Monday, 15 August 2016

Simplicity 8131

There are bare shouldered tops everywhere this summer.  Off-the shoulder is out of the question for me  but I really fancied a blouse with a cut-out shoulder - enter Simplicity 8131.

Now the first thing I did wrong was to pick a colour of fabric which is too close to flesh tones, and so the cut-away hardly shows (it is there honest ... look closely!).  The fabric wasn't the right choice.  It is cotton voile pique from Guthrie and Ghani, which I bought because I'm a little obsessed with dusky pink.  But although it is lightweight I think this blouse would benefit from even more drape, probably something silky.

The bow can be tied either high at the neck or fitted to the v shape.  I didn't include the strange v shaped hem and also I thought the pattern sleeve length looks neither here nor there so I added 3" to the sleeve length.  I also put an elastic casing in the sleeves rather than the little cuff used in the pattern which I thought would be difficult to fit properly.  I cut a size 14 but had to take the sides in about an 1" on each side .

You can see how the tie works. Small gathers on the shoulders.  This was reasonably straightforward, but you need to make sure you get the edges of neck piece accurately "trapped".

The arm facing is quite clever, as well as rather fiddly.  It has a neat look on the outside.

Here is the inside, again reasonably neat, but one think I don't like is that the sleeve is finished by dual rows of stitching and I thing it looks a little messy.  I don't see why you couldn't finish it by overlocking.

I might make this again next year with a different fabric, if bare shoulders are still "in". 

Image result for mo farah rio 2016I might make this again next year with a different fabric, if

I've been having a couple of really lazy weeks watching loads of the Olympics and it has been fantastic.  So proud of Team GB what a performance and just what I needed after feeling ashamed of so much of what was said during the referendum.  Sad to see Phelps' last Olympic race, what an athlete; by himself he has won more medals than Argentina over all the Olympics.  Fantastic to see Mo win again!

Lots more to enjoy this week. 

Tuesday, 2 August 2016

Vogue 1482

Here is my Vogue 1482.  

Do I like it, I'm not quite sure.  I certainly liked it on the McCalls YouTube clip.;   all swingy and bouncy (or was that the model!).

I do love the sleeves.

Possibly with the ability to fly without a parachute!  You can just see the rather successful neck binding in these photos and although you don't need the back opening to get this over your head I did still include this as a feature.


Its loose and comfortable and makes the most of this fabulous John Kaldor Microfibre from Minerva (great fabric, lovely to sew but awful to press - maybe you don't need to).

I originally prepped for a medium, but after reading other reviews and doing a tissue fitting I thought a small would be good enough and it is.  I should have added a little more length to give a large hem (this one is just 1 cm) which I think would aid with the swingy factor.  I didn't think that the bottom of the dress was going to be wide enough so I added a good inch each side, only to have to take it out as it wasn't needed and spoilt the line.

There is one pocket on the diagonal, which is cute, but as it is fully French seamed there is a lot of bulk here and I wouldn't have a pocket in a French seamed seam again.   Otherwise the French seams look nice.

More detail of the pocket.

 ... and on the inside, you can see the French seaming (the white is a bit of interfacing I added for strength, it spoils the look a bit but gives the opening a bit of needed structure)

I think I like it, but will have to wear it to decide.  What it certainly is is a dog's dinner of a dress.  I do not remember making as many silly mistakes on one garment before.  First I cut one pocket the wrong way, this wouldn't have shown but being picky I recut it ..... only for some reason I cut it out of the already cut back piece!  I then didn't have enough fabric to cut another back so I had to join two pieces together on one side (with a diagonal seam).  As if that wasn't enough I then didn't read the instructions, joined front to back (graded and French seamed) only to find you actually insert the sleeves on the flat before joining  front to back.  I could undo the side seams to tried to fit the sleeves as usual in the round!  It was awful, really hard and fiddly and whilst I have got them in they are a bit of a mess.

I think this dress would look great in a stripe, but why is it you just can't seem to find any striped viscose?  Have you spotted any ... black preferably.

On the non-sewing front I've had a busy couple of weeks.  Dan, Gemma and I went to see Derren Brown at the Lowry.  What a fantastic show.  I bought the tickets a year ago so we were right at the front.  Derren is a bit of a hero of Dan's and it was fantastic that Dan got to be part of the show.  His face was on the stage 15 foot high, and his bit lasted about 5 minutes, as Dan said awesome.  And to finish a little bit of puppy cuteness, this is Costa, an eight week old Cockerpoo who has just joined my friend Robert's family.

Thursday, 14 July 2016

Liberty McCalls 6696

This is my third version of the ever popular McCalls  6696, and it is certainly the best fit.    My choice of fabric is nothing new, Roisin has made a sleeveless version and Gertie's shirtwaister in her first book used the red version of this fabric.  The fabric is Liberty Carline and before you think I have spent a fortune on this dress, this fabric was one of my bargains from Standfast and Barracks in Lancaster who sell Liberty seconds.  This cost £6 per metre and I used just under 2 metres .... a bargain.

