Archive for category Dressmaking Projects

Stashbusting for Summer Part 3

Another post in which I share my efforts to use up some of my ‘fabric stash beyond life expectancy’.

  A couple of years I bought two lengths of scuba fabric to make tunic tops for my daughter. One was a floral which I used but, for a reason I can’t remember, the top wasn’t successful so it’s in the scrap bin for possible use in a future project.

The other was this one featuring various tattoo designs.

Scuba Fabric Tattoo Design

I don’t think even one of you liked it and I didn’t either – it was the daughter’s choice – so it has languished in the fabric stash ever since, only narrowly avoiding being given to the charity shop/thrift store/op shop (insert whatever these places are called in your part of the world).

Recently a free pattern for a tank top using stretch fabric was brought to my attention and I thought, as the bare minimum of fabric in proportion to flesh and other clothing would be on show, this might actually work for the garish stuff.

Photo from Halfmoon Atelier

This is the Super Basic Tank Top pattern by Halfmoon Atelier which you can find  here and,  if you sign up for their newsletter, the pattern is free.

There are two methods on how to do an FBA (full bust adjustment) included in the instructions and I followed the easier method and graded between a size 6 at the bust and size 5 for the waist and hips.  However, that made the armholes too big on me so I just used the size 5 for all measurements on the actual garment.  Of course, being a pattern for knit fabrics, this could vary.  The next time I make it, if the fabric is more or less stretchy than the one I used this time, I could need to go down or up a size.  These are the little things that make life so exciting.

I love the back which is also scooped deeply but not deep enough to show your bra.

In fact, it’s difficult to tell which is front and which is back so I put a label in in case I get confused.

Scuba fabric is a little weird as it has a slightly spongy feel and it is definitely not a fabric to keep you cool in hot weather but, on the plus side, it doesn’t fray, it takes colours and prints beautifully, has a good amount of stretch and, I find at least, it’s easy to sew with.

So, out of the stash bin and onto my body.

Less is definitely more with this fabric so I think it works really well as a vest rather than, as originally envisioned, a tunic with 3/4 length sleeves.

Super Tank Top Back View

This is the nearest I’m ever going to get to having a tattoo.  My sister has a daisy chain tattooed round her ankle and said it was worse than childbirth which is my benchmark for pain and, if it had been me, I’d have stopped at just one daisy – although, funnily enough,  I didn’t stop at just one child.

So, do you like the fabric a little better now?

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Stashbusting for Summer Part 2

A couple of weeks ago, I made another attempt at working my way through my ‘beyond life expectancy’ fabric stash.

A little while ago a fellow blogger – I’m pretty sure it was Del over at CurlsnSkirls – mentioned a free pattern for some wide legged trousers and added a link.  The trousers aren’t really my style because I’m quite short but there were some other patterns on there and I found one for a nice, simple, fitted dress.

Well, she looks happy with it!

Lots of buttons though!

Another trawl through my dressmaking fabric stash and I came up with this linen mix that has been around for ages and, again, I can’t remember where I got it but think it might have been from Ikea.

I wondered about using stripes with princess seams as matching is virtually (if not totally) impossible but it doesn’t seem to have mattered.

The top is faced so the armholes and neck are finished by doing the tricksy rolling up thing and pulling it out of an opening somewhere which I seem to be doing a lot of in dressmaking lately.

It would be possible to wear something underneath this – a short sleeved tee for example – which, if the weather doesn’t warm up more consistently soon, I might well have to do.

Here’s a link to the free pattern   if you fancy making one yourself – it’s a good stash buster for the button jar too!

Just time to thank the appreciative audience before going back inside.

Yes, for long time readers that’s little Yuki and, for more recent ones, yes, she only has half a tail.

 

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Stashbusting for Summer Part 1

I haven’t made an actual pledge or promise but I am really trying to use my current fabric stash for sewing projects before buying anything new.  It’s not always going to be possible – I recently ‘had’ to buy some rigid denim for example – but I’m trying.  I really do believe I have fabric supplies beyond life expectancy and that’s not a sensible place to be.  I don’t want to posthumously entertain the executors of my will by listing the beneficiaries of various fat quarters, jelly rolls and assorted yardage but, on the other hand, I don’t want all the lovely fabrics I’ve collected to be cast, like pearls before swine, on the undeserving or, worse, the unappreciative.  Does that make me a bad person?

