Saturday, January 28, 2012

Orange Leopard 1/2 circle skirt

One of my favourite pastimes is shopping with Jess - checking out the fashion and gasping at the prices.  This day Jess tried on this 1/2 circle skirt "Peeky Skirt" and it looked great on her.  My usual saying: "I can make that!!"  Needless to say, didn't buy it.

Jess was now on a mission to purchase some fabric for this skirt. She found this orange leopard print from designer Zimmerman at the Fabric Store.  Wasn't sure at first but on second reflection thought it was interesting.  Jess decided that she would sew this skirt as her first sewing project with a pattern.

Pattern:  didn't have one but thought it was such a simple skirt why would you need to buy one.   I referred to my favourite book "Patternmaking for Fashion Design" for the formula to make a 1/2 circle skirt.  This book is fantastic - has everything you would need in pattern-making - well worth the money.

Formula for the radius

It gives you the radius for 1/4, 1/2, 3/4 and full circle skirts.   Fantastic!! 


How to diagrams
Prior to cutting the main fabric, Jess tested the pattern to ensure correct measurements on a muslin.  It was a perfect fit, so quite confident to proceed.

Pattern placement

Fabric folded in half and placed one side of the pattern on the fold. This skirt will only have a centre back seam, with an exposed zip (Jeans Zipper).

Disregard the waistband placement - wasn't really correct.  Too curvy - Jess cut a 10cm wide strip for a 4cm finished waistband.

Exposed zipper

Jess wanted an exposed zipper, so searched the internet for a tutorial but it was really hard to find the method I wanted - square at the bottom of the zip.  Found this website which is an excellent resource for sewing and this is where I found this exposed zipper tutorial.  

Waistband being pinned to skirt

Interlining the skirt
Since the skirt was to have an exposed zipper, it was better to interline the skirt - to make the fabric and lining as one.  I have to admit this is my favourite method of lining - so easy to do.  This lining is silk/cotton (70% silk 30% cotton) purchased at Tessuti, and what a great colour.

Centre back seam

Sew the centre back seam and stop at the zipper end point and back sew to secure.   Then sew 4.0 stitch length the rest of the way (where the zipper is to be positioned) - this will be unpicked later. 

Fabric stay for zipper

Cut a length of fabric for the stay which is to be used for the exposed zipper.  You need to measure the finished length and the desired width of zip exposure.  This is very important because the width of the opening (the square bit at the bottom of the zip) can't be changed - you are committed to sew the zip in that space.  If you download the PDF it will explain it properly.   Press and fold in half.  The fold line should be placed on the centre back seam, where the zip is to be positioned.

With right sides of fabric facing place the stay on the zipper line - pin ready to sew.

Sewing the stay over zipper area of skirt

Jess positioned the edge of the foot on that CB seam as a guide for the width.  Of course you need to determine if that is how much of the zipper you want exposed before sewing.  

After having sewn the stay, you need to cut down the centre of the stay then cut diagonally into the corners.  Unpick the basting stitches.  Then turn the stay inside the skirt, as shown below.   Press.

Zipper opening

Now you can place your zipper inside the opening ready to sew.  You can see from the width of the fabric square that this can't be changed, so when you place your zipper underneath it should exceed the width of the opening or else you can't sew it in place.

Sewing zipper in place

Finished zipper

Now this is what I call an exposed zipper!!   Jess hand stitched the waistband and hem.  Hooray, mission accomplished - 1/2 circle made by Jess!!

 Zipper view

A bit of a swirl to show off the lining

Jess is really happy with her skirt and proud to wear it.  Needless to say,  I'm very proud of her achievement.  She is well on the way to sewing for herself.

This is a great first project - excluding the challenge when it came to the zip.   Definitely a pattern which will be repeated.   Have some black jacquard fabric which is perfect for this pattern.   Jess can now learn how to sew an invisible zip.  There's no stopping her now!!!   

Monday, January 23, 2012

Being productive

Being productive - not that I stand still for very long, like most of us juggle work, life and hobbies.  The productive side is the produce garden.

