Sunday, 12 February 2017

McCalls 7432

Welcome to new readers.  I'm sorry I didn't resond as usual to the lovely comments on my Stella coat.  I really enjoyed reading them.

After my more challenging Stella coat, here is a couple of quick makes.  I've been so cold recently that I wanted something warm to wear at work. 

McCalls 7432 a "learn to sew for fun" pattern and is an easy fit knit shift dress. 
Image result for mccalls 7432

I wanted the extra warmth of a cowl neck and so I raised the neckline about 2" and added a cowl from a 14" x 13" oblong.  It worked well and I can honestly say this dress is cosy.

I cut a size medium, which according to the size chart should be a little snug, but the fit is pretty good.  Although I think I could do with a little more from the sides at the lower part of the skirt.

I prefer it with a belt but you can better see the shape without.  A little about the fabric.  I think it is amazing!  It washed well, sewed well, kept its shape and it really a warm .... but the most amazing thing is cost £3.45 .... a £7 dress (I did use a discount code its normally £4.49 from the Textile Centre.  I would definitely buy it again.

The second version is from and abstract print double border ponte roma also £4.49 and from the Textile Centre.  I'm not sure about this.  On  the website the print looked like it went horizontally and would have provided an interesting hem, but that wasn't  the case.

I will wear it with a plain black jacket for work, and for the price its a bargain, but the quality isn't as good.

You can see this version is a little shorter.  It was the first one I made and I think the fit of the second one is better.  This is a good basic pattern, which is suitable for work with a jacket and I'm sure I'll make a couple each winter .... but for now back to making a SWAP challenge.

I've also been making in miniature, for some newborn twins!  Little jersey dresses with baby cashmere ballet cardigans.  

Tuesday, 24 January 2017

First sew of 2017 Style Arc Stella Coat

A good start to 2017 sewing I think.  This is the project I worked on (amongst a few others) over my Christmas break and just finished this morning (when there was very poor light sorry).

I wanted a long-line camel wool jacket with a trench coat feel.  I found the fabric at the Harrogate Knitting and stitching show on one of the cheaper stalls.  It was £10 a metre and the stallholder had no information about its composition but he set fire to it and from the burning hair smell it definitely has a high wool content.

I feel pretty proud of this one; I think it looks almost ready-to-wear.  The pattern is Style Arc Stella.  StyleArc is an Australian company, you can buy some patterns from Amazon and some pdfs from Etsy, but not this coat, so I had to order from Australia.  It cost £20 including postage and I got a really nice blouse pattern free as well, so not a bad price.  I really love that they include an ideal fabric sample, very helpful.

I line it with some fabulous Jacquard lining from Clothspot (no longer available).  I just want to put a word in for this website; lovely fabric, well photographed and my order came next day (even though close to Christmas) and packaged most beautifully.  I will definitely use them again.

The lining was double sided so I used both.

The fabric was a little thick for this pattern and I was a bit worried about this, so I used lots of topstitching on all the seams, and collar etc.   I think this makes the coat and makes it look much more professional.  I love the stand up collar and the yoke detail.   The thickness also meant that turning the belt was a nightmare and literally took me hours!

You may just be able to see I struggled with the topstitching over the thickest part of the collar lapel join and ended up with one skipped stitch.

The key to success with this coat was pressing and using my clapper to do this.  When I bought my clapper I thought it was expensive, but I can honestly say it is one of my most used tools and worth every penny.  You can see below how just one press completely changes the collar edges.

So overall the coat is a hit and I have already cut a spring linen version.   It is also the first part of my SWAP challenge.  At first I thought the rules were a bit complicated, but I do like a challenge and really want to be part of this.  The challenge ends 30 April 2016.  So basically I will be making the following 11 garments using a maximum of 8 patterns which need to match with each other:

1 SyleArc Stella Coat
2 x burda style jackets 6901
2 Colette Selene skirts
21SewOver it Joan dresses (but adapted for knit)
2 McCall 7249 knit tops
1 Helmi tunic dress
1 named tyni cigarette trousers
1 sewoverit pussy bow blouse (or StyleArc free blouse to be decided)

If I end up not liking any of these I will replace with other ideas.

I will be using the following fabrics (at least definitely this colour palette; dusky pink (nude), mustard, brown, taupe and duck-egg

I will also be posting my 9 patterns choice for that challenge next blog.  More plans than time I'm afraid.  I'm happily reading  and watching the plans of many others, are any of you entering the SWAP?

Saturday, 7 January 2017

Tilly and the Buttons Rosa dress and McCalls 7100

Happy New year to you all and I hope that 2017 is a better year all round.  New Year and new page design , not quite finished because I don't know how to widen the header!!! I   have had a great Christmas, but gosh that 2 weeks has zoomed past.  I'm actually blogging a couple of November makes which got missed earlier.

I rarely join a pattern rush, but did make an exception for Tilly and the Buttons Rosa dress, just because I love it.

