Monday, 29 September 2014

Sewing for the man. Burda 7045 shirt.

This latest project was promised almost two years ago. I'm that crappy when it comes to sewing for Mr Szabs.

On a trip to Berlin, some moons ago, we went to the very cute and candy store-like Frau Tulpe. If you're ever in Berlin, I definitely recommend taking a trip to Mitte to check this place out. I got some lovely Michael Miller prints and some unique German cotton.

Patient as ever, I asked Mr Szabs if he saw anything he liked for a shirt. Surprisingly, he chose a sweet Autumnal-esque floral print. An idea was born, but one that would fester for said two-year period. Oops! However, our two-year anniversary rolled around and as two years represents cotton, I finally set to work.

Now, before I show you the finished result, let me tell you how fussy my guy is with shirts. They have to be slim fit with no baggyness AND no ridiculous Harry Hill collars (which I find most sewing patterns have). I've made Mr Szabs two shirts before, and they've been great but still not quite perfect. This time I decided to try Burda Style 7045 as there are two styles and one shirt has the option of darts.

My baby Daddy

In making this shirt, I first collated the flat-pattern measurements and then compared them to one of Mr Szabs favourite RTW shirts. The size I opted for was a 34, which seemed small, but added up to the RTW and his body measurements. The changes I made were to grade at the neck and shoulders to accommodate his collar size, and to grade the awful collar down to something a bit less comical! Seriously, Burda, wut?



I wanted to make this shirt as a complete surprise, but luckily my cautious side stepped in and showed it to him a few days before our anniversary. All I can say is, phew! A fit of giggles ensued as, yep, the shirt was definitely a little too snug. It's all that popcorn, my little sweet-toothed Canuck!

Although I had already flat-felled one side seam (and oh how neat and handsome it looked) I opted for a cheeky save, and stitched the other side seam at just 1/4". Albeit a tiny seam, it saved the day and made a huge difference to the fit. My client was pleased. I then zig zagged and mock flat-felled said tiny seam, as unless Tim Gunn takes Mr Szabs' shirt off for an inspection, who will know?

 Canadian guys rule <3

I could then carry on finishing the shirt adding the collar, sleeves and cuffs. I love doing these parts of a shirt, it brings out my geeky sewing side. I always use this method to get super-duper pointy collars - if you've not tried it before, do, it will change your life!

Button-wise I didn't have time to order anything special, so I used some standard shirt buttons I picked up in one of those handy packs in Sainsbury's. No shame!


Instructions-wise this pattern was pretty good. The shirt includes sleeve plackets, and I thought that as far as instructions go, these were quite clear. I have made these plackets before so I did have a fair idea of the construction process, but a shirt-newbie may scratch their heads a little. 

Mr Szabs really likes this shirt, and is pleased with the fit. It's still not 100%, but I think I am only one step away from the perfect go-to-pattern for his shirts. I asked him for his alterations, and he would prefer a shaped bottom (on the shirt!), which I agree with. I am not sure why this pattern has such a straight hem, fine I guess if you're just tucking the shirt in, but not great for casual wear over trousers. He'd also like a firmer collar, so I'll employ those little plastic thingies into the corners next time. I'll also go a up a size so that I can properly flat-fell ALL the seams and possibly lengthen the sleeves a little. Otherwise, I think we have THE pattern for Mr Szabs Shirt-Making Emporium.

I can't resist including these out-takes. During the photo-shoot Mr Szabs decided to copy what he says I do when posing for my blog photos! HA HA HA!!!!  

          

         

Have you made your guy a shirt? Which pattern has been your most successful so far?

Wednesday, 24 September 2014

Dip your toe into shirt dress heaven. Come make the 6696 with me!

Hey peeps!

Belly is growing, but I'm still a-sewing.

My latest make is another McCall's 6696. As you know this is my favourite pattern ever and I've already made two versions (if you want to see them click here and here).

The great news is that I will be teaching this pattern at Ray Stitch in London starting on the 28 October. The course will be three evenings (over three weeks) and I'll show you how to get to grips with an entire shirt dress, including collars, button plackets, pockets - the works!

This is version B of the pattern, which is a straight skirt with darts and pockets.

Yes, check out that check matching. You're welcome. 

Although this is marketed as a summer pattern, it's definitely adaptable for the colder months. Ray Stitch sent me some stunning dark brown Japanese fabric to make up the dress, giving the pattern a whole new lease of life as a cosy Autumn day dress. I imagine this dress with thick tights and a big chunky cream cardigan.

