Golden opportunity

FabricToday I will share my story of an opportunity presented to me which I simply couldn’t refuse. One day, a couple of months ago I was approached by one of the owners of my favourite store, Abakhan Fabrics in Manchester (which I frequent on a regular basis). He asked if I would like a VIP golden ticket to a secret sale they were holding in March, I quite literally jumped at the chance.  Haberdashery

This involved free breakfast, 10% discount in the main store and a chance to enter the sale an hour before the general public.  I was on a mission, to fill my husband’s car boot with fabric and sewing goodies (I have to say I quite successfully fulfilled my expectations, and some!) Two huge boxes of fabric, a box of buttons and various haberdashery items, all for such a fabulous price I almost fell over in shock when I was told what it was.Front

My first make from my stash is Simplicity 1467, a delightful pattern containing various different items to make (I just love those).  ReverseI decided to do the blouse, quick and easy, just right for the gorgeous weather we have been having recently.  The fabric is crepe de chine which is extremely lightweight. I was quite pleased that it didn’t take me too long to make as the fabric made me quite nervous, it had a tendency to pull and leave little ladders upon itself when my back was turned.

NecklineThe garment consists of one front section, two back sections, yoke, neckline and armhole facings and back fastenings. The fabric was so slight I decided to create french seams at the sides rather than attempting to venture near my overlocker (it has a tendency to chew some fabric and spit it out again). These particular seams are lovely and neat and finish the garment off really well. The back fastening was created with loops (a first for me) which are sewn into the facing at the neckline.  I had a good old rummage through my new button box for a couple of matching buttons.  I suspected I would find something in there that would work perfectly now I have so many, from what I recall it is even bigger than my Grandma’s button tin used to be!

The cat that got the cream

Front_1Hey there, I’m sure you will be surprised to hear from me so soon, nothing for what seemed like an age and then two posts in the space of a few weeks, I have been on a sewing roll.

My latest addition to my ever increasing wardrobe is a lovely little dress made from delightful ever-so-stretchy animal print fabric from Abakhan Fabrics in Manchester.  I have mentioned before, they have bargain bins in which an abundance of fabrics are sold off at ridiculously low prices (you cannot fault it, I can hardly keep away!) Left Side

I have made one or two garments recently from stretch knit so decided to go on the hunt for a couple more patterns. The one in question this time is Burda 6910, which includes a long and short sleeve top and a dress.

SleeveThe construction was incredibly easy, all done and dusted within a week.  Front and back sections, raglan sleeves (a big cheer for the raglan sleeves) and a neck facing. In recent months when sewing with any type of patterned fabric, I have tended to make a mirror image of the pattern piece, stick them together and lay the full piece on single thickness fabric. That way there is no room for slippage or stretches and there is less chance of it looking like a dog’s dinner when I’ve finished.  The most testing part when making the dress (for me there is always a testing part) was the side gathers, where a piece of elastic  was sewn down each side seam, into a space that was more than twice the length. Oh, what fun! Stretching elastic and sewing it to something without pins is no mean feat let me tell you, the elastic has a mind of its own and will only do what it wants whether you like it or not.Reverse

All’s well that ends well and the elastic finally gave in and I finished the dress. I am the cat that got the cream in my dress, I adore how it looks and it is so comfortable to wear with the gathers in just the right places to hide a multitude of sins!

 

 

The year of 98

FrontHi there, I have to admit my blog posts have been a bit thin on the ground of late. For some strange reason I’ve had very little to say, very unlike me!  This blog post is another one for the Calico Laine bloggers network and as such the fabric I have used is from their website.  This is the second time I have made this particular garment this month. I loved it so much I decided to make again, this time for my daughter.

The pattern is simplicity 1317, a variation of one top with longer length or cropped sleeves. On this version I chose double knit jersey in purple and slate (oh my, this fabric is so soft, I feel the need to keep stroking it).  When I decided to make it again I had a brainwave and in a moment of madness thought that I would add a little something by way of felt numbers on the front (I really don’t know what comes over me sometimes).  So I also bought a felt square in ash and the scene was set for garment number two.

NumbersThe top in it’s entirety is a complete doddle to make, I could almost do it with my eyes shut. I didn’t even look at the instructions this time (check me out). The whole thing comprises, front, back, two raglan sleeves (oh how I love love love raglan sleeves), neck band, waist band and cuffs. The biggest and most nerve-wracking challenge was the felt numbers (which my daughter decided on herself). I created them on the computer, cut them out and transferred onto the felt, which I then had to sew onto the body of the top with shaking hand!

