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A very short history of my sewing mistakes, new zinnia and a sorbetto!

12 Nov
zinnia

A wise fabric choice for both substance and style.

Mistakes. We have all made them. From dating the wrong guy, not taking ‘that’ job to saying completely the wrong thing in social situations I have made them all. Sewing mistakes happen too, and they come in a variety of annoying forms, which have in the past scuppered my enjoyment of sewing.

Colette recently opened the topic of mistakes to the  sewing community, and I was glad to read that so many of us make simple and obvious ones just like me.

My main large mistakes would be fabric choice or as that Paul from bake off kept banging on about ‘style over substance’.  I spent ages working on the now OOP simplicity 2591 using a lovely shade of simple brown cotton lawn for the muslin, only to go mad and sew it up in a heavier weave purple and blue print (not to bad) and bright yellow key print (which was really bad and makes me look like a giant pikachu). Both FO are now banished to the wardrobe and I never wear them or have shown them here.

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I have made four different cotton appropriate skirts from simplicity pattern 2226, which now I never wear even though they are very well made and fit well. The darling prints that were so me at the time aged very quickly or I did. I’ve only just crept from under my quilted cotton blanket and realized that other materials are not as terrifying as I once imagined.

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Lovely finished zinnia number two

As I mentioned in my last post about Zinnia I had already started on the next version, which was being cut from a mystery viscose/poly/cotton dark navy polka dot print from Saeed’s fabric shop in Walthamstow. I decided to cut a size 6 in the main skirt pattern and waist band pieces this time, but kept the alteration of sewing the waist band half the given seam allowance to produce a size 5 waist and the addition of seam pockets. I did this because I wanted a little more gathering than my first zinnia to give it a fuller 50’s look, more appropriate to the fabric choice.

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I also used the three row gathering method instead of my usual two and have to agree the difference is paramount. The gathers looked tighter when sewn, meaning they did not distort at all when attaching them to the waistband. I finished the skirt with a 2mm rolled hem- a new foot has been acquired and eleven 5mm mustard fish eye buttons. With the buttons, the 200m Gutterman thread and the 1.5m fabric this zinnia cost me about £7. Nice :)

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As the fabric was 60” wide I was left with about half a meter left. What the H do you do with that amount of fabric? Awesome and lovely Lucy from Guthrie and Ghani inspired me to make my very first Sorbetto. It has taken me a long time to jump on the Sorbetto band wagon. I am small and curvy and tanks did not suit my once a Pikachu dress wearing style, but now I feel the time is right.

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This FO was meant to be more of a muslin but it really is very wearable. I cut a size 2 on the top and using my French curve graded the hips into a size 4. I also lengthened the pattern at the waist during the drafting process, and lowered the neckline by about an inch and a half. I made a few meters of Bias binding using Colette’s continual method which worked very well, and used it to finish both arm and neck.

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Without lengthening the bodice it really would have been way to short. I’m only 5’2” or 3”, and next time I will make the arm holes slightly larger for more movement. I like the low neckline so will keep this adjustment for my next sorbetto. Not sure what that will look like yet….

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Finished project: Zinnia colette skirt version 1 with side pockets :)

16 Oct
zinnia

Elationcreations finished zinnia by Colette version 1 skirt. (with side pockets)

I love Colette patterns. I love how they are presented, I love the style of the designs, I love the companies ethics, I love the way the measurements add up according to the suggested sizing, and I love how they can be adapted usually with step by step online tutorials from the makers themselves. I have many Colette patterns, and once sewn up I usually go ahead and make many different version of the same pattern. Colette’s new skirt pattern Zinnia will be no different. When Colette presented their newest flower related skirt zinnia I knew it was one for me. I picked up the pattern from my local and loveliest haberdashery Guthrie and Ghani and got to work.

My version of the Zinnia is by far my favorite make ever for many reasons. I have previously blogged about my need to stop sewing up dresses and skirts in quilting weight cotton fabric as this renders the finished garment very stiff and usually unwearable for day to day wear. I just can’t help myself when I see a whimsical fox print or spotted cotton and I am now drowning in mostly unsuitable cotton fabric that I can not part with, but can not sew up garments in either. With help from a post by Tilly from Tilly and the Buttons I spent time making a mood board of what fabrics would suit my style and the colours that coordinate with my current clothes in an effort to make my own wearable wardrobe.

