I should never have checked the letterbox!

I knew I shouldn’t have checked my letterbox until AFTER I’d finished cleaning my house coz now the cleaning will never get done… my silk organza has arrived and I’m ready for the next phase of the Couture Dress! I’m so excited but really have to finish my chores before I’m allowed to play… don’t I? LOL

OMG I just opened the envelope and it’s lovely – so much stiffer than the polyester organzas that are available here… I really don’t feel like cleaning any more.

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Completed muslin of the couture dress…

Yay, I’ve finally finished the muslin and my darling husband was kind enough to pin it closed at the back so that I could see the overall effect. What do you think?

There are still some minor adjustments that I’d like to do, but all in all I’m happy with the fit. It feels comfortable and I can move easily in it. You can see that I’ve had to let the seams out near the hips (and followed this through to the hemline). I also dropped the bustline down by 2cm and added another 2cm to the bottom of the bodice because I am 6′ tall. Really loving the process of putting it all together and wish so much that my silk organza had arrived!

Muslin almost complete

My muslin is almost done but I need to fine tune it and then visit mum for a pinning and photo shoot! My silk organza hasn’t arrived yet so I may be back at the pants sooner than I’d thought. :)

My weekend has been busy. I own a sea kayak and paddle every weekend with 2 friends of mine but we don’t paddle on the ocean much any more because of the high number of shark bite fatalities off our coast. It’s so sad really because our oceans on the west coast of Australia are so clean and beautiful. :( Now we mainly paddle on the Swan River which is also lovely but not as clear.

Me in my kayak….

I’m also currently busy trying to find a tenant for a rental property (yes, that’s a job I do) and I can’t wait to find one because then I’ll be able to focus more on the sewing again. Oh, if only I could spend every minute of every day sewing and have a fairy come and do all the chores that need doing to keep my household functioning!! LOL

The Couture Dress wins

Yes, that’s where I am at the moment and I feel terribly guilty about not finishing my pants but I’ll get back onto that soon. I don’t have my silk organza yet (for the dress) so once my muslin is done, I will have to wait for it to arrive before I can go on and that’s when I’ll get back onto my pants. I guess that’s the wonderful thing about sewing as a hobby: you can stop and start and chop and change any time you like!

Decisions, decisions

Did I mention that I have registered to do an online Couture Dress Course through Craftsy? Well, I signed up about 4 weeks ago and paid $29 to do this course. I’m really excited about and have all my equipment except for the silk organza which is coming from the United States. My free Vogue pattern ARRIVED TODAY so now I’m torn and can’t decide whether to finish my pants muslin and pattern or whether i should switch channels and go with the couture dress! Sigh. LOL

I’ll sleep on it and let you know tomorrow what I’m going to do! G’night!

Clover pants: oh dear!

The frustration I feel at the moment is phenomenal because I can’t get the fit right on my muslin. I’ve retraced the altered back-panel and stitched it all together again only to find that the alteration has only slightly improved the initial problem and enhanced others! Grrrrrrr!! I could cry (well, secretly I did have a cry but please don’t tell anyone). Being the only one of my friends who sews means that I have to work solo, and this is not easy when you’re trying to pin bigger darts or take it in while you’re wearing it. My mother sews and she used to sew so many things when I was younger but over the years she seems to have lost confidence in her abilities. I know she’s very good at sewing but she lives 45 minutes away and it’s not just a case of quickly popping over for another fitting which I know she’d gladly do for me. She’s just too far away for those little things. Through Craftsy I have registered to do a few different sewing related courses on-line and they’ve provided me with a pen-pal who is also doing the same course. Love the concept but really wish that she lived a bit closer than Jakarta, Indonesia! LOL

OK, I suppose you’re wondering what it actually looks like at this stage… here you go:

I’ve started with the above photos to show you the areas that concern me. Now I’ll show the same muslin hanging naturally on my body with my hands out of the way. You’ll also notice that my left leg is actually a bit bigger (it honestly is substantially larger) and I need to let the seam out a fraction on that one leg so that the pants leg doesn’t grip too tightly to my leg, making that side look shorter.

