Archive for category Dressmaking Projects

Tiptoe Through The Tunics

Remember I made a tunic for Madamoiselle Tialys the Younger recently? (If not it’s here). Well, I fancied making one for myself and it just so happened I had the perfect fabric already in my stash which doesn’t happen very often.

Not last time, but the time before that when Ali over at Thimberlina organised the Yorkshire Spoolettes meet up, she ran a competition for people who couldn’t attend to guess the total mileage undertaken by all the people who did.  By some amazing stroke of luck I hit upon the nearest mileage (in the international entry category) and Ali sent me some goodies.  I had said I wanted to make an Agnes top but she was very generous and sent me more than enough of this black and white stretch fabric so I thought I’d save it for something a bit more substantial than a t-shirt.

So I did and here’s what I made with it.

I made the same view tunic as before but with the straight hem instead of the pointy one.

In other tunic news, I’m currently having a rocky relationship with scuba fabric.  I thought I’d give it a whirl for a different style of tunic I wanted to make for Mlle T. and she chose the fabric (so don’t blame me!).

I bought this pattern which seemed simple enough but the Mademoiselle had other ideas.

She wanted bell sleeves so following Ali over at Thimberlina’s example ,although using a slightly different method,  I adapted it as requested.

I had a bit of a struggle with the neckline, back and front,  as it came out too gapey which might be due to the scuba fabric although the pattern does list ‘novelty knits’ as one of the suggested fabrics.  I’ve improved the neck problem a little by taking off the facing which I wasn’t keen on using anyway, reducing the back seam allowance and cutting the facing slightly smaller than it was before so I could stretch it round the neckline a little more which brought it in a bit though it’s still not perfect.  The sleeves and the bottom require hemming and I’m not sure how to tackle that yet – I’ll do some research.  I know I could leave it as it won’t fray and the hem of the tunic would probably be O.K. but the sleeves don’t look right unhemmed in my opinion as you can see the plain white reverse of the fabric which just looks odd.  (The trailing thread will be cut off though – I didn’t leave that as a design feature).

My conclusions about scuba fabric are that I don’t much like it.  I don’t like the slightly spongy feel and the vaguely ‘cheap’ look and feel of it – although there might be different qualities I suppose.  The designs are a bit ‘urgent’ too if you ask me.  I don’t like the floral one Mademoiselle chose – I think it looks frumpy but there you go.

I must try and get over my dislike though as she also chose this one 😮

I know what I’d like to do with it but I think the only way to get away with actually wearing it would be as a very fitted t-shirt with 3/4 length sleeves perhaps.  Any ideas or would you accidentally on purpose lose it at the bottom of your bin fabric stash?  How do you feel about scuba fabric if  indeed you have ever encountered it?  Is it just me?

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Not Too Much Of A Stretch

 

Sorry for the pun but, after my last post where I painstakingly made a man’s shirt – albeit only a wearable muslin so far  – I fancied a bit of an easier project before I embark upon the ‘real’ shirt.

I bought this pattern in Minerva Crafts’ sale a little while ago as I thought it would be an ideal style for Mlle Tialys the younger to wear for work.

This is a close up of the fabric which is a sort of teal blue although, in all the other photos it looks more grey.  Birds seem to be everywhere on fabric and clothes at the moment – have you noticed?

I made view D with a sort of handkerchief hem (or whatever this sort of hem  is called) but with 3/4 length sleeves.  All done on the overlocker/serger apart from the zig zag round the neckline and the twin needle stitch around the hem and sleeves.

Perfect with leggings although it’s a thankless task making clothes for the younger as she’s not that interested and would stay in pyjamas all day if she could.

Ooh, hang on, she looks a bit happier here.  Maybe I’ll make another then.

I’m not sure about making the leggings on the pattern.  It seems like an awful lot of fabric and faff to make something that won’t look any different to something you can pick up for a reasonable price almost anywhere.  Unless, of course, I made them in some unusual fabric but then she probably wouldn’t wear them.  What do you think?  Would you/have you made leggings? Is it worth it?

