Sunday, November 23, 2014

Winter lumberjack: named tala faux fur

Hello Hello
Yes, I made a faux fur vest/ gilet!

I took my time choosing the right fabric. For me this step was one of the most important to avoid looking 'too fake'. I collected loads of samples from different suppliers with prices varying from £20 to £50 and I am impress by the quality of the fabrics available.

My tips to pick faux fur: Look for Touch! Pick your fabric with your fingers. How soft does it feels? The softer the fabric the better quality it is.
Check how bouncy and resilient the fabric is because the quicker the fabric returns to shape the better quality.

Read the label. Faux fur are made of acrylic fibbers, if you pick the finer ones like kanecaron or tissavel your make will last longer. Looks better too as fibbers are dyed to mimic the texture. PS: some manufactures use the name faux fur on real animal furs so checking for acrylic fibbers will certify that you are buying fake. I'm not an activist but I feel animals should NOT die for fashion.

Lastly, check the backing. They can be: woven or knitted. Cotton being most commonly found. You don't want stretch backing as it will accelerate the shedding.
In case you are wondering, I sewn a faux rabbit fur from Plush Addict. Highly recommend it! The lining is a gold camouflage brown suede from my stash.
The pattern deeds: my love for named patterns are well know and I decided to use the Tala. I made size 38.
Maybe the size 36 would fit better. This is a very loose fit. It doesn't bother me to be oversized as it means I can wear more clothes underneath.  Thats a winner in my books. Feels delicious to be immerse in faux fur.
Even if it makes me look like a giant marshmallow.  
My favourite feature is the shawl collar but this is my least favourite named pattern.
Looks better loose (un-belted) so I will be adding a hock and eye as a closure option.
This was my first time sewing faux fur so I'm not the best person to teach anyone. I will describe the steps I followed for my project in case that helps. I had a brilliant time and think with a little bit of patience any one can do it.
Cutting
Get your hoover (vacumn cleaner) ready and don't wear black! I took the opportunity to cut my faux fur during the sewing club for two main reasons. Less mess in my house and the long large tables.

I layered the fabric and traced my pattern to the back of the faux fur instead of pining. I cut each individual pattern piece single.  When cutting I was being careful to not trim the fur, focusing on cutting the backing.  If my fur was longer I would probably use masking tape to protect the hair.

If you are sensitive to allergies be mindful that a lot of fibres will come out at this stage.

Pinning
When I was pinning my right sides together I tried tucking as much as the fur hair inside the seam.

Sewing
At first I was planning to shave my seam allowance before sewing but in the end I went against it. Before a new project I always test different ways of sewing, stitches lengths, etc and after a few sample tests my best results were:
  • New needle size 90
  • Stitch length 3
  • Straight presser foot. 
Aftercare
I graded the S.A. After sewing, you got to comb the seam to try to free the caught fur. The idea is that the seam needs to be invisible. I tried my best but some parts you can still see a line for the seam.  It will look better with time as I wear it.
There are diversions on how to "wash". Some places recommend lukewarm water, hand washing. Others, dry-cleaning. I'm not sure yet what method will suit best for both the fur and the suede. Let's hope I don't get it dirty too quickly!

Are you temped to sew faux fur?

Thursday, November 20, 2014

Forget that IT Bag...

It's time for perfect pattern parcel #7 and the package is all about BAGS! How fun is that! 
I had the selfish intention of making a new bag for me but the christmas spirit must be getting stronger and I took the opportunity to make a baby bag. 

Did I almost tricked you into thinking it was a fashion bag? 
I chose to make the Betty Bowler pattern . Without the front zipper pocket because I didn't want to hide the print and quilted both the outer fabric and lining together. Yes, I didn't follow the pattern instructions as is... Am Im a sewing rebel? I hope you are too! 

It turned out very nice and tidy.  Just sew like a french seam (w/w) and enclose the outside raw seams with the bias. Faux piping!
As I enclosed the zipper seams with the bias and used those transparent zippers. I think the zipper doesn't look bad from the inside point of view and the process works. It was kind of a test. I love those experimental ideas. Sometimes you got to make a pattern before you can add your design modifications and thats the best time to test for constructions ideas. That's my gift-able toile!

Can we come back to the outside of my bag and those Awwdorable woodland animals print. I got it last year from Terry Fabrics. The hardware, grosgrain and bias were sourced from my local quilting shop. I used cotton wadding instead of pellon (recommended) so that is why it doesn't hold the classic  vintage bowling shape. 
It's squishy... 
I tried to position the straps without making the animals cut in half so they are too close to the end. It's not bad but I wish I had made the straps a tiny bit longer and added an across the shoulder strap.
 The bag is so spacious. There are two 50x50 cushions  and a cot size knitted blanket stuffed inside. 
 Can I keep it? I want to...  OH! I wish I could get away of walking around town as my new It bag...
Not long left to help raising money with PPP. If you are interested on getting all the awesome bag patterns from this collection with a great price discount: Buy from here.
  My outfit is DIY Couture coat and my DIY sweater weather.
Have you made any bags before? I made the Cooper bag and a baby bag for my nephew back in 2011.

Tuesday, November 18, 2014

Pattern Drafting


Since learning how to draft my patterns using the Iole Method; a Brazilian couture pattern drafting curriculum where you sew based on your client body measurements and body uniqueness; I have loved using those skills to progress my personal projects. 

Freedom. Having the ability to make a pattern gives an enormous amount of creative freedom. Not having to depend on commercial patterns or even using them as a base to achieve the desired look. It is incredibly fun to be able to create/ recreate/ get inspired and turn your ideas into a sewable garment.