I really enjoyed making this dress.  I love the easy shirt dress style, but with so many features.  The combination of Tilly's excellent instructions (her illustrated booklets are probably the best instructions in any patterns I have tried) with lots of interesting details makes this a perfect improver pattern to stretch your skills.

I pretty much copied the pattern version and made mine in a light-weight denim, unfortunately that means it  is  bit cold for now, so I haven't got much wear from it yet!  The princess seams in the front and back give a really nice fit.  I could possibly have fitted a little bit more, but I'm not sure you want to be too tight on this style of dress and I am happy with the finished dress.

 I love the back yoke detail, and it went together more easily than I expected.  I chose to do a single row of top stitching in a mustard colour.

I often duck out of patch pockets because it is difficult to get them looking good, but I felt this dress needed them and they did work out pretty well.

I used a little bit of liberty fabric in the undercollar for a flash of colour.  I used a metallic style buttons and I think snaps would also look good.

I made one huge mistake.  I didn't like the effect of a turned back cuff showing the seams so decided to add a false cuff, and somehow I managed to catch the sleeve in my overlocker and make a cut!  This meant that I had to move the tabs to the back of the sleeve to cover the repaired rip. They look a bit odd here, but wearable.

I also made a McCalls  7100 as part of their sewalong.  This wasn't sewalong as I know it.  It was a facebook page with some tips and hints.  This was actually a pretty tricky pattern and I could have done with more support!

The pattern is nice.  A raglan style with opportunities for colour blocking.  I rather weirdly decided I wanted a Chinese silk effect so bought this Satin Brocade from Minerva crafts at £7.99 (still in and available in other colours).  Lovely fabric but boy does it fray!  I used satin back crepe (dull side) for the sleeves.  I spent a lot of time trying to match the dragon in the centre on either side of the zip.

The collar is made from some black ribbing and this was fairly straightforward.  I've only done one other open-ended zip like this and I was quite pleased with the end result.

The bit which was really tricky was the front waist panels attached to more ribbing.

The pattern doesn't come with a lining, so I drafted my own, which I also think gives a bit more body.  Not sure if I would recommend this one.are really in and there are lots of patterns to choose from and some may both fit better and be less fiddly!  However, I think I will enjoy wearing this in the warmer weather perhaps with jeans.

I had a lovely uiet Christmas, Dan and Gemma have been here for 2 weeks and I am so enjoying that.  The dogs joined in the fun!

It was also my birthday on the 29th of December and I had a lovely day.  Lunch at Carnforth Station which is where Brief Encounter was filmed and which celebrates the 40s; one of our favourite cafes.
Brief Encounter, David Lean. Top 10 Timepieces-In-Cinema,...:

This is Dan and me by the Station clock as seen in the film (wearing McCalls 7257)

Then we went to the cinema to see  Fantastic Beasts and Wear to Find them and being the Harry Potter fans that we are we loved it.  So a lovely break and now back to work.  I'll be covering some of my future sewing plans in my next blog, so until then  ..... Happy New Year.

Tuesday, 20 December 2016

Burda 6829:The Little Red Dress Project

The last thing I thought I would make is a red velvet dress, but at the Harrogate knitting and stitching sew I sew this fantastic stretch velvet on the Bombay Stores stand at only £6.95 a metre, so I decided to join the little red dress project after all. 

As soon as I got the fabric I was sure that I had seen the perfect pattern, Burda 6829.  I had 2  metres of fabric and easily got this shorter version with a bit to spare.  The velvet was a little  heavier than  ideal for this pattern, the main problem turned out to be the facing.  As you can imagine around the neck facing with two layers and (stretch) interfacing it is pretty bulky.  Even with my usual understitching the facing would not stay down and I have had to use my twin needle to top stitch to solve the problem.

What I really love about this pattern is how figure flattering it is, it definitely minimizing the tummy area, which I had worried might be accentuated by the gathers it definitely isn't.

I did my usual changes, raising the waist by 1" and  reducing the width of the shoulders.  I cut a size 12, in a lighter more stretchy fabric the fit might be a bit too loose.  Shame about the folds at the back waist I really need to sort this issue out for the future.  The other change I made was to fit the sleeves in flat.  I'm not sure why they have you fitting these after you have done the side seams.  The way they have you doing the hem (front first then then the back later) was a real pain to line up, both the length and lining up the twin needles, so I will look if there is a way to do the whole hem at once.

So there we are a red Christmas dress and I will be posting it as part of Renata's Little Red Dress  project (#THELITTLEREDDRESSPROJECT) when loads of red dresses will be appearing this week.  I do really like this pattern and will made another less dressy version.

So that is probably it until after Christmas.  If you celebrate Christmas have a great one.  I have my boy home so I'm happy and planning to take it very easy indeed!

Friday, 9 December 2016

Butterick 6388

Time for some winter sewing ..... and I made two in a week.  This is Butterick 6388, a relatively new pattern.