So to the fit.  I love this pattern because it has different cup sizes and I went for the C.  My last 2 versions I cut a 14 at the bust and graded to a 12 at the waist, but this time I just cut a 12 in the bust too.  I took 5/8" from each shoulder for my narrow shoulders and raised the waist by 1" overall and then by 3/8" extra at the front centre (because I noticed that the waist appears to droop a little on me).

The pattern illustrations do not show a back view of the dress and I think that is probably because the models have the problem of "poofy" backs.    I took a whole 2" out of the centre gathers.  Even so there is still a bit of "poof" and what I think I need to do is to also take 3/8" from the back centre line (like the front).
Insides; French seams everywhere except for the sleeve attachment (where to be honest I couldn't be bothered!)

Not much more to say about this one, except I must try the straight-skirt version some time!  I'm sure this won't be my last.

I had the most lovely Saturday when I met up with Ruth from CoreCouture and we had a lovely shop in Minerva.  I really enjoyed watching Ruth shop, she has such an eye for combining patterns and colours and I ended up totally copying her with the berry coloured fabrics below.  This whole haul cost £45 which will make 2 skirts, 2 tops and one pair of trousers.  I think I am usually a bit of a fabric snob, but Minerva does have some lovely fabric at really low prices.

Wednesday, 6 July 2016

Delpine and Morisette: Les Brunes

First a very warm welcome to new readers.  There were quite a few of you and I think this is because of my Great British Sewing Bee Colour-blocked dress.  This week's post is very different so I hope it isn't too much of a disappointment (and I will be back to vintage again next, but the 50s). 

I do love a little bit of French style and I particularly like reading Jolie Bobines and BMade blogs.  This year both blogs have featured some ruffles and, although this is not my usual style, I had a bit of a hankering to make my own.  I like a challenge so I duly ordered a pdf French pattern, Les Brunes,  from Delphine and Morissette.  Good value at 8 euro.  You order by email and get a very quick response and can transfer the money through PayPal.  Now just to warn you the pattern itself looks like it has been drawn freehand and there are no illustrations with the instructions.  This wouldn't have been a problem but the instructions are in French and with no illustrations this made it tricky!  An hour on Google translate didn't help at all  ..... you add the wheels to the wings!!!  So I ended up winging it, and it turned out OK.  It's a pretty straightforward pattern, though inserting the frill into the shoulder darts is definitely fiddly.

(The strange hairy thing in the corner is Rosie's tail!).  Worn here with my ginger jeans.  The fabric is a really soft rayon which drapes nicely but still presses.

The pattern itself has a straight sleeve and I decided I wanted some extra frill and added a gathered oblong to the sleeve which I do like.  I also reduced the size of the shoulder frills which I felt were a little too wide on the pattern by almost an inch.

I have worn it tucked in for work.  I love the neckline, it fits really well to the body with no gaping.  Just big enough to pull on without any zips or buttons.

The best part about this pattern was being able to use my rolled hem foot.  I used this for the shoulder and sleeve frills and it is fantastic.  It gives a beautiful finish.  It is a bit difficult to get started and to control throughout, and I didn't try it on the hem because I haven't mastered how to get it to work over seams.  So I was pretty pleased with this, managing the frills and the French instructions, about to give a final press and I realised I had attached one of the sleeve bottoms inside out (and I had already overlocked it), rooky error which involved a lot of unpicking and restitching with small seams.  All done now though and I like it.  I also really like the look of WearLemonade's Fabala blouse pattern which has a double frill at the cuff.  I also love their little videos showing the making which would be a big help if I go for any of their patterns, or maybe I should just learn French.  Have a great week.

Monday, 20 June 2016

Great British Sewing Bee Colour Blocked Dress

I may be a week later than the vintage episode of the show, but here is my colour-blocked dress from the Great British Sewing Bee book From Stitch to Style.

Our College show this year was Made in Dagenham (and a great show it was).  I had wanted to have a go at this pattern and it seemed like it would be a nice homage to make it to wear to watch the show which is set in the late 60s.  So I cut it out last weekend and wore it on Thursday night.

I really enjoyed making it and wearing it!  Someone spotted it and was impressed that I "run it up so quickly". 

I love these colours together and it looks just like I wanted.  I cut a size 14 bust, grading to a 12 in the waist and hips.  It may be because the fabric is slightly stretchy but it turned out quite large and I had to take 5/8" extra in at the side seams, a size 12 would have been a better fit.  I also narrowed the shoulders by 5/8" and raised the waist line by just under 1" (my usual adjustments).  The shape is a little boxy. Also I think there is a problem with the pattern, my bottom black band was about 4" too short (pattern piece 8), fortunately I had enough to cut it again.

The back is absolutely plain and maybe it would be nicer colour blocked as well.   Generally I love the fabric.  It's a stretchy cotton from Minerva Crafts at £7.99 a metre and available in 20 colours!  I used all the same fabrics, however, the white does seem to be a little lighter (that might just be the colour) and you can see above is a little transparent.

I didn't like the way the pattern fitted the facing so that the side seam joined seamed the facing and dress which I thought wouldn't give a nicely finished underarm.  I used the method in this SewOverIt Vlog.  Overall this was reasonably successful, I got a lovely finish around the arms, however on one side of the neck I got a funny pull (see below).  I think this was due to overstitching too near.  I would give it another try though.


