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.

Things aren’t always black and white

Front 1It seams ever so long ago since I last updated you all. I have been doing a spot of multitasking in recent weeks, a little red top here and a shift dress there, it’s all go.  Anyway back to the matter at hand, this is another post for the Calico Laine Blogger Network and it is the “Amazing Fit” dress.  This pattern was suggested by the lovely Kim from Sewing-online (after our successful team work with Vogue 1316), it is Simplicity 1458.   I decided to to make it out of White Crepe from Calico Laine (I’d previously made a little cerise number and fell in love with the fabric).  In my usual unique way I had to make a little change on the garment, this one being the lining.

The pattern does what it says on the tin (so to speak) in that it enables the seamstress to make the perfect fit.  It comprises of 3 different designs and 3 different shapes. With a little added detail if one so desires (we will get to that shortly).

Neckline

Neckline

Piping

Piping

Firstly I had to match my measurements with one of the styles, slim, average or curvy (I will leave you to guess which one I landed on).  Each of the panels is sewn at 1″ rather than the usual 5/8th, this is for better adjustment if necessary.  As suggested in the pattern instructions I made a toile first just to make sure all was well.  The construction is fairly straightforward, sewing the panels together with one or two princess seams here and there, but as I mentioned earlier, there is the extra detail I chose to pop in.  Oh yes indeedy ladies and gentlemen lets have a round of applause for the piping.  I haven’t attempted to make my own piping before so had to use my very good friend google to check it out.  Basically the piping cord is surrounded by bias tape, which is ironed flat and sewn quite close to the cord to encase it (so far so good). A length of piping is then attached to the edge of the panels, without squishing the piping itself (screwdriver at the ready an adjustable zipper foot was in order). Front 3

Each parallel panel is then attached, you will notice when looking at the front of the dress there is significant curvature going on up top. Well the piping was determined to pull the rest of the dress in the opposite direction, so much so that Mrs Perfectionist insisted that it be taken out and reinserted many many time (did I mention I do love a challenge?)  It’s all part of the fun and the immense satisfaction when it is finally beaten into submission.

Front 4Whilst all this was going on I constructed the lining, once again sewing the panels together.  I decided to attach the lining around the neck and armholes which requires the side seams and back to be left open. Oh dear, by this point the zip was already in and the side seams on both lining and dress were already done.   So my faithful friend the unpicker was to hand once more.  There is always great fear when I have to unpick so much in case I really won’t be able to redeem myself and put it all back together again.  All was not lost and I could finally begin to see everything taking shape.  The dress is a dream to wear, so comfortable, the  crepe drapes beautifully and the lining has a slight stretch which compliments it perfectly.  There we have it, my first made to measure a-line dress.  It was such a lovely sunny day yesterday I went a little further a field to take my photographs and realised an even bigger bonus after getting out of the car – there wasn’t a single crease on me…….amazing!

Back to business

FrontFollowing my recent creations which have very much steered towards party wear, I decided to make something for the day job once again.  A couple of months ago I won a competition with one of my evening dresses and the prize was a gift voucher from Abakhan Fabrics (joy!).  I headed straight for their Manchester store, with no particular creation in mind. More often than not I go into that shop and rummage through the bargain bins without an idea of what I will eventually make. Any how I came out with a bag full of fabric and only spent 3p (whoop!).

Seam

Matching the stripes

After sifting through my pattern stash I decided to continue the New Year with something easy, a skirt would do nicely (rolls on the floor laughing). One of the fabrics I bought was a fleece backed woolen fabric, perfect for a winter skirt.  The fabric is black with a white check and it immediately caught my eye as something different for me as I do tend to make garments out of plain fabric.

The pattern is burda 7135, which comprises of a suit with two different jackets and a fully lined skirt.  Like I said I decided to sail on the easy side of things and make the skirt (haha).  The construction was very simple, when I started it I thought I would complete it within a couple of hours, that may have been the case if I hadn’t decided to use checked fabric (oh yes indeedy, let’s not forget the fabric I bought).  The front comprises of a centre panel and two side panels, the back is the same including two vents.  Now the one thing that in my opinion made this little project a total nightmare for me was matching the checks.  I made sure when cutting out each piece they lay in exactly the same position, to ensure the fit didn’t lose dimension (I have sewn large checks before and the garment almost ended up on the diagonal trying to match the pattern).

ReverseOn with the sewing. If I made the skirt once and unpicked it I made it a million times (slight exaggeration, but it certainly felt like a million times!) As soon as Mrs Perfectionist made her appearance, I didn’t stand a chance and my critical eye had a field day.  I decided enough was enough and carried on regardless, inserting the side zip and creating the lining, which was attached to the top.   I did the usual hand stitching on the inside, securing the lining to the vents and stitched the hem in place and there it is job done.  I only hope I make friends with it one day, for now all I can see are the imperfections.  I am determined to beat my battle with checked fabric at some point in the future, for now though the remainder of this fabric will stay hidden away in my sewing room.

