Thursday, 16 February 2017

Vintage buttons for Lost at Sea

I raided the stash for a zip, and begrudgingly settled for a white zip. I don't have a pale blue thread, which I find hard to believe. I have a memory of being so excited when this fabric arrived that I raided the stash for thread + zip. I know that I had them, but they weren't with this fabric. Mind you I hadn't put them all in a ziplock bag together so it serves me right. I have another "current season sewing" box to look in before I buy thread.

When it came to buttons I looked first in the gift bag labelled 1940-1965.


Thank goodness there's enough of this navy ridged button, plus it's the right size. The ridges are reminiscent of the lines in the background and ship so it's a clear winner.


Wednesday, 15 February 2017

Note to self: stitch the collar longer, and the upper collar

I'm writing this here to increase my chance of remembering when I'm at home.

I have a broader neck than average, so I cut the neckline of this dress wider. I remembered to cut the back neck facing wider, but not the collar, so I'll need to reduce the seam allowance on the undercollar to compensate.

I haven't cut the upper collar out yet, as I decided that rather than have one end with an interest point and the other end without as the length of the collar piece just doesn't work that way with this print, no matter where I moved it on the piece of fabric left for it.

So long as there's a CB seam on the collar, I think I can cut them with a swallow on each point, and both facing in the same direction.  I'll need to make two half collar pattern pieces to ensure that the layout doesn't overlap before I start cutting. I could chalk one and then flip for the other end, but to be honest it's no harder to cut two pattern pieces.

Monday, 13 February 2017

Trying to make the February dress sneakily safe for work

I managed to avoid the extremely hot Saturday by going to stay with a friend who has air-con. Friday was hot enough, but Saturday got to a crazy 46.9C or 116.4F. Yes I'll admit that I've become a little obsessed with the heatwave this summer. This is that day's low / high.


I'm so glad that I don't know what that feels like, cos both times I've sweated through 45C with no air-con it was more than hot enough. She was actually going out on Saturday, and had no problems with me staying and sewing (or even just sitting & reading).

I took my lobster dress to sew if my back was OK with it, and it was whingy enough that I felt it best to let the ligament heal a little more before stitching. Part of me grumbled as she has an overlocker set up with black thread. However getting it out of the wardrobe and moving it could have been much more trouble than it was worth in this instance. Instead I slowly worked my way through cutting out the February Lost at Sea dress. 

It was obvious that Lost at Sea is an one directional print so I had to carefully cut it out with a nap style layout. The pleated skirt was going to be the main issue, as I typically top and tail the side front and side back pieces (sliding one down as otherwise they'd overlap. I might not be phrasing this clearly). I decided to cut the bodice & sleeves out, and other than the collar & front facing which didn't fit, the overall layout had very little wastage. Then I measured the remainder (308cm) divided by 4 and at 77cm, this was about 3cm shorter than the strawberry skirt. So I got the CF and CB cut out from a 77cm each, and the collar fitted next to the side front and the front bodice facing next to the side back.



Remarkably few scraps, especially when I tried very hard to not have the mermaid's "assets" clearly on the bodice, in the hope that although they couldn't be avoided in the skirt, if they weren't obvious on the bodice I could wear the dress to work.  On the back neck her chest will hopefully be covered by the collar, and on the front it'll be in the yoke's seam allowance.  Sadly I didn't notice the right front has a mermaid that isn't under the arm ... we'll see how the darts go.  I'm also hoping that an anchor isn't on target at a bust point.  If it is, then it'll be weekend or social wear only.

I cut the skirt out so that the dress looks like a fake button through - there will be buttons, but it will be sewn as an interfaced fold/pleat, with buttons sewn through all 3 layers.

I hadn't noticed until I got home on Sunday and looked at the half size pattern #4685 that it's a false button through. My reason for looking at it was to see the skirt facing width, except it has no facings. I'll be doing more than 2 false button holes/buttons on my dress.






Sunday, 12 February 2017

February dress plan: Lost at Sea nautical print + 4803

Hopefully I'm back on track to making a new dress each month this year. My easy choice for February - because I committed to sewing it for Canberra is the vintage nautical print cotton, and the bodice from the half size pattern 4803. 

I could do yet another FBA directly on [a copy of] this pattern, but as I've just done one for my January lobster dress so I'll morph the collar & yoke details onto #4866

Thursday, 9 February 2017

It might be useful having corsets in the wardrobe

I thought I'd pulled a muscle in my back moving furniture on Saturday - so the delivery guy had a clear run through my lounge for my washing machine & new fridge.

However, it turns out it's ligament damage which has (for want of a more technical phrase) displaced a rib. Like any ligament issue it takes 6-8 weeks to heal and compression will help, so I'm hoping my candy cane corset is in the unpacked turquoise suitcase. That's not unpacked cos there are boxes of sewing stuff in front of the built in wardobe in the sewing room. The silver suitcase with costume stuff is inside the wardrobe, so I'm not going to get to that.

