archive for 'ottobre'
my camera has such problems with red. this is actually a much deeper, browny red, so the contrasting orange topstitching stands out really well. the orange came from the legs of the crab applique, which i’ve had stashed away for ages (keep your eyes peeled for his friends making an appearance soonish). it’s all sequinny which you can’t really see in the pics except here.
the pattern was simple enough. it took me 4 short evenings: 1 to trace and cut the pattern, 1 to lay out and cut the fabric, then 2 to do the sewing. i laid the stretch cord with the nap running up to make the most of the rich colour. this was quite simple for an ottobre pattern, the interest coming from the chopping up of the pattern pieces, and the pockets. the only change i made was to use zigzag rather than ribbon to reinforce the pockets. i committed a major sewing sin by laying out the facings across the grain to save fabric, but then had to re-cut the straps as i hadn’t added a seam allowance and they weren’t wide enough. it was one of those places where the hem is marked so in theory you don’t have to add extra, but no way was there room to turn under. i did have reservations about the length after comparing the pattern to one of her existing dresses so i did add extra SA along the bottom hem and i’m very glad i did. but then the top edges of the pockets similarly didn’t need the SA adding and they were fine. as it is i now probably have enough fabric left for a skirt or possibly a pair of simple trousers.
size-wise it’s pretty spot on. it looked short and wide in the pics so i went for a 92 width and a 98 length. i think i’ll put an extra set of buttons on above the ones i have, to make it sit where i like on the chest. it’ll then hit just at knee length, with at least 3 more inches on the straps to grow into.
the only reservation i have about this pattern is the suggested fabric. i thought i should be okay with a stretch cord, since they used a stretch velvet, even though i remembered from the brown stuff i used before that stretch cord doesn’t take very kindly to a lot of topstitching. and i had the exact problems i expected: major rippling along the topstitched seams. and of course because it’s cord pressing the living daylights out of it isn’t really an option. i gave it a heavy steam and a gentle press and it’s just a bit wavy now, not enough to be a problem.
overall i’m really pleased with it. it looks much cuter on than it does in the pics. i’ll probably make at least 1 more out of denim or something else easy to sew.
messages re the dress i’m making for dd next (not accesible unless you’re a member of the group). poor dab she’s been a bit neglected recently stitch-wise. all her trousers are at half mast now. if only i could spin toddler clothes she’d be fine
for my ref, sizing. dd’s 92 high but measures wider. she’s tall for her age and another growth spurt soon wouldn’t surprise me. last time i was making her stuff she was between 86 and 92. generally the ottobre cut seems to run short and wide, people have commented that this dress is wide, and it does look it in the pix. so i’m going for 92 width but 98 length in the hope we can get plenty of wear out of it. it’s above the knee in the pictures so i figure there’s room for more length and i can always hem it shorter if it looks utterly ridiculous. i’m going to follow the 92 armscye line as again it looks wide across the chestin the pix, but cut the pattern into horizontal sections as per 98.
not too many hitches after the ‘on the small side’ realisation. this was generally a nice pattern to sew – no awkward waistband to do. i mainly chose this pattern because it uses so little fabric as i’m hoping to get a pinafore dress out of the same stuff. i just love the fabric, it’s a super-soft babycord from my original MS stash, the colours are totally gorgeous (difficult to show in the pix, maybe a little more muted irl). it was lovely and easy to work with but was slightly more delicate than previous stuff i’ve used and i got pulled threads from the pins in a couple of spots, hopefully not too obvious.
i love the fact that it’s lined, though i did find that the lining turned out a lot smaller than the outside, think i should probably have staystitched the waistline. i used leftovers from my frilly skirt to line and found it slightly more manageable second time around. steaming the excess fullness from the hem definitely made a difference, though i was still left with a few ugly tucks. i topstitched too close to the zip so it doesn’t quite go to the top, but i think that was the only other hitch.
