Monday, 11 August 2014

Apron's for all!

Hey Guys, 

So, in all of my faffing about, I did actually finish something. Who would've thought it.
It was my Dad's birthday when I was at home there a couple of weeks ago, and I decided that maybe my Dad should have something made by me - seen as I've made things for my Mam and sister (although, those bags I made for Christmas are basically worn to death at this stage - nice to know they got good use, but not a great advertisement of my skills!)

So while wracking my brains, I thought - why don't we be sensible and make him something that he will get good use of? And seen as my Dad is a chef, I thought there would be nothing better than a good old Chef's Apron - or Butcher's Apron as the case may be.

And I'm sorry, but it turned out f**king awesome.

I used the Butcher's Apron pattern from the first Great British Sewing Bee book. The pattern doesn't look too inspiring but it turns out a damn fine apron.

I made the apron from some pinstriped denim I had stashed from our sewing club. The place that we used to hold our club in was shutting down, and they had been donated a bolt of it from the local fashion college so I got myself about 1.5m of it. I think Rachel got some too, and a lady that does upholstering took the rest.

I'm super glad I did, although I don't know why I took it as I don't think I would've worn it! I have a habit of stashing free stuff for the sake of it. I'm a out and out hoarder.

It was the extra details I put into the apron that made me really happy. I made the bias binding from the denim and I made sure to match all the stripes, which looked great :) 

The only thing I wish I had done was to make opposing bias binding for either side of the neckline. As it is, the stripes run in a continuous line, when they may have looked better mirrored. Oh well, no harm, no foul!

I bought some lovely D-Rings on eBay to really give it that extra pizazz, and they are really good quality and have a great weight to them. To be honest, I chose the eBay seller that gave free 1st class delivery (how does anyone make money doing this??) as I was kind of down to the wire with this - of course.

In my defense, I thought I had the rings but they turned out to be far too big.

I also took really good care to ensure the stripes were running straight up and down, and that the hemming was even. It's the little things that really show up in a simple make like this!

I also added a lovely big pocket, and on Mr.G's instruction, I ensured that it was low enough to suit sticking your hands in at their full extension. And believe you me, that is actually important.

I also ran a line of stitching up and down either side of the centre pinstripe. It works so much better as a double pocket. And of course, stripe matching to the point that the pocket is damn-near invisible.

I edgestitched all around the bias-binding to secure it onto the apron. It runs all along the sides of the apron to form both the ties and the neck of the apron. I think this is what makes it a Butcher's apron possibly?

I didn't clip any curves, I just eased the bias-binding around the curve and stitched both sides together.

Just popped a scissors in to show the pocket! Nice and deep!

The strangest thing about the apron, is how it feel's when you put it on. It looks nice and all, but when you put it on, you don't want to take it off! It's happened to everyone that has put it on!

My only concern about the apron when it was finished, was that the neckline seemed really low, even when pulled to it's tightest. But the first thing my Dad said was that the neckline was good! Apparently it shouldn't be too high, you get awful hot in a kitchen if the neckline is too high. And I guess for the most part you're trying to protect your waist and lower parts from hot spills as well as general foodie grime.

He wore it to work that very evening! And apparently he got lots of compliments, and the other chef even said it was very professional looking. 

And I think I now have orders for my bro and Mr.G too. 

And I think they would also make a pretty awesome sewing apron, a la our aprons at the Sewing Bee :)

Well there you have it. One Chef's apron.

Maybe someday soon you may see the things that have been waiting to get up here since like June.
Since when did I fall so behind??


Emmie xx

Wednesday, 9 July 2014

The Daughters of Triton Dress...

Hello All,

So I never actually finished the Vegas Holiday line up!

This was because I really wanted to make some adjustments to the dress before I took pictures, and I only just got around to doing it! 

I'm calling this the Daughters of Triton dress, because when I was trying to come up with a post title, I realised my hair and dress had a bit of a Little Mermaid theme going on :) All I need is a shell to sit in...

This is the teal duchess satin BHL Anna bodice with a circle skirt.

Basically, the issue was that I had added horsehair braid to the hem (or at least some sort of plasticy nylon equivalent) and I ballsed it up a bit.  I was trying to go all out, and even got the braid in a jade green to blend in with the dress.

I spent hours and hours ensuring the hem was level. All I can remember about the days before the trip are: that hem, and watching Three Men and a Baby while working on that hem.

But of course, in my infinite wisdom, I decided to attach the braid while overlocking the hem. Could've worked out ok, but I didn't realise how much the braid can stretch out, and of course the implications that would have on how the hem would sit. And it must have stretched all sorts of crazy.

However, I only noticed this when I put the dress on in Vegas - because I had not tried the dress on until then. The front centre hem loop looked mental, looked like I sewed it drunk. Mega drunk. Tequila Drunk.

