Tuesday, 19 January 2016

Candy Stripes and Ruffles - Vintage Simplicity 6357 (reissued as New Simplicity 1365)

This is a make from a few months ago, however I haven't had a good chance to take photos.  Today I decided done is better than perfect so despite my inability to stay in the frame on auto timer (resulting in a lot of pictures containing only half of my legs or cutting off arms and/or head) as well as the light disappearing halfway through, I managed to get a few pictures to share.

From Vintage Pattern Wiki.
I picked up Simplicity 6357 from a thrift shop in a size 14- at least one size too small for me, but the envelope was too cute to pass up.  A few months later it was re-released under the number 1365 so I highly suggest that if you like the look you should pick up a copy.  The interior finish is very nice with every seam enclosed and is very straightforward to make.

I decided on view 3- a tie halter top with peplum.  I know peplums are well past now (not that I really follow mainstream trends all that much), however I feel like this evokes a grown up version of a cute little girl's swimsuit rather than a passe trend.  The fabric is a cotton with thin multi coloured stripes which I used to accentuate the different parts- horizontal at the bust and front of the peplum, and vertical for the body pieces.  I've got another 3m or so of this stuff and I have no idea what I should do with it.  It's not really a pattern or colour I can imagine wearing en masse.

I think this picture shows the cuteness the best.

I mostly followed the instructions, though I did make a few changes.  To size up I used narrower seam allowances for the vertical body seams.  This worked just fine, however after wearing I can see that I could have used another half size larger in the upper back area.  I added interfacing under the buttons to help strengthen the area- I was surprised at the lack of any sort of placket for the buttons.  I really like that the top is fully lined, however the pattern instructions call for hand stitching the lining to the strap/upper back piece and I don't have the patience for that.  I just top stitched it down- looks quite alright.

The inside is so pretty!
That top-stitching yo.

The second most significant difference however is the addition of foam bra cups.  I cut them down to fit and inserted in between the lining and fashion fabric- no tacking- they're loose, but there's very little room for them to move and when wearing the top they shift to sit correctly if they weren't before.

The biggest change however was lengthening the ruffle.  The pattern is already drafted to have quite a large gap in the back of the ruffle and like I said above, I enlarged the circumference of the body making this gap even larger.  I'm not too keen on having a weird rectangle of flesh showing over the top of my shorts, perfectly framing any inadvertent crack appearances (though if you have a lower back tattoo you want to show off, this may be a perfect for you).

To lengthen the ruffle I traced the original piece then cut it into pieces and spread until the inside circumference matched the bottom bodice measurement.  If you do this, it is important to try and keep as much of a spiral shape as possible as that is what gives you the ruffle behavior.  This piece is also cut on the fold so I also had to be careful to make sure the end of the piece didn't cross the centre line.  You can see how much I had to add- about another 1/4 of the overall length.  The ruffle piece as is barely reached past the side seams.

Last, though not least, I used bias binding to hem the ruffle.  I forget exactly what the instructions said, but I vaguely remember it simply being a single turn over- not really the best wearing finish.  It was fun ironing the binding over and watching it curl into itself around the curve.


Super cute top, perfect for lounging around the pool or hanging out at the beach.

Thursday, 5 November 2015

Patiala Salwar aka Genie Pants Pattern


This pattern sits just over the hip bones on a person with a 30" waist, 39" hip and inseam of 32".

This first diagram shows the major pieces and how they go together before being pleated into the waistband.

A) Is the main leg piece which ends in the cuff.
B) Is the part the part which gets pleated at the front, and covers the side back at the back
C) Is an optional piece, and is in essence an extension of piece B)
D) Waistband

Diagram 1

Diagram 2 shows the pieces as cut out flat.

A) Cut 2 @ 20x37.5
B) Cut 4 with long edge of 35.5, top of 24, and short edge of 13.5
C) Cut 4 with long edge of 13.5, top of 4.5, and short edge of 10 (this is the crotch depth measurement)
D) Cut 1 @ 44x7, and 1 of interfacing

You will also need a piece of elastic (1"-2" wide) cut to the appropriate length for the waistband, and 2 pieces of interfacing @ 1.5x20" for the cuffs

Diagram 3 shows how to cut the pieces for maximum fabric efficiency from 50" wide fabric, less the selvage (approximately 48" wide after removal).  Dotted areas indicate unused pieces.

