Posts Tagged tialys

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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Dr. Why

 

Paper Pieced Tardis Pattern

Do people sometimes ask you why you make your own clothes?  Or why you knit your own jumpers/socks/blankets?   Or why you make quilts or greetings cards or paint pictures.  Does there always have to be a logical answer to questions about why we want to create certain things?

Mr. Tialys cannot see the point in buying perfectly good fabric and then cutting it up into smaller pieces and joining it up again – this is a very common ‘man’ question I believe.  If I were smashing plates and making mosaics, I don’t believe he would ask the same thing.  Although he might look askance come dinner time.

Another question he often asks is why I have so much fabric that I would have a job using it all up in my lifetime (no matter how long that might be) yet still, occasionally, well quite often actually, buy more.  This, I don’t really have an answer to except that it makes me happy and keeps me out of the casinos, pubs, betting shops and places of ill-repute that I might otherwise frequent and spend my money in.  Unlikely scenarios but you get my drift.

Sometimes I make things ‘just because’ – although I do usually have some sort of vague idea why I want to make something even if it’s to try out a new skill or method to see whether I want to continue down that road or never touch it again – needle felting anyone?

Needle Felting Equipment

NeedleFelted Chick

(This is not to denigrate the craft of needle felting in any way because there are some awesome needle felting artists out there – just my own lack of proficiency at it. Just saying..)

Anyway, I recently got the foundation paper piecing bug which, for anybody who doesn’t know what that is, involves laying small pieces of fabric on to the reverse side of a printed paper pattern, then flipping it over and sewing each, sometimes teeny piece, onto the piece adjoining it in the order stipulated by the pattern, until you have a completed patchwork block or image.  Then you have to tear all that paper off which has hopefully been thoroughly perforated by your sewing machine needle and, voila, a finished work that should be very accurately pieced.  You may well ask ‘why?’.  Well, I like it because I sometimes find accuracy fairly hard to achieve using other piecing methods and this appears to be my best shot.

Here is how a piece looks from the reverse side with some of the papers removed.

Tardis Paper Piecing Pattern

So, inspired by a recent project by a blogging friend Avis of OhSewTempting,  and because my Dr. Who loving daughter has just moved into her post-university flat and needs a few soft furnishings in her life, I decided to make a paper pieced Tardis and then incorporate it into a cushion.

So far so good.  I had a project with a purpose and could use some stash fabric to make it.

I found some ‘constellation’ fabric that had come in a ‘stash building’ bundle of ‘blues’ I’d ordered online and didn’t even realise I had.  (Slight pause while we all stop laughing at the very idea I need any ‘stash building’ ).   This would made a perfect background for the Doctor’s tardis hurtling through space and time.

DSC_0004 (5)

Then, I remembered I had some ‘Police Box’ ribbon I’d bought for making quirky dog collars.

Dr. Who Ribbon

It was meant to be.  My life was complete.

The first mistake I made was not checking my printer settings so the pattern printed out to finish at 9.5 inches instead of 10 inches which I didn’t realise until I’d already started piecing and, as it didn’t really need to be a specific size as it’s not going into a quilt, I let it be.  This, despite the fact that, two posts ago, I wrote about this self-same thing.

PDF file instructions

The second mistake I made was believing the designer had made an error  and put the outside written notice on the wrong side of the tardis – something my daughter would have immediately picked up on.  So, I reversed the pieces, forgetting that because you sew the fabric on the reverse, the reverse eventually becomes the front.  I expect your brain hurts now.  I know mine did.  Anyway, trying to be clever made joining those window and door pieces more difficult than they needed to be but I got there in the end.

It was all coming together so well.  All the individual sections looked good.

Detail Paper Piecing

Then I started to join them together.

This was the first result.  I had noticed the slight overhang on the right side of the tardis wasn’t overhanging slightly or in any way at all on my version but thought it wouldn’t matter too much as the rest wasn’t bad.  Then, what wasn’t that obvious in ‘real life’ became glaringly obvious in the photo – the right hand side of the tardis was in its own time warp and waving about all over the place and there was bagging in the background fabric.

