Monday, April 06, 2015

Poor me

I have spent a lot of time recently feeling very sorry for myself, and really not liking myself very much. I really hate being ill, and after this past week of being in so much pain, of no energy and almost no sleep, it's time to admit I haven't exactly been coping very well with life.
I was diagnosed with gall stones in January after over a year of suffering and finally going to see my GP back in October. I apparently have multiple stones, some "impacted" in the bile duct which is swollen.
I have excluded any food with any taste or enjoyment from my diet in an attempt to control the painful gall stone attacks, that happen at least once a week, sometimes more, sometimes less. I constantly feel nauseous and tender, and my pain killers make me dizzy and spaced out...feeling sorry for me yet?
My usual coping strategy with illness is to ignore it and hope it goes away. I have a large family, and busy household to run, I am self employed at three different jobs, I work as a volunteer and I am studying part time at college. I simply don't have time to be ill.
This past week though, my body has told me in no uncertain terms that if I don't respect my illness, it'll take me down. I've spent most of the week lying under my favourite blanket, clutching a hot water bottle, spaced out on pain killers and crying.

There is some hope though, thankfully gall stones are easy to treat with removal of the gall bladder, and on Wednesday I saw the consultant at the local hospital about doing just that. I can't say he reassured me much, or at all really. I am very scared of surgery, and it didn't help that to get to the part of the hospital I needed to be in, we had to walk past the room our beautful Florence died in. Triggers are hard at the best of times, but when ill and scared, even harder.

So, why am I blabbing all this on my blog? I dunno really, I used to pour so much out on here, but the sewing came back, and that's good. I am sad that at the moment there is not as much sewing as I'd like, and that I'm behind sending my patient testers their copies of my newest pattern, behind on emails, and other projects I've promised people. So, if you are waiting for something from me, I'll get to it, I promise, it just might take me a little longer than usual.

On the bright side everyone I know who has had this surgery says it made a huge difference, so I'm looking forward to feeling well again, and to eating food I can enjoy again. (chips, curry and garlic bread are so far top of the list!)
Some days I'm well enough after an attack to do a little crochet too.

Blogger Tricks

Monday, March 30, 2015

Making a woven Weekend Doris

India woven doris 2
Woven Doris in Vintage rayon,bias neckband, short sleeves no cuffs.

I've made a few Weekend Doris dresses from woven fabrics recently, I love to see the different effects different fabrics have. There are however a few adjustments that have to be made to the pattern before making a woven Doris. The pattern is designed for stretch fabrics, so firstly I size up one size. I cut my neckband on the bias and cut it at the largest size, any excess can be trimmed when I attach it. For most people the dress will fit over the head without any adjustments here, but if you are not sure, the back can be cut in two pieces, with seam allowance added and an invisible zip inserted. That was what I did with my first woven Doris, but found I was popping her on over my head anyway.

woven doris
Lightweight satin Doris, with rolled hems at neckedge, sleeves and dress hem.

The sleeves need a little extra adjustment:

1: Draw a straight line down the centre of the sleeve piece.

sleeve adjustment 1

2: Cut along that line, leaving a hinge of paper at the top of the sleeve.

sleeve adjustment 2

3: Open up the sleeve piece and work out how much extra room you will need in the sleeve. I find an extra 5-6 cms at the cuff edge is plenty, but measure your upper arm and add in what you need. Remember, using a woven fabric means you need more ease than with a stretch fabric. (Note if you have very large upper arms, you might be best to make the sleeve a two part sleeve, with a seam down the centre, add in the extra you need for your bicep, add a seam allowance, and any excess at the sleeve head can be taken care of with one large dart....I haven't tried this I should say, but it works in my head.)

sleeve adjustment 3

4: Place tissue paper/pattern paper under your adjusted pattern piece and trace.

 sleeve adjustment 4

sleeve adjustment 5

5: If necessary using your ruler or set square neaten up the cuff edge.

sleeve adjustment 6

6: Transfer all pattern markings, and label your new sleeve piece.

7: Measure cuff edge and adjust cuff pattern piece as needed. (they should measure the same.)

Today, despite feeling really rather poorly I helped India make herself a woven Doris. I let her loose on my new sewing machine and with some of my best vintage fabric.

India woven doris


Saturday, March 28, 2015

Tweed, Leopard and Silk

2015-03-13 16.16.51-1

I don't really do animal prints, but a little touch here and there I like, so this ribbon had to be used to finish my silk lined Linton Tweed Maude Skirt.

I've been saving this tweed for a couple of years, and I'm so glad I finally decided to use it on another Maude Sample.

Maude Tweed3

Maude is such a versatile skirt, I keep thinking of samples I want to make instead of getting on with grading and printing ready for my patient testers.
She is nearly there. Keep up with her progress on Instagram.

