Archive for category Dressmaking Projects

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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Tight Lipped Tuesday #6

I’m making a coat – my first ever.


This coat has welt pockets and I’m very much hoping the hardest part is over.

If only you could see them I think you’d be impressed.

 

 

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Never Say Never (Again)

With apologies to James Bond for nicking the title of one of his films, regular readers will know there are certain things I have vowed never to do.  In the sewing arena this included never bothering to make a pair of jeans.  I don’t have any problems getting ready to wear jeans to fit me properly so I couldn’t see the point and, anyway, what a faff!

In the end though, I couldn’t resist the challenge – I wanted to prove to myself I could do it so I bought some grey marl denim and some ‘only just’ contrast thread – not brave enough yet to do so much very visible top stitching – bought Closet Case’s Ginger Jeans pattern, measured the pieces against an existing pair of jeans that fit me well and off I went.

Curved front pockets – no problem (I’ve even lined them in a blue ditsy Liberty fabric just for fun).

Fly front complete with bar tacks- a doddle.

Back pockets – just a question of where to put them to enhance my ‘only just there’ bum.  This isn’t ideal placing but I had started to realise by now that these jeans were never going to be worn and I just wanted to get them attached and move on to the next bit.

I thought I might as well carry on until the bitter end and call them a muslin/toile/practice run – anything other than a complete waste of time.

So, I added the waistband, complete with fancy facing, put on the belt loops and a proper jeans button.

et voila!

All in all I have convinced myself I’m perfectly capable of making a pair of jeans with all the necessary bells and whistles.

If only they fitted me.

Totally my fault – the ‘denim’ fabric I chose has got hardly any stretch in it at all.  So, even though, when I hold them up to my favourite pair of shop bought jeans, they are exactly the same size, the lack of stretch means I can hardly bend my knees…..

….and sitting down for any length of time, if I could even manage it, might crush my internal organs.

I realised about mid-way, they were going to be too tight but it was good practice.  So, if you’re about to make jeans – they’re really not too difficult but just make sure you have the right fabric and practice your top stitching.

I think I’ll give them another go once I’ve got over the trauma and, when I do, I will be extremely picky about the denim I use.  Apparently, too much stretch is not good either so it’s a bit tricky and I’d suggest finding somebody who has made a successful pair (i.e. not me) and copy their choice of denim if possible.  If you’re in the U.S., this will not be a problem at all – in rural France it’s more difficult.

Just to be a bit more upbeat, the top I’m wearing with them is another Sewaholic Renfrew top – is there anybody out there who hasn’t got this pattern and swears by it?  I made this one using the cotton jersey I bought which had ‘Kid’s Collection’ or something similar printed down the selvedge.  Ask me if I care.

So that’s the jeans off my ‘never say never’ sewing list.

Next up is the coat.

My sewing friend Sandra and I are making this together (the unbelted version)  – or rather, we’re making one each but at the same time.  The cutting out of the interfacing was the worst bit so far.  I have a feeling those welt pockets are going to be nightmarish too and that is the point I’ve reached as of yesterday when we had our weekly sewing session.  Yes ‘weekly’ – and we spend the first hour yakking – so it might be some time before the finished article emerges.

So, that’s two sewing ‘never say nevers’ ticked off but, even though I did give in and buy a sparkly top over the festive season, I am still adamant that I am never, ever going on a sea cruise .

Have you ever said ‘never, ever’ to something – either in crafting or life in general – and then changed your mind?

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Festive Finishes – Did you Guess Correctly?

Firstly, thanks to everybody who kept their fingers crossed for the safe and timely arrival of the other half of the Tialys clan this Christmas.  It worked!!

As you know, secret sewing (and crochet) projects had been in progress for a little while leading up to Christmas and I can now reveal the results – both good and bad.

I had acquired some cute Peter Rabbit fabric and, as the quote says ‘Too Much Lettuce Makes Me Sleepy’, what else could I make but pyjamas?

