Sunday, 31 March 2013

Step 2 to TNT Dress - McCalls 2401

I am that much closer to one of sewing's Holy Grails - The TNT dress pattern.

At my last TNT posting I was at TNHP  (tried and has potential).  I think I am at TNGT (tried and getting there). There are still a couple of alterations I need. I think the front armhole may need to come up a bit and the "hippy hippy shake shake pouches" (which didn't show up in the photos) need to come out.

Also, although I think it is getting there, I won't consider it "true" until I have tried it successfully in a *gasp* W.O.V.E.N. non stretch fabric (I am shaking in fear - no nudge room) and also tried it successfully with sleeves.

Once this happens I will cover it in gold leaf and laminate it for longevity. I will wrap it in silken cloth to store and handle it like fragile glass.

Though I am still on the journey my smile is getting bigger.

With my first version (TNHP) I added about 2 inches to the shoulders as I thought this would bring the neckline, bustline and hemline (being tall) down and also widen the armholes (having largess). I also added a cm to the middle front, added about 2 inches to the sides, did an FBA and added a couple of cms of flair to stop it being too straight for my body. Did I take out too much flair?

With this version (TNGT), I took out the 1cm front middle to stop the wide neckline, took off the 2 inches on the shoulders. This brought up the armholes. I then took about 1.5cm off the neckline to lower that a bit. I   also turned under the neck and armhole and used the coverstitch machine instead of banding it as the armholes were not too big on this one.

I have noted a few comments about the fact that I do make my clothes a little too big. So I also shaved off a cm from the sides of the pattern. I think I went a little overboard with this step as the dress is a little tight on the bust - however it certainly needed to be brought in at the tum / hips. I also took out a cm of the flair that I put in. This fabric has a lot of lycra so I just stretched it back into shape but I will add a little more to the sides of the bust for next version. (I know that I am jumping from metric to imperial measurements and back again - but unfortunately that is how my mind works).

It's funny - there were a couple of comments about choosing a few sizes smaller that your size and just adding to the sides of the pattern - and as this pattern was a few sizes too small to start with - I think that this method may just have hit the mark as a lot of the changes I made to the first version - I had to "unmake" for this version. Oh there is soo much wisdom out there.

What to you think? Getting there? What do you think of the length - am I getting it right. I don't have any sewists around me and my sewing group doesn't meet again for a few weeks so your comments (as always) will be a great help to me.

Version 1 and 2 side by side

Excuse the strange tilt to one side (you will see it in all my pics) - it is not the cutting and sewing of the fabric - I have curvature of the spine and an artificial hip and can't stand up straight - see - I am twisted!!!

Supervisory Special Cat Elle ensuring all my cutting is on the straight and narrow

This version is a weekend / house dress (which I need a lot of - I am still wearing a few I purchased from Best is Less about 10 years ago - yikes!!!!). The fabric is not a great love of mine. I bought it from the bins outside Remnants Warehouse for $1 per yard for trials. I was so happy with the progress I went out to buy some more fabric specifically for this pattern and for house dresses (of course there is not enough in my stash). However - it seems to be very hard to find cotton tee fabric or cotton / lycra thick enough for a dress a the moment. Finally found some at Remnants Warehouse - where else. Problem is - it is way too nice for house dresses!

Gratuitous Remnants Warehouse new fabric shots - the green fabric will end up as a house dress - the others work dresses.

Almost a terry fabric but a little more glam than terry - destined for house dress
Tribal print jersey - can you see the weird face? Looks like the Riddler from Batman

Gorgeous thick jersey type with a beautiful feel

Saturday, 30 March 2013

Aussie enabler alert

Spotlight have a sale on at the moment (until Tuesday 2nd) including

I went - but as usual couldn't find much I liked (just got some navy ponte) - and yet I see so many lovely things made by others from Spotties fabric.

Ended up going to Remnants Warehouse and buying there. After all - a girl has to buy fabric when she is on a mission.

Sunday, 24 March 2013

Step one to TNT - McCalls 2401

I read a lot of blogs.

I love reading blogs - although lately I have been so busy (and then sick) so I have been a little slack - now I have been busy catching up - on both reading and sewing.

The blogs I subscribe to meet many different needs for me. Some are for inspiration, some I just love looking at the beautiful well made clothes the author / sewist produces, some are to learn techniques, some tickle my funny bone and start my day with a smile, some are at about the same place in their journey as me, some fill many of the above at the same time. I have a handful of favourites - and they are favourites for different reasons.