 

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My first reason for loving my new zinnia is that it is made from Rayon. My first project to be completed in such a fabric and the difference in the drape, feel and look of the garment makes it 100% wearable. I used a lovely silky but substantial fabric called pearl peach by Penelope which cost me £12 a meter and I am converted. The feel of the fabric next to skin is divine, the drape creates a lovely silhouette, no static when wearing tights and it does not crease!!!  The second reason is the colour palette is just my thing. Autumnal browns and mustards with an unusual leaf print that from a far is not in your face. Perfect.

 

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Props to Ed’s lovely brothers for letting me swank around their very well finished London town house.

The third reason for loving zinnia is the pattern itself. It took me less than a few hours to trace off a modified version one (shortening it at the given waist lines and adding side pocket markings), cut, sew up and wear. The bit that took the longest was the buttons, but thanks to my lovely new Janome machine the button holes where a breeze.

My final reason for loving this skirt is pockets. I love pockets. More than I love fox prints, which is to say a lot. (not alot, but i love them too)

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I got a fox in there some how :)

So what modifications did I make?

I used pattern pieces A, B, L and I as specified but exchanged pieces E and F patch pockets for H to have in seam pockets. During the tracing process I used the shortening/lengthening lines to take off 5 inches in length making the skirt hit above the knee rather than on my shin meaning i used 7 buttons rather than the suggested 10. I am 5’3” and the original sizing would have been so long on me that it would not suit my personal style. The addition on the pockets was very easy- I simply traced off their position on the version 2 lining up the side seams for accuracy.

What size did I cut?

I currently have a 27 inch waist, 34 inch bust and 36 inch hip. I generally wear a British size 8 (for those trying to gage what this means), indicating I should cut a size 4. I did make a waist band toile- the only bit of prep that this version really needs and the size 4 was perfect. I cut a straight 4 but decided to adjust the waistband seam allowance to give me a ‘size 5′. This means I have 1 inch of ease rather than just 1/2 inch. I am happy I made this decision. It gives me room to swell a little during the day and during meal times. Who wants to be uncomfortable during second breakfast?

What materials did I use?

As mentioned the fabric was a silky feel rayon. I used just under 1.5 meters (as I shortened the pattern) and I did not cut the fabric on the crossgrain because my shortened pieces fit within the usual grainline layout with enough room to cut 4 pocket pieces and the waist band. I adore gutermann threads and never use anything else after a cheap alternative snapped and ruined a project. I used two reels of 100m and 7 vintage mustard buttons left to me by my Gran. Discounting the amount for the pattern the project cost me under £25.

Would I make this skirt again?

Yes. In fact I have a spiffy navy and cream polka dot polyester fabric washing in the machine right now, which I picked up from a dedicated trek to Walthamstow market as suggested by Tilly (honestly she is not paying me, I just stalk her every move) and another sheer printed crepe to tackle version 3.

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A very windswept but perfectly happy seamstress

Are you making a zinnia? Do you know any amazingly awesome dress fabric suppliers that do lovely drapey printed lovelies?

 

 

 

Simplicity 2226 strikes again, I make a start on Simplicity 2591, and I realize I need to start attending FBA (Fabric Buyers anonymous)

4 Aug

Simplicity 2226 review (again) The autumn edition

Pattern Description:Simplicity’s Learn to Sew pattern collection. Misses’ skirt in two lengths and tie belt.

Pattern Sizing:6-18. I cut and made a straight 10. My measurements are 36, 26, 36. As usual the measurement suggested I made a size 14 which would have been huge. I made a toile waist band (nothing else) and decided the 10 would be a good fit. I suggest you do this very simple step (pattern pieces 4 and 5) so you can see which size will be appropriate to how you like your skirts to fit.

Did it look like the photo/drawing on the pattern envelope once you were done sewing with it? Yes, following the instructions and choosing the correct fabric will make you a very wearable skirt that looks as good as the picture.

Were the instructions easy to follow?   As this is the second time I have made this project I initially used a sew along by noodle head, but this time I followed the simplicity instructions and found them helpful and usable.

What did you particularly like or dislike about the pattern? I really liked the pockets, and small amount of material needed to make the skirt. I used 1m of main fabric and 50cms of contrast fabric. Good cheap project.

Fabric Used: I used a one way printed fabric that I could try to match up neatly, as I will be using a plaid fabric on another project and wanted some experience now. The fabric used is a quilting weight cotton for a warmer Autumn skirt- Amy Butler’s passion Lilly in Mulberry. I bought 2m in the sale from John Lewis for £6m making this project an under £15 garment all together with thread and binding. I lined up the pattern at the back seam, which worked to a point. As the pattern is on the grain the back seam is not totally straight but it looks perfect from a meter away- its only really close up you can see the alignment.

