Sunday, 24 April 2016

A holiday dress; the Eliana

As you know I have a passion for mustard, and when Pauline Alice's version of her Eliana dress I decided to make a copy!!!

I made the dress to take on holiday to Rome (where I had a fantastic time - more next week and the fabulous fabric  bought there), but unfortunately  didn't get any photos of the dress there -  also please excuse the still pasty legs!

The Eliana is described as a semi-fitted dress with gathered neckline and waist with long raglan sleeves or sleeveless.

I cut the size 42 grading down a bit at the waist, however, I think it is a little big as there is such a lot of fabric under the arms and this makes it just a little less comfortable than a dress like this should be.  If I were to make it again, I would go down a size.

I raised the waist by 1", my usual adjustment. and added a couple of inches to the length.

The only other adjustment I made was that I didn't like the way that pattern made the cuffs with a binding, as they were loose and droopy, so I inserted elastic at the wrist in a casing and I think this looks much better.

The fabric is a gorgeous viscose which has a lovely hand and drape, presses and sews beautifully.  Like Pauline I bought it from France from Henry and Henriette.  They don't seem to have it any more, although there are some other gorgeous viscose fabrics!  Jess liked it very much, and perhaps it is more a ginger colour than mustard!

The pattern is fairly easy, except for the bias binding particularly round the key-hole, which I find very fiddly.  I think another time I would make it just a touch wider.  I hand stitched it all down because I would never have managed to machine stitch this width with any accuracy.

The sleeve is a raglan, which I like as it avoids my usual problem of having narrow shoulders.  There is a dart, but it doesn't stand out in any way.

The waist, has a one inch elastic casing, a little fiddly, and I secured a few points around it to stop the gathering becoming too uneven.

Overall I think this is a nice pattern; a comfortable dress which should suit most figures, with a jacket it will still be smart enough for work.  I may make another one (perhaps next year).   I'm clearly on to the spring/summer sewing now and we have even had some sun.

On a less successful front I have loved all the gorgeous versions of the Inari Tee dress, but my first version is a failure, mainly because it seemed very wide and even with two mall pleats at the neck the sleeves still feel in the wrong place and thus uncomfortable.  If I go down a size then I'm a little worried the bust may be tight.  This one will go straight to the charity shop, but I would love to crack this pattern.  Has anyone else had this problem - any ideas?

Monday, 11 April 2016

Vogue 7975: the Linton Tweed Chanel-style Jacket

Last time we had the skirt and top, this time the jacket.  

This is my second version of Vogue 7975.  I really like this pattern.  It's pretty straightforward, and because I made version C, the edge to edge jacket I didn't have to worry about doing a full-bust adjustment (I am a C cup and Vogue is designed for a B cup).  I cut my usual size 14 with a 5/8" narrow adjustment to the shoulders and raised the waist by 1", but these are the only changes I needed.

I love the fabric, which is Linton Tweed (yes the original Chanel fabric).  Unfortunately this particular design appears to be sold out, but they have many, many other great choices.  Linton Tweed is based in Carlisle, only 1 hour from where I live, and I bought this on a visit to their shop with my sewing buddy Gary.  This fabric goes beautifully with black, taupe, duck-egg blue and dusky pink. 

Most Linton Tweeds are have a rather loose weave which means I interlined all the pieced with polycotton, but because I wanted a fairly soft look, I only interfaced the facings.  It is a little challenging getting the seams overlocked before they fray too much.

I am exceptionally pleased with the pattern matching.  I took a long time cutting out (and single layers) and then did a bit of unpicking to try and get the best possible effect.

The only tiny slip up was on the neck edge, where you can just see a little difference at the front neck edge.

Stripes continuing into the sleeves. I love the two piece sleeves, much more comfortable, though a challenge to match stripes!

 The lining is a sort of bremsilk, which feels lovely, but was a bit thinner than I would have liked, so you can see the jacket seams through it.   I catch-stitched all the seams to the polycotton to make sure the seams stay nice and flat.

