Sunday, 24 December 2017

Vogue 1532: The Vogue Cocktail hour

Well this seems like a suitable dress to post on a Christmas-time blog.    This is a rather belated sew for the Vogue Cocktail hour (#sipandsew).

Vogue 1532 doesn't seem to have been a popular choice, but I do like it.    The dress itself is a fairly traditional, close-fitting dress, and then there is a dolman sleeved pullover top to add a bit of pizazz!


I don't know if you are like me, but sometimes I choose a pattern as much because it contains a challenge I want to try, in this case boning, rather than just a pattern I love.  I also thought if I was making a cocktail dress, I would go all out and pick a posh one.  The dress is made of stretch duchess satin and the top from a sort of dotty net fabric  (from Abakhan).

I cut a size 14, but this ended up much too big in the stretch duchess and I had to take in several inches.   It could still be a little tighter to look really good, but instead it more comfortable to wear.

The pattern has very thin straps that would not cover a bra, and so I made much wider straps.  Getting the fitting right was one of the trickier challenges.

I love the sleeves, and the net edged with the satin cuff.  Also if you don't like fully exposing your arms, this pattern is ideal, a bit of coverage but still glam!

The cuff is held together with little rouleux loops (very fiddly) and these gorgeous vintage buttons.

I made a pretty good job of the dress.    The only mistake I made was to use cheap bias binding for the neck, never again, it makes the neck stand up a little.  In hindsight I should have made my own (probably from the lining material).  The inside looks great .... yes the picture below is the inside. The lining is a poly-satin.  You can see where the boning is.  There are 8 channels of boning.
I used covered plastic boning, (also from Akahban) and sewed these to the lining, so that they didn't show on the dress.  You can see below one channel on the princess seam and one on the side seam.  To minimize any seams showing through the dress I finished them with pinking shears rather than any overlocking which showed through slightly.


This is an interesting pattern and a good one to make.  It is an intermediate/advanced and probably not for the beginner, though depending on your choice of fabric, not too difficult.  I've never really had a little black dress before, just need a chance to wear it!

If you read this on the 25th, I hope you are having a wonderful day.   Otherwise I will be early in wishing you all a very happy, healthy and successful 2018 and look forward to sharing lots of sewing with you.

Friday, 1 December 2017

#OWOP17 Day 7 M6886

So I have had no difficulty wearing M6886 for the week, and here on the final day is my 5th version, finished on Wednesday evening.

I think this is a really great pattern, and from other's versions I think it suits most body-types.  I have chosen to make a fairly loose version suitable for work.  So I cut a size 14 (I'm a 37.5" bust 28 waist and 37 hip).  You could make a sexy version by making it a bit tighter, or choose a glamorous fabric.  I think it needs a firmish fabric though.

I raised the waist by 1" and added 1.5" to the length (I'm 5'4")  I narrowed the shoulders by 6/8".  I didn't turn over the neckline as advised but fitted a neck and.  I've just made a small swayback adjustment for the next time (and there will be more), you can see below there is a little too much fabric at the back.  In order to accommodate shorter jacket sleeves I made this one 3/4 length.

The dress goes together really easily and is a great project for beginners to knits.    I know a plain black ponte dress is a bit boring, but I have to be smart at work and it will be perfect with a number of my jackets, infact I'm considering wearing the outfit below for a very important work interview I have coming up.

Well that's the last for One week one pattern, and the most posts I have made in a week!  Hope it wasn't too boring.  Did you take part?

Tuesday, 28 November 2017

#OWOP17 Day 4 M6886

Day 4 and this is probably my favourite version.  (Apologies for the photos taken after work when it was dark!  ... and my eyes closed whenever the flash went off).

A simple striped ponte, lots of stripe matching slowed it down, but a very straightforward make.

I'm currently making my fifth version, not quite enough to do 7 different days so I won't bore you tomorrow, when on instagram I'll just show one of the current dresses with a jacket.

Monday, 27 November 2017

OWOP17 Day 3; McCalls 6886

My third version!  This time in a grey herringbone ponte.

It looks better in real life ... and actually its a really good dress for work with a grey jacket.  You can see I didn't quite get the neckband right, because I used too broad a band and it won't lie quite flat, but still wearable and I've already worn it quite a lot.

Sunday, 26 November 2017

OWOP17: day 2 McCalls 6886

Managed to figure the instagram out!  If you do want to follow me on instagram here is the link.  So here is day 2 for my one week one pattern entry #OWOP17, and this time it's scuba.

