Archive for category Dressmaking Projects
Just before the lockdown started and I lost my dressmaking mojo I completed this Cheyenne Tunic from Hey June Patterns.
If you think it looks familiar and you follow Love Lucie, you are right. She made a monkey one too in a sort of burnt orange colour and, although I admired it and had already made the pattern up once myself in a double gauze fabric, I had no plans to add monkeys to my wardrobe.
Then I went shopping in Toulouse – aah, those were the days – and saw the same fabric in both this golden yellow colour and a dusky pink. So, despite the fact that I probably wouldn’t have paid it much attention in the normal course of events, I recalled Lucie’s lovely version and felt it was fate and had to buy some. My friend advised against the pink as she said it didn’t do me any favours. She was actually more specific than that but suffice it to say it was enough to make me decide on the yellow and feel vaguely depressed about my complexion.
Shortly after I’d finished it we went into lockdown and it just sat forlornly on the mannequin. Well, as forlornly as something yellow covered in monkeys can look. So I lost my dressmaking mojo. The only thing I thought I might do, as I had the pattern, denim and all the trimmings already purchased, was make another pair of jeans. Luckily, this idea was superceded which is just as well as any jeans I make now will, hopefully, be too big for me when Mr. Tialys is able to go back to work in the U.K. and leave me to resume the minimal feeding/drinking/baking I usually employ when left alone and don’t have a six foot four male to take into consideration.
Last year I made a clutch of summer dresses and don’t need any more. In fact, I instructed Mr. Tialys, and anybody else who will allow me to give them instructions, not to let me make any more summer dresses.
There was a pattern that caught my eye though. It had 20% off. I knew I already had some fabric that would be perfect for it. I often ignore instructions even when I’ve asked for them. So, I bought the pattern even though that same honest friend told me the style probably wouldn’t suit my shape as it has a fitted bust and high waistline so would make me look ‘all bosom’. This time, I didn’t let her sway me although I decided to make the dress a size bigger than usual forgetting that, when I do that, it usually fits me round the bust but is too big everywhere else and I lowered the waistline forgetting that I have quite a short waist so a high waist drafted for a normally waisted person is not high on me. So then, I had to do alterations which I hate with a passion.
I took the shoulder seam up which hoiked the waist up but also the darts so I had to shorten them. Then I had to alter the sleeve armscyes so they would match up. Then, there was too much ease in the back because, a) there should be ties on the back of the dress which I don’t like so didn’t add which meant the ease was sitting there not being used and b) I’d made it too big for me anyway. So, I added darts in the back. It’s practically a whole different dress!
Having faffed about with the pattern to make it both fit and suit me, I thought I might as well make another one and, this time, I would finally get around to learning how to do an FBA (full bust adjustment) so that I could make the smaller size I need but accommodate my embonpoint as the French so delicately put it. This is yet another valuable skill I now have thanks to lockdown. Some of the others are choosing really bad films to watch on Netflix and not realising how bad they are until halfway through, becoming very discerning about how dark dark chocolate needs to be before I will eat it and how to avoid cooking/dog walking/shopping whilst having somebody else in the house who will do it instead.
Anyway, with FBA skills now in hand, I proceeded to make a sleeveless version of Megan Nielsen’s Darling Range dress – for that is the pattern of which I speak – in some other fabric I already had and, although it is pink, it is brighter and has a lot of black in it so will not hopefully have the same effect as the pink monkeys.
I still added back darts rather than use a tie on this version . The sleeveless hack requires some bias facing which I did in the same fabric.
Some restrictions are supposed to be lifted here in France as of tomorrow. At the very least we are not going to need a permission slip – filled in and signed by ourselves 🙄 – to leave the house and, although the ‘ladies that lunch’ lifestyle that a lot of people fondly imagine I enjoy, won’t be resuming any time soon, at least I’ll have dresses for when it does.
And monkeys of course.
Have you used your time in lockdown to learn any new skills?
