Sunday, April 29, 2012

Vogue 1248 - Throwing Shapes

Finally...the skirt with the HUGE pockets!
This skirt has such a dramatic silhouette, it makes me want to throw weird shapes!
I wasn't sure if I would like Vogue 1248 once it was made up, but I thought I might enjoy the creative process along the way, so it seemed worth the risk.  As it happens, I like it such a lot, and it feels so me, I think if my spirit were suddenly to manifest itself physically in an item of clothing, this could be it!

It's pretty tricky to photograph black inside on a dark and murky, rainy day.  I lightened the top photo a bit but it hasn't really helped.  It's hard to see the details but the skirt has a very deep waistband, which ends at the high hip, and the skirt itself is very gathered, with huge pockets, which are gathered on all four edges.
As you can tell, there was a lot of gathering involved.  I will never again complain about a few centimetres worth of gathering after doing this lot.

There is a long belt, which is sewn in at the side seams and you cross it over at the back and tie it at the front.  It's supposed to have "shirt-sleeve cuffs" at the ends but I was too lazy to do them, and I thought they may not show in black anyway.  Not enough to make it worth the extra effort.
This skirt is made in simple black lawn with a black muslin lining.  Both the shell and lining are finished with a narrow hem.
I know I will wear this skirt a lot.  I would love a black, taffeta version but that would have to be saved for best and then I would never wear it because I never go out, because I am always at home sewing or cooking  and stuff!  Helping with know.
Edited to add these photos (click to see them larger):
P4299708 P4299710

Thursday, April 26, 2012

McCalls M6436 Sleeveless Version A


I am still working on the huge-pocketed black lawn skirt but haven't had much time to spend sewing.  Also, I had a couple of hiccups with it - will explain in another post - so it's been taking longer than expected.

In the meantime I thought I would make a post on my sleeveless version of M6436, which I made just before Easter.  It's in the same Liberty Pamela Judith lawn as the long-sleeved version I made, but in the blue colour way instead of the brown.  I really like this colour.
This is version A but without the shoulder tabs.  I made this in a size 8, even though my measurements should really put me in at least a size 10, maybe a 12, but I don't like too much ease.  By nature of the style, this shirt does have a lot of ease.  For a closer-fitting shirt Vogue 8772 would be a good shirt to go for.
The buttons are vintage 1940's turquoise ones, and the bias binding on the armhole edges is a lovely vibrant bright green.  This version has pleated pockets and flaps.

Friday, April 20, 2012

Ella Shawl

P4209573 Before this blog was a mostly sewing blog, it was a mostly knitting blog. I used to knit all the time. Really all the time. Until, suddenly, somehow, I was sewing all the time instead, and only picking up my knitting needles on the odd occasion (I mean about twice a year!)
My old knitting basket sits in the corner of the sitting room still, next to the logs. It's full of unfinished things. There is one thing I pick up from time to time, and that is a one-sixth finished olive green lace shawl. It has been on those needles at least a year and a half. It gathers dust mostly.

 The other day I actually had a bit of a rummage in the basket and brought out a shawl I had honestly completely forgotten knitting (I still only remember choosing the yarn - it was years ago...I really don't remember knitting the shawl at all). The poor thing was fully complete, except for all the ends I hadn't sewn in. I still can't believe I had gone to all the effort of knitting something like this, only to leave it festering away somewhere just because I really am far too lazy to sew in a few ends.
Sewing in the ends took no longer than ten minutes. I am ashamed of myself.

Anyway, I gave the shawl a really brutal "stretch and steam" today instead of blocking it properly (I am too lazy), and the stitches opened out beautifully, and instead of being a seething, bobbly mass, the shawl is now at least three times its starting size, and the drape is wonderful.  I will find this useful on summer nights outside, when the air turns cool.

 Now I just have to finish the Kidsilk Haze Navy Cardigan I started, and all the socks, too. Oh, and the olive shawl. Thanks, Sarah, for reminding me how much I used to enjoy my knitting!  I am going to take it up again in the evenings (I don't sew in the evenings).

I just picked up the shawl on a whim this morning and, as I hadn't planned to do this today, I just took photos in what I was already wearing.  Look!  I'm wearing my Vintage Vogue V2859!  Fab shirt - great with jeans.

Pattern: Ella
Yarn: Lorna's Laces Shepherd Sport something or other (sorry, too long ago)

 (The skirt with the big pockets was coming along nicely, by the way, until this week, when it stopped, as I had to spend the whole week doing our company invoicing, and it took up all my time. Back on the skirt soon).

