I splurged and bought a new camera. Hurrah! My previous one has taken a few tumbles, and now is permanently stuck on video mode. Luckily for me, that was the camera’s greatest strength! (Loved the slow-mo options when doing coaching analysis).
So apologies that all upcoming photos have the same background; new camera also automatically applies a bazillion filters so apologies whilst I squee in excitement over different colour worlds! (Yes I’ve heard of Instagram). I’m sure I’ll get over it eventually :)
I’ve made quite a few things lately. Once on summer holidays from work, I really pushed myself to sew from my stash and challenge myself with reality: is the fabric I buy really going to become something I can wear? I was also keen to try out some different patterns, and thank goodness I’ve become a lot more relaxed in the past year – it’s definitely helped me deal with oh-that-looks-hideous-and-I’ve-just-spent-all-this-time/-emotion/-favourite-fabric-on-it. That and Taylor Swift’s Shake it Off.
My sister expressed an interest in making a skirt, and in a pattern sale I bought some skirt patterns. I made this up as a wearable muslin, to see whether the style would suit her and what sizing to play with.
Being the good sister that I am, she’s not yet seen the skirt. I’ve worn it.
It’s a pleated straight skirt with a centre back zip and straight waistband. I sewed a straight 38 and managed to fit the pattern onto the last of this purple dotted cotton which I’d had for ages. I underlined the skirt with the last of the plain white cotton. Both fabrics from the stash, as was the zip and slightly un-matching thread! Stash busting win!
I didn’t want any bulk in the waistband, so I attached the waistband to the skirt, serged the edges, then pressed the seam down. That did mean I had to hand-stitch the waistband to the zip, but smooth waistbands FTW!
The zipper was also too long, but you can shorten a zipper by zig-zagging over it to create a new ‘stop’. (Zig zag setting width 3-4, length 0). It’s not the most robust solution, so my stop is 1″ lower than fabric seam, so it will never really be needed.
Now, as simple as this skirt was to make, would I do it again? Likely not. It’s VERY boxy (literally: a rectangular piece with dart markings), and unfortunately as it’s an ‘easy’ pattern, there is no consideration for back vents in the pattern. Not hard to install one, of course, but a place for a beginner to get caught out, and then wonder why their skirt doesn’t let them walk too far forward! A-line is a more flattering line on me and this skirt didn’t change my preference.
The other big cross is the waistband. I dislike straight waistbands – and here’s why:
In reality, I don’t wear high-waisted, and I like the loose-ness of clothes that can fall to my hips and stay there. So curved waistbands only, please!
Overall not a bad temporary addition to the summer wardrobe to help deal with multiple 35*C+ days (95*F), but unlikely to permanently feature.
Marfy 3705 Shirt
This is one of the free patterns that came with the 2013/2014 Annual catalog. Unlike regular Marfy patterns, these patterns are multi-sized and nested, and often in the 8 or 10 freebies include a jacket, a shirt, a dress, a skirt, and a pant. That helps you determine your sizing before purchasing regular patterns.
I’ve had “nice shirts” on the mind for a while. My life means I spend my time in official work shirts or training shirts, but never in nice dress-up-for-dinner shirts. I also find a lot of the RTW on offer not flattering on my body, so it was time to experiment.
I cut a straight 42, the smallest size on offer (aside: not that I’m tiny or anything, but why do Marfy patterns not go smaller? I’ve been to Italy; they’re all tall and slim. I’m surprised that this couture company doesn’t focus on what tends to be the typical sizing for couture: small!). I added seam allowances, and luckily I did, because I wouldn’t want the shirt to be any smaller – I wouldn’t be able to get it over my shoulders and chest! It was a funny experience given the 2826 I’ve been working on forever, in the same size, is swimming on me.
Both front and back pieces are cut on grain. The front piece has a fold-down cowl, and the pattern is marked perfectly for all stitching lines to match. I experimented with order of construction, and whilst didn’t get it perfect, can tell you that a) overlock everything – it’ll just be faster and you won’t “care” what it looks like or b) choose where to lose out on the pretty finishes. I did seam bind almost EVERYTHING (nerdy love for cutting bias strips!), and the only thing that missed out was the shoulder seam at the neckline, due to the cowl.
This was also the first time I’d ever sewn a zip into a seam that was both above and below the zip. It took a few goes to get it non-lumpy and balanced, but I got there. Any tips on this?
I also muslined up a sleeve, and it’s very flattering and schick – very like the illustrations, and mostly a “pointing down” sleeve, so more ladies-who-lunch range of movement appropriate v.s. I-spend-my-day-picking-up-after-children ROM appropriate.
Lastly – there has been something funky happening with my straight stitch on my machine. It doesn’t want to sew entirely straight. I can’t figure out if that’s a tension issue (any changes I make seem to have no effect), or whether it’s the result of having my sewing machine take a car trip. I’ve had my machine serviced recently (for some big adjustments), and when it was returned it seemed fine. I don’t think it needs another service, but any advice? It’s my mother’s Janome MyExcel (circa 1990s).