Sewing aggravated the pain, so I had to stop working on the lobster dress which is frustrating, but assuming I can find one of my corsets then it should support the ribs enough to do things.  If I'm having a full sewing day - where I'm sitting at the machine for hours, rather than getting up & down doing things - then I put on one of my historical corsets as I instantly adopt a better posture, and don't hunch up.

I just wish it wasn't going to be a record temperature average for February, because I plan to put on a corset as soon as I get home each night so that I can make progress at more than sitting in a straight back chair.

Wednesday, 8 February 2017

today's decision - change overlocker threads from white to dark or not

I'm at the point where I have to overlock, and the machine is set up with white thread. If changing thread always went well, then I'd just do it. But it's a 50:50 thing with this beast, so I have until I get home late from a massage to decide. I pulled a muscle in my back on Saturday and I probably shouldn't be sewing cos it's already owwie. But LOBSTERS!

Thankfully my stash of overlocker thread was unpacked, though I'd overlock with dark navy not black. That way if there's any unpicking it's easy to spot the thread on the black fabric. It's purely an aesthetic decision to switch from white, not a functional one so it's only my inner perfectionist that cares really.

I also remembered to get back to my old habit which I've not mentioned here of stitching off a seam or dart onto a square of the same fabric. It reduces the thread wastage and helps the bottom thread tension remain stable (no need to old the threads as you start the seam) which some machines have more problem with than others.


I also do production style stitching, I have everything pinned that can be and just sew from one dart to the next dart or seam until they're done, then switch to overlocker and do the same. Then press everything, then pin the next batch of seams and repeat.

Oh, and just in case I have to unpick, the bobbin thread isn't black but a very dark charcoal, so that I don't risk my mental health trying to find black on black.

Tuesday, 7 February 2017

Martini dress neckband is in hiding

I noticed while I was looking at the martini dress with a view to finishing it this weekend, that the neckbands weren't with the rest of the dress. I know they're in the sewing room ... which is yet to be properly unpacked let alone organised.

Posting this in the interests of honesty. Seeing as February is due to be a record "hottest February on record", I'm not even going to attempt that until its not hot & humid.  Martini dress can wait, and I have other fabric+patterns that are visible at hand.

Lobster dress gets Vintage buttons from the stash

The only sewing thing I did on Sunday (in the air-con at my friend's place) was to separate out all the red buttons from the vintage stash I was given last year. These are pre-1965, and as much as I like the larger button, they're coat size and far too large scale for a dress.


Given my sewing deadline, I shouldn't be so excited that I slept in until 6.30am today, but I am. The cool change has made it easier to sleep, even though the heatwave returns on Friday.

Edited to add: In my lunch break I pinned all the darts, so that I can start stitching as soon as I get home. I'm fudging the waist dart on the front bodice, partly because I did a dodgy split of the side dart, which meant something creative to keep the arms of each dart the same length. Ultimately I'm doing this by the seat of my pants. I also cut out the interfacing for the collar and facing, so they're also ready to go.

Monday, 6 February 2017

missing patterns and heatwave delays the Lobster dress

Too many 40C+ days in January (last month it was hotter overall in Penrith (Western Sydney) than Darwin. That ain't right.  It's heading to be a record month for February too, with today being the second 43C in a row day out there.  When it's not 40C+ it's humid and that's just as bad to sew in.

Also, my fitted pattern from the strawberry dress is in hiding somewhere, along with the pattern I morphed for the martini dress. I put them somewhere safe, and I'll come across them as I organise the sewing room. They're not in my bedroom nor in the lounge, nothing sewing there other than books in the bookcase.

I've given up trying to locate them and I'm staying in the office after I've clocked off work to use the air-con and meeting room table to do the alterations from scratch on the January dress pattern. I'm only using the bodice from #4866, and using the idea of the martini dress. I brought the Martini dress with me so I can replicate the pieces (by chalking directly onto the lobster print). It'll work out.

Since my insomnia has finally improved, my sleep pattern has dramatically changed. These days no matter what time I go to bed I wake up between 5 and 6am. I joked with a friend yesterday that after 53 years of being an extreme night owl, that perhaps this is a sign of the apocalypse.

I had thought my need to go to sleep hours earlier than I used to (midnight used to be my standard) was because I was so sick & recovering. However the nights I went to bed closer to my old normal, I woke up about 5am anyway.  It's been a bit of a head spinner, something that I have to get my head around the concept that I'm now an early bird. The past week I started going to bed consistently before 10.30pm so that when I wake up around 5am I've had enough sleep and am awake enough to get up by 6am and to the things that I used to do before midnight.

So the good news is that I can sew early in the morning when it's coolest, rather than struggle in the hot &/or humid evening.