Thursday, November 30, 2017

Shift Dress

This is a very special make. Designed for my sister as her birthday gift, it contains all the elements she loves in a dress. Its comfortable, elegant yet casual, has no zippers and most importantly has pockets. My sister would wear a trash bag if it had pockets (her line, not mine) :)

The pattern :

The pattern is derived from the dress block/sloper. It has bust darts and side seam pockets. The hem is slightly flared. The sleeves have a ruffled edge; the ruffled edge is one and a half times the width of the sleeve edge. The sleeves follow the rule of thirds. the plain sleeve and the ruffled part are 2/3 and 1/3 respectively. The ruffled edge is cut on crosswise grain since I wanted it to flare out.

The dress is modelled by me here. The idea was to blog about it as soon as I had made it. But this has taken so long  that my sister has already worn it numerous times. She loves the dress. And I am one happy girl!!
P.S. The knee high boots are from Zara which I absolutely love- a gift from my sister :)

Thursday, November 23, 2017

Jersey (W)rap in Manhattan

This started out as a wearable muslin which I finished in time for my US holiday.

Derived from the jersey block this faux wrap has a couple of side pleats and a quarter circle skirt and three - fourth sleeves. The fabric belt is 1 1/4th inch wide. The skirt and the sleeves are not hemmed - I didn't have enough fabric to make the skirt longer and hemming it would have made it too short for my liking. I used ball point needles this time (my husband got it for me from his trip to Amsterdam) and it made a world of difference.

I will be making changes to the pattern since the pleats are not too deep.The fabric is lightweight and not of great quality, I think a medium weight jersey would have been perfect which I haven't been able to find in India yet. My search continues. All the flaws aside, it still is one of those dresses that makes you feel fabulous. I wore it the day we visited Bryant Park, NYC. What a memorable day it turned out to be! There was a free figure drawing class with a live model which I got to participate in. Thoroughly enjoyed it. We had a lovely picnic near the Central library. And the day ended with some really fun square dancing in the park with a bunch of happy and enthusiastic but absolute strangers. It might still not be the perfect dress, but I do believe that when you feel fabulous, a perfect day just happens. 

Wednesday, October 4, 2017

Tulle skirt and a Turtleneck top

I made these a few months back. It is somehow the photographs that take time. So though I have made quite a few garments in the past couple of months I have yet to photograph them all.  I finally did it. So lets begin with this turtleneck top and this tulle skirt. One of my sewing resolutions is to make a complete garment set. This is because it usually happens with me that if I make a skirt there is no top in my wardrobe that goes with it which makes all the hard work seem pointless. Add to it the shopping for a top. So once I decided to make a tulle skirt I decided to make turtleneck top to go with it. The colette sewing planner has been a huge help in planning my sewing so far. I am so glad I bought it. Here's my inspiration page:

The tulle skirt:
I just love how tulle makes you feel like a princess. This one has four layers of tulle - two layers are black and two are grey. I used the half circle skirt pattern that I made here : Royal Blue faux wrap dress . Though the dress was for my sister I could easily use the skirt pattern for me since we are almost the same size and the skirt is attached to a 2 inch elastic waistband so no worries there. The skirt has a black satin lining and was quite a quick sew. Love how it turned out.

The turtleneck top:
Is made from my first jersey block!!! :) Here's the tutorial that I followed : Jersey Bodice Block and Sleeve block   To the bodice I added a turtleneck following this tutorial : Drafting a turtleneck.  This video by Threads was very helpful in sewing the turtleneck.   iI used the stretch stitch and sewed the sleeves flat (the sleeves are sewed first and then the bodice side seams). This video is great for sewing sleeves flat.
I'm getting more comfortable sewing with jersey. I used size 11 needles for this one since I just could not find ball point needles which everyone recommends.

I think I will have to make some changes to the pattern for a better fit. But for now this one is completely wearable.


Thursday, March 9, 2017

Frozen's Elsa Dress - with all my love

Of all my projects past present and future, I am sure this dress will stand out in my memory as my most loved project. Made to please a darling little girl who I love very very much - my niece Meera. I have made dresses for her before here. here, and here but this time it was she who asked for the Elsa dress. When I told her that I would be making a dress for her, she immediately asked me if I could make her an Elsa dress. Elsa is her most favourite person and she is her number one fan. Of course I said yes. Because I never say no to her. I was very scared as to how I would go about it since I had never made anything like this before. I believe that love makes things happen. I put in so much love and affection and work into this and this beautiful dress did happen!!
The dress yoke and sleeves are made of knit jersey, the bodice is sequinned fabric and the skirt is satin. 