 

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A Celebration of Concentration

Remember I told you I was making my first ever man’s shirt and, as that represented quite a challenge for me, I was going to take it slowly, make a muslin* which, in the best case scenario, would be wearable and follow a sew along by somebody much more adept than me in the shirt making field?  Well, I didn’t lie.

(* for the non-dressmakers amongst you, a muslin or toile is a sort of try out of the pattern to test fit etc.)

This is the Walden (or Negroni) by Colette and was recommended by many so I thought I’d give it a go.  I thought I’d go with the short sleeved version first as it will hopefully still be warm around here for a couple of months yet and used a locally bought, reasonably priced fabric for the muslin rather than cut into the Liberty tana lawn I’d bought specifically for the purpose shown below.

The man in question – aka Mr. Tialys – didn’t want any pockets which was fine by me so, with those out of the equation, plus no plackets on cuffs which the long sleeved version has, it was a little less daunting than it could have been.

So, some of the ‘challenges’ –

This is the back yoke and you can see that there are a couple of pleats incorporated in the body of the shirt.

This is one of the felled seams of which I am quite proud as it goes right round the armscye (or ‘armhole’ when I’m not speaking ‘dressmaker’).

Not too many buttonholes which I did on the machine anyway and, for the first time, I used my machine to sew the buttons on – which was fun.

You will be relieved to know that this is not a real person’s neck – not even one used in a scary cosmetics advert about ageing. It is, of course, one of my antique mannequins doing the modelling honours.

The kind of collar on the short sleeved version is called a camp collar :/  It’s a bit weird – having a button loop right up on that left hand side of the shirt front which would, if somebody wanted to throttle themselves, loop over a tiny button just under the right hand side of the collar.  As if.  However, I was being an obedient pattern follower so I did the loop but drew the line at a tiny button.

Reader – it fit!

 Just.

Excuse the tatty jeans but he was gardening or something when I forced him to model which, as you can tell, he feels supremely comfortable about 😉

Next time I will be sensible and make an XL which is what Mr. T. is in RTW stuff as he is very tall but the measurements on the pattern sounded enormous so I thought a large would do which it sort of does but with not much wriggle (or pretend pointing into the distance) room.

Anyway, I have decided that much as I love the idea of it when somebody tells me they ran up a dress in a couple of hours, I get much better results when I find something a bit of a challenge because when I concentrate, I slow down and don’t make as many mistakes.  I have ‘run up’ so many ‘easy’ tops and dresses on my overlocker and ended up throwing them away that I’m determined to treat every new thing I make as if I’ve never made it before and concentrate!

Having said that, I did make a tunic top in a knit fabric for Mlle. Tialys the Younger yesterday which I did fairly quickly but definitely not in two hours.  Photos to follow soon if I can persuade her to get out of bed allow me to take some photos.

Meanwhile, another shirt shot, another antique mannequin neck.

You are not going mad, these are the same doors as in the first photo but I was playing around with my photo editing and thought the turquoise colour in the first shot showed the fabric of the shirt up better.  The doors are actually red.

How about you? Do you find you sometimes mess things up when you think it’s going to be easy or you’ve made something so many times already you make silly mistakes through being over confident?  Or is it just me?

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Not Catching Up

You may have noticed I’ve been a bit quieter than usual but that’s because I had a friend visiting for a week and then I went back to the U.K. with her to spend a long weekend with my Mum.

My friend and I go back more years than I care to remember but, despite keeping in contact with Christmas and Birthday cards we’ve only recently started to see eachother again so I was really pleased when she said she’d come over to France for a visit.

Here we are on holiday in Tenerife back in the day looking bronzed but blurry on the balcony of our hotel room.

I blame the cheap camera – or it might have been the cheap alcohol 😉

Another balcony, another country, another era.