So unbelievably skew-iff, I was mortified.

So bad in fact, that I spent the evening folding the front loop over to one side with my arm as I was meandering.

So, I upicked the whole overlocked hem the other night, threw the horsehair in the bin (it was ruined anyways as the overlocker had nicked some of the braid and it was all unravelling), and hand stitched up the (now well-pressed) hem.

Putting it on now, it is a million times better, but looking at the photos, the front loop is still marginally longer than the rest. I may go back and re-do it, but I may not.

At least its not looking like its tipsy. Its at least sitting even across the loop. 

In these photos its actually the bottom of the zip that's annoying me, as it doesn't look puckered like that in real life!

I do really like the dress, but I don't love it as much as I thought I would. 
In my brain it was going to be THE DRESS.

I think contributing factors are the fact that the skirt is a bit shorter than I wanted, and the other factor is that the bodice is a smidgen short - which combined with the volume of the skirt at the waist, is not entirely my most flattering look from the side. I need to wear it with a belt to keep some of the volume down!

 I'm also starting to think that maybe I should try out the V-neck Anna neckline for a change. 

Finally, I've sort of fallen out of love with full circle skirts recently. It's just too much fabric to handle when you're trying to sit down, etc. And of course it's way worse at a shorter length than a longer one. 
It can be surprising how much a skirt rides up at the back when you sit down!

Bit of dance action there for ya

So yes, details of the dress.
Nothing else mega special. Hand picked lapped zipper with a matching metal zip. I loves me a metal zip.

The duchess satin presses really well. and I washed a test square on a 30/30 wash and it came out no different so I didn't pre-wash the fabric.

Ain't nobody got time for that coming up to a holiday!

(But you really should make time, do as I say, not as I do, lol)

Here's a couple of mannequin shots for a change! and a peek at some of the stash lol

And that's it folks! Whoops, I almost forgot - one on the night!

I think the holiday is finally finished, and only 2 months after :)

Maybe I can start cracking into the US fabric now. Although I held up one piece today and went to myself - you bought one yard. ONE That wasn't your cleverest move. 

In case you don't know me. I never buy less than two METRES; never mind one yard.
I guess there's some pencil skirts on my horizon, eh?

Emmie x

Thursday, 3 July 2014

Sort of not a Coco at all....

Hello all,

So, this is what I hoped would be my 'simple' Minerva make - you know, after the trauma of last month!

And I guess it was (simple, that is)

The plan was to make a Tilly & the Buttons Coco dress

I thought - it's simple, it's quick, and it's similar to what I wear to work on a daily basis, and aren't we all always going on about how we need to sew sensible pieces that we will use everyday?

I myself change into a uniform at my place of work, so the clothing I wear on a daily is worn to-work and from-work, and usually no longer (I love my pjs)

And as I am usually running late, and getting changed is a giant pain in the arse, it's awfully nice to wear a simple knit dress. Whip over head and step into uniform.

But of course nothing ever goes to plan!

Before we go anywhere, let me show you the dress.
I would like to forewarn you that I look mad as hell, but I was actually channeling a moody ambiance for the photo shoot. Cheery photos didn't feel right for 'the look', lol.

Here goes

You may notice a few things about this dress, the first probably being that it is definitely not a Coco dress.

You would probably bet your bottom dollar that I had swerved and made a Nettie dress.


The dress did indeed begin it's life as a Coco.
But it was god awful on me.

Basically, I decided that I would make a Coco, but I didn't want it to be as short as drafted as I'm not one for the short skirts. So I added 4" in the 'shorten/lengthen' line. and then followed the line of the upper waist down to the hem, but marginally wider (about 5/8"). 

I think this was my first mistake.

My second mistake was trying to make the dress reversible.
Because, as you may not realise, this is actually the wrong side of the fabric.
I had ordered the Grey Embossed Floral Ponte Roma, but the dress in my head was nothing like the dress on me. The picture also makes the fabric look a bit shinier and more metallic.

This is a nice enough print, but I think I could only get away with having it as a pencil skirt or something.
Not as an all over print.

Anywho, as the plain grey was so nice, I had this wonderful idea of flat-felling the seams to make the dress reversible. Lets just say all that remains of that idea are some flat-felled shoulders I couldn't be bothered to unpick (again)

But it was only when I started putting the dress together did I only realise fully how awful the fabric was on me. 
So I abandoned the reversible.

Only once I had the dress finished did I realise how awful the dress was on me.
Honestly, I think the main problem was those 4 extra inches of length.
It was drafted to sit at the point it does for a reason.

Once I realised this I was about to throw in the towel, hold up my hands and say "Sorry, I messed up, but I cannot and will not put this online as something I created". Although now I am slightly regretting not taking a 'before' picture!