This is the first, and the last time, I will use Scuba, it's just not for me.  I don't like this version and this will be the only day I wear it!  Not the pattern fault, just the fabric, which feels spongy and thick.  I don't like not being able to press or hem it, look at the unsatisfactory seams, and the unfinished neckline.  But in the spirit of the week, I wanted to show you how M6886 looks in a variety of necklines and fabrics.

Saturday, 25 November 2017

#OWOp17 One week one pattern

I am so technologically inept, that I can't find how to post my photo on my instagram!  So I will drop brief details every day this week if I can find the time.  My pattern is the fantastic M6886, a really easy pattern to make and very versatile.  Here it is in a spotty, slightly shiny ponte and I have created a cowl neck with just an oblong of fabric.  Very cosy and just thing to wear at a great day at Harrogate Knitting and Stitching Show.  I'll do full details at the end of the week.

Sunday, 29 October 2017

Style Arc Nina Cardigan; #cosycardigan challenge

I've had this ribbed-knit in my stash for some time, bought by the kilo at Abakhan in Preston.  The cosy cardigan gave me the nudge to get it sewn.  I wanted a pattern which had a bit of shaping to it, so chose the StyleArc Nina cardigan.
Image result for stylearc nina cardigan

It has a fitted waist and then the square peplum makes a waterfall front.  I cut a size
10, because although this is for a size 36.5" and I'm 37.5" I thought the shoulders and waist would be a better fit and there is plenty of room.  I didn't want to have overlocked exposed edges and didn't think the rib-knit would hem effectively, so I have left the front edges and hems raw.  I usually hate raw edges but this seemed like the only solution.  It looks OK, but I don't suppose it will stand up well to washing.  I managed to squeeze it from 1.5m of fabric.

StyleArc patterns are stylish and this is no different, however, as I have mentioned before the very brief instructions make them difficult for beginners.


You can wear the style with or without a belt.

The sleeves were too long and I took them up by 1 1/4" and also narrowed them by 3/8".  I twin needled the sleeve hem.

The back is fairly plain but fits quite nicely at the waist.  Overall, I like it (especially the colour) and might make it again with the right fabric.

Saturday, 14 October 2017

Vogue 9075; gingham fun

I do like to be aware of the trends, and sometimes follow them, but this summer there were two things I said I wouldn't take up; gingham (too like my school uniform) and jumpsuits (memories of a particular appalling incident in my twenties involving my new pink jumpsuit and a public toilet floor!).  So what on earth is going on here ...... well I'm afraid it's out and out copying.  I enjoy watching SewHappy's vlog, and Alex looked fantastic in her version, so I was inspired to make my own.  This is definitely my last warm weather garment, and it is already to cold to wear it in Cumbria.

The pattern is Very Easy Vogue 9075; "Dress or jumpsuit has close-fitting, lined bodice with princess seams, side pockets, stitched hem and back zipper. B: wide-legged, pleated pants."  I lined the bodice with a flesh coloured lining, so there was not shadowing through the fabric. 


This is obviously a culotte-style jumpsuit, which I think is much easier to fit, except if you don't get the crotch length right it makes problems when you raise your arms.  I read other people's blogs and they remarked on the crotch length being short and being high-waisted I usually have to add length to the crotch, so I added  1 1/2" and actually another half inch wouldn't go amiss, especially when you wear a belt.

I cut a size 14 and there was quite a lot of ease in the pattern (I'm 37.5 C cup, 28" waist, 37" hip).  I actually had to take 1 1/4 from the width of the shoulders, which did distorted the shape a little.  I also thought  I might need a little extra width in the sleeve at the bottom, which I didn't need and which actually has made a bit of gape at the hem.  I followed the petite line which took the waist up by 1".  I really don't like necklines high at my neck, so I dropped the neckline following the one from the Papercut Adrift dress, which is the perfect neckline for me.

I found the pattern very long.  I'm only 5'4" but I ended up taking 5" from the length, and it still isn't short.

I French seamed everywhere I could, and pinked elsewhere.  This will probably shock you, but I also didn't bother with the pockets.  I just felt that there was enough fabric in the skirt without adding any more bulk.

So in summary, I like this and enjoyed wearing it.  It was an enjoyable make (with some reasonable pattern matching!).  The fabric is a gorgeous gingham from Croft Mill, which Gary (my sewing buddy) bought when we visited and then I stole if from him!  Thanks Gary.  I can't see it on the website.

Are any of you going to SewBrum (Manju I saw your name on the list so will finally get to meet you). I've booked my ticket and started saving.

