pattern drafting

Half circle skirtMy adventures into pattern drafting are not as yet very adventurous but I am learning very slowly but surely.

This is my first half-circle skirt. I made it from some cheap poly-crepe as a tester before I went to wool-crepe. But I am more than happy with the result. It hangs really nicely, thanks to the nature of the drape and also to a heavy stretch satin lining!

The hem was a nightmare to get straight. My own fault for not letting it hang first. The stretch in the bias resulted in an extra 2.5 inches at the front and back, compared to the side seams. So I dutifully unpicked and started again. A long process. But once I’d accurately trimmed and finished with bias tape, it worked a treat.

Half circle skirt

I incorporated a lapped zipper on the left side with two military style buttons on the waistband.

I love the timelessness of this style and for a simple black skirt it feels really more classy than it should! It’s so girly and swishy! More photos and info over at ooobop!

half circle skirt

 

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Swimsuit

It's not Saint Tropez, but I like it.

I bought a two-piece swimsuit a couple of years ago, a pretty red bikini in my proper cup size from Ballet, which really only served to underline the fact that I’m more of a one-piece swimsuit person. I really am not comfortable with two-pieces, and I wanted a vintage-looking swimsuit with full rear coverage and low legs without the hassle of trying to fit my size 34 F/G bust into an actual vintage swimsuit, because come on, let’s be realistic.

So. It was clearly time to make one. I made an aborted attempt to build a very structured, fitted suit last year, in a heavy black satin with only 20% stretch or something along those lines, and quickly realized that I don’t actually want a swimsuit that I need to be hooked and zipped into. This year I went with regular old lycra swimsuit fabric instead, and since I’m lucky enough to live in a city where there’s a specialised shop for lingerie, dancewear and swimwear fabrics and notions, I got to choose between about a hundred different colours. (“And you chose the snot green? Really?”) I like green, I like chartreuse, I liked the chartreuse better than the available dark greens, and I didn’t want tropical colours or the usual suspects black, blue or red.

Cup drafting is intimidating and I’m not very happy with any of my current cup drafts, so the bust pattern is based on Mrs Depew’s 50′s French pinup bra and adapted a bit. The cups are cut from two layers of the same swimsuit fabric fused together, which does give it a lot of extra stability, and I made reinforced shoulder straps that start from the side of the cups, cross in the back and button to the top of the cups, which keeps everything neatly in place and provides a bit of support.

Swimsuit detail

Full cups and minimal cleavage, which is how I like it. You might get an idea of the stability the fused double layers of swimsuit fabric add.

For the rest of the suit I looked at an old favourite swimsuit of mine, which is sadly worn to the point where it’s coming apart, and drafted the thing with side seams only, a hint of legs and a fairly wide crotch piece. Most swimsuit bottoms and underpants fit my large behind very badly and ride up, this cut seems to do the trick; it does give the full rear coverage that I want, and then some depending on how low on the hips and thighs you make the bottom edge, it’s comfy, it doesn’t have one of those nasty center front seams, and it stays firmly in place. I love it.

The finish of the suit is not what I’d call pretty. I dislike working with knit fabrics – because I’m not good at it, frankly – and I was in a hurry. Call it a test run that turned out wearable, but not perfect. I do like the black plastic anchor buttons, and the bust got some fairly sloppy black satin piping which helps the look, too. But the important thing is that it’s actually a comfortable, serviceable and fairly well-fitting swimsuit that I don’t have to zip myself into.

 

Swimsuit, back

And the back.

 

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About a week ago I had this crazy idea. What if I made another half-circle skirt, but I made it fully reversible? Little did I know that it wouldn’t be as easy as I first thought when it popped into my head, but I made it work, and I think its pretty fab! I ended up having to use a separating zipper made for a coat, which was a challenge finding one the right color and length, but after that it was pretty smooth sailing!

The lighter fabric is not white- its actually a very pale pink with a tiny and delicate floral vines pattern all over it. The darker one, which I’m pretty sure you can see, its just pink scallops. I drafted the pattern myself, using the measurements kicked out by this awesome circle skirt calculator. My inspiration for this skirt is the one pictured here in this post from a week or two ago.

I look a fright, but I'm not one for wearing make-up when I'm just sitting home all day!

I was able to use up two fabrics I had a ton of in my stash that I had no idea what to do with (I originally intended a summer top but it never happened and I had accidentally ordered double the yardage I needed). I also made a matching (also fully reversible) purse to go with it. The purse is my own pattern design- its not vintage or even vintage inspired, but it goes with the skirt that is! LOL

I also made the button down shirt I am wearing in both photos a few weeks ago out of some other fabric I didn’t know what to do with. I’m really trying to pare down my stash this summer, both of fabrics and patterns, and have a lot of patterns listed for sale in my shop, mostly vintage.

You can see more about this fabulous skirt on my blog here.

 

 

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French knickers-a.k.a.tap-pants, petti-pants…. whatever you call them I love them, wear them and keep making more. These are my most recent efforts:

 As a rule I draft my own patterns and while doing these it occurred to me that there is no reason anyone else couldn’t do it too, to their own measurements. It’s a simple skirt block turned into a culotte block. Cut it out in soft thin fabrics, gussie-up with lace and there you have pretty french knickers. The pattern is also the basis for making 20′s/30′s style pyjama bottoms similar to those I made to go with the 1930′s style top I posted a pattern for on my blog a while back.

 

So to that end I’ve written a knicker  drafting tutorial for the DIY pattern-making inclined. At the end is included how to turn the pattern into an elasticated-waist wide-leg 30′s lounging pj style as well. There is also a brief text-only knicker sewing tutorial that accompanies it.   However, in a couple of weeks I’m hosting a full french knicker sew-along for those who’d like more pictorial step-by-step sewing instructions. (If you don’t wish to draft your own I even posted a pattern in two different sizes UK 10&14 (US 6&10))

   The lace bow appliqués..fun to do!.. were inspired by an article in 1939 Marie Claire magazine I bought a few weeks ago.

To make them you take a length of lace, tie it into a bow and tweak it about until you like it. Anchor it with a few pins onto your ironing board and gently press it flat. Carefully place and re-pin it in position on your fabric. I used a small straight stitch to sew it on…without basting first. But I will admit basting would have been a good idea; all the pins really got in the way and there is a big risk of breaking a machine needle. A minor miracle but this time I didn’t.

 

 

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