Anyway, while I’m still breathing, I have made a start by using some fabric I bought either from a charity shop or from somebody’s general clear out – I don’t remember now – I’ve had it a while.

The pattern is a French one called Dorothie from a company called ‘Slow Sunday Paris’ .   I was reading a post from a blogger I follow who, despite not speaking or reading any French, had a delve into what the French Indie pattern designers have to offer.

As I’ve lived in France for 14 years, I felt a bit ashamed because, apart from ‘Deer & Doe’ who offer their patterns in both French and English, I had never bothered to look at any others, although I have made the odd thing from French magazines.  ‘Slow Sunday’ do now offer a few of their patterns in bilingual versions but this isn’t one of them (yet).

So, here is my ‘Dorothie’ in stash fabric which, coincidentally, happens to be in an ‘on trend’ colour.

I love those sleeves, they’re just that bit different – not too floofy but a nod to the current trend for a bit of a ruffle.

I also like the way the collar sits and the pleats beneath the front yoke are another nice detail.

Will these tiles ever get grouted in?

The sleeves are set in with just a little floof and the back yoke also has a few pleats for interest.  The slightly longer and curved back hem is just the right length – on me anyway – and I like the little slits at the sides too.

The buttons were also from my stash so, as you can tell, I’m feeling pretty happy….

……especially as those tiles have finally been grouted in . This bathroom project has, for various reasons, been a very long one and it’s not finished yet.

I really like this pattern and will be making another one in the fullness of time – from stash fabric of course.

If you like the pattern and don’t read French – never fear – what has been done by others was to buy the PDF version and cut and paste the instructions into Google Translate et voila!

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A Tale of Two Gingers

My lovely ginger boy, Henry, has had to have a trip to the V….E…..T.

He’s normally a big boy but was looking skinny, always looking for food and his back legs seemed a bit weak.

Anyway, a blood test, a blood pressure check and couple of hundred euros later, it turns out he has hypertension caused, probably, by some kidney problems.  Who would have thought such laid back animals as domestic cats could get hypertension? Anyway, he now has to have two different medicines administered orally with a syringe every day.   At the moment I’m keeping him in overnight then putting the medicine on a bit of tuna first thing so he’s hungry enough to eat it.  I’ve tried administering it directly down his throat but he chokes and spits and generally makes a huge fuss and the medicine often ends up on the floor.  The medicine for the hypertension will be for life so if anybody knows how to do this without causing stress – and thus more hypertension – I would be grateful for any tips.

The second ginger in my life is my pair of Ginger Jeans.  Yes! They’re finished – I was waiting for silver rivets to arrive before showing you.  If you remember my first pair – they turned out O.K. but I couldn’t bend my knees (or much else) due to using fabric with no stretch.  I made these ones in exactly the same size but, due to using the right fabric, they fit.  Who would have thunk it?

Here’s a full length pic.  I wouldn’t normally wear everything so cropped on the top with skinny jeans but, as this is all about the jeans, I wanted to show you them properly.

I probably wouldn’t normally wear skinny jeans with heels either but, because the pattern on this denim is so ‘extravagant’, I probably could ‘posh them up’ with a dressy top and heels.  Just thinking aloud here.

A few close ups of jeans laid flat so you don’t have to study my nether regions too much to see the details.

The silver rivets were ordered from Japan as I couldn’t find them anywhere else and wanted them to go with the silvery grey pattern and the top stitch thread I used.  I was quite pleased with my top stitching overall and I managed to hide a bit of a ‘wobble’ on the waistband with one of the belt loops.

I did a simple design on the pockets and stressed for a long time about where to place them.  Apparently pocket placement is a big deal with jeans.  How close should they be to the centre seam and the yoke, what angle of slant should there be, how high or low to place them – apparently all make a difference to the way your derrière will present itself to observers (should there be any).  In the end though, I pinned them on in the position I thought would be right but nearly did myself an injury twisting round to look at my own denim clad bottom in the mirror – Mr. Tialys being unavailable for comment – so on they went for better or worse.

