Posts Tagged ‘SWAP 2011’


A Tops SWAP dress

September 15, 2011

This is my version of the dress from Vogue 8701.

This dress and the challenges it brings are the reasons I chose to focus my SWAP on fitting  bodices. I’m not entirely thrilled with the way this dress fits. I find it to be somewhat tight where it should be loose and loose where it should be tight. I think I will probably try it again sometime with different fabric.  

One of the main issues I have with it is the neckline. I love the V at the back. It’s one of the major features that made me want to make this dress, but the opening is too wide for me and shows my bra straps which is something I prefer not to do at the office. As a result, I tend to wear a cardigan with the dress…

…and I think that solves the problem for now. My wildcard item for this year’s SWAP is the blazer from this pattern so once I have finished that, this dress will have a go to jacket.

I still think that I would like to try to make the dress again out of a non satin fabric. I originally wanted to make the dress out of a lightweight white linen but my local fabric chain didn’t have any when I was in there (I have been unimpressed with their selection lately) so I went with the shiny sateen polka dots. I think I will try it again in the near future when I find the right fabric.


Rachel Comey Blouse: finally got it right!

September 9, 2011

I’ve only been talking about making Vogue 1170, the Rachel Comey blouse forever. I did make a version last summer, but I wasn’t so thrilled with how it turned out:

I chose the wrong fabric for it in using a raw silk that just had too much structure. It made the fabric gathered into the knot stand up like a bow tie.

I also think I just simply cut out the wrong size and wound up making it too big. I kind of felt like I was swimming in it.  I may find a way to make it work but I wanted to try it again to see if I could get it right.

So I did it again as one of my replacement SWAP pieces. Instead of the lovely silk, I selected a much more slippery polyester remnant piece that I bought for about $3.00 (gotta love using sale fabric to make up designer patterns). It actually looks a lot like the fabric the model is wearing on the pattern envelope which was not planned but seems to have been a good idea.

Here that is for comparison:

I cut out a smaller size this time to make it clingier and I used french seams. This is the pattern that made me fall in love with them after all.

As you can see. It’s just a better fit:

Once again, the new skill for this outfit was buttonholes. I often wonder how easy buttonholes are for people with 1 step buttonholers. My machine claims to have a 6 step button holder but it’s mostly just a lot of tight, strategic zigzagging – and I’m not very good at it.

I do love these buttons though so I’m hoping no one notices the wonky holes.

Here’s to another wardobe staple.


Replacing a wadder with flames

September 5, 2011

More SWAP.

Remember how I struggled with a couple of wadders early on in the SWAP sewing phase? I had facing that wouldn’t stay hidden on Butterick 5354 and several issues with McCalls 5662 some of which I am inclined to blame on the way the pattern was drafted. The directions actually called for me to handstitch the band in place which seemed a little odd since it was a stretch fabric only pattern.

I decided then that I would replace those two pieces with others.  I replaced one by making yet another version of Butterick 4395 (now so far OOP that I cannot find an image of it on the Butterick website) in a flame coloured sateen. It appears both of my replacement SWAP pieces are made from serendipitous finds in the remnants bin.

 It is a pseudo wrap top with a gathered waist that drops into a decorative tail at the front on one side and has an invisible side zipper.

The invisible zipper was my new skill for this item and I definitely struggled with it. I find with invisible zippers I tend to stitch too close to the zipper and wreck the zipper or I’m too far out and the zipper isn’t invisible. I rather enjoy the visible zipper trend going on now for this reason.

I also altered the sleeves by taking the original sleeve piece and extending it and rounding it out at the bottom to give the sleeves a slight medieval effect.

Here it is with the denim SWAP  skirt.


Back to the Swap: Silk blouse

September 2, 2011

I did not complete the SWAP in time. Congratulations to both entrants and to the winners. You both did beautful work and raised the bar on photo taking. I  need a nicer setting than my driveway.

I bowed out a few days before the deadline as I realized there was just no way I was going to get everything done in time. I did not, however, stop sewing the SWAP items. I still hope to get them done this year since I bought the patterns and the fabric.

One I did manage to make before the deadline was McCalls 5661 view D. The new skill for this one was buttonholes.

I made it from a creamy raw silk that I bought from Fabricmart last year and it’s become a wardrobe staple for me.

I love the way it’s loose but still follows my curves and I like the way it drapes in general. After my not so successful attempt at using this fabric last year, I’m glad I finally found the right project for it.

The buttonholes turned out alright although with this blouse I probably could have gotten away with non functional buttonholes since these buttons are not necessary for me to put the blouse on or take it off.

I really like the buttons down the back look. I think this is mostly because I can indulge my love for buttons without attempting to make a front closing blouse  fit me properly…something I will attempt to do later as I sew through my SWAP choices.

Oh and the skirt is also from the SWAP. It is  McCalls 5429 view B and it was the first item I actually thought turned out well. I wore it all spring until the heat hit.


Bowing Out Gracefully

April 25, 2011

Okay, I am now officially stating that I will not meet the deadline for SWAP 2011. There’s just been too much going on im my life lately with my new job and its related problems and challenges. I still intend to finish the items in the plan but it will not happen by the end of this week (I still have a blouse, two dresses, a blazer, and a pair of pants to go).

Instead I’m going to focus on my trench coat from last summer and the skirt that I’m making for my sister for her upcoming trip to Trinidad – that’s after I finish the final touches on my Vogue 8701 dress.

At  least that’s the plan for this week.