Happily enough the pattern repeat and the size I made meant that the side seams which I was not worried about also aligned up! :)

Pattern alterations or any design changes you made:  Of course every project I make I have to challenge myself just a little and this skirt was no exception. This version includes finished side and pockets seams using the ‘French seam method‘ which does give a really lovely neat and long lasting seam, and eliminated the need for bias binding. The binding on the pockets on my last version was a little bulky at the end- the French seam worked perfectly. I also took 2 inches of the shortest pattern suggestion as I am so short.  Although I did not use the carriers on this project, I did use bias binding just to finish the waistband facing. Keep it neat :)

Would you sew it again? Would you recommend it to others?  This is the second make from this pattern (3rd in you include the version I am helping a friend sew up) and I am just as happy with this one as I was the first. I will make another one of these again- it is now in my ‘go to’ collection.


Conclusion: I am slightly struggling with what to wear on top with these skirts! Nightmare! I have been wearing my trusty boden shirt but as it is slightly to large on me I think my silhouette is slightly swamped. I have invested in a new black jumper from Boden’s new range ‘the 60’s jumper’ which is not super fitted but should skim me and keep me warm. I want to wear this skirt with tights and brogues for winter. Let’s hop the jumper sorts out the issue’s… or a totally plain version could also work…. Thanks to my two friends who took the pictures for me.

Finally a simplicity 2591 Muslin

Firstly- sorry about the mess in the picture and the picture quality but I was on my own, it was 2am and I had just finished two projects in a day. Studio is gonna be messy.

This said, this muslin has been a long time coming! I went on a hunt for this Out of print pattern when I read Stitchywitch’s review in early 2011. I managed to swag a copy from ebay for about £10 and then got excited, bought loads of different fabric ‘for the dress, traced and cut a straight size 10 on to pattern paper and then life got in the way. I moved house, lost a job, lost a boyfriend, gained a stone, lost two stone, bought a dog, moved house again, had a major operation and then remembered about two years later how much I wanted to make this dress.

So with all that life in the past I sat down and sewed up a muslin in 5 hours. :)

This is made from 1.5m of brown sheeting cotton that I seem to have 10 meters of from god knows where. It actually made a lovely dress! If the fit had been right, I had not sewn the back seam on the outside of the dress and if I could figure out what the instructions meant!

Of course this is the point of a muslin and I am very happy I made one. I need to make a size bigger- a size 12 would give me more room over my waist, and I can grade the bodice to a size 10 when sewing up the seams. This muslin does not have a zipper mind! I was able to sew up the back and then yank it over my head. :) I also took a whole 4 inches off the length and think I could make it 5!

The main issue is that wrinkling on the bodice front. Not because its too tight, but because I do not understand instructions 6-7. Not at all.

I have emailed simplicity with no joy- the person who replied did not even read the body of the email and just assumed I was making a request about an OOP pattern. I have now messaged a few of my favorite bloggers who have also made this dress to see if they can shed some light on what the heck I am doing wrong.

This is the offending part of the dress. It is where the bodice, skirt front and pocket facing is attached to the bodice sides. I have no idea how to get it all to fit without bumps and lumps. I am wondering if I went wrong at the pockets when you are meant to under stitch… think i may have top stitched. Also looking at the pockets on the instructions those dots have me confused. ANY HELP OUT THERE?  I will be making another muslin so hopefully I will make more progress…but any help would…. help. I did take time with the pattern markings with this project. After reading the Colette handbook I decided to actually machine baste the darts in. I have to say, taking the extra time to do this really payed off. Who would have thought? :)

AND finally the fabric. ALL the fabric.

I am a sucker for printed fabric. A real sucker. I love cute prints and it is causing me hording issues. I have so so many cotton quilting weight fabrics that I do not know what to do with them. I buy them as I think ‘that will make a beautiful dress’ only never to find the perfect pattern to work with it. I have come to conclude that unless the fabric is silky, and has drape that quilting cottons can cause fitting issues- but still i buy them.  Any way, here are a few of my latest buys.