Paper Pieced Tardis

It was around about that time I found myself  asking the question ‘why?’ and also cursing quite a lot in a very unladylike manner.

I had to unpick many many teeny stitches and, after a couple of attempts at re-doing it through the papers, eventually  took the seams apart up the sides,  separated the mid section, redid the ‘police box’ line, took the papers off and then joined it all up again with 1/4 inch seams of my own devising.

Well, I am older and wiser yet again and have now tackled teeny pieces in a pattern and have ended up with a vaguely acceptable tardis.

I’m going to put a border round it to make a bigger cushion and do an envelope back edged with more ‘Public Telephone’ ribbon.  Any ideas for the border colour? I’m thinking of the navy I used on the box itself  or maybe some navy with little white stars but other suggestions welcome.

Dr. Who's Tardis in fabric

O.K., there are still a few areas I could improve on and, if I made it again, I would stitch those little window frames as Avis did as it looks a lot neater (as does her whole project but I have aspirations), and the good thing is that the pattern – printed free from Craftsy here – says ‘intermediate level’ so perhaps I can now feel I’ve graduated from ‘beginner’.

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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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Off The Cuff

 

 Sometimes Often I go into my workroom for one reason and end up doing something completely different.  Something I hadn’t even planned to do.  Yesterday was one of those times.  I have a pair of trousers – half done – which I keep seeing out of the corner of my eye and I know they need finishing but,  because they need altering and faffing with, I just can’t get my head round messing with them at the moment.  So an unplanned project got done instead.

Some might call it procrastination.

Sewaholic Renfrew Top

I made a Sewaholic Renfrew top.   Are you thinking that fabric is a bit ‘urgent’?  It is quite busy for me but I bought the fabric on Etsy a few months ago and thought I would move it on from my stash – I need the space.

Renfrew Short Sleeve Top

This is me in my customary ‘bring on the firing squad’ pose with the fabric appearing a bit pinker than in reality as I had to mess with the lighting a bit.   It is actually more of a salmon pink as in the other two pics.  I couldn’t go any further up or down as I was still in my early morning dog walking leggings and my dog walking hair and face, none of which is a pretty sight.  There’s no need for you to suffer and anyway it’s the top you are interested in if you are interested in anything at all here.

Matching the Side Seams!

Because of my abysmal attempt at matching one of my side seams on my Reglisse dress (see post), I wanted to  show you that I can actually do it if the stars are aligned correctly and I concentrate.  Sorry it’s on a mannequin – her neck is even scraggier than mine but she is probably more than 100 years older than me so I’m not judging – but I couldn’t really model the side seams and operate the remote gizmo of the camera at the same time.

I was in two minds whether to put the cuffs on the sleeves and round the bottom – more matching hell – but, in the end, I decided to go for it because I think the cuffs make it look more like a ‘top’ and less like a t-shirt which is what this fabric called for.  I won’t go on about the Sewaholic pattern because everybody has made it and, suffice it to say, it is fast, easy and gives good results and you can’t ask for more than that 😉

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Another Coco Before Clearing the Decks

I just finished another Coco dress.  I bought this coral coloured jersey which was the perfect weight for this dress but I felt was a little bright to make the whole dress in.  So I decided to pair it with this grey jersey and have a go at making a colour block version.  I love it but, unfortunately, forgot to lengthen it this time so I will get a consensus of opinion from family and blunt  honest friends and, if they think it’s too short for me, I’ll have to hand it over to one of the Madamoiselles.  I think you can usually get away with things a little shorter in the summer with bare legs and flats but we’ll see.

Colour Block Coco Dress

(The ombré effect here is due to bad lighting rather than the fabric and my paintwork morphing into different shades)

Only a couple of days to go until the Lladybird and Tangled Threads’ Outfit Along starts so I wanted to finish up some projects I had on the go and start with a clean (ish) slate.

