A place where a wee Scot can talk about the stuff she bores other folk with. Sewing, The Beatles, cats, and zumba may feature...

Friday, 11 November 2016

Feeling rusty: Sew Over It Heather dress

Not this kind of Heather.

It's been a long time since I did ye olde blogging, so hopefully I'll remember how it goes! This is my first blog post in over a year and two things have played a part in me getting back to it. One, the inspiration and motivation from sewing vlogs, and two, an upcoming clan gathering of the scottish sewing bloggers. Without an active blog, though very kindly invited and included, I felt a bit of a phoney. So a Bishop-Brennan-sized kick up the arse duly self-administered! Should be a great wee day out later this month in Edinburgh. There is a #sewscottish hashtag on instagram for anyone wanting to know more!
Image from SewDoItEmma's Instagram - thank you Emma!

As for being an avid viewer of sewing vlogs, the original and best (for me) is Lisa Comfort at Sew Over It. In fact, it's kind of funny now how many imitations her particular vlog style has spawned, but it's the sincerest form of flattery isn't it? If you don't watch her channel already, she posts pretty much weekly, and each week's video will cover one of the following: sewing plans for the month with a fabric haul; review of her own, or another brand of, sewing pattern;  sewing tutorials; and a review of her makes for the month. Lisa also occasionally films one off-specials such as a peek into her handbag, a review of her own handmade wardrobe, vintage hair and make-up tips, and insights into and behind the scenes of her business (which I find fascinating). She's knowledgeable, a great communicator and educator, and really easy and fun to watch.
Nor this kind of Heather, sorry queens!

Although in my eyes Lisa is the creme de la creme (nope I cannot write that without picturing Maggie Smith in full Jean Brodie mode!), I really enjoy lots of other vlogs too. A few others that I will not miss are Clueless Seamstress and Stitch My Style (who also have their own blogs but I discovered them through their vlogs first). I do subscribe to lots of others but dip in and out of them. I recently discovered That Style Though and am really looking forward to seeing more of this lady's videos as she hasn't uploaded very many yet.

If you have any recommendations for more, please let me know! Especially if you are a vlogger yourself. I really appreciate the time and effort people make to create and share their videos, and am always on the look out for new and inspiring sewers to watch. One thing we need more of though, is scottish representation, so come on lads and lassies!

Anyway......back to the matter in hand. I've sewn about half a dozen garments since getting my sew-jo back in June but my most recent make is the brand new pattern from Sew Over It, the Heather jersey dress. This isn't a sponsored post honest!, but her vlog genuinely has cheered me up during some rotten times the past year, and I love her personal take on vintage style which is something that I find aspirational, as well as inspirational. I've also lost 2.5 stone since January this year so I've been exploring a bit more in what I wear...and the Heather is a bit of a departure for me to say the least! I've pretty much lived in jeggings this year. I wear them to work, rest, and play. And now that it's getting bloody freezing out, I've taken a notion to bare my legs again, eejit that I am, albeit in thick coloured tights.
My finished Sew Over It Heather dress

So the Heather dress was released a few weeks ago, and is a PDF pattern only. Since I started learning to sew a few years ago, I've rarely bought a pattern on release (I did actually buy the Sew Over It Susie blouse earlier this year, and sewed it up too, will definitely return to that pattern), but the idea of a comfy long sleeved jersey dress and the design of the front deep pockets just clicked with me.
Copy shop version

As my printer cartridges are running low, I looked into where and how much it would cost to get the PDF printed at 'a copy shop'. I've only had a sewing pattern printed once before at a copy shop but that was in Canada and it was cheap enough to do it there. Here it seems a bit dearer, although I plumped for Staples because it was most convenient and fastest, but not necessarily cheapest. It was £4 a page and because the Heather is a long-sleeved dress it takes two A0 pages to print. So aye, it did cost me £8 in the end, which added to the £7 cost of the pattern has ended up costing more than a traditional Sew Over It printed pattern would. However, the Heather isn't available as a printed pattern right now, so it cost what it cost. I am looking into other printing websites which charge as little as 75p per printed page, but they also charge a minimum of £5 per order. If I use another printer I'll try to send a few PDF sewing patterns to be printed to make it worth it (anyone who already uses an online plan printer, please let me know of any recommendations!). I'll maybe just use end up using Staples again though as it was really speedy and easy to go collect. 