Diagram 2
Diagram 3

To construct:

The legs (refer to Diagram 1):

**french seams can be used if desired**

1)   Iron on the interfacing 0.5" up from the bottom of both A pieces
2)  Create the cuff  on one A piece by pressing the 0.5" at the bottom over the interfacing, then turn up again 1.5".  Do decorative stitching over the cuff to hold it in place.
3)  Sew the long edges of two B pieces to the long edges of A by aligning the tops of the pieces and stitching down.
4)  Sew the long edges of two C pieces to the long edges of the two B pieces attached to piece C
5)  Repeat steps 2-4 for the other leg.
6)  Sew the two legs together at the 10" edges of pieces C.
7)  Sew the inseam from cuff to cuff, following the angle of piece B over the end of piece A.  Make sure the opening is large/small enough to fit over your foot but not fall off easily.  Trim piece A to 0.5" from the seam.

Pleating and attaching to waistband:

8)  Iron the interfacing to the waistband piece D.
9)  Sew the short ends of D together to make a tube.
10)  Press open the seam then press the waistband in half lengthwise.
11)  Press down a 0.5" seam allowance on one long edge of the tube.
11) With right sides together, match the CF/CB points of the pants to the CB/CF points on the long edge of the waistband without the seam allowance crease.
12)  Pin the back of the pants to the waistband from the CB to the side points (~11" from CB on both sides), keeping both pieces lying smoothly against each other.
13)  You will now have a great deal of excess fabric between the side points and the CF.  Make even knife pleats in the fabric between these two points, with the pleats opening towards the CF (ie. switch directions on the left and right sides) until it fits smoothly into the waistband.  This will likely take you a few tries.
14)  Stitch legs to waistband on one edge.  I suggest doing two lines of stitches, 0.25" apart to help keep things flat.
15)  Press the seam upward.

Inserting elastic and finishing:

16)  Sew the elastic ends together.
17)  Place elastic into the lengthwise crease of the waistband.
18)  Fold down the waistband over the elastic, and pin in place.
19)  Topstitch, shifting the elastic and eased material around to easily sew.  Take your time, as the pleats make this seam very thick at points.
20)  Put on pants and dance around with joy.


I'd love to see any makes from this pattern, so feel free to link to your pictures in the comments.

Genie Pants aka Patiala Salwar

A few years ago, I picked up a salwar kameez outfit at a thrift store because the pants (aka salwar) were a beautiful draped style I had never seen before.  Upon further research, I found that they were a style called patiala.   Sadly, the suit had been made for a person significantly shorter and rounder than I, and so am not able to wear the lovely outfit as is.  However, as you can see I was able to reverse engineer the pattern and make myself a casual day wear, elastic waist version of the pants.

Interestingly, the pattern pieces are mostly rectangles and triangles or combinations of the two which can be cut in such a way to produce nearly zero waste.  For this pair, I used almost every single square inch of a 50" wide, 2.5 meter long piece of fabric, and around 100" of fabric were fit into a 44" waistband.  As you can imagine, a thin and lightweight fabric is key!  Different hands with give you different looks, so good drape is not necessary unless that is the style you want: a Google search will show you various options.  I used a mystery fabric which looks similar to a light sandy coloured pre-wrinkled linen.  The hope is that these can be wash and wear.

I think my favourite part of these pants, other than the awesome drape and comfy-ness is the cuffs.  They need to be pretty sturdy to help the pants hang and to stand up to wear, so they are interfaced with heavyweight interfacing (inserting a grosgrain ribbon is an alternative) and decorated with fancy stitching.  This gave me a chance to test out some combinations of my decorative stitches to come up with a pretty pattern.  I went with gold denim topstitching thread in the top thread.

Some construction notes:

Even though you are using what feels like an ocean of fabric, they are pretty quick and easy to make.  I cut out the pieces in about half and hour, and even with making every seam a French seam, pinning out the pleats three times to get them to sit correctly, and changing waistband elastics, I was finished sewing by just after lunch the next day. Accuracy is a a total non issue as well.

