Tuesday, December 31, 2013

A Sewing Year in Review: 2013

It's been really fun to reflect on how I've progressed this year. I've started out thinking I hadn't really progressed, and then realized that I had actually accomplished a lot! It goes to show how important it is to stop to see how far we've come sometimes!
2013 was the year of sewing breakthroughs for me. It's been mostly an internal process, rather than a change that manifested itself in the actual things I've made:

1) I've finally realized my dream of taking a college-level course in pattern drafting this winter and I'm so incredibly happy I did. The ironic thing about it is that it brought me closer to commercial patterns. Fit for Real People and my sewing guru, Lorraine Henry, have also contributed to this big time, but for a variety of reasons, 2013 has been the year where I've suddenly had the revelation and the skills to pick up pretty much any pattern and work with it. It's felt like a world of possibilities!
2) But a world of possibilities can also feel overwhelming sometimes. And I've had to stop and think about what it is I wanted to make. I've slowed down the actual sewing in the fourth trimester to take a step back and refocus my sewing aesthetic. I'm so excited to report that my vision has never been clearer and I look forward to aligning my sewing with this new vision in 2014.

New direction in snippets:
- Quality over quantity.
- Lux fabrics.
- Cohesiveness.
- Dress shirts, wool blazers, classic pants and smart, structured dress in neutral colours.
- More to come on that later!

Other thoughts about this year:

Sewing Friendships
It was sad to leave Toronto just as I was getting to know so many local sewists after organizing the sewing meet-up with Gillian of Crafting Rainbow in February. That said, the beauty of our community is that it's transnational, so I've been able to enjoy keeping up with all of you on your blogs. I've also slowly been building a sewing community of my own in Sweden, meeting up with Joëlle from Handstitched Files, fabric shopping in Kinna, in addition to joining my local sewing club. I'm so grateful for these friendships.

Blogging Consistency
I've been keeping this blog alive for three and a half years, so I know something about consistency. However, there is still plenty of room for improvement! The ability to stick with something for a long period of time is a good skill to have in all areas of life -- whether professional or personal -- so I really want to work at it. One strategy that's proven effective for me is to plan my blogging a couple of weeks in advance, and I want to do more of that going forward. It's less about the blogging per se (because, let's face it, posting 2, 15 or 45 posts a month won't really make a difference to anyone) as it is about the exercise of developing consistency and dedication over a long period of time. 2013 has been the most consistent so far, so I hope 2014 will be even better!

More Sharing
I still find it difficult to assess how much of my life to share with you guys here. How I've dealt with this in the past has been "if it's not sewing, don't share" and "whenever in doubt, don't share." But your positive reactions to posts about snippets of my life in Sweden this year have made me reconsider. And I really do enjoy reading those kinds of posts in other blogs. After all, it's not as if the sewing is happening in a vacuum in our lives! Of course, there is a balance to everything (don't worry, I won't start blogging about my dog's eating habits. Although you'd be surprised at how interesting that would be!) and defining that balance is a very personal thing. All this to say: in 2014, expect to read more about the elements of my life that are intertwined with the sewing.

I'm going to conclude this post (and this blogging year!) by thanking you all so much for your continued support. I deeply appreciate your visits and comments and I'm sending you all my best wishes for a new year filled with love, peace, community... and productive sewing!

Happy New Year everyone!
Adrienne xo

Friday, December 20, 2013

Gone fishing... or skiing

Lake Louise (source)
I hope you're enjoying the holiday season as much as I am, here in Canada. :-)

I'll be away from home until the end of January, so I'll be posting less frequently because I want to spend quality time with my family and friends. But I won't be thinking of you any less and I will continue to read and comment on your blogs. You can also find me on Pinterest if you miss me too much. :-)

Happy sewing everyone!

Adrienne xo

Friday, December 06, 2013

PVC clear elastic tape for the shoulder seams?

First of all, I just wanted to thank Dibs from Dibs and the Machine for giving me the opportunity to contribute to the wrap dress sewalong! I've been a huge fan of her and her blog since we met in 2011. Believe it or not, she is just as funny in real life as she is on her blog, and maybe more, if that's even possible. Her sense of humour is a big reason why we love her and her blog so much! Do check out her blog if you don't know her, and you can also have a look at my guest post "how to make your own Catherine Middleton engagement dress". :-)


When I was making the dress, I wanted to try clear PVC elastic to stabilize the shoulder seams.
Frankly, I don't know how much it needed stabilizing, but it was nice to try this notion -- and realize how easy it was to work with. Useful to know for when I actually need it...
Like, uh, I don't know, maybe for the crotch seam of my SEWLUTION TROUSERS????