ReverseOnce the sleeves have been sewn on to both front and back sections and seams are sewn, the neck band is then inserted.  Now with this, the waistband and the cuff, there is a serious amount of stretch required and a technique all of its own when pinning one to the other, believe me lots of puckers will ensue if just the right amount of stretch isn’t accomplished, I have to admit we did have words on more than one occasion.

There isn’t really anything more I can say, I think the sweatshirt speaks for itself, simple yet equally adorable in it’s own comfortable, makes-you-want-to-lounge-around-house sort of way……

Gotta love it!

Bed of roses

Greetings everyone!

FrontIt has been far too long since I did my last update I’m afraid but I do have a very good reason for it.  I have been a busy bee learning my new job which I started in October.  I have to confess it has taken up the majority of my brain power the last couple of months, leaving my sewing out in the cold.  Do not despair people, my fabulous hobby is still very much a part of my life but for the first time in seven years I also have a fabulous job to go with it.

NecklineAny how, my most recent creation is Simplicity 1651, I just love the the Project Runway patterns, they always have so many variations of one dress.  I bought the fabric from Abakhan Fabrics in Manchester, I have mentioned many times the stunning fabrics I have bought from their bargain bins at wonderful prices and this one is no exception.  I decided to throw caution to the wind and make a dress with many variations which consisted of a straight skirt with side vent,  sweetheart neckline, 3/4 sleeves and bodice with an open back (you all know how I like a head turning dress, it is Christmas after all).

BackOn the whole the construction was really easy, the bodice has a facing which the back panels are inserted into, this did need a bit of tweaking as it was gaping a little too much for my liking.   When this was created and side seams were finished it was attached to the skirt, which you will notice has a little bit of gathering on the front and back. When it was the same size as the bodice the whole thing was sewn together, including the side zip.  The only difference I made was creating a lining for the skirt.  I created it in exactly the same way and attached it through the waist.Full Back

The end was fast approaching but I never leave anything to chance and don’t really relax until the sleeves are in. I still, after 3 years sewing have not mastered the art of set-in sleeves, this is a job for 2015.  Do not fear the set in sleeve, meet it head on and be happy with the result (we shall see).

Speaking of 2015, I hope you all have a very Happy New Year and have good health & happiness in the coming months.  Live life to the full and enjoy every minute of it!

It’s a wrap

FrontHere we have another one of those patterns which seems ever so easy because there are very few pieces to put together. Not the case, I know from experience that these little beauties can be far more testing on the brain, which is why it has taken me over a month to complete it.  Having said that, many of you will know I do love a challenge and do not give up, I just tend to stray onto various other creations along the way, just to prove to myself that my sewing skills haven’t completely done a runner.Reverse

This fabulous pattern was pointed out by Kim from Sewing-Online.  She has dangled one or two patterns in my direction recently which she thinks are just my thing; I feel like I have my own fashion stylist, its fab!   This particular one is Vogue V1341 which I bought from their site.  Now, some of you might look at this dress and think nah, that’s not for me, whereas I saw the pattern and thought, wow I could add even more oomph by choosing just the right fabric to compliment it, bring on the animal print! This is stretch sateen bought from my favourite store in Manchester, Abakhan, I just adore it.

PatternOn to the construction, this is where it all gets a bit confusing.  The sizing has to be spot on because there are no side seams to take inches in.  In its entirety the whole thing consists of 6 pieces (excluding the lining), 3 of which are stuck together to create the strangest looking thing I have seen in a long time.  This creates the main body of the dress and one of the sleeves, the other sleeve is separate, as are the back yoke and another back section. Basically, it starts with many pleats and tucks, the main piece is then sewn to itself and the right sleeve is added on.  Simple, err no, I sat and pondered this bit for quite a while picking the pieces up and staring at them before reading the instructions again and again.  Right NeckFinally the light bulb went on (hallelujah) and we were on course once again.  I could see it taking shape almost straight away but there is always the fear with garments like this, that you could get to the end and it really doesn’t look right (and it’s game over).  When the body of the dress was done and both sleeves were on, the concealed zip was inserted, which runs almost diagonally up the back.  Then it was a case of adding more pleats to create the folds along the front.

Front close upThe lining, which is also stretch fabric, was a basic front and back shape with a strap creating the armhole on the right hand side.  This is sewn into the dress along the seam which lies across the front at an angle, this then creates more of a fold below the neckline.  The neckline needs a certain amount of teasing into place when the dress is on because there isn’t a definite edge. I felt the need to adjust the shoulder seam as the right sleeve wasn’t creating the angle with the dress as it should, it was more of a flop and the flop wasn’t working for me one little bit.  That in itself is one of the greatest elements about the fabric being so busy, I could make my own alterations and it still looks great.

