Sunday, October 19, 2014

Japanese corduroy culottes

My last pair of culottes are getting so much wear right now that I knew another pair wouldn't go astray. This time I played around with the design a little. I kept the length, not just because I quite like the longer hem trend, but also because it keeps my legs warm in Winter.

Once again, I started with my Esther shorts pattern. I made the same modifications as with my green culottes, but simply skipped the pleats. I also widened the waistband a smidgen, moved the zipper to the back and added side seam pockets.

I also tried something new in the construction of these culottes. Have you noticed that RTW pants never have waistbands like we sew at home? I've had these suit pants for about seven years now. Have a look at how beautiful their innards are.

The edge of the inside waistband is bound with pretty binding. It's so simple to do and it means that you don't have to bother with folding the edge under and painstakingly pin it to ensure you catch it all perfectly as you stitch blindly from the other side. I actually don't know why it's taken me this long to try this technique. It looks better and it's way easier. I bound the inside of my waistband with Liberty of London and stitched in the ditch from the other side. Next time I will bind the pocket edges too.

There is a lot less fabric in these culottes compared to my last version. This is just because I took out the pleats. This cord is also a lot lighter in weight. I could see this style of pant working well for Summer in either linen or cotton, at this length or just below the knee. If it weren't Fall here, I'd be making myself a slightly shorter version in denim. In fact, I might still do so...


Friday, October 17, 2014

The gridline drop waist dress

Did you really want to see another drop waist dress? Well to be completely honest, I thought I'd moved on from them myself. I'm really fickle with fashion. I love something intensely for a brief period, but if it remains in my field of vision for too long I get bored and start looking elsewhere for the next sparkly trend. My problem with the drop waist is that they are just so comfortable that I wear them every other day, to the extent that I get sick of the sight of myself. I have drop waist overload. Can you see my point?

And let's not forget the one that started this whole obsession...

So now I feel like I should show you how I ended up sewing yet another drop waist. Firstly, I spotted this amazing dress on Pinterest, as worn by Olivia Palermo in the picture below. There's something about those widely spaced gridlines and the unexpected seamlines that make my heart beat a little faster. If I could get my hands on that fabric, there'd be a knock-off in my wardrobe as we speak.
Soon after, Rachel from House of Pinheiro showed off her amazing Parisian dress. This was all the confirmation I needed. The fabric I used was already in my stash and part of it was upcycled from a long, shirt dress that I made some time ago. Reckless past-Debbie didn't pre-wash the fabric and the shirt dress shrank a little too much for comfort. Needless to say, I've learned my lesson on that front.

The pattern I used was Simplicity 1366 again, a Cynthia Rowley pattern. I simply lengthened it and matched the side width with my self-drafted, drop waist pattern. The skirt is part circle and part haphazard wedge. It's quite obvious that I paid little regard to line matching. I tried to place the skirt seams in a symmetrical fashion and match the side and arm seams where I could, but I had such a small amount of fabric to work with that I just had to place the pieces where I could. I don't think they look too bad.



Wednesday, October 15, 2014

Making neatly curved patch pockets with interfacing instead of lining: a tutorial

There are lots of ways you can sew and attach patch pockets to garments. When I sewed this little wool tunic recently, I encountered a small problem when I set about to putting lace, patch pockets on it. I felt the cotton voile lace was a little too delicate to withstand the daily force of small hands, but I didn't really want to line it, and I definitely didn't want to lose the pretty upper lace edge.

As always, I failed to take photos when making these pockets, so I've recreated the tutorial with some yellow, cotton scraps. Basically, all I did was to interface the pockets instead of lining them. The best way I can describe what I did is with photos.  

1. Cut a piece of interfacing to the same size as the pocket

2. Here they are lined up side by side. The fabric is yellow. The interfacing is white.

3. In this example, I folded over the top of the pocket towards the wrong side and stitched it down. In my lace pockets, I left the pretty edge raw.

4. Measure on the interfacing where you would like it to end on the underside.

5. Cut off the excess interfacing

6. This is where it gets interesting. Pin the interfacing (lining up the bottom raw edges) with the outer side (non-glue side) facing the right side of the fabric.

7. Stitch

8. Trim. Some people notch a curved edge. I find I get a smoother curve if I trim very close instead.

9. Turn the pocket in the right way. The glue side of the interfacing is now facing towards the wrong side of the pocket. Press. This will fuse the pocket fabric to the lining so it will be as one.

10. Look at your perfectly round and strong patch pocket, all ready to be sewn onto your garment. Obviously, yours will look better than mine. I tend to rush things.

11. This is the underside. You've turned in all the curved edges without any fiddling and it is perfectly secure and ready to be attached neatly. For an even better result, trim the edges of the interfacing/lining by 1-2mm before you start, and then continue on with all the steps from the beginning, lining all the edges up perfectly as you go. This will make the outer fabric roll inwards towards the underside so that there will be no chance of the lining peeking through at the sides.