Sunday, 23 November 2014

It's a wrap Simplicity 1653

This is my first wrap dress.

(Sorry about the strange sunlight effect and the bad hair day, difficult to find the right light at the moment!)  This was a free pattern with Sew Magazine, so it seemed rude not to have ago.  The fabric is  Jersey Leaves Mosby at £8.50 a metre.  You need 2 metres so the dress cost well under £20. It is a lovely soft knit fabric, which really does feel gorgeous to wear, although I think it will only work with a dress with a lot drape.


It's a good fit across the bust with no gaping.  I staystitched the neck edges immediately to try and stop any stretching, and also added some invisible elastic to the front waist to try and give some extra strength.

The pattern is the first "Amazing fit" pattern I've tried and I'm not really sure what I think.  There is a 1" seem allowance so that you can play around with the fit, but that's such a lot of fabric that I think it is quite difficult to deal with.  In the end I took in a bit more than the 1" at the side seams and an inch on the sleeves.  The sleeves are still too big though, and actually I think I could probably have cut a size smaller all round (though at least it isn't fitting too snug around the tummy!).    I cut my usual size 14, and took my usual 1" from the bodice length.  Not easy in this case as it interfered with the pleats on the front wrap piece.

This is such an easy dress to wear and I can stick a jacket on for work.  I made it with the lightening stitch on my machine and then overlocked it.  All the hems are stitched with a twin needle.  I don't love sewing with knits because I can't seem to get a neat finish.  Overall, its an OK dress and actually I've already worn it 5 times (so as you can see it has held its shape), but I don't think I would make another. 
Just want to make a film recommendation.  Dan and I went to see the Imitation Game yesterday and I thought it was an interesting, moving film with great acting (we love a bit of Benedict Cumberbatch, especially in Sherlock). 
 I found out a lot more about Alan Turin, the man who broke the Enigma Code, it is appalling how he was treated.  So if you are looking for an intelligent, informative film this is a good one.  What have you been up to recently?

Sunday, 16 November 2014

McCalls 6696 Shirtwaister love

Well, this isn't the most flattering dress I have made, but it is the one I'm proudest of, because it is definitely the best finish I've achieved.


I think this is a great pattern.  It comes in different cup sizes, and I cut a size 14 C cup, and it actually fits.  I graded down at the waist, but it could still be a little smaller at the there.  I took 1" from the bodice length, to accommodate my high waist.  The fabric is Robert Kaufman chambray union and it was lovely to cut and sew, presses really well and easy to wear (maybe I look a bit like a nurse, but it is greyer in real life).

Some bloggers mentioned that the back is a bit puffy and I actually took 2" from the gathered portion in the back, and I think it is the perfect amount of "puff".


What I'm really proud of is the finish inside!

I used scraps of Tana Lawn for the pockets and the back facing.

 Look how neat the French seams look.

I used a fantastic tutorial on Four Square walls to help with sewing the collar stand.  I really recommend sewing the collar stand this way, though not perfect it's the best one I have done.

The sleeves are hemmed with a tiny little hem.

The only mistake I made was not to include the belt loops, it needs a belt and without the loops it slips around.  I'd definitely recommend this pattern, in fact I'm going to make another, this time in a maroon dot chambray. 

I had a bit of a treat this week, I ordered Lucy's cosy blanket pack to start a crotchet blanket (probably take a year).  I think this is really good value £25 for the pack to make a single blanket.  Not the colours I usually pick but I wanted to try something different.  The wool came in a lovely little bag.

and the colours are really vibrant.  Its nice wool for the price.

Shame its Sunday night already, till next weekend, have a good time.

Sunday, 9 November 2014

Colette Macaron

Well I'm actually glad October is over.  My cold/flue/whatever ended up lasting 3 weeks and I even took a week off work, not like me at all.  Thank you so much for your kind wishes, sadly Meg has not returned and I fear the worst.  All of this is to explain my absence from my blog.  But I'm back now and feeling much better and I've got lots of makes to tell you about over the next weeks.