i felt confident enough to stray from the instructions and hem before i pressed the pleats, i took the chance to practice my blind hemming again, since i thought the stripes should hide it a little. while it doesn’t look as prominent as a topstitched hem, blind it definitely aint (evidence). i wasn’t confident enough to go it alone when the instructions decided to stray though. i managed to totally lose the issue half way through – still haven’t found it. massive thanks to faith from the ottobre english list who so kindly typed the whole lot out for me!
of course much as i adore this skirt it’s totally impractical – a skirt that has to be ironed every time it’s washed is so far out of place in this house it’s ridiculous. i was wondering about stitching in the pleats – i’m sure there’s something about running stitching along the line of the pleats in my sewing book. i wondered whether i could just sew the inside pleats so if it didn’t work out it would barely show, but it still gave a bit more structure… ? comments welcome.
it turns out it’s waaay too big – lengthwise and around. i made the smallest size (92) but it seems a fair bit bigger than her other 92 skirt, possibly down to stretching during construction, i’ve still got the pattern pieces handy so i’ll see whtehr that’s it. i’m a bit worried that by the time she fits it lengthwise she’ll be out of nappies and might have nothing to hold it up. and i so want her to wear it cos it’s lovely
the pleated skirt from 4/2003 (?) is coming on apace, just have to cut and add the lining. just tried it on madam for size and she said she liked it cos it was “all toothpasty” – i think shewas referring to the stripes
it took until i’d joined and pleated the whole thing before i realised i needed 2 skirt panels for the pleated skirt from 4/2003, and not the one i’d done. even when it narrowed down to the width of one trouser leg i was still thinking “blimey her stuff really is a lot smaller than i thought”
wow! this took 3 hours from start to finish, tracing and everything. that also included ripping a load of stitching on the shoulders. i didn’t have a clue how to go about stabilising the seams, first i tried stitching some firm interfacing in with the overlock stitch, but it wasn’t solid enough and came to bits when i tugged on the seam. after lots of unpicking i used some of the brushed cotton from the pjs, just straight stitched in, then ran another row of straight to keep it from showing on the right side. seems to have worked fine.
i had a bit of a battle with the clear elastic too. i couldn’t stitch it in straight at all, the presser foot kept scooting over it, elastic went one way and the fabric went the other. in the end i hand cranked it all around the neckline. i didn’t quite follow the directions here – i finished the neck before putting in the sleeves or sewing the side seams, which was a very good idea as i could work on it in the flat. i also didn’t stretch as i basted down the elastic as i didn’t have enough hands. the finish is reasonable, and the only problem is a slight flaring out on the bends that might have been down to not stretching during basting (i did stretch when i sewed it over on the right side) but equally might be because i turned it down too close so the elastic is folded over a little.
i used my machine’s stretch version of the 3-step zigzag for the neckline and hems and the overlock stitch on the seams. the overlock is pretty good actually, the trick is to go as fast as possible and hold the fabric at quite an angle. didn’t get any problems with the edges curling under, and managed to keep it from veering off the edge which it really wanted to do.
this project has got me raring to go with more knits, which is fortuitous since i’m currently in negotiations over a secondhand serger. it looks like i won’t get it as it’s out of my price range but this has whet my appetite and i’m dreaming of a machine that can handle stuff like this without me having to fight it most of the way.
haven’t tried it for size (did the smallest, 92) but it looks pretty good compared to one of her rtw tops – there looks to be enough stretch to go over her head (it’s cut higher on the neck than i expected). if anything it looks to be a bit short in the body – another case of short and wide ottobre fit perhaps.
oh and the fabric is the exact same one featured in the magazine, one of my michas stoffecke buys. i think it’s cute but not overly so and i hope it’ll appeal to madam. it’s lovely and velvety soft and bloody well should be for the price.
edit: duh! have just realised i shouldn’t have sewn the reinforcing tapes in between the shoulder seams but on top of them. then there’d be no worrying about them showing through on the right side. well all educational i guess.