I knew that the weekend spent with my Mum would be of the quiet variety as she is getting very tired lately and, once we’d been out in the morning for a bit of shopping or a brunch somewhere, she’d had enough of the outdoors for the day so I went prepared with fabric and pattern and used her sewing machine to make another couple of dogs for my eventual doggy garland while she had a snooze.

I’m going to make another three and figure out how to make a craft stall enhancing garland out of them but I’ve got until the end of November so something will come to me before then I’m sure.

Since I’ve been back and trying to catch up on emails, Etsy shop goings ons, reading blogs and dog and cat related problems, I haven’t got much done.

The Colette Negroni shirt I’m making for Mr. T. is still at the muslin stage – just needs the buttons and buttonholes and final hemming and then I can confirm what I’ve suspected for a while – it will be too small for him.  I know it’s a muslin but I was hoping it would be a wearable one.  We won’t know for sure until I finish it though will we!

I rush quilted a couple of my hatbox blocks which was easy because the machine quilting I’m doing couldn’t be plainer or simpler unlike the lovely hand quilting Kate’s doing on her version.  Mine’s a wall hanging so nothing too fancy is called for – well, that’s my excuse anyway.

Here’s something I haven’t caught up on – the perennial ironing basket which I took from my laundry room up to my workroom as that seems to be the only place I brandish an iron these days.  As you can see, my scheme didn’t work.

I did catch up with Mlle. Tialys the elder when I was in the U.K. as she came up to see  me when I was at my Mum’s thereby killing two old birds with one stone.  Oh to be young enough to dress up as a bloody (in the covered in blood sense) rabbit thingy and  hug a dinosaur as she did last weekend.

The details of the whys and wherefores shouldn’t bother you – I certainly don’t like to delve too deep.

Off to look at the ironing basket again before doing something completely different.

 

 

 

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Touching Swiftly on a Hatbox

In keeping with my pledge to add to my Liberty Hatbox wall hanging project at the end of each month I’m afraid I have failed miserably as I still  can’t decide on the final block.

 So, I made another one.


I won’t bore you rigid with the choices I face again but I’m still not sure and now I think I’ve made it worse by having three to choose from instead of two.  Kate, on the other hand, is making great progress and has started hand quilting (yes hand quilting) her full size quilt and putting me to shame.  See and admire here.

So that’s the hatbox pledge dealt with which would make for a very short post indeed .

Your hopes, however,  are dashed!

Did I mention Liberty of London fabric?  I think I told you they had a sale and I think I told you I indulged.  I’m not sure I realised there were actual skyscrapers on this fabric when I ordered it but, now I know, I like it even more.   The simple shell top on this New Look pattern that had come free with a magazine seemed just the thing….

and so it was.

I’ve decided I have a back problem in that nearly everything I make gapes a little at the back of the neck.  I think I have narrow shoulders in comparison to my bust so, next time, I’m going to cut a wedge out of the centre top of the back bodice and see if that fixes it – a tip I found on By Hand, London.  Unless anybody has any better ideas.

Also, I bought this astrology themed tana lawn in the Liberty sale to make a shirt for Mr. Tialys who had a hand in choosing the fabric.

I’ve never made a man’s shirt before but thought it was time I gave it a go as my wardrobe is full, one daughter makes her own clothes, the other doesn’t much care about clothes so that leaves the husband (or the pets and don’t think I might not go there!).

I chose the Negroni by Colette as it’s a nice, casual style but with some interesting features, it has good reviews and there is a very detailed sew along (from about six years ago!) on the Male Pattern Boldness blog so what could go wrong?  Actually, so far, very little.  I’m working on a muslin using fabric that was more expensive than the tana lawn due to the fact that there was 60% off in the Liberty sale but I  always hope my muslins (when I actually bother to make one) will be wearable otherwise I get upset if all the work comes to nought – apart from ensuring you’re making the right size of course which is the main purpose of them after all.

