Tuesday, December 03, 2013

Butterick B5951 in Liberty Lawn Rachel de Thames - View A

I started writing this post two weeks ago!  Busy time of year for everyone...I hope you are all enjoying the run up to Christmas.  I am playing Elvis "Christmas Peace" as I type.

I made this dress a few weeks ago and have worn it a couple of times.  It's seriously comfortable.  I just wish I could have got better photos of it.  It's the story of my life it seems, but I really have trouble taking photographs when the light is so bad.  My house is pretty dark as it is (I like it that way), without the pervading gloominess outside.

The dress was so terribly quick and easy to make, and I made no alterations at all except for to take in the front darts a little bit under the bust as it was a little loose there.  I had no problems with the back being too long, which really makes a change.  It didn't even need shortening in the skirt.  I lined the whole dress in black cotton lawn (the pattern is for a lined bodice only).  I bought quite a bit of this stuff and I often use it for lining.  As you may have noticed, I rarely wear tights, shunning them in favour of a nice pair of knee-high socks (elegant!)  Socks are so much easier to wear, I find. So my dresses don't have anything to stick to, which means a cotton lining is perfect even in winter.  Also, I like the body it gives to a garment.

Because I really like my seams to match either side of the zip, these days I always hand sew my zips in, unless it's an invisible one.  Also, I do find it difficult to sew the zip in evenly on each side of the teeth, and I find that difficult sometimes with my machine.  Let's face it, I love hand sewing so I don't need much of an excuse.

Because I didn't make up a muslin to check the fit, I used some Liberty lawn that I wasn't exactly in love with, thinking that if it turned out a great dress it would be wearable (which of course it wouldn't be if I had used some of my cheap extra wide sheeting bought specially for making muslins).  As it happens, I love the fabric now.  Here is a close up of the fabric and the gathers in the front darts:
The arm holes are lovely and deep, which means they are very comfortable.  It will be a great dress to wear in the summer.
I will definitely be making this dress again; I already have a fabric lined up, and a lovely, crisp, purple cotton lining.

My cardigan in the top photograph is Andi Satterlund's Hetty, which I knitted in Knit Picks Wool of the Andes Worsted in Victorian, a dusty sort of pink.  I knitted it a good few weeks ago, so I can't remember many details very clearly, but there is a page for it on Ravelry as there was a knit-along.  Here are some photos (excuse the fact that it doesn't really go with the Hawthorn top I'm wearing.  I only put it on for the photos!)



Thursday, October 24, 2013

Red Cord Hollyburn Skirt

Sorry about the glaring underwear!  It's flesh coloured, but shiny!
Hello everyone.

Thank you for your comments on my Agatha cardigan.

I have been sewing with a vengeance, having lost my sewing mojo for several weeks.  I always knew it would return, but until then I concentrated on my knitting.  I have another cardigan to show you but I haven't yet taken any photos.  That seems to be the thing that prevents me blogging for several weeks at a time: taking the photos.  I don't know why I find it such a pain to do!  Today I am actually wearing this outfit, so I thought I'd better take the photos as I didn't have to bother changing my clothes specially, which makes the whole process easier.  When I say "whole process", of course I mean merely standing in my sitting room for a few minutes.  Gosh I must be lazier than I thought.

I have made a few things in the last week: a really lovely 60s blouse in Paul Smith cotton, a ruched, sleeveless dress in Liberty lawn (surprise!), the skirt I am showing you now, and I finally sewed the button bands on to a knitted cardigan.  And I almost forgot, I also made a black polyester brocade shirt dress the week before.  Wow!  I have been busy.  And what's more, I haven't had any stompingly frustrating moments, either.  You know how sometimes everything seems to go wrong when you're sewing?  And you wonder why on earth you bother?  Unless it's just me...hehe!

But I did make a skirt from what is apparently nylon taffeta, and it's like tent material...horrid!  Like plastic.  Also, the skirt has a lot of gathering at the hip, and the fabric is so thick, it sticks out like a period costume.  It's pretty ridiculous, yet I have worn it!  I must show you that, too.

