Wednesday, July 29, 2015

Inspiration with Sailor Rose, Liberty Lawn and McCalls 6959

Photo belongs to Sailor Rose
Hi everyone!  I haven't been around for ages;  there just doesn't seem to have been enough time in the days for sewing as well as everything else, so I haven't sewn for ages, hence the blogging absence.  Exercising regularly and walking my doggie twice a day (long walks) seems to have filled in the sewing gaps.  However...

...the other day I happened to be looking at something-or-other online (as one does) and, heaven knows how, but I came across something almost totally unrelated to my original quest (as always seems to happen!) and suddenly felt the urgent need to create.  Maybe I just needed something to kickstart my sewing mojo again.  After all, most of us don't have the time to sew, but we make the time (same with exercise!)

The "something" was the above dress.  Now I remember, I'd been looking for the fabric, which is Kevin B by Liberty, and came across it in the form of this dress, which is by an American company called Sailor Rose (link above), so of course I wanted the dress and not just the fabric.  Looked at the price for the dress: $280!  I'm sure it's very nice, but: 1. I just don't have $280 for a dress and 2. um...did I mention the price?!

Searched for a wrap dress pattern that was for wovens (most are for knits), and came up with:


Only thing is, to make the dress with the fuller skirt (although it is a bit too full for my liking anyway) would mean around 4m of Liberty lawn...too expensive.  But with the straight skirt, even allowing extra fabric for mods to the ties (will explain) only approx. 1.8m is required.  Yay!!  So I'm going for view D but adding a collar to it. I don't usually go for straight skirts as, although I like the style, I find wearing them too restricting and uncomfortable.  I'm thinking that in this case the  skirt will have extra ease, due to the excess fabric in the wrap.

As for the ties, the pattern has the dress secured on the inside, with hidden ties (although there is the option of a separate belt), but I think it would be better to thread the innermost tie through a side opening and have the whole thing tie around the waist on the outside.  If I don't have some definition in the waist I'll look like a sack.

So it looks as though I can recreate the Sailor Rose dress at a fraction of the cost though - trust me on this one - if I had the money I'd just buy it!!  For now I'm making it up in the brown colourway of Liberty Strawberry Thief, but I have some Kevin B (otherwise known as "constellations") on the way.  Whether I'll use it for another of these depends on how this one goes.


Thursday, March 20, 2014

Vogue 8956 Skirt in Paul Smith Brushed Cotton


Thank you for your comments on my last post.  I have been absent for a while, partly because I have done no sewing at all since the middle of January, and partly because I just couldn't seem to have the wherewithal to blog!  It's taking the photos that does it.  I can be so lazy in that respect.

The thing is I really do have loads of stuff I have made (before January) and just haven't blogged.  I truly always intend to catch up but somehow I never get round to it.  Today, because my ten-year old son is away and I have extra time to myself, I have actually made the skirt I'm showing you right now, and I've taken pics of two dresses I made at the start of the year.  I'll blog the dresses soon (honestly!)

My new sunglasses! Ignore the wrinkle near the skirt waistband. The brushed cotton sticks to itself. I should have smoothed it down!

So, this skirt is V8956, which is described as a "semi-fitted, wrap skirt".  Simple as that!  Mine is view B, which is the longer of the two asymmetrical options. I should make more skirts...this was so easy and quick.  It has no lining, just facings to finish the two vertical edges, and two buttonholes and buttons to deal with.  I did slipstitch the inner waistband to the skirt, but I love hand sewing as you know!


I did have to make an alteration, as the regular, straight side was quite a bit too wide from just below the waistband.  To be fair, I am quite straight up and down in my shape, so I always have to have a size or two bigger in the waist or smaller in the hip.  However, this time I had to take out nearly two inches in total all the way down the right side.  Partly because it was too wide in the hip, and partly because it looks much better narrower on the regular side.

I love this skirt!  It was so easy peasy to make, and it's so easy to wear, too.  Also, a big plus point is that, being held together by just two buttons on the waistband, I can easily alter it to fit (should I need to) by moving the buttons along.  Yay!

Maybe I will actually wear these sunglasses instead of just sticking them in a drawer!

Monday, January 13, 2014

Butterick 5526 with McCalls 6035 Sleeve in Liberty Branchflower - orange colourway

I have made two shirts in the last week, both in Liberty lawn because I just love working with it and wearing it; it's lightweight but closely woven (which makes it seem somewhat silky), the designs are beautiful and it's very easy to iron.

In the past I've made several M6436s and I love that pattern for a semi-fitted shirt, but I was looking for a more fitted shirt on this occasion.  I didn't, however, want it too fitted so I chose Butterick B5526, which seemed just perfect.  I wanted a shirt (I suppose this is really a blouse) with short sleeves this time, but there wasn't an option for that in the pattern so I took the short, slightly puffy, sleeves fromMcCalls M6035.  Maybe I shouldn't have been, but I was surprised to find that the frill on the front is a circular ruffle, and not a pleated strip as it seems to appear in the pattern cover illustration.
I made a quick muslin and immediately realised that the bust apex of the princess seams fell too low, but cutting an 8 at the shoulders (and a 10 everywhere else) remedied this perfectly.  I made no other adjustments.  Oh, actually I did cut out four ruffles and sewed each pair together and turned them inside out instead of cutting just two and narrow hemming them.

I have discovered that shirts and blouses are definitely my favourite things to make, especially since I have started using woven interfacing, which actually feels like part of the fabric instead of something stiff and separate.  I love the hand sewing, the precision required when attaching all the pieces, and the way it all comes together to be a wearable work of art!  Also, it means I can wear my jeans but still wear my home made stuff (well, I could wear my jeans if I could fit comfortably into them, ahem).  I have turned forty-eight today, so I'd better get cracking back on my health and fitness regime before it's too late for EVER, hehe!
As I mentioned, I have made another shirt (another McCalls M6436) and I will post it soon.

Wednesday, January 01, 2014

McCalls M6833

Happy new year to everyone!  I hope you all had a wonderful Christmas.

This is my Christmas dress this time around.  McCalls M6833 view B.  I made it with something that I assume is quilting cotton.  I would never use quilting cotton for a shirt, but for a dress such as this one, it's perfect as it has enough body to hold its shape a bit.

 So that the hem had a little more oomph I sewed some horsehair braid onto it.  It did the trick!  This pattern has an integral net petticoat as part of the dress lining itself.  As I wanted the option to use the petticoat with other garments I chose to line only the top part of the dress and make the petticoat separately, which worked really well.

As usual I hand sewed the zip in, as I like a bit more control over matching the waist seams and making sure the back neck edges match, which I find a little more difficult when machining the zip in.

I love all the hand sewing!  I find inserting the zip and then hand sewing the lining to it very satisfying.

I will definitely be making view D in the future. I already have the fabric:

There is only one thing I will change for the next version and that is that the neckline will have to be higher.  I'm not a particularly modest dresser but this neckline is about as low as it gets.  In all of the rest of my Christmas photos my underwear is clearly on show!  That's okay for a party dress but I intend for my next version to be more wearable.

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 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.