Now, I actually trace all my patterns...so the only thing I saved myself from having to do was tape up the A4 pattern pages. I know i'm a daftie but I'm a conservationist. I just cannot bring myself to cut into sewing patterns...in any format!
Hair up so you can see the width of the neckline
It took me a whole day (9.30am to 6.30pm) to go from tracing to having just the neckband to attach, and skirt and sleeves to hem. Those last parts took another 3 hours the next day. I am a really really slow worker. I'm also very pernickety when I'm laying and cutting out fabric and this can take me hours to do. I hate wastage and place my pattern pieces as judiciously as possible. To this end, I have worked out that I managed to get my Heather out of a one metre piece of 150cm wide ponte. Which even doesn't seem right to me, but I do have 2m left and I am sure I bought 3m of it. I very rarely buy more than that of any fabric. But getting Heather out of a metre doesn't seem possible, so I may have had more of this ponte, who knows! I do know that it was a purchase from the Argyle Street Remnant Kings during a sale last winter. It's a medium weight, very comfy and not that horrible poly feel that some pontes can have. Feels and looks good quality overall. I paid no more than £5 a metre (though it might have been less, I simply can't remember now). It's a lovely autumnal rust colour (not red as it looks in the pics).
I'm 5'2" and turned up the dress edge by 6cm and then hemmed at 2cm
It's an education seeing yourself from the back. Size of the arse on me, thank god I have a terrible memory!

I cut a size 12 in entirety. My current measurements are full bust 36/waist 32/hips 42.  The dress is designed to be fitted on the boobs (fine with me), the waist wasn't going to be a problem due to the design at that part of the dress, and the hips I knew were going to sit right on me but it's stretchy and I was okay with that. My only worry was that the size 12 at the hips would be too clingy over my tummy. As it is, I can get away with it standing up and in tights. My back fat is visible, and I've got some fabric pooling at my lower back, nothing that's going to keep me awake at night. I would definitely cut a size 12 again with my measurements but that's cos I'm okay with it being fitted. Others with similar body type and stats to mine might prefer it looser and more skimming and could grade out to the size 14 at the hips.

Standing straight so you can see sleeve and dress length

I'm 5'2'' and was going to keep the skirt length as was but decided in the end to turn the skirt up by 6cm, sewing a hem allowance of 2cm. I had to turn up the sleeves, as cut, by 6cm and hemmed at 1.5cm, so next time will shorten the sleeve length at cutting out stage. I've just remembered that the arms were too tight on me with the 1.5cm seam allowance so I sewed the sleeves with a 7mm seam allowance.
Tapered in 3cm from the 1.5cm seam allowance at each side

The only other adjustment I made was that I tapered the skirt in. This was just because I felt it looked better on me, than hanging straight down from my hips. So after having sewn the seam allowance at 1.5cm as per the original pattern, I marked 3cm in from the seam allowance at my new skirt hem length, and using my french curve I drew a new sewing line up to where the pocket met the dress side seam. 

I found the instructions fine to follow (I'm not the best at interpreting sewing instructions) and I followed all the directions apart from overlocking/zig-zagging the seam allowances, this is because in the back of my mind it was going to be a toile, but mainly because I'm a LAZY BASTARD. I do have an overlocker (second-hand and no instruction booklet) but the past few times I've tried to use it the thread continually breaks. I've tried everything and just can't be bothered to get to the bottom of the problem on the past few garments I've sewn. I will tackle it some day though!
One for my beatle peeps :)

I didn't twin-needle stitch below the neckband as instructed, because I didn't want the appearance that gives, so I hand tacked the neckband seam allowance down to each vertical seam (thanks to the dress design there are several). If this isn't enough to keep the neckband behaving, then I'll cave and sew it down as per the directions. I did use my twin-needle on the sleeves and skirt hem though. 
Pepsi getting in on the act

That's all there is to say, I've blethered on far too long as it is! I've a few other garments from the past wee while that I'd like to retrospectively blog just for posterity. My current obsession is the idea of making my own coat. I have a few patterns in mind and I have fabric on order, and found some crazy yellow fabric in the remnant bin at Remnant Kings which I'll use for a toile. I'll be motivated to at least give this project a go as I currently don't have a winter coat and it's so bloody baltic noo...necessity is the mother of invention!

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