Saturday, 21 March 2015

Selfless sewing #1

It's Saturday, hurrah! Nothing to do, so it's going to be a lazy day with some sewing done (if I can distract my three little mess-makers). First, though, I want to show you all a fabulous make; I am in love with this dress.


I had agreed to make a dress for a friend's lovely daughter ages ago, but put it off with excuse after excuse. Finally the guilt got to me: the little girl is so nice, I had to get started. I thought if I were going to do this, I wanted to enjoy it; so, I treated myself to a 'new to me' vintage pattern from ebay.

I love vintage patterns, the instructions are so clear and easy to follow. I even finally understood how to ease the fullness of the hem which had seemed like gibberish to me when I'd read about it before.

I am so happy with this make; if only it were in my size, I'd definitely wear it! The fabric is good old curtain remnants from the 70's so era appropriate for the pattern. (You may be wondering where you recognise it from - I previously made a pinafore with it for my baby girl here.)

I wanted to add a bit of colour so I added some applique flowers. I cut out three, but decided in the end that two was enough.

The flowers are attached with Bonda-web and then freehand machine embroidered on top. I have to say I love it!

It has a lapped zipper at the back, and completing it has helped stop me being so terrified of zips (still have not tried an invisible one yet, though).

The bodice also has a gentle curve to it, which gives a lovely shape. It is lined with a faux silk and has the cutest little cap sleeves.  

I enjoyed this make immensely, though it was very time-consuming. The only tough bit was giving it away!!!  Turns out I am a selfish selfless sewer. Hope she likes wearing it; I think she will...

Monday, 16 March 2015

Easy pencil skirt

Afternoon all! Today's post is a quickie for a super quick queue-jumping skirt. Try saying that three times after a glass of vino!

Enter Gertie's "easy knit pencil skirt" from her latest, Gertie sews Vintage Casual. I have previously reviewed the book here. The skirt is one pattern piece folks - ONE!  That, plus a bit of elastic.

The fabric is a blue/green tartan double knit. I shortened the pattern by about 5 inches to make it just above knee-length on me. I must be very short or this pattern is designed for towering giants. (I'm 5ft nothing, and have a height complex!)

Rather than create a casing for the elastic, you form a loop with the elastic first, and then sew it straight onto the top of the skirt. Talk about quick! All that's left after that is to hem it.
The skirt has a great shape, and frankly I feel great in it. The best thing has to be that elastic waist allowing for over-indulging at lunch without compromising comfort!
That is all there is to say, really, except I may now be tempted to buy every patterned knit I see to make more and more of these! But next up will be my selfless sewing for my Mum and my friend's daughter. This just had to squeeze in!

Tuesday, 10 March 2015

Toothpaste stripes

Hello all!  This is another New Look 6216 with long sleeves made from a lovely thick cotton interlock. The lady in the shop almost put me off it by saying the thin stripes would drive me mad whilst sewing it, but it was fine. In fact, I love the toothpaste stripes - it reminds me of a RTW top I had as a teenager (and still own).  The computer doesn't like it, though, and so the pictures have to be larger than normal not to blur on the screen!

You can see that this is a big baggy top, and I know that is not everyone's cup of tea. But sometimes it is just what I want. 

I got the neckband in well this time - no puckers!  Hurrah!  You can probably see it is standing proud on one side: never mind! Thinking positive: I am getting better and that's all that matters. 

I am pleased with how easy this was, so more knit tops are on the horizon. I'm now on the look out for a new (easy) pattern...

Sunday, 22 February 2015

Too many plans!

Hello fellow sewers, I am in a quandary. To date, I have been a methodical stitcher: sew project 1, think about project 2, sew project 2... It's organised and efficient.  But at the moment I have too many plans, and I want to sew everything now, now, now.

I need another Delphine skirt in my life as I live in my Xmas one. I have bought some lovely bright blue linen, and it's killing me not to start on it. I 'd also like to try trousers and have offered to make my mum some pyjama pants for her birthday as a way into this. So far, though, all I have done is cut the pieces out!

My friend wants me to sew her daughter a dress, which I want to do but for which I have up to now had zero enthusiasm. I didn't realise I was so selfish! But I recently won a cracking vintage pattern on ebay, and so feel suddenly inspired.

It's the perfect size for her. I have the bodice and skirt sewn up so far.

But, I also want another bat-wing top.

I am loving this, my circle print top, and I have bought some pink and white stripe interlock knit for this purpose, which again is cut out but nothing sewn yet.

This is all too much - it's CHAOS!

Too much! I don't know where to start!  How do you organise your sewing? Do you have a list? And physically how do you manage multiple projects so they don't get all muddled? I am missing my neat and tidy ways; enthusiasm has its drawbacks.

