Wednesday, October 29, 2014

Details on Queen Elsa's Coronation Dress

In the film Frozen there is a lot of detailed Scandanavian, and in particular Norwegian, artwork known as rosemaling. This is most evident on Elsa's Coronation dress.





I considered a few options for decorating this dress, especially appliqué, or sewing on ribbon strips. However ironing appliqué on velvet would damage the pile, and sewing ribbon on a stretch fabric would be difficult and affect the drape of the dress. Initially, drawing the designs on the dress didn't seem the best idea. I looked at clips from the film again, and decided it was at least worth a try. I drew out the design on paper and drew it freehand on the velvet with fabric markers.








It really isn't perfect, but I think it worked much better than the other options and suited the fabric.







The dress is based on Butterick pattern 5980 View D (View B length) which I altered to add sleeves with v-shaped hems and narrowed the dress hem width. I chose this pattern because the seam lines reflected those of the dress in the film. All the inside seams are French seams, with the yoke sewn on the outside and covered with ribbon. 







The top part of the cape is based on the cape pattern from Oliver&S Little Things to Sew, dramatically shortened. The longer pleated part is based on my daughter's height. Her back width was tripled to allow enough fabric for the pleats.







I used organza ribbon for the orange accents on the dress, but used janemeans purple stitched ribbon for the inside  hem of the cape and used janemeans plum wired ribbon for the upper part. The decorations at the neckline on the black velvet were cut out from teal  wired janemeans ribbon.






There's not much more to add except that it's a total success and worth all the work .... you can almost guess the line of the song from the poses in these pictures. The dress induces bouts of random singing 'Let it go' with very demonstrative 'I'm free' while throwing off the cape! 
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Thursday, October 16, 2014

Free Tickets to Knitting & Stitching Show Dublin & Harrogate

22/10/2014 10.30pm
Edited to add: 8 names from comments/emails were entered and put into the very technological hat! 

The 3 winners of a pair of tickets each are: Fionnuala, Maeve and Jennibean.

Your tickets will be posted once I get your addresses.

Thank you for entering. 

Angela.




Original post:
The Knitting and Stitching show has been the highlight of October for me in the last few years. I generally go for fabric and some sewing supplies as well as the excellent exhibitions, but the show has something for all kinds of crafters.
This year I was delighted to be contacted by the organisers, offering complimentary tickets for a blog giveaway.
The show includes most textile related activities - 
 Cross stitch
 Dress-making
 Embroidery
 Felt-making
 Knitting and Crochet
 Lace-making
 Patchwork and Quilting
 Spinning, Weaving and Dyeing
 Tapestry
as well as
 Beadwork
 Card-making
 Jewellery-making


Scroll down for further details about the show. More information is also available at the Knitting and Stitching Show website.

GIVEAWAY

Win a pair of complimentary tickets to the show in Dublin, Ireland or Harrogate, UK - valid for entry Thurs, Fri & Sun (Saturday not included).

3 pairs to give away.

Event Details: The Knitting & Stitching Show at RDS, Simonscourt, Dublin, Ireland.

Dates: Thursday October 30th to Sunday November 2nd 2014

Opening TimesThursday/ Friday: 10am to 5.30pm / Sunday: 10am to 5.00pm.

OR

Event Details: The Knitting & Stitching Show at HIC, Harrogate, UK

Dates: Thursday November 20th to Sunday November 23rd 2014

Opening TimesThursday 10am to 7pm; Friday: 10am to 5.30pm; Sunday: 10am to 5.00pm.



To Enter:

Leave a comment with contact details or email in the comment section. No need to follow, unless you really want to!

OR

Contact me with by email with your address.

 

Closing date: Wednesday 22nd October 10pm. (To allow tickets to be posted in time for the Dublin show)

The 3 winners will be contacted by email and Tickets will be posted once I have address details.





Details about the Knitting and Stitching Show in Dublin:

Needles at the ready for The Great Irish PicKnit!
Join the PicKnit at the Knitting & Stitching Show, RDS, Dublin, Oct 30th 2nd Nov

Thousands of knitting enthusiasts are invited to pack their needles and wool for The GreatIrish PicKnit which features at the Knitting & Stitching Show in the RDS, Dublin, fromOctober 30th November 2nd

The show organisers are predicting that The PicKnit, a social gathering involving knitting andfood, will become the next big pastime in Ireland’s towns and cities, saying it is the perfectrecipe for a darn good time!

