Saturday 8 July 2017

Baby Bump Sewing

So grateful to have this little munchkin in my belly but wow, I wasn't prepared for the numbing influence on my brain!  Actually I've found it hard not not to think of anything but cheese on toast with dark chocolate for the past few months...   

When I finally got down to some selfish sewing all I could think about were shirtdresses though - and my obsession with a stretchy Meghan Nielsen pencil skirt (more below)

For the shirt dresses I drafted a basic shirt pattern with a narrow button placket and collar.  I used the same pattern for both, with a little variation, and to make room for the bump I cut the waist a little higher than usual and added some gathers.

The fabric on top is a sheer cotton voile and the skirt fabric is is a lovely summery Ikat Indian cotton from Faberwood.  I love this fabric so much that I purposely kept the skirt a dirndl style rectangle so that I can take it off and reuse it for something else when I don't need the bump dress anymore.

For the second shirtdress, I used the same shirt pattern but lengthened the placket to the hem of the skirt, cutting the skirt front in half so that the whole dress opens fully, and added a cuff to the sleeves and a belt.  The skirt on this one is also gently angled at the sides.

The fabric is my own design - courtesy of  Woven Monkey
I spent a few minutes playing in Adobe Illustrator with triangles and then sent the image off to be printed - a week or so later and voila! My own fabric design.  Can't wait to play with this some more - once the energy comes back (and a napping baby, right?)

The other life saver has been this Meghan Nielsen Erin Maternity skirt - super fast, comfy and satisfying.  It's also so versatile and requires so little fabric - I'm keeping the pattern and making it for my pregnant friends.  I'll really miss wearing this one!

Fabric shopping in Palermo, Sicily
Feeling my selfish sewing time is limited, I've managed to knock out three more shirt dresses for the summer...hoping they'll be the ticket for warm days pre and post bump.

The three on the left are for later this summer, the two on the right were made specifically for pregnancy - you can see that the waist is just a couple of inches higher from the natural waist.

Just wondering, do you all wear shirt dresses or is my current obsession  pregnancy induced?  What do you think of them - dowdy or fun?

Happy stitching x

Saturday 20 May 2017

Friday 19 May 2017

Athena Top Tutorial - Day 5!

Here we are on the last day of the Athena Top tutorial!  

Today's tasks:

 Adding the zipper, finishing the lining (if lining) and other finishing touches

Step 14 - Inserting the zipper

Use your iron to separate the teeth from the fabric of your invisible zipper, which will make it easier to insert.

Snip off the top of the zipper, just up to the teeth.

Pin the left leg of the zipper in place, right side down against the right side of the bodice, starting at the top of the neckline.

Baste in place with some hand stitches.

Use your fabric marker to make a mark on the point where the zipper aligns with the waist seam.

Zip up the right leg of the zipper, to just above the waist seam.  Use your fabric marker to make a corresponding mark on the right leg.

Start pinning the right leg of the zipper to the centre back, right side down, starting at the waist seam (not the neckline) making sure the newly marked notch matches the seam.

Baste the right leg in place by hand.

Use your zipper foot to machine stitch each zipper leg in place on the centre back.

 Remove the hand basting stitches.

When finished, the centre back should look like this, with the waist seam aligned perfectly.

 Return to your machine to continue sewing the remainder of the centre back seam.  
With peplum right sides together, insert your machine needle as closely as possible to the machine stitch line that is securing the zipper.  I find using my zipper foot helps here.

Continue down the centre back to the hemline.

Finish the sleeve ends.

Step 15 - Finishing Touches

If you are not lining the bodice, skip to the blue photos below

 If you are lining your top, it's time to secure the lining.

Turn the bodice wrong side out (lining right side out).

Spread the lining over the bodice, making sure that all the fabric is distributed evenly and secure in place with a few pins.

Clip into the curved edges of the armhole, which will make it easier to turn in.

Turn the seam allowances of the armhole bodice and armhole lining in, and secure carefully with pins to each other. Make sure that the shoulder seam, notches and waist seam all line up.

Slip stitch in place by hand, catching the seam allowances so that the stitches don't show on the "good side" of the bodice.

Repeat this slipstitching for the waist seam, and up the centre back on either side of the zipper.

If you are not lining the bodice, there are a few raw edges to take care of:

Slipstitch the fabric fold at the centre back necline and add a hook and eye closure if desired.

Finish raw edges of the armholes, with a zig zag stitch or serger / overlocker.

 And we're finished!

Thanks for taking part!  I hope you enjoyed this tutorial.

I'd love to see photos of your completed Athena top!  You can send them to me by email on designhonig { at } gmail [ dot ] com or Instagram #athenatop #athenablouse #honigdesign.

Until then, happy stitching!


Thursday 18 May 2017

Athena Top Tutorial - Day 4

We are on the home stretch!

Today - Preparing and attaching the sleeves and finishing the neckline
Day 5 - Adding the zipper, finishing the lining (if lining) and other finishing touches

Step 10 - Preparing and assembling the sleeve

Loosen the thread tension and lengthen the stitch on your machine.

Sew one row of stitches 1/2cm or 1/8" from the raw edge of the sleeve cap, between notches.  Leave thread ends long.

Sew a second row of stitches 1.5cm or 1/2" from the raw edge, leaving the thread ends long.

Fold the sleeve in half, right sides together, and stitch.

Press seams open.

Tug on the thread ends to begin to gather the sleeve cap.

Step 11 - Attaching the sleeves to the bodice

Turn the bodice shell wrong side out. With the sleeve right side out, insert into armhole.  (They should be right sides together.

Match notches, shoulder seam and side seam and pin in place.

Ease the sleeve cap gently into the armhole by tugging at the thread ends and distributing the fabric along the cap.

Pin in place.

Machine stitch the sleeve into the armhole.  Your 1cm stitch line should fall in the middle of the two rows of basting stitches.

Use a seam ripper to remove the visible basting stitches.

Step 12 - Attaching the bodice lining, if lining

If not lining, skip to step 13

Turn the bodice right side out and turn the lining wrong side out.  Drop the lining over the bodice

Pin the lining to the bodice at the neckline.

Stitch around the neckline, starting and ending at the notch points given on the pattern pieces.

Clip into the curve of the neckline, being careful not to clip through the seam allowance.

Step 13 - Finishing the neckline and waist seam

To finish the neckline without a lining, scroll down to the photos showing blue fabric.

If lining, turn the bodice and lining, now attached at the neckline, right side out and press the neckline.

Now pull the bodice apart again and sew a row of stitches on the lining very close (about 1/8" or 5mm) to the neckline seamline, catching the seam allowance and the lining.  It should look like this on the right side: 

If you are not lining the bodice, use a 3/8" or 1/2" bias binding tape around the neckline.

Place the bias tape right sides together on top of the bodice, and fold the raw edge of the binding tape in.   

Pin in place.  It should look like this when pinned:

...and like this when finished:

 Fold the bias tape over the raw edge of the neckline so that it looks like this:

...and then fold the whole thing down again so that the encased edge is hidden on the wrong side of the bodice.  Pin in place.  It will look like this:

 Machine stitch in place and press.

If you are not lining your bodice, it's a good time to finish the raw edge of the waist seam using a serger or zig zag stitch. 

We are nearly there!  Next we will insert the invisible zipper, finish the centre back seam and hem the sleeves.