First the Colette Macaron.  I really love this dress and I do think it is a great pattern.  I had some duck egg blue Brussels linen left from my New Look 6095 dress and I just thought it would be great contrasting with some lace.  I cut my usual size 14 grading to a 12 at the waist and taking 1" out of the bodice length.    I also changed the sleeve shape to follow the scallop of the lace.

I found some fantastic advice in one of my  books and managed to produce a really neat curve.  You reduce your stitch size (in my case from 2.2 to 1.1) and then just trim your seam back without clipping.  This stopped that lumpy effect you can get from clipping.

There was some great seam matching.

... and the invisble zip went in quite well (though spot the mistake, it's on the wrong side!)

I love how the lace looks with the linen.  I love the sweetheart neckline.

So is this dress a great success? ...... nooo .... because its a bit tight.  Yes I did make a quick muslin, but the final dress is just a little bit straightjacketty around the bust and upper arms ... damn ... cause I really do want to wear it.    I am finally beginning to understand that I need to make a full-bust adjustment on most patterns even though I'm only a C cup, as I keep making the same mistake and ending up with dresses which I can get on but which don't feel comfortable.  I might be able to wear for a couple of hours, while I'm sitting up straight!
We had a fantastic treat this week, Dan, Gemma and I went to see Paolo Nutini in Manchester

What a fantastic concert , I'd certainly recommend seeing Paolo, he sounds as good as on his records and really gives everything.  I'd definitely see him again.

Sunday, 12 October 2014

Moneta Mark 2

So I've made a second Colette Moneta. 

I  fell in love with Caroline's maxi dress,  and I really wanted the fabric, which is Valorie Wells Sea Glass knit.  I couldn't find it in the UK and believe it or not I bought it from the USA.  Crazy!  I'm not sure it is the right fabric for this dress because it is so soft, in fact the only garments I think it really is suited to are pyjamas, but very expensive ones!  It looks OK for now, but I don't think it will wash and wear well.

I wanted to try adding a cream collar, but found it really difficult to find a suitable weight of cream knit, so I tried one collar from a thin knit, it looked floppy and insubstantial and one from ponte which looked like a puritan collar.  So I gave up and decided to just bind the neck (I used the binding pattern from the Lady Skater's pattern just 2" shorter), which seemed to work.

This is a great pattern except for the gathering the skirt method, which is almost impossible to do with only two hands.  You are supposed to stretch clear elastic to gather.  I tried just gathering with a long stitch first, but that wasn't effective so went back to the clear elastic method.  It was OK, but very fiddly.  The bodice is a great fit and very flattering.  I am going to include photos of me in the dress, but apologies the quality is poor, I can't be bothered to crop them and there is a strange posing thing going on!  Still not used to using the remote!

I will get better at self-photos, promise.  Otherwise it's not been a great two weeks, I been feeling unwell for 10 days, just a virus but rather tiring, but much worse my lovely cat Meg has not been home for more than two weeks.  She has never stayed away before so I fear the worst.  We got Meg and her kitten Jess from a rescue home 6 years ago and she is a lovely, loving cat whose strangest habit was coming for walks with us.  She is very missed.

Sunday, 28 September 2014

Vogue 1395 and Yarndale

Most of the time I feel pretty pleased with my finished projects, but of course there are times when things aren't so successful and Vogue 1395 is one of these.  Lauren of  Lladybird had made a lovely version which I liked and it looked an interesting pattern with some new things for me to learn including roll hems.  The Vogue version looked cute too.

I think the main mistake was my fabric choice, which when I bought it I thought it would look a little like silk, but it ended up having little drape and I think this has made the fit of the dress rather lumpy and I certainly feel dumpy in it.   This is one dress that I actually prefer on the mannequin.   I don't even like how the pattern of the fabric  looks on the dress.

Yes, as you can see very different from the version above.  Despite being rather loose, it's still managing to look tight across the chest!

There is a rather strange additional piece at the back which wraps around.  The pattern is labelled as easy, but actually I thought it was rather fiddly.  I did rolled hems around the sleeves and the wrap pieces though, which look good and were so easy to do on the overlocker.

