Sunday, 19 April 2015

Butterick 4790; the Great British Sewing Bee Walk-away dress

Along with large amounts of the nation I bought Butterick 4790 after the Great British Sewing Bee.  I'm not absolutely sure why, as it isn't a dress that I think I will have much opportunity to wear, and I have to confess I think I just  got caught up in the programme.  Anyway I had some cheap cotton in my stash from ebay so it hasn't cost too much. 

It's a very difficult pattern to adapt.   I cut a size 14.   I raised the waist by 1" with difficulty as it interfered with the bodice fastening, and I still think the waist could be a touch higher.   Presumably drafted for a B cup I tried to give a little more room for the bust, but it is still pretty stretched there, plus the darts are a little too close together for me.  On the other hand the back looks a little baggy.

The skirt is massive.  I made a stupid mistake cutting out and only cut out one half of the skirt, I only realised this when I was watching the programme again!  I then had to scrimp around to fit another half in, which I actually had to cut in two quarters and then make 3 seams in total in the skirt.  The skirt does have quite a lot of weight in it which does pull down quite a bit.

This isn't a pattern that is easy to make a really good job of.  The loops are just stitched on to hold the buttons, and to me it looks a bit messy.  The most expensive part of the make was the 4 cards of bias-binding I needed.  I hated the satin bias binding.  It frayed and stretched so easily and I found making nice edges difficult.

The front bit is like an apron (in case you are wondering why my dressform wears a bra - its in an attempt to make the shape a little more like me).  You can see the bust is a bit stretched here.

So in summary I think this is a so-so dress and not a pattern I would repeat.  Could you make it in 3 hours, well I think if you weren't too fussy.  I chose to slip-stitch all the bias-binding on, so it took me quite a bit longer.

 This was just one of the garments I sewed in the Easter holidays along with the Sureau dress, a liberty blouse, a skirt and a pair of trousers!  Busy, busy.  I also had a lovely day out with a sewing friend.  We went to Carl Stuart's taylors in Ossett, Yorkshire so he could a bespoke suit made.  Watching a professional taylor of 50 years take the measurements was amazing and then we were lucky enough to look round their factory, really interesting.  The staff working there were amazing, so fast, and I watched the women doing the final pressing for ages.  I could learn a lot from her.

Then we went to Saltaire in Bradford  to have lunch.  Saltaire used to be one of the largest wool producers in the country and it's a fascinating place.

We've also enjoyed some lovely walks including Monty the puppy.

A first swimming lesson   (Dan looks wrapped up for winter here!)

Still so cute!

I've been back at work for a week now, and because we have a major review in two weeks things are very busy and a bit stressed, so my sewing time is even more appreciated.  I'm half-way through a skirt and almost finished another Dior inspired jacket.  What are you sewing?

Monday, 6 April 2015

Liberty Sureau

This is a Deer and Doe pattern, the Sureau.  I really liked the Deer and Doe Bruyere because it as a great fit for me and just my style, fitted at the waist, but comfortable.  It has taken me ages to understand that patterns are usually made for a B cup and so not made for my figure.  Deer and Doe patterns do seem to be drafted for a C cup, and also they seem to be high waisted, so that I don't have to make my usual adjustment of raising the waistline by an inch.

This is described as a beginners pattern and it was pretty straightforward.  The hardest part is probably getting the gathers right on the bodice.  The main change I had to make was to take another 5/8" off the shoulders, I really don't know what was going on as the bodice was far too baggy before I made this change.

The fabric is Liberty lantana and it's absolutely gorgeous to wear.  It feels a bit like Vyella (if you can remember that).  Very expensive full price, but you can pick up bargains on Ebay.  It's 80% cotton and 20% wool, so much warmer and heavier than Tana Lawn and I think its perfect for this dress.    No lining needed and lovely on the skin.

Hopefully it isn't to fussy, and I think the plain cream buttons help to tone it down a little, though it is a bit Laura Ashley!

Rather than being a great fit straight from the packet I made a lot of little changes:
  • cut the longest length and added a further 1 1/2"
  • bodice cut a size 42" and graded down to a 40 at the waist.
  • Cut the shoulders at 34" and took a further 5/8" from the shoulder width
  • For the arm scythe cut a 32" at the shoulder to a 38" (on a future version I would cut the back at 36" as it is a little baggy in the back
  • Sleeve cut a size 38" and graded down to a 34" at the hem.