Thursday, 21 September 2017

Sew Over It Eve Dress

Well I've definitely been slow to blog over the last few weeks, I was enjoying my time with Dan too much, and I do have plenty to blog!  First up the Sew Over It Eve dress

This is a pdf pattern (still hate those) but I think worth all the printing and sticking.  I cut a size 12 (sized as bust 37, waist 30 and hips 40), I'm bust 37.5, waist 28 and hips 37.5, so this gave plenty of room, but more about that later.  Please ignore the hanging thread here!  I really must get my act together and work on my photos!  I think the fit is really flattering.

I used a black and white viscose which has a crepey feel to it from Croft Mill.  I do love the fabric, the feel and the drape .... but ...... it seemed to stretch a lot e,g, when sewing seams.  When I did a final fitting I found that  I couldn't wrap the underside through the gap and get a good fit, and so I had to take 2 inches from the left-hand edge.  I don't know whether that was because the dress was just to big or the fabric had stretched.  (Here's that thread again!)

I think the fit is really flattering for all sizes.  I love the dipped hem and flutter sleeves (which are really easy to insert).  This wasn't  too difficult to sew.  You are told to put stay tape at the neckline and this is crucial, I also stay-stitched my neckline as it is some time before you add the tape and you could already have stretching.  I did not like the rather scratchy stay-tape I used something softer would have been nicer, perhaps a thin ribbon.

I love the pattern, it went together fine (except for the issue above).   It isn't too difficult, turning the ties is a little time consuming but with  turning tool it is much easier.

I've also made a couple of dresses for Gemma.  This is a copy of a Lana Del Ray dress she wore to a concert (sorry about the headless version).  And I made another I hoping to get a photo of.

We've also celebrated Dan's 26th birthday with a lovely local walk

Going up!

At the top  .... we have great views in Cumbria.

Lovely walk, but suffice to say my knees had turned to jelly by the time I got down.

Sunday, 13 August 2017

Pattern testing the Chai dress

This is the Chai dress from Itch to stitch and I love it.  It certainly helps that it is in my favourite ever liberty tana lawn  bought as seconds for only £9 a metre. 

This is my first time ever as a pattern tester.  I was very pleasantly surprised to be picked and just a little nervous.  The process was to sew the dress in about 5 days, which was fine as I was on holiday.  The were around 30 testers and the  process was incredibly thorough with 3 versions of the pattern produced.  It was great to see everyone's finished garments and how different they looked.  Originally I thought this might not be a dress to suit all figures, but actually it did!  The pattern is a PDF and although I will never really love PDFs you are able to just print the size you want.   What I really liked is that the pattern has different cup sizes and I had the most amazing fit straight away.

I cut a size 6 bust graded to a 4 at the waist.  The only adjustments I made was to raise the waistline by 1/2", as I usually have raise waistlines by 1" this may make it a little high for some of you.  I also added 2" to the length.  But that was it.  This is probably the best fit I've ever had, it is pretty snug, but actually comfortable.  I had intended to make the version with the sleeve, but it has a gathered sleeve and I'm not that keen on gathered sleeves.  I usually avoid sleeveless makes, because I don't really like showing the tops of my arms, but I really preferred  the sleeveless look and I've decided just to go with it. 

Jo at my sewing class just showed me a tip to sew a collar the other way round if you know you aren't going to button up, that is machining the collar to the inside and then doing your slip stitching on the right side, and I love this technique.  It means the part of the collar that shows is really neat.

The other thing I loved is that you can make the insides really neat.  I used French seams throughout.  The only thing I would really do differently is to interface the waist band.

A definite winner, and I would genuinely recommend this pattern.  The blouse version is lovely too and I will be making it again.
I've also been to Cambridge for the Sewing Weekender with sewing friend Gary and we had a great time.

There are many descriptions around about what happened, but basically 60 sewers talked ... sewed .... swapped stuff .... talked some more  and had a very wonderful time.  We stayed at the College for 2 nights and I would definitely go again, if we can get the tickets.  It was surreal meeting lots of the people I watch on vlogs and admire their makes on blogs and I was just a touch starstruck. 

Here I am with Harriet and her mum, both such lovely people (and wearing my GBSB colour blocked dress, which got loads of complements).  It was particularly lovely to meet Rachel and Kate from the Fold Line and Charlotte from An English Girl at Home who organized the weekend and Fiona from Dairy of a Chainstitcher, one of my favourite blogs.  The only thing that went wrong was my sewing!  I was making a Seamwork Sonia and the fit was so awful that is has ended in the bin!

I would recommend you go to the Weekender if you can, but as tickets are so limited that they sold out in 20 minutes and I want to go again next year .... I won't!  And just to prove that I do wear what I me, here I am in my Chai dress outside the College at Cambridge.