Wednesday, 30 December 2015

GBSB Drapey Knit Dress and a mustard Oslo

I think this is a bit of a marmite dress, you love it or hate it .... on the whole I love it!  Not my usual style at all, and my hemlines seem to be going up as I get older.  This is The Great British Sewing Bee Fashion with Fabric Drapey Knit Dress

 I had been intrigued by lots of versions, and particularly liked Karen's version which she made in a finer knit fabric than the suggested double knit/ponte. I had seen the rather crazy fabric at Fabric Godmother, with no idea what to make from it, but loved the colours and the 60s feel, and having seen Karen's thinner version thought it might be worth a go.  In fact I think overall the thinner jersey is better.  There is a an overlap (which ends up being 4 layers including the facing) and I think that this just wouldn't lie right if you were using a ponte roma.

I love the sleeves with all their bagginess which then goes into a slim cuff.

The construction is quite strange and rather fantastic.  The one piece back showcases a large pattern.

I cut a size medium and didn't make any adjustments except to leave out the pockets which I felt might spoil the line.

Whilst I was in the mood for knits I made another Seamwork Oslo.  It's not as snuggly as my last one (which I made last Christmas), but this was fairly cheap mustard boucle knit which I bought at the Harrogate Knitting and Stitching show.

The colour is great and I've worn it several times already.

With no lining, it does only take a few hours to make.

Strangely the stretch on this was vertical and I should have cut it that way, so the cuffs are a little tight, but still wearable.

I hope you all enjoyed Christmas.  I had a lovely time with Dan and Gemma who made a lovely Christmas lunch.

Just to prove I have worn the cardigan (though here with my Coco)!

And of course, lots of stokes with the lovely Monty!

Wishing you all a wonderful 2016, now if I can just get rid of this cold!

Monday, 14 December 2015

The Orla times two!

Well I can't believe it is 6 weeks since I posted, the longest ever.  There have been many reasons, mostly to do with being very busy, but also I think because I feel pretty blah about the garments I had planned to post (not only that but blah about the photos too!).

After really liking my last Tilly make, I'm just not keen on this one.  This  is Tilly and the Buttons latest pattern the Orla.  As you can see I copied Tilly's black dot version.  I cut a size 4 grading in 1 cm at the waist.  I'm only 5' 4" and so I shortened the length by 2".

I made a 1" full-bust adjustment which wasn't easy to work around the curved French darts.  I did manage to achieve this, but wonder whether this has made the overall top a bit baggy.  So what do you do with a make you don't really like .... make another!  I had already cut the second one out before I decided I wasn't too keen on the first, so I pressed on. 

I have had trouble with the necks being too high for me on Tilly's patterns, it makes me feel a little bit like choking do I lowered the neckline by 1/2" at the front.

From the back I think the fit looks baggy and rather shapeless.  You can see that despite narrowing the shoulders quite a bit (I followed the size 1 shaping) the shoulders still look too wide, and the pleated sleeve sort of flops.  Having read some other comments about Tilly's patterns I wonder if they are designed for a broadish shoulder, which then wouldn't suit me.  The sleeves don't look good at all.

You can see I chose to fit an invisible zip which meant that I cut two pieces for the back.

I think the main reason I won't get much wear from these is that they definitely feel more like tunics than blouses.   I don't really wear tunics, because I like something warmer when I'm being casual and smarter when I am at work.   They don't tuck in and stay very well.  The fabric for both is a slightly slippy rayon mix.

You can see the puffy shoulder here.

The second version has gone straight to the charity shop, and although I've worn the first once I think it will follow soon.  Anyway enough of this.  I may not have been blogging, but I have been sewing and more successfully; GBSB stretchy jersey dress, mustard Oslo, Chanel jacket, a silk jersey blouse and a Colette Wren to cover!

If you live in the UK you will know about the flooding in Cumbria.  I am fine, others have not been so lucky.  The photos below were taken a week after the flood on one of my usual walks in the valley where I live.    These are normally fields although they look like a lake (snow on the hills now too!).  Many have had a terrible time and have been made homeless for Christmas.  Some homes  still have 3 foot of water in them.  At Glenridding they were flooded twice in a week!  There are also many wonderful example of kindness and community spirit.

 I am really looking forward to Friday ..... two weeks holiday to come and, of course, lots of sewing!