A Happy New Year to all and, in case you were wondering why, on my last post just before Christmas, I broke my usual habit of answering all comments, I apologise and have no excuse apart from the impending visitation of my daughters and the barely contained panic of trying to get last minute presents made before the big day. I promise I won’t do it again – well, I might but will apologise again if I do.
Despite having the most beautiful weather over Christmas with lots of sunshine and warm temperatures, I was really lazy and mostly passed dog walking duties over to Mr. Tialys as he was home and it was nice to have a break from it if I’m honest. Also, Zumba and Pilates classes had stopped over the holidays and I’m far too undisciplined to work out on my own at home. Still, it’s back to normal today and it turns out I haven’t been that lazy because I do seem to have a few makes to show you.
Firstly, I finished the second ‘All Day Shirt’ for Mr. T just in the nick of time for Christmas. I fell behind with it because I wanted to attach the sleeves differently but got in a muddle so ended up doing them the way the pattern said after all. I used Liberty tana lawn again as I had a length of this tiny floral in my stash so that’s used up a bit more ‘excess’ fabric.
Unfortunately, I didn’t get a photo of him wearing it on Boxing Day so a close up front of folded shirt (please note the contrast fabric – also Liberty – on collar facing, inside yoke and it’s also inside cuffs) and a back view worn by my antique male mannequin will have to do for the moment. Anyway, you get the drift.
After seeing the Cheyenne Tunic pattern by Hey June on another blog, I thought it would make a nice, relaxed top to wear over leggings or jeans and I had some double gauze with gold spots on which I thought would give a sparkly touch for Christmas.
You can see the gold dots more clearly if you click on the photo and they did make the top a bit more ‘festive’ but it meant the construction was more difficult than it needed to be as pressing the fabric had to be done very carefully in case of gold dot meltage (possibly a made up word). I like the pattern and the only alteration I made was to make the sleeves slightly bell shaped as I didn’t want the turn back sleeves with tabs or the long sleeves with cuffs on this occasion. I was going to gather the ends of the sleeves at the wrist but decided against that in the end (I told you I was lazy). I will make it again in a different fabric as I like the neck and placket closure and the general overall shape.
So, both daughters were home for Christmas and Mlle. Tialys the Elder and I were keen to make ourselves a pair of workout leggings from a new pattern I’d bought – Virginia Leggings by Megan Nielsen – for a bit of mother daughter bonding while we weren’t watching Christmas films, playing board games, scoffing festive food or arguing with our sister (!). Obviously that last one was not me as my sisters weren’t here although, if they had been, I probably would have argued with them.
Unfortunately, this is not me either.
I did make myself some of these too but, trust me, this is probably the photo you would rather see.
The fabric, bought online, came as a bit of a shock – I thought the sharks were going to be tiny and barely recognisable as sharks but, as you can see, that wasn’t the case. However, in a way, it’s better because you don’t get that many full sharks to the leg (a sentence I have probably never said before in my life and probably won’t ever again). Certainly it’s true in my case as I’m short and also I cropped the legs of my pair to mid calf length. We did try to be careful not to get a shark disappearing up front or back crotch piece. Anyway, the fabric was a bargain and I bought it so we could try out the pattern for size and I’m grateful to Mlle. T. the Elder for so thoroughly testing them out for me so that at least I know my seams should contain me during a squat, or worse, a down dog.
I saw, on Anne’s blog, that she had been doing some book folding and, as often happens with me, I was immediately inspired to rush off and try it out. I decided to re-purpose a couple of very old, never looked at books into Christmas trees – one was a cookery book for ice cream dishes (never going to happen in this house) and the other had a lot of very nice vintage style black and white illustrations from which I made the one on the right below and another one as a gift. There was a fourth one too that I made as a last minute present for a friend on Boxing Day – and so I also got to be a dab hand at five pointed origami stars.
Of course I had to investigate further and ended up nearly ruining my hands for all time by folding an old paperback into an angel as one does.
