Windswept and interesting

What can I say……? I am ever so slightly windswept and the neckline on this dress is rather interesting.   Full FrontI haven’t really decided yet if this particular look is really me, my other half thinks it definitely isn’t “what about for a Saturday afternoon trip out somewhere nice”  I ask, “not with me” came the reply, “what about for the office, I think it has its place there”?!  Some will love it and some will hate it, for now I am sat on the fence.  Anyway, the pattern is Simplicity K2146 inspired by Project Runway, which incidentally was another freebie off Sew magazine a few months ago, if it’s free these things have to be tried.

Funnel sleeves complete with v-shape cuffs

Funnel sleeves complete with v-shape cuffs

I chose a twill medium weight fabric with a slight stretch, which was suggested on the pattern. The dress comprises a back concealed zip, two darts and a vent on the hemline. The front is made up of three fitted panels to give the shape around the top half and of course the unusual neckline, which is lined. The neck also has a facing on the inside (facings are not my thing) this one in particular doesn’t lie flat as the detail on the front is so heavy it tends to be insistent on trying to pop the facing out of the top.  Last but not least the funnel sleeves with a v-shaped cuff, we can’t forget those little beauties.

I found the dress, in general, easy to put together after the false start that was the three pieces that construct the neck.  I don’t think any garment would be complete for me if I didn’t have something that doesn’t really work and I have to unpick it and start again.

Three piece neckline

Three piece neckline

I shall leave you with a little taste of what is in store next, I have been doing a spot of multitasking this week, working on two garments at the same time (check me out) my next creation is ready for putting together now, after lengthening the trousers and sleeves by three inches, oh it is massive.   All will be revealed in my next post, all I will say is it definitely isn’t for the faint hearted.

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It’s beginning to look a lot like Christmas

Close up Front View_2Seasons greetings to one and all.  I decided to make my Christmas attire this year rather than combing the shops trying to decide what to buy.  The first top I made is from another “old” pattern I bought many years ago when I went through my first sewing phase.  I originally made this little halter neck 4 sizes bigger than the one here (oh happy days).  The fabric has a slight stretch to it, although the pattern doesn’t call for it.  It was really easy to make, the straps are basically made from a facing which extends down past the V with elastic around the inside at the front.  The back also has elastic and a centre zip and that’s it really, nothing more to say.  Close up Front ViewMy next creation is the second top off the Simplicity 1716 pattern, it comes in three different lengths with varying sleeve lengths too.  The fabric is a nylon lycra with sequins, many many many sequins.  These were an effort to sew, either my machine needle decided to skirt round them or at one stage it decided to tackle one head on and lost miserably, I had a needle casualty shall we say.  This top was easier than the first one to make, no zips, no gathers, nothing to give me any heart stopping moments.   There we have it my festive creations, one little backless number to wear on Christmas Day when my oven is on full blast and the other for Boxing Day when I will be enjoying a meal out with my family.  Wishing you all a very Happy Christmas, enjoy the holidays!Full Front View

Taking it up a notch

Skirt Front View

The gathered seams starts at the top left and travels down the length of the skirt

Full Front View

A two piece garment, using layered, gathered outer seams

Where to begin with this one……….? As with many other patterns I bought Vogue V1259 by Donna Karan because I liked the look of it rather than deciding first if it would suit me or if I could actually make it.  It was only after a bit of searching the internet I realised it was for advanced sewers and was a nightmare to make (mentioned by many fellow sewers).  Nevertheless I took the bull by the horns and moved on.  I decided to make it out of the suggested Lycra knit.  The first thing that surprised me was the lack of pattern pieces, the skirt has two (which are put together to create one) and the top has five.  I decided to be on the safe side and make the skirt first. Ahh yes the safe side; I actually unpicked the skirt three times for various different reasons, it took me a couple of attempts to realise where the gathers and seams overlapped and it was made on the right side of the fabric rather than the wrong, just to confuse.  Anyway it came good in the end.

Close up Front

The gathered seam on the front starts around the back, travels under the arm up the front, through to the collar

Now I was familiar with how it all worked the top would be  straightforward right? Not the case, I had many a head scratching moment and plenty of time staring at the instructions open-mouthed in utter disbelief.  I genuinely felt like I had a blindfold on and really didn’t have a clue what it would look like when it was finished or even if it would work.  There are so many overlaps, seams on the outside, seams on the inside, there is an armhole with a hem on it on the inside, I really didn’t understand what that was about until the end.    The pattern relies heavily on the squares, small and large dots but the difficulty with this is there are so many of them that it is hard to determine which dot to use.  The gathered seams are all on the outside of the garment, very careful precise cutting out technique is required as all raw edges are on show, the pattern suggests to cut back seams to the stitching but I decided I quite liked the extra texture brought on by the gathered material so kept mine as it was cut out.

Full Back View

The back seam starts on the left, travels diagonally up the top and meets the front seam below the armhole

As with fellow sewers who have tackled this garment before me (some of which stated they would not attempt it again) I found that once assembled and all the gathers have been teased into their rightful place and it all looks as good as it can be everything heads South the minute you move and the skirt becomes twice the length – I think some velcro tights are in order.

