Sunday, March 30, 2014

Aerial Star light

My sister knows that I sew. However, I'm a terrible sister and have never made anything for either of the two that I have (must do better!). This one particular sister also knows that I tend to procrastinate about things which had led to some trust issues about requesting things to be made, but I'm glad she changed her mind on this one.

She does aerial arts and has recently started competing. Last year she had a costume made by someone that she paid a few hundred bucks for. When I saw the video of her performance and then finally saw the finished garment, I was surprised at the level of workmanship on the garment in relation to the price that she charged. I haven't sewn with to many knits so far, but I immediately figured I could do better. So sis and I talked about it and came up with a design that would be able to work for her next completion. I was excited (yay, she's letting me do something for her!).

So in usual Afro fashion, I procrastinated, but I was able to finish the garment a week before the competition. I used Jalie 3134 and modified it so that the sides were cut out. We used a blue swimwear fabric along with a sheer sparkly black for the contrasting panels and was lined with a lovely swimsuit lining (Helenka swimsuit lining) from (i'm only disgruntled that the shipping cost is practically the same as the cost of the fabric, but it was worth it). The hand of the lining is great and sewed like butter when I interlined it with the blue fabric for the center bodice. I also modified the back geometry so that more of her back is exposed by reducing the rise of the lower panel. I found that the pattern runs a little small; my sister has a longer torso than me but when I tried it on myself for fitting, it fit me perfectly. The size ended up working on her but I'll take this into account next time. I also need to work on my elastic application skills. I messed up but I know the general idea of what I did wrong so that I can fix it for next time.  

I'm posting some stills from her performance, I think the costume looked great, and I was especially happy since this was the first time i'd ever sewn a garment like this. (fun fact, this is all sewn on a regular machine). Just a warning, there's some serious muscles about to be shown in these pics so try not to be as jealous as I am of her!

True Silky Blue

So this is waaay late. Sorry, last year was rough and I haven't been creating as much as I would like. I ended up taking a day off from work to work on this dress. It was a good day, sometimes I forget how much like to make things and how much and long I can focus on something when I enjoy what I'm doing. 

I was a little nervous getting into this pattern. I haven't seen any reviews on it online and the ones I did see did not have a ringing endorsement. I cut into my muslin feeling confused. The instructions keep referring to the pieces by names that don't exist, notches were in the same category and they kept saying weird things like seam numbers. Then I had a revelation, those numbers by all those circles actually mean something, those were the seam numbers! I don't think you all understand the amount of relief that went through my head; all of a sudden everything made sense (there might have been an actual trumpet fanfare sounding in my head).  Yay for muslins!

The fabric arrived the Tuesday before the wedding, as expected, and it was exactly what I wanted, a nice lightweight silk which felt great between my fingers. There were some white stripes in the material which went away with the first ironing. I cut out all my pieces and immediately went to work. Things went pretty smoothly. It wasn't until I went to zip it up that I realized I might have cut too large of a size. Luckily it seemed to pull together well with just taking in the back seam. However, I must note this, when making a strapless dress, especially one with weight that you plan to dance in, it's not a bad thing for it to be very fitted.  It took a few tries to get the boning right, but this second time (first while making Gertie's pencil skirt), went smoother and adds the right support to the bodice.

I made it a tea length dress and used some African print fabric for the waist inset. I mixed and matched the pattern. Originally it called for the waistband to bet touched to go with the rouched bodice but I needed something more simple to show of the print off the fabric. If I had time, I would have made a purse with the same material to wear with it but I was cutting it close and just haven't gone back to that project yet. However, I did splurge with my time and decide to add some piping with the same material. 

I made the rouching on the bodice with the baste and pull method. That part turned out well though it did take some effort to ensure that they were spaced well. Next time when I'm not pressed for time (if that ever happens) I'll try using the ruffler that I've owned for almost 3 years (I bought a kit of foots for the invisible zipper and haven't used ANY of the other feet yet.)

The silk itself was pretty easy to work with. This pattern used a LOT of fabric with the skirt being gathered at the waistband and lined. I had some issues hemming the lining of the dress, my machine started chewing it up so I left out unhemmed for the wedding and just using safety pins to keep out from peeking out. After the wedding I called a few swimming machine repair shops about a tune up and one VERY nice repair man suggested I try changing the tension before I brought it to him. Guess what: it worked. I felt like a fool floor not having played with that earlier but I was able to roll been the rest of the lining with no issues.

The dress wore well the day of, I'm glad I spent the time making it and I hope you all like it as much as I do!