chips. The satin was also from John Lewis, and I'm pretty sure that was at a reasonable £3 a metre in the sale, too. Overall it turned out to be a cheap and cheerful skirt, but one that I think will make a great work wardrobe staple.
Monday, 6 May 2013
I hope you all had a lovely weekend, and for those in the UK, a fantastic long weekend in the sun! I feel so much better now after my post last week re our lack of Labour Day celebration (but hey, I did attempt to cheer you up with a GIVEAWAY - which is still open till this Saturday - be quick!), getting a bit of sunshine, and an extra day off today :)
My first version of the very popular McCalls 3830 skirt in navy, and (almost) straight from the envelope!
My first version of the very popular McCalls 3830 skirt in navy, and (almost) straight from the envelope!
This was supposed to be a toile, which I made from a lovely piece of suiting from my Walthamstowe trip last year, which was all purchased for £1.50 per metre!!! (I have no idea what material it is, but it's soft and drapes beautifully.) However, as the fit worked just fine, with no adjustment needed, and not to mention the fact that I love the fabric, I decided to finish off the skirt and wore it to work!
I said that it was "(almost)" straight out of the envelope, because I did scale the pattern down to a size 4 for view E. But other than that, it worked a treat.
I liked the shape of the skirt, but as I wanted a formal-ish looking work skirt (as part of my grand plan to make more "everyday" clothes), I did quiet a narrow hem so that it finished not too much above the knees (version E is really quite short if I did the hem that was suggested).
I did feel that a waistband is sort of missing, so I have added one to my version 2 (yep, you read that right, I have already done a version 2 - thank you Bank Holiday!). Also, as I didn't line this version (the pattern does not call for lining), it does have a slight tendency for the skirt to stick to the tights. No biggie though - it's not stopping me from liking this simple little skirt!
Saturday, 4 May 2013
Finally, spring has sprung, and I have gone a bit coral crazy. I bought some polka dot coral jeans, coral pumps, coral scarves, and a coral Kindle cover. Still, I had a feeling that something was missing... Then I remembered, I have a lovely jazzy viscose in my fabric stash from my local Fabricland, so it's time to turn it into a top to complete my outfit!
It's a simple, basic top. Although the fabric is quite "busy" looking, I think it will be great teamed with plain jeans (I doubt I would wear the above outfit out... or perhaps with a jacket.)
I used New Look 6483, which claims to be a "1 hour easy" pattern. Erm... I don't remember signing up for the Great British Sewing Bee!! Speed-sewing is not my speciality, and let me tell you, it certainly took me over an hour of sewing time to knock this little number together. Just setting the sleeves in and finishing off the neckline would've taken me longer than a mere hour. Maybe I'm just inefficient though, and sew much more slowly than the average.
The pattern runs from size 6 to 16. My experience of New Look patterns has been that they run a bit on the large size, so I scaled it down to a size 2 instead, and also took the side seams in by 1cm on each side.
I made a view A, as I liked the simple design. I lowered the neckline though (by using a similar RTW top as a guide), as when I made up the top per the pattern, the finished neckline was choking me! Thankfully I used the single-fold self-fabric bias tape as a facing (rather than using the facing pattern) for the neckline, so it was easy enough to adjust. I also shortened the top by a couple of cms.
The back has a button closure - it would've been functional if you followed the pattern, but now as I lowered the front and back neckline, I no longer need to undo the button to get the top over my head. Still, I think it is a nice touch.
I was happy with what I ended up with. It's a fun, simple top which can be worn in a few different outfits. I was particularly happy with the pattern matching on the fabric. The side and back seams all line up nicely, and the pattern flows all the way round. I also really love viscose, especially as a light, summery and comfy fabric.
And look, it must be that time of year again - my favourite tree in the garden is blossoming :)
Happy spring everyone (or happy autumn, if you are down under!) X
Wednesday, 1 May 2013
Happy Labour Day everyone!
Having worked full-time for almost 6 years, it only just occurred to me this year that the UK does not really celebrate Labour Day on May 1st, and by "celebrate", I of course mean "the employers are kind enough to give us all an extra day off". As I admired all the out-off-office messages from my overseas colleagues, and hearing about the family get-together from my parents on everyone's day off in China, I decided that it was time to figure out, once and for all, why we didn't get a public holiday in the UK today. (In fairness, though, we do get a day off next Monday, as a "Spring Bank Holiday", but why don't we just join the rest of the world and celebrate all the hard-working people on 1st day of May instead?)
Naturally, Wikipedia is where I went. And this is what I learned:
The 1st of May is a social celebration for the rights of workers in Europe.
Except in UK, where only the Queen is celebrated.
Never mind. In the spirit of Labour Day, and to cheer up all of us in the UK, I thought I'd host a little giveaway for my followers. So here it is:
... a great jacket pattern - Butterick 4610, so you can make up your version for spring!
It's brand new, factory folded, and in size AA(6-12). If you need any more convincing, then check out this wonderful version here.
Why am I giving such a great new pattern away, I hear you ask?
Well... let me just ask you this - have you ever liked the look of something so much that you accidentally bought it twice?
Yep, that was what happened. I kid you not. I was doing some "research" on jacket patterns about a year ago, and fell in love with this pattern, so I bought it from my local Fabricland. Then summer came, and I never got round to making the jacket. Autumn followed, and I started looking for a jacket pattern again, and was, once again, thrilled to find this little gem, having forgotten all about my previous transaction only a few months before, so bought it online. It was not until when I was trying to put my new purchase in my pattern drawer, and neatly in the jacket & coat pile, when I was very confused to find that I have got it already!!