Thursday, 29 October 2015

Tilly and the Buttons Coco

A touch of the Francais .... this is Tilly and the Button's Coco dress with the funnel roll neck.  It's a very simple dress, but I love it.  It is just so comfortable.  The main reason for this is the fantastic ponte fabric which I bought recently from the Fabric Godmother, I loved it so much I tried to buy some more but .... all gone!  I was inspired by Karen's version with her fabric recommendation (thanks Karen).  The nearest they have is in a white colourway which is also a good fabric but not quite as snuggly.

I wasn't sure where the pockets should go, they look great on the pattern, but far too low to put your hands in!

Coco sewing pattern - Tilly and the Buttons

So I put mine much higher .... are they too high do you think!

I cut a size 5 in the bust grading down to a 4.  I took 5/8" from the shoulder width, and although I'm only 5'4" I added two inches to the length as befits someone of my age!  I really like the final result for an easy weekend wear, its just so comfy and the shape is really quite flattering.

I think this is a good beginners pattern; no fastenings and the funnel neck is pretty easy to fit.  I would definitely recommend it with a stable ponte fabric for a first go and knit fabrics.  If you haven't seen one of Tilly's patterns the instructions are great, you get a little booklet fully illustrating all the steps with photographs.

I've just enjoyed three days off during half term, awful weather but lots of sewing; 2 Orlas and GBSB dress, plus lots of gratuitous fabric shopping .... such plans.  I also had a visitor for the week, Monty has been staying.  He's 7 months old now and full of beans.  Such a cutie. 

Sunday, 18 October 2015

Vogue 1405

A warm welcome to any new readers, and infact any readers.  I was so pleased this week to find I have 150 followers on Bloglovin!  Wonderful.  Well on to the sewing.

This is Vogue 1405.  How fabulous does it look on the model!  (No that's not me on a good day - she probably weighs the same but is 6" taller).   I raised the waist by 1" and I think this was a mistake as the waist looks a little too high and I tend to be pulling the skirt down during the day.
Image result for vogue 1405
As you can see from the line drawings this is a mock-wrap dress with batwing sleeves.
Image result for vogue 1405
.... which on my version look like this ....

.... and this .....

The midriff is draped and stitched onto a smaller band, and the skirt is just draped and quite close-fitting at the midriff.  The fabric is some sort of stretch, synthetic fabric, I can't remember where I got it.  It was just the right drape for this dress, albeit rather synthetic in its feel.

For some reason the pattern is supposed to have a zip in the back, which I really couldn't see the point in so I left it out and cut the back on a fold.  This has worked fine as the dress easily pulls on over the my head.  Here are the insides.  You can see that you make a full slip from power mesh.
The slip is quite snug and gives both shape and stability.

At the back you add bra-strap sliders. though these aren't really needed.  The pattern is described as Average, but I have to say I found it pretty fiddly (particularly the slip) and definitely one of the more difficult patterns I have used, so much so that convinced I wouldn't make it again it ended up in the bin rather than bothering to fold it up and put it back in the envelope.  Having said that I have worn the dress to work quite a bit, it's smart yet comfortable and easy to wear.

I've had a lovely quiet weekend of sewing and finished a blouse and a Coco dress (to come soon) and cut out my Tilly and the Buttons Orla blouse.  I just love the sense of achievement I get from sewing, and I have so many plans for Autumn.  After a summer of being really good about buying fabric I am afraid I've one a little crazy over the last two months.  Here's a taster of what is to come, and if you want any more info on some of the things I will be making visit my pinterest autumn planning board.

That's a lovely bit of Linton Tweed on the top, already half made into a Chanel-style jacket.

Have you any Autumn plans?  Oh and if you are reading in the UK are any of you intending to go to the SewBrum meet up on 31st October.  I'm thinking about it, although it will mean 5 hours of travelling.  Have a great week.

Monday, 12 October 2015

Simplicity 3833: 1960's retro

Well it wasn't quite a dress in a day (but it was in two days), but this was the theme for an Adult Education course I signed up for, which was great value at only £35 for the day.  Six of us took part and the finished results were amazingly different (sorry not to have got photos of other dresses - hope that doesn't make me seem too selfish but I felt a bit awkward asking to photograph others).  I wasn't sure about the pattern initially because I sometimes find shift dresses a little shapeless, but as shifts go I have ended up being pretty pleased with this. (Sorry about the blurry photos, I think my camera was struggling to focus duck-egg blue against a duck-egg blue wall).