  1.  Little Red Riding Hood in icing is from the Walk in the Woods fabric collection designed by Aneela Hoey for Moda. 100% cotton  from Cotton patch @ £11.40m Planned for a dress
  2.  Foxes in icingis from the Walk in the Woods fabric collection designed by Aneela Hoey for Moda. 100% cotton from cotton patch @£11.4om planned for a dress
  3. Underwater sisters if from the the Mendocino fabric collection designed by Healther ross for Spoonflower. 100% cotton poplin from Spoonflower @ $2om planned for a dress

If you are reading this post solely for the underwater sister’s tag- you will be asking ‘where did she get that from, it is all sold out!’ but you would be excited to know….it’s not! Woop. Although the original colours are not being reproduced, Heather has lovingly adapted the Under water sister’s to a mix between blush, natural and Ivory. WOOP!!!! I had considered spending £50 a meter at one point. Madness! I am not bothered it’s not an original but I MUST find a pattern to make a lovely item out of it. I bought 2 yards for $47 (about £30) on the cotton poplin and will a) review it for others b) panic about custom charges until it gets here. I would have bought 3 yards but I am concerned it is gonna rack up the charges. Kind of a test!

  1. Petite odile in Oyster from the French general collection for moda. 100% cotton from bedecked @ £14m planned for another 2226 skirt
  2. Cocoon Butterfly by Valori Wells for freespirit. 100% cotton (very silky) planned for a special  dress
  3. Carline in red by Liberty of London, tana lawn from Fred Winters @ £10m planned for a dress

I am afraid I can tell you were I got the butterflys from as it was an amazing Birthday gift. :)  Well that is the fabric wind up- I am off to spend all day perfecting 2591! Have an awesome weekend people

Doryon #6045 Burda Jumpsuit Part two! Finished item alert

23 Jul

As I mentioned in part one of this post (which can be found here for context) I attended C.O.W’s advanced jumpsuit workshop this Saturday. The pattern we used was Burda’s Doryon, of which now I can review.

Take a look here for my Facebook page (more photos)

Review!

Pattern Description: We’re in love! The Doryon romper is right in time for hot summer days. With sharp tailored details like the pleated shorts and the demure hand-sewn inset, this romper is calling for your special touch. You can accessorize this look with a contrasting belt or by tying a sash through the belt loops. Basically this is a playsuit with one pocket at the seam, a long zip and a shoulder that opens to enable you to get in and out of it when nature calls!

Pattern Sizing: 32-44 (With my measurements being 34,27,37 suggested would have been 8-10 but I made a straight size 12) This size is a little big for me around my waist, but the the ease on my bust and hips is great. Playsuits are not meant to be skin tight so I am happy with the sizing.

Did it look like the photo/drawing on the pattern envelope once you were done sewing with it? I believe it looked better, which is simply down to the choice of fabric rather than my sewing ability.

Were the instructions easy to follow? I had help as this was part of a workshop, but I have downloaded the instructions and they are a little confusing at times. Watch out for the arm holes (yes, it DOES tell you to trim the already cut arm holes by another 1cm- which seems fishy to me) Another issue was the V yoke front. Me and the other person making this item got some weird lumps where the V attaches to the bodice…. Only lots of stitching and ironing flattened it out but not perfectly.

What did you particularly like or dislike about the pattern?: I actually really like the pleats and the shorts! Who would have thought? They are flattering and the length perfect. I really dislike the annoying V yoke where it will not lie flat. I do like the fact that you can ‘personalize’ the yoke because they are separate.

Fabric Used: I ordered 2m of lovely plaid brushed 100% cotton from Croft mill at £5 per m, which was perfectly soft and is extremely wearable. I struggled with sewing it a little as it is quite stretchy, but this is my issue and I learned as I went! Very pleased with the fabric and how it feels on the skin. I have not lined it. I used all 2m of the fabric as I was matching plaids but 1.5m would suffice for designs without plaids. For the pocket I used a contrast piece of cotton fabric with a French script print.

Pattern alterations or any design changes you made: I omitted the belt and loops. On my wide hips, extra detail is a BAD idea and I also did not have time. Instead I would use a thing tan belt around the thinest part of my waist.  I did not change the size or modify at all- just watch the yoke V, and if you get it to sit flush… tell me how!

Would you sew it again? Would you recommend it to others? I would sew this again, but probably will not as I actually love the one I have made. I thought about using the short pattern pieces with the waist band from simplicity 2226 and making a pair of shorts…… probably end badly :)

Conclusion: I really like my playsuit. Sewn up in about 6 hours it does not take forever and the end product is cute and unique. What do you think?

Credit to Francine of Creative open worshop for the photos.

Boden Autumn 2012 preview- too many wants on the list!

17 Jul

It is no secret I LOVE Boden. I am far from a yummy mummy- having no children or husband to classify me with such a title. None the less Boden seeps into my want list season after season. Now I lie! It did not last season! The summer collection, in my opinion was just not me. I felt the same way about Joules too. In fact I bought more clothes from oasis than any other brand put together, which is not normal behavior for me. Some how, it was all just too…. yummy mummy. I usually buy a few items from Boden. Simple lines and without embellishment. They can be few and far between, but you can find them. I remember a few months back Boden doing a survey asking what I thought about the latest collection. I was honest and said I disliked it and had bought nothing. I wanted hipper clothes. Hipster was the word I actually used.