This may have been a step too far as it took me ages and, in a search for a suitable angelic topping, I stumbled across a ball of gold tinsel yarn I bought at some time for who knows what and made a pompom for her head. She sheds little gold sprinkles wherever she goes so I might think about a different head next time I unpack the Christmas decorations. However, that will be the first and the last angel body I’m ever making out of a paperback.
I also did a lot of crochet work on the border of my Nature’s Walk CAL blanket but obviously not enough or I’d be showing it to you now. The deep border seems to be never ending but I’m pretty sure it’s going to be worth it in the end. Lots of the other people who did the CAL enjoyed it so much they started on another one straight away – that is probably (definitely?) not going to happen in my case.
So, not too lazy really and I have also started a new hobby in a fit of madness but mainly in a quest to get Mlle. Tialys the Younger interested in some sort of craft. Progress (or lack of) will be revealed next time.
In the meantime, against all the odds, let’s hope 2020 will prove to be a good one for everybody, everywhere.
Yesterday I went to a Christmas craft fair and had my first vin chaud (literally ‘hot wine’) of the year so now I’m starting to feel a bit festive and realised I haven’t posted for a while so here’s a quick catch up.
It’s difficult, when you make things yourself, to buy things at a craft fair. It’s easy to think ‘well, I could make that’ and some people actually say it and, having done a couple of craft fairs myself, I can tell you that it’s one of the most annoying things to hear. I want to say, ‘yes, but will you?’ ‘Do you have the equipment you need to make it and, if not, are you going to go out and buy it just to make one thing?’ ( whilst smiling politely and saying worse things under my breath).
Anyway, I managed to buy a couple of things that I won’t make myself even though I could.
Firstly, this lovely wreath made out of loads and loads of pieces of Christmassy fabric.
I don’t have much festive fabric in my stash and, if I did, I wouldn’t be cutting it up into hundreds of pieces. Sometimes, there are people with more patience than you and, since I know the lady who makes these, I was glad to support her.
One hobby I started but didn’t finish is needle felting but I really would like to give it another go one day. So, I couldn’t resist this little mouse, complete with appropriate French attire who will go on my tree as I always like to buy at least one new tree decoration each year.
I usually harvest some mistletoe from a small tree at the top of our garden but, this year, it doesn’t seem to have appeared so this seemed a good excuse for another felty festive purchase.
Last time I tried needle felting, I couldn’t even make a round bead properly so I’ll be on the lookout for a workshop or something next year and maybe, next Christmas, I’ll be able to say ‘I could make that’ – though not out loud of course.
Anyway, back to what I have made myself. Having dislodged the cats from my Nature’s Walk crochet squares which were laid out on the dining room table for ease of joining, they are now all joined and the first two rows that set up the edge for the fancy border have been done. I think I’ll do the rest on my lap when the cats are outside.
They have now found another work in progress to impede so I still have another two sides of my F2F quilt to bind. Look at that face – would you have the courage to move her off?
At least that’s forced me to try to finish the new shirt I’m making for Mr. Tialys’s Christmas present. Despite having made this same pattern recently, I’m having trouble with the sleeves. Last time, I set them in and finished the inside seam on the overlocker/serger. This time I wanted to do a felled seam as it looks more professional. The sleeve cap is quite large on this shirt, compared to the armscye, so it’s quite difficult to set it in without puckers anyway, let alone trying to fell the seams too, so it’s causing me some problems and I keep finding other things to do to put off tackling it.
(edit: nothing wrong with the pattern sizing at all – it was me, matching the wrong notches!!)