Anyway – how’s this for a flat felled seam?

An inside view of course – the fabric is dark on the outside and I certainly wasn’t confident enough to use contrasting thread so you wouldn’t be able to make it out.  This is the first time I’ve tackled a real flat felled seam, although I did mock ones on Tilly and the Buttons’ Rosa dress,  and I’m pleased with the way this one turned out.  I say ‘this one’ because the other one didn’t turn out quite as neat but I’m not going to show you that now am I?

Did somebody mention a sale by the way?

Fifty six 50g balls of cotton double knitting yarn in all the shades in the range and no,  I don’t know what I’m going to do with them, thank you for asking.

Mr. Tialys is still creating awesome leather things in his ‘spare’ time which is strange because I didn’t think he had any of that or that’s what he tells me if I ask him to do anything in the house or garden 😉


This is a laptop bag he designed himself and is in the kind of leather that already looks as if it’s been ‘lived in’ which is the kind I like.

I decided to have a clear out in the cupboard in the conservatory and threw some stuff in a box ready to go to the charity shop.

I know I sometimes get fed up with having so many animals but I haven’t quite resorted to this yet.

What is it with cats and cardboard boxes anyway?

 

 

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Redemption of the Dressmaking Kind

After making a dress for one of my daughters where the pattern matched everywhere but on the back and my suggestion that she walk backwards all the time fell on deaf ears, I got a bit dispirited.  Even though some of you kindly assured me it must have been the fabric that was at fault and how it didn’t matter because hardly any ready to wear stuff is pattern matched I still lost the will to ‘dressmake’ – (made up verb).

I even got proof through the mail when I ordered a cheap and cheeful (though organic!) dress in an online sale and the first thing I spotted was the back seam wasn’t matched.  What’ s more – the side seams don’t match either so that made me feel a bit better because mine do.

These are the colour and design of the tiles I want when I have my family bathroom re-done – if the builder ever comes back to me with a quote that is. :/

But I digress.

To get back on that horse I thought I’d make something nice and simple which would be bound to turn out right.  I used some very nice quality spotty jersey that I bought on my jaunt to Walthamstow Market when I was in the U.K. recently and, although I had not yet made up this particular pattern, I know that Tilly and the Buttons patterns can usually be relied upon and I’ve made up several of her knit patterns before so I was confident.

Et voila!  This is the ‘Agnes’ pattern minus the fancy sleeves and neckline.

The creases on the right shoulder are due to the tortuous way I’m standing and the others due to the fact that I had denim shorts on and all the thick seams on them are showing through the lovely jersey.  I knew they would but I couldn’t be bothered to change.  What can I say?

A great pattern with variations in sleeve length and also a ruched sleeve option and lightly ruched front at the neckline.  I might well make the version with the ruching at the neckline for Mlle. Tialys the Younger but, correct me if I’m wrong, didn’t this type of sleeve used to called a ‘leg of mutton’ sleeve.

I am definitely not Tilly’s target audience but I won’t be taking the risk of having ageist insults flung at me due to a reckless sleeve decision.  My ruched sleeve days are long behind me and I’m trying to avoid the mutton ones.

As promised in my last post, here is a stunning shot of my roots that I didn’t realise needed doing quite so badly until I saw this photo.  Hairdresser visit now accomplished.

Minerva Crafts were having a sale with New Look patterns at half price and I spotted a couple of lengths of fabric I fancied so, newly confident, I filled my trolley.

This is New Look 6393 and I bought it because I like the simple shape for summer but with the princess seams giving it a lovely fit and drape.

Before you say anything, I made absolutely no attempt at all to match the pattern because it is a big, splashy one and I would have needed quite a bit more fabric to accomplish a match on all those princess seams.  So even though this lovely cotton with a slight stretch was also in the same sale at just £3.99 a metre I only ordered 2m and let it do its own thing, pattern -wise..  My head is missing because my daughter wouldn’t get out of bed to take the photo so I had to set up the tripod and I couldn’t work out how to convert the tripod to support the camera in portrait mode.