I coloured-blocked the front yoke and sleeves.  The fabric is a Robert Kaufman polyester linen which I bought mainly for the colours, however, there is a lot I don't like about it.  It is quite thin, difficult to press with a slightly plastic-type quality (yes that does sound awful).  It's wearable but I wouldn't buy it again, though the duck-egg blue is lovely and of course no wrinkles.

The most unusual thing about the pattern is the dart.

You can see what an unusual shape the dart makes, and it was actually much easier than it looks.  Infact I would say this is a good pattern for beginners.  Four of the ladies on the course had hardly done any sewing and went from cutting out to getting the zip in all in 5 hours.  You can see in this photo one of the problems with the fabric is bulge at the nipple which just won't press out!  I don't think it looks quite as obvious in the flesh  (hope not anyway).

I added an inch to the bottom of the sleeve for some extra room, sleeves often seem tight on me.

You can see duck-egg blue top-stitching under the bust and down the centre seam which is a nice feature (first time for me top-stitching in such a contrasting thread).

I cut a size 14 grading to a 12 at the waist, but did a full-bust adjustment of an inch, you can see from the photo below where I slashed and added to.  I also took my usual 5/6" from the shoulder width.  Very importantly I dropped the neckline by 3/4" and even with this the neck is still quite high.  I just can't stand having things really tight at the neck and this would have been unwearable for me without the adjustment.  I also added 1" to the longest length (although I am only 5'4" because I just can't rock a mini any more.  I think the dress would look better shorter and also without the sleeves (I just don't do bare arms, not my best feature).  So what I'm saying is this is an easy, wearable and quite flattering pattern, especially if you can keep it short and sleeveless.  Have a go!

Sunday, 27 September 2015

Last of the Summer Sewing: McCalls 7185

Well this is my last summer weight dress for this year, and it's been quite a successful one.  I first saw this dress on Laura-Mae's blog and loved it and when I found it was one of their multi-cup patterns I was a no-brainer.

The fabric is from Wayne Hemmingway's collection in duck egg blue (my favourite) I bought it a while ago and I don't think it's available any more.  It's quite crisp, rather more like a quilting cotton weight, which I think worked quite well with this dress giving the skirt more body.

I cut my usual size 14 with a C cup grading in at the waist to a 12.  I didn't have enough of the fabric to cut the pattern as given, there is a lot of fabric in the skirt and I had to take 10" out of the front and back skirt.  As you can see there is still plenty in the skirt and I think I might prefer the reduced gathering.

What I really didn't like was the sleeve.  You can see below the right sleeve is very puffy and just not my style.  I felt quite silly.  So I recut new sleeves based on McCalls 6696 as you can see on the left and I much prefer it.

I have never tried piping before and I wanted to have a go, so I used preprepared piping around the neck and I think it adds a real pop.  It also seemed to make the facing stay tucked in nicely.  I had wanted to include more piping around the waist, but I just couldn't work out what to do with all the ends, so I didn't risk it.  I replaced one of the poppers with a vintage button and I think that gives a nice touch.

Overall I think the dress has a great fit and it's pretty straightforward to make.  It's comfortable and the neck is just the right depth, quite decent and the wrap-over feels really secure, no chance of unexpected flashing.


Pattern McCalls 7185 size 14C bust to 12 at waist
Raised waist by 6/8"
Reduced shoulder width by 5/8"
Added 1/2" to sleeve width
Reduced skirt width by 10" front and back
Add 1" to length

I would make this one again, maybe next year!

If the fabric above enhanced this pattern I've just had an example of a fabric which spoilt one.  I was really lucky to be sent a pattern by the lovely Jeanette at the Lazy Seamstress.  The pattern is the Maude skirt.  I imagined the skirt in a lovely waffle cotton from the Cloth House (quite expensive!) with wool crepe pockets.  When the fabric came it looked lovely, although I was a bit worried it might be too thick, anyway as it was cotton I washed it .... big mistake ... it went all sort of floppy.  But I'd invested quite a bit so went ahead anyway.

This was how it looked.  Sort of shapeless and uneven and just not nice at all.   I didn't carry on from this stage.  I love the pattern (especially the pockets)  and will have another go with the right fabric.  Didn't want you to think everything I make is successful .... far from it!