Saturday, 29 November 2014

Anita Ponti Pants OF JOY!

Normally when I make something that is a wadder I ditch it almost ASAP - either to a charity if it's wearable, or in the bin if it's beyond all help. I am the opposite of a hoarder! For some reason I hung on to my Anita Pants of Broken Hearts as I felt they didn't need all that much help to make them wearable...I just didn't know how to fix the pattern.

It's about 6 months down the track, but today I finally I attended a class at Tessuti in Surry Hills that was all about altering a pants pattern. I actually thought this pattern might be TOO easy for the class but it turns out they were the perfect project as we got the pattern altered and the new toile all but complete within 4 hours!

When I tried on my dodgy pants our teacher Meghan actaully said they weren't too bad at all - they just needed a few tweaks to make them great for me.  Just to jog your memory here's the aforementioned "evil pants of pain, heartbreak and broken needles"...

Confession: I am really bad at spatial stuff and maths, which makes it near on impossible for me to figure out how to make changes to a pattern; and how "things on papper" and "numbers floating around in the air" would translate to the sewn garment. I tried to concentrate on what Meghan was doing, but I got a bit lost.  I'm not sure I could replicate these changes again, but I have a "general idea" of what went on.  In summary this is what I "think we did":
  • Added 5cm to the back rise
  • Lowered the front rise but about 2cm
  • Lengthen the hem by 5cm
  • Added 7mm to each leg seam allowance (which we later shaved off below the thigh as the pants were too roomy)
  • Added more material to the crouch area so they didn't sit so low
  • Made the waist elastic looser (though I think I still need to work on this as I think it's a fraction too tight -- I have "issues" with tight stuff on my guts, so perhaps a regular Joe would think they are fine?)
  • Changed the way of sewing on the elastic - made a channel and threaded the elastic through the channel, which I think I like better than over locking the elastic to the pants (at least this way if the elastic is too loose/tight it can easily be fixed...over locking it to the pants is too much "elastic commitment" for me)

The fabric is pretty crazy, a ponti knit from that I bought back when I first thought I'd be making Anita's by the truck load. It is much thinner than my purple Anita pants which may account for some differences to the feel of the fit.

Overall I am SO happy with how these pants turned out. So happy that I gave the teacher a big hug for helping me out and I almost burst into tears I was so RELIEVED that something finally fits me. After well over a year of sewing I don't have many wearable garments/"go to patterns" that have worked for my this pattern alteration means the world to me. I know that it takes time blah blah blah but that dosen't stop me losing my sewjo in a major way when things go peared shaped.

So YAY for Anita Ponti Pants and yay for classes! Dave says my tiger roar below is null-and-void as these pants are a zebra perhaps this is the sign of a zebra being eaten by a white tiger?

I'm so excited to try these pants again. After the class today I bought some black ponti which is washed already and on the clothesline as I type.  Meghan also found a remnant in the sales bin of a cotton/elastaine that she thinks could work well with this pattern as the fabric is very stretchy.  I think they could make good work pants if they work.  Watch this space...

Sunday, 16 November 2014

A floral Myrtle

Like the Mabel Skirt, I bought the Myrtle pattern as soon as Colette released it...and then sat on it for months. I think my main stalling point was that the elastic waist and "self-lined" bodice would be too hard for me. I also worried that I wouldn't be able to turn the neck and arms under neatly enough and that the whole thing would look like a blind 4 year old with no thumbs had made it.

In just over a year of sewing I still don't have much faith in my abilities and I try to keep things as easy as possible.

Anyhoo, inspiration finally came to me in the form of this blog post by a Melbourne fashion blogger who occasionally dabbles in sewing too. If she could sew not one, but THREE Myrtles, surely I could sew one. And I did...

I absolutely love this dress, from the groovy fabric purchased from Spotlight to the cowl neckline to the blousey-ness of the bodice. This is EXACTLY the kind of dress I would buy if I saw it in store!

All the love aside the armholes are just WAY too small for me to wear the dress and be at all comfortable. This is kinda upsetting as nearly every other blog post I've read on this make says the armholes are REALLY big. I think, thanks to sewing, I have now developed a mega complex that I have arms bigger than a X-mas ham! Excuse the shot of my armpit - but you see that I have nearly NO room under my arm...mucho uncomfortable! It also digs in at the front and back of the "sleeve".

Whilst we're still on the topic of the ham-arms, I think that perhaps the pattern piece for the front/back bodice at the shoulders is a bit too wide? It's sort of like this dress can't decide if it wants to be sleeveless or have cap sleeves?

I'm definitely going to make this dress again -- I just need to figure out how to make the armholes bigger whilst not stuffing up the pattern completely. An FBA has been suggested but I'm not even going to go there (plus it fits well across the bust).  This make is a straight XL and I think in order to bring the shoulder width in somewhat I'll reduce from an XL to an L, or perhaps even an M from the shoulders to the underarm...and then I also just hack into the pattern at the bottom of the armhole to give myself an extra cm front and back...what do we think people? Is that a good or a bad strategy?

Moving right along, the construction of the Myrtle is really easy. I had no trouble making the bodice at all and like I said I LOVE the cowl neck and blousey-ness of the front/back bodice. Very flattering on my figure I think. The instructions for this pattern were very good - very easy to follow and great for a beginner.

I had been worried about turning the neckline and sleeve hems of the back bodice under (they are not self lined) but this also proved to be a breeze thanks to my new BFF, Wondertape (bought from Addicted to Fabric in Canberra).

I also thought I'd have trouble with the elastic waist, but this also turned out to be...not too bad. I inserted the elastic twice as the first elastic was very stiff and uncomfortable (it was a non-roll elastic). My second elastic is quite supple and does roll a bit so I've sewn down the elastic at each side seam to prevent it moving around too much. Next time I think I'll just sew the casing channel and then thread the elastic through, rather than trying to wrangle the elastic and channel and sewing all at the same time which is what the instructions suggest.

That said, I'm wondering if I could forgo the elastic channel altogether and just sewing less wide elastic (or even clear elastic) onto the waistband as I join it to the bodice. I feel like that would be more comfortable.

So there you have it. Even though this dress was a fitting-fail; I would call it a win in terms of sewing and construction. I'm happy I saw it through to the end as I think my work colleague would like this so it's not going to end up in the bin. She wore one of other sewing fitting-fails to work the other day and I was super thrilled!

Also, it's worth noting that if you get tired whilst you're out to dinner or at work whilst wearing this dress you can pull up the cowl and catch a few Zzzzz's.

Pattern: Myrtle Dress by Colette Patterns
Size: XL
Modifications: None
Fabric: Polyester Elastane from Spotlight - purchased 3m and used most of it
Notions: Elastic and thread
Changes for next time: lower arm holes to give more room; perhaps reduce the bodice size from the shoulders to the underarm fom an XL to L or M. Possibly look at changing method of attaching the bodice to the skirt with thinner elastic and no elastic casing (would reduce the whole dress to an L if I did this as it's very roomy without the elastic casing feature).