More than 25,000 visitors are expected to attend the show, which will feature a uniquecombination of inspirational galleries, workshops and exhibitors selling everything fromstunning fabrics, wools and threads, through to sewing machines, patterns and books.

A new attraction will be The PicKnit, brought to Dublin by the UK Hand Knitting Association.Under the theme of ‘Knit One, Hook One and Pass it On’, visitors to The Picknit can learn,create and share their knitting and crochet skills with other visitors. There will be free one-to-one knitting and crochet tuition for beginners, and a chance for the more adventurous toexperiment with some exciting new designs.

Helen Marriott, The Knitting & Stitching Show, said: "For decades, knitting has been asociable pastime with knitters happily chatting over coffee and yarn. PicKnits takes that ideato the next level, combining a love of food with a love of knitting, stitching and craft.Knitting PicKnits don’t have to be big formal occasions though - all you need are needles,some snacks, a few friends and some space. Importantly, Knitting PicKnits, like the onecoming up in the RDS, help keep the traditional skills of knitting and stitching alive."

Thanks to celebrity knitters such as Cara Delevingne, Ryan Gosling, Kate Moss and Lily Allen,organisers have noticed a huge increase in interest in knitting and sewing. "Knitting andsewing have both been around for centuries, but celebrity knitters and sewers are helping to bring the hobby and craft to a whole new audience." added Helen Marriott.

Visitors to the show, which is Ireland’s largest textile and craft event, can also look forwardto:

  • Artists at work in the ‘Artists in Action Studio’

    Learning a new skill at one of the 100s of ‘Learning Curve’ workshops

    • Professionally-curated galleries including one featuring the 1913 Lockout Tapestry,designed by Cathy Henderson and artist Robert Ballagh

    • An exhibition marking the 100th anniversary of the outbreak of World War One

    • An inaugural display by the students from the Cork Crawford College of Art and

      Design.

    • An exhibition of new textile artwork exploring relationships betweencommemoration and memory by Nigel Cheney of NCAD

    • A Design & Crafts Council of Ireland exhibition, called Entwined Memories

    • ‘Explorations’ by the Irish Patchwork Society.

    • 116 hours of workshops ranging from Beginners’ Crochet to Embellishing Bed Linento Sewing a Vintage Clutch Bag.

      Visitors will also be able to browse and buy specialist supplies and ‘hard-to-find’craftmaterials from more than 200 retailers.

      Tickets for the four day show at the RDS Simonscourt in Dublin are now on sale throughwww.theknittingandstitchingshow.com/Dublin. Advance tickets cost €14 for adults, withconcession prices available on-line.

      Twitter: @KnitStitchRDS #KnitnStitch


Good Luck!

 

 

 

 

 

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Monday, October 13, 2014

Fabric Search for Elsa's Coronation Dress

If it's Elsa, it must be Frozen! We were late to the Frozen party in this house, and finally bought the film during the summer holidays. It was watched on the few wet afternoons we had this summer, my 7yo daughter & 9yo son loved it, but the rest of us could be found openly watching & enjoying it too!

 

The most popular costume from the film is Elsa's shimmery blue Ice Queen/Snow Queen dress, but my daughter has her heart set on the coronation dress. There are excellent and detailed pictures on this blog -Arendellekingdom

Some research on the film and that dress has thrown up some interesting links. One of the most fascinating is from an illustrator on the film, Brittney Lee, who blogged about her design process. She also provided information on the interesting ’rosemaling' designs in the dress fabrics and throughout the film.

There is also an excellent interview with the costume designer, Jean Gillmore, from Frozen on the Tyranny of Style blog.

It was very interesting to discover that many of the illustrations of the costumes are based on the properties of fabrics from which the dresses in Scandanavian countries would have be sewn. For example the weight of a fabric would affect its drape and movement. This is reflected in the animation in the film.

 

 

With all this inside knowledge, I searched for fabric online which would be suitable for a child's costume, and accurately reflect the costumes in the film.

The Coronation dress in the film seemed like a wool fabric, but that would be the most impractical fabric for a child's costume. Then I considered velvet, which would drape and move in a similar manner to wool.Many velvet dress fabrics available online are polyester and stretch velvets or velours, which would probably be most suitable. but I was looking for a fabric with more weight, so was drawn to using cotton velvet, which is expensive to buy in Ireland.

