Saturday, 12 August 2017

Vogue V1537 Coat

This pattern is Vogue V1537, which is a coat and a dress.  It was released earlier this year, and as soon as I spotted the coat, I had to have it.  A half price pattern sale at Weaver Dee made it even nicer!  
I've only seen one version of this coat made up, and that is by Fiona from Diary Of A Chain Stitcher.  Her coat is fabulous, click on the link and you'll see what I mean.  Here are the pattern line drawings, and the photo from the pattern envelope.

Vogue V1537

Vogue V1537
The pattern is beautifully drafted, all the princess seams lined up perfectly (because it's really annoying when they don't!).  The instructions say to ease stitch the centre back and front princess seams.  That seemed a bit odd, as I thought the centre fronts and side backs would be the bits that needed ease stitched.  But I didn't need to ease stitch anything, as the seams went together without it.

All the instructions were clear, especially on clipping and sewing the collars, and also on attaching the lining.


I did three things differently though.  The first was not to make the bound buttonholes, because I couldn't be bothered.  And, boy, was I glad I didn't!  My fabric turned out to be a bit of a nightmare, but more on that later.

Second was how I sewed the pocket linings.  The lining and pocket are sewn right sides together, then turned out and hand-stitched to the coat.  Then they are top-stitched to the coat with a 1 cm seam allowance.  I used a little trick that I learnt on the Craftsy class for my Butterick 4610 jacket.

I cut out the pocket lining pieces, then trimmed about 2 mm off the edges and the bottom (not the top edge), then I sewed the lining to the pocket.  It takes a bit of finessing to get the two edges together, but once it's turned out, then the main fabric rolls slightly to the inside.  This is similar to cutting an under collar slightly smaller than a top collar.

 You can see how the main fabric is rolling to the inside below.

Which meant the I could catch the needle in the rolled-in bit of the main fabric when hand sewing the pocket the to coat.  If I made this again, I think I would make the pocket lining from a colour similar to the main fabric, then there would be no issues with the lining fabric accidentally showing.

The third thing wasn't something that I did this time, but would do if I make this again.  I found that when I was sewing on the sleeve tabs that they didn't overlap as much as they should have.  I ended up moving them in by 1 cm from the raw edge of the sleeve seams, but next time I would cut them a bit longer.


As mentioned by Fiona, when attaching the lining the instructions talk about sewing to the small circles above the hem.  I, too, couldn't find them, so sewed to about 5 inches above the bottom of the coat.  I could have sewed to about 3 or 4 inches though.

On to my fabric.  Sigh...  This is some red stretch twill from My Fabrics.  It's lovely fabric for this style of coat, but it hated being gathered at the sleeves.  I don't think it helped that the sleeves are two piece sleeves, so the gathering stitches are going through two seams, but it absolutely refused to gather even one centimetre.  I ended up easing the sleeve in by hand, and it turned out ok.  

Also, I don't love how the collar is rolling back on itself.  I've spray starched it, but it could be nicer.  That said, it looks a lot better in these photos than it does in my head!


All of my top stitching was done with a triple stitch, which took ages and used loads of thread, but I love how it looks.

The lining fabric is from Minerva Crafts, and I bought it about a million years ago!  It's finally found it project.  It frayed like nobody's business, and I ended up taking the pinking shears to the seams.  There was red and white thread everywhere!

I was trying very hard not to drop my coat on the wet ground!
I love how my coat has turned out, and it's just the thing for the UK Spring and Autumn (and some Summer days too).  


Have a great weekend,


Monday, 31 July 2017

McCall's 7116, View B


I surprised myself mightily with this dress for several reasons:

1.  It's entirely from a commercial pattern - fitting dresses from commercial patterns is why I learnt to draft my own.

2. Spotting the pattern and fabric to finished dress took about 3 weeks.  This is unheard of for me!

3.  It turned out really well!

Let's take point 2 first.  The inspiration came from two lovely ladies - the fabric from Roisin from Dolly Clackett when she posted it on Instagram; and then, on the same day, Sarah from Sew Sarah Smith posted the pattern on Instagram. 

The fabric is some Liberty Cotton Lawn called Paper Roses, and the pattern is McCall's 7116.  And because I have absolutely no willpower, I ordered both on ebay at lunchtime.