So I was very excited when the rumor mill churned out the news that Boden were doing a new more ‘hipster range’! Woop. You can read the article here- but I am slightly confused about the release date/name of the new brand. Is it Shoreditch like the hipsterville London area, or just the name of one item. Who cares. The point is after much deliberation here are my wants from the new range.

As the grand total for this shopping expedition would come to around £1,100 I think I am going to have to choose my very very favorites and deal with not having the rest. This would be:

  1. Casual belted dress. It comes in petite and I can wear this all year (if summer is going to stay this cold)
  2. Peter pan top. Cute cute cute!
  3. Millie spot top. To be worn with the peter pan collar top and jeans or skirt.

My want but can not afford list

  1. Boiled wool coat- maybe Santa will read this?
  2. Lottie tunic.

What are your favorites this season?

Doryon #6045 Burda Jumpsuit preparation. Part One

17 Jul

This weekend just gone was my Birthday. I wanted to cover up my birthday suit by wearing a new dress that I had made, but sadly the chance to sew up something suitable never presented itself. Do not worry, I wore a bought outfit so no birthday suit was on show :)  The realization that I now have only one item in my wardrobe made by me that fits got me thinking about this whole sewing shenanigans. I really want to be able to join in with the various ME MADE challenges that crop up from time to time, but this means making items that are actually wearable. Tilly and the buttons made some very interesting comments surrounding the issues of sewing with quilting cotton, which I realized most of my fabric stash is made up of. My major issue is that I get over excited about a fabric, buy way to much of it, use a inappropriate pattern, do not make a muslin because I am to impatient and then end up left with one of three situations:

  1. A garment that is very well made but does not fit me
  2.  Something very under finished that will not last because I did not launder the fabric or serge the raw edges
  3. A lovely wearable item, but it simply does not suit my other clothes so therefore gets worn very little.

Really these issues need consideration because what is the point of spending hours on a project that you will never wear? None. Wearability is a very important issue when designing and making your own clothes.  Sometimes using quilting weight cotton can be successful. My latest project for instance Simplicity 2226 is a wearable addition to my wardrobe. The pattern did not call for drape of movement so quilting weight cotton worked well in this case.

Had this been a wiggle dress the results would have been disastrous. This is a mistake I have actually made. I do not want to make these mistakes again. So what am I going to make next? A dress? A top?…. a cuddly toy? Nope! I am making a onesie, a romper, a play-suit, jumpsuit…call it what ever you will! You either love them or hate them, but I have got one of these babies and I love wearing it. Of course mistakes have been made. I friend of mine laughed copiously into her drink, whilst telling me about her classic school boy error of wearing her play-suit to a festival. Porter loos are not made for onsies people!  (they should be mind because playsuits are meant to be played in!

The pattern

Burda Doryon #6045             Difficulty: Intermediate

Description

We’re in love! The Doryon romper is right in time for hot summer days. With sharp tailored details like the pleated shorts and the demure hand-sewn inset, this romper is calling for your special touch. You can accessorize this look with a contrasting belt or by tying a sash through the belt loops.

Recommended Materials

Silk, wool, cotton blends

Amount of Fabrics

1 1/2 – 1 5/8 yards (1.30 – 1.40 meters) self, 1/2 – 5/8 yards (.35 – .45 meters) inset.

The inspiration

Partly because I got some birthday money, have had enough of sewing in silence and because help is always helpful I am undertaking this project at a workshop at Creative Open Workshop. C.O.W run many different types of classes and mine will be run by the lovely Francine of Framboos who made my lovely crochet horseradish necklace and can me seen modeling the Burda project above. I am not as slim as the Francine so can not hope the item looks like that on me, but I love her fabric choice.

Montage! Starting on the far left you can see Burda’s representation of the pattern. As this model is probably 6’2” I will not worry to much about mine not looking the same on me. I dislike the colour, and wonder why Burda have their models act so oddly? The next picture of eunnyjang’s make is darling. I love the plaid fabric and the yoke. She has also raised the waist line, which is flattering. The blue stripped version by wzrdreams has the contrast yoke, and I have to say it is not for me. Although the make is well made (this lady cleverly reworked the zip to the back) I think stripes and contrast would be to over powering on my short frame. I love the plain blue version by laramossler. The yoke has been removed for a lower cutting fit, and the simple fabric drapes well. The very end is made by figamadood and I love the adaptation of the shoulder clasp. Apparently it does up on one side with press studs, but I can not help worrying that I will sit down with force and they will open up…..

