Tiptoe through the tulips

Front Hi there, I am back ever so soon, this post will be brief as the construction of my tulip skirt was extremely brief, there really isn’t much for me to waffle on about!

I decided to make the skirt out of leftover fabric from my Vogue dress, waste not want not and it made sense, my machines are all geared up with the correct needles and threads.  The pattern was yet another freebie from Sew Magazine (I’m sure you will be getting the impression I don’t buy any patterns). It is Simplicity 2512 inspired by Cynthia Rowley.  It comprises two skirts with different waistbands and front panels.  I chose the full gathered front with side pockets, a high waistband and a belt.

High waistband with tie belt

High waistband with tie belt

The construction started with the pockets (love them) followed swiftly by the side seams.  Then came the most difficult (in my opinion) part of the creation, the entire top of the skirt was gathered. It started out loosely resembling an upside down triangle and the two rows of basting stitch were pulled together to create the wonderful fullness.  Now this little activity took me back to when I made my red Vogue number, oh my, there was some serious gathering going on on that bad boy.  I find the whole gathering thing another heart stopping moment because when that thread snaps mid gather then it’s game over!

Vent and binding along the hemline

Vent and binding along the hemline

The waistband came next, which consisted of two pieces and a binding on the top, very swish.  The first piece was attached to the skirt, then the second followed and the binding was what I can only describe as teased around the top.  The concealed zip was inserted next and the back seam and vent, the base of the skirt also has a binding on it to add a little bit more variation.  There we have it, not a bad effort considering it didn’t really cost me anything and I made it in a matter of days.

All things bright and beautiful

FrontHere we are again folks, me sharing my most recent experience in the wonderful world of unpicking (whoops I meant sewing!).  This is my second blog post for the Calico Laine Blogger Network, the fabric and haberdashery came from their website.  The pattern, Newlook 6124 is another freebie from Sew Magazine.  The fabric is Red Poplin (a new one for me to sew with). I have to say it was very well behaved and didn’t give me any grief (although if it had taken me much longer to make it might of started fraying out of sheer boredom).  To add my own variation I decided to fully line the dress, I personally prefer a shift dress when it is lined.

The pattern comprises of different variations of the same dress, with or without sleeves and a square or round neckline.  I haven’t actually sewn a garment with a square neckline before so I decided to give it a try.  I ploughed straight on with the construction, which consisted of three front panels, shoulder pieces, sleeves and four back panels with a centre concealed zip and a vent at the hemline.

NecklineIt all started with the princess seams at the front, then back panels, which were swiftly followed by the shoulder pieces.  The sleeves were joined at the top of the shoulder and finished three quarters of the way down the armhole.  As I mentioned before I decided to line the dress, I was very conscious of making sure the lining was inserted at a specific point so I could turn it the right way round easily (oh no that did not happen).  I rushed headlong into sewing mode without thinking and stitched the side seams (BIG mistake, I realised that as soon as I had done it, clearly having a sewing melt down).  So, much unpicking ensued and I attempted lining insertion number two.  To complicate matters the half sleeves meant that the lining had to create a facing at the base of the armhole only and the little sleeves sat proudly inside the lining at the top.

ReverseThe rest of the construction was really straightforward, zip went in without a hitch (I’m getting so used to those) a little hand stitching and the vent and hem to finish it off.  This number will be put away for the warmer weather (I am confident we will get some), it will probably venture into work with me at some point.  My mind has already moved on to what I am making next as it always does, I don’t like to be without my sewing in hand and subsequently the fabric, pattern, cotton and zip are always ready and waiting before I am anywhere near finished.

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!

A dress fit for a Queen

Seasons Greetings one and all!

Formal Evening Photo You will already know of my cruise this year on board the Queen Mary 2 (I’m sure I have mentioned it once or twice recently).  This was a very special holiday to celebrate by husband’s 40th birthday and as such I felt the need to create two very special dresses.  Actually, I will rephrase that, I decided to make one dress which I finished a couple of months ago (you can read all about it here).  The dress was such a success my daughter decided she would not be upstaged by her mum and wanted one too.

Full Length FrontSo I went on the hunt for something just right for a teenager who is never out of sweats and joggers (no mean feat I can tell you).  I decided to make Simplicity 2253 a gorgeous dress inspired by Jessica McClintock.  It is very similar to the first dress in that it comprises of front panels to create the bodice and is off the shoulder with added detail to the front.  This dress as with the previous one has two different lengths, my daughter chose the shorter length and the fabric which is Duchess satin, bought from Abakhan Fabrics in Manchester.