Clover Muslin take #3

So you can see what I’m talking about and I know they don’t look BAD on me but I just want them to look perfect! I want to use them as a pattern to make many pairs of pants and if you compare my muslin with the photos at Colette Patterns, you’ll see that the fit is just wrong on me. On mine, I feel like they are pulling across my bottom (you can’t see it) and I’m also wondering if I’ve made the back dart too long and wide. There seems to be a slight pulling on the top back “corners” from the side hip diagonally down to the end of the dart. Maybe the dart is too big. You’ll notice that I don’t add the waistband to the muslin as I’m just trying to see quickly if it fits but maybe i need to release the dart slightly and add the waistband to see if the overall effect is ok. Sigh… back to the drawing board, I think!

Clover pants…

The weekend has been slow and it’s already Tuesday and what have I achieved? Well, I went out on Sunday to buy some stretch fabric (only 4% stretch) so that I could make up a muslin of a new pants pattern that I bought online from Colette Patterns. At Spotlight, Midland they had a rack of fabrics that were reduced down to $5 per meter and then for SUNDAY ONLY they had a further 50% off!!! Wow, surely there was something here that I could use to make up muslins in the right stretch for the pattern I was making…. and there was! It was printed, which is unfortunate because it’s a little harder to write over and see the alterations easily but at $2.50 per metre, I couldn’t complain.

Have you see the patterns from Colette? They’re so beautifully presented in a folder-like cover and when you open it, all the instructions are printed in a booklet format so you don’t have to unfold a huge instruction sheet that takes up so much room when you’re sewing and the pattern is neatly folded in a special flap at the back of the book. Love it!

Anyway, I traced the pattern out onto my mock fabric, tracing only the STITCHING lines and any notches, aligning marks and darts. I made sure to also mark in the GRAIN LINE and ensure that it was straight on my fabric too and then cut out the pieces (on folds so that i was actually cutting out an entire garment (not worrying about pockets or waistbands at this point)). When I cut it out I cut it out very roughtly leaving at least 2.5cm (1 inch) seam allowance. I sewed in the darts and joined the panels together correctly, without hemming or adding a waistband, and then tried it on for fit. Gee I wish I’d taken a photo because some major changes needed to be made but I was tired and it was late at night and seemed impractical to pull out the tripod and computer. Grrrr! That won’t happen again! Realistically I think you’d get a better look at how a garment REALLY LOOKS ON YOU if you take various photos because when we look at out rears in the mirror, we are actually distorting the way the garment sits so it’s not giving us a good view after all. Set your camera up on a tripod and learn how to use the custom settings. I set it to take 10 photos with 5 second intervals and probably do this about 3 times before i can see good images that I dare to put up on the net. Sometimes I’ve been known to take 80 photos (or more) before I’m happy with one or two. Take the photo of me in my pyjamas for instance (I wore them for the first time last night, by the way – very comfy!)… that took 120 photos! Most were out of focus or the lighting was bad. I finally figured out that I needed to set my camera to OVERCAST DAY in order to get the best lighting for my indoor photos. Phew! :)

OK, so back to my pants muslin: they were tight around the bottom and the rear of the pants was too low and too wide (I could fit my fist down the centre back). Trying to figure out how to fix this correctly was my aim and luckily Colette Patterns offer a few tutorials on how to adjust patterns and this is where I’m at at the moment. I’ve decided that I have a full bottom so have unpicked and ironed my panels in preparation of the “full-bottom-adjustment”. I’ve laid the BACK pattern piece on the table and cut it according to the instructions. Here’s what it looks like at this stage:

If you look closely you can see that I’ve actually stitched the stitching lines, darts and grain line in RED. And here are the adjustments I think I need to make although I must be honest and admit that I have no idea how wide to open the cuts I’ve just made. Might as well just trace it onto a new muslin fabric and start again. This time you’ll get photos of the after result!