I would definitely recommend this pattern.  It gives a nice easy to wear jacket, and the lack of collar and button-holes make it a good choice for a first jacket.  I would also recommend some Linton tweed for the fabric.  In fact Gary and I went to the factory shop again this weekend and this time I bought some black to make myself a little black Chanel jacket (this time with buttons and I will be following tailoring techniques). 

This weekend I am off to Rome with Dan and Gemma, so hopefully my next post will have a few nice Italian fabrics to show!

Tuesday, 29 March 2016

Simplicity 1321 and McCall's 7249

First,I love this skirt.

The pattern is Simplicity 1321, which has 3 very different styles, making it good value.

I made style D with four godets, and I really like the straightish shape with the flare at the hem (and the potential for a bit of a swirl when you move quickly).  The fabric is lovely, black wool crepe from Truro fabrics.  It is expensive, though strangely it seems to have gone up £10 a metre since I bought it!  But for most skirts a metre would be plenty.  It sews beautifully and is light with a good drape, which I think you need for the godets here.

The six panels (do you still call them princess seams in a skirt) mean that you can easily adjust for a good fit and this has a close fit but is really comfortable. I cut a 14, which should have been plenty big enough, but it was a touch tight so I added 1/8" at the side seams at the waist and 2/8" at the hip seams.    I also added 2 1/2" to the length as I wanted it below the knee.  You can see I have added a waistband.  I find that with a high, small waist facings just don't fit well on me, so I think I have finally got the adjustments for a well-fitting waistband right.  This is my second waistband using my fantastic new haberdashery find, stretch petersham.  I bought a 20m roll and I think it's great.  So often you add a waistband and if it fits it cuts in to you (especially for some reason when driving).  This waistband is strong and well-defined but with a little ease for comfort.

So classy skirt which I love, and here it is with a new top. 

This one is McCalls 7249 or Threadcount 1502 given free with Love Sewing.  Does anyone know what on earth is going on as McCalls patterns I have bought in the past are now appearing with pretty grotty line drawing covers as Threadcount patterns free with Love Sewing!

This is an interesting pattern, which has its challenges, especially in making the V nice and neat and the gathered sides looking equal.  The fabric is wool jersey (sorry I can't remember where I got this).  It is gorgeous to the feel, surprisingly warm and cosy and I love the colour.  I bought it for a dress only to find it is really thin, which makes it good for the front of this top where you end up with three layers in places, but it has made the front lower hem a little wavy.  I think this might have been solved by taking a little of the width out at the front probably grading to a smaller size there. 

I cut my usual size 14; raised the waistline by 1" and reduced the shoulder width by 5/8".

 You can see how thin the fabric is from the back photo, so I will wear it with a jacket to work.

Hope you had a lovely Easter with lots of chocolate.  I was given a handmade shoe by one of our wonderful patisserie lecturers at work, almost too lovely to eat ..... almost!

Monday, 7 March 2016

McCalls 6988

Another work dress which has already seen a fair bit of wear because it is so cosy and easy to wear.  The fabric is ponte roma and the black, in particular, is thick and warm, in fact it is a little thicker than the teal, but it has worked out OK.   I have been really liking colour-blocked dresses and I picked this pattern with colour-blocking specifically in mind. 
This is a really versatile pattern with a choice of three sleeves and two skirt-styles, and I might well have a go at the ruffle skirt version as well.  You can also vary where you colour-block which could be useful for using up smaller pieces of fabric. 

I cut a size 14 grading a little at the waist and hips.  The dress is still a little roomy and a 12 overall might have been better (though I think a full-bust adjustment would be needed then).  However, I do have a little tummy bulge going on and if I made the dress tighter it might start to stretch the fabric over the stomach.   I made my usual changes; raised the waist by 1"; took 5/8" from the width of the shoulders (I should have narrowed the neckline slightly as it does just let my bra-strap peep out).  I also added 2 1/2" to the length, which I think works well.