There ya go, another dress for me to strut my stuff in.  I get so excited when I wear the garments I have made, I still can’t quite believe I can actually go out in the big wide world in clothes I have put together myself.  On the rare occasion that I do wear something from a shop people are now starting to ask me if I have made it myself, so my stuff can’t really be that bad, wahoo!

Dot to dot

1 Front I have much to share on this post, where to start?  Well, we shall start at the beginning with the pattern (although I have been known to buy fabric without a pattern in mind, there is no harm in increasing a fabric stash every now and again).  This particular pattern was sent to me (as a swapsy) by one of my sewing friends from Wear.A.Wyatt.  I didn’t know which one it was until I received it.  Now, my friend clearly knows my “type” and was spot on (pardon the pun) with her choice.  However, I decided to make one of the dresses that is slightly out of the ordinary for me (and I LOVE it).  The pattern is Vogue 8872, there are variations on the bodice and also the skirt. I made the low neckline and full skirt (when I say full skirt I mean full skirt!).2 Front

I bought the delightful polka dot cotton fabric from Calico Laine, this post is another share courtesy of the Blogger Network I am part of for them.  So here we have it, I started with a garment style I have never worn before and a fabric design I have also never worn before (my daughter told me people will see me coming from a mile away). This, my friends, is all about the experience of creating the garment. It’s about the thrill of making something different and unfamiliar and watching it develop into something fabulous that gives me such a buzz, after all, if I don’t like it someone else will (job done).

NecklineThe construction was quite straight forward, the front bodice is a double thickness (diamond shaped) piece of fabric. The back section is part lined, as is the midriff. The sleeves are inserted onto the bodice once this is completed, followed by the midriff sections.  The lining is created in much the same way and attached.  I then added the skirt before inserting the concealed zip in the centre back.  Easy peasy so far you may think, as did I, until I started to align the dots. Some of the sections matched quite well, when others were inserted Mrs Perfectionist took one look and they had to come out, cut out again and put back in (this went on many times).  At one stage the dots lined up horizontally but not vertically, out they came again (I had to hide the unpicker from myself at this point).  ReverseFinally I had to say enough was enough and go with it. I finally finished with some handstitching on the inside and turned up the hem, the longest hem I have ever done, the base of the skirt goes on for miles.

All in all, I am pretty chuffed with myself at the outcome, from the wonderful reception I have received already I suspect other people like it too.  From something I was a little unsure about and probably wouldn’t have bought on the high street, to something I love and feel really comfortable in, yet another “grinning like a Cheshire cat” experience for me.

When Chanel met Levi

Front 2This blog post is slightly out of the ordinary as I am writing about two creations I have completed in as many weeks! Both of them were unbelievably easy even with the added variations.  The first little ditty is my second version of the box jacket on Simplicity 1699.  I have made so many items off this pattern already, it’s fabulous.  My original creations can be seen here when I road tested the pattern for Sewing-online last year.   The fabric is a wool blend which was a gift from one of my sewing buddies over at Sewinlove. It has been sat in my stash for quite a while until I decided a few weeks ago it was about time I did something with it – how to squeeze a jacket out of a metre(ish) of fabric.Jacket Back

As a variation I decided to add length to the sleeves and also a few inches in the body. The jacket is part lined, with a centre back seam, darts on the front, cute little darts on the sleeve head and last but by no means least, a TRIM (very chanelesque).

FrontMoving swiftly on to my next creation Newlook 6107.  As my jollies are fast approaching (2 weeks, 3 days to go but who’s counting), I have been contemplating my wardrobe. One thing I haven’t had for a number of years is a little denim skirt, I have seen so many on the high street this year and pondered a purchase, that was until I decided to bob into Abakhan fabrics in Manchester and hey presto bring on the denim.Skirt Back

As with my jacket this was also incredibly easy to make, in fact I didn’t even get the instructions out (check me out).

The construction comprises of side seams, concealed zipper, back seam, waistband and hem. The main variation on this make was the flat felled seams; I knew of them of course but had never contemplated them before. I had lots of advice from my twitter friends and decided to take the plunge.  I did them on the outside of the garment to create the look AND sewed them with contrasting thread no less (so all my topstitching is clearly on show for all to see!).

Flat felled seam

Flat felled seam

What can I say? Easy peasy lemon squeezy, I think they both look the part and compliment each other quite well. The biggest difference about these two creations was the absence of my unpicker, I definitely felt there was something missing, I’m sure it will make another appearance on my next creation!

Waistband stitching

Waistband stitching