Archive for category Dressmaking Projects

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.

leon-in-cat-tree

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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Adventures with the Rosa Shirtdress Part 1 (or Cord? Oh Gawd!)

Paper Pieced Star

I have been very remiss with my dressmaking endeavours over the last couple of years.  I have taken to knit fabrics mainly due to the fact that there is no need for buttons or zips and I can whizz through those seams with my overlocker like a dervish.  I would say I have no patience but, with other projects (see above for instance), I show that I do so it’s not that.  Partly, I think it’s because I have far too many clothes already and don’t need any more – although that doesn’t stop me when I’m in Zara  – one of my daughters is now making her own clothes and the other isn’t overly interested in clothes per se.

So, when Tilly and the Buttons released the new Rosa shirtdress pattern with a separate online workshop I thought it would be an opportunity for me to go back to basics, take it slowly and try to produce something to be proud of again.  This was a leap for me as I usually try to avoid anything with buttonholes and this has 12 of them.  The pattern also has button stands, a separate collar stand, mock felled seams and a pointed yoke at the back  – none of which I had tackled before.  I figured that if I paid money for a workshop it would force me to sit still and concentrate.

Tilly & the Buttons Rosa Shirt Dress

I originally intended to make the dress for my daughter who, at 21, already appears far too old for it judging by the lovely model on the pattern who is surely about 14 years old.  Despite this, I thought it would be a versatile enough garment for both her and me.  I know, from past makes with Tilly patterns that I am a size 3 or 4 – which doesn’t mean I am a 15 year old eastern European catwalk model – only that Tilly’s sizes are numbered differently.  I’ve never made anything in the range for Mlle. Tialys the younger however so thought I’d first make a toile.  Not being a lover of ‘wasting time’ I thought I’d make a size 4 toile in a stash fabric and we could both try it on and, like Cinderella, whoever it fit would have the handsome prince  shirtdress.

To save fabric, I thought I’d make the shirt rather than the dress and I used a black needlecord fabric I’d found in the local charity shop some time before.  I made the toile – which fit me like the proverbial glove – and made a good job of the pointed yoke until I realised – holding it up to admire my handiwork – that you could see daylight through the fabric.  On closer inspection, the needlecord had some wear and tear in certain areas and, unfortunately, it was one of those areas that I had used for the yoke construction.  It had to be redone and, as so often happens, I couldn’t quite get it as good as the first time.

Cord Dust

Meanwhile, the cutting of the cord – so to speak – had resulted in a black dust that had settled over every single surface in my workroom.  It was under my fingernails and on my skin – in the evening when I used a cleanser on my face, the resulting cotton pad gave me a shock until I remembered I hadn’t been toiling up chimney stacks like a female version of Bert in Mary Poppins (although more authentically cockney) but just chancing my arm with black corduroy in my workroom.

So, I re-cut another toile in a cloud of black fibres and it was at this stage, laying the pattern pieces on for a second time, I forgot about ‘nap’ which has resulted in a couple of variations in the shade of black which may or may not be noticeable enough to bother me although Mr. Tialys picked me up on it straight away as men tend to do.

Serging up the unfinished edges was a trial as my overlocker – a Pfaff model bought cheaply in Lidl three years ago so that I could see if I would actually use one or not – is on it’s last knockings.  It chews up the edge instead of slicing through it neatly, one of the needle threads keeps coming unthreaded and little ‘nests’ of thread keep forming under the foot which all inevitably lead to the dreaded ‘overlocker re-threading nightmare’ which generally has me running screaming to the wine rack instead of just casually walking over to it as I usually do.

(New overlocker now on order – with jet air threading – hoorah!)

The only good thing I have to say about the cord fabric is that there is a lot of topstitching involved with this pattern and, as I opted not to use a contrasting thread, any less than perfect stitches are neatly hidden in the pile of the fabric.  My next version will be in chambray so there’ll be no place to hide.

