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.

Monday, 17 August 2015

Simplicity 1586; an amazing fit

I love this dress.  Although it may come up as rather ordinary in the photos I feel really good in it.  It fits really well and I think it is a great work dress.  The pattern is fairly easy to put together.  The neck is faced and I didn't bother to line this one.

The pattern is simplicity 1586, an Amazing Fit pattern.  Because I am a C cup most patterns need a fba to fit.  The Amazing fit patterns are the lazy option as they come with a choice of B, C, D cups.

I cut a size 14 C cup , grading to a 12 at the waist and hips and the fit at the front was pretty much spot on.  I also really liked that the back had a choice of narrow, average or wide fit.  I have pretty narrow shoulders and so picked the narrow back.  There is still a little excess at the top and when I make this again I will take 5/8" from the top of the centre back.

To cope with my narrow shoulders I added 5/8 inch to the neck edge and took 5/8" from the top of the arm hole.

The sleeves are unusual, they have 3 darts which make the shape boxy.  I wasn't sure whether I liked these or not, but they have drown on me.

The fabric is fabulous.  It's stretch crepe; really comfortable and easy to sew.  A nice weight and I particularly love the teal colour.

The princess seams were great to put together and fitted well.  The back has a little vent for extra style and comfort.    This is really part of my autumn sewing.  I have a whole wardrobe planned based on a grey, black, teal, taupe and mustard colour scheme.

In my two week holiday I had a lovely trip to Manchester Art Gallery with my sewing friend Gary.

There was a fantastic exhibition, not big but really interesting on 50s Cotton Couture.  I loved so many of the dresses, and all made from cotton.

I would certainly recommend it for those of you who like vintage clothes.  Well that was summer, back to work now and almost ready for the start of the Autumn term!

Saturday, 1 August 2015

Liberty Bruyere

A favourite pattern ..... check! ..... lovely liberty fabric ......check! ..... a week's holiday ...... check! and a new sewing friend ......

(Yes I treated myself to a Pfaff Ambition machine).  What's not to love? I had a lovely week making a shirt I really like.  This is my second Bruyere and I love the fit on me.  I hardly had to make any changes, just a little from the shoulder width (which makes about 1" in total).  The rest seems made for me. I cut a 42 at the bust grading to a 40 at the waist (I'm about 38" bust C cup and 28" waist and 37" hip).  I'm also high waisted (about 1" above average) and didn't make any adjustments, so the waist would be higher on most people. 

The two pleats on the front and the back give fullness but keep things flat in all the right places.

The fabric is Liberty Suzanna Tana Lawn.  I don't seem to be able to find this colourway anywhere now and I do love it.  I bought it from my favourite fabric shop Unique Image in Ulverston.  If you are a UK buyer, buying full-price Liberty and you want to support a small independent shop you can order your Liberty from Unique Image.  I used some matching Liberty plain grey.

The thing I am most proud of is the pattern matching at the yoke, yes this is two separate pieces of fabric (I made it bigger just so you can see!).  Sorry if I sound as if I'm bragging, but I'm just so proud of this.

I frenchseamed the insides (except for the sleeves) and so the insides are really pretty.

I've had Dan and his puppy Monty staying for almost a week  .... lovely.  I do miss him.

We watched films, walked all the dogs and there may have been cream teas in the sun.

Most of the time Monty was pretty bonkers (he's only 5th months), but there were some moments of peace (time for a haircut for Rosie I think).

The winner of the pattern giveaway is Shannon from Adventures of a Young Seamstress.  I been enjoying Shannon's blog since she started and she has made some fabulous clothes.  I'll look forward to seeing her versions of some of the patterns!  Are you having a sewing holiday?  Back to my Ginger jeans and to cutting out another Linton Chanel jacket.