Definitely one of my better zip insertions!  Now for the rooky mistake.  I caught the white fabric in the overlocker as you can see below.  I didn't have enough white fabric to recut, so I had to unpick all the seams and cut a wider black panel and reduce the white panel so that the cut is in the seam allowance.  You can never get complacent.  Overall though I love it.

This weekend we had a great time in London.  Even though I lived there for 8 years, we really enjoyed having a tourist weekend.  We rode on the BigBus and had a river cruise.

We went to a fabulous production of Madame Butterfly at the Coliseum, only my second live opera (and I fell asleep in the first one).  We loved it. 
.. and on Sunday we went to Hampton Court.  Gemma and myself are fascinated by the Tudors.  My maiden name is Parr and we have a family tree traced back to Catherine Parr's brother, so I particularly love anything from the Henry VIII period.  We thought Hampton Court really had the feeling of history, loved it!  It was particularly gratifying at a difficult time in the UK to experience our wonderful history, culture and capital city, which I hope will remain part of the EU.





Tuesday, 7 June 2016

The Inari Tee

You may remember my first Inari Tee dress was a disaster and went straight to the charity shop. This was mainly due to the arms and shoulders being uncomfortable.  But I wasn't ready to give up yet, so here is the second version and much more successful.

I was heartened to read the Karen from Did You Make That also had problems with the fit around the sleeves and so I followed her advice to change the arm scythe and sleeve completely.  (As I mentioned previously this is a great post and the video links make real sense).  This worked much better though there is some tightness as you can see on the upper bust and the shoulder seam is very low.

I cut a size 12, though shaved a little more off the back sides (nearer the size 10) and added a little to the length.  I do wish Named added the seam allowance to their patterns, its a real pain having to add you own allowances.

The fabric is Luxury Crepe from SewOverIt.  I haven't really decided what I think of it.  The colour is great, although would you tell me if I looked like a big banana?!  The fabric itself is really tough to sew, I could hardly get pins through it, and I think you can see from the seams above that it really didn't press well.

So I'm still not sure what I think about this pattern.  I like it from many angles and then at other times I think it makes me look enormous.  So different to my normal fitted styles.  I will wear this, but I'm not sure when and where.  It is also one of the dresses which is most comfortable stood up, the skirt rides surprisingly high when you sit down!

I've just had a lovely half-term with gorgeous weather.  My sewing pal Gary and I went to the Adamley Silk sale near Macclesfield.  It was quite a long way to go and much of the silk was quite firm (probably produced for ties) but what bargains.  Believe it or not these two rolls below where only £10 a roll and there are metres on each roll.  Watch out for kimono dressing gowns for Dan and Gemma and a dress or two for me in the taupe.  We also visited Minerva and there was more adding to the stash!

We had a lovely lunch at this fabulous hall.

Back to work now, and actually it has been unbearably hot there, so having wished for sunshine for months I'm now hoping for a bit of a cool down. 

Monday, 30 May 2016

SewOverIt Pussy Bow Blouse and MeMade May

Last timeImade two tops (the Orla) I ended up not wearing either.  That won't be the case for the two SewOverIt pussy bow blouses.

This is actually the second one I made completely copied from Lisa's (SewOverIt) blouse.  The fabric is pure silk and appears to be sold out.  Although the fabric feels lovely it was not for the faint-hearted.  After handwashing getting the grain back was difficult and it moved during cutting, during sewing and pressing!  Still it is the drape that makes this blouse work for me.  I usually like a more fitted top but with this much drape it does work for me.

I made the lower V neck and really like this neckline.  This was the only tricky bit of the pattern getting the tie collar neat both inside and out, but with a bit of fiddling I managed!  Although the instructions are generally clear I could have done with clearer illustrations for the neck.  I cut a size 14, raised the waist by 1", reduced the sleeve length by 1", but made the cuff 5/8" wider.

This was actually the first one I made as a wearable muslin (fabric actually feels quite nice though it is very much a cheap ebay find at £3.50 per metre).

I used a little silk organza to help give the cuffs a little more stability.

I would also advice that you make the rouleaux loops much thinner than advised to make the cuffs neater.

Not much else to say.  I like the pattern and will be keeping it for possible future versions.

If you are pretty bored with Me-Made May look away now as I'm choosing to blog the whole lot at once.  As I wear me-made pretty much all the time it isn't really much of a challenge, but what I decided to do was to try to wear a different outfit everyday (though not when I was at home at the weekend when the same pair of sweatpants are pretty much what I wear).  So here we go!  I did manage to wear different outfits every day for the 20 days of work and a selection of weekend wear. I wear dresses a lot, but the most useful garment I have is my black wook-crepe skirt (not blogged).  My most complemented dress (though not my favourite) was the Lisette and my favourite pattern is probably Deer and Doe's Bruyere blouse.  Sory about the plethora of photos I tried to create a montage but failed miserably!

Vogue 1405

SewOverIt Pussy bow blouse and

Black wool crepe skirt