The option of a contrasting inside collar stand and button stand makes for a nice feature which is mostly hidden but I know it’s there and it makes me feel good.  Having said that, I don’t think I’ve done up  a top button on any piece of clothing since I’ve been able to do buttons up by myself.

I’ve half throttled my mannequin – who feels no pain – in order to prove that I can do it if I want to though.

Rosa Shirt Top Button and Collar

(some sort of optical illusion is going on here as both sides of the collar are definitely the same length in ‘real life’)

Here’s how it will more often be worn

Rosa Shirt/Shirtdress CollarDetail

Of course, having shed its fibres in every possible nook and cranny while being constructed, the dreaded cord is now attracting every microscopic piece of fluff, thread, hair and dust and displaying it proudly to the world.  Have I said ‘never again’?

I didn’t take any photos as I went along – too busy concentrating and anyway I probably would have got cord dust in my camera lens.

More on the pattern and a full size ‘reveal’ in Part Two.

By the way, the top patchwork block was one of the three I sent to Kate for our F2F block swap and I can’t resist showing you this one which is from the Elizabeth Hartman Fancy Forest quilt pattern.

Fancy Fox Block

Have you ever had cause to pledge never to use a certain fabric, yarn or other craft accoutrement ever again?

 

 

 

 


 

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Fabric Confusion, A Dog Paw and Yellow Coconut

For all of you that were concerned about the nasty thing on Stan’s paw I’m pleased to say that it appears to have shrunk to nothing after his course of anti-inflammatory tablets.  I will keep an eye on it but, for the moment,  he is back to normal which means he is constantly worrying the life out of me to throw a ball for him

diva-ball-junkie

To celebrate I spent some rare moments making sweet things.  I could probably hold the Bake Off in my kitchen with the amount of equipment we have despite the fact we are not really big dessert/pudding/cake eaters – although Mr. Tialys can put a whole McVities Digestive biscuit in his mouth at once – and does – sometimes until the biscuit tin is empty.  Anyway I made these Coconut, Cherry, Chocolate Fingers and very nice they are were too.

cherrycoconutfingers

In the photograph accompanying the recipe I made these from (which you can find below if interested), the coconut part was very white but our ‘home grown’ eggs make everything we use them in turn very, very yellow so that’s why mine don’t look the same.  That, and the fact that I haven’t cut mine into delicate fingers but rather little slabs.

When you see some interesting looking fabric that says 110cm wide x 2.8m long for 4 euros you just have to go for it even if there’s a sign saying you’re not allowed to unroll it.  One of our rare charity shops has lots of such rolls and I suppose, if you ask one of the volunteers to have a better look, they would let you but I like surprises.

Mystery Fabric

It had a sort of Liberty look about it.  Anyway this is the fabric unrolled.

Panel Fabric

The panels run down the length of the fabric.

Panel Fabric

So this is it turned on its side.

It’s pretty but what could I make with it?  I don’t know what the fabric is but it has a very nice drape to it.  The only thing I can think of is a summery maxi dress for next year (or a midi dress as I’m short but not that short) or a maxi skirt also for next summer.  Anybody have any other ideas?  Have you had any experience with this sort of panelled fabric?  They must have a purpose in mind when they manufacture it mustn’t they?

Out of interest, I did a burn test on the fabric to see if I could tell what it was.  I do like an experiment especially if it involves flame but, typically, my results were inconclusive as it seemed not to fit any of the categories given in the burn test list you can find here.  This burnt brightly with a yellow flame and didn’t melt or smell icky but it didn’t leave a soft grey ash.  It left a black residue but it crushed easily so wasn’t a ‘bead’.  I think it must be a blend but there is definitely something natural in there.

Stan is very grateful for you all keeping your fingers and paws crossed for him and would like to invite you for a game of ball any time you have a few hours to spare.

ball-junkie

Be warned, I got tendonitis!!