Lettuce grown in Greensmart Pots

Have tried couple of years ago to intermingle produce into my garden but this didn't work, as these vegetables required special nutrients which I was unable to give them - so hence the Greensmart garden pots.  They have been amazing - you can even fill the reservoir with plant food (liquid of course) and the plants draw these up - as nature intended. 

The spring onions you see were just store bought and I cut the ends and planted them.  Well what do you know they've grown very well. I don't bother buying them anymore, just cut and plant and in a few weeks you have new ones.  Cucumbers galore - and they taste fantastic when you grown your own.

David Austin rose - Evelyn

Couldn't resist having this rose in the garden, after all it has my name on it - Oh, I do spell my name with an "e" an the end, but I'm not fussed.  The perfume of this rose is amazing.

Crepe Myrtle

This is a gorgeous tree (some say it's a large bush) but mine has grown into a beautiful small tree.  I chose this colour to highlight the painted wall.

Glimpse of the wall

On the wall is a climbing hydrangea which hasn't flowered yet - still waiting.  This was planted 5 years ago - but I'm patient.  You have to be when you are a gardener.  In Autumn (Fall) this plant turns a beautiful yellow which goes beautifully with the magenta/purple wall.

Autumn - this is my favourite time of the year.  Must admit with a 34 C day would rather be next to a pool sipping on a cocktail - oh, I have two ponds but I'm working today.  Better get a wriggle on!!!

Sunday, January 1, 2012

Burda Skirt 126 (5/2011)

The colour green has been so popular this year, so when I showed Jess a sample, she immediately said "Yes, please!!"

Paris - Crepe de Chine (Fern)

Fabric:   Paris (Crepe de Chine) colour name - Fern.
          Purchased at Tessuti Fabrics (Melbourne).
          This fabric can be ordered, if sold out.

Pattern:  Burda 126 (5/2011) Skirt

Burda 126 - Skirt

Jess wanted a mullet skirt.  I don't really like most of the designs - some are way to short in the front and long in the back. 

Decided to use this pattern and alter the front cutting out the 'mullet' look.  I still had the option of shortening the skirt if it didn't work out - or later if she tires of the 'mullet' look.

One thing to be aware of is that the side pocket panel is cut on the bias.  I actually didn't see this grain line on the pattern, as the skirt panel, which sits above the pocket piece and is cut on the straight of grain - was really hard to see this and I only noticed when I looked at the pattern placement diagram - yep, it's there for a reason - I still have difficulty with all those lines.  This mistake actually worked out -  as using crepe de chine (which is not what the pattern calls for) would have made the pocket opening too severe (floppy).  Crossed fingers hoping I had done the right thing.

Made my own pocket insert as I didn't understand the instructions - could not figure out how to do the pocket or even if there was one. What can I say - I'm a visual person, so I sampled a pocket with insert myself and it worked beautifully.

Gathering on the skirt - the side panel (above the pocket) is gathered in two sections (why?)  I tried this and it was really awkward.  Decided to just gather the panel in one length - easier.   Measured her waist and made sure all the length of gathers added up - they did.  Forgot to trace to waistband, so just as easy to make my own.  Invisible zipper - couldn't find the exact colour, so I bought some cheap nail polish and painted the zipper pull - I'm like that when it comes to colour matching - you should see me when I try to match thread to fabric - has to be just right!!  I think it stems from my quilting days when colour matching was crucial, to me - ah, things we do!!

Next was the top - fortunately I had grabbed a remnant of 1m which was just enough to make this top.
She knew the design she wanted so using her block, I traced out her top pattern.

Jess' block

This was the first time I've done this using her block and drawing a pattern.  I was confident since it was a simple top, requiring no darts.

Muslin sample of top
Sample of the top which does include seam allowances, but which I didn't sew - just wanted to check the design.

Top and skirt - finished

I really enjoyed sewing this skirt and top and will definitely be making these two items again - next time a lightweight cotton would be nice.

Jess loves wearing her skirt and now she has a top to match - this is her New Year's Eve party outfit.