Monday, 25 November 2013

Plaid Hawthorn and a give-away

So I finished my fourth dress this week the Collette Hawthorn dress. 
(By the way you can get the idea of my new hairstyle here, its still a bit bushy because it needs a trim, but you get the idea ... most of the time I love it!).

I wanted to make a warmer dress for the winter season and one I could wear at work with a jacket.  The pattern is a shirtwaister with a full skirt.

My attempts at a twirl were anything but successful and I felt sick for 30 minutes ... so much for action shots!

The fabric is a thickish, slightly brushed plaid which I got from Akaban at Preston, good value at £5 a metre.  Even matching the plaid it only took 3 1/2 metres.  I cut a size 8 and the only change I needed to make was to cut the longest length.

There were lots of challenges for me here.  Getting the collar to fit and lie flat (and you end up with 6 layers of material in part at the shoulder) and the very fiddly cuff placket were the worst bits, and I didn't enjoy those bits at all (in fact I had decided I wouldn't ever make another - but I do like the fit, the skirt and the sleeves went in well so may change my mind).  There were 15 button holes to make and I had to unpick 4, 3 weren't my fault!

The other challenge is using plaid material.  I could the pieces out singly so I could try and match up the lines.  I was pretty pleased overall with the matching.  The front

and the back were as close as I could get, though I had to unpick a few seams and try again!  In fact I got a bit obsessed.

What worked for me was measuring the allowance from the edge of the fabric and putting the pinhead through both  pieces of material to match them exactly and pinning towards the material edge.  The I machined right up to the pin, removed it and carried on stitching, this worked most of the time.

The only other advice I can think of is that you definitely have to let the dress hang before hemming, it stretched a lot and was 2 inches longer at some points.  Also because a lot of the hem is cut on the bias be very careful about stretching it and press rather than iron.  Overall I am pleased with the dress and probably would make another, I love the neckline shape, the fit and the skirt, I would use a lighter material next time and perhaps avoid the long sleeves because of the cuff, maybe a nice spring version.

We visited the Veolia Wildlife photographer of the year at Kendal Museum.   We've been visiting this annual exhibition since 2001 at various venues and we love it.  The photos are wonderful including the junior winners.  There were so many great photos to show you but I'll choose just 2 because of their wonderful contrast .... sleepy moment in the warm pools of Japan

.... and a fantastic fox!

If you can't get to see it but would like to see more visit here.
I spent 3 days in Birmingham at a conference at the canal area which is really pretty.

and the highspot was a great speech by Sir Chris Hoyle which was a real treat

I mentioned that I was given a lot of 1980s sewing patterns which I am happy to share if anyone would like them (not guaranteeing they are complete and some packets are a bit tatty).  Most are sized 36" bust. 
Pack a)
Pack b)

pack c) a set of new patterns

d) if you don't make clothes there's a rather cute crafting book.

So if you would like any of the above just leave a comment with the prize you would like before December 7th. 
Speaking of really great giveaways (not that mine is!!!!), if you are into vintage you must visit Joanna's blog here because she is giving away the most fantastic goodies and I love her blog too.
Have a happy week!

Monday, 18 November 2013

Wish me luck as you wave me hello!

What a busy couple of weeks it's been!  Dan, the photographer, is home so first a little catch up of my last few makes being worn (not keen on the photos though!).  My landgirls' cardi (blog here)

I've been wearing this cardie a lot, its warm and snuggly and I love the colour.  It has looked lovely with my poppy corsage (not made by me I'm afraid but available on Etsy from the lovely Lucy    here)

Next, my Hetty cardigan (more detail here), as I said not great photos, I look pretty miserable here!  I think I have a slight embarrassment at asking Dan to photograph me - need to work on that!

... and finally the plum Anna Dress.  You may remember I said this was tight, and as you can see skintight was no exaggeration!  I will need to either shed a couple of pounds or buy some Kwok style suck-you-in pants to getaway with this!   Plus more unflattering photos!  Still you get the picture (no pun intended)

I've been sewing a Hawthorn dress, continuing with my jacket and knitting another cardie (is there an obsession starting here - how many cardies do you need?).

On the non-crafting front a lovely visit to one of my favourite local places Levens Hall garden which has a definite Alice in Wonderland feel, and the last faded roses were beautiful in the sunshine (yes we have had 2 lovely days).

... and there were some lovely fat hens!

We had a lovely evening watching the RSC production of Richard II live (i.e. on a film but shown live all over the country) with David Tennant in the lead role and sporting a rather fetching wig and sparkly nailpolish!

And then there have been 2 evenings (because the first try was unsuccessful) when I went from this ....

To this ....

Yes I had a perm, I know perms have been out of fashion for ages, but I fancied a change and want a wavy bob.  Now you may be looking in horror at the extremely curly pic. above, but trust me it looks better when it styled (but you'll have to wait to see that!).  Its another busy week and I'm away from home for work for 2 nights so am looking forward to a quieter weekend and hopefully another reveal.  I've also been gifted a lot of 1980s dress patterns and will be offering a couple of bundles to anyone who is interested .... fancy a bit of the 80s?

Wednesday, 6 November 2013

Plum Anna dress

I held off blogging this week in the hope I could photograph my finished dress on, but due to the absence of my photographer (Dan) and lack of ability to work out the self-timer function on my camera I'm afraid I'll have to make due with shots on my dummy.  Anyway here it is my finished Anna Dress

It does look better on, but as you can probably tell it fits like a glove.   No opportunity for any large meals in here!

I was really chuffed with the invisible zip, which you can hardly see at all.

A shot of the inside, the bodice has a facing rather than being lined.

 For the hem, I just turned under a 1/2 inch hem.

Overall the pattern is pretty straightforward.   It is Handmade by London's Anna Pattern.  I cut a size 12 which is my usual bought dress size, but it could probably do with a little more ease.   I didn't make any other changes   The instructions are really clear and comprehensive, and with a cotton fabric I think it would be pretty straightforward.  However, this  fabric wasn't easy to sew, its silk satin charmeuse.  I bought 3 metres for £21 and I have at least a metre left to make a blouse.  It feels gorgeous, but as you can guess slipped around a lot!  So although the dress isn't my usual style I do like it and it should be quite versatile.

I've also been making bound button holes on the New Look jacket I'm making.  I enjoyed making these, quite therapeutic.

I followed Gertie's instructions and the pattern for the jacket is also from the book.

Can't believe I didn't photograph the finished button holes, but I will show them when the jacket is completed, I'm quite excited with it so far.

Like a lot of the country Cumbria is raining nearly every day, but when we did get some sun over half term (one day) it was lovely.


I just had three days off at half term and didn't really do much other than some sewing, knitting and watching a few films etc.  Lets hope we get a lot more cold but sunny days!