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.

Advertisements

Two left feet

Foot

The little beauty in all its glory

Evening everyone, I thought I would share this little tale with you all, you never know, one of you may come across the same problem I did, or you could read this and think what a numpty.

You might recall I bought a new sewing machine a couple of months ago (whispers under my breath) after my old sewing machine had a melt down and refused to load the bobbin.

I totally love my new machine, it is so quiet I can’t always tell if it’s sewing or not, I have to pause every now and again just to check.

Inserted zip

My concealed zip, fits like a glove

However, I have been struggling of late to insert concealed zips, so much so that they have been unpicked many many times (much more than I normally unpick and that is saying something).  I do eventually get the zip in but not without a fight.

So I decided finally to investigate the problem, surely it couldn’t just be me doing something wrong over and over again, could it?!  After taking a closer look, the foot was out of alignment, which would explain why the sewing on the left was always a few millimetres away from the teeth and the sewing on the right of the zip hit the teeth..  I contacted Janome and asked the question. “Oh you must have the wrong foot” came the reply “you have more than one concealed zipper foot” I said. Apparently I have a horizontal rotary hook model and as such I need a different foot, I went on a mission to find one and the rest as they say is history.

My new foot pictured above has made my zipping life so much more fun, the one I inserted on my last creation went in like a dream, happy days are here again.

Revival of the peplum

Full I just adore the peplum dresses and tops that are in fashion once again. It all started in the 19th century and was at the height of fashion in the 1940s and again many times over the years that have followed.  I am so pleased to experience these divine garments now they have made another comeback this century, even more pleased to be able to make my own (I wouldn’t have been able to say that a couple of years ago). There are so many lovely patterns available this season, I chose Simplicity 1699 from sewing-online, it comes complete with jacket, a dress, blouse and trousers.Peplum

As I mentioned in my previous post I felt the need to make something simple this time but just as exciting all the same, I find myself getting giddy at each stage of the process these days, irrelevant of what I am making. On this occasion I decided to make the blouse and trousers, the fabrics are a heavy weight chemise with a cotton collar on the blouse and dark cream medium weight linen for the trousers from Abakhan Fabrics store in Manchester.  I have to say light colours only come out with me in the summer and even then they can make me feel nervous.

CollarThe construction of the blouse began with the princess seams and back darts followed by the raglan sleeves, (I was practically doing cartwheels when I put the sleeves in they were so easy, I almost unpicked them just so I could put them in a second time!) I then attached the collar, I went in my own direction next rather than following the pattern by attaching the peplum skirt.  I then inserted the concealed zip before adding the neckline;  I inserted the zip  first because I find it gives a neater finish at the top where it closes.  Last but not least the hem and voila another job done and dusted.  A lovely little summer top that can, in my opinion be dressed up or down depending on the occasion.  The one thing I would mention is the sizing is quite small.Full 3

Moving on to the trousers, these particular ones are extremely easy to make.  The construction was, in its entirety, as follows: inside leg seams, crotch, side seams and zip (I inserted a concealed zip instead of a side one) and some twill tape on the waist.  Again I chose a slight variation to the pattern and decided to put a facing on the waist, (made from the same cotton as the collar), which was much more comfortable.  Now these were quite the opposite to the blouse and were rather large, so needed some adjustment.

TopThere we have it, a couple of lovely garments for summer, for a fraction of the price I would pay on the high street.  I have also decided to make the jacket, (there is so much on this pattern I can’t help myself) the material is all ready and waiting but I will blog that another time.

