Sunday, January 31, 2010

Denim Dress Restyling Challenge

This dress has been taking up space in my wardrobe for who knows how long. 25-30 years perhaps, judging from the shoulder pads! The only reason I don't wear it is because it is out of style - and has been for some time :-) The fabric is still perfectly good with no stains, and because of the style/loose fit it should be relatively easy to modify by removing bits (in my mind adding bits seems more difficult). I like the pintuck detail on the front. I'm going to remove the shoulder pads, unpick the collar and the sleeves and then try it on again to see what modifications it needs. I'm planning on a sundress or short sleeve dress so it will be interesting to see how much gapping there is around the armhole, how much the dress 'drops' and/or drapes towards the centre without the shoulder pads, and what changes I'll need to make to the neck. The long sleeves means I have some fabric to play with if I do need to add some (eg under the arms) and to make bias strips/facings for the neck & armholes. If all else fails it will make a brilliant art/messy crafts apron and I will have gained hanging space in my wardrobe!

Friday, January 29, 2010

Andrea's Denim Skirt Finished

I was talking with Andrea a few weeks ago about the pattern drafting lessons I'd been doing and while we were chatting I said I would draft a pattern and sew a skirt for her if she came up with a design. I finished it this morning so all it needs now is a body to find out if it fits and whether she likes it! The stretch denim I used is lovely - very soft to the touch so it should be very comfortable to wear. And I've quite a bit left - plenty to make a skirt for me (different design of course). Andrea drew the zip at the side but the fabric is quite thick and I thought it might look a bit lop-sided if I put it on the side seam, so I moved it to the centre back.

Wednesday, January 27, 2010

Felting Workshop

These felted pieces were created during a WAFTA 2-day workshop with tutor Lee Anne Davis. We made pre-felts, layered prefelts with various fabrics, and stitched into the result with various yarns. The idea was to experiment with as many fabrics and yarns as we could. Then the whole assembly was fully felted. None of these are finished as the idea was to further embellish the fully felted pieces with more stitching. Most of the class were working with beautifully fine soft Merino fleece - I had coarser hand dyed Corriedale (I think) which had been given to me by my friend Joan years ago when she moved house. It worked just as well for the techniques but wouldn't be quite as nice to wear next to the skin as the Merino. I measured the blue and orange sample prior to felting so I could record the amount of shrinkage. Prior to felting the design measured 5-3/8 inches, after felting it measured 4-7/8 inches. All of my fabrics were synthetic and solid colours - patterned silk chiffon or georgette pieces work brilliantly with this technique and complement the softness of the Merino. Thank you Lee Anne for sharing your knowledge so generously and graciously. It was a wonderful workshop - I had a great time despite the heat. Have a look at the WAFTA website here to see some images of Lee Anne's work.

Saturday, January 09, 2010

Skirt from old jeans

I drafted a pattern for a twelve gore skirt for myself. I cut each panel from the "good bits" of old worn out jeans. Once I stitched the panels together and tried the fit I was a bit worried it might be a bit too straight for walking so I added a pleat at the back. I recycled the waistband from one of the pairs of jeans so that it had a "real" jeans button. The seams have been embroidered with a cross stitch embroidery stitch available on my Pfaff in order to really flatten them, strengthen them and finish the raw edges all in one operation. The embroidery took ages and I probably won't use that stitch again just for that reason. I'm pleased with the result and plan to make another twelve gore skirt with a little more flare in each panel so I can eliminate the pleat. I made this one mainly to test the fit around the waist and hips, and that was very comfortable.

Overdyed Skirt

I bought this skirt from the local op shop. I liked the style of the bold print but not the colours of cream, light turquoise and greenish blues on a navy background. I liked the shape of the skirt and the way it fitted me. It had a navy polyester lining and the print fabric was cotton. So I decided to buy it anyway and try dyeing it. I used a weak solution of Rubine to turn the cream pink and the greenish blues more purplish. I like the colours now so that little experiment was definitely worth doing. The uneven hem is an illusion caused by the breeze moving the skirt around while Russ took this photo - the hem is actually level.