Wednesday, May 2, 2018

Sewaholic's Robson Coat


Hey guys! I know it's been a bit, but here is the latest -- a really fun quilted faux leather trenchcoat using Sewaholic's Robson Coat pattern!

Weirdly enough, I think this was my first indie sewing pattern as the past few years I have used Big 4 patterns or even further back, made my own.


I used leftover quilted leather from a jacket I made about 3 years ago with a Burda pattern. I knew it would come in handy someday! We were in town in Grand Rapids, Michigan and were able to take these photos.


I ended up underlining my jacket (since I hate jackets with no linings!) and ended up using this guide I found online for reference. Although I know how to design myself, when I sew for my own use I generally don't want to think too hard and will just follow instructions of other's.

I had a Brooklyn Industries trenchcoat that I loved but it is nearing around 7 or 8 years old and I have worn it SO much that it started to shred. So, I decided that this coat would be a perfect upgrade!

I made minor mistakes along the way (that most probably won't notice) but since I was taking my sweet time making it (like 5 months!) I tended to not be as picky with whatever I did that was a teeny bit off.

To be clear, it doesn't take 5 months to underline and make this -- I just have had a lot going on work-wise.


I actually edited the length on this pattern by quite a bit. If I recall, I took out 3 inches in the body length and 3 inches in the arm length as well. I am not sure why it was so long to begin with, but I also am 5 feet tall! In the end, the length came out perfect with both things.



And here are some more photos of it on my dressform! 





At this point, I have actually run out of my main list of projects that I had lined up to sew. While I definitely have some patterns around that I haven't used, I either don't have fabric at the moment or not really in a rush to make any of them.

I decided a while ago to begin primarily making my own patterns again and see what else I can do with them. It's something I just keep pushing off. For what reason, I don't know. Maybe it's just easy to cut and sew? I definitely have been wanting to re-focus myself again as a designer and make up all kinds of crazy things that have been in my head. I've been doing a ton of digital sketching and playing around with things.

I have much more free time than before, so hopefully this will help lead me down a path that I think I am more suited for in life. 


Stay tuned!

Tuesday, January 9, 2018

New Look 6212

Happy New Year, everyone! 

I finished New Look 6212 back in maybe late November? But these photos have been sitting on my camera for a while. 


I ended up making the pleated version, mostly in View A in a size 10 with no adjustments, omitting the sleeves. I tend to prefer to wear mostly sleeveless tops with a cardigan over them. 


This super-lightweight floral fabric is from the Vogue Fabrics in Evanston and will be amazing to wear in the spring and summer!

 Yes, that is a septum ring you see in some of these photos (lighten up, it's just fashion!). The pleats in this weren't necessarily hard to do, but I did fight for a good period of time to get both sides to line up evenly. They still aren't 100% but sometimes you just have to go with the best lining up you can and get on with life.





I love how open and swingy this is and yet structured with the buttons down the front.

On another note, I don't generally make "sewing resolutions" for New Year's but I do want to focus this year on creating all of my own sewing patterns again. Back when I started this blog in 2010-ish, every single thing I would post was a design of my own from my own sewing blocks from fashion school.

I miss patternmaking but have been having a hard time now even finding the chunk of time I would like to use to create my patterns. After creating my sister's wedding dress patterns fairly quickly, I regained the confidence I once had in making patterns and need to do it again!

I also started using commercial patterns more to see if there were any tips and tricks I could learn from them as far as a pattern design is concerned (a little, but not as much as I can already usually figure out on my own).

So yeah -- patternmaking my own garments again, and also REALLY taking steps to making any of the designs that work out into PDF sewing patterns for all of you out there in TV Land to sew up yourself! In 2014 I built up a PDF pattern soooo close to at least pattern testing, but life got super weird. (Still have it, still may finish it, who knows.)

I also have way more knowledge from taking a PDF class later on that year via Burda which was helpful.

I'm not making any promises, but those are things I am hoping to make good on. Let's see where 2018 takes us!

Next up: I am making my own trench coat (since my old one I love so much is 7 years old and super busted up) and using Sewaholic's Robson Coat pattern!