But something in me pulled myself together, and began to hack.
And hack I did.

Firstly, I grabbed a fitted pencil skirt from my wardrobe, plonked it down on the dress and drew around it with chalk. I sewed that and tried it on.
Then began the 6 million tryings-on and tweakings of the dress.

In total I think I changed the skirt, took in the waist an additional time, scooped the neck, took in the bust side seams through to the armpit, pegged the skirt a little more and then took little extra bits at the hips that were sticking out funny.
Bits and pieces like that.

I have also taken in the sleeves since these photos were taken, to give a more snug and fitted finish.

I didn't set out to make a Nettie-lookalike, it only struck me once I took these photos, but it looks a bit like one to me! An unconcious homage to Heather Lou

Now this dress would not be the thing I normally wear. If you know me, you know I do not do fitted very often, and I hate anything clinging to my stomach. 
(In the interest of full disclosure: I am wearing some awesome controlwear in these photos)

But (with the controlwear) I really enjoyed wearing this dress! I felt sassy and wiggly, and a bit like a secretary - but in a good way - especially with a pair of heels on!

So there we go, not my usual on here but I learned stuff, and that's always good.
Has anyone else saved a disaster recently?

Emmie x

Saturday, 28 June 2014

Vintage Guts part 1

Hey Guys!

I bring to you the first installment of my Vintage Guts series!

I'm excited - I hope you are!

So the first dress I'm bringing you is my blue Wrap Dress. I bought it in April in a shop called Retro Fit in San Francisco. The shop I bought it in was really awesome, the best part being that the changing room had a submarine door to climb through.
It appears to be made of a chambray, and I think it cost me $103 with tax.

 There was another dress I liked too, but the lining was shredding and I thought it would need to much work. Also, Mr.G was all 'you don't have much room in your case and you don't know what else you're going to find'. To be honest, that was true, it was our first day. But it was super cheap because of the repairs needed.

So as you can see, the dress kind of has a dungarees feel about the straps. The wrap-ties button at the front, and there are MASSIVE pockets on the front, with appliqued rose baskets. These pockets are amazing, they hold so muc, and even better, half the time you can't tell there's anything in them.

It looks to me like the rose baskets are all one print - cut out of a print in one piece, and then appliqued around each piece to make it like like patchwork. The roses are quilted, and puffy with wadding.

The pockets are edgestitched at the top centre front. And for some reason asymmetrically.
Which is probably why the pockets sit differently sometimes. I might rectify it, as it bugs me sometimes.

A I mentioned, the wrap-ties button at the front.

And there are two sets of buttons for, you know, if you've had a big dinner.. I like how you can't tell the second set are there! From doing this post I have realised that the placement of the buttons on either side and centre front of the skirt in relation to the darts, is completely off.

There are three darts shaping the bust, which I definitely appreciate! Gives less of a boxy pointed bust, and I enjoy the fact that one of the darts goes into the arm.

The straps have a dungaree feel about them. The whole neckline is faced, and the staps are just topstitched on. The straps travel down the wrap back into the waist, and enclose the side backs in the process. It is topstitched all over.

The back skirt seams utilise the selvedge. The selvedge of this chambray is basically the exact same as the rest, which is awesome, and it isn't obviously the selvedge, but you get that finished edge with no fraying!

The outer wrap has folded in the selvedge by about two inches, and it is simply pressed, but the inner wrap isn't folded at all!

The under wrap comes through the side seam, where a gap has been left, and topstitched around. 

Now going inside out...

The company brand label is still intact! It looks like they trademarked at the end of 1959, so the dress is Early 60s probably.

As you can see, the straps enclose the side back on the inside too! the waist is pinked and topstitched up. You can see the selvedge edge of the skirt.

I love how the dress looks almost the same inside out.

The hem has a small turn and then a deep one, and is handstitched. It's a little uneven but hardly visible from the outside.

Some of the seams are pressed oped in parts and some aren't. The skirt sides are pressed open for the waist seam but pressed to the side at the hem. The bodice sides are a little erratic too!

As you can see theres a small red mark in the fabric at the waist front which was pointed out to me when I bought it. I had already seen it, but I couldn't leave it behind.

The front neckline is faced, understitched and topstitched. The edge of the neckline is turned under and stitch, although a small bit needs to be repaired. The centre front of the facing V is seamed.

You can see the edges of the straps are turned in and topstitched.

I think one of my favourite parts of the dress is how the straps enclose so many seams. If I want to replicate the dress, I will really need to think about the order of construction!

I don't think there's anything left to cover in this one!

Hope you guys enjoyed it, and if you notice anything that I haven't - let me know!!

Emmie xx