Coconut, Cherry & Chocolate Fingers

(makes 16)

200g dessicated coconut

85g caster sugar

150g dark chocolate chips

85g glacé cherries, halved

2 eggs, beaten

150g dark chocolate, broken into pieces

Combine the coconut, sugar, choc chips and cherries in a bowl until evenly distributed then mix in the

eggs to make a gooey paste.  Spoon the mixture into a 30cm x 20cm brownie tin that you’ve lined with baking

parchment and spread evenly with a wooden spoon, packing it down firmly.  Bake for 20 minutes at 180°C/Gas 4

until golden brown and set. Melt the chocolate pieces carefully

(in a bowl over hot water or watched like a hawk in 20 second bursts in the microwasve is best)

and pour over the top of baked mixture spreading evenly

over the top.  Leave to cool in tin, cut into fingers with a sharp knife and refrigerate until well set.

Eat.

(Taken from Sesame & Spice by Anne Shooter)

 

 

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Another ‘Quick’ Project – Yeah, Right.

Whenever I see phrases  like ‘quick project‘ , ‘make it in an hour‘, ‘I made a ball gown during the ad break in Eastenders‘ (o.k., I’ve never seen that last one) I should know not to touch it with a barge pole.

If I ever say, I’m just going upstairs to run up a quick bit of gear to take on holiday or to wear for a ‘do’, my sewing machine and overlocker  (but especially the overlocker) somehow hear me and, in the time it takes me to get up there, they have conspired together to make any quick project as long and frustrating as possible.

Take the summer cardigan pattern which I saw on Girl Charlee’s blog and decided to make with a piece of jersey, dotted with cute gold fawns, that I had bought from them a few weeks before.

 Firstly, I had only bought a metre and the pattern calls for just over that so it took me (and a friend) at least an hour to try to lay the pattern out economically – although if it had been a non directional pattern it would have been a lot easier.

Secondly and most importantly, my overlocker decided to thwart my plans and chew up the seams.

 I had to wait until I saw my friend again to use her overlocker and took mine with me to see if we could work out the problem.  Her husband tutted at how ‘sale’ (French for ‘dirty’) my overlocker was and wanted to know how long was it since I’d cleaned it.  I said ‘jamais’ (French for ‘never’).  He tutted some more and swept out of the room bearing my machine aloft and did things to it with little brushes and blowers and things and I trusted him because I’ve seen under the hood of his car and the engine looks like something you could eat your dinner off.

Anyway, despite his ministrations, it still didn’t work properly so I re-threaded it for what seemed like the zillionth time and, obviously deciding it had p***ed me off enough for one week as I had started muttering darkly about buying a new one, all was well.

Anyway, I made the cardigan for Mlle. T. the younger but she’s not keen on modelling so I asked Mlle. T. the elder – who’s not keen either but she is more bribeable biddable.

dsc_0001Next time, I would make the cuffs a little looser and alter the pattern slightly so that it is slightly wider at the bottom edge.

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…..and if anybody tells me the fawns on the cuffs are upside down I might get nasty.

I am determined to get my F2F blocks made into a quilt for Mr. Tialys’s London flat before  winter – although he has central heating there which we don’t have here so I don’t know why I worry.  Anyway, yesterday I took all the blocks and the squares of wadding and backing out into the garden and went crazy with the basting spray so they are now all ready to quilt.

Quilt As You Go Blocks

I think one of the cats has a more bristly tail than she should have as she may have got in the way of me and my spray at one point.  I’m sure it’ll brush out.

Cat in Antique Bowl

Here she is, giving me the stink eye, in the antique french confit pot that should be for sale in my shop but is not as she has adopted it as her own and, having raised her from a 3 week old scrap with cat formula milk and bottle, I find it hard to deny her anything at all.

I’m off to see if I can make a skirt – complete with zip – in under an hour.  (The word zip is a clue here to the likelihood of my succes).

 

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A Sunday Sorbetto

TimeforTealDresdenPlate

Time for Teal (2)

In case you thought I had totally given up on dressmaking in favour of patchwork and kitten rearing, I thought I’d post about a ‘wearable’ fabric item for a change.

