Sunday, 25 March 2018

My first home-sewn garment

 I MADE A THING!

I've made a mostly-wearable garment using my sewing machine. No, this 1960s top is not perfect, but for a first project I think this top has turned out really well. I'll certainly be happy to wear it around the house, which is what I was aiming for. (Okay, I hoped it would be perfect and wearable outside the house, but I knew that would be asking a lot of a first project.)


The positives
I'm no longer remotely scared of my sewing machine. By the time I finished the top, I was no longer worried about accidentally sewing up my fingers. I used it mostly on the slowest setting, but hey: it got the job done. I'm particularly pleased with how I turned the raw edges of the facings under. It's a small thing, but convinced me I had control over the fine details of the sewing.

I've learned to thread a bobbin, thread the machine needle, change machine feet and change stitch.

The negatives
I learned the hard way what happens if you put a bobbin in upside-down.

The neckline isn't quite the way it's supposed to be because after attaching the facing, I cut the wrong side of the stitching! And so had to do it again.

I sewed the armhole facings together wrong, starting at the bottom rather than the shoulder, so had to sew them at the shoulder last, and there's a little foldy bit on the left-hand shoulder where I didn't quite get the facing attached right. It'd be less visible, and so less annoying if it were at the armpit.

For the future
I can do this. I'm keen to try more. Sewing the facings it did occur to me that I should get some more remnants and give myself a curves-sewing challenge, practicing on scrappy curves before doing more garments with facings.

The fit isn't perfect, which I know is half the point of home sewing. But - positive - I think I know what the problem is. Or rather, problems are: giant boobs, relatively small frame. (I'm not big boned, I'm small boned with a lot of fat!) It means the shoulders of the top are a little too wide, and there is surplus fabric above my bust. I believe this means my next move should be to learn how to do a full bust adjustment. This is a very basic pattern, so would be a good one to start with, though I've already cut it out at a larger size than I possibly need. Still, if I'm buying another remnant, I can pick up another copy of the pattern at the same time. (And a cutting mat. And a rotary cutter. Buy ALL the things!) I get the gaping armholes problem with pretty much very top I buy, so if I can manage the adjustment, it's going to mean I'll never have to worry about showing off large chunks of my bra ever again.

I'd hoped to finish this and move straight onto my lovely new fabric from Gertie Gusset's, but it seems better to have another practice run and get the fit just the way I want it.

21 comments :

  1. HI Mim, congratulations!!!! That is ah-bloody-mazing. That's it. you will be sewing all.the.things from now on.Your top is lovely. I really do like the fabric and the fit nice. I do think that you need to do an FBA too and cut a smaller size. Go by your high bust measurement, where you put your measuring tape around your body at sort of your underarm level. This will give you a better indication of the size you need based on your bone structure. Then you can see what your full bust measurement is around the widest part of your boobs and this will give you an idea of the sort of FBA you need to do. You need to factor in how much ease is in the pattern (extra room). Sometimes you might not need to do such a big FBA but for close fitted garments it might be a quite a bit. There should be a finished garment bust measurement either on the pattern pieces or on the pattern envelope. Most "Big 4" patterns are drafted for a B-cup unless they are the ones with different cup-sizes. The Amazing Fit patterns from Simplicity are good for this and simple to follow. I have to put in an extra dart or two to deal with the excess fabric from my normal FBA which is much easier than it sounds. There is a very good FBA tutorial on the Curvy Sewing Collective website. Really looking forward to seeing what else you make. Xx

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    1. Yes, Curvy Sewing Collective is what I've been reading. Their instructions seem really good and clear. I'm a GG cup and woven things never fit well above the bust, and I'm always getting awful armhole gape. So nice to know I can banish that forever.

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  2. Get in! It looks lovely and for a first make, I'm knocked bandy!! I think you are a natural. I would definitely practice sewing curves and fiddly bits on scraps; that is always my top tip if I'm teaching and it was given to me by my gram who taught me to sew when I was 6 years old. Another tip and you already know, is don't use your best fabric if your not sure. To this day, I will still work out a pattern fit using calico. Also, YouTube is great for pattern cutting/alterations tutorials.
    I'm so impressed.XX

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    1. I think it helps that I'm a knitter, and tend to make traditional patterns rather than modern all-in-one ones - I'm already used to putting flat pieces together to make a 3D shape. I'm going to have more goes with remnants, as they're inexpensive.

