Thursday, 29 October 2015

Tilly and the Buttons Coco

A touch of the Francais .... this is Tilly and the Button's Coco dress with the funnel roll neck.  It's a very simple dress, but I love it.  It is just so comfortable.  The main reason for this is the fantastic ponte fabric which I bought recently from the Fabric Godmother, I loved it so much I tried to buy some more but .... all gone!  I was inspired by Karen's version with her fabric recommendation (thanks Karen).  The nearest they have is in a white colourway which is also a good fabric but not quite as snuggly.

I wasn't sure where the pockets should go, they look great on the pattern, but far too low to put your hands in!

Coco sewing pattern - Tilly and the Buttons

So I put mine much higher .... are they too high do you think!

I cut a size 5 in the bust grading down to a 4.  I took 5/8" from the shoulder width, and although I'm only 5'4" I added two inches to the length as befits someone of my age!  I really like the final result for an easy weekend wear, its just so comfy and the shape is really quite flattering.

I think this is a good beginners pattern; no fastenings and the funnel neck is pretty easy to fit.  I would definitely recommend it with a stable ponte fabric for a first go and knit fabrics.  If you haven't seen one of Tilly's patterns the instructions are great, you get a little booklet fully illustrating all the steps with photographs.

I've just enjoyed three days off during half term, awful weather but lots of sewing; 2 Orlas and GBSB dress, plus lots of gratuitous fabric shopping .... such plans.  I also had a visitor for the week, Monty has been staying.  He's 7 months old now and full of beans.  Such a cutie. 

Sunday, 18 October 2015

Vogue 1405

A warm welcome to any new readers, and infact any readers.  I was so pleased this week to find I have 150 followers on Bloglovin!  Wonderful.  Well on to the sewing.

This is Vogue 1405.  How fabulous does it look on the model!  (No that's not me on a good day - she probably weighs the same but is 6" taller).   I raised the waist by 1" and I think this was a mistake as the waist looks a little too high and I tend to be pulling the skirt down during the day.
Image result for vogue 1405
As you can see from the line drawings this is a mock-wrap dress with batwing sleeves.
Image result for vogue 1405
.... which on my version look like this ....

.... and this .....

The midriff is draped and stitched onto a smaller band, and the skirt is just draped and quite close-fitting at the midriff.  The fabric is some sort of stretch, synthetic fabric, I can't remember where I got it.  It was just the right drape for this dress, albeit rather synthetic in its feel.

For some reason the pattern is supposed to have a zip in the back, which I really couldn't see the point in so I left it out and cut the back on a fold.  This has worked fine as the dress easily pulls on over the my head.  Here are the insides.  You can see that you make a full slip from power mesh.
The slip is quite snug and gives both shape and stability.

At the back you add bra-strap sliders. though these aren't really needed.  The pattern is described as Average, but I have to say I found it pretty fiddly (particularly the slip) and definitely one of the more difficult patterns I have used, so much so that convinced I wouldn't make it again it ended up in the bin rather than bothering to fold it up and put it back in the envelope.  Having said that I have worn the dress to work quite a bit, it's smart yet comfortable and easy to wear.

I've had a lovely quiet weekend of sewing and finished a blouse and a Coco dress (to come soon) and cut out my Tilly and the Buttons Orla blouse.  I just love the sense of achievement I get from sewing, and I have so many plans for Autumn.  After a summer of being really good about buying fabric I am afraid I've one a little crazy over the last two months.  Here's a taster of what is to come, and if you want any more info on some of the things I will be making visit my pinterest autumn planning board.

That's a lovely bit of Linton Tweed on the top, already half made into a Chanel-style jacket.

Have you any Autumn plans?  Oh and if you are reading in the UK are any of you intending to go to the SewBrum meet up on 31st October.  I'm thinking about it, although it will mean 5 hours of travelling.  Have a great week.

Monday, 12 October 2015

Simplicity 3833: 1960's retro

Well it wasn't quite a dress in a day (but it was in two days), but this was the theme for an Adult Education course I signed up for, which was great value at only £35 for the day.  Six of us took part and the finished results were amazingly different (sorry not to have got photos of other dresses - hope that doesn't make me seem too selfish but I felt a bit awkward asking to photograph others).  I wasn't sure about the pattern initially because I sometimes find shift dresses a little shapeless, but as shifts go I have ended up being pretty pleased with this. (Sorry about the blurry photos, I think my camera was struggling to focus duck-egg blue against a duck-egg blue wall).