Here are the project notes:

1. The Pattern

I drafted the pattern myself after my sister sent my niece's measurements. This wonderful You tube channel was extremely helpful : Studio Lot13

The bodice : I drafted the bodice pattern using this tutorial . I have always loved all tutorials from this channel and this is the first time I have drafted something using them. The tutorials are very well explained and very easy to follow. I drew the yoke line on the bodice freehand. Notice that the back yoke is 1" below the arm hole. The front bodice was cut on fold and the back bodice had two pieces since the zipper was inserted at the center back.  I lined only the bodice.

The yoke and the sleeves: The yoke is derived from the jersey block. I lowered the neckline of the jersey and now think it wasn't really necessary. But since I had made the dress before my niece visited, I realised this only later.

The skirt : is a circle skirt and is really easy to draft. While drafting the circle skirt to be attached to a dress, one should remember to keep the bodice waist measurement as the circumference and not the actual waist measurement. 

The cape: covers the back and extends onto the front yoke. To draft this I measured the back yoke line  where it joins the bodice and added about 2 inches on either side(for the extension onto the front yoke). I drew a rectangle using this measurement and the length of the cape. Dividing the width into 5 parts and using the slash and spread technique the cape pattern was ready. 
I added a seam allowance of 1 inch on most seams. For the cape, seam allowance was added only at the top since the fabric is such that it does not need any finished.

Slash and spread technique to make the cape

Bodice and skirt pieces - 6 in total

2. Construction

I was unable to find ball point needles to sew the jersey fabric so I just wet ahead and use needle no. 11. Also using tissue paper underneath satin while sewing ensured that the seams were pucker free. I used a walking foot and a small stitch length. The walking foot proved to be a boon. To sew the jersey pieces I used the stretch stitch (looks like a thunderbolt). It was my first time sewing jersey and it was not very difficult. 

Baste lining to the bodice and treat it like a single layer of fabric. Sew side seams of the bodice.
Sew side seams of the skirt.
The sequinned fabric was quite soft for a child to wear but I still bound the edges once the seams were sewn.

Sew side seams of the yoke.
Attach yoke to bodice only  a few stitches more than the vertical seam allowance for the zipper. The cape is sandwiched between the yoke and the bodice which is attached once the zipper is sewn.
Attach skirt to bodice.
Sew in the invisible zipper.

Sandwich the cape at the yoke line (better if you baste the cape to the bodice first) and sew the yoke and bodice together. Since the yoke is a knit it will have to be stretched a bit while stitching to fit the bodice. You will have to cut into the cape for a few inches at centre back to use the zipper.

I did a set-in sleeve but a better way to sew in sleeves for knits is to use the flat insertion method. This is a wonderful tutorial on how the flat insertion is done : Sewing a sleeve in a knit top
Hem the skirt.

Additional notes: I did not finish the neckline and the sleeve hem. Also, the cape also did not need any finishing.

The little one was absolutely delighted. She declared "The dress is beautiful" and then added "It has just enough glitter" :) She danced around and we were treated to a beautiful rendition of " Let it go".
That day I was the happiest person on Earth!!


Friday, January 6, 2017

Royal Blue Faux Wrap Dress

Wishing you all a very happy New Year!! Hope this year has gotten off to a great start.

I am so excited to start off this year's posts with this faux wrap dress that I made for my sister.

I had the Little Black Dress book by Simon Henry for quite sometime and had always wanted to try out projects from it. So when my sister was visiting I decided to try the wrap dress called Greta in the book. I made a muslin using the draping techniques described in the book where the sloper is made by pinning the muslin fabric onto a live model wearing a fitted T shirt or on a mannequin. In my case my sister was the model. Since I had only made flat patterns before, this was new but quite easy to follow. I made the bodice and skirt sloper separately. But instead of the flared skirt described in the book I made a half circle skirt (The fabric I used - modal is very drapey and I thought a half circle skirt would look better) I attached the half circle skirt to the entire bodice thus making it a faux wrap dress. The fabric belt was made separately and sewn at the waist on the right side. I added flutter sleeves since they are my sister's and my favourite type of sleeve.

The dress has no zippers so it was fairly quick to sew. I take a lot of time sewing invisible zippers :) Since part of the skirt is cut on the bias some portions will stretch out. So I let the skirt hang on a hanger overnight before leveling the hem. I used a bias tape to hem the skirt after leveling the hem.

My sister loves this dress and says its very comfortable.

The half circle skirt pattern was put into use immediately after I made this dress. I made a tulle skirt which I will blog about next.


Monday, November 2, 2015

Coral Tulle Dress for a Child

This is my first post from Pune. Yes we've shifted! Again!!! But Pune is my happy place so apart from the not-at-all enviable task of shifting I'm very happy to be back here.

In the time between my last post and now its my little sister who's turned into a serious blogger and I'm super proud of her.  I've been asking her to blog for quite some time and since she always listens to me :) she tried it and now loves it. My sister is a voracious reader and an excellent cook. There are book reviews and yummy recipes and her blog also reflects the funny, witty and sweet person that she is. Do visit her blog : Mixed Bag

And it is her daughter Meera's dress that this post is about. I made it for her (the cutie in the picture) second birthday.