Then she got out of bed but I was cross by then – can you tell? – and had to force a smile.

The dress is constructed with neck facing and interfacing and bias binding around the arms.  I don’t like facing much – it just annoys me – so I decided to go ‘maverick’ and line the bodice with the same fabric which was a stretch as I only had 2m of it to start with.  Anyway, usually when I go ‘off piste’ disaster ensues but I was grimly determined and all went well until I wondered how I was going to turn it the right way with the seams ending up on the inside.  I found quite a few tutorials on how to do this when the back is in two pieces – where there is going to be a central zip – but this has front and back central pieces cut on the fold.  I panicked just a little bit.  Then I found this tutorial from Blithe Stitches which I just couldn’t envisage working at first but I just went with it and, like magic, you pull a sausage fabric through the fabric bun and there you have a beautifully constructed lined bodice.  You’ll have to look at the tutorial to appreciate the food references.

It isn’t a totally perfect fit – though almost.  The back gapes a little at the top, one of the shoulder straps could be tighter and the armholes could be a little less deep (although they’re not so bad when I’m not doing my pair of scissors impression) and the waistline needs to go up as at 5’2″ and a bit, I’m a short arse (I had to take 5 inches off the length.)

I think I need to cut one size smaller at the back neck and shoulders and shorten the waist by an inch at least.  Somebody more accomplished than me will tell me if that’s what’s required.

Got to protect that hair colour.

By and large though, I’m happy with it and think I’ve redeemed myself enough to get my dressmaking confidence back again.  I even faced my nemesis ‘The Zip’ and inserted one correctly in the side seam on the second attempt.

   You may notice that, by some miracle of coincidence – I’ve already told you I took no notice of the pattern at all – the back centre bodice and skirt panels almost do match.  The mysteries of pattern matching continue to confuse and confound.

 

 

 

 

 

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A Backwards Step

I’m in the dressmaking doldrums at the moment  despite having several patterns I want to make and the fabric to make them with.  So, just to get my hand back in I thought I’d run up a quick dress on the overlocker for my daughter.   I used New Look 6125 which is a very simple dress pattern but decided to make it in a stretch knit fabric.

The front was cut out on the fold and, because I didn’t need to put in a zip, I thought I’d do the same with the back but there seemed to be quite a bit of shaping on the back piece – for those people who have a bottom, presumably – which didn’t lend itself to being cut like that so I cut it in two pieces.

It’s not often  a good idea when I decide to go maverick.

Looking quite good.

I did lower the neckline as the original seemed unflatteringly high to me.  I probably could have left the darts out though.

Nice pattern matching at the sides

Oops!

I know it will be fairly obvious to everybody else (at least those who have a modicum of knowledge about dressmaking) but how could that happen when I have the sides matching?  Why do I still keep making rookie mistakes in my dressmaking endeavours?  Perhaps I don’t take it seriously enough.

 As for my daughter –  I told her she’ll just have to walk backwards.

 

 

 

 

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Simple Sew Lottie Skirt and other Stuff

I am writing this at an ungodly hour of the morning because there were cats yowling outside from around 3.30 a.m. which caused our dogs to bark, which caused us to wake up and throw missiles out of the window which, as we thought to open the window first, caused a blast of frosty air to render us wide awake so we decided to give up the unequal struggle,  get up and get on with things.

I don’t know which cats were making all the racket but at least I know it wasn’t this one who, since turning up on our doorstep shortly before Christmas, rarely goes out and sleeps a lot, usually in a cute fashion.

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Leon relaxing after a hard day’s sleeping.

Anyway, in case you started following my blog originally because you thought I was a fellow dressmaker but have since been regaled with cat and dog stories, knitting projects, patchwork blocks and various other random ramblings, I thought I’d reassure you that I do still occasionally turn my hand to clothing of the fabric variety.

