Truly Victorian TV110

TV110

Today is bright, cold and wintery – the perfect day to catch up on some photography.   Get dressed, run outside, take photos and run back inside to the warmth.

This is my first attempt at Truly Victorian’s TV110 pattern.  I really liked the shaping of the pattern – it’s perfect for a modern figure which wants a bit of shaping but not tight-lacing. I adjusted the measurements a little, but I largely followed the pattern.

I completely fell in love with the lace I used around the top of the bust line.   I found it at Hobbysew’s Top Ryde store and it just screamed out needing to be bought.

Will definitely use this pattern again.

 

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You want HOW MUCH? I could make it for less!

Almost anyone who’s a professional sewer will be familiar with those who look at their work and say “you want HOW MUCH for that?  Yes, the seamstress will get very tired of hearing this.   While they know that non-sewers have no idea of the skills involved, the number hours and the cost of fabrics it’s still a frustrating response.   And that’s before they’ve paid a small fortune for their machine, overlocker and various other tools.   A professional sewer can’t compete with the mass produced market.  They know that their ideal clients are those who understand that custom made or unique items can’t be made for the same prices as the ones being imported from a third world factory.

I get this.  I may not be a professional sewer, but I do know the cost in time and resources.

And armed with this knowledge, I was looking through the lifestyle section of the weekend paper this morning.   I saw a designer outfit which was really nice.   Not my style, but nonetheless, I really liked the styling of it.   Then Iooked at the price:    Skirt $1,245 and matching blouse $995.  That’s $2240 for a top and a skirt!   You want HOW MUCH for that?   Then add on the $2,720 of accessories the model is wearing and you’ve got an outfit which will set you back a cool $4,960.

designer outfit designer skirt

OK, we can remove the accessories and just look at the blouse and skirt.   As a sewer, for the life of me I cannot justify the cost of this.   Yes, it’s probably gorgeous Italian fabric which will cost a small fortune.  But $2,240?  Really?

The thing which makes this garment so lovely is it’s simplicity.   But it’s that same simplicity which makes me question it’s value.     It’s not much of an alteration on a block pattern.   Yes, for those who don’t have a block pattern, it may need some time consuming tweaking of a commercial pattern….but hey, the original dress would probably need some tweaking for a custom fit on the average figure.

Anyway, this is my rant:  For the life of me, I can’t justify the cost of designer clothing.

Sewing Organiser

I recently pinned a pattern for this sewing organiser on my Pinterest account.    As my usual sewing is something like ‘sew seam – get up to find scissors – sew seam – get up to find unpicker – sew seam – really must do something about that little pile of pins heaping up’,  I thought that it may come in very useful to help keep me organised when sewing.  Oh, and it’s really pretty.

My usual approach is to see a pattern I like and try to duplicate it.  However, after a few recent failures of random projects, I decided to purchase this pattern from SundayGirlDesigns on Etsy.    And I was so glad I did – the pattern was easy to follow and saved me a lot of wrong turns.    My only suggestion would be for the pattern to include total fabric purchase at the start of the pattern as I was feeling a bit lazy about adding together all the fabric required for each different part of the project.

I only made a couple of edits to the pattern:

1. I couldn’t find iron-on batting so I used regular batting and had to baste the mat together.   3/4 of the way through basting, I seriously began to regret not hunting down the iron on.

2. The pattern calls for pre-made seam tape, but I just made my own bias binding from a fat quarter.

3. I found the thread basket hung open a bit far after construction – so I added a little elastic with a press-stud closure to hold it closed a little more.

4. I didn’t have any felt for the flowers, so I made them from contrast fabric instead.

Anyway, very happy with this little project.    Here’s to more organised sewing.sewing mat

When it all comes together

The crafting bug hit me today.  With a sledgehammer.  No amount of personal persuasion to the contrary was going to beat today’s desire to make something.   Not that I tried very hard to block it.     It’s the Christmas break – the sewing shops would either be closed or too crowded with people shopping the post Christmas sales – so I was going to have to make do.

After spending far too long on Pinterest reviewing my options, I decided to sew a makeup purse for my daughter.  It was one of those perfect crafts where I had absolutely everything I needed at my fingertips.   Leftover fabrics from a previous quilt, some batting, the perfect zip and all the tools I needed.