ps i tried to post the above edit as a comment but it wasn’t having it. will have to look into whether the spam blocking is actually stopping all comments…
all done save a bit of handstitching down the facings and the obligatory blue velcro. these pics show the colour/texture of the fabric much better than the skirt ones, it really is gorgeous. i think they look very very groovy. it’s a better use of the fabric than the skirt because there’s that much more surface area. it might have been nice to have spare to play with to try matching patterns at least on the pockets if nowhere else, but equally it could have been a lot of hard work for little return.
as it was they didn’t give me too many headaches. the zip was easier than the first time, but i still screwed up the waistband. thankfully nothing that a bit of unpicking couldn’t fix (at one point of despair i thought i’d have to chop the whole lot off) and it’s less mangled than the skirt beacuse i didn’t try to topstitch with the triple straight stitch.
there was a bit of rippling around the pockets but that’s down to the stretch in the fabric and could have been much worse. the biggest mess came right at the end, when i couldn’t be bothered to unpick and fix it. one of the facings for the hems was a wee bit narrower than the leg itself. i should have unpicked and redone but by then i’d already zigzagged the edges and hoped i’d be able to ease the difference in. then i thought i’d been all clever and made sure that i sewed everything in towards the inseam so even if was left wth a tuck of fabric it would be where no-one would see. as it happens there is a huge tuck and i wasn’t sewing the way i thought i was so it’s right on the side seam in pride of place it’s a good test of how big a cock-up you can make before people notice i guess.
i left off the belt loops again and i decided not to topstitch along the top of the facings, entirely a design-driven decision not to interfere with the fabric and not at all because i totally ran out of brown thread half the seams and the bobbin thread for half the topstitching is a fetching denim blue leftover from the dungies… that article came in very handy for doing the scallops. without guidance i wouldn’t have had the confidence to snip deep and often enough and they’ve come out very smooth which seems to be down to pressing before i snipped. i think the interfacing i used might have been a bit on the stiff side – they stand up on their own
the skirt fits brilliantly there’s a little slack to grow into in the waist and it’s ever so slightly on the long side. madam seems to be midway between 86 and 92 depending on the style, but i can’t quite work out how she compares to the *standard* ottobre fit. on the whole the cut seems to run short and wide, with the exception of the long and skinny pj trousers, but i am trying to fit them over exceptionally large nighttime nappies.
more images in the gallery.
it came together very quickly at the end. i decided to leave off the back pockets, partly because i didn’t want to do more fiddly work, but mostly because i wanted the large-scale pattern to show, which it doesn’t really on the front as there are so many small pieces.
it’s really not too bad overall, the mistakes won’t show from any distance or with a t-shirt over the top. i’ve no idea how it’s likely to fit (i did the smallest pattern size, a 92). there isn’t any extra length in the back, but there does seem to be a fair bit of width and a nice rounded shape to the back, so i’m keeping my fingers crossed.
i have just realised, though, that i’ve put the yoke on upside down i was a bit confused by the pieces, and i noticed a kind of peak in the top CB as i was sewing. just now i spotted the nap on the yoke and back don’t match and i know i double checked everything was the right way up when i cut. ahh that would explain the notches being in a funny place too
well i reckon i’m best off having a go at the trousers while all the mistakes are fresh in my mind. and what a relief it’ll be to move onto something nice and simple like the crossover top i’ve been pining for. i reckon even i’d have problems putting that together upside down
the images are the best compromise i could make between showing the structure of the skirt and the colour/detail of the fabric.
it took a long time to put the zip in, mostly trying to work out how on earth it was supposed to go together. not helped by the fact that either i’d trimmed the wrong side short on the pattern or the zip instructions had the pieces going a different way. the main instructions say left and right refer to the garment when worn so i thought the left side meant the side on her left when she’s wearing it rather than the left side when viewed from the front. anyway i tried to do it following the pictures but realised my pieces went the other way. once i’d worked that out it wasn’t too difficult to work in reverse (after re-reading the instructions about 10 times) using a too long zip made it easier, i think. i just folded the sides over at the top, stitched in place and trimmed. i didn’t sew a new stop at the top as – as far as i can tell – there’s no way it could come off anyway. i was really pleased with how it came out and now i know how it goes together it should be quicker the next time.