I love this pattern, it is so cosy and is completely different in the different fabrics.  The first one I made is  from a sweater knit, bought from Abakhan at Preston.  If you haven't been to this shop you don't know what you are missing, most of the fabrics are bought by the kilo.  This was incredibly light so 2 metres cost less than £8 and is a fabulous duck-egg blue, my favourite!

I cut a size medium initially, and as you can see this version turned out quite loose and could probably have been a little more fitted.  I found a vintage button to put on the neck.

You can see more of the details on the second version (which I really love).  The fabric is probably the best quality ponte I have every bought.  It is from Fabric Godmother, not cheap at £16 a metre (so much more expensive than the last one) but it is so thick and warm and I know I will get loads of wear from this dress.  I think it would make a good Molly for those of you wanting a substantial version and I have already made a Coco from a black stripe similar fabric .... perfect.


Using a stripe means you can really feature the back yoke and the side panels, which I cut on the opposite grain.  I also cut the sleeves originally on the vertical grain, only to find that the stripes now followed the shoulder stripes and that wasn't what I wanted.  The back yoke was a little fiddly but I love this extra detail.  The collar is pretty easy to achieve, the hardest bit making sure you stretch it just right.

I also love the dropped sleeves (makes fitting for those of us with narrow shoulder easier).  Because of the roominess of the first version I cut it a little smaller .... mistake!  The fabric made the fit completely different and it was much tighter, so I ended up with a 3/8" seam rather than a 5/8" seam at the sides to give a little bit more ease.    This is my argument against toiles.  Unless you use pretty identical fabric the fit will be different in any case.  I do make toiles but so often you think the fit is OK and made up it just isn't the same.  I hold a lot of store in sewing shoulders/any front or back seams and then basting the remaining seams to try.  I also know that for most patterns I need to narrow the shoulders and the neckline (though not in this case), raise the waist, and lower the hem!

I will usually wear this dress with a belt, as I like the extra shaping.  I wore it to the Harrogate Stitching and knitting show last month.  My sewing friend Gary and I went and we had a great time.  I spent a fortune; camel coating, dragonfly lawn, teal blouse fabric.   My favourite stall was Fabrics Galore, I bought this gorgeous Italian double crepe, it's very busy but I'm going to colour block it in a dress with black crepe.  I also bought some fabulous mustard wool jersey, but it doesn't seem to be on the website.  If you live near Battersea I would definitely recommend a trip to this shop!

So definitely recommending this pattern and it is easily made over a weekend (mm a red one would be rather fantastic for Christmas and comfortable, plenty of pie space). 

Tuesday, 22 November 2016

Colette Selene skirt

There has been a bit of a delay in posting due to internet access but this hasn't topped me sewing and I have a few makes to catch up on.  The first is my Colette Selene skirt and definitely a hit.

I bought both the fabrics when I was shopping with Ruth from CoreCouture at Minerva crafts and I totally copied her!  Ruth is truly great at creating a wardrobe of wearable matching separates.  We both bought a wool and matching drapey burgundy fabric and  have made quite different items. 

So the skirt is my first attempt at the Selene and it will be a go to pattern in the future for a work skirt.  I think the shape and fit are perfect for me and really flattering, and the thing I was actually a bit worried out, the amount of interfacing on the front panels turned out to be the thing that helped the skirt to be flattering as it provided a sort of corset effect which hold the tummy in!

A really nice feature are the slanted welt pockets.  All the interfacing and the layers made it pretty thick on the two side panels, but as mentioned above it worked well in the end.  (Sorry seem to have lost the close ups on the pockets!).  The instructions for the welts were clear and the most important thing is to get the clip into the corners perfect.

I cut a size 10 but then had to take in the side seams quite a bit and a size 8 would probably have been the right fit.  The only other change was to add 4" to the length - I'm only 5'4" so it would be really short.  The back has a vent (pretty easy to do).

There is a separate lining pattern, and I really like not having to draft my own.The lining is shorter, so there is no issue around the vent.

I hand stitched the hem, but as usual it turned out to be my least favourite part of the skirt.  Does anyone have any tips for hemming to stop the very slightly lumpy luck?  Does interfacing help at all.  I am careful and do very tiny stitches but I'm never completely satisfied with the result.

So what about the blouse?  I bought this fabric to match and it does .... but the observant among you may notice it isn't finished and I'm afraid it won't be.  The fabric was a devil to work with and whilst I did lovely French seams and it went pretty well the fabric seemed to stretch and the shoulders ended up dropping spoiling the fit.  So I won't both completing it, but have worn the skirt with a mustard top.

I would definitely recommend this pattern and will be buying more fabric for more versions.  I'm going to the knitting and stitching show at Harrogate on Friday and will be looking about for suitable fabric.  (If you are going and see me - I'll be wearing a striped ponte dress - come and say hello).