ReverseThe construction was very simple, all front and back panels are sewn together to create the design.  The skirt comprises of a back centre seam and front and back darts, which is then attached to the bodice.  One of the main differences between the two dresses is the cute little sleeve which sits underneath the lovely folds of fabric on the shoulder.  The dress is partially lined, which is attached around the neck edge and armholes, it finishes just below the waistline.

Finally there is a concealed zip and folds of fabric which cascade around the shoulder seam to add a lovely finishing touch.Front

I am very proud and pleased as punch to say my daughter loves her dress and wore it with pride (twice) on our cruise; she even mentioned wearing it to her prom next July.  I am sure with my new found ability to throw the odd evening gown together I will be able to rustle up something else by then.

Happy holidays everyone!

Tis the season to be jolly

FrontHere we are again my friends it’s almost Christmas.  I can’t believe how fast this year has gone. It doesn’t seem like five minutes ago since I was writing my blog post about the creations I made for Christmas last year.

This year I have to admit I have recreated a top I made last year because it was so comfortable to wear, looks good and it can be dressed up or down, to suit the occasion.   The pattern is Simplicity 1716 made from Bamboo jersey fabric which I bought from Calico Laine. Cowl Neck

Not much to say about the construction, 3 front and back pieces and sleeves.  The front has pleats at the shoulders to create the cowl neck along with the extension which laps over to the inside.  The back has a centre seam and neck facing.  The sleeves are set in but I decided to create little gathers at the cap instead, all extremely easy to put together (although the jersey did have a mind of it’s own and wanted to go in the opposite direction to me!)Shoulder seams

There we go, I managed to squeeze in a little blog post before I set off on my jollies later this week.  It definitely is the season to be jolly and this week will be no exception aboard the Queen Mary 2 taking in the sights of Brussels and Paris, I am wondering if I will have enough room in my suitcase for my sewing machine?! Failing that I have had plenty of tips about various fabric shops I can visit along the way.

A bouquet of flowers

1 FrontMy relationship with this dress began many months ago when I watched Great British Sewing Bee in April this year.  I was in awe of all the contestants who had the guts to not only make wonderful creations under the scrutiny of judges but to do it on the TV in front of millions of viewers too (sends shivers down my spine at the very thought).  One of the finalists made this dress as her last creation and immediately I thought, I have got to make me one of those.  I bought the pattern Simplicity 1874 straight away but due to other projects I already had in mind I didn’t start making it for a few months.2 Reverse

Now I will share with you the most magical experience of my sewing journey so far. It has been such a joy, the familiar excitement of creating something new (and much much more).  The fabric I used to make the dress is Duchess satin (it’s luscious!) I interlined it with cotton, a variation which I decided to do myself to give more definition to the bodice, it was also part lined.  The construction began with cutting out somewhere in the region of 40 pattern pieces (I have to admit cutting out doesn’t really tick my box, but it is always worth it). All the front bodice panels were put together first then attached to the front skirt.  The back was then created with each piece sewn individually and then put together to create the detail.  This was attached to the skirt, as with the front.  The lining, which finishes at the hip line was sewn together next and attached to the bodice around the neck edge and underarm.  The most difficult part for me is usually the zip and with using such a lovely delicate satin I was very nervous about inserting it but I have to say it went in first time without any problem (wahoooo!) All that was left on the construction was the hem, a little bit of hand stitching and there we have it – job done. 3 Flowers

No, no, no, most definitely no. The pièce de résistance of this dress are the flowers, the little beauties.  I started off following the pattern, creating the various sized petals and tweaking them, building up the design, as I created more and more I added leaves, twisted the petals to create little buds and before I knew it I had a full-blown bouquet on my shoulder – it is a work of art.4 Close Flowers

I knew this dress would be special before I even started it, although I have never been (and never will be) confident enough to assume it would turn out really well.  As the end was in sight I decided to have it photographed in a different way than I have previously, I called upon the my extremely talented brother in-law to help me out.  What a wonderful job he has done.  I feel about 10 feet tall and probably won’t come back down to earth for some time.  I often look back to a couple of years ago before I started my sewing and wonder what filled me with so much excitement then…….as the saying goes what you haven’t had you don’t miss.5 Rose

And that, my friends, is my story. I always have to have another creation ready and waiting for me to rush headlong into, how on earth can I follow that you may ask, well funnily enough my daughter took a liking to my dress and I have found just the right pattern for the job……..