handmade

The Couture Dress

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I purchased the couture dress craftsy class by Susan Khalje almost a year ago now. But I wasn’t ready to make a dress, I watched most of the lessons, took some notes… slowly gathered my supplies. And now I think I’m finally ready to start!

I thought it might be interesting motivating to do a series of posts based on the construction of the dress, following along with the class. While I’m a big fan of seeing finished garments on blogs, I find I’m really drawn to post series where people are blogging the journey to a finished object. I’m not sure why that is, but I’m much more likely to snuggle up on the couch with a cup of tea and read a blog series following the progression of something (sewing, knitting, home decor, etc), than just browsing finished object posts. There’s just something about the ups and downs, tips, would do differently, would do again mixed in with little anecdotes that is just so compelling to me. I hope that someone out there is interested in this as well, worst case I will have a wonderful log for myself!

The couture dress class by Susan Khalje has 15 lessons (although one of them is an introduction). It comes with Vogue 8648 (the pattern actually gets mailed to you!! If you live in Canada you might understand why I’m excited about that). I elected to use the caroline dress by mouse house creations instead, I just don’t like V8648 that much, but I might try it in the future! I’m using thrifted hunter green cotton/acrylic blend fabric, my aim is to make a wearable muslin (I will be adapting the lessons as I go, since the class makes a separate muslin out of actual… muslin).

My current plan is to make one blog post per class lesson, at least. Unfortunately I haven’t even gotten around to the first lesson yet, since the first lesson involves marking your stitching line (as opposed to the typically marked cutting line). Then every single pattern piece has to be cut, traced onto the fabric, and then the tracings should be stitched over in thread…

So that is what you can expect in the next post!

 

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The Pleated Plaid Skirt

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A pleated (plaid?) skirt that hits just above the knee, some high heels and a merino wool sweater, everything a girl needs to be happy, right? I feel like I must be the only person in the world who does this, buy why oh why do I always choose a size too big? With the anya skirt, I at least reasoned with myself that the small waistband could have stretched, leaving me with a larger waist than the actual pattern. This waistband however is large and thick and sturdy, mostly due to the thick fabric (which is an unknown blend I thrifted). I have no excuse! I measured myself twice, and the skirt is too large!

This is McCalls 6706, a pattern so easy you almost don’t need a pattern! Except the pleats are on an angle to give the skirt more flare, so if you’re doing it without a pattern don’t forget to angle your pleats to give a nice fullness. I opted to just buy the pattern, I don’t know why, probably for the same reason that I purchased the anya skirt pattern, I just wanted to get right to work on the skirt without having to figure anything out! The pattern is very straightforward, the only tricky bit is making sure your pleats are neatly lined up. Which I just did an ‘okay’ job at.
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From the pictures my talented boyfriend took you really cannot tell the skirt is too big. The only thing you can see is that the sweater is bunched up but I don’t think you get a sense for how thick the sweater is bunched up under the waistband! It’s a loose fit, so all the extra wrinkles in the back helped keep the skirt up! I still love the skirt, and with a thicker sweater like this one it works okay, but it is not the fitted, tailored look that I was going for.

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All is not in vain however because I did learn a lot from doing this skirt, mostly about the importance of having proper markings. I had to go back once the side seams were sewn to try and mark up the pleats because my previous chalk markings had rubbed off (oops!). So next time I will mark the pleats with basting stitches. I will also add an invisible zipper next time because the bulky regular zipper prohibits the pleats in that area from meeting well (or perhaps I just executed it poorly?).

2016 Knit List

2016 KNIT LIST

Tongshan/Tinder/Wishbone

Last year I made a 2015 Knit List. I only made two items on the list: Graham and Wishbone. Graham was never blogged about. I didn’t like the way it worked up in the yarn I chose so it was frogged almost immediately. Wishbone was blogged about here. You could say the 2015 Knit List was a failure. The 2016 edition though… it will be successful!

I’ve definitely upped the stakes this year, but I have also learned a lot in the last year. Each of these projects was selected to fill a hole in my wardrobe, since I have been wanting to move towards using knitting to contribute to my wardrobe.

Two more projects from 2015 need to be blogged (that were knit without being on the list!), then the first project will be Tongshan!

The Shell Top

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A basic shell top, made with Butterick B6175. This took me quite a while to make! I’ve never actually finished a top/bodice before, and I had a lot of trouble fitting the facings to the neckline and arm holes. In the end, I got it together, but there are some huge fit issues! The back is quite roomy, which would be fine, but the keyhole part sticks out from my body like a fish fin!

I wanted to make a shell top so bad, and I fell for B6175 because it offered the opportunity of short sleeves and a peter pan collar, which are some of my favorite things! I was hoping to make the shell top my alternative to tank tops and t-shirts since they are much more chic for the same amount of comfort, but… fit issues…

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You can see in the picture above, right below my hat brim a bunch of the material is sticking out (like a fin…)! This was a big disappointment, but a huge lesson in the importance of making muslins! I tend to think I’m fairly “normal sized” (whatever that is), but apparently not, since there is clearly too much fabric in the back. I do love the way this top looks from the front though, the neckline and shoulders are so flattering, and because of that I will be putting the effort into making a muslin and attempting to alter the pattern to fit me better!

A Short Skirt

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I picked up some cute gray and black marled woven fabric at the thrift store, the fiber content is unknown, and decided to try my hand at making this skirt. The pattern is McCall’s 3923 from 1988, I sewed up view C in a size 12 with the box pleat outside instead of inside and I shortened it…. a lot. I am certain my high school’s dress code would be violated by this skirt, good thing I’m not in high school anymore!

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