Anyway, my Hollyburn skirt, from Sewaholic Patterns. I have made one before, in black cord, so it didn't photograph very well.  I wear it a lot and have always meant to make a red cord one.  And I have!  This cord is much thicker than the black one I used before, but it's not made any difference to the skirt, and it's nice and warm for winter.
The Hollyburn skirt really is a great wardrobe basic.  And it's so terrible simple to make.  It took me a couple of hours, honestly.  You sew the pockets to the fronts, sew the backs and fronts together, put the waistband on, and insert the zip.  Hem.  That's it!  Oh, and I put the tabs on the front, with matching fabric-covered buttons.  I made a size 4 and I didn't alter anything, not even the length (this is the longest version).
I don't have anything more to say about this skirt, as it's so simple.  But I will try to be back pretty soon with some more photos of the other stuff I have made.
Here are some silk dupion samples from The Silk Route.  I'm trying to decide which one I would like to use for a Christmas dress.


Friday, September 27, 2013

Agatha Cardigan by Andi Satterlund

Thank you for your comments on my Hawthorn dress.  It has been worn several times since I made it and it's one of my favourites.

I haven't been sewing very much at all.  I did cut out a shirtdress (Vogue 8829):


Sorry, I couldn't figure out how to get the photo to be larger without it going all blurry.  Anyway, I have had this fabric cut out for at least a month and just haven't got around to doing anything with it except for pinning the darts.  Because I was so close to finishing a couple of knitting projects, I have been going for it on that side of things instead.  The great thing about knitting is that it can be done any time, almost anywhere.  

One of the things I had to get finished was the Agatha cardigan in green Cascade 220, which green I can't remember, as I started this cardigan just after Christmas last year and the yarn wrappers are long gone.  It didn't really take nine months to knit.  I was being lazy and put it aside because I just couldn't be bothered with doing all the short rows on the sleeves but, in the end, it only took a very short time to get all the short rows done and I can't believe I had the finished body sitting there for about six months when I could have just stopped procrastinating and got it done!

I really do like Cascade 220.  I've knitted four garments with it, and I bung them in the washing machine on the wool cycle and then give them a blast on the highest spin cycle to dry them out a bit, and they are still perfect.  Don't worry, I do dry them flat on a towel, and not in the tumble dryer. This yarn is very hardy but I don't think it could survive that!

I sewed velvet ribbon onto the backs of both button bands and it really helps to stabilise them and stop them pulling apart and gapping.  I machine sewed buttonholes in the ribbon before sewing it on to the garment.

I'm surprised at how much I like this cardigan.  I didn't have a good feeling about it whilst knitting it, I suppose.  I think I had a feeling it wouldn't fit.  Also, I'd knitted it to a longer length than intended, totally by accident (lack of concentration).  There is no excuse for that, as the cardi is knitted from the top down so you can try it on as you go (and I did!)

I have another cardigan finished but for the stabilising of the button bands, and another totally different one, waiting to be seamed.

I plan to get a bit of my shirtdress sewn this weekend, but you know how plans sometimes go awry...

Speaking of plans, I have so so many plans for sewing.  I have written a list but will probably rebel against it.  Maybe I have a problem (probably).  I haven't mentioned that I have at least three sewn items that I haven't blogged but I will try to get around to that soon.

Sunday, September 01, 2013

Colette Hawthorn Dress in Liberty: Mawston Meadow


Thank you for your comments on my Lola Dress.  Sorry I haven't responded to them all; I have been on holiday in Cornwall.

Every time I see the photos of my Lola Dress (I use my blogroll to keep up with my fave blogs) I see how poorly it fits.  It won't stop me from wearing it but next time I will be certain to make some alterations before cutting.

