Stacey Stitch

I thought I’d give a little update on my Sewing for Vegas Sew Retro bombshell dress and my experience of using Craftsy for the first time.

I signed up for this course with a little trepidation, boning? yikes! But you never get anywhere unless you push yourself do you? And in some respects I have all too easily become used to doing what I can do and sticking with the “safe” stuff.

So first things first:

When I found out about craftsy I thought it would be marvellous for me. As you may know I am dyslexic, so looking at instructions in the written word are usually quite confusing.

Add with that mild dyspraxia and you have a whole heap of confusion when it comes to things such as left and right.

I learn so well when people show me physically how to do something rather than from reading instructions, hence the idea of video classes which I can access at any point seemed perfect.

So sign up I did.

I downloaded the course materials and pattern (easy enough) ensuring that the test square was the right size and then ordered everything I needed to make up the dress (apart from the boning – you really need to measure your bodice pieces for that).

I decided on a cerise medium weight cotton for the main fabric with the lining in a lightweight light blue and white polka dot.

I cracked on with making up the pattern.

Now, I know this should have been easy and it was up to a certain point but honestly, being told that it’s “fun, like doing a puzzle” doesn’t actually make it any more fun and less fiddly.

Oh, and if you’re like me and don’t have a table big enough, prepare for some backache.

This was however soothed by watching the amazingly trashy cultness of Showgirls while I was doing it.


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Next up was marking the pattern pieces on calico for the toile of the bodice.

When I first discovered that the pattern had no seam allowance I was struck by a little bit of fear, I completely didn’t understand how beneficial this actually would be and how easy it would make the whole process. Thread tracing is a new one on me but I feel like it’s something that might change my sewing life!

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After a short time I had my cups made and decided it was time to leave it for the night.

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The next day I began stitching the rest of the pieces together. It took me about 40 minutes of not understanding why the cups weren’t fitting into the bodice sections before I realised I’d sewn them on the wrong way round (dylexia-dyspraxia strikes again!). Once they were un-picked and re-sewn I had a bodice which looked pretty fantastic.

I just made a few adjustments to the height of the cups (these would make me blush in their original form, and I’m not shy by any means) which Gertie talks you through every step of the way, There’s also a section on a full bust adjustment, which I didn’t use but I did watch and it was very thorough. It will be a great reference if I make something for someone in the future who is bustier than me.

I added a little height to the back of the bodice too, in line with the height I’d added to the cups and then I graded this down towards the closure section where the zip will be inserted.

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After this I made the changes to my pattern pieces to incorporate the extra material and I cut more calico for the interlining, marked it up and used these pieces as a pattern for the main bodice material, which I then cut and tacked together.

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Then I made up the bodice as instructed, step by step, including inserting a bit of padding to the cups and a few other tailoring techniques as shown (I don’t want to give everything away).

This where I’m up to, an almost complete bodice. I am so happy with how it looks.

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My thoughts on the class and on craftsy:

I am really loving doing something new and more challenging with guidance from others who have completed the course and from the instructor. I would definitely recommend this type of learning to anyone who is talking up sewing. The instructions are clear and concise and it is invaluable to be able to see in motion what you can only read about in other respects. The little tailoring and hand sewing techniques and finishes and shared experiences from Gertie are well worth signing up for, never mind the fact you’ll have a gorgeous dress at the end of it.

I fully intend to carry on doing more craftsy courses after I have finished this one. What I have learned so far is so much more than I thought I would, and it’s great to find out little tips and tricks so that if (like me) you’re learning as you go, and on your own, you find speedier and more accurate ways to make garments.

Has anyone else made this dress or done this course?

Please link me up with your version, Id love to see it! 

 


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NVAs

 

If you liked this blog please vote for me in the NVAs as I’ve been nominated under the Best Vintage Fashion/Lifestyle Blog category. Voting is open throughout May and it’s a simple click to select Stacey Stitch and then enter your email address to confirm the vote (you wont be spammed). Clicking on the photo or links above should take you straight to the website.

I need to be in the top 3 and I’m currently in 4th place. Only the top 3 go through to the judges panel. Help a fellow vintage sewing enthusiast out?

It’ll only take a few minutes of your time if you have it spare! Thank you!

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Gertie Capris - 3 ways

Shirt absence from WSR but I have indeed been Sewing for Vegas as I promised a few weeks back, it’s just been terrible weather here and combined with Timothy working away, and out of town visits to friends and family, I haven’t been able to get some photos until now.