Anyway - my daftness is your gain!
To enter, you need to be a follower of this blog, either on Google Friends Connect, Google Reader (if you have not done it already, you will need to switch to an alternative soon), on Bloglovin, or by email (or any other means, just say). Simply leave a comment (confirming how you follow Moonbeam) by midnight of Saturday 11th May 2013 (British Summer Time) and you will be entered into the "hat"! Winner will be picked at random.
Yes, it is that simple. I will happily post the pattern to anywhere in the world, to find the pattern a good home.
Best of luck! Happy commenting :)
Sunday, 28 April 2013
I thought I'd try something different for this post -- I'm going to share one of my biggest sewing realisations with you! It may be staying the obvious, but it sure took me a while to get to such a conclusion, and I still do struggle with it on some level.
So here it is -- over time, I realised that it is not the best idea selecting patterns by looking at the envelope. Indeed, the cover could be very misleading! Yes, I do try and check out PR for, well, pattern reviews, but this really only makes me steer away from bad patterns with lovely covers. On the other hand, potentially great pattens with bad photos/illustrations don't make way to my shortlist, and slip under the radar.
Here are three patterns in this category that immediately came to mind:
I mean, McCalls's, seriously?! I would go as far as saying that the envelope is hideous! OK, view D isn't that bad, but the other views really aren't great, are they? If you manage to look past the terrible cover though, you will see a decent pattern, which could be turned into a wardrobe staple. If you need some more convincing, check out these beautiful versions - from four square walls, and yes i like that.
The second one is Simplicity 2959 - yep, the one I used to make my wedding dress! But I couldn't bear looking at that pattern the whole time (10 months!) that I was making it! Yes, I did change it a fair bit, but let me tell you that every single version that I have seen made-up is much, much better than that terrible blue dress up there! I even feel a bit sorry for that poor model who, not only had to wear that dress, but smile for the photo.Then there's Simplicity 2444. I would like to thank the wonderful blogsphere for bringing this fantastic pattern to my attention! I have seen great versions here, here, here and everywhere, and have made this pattern twice myself (see my cherry version here and fresh as a daisy version here). But judging by those two photos on the envelope - I would never have bought this pattern in a million years, despite my soft spot for Project Runway patterns.
I must admit that I tend to "discover" these patterns by following lots of wonderful blogs (trusting that someone out there is much more able to look past the exterior), and looking on sites like Burdastyle and PR. But how about you? Do you know any ugly ducklings in the sewing patterns world that you would like to share with us? and how to you spot these hidden gems?
Sunday, 21 April 2013
At the very last minute, I decided to participate in the Mad Men Challenge 2 hosted by the beautiful and wonderfully talented Julia Bobbin. After dithering for a number of months (yes, months!), considering whether to commit myself to a project, given how busy I normally am with work in the first few months of each calendar year (and the last few, so let's face it the only "quiet" time is the summer), I decided to just get on with it and copy this shirt dress as seen on the stunning Betty Francis (nee Draper).
For one thing, I wanted to make use of something from my ever-increasing stash, rather than buying more fabric, and ending up not using it, thereby making my stash situation even worse. I remembered this white and pink check medium weight cotton (it looks like gingham, but the check pattern is printed, rather than woven) that I bought in Prague last year, and thought that it would be a good candidate for the stripy pink dress as worn by Betty.
Another key criteria for me is that I wanted to make something that I would actually wear. However, with hindsight I am not sure if I have achieved this goal as the whole outfit looks a bit like a nurse's uniform! What do you think? I am considering wearing this with a leather belt, but I have not ruled out making a matching self-fabric belt (I even cut out the fabric for it, but have nott manage to track down a plain white/clear buckle for it...).
So I used the tried and tested Simplicity 2246 Lisette Traveler (I am going with the spellingo on the envelope this time, ignoring the spellcheck) with a few changes from my last version:
- I made the skirt fuller - instead of following the pattern, I cut out a rectangle for the skirt, and gathered the top to the width of the waist seam. Based on my calculation, this increased the fullness by just under 50%;
- I reduced the amount of SBA that I did, as I find that at times, usually after a three-course meal, some parts of the placket gapes a bit. The problem was that I ended up with a much looser fit for the bodice, which I then had to alter again... It turned out to be a much bigger job in the end!
- I used the sleeve pattern for view A/B (I made a view 3 dress) but shortened the sleeves and rolled them up to make the copycat more similar to the original.
- I changed the collar from a square one to a rounded one for the same reason.
- I also lowered the buttons slightly, for the same reason as above, and also because I think the top button on my previous version was a bit high.
OK, so my fabric isn't exactly stripy, the button placket runs all the way down (I did not fancy inserting a side zipper as well!), and I've not yet made the self-fabric belt, nor am I wearing a petticoat... But overall I was pleased with the dress, obviously with the slight concern that I am not going to actually wear it other than at a fancy dress party...
Even the gathering (which is my pet hate when it comes to sewing!) didn't bother me as much as I thought it would. As it turned out, the trick (to keep myself calm) is 1) to buy a gathering foot (raved about here) and 2) to use extra-strong thread so it doesn't break all the time when you are pulling hard. I may just be getting over this irrational fear, can you tell?
So this is my attempt with copying Betty's dress, and my first year of participating in the fantastic challenge. I am very excited to see everyone else's entries, and am already looking forward to this challenge next year ;)