Monday, 31 March 2014

Madmen Challenge 3, a bit of Joan!

Well I have just managed to finish my dress for Julia Bobbins Madmen challenge which finishes tonight.  I decided to channel my inner Joan which means a 60s wiggle dress (without her figure of course).

I didn't want to try and copy a dress exactly but come up with a version I thought I could actually wear, and was rather attracted to the idea of a large collar as in the left hand image above.  Burda 7178 looked pretty original to the 60s. 

This was my first Burda pattern and you have to get used to the rather minimal instructions.  I decided to use a  ponte knit fabric for comfort.  I had a few problems with the sizing (though I really liked the very full measurements Burda give).  I made a lining which proved to be a bit tight, so I decided not to use it and couldn't be bothered to make another.    (I should have noticed from this that the shoulders are far too wide but I didn't and even with using a 3/4" allowance on the sleeves didn't completely solve it).

So  I went back to facings.  The dress itself is too big (it would look great on someone with more curves). 

The collar plus facings was a challenge and particularly difficult to fit at the top of the zip, but I love the collar at the back!  You may be able to see that I had a bit of difficulty with the zip and facing at the back.  So overall not my favourite make, but an interesting challenge.  I hope I do get to wear it sometime, when I'm not sure.

I think I've had enough jersey for a while, as I just find that I can't get a really nice finish inside!  I've got lots of plans though for a slip, emery dress, swing dress, more trousers, a blouse and I've two jumpers on the go and a Chanel style jacket, busy, busy! 
I've was away for 3 nights last week.  I spent two nights with my oldest friends Katie and Bob on the South Coast.  As always when I visit them I had a great time.  Katie has the most gorgeous garden.

We caught the bus to Brighton and felt smug to get upstairs front seats where the views were fabulous

We visited the Brighton pavilion

which was really interesting and rather crazy.  The interior was absolutely over the top but very interesting.

Then I spent a night in London, here is my hotel
Only kidding!  This was taken from the bus, couldn't possibly afford this and my own hotel was a bit of a dump!  I was there to attend a conference but also managed to fit in my first trip to the V & A.  The Coffee shop was suitably grand.

The main purpose of my visit was the Fashion exhibition which was wonderful.  The condition of the gowns were fabulous and you couldn't believe the age!

You can never have enough knitted swimwear!

And my favourite a Dior New Look Suit (which was red rather than orange).

I can fully recommend the collection (and you can take photos!).  Just wish I could catch the Italian fashion exhibition about the start.
So its been a busy couple of weeks.  If you are a mum hope you had a lovely day yesterday, I did, be more of this next week.  Must get off to bed now especially as the clock change is catching up with me.  Have a great week.

Tuesday, 11 March 2014

Coco knit top a la Great British Sewing Bee

I've wanted a Breton style top for a while, so decided to make Tilly's new Coco pattern.   I thought it might be fun to time how long it took me to see how far out of the 2 1/2 hour limit round 1 of the Great British Sewing Bee allows, not in a really serious way (after all sewing is my fun time).   I didn't count the cutting out having done that on Saturday while watching Endeavour.  So .... ready, steady, sew ......

In the first 45 minutes  ... stabilised the shoulders with clear elastic, staystitch the neck

turn under the neck, check it looks even

Stitch under (some good stripe matching!).

Next 45 minutes ....  insert the sleeves ...

Have a break .. tea and toast, walk the dogs.

Next hour  ... sew the side seams, overlock all the seams, top stitch the split ....

..... all went pretty well, with generally good stripe matching except for one sleeve which was a disaster

As you can see, the stripes ended up completely mismatched, but unpicking on knit (I used a stretch stitch is a nightmare - ask Heather?) so I decided to just turn it under as it was.

Next 40 minutes, complete the hem and the sleeve hems, finish off ends and press et voila 3 hours 10 minutes later .....

If you made the top in a plain fabric I think it could easily have been completed in 2 1/2 hours as the stripe matching took quite a bit of time.  There were also a few distractions, including the must have sewing room accessory

I probably enjoyed it less having a time constraint and definitely had a bit of back ache.  The pattern is a good fit.  I cut a size 3 graded to a 4 on the bust.  I like the fitted waist and the split sides.  The instructions are also detailed and clear which would be straight forward for even a beginner, however, I really don't think knit is easy especially with a pattern to match, and unpicking is almost impossible.    I bought some fairly cheap interlock for this but I don't like the fabric, it is quite nylonny and don't think it will be pleasant in hot weather.

It's felt like spring this week and I enjoyed

Meg sitting like a person

Dan's pizza with a cauliflower base

Mary Berry's apple cake

Some lovely new wool, approved of by Bronte (more later).

Hope you had a lot to smile about ... and now its time for the next episode of the Great British Sewing Bee ... wonder what the theme will be this week?

Wednesday, 5 March 2014

A lady skater dress

Well the Winter Olympics is over and I particularly enjoyed the ice skating.  These .were my favourite moments.  Yulia lipnitskaya performing Schindler's list (and only 15!).


Elena Ilinykh and Nikita Katsalapov performing Black Swan which I thought was fabulous.

Neither performances won, but they were my favourites, both Russian and tragic!  I wish I could skate (the flat feet, gammy knees and inner ear not to mention fear mean this is unlikely).  So for the moment I will have to make do with ........ (yes a terrible link!) ......  a skater's dress! 

 There have been dozens of the  lady skater's dress on blogs, so this is nothing new but it was  my first time working with stretch material and I went for Ponte di Roma which is a thick stretch material, so I learnt how to use the stretch stitch on my machine, used a stretch needle for the first time and did a bound neckline. 

This was obviously quite a different make for me; non-vintage and a more ordinary item.  Previously I felt that it wasn't worth making clothes which you could buy in the shops for a similar price and which would probably be better made, so I'm not sure how I ended up choosing this project, although I did want to try a knit fabric.   I had to stabilise the shoulders and waist with clear elastic which was straightforward to do, but at the waist it ended up with it showing above the seam and that is a bit strange.

I also learnt how useless it is to make a muslin from different material as I made one from my usual woven fabric (yes I know, how pointless) which was far too small because it didn't stretch.  The other silly thing was that, in my typical way, I didn't read the instructions carefully enough and failed to notice that the seams should have been 3/8th"and I made mine in the usual 5/8th of an inch, this resulted in the sleeves being rather short and they are a touch uncomfortable at the elbow.  Even though I extended the length by over an inch, the dress is still rather shorter than I like to wear.  However, all in all the fit is good, rather flattering

All-in-all I would recommend this pattern for an easy staple.  If you are a quick sewer you could probably make it in a day (I made it over the weekend).   Generally  I managed the knit fabric, though I did find it a bit tricky.

 We've had some pretty windy weather recently especially on one of my favourite seaside walks.  Thought you might like to be impressed by the sit and stay, and you can see the windswept look here.
Finally, I had a great visit to an antique fair with a friend (hello Julia) and just in case my last post has left you convinced that knitting is always trendy this is a pattern from the 1939 Stitchcraft magazine I bought.
Bet your itching to knit one now!  Have a great week.