I'm super thrilled that it turned out exactly the way it looked in my head. It started with the lovely coral cotton that I had. The cotton is bottom weight fabric really but the colour is so amazing that I decided to turn it into a dress for Meera. Next I bought some coral tulle and lining fabric (its more red than coral) to make the skirt.

Measurements: I asked my sister to refer to this video for taking Meera's measurements (this is a fantastic channel for pattern making). Once I received the measurements, I compared them with the standard measurements chart from Winifred Aldrich's book Metric Pattern Cutting for Children's wear. I was going to be sewing and sending the dress a few months prior to her birthday, so to account for her growth, I used standard measurements which were a bit larger than her current size. From the book, I went with measurements for a one and half year old which were a little larger than her measurements.

The Pattern: The dress consists of the flat sleeveless body block and the circle skirt pattern. Both were drafted using Winifred Aldrich's book.

Seam Allowances: The dress has an invisible zipper at the CB seam. The seam allowance at CB is 3/4". The side seam and waist seam allowances are 1/2" each; hem allowances - 2".

Cutting the pieces:

1. The front bodice is cut on fold. The back bodice is not (due to the zipper)

2. Similarly for the skirt, for the lining fabric, the front skirt is cut on the fold while the back is not.

3. For the tulle skirt pieces, the circle skirt pattern is placed in such a way that both the side seam and the centre front are on fold. Once cut, a whole circle is formed.

Sewing the dress:

Attaching the invisible zipper - At the CB waist seam, I sewed the bodice pieces to the skirt for 3/4" plus a few stitches more. After doing this, for both the right and left side pieces, I attached the invisible zipper. The invisible zipper extends 2" below the waist seam into the skirt.

Next sew the CB seam of the skirt and cut off the excess zipper.

Sew the side seams of the skirt.

Baste the 2 layers of the tulle skirt to the lining. Slash the tulle at the CB seam till the point where the zipper ends and sew down the edges of the tulle to the lining with very tiny stitches.

Sew side seams of the bodice and attach the skirt to the bodice.

Finish the edges of the armhole and neckline using bias binding.

And this is how it looks.

Hem the skirt. The tulle layers will hang 2" longer than the skirt.  

I added coral lace at the waist by just sewing the lace to the dress at the side seams.

This is how the back of the dress looks. 

I sewed on ready made crochet flowers on the tulle layers; some on the top layer and some on the lower (inside) one.  By doing this, some flowers had a hazy effect against the tulle which I really loved.

I was overjoyed when this dress was completed. But the biggest joy is in knowing that its Meera's favourite dress :). I think children are the hardest to please and they are most honest in their opinions. So I declare this dress a success! :)


Wednesday, August 19, 2015

Dastkar Nature Bazaar Bangalore 2015

On Sunday I made it to the last day of  Dastkar Nature Bazaar. And I'm so glad I did. The last few weeks have been a bit crazy and this exhibition came as a welcome break.

Shopping at such places can be quite daunting - everything looks so beautiful you want to buy everything!! Some of my tips for shopping at exhibitions:

1. It's best to visit in the mornings. It's less crowded and stall owners have the patience to answer questions about the product and help you choose.

2.  First just walk around looking at all the stalls and make purchases in the next round. This certainly avoids impulse buying.

3. Make a list of things you might want to buy - eg. If it's cushion covers note down the size. These are also the best places to buy unique gifts - so make a list of people you may want to purchase gifts for.

4. Carry a huge cloth bag and cash. Some stall owners prefer being paid cash. Also wear comfortable shoes.

5. Carry snacks with you (even if there is a food court.The queues are always really long). You will most likely spend much more time than you planned for.

6. Parking is usually a hassle especially in the evenings. So taking a cab or an auto is the best.

And here are some pictures of Dastkar Nature Bazaar Bangalore 2015

Puppets from the Chitrakari stall from Andhra Pradesh. Read more about these puppets here. Here's a lovely song (one of my favourite songs) that has similar puppets : Mukunda Mukunda 

Handmade jootis. Sad I can't wear them. My feet hurt on wearing such shoes.

Woven baskets

Embroidered vests and bags from Gujarat

A mulmul stole from Kutch

More stoles and dupattas  from Kutch. The right most one is made of pure cotton and the other two are Gaji silk fabric. The fabric has a satiny feel. If  I'm not mistaken, the fabric is also called Mushroo

What I bought? I bought 2 dupattas - one in Chanderi and another one in cotton from the store above, appliqued cushion covers, a pair of silver earrings ( baalis), lovely ceramic kitchenware and a few gifts for dear ones. We had a great time. If you've missed this you can subscribe to Dastkar's FB page and get updates next time.