As I explained here this Outfit Along comprises a dress (or skirt) and a cardigan to go with it.  The suggested pattern for the dress is Simplicity 1803 which I already have and had bought the fabric for some time ago and the cardigan is the new one from Andi Satterlund called Myrna.

Simplicity 1803

I’m going to make the one in the bottom right hand corner with the short sleeves and button embellishments.

myrna cardigan2

Here’s the cardi I’m going to make.

There are lots of gorgeous fabric and yarn choices going on and I’ve been watching the Ravelry thread to see what people are choosing.  However, much as I like the bright, patterned fabrics, I’m taking into consideration my lifestyle, location, age, wearing opportunities and going with something a bit more ‘sensible’ or let’s use the word ‘classic’ as it sounds slightly less boring.

OAL fabric and yarn 001

So, these are my fabric and yarn choices.  What do you think?  Be quick and tell me if you don’t think they’d work as I start the day after tomorrow!

I’m sure I will have time to do plenty of other things at the the same time – we have until the end of July after all – and the dress shouldn’t take me long but I only knit in the evenings so the cardigan is likely to be the thing in danger of not being finished so no more knitting projects until afterward.

I just had time to finish off this cute baby jacket which will, eventually, be in my shop as I have lots of plans for more hand knit baby wear but I’ve got to complete a few more yet before I put them in the shop.

Knitted Baby Jacket

I’m frantically sewing up a knitted jacket for myself – don’t you just hate the sewing up part of knitting? – then that will be out of the way and I can cut out and cast on.

Outfit Along

 

 

 

 

 

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Wake Up And Smell The Violets

VioletsI sort of knew that violets have a strong scent because there’s those sweeties – parma violets is it? – and also some incredibly strong (and cheap) perfume which I vaguely remember they used to sell in our dear departed Woolworths when I was a tot but I don’t think I had ever encountered the smell  ‘in the wild’ as it were.  We have tons in our garden and they have been bursting out all over for the past week but I still don’t recall smelling them.  Then, yesterday, I went to my friend’s house, parked the car, opened the gate to her garden and I was met by a wonderful waft.  It was a hot day (for March) and maybe  it was very still but the air was definitely full of scented violets.

Talking of going round to Sandra’s, who is my sewing friend, sometimes when we are trying to think of a project to do next, we mess around with little bits of fabric and some tried and tested patterns and this little owl was the result of that session.  I remembered that I had some vintage(ish) folding scissors at home so I left sewing his bottom on until I got home and attached the scissors by a black ribbon, stuck in a decorative pin et voila!

PinCushionOwl

I like that, in french, one of the words for ‘owl’ is  ‘chouette’ which also means ‘nice’ or ‘cool’.

I also asked her to help me with my fumbling crochet attempts.  I am trying to make individual roses to make a blanket but, at this rate, I’ll be lucky to end up with a coaster – although that won’t be any good as the surface is raised and the cup would keep falling over, but you get my drift.  I don’t know what goes on with this crochet business.  It’s supposed to be easier than knitting and I’m good at knitting.  I am having trouble recognising what is a stitch, what is a loop, what is the first loop of the first round and the 3rd loop of the last round – Gaaah!  Anyway, here are my attempts so far.  Do you think it will matter if they are all slightly different sizes?  Will it really matter when they are all joined together?  Should I have used fiendishly expensive Rowan yarn when taking my first baby steps?

crochet rosesAnyway, I promised to show you my knickers didn’t I?  I know you have all been waiting anxiously to see them and now I can reveal those frilly, ruffly, artfully frayed babies!

vintage mannequinShe looks a bit stressed doesn’t she? Not my favourite vintage mannequin but my antique ones have a pole where the sun don’t shine so I couldn’t get the knickers on any of them!  I think these bloomers are cute for sleepwear and, once I’ve ironed out a few of my first timer mistakes, I am going to make some more. I am going to give these to Madamoiselle Tialys the Elder for wearing as sleepwear as, let’s face it, if you put those on under a frock you might as well be wearing a bustle!  However, she did point out that her duvet cover is almost the exact same red and white polka dot pattern and she might disappear into the bed and nobody find her which as the mother of a daughter living away from home and getting up to lord knows what, doesn’t sound too unwelcome a scenario to me!

