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Messages - Francesca

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Selling a bundle of fabrics as there is a bit of a mixed lot. I haven't measured them up, but I think most of them are at least a metre apart from the blue poly.

There's some IKEA canvas, some blue polycotton, some grey quilting cotton and some blue quilting cotton and a piece of black poly drill which has been cut into. The quilting cottons are probably the most useful but the rest should work well as scraps. Oh and some white drill that I think is at least half a metre!

£15 posted.

Patterns Discussion / Re: Self Drafting
« on: July 16, 2019, 16:27:20 PM »
Whichever method you use it's important to remember that it is a process.   Your draft personal blocks/slopers have to be fitted and refined before they can become your personal block/sloper.
If you struggle with how to fit or reading a good fit then get help.

Yes, it took me quite a while (6 iterations I think) to get my sloper to a point I am happy with. However I now want to make a princess seamed version and it's proving more difficult than I anticipated!

In the wardrobe / Re: James Bond dress
« on: July 16, 2019, 12:19:40 PM »

I wanted to post this link the other day as I thought the vintage pattern was similar to the skirt you were looking at.

I do have a much better link with more Lanvin and lots of interesting information too. But it says not secure at the top of the other link but not sure that is an issue from what I have been reading? The link I have posted above is ok.


Thanks for the link, that is lovely! It doesn't matter if it isn't secure if the site isn't transactional (e.g ecommerce).

I've come full-circle with my plans and think I am going to try the Lekala twist bodice I made again, so it would twist in the middle with a V. Slightly less fabric needed to do that and I think I have enough. I'm going to use my sloper as a guide to get the right height and width on the Lekala top, as last time I made it it was too long and low. I should be able to layer the two patterns on top of each other and trace off a mish-mash which is the right length but has the twist front portion.

Then, like I did on the last Lekala dress, I'll make a waistband to join the two together. Advantage here is that it will be easier to match the skirt top measurement to the bodice if I draft my own conjoining waistband. I may take the skirt in a little at the darts and sides if I need to. It's a bit big, but it works.

Afterall it's only a costume. I doubt I'll wear this dress again (maybe for another dress-up party!)

In the wardrobe / Re: James Bond dress
« on: July 16, 2019, 10:45:55 AM »
Skirt is complete! It is... odd. But still workable. And I quite like it even though it didn't come out as planned.

The fabric I'm using just doesn't have quite enough stretch in it I think. The result is that it doesn't cling to me, which means the gathers which are supposed to be taut and even across the hips instead hang in lower swags, down to my knee. It actually looks quite nice (the wonders of gathers/swags/twists means they don't need to be perfect), it reminds me of a Margaine-Lacroix dress (picture attached for those who don't know), but the issue is that it causes the hem to hang wonky.

So my plan is to use some elastic to gather the fabric up at the opposite hip so that the gathers swoop/swag between the "split" line and the opposite side seam.

Also the waterfall slit I made the mistake of making it far too low on the skirt. The result is less of a slit and more of a little kick flare. It doesn't show my leg at all (maybe it will when I walk more) but it's quite pretty, just a little waterfall gather below the knee.

Now onto the top. I've decided that the off-the-shoulder bodice I planned to add won't work in the jersey. The jersey is too thin and drapey, it's more like a drapey fabric with a bit of bounce than a knit. So I am off to try and find another bodice I could use. I would love to make a sort-of t-shirt bodice with a deep cowl neck as I think that would go nicely but the issue is I don't think I have enough fabric left to cut a big cowl neck piece. So I may go with a standard V neck bodice with cap sleeves. I did consider draping on the stand, but again I don't think I have enough fabric!

Sewalongs and Competitions / Re: Stashbust in 2019
« on: July 15, 2019, 13:55:37 PM »
Well my "stashbusting" has improved further but the vast majority of it is traded away rather than sewn. At least having organised I've managed to get a better view of the fabrics I do have.

39.5m down on my stash amount from last year. 28.7m sewn up :)

In the wardrobe / Re: James Bond dress
« on: July 15, 2019, 12:22:09 PM »
It's Roylsov tracing paper by the roll. Quite expensive but the rolls are huge. I tend to go for the wider width as it means I can get full skirt pieces on it but the narrow width works well if you sew more tops and trousers.

In the wardrobe / Re: James Bond dress
« on: July 15, 2019, 11:45:28 AM »
Last night I finally finished the pattern.

I took Anita's suggestion and removed some excess from the side by allowing the edge to go straight rather than gather up. I ensured that the top line measurement is still the same, so the waist should fit but the gather is slightly reduced. I'm confident now I can gather that much into the side but I will have to gather the fabric tightly.

I drafted up the skirt portion with the waterfall front slit. I've only drafted up one side because they will both be identical, with a plan to just flip the piece over when cutting out because it's so bulky and annoying! I can chalk in the bottom line to keep it level.

Next concern: I realised that cutting the skirt with the stretch horizontal (so across the hips) probably isn't going to give a nice waterfall drape. I think to get the drape I'm going to have to cut it the other way. I need to test out how the drape hangs. There is a possibility that I won't be able to get the waterfall to work. If this is the case, I will just cut it off and have a flat slit instead. Running out of time to worry about it!

