Monday, July 21, 2014

Me-Made-Monday 3: Silk Faille Skirt

Dear readers, this post was especially difficult for me, as it comes at the time when the entire world is shocked about the brutal and cold-blooded crime over Ukrainian skies that took down a plane with almost 300 innocent people...

... I witnessed wars... and conflicts... and peace... and at some point your memories become like a sea glass, worn-down, with rounded edges and matt... Until something happens again and a sharp pain pierces you... Why am I writing this? I picked up sewing again shortly after Russian invasion in Georgia, in 2008, a short war that took life of a very dear friend of mine, a fellow journalist. Sewing helped me to cope with pain...

We, sewing folks, seem to make this world a little bit nicer, a little more creative; we manage to find a common language despite our often very different backgrounds. We cannot stop conflicts, but we make this place more bearable to live in. I hope.

Today, I would like to keep the details short. The skirt was made couple of years ago in Susan Khalje's class. It is a high-waisted silk faille skirt, with boned waist. The top was made by a friend in Macedonia, where we used to live seven years ago.

As for the backdrop, it is a German navy ship, one of the biggest, if not the biggest. We were invited to an event that took place on its deck, just where the helicopters stand. The ship, which was having a few-days stopover in the port of Limassol in Cyprus, was on its way to the final destination in Africa where it is now providing safety to ships carrying humanitarian cargo.

... That's it. If you want to share your me-made days here, here is the linky button

Thursday, July 17, 2014

Seam grading tip

Sometimes a small trick can make sewing much easier. Take seam trimming and grading. It makes a lot of difference how you hold your shears. If you hold them with blades perpendicular to the surface (as in the picture below), you will have difficulties getting a nice straight edge.

However, when the shears are held at an angle (see below), you will achieve much better results. 

Do you grade your seams?

Wednesday, July 16, 2014

New couture classes on Craftsy

Craftsy added two new couture classes, readers! Couture Dressmaking Techniques and Couture Finishing Techniques, both with a British instructor Alison Smith.  Apparently, Ms Alison Smith has received MBE award (Member of the Most Excellent Order of the British Empire) from the Queen for her sewing and teaching, isn't it amazing? Especially when you think that the Beatles were MBE award recipients as well. Quite a credential!..

I've started working on a cocktail dress for myself and plan to incorporate some of the the techniques from the class into the project.

At first you may wonder how many couture classes can you take. Actually, it is never enough. Everytime I take a new class I learn something new, and it was the case with this class as well.  It's great to gather as much knowledge as possible, and, once working on a project, being able to choose the most appropriate technique from your couture portfolio.

Two lessons  from Couture Dressmaking Techniques is as far as I got for now. Not surprisingly, Lesson 1 is dealing with pattern preparation, muslin and pattern placement.

It is not a step-by-step project-based class, but rather a round up of techniques you may encounter in couture sewing. Alison Smith shares very good tips for checking the fit and pattern placement using semi-transparent tracing paper.

She uses British sewing terms, but you can see american equivalents in text boxes on the screen. I learnt quite a few words during the lesson. I loved when she used the word 'gingerly' when explaining how to press open a seam.  Gingerly is a word I am going to use a lot from now on.

In Lesson 2, the instructor shows samples of her favorite underlining fabrics and explains how to join the underlining and fashion fabric, how to use tailor tucks for markings, thread trace darts and the center line.

As the lesson goes on, she shows how to stabilize cut out garment pieces before they are joined together. She uses silk organza to interface neck edge and secures it with herringbone stitch.  A strip of organza and diagonal basting stitch to stabilize zipper area, and a binding tape for shoulder seams.

And here is the test run of the stabilized zipper area on my future dress,.. and my gingerly pressed waist seam. More to come...

Tuesday, July 15, 2014

SSDA 10: Measurements and Calculations Sheet

Before we finally proceed to drafting, I wanted to post a reference list of all the measurements and calculations, which we are going to use to draft our straight skirt


Waist Circumference __________

Hip Circumference __________

Length to floor
Right Side Length (RSL) __________
Left Side Length (LSL) __________
Back Length (BL) __________
Front Length (FL) __________
Distance from the floor to the desired hem length (LD) __________

Dart Measurements

Front Dart Depth (FD) =                         Front Dart Length (FL) =
Left Side Dart Depth (LD) =                    Left Side Length (LL) =
Back Dart Depth (BD) =                         Back Dart Length (BL) =
Note: please check error as described in the post


Waist Circumference (W)
W= waist measurement + 2cm

Hip Circumference (H)
H = hip measurement

GLRS  (garment length right side) = RSL - LDGLLS (garment length left side) = LSL - LDGLB (garment length back) = BL - LDGLF (garment length front) = FL - LD

Dart Calculations

DI (Dart Intake) hip circumference - waist circumference)
DD (Dart Depth) = FD + LD + BD

Er (Relative Error) = DI / DD

FI (Front Dart Intake) = FD x Er                     FL (Front Dart Length)= same as measurement
BI (Back Dart Intake) = BD x Er                      BL (Back Dart Length)= same as measurement
LI (Side Dart Intake)  = LD x Er                    LL (Left Side Dart Length)= same as measurement

Front Width
FW = (Hip circumference : 4) - ((BI -FI) : 2)

Back Width
BW = (Hip circumference : 4) + ((BI - FI) : 2)

That's it, readers! To begin drafting you will need the values from the calculation sheet. I'll post the drafting sequence before the weekend. Please ask me if something doesn't make sense, or if you notice a typo. 

Related Posts:

SSDA 9: Side Seam and the Front and Back Widths

Monday, July 14, 2014

Me-Made-Monday: Silk Tweed Dress

Another 'unblogged' and 'unfeatured' piece I made recently and worn last week. This Burdastyle-pattern-based silk-tweed dress (phew) is rather a casual piece and I like it but am not in love with it. Nevertheless, I wear it a lot and (surprisingly for me) get a compliment occasionally. Ok, allow me to start with a shampoo commercial full-body shot. (I use Timotei, in case you were wondering anyway.)

Readers, I am so happy I finally have a beautiful backdrop for my pictures. It is a garden pass that goes around our house in Nicosia, and the plants are green and blooming all year long.

The dress is quite cool (not hot), although being made of tweed may suggest the the opposite. Silk tweed is only somewhat bulky and not hot at all. I used silk charmeuse lining and quilted the entire dress, as in Chanel jackets. It was a necessary step since the tweed was very loosely woven. I won't bore you with more construction details now, which I will share in a separate post.

Posing for images is not my thing, really. I guess I should take lessons from Rachel (Rachel, if you are reading it, you should draft a post on modelling). Here, I almost fell, trying to assume some natural looking body position while trying to stand on one foot. What was I thinking...

Now, a few Me-Made facts, and I decided to use a template here, which you can use and adjust for your Me-Made posts if you want:

When was the garment made?

I made this dress in May this year

What patterns and materials were used?

I used Burdastyle pattern #112 02/2014, but eliminated peplum sleeve after making a muslin. I used a loosely-woven silk tweed from B&J Fabrics in New York and sand color silk charmeuse.

Approximate cost?

Material cost was about $80-$90.

How often is it worn?

When the temperatures are under 100F, I wear it quite often, or at least once a week.

Where do you wear it?

To some casual events, fabric shopping (of course), visits to friends. For me it is not a dress I would wear at home.

How does it work with the rest of the wardrobe?

Since it is just a dress, I only need accessories to compliment the look, and I already had matching shoes and a belt.

Your turn now - add your link!


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