But now...here is my Colette Hawthorn dress.  And the good news is I love it.  Really love it!  Luckily I had made the peplum blouse version so I had already checked out the pattern for fitting issues (there weren't any!).  The skirt, being full, I knew would be fine.  It would be extremely upsetting to waste two metres of Liberty lawn!
I put this photo in as the skirt looks nice!
Although I knew the dress would fit, I was a little anxious it would look frumpy on me.  I do not want to look frumpy.  As it happens, the dress does look a bit frumpy on the hanger but once I put it on I feel very feminine in it.  Also I'm relieved to find that, although I made it with plenty of room in the waist (I probably could have taken out some of that ease) it's still flattering and doesn't make me feel like a sack of potatoes, which can happen easily, as I have quite a thick waistline.  So, it's super super comfy, which makes a change as I usually cut everything too small (yes I know it's stupid).
Close-up of Mawston Meadow
In these photos I'm wearing a petticoat with a little netting, which I think really accentuates the fullness of the skirt without making it look too dressy.
Petticoat: McCalls M6706
This dress is so easy to make, I know I'll make another.  Lots of buttons and buttonholes don't worry me, in fact I enjoy them.  And the collar is very simple to put in, and the armholes are finished with bias tape, which is another thing I enjoy doing.  All in all, a very pleasurable experience, in relation to making the dress, and wearing it.

Monday, August 12, 2013

Lola Dress by Victory Patterns


I made this dress a couple of weeks ago but haven't worn it because it has been too warm for it, it being summer.  Even in the UK this dress won't be worn until the autumn.  Because of this I forgot about it until I saw this one, which is just fabulous in so many ways.

When I made this dress I used stash ponte, which I fully intended to be a wearable try-out sort of version, feeling that I would probably need to make some sort of petite adjustment, but not being sure exactly where or how.  It's drafted for a person of (I think I remember) 5ft 6 to 5ft 9 (I am 5ft 2).  On trying on the dress I felt I probably should have made it a bit closer fitting under the bust and a bit narrower all over.  Definitely a bit shorter than it is.  Seeing Perfect Nose's version confirmed this.  That's okay...I am fully intending to make another, this time with fluffy sweatshirt fabric.  I did get a sample from a company in Germany that has a great selection, but it was a little thinner than I would like.  Back to the drawing board on that one.  Anyway, back to the ponte I used for this version: it's a bit drapey but very stable.  I think I could do without a bit of that drapiness.  I want fluffy!  The pockets havemore fabric in them - width-wise - than the side panels of the actual dress, and I'm not sure I like the way this fabric makes the pockets hang.
The dress was very easy to put together, and to sew on an ordinary sewing machine.  I don't have a serger but I would like one!  I had to stretch the bejesus out of the bands, to get them sewn on to the much longer dress pieces, as I didn't use ribbing.  But it worked out okay.

Princess seams are so much easier when working with a knit fabric.  Yay for knit fabrics (sort of.  We have a love-hate relationship).  But in this case, when it came to the sewing, it was love!  I think that's because the fabric is very stable for a knit.
I just wanted to make a small mention of my hat, which is knitted in a wool/silk blend called Amitola by Louisa Harding.  I was such a quick knit - just a few hours - and will come in very handy in the winter (along with my other twelvty-thousand hats).

Saturday, August 03, 2013

Colette Hawthorn Peplum Blouse

When Colette released the latest pattern, Hawthorn, I wasn't impressed.  For some reason (obviously not paying attention to detail) I had thought it had a gathered waist, which most often make me feel - and look - like a sack of potatoes.  But when I saw the many versions put forward for the Hawthorn competition I changed my mind.  Not a waist gather in sight...that helped.  I think it's a really cool dress, in the right fabric. I personally wouldn't like to make it in anything too twee.
The picture on the wall is of my son having his cord cut at birth!  We psyched the colours up to stop it being alarming/cringeworthy.  

