Archive for category Dressmaking Projects

Stashbusting for Summer – The Final Part

Although I can’t say I have used up all (or much) of my dressmaking fabric stash, at least I’ve had a go this year and here are two more dresses which at least are more useful than metres of fabric in a cupboard.

I didn’t like the ‘Stevie’ dress pattern from Tilly & the Buttons when I first saw it as it’s a boxy sort of shape with a high neck (both things I don’t like on me) but, when there was a 20% off sale, I suddenly felt more drawn to the fact that it is quite a quick make with no zips or buttons and ‘grown on’ sleeves – i.e. no fiddly setting in of sleeves into armholes.

I also really like that back yoke detail.  You can swap the bow out for a button and loop if you want.

So, I made two.

The first one is made from some double gauze fabric which I’ve never sewn with before and, despite being made from two thin layers of fabric stitched together – double gauze fabric, not the dress – it is very light and comfortable to wear.

 

 

The hem was an abomination and I have re-done it since these photos were taken.  I blame the nature of the fabric because I can’t possibly blame myself.

Double gauze is quite a ‘floppy’ fabric so the bow feature on the back works quite well here.

I made the second version using some fabric which has a sort of linen texture to it – or maybe barkcloth? – and also has a bit of stretch although it’s very stable and I think I bought it to make some trousers.  Ask me why.  I don’t know because I’m not really a ‘flowered trousers’ type of person but I think it was when I was experimenting with trouser making and fancied something with a bit of a summery feel.  Anyway, I came to my senses and used it for this dress instead.

Being less drapey it gives the dress more shape which is fine because it looks very different from the first version.

However, in this fabric, the boxy shape is more apparent and the bow isn’t as floppy as I’d like so I probably should have used the loop and button for this one.

So I tried it on back to front in an unintentional pattern hack which did away with the high neck I’m not overly keen on

and it appears to fit exactly the same

which is strange but I’m not complaining.

On the other hand I might have to have a word with my photographer as he has included dogs, dead plants, parasol poles and all sorts in these photos.  I did disturb him whilst he was having a quiet moment with a glass of some home brew (also in the photo!)  so I suppose I shouldn’t complain.

That will be all my summer makes for this year now using stash fabric.  I’ve made ‘a little top’ by hacking that old favourite the ‘Sorbetto’ but it’s not been photographed yet and, anyway, I did buy a metre of something called ‘dobby’ to make that so it doesn’t count as a stashbuster.

Look! It’s covered in the constellations.

I’ve cut out a shirt for Mr. Tialys in some Liberty tana lawn (above) and will concentrate on that next, going slowly, step by step, because I’m using a ‘new to me’ pattern from Liesl & Co called the ‘All Day Shirt’ and I’m determined it will be gorgeous enough – and fit him well enough – to wear to the office without shame or embarrassment.

Hopefully, it (if not he) will look something like this

I’ll let you know how I get on.

 

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Stashbusting for Summer Part 4

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.

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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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