Fabrics From Ditto

Some time ago, on a visit to the U.K.,  I bought some fabric at Ditto Fabrics in Brighton.  The blue and gold ‘teardrop’ effect fabric caught my eye because it reminded me of African wax fabric but in a more ‘manageable’ small design though still with those lovely bright colours.  I always had it in mind to make a plain, straight skirt with it but all my skirt patterns had ‘features’  and I thought the fabric didn’t need anything else going on with it being busy enough in itself.  It was added to the stash and left to languish.  ( I love the word ‘languish’ almost as much as the word ‘lush’ – but I digress)

I suddenly remembered that Pippa over at  ‘Beads and Barnacles’  had included a pattern in my  ‘Stitching Santa’ parcel at Christmas for a very plain skirt so I thought I’d sweep the patchwork rulers and itsy bits of quilting fabric off my cutting table and finally make that fabric up into something wearable.

Simple Sew Lottie Blouse & Skirt

I know I could probably have drafted such a simple shape myself but I’m too lazy I like to have a pattern to follow so I can blame somebody else if something goes wrong.  I usually have a trawl around the web to see who else has made any sewing (or knitting) pattern I’m contemplating before I start so that I can benefit from other people’s mishaps and not make the same mistakes.  I found that Beth over at After Dark Sewing had blogged about making this skirt and she had found the pattern piece for the waistband to be between one and two sizes too small.  As I was squeezing the skirt out of a metre of fabric, I didn’t really want to have to cut a second waistband so that was useful to know in advance.

Simple Sew Lottie Skirt

My ‘me mannequin’ was brought into service as a model as it’s cold outside and I would have had to set up the tripod and faff around with the camera and this was quicker!  Anyway, it looks better on her than me (bitch!!).  I didn’t make a toile as I thought I’d just baste the side seams and try it on which I did and it seemed fine but it is actually a little big for me around the waist and I could have taken the hips in slightly too – in fact, I should probably have made a size 8 rather than a 10 and I will do that if I make it again.  With a size 10, I had to cut the waistband between a 12 and 14 to make it fit the top of the skirt.  (I’m talking U.K. sizes here btw)

Simple Sew Lottie Skirt

The skirt has a back split which you can leave open or you can cut an extra pattern piece to get a sort of kick pleat effect, which I did.

Simple Sew Lottie Skirt

I shortened the skirt at the cutting stage by 3 inches but I still think it might look a bit ‘office wear’ for me (as I don’t work in an office) and, as others have said, the pattern doesn’t have you interface the waistband but I think  – albeit belatedly! – it would be a good idea.   So, what with those things and the fact it’s slightly big on me at the waist and hips, it might join my pile of ‘never worn dressmaking projects’ which is a shame as I do like it and, to celebrate the resuscitation of my dressmaking mojo,  I had treated myself to these gorgeous pattern weights.

However, as you can see, I am easily swayed from my purpose.

donut pattern weights in use

Not something I’m going to be wearing!

I hope my Liberty fabric sale ‘heads up’ didn’t cost any of you too much money but I’ve not got too much sympathy as I’m always spending money thanks to other people’s blogs  Sheila over at Sewchet  – whom we also have to thank for organising Stitching Santa – blogged about a lovely teal cardigan she’d made and put on a photo of some matching boots she’d ordered.  Teal Boots!! Really!?  But I’ve been looking for some for ages! (well, navy ones actually but teal will do just fine).  Done deal.  I love them, however, so thanks for that Sheila and I hope you are enjoying wearing yours and your dogs love them as much as mine seem to 😉

Teal Boots

Right, it’s almost 6.30 a.m. now – it’s going to be a long day 🙂

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Christmas Cats, Woolly Hats and That’s That for Another Year

Despite having six cats and three dogs roaming around the place, we put up a large ‘real’ Christmas tree in one room and a smaller ‘artificial tree’ in another.  They survived – relatively unscathed – until the new kitten (don’t ask) discovered he could shin up the centre of the artificial one creating havoc and mayhem among any food and drink stuffed, semi-comatose humans in the vicinity who were then forced to move at an unwelcome rate in order to prevent bauble breakage on a massive scale.    I suppose he found it all very amusing as, once achieved, he repeated it ad nauseum until, last night, I got fed up and took it down.