Adaptations to consider

  1. Fabric choice is going to either make or brake this project. I am leaning towards a very plain cotton/linen mix with some drape but structure too. I hope I have such an item in my stash….
  2. That closure on the shoulder.  Other ways of finishing it could be to have tie’s like figamadood. Maybe I could adapt the pattern like Butterick 5708? That has tie shoulder….
  3. I am not going to have time to raise the whole waist line but make omit the belt loops or make them sit and the natural waist?
  4. NO contrast yoke! Maybe take ideas from the plaid version…. i really like that version.

Update

After pulling ALL my fabric out of my stash I realize that it is mostly quilting cotton fabric :( I have one suitable linen/cotton mix but it is very red. Not sure it would be that wearable and I already have a summer romper so a thicker one would be a better idea. In the end I decided brushed cotton would be suitable and have ordered this awesome fabric from croft mill.

Hopefully it will arrive in time to wash and iron- i asked them to sprinkle fairy dust on it. Fingers crossed. I know it is not a plain fabric……  but i have made a mood board to help prove that it will fit in with my existing wardrobe :) With a pair of black/grey tights in winter i think we are on to a winner!

Mood board

Bella Swan’s wedding dress and The Pippa middleton Bridemaids dress.

6 Jul

I try to hide it from most people, because I am meant to be a well-educated and respectable young woman but I have watched and read the twilight series. Yes, all of them. What did I get from them? A dark insight to one woman’s personal belief that to be happy you need a rich, dead husband who can provide for you eternally. Other than that, I am not sure. I would love a husband who is eternally faithful to me and able to run fast between engagements to get back to me…. Coming back to reality what I did like was Bella’s wedding dress in the latest film. I am all about vintage lace things, and think weddings are the only time I could wear something so extravagant. (also, do you think filming this scene was weird for the couple in real life? I mean, there must have been that uncomfortable moment where one of them asked ‘are you sure that minister is an actor? or ‘this could be us in the future’….WEIRD)

Now did you know this dress was designed  by Carolina Herrera, which was custom fit for Kristen Stewart, took Ms Herrera and four seamstresses six months to complete? Made out of  crepe satin and French Chantilly lace, 152 buttons line the back of the dress, with 17 additional buttons on each sleeve, this dress is now available to all brides! You can have a hand crafted, fitted to your body Bella dress and made by the designer for a mere $35,000. Wow. Personally I would not want the same dress- this seems very stalkerish in my opinion but a similar dress, taking elements from the design….yes! Any way the point I was going to make before I started researching this dress (that I knew nothing about previously) was that Butterick have released a pattern that is very similar to the Herrera design.

This is Butterick 5779. To be legal and not be charged with copy right infringement garments have to have 7 major changes made to them (need I mention the Harry potter fleur delacour wedding dress issue). Can you see what these could be? I know which one I would want, but i also know which I could afford. I would like this dress in dark navy without the train. I wish I had some balls to go to…I might actually consider making this.

The other dress that I stumbles upon (and have actually bought the pattern) is Pippa middletons Bridemaids dress.

Now, I had not thought about it but it very similar to the Bella Swan dress. Designed by the lovable Alexander McQueen this dress reportedly cost around £20,000. Just like the Bella dress you can get replicas all over the net at much lower prices but Butterick have struck again with a very similar pattern.

Butterick 5710 is a wonderful alternative. I bought this pattern the week it was released- not because I am a royalist, getting married or even making a wedding dress for anyone else. No, I have a surplus of vintage velvet and I thought a short version of this would be a lovely evening dress. One of my favorite seamstresses has made this dress from scratch already. Julia bobbin’s sister looks every bit (or is it Butt) the Middleton.

After making another version of this Skirt and designing a wiggle dress that actually fits, then I may turn my gaze on to this pattern….. watch this space.

Simplicity 2226, the perfect skirt pattern. A homage to the Cath Kidston Guard Skirt

6 Jul

A while back Cath Kidston released a Jubilee inspired range called ‘London calling’, which included this lovely guard skirt @ £35.   I had full intention of buying one but they sold out in about 2 days. I was sad about this, but life goes on and you can not cry over spilled milk.   This year I visited the NEC’s creative craft fair and bought quite a lot of fabric, as well as participated in a few demonstrations. One of my favorite stalls does not sell their merchandise online, so I always look forward to buying their well sourced fabric. This year they had a lovely Jubilee themed selection by makoweruk. This is the same company who designed that lovely Brighton fabric that I am hording. One of their fabrics jumped out at me.

