Wednesday, 26 April 2017

Bed Of Roses Shirtdress #sewtogetherforsummer

After making the jacket (thank you for all the love!), I wanted to make something easy.  And now that it's Spring, it's time to start on the summer dresses - although I think somebody needs to tell the weather!  It's been really cold this week, and it started to rain as I was taking my photos...

I spotted the #sewtogetherforthesummer hashtag on Instagram, and needed absolutely no encouragement to join in.  This has been organised by Sew Susan Smith, and click on the link to her blog post here for all the deets, as there is still loads of time to join in.

This dress is all about the fabric, which is a Michael Miller fabric called Bed Of Roses, and the colour is Sapphire.  I bought it towards the end of last year when I was looking for fabric for my green coat (because winter coat and summer dress fabric are so similar!!).  This beauty is from Kittenish Behaviour


I surprised myself by how much I love this fabric, for two reasons.  Firstly; the background is blue, and I don't really suit blue.  But it hints at a tone of purple (but it's definitely blue) , so it doesn't make me look like a zombie!  And secondly, it has a lot of pink.  I'm not fond of pink (and it clashes with my hair, which is a bona fide first world problem), but these roses are gorgeous, and I love the red in them. 

The bodice is my self-drafted shirtdress bodice, and the skirt is the full skirt from McCall's 6696.  I've made this before here, and it's one of my favourite summer dresses, so I decided to make another version.  I had to get creative with the skirt in order to get it all onto the fabric though, and used the selvedges for the skirt fronts.

There's not too much to say about the construction of this dress, and it went together really quickly.  I cut it out on a Saturday afternoon and it was nearly finished by Sunday teatime, but then it stalled because I didn't have any buttons that I loved, and I needed bias tape to finish the armholes.  So it stayed on the dress form for a week until I could into Belfast the next Saturday to get what I needed.

Again, I surprised myself by picking red buttons, and I think they look really nice with this fabric.  


Good luck with your shirtdress if you are joining in, I looking forward to seeing what everybody makes.


Friday, 7 April 2017

The "I've Been Viv-ed" Butterick 4610 Jacket

If you follow me on Instagram, you will know that I have been making a jacket from Butterick 4610This is definitely seems to be the year of the coat for me, as this is number two (the first one is here), and this one was made it using a Craftsy class called "Classic Tailoring: The Blazer".  Just so you know, there are going to be a lot of photos in this post!!

I actually started it last autumn (maybe October?), and made a toile; but I knew I would need to make a few fitting alterations, and didn't have fabric for it yet.  Then it was coming into winter, and it seemed a bit pointless to make something that I wouldn't wear for months because of the weather.  So it got set aside, and I looked at it again when I was off work for a week in the middle of March.


In the meantime I had bought 2 metres of this grey wool fabric from Croft Mill Fabrics.  It was called "Is that a hint?", (their fabric has such random names!), but I don't see it on the website now.  When I decided to have another look at this in March, I have to say that I was a bit disappointed with my fabric.  In my head it had some colour flecks through it, but it turned out that it didn't in real life, and I was afraid it would end up looking like a school blazer!


But then the very day I was lying on the sofa, browsing Pinterest (as you do), and this gorgeous Vivienne Westwood number popped up that had been pinned by Sian from Kittenish Behaviour.  I seem to save a lot of things that she pins!  Anyway, after I managed to stop myself from falling off the sofa, I knew I was going to use this as inspiration for my jacket.

So off I went on the search for black trim and gold buttons.  The trim came from ebay and was about £6 for 4 yards.  My buttons came from Sew N Sew in Belfast - the big one was £1.65, and the little ones were 85p.  Inspiration now flowing, I shorted the sleeves and body, and added a bit to the waist and hips; made another toile, and I was good to go.





I was going to just use woven fusible interfacing for the lapels and collar, but couldn't bring myself to do it, and used canvas interfacing instead.  Not going to lie, the hand sewing took for ever, but the lapels and collar are gorgeous!  And then I had to hand sew all of trim.  So. Much. Hand. Sewing!!!  

Under collar with the pad stitching done
And here it after it was shaped with steam on the tailor's ham.
This is how the lapels looked after they had been steamed over some rolled up tea towels.  You can just see the 1/4" twill tape on the roll line and the edges of the lapels.

The class shows how to make a bound buttonhole, but I did a machined buttonhole.  So I cut out a rectangle from the canvas interfacing, and used some fusible woven interfacing for the area where the buttonhole goes.  I also used this woven interfacing on the hem.

This is what it looked like before the upper collar and facings were attached.

My lining fabric is some polyester from Fabrics For Sale that was £4.25 per metre.  I had bought some brown polka dot lining fabric for this, but didn't love it with the grey fabric, and the polyester was in my stash. 

Can you tell I love this lining?!
I didn't follow the Craftsy class completely, and am not going to do a review of it as Manju did a great review here.  I'll just say that I didn't love it, but didn't hate it.  There were great bits on altering the two piece sleeve to create a vent at the wrist (which I did), and also the bits on drafting the back stay and finding the roll line were excellent.  A lot of bits are done off camera though, and there was no explanation on how to sew the sleeve vent lining.