Cat in Christmas Tree

Having mulled (and drunk) enough red wine not to want to count the empty bottles, I decided to get up off my arse while still possible and hike up a small mountainside with the dogs.  I made Mr. T. take a photo of me to show me wearing my hat that came in one of my Stitching Santa parcels.  Despite the dark glasses and luminous dog harness I am not registered blind – just saying as I suddenly realised it might look like that.  Stan’s harness actually says ‘Ball Junkie’ and not ‘Guide Dog’.

Roquefixade

Thanks to Sheila over at Sewchet who organised the Stitching Santa again this year, I received a lovely package from Pippa at Beads and Barnacles in the U.K. who got me as her sewing recipient.

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Ignore the clove stuck orange – she didn’t send me that – I was on the way to mull (yet more) wine when the photography urge came upon me.

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Pippa had made some very useful pouches and a bag for me to keep stuff in and even a length of bias binding she had made.  Can you spot the blue fabric in the middle?  I did take larger photos of it but the colour didn’t come out right so this is the best view of it.  It is boiled wool jersey which I have never used before.  Any tips or suggestions on what to make with it?  Pippa suggested a sweater.  I have 1.5m and it has a slight stretch to it.

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Also in the parcel was a useful pattern and one of her lovely knitted hats which I am modelling for you in the above dog walking picture just to prove to her that I will actually wear it – she seemed doubtful for some reason.

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As I’m a knitting person as well as a sewing one, I thought I’d go for the knitting Santa too and, just in the nick of time, a day or two before Christmas, my package from Anne in Australia arrived.

(There’s that orange again – don’t worry you won’t see it again as it is now saturated with spiced wine – a bit like me – at the bottom of the bin)

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Anne chose two lovely hanks of wool from Plant Craft Cottage in the Botanic Gardens in Melbourne where the yarn is hand dyed – these ones with eucalyptus leaves apparently – so I’m now looking for something to knit with them – there is 25g of each colour, it is 8 ply Australian wool, needle size 4mm and gauge 22st to 10cm.  Any ideas knitting friends?

Ceramic Buttons

Three beautiful ceramic buttons were in the package

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Plus a lovely pencil drawing of a shell from Anne who is a talented nature and botanic artist so I’m very happy to have a little example of her work.

I was chuffed to bits to receive all these generous gifts and thanks again to Sheila for organising us all.  Sign me up again for next year!!

There was another gift that wasn’t quite so successful.  A few days before Christmas I went out to lunch with a friend of mine and we browsed about in some shops for a while.  We went into a home décor shop where each section was themed by colour and, as we passed through the orange and yellow ‘retro’ section she said ‘I can’t stand those two colours – I wouldn’t have them in my house’

Which was a shame because this was what was in the gift bag I’d handed her to put under her tree when I picked her up at her house earlier.

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Oops!

A more successful gift was this satchel that Mr. Tialys made for a close friend of ours who spent Christmas Day with us this year.

mockcrocsatchel-1

It is modelling for me on the bonnet/hood of her car as she was leaving the next morning with the bag stashed in her boot/trunk and I remembered I hadn’t recorded it for posterity and made her unpack it again.

So, that is that for another year.  I have made a couple of New Year’s resolutions but, after the disasters last year of my Firsty February (where I attempted not to drink any alcohol for a month and failed) and my Fabric Fast (which lasted 4 months instead of my pledged twelve) I will let you know what this year’s ones are if I actually manage to keep them and, if I don’t, nobody but me will be any the wiser.

