So my sewing machine died and I want a better one. I sew several times a week - mostly garments for the children, sometimes garments for me, and occasionally quilts. I'd like to do more quilting in future years, and I want to get a decent machine I can grow into (without, you know, shelling out $10,000.) I don't plan to ever do much machine embroidery, so I don't need an embroidery machine.
Based on my research online, an absolute maximum budget of $3000 and a chat with the guy from my local sewing machine shop, I've narrowed it down to four:
Brother QC2000 ($2229)
Pfaff Ambition 1.5 ($2000)
Husqvarna Viking Opal 670 ($2000)
Janome 8200 ($2800)
So, any advice or ideas? The Janome 8200 comes with about 20 feet and a ruffler, which is cool, and a side table; but it's only 860 stitches a minute, although I doubt I sew fast enough for that to be a problem. The Brother QC2000 has 1000 stitches a minute and has more stitches, plus it's cheaper, so that might be a better option. But then, Pfaff has such a good reputation...
DD does archery and loves dressing up and Brave, so a Merida costume was kind of a no-brainer for her sixth birthday.
Looking the dress up online I was astonished to find that it's not dark green at all. At least, there's blazing controversy. Apparently it's meant to be a dark, tealy blue which looks green in some lights. Looks green as heck to me in 90% of the film, but who am I to contradict the filmmakers? (And it did resolve a long-standing question in my mind as to why Merida merchandise featured a random blue dress that wasn't in the movie!)
Strangely enough I couldn't find any dark tealy blue fabric, so I bought a nice forest green and overdyed it with a dilute navy blue. My first time dyeing anything and I was a little nervous, especially when the fabric looked black immediately after dyeing - but lo and behold, it turned out perfectly. One day I'd be sewing it and thinking "Man, that dye didn't take at all, this dress is GREEN", and the next day I'd be thinking "Wow, I should have diluted the dye more, it's completely navy." Basically, it looks green in the light and blue in the shade; which is pretty cool! (Now watch as I fail to dye anything the correct colour ever again...)
I adapted two Ottobre patterns for the dress. The overdress was a long-sleeved winter dress I'd made DD before - lengthened, de-collared, widened at the hem and notched at the slightly lowered and widened neckline.
Most of the Merida cosplay I've seen just adds small 'peekaboo' sections of white to the sleeves and neckline. But it seemed fairly clear to me that Merida was wearing a chemise or underdress, so I decided to make the costume in two parts. (Probably easier, actually!) The underdress was a basic raglan-sleeved peasant top, lengthened and shirred at the neckline and sleeve cuffs. I didn't want the ruffles to be too bulky, so I finished the raw edges with a narrow zigzag instead of hemming them. I don't have any separate photos, but DD loves the underdress so much she's started wearing it as a winter nightie!
Anyway, here it is. It ain't perfect, but DD loves it.
I love the plaid one, especially the skirt! I also love the blouses underneath! Well done!
Thanks! I made the blouse too - an Ottobre Woman pattern. I recommend their patterns - great for adapting and customising. This blouse was meant to have a peplum, but I knew I'd mostly be wearing it under stuff, so didn't want any extra poofiness.
lidehtium: Thanks! I love the fabric too. It was $3 a metre on the bargain table. It's a tad scratchy to wear, but I always wear a shirt underneath... and the fibre content is best left to speculation. But hey. :p
It's great! Love all the hardware. And I like the colours - nice to see a change from the usual steampunk brown-and-copper! Not that I don't love brown and copper, but that forest green is lovely. Well done.
I love wearing dresses, but breastfeeding ones aren't easy to come by. I'm not big on the rather bland grey or black jersey dresses with crossover V-necks, designed to highlight one's magnificent breastfeeding cleavage, which I don't have. I've made do with shirt dresses (that button down the front) and the occasional zippered dress, but I was really craving something Modclothy that didn't bisect my torso. (I've been breastfeeding for a while...)
Sooo, I made this. It invisible-zips under the bust. The fabric doesn't stretch, and I doubt this pattern would work for someone with a large difference between band and cup size. But for a modest B-cup it works just fine. I used a rather ugly Ottobre Women bodice pattern which originally had topstitching and sleeves; self-drafted a skirt that flared at the hips (Empire waists make me look pregnant), and added the band-and-bow doohickey. Time-consuming, but not hard.
This one, version 2, was designed as a pinafore. (Actually so was version 1, in theory, but it ended up too tight to squeeze a blouse under!) I made the bodice a little looser and added an invisible zip at the back. The band on this one goes right round the back, so the zip can be a little longer (it starts just before one side seam and ends just after the other.) Makes the breastfeeding thing a bit easier. I also put pockets on it, because pockets are awesome. Here, I'm wearing a tulle skirt underneath:
These are currently two of my most wearable dresses. I really like the pattern, and will probably adapt it at some point for a wiggle skirt. I think it'd adapt quite nicely as a maternity dress too, with the high waistline. At any rate, after wearing buttons and zips down my front for years the blank acreage of chest gives me a ridiculous amount of happiness. Hope it inspires some fellow fashion-frustrated breastfeeders!
That looks amazing on you. Great job . Can you breastfeed in that top? I have a nursling and I've been worried about making tops in non-knit fabric for fear that it won't be easy enough to nurse in.
It's doable, but not super glamorous. :p I might not wear it with a feeding-every-ten-seconds newborn, but for an older nursling who only tops up once or twice a day, it's fine. The pattern would work well in a slightly stretchy fabric, too - not like a jersey, but one of those stretchy suitings, maybe?
And yeah, breastfeeding in dresses is a major pain. I'm planning to make some dresses by cutting a blouse pattern slightly shorter and adding a waistband and a circle skirt for a kind of fifties look. That should be OK for breastfeeding.
One of my New Year's Resolutions this year was to sew myself six garments. I make most of my children's clothes, but I'm skittish about sewing for myself (all that fabric to ruin!) And I never have anything to wear, because I don't like/look terrible in/can't breastfeed in/can't afford storebought clothes. So.
I did finish the six garments (and with two months to spare!) - and a few deadlines helped. This dress was created over about three days for a friend's film noir-themed 21st birthday party. I ran into a few annoying construction issues, and if I hadn't had the deadline (and NOTHING else to wear!) it would undoubtedly have ended up wadded at the back of the sewing cupboard. I'm glad it didn't, though - I like it.
I started with a Butterick coat pattern. Flared each panel a bit towards the bottom (in an Eiffel Tower-type shape, not A-line) and lengthened the hemline by three inches. Changed the back of the dress to a V-neck in an effort to make it look more dressy and less coaty. Altered the collar. Threw out the sleeves completely - they were really badly drafted. Pulled horribly and cut into the arms unless they were right down by my sides. (Some Googling informed me that this was due to too deep an armscye. The things you learn!) Anyway these were long, looseish coat sleeves and I wanted tight 3/4 length ones.
It took about five tries to get the sleeves even remotely right, and I'd try again if I made the dress again - mine are just a wee bit too tight, and the elbow dart I added in a fit of fanciness is a little too high. They're a vast improvement, though.
Then I self-covered buttons for the first time - so much fun! - and made a big ol' sash, and I was done. The dress doesn't fasten below the buttons and sash - it doesn't tend to fall open, but I wear bike shorts enough just in case. The dress is lined except for the sleeves. The buttons are just for show - I used these huge metal snaps I cannibalised off a hand-me-down years ago and never thought I'd use!
(And yes... most of these photos are sideways. *I* dunno. Tilt your head, it's good for your neck.)