I chose a New Look pattern I’d used before but only had enough to make the shorts.

I did have enough to make some bias binding though ….

…….and some white broderie anglaise in my stash so used the free Colette Sorbetto pattern to make a little top to complete the set.

That was Mlle Tialys the Elder sorted but what about the Younger?  Well, she’s a bit of a home body and sometimes wraps a blanket round her shoulders when sitting at the desktop.  I thought a shawl would be a bit more elegant so I downloaded the free pattern for the Grinda Shawl which is rather beautiful but, as I found out, more challenging than I expected as the yarn is finer than I’m used to using for crochet and the stitches more lacy.

This is as far as I got and that’s after frogging it on numerous occasions.

It soon became obvious I wasn’t going to finish it in time for Christmas.  I have since become more adept and no longer feel like flinging it in the nearest bin so, hopefully, it will be ready for her birthday in February.

In the meantime, I needed something quick and it was a good opportunity to use some fleece that has been taking up room in my stash for some time.

I didn’t have enough for a top and anyway, she would have looked like the Michelin Man with both pieces of the pyjamas in such thick fleece so I bought an RTW top in thinner fabric which matches well enough to make a set.

But‘, I hear you ask, ‘these projects don’t explain the mangled looking piece of fabric you showed us and asked us to guess what it was going to be.’

Well, Kate’s guess was the closest because she said – and I quote –  ‘is it one of those complicated lined garments where you turn it inside out through the shoulder seam?’

Yes! It is.

You join the inside and outside yokes together (I made the inside yoke in contrasting fabric), rolling up the fronts inside, like a burrito, and then pull it all out the right way.  It’s one of those magic things you can’t believe is going to work – until it does.

The fabric is a chambray and, as Mr. T. already has a dark blue shirt with a similar floral design, I was fairly confident he’d like it.  I used some scraps of Liberty tana lawn to face the inside yoke and the cuffs.

I was going to use ordinary buttons but thought pearl snaps would be a nice touch.  The installation of these was hit and miss as I hammered a bit too hard occasionally and, on my first try, didn’t line them up properly and had to take those on one side out again which was a bit scary.

I had made the shirt before as a short sleeved muslin so it was my first time making sleeve plackets and cuffs and I was quite pleased with how they came out.

I used the Colette pattern here and, as well as using their instructions which are very good, I followed a sew along over at Male Pattern Boldness which was also very helpful.

I feel as if my sewing skills have moved up a level over the past year or so.  Better late than never I suppose!

So much so that, next year – in another ‘never say never’ project – I am going to embark upon a coat.  Yes, you heard it right.  I know I said I’d never make jeans or a coat and, even though I haven’t shown you the jeans yet, as soon as I can get them on again after my Christmas indulgences, I will.

Mr. Tialys has not yet worn his shirt because I need to make an adjustment to the top stud which isn’t staying closed (heavy handed use of the hammer again probably) so, no photo of him but here’s Mlle T. the Elder sporting her new P.J.s and ending my final blog post of the year by wishing you all a very peaceful, prosperous, healthy, happy 2019 .

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Sewing My Autumn/Winter Wardrobe Part One and a Half

Well, I started in autumn and now it’s winter – tempus fugit and all that.  Plus, I showed you a mustard coloured blouse I made a few posts ago which I counted as autumnal so that’s why this post is numbered one and a half.   Just in case you have nothing better to do than wonder about the title of a blog post.

Anyway, behind the scenes of patchwork reindeer heads, crochet dogs, aprons made from tea towels and other various makes, I have actually been doing some dressmaking with varying degrees of success.

I bought the two most recently published patterns by Tilly and the Buttons – ‘Nora’ a boxy shaped sweatshirt type of top and ‘Ness’ a denim style skirt – mostly because I didn’t have anything similar in my pattern library.  In the case of the top, there might actually be a reason for that.