So it’s not exactly the same as the guard skirt, but Cath also did a ‘London sites’ fabric that had the London eye on it, and suddenly I was imaging owning my own guard skirt after all. I bought 1m for £11. Bargain. Then all I had to do was find an appropriate pattern. The Cath version has side pockets, elasticated contrast waistband and it is lined. The fabric was pretty thin so it needed to be. I looked around but then I had an operation and all thoughts of sewing went out my mind.

In May, Cath Kidston reissued their Guard skirt. Edward bought it for me, as a present. I kind of forced him into it, but he knows how grateful I was and still am. We were going to a friends wedding over the Jubilee weekend in Bournemouth and I wore that lovely skirt 2/4 days we were away.

It really is a beautiful skirt- and it sold out very quickly again so I am very lucky. The only issue I have with it, which other people have blogged about as well, is the amount of excess fabric. Having an elasticated waist band means the fabric can bunch up under things and I have to wear a top over it to rain it in. I know this is the reason it was £35 and not the usual £60 you may expect to pay. I still love that skirt.

But I had the Makower fabric not being used and my good friend and bully Pilar suggesting I needed to sew something. I had bought a skirt pattern with the high hopes of using it, but then stored it away with all my other patterns. That pattern is Simplicity 2226. There are lots of versions of this skirt all over the Internet.

Here are a few of my favorite Blogged here, here and here. I love how the skirt can be made as quirky or as simple as you like by manipulating small details. I have been struggling with the idea of sewing something new because after loosing weight ALL the items of clothing I painstakingly and lovingly made no longer fit me :( I will be reluctantly selling these items on ebay (or if you are interested contact me) but I decided it was time to accept I am slim enough and clothes can be made without worry of them being to big/small anytime soon. My body has completely changed and I have found committing the fabric, and time needed to get to know it quite scary! Usually I make dresses. I hardly ever wear dresses strangely enough. I tend to wear jeans and tops, or skirts with shirts. With this in mind I concluded a skirt would be a good compromise. No worry about talking the top in/out and only half the amount of fabric needed. Win, win! With some research I found that a very awesome person had done a Sew along for this pattern! I am year to late, but It helped boost my lacking confidence and it was very well explained, which we can all agree most simplicity pattern instructions are not. More sew alongs please!

And here we are, me prating about in Stratford Upon Avon wearing my fully finished Simplicity 2226 view c with bias binding finished pockets, contrast pockets and belt loops and added contrast bias binding waist band for detail. I call it, Alice underground. As the pattern calls for 1.5m of fabric (short length) I had to use contrast pockets, which I would rather have not done. I used 0.50m of my Cath Kidston for Ikea blue with red spots to give it a more ‘Cath’ feel.

Because I have been sewing for some time now, I always try to add something a little harder to the pattern and finish the inside as neatly as the outside. Here are some close up pictures of the finish and detail. I used Bias binding where the pockets ended to give them some strength as I know I will be shoving my hands in and out of them all the time (like the child I am) and I serged as I went (really helped by the sew along) to make sure all the seams are neat. Next time I will use the `French seam’ method on the side seams as suggested by Noodlehead in the Sew along. There of course will be a next time- it is already on the sewing table :) This skirt is so wearable and needed no alterations making it a very quick project. I cut a straight 10. I worried about it being to small because of where is sits on the waist, but after making a mock up of just the waist band I realized a size 8 would also have been okay. I am 36, 26, 36 for all you ladies wondering what size to make.

Cost:

Main fabric £11, Contrast fabric £2.50, Bias binding £2, Zipper £2

£17.50 seems very reasonable to me compared to £35 for a unfitted skirt….

Which one do you like? (the answer for me is both)

A gift of time gone by, from a family member I will always remember- a blog promoted by Pilar to cure procrastination.

26 Jun

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I have an Uncle.

Me and my awesome Uncle….

He gave me a tin full of vintage sewing crap. My heart (all ready brimming with joy) exploded into a raptures display of star-dust and kittens when the tin turned out to belong to my Auntie Cath (his mother in law) and my Granny (his mother in laws sister).  I loved both these women more than I can express, and every day I miss them. My Granny is the reason for my love of sewing, vintage and methodical logic. She is my Hero.

I could not express in words how much I appreciated this gift. I kind of did the same twitchy nod and bow I once gave Prince Philip when he visited Touchwood Shopping center and exclaimed his excitement that we sold Brassieres! Not that my Uncle is Prince Philip….before someone sues me for perjury. No, he is just a fantastic human who does interesting stuffs.