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  3. Being still scared of my sewing machine, giving it a wide berth, I'm amazed that you were able to make a wearable garment so soon. I'm sure you'll get the hang of the finer points very soon. Those two ladies on the pattern cover are looking at you most appreciatively, too! xxx

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    1. It's interesting how different the top looks when it's wider. (Wah!) My top looks much more square than the one in the photo.

      It's a very simple pattern, and I figured even if I messed up completely I'd learn something. And the machines aren't scary :-D Give yours a go...

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  4. Congratulations and welcome to the sewing club. 20 years in and I own 3 sewing machines, two chest of drawers filled with fabric, one drawer filled with paper patterns and who knows how many pattern books, not to mention sewing books. It's a wonderful life :D

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    1. That's the only thing I think my husband fears - a fabric stash to rival my massive yarn stash. But it felt so nice to get up and make something. I can knit in front of the telly, but when sewing I can only sew, and that made it a very relaxing thing. No rushing, no multitasking.

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  5. Well done! Learning to adjust for your body's quirks will make all the difference (I have uneven shoulders and really ought to sew my own shirts to deal with that). Here's to a long and happy relationship with your sewing machine. You CAN do it!

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  6. What a fantastic first job! Brave tackling facings too (my least favourite thing about vintage patterns to be honest!!). The fabric choice is great, very '60s.

    Impressed with your photoshop skills too Mim, you're a woman of many talents!

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    1. Ah, the Photoshoppery stems out of my time on camera mags. I never usually bother, apart from to tweak lighting/sharpness on TV screenshots for my telly reviews. But it can be fun to play with from time to time. I'm thinking of popping myself onto every pattern I make, for a laugh.

      The fabric was a cheapie remnant, but I thought it'd be appropriate for the pattern. Now I want another go, to tweak the fit. Maybe that'll be my Easter project.

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  7. Oh, congratulations Mim! Well done!

    It looks as if you have learnt so much in a short space of time and the next project will be even better. Just think of all that amazing fabric you can turn into lovely garments that fit you - it must be very exciting for you!

    You'll be so busy sewing you won't have time to blog!

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    1. Ha, my PlayStation is proving my biggest distraction at the moment. I keep having to tell myself to put it away as it's not remotely productive. But I've got some sewable tracing paper and my next move will be to make the top again, but with a full bust adjustment.

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  8. Stumbled on your website. and as a long time sewer myself, I would like to congradulate you on your first garment sewing. It looks nice on you . After all these years , I still sew parts upside down and backwards from time to time. The seam ripper is my best friend ! I have to remind my self also what my Home Economics Sewing teacher Mother in law said . " "nothing is perfect". You have done a great job and be proud of yourself . You will get better and better at it.

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    1. Thank you so much! I'm still a little scared of getting things wrong - as a knitter, it's easy to rip back mistakes with no harm done - but I guess that ought to make me try harder to get things right when sewing.

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  9. YAY! That looks amazing! Big boobs are such a pain to fit!

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    1. I'd always assumed modern garments just had ridiculously revealing armholes, so knowing it's because the cup size is wrong is like a lightbulb going on in my head.

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  10. You've done a cracking job - the top looks lovely and fits in with your style to a tee!
    My favourite bit is seeing you on the pattern - I hope you make loads more so we get too see you looking cool on a vintage envelope. xxx

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    1. I do enjoy a bit of Photoshoppery - though for adjusting exposure/colour casts, repairing old photos or doing fun, creative stuff, not for making myself look like someone I'm not. I'll definitely do the same with other patterns.

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  11. I think your top looks lovely. What a super first make. Interesting to learn a bit more about fitting, I always wondered about modern day gappy armholes too. Liked seeing you on the pattern cover.

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