I absolutely love how this jacket has turned out, and have been wearing this week now that the weather is getting better.  Oh, and the reason why I'm calling it the "I've Been Viv-ed" jacket is because my cousin used to work in a Vivienne Westwood shop, and there was quite an amount of Vivienne Westwood accessories in my family at the time.  Every time my aunty got something new, she would say "I've been Viv-ed"!!


Have a great weekend,


Friday, 17 March 2017

Green Christian Dior inspired dress

Happy Paddy's Day everybody!  Hope you've had a great day, I've certainly enjoyed my free day off work courtesy of St P, and have been doing a bit of sewing.  But more of that later, as I thought today would be a good day to show you my new green dress.

I mentioned this before in this post, and here is the inspiration photo.  I found this on Pinterest and the description said it's a Christian Dior dress from 1947-48.


What really caught my eye was the princess seams, and the neckline.  The princess seams come down from the shoulder instead of the armhole, and it looks like the neckline curves out in a slight V, instead of meeting at the middle of the front neck.  The princess seams were easy to draft from my block, and I made the same princess seams on the back so they match up at the shoulder seam.


The neckline was a bit more tricky, as it was difficult to know just how much to take off the front neckline.  Three toiles later (!!) I was finally happy with it.  If you feel like trying this yourself, I shorted the neckline by 1 cm at the centre front (so that's 2 cms overall).  Then I marked where I wanted the top button on the centre front, and drew a diagonal line between the two points.  The collar was drafted using the partial roll collar from the Craftsy class "Pattern Making Design: Collars and Closures".

The skirt is from good old Simplicity 2444, and I put a zip and pockets in the side seam using my own tutorial here.  


The sleeves are just short sleeves with a cuff, and I added a safari tab too.  Turning the safari tab out the right way turned out to be tricky!  But my metal seem gauge came to the rescue, as I was able to use it to push the seem out as I pressed it.



My fabric and buttons are from Sew N Sew in Belfast.  I was in the shop one day last June, and spotted a pile of bolts of fabric on the floor.  There was a cardboard sign on the top saying it was £3.50 per metre.  I eyeballed this green, and also a lovely rich deep purple.  I can't remember exactly what the fabric is, the sign said a poly-something but I've forgotten -  I was too excited at the loveliness and the price.  In fact, I actually asked if it really was only £3.50 a metre, and asked for two metres of each before anybody could change their minds!


The buttons are also from Sew N Sew, and I can't remember how much they were, but maybe about 25p each. 


I love how this dress turned out, but my favourite thing is the colour.  I think I need more green dresses in my life, and therefore more green fabric...


If you follow me on Instagram, you will know that I'm currently working on a jacket.  It's Butterick 4610, and I mentioned it in this post.  But I have plenty to say about it, so it can wait till next time.

Have a great weekend,


Monday, 27 February 2017

The Red Wool Dress And The Little Featherweight

That sounds like the title of a fairy story!  But unlike a fairy story, this was happy from beginning to end.

One day, before Christmas, I was on my tea break in work, and suddenly felt the need for a red wool dress.  So I did what any sensible sewist would do, and opened up ebay on my phone!  About 10 minutes later I had found this end of bolt of red suiting - there was 1.7 metres, and it was £9.99 with free postage.  And obviously it would have been rude not to click on buy; so that's what I did!


The inspiration for the dress itself came from Amy at Almond Rock's red Butterick 5748, and Lara from Dreaming Of Avonlea's red velvet dress.  I was tempted to try to re-create the V at the front of Amy's dress, but was a bit scared of trying to sew the bottom of it!  But I shamelessly copied the scoop back from Lara's dress.

Sadly, I stupidly forgot to stablise the scoop back other than to stay stitch it, and it gapes a bit.  I really should have eased some twill tape or seam binding in; but, hey, I can't see it when I'm wearing it!

The bodice is lined with some unknown something from my stash.  I'm guessing it's acetate or polyester, but I have absolutely no recollection of buying it.


The photos of me wearing it are closest to the real colour.  It looks quite orange in the photos on the dress form, but is really a rich red in real life.  The bodice is self-drafted, but is not unsimilar to the By Hand London Elisalex dress; the skirt is my good old half-circle skirt.

And that's really all there is to say about it, so I though I'd show you what I sewed it on - it's my little featherweight.  I think I might have mentioned this before, but I definately talked about my big featherweight here.  My big featherweight came from my Dad's Mum, and my little featherweight came from my Mum's Mum.  Both of my Grannies sewed, and actually both worked as stitchers in the shirt factories in Belfast.

The little featherweight is a 221k4 from 1952.  I got it nearly two years' ago when it was found in my great Aunty's house (my Granny's sister); and I got it serviced, so it works beautifully.  It only does a straight stitch and you can change the stitch length, and that's it!

I honestly have so much respect for my Grannies sewing on these machines!  I loved using this, and will definately be using it more.  Even though it's really small, it's quite heavy (who named them featherweights?!), and it felt like it was bolted to the table - it seriously didn't move 1 millemetre.  Also, it makes the loveliest sound when it's sewing!  I have to thank Shirley from Squirrel's Knitting Conquests for inspiring me to use it.

It doesn't even have any measurements on the footplate for the seam allowances, so I improvised with some masking tape and a marker pen.  Below is the stitch length selector, and I had to google how this works.  The numbers are stitches per inch, so the larger the number, the smaller the stitches. 

I'll leave you with some photos enjoy.  Has anybody else been using an old machine lately?

Have a great week,