Speaking of Christmas gifts, I commented on Kate’s post today about gift giving- although I sort of went off topic – and would be interested to know your thoughts on something. I love giving hand made gifts to friends and family it gives me a lot of pleasure (and hopefully them) and also gives me a good excuse to make more things. None of my family live nearby and most don’t appreciate hand made items anyway – with the exception of my daughters who are already drowning in blankets and quilts – so it’s generally friends who end up with the results of my efforts. However, some (non-crafting) friends I usually go for a pre-Christmas lunch with have a ‘no gifts’ policy and have asked me not to surprise them with anything this year. I only ever give them hand made things – not shop bought – and I’ve explained before that I don’t expect, or even want, anything in return. I try to give them useful things too – crocheted cloths or cleansing pads, fabric baskets, make up bags, last year it was knitted cowls, as I know not everybody wants blankets or cushions or even quilts. This year I was going to give them little fabric baskets filled with foodie things – home made lemon curd, chutney, quince spread and bombay nuts. But now I’m not 😞 I sort of understand that they might feel they have to reciprocate but, in previous years, I’ve been very insistent that they don’t. Now I feel sort of offended.
What do you think? I’d be interested to hear if you think I’m being over sensitive.
After the success of ‘the Constellation shirt’ you knew it wouldn’t be long before I got another one on the cutting table didn’t you.
Having discovered the last Liberty fabric design was actually called ‘Kevin’ and not ‘Constellation’, I was relieved to find that this one, which has long been lurking in my stash, is called ‘Pepper’ – aah, that’s better.
Warning: This post contains very slightly derogatory remarks about the name ‘Kevin’.
Remember I told you I was making a shirt for Mr. Tialys – using the Liesl & Co. All Day Shirt pattern and some beautiful Liberty of London tana lawn fabric?
Well, it’s done and I’m as chuffed as a chuffed thing with it.
It was such a pleasure to make this. The pattern instructions are clear and thorough so the collar went together easily and I only had a slight wobble with the cuffs – even though they were made in the same way as the collar. It also helped that the tana lawn is so lovely to handle and sew.
I took it step by step. I’ve now tackled faux felled seams again, plus collar stiffener pockets, a two piece sleeve placket and already want to make this pattern again plus, possibly, the ladies’ version.
Here’s Mr. Tialys doing rather a good job of headless modelling.
He’s 6’4″ and quite broad so I made the XL size and didn’t make any adjustments. The only thing I’d change next time is to do felled seams around the armholes instead of finishing them on the overlocker as I did this time because the inside of the side seams look very professional and I wish I’d done the same with the armhole seams. Also, there’s a tiny bit of fullness at shoulder level that I could work on next time. Other than that, he’s very happy with it and took it off to the U.K. to wear to work this week.
I’d been calling this Liberty fabric design ‘Constellation’ but decided to search for the correct name.
It turned out to be Kevin!
Apologies to anybody (including my cousin) who is called Kevin but it’s one of those names that have fallen out of favour (in Europe at least) and is usually given to characters on T.V. who are definitely not the hero in the plot if you get my drift. More than that, however, it just seems a very prosaic name for a beautiful design.
This is what Liberty had to say about it on their website.
Kevin Liberty London fabric was based on the celestial ceiling art in the hallway at Mount Stuart in Scotland. The constellations in the print were hand drawn in white and grey chalks on black paper to create a conversational starry night.
Yes, that’s all very well but were those constellations drawn by somebody called Kevin? I need more information. In any case, it will always be known to me as ‘the constellation fabric’.
Just a close up of my collar complete with stiffeners – remember I showed you the ones I made using a cut up Liberty store card? – and my sleeve placket and cuff.
Mr. T. is so pleased with it he has asked for another one .
I’m not telling him the fabric design is called Kevin – he need never know.
The last summer visitors have left.
They ate and drunk impossible amounts, lay in until mid-morning, had to be driven everywhere, used my beautiful new bathroom and didn’t clean it afterwards, broke a couple of things and generally behaved as beloved offspring do when back in the parental home. (Edited in case my daughter reads this – I’ve just gone in to clean the bathroom and, actually, they’ve left it in pretty good order so I take it back. Haven’t been in her bedroom yet though)
I’ll miss them until the next time and so will the dogs.