I’m always searching for vintage, quintessentially french fabric but don’t often find it so was pleased to find this the other day.  I don’t know what I’m going to do with it yet but I’m sure I’ll think of something.

vintage french fabric

I’m still working on hand quilting the birthday quilt – only 2 weeks overdue – but did have to stop for a while as I am completely unable to function using a thimble and, as a result, vaccinated myself against something with the end of the quilting needle and had to give it a rest.  It has now healed up so I will start again tomorrow.  On the hand quilting front though, I did find this in a charity shop which doesn’t go with my décor, is too heavy to post so cannot be offered for sale, and is therefore totally useless to me but could not, under any circumstances, be left under a pile of polyester  sheets, ignored and unloved when somebody, somewhere had gone to all the trouble of putting all those stitches in various patterns, no doubt vaccinating herself against things and using up all the plasters in the medicine cabinet, only to have it flung out with last season’s clothes in a bin bag.  Don’t worry somebody, somewhere, I have rescued your hard work for posterity and will appreciate it more than the ungrateful wretches for whom it was made.

hand quilted throw DSC_0041

Look at all those stitches.  How could you throw something like that out?  I have told my daughters I will come back and haunt them if I ever see one of my quilts in a dog bed.

Have a great weekend and I hope you find lots of violets to smell. x

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A Distraction (or Excuse Not To Do the Housework No. 352ish)

I know I haven’t been blogging very much lately but there has been ‘stuff’ going on and I am still adjusting to the absence of Madamoiselle Tialys the Elder at university.  Still, I was thinking about doing a post soon as I have some projects coming to fruition (well, almost) and some very interesting vintage things to share but, in the meantime, a distraction.

coaltit (2)

Well, yes, this is just a bit of my balcony but I was watching and waiting to catch somebody on camera

coaltit (7)who didn’t seem to want to show his face

coaltit (6)

but when he (finally) does, there seems to be something wrong but this is as close as I could get

coaltitcloseup

Does anybody know what it could be?  He’s eating from the bird feeders and the other birds don’t seem to be bothering him particularly.  I wonder whether it’s an injury or a birth deformity.  Of course, there won’t be anything I can do about it – apart from carrying on supplying fat balls and sunflower seeds – but I just wondered.  And was distracted.

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One Day To Go

Have you entered my little competition yet?  If you haven’t got any ideas for me on how to use my weird and wonderful glass thingummy, you can just leave a comment here

You stand quite a good chance of winning one of my little reindeer storage tubs as only 13 have entered so far – an unlucky number so come and add your name to the hat.

 

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Cindy’s House

I just finished another custom étui box house which I am quite pleased with as it is so cheerful and the fabrics go so beautifully together.

I don’t know who Cindy is or what she did but I hope she’ll be pleased with her gift.  Plus, I hope she doesn’t read my blog as it’s supposed to be a surprise.

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Is It December Already?

I never realised, before I had an Etsy shop, how far in advance you had to think about annual events in order to prepare relevant stock.  Valentines day in December, Easter in January, Halloween in July and Christmas in September – as if my mind isn’t muddled enough. 

It’s quite difficult for me to go ‘festive’ as I am drawn to neutral or muted colours in fabrics as you can see from the results of my stash enhancement expedition of yesterday.

However, I do like the Scandinavian style of design and it seems to suit Christmas very well so, as last year, I will be slipping in the odd reindeer in red just to show willing.

 

 

Happy New Year.   Well, it is October.

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