Saturday, 24 November 2018

Slinky Party Dress




My next post for Minerva Crafts Blog is up today and it's a dress I made in the summer. Modelled here by my beautiful daughter. I can't wait to wear this in the Christmas party season.


It wasn't all plain sailing with this make and you can read the full post here.

Sunday, 18 November 2018

Burda Button-up


I've had it in mind to make a button up shirt for some time. I'd been considering the Kalle, but realised that in my extensive stash of Burdastyle magazines there were a lot of shirt patterns.

I particularly like sleeveless tops as I can layer them really well and they work for all seasons. so once I spotted this beautiful indigo batik cotton at The Natural Fabric Store in when I was on holiday in August I knew it was the perfect fabric for a sleeveless button-up shirt. The fabric is a narrow lightweight cotton. I bought 2m. Plenty to make a sleeveless blouse and there's enough left over to squeeze out a Sorbetto too.

I chose #103 from the June 2013 issue. Although this pattern is sleeveless, it has the same pattern pieces as a shirtdress from the same issue so you could add sleeve if you wish.


The pattern only calls for one yoke piece, but I cut two so I could enclose the internal seams. I didn't really follow the instructions and instead followed the Grainline Archer method of sewing the collar.
This provides a neat clean finish to the neckline. The armholes are finished with bias binding made from my fabric.


I made a size 38, which is my go-to size for Burdastyle and didn't make a muslin. the only change I think I'd make if I were to make this again is to raise the bottom of the armhole by about 1cm. If you were adding sleeves it is perfect as it is, but I think just a tad higher for a sleeveless garment would improve this pattern. I've already worn this with my new Ginger Jeans and will wear it a ton in the summer months.

Sunday, 11 November 2018

Gingers - finally


Last Christmas my Hubby bought me the Closet Case Ginger Jeans pattern. Ever since then I have been on the lookout for some stretch denim of a decent weight. I finally got my hands on 2m while at #sewupnorth at the end of September. This is an inexpensive denim and it does show. I don't think these will last too long but for the first experiment, I didn't want to spend a lot of cash, just to have a failed project. But these are a success and they will get worn  -  a lot!


It's the first time I've attempted fitted/ skinny jeans and the stretch fabric does really make a difference. this denim has about 20% stretch and I was unsure at first how the stretch would affect fit. I thought these might bag out really quickly or be super tight like jeggings. however I've worn these for a couple of days and they have softened quite a bit and relaxed, but are still comfy. The creases are from a day's wear.

I decided that I didn't want a skinny leg and fancied some flared jeans, so I added width from the knee to the hem, making the inseam about 33 inches in length. I have not sewn with a Closet Case pattern before and went solely by my size. I cut a size 8 at the waist grading to a 12 at the hip and leg. I assembled the front of the jeans and then basted the remaining pieces to assess fit. I did make quite a few changes before sewing up the jeans and topstitching.

Changes made:
1.5 cm from the side seams between the pocket opening and the fullest part of my hip. about 20cm in length grading to nothing at either end.
1.5 cm from the width of the thigh at the inseams. I also shortened the inseam by about .8cm front and back.
I took out at a total of 6cm from the CB at the top of the yoke. I didn't grade this quite evenly enough and ended up with a bit of a bump. I'll smooth it for next time.


This meant that my waistband was too long. I should have stretched it to fit a little more as it is still a tad too loose.

I used the sew-a-long on the Closet Case website which is a fantastic guide to sewing jeans and goes over some of the fitting issues and how to solve them.

I'm generally pleased with the fit of these and can see me using them as a starting point for my own designs. I chose the high waisted version, but it's not too high waisted at all, but then I do have a long torso. these are super comfy, even without a belt. There was no way my machine was going to handle 8 layers of denim in order to stitch the belt loops on - so I left them off. I can safely say that, despite a slightly loose waistband, these are the best fitting jeans I have.


I do think there is a bit of twisting on the leg, which I was quite surprised about as I cut out the fabric in a single layer and used a ruler to check that all my pieces were on grain. However, this isn't too noticeable and will not stop me wearing them.

Today I have them paired with my newest blouse, converse and a hand knitted cardigan (made for me by my sister in law - I can't knit).


Wednesday, 7 November 2018

This Dip was Lucky - Minerva review


My latest post for Minerva Crafts is up on their blog today.
I was sent one of their lucky dip packs to review and it's a bumper sewing frenzy. Lots of mu makes from this pack are getting loads of wear, especially the Ponte skirt and the undies.
Pop over and have a read of the full post here.

Friday, 2 November 2018

Hibernation Dress


AKA The hoodie dress from The Assembly Line.

This is my second version of this dress and I doubt it will be my last. I'm not one to buy patterns on a whim and as I have a large stash of Burdastyle magazines I often can find what I want within their many patterns. However, whilst on holiday in Devon in August I popped into The Natural Fabric Store at Rousdon. They had a beautiful selection of linens, cottons and denims and I bought a couple of metres of a batik cotton lawn, which I'm currently sewing up. I also noticed their selection of patterns and in particular, The Assembly Line patterns, which I'd not seen before and the hoodie dress caught my eye. As I'm an arch procrastinator I didn't buy the pattern there and then. I like to mull over whether or not a pattern is going to be of real use to me. After arriving home I just couldn't get the pattern out of my mind and bought a copy online from The Draper's Daughter.

