Sunday, 16 April 2017

Swedish Tracing Paper

Good morning my lovelies and Happy Easter.  It's a long weekend and so I thought I'd do some sewing (and yes it is a distraction technique to avoid the chocolate that is really shouting my name!).  I have a list and a plan (more of that on another day) to tackle, I mean use,  my stash and thought I'd make a start; actually I'm picking up a dress I toiled probably a year ago and bought the fabric probably a year before that!  Hey ho, what can I say other than "Life!"

Anyway, I digress.  Today, I thought I'd talk to you about Swedish Tracing Paper.  I was browsing through my instagram one day and "creative_ind_ "appeared on my feed with swedish tracing paper. I don't know about you but I trace off all my patterns and keep the originals in tact.  My weight has fluctuated over the years and I don't want to be stuck with one size of pattern I love and want to use again.  Also, I use Burda Magazine patterns, when I can face tracing off their trainwreck of a pattern!  I nearly always toile a pattern but I tend to skip pin fitting on the paper pattern as I find it just does not really work (but don't ANY of you tell my old tutor!), It's not an ideal process as it invariably means more than one toile and I am running out of toile fabric (note to self to find some cheap alternative fabric!).  Enter Swedish Tracing Paper!

 For those of you that don't know, swedish tracing paper is used as pattern paper.  It looks rather like a lightweight interfacing but it is far crisper, but not paper crisp.  It is see-through, making tracing a cinch; you can pin it and even sew it and because it is kind of fabric like, you can easily pin fit as it contours properly to your body.   It doesn't tear easily (although I managed to rip it having discarded in disgust an ill-fitting toile with a zip which I later yanked it out of pile with said zip caught on something else!)  so it is fairly robust and will put up with a toile fitting or two.  And you can use it as your pattern piece when you do (finally, in my case!) get round to making up your item of clothing.  The only downside and this really is so minor, I feel churlish mentioning it, is that felt-tip type pens (I use fineliners for my pattern marking and toile adjustments) will bleed if you keep the tip on it for more than a millisecond, which is fine if you are marking dots and notches, but not great if you hesitate on tracing out lines, but like I say, it is such a minor thing, it feels wrong to mention it.


A sneaky peak at my current project on the swedish tracing paper, and this is the reverse side

So in summary, so far I'm liking the swedish tracing paper.  Head over to Creative Industry if you fancy trying this out.  Clare also sells a great journal if you want to keep a track of what you are sewing.

Whatever you are doing today, enjoy and if you do use the swedish tracing paper, let me know; I do like to compare notes!

Saturday, 8 April 2017

Vintage style Simplicity 8050

Well, I don't know if you know, but I do a little acting. Yes, I'm a luvvie but I don't really tell many people.......well until now!  I belong to a small local am-dram group.  I kind of fell into it.  I thought I was going to help with costumes one day but ended up standing in on a read through and was offered the part.  The rest, as they say, is history.

The last play we did was "The Actress" by Peter Quilter.  It's about the last show night of a retiring colourful complicated actress and I got the part of her dresser.  The play was set in the 1940s (love the 1940s).  My character was unglamorous, no-nonsense and  working.  I figured I needed a uniform, a no-nonsense dress.  A visit to our local fabric shop with Miss Frillymingoe found Simplicity 8050.  I bought a bottle green polyester fabric for it.  Yes, yes, I know that polyester isn't the right fabric for the era, but, the last week of  the play is full on - everyday from Sunday (2 rehearsals) through to the Saturday, which is last night.  I needed something that could be washed and dried easily, and as non-iron as possible - ergo a "lovely" polyester.

If I were making it for me to wear everyday, I would have done a whole host of fitting changes - FBAs, waist adjustments etc etc, but being I was so short on time, I just made it to my bust size and hoped for the best.

It has an interesting side front seam and by interesting, I mean a little tricky.  The curved seam of the skirt is an opposite curve to the bodice when sewing together and, according to the instructions, requires pivoting the needle on a set point before continuing the seam.  Three attempts later, I abandoned those instructions, sewed to the point, cut off the threads, re pinned the next part and then started the seam again.  But other than that, it sewed together really well.  I was going to leave it plain but on stage it was too dark and plain, so I sewed some white bias binding over the seams and around the collar, and actually, it really lifted it.