Finally, I will draw your attention away from those checks and mention the lovely little scarf I am modelling.  This was a gift for me made by my Mother in-law, oh yes ladies and gentlemen another crafty person in the family, there is no stopping us!

A swift start to the year

Front Here we are again so soon, my second post in as many weeks (I can’t keep up with myself at the moment). So much to sew, so much to share.  This is my first post of the New Year and also my first post for the Calico Laine Bloggers Network (currently strutting around the room like a peacock).

I decided to kick the year off with a simple little ditty, us girlies can’t resist a new top or two in our wardrobe.  The pattern is Burda 8347, which comprises of four different tops in varying designs.  I decided to choose one similar to something I have seen on the high street in recent months (I browse the shops making mental notes as I go along these days).  The fabric is a cerise crepe from Calico Laine, it has a gorgeous feel to it, so soft and drapes beautifully. Collar

The construction was fairly simple and having only four pieces, I had it cut out in a matter of hours (I checked the instructions numerous times to check I hadn’t missed something. I am so used to having at least forty pieces to cut out these days I was left feeling the need to cut out the other tops too!)  The sewing started with the diagonal seam which goes from the neckline to the underarm, this was then top-stitched to give a little more detail.  Well, I had a brainwave and took it upon myself to sew delicate little flowers rather than the usual straightline (ever so cute they are too).  ReverseNext came the bust darts, shoulder seams and collar, which is attached to the neckline with a facing and hand sewn into place on the inside once the zip was inserted.  The back has two darts, one either side of the concealed zip.  The armhole edges are finished with bias facings which are cut out of the same material as the top itself.  I decided to stitch the hem to follow through with the stitching on the armholes.

All in all a lovely little top, easy to make and can be worn for various occasions depending on the type and colour of fabric used.  It was a speedy start to the year and has now paved the way for something a little more complicated for me next time, I haven’t had a serious head scratching sewing moment for quite some time…….

This has been my year

1.Top Five of 2013

As 2013 draws to a close, I have been reflecting on the previous months and what they have meant to me from a creative point of view.  Last year I blogged about the highs and lows of 2012 (oh my, I did have a couple of lows).  This year I have decided to join in the fun with Crafting a Rainbow and tell you about the Top 5 of 2013.  I have decided to share with you the opportunities and experiences that have come my way this year because of my wonderful hobby.

1. Road Testing a couple of Patterns for Sewing-Online

Back in April I was approached by Kim from Sewing-Online who asked me if I would like to create something from a couple of patterns of my choice from them.  When I had blogged about my creations my posts would be mentioned on their site. Well I was beside myself with giddiness, I had shared one or two of my projects with Kim (as I do love to show anyone who remotely shows an interest in what I make) but it came as such as shock that someone thought my dressmaking was worthy of promoting on their website!

Simplicity 1699

Simplicity 1699

I decided on the two outfits pictured here and completely loved both of them.

Simplicity 2442

Simplicity 2442

2. Appearing in Sew Magazine

I do love a bargain (who doesn’t?) and also any freebies I can lay my hands on.  Sew Magazine are fantastic for putting free patterns with their magazine.  I have quite a collection in my sewing room, some I have used already and others I have earmarked for the future.  I decided to make one of the dresses from a Simplicity Project Runway pattern.  Sharing my progress with companies who have an interest in seeing what I make from their own products is something else I find very rewarding.  Lo and behold a couple of months later there was Dolly (my mannequin) sat proudly in the magazine.  That was me giddy as a box of frogs for the second time this year.

Simplicity K1913

Simplicity K1913

3. Winning a competition with Abakhan Fabrics

Moving on with my love of sharing creations with companies who have had their own input in some way shape or form.   I have purchased most of my fabric from Abakhan Fabrics store in Manchester this year and I like to show them what I have created out of their gorgeous fabrics.  As it happens, a dress I made in October this year was entered into their Project of the month competition (without my knowledge) and it won!

Flowers

Simplicity 1874 Flowers

I was beginning to get a little overwhelmed at this point with all the attention, totally gob smacked is the phrase I would use!

4. Becoming part of a Bloggers Network for Calico Laine

Just when I thought things couldn’t get any more exciting, in November I was approached by Calico Laine who asked if I would consider joining their Bloggers Network. I will make some of my future creations from fabric (which I will get at discount price) from their site.  When I blog about it they will share the experience on their site………wow!  How could I turn that down?  I am currently in the middle of finishing my first creation, it is sew exciting.