So where did I start? 4 metres of stretch slub denim going for a song on ebay. Perfect, I thought, this will be a good foundation for my day wear when I’m pounding the pavement and looking at the wonders the strip has to offer.

So I got out my Gertie capri pattern and cut out the pieces (in a bigger size than my test pattern a few months ago) and got to sewing. I found the tips over at Handmade Jane’s blog on denim sewing tips a great help and before you knew it (and in a day) I had a pair of denim capris.

If you’d like to find out more about the shorts and skirt hop over to me blog post! 

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here we are and finished in all it’s splendour is my blummin gorgeous 60s blouse a la Joan Harris (nee Holloway).

Joaniegreen

Having never made a blouse before I wasn’t entirely sure what material to go for. I decided on a trusty poly-cotton which meant the drape would be a bit stiffer than the one shown in the picture but I did want the collar to be a little stiffer, and as I wasn’t sure how this would all play out I thought not splashing the cash on fancy fabric would be the best option.

I went about cutting the pattern, fabric and interfacing out and I was quite happily thinking “less pieces, less work than a dress”. Ah, the young sewing fool inside me.

At the end of the first day I’d made the bodice and the collar. It dawned on my when I finished that I’d absolutely breezed the collar this time, I think I’ve been so caught up in worrying about the set in sleeves that I appear to have somehow mastered collars without thinking about it. Pretty good eh?!

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Now, I made a little list of goals at the beginning of the year (some have totally fallen by the wayside already) and one of these was to master set in sleeves by the end of 2014. So when I went into this part of making the blouse I did so with a new determination that I would not simply settle for “that’ll do” and I would set these sleeves in over and over until I got them perfect.

Plenty of people gave me advice (thank you everyone for all of your helpful tips and guidance) but I really owe massive thanks to Clare at www.sewdixielou.com for spurring me on when I was halfway through ripping the sleeves out for the second time (and on the verge of having a little cry) who simply said “I never use gathered way hate it. I do it by hand gently easing larger fabric pinning every 1/2″. Then when happy pin in between pins then baste by hand. Remove pins check how it looks then machine”.

Now, this may strike you as odd (but probably goes a long way to explaining more than bit about me) but I never considered for a moment that I should use any other method than gathering.

It’s what everyone had shown me; books, sewing tutorials online, pattern instructions. All gathering. It’s a rule right?

Wrong. I am learning more and more that sewing is about finding what works for you and just because people say you should do it this way, it doesn’t mean you have to do it this way.

In the end I went for a bit of both, I gathered a little and then pinned and pinned. I sewed from the inside of the sleeve ; calmly, slowly, gently and smoothed as I went. Et Voilà! A perfectly set in sleeve!

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So overjoyed was I that I ran about the house and told Tim he should come and look, at which point he did and we embraced and then I did my little happy dance (literally). Then I proceeded to set the other in, with no problem at all and then made Tim come back every five minutes to look at my beautiful set in sleeves on my fantastic blouse.

Needless to say, it wore a bit thin (for him- certainly not for me) after the 50th time, saying that though he was very chuffed for me.

Next up were buttonholes and buttons, which I forgot to buy.  I finally located some small-ish ones and add them to the cuffs and the front of the blouse with a pop stud opening at the top (which is covered when the collar is done up) and here we are, the finished article.

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I have refrained from modelling this as I really want to get the skirt made in March so that I can wear both together, just like Joanie.

I really feel like I’ve made sewing skills progress with this blouse.

If you’d like to read more or check out other things I’ve made, please visit my blog www.staceystitch.com 

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I’ve had this gorgeous pattern since July and have been looking for the perfect excuse to make it and what better than a Christmas party at work? The scene is set, there will be a brass quintet and nibbles and drinks in the Atrium of our building, now all I need to do is make an entrance in something very festive.

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I did (again) struggle with the sleeves – which were, again, meant to be set in…but it seems we do not get on very well, so I did my best, tried not to cry (after sewing a sleeve in inside out and having to get the trusyt seam ripper out again) and took a deep breath. They didn’t turn out too badly BUT I have made it an aim for 2014 to master set in sleeves!

christmas dress

The light isn’t great in this pic so I’ve added the one below as I think it gives a better impression (and it was too cold to be outside!)

Christmas dress

My dress was complete! To find out more, have a look at my blog post and please let me know the secret to set in sleeves, they’re driving me NUTS!

I hope you’ve enjoyed reading this, thank you so much for making me feel so welcome on WSR and reading my posts over the last six months or so and have a wonderful Christmas! I’ll be back soon (unless I cannot reach the laptop from my eggnog and chocolate coma) xx

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