I've got Wednesday off so I can work on it then. Also got the top to make, but as a last resort I can just wear a black top with the gold skirt (my theme colour is gold, so I have to have something gold on!)

Hoping to cut the skirt tonight  :[

In the wardrobe / Re: James Bond dress
« on: July 13, 2019, 21:27:28 PM »
Right, top part complete. My only concern is whether I can successfully gather that much fabric into that seam. I need to measure and find out how much fullness/ratio I'm working with. If it's too much, I may do a slash-and-spread and try to reduce the amount.

Sewing Machines / Re: Recommends Needed
« on: July 13, 2019, 20:06:47 PM »
I have been a fan of Brother machines for cheaper, simple machines for a long time. I had the XR-660 (I think that was what it was called) for a fair few years and really liked it as a machine.

However I am going to say what I say to everyone when they want a first/new/simple machine; go secondhand. Most sewing machines, if cared for, really hold their ability to sew well for a very long time (there are many on here who sew with machines over a century old, I have one from 1898 and it works pretty well!) so there really is nothing bad about going secondhand. You will likely get a lot more for your money.

The Toyota Super Jeans is designed for sewing on thicker fabrics and I really did find that it was a good, solid machine when I used one. (Disclaimer, I used to work for them, so I don't want to cloud your judgement, but I don't work for them anymore and still recommend their Super Jeans as it was nice and chunky - bit noisy though).

In the wardrobe / Re: James Bond dress
« on: July 13, 2019, 18:47:17 PM »
First piece of the puzzle... this represents the front slit, a closed front dart, round to a curved side dart, then a back dart, and the centre back.

I think it looks sort-of correct! The height would be gathered obviously until the top becomes level.

Patterns Discussion / Re: Pattern Sizing
« on: July 13, 2019, 13:59:23 PM »
If you cut from the same pattern, and the fabrics are the same, then it can only be user error really... The garment can't stretch differently if the fabrics are identical. My guess is they feel identical but one stretches easier and/or has worse recovery.

Today... / Re: Friday the 12th July
« on: July 12, 2019, 20:12:35 PM »
Feeling very sleepy right now, just finished watching the tennis. I finished work at half past two today and decided to meet Kris in town for a drink before we went home which ended up being an aviation cocktail (basically pure alcohol) and feeling a bit tipsy. That led to the wine bar where I spotted a wine from near my hometown so a bottle of that... then some cheese... then some pickled onions... then some olives. By the end I was very wobbly so just a quick stop at the 241 cocktail mexican restaurant where I then missed the step and fell clear over... had to push my bicycle all the way home...

Can't believe it's only 8pm. Back to the sewing/drawing board for this James Bond dress (needed next weekend  -< ) and trying not to feel too dizzy. At least it was more fun that being at work all afternoon!

Patterns Discussion / Re: Self Drafting
« on: July 12, 2019, 14:18:08 PM »
I think I just have a very difficult shape to fit :(

Patterns Discussion / Re: Self Drafting
« on: July 12, 2019, 14:12:53 PM »
I tried the Lekala/Bootstrap slopers but my problem is that unless a sloper fits you perfectly I just didn't find it all that useful. And even one drafted "to your measurements" as they say does not actually create one to perfectly fit you. The B/W/H might be correct but the rest may well not be. Mine fit awfully. It fit on width only and wasn't really that well shaped to me.

For a sloper that fits, the best I've ever got is still from Sew Fitography. It's actually perfect, it even handles my tilted waist! I was looking at it on my dressform last night and noticing how much the waistline dips at the front which is exactly correct when looking at my figure in the mirror.

Patterns Discussion / Re: Self Drafting
« on: July 12, 2019, 14:02:26 PM »
There are loads of resources! The thing I find with a lot of them though is that the best resources are quite old-fashioned, so you have to be content with getting the basics from the books and then going elsewhere (mainly online) for more up-to-date ideas.

The Queens of self-drafting IMO are Natalie Bray and Winifred Aldrich. I would start with the book on pattern drafting (in mine and many other's opinions), Winifred Aldrich's Metric Pattern Cutting for women's wear. It's expensive but it's the book to get you started. You can sometimes get cheaper older additions (I use an 80s copy) but the result is that some of the measurements are a little different to account for the common styles and shapes of each era.

This book will guide you through drafting of basic blocks for a bodice sloper, skirt, knit sloper, jacket etc. The use a flat pattern method where you draw between A and B, B and C, etc until you have a full sloper. They're quite intensive but once done you'll have a basic sloper. From there, the book then shows ways to adjust this flat pattern into varied styles.

Natalie Bray's Dress Pattern Designing has more options for taking a sloper further, and is a really great book.

If you're looking for something more modern then I recommend Designing Clothes with the Flat Pattern Method however I would still suggest Winnie's book as the first step before this book - you need a good base first.

After that... I find it easier to find style ideas online than in books because, as I said, a lot of them are quite old fashioned. I often find that Russian and Spanish sites are good for locating examples of how to adjust blocks into interesting designs. Often they don't come with instructions but if you're a visual learner I find these images pretty easy to understand. I have a Pinterest board full of ideas:

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