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Topics - Francesca

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Events / Dior at the V&A
« on: June 18, 2019, 09:33:46 AM »
Tickets are available again. I have a watcher on the page so I get updated everytime they come available.

In the wardrobe / Time to get the coverstitch out...
« on: June 17, 2019, 10:51:42 AM »
I bought a coverstitch last Spring (not this spring, 2018!) and have never got it out  :ninja: I have been too nervous, don't know why!

Before holiday I decided to make a t-shirt. I really wanted to take it with me so I threw it together and hemmed the sleeves by turning under. My god it looks terrible but I was doing that thing where you just rush and convince yourself it's fine. When I did the main hem I realised it was unwearable.

I can unpick my god-awful hem but I think it's time for the coverstitch to come out. The fabric is such a high quality jersey (I think it's a sort of thin double jersey? It's knit V's each side, rather than purl on the reverse side, but it's thin like a normal t-shirt jersey). So I want to do it justice.

I am going to try and make an effort to get the machine out tonight, thread it a few times until I've got the hang, and then rummage through my scrap bin and try out some different thicknesses of jersey and see how it looks. Any words of wisdom?

Your Favourite Suppliers / Sew Direct ... never again
« on: June 03, 2019, 10:20:38 AM »
I was writing about this on another thread but I'm so completely done with Sew Direct, who have done nothing but waste my time for weeks.

Earlier this month I messaged them asking for an expectation of when the new McCalls release would arrive. I got a response "order received". That was it. No context. It made no sense and I can only presume they either didn't read my email or sent the message by mistake. I replied asking them to clarify if they sent the message in error. They responded asking what I was talking about as they had no idea. I had to explain the whole odd exchange to them. They then never answered me back! I never got the answer to my original query and never got an explanation for the erroneous message.

I finally decided to try and order some patterns, but I could not get my discount code to apply. Their website was a nightmare to navigate so I told them as much. I ended up having to put my membership number in a box that said "teacher discount" and that did it... whatever that means. Not clear at all.

So finally I order my patterns with the discount. I wait, and wait, and wait. Finally I sent them an email last week. No response until today (fair enough I guess, I emailed them Friday afternoon and it's now Monday morning). Your order is being packed...

They completely forgot to send my order. Not that it's delayed or anything, they literally just forgot it. How can a large company such as Sew Direct just forget an entire order?!

I'm so frustrated. I've asked to cancel my membership (again... I asked them the process for it when I sent my original email last week but they didn't respond to that query, only that it's "being packed" now.)

Total shambles.

Technical Help / What neckline binding?
« on: May 20, 2019, 10:27:30 AM »
I finished up this Lekala dress and unfortunately it's just too big across my shoulders. Partially that is just the natural width of the pattern (I'm going to size it down and do a simple FBA) and partially it's the neckline treatment. Lekala aren't exactly known for their finishing.

I overlocked the raw edge and turned it under twice, then zig-zagged. The result does lay flat at the front but gapes and hangs on the back neck. I'm hoping it'll fit my friend better who is broader so the neckline will probably stretch to fit her. For me it's too saggy.

I want to make another one and am trying to decide what neckline treatment to do. For me, the go-to would usually be a binding that is visible. Low bulk, stretched a little to fit so it hugs nicely.

My only issue with this is that this "neckline" binding actually goes inside the twist and finishes the lower edge of the twist too. (Do you see in this pic the little edges that hang below the bust, above the waist? That edge is a continuation from the neckline. It goes round the neckline, into the twist, out the bottom of the twist and gets caught in the side seam).

I just think a binding edge would look a little odd here? Maybe I could do a combination... a neck binding edge around the neckline part and then notch and turn it into a double folded edge from the middle of the twist out to the bottom? The edges are all caught up in the twist so the point where it switches from one solution to the other wouldn't be seen. What do you think? Is there another option?

Technical Help / Maths for drafting a button front
« on: May 17, 2019, 13:11:44 PM »
I need some help understanding the maths for how to add a button front. Bear with me when I say maths... doesn't necessarily mean numbers just positioning and understanding of where to add width and how much!

I've been looking at front button closures and it seems there are three ways of having front button-ups.

A) you have the two sides overlap. No button band, just buttons directly on the fabric with a front facing.

B) You add two button bands to the edges of the front pieces, reducing the width of the front pieces so that the front isn't too big. These bands then overlap each other.

C) You add small loops to the edge of one front piece and these catch buttons on the underpiece.

My query is about balance.

I need to add a button front closure to this pattern which currently has faux buttons and a back zip. Call me crazy, I have a weird hatred of "pointless" things that are meant to look like "working" things. Does that make sense? Dummy buttons drive me mad. I want them to work! So my plan was to close the back up and create the front as button-up instead.

The thing I can't get my head around is how you "balance" the front so that the centre of the button is in line with the centre of the dress. If you do an overlap on a V neck then the "point" of the V changes. I can't work out how much distance the overlap needs to be to achieve this. Does this make sense?

In the wardrobe / Tilly Joni Dress
« on: May 14, 2019, 11:46:26 AM »
I swore off Tilly for so many years but I really liked this pattern, and decided to give it a go.

The book is very informative I have to say, and has some great techniques. Each pattern involves a set technique which is then laid out in full in a section of the book with the idea that you can "apply" this technique to your next project. However the techniques aren't always that great.

I'm currently struggling with what I perceive to be a printing error. I simply cannot understand how it goes together. I put the query out on Instagram and found a few people also complaining. The error I believe is exacerbated the larger size you sew. As I graded up one size to the equiv of a size 9 I've probably got it as bad as you can...