Version B with the Peasant Top bodice really caught my eye, as that's a style I love.  I've tried to find out how to draft a peasant top, but without much success, so this dress came up trumps.  I'm looking forward to getting my paws on Gertie's Peasant Blouse pattern when it is released.

This leads me onto point 1.  I thought it would be worth trying out the pattern, as the shoulders and bust are a loose fit with the elastic in the neckline.  This is the area where I struggle with fitting dresses and tops.  And I thought if the skirt didn't fit, I could then mash the bodice with my block.

A read through the pattern instructions provided me with a lightbulb moment.  I've tried to draft this style of skirt before, but could only make it work by using darts to shape the middle and hips.  This skirt is cut on the bias, and that made all kinds of sense when I saw it on the fabric layout.


A toile was made, and unbelievably, it fitted!  The bias skirt, and loose bodice are obviously very forgiving.  I ended up making most of my dress in one day.  I used French Seams throughout, except for the zip seam, which I stabilised with a strip of lightweight interfacing.

These was no mention of stay stitching in the instructions, which made me very nervous, given all that bias cutting, so I stay stitched pretty much everything!

The elastic on the sleeves gave me a bit of trouble.  The instructions say to use 4" of elastic, which is inserted into the hem at the centre front of the sleeve.  Now, it might just have been the elastic that I was using, but I just couldn't get it to stretch been the pattern marks.  So I used 6" of elastic.  That didn't work either, as then the sleeves were too loose.  So I unpicked it, and put elastic around all of the sleeve hem.


On the other hand, the recommended amount of elastic at the neck was too much!  Luckily I worked this out on the toile.  Also, I didn't love how the neckline was constructed, so did it differently.  The instructions have you press the neck edge in by 1/4" then again by 3/8".  This is then stitched in place leaving a gap to insert the elastic.  Doing this on the toile nearly killed me!!  It was tricky to keep the measurements accurate when pressing, whilst also trying not to burn my fingers; and then feeding in the elastic with a safety pin was the stuff of nightmares...  I've since discovered these little bodkins for doing this, so ordered some on ebay, but haven't tried them out yet.

Here's how I did the neckline and sleeve hems on my dress.  As this fabric is cotton lawn, so very lightweight, I made some 1/2" bias tape with it - I think I made about 70" for the neckline, and that was plenty.  I sewed it on as if facing a neckline or armhole, and trimmed off the seam allowance.  Then I pressed it over onto the wrong side of the dress, and stitched it in place, leaving a gap to insert the elastic.  It worked like a charm!


I used an invisible zip because it was the only zip I had that was a good match.  This meant I had to change the construction slightly, and I assembled the whole body of the dress, attached the zip, then sewed on the sleeves.

Because the skirt is cut on the bias, I left it hang for a while on my dress form before hemming, but it didn't seem to stretch.

I'm delighted with how this turned out, and now have a few hacking ideas.  I'm hoping to made a colour block dress with elbow length sleeves, and an A-line skirt, as inspired by these beauties from Coco Fennell.

I've already toiled the sleeve, and it worked perfectly!  

These next photos were taken a few days ago when I was on my holidays in Simon's Cove in County Cork.  We stayed in an old cottage right beside the sea, and made friends with a little stray cat who we called Simon.  He was really friendly, but a bit skinny, so we gave him plenty of cat food.

You can see that Cork is even more windy that my usual photo spot outside the back door of my house, and when I was trying to do some knitting, Simon decided I needed to be scratching his head!

Have a great week,


Friday, 21 July 2017

Closet Case Patterns - Ginger Flares

This is my third pair of GingersThe first pair are here, but the second pair didn't make it to the blog due to bad fabric happening to good sewists.  Anyway, the fabric for this pair came from a sale at Sherwood Fabrics.


My first pair were always a little bit big, so I went down a size on these one's.  That said, they are still a bit roomy at the top of the back of the legs.  You can see that's where they're a bit baggy in this photo.

I also took the outside side-seams in a bit from the low hip to the knee.  I'm going to have a look in my trouser fitting book "Pants For Real People", but if anybody knows any good resources on what pattern alteration to make, please let me know.  Thanks!

Construction was pretty straight-forward, but I don't really love the fly extension (I think that's what it's called - it's the bit that sits behind the zip on the front right).  Mine is at a bit of an angle, but I didn't notice until after I'd overlocked it, so now it's a design feature...


The inside of the pockets are made from the left-overs from my Liberty sleeveless shirt, which I happened to be wearing when I took my photos!

