Monthly Archives: September 2013

The Ombre Effect

White Sheet Project – Part 1

This is my first offical garment as part of the White Sheet Project. I made this maxi dress from the complete white flat sheet. The dress is a heavily modified version of this Style pattern I stole from my mum a while back. And in case you were wondering, why yes, I did included the pockets.

When I last made this (way before blogging) I realised just how much ease this thing had, so I removed a lot of it. I cut the dress pieces on the fold instead of the original design which had centre front and back seams. I used elastic at the neck and sleeves because I'm lazy and it was much easier than making ties.

Once the dress was mostly constructed, I start the spray painting. I only inserted the elastic in the neck before painting so it could hang up, but left it out of the sleeves. I'm trying to spend as little as possible and use what I've got for this project so the fabric spray paints I used were a mixture of acrylic paints (mixed up to my 4 desired colours), fabric fixative medium and water. I loaded the paint into an old spray bottle and started at the bottom. I discovered pretty early on that I required a lot more water than I thought I would to get the quantity and consistancy I needed to spray this dress. This actually made the paint sink into the fabric better.

I sprayed the four colours in the ombre gradient in bands up the dress until I had this. (You can see part 2 in the background).
Then I let it dry. The combination of the water in the paint and gravity caused the colours to blend into one another more than I had originally designed and the final effect is quiet blotchy and uneven, but I think it adds to the effect.
Once the paint was dry, I threw this in the tumble dryer for about a half an hour to try and set the paint. I stitched some elastic at the waist to draw the dress and and give some shape and definition to the dress even when worn without a belt and used my overlocker to give the bottom a rolled hem. The paint did give the fabric a crisper feel, but I'm hoping with a few washes, it will soften up. The paint also made this dress less see-through. Although I thought the bands of colour would be more pronounced, I really like they way my original design has been actualised. On to Part 2.

 

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The White Sheet Project – Planning

A couple of months ago, whilst I was cleaning and re-organising my linen press, I discovered I had more white flat sheets and pillow cases than we are really ever going to have cause to need. This linen overflow was the result of many years of buy cheaper poly cotton low thread count sheet sets. The fitted sheets ripped before too long, and were thrown out, leaving their flat sheets and pillow cases orphaned in my cupboard. We never really used the flat sheets, they just came in the sets and just sat there. To add insult to injury fabric to project, one of my good cotton sateen fitted sheets tore just after I cleaned out the linen press, so I added that ripped sheet to the cause. I have thoroughly washed and dried all this linen in the beautiful sunshine.

  • 8 White poly cotton pillow cases which are 45 cm x 72 cm
  • 1 White poly cotton queen flat sheet approximately 2.3 m x 2.5 m
  • 1 White poly cotton queen flat sheet reminant approximately 2.3 m x 1.5 m (after this sheet was liberated from the linen press, it was used to make muslins and lining of this dress and the lining of this coat.)
  • 1 White cotton sateen queen fitted sheet, ripped measuring about 1.5 m x 2m ish

When looking at those numbers, that's quiet a lot of fabric. The poly cotton may not have been the best fabric choice for sheets, but not a bad choice for some light weight spring/summer garments. And so, “The White Sheet Project” was born. The aims of this challenge are threefold:

  1. In the spirit of “Make do and mend”, making garments out of something that I would have discarded
  2. Seeing how many items I can get out of all this fabric
  3. Coming up with new and different ways to embellish or change the plain white fabric

I have already started planning the garments I'm thinking of making, as seen in my previous post about croquis. The first garments I'll try and make are the maxi dress with the ombre fabric spray paint effect, asymmetrical circle skirt that has been hand printed, a version of the Pastille dress from the Colette Sewing Handbook, a plain white tank top with scallop hem and maybe a white half slip to go under all these semi sheer garments. After these are done, I'll figure out what I can get out of whatever fabric is remaining, if any thing is left.

And so, with that in mind, let the challenge commence.