Blogger

5. My ever so over the top dahhling dresses

My final entry in the top five reflections of the year has to be my evening gowns, both sit proudly at the top of my accomplishments this year.  After all none of the above would have happened if it wasn’t for my sewing.

Simplicity 1874

Simplicity 1874

I still can’t quite believe I do something in my spare time that brings me so much joy and happiness and to top it all it has introduced me to some incredibly wonderful people.

Smplicity 2253

Simplicity 2253

Once again I wonder what next year will bring, but if this year is anything to go by my sewing future will be a glorious one.

Happy New Year Everyone!

It’s all about the buttons

1 FontSince my last creation I decided to make another dress from a pattern I have used previously, with added design modifications of my own (check me out).  The pattern is Simplicity K2146 inspired by Project Runway (another freebie from Sew Magazine).  Like other patterns in this range it has a few different variations of the dress and little add-ons to boot.  I basically used the pattern pieces for the shape and sizing and that was all.  The fabric came from Abakhan Fabrics once again, when I was on yet another little shopping spree in Manchester.

Hogo Boss Dress

Hugo Boss Dress

The construction on the whole was fairly basic, I wanted to keep the design simple but make the dress bold with colour and style.  Once cut out I put the pattern away and made the dress on my own instruction (what was I thinking listening to myself?!).  The front panels with the gorgeous princess seams were sewn together first, then I attached the side sections to be back.  I then made the tab, I must  let you all know at this stage of the process I had another visit to Manchester and just happened to stroll past the Hugo Boss shop and was promptly stopped in my tracks when I saw a dress in the window with a rather large price tag on it that wasn’t a million miles away from mine in design, at this point I was toying with the colour variation on the tab, in the end I decided to stick with my original choice.

TopThe whole process (excluding the tab) had to be done a second time for the lining, (did I mention that the pattern doesn’t call for the dress to be lined, but I chose to line mine?)  I attached the lining via the neckline, right sides together and topstitched the inside.

BackThen came the biggest design change of all, the back centre, which I created using a button finish.  This of course eliminated the back zip, centre seam and the vent.  I stitched both left and right centre seams to the lining using the 5/8th allowance, which made the dress into a pocket.  Then came the sleeves, oh yes indeedy, how I love set-in sleeves and these were no exception with an absolutely unforgivable first attempt but as usual I got there in the end.

Finally eleven buttonholes and buttons were put in place to finish off the back.  As the weeks have passed and Autumn is now upon us I didn’t think I would get the opportunity to wear my dress just yet but the weather has been glorious this weekend and my daughter told me I looked so nice in my dress I should wear it today on my mooch about town, so that’s exactly what I did.

Vintage glamour

Here we have another step in a new direction for me and I TOTALLY loved every minute of it!Full Front View Inside

The pattern is Burda 7132.  I was immediately drawn to the design, I very much liked the Audrey Hepburn style. The fabric is a medium weight wool mix courtesy of Minervacrafts. I had already decided before I hunted the fabric down that it had to be dog-tooth check.Front View with Jacket

The dress consists of two halves, the top front is made up of three front panels to create the shape (something I am becoming very familiar with). The skirt front has two pleats either side to create the wonderful box shape at the top (this helps to hide a multitude of sins in the stomach area). The back has a concealed centre zip and vent at the bottom. The neckline, being very straight, is slightly different from other dresses which I think adds to its individuality.  Finally it has little capped sleeves which are sewn on with their facing.  On the whole it was fairly easy to put together, the skill involved was matching all the checks.

Front View with LabelNow we move on to bigger and better things, the jacket. I can honestly say the construction was  straight-forward, the reason being the fabulous instructions put together by Burda. Anyway, this. after 14 months of sewing is the first fully lined jacket I have attempted and I was ever-so-excited with each and every step.  We will start at the beginning, each of the front and back panels are sewn together and the sleeves (still in half at this point) are attached. Then the top seams on the sleeves are sewn to create the overall shape, the collar is then inserted (4 times I might add, we know how much I love to unpick!).  After which the whole process starts again with the lining. The two are put together using the collar and its facing and turned inside out (I was very giddy at this point). Time to add the cuffs, do a bit of hand stitching and away we go.

Full Back View

I particularly liked the box pleats in the back lining creating a pocket to prevent it from ripping when I am doing joyous cartwheels in it later. The one thing I didn’t do was stitch the lining to the inside along the fold at the hem, this again I think will give more maneuverability.

I would say this is definitely another win;  some you do and some you don’t.  I would definitely recommend Burda patterns, I really liked the seam and marking numbering on the pattern pieces, it all adds to the enjoyment of making such a wonderful garment. I am chuffed to bits with how it all turned out, so much so that I have decided to make a trouser suit next, including another fully lined jacket, I think I will need another wardrobe soon to accommodate my new clothes.