BAD sewist, BAD.

Will Adrienne manage to accomplish her sewlution before the year's end?Mission Impossible Theme by Mission Impossible on Grooveshark

Wednesday, December 04, 2013

How to do a SBA on a Wrap Dress or Wrap Top with a Shawl Collar

Looking at those unusual pieces for the front panel pieces of Vogue 8827 left me scratching my head... How... will I do... a Small Bust Adjustment... on that?

Thankfully, it's not too difficult. Today, I'll be sharing a way to adjust pattern Vogue 8827 for us ladies of modest chestal proportions. :-)

It goes without saying that this method can be applied to any wrap dress or wrap top with a shawl collar, cowl neck, or any other collar variation directly connected to the front pattern pieces (you'll see what I mean in a minute).

First things first: How do you know you need a SBA on your wrap dress or top? You'll know because the front piece will be too long. Make a side dart as shown, and measure how much you need to take away. In my case, I needed to take away a good one inch of extra fabric. Make sure you write this down.
Before we dive into the minutia of the procedure, let's pause for a minute to think about what this piece IS exactly. We're looking at many pieces all connected into one, namely, the bodice front piece, the collar (pink), the collar facing (orange), the bodice front facing (purple), the skirt (yellow) and the skirt facing (blue). Phew. Many pieces.
Now that we know what we're looking at and where everything is, the first step of our pattern adjustment will be to separate the collar piece from the bodice front piece and the skirt front piece, in order to be able to adjust the bust. We'll do that by cutting along the lines, as shown in the picture bellow, and cutting ALMOST all the way at the shoulder, leaving the patterns connected a bit there for pivoting.
Don't cut all the way up
Note: This is what I did and it worked well for me, but I realize as I'm writing this tutorial that, strictly from theory, I could have cut along the point where the bodice front meets the collar, instead of cutting between the collar and the collar facing as shown above and bellow. I don't know how overlapping the pieces would have worked out in this case, but if anyone tries it, let me know.
Same idea for View A and C.
Just remember that you'll have to adjust the collar facing piece separately for these views,
since the collar facing comes as a separate piece
Pinch out the excess fabric at the bust according to what you measured earlier on your muslin, and "smoosh out" the dart -- meaning, press flat (either with your hand or your iron) the bubble created by the dart. Now, you'll see that the front collar and the collar facing will be too long, so it needs to be overlapped with with skirt and skirt facing.

Tape everything in place and ignore the gap in your pattern when you're cutting.

There you go! It's not more complicated than that!

Happy sewing everyone!

The method is a combination of the "Smooshing Out Small Darts" section of Fit for Real People (see page 147) and Lorraine Henry's presentation on performing a SBA on a princess seam as seen at the Creativ festival in the spring of 2013.

Monday, December 02, 2013

Completed: Vogue 8827

The original inspiration for this dress was Sallie Oh's magenta version, but when I finished sewing it as per the instructions, it somehow didn't end up looking right.

I brainstormed for a couple hours and finally found a solution I couldn't be happier about! :-) Stay tuned for my tutorial on how to modify a basic wrap-dress pattern into a "Catherine Middleton engagement dress knock-off" over at Dibs and the Machines later this week. Dibs is hosting a wrap dress sewalong right now!
Before I get into the details of this make, I thought the shadows above were a nice invitation to answer some questions I've had recently about photography. :-) I take all my photographs with a tripod and camera remote. :-) As of May of this year, I use a Canon EOS T3i, which has perform extremely well.
Now, onto the dress!

Pattern: Vogue 8827
Fabric: Jersey purchased on Goldhawk road in London. (Probably cotton with a small percentage of rayon and lycra, but can't be sure, it was purchased so long ago.)
Adjustments to the original pattern:
- Small bust adjustment (I'm preparing a separate post on how to do this on this pattern, by the way. A bit tricky).
- Added 1,5 inches to sleeve length.
- Graded the side seam from sizes 5 under the arms to 12 at the hips.
- Raised the lower point of armscye by 1.5 inches and moved it 0.75 inch inwards towards bust point.
- Removed 0.5 inch from shoulder width.
- Other modifications unrelated to fit will be explained in my guest post at Dibs and the Machine!

In the end, I found the best way to tie my belt was to tuck the edges underneath at the back!

I would definitely recommend this pattern, if you're looking for an easy wrap dress.
Happy sewing everyone!
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