Anyway, do you remember I bought a pattern for a jumpsuit from the French pattern company Deer and Doe? Nobody can accuse me of not trying to be ‘on trend’. If you recall, we had lots of discussion about needing a wee at inopportune moments and having to struggle out of it.
So, I made it.
It turned out really well but then it hung from a shelf in my workroom for ages as I couldn’t get up the enthusiasm to hem those legs which were, of course, too long on me.
So, when Mlle. Tialys the Elder was here she tried it on.
The décolleté which I was a bit concerned about for a woman of my vintage, didn’t worry her in the least.
So she’ll probably take off that press stud and decorative button I’d added to give me a bit more coverage.
How I love those pockets!
All in all though, I was really pleased with how this turned out. I enjoyed making it and it was a very good pattern as I have found to be the norm with Deer and Doe.
As for the wearing of it though, I’ll leave it to the super confident and the stronger bladders.
On an entirely unrelated note – because that’s the way my mind works – those coleus in the background have been the terrace potted plant success of the summer this year. Gorgeous splashes of colour going on and on and still going. Next year we’ll get even more.
O.K. Autumn, bring it on.
Another attempt to reduce my fabric stash before I am found buried beneath multiple past purchases and a mountain of ‘to do’ lists.
Almost everyone – in the amateur dressmaking world at least – has probably made a Sorbetto top at some time or another. It’s a free pattern from Colette which is a simple sleeveless top, embellished with a pleat down the centre to give it a bit of ‘je ne sais quoi’.
I have made many and these are just a few that I can find photos for.
This one was made for Mlle. Tialys the Younger, pandering to her liking for things oriental.
This one which might have been some sort of homage to Vivienne Westwood though I doubt it. I just liked the tartan. Actually, I don’t know where this one is. I must have a rummage through my ironing basket where I put ‘stuff for Summer’ at the end of each Summer when I know it won’t be needed again for a while but, because of my tempestuous relationship with the ironing basket, most of the ‘stuff’ never again sees the light of day. ***
The lovely Liberty fabric one where I profited from a short sleeve hack that somebody had been kind enough to work out and put for free online.
Then there was the more recent Broderie Anglaise one with Peter Rabbit trim which I made for Mlle. T. the Elder as half of a pair of shortie P.J.s last Christmas.
So, when I wanted to make a pull on over your head, easy to wear Summer dress with short sleeves (I’d made several such dresses last Summer but sleeveless) I thought I’d try making the Sorbetto top into a dress and I had some of my quilting fabric in mind. I don’t know why I bought so much of this, I usually buy small amounts for patchwork projects, so it must have been on sale or something or maybe I bought it with a dressmaking project in mind. Who knows or dares to dream? Not me. But, no matter, I had it and it needed something doing with it.
I made the bias binding for all of these tops and, although I toyed with the idea of making it in a contrast fabric for this dress, I stuck to using the same one for around the neck and the sleeves. That’s the stuff going through my little bias binding making gadget.
I also toyed with the idea of leaving out the pleat down the centre of the front. I like to toy with ideas, can you tell? Anyway, I reasoned that, without it, it would look just like any old plain, short sleeved dress so I left it in. Now it looks like any old plain, short sleeved dress with a pleat down the front but that’s the look I was going for.
I am all alone at the moment so have no photographer available and, if I can be frank with you, couldn’t be bothered to dig out my remote for the camera, so you’ll have to believe me when I say it looks better on me than on her.
Nothing complicated went on here, I just graded out the pattern slightly from below the waistline to the length I wanted and it worked out quite well. I always scoop the neck out lower too with this pattern as one woman’s scoop is another woman’s high neck.
*** For those of you who care – I just remembered what happened to the tartan top (well it was 2014) and you can read about it here . No wonder I’d wiped it from my memory although I wasn’t far off with my Vivienne Westwood connection. Read it and weep.
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.
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.
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?