Suited and booted

JacketMy latest creation has certainly given me some new challenges and also a few familiar elements I haven’t done for quite a while. I decided to make a trouser suit for a couple of reasons, the first being the challenge (here I go again giving myself far too much to think about) and the second being the wear I will get out of it at work. There is nothing more disappointing than making something, being really pleased with the end result, feeling fabulous in it and never getting the chance to wear it. The pattern is Burda 7134, the fabric is a grey tweed wood blend suiting from Minerva Fabrics. The suit is fully lined, complete with a slit on the back hemline, slits and buttons on each sleeve and fully lined flap pockets on the front.Jacket

It all started with cutting out the 24 pattern pieces for the fabric, lining and interfacing (not a small task by any stretch of the imagination). Initially the construction started well, sewing the front princess seams and the back seams and then I came to a grinding halt with the lined pockets; something I haven’t done before and unfortunately to my horror the instructions were very limited (this pattern is for advanced sewers who know what they are doing and I’m clearly not one of them). Time to turn to my twitter sewing friends for some much needed advice. I must have spent two weeks (around my day job) putting those little beauties in but I got there in the end. Onward with the creating the collar and attaching the facings to the jacket, constructing the lining and putting it all together. The next problem I faced was finding ten buttons two different sizes, I visited many shops and markets with no joy and finally found some online (what is that all about?) I finally revisited buttonholes with shaking hands added the buttons, label was inserted and that was that.   Or so I thought and then I washed it and the shoulder pads decided to head south on a journey to the bottom of the jacket, lining was then unpicked and the shoulder pads were inserted once again (securely this time).Jacket

Time to make the trousers, these compared to the jacket were a doddle, sewing a few seams, the waistband and buttonhole, the most difficult part of the construction was the zip and even that was straightforward, there isn’t anything more I can say about them really, I struggle to get excited about a pair of trousers.Suit

I have to say this suit gave me the challenge I was looking for and accelerated my sewing talent in the process, even though there were times when I really didn’t think I was capable of mastering something I haven’t achieved before.  Although I must admit now I feel the need for making something simple next time, I was going to make an evening dress (something else new for me) but first a couple of separates.

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.

Stepping into some rather large shoes

Now then, these little beauties are my first attempt at men’s attire. I don’t remember making anything “male” when I was first sewing many years ago. The pattern is Simplicity 3971 which to my amusement is a unisex pattern, you will understand my amusement when we touch on the sizing later in the post. I decided to start with a pair of PJs for two reasons, number one, my husband quite liked the idea of handmade lounge wear and number two, I was reluctant to make a pair of trousers or a shirt in case I had another sewing disaster which wouldn’t venture out of the wardrobe; at least with these, only a select few people will see them in the flesh.

The trousers were extremely easy, especially with an overlocker, sew the inside leg, middle seam, side seams, make the waist casing, insert the elastic and away we go, happy days.

The shirt was more difficult, although the pattern was very easy to follow and the construction was quite painless. I revisited button holes and inserting a collar, both of which I haven’t done for some time now. The hardest part was matching all the stripes. When you’re dealing with so much material, it can be quite daunting. As I mentioned earlier this pattern is for male and female, now my husband is 6’3″, he is not a small chap by any stretch of the imagination. I did a bit of measuring, added a bit of length on the arms and legs and definitely cut the pattern to a size medium, make no mistake folks these are indeed a size medium. (I think he was in short trousers the last time he wore medium clothes) and they still swamp him, huge is not the word!

Anyway, we think jammies are most comfy when they are not restrictive and have more than enough room to lounge around in.

20130313-195135.jpg

Two for the price of one

I thought I would share this little story with you all. For those of you who are in the know, you will chuckle and also for those of you like me, who aren’t in the know, you will be soon.

I received a message from my husband yesterday, telling me he had bought me a little present, oh I do like surprises, I couldn’t wait to get home to find out what it was.

My husband had decided to do a little secret detective work on my behalf following my recent decision to look into buying a new sewing machine. You see one of the things I seem to be lacking with my current machine is the art of double stitching, I have so wished that my machine had the ability to hold two needles at the same time, this became more apparent last year during my knitted fabric phase, when I would stitch the hem and then stitch another line close to the first one. (I will add this isn’t the only reason for wanting a new super-duper machine).

Twin Needle

My new found friend

Anyway my husband managed to find a twin needle and bought me one. You can imagine my surprise at the gift (going red at the thought) I didn’t even know they existed, now do I feel a right numpty? Oh very much so! Do I still want/need a new sewing machine? (rubs hands together) of course I do!

20130207-214744.jpg

My other little friend