then i really made a mess of the waistband
it’s the same kind of problems i’ve had before – working on small pieces with multiple layers. it didn’t help that i had such measley seam allowances and actually had to patch in an extra piece where i hadn’t realised the bottom layer was short when i was cutting. all this could have been solved by not trying to squeeze it out of too little fabric.
i think the interfacing i used was a little too stiff, and i finally fell foul of the fabric which stretched and twisted out of shape. the topstitching is truly dreadful and it certainly didn’t help that i used a stretch straight stitch. i quite like this as a finish elsewhere but since i don’t need the stretch in that part of the waistband i’ll definitely use a plain straight stitch on the trousers, then at least if it’s just as wonky it won’t show so much. i also made a bad stitch choice at the bottom of the fly – i ran a long bar tack over a perfectly adequate line of stretch topstitching and it’s pushed and mangled the fabric and spoiled an up till then perfect zip.
one other thing to note for the trousers is the fly shield came out to short and didn’t meet up properly with the waistband. i’m pretty sure i added SAs all the way round so i’m not sure why this is, but i think i have just enough fabric spare to cut a larger piece just in case.
i’m coming to the conclusion that this combination of pattern and fabric is really too advanced for me, unlike the dungies which went together a treat. but then again i’m never going to find my level unless i try a few things. i’ll still go ahead with the trousers, if nothing else cos they’re an 86 so i need to get them done while she still fits them.
i finally got my major deadline work out of the way and got in a bit of sewing yesterday. it was quite slow going – i got the front of the skirt mostly done, but have to rip and redo one of the pockets as it’s not lying properly. once again it didn’t occur to me that what looks simple enough actually takes a fair bit of work. the front vents are great (though they don’t quite match i’m sure no-one would notice) but i had problems trying to understitch the pocket linings and had to rip it out. in the end i just clipped the curves and topstitched, which seems to do exactly the same job, not quite sure why you’d need to understitch too.
looking at the pieces there seems to be quite a difference in length between front and back. i hope there is as she’s never worn skirts cos they hang funny over her big nappies and given the perfect fit of the dungies i’m hoping the skirt will be similarly accommodating.
i’m very glad i’m starting with (and making my mistakes on) the skirt, as the trousers are likely to get more wear, so i’d rather they were the better sewn of the two. i reckon i’ll definitely need a practice run to get the zip right. it’s nice to get the feel of the fabric too. it’s been fine so far, although i didn’t finish the edges of the skirt before i joined the pieces as per instructions cos i was worried about it stretching out of shape and being difficult to match up. of course now i realise there’s no way to get the machine in to finish it now it’s together (hence instructions) and i’m left with a bit of hand finishing to do. but it’s such a small skirt it won’t take any time and i’m not sure whether it would have been such a neat fit if i had finished it first.
the cord’s standing up surprisingly well to pressing, though it definitely helps to use brown paper under the seams to stop them showing through onto the right side, even if it is a bit fiddly.
i’m not expecting to get a lot done tonight, but it’s so addictive doing something so small – the next step will only take a minute, then the next one and next thing you look up and it’s one in the morning…
all the pattern pieces are cut now. it was pretty tricky to get the grain lined up – i wanted to avoid cutting a single layer if at all possible so in the end i tacked a row of stitches along the grain down the centre and 2 more at equal distance either side. then i folded along the centre stitching and matched up the second row of stitches and the selvedges, which seems to have worked fine. i found it worked better for the small pieces to lay a ruler along the grain and align to that as measuring the grainline on the piece just left them wonky.
it really was a squeeze to get them all in, i only had room for a 10mm SA. there’s a couple of nicks in the seam allowances where pieces overlapped but nothing major.
i cut everything with the nap running upwards. my natural urge was to have it going downwards so it felt smooth to run your hand down, but the embroidery stands out much better against a matt, rather than shiny, background.