Concept. Sewing can be a daunting prospect at the beginning. How the puzzle of shapes fit together. Because how a 2 dimensional flat shape will later fit into a 3D shape isn't an easy concept to grasp but a very important one for pattern alterations, learning how those rectangular and circles get formed and transformed can help immensely.

Fitting. Commercial patterns aren't individually tailored and the majority of us will have to alter it. It's expected. Most of my knowledge of drafting comes handy when I am fitting patterns. I tend to alter majority of the pattern flat and only fine tune on the body. 

Exercise your brain. Yes, that means using your mathematical skills. If you are a very creative person using the other side of your brain is very healthy. Stretching and exercising those brain connections and transferring those benefits to your daily life.

Not only for potential designers. The love of pattern drafting doesn't need to be explored just for those that want to build a career out of them. Is a craft in itself.  You can discover that you find drafting patterns a very pleasurable activity and that turned another segment of your hobby.

There are a few pattern drafting courses in the UK. The ones I knew of varied from a professional level (not what I wanted) and mass market- draft a block from standard size ( not what I wanted either). So I always focused all my pattern drafting classes in Brazil. Recently I went for a 2 hours 1-1 pattern drafting tuition* at Inseam Studios.  I was excited to see how that process would be different from what I already know and how can I further my pattern drafting knowledge. My curiosity for pattern drafting just keep growing.


I was met by a very warm and knowledgeable professional fashion designer and pattern cutter Aina at her home studio, very close to shopping meca Goldhawlk rd.


During the two hours session all my measurements were updated and we drafted a Front/ Back basic bodice.  Every stage of the process it was very well explained and broke down into segments.  During each segment she would show me how and I had to repeat the process by myself, building up what I was learning while she could catch any doubt or mistakes.


The method is very similar to what I already learned besides that Aina's drafts with the seam allowances included and therefore some drafting rules are also different. I loved how she broke it down on my work sheet so I don't get too confused. I was already confused using inches.


I had a wonderful time and the two hours went so quickly. What I most excited is that the whole process is a personal 1-1 tuition. That means that I can build my own path of what I want to learn next. I can come with a pattern idea and draft with her help, or call 2 other friends and have a group class or draft and sew with her. Personalisation and flexibility. I am already building up my own personal curriculum. You can read all the details of what she can offer at her page if you want to learn more. 

Have you tried pattern drafting?

*I was given a free 2 hours taster class but I would had gladly paid for them as I do feel is good value for knowledge and I am investing my own pay check on the next classes. If you are curious, I'm going to focus on draping. All opinions are my own and I have not being asked to write a review or publicity. 

Sunday, November 16, 2014

Shadi Knit black lace skirt

Hello darlings,

When is colder dressing up can be a little more challenging. I long for cosy & comfortable outfits but they tend to look very casual for all the festivities engagements fast approaching. I love the idea of wearing a mix of dressed-up and layback. It creates such interesting contrast and keeps the comfort factor super high.

I mentioned briefly my intention to sew within a coherent theme, creating a mini collection within my handmade wardrobe. The items I make under that theme aren't necessary to be worn together but have a common starting point: Luxurious, comfortable and unexpected.

The inspiration is to take simple, casual patterns and use luxe materials, add unexpected changes, use different sewing techniques. I haven't limited myself to how many pieces I'm making with this theme. I will probably will be sewing multiple collections at once. Instead of fixed ideas of what types of clothes I will be making it, I am letting the ideas come to me organically.

The first item from this collection was my Smoking Teddy jacket, now I'm presenting you the second: my Lace Shadi. (Pattern from named) I could have used any other knit skirt but the pattern was on sale and they suit me so well.

The changes were simple: Reduced length, adding a lace panel, side slits.
These oversize Faux Fur jumper/sweater definitely counterbalance the sexy-ness but still looks like a party outfit. I will be wearing it with tights so the balance between flesh and lace will be more subtle but I wanted to show you the lace so you have to deal with the bare legs a bit longer.
The lace is so gorgeous and I was just waiting for the right idea to use it. I wish I had bought the white now and I am scouting the internet. (yes, for a wedding outfit but not for THE dress. I'm buying mine) Would you guys be curious about my experience planing the wedding? I would probably share more next year.
I'm excited about exploration of fabrics and styles. I have kept to my favourite styles and fabrics for  most part of my sewing journey and I enjoyed that safety-net I created but it's such a nice feeling to be able to let go, even if its for a mini collection. I sew for my lifestyle and having been freed from a lifetime of corporate style I am having a fashion freedom moment. Feeling fierce and enjoy creating a wardrobe that I can wear and enjoy during this phase of my life. 

Wednesday, November 12, 2014

Tried over and over

Hello darlings,

There is always a style that we do it over and over again. For me is the wrap dress!And I have a clear favourite pattern making 3 versions already... this very own remaind unblogged (NL6097). I finished as a possible outfit for London Meet up but realised it was exactly the same pattern I used for the same meeting the year before. Talk about a TNT pattern I feel confident in. 
This one I use elastic on the wrap hem as a stabiliser/ A small security measure as I like to put my bag across my body and neckline can be dragged. Did the same with the pockets so they don't sag with time.

The fabric was from the stash. So soft and delicious... My favourite colours.

I worn this dress quite a lot since I made it.

When you make a pattern a few times there is nothing really to add about construction or fit.
So, let's talk about what makes a pattern a favourite. For me, the basic pattern shape is flattering, even when I eat the whole tub of Feijoada. It offers numerous variations with a few changes. Works for both print and solid fabric. 
 And it has pockets! An outfit is incomplete without it. 

What makes a garment/pattern a true tried and tested?