Ages ago I showed you some fabrics I had bought on a shopping trip to Toulouse and, almost as long ago, I actually started to make something out of one of those fabrics. Since then, it has been on a hanger in my sewing room waiting for the warmer weather to make an appearance and inspire me to finish it.

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Nothing exciting really, just a Sorbetto with sleeves but I thought it suited this gauzy fabric and the pleat down the front serves as a little ‘modesty panel’ because, as you can see below, you would need to have your best bra on if standing in front of a sunny window.

As the fabric is so fine, I used French seams.  These are apparently called English seams here in France in the same way (sort of) that those horrible ‘hole in the ground’ loos are called ‘Turkish toilets’ by the French but ‘French toilets’ by the Turks.  This is according to my friend Sandra who may well be mistaken – although she is French so I tend to take her word for these things.

french seams

The fact that I had run out of good weather by the time this top was nearly finished last October was not the only reason for the delay but I decided an ordinary hem wouldn’t look right on the fine fabric and wanted to do a rolled hem.  I can never be bothered to change the spools on my overlocker unless it is for a VERY good reason and I also don’t like unscrewing one of the needles in order to do a rolled hem so I kept putting it off.   The jersey pencil skirt I made recently, however, required a navy thread and, as a bonus, I broke the left hand needle while I was overlocking the seams so that presented me with the perfect opportunity to do a rolled hem on the blouse and complete an early ‘me-made’ addition to my Summer wardrobe.

rolled hem

I put it on for the photo but it hadn’t quite reached ‘thin blouse temperatures’ as you can tell by the tights so it’ll be going in the wardrobe until it warms up  a bit more.

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I wish that Romeo bloke would just leave me alone.

The top photo – to get back to patchwork for a minute – is the second block I’m going to be sending off to Kate for her ‘Time for Teal’ quilt she is making to raise funds for ovarian cancer.  It’s been ages since I made a Dresden Plate block – I hope that doesn’t show too much – and big thanks to Ali at Thimberlina for sending me some pieces of leftover teal fabric she had after she also made blocks for Kate.  I was having trouble finding the right colours in my stash or in the limited local fabric shops.

I’ve just eaten a home-made hot cross bun – courtesy of my daughter – and I’m intending to tuck into some chocolate Easter egg tonight – courtesy of Mr. T .

A Happy Easter to you too.

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Making a Mountain out of a Molehill – Again

Trying to get back into ‘dressmaking mode’ after an excess of quilt block making and knitting, I bought a metre of dark blue ponte roma and traced off the pattern for the ‘Easy Knit Pencil Skirt’ from the Gertie Sews Vintage Casual  book I bought Mlle Tialys the elder for Christmas.

Firstly I had to perform the dreaded task of changing the thread on the overlocker but the signs were good as I managed it first go.

Then, it all started to go pear shaped.  I forgot the sizes are probably American (that or I’m skinnier than I think) so cut the skirt out at least two sizes too big.  However I did realise this before it was too late because I actually followed the instructions which tell you to baste the side seams and try it on before overlocking them.  You should apparently do this each time you make the skirt as all jersey and knit fabrics differ in stretchiness,  which is a very good point.   However, once I had cut it down to my size, the edges weren’t quite as neat and I had also managed to slice through my fingertip with the rotary cutter for good measure.

Then I cut the elastic for the waistband a little too generously as I didn’t want to feel it digging in so instead of stretching the elastic slightly to fit the waistband, I found myself stretching the waistband slightly to fit the elastic.  Which is probably why one of the needles in my overlocker broke and also why the waistband doesn’t lie quite as perfectly flat as it’s supposed to.  I replaced the needle, adjusted the tension and broke another one. I finished off using the 3-thread overlocking stitch as I find that getting into a tizz with my machine puts me in a bad mood for the rest of the day.  That and having to do housework.

Jersey Pencil Skirt

I don’t play the guitar and neither do I usually stand as if I’ve put my hip out but there were no photographers available and the only decent light and big mirror were in eldest daughter’s room so a selfie it had to be.