Have a brilliant 2017 and I hope everything you wish for comes true.

 

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Adventures with the Rosa Shirtdress Part 2

You may remember my wrangles (in Part 1) during my Rosa Shirtdress making experience with the fabric formerly known as black corduroy  (now called something totally different, by me at least) .   If you missed it, and care,  it’s here.

The line drawing for Tilly and the Buttons Rosa Shirt/Shirtdress shows lots of the features I wanted to try out or improve upon and I knew some of them would be a challenge after a long time worshipping at the altars of the knit fabric and overlocker gods which is why I opted to purchase the online workshop along with the pattern.

Rosa Shirtdress Line Drawing

See the princess seams, the forward shoulder seams, the pointed back yoke, the separate collar stand, the curved hem and rolled cuffs with tabs.  Note the multitudinous buttons.  These features along with mock felled seams, optional contrast fabric in the collar and button stands made me really want to give this a serious go.  I know there are patch pockets but I have enough going on in the chest department without pointing it out so left those off.  I made the shirt version as it’s the same as the dress only shorter and this was really just to try out the fit.

I showed off my collar in part 1 but I’m proud of it so here it is again (even though it looks as if one side is slightly shorter than the other – which it isn’t)

Rosa Shirt Top Button and Collar

Here is an inside view of my mock felled seams and contrast button and collar stands.

Mock Felled Seams

Please ignore the slightly raggedy edges of the serged seam – that was BB (before Babylock) and just as my old overlocker was giving out.

Here is the rolled cuff with button tab.

Rosa Shirt Cuffs & Tabs

Tilly & the Buttons has now released a bonus addition to the pattern for full length sleeves and standard cuffs which I might do next time I make this.

In this fetching back view you can see the pointed yoke  which went perfectly the first time round but, when I had to undo it because there were holes in my charity shop fabric, I didn’t get it as precise the second time.  I steamed the hell out of it which served to flatten the dreaded cord a bit but hey ho, it’s supposed to be a toile.

Rosa Shirt Back View Toile

Probably my favourite bit is the curved hem at the back which has a look of a peplum about it from the side.

Rosa Shirt Side View

Here I am with one of my better behaved dogs.

And here is my doppleganger mannequin showing the complete article.

Rosa Shirt Wearable Toile on Mannequin

How come her waist looks smaller than mine and yet she is me?

When I make it again I need to take an inch off the shoulder width for me and make the dress in the next size up for my daughter to accommodate her bottom – something I sadly don’t appear to have much of any more.

The struggle I had with the buttonholes is almost too painful to repeat but it was, again, to do with the fabric.  Being thick in itself and having interfacing and a contrast fabric on the back my Janome’s one step buttonhole feature was having none of it.  Luckily I started (and screwed up multiple times) with those tabs on the cuffs so they were easy to re-cut and re-try.  In the end though, I excavated my old Singer machine which has a four-step buttonhole and managed to do all the buttons using that.  Next time it will be easier.

As always with a Tilly and the Buttons pattern it is presented on strong paper with dark lines and easily visible markings so a dream to trace if that’s what you like to do.  It is well written in a neat little booklet with photographs which would have been perfectly sufficient for me in truth although the online workshop contains some very useful tips.  Tilly’s presentation style is very friendly and down to earth and she has the sort of speaking voice I can listen to easily – and if you watch many YouTube videos, you will know how important that is.  My only criticism of the online workshop would be that some of the straightforward sewing tasks performed could probably have been edited to make them shorter.  My plan of – I’ve paid for it so I’m damn well going to do it – definitely paid off though and now I feel more confident in tackling patterns with a little more detail in than I previously would have chosen.

Now, bring on the zip insertions.

Do you find you need to take a step back, slow down and regroup every now and again in your sewing, knitting, painting or whatever?  How do you get back on track?  Or do you find your progression is constant and you just keep getting better and better, never making any mistakes? – in which case don’t tell me as I will probably hate you.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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