I wanted to make up the bodice to try the fit but couldn't be bothered with wasting time on a muslin I wouldn't be able to wear (I know, lazy!) so decided to use one metre of Liberty lawn that I'd had in my stash for ages and ages and which was supposed to be part of my next Macaron, to make the peplum blouse.  I have never been a fan of the peplum, even in my teen years back in the eighties, but having recently bought one RTW I can see that they can be quite flattering and quite cool to wear with jeans.
I'm glad I made this top.  In this version I cut a size 4, grading out to a size 6 waist.  There is too much room at the waist, even though I chose it based on my measurement, but I didn't alter it as I did want this to be relatively loose to wear with various trousers.  For my dress version I'll definitely cut a 4 all over.  Actually I may go down to a 2, grading out to a 4 at the waist as there is rather more room all round than I would like. Also I'll shorten the front bodice to a 2, and the back to a 0 (there is always too much length in the back for me in every pattern).  In this version I took out just a little bit more under the bust, in the darts, as it was a bit too roomy around the midriff.  Made me look a bit matronly around the middle...I needed more definition under the bust area.  Speaking of which: several people have commented that the points of the bust darts are a bit, um, pointy.  I know what they mean, but I like the effect.  It gives the bust a bit of a retro shape, although I don't think these photos show it.
There was nothing tricky at all about the making of this blouse.  The collar is very easy, both to make up and to insert.  There is no hand sewing involved as it's sewn in between the actual blouse and the neck facing, instead of having to be turned under on the inside of the neck and slip stitched down.  In this case I was happy, but I do quite like a bit of careful hand sewing now and then.
I finished the armholes with grey bias tape, and the hem, too.  The buttons are turquoise ones from my stash, which I was glad to use up.

I am definitely going to make a dress version.  My fabric is lined up - I just need the time to start pinning and cutting.

Friday, July 26, 2013

Deer & Doe Chardon Skirt in Black Cotton Sateen

Oh dear, once again I have made something black and it's really difficult to photograph.  I promise I don't have any other black fabric soon to be sewn up and blogged!

Here is an overexposed photo so you can actually see the skirt:
This is the Chardon Skirt by Deer & Doe.  I was surprised to find that Deer & Doe send their patterns from France to anywhere, postage free.  How fab is that?!*******Edited to add: I was wrong!  Deer & Doe offer extremely reasonable international postal charges, but it's PAPERCUT patterns who ship anywhere in the world FOC.  So sorry about that mistake.  I suddenly realised my error when a Papercut pattern arrived in the post this morning and jogged my memory!*******
The patterns themselves have lovely packaging, which always helps (!), and the pattern is printed on paper rather than tissue paper.

I seem to be choosing only quick makes recently as, along with the Anna Dress, this was crazy quick to make.  I mean, seriously fast.  It's two rectangles with pleats, and a facing.  Oh, and ties or belt loops.  And a zip.  I made option B (the longer version) but with the ties from option A instead of the belt loops.
My hem is level even though it looks terribly wonky.

I made the size 40, which is for a 28.5" waist (my exact measurement), thinking if it was too big I would be able to pull it in a bit with the tie.  It's definitely too big, even with 2cm taken out. Next time I would make the next size down.  I'm not sure if the fact that my cotton sateen (from Truro Fabrics) has a little give has anything to do with this; it's not stretch sateen though.

I like the way the pattern says to topstitch along the sides of the pleats to keep them in place.  But I was surprised to find there was no mention of understitching the facing at the waistline.  Without topstitching, the facing wants to pop out of the top of the skirt.  A beginner wouldn't know to do this, so it would be helpful to have it in the instructions.  Unless I've been a total donkey and missed it!
I like this skirt a lot and may make another.  But good grief, I have so much stuff I want to make.

Right now I'm working on a Victory Patterns Lola Dress in bright blue knit.  I sometimes find knits tricky...let's see what happens!