SWAP 2011: Wadder report

April 11, 2011

Well, I’m still behind on the SWAP. I plan to spend most of the next two weeks sewing in order to catch up. My record hasn’t been very good so far. I’ve spent a fair bit of time trying to come up with replacement items and I’ve had to back off on the Chado dress. It’s a Vogue Advanced and there’s no way I’m getting it done before the end of the month. I will do it though, just not for SWAP.

Here is my progress:

Item Success Wadder
Shirts 3 3
Bottoms 1 1
Dresses not started yet
Blazer not started yet

As you can see, I’m running at 50/50.

We’ll see how the next two weeks go.


At last a finished product I can wear

March 17, 2011

So after the last two SWAP items, I was starting to worry that I was going to be unhappy with everything I sewed for this SWAP but I finished the skirt and ‘m pretty happy with the way it turned out.

The skirt is McCalls 5429 view B.

I love working with denim. It doesn’t slip and side out of my hands or off the sewing table and it holds its shape pretty well.

The new technique I incorporated into this skirt was the flat-felled seam.

I poked around online to make sure I knew what I was supposed to be doing and then I made sure I had plenty of water in my iron. I had side seams and eight inserts to stitch in place so this skirt gave me lots of practice with the technique.

Since I wanted to make sure that the seams fell on the outside of the inserts, I checked the raw edges carefully.

I then trimmed down to the seam the edge that will be on the inside.

Then I folded the longer side in half enclosing the trimmed edge inside it.I pressed the seam in place.

It took a lot of steam.

Then I stitched each flat felled seam down with double seams of topstitching in gold. There were 16 seams in  the end.

I’m quite proud of the way they look on the inside.

And here’s the outside of the skirt.

I’ve already worn it a few times and I love the way it swishes


SWAP 2011: wadder count 2

March 14, 2011

Okay, this one isn’t quite as bad as Butterick 5354 was. I’ve actually worn it a couple of  times, although I think I should avoid the empire waist until I tone up a little around the middle or my board might get a nervous because there’s a hint of maternity about the top.

This pattern was McCalls 5662

I tried view C last summer and was less than impressed with the way it turned out. I wound up modifying it and eventually put it in a drawer and haven’t worn it since. I did like View E better so I thought I’d try it this time around.

In an attempt to avoid past mistakes, I bought a heavier, more structural (more expensive) stretch cotton) to start with. And it’s not that bad. The main issue I have with it could simply be that I don’t own a cover stitch machine and I’m not sure how I feel about the zig zag topstitching I had to do. I don’t think the tension was quite right because the top stitching stretched the neckline out a bit. I wish I’d taken the time to draft an interfaced facing instead – not that I do well with interfacing stretch fabric.

This is the outcome:

It’s not terrible, but I’m not entirely pleased either. And you can see where the hemming won’t stay turned to  the inside and instead flips out to reveal the serged edges.

If  I have time, I might just replace it with something made from one of the fabric pieces I bought a few days ago.

The flame coloured silky polyester looks really nice against the denim I have set aside for the SWAP skirt.


SWAP update: wadder

March 10, 2011

My serger and I are simply not getting along. I’m less than impressed with the outcome of the first SWAP item I’ve sewn. Luckily, I have only two stretch items planned.

I started with the sleeveless version of Butterick 5354.

I think my first problem is that the stretch jersey I ordered turned out to be a lot flimsier than I think the pattern is comfortable with. The pleating turned out to be fairly simple even though I’ve never done a pleated neckline before – it’s my new skill/feature for this SWAP item. Once the pleating was done, I figured I was pretty much home free. All I had to do was stitch it all together with the facing.

Well, the facing seems to be the problem. It won’t lay flat. I’ve tacked it in place and it still keeps rising up over the top of the neckline, like this:

If I have time before the end of April, I think I will try another version with some more structured stretch cotton because I’m just not happy with the results of this one.


SWAP 2010 is planned – well mostly

November 24, 2010

I have decided to participate in  the SWAP (sewing with a plan) contest over at Stitchers’ Guild again this year. Last year was my first year and I learned a lot.  It also really helped build my work wardrobe which still needs some more additions so this SWAP will be about building my professional wardrobe as well.

I would also consider calling it the Tops SWAP because in it I will tackle blouses and shirts and other items that require fitting around the bust.

As I am far from a FBA expert, pretty much every time I make a shirt, I feel like I’m in unknown territory. This SWAP is all about trying new techniques and developing new skills but FBAs are not considered to be a technique per se so I’m ensuring that my plan allows me to try other new things.

Last year I did option one (6 tops, 4 bottoms, 1 wild card). This year I’ve decided to do option two,

6 tops
2 dresses
2 bottoms
1 wildcard.

6 Tops
Butterick 5354  (view A)- sewing stretch fabrics with a serger, pleats
Butterick 5185 (view C) – sewing stretch fabrics with a serger
McCalls 5661 view B – buttonholes, set in sleeves
McCalls 5661 view D – buttonholes
McCalls 5662 (view E) – sewing stretch fabrics with a serger
McCalls 6122 (view C) – set in sleeves, collar, buttonholes

2 Bottoms
Vogue 1051 – welt pockets
McCalls 5429 (view B) – flat felled seams, sewing denim

2 Dresses
Vogue 1107 – pleats, buttonholes
Vogue 8701 – invisible zipper

1 wildcard
Vogue 8701 – tailored jacket (I’ve only done one before and it was a poorly fitting disaster

I have some of the fabric in my stash but I will still need to buy some. Other than the tailored jacket, my plan is to avoid black fabrics and focus on brighter colours instead. Since the fabric I havs so far is predominantly blue, I have some work to do

I’m also going to be away from my sewing machine for most of the first few weeks of the SWAP so there could be a lot of catch up to do right from the beginning but I’m looking forward to all the clothes I’ll have by the end.