 

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The Croquis Initiative

One of my new years sewing resolutions was to sew one of the patterns from the Colette Sewing Handbook. I received the book as a Christmas present from my Husband in 2011, and haven't sewn one thing from it. That's pretty shameful, no? While I was looking through the book trying to find the best pattern to tackle (I'm thinking the Pastille btw), I found the page on making your own croquis and was a little intrigued. I didn't want to stuff about with getting my husband to take photos of me, and go throught all the drama of making my own croquis if I wasn't even sure I was going to use it. A quick search on the internet found this link to a site that has heaps of free croquis that you can print and use. Even though I'm not making my own specific croquis, I still wanted one that was close to my body shape. After sifting through them all I found this one.

I was quiet happy that this most closely matched my body shape, until I realised that this was the fashion croquis for a child. Yes, that's right, a child! (Well, probably a teenager, but still!). My mutantly small frame aside, it's been great. I've been sketching away for the last few weeks coming up with all sorts of sewing plans. I'm sure most will never get made, but it is a great way to visualise a design. And the colouring in of the pictures is quiet relaxing.

Here are a few of my designs. Most are for a future self imposed challenge I like to call “The White Sheet Project” (more on that later) and the other two are plans with fabric from my stash. It's a little hard to see the details in this scanned images, but you can get the idea.

I have a slightly modified copy of the above croquis, with a dark outline, that I trace onto a piece of white paper and fill in with my design. I'd love to buy a sketch book and use that so that my designs are all together, but the paper in all the sketch books I've found are too thick to see the croquis underneather. So, for the time being I'm using A5 (half size) computer/printer paper.

If you've struggling to visualise your designs, I highly recommend using a fashion croquis, either your own or a generic one. It has helped me enormously and if nothing else, it's an excuse to get out the pencils and do a bit of colouring.

 

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Selfless Sewing

I'm not sure I can really call this selfless sewing, it was for my own children and they needed to be made or I'd have to buy something, but anywho.

My son was baptised this past Sunday, very overdue, but I'm sure God doesn't mind. With a baptisim comes the baptisimal robe or gown, traditionally long and ornate. That's what his sister had, but as we had waited until the little man was 17 months old, none of the family baptism robes would fit him, and even if they did I'm sure all that length would only mess with his crawling (yes that's right, I said my 17 month old was crawling not walking. Lazy!). I'm trying not to go to the fabric store at the moment (I'm pretty sure I'm just about to break that), I went shopping in my stash first and come up with 80 cm of white satin left over from my wedding dress.

Using this pattern, I drafted slightly larger and longer gown and cut it out. I hemmed all the edges with a rolled hem on my overlocker, but as this fabric frays like nobody's business, they weren't the cleanest edges in the world. I decided to add a bias facing to the neckline to tidy it up, but left the others as is. I used iron on hemming web for the back opening and attached a press stud for a closure.

This wasn't the neatest garment I've made, but as my son only had it on for about 30 minutes and won't it be worn again, it did the job. I'm not partically sentimental that I'm going to keep it from my grandchildren.

The next thing I made was a dress for my daughter. I say made, but I kind of cheated. A while back when I was pulling fabric out looking for something, my little princess saw this vintage fabric (actually a couple of old sheets) and asked for a dress made from it. She then proceded to describe the dress she wanted. “Long sleeves and a pretty foofy skirt”. “Foofy” is a term she uses to describe a full skirt, good for twirling. The long sleeves threw me a bit because I know my daughter, she'll want to wear this dress anyway and everywhere I'll let her get away with, so comfort is a must. In the end, I raided her wardrobe and found a top that was getting too small for her and used that as the bodice. I attached a full circle skirt tot the top in her chosen fabric and let it hang for a few days before I gave it a rolled hem. Do you see a pattern here? That's right, whenever I can be lazy and do a rolled hem, I will.

Forgive the blurry photo, action twirling shoots are notoriously hard to capture. On it's own the dress looked a little plain so I made three fabric flowers from the scraps and glued pins on the back so they can be removed and pinned where ever my daughters little heart desires.

 

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