Friday, 24 October 2014

Two birds with one stone

Squeal! My favourite make so far...

This is a fully-lined pinafore dress with cute curved patch pockets, and I adore it.

Those cross over straps! Love, love, LOVE. Oh, she looks so cute in this.

I think the thread and the buttons are a perfect colour match. My first ever buttonholes, too - not bad for a first attempt. I was a little nervous; but after doing several practice runs on scrap, it all worked out well.

She rather enjoyed posing and twirling on the beach to model this dress.  It's fab that my baby girl likes it as much as I do.

This make was spurred on by Kid's Clothes Week 2014 and by A Stitching Odyssey's vintage sewing pattern pledge.

kid's clothes week

All in all, I'm rather pleased that one dress can tick off two sewing challenges. Wahoo! I love this dress so much that I already have two more (yes two!) cut out already. Below is the picture from the envelope and it is just fab.

The pattern in a McCalls Toddler girl dress from 1975.  It's classified as an 'easy to sew' and I'd say it was. To line it, I just extended the facing pieces to full length.  I sewed the hem by hand (angel halo) only because I was watching the telly. But I think I may sew more hems this way, it has such a neat, clean finish.  It was rather therapeutic too!

Leaving you with one last picture of my little starlet!  Two more of these finished before too long (good sewing karma allowing).

Sunday, 12 October 2014

Book Review: Gertie Sews Vintage Casual by Gretchen Hirsch

"Gertie Sews Vintage Casual" was a birthday present from my husband. How did he know?  Must have been because I put the book in the shopping basket on amazon over and over again for a month beforehand!

What a book.  To say I love it is an understatement!  This is Gertie's second book, I haven't read her first, but am now tempted to ask for it for Christmas. 

The illustrations are aesthetically pleasing; so much so, that I am thinking about tearing some out and framing them, to hang in my sewing space for inspiration.

Gertie guides the reader through the history of vintage casual clothes, which is so interesting; it's like a lesson with a really exciting and engaging teacher.

The book also comes with 10 patterns, each with suggested variations, so you could get a whole wardrobe-ful from this one book.

These are my two favourite patterns, the 40s-Style Blouse, and The Cigarette Pants:

What makes the book stand out above other sewing books (and I own MANY) is that it is not aimed at absolute beginners but at those who want to improve and modify their sewing.  There is not page after page wasted on "how to thread a sewing machine", but instead there is useful advice on fitting, or how to solve those problems of pooling excess fabric, or gaping fabric at the waist or neckline.

I would thoroughly recommend this book, perfect bedtime reading.  Although these fabulous patterns are primarily aimed at curvier women than I am, I am very tempted.

Hope you find this review useful.  And if you can recommend any other titles that I might like as much as this, I'd love to hear about them...

Wednesday, 1 October 2014

The Neglected Coco

I purchased Tilly's Coco pattern, eagerly cut out the pieces, sewed quickly, almost finished... then stopped!

I wanted to take part in OWOP2014 so that took priority at first. I had to quickly knock out an extra skirt for the challenge, so shoved the half-finished Coco to one side, and it hung there on the mannequin looking forlorn.  No point finishing it, though, if I couldn't wear it for a week.

Okay, so I'll finish the following week... No I won't, as all five of us in the family come down with the awful noro virus!  Yuck!

Okay, so I'll finish the week after...  No I won't, as darling daughter comes down with "Slapped Cheek" and I catch the accompanying fever and cold!

And after that?...  No, by then my birthday has been and gone, I've got a bad case of the miseries over getting another year older, and I don't feel like sewing!

This is ridiculous: get a grip Louise! It will only take about 20 minutes to finish. I'm going to do it now, photo and post today no putting it off any longer.

[About 24 hours and 20 minutes later...]

Did it! Phew. Sadly the light had gone by the time I completed it, so I had to wait until this morning for photos.

 So this is, I suppose, my longest make to date! Ironically, it was really straightforward.

The fabric is a sturdy double-knit jersey with a mock knitted design in grey and black.  The photos do not really capture the design very well.  It was a bugger to photograph and darling Hubbie (the blog's official photographer) took three lots of pictures before we gave up and said they'll do.

I went for the version with the funnel neck which I really like. I didn't realise it would be so easy. It was literally fold the collar in half and sew to neckline. Even I can do that.

The collar does give the dress a nice sixties vibe and I am happy with the look of it.

Size-wise I feel this is a little tight. If I made another, I would keep the neck, shoulders and armholes the same, and grade out a size for the dress section.

I have another piece of double knit which would look nice as a coco, but it has a printed border along the selvedge.  Would it be okay to cut it, so that the patterned selvedge becomes the hem. Or would being off-grain destroy the shape?