Category Archives: Work In Progress

Chapter One- We’re Getting Married!

Mr Thrifty proposed in July- we’re finally getting hitched. We’ve settled on a date of July 5th, 2014 and we’re having our wedding and reception at The Circulating Library in South Australia (hence the Chapter One title, get it?!).

Institute Building SLSA

I’ll be posting a few of the things we’ll be DIY-ing for the wedding, the most notable of course will be my wedding dress! OMG! Huge undertaking! Scary! Exciting! Challenging!

I went fabric browsing with my mum last week just to see what’s out there for bridal laces, fell in love with one of them which solidified the design I had in my head. I spent the week tweaking the sketches, making sure I knew how much of the luscious (read: expensive) lace I’d need then went back and bought a length of it this week.

Beaded Tulle Lace

Beaded Tulle Lace- Large Motif

With the design somewhat decided (there’s always room for minor changes as it comes together) I figured I should start my own “Wedding Dress Saga” post for you all to follow along. We’re getting married on July 5th, so there’s about 6 months worth of work for me to share.

The design is for a fit-and-flare silhouette, featuring large lace appliqués and a few draped panels across both front and back. There is a bustled “pouf” around the knee which sits above an a-line tulle skirt. The straps or sleeves will be decided as it nears completion but I would like the back neckline to end in a V at the top of the zip/button closure.

Wedding Dress Sketch

So far I’ve been playing around with a corset pattern in order to get a good shape for the body of the dress. I’ve chosen the Freedom Corset from Bra Makers Supply. Some of the reasons for using this pattern is that it comes in my size, it’s quite full coverage and it has two variations- an overbust and and underbust corset in one package. I ordered it via etsy and it arrived in about two weeks (Canada to Australia).

The first one I made up was too big. I didn’t take my waist reduction into account so the lacing panels were touching and I had very little to show in the way of compression or support.

Corset Toile One FSB

The next version I made up as an underbust but lengthened below the hip to contain more of the belly pooch but I realised I do want an overbust. I don’t want to wear a bra and worry about my shoulder straps (no photos, it went in the bin).

The last version I’ve made from blockout curtain lining at $4AUD per meter (£2ish) and I am finally starting to get somewhere. It’s two sizes smaller than the first and long enough to contain the belly. I’ve drawn a few lines on the toile to show where I’d change the lengths but overall, for a toile, I am very happy with it. Oh, please excuse the serious slanting! The fabric was cheap, most likely very badly off grain, and you should never lace a corset as tight as I did on the first try, oops!

Corset Toile Two FBS
Anyways! With the corset portion somewhat sorted I will be roping MrT into helping me make another brown paper tape dummy over the top of the corset so that I have an accurate dummy to work with, my old one is now too fat (yay!). Fingers crossed we might get to that stage tomorrow, otherwise it has to wait another week!

Other than that I need to figure out my order for corsetry supplies and get that going so that it arrives with plenty of time to spare. As far as I can tell it will be cheaper for me to order from the UK and have it shipped- and I’ll be ordering extra boning and such for the wedding dress as well.

Phew- long first post! Hopefully the next few will be shorter. Ha!

Simplicity 1800- The Toile

The toile has been made and I am pleased to say this should be much easier to fit than the last pattern I tried- yay!

S1800 FBS Toile

I’m not sure that the 26DD option was the best choice. By measurements it was what I needed but on the body the bust panels were too long and the empire seam sat too low. In the photos I’ve already pinned out approximately 3cm length across the front and back, across the bust area, to lift that seam up and I like where it sits in the photos.
Note: I did a similar alteration to the Francesa top, so I wonder if I just have a higher bust than average for my size.

S1800Toile_NewSideSeamThe side seam wasn’t straight, I need more room across the back hips. There’s enough room around but it’s not balanced and it makes the pockets sit funny. I took a plumb-bob, held it up to my underarm where the sleeve joined and asked MrT to redraw the line on both sides. I’ll add 5cm to the back piece at the side seam, the front can stay as it is.

S1800Toile_ArmholeAlterationLastly, the sleeves were a bit too full at the front. I pinned in a 4cm dart, tapering to the point where the bodice panels join. There is still a bit of ease and I can move but it’s no longer flappin’ about and it makes the shoulder seam sit in a much nicer position.

The instructions for assembly are a bit of a nightmare , especially for the facings but also for the pockets. I loathe facings anyway, so I plan on fully lining the bodice and sleeves in white cotton voile. At least then I can choose from a greater variety of bras without fear of show-through. 😉

I’m happy enough with this toile and the pinned alterations to proceed to the real fabric tomorrow, once I’ve transferred it all to the paper pattern. Wish me luck!