I don’t think I’m being unreasonable when I say I’m excited by a coin pocket.

I’m wearing a belt, mainly because my jeans button is, unfortunately, half an inch too far in from the edge.  This is one of the two things that have made these jeans less than perfect – there’s always something isn’t there?  My sewing machine couldn’t manage its one step buttonhole function because of the multiple layers of fabric at the edge of the waistband so would stop mid-buttonhole.  I had to unpick it about three times and the fabric started showing signs of damage in that spot.  In the end, I resorted to the four step buttonhole on my very basic Singer machine (not my 1950s one) and subsequently remembered I had to do exactly the same thing with my first pair.  Shame I didn’t remember earlier.  It worked but I had to position it where the unpicking had happened to hide it so a belt will probably be the order of the day.

Since then, I’ve heard about a gadget called a ‘buttonhole height compensation plate’ which apparently solves such a problem.  I had a quick look – they’re only cheap – I just need to check if I can get one compatible with my Janome.  Because, yes, I’m going to make more jeans.

The second thing to moan about is that I have leg twist.  The inseam is trying to twist itself round on to the front of my leg at calf level. Apparently this is very common – even with high end ready-to-wear jeans – especially the skinny ones.  The pattern I used was Closet Case’s Ginger Jeans and Heather has you lay out the pattern pieces for the legs in a way that attempts to avoid this happening.  That is, the legs are cut out from a single layer of fabric and the front and back legs are laid on the fabric in different directions. Or, in Heather’s words ‘to help prevent leg twist, the best way to layout your pieces is front leg, back leg, front leg turned 180 degrees, back leg turned 180 degrees (make sure these last two are also flipped wrong side up so you’re not cutting the same leg twice!)   I cut mine out on a double layer 🙄  and couldn’t turn the leg pattern pieces because it would have meant the design on my jeans doing a different thing on each leg.

As I usually wear skinny jeans with boots, here’s a couple with me wearing the jeans ‘booted up’.  It’s usually too hot to wear jeans in the Summer here  but I think they’d look fine with sandals too.

And just to prove I can bend my knees this time…….

Now I’ve got the fit right with the Ginger Jeans which is an excellent pattern, by the way, with a very useful sewalong on the Closet Case blog, I will definitely make more pairs, but thought I’d make some more traditional jeans next with rigid denim (i.e. no stretch) in indigo and gold top stitching which, of course, will be much more visible so has to be perfect.  I’ve ordered the new(ish) Dawn Jeans pattern by Megan Nielsen and will try to source the perfect denim to make them.  Of course, the fitting issues will be different so another challenge but, hey, sewing projects would get boring if everything was too easy wouldn’t it?

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Arguing With Myself

 

On Tuesday morning, I just logged on quickly to check  my emails and the news headlines while I had my breakfast.

Oh Look! Deer and Doe have a new dressmaking pattern out today. I like Deer and Doe.

Come on, you’ve got loads of patterns, you still haven’t done anything with, surely you don’t need any more.

Yes, but look, there’s an introductory offer of 20 % off and delivery is free.  Plus, it’s a jumpsuit.

It’s a what?

You know, an all-in-one thingy – a boiler suit.

Get a grip woman, you haven’t worn one of those since the 80s.

Yes, but that was a bit utilitarian looking, sort of communist chic. This one looks all nice and drapey and it’s in jersey.

Yes, but where will you wear it?

Well, I don’t know but I bet Mlle Tialys the Elder would like this pattern too so she could share it which makes it good value. Then  I could make the shorts version for Mlle Tialys the Younger to wear this Summer.

I thought you’d decided to make a blouse next.

Well, yes, but I’ve discovered I prefer making things that are a bit of a challenge these days and I’ve never made a jumpsuit before.

Perhaps there’s a reason for that,

But I’ve got the perfect jersey fabric in my stash and my overlocker is already threaded up with the right colour thread – it’s a sign.

😕

That’s it,  I’ve pressed the button, I’ve ordered it.

But how will you go for a wee?

Nooooooo! I remember now! Why didn’t you stop me?

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Blue Jean Baby

This weekend I’m hoping to finish my jeans and I’m hoping even more that, this time, they’re going to fit me.  Despite making a stupid error along the way – which involved cutting excess fabric off that wasn’t actually excess! – I think I might have cracked it.