Wednesday, 18 February 2015

Practising with jersey

Half-term greetings! Today I am stepping out of my comfort zone: woven fabric is my safe area, and I always feel a little bit uneasy sewing with knits. This year I am determined to get over this fear, and learn some skills. So, I am sewing up some basic T-shirts. Do you make your own basics or save your sewing for fancier stuff?

I actually rather enjoyed sewing this in the end, and happily it was a quick make. This is New Look 6216 and is defined as "easy". Nice comfy looking T-shirt; I chose this as the shape looks easy to wear and nice and baggy without being the classic shapeless box T-shirt.

The pattern does not disappoint. As it is such a loose shape, there's no need to fit, just follow the pattern. It is also very comfortable to wear, and drapes nicely around the body. I rather like the bat-wing shape to the sleeves. It's like being in the 80's all over again!

The fabric has a cute  print of grey, blue and black circles, and is a thin viscose jersey from the fabric Mecca that is Fabricland. I do shop in other places, honest! But having three children drastically curtails fabric shopping time and Fabricland is near, large enough to get into with a buggy, and - best of all - cheap.

I often struggle with neckline finishes on knit fabric, though I think a lot of it is psychological! This shirt has a neckband to finish the neck. I actually managed to get my head around what I should be doing. I just don't have enough hands: one hand holding the shirt, one stretching the neckband to fit the neckline; now, all I need is another to put in the pins, and I'll be fine!

I top-stitched the neck with a zigzag as I don't know if my machine would work with a twin needle. It only has one spool holder on top. Need to dig out the instruction manual for future reference.

It's not a bad job on the whole, but there is a tiny pucker on the back neck - not bad enough to warrant unpicking though!!

I feel like I should just keep making T-shirts till I get it right! In fact I went out today and bought some cotton jersey to have another go at that neck.  Hopefully, practice will make perfect.

These outdoor photos all look a bit sun-bleached. But they'll have to do as posing in the garden in winter is only possible when the sun is high in the sky.  Roll on spring...

Saturday, 14 February 2015

And now for something completely different...

No 9. The larch:

I have come down from the sewing high of my regency dress. I felt lost for a brief period, with the pressure of a time constraint suddenly lifted. Now that's passed, though, I feel great - I can sew whatever I like, in my own sweet time. I'm thinking of basic t-shirts, casual trousers, etc. But first this:

A cute little "Newborn Flyaway Jacket" from the fabulous book "101 great ways to Sew a Metre". This was actually one of the first sewing books I ever bought. The projects are mostly easy and clearly explained with words and pictures. I'd definitely recommend this to the beginner, though it may be a bit basic for those with more advanced sewing skills.

One of the best aspects of the book is the range of projects; bags, toys, organisers, clothes for children, adults, even projects for pets. It makes me feel better about having purchased a sewing book if I can quickly make something wearable from it, rather than just read it: better value for money!

Picture from the book.  Edges bound with bias.
My version - lined, rather than bound.

This is a fun lined little newborn jacket.  Though I think the sizing is a bit off. I gave it to my friend's 4-week old daughter and I honestly don't think it will fit her for months!

It's cute, though. I love the fabric, you may recognise it from my little girl's strawberry pinafore. I get huge satisfaction from using up every last scrap of  fabric.

Tuesday, 10 February 2015

Finished dress and party

Wahoo, I finished everything on time! The "Dress" and Stu's costume finished with hours to go before the party.

We had a great time. Thank you to everyone for their encouraging words, they spurred me on no end. And I am so happy with my dress,

I also thought Stuart looked great as Mr Darcy! His costume was easy to put together ultimately. I cropped his jacket to give a regency look.

The raw edges were simply encased in bias binding, and the cut out shapes turned upside down to be added to the back of the jacket, creating tails! Nice and easy.

The trousers I cropped, taking in the side-seams to narrow the leg. I then used a drawstring at the new hem-length to gather them in under the knee. I thought he looked fabulous: very sexy!!!  The best bit was the crotch bib which I made with that fabric cut off from the leg.  His "flap" got lots of laughs on the night, though it did make going to the loo somewhat hard work!

Some friends made their costumes too, whilst others hired; but everyone made a real effort - about 80 revellers were present, all dressed up to the nines. Fabulous.

My friend Rachel made these costumes, I know she reads my blog, so I'm hoping she'll not mind being featured; who knows, maybe she'll catch the dressmaking bug too!

Going to leave you with a few pictures of my dress, as I'm just so thrilled with it...

The best thing about making your own made to measure dress? I was the comfiest I have ever been at a big do. Often at weddings or big parties, you buy a lovely ready-to-wear dress, but spend the whole night fiddling with the thing. I felt fantastic wearing this, like a princess!

But, I can't wait to sew something normal now.  So, what next?