I’m quite short and top heavy so, if I’m honest,  a cropped boxy shape with stepped hem is probably not ideal for me and I feel a bit swamped by the style.  To be fair, I used some very heavy 4-way stretch black fabric I had in my stash which doesn’t help with the swamping and it doesn’t really work with this top – in fact, I’m not really sure what it would work with.  I think I might have had a wrap dress in mind when I bought it but it’s so heavy it would probably be akin to wearing one of those weighted vests you can get to make you sweat a lot and lose weight which would be both exhausting and not very pleasant for anybody you were spending the day with.  Anyway, I might try the pattern again in some french terry or some lightweight sweatshirt fabric which I did intend to do, thinking I had some in my stash, but there wasn’t enough of it when I dug it out from the depths.

A long distance photo (because I’m not happy with it) but you get the general idea from that and the line drawing.

Surprisingly, I didn’t have a classic ‘denim style’ skirt pattern so the ‘Ness’ pattern seemed to fit the bill.  I went for somewhere between the mini and the midi length.  I used the shorten/lengthen line which is what you’re supposed to do but it seemed to result in a slight pouch around my bum which I could probably fill with one of those ‘make your bum look bigger’ appliances you put in your knickers – and Lord knows I need help in that area – but maybe I’ll just do more squats instead.  Next time, I’ll just chop the surplus length off the end.  Still in my ‘mustard phase’ I chose some corduroy to make it with – which looks more camel than mustard in the photos.  I chose corduroy despite a previous nightmare experience with some black cord which I now realise must have been very poor quality – I found it in a charity shop so who knows where it had been, or how long it had been there,  before it came home with me to wreak its black and dusty destruction on my sewing room.

On the other hand – probably because I paid more for it and it was new – this cord behaved very well with only minimal shedding and the skirt instructions – as is always the case with Tilly & the Buttons patterns – are very well written and illustrated.  It all went together very nicely and I used some contrast fabric for the pocket bags in a bit of a fancy touch that nobody will see unless they prise those pocket tops away from my body and peer inside which, I can’t really imagine anybody doing unless invited.   I was very pleased with the fly front which is my third to date as I made a pair of shorts a few years ago and, more recently, a pair of jeans which will not be discussed here yet as I am still not quite over the experience.

Unfortunately, with just the side seams to sew up, my last fitting showed I needed to come down one size at the waist and two at that hips which then caused a bit of bunching which hadn’t been there before. – mostly due to the fact that the pocket bags were all nicely stitched in place so there were multitudinous layers of fabric being taken into the seams which had been laying very nicely before I actually decided to make it fit me.

(I don’t know why that right hand pocket looks curved on the left bottom corner – it must be a trick of the camera – see below for proof!)

Never mind, it’s wearable but not as perfect as I thought it was going to be with all my nice felled seams, fly front and patch pockets.  Mr. T. even put some rivets on here and there.

I was going to tell you about another make in this post but I would think you’ve had enough by now so I’ll leave it until part 2 (2 and a half??) which will contain yet another mustard make and another corduroy skirt – can you see a theme?

In a complete change of subject in an effort to keep my non-dressmaking readers engaged, my blocks for the F2F block swap have already been received by Esther in the Netherlands (a swap partner a little nearer to home for December), so I thought I’d add two of those on the end to show you.

Esther chose colours to match her garden pots which are a mixture of soft greens, mint greens and grey blues.

This is my first ever Churn Dash block which is surprising only because it’s a really popular block in patchwork and I’ve never done one before.  I used the central square to show off a unicorn because any excuse to show off a unicorn has to be seized with both hands and a sewing machine.

This is the Zeppelin block I’m making for everybody in the swap as well as one for myself in the colours chosen each month so I’ll have another set of blocks needing assembling and quilting to add to the ones I already have 🤔

Back to the sewing room now to continue with a ‘secret sewing’ project I am hoping to have done in time for Christmas – if not, I’ll be joining up to Amazon Prime for a next day delivery emergency gift to go under the tree 🤞

 

 

 

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