Here are the pocket linings I chose for fun even though nobody (or very few) people will ever see them but me.

I’m doing the top stitching using Gutermann’s top stitching thread in a silvery grey colour to go with the floral pattern.

I’m using the 1950s electric SInger my friend gave me which used to belong to her mother because life is much easier if you have one machine threaded up with the top stitching thread and another with the thread you’re using for basting and seaming and even easier if you also have an overlocker/serger for seaming or finishing or both.

So you end up with a set up a bit like this.

Sorry about using Babe for a pincushion but it was that or the charity shop.

Anyway, Bekki over at Dartmoor Yarns had asked to see my vintage machine top stitching in action so there you go.

There’s even a back view.

The machine is struggling a bit with the lumps and bumps of the various thicknesses but I think it probably just needs a new needle which I will sort out before I tackle the stitching on the waistband and pockets.

As for ‘Blue Jean Baby’ – obviously I’m far too vintage for that to refer to me any more but as this post concerns both jeans and baby stuff and, as they are the first words of one of my favourite songs, it just sprang to mind for my blog post title.  **

As you know, I’m not sending the Foxy Quilt I made for my niece’s June baby until I can make a label for it with date of birth, etc. so, in the interim, I had a rummage through my previous hand made efforts and made up a little parcel to start her off although, knowing her, she’s already got cupboards and wardrobes full of designer stuff.  I am reliably informed however – well, as reliable as my sister gets – that her daughter (my niece) loves hand made items so she will be inundated with my doomed plans to possibly add baby stuff to my Etsy shop.  Doomed because I am not dedicated enough to make the same thing twice so, even though I made some pretty baby dresses in Liberty tana lawn and Tilda fabric, I only ever made them in one size and, when asked by potential customers to make one up in a different size, I couldn’t be bothered quite get up the enthusiasm.

 They will be in a future parcel 🙄

So, this time round she’ll get this bunny basket …..

……. containing a little bonnet

and four little bandana baby bibs.

So, let’s hope my sister’s right.

Have you got a big project on this weekend?  I hear the weather’s not going to be up to much either here or in the U.K. so it’s the perfect excuse to stay cocooned and get creative.

 

** Just in case it was worrying you , ‘Blue Jean Baby’ are the first words of ‘Tiny Dancer’ by Elton John.  Now, if you cared at all,  you don’t have to look it up.

 

 

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Tight Lipped Tuesday #11

 

Guess what I’m having another stab at.

If I can make a coat, I  can blooming well make jeans to fit me.

I’m making them in the same size as before but, this time, there’s more stretch in the fabric so I should be able to bend my knees which I find comes in useful.

Fingers crossed

 

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I Made A Coat!

And I said I’d never make one.  It’s lined and everything.  I’m as chuffed as a chuffed thing can get.  Can you tell?

It’s the Opium Coat from Deer and Doe and it’s a swing coat which is quite fun.  There is a belted version but thick, coating fabric belted round the middle is a look that concerns me.  I know it would appeal to some people but, not being 5’10” tall and straight up and down, I’m not one of them.

A special feature of this coat is the welt pockets, which Deer and Doe have called ‘origami’ pockets.  (Other people may also call them this but, if so, I am unaware.

They were a little bit tricksy but, although the written pattern instructions are good, there is some excellent help available on Deer and Doe’s blog for these pockets, the collar and the lining, which I was very grateful for.

I think these unusual welts were worth the little bit of extra effort – more interesting than just the usual plain band.

My mannequin stands very still and is not plagued by dogs wanting a game of ball so here’s a photo of the back


I managed to get over my fear of linings or ‘fódraphobia’ as Kate pretended it was called.

On a real person – i.e. me – it has plenty of twirl potential.

Please forgive parasol action in the background.  Mlle. T. the Younger was taking the photos and didn’t think to mention it.

If I look a bit smug – it’s because I am.  Just a bit.

What will be next on my ‘never say never’ list?  I do have to make another pair of jeans because, as you know, making them and actually getting into them are two separate things.

If only I could bend my knees.

But, never fear, I will not let them beat me and let’s end on a high note as I head off into a cordyline australis the sunset with my faithful companions.

