Monday, 29 April 2013

Simplicity 2207 Skirt and Bustle

So I finally finished my Simplicity 2207 steampunk skirt and bustle. It wouldn't have been so bad if it wasn't for the 6 hours I spent trying to gather the damn skirt ruffle (more on that later)! Overall, I'm most happy with it and more than happy to have completed this project. In the end, I think it looked rather nice and, more importantly, it was finished in time to wear to Calgary Expo! Hooray!

As I mentioned, the skirt ruffle gave me a ton of grief. I used an old rayon thread that most likely came from my mom or aunt's stash and it snapped so easily, any time I gave it a little tug. Multiple that by the approximately 5-6 feet of ruffle I needed to gather and it was a bit of a nightmare. I'd finally get it mostly gathered and then it was still way bigger than the upper skirt. This was after fighting with it for hours, so I made the decision that it wasn't worth it and just cut out the remaining portion of the ruffle. Done! So the ruffle is a less gathered than it's meant to be, but I don't think it's a big deal. Also, the ruffle is not as evenly gathered as I'd like, but after 6 hours of broken threads, I didn't care anymore and I don't think it's too terrible.

Once I finished the skirt, I was not that enthusiastic about tackling the bustle. I had a time crunch (damn those deadlines) and there was a lot of gathering to be done on the bustle. Thankfully, I'd used up most of the old black thread and instead used some new stuff for gathering the bustle. Didn't break a single time. Thank goodness, or I'd probably have lost it.

Simplicty 2207

This project made me very happy to have Rosie the Janome in my life. Old Sally the Singer would have pitched a fit trying to cram the fabric and braid under the foot and it would have been messy and unpleasant. Rosie, however, sewed down the braid like a champ! She didn't even complain when one row of braid crossed another on the bustle. I love her so much!

Showing off my bustle! Oh my!

I didn't make any changes to the bustle pattern, but for the skirt I lengthened the ruffles (because I'm tall) and added a full lining. I like the length, I got pretty lucky there, since I didn't make a muslin or really try it on first. The lining is probably the ugliest thing I've made in a while. I tried to follow the upper skirt pattern, then somehow managed to make it smaller than the skirt. So I added in a piece to make it fit. Then I decided to put in the elastic at the back of the skirt before adding the lining, so then the lining ended up being too big and I had to remove a chunk of the part I had added in. It was a combination of not following the pattern (I didn't want a lining ruffle) and not being 100% there mentally. So, needless to say, it's ugly. But no one can see it anyway and I'm very glad I lined it, since I don't trust the taffeta to be non-see-through.

Another bustle-shot. Also, I know my corset is super loose, but I had to wear it all day and also like to be comfortable.

Like I said, I'm overall pretty happy with the result. The ruffle on the skirt could be a bit more even and the taffeta  frays like mad, even on the edges I've finished, but other than that I'm happy. Would I make it again? Probably not. How many big ruffle skirts does a girl need?

Me with the Lego Lannister crest

Fabric: 8 meters of fushia taffeta from
2 meters of plum polyester lining

Chillin' with my bro Gollum

Notions: 1 partial hank of elastic
6 meters of black braid
1/4 meter of sew-in interfacing
2 spools of thread (black and light plum)

My preciousssss
Two peas in a pod...

Thursday, 25 April 2013

Meet Rosie! (Upgrade!)

Well, I've gone and done it. Tuesday after my last final exam, my boyfriend and I went on a little trip to the local sewing machine store. I'd been considering getting a new machine for about a month and wanted to see if the local shop had any used ones on consignment. Well, they didn't, but what they did have was a sale on Janome machines. Janome was my brand of choice, since I've heard nothing but good things about them. So the boyfriend and I looked at a few machines and the saleswoman showed me two that were in my price range and one that was a bit above. I wasn't sure which one to get and when I asked my boyfriend, he really thought I should just get the more expensive one, since the salewoman was worried I would outgrow the less expensive machine (I'm sure sales commissions had nothing to do with it ;) ). When my boyfriend and I were sitting and discussing what I was going to do, I expressed my worries about spending more than I budgeted (and could really afford). So, he kindly offered to pay for half of it. How did I get so lucky as to find this wonderful man?!

Meet Rosie!