One of my favourites is Diary of a Sewing Fanatic - for several reasons. Carolyn is no doubt a fantastic sewist and shows many great techniques on her blog. One of the reasons that Carolyn is a favourite is that her style is SOOOOOOOO my style (or my wanna be style!!!). Often I look at something that a sewist has made and I love it on them but know that I would not be able to wear it or it is not my style. Everything I have seen on Carolyn's blog would  hang nicely in my wardrobe. I have even rushed to the keyboard and ordered the same fabric because I wanted NEEDED that outfit she has just blogged about (are you seeing Single White Female here! Promise - I am not stalking - well only a little!) And of course her ability to work magic with her TNT.

And so starts my journey ..... no no no - not to turn myself into Carolyn (get Single White Female out of your mind!!!) but to create my own trusty dress pattern.

I started with McCalls 2401

This is an EASY shift / sheath (what is the difference??) with 3 neck lines and the 4 sleeve options. It has front and back darts (which I left out - need a waist to show a waist!!!) and bust darts (which I definitely left in - made much bigger and way lower and did an FBA). I also had to make the whole pattern much bigger as it only goes up to a size 22 and I am one or two ahem ahem sizes larger.

Here is the end result of step one in this journey. I used the bateau neckline choice but turned it into scoop as I need a lower neckline to compensate for the lower bust line.

I am happy for a first go - but it still needs work.

In enlarging the pattern I added a cm to the middle of the pattern which would have added 2 cm to the middle when cut on fold. This unfortunately made the middle of the dress too big and caused gaping at the neckline. I fixed this by adding 2 neck darts before putting on the binding. I also made the armholes too big - see gapoisis on armholes and too wide neckline.

I used the same fabric for the neck and armholes binding using the stitch in the ditch method. Unfortunately the fabric I used (which I do love) has minimum stretch so had a bit of trouble with the binding. I only used the binding because the armholes were a little low so to fold over would have made them even lower. I also added a little length and a bit of flair to the skirt taking it away from a straight skirt which makes me look a little more top heavy.

I would always wear sleeveless dresses / tops with a shrug or jacket.

This is how I would wear it:


The fabric is from Vogue Fabrics America - well priced but shipping to AUS is a killer!

I am happy to have a wearable muslin (with the addition of a shrug or jacket). I did my first back slit and am happy with it (baby steps baby steps).

I must say that I was a little concerned at how a shift / sheath would look on me - I am used to princess seamed dresses that nip in and flair out and a shift type dress that I purchased a couple of years ago (and never wore) looks atrocious on me. I guess all shift shapes are not the same. Is it even a shift / sheath if I added a bit of flair?

All in all it is very comfy to wear. I may do myself some weekend versions.

Anyway - for the moment I shall call this my tried and has potential pattern (TNHP). I shall make the changes to the pattern and then I am going to make it again in the fabric that I purchased to copy the Carolyn dress. (stalking again)

BTW - I have read many times that you shouldn't use "overlocker" thread on the needles when doing hems on the coverstich machine. Now I have a combined overlocker and coverstitch machine and was painstakingly changing the needle cotton when I finished overlocking and started hemming.

As this was just going to be a muslin I thought - blow it - I am not going to change the cotton from the cones to the Gutermann..... and lo and behold ..... looks good to me. Can anyone tell me why I shouldn't be using overlocker cones.... Do you use overlocker cones when doing coverstitch hems?

Friday, 15 March 2013

Google is taking away READER - Not happy Jan!

Scrolling through my google reader this morning I came across a post from the Happy Homemaker informing me that Google is shutting down reader in July!!! What is it with Google - iGoogle is going in November, they recently updated Chrome so now I can't download videos through Real Player - they are really messing with my head....

I access reader through iGoogle gadget so I didn't get the warning notice that it is closing reader

JuliN from Happy Homemaker to the rescue - she posted a link to this site with other options. THANKS JuliN - hugs to you.

I suggest if you use Google Reader you change over ASAP as some of the previously free options are now charging due to rapid increase in users.

In other news - I haven't posted for over a month - I have been dealing with storm damage to the house - over the course of a couple weeks we had 2 broken windows (including one window frame), water affected carpet and sound system and then a third of the roof on the shed blew away.... I have had insurance people come out and then again and then again - workmen and then more workmen - the roof is still missing but at least the windows are semi fixed.

Add to that I have had computer problems - hasn't been a atmosphere conducive to sewing - hopefully on the weekend I will get to it.