New Look 6969 skirt

Finally, the new look 6969 skirt is complete!  It’s first showing was at work on Friday, even considering it was a) cold, and b) FREEZING.  Waiting for a warm melbourne Friday could take a year.  It’s pretty comfortably to wear, but perhaps not the most flattering cut.  It’s taken quite a long time to put together as it was done in micro stages, whenever I could sneak off to sew for a few minutes.  In my excitement to wear it to work Friday, the closure on the waistband might have been a safety pin.

Overall, it’s not a pattern I love.  I bought it as it was quite *fashionable* at the time.

Fit

Aside from New Look trying to make me look like an old lady with a long long skirt, I liked the fit.  The darts sit nicely at the back, and the pleated front sits comfortably.  I think I sliced about 3″ off the hem, and then had 2″ folded under.

Fabric

For the main fabric I used some gifted fabric from my grandmother, it’s a woven synthetic fibre with no stretch.  Very easy to sew, but also a little transparent in the light, so I lined it with white cotton also gifted.  The lining doesn’t have as much drape as the main fabric, but it gives it a bit of body without sitting too stiffly.  I also used some sew in interfacing for the waistband.

Techniques

I made a few tiny variations, I added a lining to the pattern and so the back I sewed the lining and main fabric darts together, then let the lining hang free, and did the same for the pleats at the front.  The lining is bias bound on the hem in red, for a little bit of interesting detail if I accidentally show some leg, and what I like the most is the hand hemmed main fabric.  I tried a different technique to usual and it was remarkably fast.  All the seams are pinked neatly, and the side zipper is…I honestly can’t remember.  It’s inserted either way, but Not Very Well.  It’s sewn in a little short from the waistband so the zipper pull is about a cm from the waistband.

pinked seams, bias bound lining

Future lessons

Next time I make this skirt (if I do…I like it but it’s not top of the pops for me) I will shorten the hem on the pattern before cutting it, there were huge strips of fabric that were wasted.  It’s time to realise I’m not 6 foot tall, so this is going to be the start of the pattern adjustments I know need to be made immediately before tweaking the fit.

Any recommendations for a favourite summer skirt?  I’m going to try Megan Nielsens Kelly skirt before summer.  I’ve bookmarked some of my favourite versions shown on Sew Busy Lizzy, True Bias and Four Square Walls.

New look skirt 6969

In addition to my recent Renfrew-itis, the beginner sewing plan is still on track.  Part of the track was a simple skirt, and New look 6969 was our lucky contender.  The red circle skirt was part of a very kind gift of a GIANT box of fabric from my grandmother.  This box had some seriously gorgeous fabric in it, and was the BEST KIND OF SURPRISE for a sewer.  The usual sewing surprise I get is my needle snapping and it not hitting me in the eye.

Unusually, I made a muslin.  I recently signed up for Susan Khalje’s the Couture Dress class with Craftsy, and have been trying to do more muslins.  Tragically I haven’t been able to source dressmakers carbon paper in Australia larger than A4.  And that is a PAIN.  I might try and import some, would anyone be interested in buying it?  Who knows.  If not I can be greedy and use it all myself.

Based on my muslin, the fit is pretty good straight out of the packet.  The only thing I altered was the length, for some reason New Look pattern Co are trying to make me look 80.  Or I have short legs.  It’s difficult to say.

The biggest thing I learnt from this muslin?  I should probably line the skirt, and possibly tack the front pleats to the lining.  Not down flat, but at the inside crease.  I’m going to wear it with the lining for a day and see how it falls, if the pleats don’t sit properly drastic action will be taken, even at the cost of walking with a long stride.

It’s a simple pattern, but I am determined the finish will be RTW, and if not RTW then I will claim couture.  Fair?

Heidi & Finn Cowl neck dress

Part of learning to sew knits I decided to try the Heidi and Finn Cowl neck dress pattern.  I’d seen some lovely dresses on ModelMumma‘s blog, and was keen to give them a try.  It’s a very basic beginners sewing pattern.  This was my WIP project which I sent a picture of to DidYouMakeThat last week.  It was fun trying to work out what everyone was sewing!

Baby dress sewing pattern knit

As a note to slightly clueless parents like myself – cowl necks catch baby drool.  It’s gross, and very damp.  Maybe more of a pattern for children that can walk and keep their slobber to themselves.  Oh yeah, and dresses are for those that can walk.

It’s pretty cute on, and very fast to sew.  Will be be a favourite?  Probably not.  Will it be a stash-busting childcare outfit?  Definitely.

Fit 

I’m a little underwhelmed by this pattern, it’s very basic, not very interesting and still the instructions to put the cowl neck in are not as clear as they could have been.  The finished result is nice, but the arms were much too long and the neckline was too small (and I cut a larger size than needed) and is difficult to get over her head.  This would be remedied by using a very stretchy knit, but even still I consider it to be too small.   Big disclaimer here, I also had this problem with the Heidi and Finn Hoodie, so either their sizing is a bit off, or my baby has a giant melon head.  Anyone else had similar issues?

Fabric

Nothing too interesting, a pale pink interlock from Darn Cheap fabrics in Heidelberg, $7 per metre and this was made from the offcuts of my renfrew.

Technique

Honestly after making the Hoodie, and the Sewaholic Renfrew this has no revelations.  If you have sewn a renfrew before, it might be worthwhile self-drafting a new collar in a similar shape, as a shaped cowl drapes much better than the rectangle.

Future lessons

I’m not in love with the pattern, but it is quick to cut out and sew which could make it a brilliant stash buster.  The real win here for me is the fact I can cut out a renfrew for me, and a dress for her out of 2m of fabric.  STASH BUSTER.  The finish of sleeves and hems on childrens garments are really important, as kids roll up their sleeve and run about generally exposing more of the internal workings of  garment than an adult.  Next time I’m going to really finish those seams nicely.  Hopefully by then I’ll have my grubby little mitts on my mother’s overlocker…..