Simplicity 1800 – The Next Summer Dress

A couple of years ago when we were down visiting DH’s family in Adelaide his mum took me fabric shopping and we went to DK Fabrics. If there’s one selfish reason we should move to Adelaide it would be so that I can shop there more often, it’s what a fabric shop should be. 🙂

While we were there I bought a gorgeous piece of cotton/viscose in shades of white, coral pinks, pumpkin orange, cherry red and purple. It’s been sitting in my stash ever since we returned waiting for the right garment to present itself and I believe I’ve found it’s ideal match- Simplicity 1800, view B. I love the two-piece raglan sleeves (should be good for my wonky shoulders), the pleated front which hides some useful pockets and I adore the neckline.

Simplicity1800MoodBoard

Being one of the “Amazing Fit” patterns- I’ve cut a size 26DD. This will be the first commercial pattern I’ve used which has a FBA included as an option (rather than a DIY approach), so it will be interesting to see how well it fits. I’ve cut the toile out of calico and hope to be finished sewing it together by the end of today. There are less pieces to put together than the Francesca top I made a couple of weeks ago, so I don’t think it will take me more than the day *fingers crossed*.

BurdaStyle Francesca Toile #2

I’ve finished the second toile, this time with the sleeves. It’s a big improvement in how it feels when it’s on but I’m still going to change a few more things.

BurdaStyle Francesca Toile V2
The neckline was dropped but I think I can get away with being a bit more chop-happy for the final version. It’s still too high, I think, for the contrast bust panels to look nice.

The band under the bust has been levelled out, I’m happy enough with where it sits now. I think I’ll end up adding elastic between the two princess panels at the back and do away with the zip altogether.

I have wrinkly-pooling-foldiness happening at back waist. Can’t be bothered correcting that the “proper” way so I’m going to combine the back panels into one piece, add another 5-10cm and gather it where it attaches to the band.

The sleeves have a huge amount of ease! The difference between my armhole measurement and my sleeve head is 7cm- yikes. I think I might make a feature of the excess and keep the gathering theme going by making it a bit of a puff sleeve. The circumference at the sleeve hem is also a bit large, so I think I’ll add some elastic between where the ties finish, just to pull it in a bit.

Once it’s made out of a more drapey, floaty fabric I think this will be a winner. I’m quite pleased with how it’s coming along.

Sadly, no fabric shopping for me this weekend *wails!!*. With any luck I’ll get out to the fabric shop on pay-day though.

BurdaStyle Francesca Variation

Tsk, tsk, absent blogger, naughty girl not posting for a year. Let’s just pretend I never left and get on to the good stuff.

I saw a post on The Sewing Forum featuring BurdaStyle’s Francesca Variation top and I fell in love with it straight away. It looks to be a great blend of the bohemian spirit and a little bit romantic and sweet which is very much to my taste in fashion. What’s more, it’s available in extended plus sizes- meaning it goes up to a size 60 (euro sizing), rather than stopping at 52/54 like most of their downloads.

Oh- before we go any further- the real push over the fence was that it’s a FREE download. Sure, I still had to print it out and tape it all up, and annoyingly, it’s only available as US letter paper size (hello??!? the rest of the world uses A4!)… but I loved the look of it so much that I did just that.

I spent the evening having a look online for some fabric to make it out of and found a few very nice cotton prints at Lincraft online that look to be about the right scale of print compared to the made up, modelled version on BurdaStyle. I plan on dragging DH out fabric shopping at our local store after I’ve done the toile. Below is my mood board for inspiration, it helps to keep me focussed.

Francesca Mood Board

Speaking of the extended sizing for this pattern- I am pleased to say I can fit in to it! Yay! Going by the completed garment measurements I’ve traced off a 54 bust tapering through to 60 hips. Even if it’s a little bit snug at the start of summer I should get a seasons wear out of it without needing to cut a size smaller.

I’ve sewn up the bodice to check for fit. I will need to take it in along back back centre seam from neck to shoulder blades (rounded back alteration) but other than that it fit’s ok. I still need to attach the waistband, skirt panels and sleeves but I am omitting the bust and skirt insets (contrast fabric) because they’re not needed in the fitting stage. I’ll post pics of the toile once it’s finished. 🙂

Sheath Fitting Garment Take 3

I am up to the third fitting garment drafted using PatternMaster Boutique. I got an email back from Karen with some adjustments to make and the most notable change was raising the waistline. She also let me cut it shorter to save on wasting fabric. Just in time because I am down to the last couple of meters of calico and the new bolt hasn’t arrived yet. The changes are small but they do make a difference in how it fits.