On the plus side, I did the neatest twin needle hem I think I’ve ever done.  Nice and straight with no tunneling.  As my overlocker is on the right hand side of my sewing machine I used the thread from the extreme left spool as my second twin needle thread so there was no wobbling going on, a technique I might employ in the future as it seemed to work so well.

Twin Needle Stitching

That was, however, after I broke the first twin needle on the sewing machine probably because I started off at a side seam and going through an overlocked seam and hem thickness all at the same time  might have been a bit of a stretch – no pun intended but it works so I’ll leave it in.

So £ 6.99 for a metre of ponte roma – 3 broken needles, one of which was a twin – and several items of  bloodstained clothing  before I realised my finger had been sliced with the rotary cutter meant it wasn’t quite as quick or cheap as I had originally planned.   In my experience, it rarely is.

However!  With one pattern piece only – which you cut out twice on the fold – and around 0.8m of fabric – this really is a comfy yet quite smart skirt and I will be making it again hopefully without breaking any more needles or attempting to slice the top of my finger off.  Where I will wear it is a different matter.  Will it go with wellies do you think?

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My Lucky Guess

A few weeks ago, Ali over at Thimberlina, had a competition whereby you had to guess how many miles had been travelled by all the people who went up to Dewsbury in Yorkshire for a meet up of the Yorkshire Spoolettes.  Only people who hadn’t actually attended were allowed to enter and there were two prizes, one for U.K. based entrants and one for us ‘foreigners’.

I don’t usually bother to enter these things as I never win and, anyway, I am useless at working out mileages and, being a ‘soft Southerner’, have a very sketchy idea of ‘the North’.  However, there weren’t 100s of entries as there often are with these things  and it was the last day so I decided to hazard a guess based on absolutely nothing at all and I won the ‘foreigner’ category* which meant Ali would choose something for me from the enviable range of fabric shops in Dewsbury and send it to me.

*this wasn’t what Ali called it btw

Up North

Only afterwards, when I looked for a map of the area to illustrate this post, did I realise I actually do have some northern knowledge.  Forgive my map scrawling, but the ‘circle’ in the centre represents the venue in Dewsbury I believe and, not far from there is Harrogate,   where my in-laws live.  Over to the East a bit is lovely York where I spent a week at the university there drinking  studying and living like a student in the halls of residence for a summer school when I was doing my O.U. degree   I also spy the Peak District in Derbyshire where Mr. T spent his childhood and Stockport where my Sister-in-law lives and, just off the map a bit is Liverpool where I spent a weekend or two whilst engaged in a very  ill-fated relationship with a local and where I did indeed take the ferry ‘cross the Mersey and wish I’d pushed him in as it would have saved me a lot of trouble.  Anyway, I digress, my guess was wild but successful and, yesterday, my prize arrived.

Prize

Ali had asked for some clues as to what I would like and I did say I had the ‘Agnes’ t-shirt pattern but hadn’t made it yet so some sort of knit fabric would be good.

GiveawayButtons&Bows

As you can see, there were two kinds of fabric and a couple of bags of buttons and bows.

The black and white fabric seems to be a sort of viscose jersey which has a lovely drape but there is enough of it to make several Agnes tops so I will probably make a Lady Skater, a wrap dress or I have seen the ‘Agnes’ lengthened into a dress so I might even look into doing that.

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Here it is, in all its monochrome glory,  draped over my ‘Mannequin Me’.  I love it.

The other fabric I believe should be a contender to replace the orange prison uniforms worn by women prisoners in the States (if Orange is the New Black is to be believed).  Look!  It has pretty little feminine arrows all over it although they don’t all point upwards (or was it downwards) the way they did in prison uniforms of old – or was that just in films?  Anyway, I jest, this is really unusual and pretty fabric – I love the pink with the navy and I think this would make a great top or, Ali being generous to a fault again, even a dress.

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It just goes to show that sometimes it’s worth taking a guess, you might just get lucky as I certainly did.  A big thanks to Ali for organising the competition and for picking out just the right things for me.

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