Thursday, April 12, 2012

McCalls M6083

Thinking this "playsuit" was a bit of gamble (due to the trouser bit of it - though hardly fitted - and also because I thought I might look totally mutton - as in old, not deaf*/** - in a playsuit), I made up a muslin first.  No need to have worried!  This is a fab little pattern, which I first saw at The Mahogany Stylist (I really like so much of her stuff).  From cutting out the pattern to actually taking the photos took an afternoon.  It does say this pattern is suitable for beginners on the envelope, and I can see was lovely and straightforward to make.  And the trouser bit is perfect.  And I don't think you have to be a whippersnapper to wear it.  Made in a suitable fabric, it's quite dignified (but then, who cares...?)
Others have said that the bodice comes up way short on this pattern.  Boy, were they right!  My catch-phrase seems to be "I'm only 5ft 2", and now I find myself saying it again: I am only 5ft 2, yet I had to add a centimetre to the bodice length.  I could have added more but if I had the usual bodice length for me, the crossover front would gape too much (usually I shorten the bodice on patterns, though).  That has to be kept in mind.  As it is, I can just about squeeze this on over my shoulders (from the bottom, step into it of course).  The shorts are pretty short, too.  I didn't make them any shorter than the pattern suggested (and I'm only 5ft 2, as you know!  Hehe!)
I really do think this pattern would suit lots of people.  I would really like to make this up again, but in a longer version I could wear all year round.  Mid-calf length, perhaps.  I would make it in a floatier cotton maybe.  The cotton I used for this version is a thicker cotton than my beloved Liberty lawn.  I had this in my stash for years and I'm so glad I found the perfect pattern for it.

Roll on warmer weather!

*Mutt'n'Jeff means "deaf" in cockney rhyming slang
** Funny thing is, I do have hearing aids in both ears, as I only have 20% of what I should have in some tones.

By the way, the large-pocketed dress is postponed for a few days, as I realised I wanted muslin for the lining, and black interfacing, so I had to order them online.

Monday, April 09, 2012

Breaking the Rules

Thank you to (again) Catherine Daze and Just Skirts and Dresses for awarding me the Leibster Blog award.  These are two of my absolute favourite blogs (and you will understand why) and so I have been very flattered that I should have been chosen by them.  Catherine, I'm sorry it's taken me so long to get around to this.

The rules say that I have to mention the award and link back to the blogger that gave it to me, then award it to five other blogs.  I'm finding it impossible to choose, and at least two of the blogs I would have chosen actually passed it on to me anyway.  So I'm going to break the rules, thank the two blogs that gave me the award and leave it there as I just can't decide on a list.  It's too much for my frazzled brain.  A cop out I know, but it would cause me lack of sleep for weeks and then I would lose my appetite and then end up too skinny to fit in to any of my lovely home-made clothes (as if).  As you can see, it's impossible.
This weekend I have cut out the fabric for my latest project.  Uncharacteristically it's in plain black lawn.  It has huge pockets.  So huge I have posted a pic, above.  Yes, that is the pocket. 
I am about to cook a roast dinner, it being a very rainy bank holiday where I am, so unfortunately the sewing has stopped for now.  Will be back with an update soon.

I hope you all had a good weekend.

Friday, April 06, 2012

M5661 and Beignet Skirt

I have said I'll post pics of certain garments being worn, and I haven't got around to it until now.

Here are my Colette Beignet skirt, made in stretch cotton drill, and my M5661, made in a crisp silk.

These are two of my favourite home-made garments and I wear them a lot. They both wash and iron well, and are comfortable to wear. I will certainly make a navy drill Beignet in the future. The Beignet really surprised me. I didn't think it was my sort of style but I was wrong. Just goes to show we should sometimes take a risk (small though it was!)

Wednesday, April 04, 2012

McCalls M6433

Firstly, apologies for the dog's bottom. Funny the things we sometimes don't notice in photos until later.
This dress is McCalls M6433, which I made in a very crisp batik type cotton. Description: Fitted, lined bodice, front and back darts, stitched shoulder pleats, back zipper and self lined cap sleeve. Obviously mine doesn't have the cap sleeve.
I made up a muslin first and found that the back definitely had some excess fabric, horizontally. I thought I could fix it by shortening the bodice by about a centimetre, as I have made this alteration on dress patterns before (seems to make sense, as I'm classed as petite in height, being only 5ft 2). However, although this worked in straightening out the back somewhat, it in fact brought the waistline up too high (and this is the final version I am talking about). I'm wondering if the fabric should have been pinched out higher in the back, and then the trunk area lengthened to stop the waist from rising too high. Aargh. I'm a bit frustrated about it. Also, the dress is too tight on the hip area, and across the tummy. But a bit looser in the waist. So much for making a muslin! I think something was lost in translation there...I would like to make this one again but next time I will be more careful at the fitting stage.

The pleats, which are sewn flat into place for a few inches from the waist down to the hip, were lovely to do in this crisp fabric. However, I did feel that it would be a devil to press the remaining length of the skirt pleats without any crease lines as guides after washing, and would be a bit hit and miss, so I sewed the creases along each pleat back and front, very close to the edges, whilst keeping the pleats free still. I think this will help.
For the lining I used a very fine and floaty silk. I think it works nicely with the dark blue fabric. And it feels great!
This dress was a real pleasure to make. I might make it again in the knit version they show on the packet.