I also have a Burda pattern on deck to sew (super quick long sleeve top) and another Simplicity duster cardigan deal. I can still make those according to my rules, but any new patterns must be made by me. :)

Monday, October 23, 2017

Making My Sister's Regency Style Wedding Dress -- Start to Finish

If you follow me on Instagram (@manicpop) you know that for the past 3 months, I took on making my sister's wedding dress. While she actually got married on October 15th, 2016 (a full year prior) we scheduled a dinner for her and her husband for her 1 year anniversary.

My sister got married in a courthouse in Houston in a dress she really liked but was not the dress she envisioned and wished she had worn. (Had I known she would be getting married, of course I would have offered to make her dress!)

So here we are, January 2017 and I ask myself, "Wait, why don't I make her dress?"  As always, it starts out with a sketch.

Here is what I ended up drawing, front and back for her dress. She loves Regency style era dresses, a la Jane Austen time period, so this is the silhouette we went for.

She had fairly specific requests which meant I had to create the sewing pattern entirely from my own mind. We couldn't find a sewing pattern that mimicked what she wanted so I just went ahead and started draping.

Good thing I went to fashion design school!

So after the drawing, I started planning out my stylelines on my form. My sister and I are very similar measurements so I didn't have to do a lot of tinkering with fit. The main difference is that she is 2 inches taller than me!


She then notified me that a classic Regency style dress would have a corset-like underpinning for her to wear underneath, so she went ahead and ordered one as corsetry is not my forte.

So here I am, planning that all out. (All I have are cell phone photos, sorry!)


After that, I started draping! I don't really remember the last time I fully draped so I was referencing my old textbook from college about draping. It all started coming back to me, so I kept going with stylelines and started pin-fitting a half muslin to start.






After that, I started tracing off the pieces of what I draped for a full muslin set of patterns. These were not final patterns, but patterns I could use to construct the full muslin, make any adjustments with if necessary, and then work out more details.


Below is a photo of me using the original pattern (place on the book) for the bodice, and then the lower piece is how I decided to space out the gathers on the dress, eliminating the dart. I did keep the other piece of the bodice for lining patterns I also would need to make.


From there, I started working out my full muslin to test out everything. At this point, I was sewing most of the pattern pieces together rather than pinning them all into place for a more accurate fit.

 This is when the back mini-train started really coming together!


So here is my 1st muslin fitting which actually went really well!


Once I had the corsetry underneath though, I realized that there would be some minor edits to be made. Some of the corset was peeking out from underneath the dress and we couldn't have that happen in the actual garment.

I also did a sleeve test, of course. 



In the end, I really only needed to adjust the front shoulder a little due to the frame of my dressform and us being so small. This lifted the waistband up a little as well as the bust and made everything fit like it was supposed so. I also did some minor sleeve editing as the sleeve cap wasn't fitting correctly initially.  


So here I am in what ended up being the final muslin fitting on her dress. (I also STILL made more edits on the sleeve after this photo.)


Next, it was all about shaping the hem and the hem facing. So I sat on the floor of my workroom and shaped.


And this is the back of the dress after the hem was figured out!


Bea helped too. 

So after all that, it was finally time to lay out the dress, cut and sew!

I ended up placing paper down and taping it to my table so I would not ruin the white fabric we found for it. It's hard to see in photos, but the fabric we chose has a white-on-white stripe detail that is subtle.


Here is me sewing the front bodice up!


 Aaaand a bunch of photos of me sewing it all together!



I don't know why these photos look so low-quality (aside from the fact that they are my phone photos) but they look super blurry.







When it really started coming together, I tried it on one more time!


 And then it was finished! The dressform does it no justice if you ask me.



At this point, I was just so excited the 3-month long project was done. It would be one more month before the event, but it was all set to go!


And then.... the reveal! My sister and her husband just prior to us heading to the dinner.



And then some photos of everyone at the dinner. Here is me and my sister below.




 Of course, you had to see the glittery dress I wore that my friend Cindy found and gave me!

Then below, my parents and sister and her husband.

My sister with a grandmother.

And that's it! It was a long process, but it was worth it. Almost everything went off without a hitch and that is amazing to me. From the draping process, to the muslins, to the cutting, sewing, and it fit her perfectly when I couldn't even do any fittings on her! I mean, really -- how amazing is that?

Hope you all enjoyed this super-long photo-heavy post!
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