I love the way that tools bought for different applications can be used in so many ways.   The cutting board bought for scrapbooking is the same type used for the rotary cutting of fabric.   The clear ruler bought for measuring patchwork squares is now used for cutting any fabric in a straight line.   And the new guides for making bone casings on my corsets worked wonderfully for constructing the red highlight on my purse.

All in all, a very rewarding day with nothing spent.  And to make it better, my daughter actually liked the purse!

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Fishtail Skirt

A recent event had me a busily sewing a skirt which I could wear with my new corset.   Much deliberation with a friend had me finally decide to make something inspired by this long fishtail skirt

fishtail skirt inspiration

I started out with dress pattern Simplicity 1541 to give me the fit I required for the top of the skirt.    I made a calico mock up of the longer skirt and then extended each gore of the skirt with more fabric to add the floor length fishtail.    I also tapered in the original pattern substantially around my knees to create a figure hugging style.

1541

It all came along rather well until I realised that the amount I’d taken the skirt in around my knees meant that I couldn’t pull my skirt up to attend calls of nature.    I remedied this by widening the black layer a little and by ending the seam of the red top layer a couple of inches higher.   It could also be fixed by sewing with stretch fabrics in the first place.

The skirt is made of two layers, the hip area of each layer being identical.     This will fit together when the skirt is complete.

The top layer is shorter than the bottom one and not flared to the same degree.  I have split it up the back and added a satin bias binding around the bottom.   Hemming flared fabric is just too difficult for me to contemplate.

The bottom layer started out with the same cut as the top, but longer.    I then added large wedge shaped fabric pieces in the lower side seams of the skirt to add volume.    The layers of ruffled lace at the back have been sewn onto another large wedge and fitted into the back seam.    I also finished the lower edge of the bottom layer with ruffled lace.   The lace I chose was 5 1/2″ wide and I gathered it using a ruffler foot.  I worked using 3:1 ratio of gathering.   I’m so in love with my ruffler foot!  Makes gathering a breeze.

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Apologies for my dodgy drawings, but hopefully they make sense of how I described the construction of each layer.

Once the two layers were complete I basted them together and attached to a waistband.  I then inserted corset grommets for the lacing down the back.     There is no zip on the skirt – I have to lace myself in and out of the skirt.    The lacing is open at both the top and bottom.

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All in all, I’m very happy with the result.   And had a fabulous night out with the girls while wearing it.

Dabbling in corsetry

I think I can blame my longtime fascination with English Victoriana and the American West for my desire to make a corset.   Of course, buying a corset would be a logical approach, but why buy when I can take on such a fun project?

I started out with this corset making kit from Aussie Corset Supplies.  With hindsight, I would also have purchased a tailors awl, grommet setter and 4 x white steel bones (to support the rear lacing) at the same time.     The pattern was very easy to follow and my moderate level sewing skills were more than sufficient.

My boobs are an E cup, so I originally chose the Silverado corset with gores for a generous fit.   I cut my first toile (calico mock up) to fit an E-F cup, but found the result was HUGE on me.   Not even close!  So I picked it apart and replaced the gores with much smaller ones.   It ended up fitting at a basic level, but I just didn’t like the line it gave me

reject corset

 

toile #1.   Back to the drawing board.  If I’m going to put in all this work, I need a better fit on my bust.

Toile #2 was the regular corset shape which I extended a little higher to ensure that there would be no accidental nipple appearances.  After all, I do want the option of wearing this corset without something underneath.   This time, we have success.   Fits me like a glove!  I used very cheap and easy grommets for the lacing in this one.

corset  corset back

 

Happy with this toile – moving on to the real thing.

Next step is to unpick the toile and use the pieces as my new pattern.    The fabric for my proper corset is English Coutil exterior, drill and heavy interfacing to stabilise the inside and some leftover patchwork fabric for the lining.    And this would not be complete without a quick shout out to my hubby for helping me set the grommets. I have no idea how our technique differs, but his grommet holes were so much straighter than mine.   He will now be employed as “principal grommet setter” on any future corsets.

IMG_1154 IMG_1153 black corset

 

Very happy with final result.   Now – need to find somewhere to wear it!