 

 

It took me ages to find the kind of fabric I wanted, either it was too stretchy, too expensive, wrong colour.....

After a very thorough search, I eventually found the specific colours for the coronation dress in a cotton mix velvet fabric from Fjøelner in Denmark. It turned out to be the perfect weight and was delivered extremely quickly.

 

This is where I'm at....

 









I already had black velvet and a suitable pattern Butterick 5980 (ViewD with longer skirt and long sleeves), so the dress and the Cape have been sewn up. Now I just need to figure out how to add the floral/scrolling designs to the velvet on the dress!

 

 

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Monday, September 1, 2014

Basic Black - A Japanese Pattern Book Review

Basic Black is a book of sewing patterns by a Japanese designer Sato Watanabe. This is one of the more interesting and exciting Japanese Pattern Books that I have used, particularly because it includes patterns for garments that are designed with shape, rather than the usual loose fitting Japanese styles.

 

Unlike Sato Watanabe's Stylish Skirts book that I also reviewed, there is a lot less drafting, measurment and creation of pattern pieces in this book. Pattern sheets, which are printed on both sides, are included with the book.

 

What is most surprising about this book, is that the original publication date of the Japanese edition was 2005, but you would never guess that based on the designs in this English translation from Tuttle Publishing.

 

 
 
There are 26 patterns in the book - 7 shirts/blouses, 10 dresses, 8 coats/jackets/vests and 1 skirt in both loose and fitted styles. There is some minor pattern drafting needed, in approx half of the patterns. This involves adding length, facings, marking pleats, simple skirts & rectangular shapes.
The sizing is unlike most Japanese pattern books, in that the finished measurments of garments are shown. This means that when taking measurments to pick which size to sew, you need to consider how much ease you like and add this to your measurments before comparing them with the chart. This makes choosing a size awkward, but accurate. Taking this into account the largest size in the book is about the same as US size 16-18, but because the patterns are multisized, they could easily be graded up a size or two.
 
 
Garments are grouped into 3 different types of fit - those with shaping, fitted & loose, and there is even a fitted jacket.
Most of the patterns are at an advanced beginner level, with only 3 that I could identify as beginner.

 
 
Wanting to write a fair review the book, I sewed pattern 'w'. This is a pattern for a long sleeved knit top with an asymmetrical neckline finished with bias and an asymmetrical hem finished with ribbon trim.




In the introduction, Sato Watanabe writes about loving black clothes since she was a child. But I didn't quite keep to the colour ethos of the book .....

...... it's more of an 'Orange is the New Black' look! The orange jersey was bought recently from Volksfaden.de and the ribbons are from janemeans.com
 
 

The pattern indicated that the neckline should be finished with bias, but I chose to match the neckline with the same brown striped ribbon that I used on the front and back hems. As jersey tends not to fray, I sewed the ribbon directly onto the outside of the fabric with a long stitch.

 
 
The sleeves were cut in three pieces and slightly narrower than indicated because I had only 1metre of fabric. I added flat piping between the sleeve seams and sewed the sleeve hem with sage green stitched grosgrain ribbon also from Jane Means. The technique I used for sewing the sleeve hem is one I used before and described in detail here
 
 
 

There are quite a large variety of sewing techniques illustrated in the clear diagrammatic form that Japanese Pattern books are renowned for. These techniques include facings and bindings as well as collars and plackets among others. Each part of the technique is drawn in detail and diagrams are numbered to make them easier to follow.

 
 
The fit is exactly as it looks in the book picture, except that my sleeves are narrower. I also added about 5 cm of length to the front and back as the top seemed shorter than I preferred. Because only finished garment measurements are given in the book, I measured my pattern pieces against a RTW top to make sure I picked the correct size.

This book is beautifully presented and has an excellent selection of diverse patterns for coats, dresses, skirts and tops in loose, semi-structured and fitted styles. It took me ages to decide on a pattern to sew because there are more that I want to make, including a zip-up jacket, two dresses and a shirt.

 

 

(Tuttle Publishing sent me this pattern book free. All opinions are my own. I have been happily sewing from Japanese language pattern books since 2009)


 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Wednesday, July 30, 2014

Fun Sewing for A Toy Wedding

Not having much time for big sewing projects over the school holidays, there are still ways and means of getting some sewing in....

 

When my 3 year old niece wanted two of her toys to have a wedding & I got a request for simple wedding outfits, I needed no further excuse to get back to my machine.