Tuesday, July 23, 2013

By Hand London - Anna Dress

Thanks for your comments on my red shorts.  I have worn them a lot already and I have a yellow pair in the pipeline.
As you can see, I finished my Anna Dress.  I hadn't seen this pattern until I visited the Sewbox online shop for something-or-other.  As soon as I saw it I bought the pattern.  Not because I want to make every single By Hand pattern there will ever be, just for the sake of it, but because I really like the style.

I made it in an embroidered eyelet fabric I had in my stash, but I didn't have enough for the long version, which is the one I wanted to make.  I still think I would prefer the longer version and will make it as soon as I have the fabric.  Having said that, I do really like this dress a lot, even though it's not the long version.  I chopped about 9 cm off the length of this, as it was a frumpy in between length on me otherwise.

This is such a quick make, it really is.  It didn't take me much more than a couple of hours.  As usual for By Hand, this pattern is well drafted, and comes together perfectly.  I would like to make a couple more of these.  This is a simple but stylish dress that skims the body in just the right places!  The armholes are roomy enough to be cool but not enough to show my undies, and I really like the shape of the sleeves a lot.  The best bit, though, are those pleats under the bust.  Just look!  Perfect.  Actually, I might make a top out of the bodice.  Hmm...

I took so many photos, trying to get some detail to show in the black fabric.  In the end, I had to put the dress on my dress form and photograph it in my undies, after some jiggling with the camera light metering.
Here are some more photos:

Sucking everything in for a (sort of ) side view!


Sunday, July 21, 2013

Colette Iris Shorts in Red Cotton Drill

Hi everyone!

I am just in the middle of making a By Hand London Anna Dress (a very quick make!), having discovered it by chance, and thought I'd make a very quick post about these red shorts in between, which I made on Friday.


I have made the Iris shorts before so, having (eventually, with much gnashing of teeth) got the fit how I wanted it, I just made a paper copy of my original muslin, and off I went.  Gosh, these are quick to make, by which I mean just a couple of hours from start to finish.  This time I didn't put the pockets in because I didn't like the way they pulled open.

I like these shorts so much; I think they're pretty smart, so I would wear them anywhere I wouldn't usually consider wearing shorts.  They are a great length: they stop just before my thighs get a lot more meaty!  Also, they aren't tight, which means they are comfortable.  I have eaten toast, watermelon, a home-made strawberry and banana and ground flax milkshake, home-made golden syrup cake, a packet of crisps...you get the picture...and they are still comfy, though a little more expanded in the tummy area!  Sorry they look a bit creased, but I'd been sitting down in them for some time before taking the photos.

I am going to make a yellow drill pair next.
I know some people say life is too short to mess around with patterns that need a lot of fitting to get right, but I'm really glad I persevered with these.  They are my fave shorts ever!

Just please don't be upset my my terribly knobbly knees!

Will post my Anna Dress v soon.

Monday, July 08, 2013

Vogue 8184...again


I have been gone a while as I have had much decorating to do, including huge curtains to sew.  I really intensely dislike making curtains but the feeling of achievement when they're finished (not to mention the relief) makes it worth it!

Thank you for your comments on my tartan Elisalex.  I really enjoyed making that dress (and wearing it).

I made this latest version of Vogue 8184 back in March and then forgot about it, and Saturday was the first time I'd worn it, the British weather being what it is.  It's made from quilting cotton, as indeed are all my other versions of this pattern.  I feel that the fabric, along with the boning (or in my case, plastic rigilene), gives much needed structure to the bodice.  All my versions also have self-lined bodices.

What can I say about this that I haven't said before!  I do love this pattern; it fits me perfectly with no alterations, it's fitted without being uncomfortable.  In fact it's very comfortable.  And it's such a quick make as well.  It might be strapless (something I didn't think I would wear much), but it's a definite wardrobe staple for me, for summer.  I could happily live in these dresses and probably will.

One thing, and it's my own mistake: having spent ages choosing which planets to put where, I didn't notice that I had doubled up on the ringed planet at the waistline until the dress was made, and now it drives me mad.  Oh well, hopefully I have learnt to be more careful in future.