Posts Tagged paper pieced star

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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Some More Practice, A Bit of Tidying and Some Sadness

 

F2F Quilt Label

As you will know, if you come here often, I have just finished putting together my quilt from the F2F Block Swap and I have inexpertly written out a label in permanent ink on fabric and attached it to one of the back corners to prove it.

So, that’s done then.

I was the first out of the hat to receive blocks for the next round so I decided that, before getting going on the next nine months of making three blocks for each participant, I’d better get my house in order.  Well, the part of my house that is my sewing room anyway – the rest of it lies sadly neglected as usual although I do have to do a bit of ‘damp dusting’ this afternoon as my Mum’s coming to stay.  Her eyesight isn’t what it used to be though so she won’t be able to see the rugs closely enough to know that one of my dogs is severely in moult at the moment.

Despite the fact that I’ve made any number of fabric storage boxes and bought shedloads of Ikea’s ‘fold this bit of floral card up into a box shape’ triple packs, I have come to the realisation that nothing really does the job like a bit of see-through plastic and a label.  So, I bought some, promptly filled them, then had to go and buy some more.

Plastic Storage Bins

These are most of them, but not all – there are two large ones labelled ‘Liberty Tana Lawns’ off camera :/  A fabric that I rarely use for anything but one that I can’t resist when I see it, still less when I feel it and at least I can get it out every now and again, Golem -like, and indulge in some stroking.  Still it all looks more ‘accessible’ now and is mostly divided into colours so when I’m reaching for the specific tones that people have asked for in their F2F blocks, I will know exactly where to find them.

In a slight digression – wouldn’t be my blog without at least one would it? I share my workroom with lots of vintage haberdashery items.  I’m not always sure why but, when I see them, I can’t resist adding them to my collection (are you noticing a trend?).  Anyway, you may or may not remember the fabric I bought that screamed ‘Hexagonal Sewing Box’ at me – well, I listened and it has come to pass.

Hexagonal Sewing Box - Haberdashery

See! I knew I’d need an old printers’ drawer some time.  I actually have another one mounted on the wall downstairs with which I amuse myself by trying to find teeny tiny things to display in those teeny tiny compartments.

Anyway, back to the patchwork blocks.  I have been practicing my paper piecing and behold my second attempt.

Paper Pieced Star for F2F 2016/2017

In case it turned out O.K. I made it in the colours I’ve chosen for my next quilt and I’m pretty happy with it.  There’s something about designs like this one – where it looks as if the square is threaded through the star – that make me absurdly happy in a childlike kind of way.  I can’t draw or paint but I love the fact I can achieve this effect in fabric.  I know, I’m easily pleased but there are no grilled, salted almonds or alcohol involved so I count patchwork porn as one of my lesser vices.

In a sudden change of mood I have had some sadness lately.  My lovely cat Beau, plucked from the refuge as a kitten with his sister Betty and bought home to live with us for the past nine years, has been missing for four weeks.

Beau - chat perdu

He is identified with a tattoo in his ear (which they do a lot in France) and is sterilised.  His photograph and details are on Pet Alert on Facebook, the Chat Perdu webiste and all the bins, bottle banks and poster sites in the village.  There is no sign of him.

He has always reminded me of the fish ‘Dory’ in Finding Nemo who had a short term memory of about 30 seconds.  He would start eating, get distracted by something and wander off, only to forget he’d been fed in the first place and come back to ask for food.  I’m hoping he’s just sort of forgotten where he lives and, any time now, he’ll remember and come back.

If you see him,  let me know 😦

 

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