 
 
This McCalls pattern 6005 was bought quite a while ago and it was a complete surprise when I realised that I had already cut out and organised all the tiny pattern pieces. The patterns don't quite shout 'wedding', however the pyjamas top was easily transformed into a wrap-around wedding dress by adding length and layers to the skirt part. The patterns for the leopard print coat and trousers were used for the grooms suit.
 
 
 
The veil, bow tie and shirt collar piece were my own creations! The fabric and trims were scraps and small leftover pieces, chosen on the premise that anything lacy and sparkly would appeal to my niece.
 
 
The 'wedding' had all the trappings of a true Irish wedding, though on a smaller scale in my brother-in-law's house with a meal, dancing, a disco and finishing with the national anthem! Of course, everyone was also talking about the clothes...
 
 
 

As an extra surprise for my niece, I sewed tiny (teaspoon-sized!) aprons as 'housewarming' gifts for the 'newly weds', inspired by the aprons I sewed in this post.

 
 

The grooms apron is Parsons Gray laminated cotton with janemeans beige narrow stitched ribbon as ties and a headband.

 
 

The brides apron is an Amy Butler laminated cotton, bought from this Irish shop (Pippablue). It has a Liberty print fabric pocket, janemeans narrow slate stitched ribbon ties, as well as a matching headscarf. The elastic was added to the ribbon at the neckline with a simple zig-zag stitch, to ensure the apron would fit over the head.

 

These little aprons were kindly modelled by Mickey and Minnie, before being delivered to a very appreciative niece.

 

 

 

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Friday, June 27, 2014

Stylish Skirts - A Pattern Book Review & Make

One of the more interesting and unusual Japanese Pattern books, which I have seen, is written by Sato Watanabe a popular Japanese designer & author. This pattern book - Stylish Skirts, published by Tuttle Publishing, is an English version of the similar Japanese pattern book.

Most Japanese Pattern books have the patterns included, and others have a range of sizes which you use to draw pattern pieces based on your measurements. Unlike the other books from Tuttle Publishing that I have reviewed, Stylish Skirts, goes even further and intends that you use your own measurements to draw pattern pieces. That makes this book both a challenge and fitting dream all at once!

 

 

The challenge is that the book requires the patterns to be drafted. Some of the patterns require you to divide your waist and/or hip measurment by anything from 2 to 10, depending on the style of the skirt.

I decided the best way to review the book would be to sew up one of the skirts. I chose Skirt D which is a faux-wrap skirt and used a linen-cotton mix fabric.

 

 

 

Pattern instructions for each skirt are provided in the form of detailed illustrations with numbered sewing steps, a list of materials and cutting layouts with suggested seam allowances. Measurements are given in both inches and centimetres. For skirt D I had to use my waist measurement divided in 2 (for the main 2 pattern pieces - front and back). I decided to use my high hip measurement as that is where I prefer a skirt to sit. The front panel seemed to be missing a measurement, but I worked this out from the length of the fabric on the cutting layout.

 

 

The big surprise for me (a bit of a 'd'oh' moment!!) was how beautifully the skirt fit. (Yes, I realise I used my own measurements to draft it!)

I had a few minutes of mild panic when I held up my newly drafted pattern pieces to me and they looked too small, but I trusted my measurements and kept going.

Though the book mentions adding extra for a looser fit in "Tips for Making Better Skirts" p33, this could easily be missed, so it is important not to forget to add wearing ease when drafting a pattern from the book. Adding 3-4 cm as mentioned in the book, or measure a skirt you already own, will help you decide on the amount of ease.

 

 

The sewing instructions are listed in bullet points, which is similar to all books like this one. Many of these individual points are clearly illustrated (sometimes on other pattern pages) and so were straightforward to follow. I made some minor changes to the pattern. As I had a matching lace zip I used that instead of the invisible zip suggested.

 

 

 

 

 

 

The pattern lists a leather cord for the tie but I picked a matching striped ribbon from Jane Means, which worked just as well, and was probably easier to sew.

 




 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Simple seam finishes are illustrated in the diagrams for each pattern. The cotton/linen mix fabric, that I used, frayed easily, but I covered the inside seams with gingham ribbon, also from Jane Means to neaten the inside and strengthen the seam and fabric.