not likely to get any sewing done over the weekend, but i will try to get the lining pieces cut (pocket and hem facings) and do some tests with the iron and interfacing on my meagre leftover scraps.
more images in the gallery.
despite the slight hitch these have been really fun. they came together quickly and – in the main – straightforwardly. i decided to flat fell the seams, which might have been a mistake – i had real problems working in such a small space down the side seams. maybe i could have joined the sides before the crotch and inseam, leaving the mistakes to where they didn’t show (though i think they’re probably better down the sides than centre front). on the up side it made for less time finishing and they’re lovely and tidy inside when you turn them up.
next time i’ll increase the side seam allowances as i squeezed them cos i was worried about sewing over the back pockets, so i didn’t really have enough to turn and they unravelled a bit in the wash. but i’ve tucked those up with a matching thread and they really don’t show on the outside. also had to do a bit of touching up round some of the corners which were showing frayed fringes where i trimmed too close.
the front pocket was a bit of a mindbender and i bodged it slightly, though it doesn’t show unless you look really close. the diagrams were no help at all so i blindly followed the written instructions and how i thought it should fit together and it worked in a fashion. i think the front’s so plain that it needs something to add a bit of interest which i’m not sure a simple flat pocket would do so well.
it was the fiddly details that really took the time – things like the impossibly tiny embellishments for the ends of the elastic. next time i’ll make the buttonholes a bit longer and the channel for the elastic wider too as threading it was a really tight squeeze. i’d also tuck the front strap loops further into the seam so there was just a minimal bit showing, i was a bit nervous about them disappearing altogether or sewing them into some seam or other but i think they’re too long as a result. i’d make the straps a bit shorter next time too. i put longer strips of velcro on to make them more adjustable but i may yet have to swap for poppers or buttons if madam houdini takes to fiddling with them.
the other thing i’d change next time is i’d add an inch or more to the top of the front bib. looking at the pictures it’s designed to hang quite low, with the pocket on the belly (hence the unfeasibly long straps), but i prefer dungies tucked up more under the chin.
and the good news is they only shrunk a wee bit in the wash, probably less than a full size (cut as 92, nearer 86 now). they actually fit a lot better now (lol, shrink to fit – should have got her to wear them in the bath ) and i haven’t had to shorten the straps at all. i’ll just have to learn to love the low slung look. overall it’s a real cause for celebration as she’s never had a pair of rtw dungies that fit properly and i do so love her in them and will definitely make another pair. might even have to try my hand at enlarging the pattern once she outgrows the 92s.
more (rather murky) photos in the gallery.
i didn’t preshrink the fabric for the dungies
the weirdest thing is it’s not as though i just forgot i needed to do it, but for some reason i was sure i already had. i read on this very useful page that some denims carry on shrinking in subsequent washes but not poly/cottons and i thought “ooh good i don’t have to wash it again”.
i was alerted to the fact that i hadn’t prewashed when i was trying them for size earlier and some of the turquoise inside rubbed off on her nappy wrap and though “that’s odd, it’s almost as though i hadn’t prewashed it…”. although i didn’t remember actually doing the washing that’s nothing unusual for me (hence the name of my homepage and the reason i need so many blogs). but then i realised i didn’t remember ironing it either. now that i would remember cos i hate ironing and had a real struggle with the sheeting for the pjs.
they’re in the wash now – i’m just glad i realised before i started hacking off the straps to get the fit right. i’ve got everything crossed that they won’t be beyond rescue, and hoping that the fact that they have some poly in them might just save me from a mangled wreck. there was plenty of length in the leg and also round the middle, but i needed all the crotch depth there was to get the fit i liked (with the top of the bib high up on the chest).
i put a sticker on the bottom of my camera that says “set film speed!”, i think i’d better get one on the sewing machine that says “prewash fabric!”