So in the end I decided on the Janome 2030 QDC. According to the store it was 40% off, but I haven't really been able to verify the regular price, since no one every posts sewing machine prices online. Does anyone know why this is? It actually marketed as a quilting machine and came with a bunch of quilting feet I have no idea how to use and the extender table. I feel a little bit like I was talked into buying more of a machine than I really needed and spending a bit more than I should have (or at least having the boyfriend spend more than he should have). Spending money actually really stresses me out, but I rationalized it with working some overtime coming up if possible, since I start work again on Tuesday for the summer.

So anyway, meet Rosie! Despite my money-spending stress, I really am absolutely in love with her! Everything is so easy! There's so many upgrades between her and the old (older than me!) Singer of my mom's I've been using for the past few years. First of all, Rosie is computerized, which is pretty dang nifty. Second are the beautiful 1 step button holes she can make. I was always so stressed about button holes and avoided patterns that required them, but now I was to put them on everything! The third awesome thing is the speed control. My old machine had one speed and sometimes everything would get going too fast and turn out messy. But now I can set the speed to slow and make sure everything comes out neat, which makes me really happy. As well, Rosie can finish raw edges much nicer than the old Singer and she never complains when I ask her to sew through more than two layers of fabric. Also, the automatic threader is pretty nifty. I really feel like she does all the work and I just sit there watching!

Fancy computer!

I've had Rosie for two days and I am still completely in love with her. Was it worth it for me to go with the more expensive computerized machine (the cheaper two had purely manual dials)? I'm not sure, I guess time will tell. But I can tell you that I am madly in love with Rosie and all of the very cool things she can do!

All the fancy stitches.

Carrying case to protect her.

Rosie and all her gadgets.

Extension table.

Quilting feet and gadgets I have no clue how to use (yet).

Assorted feet and tools

Lannister felt the need to investigate.

Stealing the show.

A side-by-side of Rosie and my mom's old Singer (Sally).

Thursday, 18 April 2013


Hey everyone! So I finally got around to photographing my finished Sorbetto during one of my study breaks. Enjoy the lovely balcony shots. In some of them you can even see the reflection of my gibbled tripod on a chair. Lovely!

The white thing awkwardly placed between my legs is an outlet, in case you were curious ;)
I sewed this one as a break from the gathering-hell that my steampunk skirt has become. I think my thread is old and/or cheap because it breaks every 5 seconds. And I have METERS of fabric to gather. The pattern instructs to gather in 4 bunches, but I'm going to have to do it in about 20!

Sorbetto was a bit of a breeze compared to that, so it was a proper break! Hooray!

That's not to say it went ahead without issue! First, I misread the pattern and for whatever reason, I thought I was supposed to finish the hem with bias binding tape. Apparently you're not, but by then I'd already cut the fabric and didn't have room to hem it normally without making it too short. And that's after I already lengthened in a bit! This is my first Colette pattern, but do they tend to run short a lot?

My second issue were the darts. Somehow, when I was transferring the marking, they ended up being in two completely spots! I left the higher one and moved the other one so they're symmetrical.

The final issue was the fit. Apparently I was blind/rushed/lazy/dumb when I was fitting and didn't notice the gaping at the neck while checking the fit. So after binding the edges, it now has some serious gape issues at the neck. This problem is common for me in off-the-rack clothing, so I think it has to do with my body shape. Narrow shoulders and a possibly hollow chest are my main culprits. By the time I noticed (as I was preparing to take these pictures), I didn't feel up to fixing it. Maybe later. But I'll wear it anyway.

I graded the pattern 2 sizes between the bust and the waist and it ended up a touch boxy, but I don't mind. I think it works for the style of the top.

I just had to include this picture because I have no idea what the hell I'm doing. Between my super awkward arms and the totally bizarre expression on my face, this one is definitely a share-worthy derp.

This one also counts towards the Stashbusting Challenge, since I actually can't remember when I got this fabric. I still have a bit left to figure out what to do with.

Evidence of the neckline gaping in case you couldn't see it in the far-away shots. Also, you can see the tiny dots on the top part much better here! AND you can see part of my giant cat scratch.

Pattern: Sorbetto by Colette (available free here)
Fabric: White cotton with graduated red polka dots. Likely bought from Fabricland. From stash.
Notions: White thread and white bias tape.