Have you ever made a coat or thought about making one?  How did it go for you?

 

 

 

 

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Tight Lipped Tuesday #9

In the mildest winter I think I’ve ever known since living in S.W. France, I decided to make a coat for the first time ever.  Typical.

It’s almost finished

The hem isn’t wonky it’s just pinned up for the moment waiting for me to attach the lining.

All overlocked/serged ready to be sewn together and inserted on my sewing afternoon with my friend tomorrow.

Is there a word for being scared of lining?

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The Last Makes of Winter

Well, I’ve been back from my visit to see Mlle. Tialys the Elder in the U.K. for a week now but, as usual with me, it takes a while to get back into what passes for any sort of routine in my life.

I was very lucky with the weather and I know this because people were in shorts, t-shirts and other summer clothing and frolicking on Bournemouth’s sandy beach while the ice cream vans were doing a great trade.  England in February is not how I remember it but, being made soft by the warmer climes in S.W. France, I still had my coat on and, at times, a scarf despite it being the hottest February day ever (allegedly).  When I got back to Toulouse last week the temperature was 25 degrees C and that’s not right either although it has dropped to ‘normal for the time of year’ here now and I believe the British tabloids are predicting an ‘icy blast’ for the U.K. which remains to be seen but I think they are even more obsessed than usual with the weather in a bid to write about anything other than Brexit.

I did the usual things – fish & chips, Dorset cream teas, curry, Sunday brunch,  bizarrely flavoured hot cross buns from M & S  and even popped into a Japanese restaurant for our last evening there which happened to be the birthday of Mlle. Tialys the Younger – lover of all things Japanese.  I descended on the ubiquitous charity shops and had a lovely smoked haddock dish in a quayside pub (the smoked haddock here is over-dyed to the brightest orange you’ve ever seen and very expensive).  I also had the best facial treatment I’ve ever had, using the voucher Mlle T. the Elder gave to me for Christmas, in the spa section of the original Lush shop in Poole.  I was so relaxed I didn’t even feel the urge to shoot the seagulls keeping me awake at night until two days later.

We went to the Oceanarium right on the beach in Bournemouth which was good – especially their lovely sea turtle. ( NOTE;  Re-reading this I realise it makes it sound like a restaurant 😱)  We were lectured on the terrible problems of plastics in the ocean and the top ten single use plastic items found in the sea.  As is usual with most such places now we were forced to walk through the gift shop before we could exit which was ironic considering it was filled with a lot of plastic goods, including balloons which were in their top ten villains chart.  I feel a letter coming on.

I wore a dress I’d made but not blogged about.  It’s another Lady Skater dress – one of my go to patterns.  This was actually made for Mlle T. the Younger but due to the fabric being a very stable cotton jersey without a lot of widthways stretch, it didn’t fit her and I had to keep it instead.  Shame. I did have enough fabric left to make her a t-shirt though which she will probably get much more wear out of.  I don’t have as many winter dresses as summer dresses so it will come in useful.

Now where did I put the iron – that hem needs a press.

The two person coat making workshop my friend Sandra and I are doing on Wednesday afternoons has been held up by her missing a couple of weeks due to illness and by me going off to England.  However, I haven’t forgotten it and have done a few bits alone otherwise it won’t be ready for next Winter, let alone this one.

The sleeves are quite ‘snug’ but I’m not going to undo the top seam because the stitches just sink into that fabric and are hard to find, plus the fraying is horrendous if you fiddle about too much with it so I’ll just have to remember I can’t wear a thick jumper underneath which I don’t normally do with a coat anyway.  I wouldn’t mind but my arms are anything but thick so I would recommend sewing that top arm seam at 1cm rather than 1.5cm if you’re using this pattern.

You can see the swing shape in this back view.

‘Just’ got the facings to go on those fronts and then the collar to do and the exterior is finished.  Then comes the lining, which I’m scared of as it’s slippy and has to fit nicely inside and I’ve never lined a anything other than a skirt and a dress before.  It’s starting to look like I actually might successfully make a coat!

So, I have been reading all of your blogs but that’s an update of some of my goings on – should be able to get back to normal now I’ve written a post.

 

 

 

 

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