The issue:

There is a dot that is marked on the fabric and you are instructed to staystitch between the two points and then clip down to the staystitch line, folding it at the staystitching and securing in place. Thus "finishing" the edge of this little 4cm bit at the front of the neckline. The rest of the neckline is then bound and everything should come together for a neat(ish) finish.

The issue is that there is only one dot for all sizes. I noted that the dot is placed 1.5cm away from the edge on the smallest size, which happens to be the seam allowance. With each size, the distance of the dot from the raw edge grows. In my particular case it's a little over 3cm away.

I dutifully followed the pattern and did a deep over 3cm notch to my deep staystitching. As I was cutting it something didn't feel right but I carried on. Wish I'd trusted my gut.

What I've realised (I think) is that when you finish the neckline binding, everything would meet and be tidy if your staystitching was only 1.5cm away from the edge. You would essentially be folding your neckline binding and securing it in a way that takes up 1.5cm, thus meeting your already folded edge. The issue I have is that I have another 1.5cm on top of that... I'm miles away! I can't fix it. It's one of those things where I've cut deep into it now and it's irreparable.

I've emailed the company. I'm still really on the fence by whether I'm missing something from the construction or I just don't understand it, or is there something wrong. My head is telling me that a staystitch line should be a consistent 1.5cm away from the raw edge and thus the dot needs to be per-size not one for all sizes.

Huff. I'm looking into whether I can cut a new bodice of the same one but I'm considering now trying to hack this bodice on instead. Thing is this one has a skirt that drapes out of the bodice whereas I've already cut my skirt up. Unless I just give up and stick a waistband on the skirt. Might do that.

Really nice cotton poplin in a bright blue and green print. 2.8m total. £14 plus postage.

Embroidery Machines / Some sort of canvas for drawing embroidery?
« on: May 07, 2019, 16:24:01 PM »
So I'm exploring possibilities with the new Omnistitch machine I've come to own. It's a "couching" machine so can make stitches to fill in colour or do chains.

I'm not very good of the freemotion stuff but I can fill in the lines quite well. Does there exist some sort of drawing canvas/paper that you can fix onto fabric then remove? I'm thinking drawing designs on paper, affixing them to a garment and using them to trace on the machine then washing/tearing away. But obviously it would need to be on the outside so standard tearaway no good. Does such a thing exist?

Fun with Fabric / Cheap wadding
« on: May 05, 2019, 00:14:20 AM »
I need to start stuffing out my dressform. It already has a little padding but it's going to need a lot more to go under the calico layer I've created.

My plan was to use high-loft polyester wadding which is what I used on the padding already there, but I didn't realise how expensive it is. £6 per metre and I get the feeling I'm going to need a lot of it as it compresses as I wrap...

Any ideas of inexpensive wadding? It doesn't have to be great quality of course. I'm concerned by needing so much at that cost (I would probably want to buy at least 3-4 metres to start with).

Embroidery Machines / Omnistitch-1000 Machine
« on: May 01, 2019, 12:47:48 PM »
Does anyone know much about these machines? Appear to be a semi-industrial embellisher machine/couching machine. I've come into possession of one and am trying to decide if it's right for me to keep or better to sell on to someone who would get use out of it, but I can't find much talk about it!

Looks like the new patterns have been released:

McCalls New Sewing Patterns
Butterick New Sewing Patterns
Kwik Sew New Sewing Patterns

If you prefer to see them as a flippable pattern book:

McCalls Lookbook
Butterick Lookbook
Kwik Sew Lookbook

Fun with Fabric / Can you keep an eye out for plane fabric?
« on: April 26, 2019, 10:22:57 AM »
My boyfriend is the ultimate aviation nerd (I guess it comes with the territory being the son of an RAF engineer and a family full of RAF).

He has a shirt that he lives in in the summer. It's H&M, short sleeve casual shirt in the loveliest, thinnest lawn. Enough to not be sheer but still lets the light through. It's covered in a spaced-out pattern of lots of little leopards and he wears it pretty much as quickly as I can wash it.

I wanted to make him another one for summer but am looking for little planes. I can't seem to find anything on a lawn base, nor anything with that modern, minimal look, without being overly juvenile. I've found paper aeroplanes but they won't do. It needs to be jumbo jets or military planes :(

The most important thing to him is the fabric really. Like a lot of men he's used to comfort and won't wear anything that is "uncomfortable" be that the fabric is too thick or it's too scratchy. So looking for this sort of print on a nice, high quality cotton lawn or similar.

Fun with Fabric / Fabric for a slip dress
« on: April 19, 2019, 00:23:26 AM »
Can anyone help me find something that will work well? I'm struggling.

Must be:

1) Black
2) Natural fibre
3) Woven
4) Under £10 pm
5) Drapey/silky/smooth
6) Not completely transparent. I can handle not completely opaque but can't do completely sheer.

Any ideas?

Lawns I've bought for lining have been too rough so far. Silk too expensive (habotai too thin).

Technical Help / Jersey slip drafting help
« on: April 15, 2019, 11:12:36 AM »
I tried making a jersey slip (to wear under a chiffon dress I have) and it ended up not fitting. I basically drafted a "straight" jersey skirt down off my cupped bodice pattern (curving it out to add extra inches at the hip) but the result was too tight at the hip and then sort of flared out under my bum (I call it a "ducks tail" when a skirt clings to your bum then does a little flare out underneath).

So now I'm considering other options. I liked the cupped bodice because it works as a bra which means I can wear no bra, just slip and pants. Much more comfortable in the summer!

My thinking now is a half circle skirt instead. I know that a slip is generally meant to be quite slim so as not to add bulk under clothes but my big problem is my large hip to waist ratio so I'm wondering if a circle skirt would fix that problem.

Or... does anyone have any other slip patterns they could recommend? I'm not adverse to woven as I could make it out of a thicker silk which will be much cooler than jersey.

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