Half FrontI hope I haven’t sent anyone running for the hills never wanting to attempt this fabulous outfit, it takes a lot of determination to make and a lot of guts to wear but I for one am chuffed to bits with it.  I felt the need to share the pitfalls but  all in all the immense feeling of achievement and satisfaction that follows this garment is more than worth the feeling that I was going slightly mad once or twice 🙂

Stranger things have happened

Front ViewWell, I am back in the game as the saying goes. Following my recent disaster(s) my sewing ability felt like it was hanging in the balance once again but I moved on swiftly to ensure I didn’t give myself too much chance to ponder.  This time the fabric caught my eye first, on a website I have recently started using. The descriptions are always detailed and precise so I know exactly what I will get when it arrives.

Gathers & Twists

The centre comprises of three separate pieces to create the gathers and twists

Still focussing on the stretch fabric I had an idea of the type of top I wanted to make.  I already have a pattern with a twist in the centre which I adore so I decided I wanted something similar. With the help of my friend Google I was on the hunt to find it. Finally I chose Simplicity 1716 which features 2 different tops/dresses, with varying sleeve lengths, just the job.

Part Front & Back

Upper front attached to the back, I didn’t quite know what was going on there

It was relatively easy to make, although a little baffling half way through when I had fabric dangling from the front and couldn’t quite decide what the purpose was. It was all a bit strange at this point but it all came together nicely in the end including the sleeves; I love how they fit directly on to the armhole and drape beautifully from the shoulder.

Sleeves & Centre

I love how the sleeves drape

There you go, all in all a productive weekend restoring my confidence and faith in my sewing once again.  Next I will be moving on to my Donna Karan inspired creation, it will probably be a wee while before I return!

The dress that wasn’t and still isn’t

One of the things I have noticed since viewing other sewing blogs is that we are all capable of creating sewing disasters, it doesn’t matter how hard we try for some reason, things sometimes just don’t want to go right.  Well, this dress is mine, this is the second attempt I have tried after seeing it on another blog (and I must say the lady who made it looked lovely in it).  I bought the pattern Butterick 5676 some time ago and decided to use the fabric suggested, which is a Ponte, it has a gorgeous soft and smooth feel to it and a slight stretch.  Front Full View As the focus of the dress is the topstitching I initially wanted to use a dark colour so it would stand out but decided quite quickly that I didn’t like it, I then moved on to grey, green and brown and finally decided the safest option was to go with one that matched the material.

Tipstitching

Topstitching that is carried through the front and back seams

I found the whole process quite difficult, matching seams and topstitching but I was reasonably pleased with my handy work, until once again, for the second time, the neck completely failed me.  On my first attempt I used the suggested facings including interfacing (4 thicknesses no less) and the neck gaped.  So this time I decided to use only one thickness of fabric rather than two and used bias tape instead and there is still a gape around the neck edge.

On the plus side the sleeves went in very well,  although I think they are too long to be three-quarter and too short for full length, I also think the dress on the whole is too tight.  There we have it folks, my sewing disaster, this dress was not meant to be, for me anyway but I thought I would share the experience.

The madness that is Vogue V8705

A front ViewIt feels like an age since I updated my blog, there has been a very good reason for it. I decided last month that I needed a challenge, having created a few tops recently from knitted fabric I felt the need for something a bit different that would give me something to think about and test my sewing skills. I shall share with you the journey that was Vogue V8705.Full Back View

It all started with 14 pattern pieces, each transferred into single, double, quadruple pieces of fabric of all shapes and sizes.  Initially it was quite straightforward until I had to attach one of the sections to another. Then I realised that each seam and the topstitching had to lie in the same direction or I would lose at least 2cm of fabric and the sections wouldn’t fit together.  Luckily I realised that very early on in the process and only had to cut out one new piece.

The most nerve-racking thing about doing a new project and something that is totally different is fear of the unknown, as the dress progressed some parts didn’t seem to have a purpose and I didn’t really know until it was finished if I had done something wrong!

Close up back view

The back has a concealed zip which to my surprise went in first time without a problem, given that I was working with knitted fabric and there was a seam through the middle I had to match, I presumed at least three attempts would be necessary.Full Front View

The sleeves gave much head scratching, these were attached and taken off four times, the straps were all sewn double thickness and had to be turned inside out and positioned in the correct places and adjusted to suit, then finally the majority of the topstitching had to be done, as well as the hem.

I can definitely say without a doubt, this garment has been the most exciting, nerve-racking and rewarding one to date, a huge smile spreads across my face every time I look at it.

The garment of many tucks

Neckline

Front neckline with many tucks to create the shape

Front ViewThis garment is from the Butterick B5354 pattern, another easy top to make. the shape is created by the many tucks along the neckline.  The fabric is a medium weight polyester jersey, which was quite easy to sew for a change, previous stretchy fabrics I have dealt with have tended to have a mind of their own.

Once again the biggest difficulty I came across was the sleeves, another variation I haven’t had the pleasure of meeting previously, no gathering this time, the sleeves are attached to the armhole as a flat piece of fabric and the seam is sewn and attached to the garment last, I did have more sleeve than armhole for some reason, this could have been due to the give on the fabric.

The pattern suggests two different lengths, I chose the longer version, it also has long sleeves or no sleeves, another top I can wear for the day job.

I have given myself a bit of a challenge for my next project, as recent ones have been quick and relatively easy to finish, I suspect I won’t be posting on here for quite a while!