the pjs fit they go over a daytime nappy fine so it’ll just take a bit of heaving and jiggling to get them over a nighttime one. they’re too long in the sleeve and leg as expected but turning back the cuffs makes them just the right length. i think next time i’ll go the next size up in the trousers for the width, but keep the 92 length. and i’ll add some extra to the hem on the top (which is just the right length now so will be cropped by the time they fit all over. oh and i’ll re-jig the buttons so the bottom one is further up from the hem cos it looks odd so far down. but overall i’m really pleased with them and she looks uncharacteristically angelic all in cream.
these were a sod to make for a beginner like me. they’ve taken a whole week’s worth of evenings and at the end of it all i’m doubtful whether they’ll fit. it hadn’t occurred to me that making something with sleeves and a collar would be quite so much work – a lot of it being trying to wrap my brain around how it all fitted together. still, it’s all educational.
they’re made out of a bargain king size brushed cotton sheet i got from shaws. i used less than half the fabric so i can make at least one more pair when (if) i can get up the urge. lovely cheapy thread, buttons and elastic too, so if you don’t count the woman-hours they’re bargainous.
i did a size 92 to get a better feel for the ottobre sizes, as well as cos that’s the smallest size they come in. one glance at the trousers…
…tells you they’re for a very different shaped child to mine (beautifully stumpily armed/legged n pot bellied for anyone who doesn’t know) . a lot of the length is actually in the rise, which is great for the clothy bum, but i’m not convinced there’s enough fabric in the waist section to get them over the nappy in the first place.
there are a few things i’d do differently next time round. i didn’t add any extra allowance to the hems and from what i’ve seen so far it looks like i should – both the dress and the pj top are a bit skimpy for length. i topstitched the seams on the trousers as per the instructions (well, i think, they’re a bit minimal) and it looks a bit odd. kinda military in some way. anyway, not very pyjama-y. a close look at the photos in the magazine doesn’t show any sign of topstitching. i’d add extra to the trouser tops too, so i’d have enough to turn under the casing for the elastic. i’d also like to tidy up the hems on the cuffs so they could be turned back and look decorative (rather than frayed, which these will). maybe wrap the seam in some kind of bias tape (lol, can you tell i don’t really know what i’m talking about?).
there are more pictures in the gallery, i’m pleased with my tidy hems but the corners aren’t very sqaure and the collar came out a wee bit wonky. i’m just pleased it came out the right way up
i’m quite chuffed with my cunning device for marking seam allowances onto the ottobre patterns – i just carved out a piece of standard dressmaking chalk. i had to resharpen a couple of times and make sure the points stayed at 5/8. i like the fact that it marks both the cutting and stitching lines at once.
i’ve been busy tweaking the blog and – more importantly – sewing lately so never got round to finishing up the entries for the ottobre 4/2003 dress and leggings. the bad news is my fantastic iron-on appliques turned out to be iron-on-wash-off it’s not the end of the world as i can run a few teeny stitches around but it takes the shine off a little. next time i’ll try an alternative pressing method that involves a lot more pressure plus a repeat pressing on the reverse, see if that helps.
on the up side i was really pleased with the serging stitch i discovered on the machine. nice neat edges with so little seam allowance i was able to add it by eye. only works cos it’s a knit so doesn’t really ravel.
button detail from back of ottobre dress. they’re curved, in a purple mother-of-pearl type finish and nicely oversized. fab. (will post the bad and the ugly later when the camera battery’s recharged.
first ottobre project came together gratifyingly quickly. took a couple of short evenings plus about 3 hours today, going carefully.
pale grey sweatshirt fleece (from valleyglengoods.com) dyed with dylon “ultra violet”. fleece-side-out on the dress. i’m particularly pleased with the buttons on the back (from crafty sew and sew round the corner) and the iron-on appliques. size-wise it just fits (did an 86 in both to see how they came out), the trousers are spot-on, with a little growing room, but the dress is really a bit short. didn’t have much choice though as i was squeezed for fabric and had to cut across the grain to fit the dress pieces on. will see how that turns out after the wash…
preliminary photo still shows iron marks from pressing appliques.