I printed it out, stuck it together, sewed it up and I am pleased with the changes. Raising the waistline has made a big difference to the shaping along the centre front, it’s much more flattering as you can see. There’s still some issues to address. The waist still “feels” a bit too big but if I pin it in any more it starts to sit in my folds of fluff which isn’t attractive! The front neckline is way too high. I had to clip in to the neckline to get it to stop choking me and the shoulders are too high at the neckline, they point up to my ears. I think the neckline and shoulders are linked somehow. There is still that funky fold/drag line from the front waist dart to the tip of the back waist dart. The front waist is higher than the back, same with the hips.

I got a few back and forth emails from Karen last night about the chart. The adjustments to the front shoulder slope hadn’t “stuck”. I had entered 48.8cm but the program chopped it down to 47.5cm. There are a few glitches in the program because of imperial versus metric measurements.

Karen suggested unpicking the shoulder seam and some of the sleeve cap and raising the shoulder point by 1cm. That means the seam allowance would be 5mm at the shoulder point and 15mm at the neck. That was an easy fix and meant I didn’t have to cut another one. The adjustments did wonders for the fit. It’s choking me less at the neckline and I *think* the strange diagonal line I have across the side seam was reduced as well. The only ill effect was the bust point seems lower now but I can change that in the next one.

If anyone has noticed- yes I am lopsided. My right shoulder point is a good inch lower than the left which makes things like back zips take a dive to the right. You can see the drag lines pointing to the right shoulder at the front as well. I usually fiddle with that after I’ve cut the fabric out by removing 5-10mm from the shoulder and sleeve but for the fitting garment I’m ignoring it until it’s at the last stage.

I’m having some troubles with the new front and back shoulder slope measurements not “sticking”. They seem to be dropping back down every time I save it and I don’t know how to fix that. Again, I think it’s an imperial-to-metric conversion bug. It’s Thanksgiving in America so I won’t hear back from Karen until Friday night or Saturday my time. Oh well, I was waiting for the calico to arrive anyway!

Sheath Fitting Garment Take 2

I’m back at work trying to perfect my sheath fitting garment created in PatterMaster Boutique. This is the second draft following Karen’s adjustment advice.

The pattern looks a bit better now that I’ve repositioned the bust point and entered the new waist measurement. It doesn’t look anywhere near as odd as the first one did. I made sure to select TWO front and back waist darts this time around to avoid the pleat effect I noticed last time. I printed off the pattern on the A3 printer (best investment ever for print at home patterns!) and taped the pages together.

Rinse and repeat from last time. I cut it out in calico and sewed it all up then tried it on. It is a big improvement on the first one but still not there yet. I sent another email through to Karen with the photos and the summary sheet. I included some of my own observations, even though she can probably tell from the photos what’s wrong.

There is still some excess around the side waist and a big fold from the front waist dart to the side seam.
If I pinch out the excess (removing 2.5cm vertically along the waistline from first front dart to first back dart) it sits nicer. Does the waist need to be raised? If I take a “waist” measurement closer to my bust (a hand span under the bra band) there’s a 10cm difference but that does seem awfully high up. I could use some guidance here, I don’t know what to do! The neckline is a little too high at the front and a little too deep at the back but I think I can fix that myself. The neckline also sits away from the shoulders like the slope is too steep? It sits on the shoulder point but angles up too high at the neck. It’s also quite wide from left to right.

I know it sounds like a long list of complaints but it is already so much nicer than the first one and I am excited about continuing. Being able to see the results from the changes suggested is keeping me motivated.

I got an email back from Karen a couple of days later (not unusual to wait longer than a day when you live on the other side of the world!). She asked me to tie a piece of elastic around my waist and send her some new photos. That made me giggle- with all the fancy computer programming power- old fashioned methods for finding the waistline are still the most sensible! The elastic showed that the waistline does need to be raised some more. That might make some people cringe but it had to be done. The waist darts should be at the narrowest part of your torso which makes sense when you think about it. It doesn’t mean I have to wear a skirt that high, I can drop the waist height later *phew*.

Karen sent through some adjusted measurements after seeing the photos. She raised the waistline and changed the shoulder slope and width. I’ve made the suggested changes in the software and will write about them in the next instalment!

Sheath Fitting Garment Take 1