 

 

 

 

 
 

Altogether there are 23 skirts, of a wide variety of styles which are constructed from different recommended types of fabrics. The patterns range from easy gathered skirts to skirts constructed from trapezoid shapes and rectangles. I identified about 7 easy skirt patterns, 8 medium and 8 difficult patterns after reading through the pattern and sewing instructions.

 

 

Like all Japanese Pattern books the garments are beautifully photographed and I really wanted patterns for all the beautiful tops shown with the skirts! The descriptions of each skirt reads like something from a literary couturier. How could you resist this skirt for example? ........ "This unashamedly feminine lace skirt is lined with sheeting to give it body. It's flattering line is neat around the hips, with gores beginning below the hips and flaring out to a full hemline." p8

 

 

This book is not for a new sewist or beginner at sewing. Even the 7 easy skirts in the book use some symbols which would be more familiar with a little sewing experience. An advanced beginner with an interest in pattern drafting and who likes to visualise sewing techniques would enjoy this book. There are diagrams for some excellent techniques, including seam finishing, a welt pocket which is attached like a patch pocket, bellows/cargo pockets, zippers, elastic shirring, sewing buttons, sewing hooks & eyes and more.

 

I'm delighted that Tuttle Books are continuing to add to their selection of English translations of Japanese Pattern Books. They are also about to release (July 8th 2014) another (must have) pattern book Basic Black by Sato Watanabe.

 

(Tuttle Publishing sent me this pattern book free. All opinions are my own. I have been happily sewing from Japanese language pattern books since 2009)

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Sunday, May 18, 2014

How to Sew a Ribbon Hem

Sewing ribbon to the hem edge of a garment is an easy finishing technique. It adds an extra detail and can also be used to preserve the length of the hem. I regularly use ribbon to finish hems as well as sleeve and neckline edges, though I wasn't always confident in doing so. The soon-to-begin Belcarra Sewalong means that it's as good a time as any to show how I sew ribbon hems.

 

 

 

 

 

 

I sewed ribbon hems for the two Belcarra blouses from Sewaholic Patterns that I recently made. I liked the unhemmed length of the blouses, and didn't want to turn up a full hem. Also, the fabric in both was lightweight, so I wanted to add a little weight to the hems.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

A huge variety of ribbons will work for hemming purposes. It is useful, but not necessary, to match the ribbon type with the fabric type. For the beige Liberty tana lawn cotton Belcarra blouse, I used a cotton stitched ribbon from janemeans. For the green AnnaMarie Horner cotton voile blouse, I used a polyester ribbon also from janemeans.

I would strongly recommend prewashing the ribbon in the same manner that you will treat the finished garment.





What you need:

-A sharp/new sewing machine needle

-Good quality grosgrain or cotton ribbon, the same length (+1.5cm overlap) as the hem

-Matching thread colour - matched to the ribbon colour rather than the fabric.

-Garment with side seams sewn & finished, ready for hemming

 

 

Step 1:

Place the wrong sides of the fabric and ribbon together. If the ribbon doesn't have a wrong side, choose one side as the wrong side.

Place the ribbon on the fabric so that the right side of the ribbon and the wrong side of the fabric both face up as in the picture

Ensure the ribbon overlaps the fabric edge by approx 1cm or up to half the width of the ribbon.


Sew the long left edge of the ribbon to the hem edge using a long stitch length. The line of stitching should be approx 2-3mm in from the long left ribbon edge.
 
 
 
Step 2:
When you have stitched all around the hem, cut the ribbon allowing for an extra 1.5 cm to fold under. Fold the end of the ribbon in by 1.5 cm and continue sewing. Backstitch when you have sewn the overlap. This line of stitching will become the lower edge of the garments hem.
 
 
 
Step 3:
Turn the garment so that the right side of the fabric faces upward. Fold the ribbon over at the stitching line, so that the ribbon covers the raw hem edge and the right side of both the ribbon and the fabric are facing up. Press the ribbon and fabric.
 
 
 
Step 4:
With the right sides of the fabric and ribbon facing upwards, sew along the edge of the ribbon, enclosing the raw edge of the fabric.

 

 

 

Step 5

When you reach the folded short end of the ribbon, sew across the ribbon width and backstitch to finish.



Step 6:

Press hem edge again.

 

 

This technique works perfectly on straight hem edges, but will also work on a slightly curved edge. If you wish to sew a ribbon hem on a circle skirt/dress edge, a narrow ribbon will work better.

 

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