I do think it is a bit of a shame that the back has no colour-blocking so it looks a little plain.  There are 2 long darts to give some shaping.

This is a described as an easy pattern and I would say that is the case.  I left the zip out because the dress easily slips over the head (and it is a much easier make without a zip).  I made the back facing into one piece.  The facing is quite substantial and I was a little worried about the thickness but it does seem to be lying ok.  So not the most exciting dress in the world, but a straightforward sew and a nice wardrobe staple.

On the non-sewing front it's been a lovely weekend.  On Friday we got the best possible news, Dan has received his offer from Warwick University for the postgraduate medical degree, he can finally fulfil his dream to be a doctor.  I am so chuffed and so proud, it has taken him years of trying and he finally got there!  Saturday was one of my sewing workshop days and I am making a tailored jacket which has masses of hand sewing (much more to come) and then Sunday was mothers' day.  I was lucky to spend it this year with Dan ..

.... and Gemma  ... and some sunshine as well.
We had a lovely lunch and then visited Sizergh Castle, built during the 16th Century (the Tudor part)

and the earlier 14th Century part.

Inside the oak panelling felt very Elizabethan and of course, this made it rather dark and cold.

We had a lovely day completed by watching Suffragette (excellent) whilst eating a curry!  Great day.  What did you do, hope it was great!

Wednesday, 2 March 2016

New Look 6298: the sweater dress

After  a couple of posts of dresses for work, this week I made a more casual comfy dress for leisure times.

I rather liked the look of New Look 6298, a simple, comfy dress which could be warm and cosy with tights and boots and generally I think it is just that.  I saw this fabric and thought the two would be a marriage made in heaven, however, when the fabric arrived it was disappointing.  The back is a very "nylony" black fabric which is not warm and cosy and would be appalling if you had any occasion to sweat, the black back can also fray and is a little prone to separating from the front!   Also it really doesn't press at all, even with the use of a clapper.   That's the problem of on-line purchasing, though I must say I am usually delighted with my purchases from Dragonfly Fabrics.   However, I had the fabric and rather than stick it straight in the charity shop pile I thought I would make it up as a bit of a wearable muslin.

And it definitely is wearable, infact I had already worn it before these photographs and will some more wear in the future.

The shape is very straightforward but I think it has quite a nice line, though I cut my usual size 14 and I could definitely go down a size in future.  I think you can particularly see this from the back.

The sleeves are raglan which I like with a dart in the shoulder (which did make a very thick seam with this fabric as you are inserting a sleeve with 4 layers of fabric at the dart).    I like the pockets and the way they fit into the side seams, but once again this did make it very thick with three layers of fabric and four at the top of the pocket.

The V-neck went OK on my second attempt.  I don't know whether it was my fault but I did the  stitching at my usual seam allowance of 5/8" and duly snipped right down to the stitching at the V, only to realise that the seam allowance attaching the band is 3/8" and I ended up with a big hole.  There followed (some cursing .... some wine .... some sulking)  and no stitching until the next day when I did some jiggery pokery and it seems to have worked out OK.  The band is a little fiddly if you are a beginner, otherwise this is a pretty straightforward and speedy sew.

I originally cut the longer length, but then thought it looked rather dowdy and so took 2 1/2" of the longer length, which I think balances better.  I do like how it looks with my Seamwork Oslo cardigan and then it is really warm!

I might have another go at this in the future; a smaller size and in something really posh like a merino or cashmere if I can find the right fabric (not buying that without a sample though!). 

I was actually struggling with sunlight in the photos and I've had a few lovely works (and the dogs have had haircuts!).

On a sad note, it was a real shame to hear of the death of Lorna from the Great British Sewing Bee series 3.  She was a real character and I loved some many of her sews, in fact I absolutely copied her lovely dress from the first episode.