The Heidi and Finn hoodie (v.1 and v.2)

One of the items I want more of for myself, which is hoodies! Yes, very couture, but it’s winter here in Melbourne and warm is good. Unfortunately the hoodie pattern is still elluding me, but in the meantime the practice garment is the cute Heidi and Finn hoodie!  So far two hoodies have been made, one in size 6m to 12m, and one 18m  (the one with the pink lining).

The pattern isn’t the most professional looking, however for a beginners pattern it’s a good thing. The directions have colour photos, and for an absolute beginner the lack of technical terms would make this simple. The grainlines aren’t marked, you cut it out in the direction of the ‘stretch’.  I would absolutely recommend this as a learn to sew item.

Heidi and Finn hoodie (image from Heidi and Finn Etsy shop)

However, there are a couple of things I would change. From the picture it looks like a fleece hoodie right? It’s t-shirt material, so if you want to use something with limited stretch you need to cut it a size larger. Which it does say in the instructions, but then you need to omit the cuffs as the arms won’t fit, so really you need a larger size bodice and hood, but to use the smaller lengths. After cutting both sizes, the one that now fits around R’s body is too long and the collar hits her in the face.

While I wouldn’t think a fit issue that’s my fault (for fabric choice) would be worth mentioning- however as it’s a jumper so I expected to use jumper material for warmth.

The only other issue is how you attach the binding down the bottom of the hoodie. The pattern has you sew the lining and fabric together, turn right side, topstitch out THEN attach the band. You end up attaching the band to a bulky enclosed top stitched seam. Why?  The next one (version 3) that I make, we will be skipping some of that. It makes little sense especially if you had an overlocker to use.

My Heidi and Finn hoodie version 1

Side view

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

This is version 1 of the hoodie, which is a fleece cut in size 6-12m. Little podgy bubba doesn’t fit in it with the limited stretch, so I’ve taken the bottom band off completely and unstitched the topstitching below the buttons. It’s more like a fleece coat now, but it fits.

This is version 2 of the hoodie, same fleece but cut a size larger.

Fit
The fit is fine for fabrics with lots of stretch, but a little snug for a fleece. The instructions recommend just cutting a size larger, but the sleeves are then HORRIFICALLY long.
Fabric
Fleece is lovely and easy to sew. A little bulky on some seams, but the old singer handled it fine. It’s also beautifully easy to cut the pattern on grain correctly if you cut on the right side.
Techniques
Ahhh, practicing topstitching was a key feature of this pattern and buttonholing. I’ve been using the completely machine method as per the 1980’s Readers digest guide to sewing (pre-fancy pants automatic buttonhole attachments). They came out ok however for the next hoodie I’ll stabilise the buttonholes.
Future learnings
There is a few. Let’s make a list shall we?
1.  I love Heidi and Finn patterns and would love to see these done up a bit more professionally (tech drawings etc) and being available as a paper pattern.
2.  The next one I make will have more stretch and probably fit better.  Fingers crossed!
3.   I’ll rearrange some of the construction steps (I.E. putting the buttonholes in before topstitching is easier).
4.  Small babies don’t like having jumpers being pulled over their heads.  Or maybe just mine.  When she can put her own jumper on there will be 20 of these made.

New Look 6569

The first item on the sewing plan is New look 6569.  The top is a simple knit top with a v-neck and gently gathering around the bust area.  The neckline, armholes and hem are all rolled and the sides simply sewn.  Too easy right?

Not easy at all.  The pattern itself is easy, two pieces to cut out, simple to sew.  The fitting not so much.  As a knit it was easy to decide not to make any alterations and see how much the pattern would give.  I cut a size 12 which suited my waist and high bust measurements.  Everything came together beautifully, and once the shoulders and side seams were on I tried it on for fit.  Please excuse the boob shots.  

New look pattern with pieces folded back over bust

See the problem?  Where the V is cut is where you gather the sides together, and as you can see, there is no way it will fit with gathering.  On the upside, it fits pretty nicely without adjustment if you like low cut tops.  It really still needs a Full Bust Adjustment (FBA) but the interlock gives enough that the fit is similar enough to RTW that it’s not irritating.

The small pieces I’ve pinned back would have been part of the gathering previously, but I’m eliminating them and just finishing the top as is, if not a little low cut.  If the neckline and hems are finished nicely enough, it’ll be a good going out top.

Is it cheating to do this?  It wouldn’t fit at all otherwise.

When trying to hem the neckline, I unfortunately stretched it so the v-neck was even lower.  The result?  The old trick of filling in the gap with a contrasting fabric was the result.  What do you think?  I’m not letting myself cheat – I’m going to do a FBA and try this again properly.

Fit
The initial pattern didn’t fit at all over the bust.  I’ll do it again with trying a FBA and the gathers across the bust.  I’m also tempted to one day just draft a higher rounded neckline however the reality is this is a beginner pattern.  No fancy pants alterations.  No running before walking.  *sigh*.

Fabric
This was a plain black interlock knit from my stash.  Purchased from Darn cheap fabric in Heidelberg.  Easy to sew with except for the neckline.  Next time a longer stitch length will be used and I’ll try tissue paper underneath the fabric to help stabilise the seam.

Techniques
Changing up the stitching to achieve the best outcome (overlock/zigzag and straight stitch) with some hits and misses.  For a basic pattern, in trying to be a beginners pattern the final finish isn’t amazing as none of the seams would have been finished.  If you were trying to learn to sew just from commercial pattern instruction, it would be nigh on impossible.  If you’re interested in a discussion about learning to sew and pattern instructions check out the discussion AND the comments on Did you make that.