Unfortunately, there are no pics of me modelling this little beauty as it's been made for a size 10 mannequin, which is sadly no longer the size of my pregnant bewbs and belly! But I'll stroke the leftover scraps until I can order my own wad of this lovely stuff.


You can find details and how to sign up for the class on the Ray Stitch website. The shop is located on Essex Road in Islington, close to Angel tube and Essex Road mainline station. 



How will you wear yours?

Sunday, 7 September 2014

Two Netties and a Bump

Even though it's been over a month since I last hung out in blogger, I have been sewing and have some overdue makes to share with you all. My recent makes all have a certain thing in common...they stretch(!) as I am now 3 1/2 months pregnant with my first bubba! Our little 'Shrimp' is doing super well and I couldn't be more in love and happy. So, obviously, I have needed to think about sewing up some cool maternity wear that isn't a one-way ticket into frumpsville.

First up is a pattern I am really in love with. Nettie!

Before we get down to the nitty gritty, I just want to say I didn't test this pattern, nor am I stroking the rather gorgeous backside of Nettie's creator, Heather Lou (although I wouldn't say no...) - I am genuinely positively pleased this pattern exists in my life.

I first made the bodysuit as a little test in early August to see whether I picked the right sizing. I used this awesome knit I picked up in New York in March. I can't remember the shop, but I think it was the day me, Lauren, Sonja, Devra and Trice hit the town in force. It's more of a knit than a jersey so has some lovely stretch to it to accommodate the expanding weeks ahead.


I chose the scoop front, high back version with long sleeves. For sizing, I cut the size 10 on top and graded out to the 12 on the bum-bum, as I can always do with a little room in that area, especially now (see next photo!). The fit was perfect and couldn't be more comfortable! I really love the design of the bum and hip area - it's not the vag-slicing cut of the 90s but more of a lean towards the 50s, not dissimilar to the Bombshell Swimsuit. As a result, it's very comfortable to wear under your chosen bottoms and you don't find yourself wriggling about or having to do a covert reshuffle of your bits and pieces.


Another reason why I like this pattern is that it's super fun to make up. With experience, I now really enjoy working with knits and stretchy stuff, especially adding neckbands. For this project I used only my sewing machine and a narrow zig zag stitch, switching between a single stretch needle and a twin stretch needle for top-stitching.

When working with stripes, it does take a bit more time as you need to concentrate during pinning the pattern to fabric to ensure you're matching the stripes correctly. I usually start by pinning a specific area on the side seam of the front, then matching the same spot on the back. I then pin almost each stripe to prevent movement. It takes some time but it's really worth it.

Say hi to the bump, but check out that stripe matching!

This version of the Nettie will definitely last me for a while and will be nice and cosy with the colder months coming up. 


Once I had the fit of the Nettie down, I could get started on what I really wanted to use the pattern for. Back in Spring, I had the dream of a white and navy stripe t-shirt dress for Summer. Luckily in March, I spotted Lauren buying the perfect fabric in Mood and I grabbed about 5 yards too. Didn't care about cost and weight, I wasn't leaving that treasure behind!

I also made this up in August to wear on my birthday. It was bit of an overcast day, but I did wear it to eat my super lovely breakfast made by Mama Delle. She even found me alcohol free bucks fizz!


Even though this knit was less stretchy, I still decided to follow the same sizing (10 on top, 12 bottom). I used Heather Lou's stretch guide and was confident this fabric would work. For style, I chose high front and high back and added short sleeves to achieve the t-shirt dress I had in my mind.


I worked with my sewing machine and overlocker for stitching and finish, using a twin stretch needle for top stitching. For some reason, the twin needle got fed up with the hem and started skipping stitches so I reverted back to the single needle. I wasn't prepared to put up a fight!

Again, I didn't have to make any alterations and am really pleased with the outcome. It's now a month later, bump is bigger and the dress is still a brilliant addition to my wardrobe.


I am thinking of making another dress version in a heavier black jersey or a ponte for the Autumn to wear with tights and boots. Yey for Nettie! 

On a side note the following really made me chuckle. I saw on GOMI a comment that my Martini dress I tested for Capital Chic Patterns was too tight. I made that dress back in mid May pre-preggers to wear to a wedding, yet didn't get around to taking photos for the blog until July...well let's just say my body had started to enjoy some swelling in the belly and bewbs area already!!! I knew I was running out of time to photo that before Shrimp was like, nope, I'm not being squeezed into that, Mama! So, the dress may have looked a little more snug than intended, although I still think it looked good. Anyway, it gave me a good giggle. Jerry's Final Thought...don't judge a book by its cover people, that book just might be knocked up!