I would also move the front dart to the 42" position rather than the 40" I had on this version.

This all sounds rather more complicated than it actually was, its great to be able to make these changes to get a better fit.  I feel I'm really beginning to understand much better how patterns fit.    Sorry about the odd photos, just not used to sunshine!  .... and as for the pasty legs.

I've had a great Easter holiday sewing, so more to come.  Have you been sewing at all?

Thursday, 2 April 2015

New Look 6217; silk and lace tee

I don't have much to say about this top.  It was one of those times when I woke up in the morning thinking I need to make a top from some silk and lace bits in my stash, add to this a free pattern from sew magazine and it ended up being a really cheap top, though not without its challenges.

The pattern is NewLook 6217
Image result for new look 6217

The silk is a gorgeous colour, teal but with a black back  which sort of shows through.  The front has a layer of stretch lace with silk behind it, and the back is just the plain silk.  There is a back opening, but in the end I stitched it together at the top because it's so loose it just pulls on over my head.

Overlaying the lace over the silk was quite tricky (possibly because the lace was stretch lace), and I had to keep rebasting it to keep the two fabrics together without them moving about.  I used bias for the neck, sleeves and hem, which I think will look better after a wash or two.

I won't be making this one again.  Too shapeless for me, but I will wear it, probably with jeans on a warmer day, and for what it cost I could garden in it!
It's been a lovely day, gorgeous weather and my favourite walk, sunshine and snow on the hills, what could be better, and I've another nine days off work to go, so lots more sewing to come.

.... and just to finish more puppy photos!

... and a reminder of how unfair life is when you are too small to get up on the settee to play with the big girls!

Sunday, 22 March 2015

Grainline Cascade Duffle Coat

So the 61 steps are finally completed and here is my Grainline duffle coat.

It was a lot of work and quite a challenge, but I'm pretty pleased with the final result.


It's very comfortable to wear, though a spring rather than winter coat, as the fit is too snug to fit a very thick sweater, and I didn't add any extra lining for warmth.  I cut a size 12 and the only change I made was to take an extra 3/4" off the shoulders and sleeve length.

There were many challenges, and not least sewing around 8 layers when fitting the zip, it only just fitted under my walking foot, and there were times when I had to pull quite firmly to get the fabric through!  The was my first time in completing lots of techniques:

First time fitting a open-ended zip, following the steps this was fairly straightforward except for the multi-layers.

First time sewing leather with the toggles.  This was the hardest task for me, trying to sew in a neat circle and this is one of the better ones!  I don't think anyone will actually notice, but certainly I wasn't too successful in attaching the toggles.  You also need to space them out quite tightly as the leather ties stretch a lot.

Still, I really do like the toggles.  They were a bargain from Amazon, only £4.20 including postage and they came quickly even though I ordered them from America!

I love the fabric, even though it frayed like mad.  Its a wool with some synthetic content and good value at £13.00 a metre, the black yoke was some left-over melton wool.  I used a very slippy and quite substantial lining.  I have found the lining on the sleeves a little long.

This was the first time I have bagged a lining, with the help of the excellent sewalong it wasn't too difficult.  You fully sew the lining to the coat .....
You don't think it will ever work, but you pull everything through a gap in the sleeve lining.

Most of my pattern matching worked well, look at the continuation of the body stripe through the sleeves!  The collar worked well (though again the layers are challenging).

The only real  problem is the hem.  I ended up with a problem on the left size which you can see here, its been pulled up a bit (and this is wear a bagged lining makes it very difficult to sort out problems).  My attempt to sort it out made it worse, when I trimmed the wrong line, so there is nothing I can do now, I can just about live with it though, and I've worn the coat twice already.

I think this is a great pattern, though definitely not for the faint hearted.  It took me almost two days just to cut out the pieces.  The sewalong was a great help, though the pattern itself is pretty clear.

First time was mothering Sunday at Dalemain House near Penrith, where Dan and I went for lunch.

Lovely sunny day!

.... and lots of lovely flowers

 ... and a lovely basket of flowers from Dan and Gemma delivered.

It's been a really hard week at work, though successful and so I've just enjoyed a weekend of sewing, mostly my wool jacket, but I'm also slip-stitching 14 metres of bias-binding onto my walk-away dress, which is almost finished.
We have a new member of the family, Dan and Gemma have a westie puppy, called Monty, so cute.


Night, night!