So I have worn it twice, but I think it will be going to Oxfam now.  On a more positive note I went to Yarndale in Skipton on Saturday and it was pretty impressive.  If you don't know what Yarndale is, it is a festival of wool organised by Lucy of Attic 24 (if you haven't visited her blog you should, wonderful advice on crotchet)!  It was huge, hundreds of stalls and held in Skipton Auction Mart.  The display of crotchet was gorgeous, sent from crotcheters from all over the world.

There were lots of lovely alpacas and angora rabbits.

I have been completely won over by the DROPS range of wool bought from Nest.   Here is my haul
Yes, the duck egg/teal obsession is still going strong.  I love these colours, the wool feels gorgeous and better still, this entire haul cost £60 which is the price of one jumper in Debbie Bliss (and 2/3 of a Rowan!).  There is enough here for one jacket, one cardigan, one jumper and a lace tee-shirt, a bargain.  I also bought some lovely patterns by Jennie Atkinson.  If you like Vintage knitting you should check her out.   Her Ravelry page is here  I bought her gorgeous knitting book A Handknit Romance and a few of the patterns are going on my list.  So a few pounds lighter, I thoroughly enjoyed Yarndale, though the queue for the café was enormous, very disappointing!  Well off to catch up on Downton.

Sunday, 21 September 2014

New Look 6095; a bit of the sixties

So in my last post I mentioned how much I loved the linen look fabric in the dress I made, I loved it so much that I bought some more. 

When I was at the Miverva meet-up I saw this colour version of the fabric, and I love it.  It is great to wear, wash and sew and the good news is they still have it in and in another colour-way.  I although I  now have 2 dresses already I am still tempted to buy more.  I knew I wanted to colour-block it with some duck-egg blue linen which I found on ebay.  New Look       had a separate band at the bottom and I just needed to draft my own separate yoke.

I had to drop the back darts about 1" to work around a yoke.  The pattern was an easy make, it was only trying to get the yoke and bottom band really even which took a fair bit of fiddling.  I was pleased with how the invisible zip went in even over the colour block seams

I'm also pretty pleased with the top-stitching.

 I also lined the dress in poly-cotton which is very comfortable and which gave the linen a bit more substance and made the zip nice and tidy inside.

 The only thing I don't really like is that the mini-cap sleeves mean that the inside of the sleeve is rather visible from the outside, and you can see the overlocking if you look closely.

This is a shift dress though with some shaping at the waist, which  is a very different style of dress to the waist-cinching ones I usually like making.   I'm channelling  a bit of a sixties vibe here (a bit of disco maybe!)

I didn't know if I would like it, but I really do, and I've probably had more complements over this dress than any others I've made.  I just love the colour combination and I've worn it 10 times already!  Its quite smart for work with a jacket, or more casual with a cardie and flat shoes. 

I would recommend this pattern.  I cut a size 14, and the only changes made were to take an inch from the waist length (my usual adjustment) and to length by about 4". 

My Great British Bake Off challenge continues: for biscuit week I made Florentines (judges comments would probably have been "rather big and irregular, but good flavour"

....for bread week cinnamon and raisin bread "underproved but good flavour"

and for pie week plum and custard flan "crème pat. has held well, nice flavours, the pastry is overworked ..... but NO SOGGY BOTTOM"

I've missed dessert week as I can't really take the results round to friends and I'm not particularly fancying any of the European cake ideas.   I've been enjoying a bit of baking, but I certainly wouldn't have been a star baker, though the product has been enjoyed at work.  I just love Nancy referring to the "male judge"!

According to the forecast the temperature has dropped now, and so I enjoyed possibly the last of the really warm summer walks on Friday after work.  This is my favourite walk just a few minutes from where I live, how lucky am I?  Views of the fells,  the sea and Sizergh castle, it doesn't get much better.

happy dogs ....

 and the cows walking slowly to be milked with their calves trotting after their mums

By the way, my lack of posting has been somewhat due to losing my photographer now Dan is no longer here.  These photos are my attempts at self-timing so not great, but hopefully practice will make perfect (or better at least) so posting will become more regular.

Jessie has also been enjoying the sun, but in the house, making herself comfy against my favourite cross stich cushion which I made ages ago.

I've had a lovely weekend and looking forward to next weekend and Yarndale.  If any one is going, there is going to be a bloggers' meet-up at 1.00 on Saturday.  Let me know if you are going.