Hoodie Dress by The Assembly Line.

Minerva Crafts had sent me some Denim, which I used for my first version, but I also decided I needed something a little softer for version number two. So while at #sewupnorth at the end of September I was on the lookout for some cotton sweat-shirting. I didn't find quite what I wanted but ended up buying some cotton baby cord from B&M fabrics. This fabric is soft and has the snuggle factor that I was after without being too heavy.


Once I'd finished my denim version (which you can read about on their blog soon) I started on my cord version. This pattern is very well drafted and the lay plans for fabric are precise. For many independent pattern companies I know I can get away with way less fabric than the pattern states. No so with the Hoodie Dress. It said 2.3m and that is exactly what you need. there is not much wastage at all - even more reason to use this pattern.


The Dress is essentially an A-line dress, brought into a cocoon shape by and encased wide elastic band at the hem. The same type of band is used at the cuffs too. I wasn't really sure about this part of the design and although I sewed the hem band I ended up not using it and adding a different finish there. Instead, I folded a narrow 1cm hem and topstitched it. I used two eyelets at the centre front and threaded an elastic cord through and used a toggle and beads to be able to adjust the length of the elastic. This gives the same shape to the dress as the original, but I think it's a more satisfactory finish. I much prefer it.


I also omitted the elastic cuffs and just sewed a band onto the sleeve, pleating the sleeve fabric to fit. Apart from these two changes I did not alter anything else about the pattern.


The pattern comes in a single size. I was worried about the fit before I sewed this up. I'd ordered a small based on my measurements and thought it might be too narrow across the shoulders. I didn't need to worry as the fit is perfect. The only changes made were those mentioned above.


I honestly think this pattern is a real keeper. with just a few tweaks and hacks it could be really versatile. I already have plans to make a summer version in linen, without the hood and with short sleeves. The bodice section alone would make a fab cropped hoodie in a cosy sweat-shirting and I think it would work as a tunic length too. Loads of options here.


However, as we approach the winter here in my little corner of Northumberland I think both this cosy cord version and its denim sister will be getting quite a few outings.

Saturday, 13 October 2018

My Wedding Dress...


...25 years on.

I always planned to wear my wedding dress for our 25th anniversary. But I knew I couldn't wear it in it's original form, so it was time for a refashion. The original dress was made by Laura Ashley and is a printed cotton. I really loved it and it seemed a shame for it to be hidden away in a box going yellow.


The plan was to shorten the skirt and change up the sleeve to something more contemporary. I have always been able to fit into my dress and this seemed like an easy refashion. However, after soaking and washing my dress at quite a high temperature to get rid of the yellowing stains, it had shrunk a bit and although I could still get it on. It would not have been comfortable to wear.

So a bigger refashion was needed. I have always loved fitted bodices and full skirts of the 1950's and wanted to keep the scooped neckline of the original dress. I also loved the back of the Gertie Sultry sheath dress. So after carefully taking the skirt apart, I used the B6453 princess seamed bodice and extended the bodice to include the shoulders and have the same scoop neckline. I overlaid the sultry sheath bodice back and found it matched almost exactly with the B6453.
I self lined the bodice and then added a knee length box pleated skirt to finish off the dress. The zip is a lapped zipper.


On our anniversary I styled my dress with a black net underskirt, black and white spotty kitten heel shoes and a beaded balck and white collar necklace. The evening was warm do I didn't need a coat, just a purple shawl to complement what my hubby was wearing.


We enjoyed a beautiful meal at the House of Tides in Newcastle.




I love my refashioned dress, but i'm not sure I have much call for a white dress, so I'm considering dying it. Some experiments are needed to see how the dye reacts to the printed cotton.

Sunday, 2 September 2018

Cambie refashioned


A couple of years ago I made this Sewaholic Cambie dress. I know we don't see many around the blogosphere these days, but a few years ago, everyone was making it. I was drawn by the line drawings and the makes that I saw online.


So I jumped in and made it out of this fantastic IKEA fabric. The instructions were faultless and I finished this dress beautifully. fully lined - even I'm impressed with the finish I did on this dress.

It fitted fine, but there was just something off with it and I couldn't put my finger on quite what was wrong. Hence I have only worn it a couple of times and that is a waste! I've since decided that it's the proportions of the bodice that was wrong for me. The balance of the design just didn't suit my frame.


I considered sending it to the charity shop, but the truth is I love the fabric and the skirt part. I also had a small piece of the fabric left - just enough to create a basic bodice front. I found enough white cotton in my stash to make the lining. So inspired by "The Refashioners" Inspired by... theme I decided to remake this dress with a nod to 1950's style. and I just love the neckline on this dress worn by Audrey Hepburn, so this is what I aimed to recreate.


I took the bodice apart and carefully reused the back pieces and cut a new bodice front with bust and waist darts. I made a slightly extended shoulder to fit the original Cambie back pieces but widened the neckline to a boat neck. I used my self-drafted block for this.


Miraculously the new bodice fitted the waistband perfectly. I was expecting to have to do a bit of
adjustment, but not so. I attached the new bodice and lapped zipper by machine and then slip stitched the lining back into place.





I think this is a much better style for me and I think I might just wear it more than I did the last one.
(Photos were taken by my daughter whilst on a rather windy dog walk with Daisy our Wheaten Terrier)

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