I had originally planned on using a 4" wide waistband elastic but it did not look good.  It stuck out at the top of my hip, felt stiff and looked clunky.  I replaced it with 2" elastic which is thick enough to deal with the weight of the pleats, but thin enough to conform to the hips.

Saturday, 31 October 2015

Peacock Feather Skirt

This is one of those fabrics which I saw and desperately needed to buy.  Love at first sight.  I was smitten, even though I had absolutely no idea what I would do with it.  I promptly bought two meters, crossing my fingers and counting on the idea that there is no way I would made a full body garment in something this loud.

A few months later I needed a semi-formal outfit for the fancy end-of-degree dinner and decided to sew it up into a skirt.  After agonizing whether the feathers should go up or down (definitely down), if the skirt should be long or short (long!), sleek or full (eh... sleek is less fussy but it could have gone either way),

In the end, I drafted a simple, straight, floor length skirt, lined to the knee with back darts, side walking slit, and a concealed zip.  I still have about three quarters of a meter left, but goodness knows what on earth that will end up being.

The top on the other hand, was trickier.  I originally wanted a simple royal blue stretch velvet scoop neck top, however there wasn't any to be found anywhere I looked.  I bought three other pieces of fabric, all in the right colour in the hopes that I could come up with something, but in the end, a trip to Value Village found the perfect piece two days before the even.  Phew!

Thursday, 29 October 2015

Doctor Who TARDIS Pajamas

These pajamas have been a while in the making.  The fabric is hand printed from lino stamps in silver and gold screen printing ink on royal blue cotton and completed back in 2013 (blogged about here).  At that time, I concluded that a sleep wear set would likely be the best use.  More recently, the sacrificial pink shorts pattern was modified into an elastic waist pattern, and the blouse muslin-ing exercises took care of the top. Two years later, they have finally come to be!

As I was making them, my family rightly pointed out that these go somewhat beyond your typical pajamas.  In fact, would posit that they are more in line with Barney Stinson's Suitjamas.  I wanted a convertible collar and piping and buttons and a yoke, and so I got them.  I'm also going to be doing some pretty extensive travelling over the next year, so I'm happy I will have a more than presentable set of jammies to wear while at hostels, friends' homes and other places.  Isn't the ability to sew whatever you want wonderful?

For the piping (and inside yoke), I used a finely printed quilting cotton.  The gold tone of the vortexes isn't a true bright, warm yellow colour, but rather a darker greenish yellow instead, so finding something to match was tricky.  I then used this method to create a continuous strip of bias tape, which was then wrapped around some chunky yarn to make the piping.

 I used Gigi Sews' method to sew the yoke and collar (it's pretty hard to get your head around what's going on if you aren't following along irl, but straightforward enough otherwise) which allowed me to enclose almost every seam, then used a fancy stretch stitch on all other exposed seams to prevent fraying.

I'm quite happy with the shorts.  The piping was really fun to sew, as each leg is one continuous piece sewn in one go: down, around and up again.  The side panels were not originally planned but I was running out of yardage in the first panel of printed fabric and was hesitant to cut into the second.  I took out about 2" of  ease from the middle of my single piece pattern to make it fit.  My logic was that they were elastic waist sleep shorts, and a few inches of ease either way wouldn't make a big different.  Nope.  After trying them on, it had obviously not been a good idea.  I had arrived in snuggle-bun and wedgie land.  Somehow taking out fabric width wise had not only made them too tight around for the style, but it also pulled down the rise significantly.  I also think my original draft likely needed more ease in the first place.  I did end up cutting out the inserts from the next panel, but happily it was only about a 5" strip.  I want to make another pair of these for everyday wear.  I can imagine adding a pocket into the side panel if it were made wider.

I am happy with the top as well, thought the pattern still needs a few tweaks.  The armhole is ok, but should be dropped another 0.5-1", and there's a tiny bit of excess fabric across the upper chest width wise but I'm not 100% sure where it's coming from.  The sleeve I ended up with works well, and most importantly, I can cross my arms with ease!