I coloured-blocked the front yoke and sleeves.  The fabric is a Robert Kaufman polyester linen which I bought mainly for the colours, however, there is a lot I don't like about it.  It is quite thin, difficult to press with a slightly plastic-type quality (yes that does sound awful).  It's wearable but I wouldn't buy it again, though the duck-egg blue is lovely and of course no wrinkles.

The most unusual thing about the pattern is the dart.

You can see what an unusual shape the dart makes, and it was actually much easier than it looks.  Infact I would say this is a good pattern for beginners.  Four of the ladies on the course had hardly done any sewing and went from cutting out to getting the zip in all in 5 hours.  You can see in this photo one of the problems with the fabric is bulge at the nipple which just won't press out!  I don't think it looks quite as obvious in the flesh  (hope not anyway).

I added an inch to the bottom of the sleeve for some extra room, sleeves often seem tight on me.

You can see duck-egg blue top-stitching under the bust and down the centre seam which is a nice feature (first time for me top-stitching in such a contrasting thread).

I cut a size 14 grading to a 12 at the waist, but did a full-bust adjustment of an inch, you can see from the photo below where I slashed and added to.  I also took my usual 5/6" from the shoulder width.  Very importantly I dropped the neckline by 3/4" and even with this the neck is still quite high.  I just can't stand having things really tight at the neck and this would have been unwearable for me without the adjustment.  I also added 1" to the longest length (although I am only 5'4" because I just can't rock a mini any more.  I think the dress would look better shorter and also without the sleeves (I just don't do bare arms, not my best feature).  So what I'm saying is this is an easy, wearable and quite flattering pattern, especially if you can keep it short and sleeveless.  Have a go!

Sunday, 27 September 2015

Last of the Summer Sewing: McCalls 7185

Well this is my last summer weight dress for this year, and it's been quite a successful one.  I first saw this dress on Laura-Mae's blog and loved it and when I found it was one of their multi-cup patterns I was a no-brainer.

The fabric is from Wayne Hemmingway's collection in duck egg blue (my favourite) I bought it a while ago and I don't think it's available any more.  It's quite crisp, rather more like a quilting cotton weight, which I think worked quite well with this dress giving the skirt more body.

I cut my usual size 14 with a C cup grading in at the waist to a 12.  I didn't have enough of the fabric to cut the pattern as given, there is a lot of fabric in the skirt and I had to take 10" out of the front and back skirt.  As you can see there is still plenty in the skirt and I think I might prefer the reduced gathering.

What I really didn't like was the sleeve.  You can see below the right sleeve is very puffy and just not my style.  I felt quite silly.  So I recut new sleeves based on McCalls 6696 as you can see on the left and I much prefer it.

I have never tried piping before and I wanted to have a go, so I used preprepared piping around the neck and I think it adds a real pop.  It also seemed to make the facing stay tucked in nicely.  I had wanted to include more piping around the waist, but I just couldn't work out what to do with all the ends, so I didn't risk it.  I replaced one of the poppers with a vintage button and I think that gives a nice touch.

Overall I think the dress has a great fit and it's pretty straightforward to make.  It's comfortable and the neck is just the right depth, quite decent and the wrap-over feels really secure, no chance of unexpected flashing.


Pattern McCalls 7185 size 14C bust to 12 at waist
Raised waist by 6/8"
Reduced shoulder width by 5/8"
Added 1/2" to sleeve width
Reduced skirt width by 10" front and back
Add 1" to length

I would make this one again, maybe next year!

If the fabric above enhanced this pattern I've just had an example of a fabric which spoilt one.  I was really lucky to be sent a pattern by the lovely Jeanette at the Lazy Seamstress.  The pattern is the Maude skirt.  I imagined the skirt in a lovely waffle cotton from the Cloth House (quite expensive!) with wool crepe pockets.  When the fabric came it looked lovely, although I was a bit worried it might be too thick, anyway as it was cotton I washed it .... big mistake ... it went all sort of floppy.  But I'd invested quite a bit so went ahead anyway.