All-in-all, it turned out not too bad.  It was a tad big in places, but not so big it looked ridiculous.  I got seamed tights and authentic styled shoes, did my hair and make-up authentically and you know what?  I crushed it, to coin a phrase.  I had quite few of the older ladies say how their mother had worn a similar dress or their hair the same way.  I have to admit that a glance in the mirror saw my grandmother looking back at me!


Sunday, 5 February 2017

A Mourning and a New Look

Well Happy New Year to you all (can I still get away with that.........well, my blog, my rules, so I guess so :-D )

My planned forays into sewing were severely curtailed last year........my beloved Janome MC9000 died.  I loved that machine.  It was bought with an inheritance from my grandmother and was a good solid machine of many talents, many which did, in truth, remain unexplored.  However, she dealt with whatever I threw at her without shudder or skipped stitch.......until last year.  I was making a dress for my daughter when she seized up and refused to move.  Luckily Miss Frillymingoe has her own little machine (a basic Janome) so I was able to finish the dress.  I put Lady Naomi (the Janome!) into the menders and luckily it was just a mechanical fault, and she had obviously been poorly for a while as she was positively purring when she came home.  However, a couple of months later I switched her off at night and the next day found her touch screen had gone.  All she would do was a straight stitch at 2.2 size.  A frantic search from Lovely Sewing Machine Man (really known as Rona Sewing Machines) did indeed prove that there were no longer any parts for her, so she has been retired.  I did have Miss Frillymingoe' machine, but it is very lightweight and doesn't have all the features I use and need so no sewing.  Then unexpectedly, I was gifted 2 machines from 2 different sources - an overlocker (the pedal of mine got lost in transit years ago in a house move) and a singer sewing machine.  Joy of Joys!  The machine is heavy, so it won't walk across the table when I rev her up and it has the main functions I require as a minimum.  This lady is back in business!

I had a little trip to Stockholm last September for a friend's Big Birthday and had decided to make a jumpsuit for it (before the demise of Lady Naomi) and found New Look 6413.  I love  multi-option patterns and this is no different - jumpsuit, dress, tunic, and 2 different sleeve options.  I had in my stash a browny-purple satin-backed crepe which I had picked up in the remnants box at Rolls and Rems in Edmonton (Note to all:  always have a look in remnants; you never know what you will find!) but alas it wasn't enough.  However, it was enough to make the dress but then got put on the back burner because of the demise of  Lady Naomi.

I had a bit of spare time over Christmas and decided to start tackling my stash and the New Look 6413 dress was calling me.  As it is a baggy style, I decided not to toile it and just cut my size.  Now I'm going to own up here.  I've been sewing for years......and years.......and years so you would think that my cutting out would be beyond reproach, wouldn't you?  I have no idea what happened, but I had 1 half sleeve that was longer than the others, and worse, the front facings ended up different lengths.  I have no idea what happened whether the underneath moved, it wasn't smoothed out properly or it stretched before I stay stitched it (the facing) but there it is - errors galore.  Mind, it meant my friend who is reasonably new to sewing felt mightily gladdened that it wasn't just rookies that end up with daft mistakes.

The pattern calls for an invisible zip, but I decided to funk it up a bit and make it an exposed zip, not that the dress needs a zip at all.  Then came the problem with the facing; one side fitted perfectly well but the other was short and did not reach where it needed to along the centre front.  Whilst wondering what to do, I remembered the wise words of my tutor from years ago advising to make a design feature of any mistakes so I decided to bind the facing edges in a funky cotton bias binding; a secret pop of colour!



Not my finest work, but it serves a purpose and only I (ok, we) know about it!

The waistline is elasticated (I don't normally do elasticated) and I really wasn't sure about the dress when I tried it on to do the elastic; it felt too baggy and shapeless but as I needed it for a night out, I just decided to go with it.  Having finished it and worn it, I have to say that I love it!  It's very comfortable to wear, not at all baggy or shapeless, with some cute side pockets (I love a pocket or two!) and feels quite chic - effortless chic, that's me! There are a few niggles, eg the front neckline could perhaps do with a smidge taking out of it and I'm not entirely happy with the elasticated waistline; it feels bulky but I guess these are things that only I notice in my full-on critical being!  But I will definitely wear it again and I will make it again, in the jumpsuit version.  It's very easy to make....so long as you don't make silly mistakes!!



Scuse the semi-ferocious face and walking pose.  I was heading towards Miss Frillymingoe to sort out, I mean help her in taking the photo......and this was the best of bad (and rushed) bunch, just as I was heading out to meet the girls!