The point of this blog, is not as you may believe to be boasting about my Uncle but to be sharing the goods! Most, if not all the items were vintage and had some packaging that needed to be enjoyed my all who like such crap. If this is not you, look away now as some packaging was hurt in the making of this documentary.

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Gütermann vintage packaging :) I use Gütermann threads all the time in my sewing so this little bag made me smile. It means my Gran also used the same brand. It is a great brand….just in case you did not know :)

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Elasticated thread at 19p you say? This reminded me of the maths tutor my mother forced me to have so I passed my GCSE’s. The work books we used always had 1/2 pence values and things cost ridiculously small amounts. I liked to day dream (when I was meant to be working) about how life would be if I could buy all the shoes I wanted for 2p a go. Then I became a feminist. Feminists are not meant to think about these things…….

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Walker and Ling- Weston super mare still exists :) I have never visited it because until now, I did not know my Gran and Aunt made special trips to get notions only they stocked! Next time I go I will pay a visit to browse this shop- just because my Gran visited it.

Some more bags…. these are from Solihull’s department store Beatties, which is not called House of Fraser. Before Touchwood was built this used to be the one stop shop for all my sewing needs. They stocked pattern books. which they placed out of the reach of small little me. :( When I could I’d get my mum to pass a book down and dream about what I wanted to me. A mermaid, A vet or a Doctor….. The collection show the graphic design changes of the brand over a few years.

Some sumptuous buttons and other things. I have to come up with some projects for these items……

So alongside the bag of odds and ends there was a tin of 100s of spools of thread. All the colours of the rainbow but also on lovely vintage spools :) What can these be used for after the yarn has disappeared? Suggestions welcome…..

So, after procrastinating by logging, sorting and finding homes for these items I have to admit I am meant to be sewing a project, because I pledged to a very dear fellow sewing friend Pilar (of pilar bear)  that I would get my act together. I have been, for want of a better phrase ‘fannying about’ since my operation. Although I have been ebaying some of my wears, my crafting has come to a halt. Things need to change………  I promise they will :)

What shall I make next and new New Favorite seller alert!

26 Aug

Violet pattern

So my next project is under way, just as the last project has just been completed. (blogged here.)  I am just loving Colette patterns and can not get enough of them it seems. It’s the cute little booklets they come in and all the inspiration their website offers. My new patterns arrived this week. Violet and Beignet. So very very excited.  I ordered these patterns off ebay as they were a little cheaper than my usual Ray Stitch supplier. Mostly because Ray Stitch works out better if your buying fabric AND supplies, but as I am planning a trip to their new shop I just wanted the patterns. I have never ordered from the two sellers I came across before, and had no problem with either of them- but one of the sellers stood out like a fat man on a catwalk.

fabricsandfancies Supplies, cat not included.

I could hardly believe how well this little beauty was presented. Neither can sooty. The seller is called fabricsandfancies and they sell a range of sewing lovelies.  This pattern was very reasonably priced and with free p & p, they encourage flicker pooling pictures of your makes and stock lots of things I now want. They have been added to my where I buy stuff page for future buying :)

  This is the fabric I plan to use to make violet up in. I bought this sarong for making purposes as my mum owns the skirt that came pre-made from seasalt and I hate having the same clothes as my mum. It just seems wrong. It has a lovely textured feel to the fabric like seersucker so really is a summer fabric, but I will be wearing many layers this winter season so I feel it will be suitable. Also I just really like the print. So there. :)

As for Beignet I have found some wonderful duck print fabric at my local fabric store. Yes, I said duck print. The inspiration comes from the duck jumper from joules I love so much but know I can not afford- I did splash out on the skinny Mustard Boden jeans in the end. Had to.  I also purchased some mustard jersey for unknown purposes….maybe another Violet? Not sure how that would work. I have never got to grips with jersey. Do you interface the whole lot and then remove it after cutting and sewing? I know the answer is no, but I have tried all the suggested ways and never got a nice finished project.

Anyway, Here is a picture of said duck material. Currently its in the washing machine, which I have accidentally left on whilst staying in oxford. Lets hope it does not shrink by the time I get back… it’s kind of a twill type cotton with a soft feel to the pile. I shall be looking for some lovely buttons to go on the front…maybe some mustard buttons? :) I really need to stop the mustard loving. It’s becoming an obsession.

DUCK!

So off to bed with little me, going shopping tomorrow and I am very excited about it….Oxford has a very large cath Kidston store. I may not come back!

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