This was how it looked.  Sort of shapeless and uneven and just not nice at all.   I didn't carry on from this stage.  I love the pattern (especially the pockets)  and will have another go with the right fabric.  Didn't want you to think everything I make is successful .... far from it! 

Sunday, 13 September 2015

Made Up Ginger Jeans and Aster blouse

I made jeans! There are some garments which seem to signal that your sewing has progressed; the first dress, the first shirt, the first jacket ... the first cost.   Jeans felt like the next of these for me, and so even though there are not perfect I am "made up" by achieving this milestone.  For those of you who have been involved in Karen's fantastic fundraising effort you will recognise the pun.  My Ginger jeans were my pledge for this and I finished them in time. 

The Ginger jean pattern is a great pattern with clear instructions and if you use the sewalong as well suddenly the jeans challenge becomes a possibility.  I made quite a few changes.  I made the high-waisted version but didn't want skinny jeans so I added quite a bit to the width of the legs, grading out to the widest width.  I cut a size 10 and because of my high waist added an inch to the crotch length.  I'm not sure if the waist is a little too high now; what do you think? 

My high waist is the reason I can't buy jeans to fit me, so I am pretty delighted with these.  They are just a touch tight, you can see them stretching a little too much in the photos.  They may well stretch a bit with wear and I'll just add a touch more room in the next pair (which there will definitely be).

A few details ...  (excuse the quality of photos).  I did have a bit of a problem at first with the zip and had to unpick it the first time as I didn't have enough overlap. Can you spot the mistake here .... I don't know how as I thought I was being careful but I have made men's jeans, yes my fly is the wrong way round, but I don't really care!

I'm pretty pleased with the top-stitching, although as you can see I played safe by top-stitching in black so it wouldn't show too much.  I did find  top-stitching rounds difficult.

The pockets went on pretty well.

I used a bit of Chambray for the pocket linings, but the denim for the waistband.

The shirt I'm wearing is the Colette Aster.  This is a pretty straightforward sew.

I like the neckline (which I did raise a little for modesty), but the shape is a little baggy for me, especially in the back.  I think I knew it wasn't going to be, but for some reason still bought the pattern!  I cut a size 10 but graded in to an 8 at the waist.  What I do love about the shirt is the fabric, it's double gauze and it is so soft and gorgeous to wear (and great to sew as well).  I think pyjamas would be great out of this fabric!

I visited Vintage By the Sea at the weekend - lots of fun and fabulous vintage dresses (although the ones I would have loved to buy were too small for me).  I did manage to pick up a great vintage pattern which I will make.  There were some great vintage cars.

... cakes and fun!

Sunday, 30 August 2015

Lisette B6168 and a birthday safari

I'm not sure what drew me to this pattern because it isn't my usual style.  It is Lisette B6168 and I do like the bodice very much, just a bit different.

lisette for butterick B6168 sewing pattern

The fabric used is a polyester linen look with a little stretch so that I didn't need to make an fba.  It's the same fabric I use for my McCalls 5523.

I cut my usual size 14 grading to a 12 at the waist.  I raised the waist by 3/4" because this is what I usually do, but I have to say I think it would be better a little lower.  I reduced the shoulder width by 5/8" and took about 1 inch from the top of the back at the zip grading down.

Now the observant among you may notice that the skirt in my dress is not the same as in the pattern which is gathered.  The picture below will show you how this looks!  Yes, great as a maternity dress.  At this point I nearly put the dress in the UFO pile, I mean what possessed me to think that a dress like this would suit anyone who is not a size 8!  I thought I would have one try unpicking the skirt and pleating it rather than gathering it.  Much better.

I have got a bit of wear out of the dress, though it's not my favourite and not one I will be making again.

Now please excuse me indulging a little.  Yesterday was Dan's 24th birthday and we went to Dalton Wildlife Park.

It was the best day of the summer.  Lovely weather, lovely company and so much to see.

We've been many times, and it is one of our favourite days out.  Dan and Gemma live only 10 minutes away now.

The best part was hand-feeding the lemurs, Oliver the Kangaroo

a capybara and even a prairie dog!  What a treat.