All the top-stitching is done in dark blue, which has the drawback of making it difficult to see, but the benefit of disguising the dodgy bits.   After the jeans button/rivets battle on the first pair, I felt no desire to go there again, so just used a green metal button from my button jar.

I also added two belt loops on either side of the centre back seam, instead of one over the centre back seam.  As with the first pair, I used normal thread in the same colour as my top-stitching thread to sew the belt loops on.

I decided to get all fancy with the back pockets, and copied the pockets off some jeans I saw on the internet.  Now, as much as I absolutely love how they turned out, they took waaaay longer than they should have to sew!  If you want to drive yourself crazy too, there's a how to at the bottom of this post.

I love how my jeans turned out.  They're a much better fit than my first pair, and hopefully I can sort out the fitting issues on the back legs for the next pair.

Have a great weekend,



Here's how I made the back pockets (the pocket in all of these photos is the right hand side pocket, the left hand side pocket is a mirror image):

I added 2 x 2cm inserts into the pockets.  One is in the centre, and the other is 2.5cm towards the outside edge of the pocket.  Mark the edges of the inserts with a notch, and snip it into the fabric.

On the right side, rule the inserts lines with chalk, notch snip to notch snip.  (That red pin is so I know I'm working with the right hand side pocket!)

Fold chalk line to chalk line, towards the outside edge of the pocket, and pin in place.  It's handy to mark the seam allowance in with chalk too, then you won't accidentally top-stitch into it.

 Top-stitch as in my photo, or do your own thing!

Here's what it looks like closer up.  I found it helpful to hand sew the folds down from the inside, as the bits that are not top stitched were pulling a bit.  I noticed this when I basted the jeans together and pinned the pockets on for fit.

The extra folds in the pocket top made it tricky to fold over twice and stitch, so I made a facing.  Cut the facing using pattern piece "L - Back Pockets Interfacing", but add 3/4" to the bottom.

 Mark 1/2" in on both short edges,

then trim the 1/2" off.  This helps reduce bulk in the seam allowances.

Interface the back of the facing, and finish one long edge on the overlocker.

Place the facing, right sides together, along the top of the pocket with the overlocked edge at the bottom.  Make sure the facing is 1/2" in from the pocket edge on both sides.  Sew using a 3/4" seam allowance.

Trim the seam allowance down, and press the facing to the back of the pocket.  Press the seam allowances in on the pockets as on the pattern instructions.

Top-stitch to the jeans, then reward yourself by buying some lovely fabric!

Friday, 7 July 2017

Maxi Shirt Dress

I loves me a maxi  dress, and this one is no exception!!  It's another self-drafted number, but is loosely based on Simplicity 8014.

I absolutely love this lime green fabric.  It's a linen/cotton mix that was an ebay purchase from last November, bought during "The Great Dress Fabric Buying Haul" when I should have been looking for fabric for my green coat!  It was from Fashion Fabrics 4 All on ebay, was £8.99 per metre, and I bought 3 metres. 


There's a loooot of top stitching in this dress.  I had it in my head to top stitch the collar and plackets using a triple stitch, and let's just say that it's lucky no-one will see the stand under the collar...  


Button size turned out to be an issue too.  It took three goes to find the perfect buttons - these ones are from The Button Company.  The second lot were from Textile Garden, and are gorgeous, but are also 5/8" wide.  As hard as I tried, I couldn't get them to work with a horizontal buttonhole along with the top stitching.  And just be very glad that you don't live in my house when that was happening, but I think I've got top stitching a shirtdress out of my system now! 


As I'm still very much enamoured with the pockets on my Hemingway Fabric Dress, so used them again on this. 


The skirt is my half circle skirt.  I had to narrow the side seams a bit to fit in on the fabric, but it all worked out.

I blooming love this dress, it good and swishy, as a maxi dress should be.  My sister said it was very 1950s/Grace Kelly, but also very 1970s/Jerry Hall.  And this is why my sister is one of the best people on the planet!


As I was taking my photos, Valentine decided he wanted in on the act (although he does look slightly bewildered).  He felt that it was important to show how my hair now matches him.   I got my hair done last week, and I blooming love it too!  I finally found a hairdresser who isn't afraid of bleach or orange.  If you're in Belfast, it's a salon called Twisted Scissors and Soul on Rosetta Road.

Happy weekend,