Maude Tweed 2

Sunday, March 22, 2015

Spring is here

spring Maude 5

Spring Equinox was on Friday, so yay! Spring has officially arrived ! It is still a bit chilly here in the North West, but the sun is shining, the windows are open, I've even had laundry hanging out to dry this week.
So, time for a touch of spring colour in my wardrobe. My spring time Maude skirt, sample number three (I have yet to blog sample number two, but there is a sneaky peek here ).

spring Maude 4

She is bright and cheery this one, I'm very pleased with her, and am in the midst of grading ready for testing.

Made from a vintage sheet , unlined and finished at the waist with gross grain ribbon. I can see me wearing this lots over the coming months, and hopefully soon without tights!

In other news the Weekend Doris dress and sweater pattern is now back in stock (paper version), I underestimated how popular the paper version would be. Don't forget though, the PDF version is available as an instant download anytime, including a print at home an assemble file as well as a file you can take to your local printers and print on one sheet. My local printers charges a little over £3 for this service, but it's well worth it if you don't want to assemble the pattern yourself. Click the image below to go to my Etsy store.

Monday, March 09, 2015

Say hi to Maude

Maude skirt

I'm not one of those secretive types, I've always wished I were more enigmatic and mysterious, but it feels too hard, so I'm pretty much an open book...that means I talk too much and can't keep secrets!
This is the first draft of hopefully my next sewing pattern, I've named her Maude because the inspiration for the pockets came from my favourite  vintage Maudella dress pattern.*

Maude is an A line skirt, divided into panels, with integrated pockets and a centre back zip. This version is finished at the waist with a gross grain ribbon facing, but I may give the option of a waistband.

Maude skirt 3

I used up some plaid fabric scraps to make this version, and it's such a shame I didn't have enough to pattern match, but as a wearable toile it'll do.
I'm hoping to cut out another this evening in some lovely Linton Tweed I have been saving.

Maude skirt 2

*I have been inspired by the pocket design on this pattern, that means I used my own basic skirt block as a starting point and then by cutting and draping worked out how I was going to make this type of pocket work in my design. wish I didn't have to explain that, but guess I do.

Sunday, March 08, 2015

Being Busy

Corduroy Weekend Doris and my short hair!

I hate the whole "busy culture", but I am the kind of person who needs to be busy. I don't cope well with boredom or being still. If I'm sitting down I'm generally knitting or making lists in my notebooks.
I often have several projects on the go at once, some work out and some don't. I never think the projects that don't work out are failures, they are just projects that didn't work, and chances are I learned something along the way.
The past few days I have been suffering again with my gall stones, which has meant enforced rest in bed all day yesterday and most of this morning on the sofa. I HATE IT!!!! There are at least a million things running through my head that I should be getting on with. Yesterday I wasn't even well enough to knit, I just lay in bed all day. Today I have at least made it to my desk and can post here.

I thought if I wrote a post about all the work I had managed to do this past week before I got poorly, I might cheer myself up and feel slightly better. So indulge me....please?
I've been playing around with lingerie designs again, which is fun. The knickers are fairly succesful, and I love the lounge pants, but the control body needs a lot more work.

I've stalled with this 1960's shift dress, I used a curtain , but had to do some creative cutting with so little fabric. I'm not certain about this one. I love the fabric, but the fit is off, and I'm not sure what I want to do about that, if anything, so it's adorning my dummy in the shed until I can decide.

I've also started work on my (hopefully) next pattern. A panelled skirt with integrated pockets.
I usually post most of my ongoing projects on Instagram  I love the atmosphere on there amongst fellow crafts people, I have found encouragment and friendship there, and being a very visual person, it suits me well. Pop along and follow me if you'd like to keep up with all my "busyness"

Oh and something really rather fabulous happened this past week too; I won a sewing machine! Well actually Woody did. He enters loads of competitions and over the years has won several including a dish washer, a sky tv box, and a hamper full of scottish shortbread , but this week he won a sewing machine for me. It's a Janome Atelier 5 and it is bloody lovely! Just wish I hadn't been poorly all weekend and could've played with it. I feel very very lucky and very very grateful.

Monday, March 02, 2015

Introducing my fabulous Weekend Doris testers

jayne collage

Launching my first womenswear pattern has been a steep learning curve, and I could not possibly have done it without the support of some very wonderful fellow sewists. These wonderful women not only agreed to test my pattern, but encouraged and supported me throughout the whole process.
I love each and every one of the garments they made with my pattern, I love how each person has adapted the pattern with fabric choice to make it quite their own.

First up is Jayne, an experienced and lovely seamstress. I adore Jayne's dress with the lace pockets and sleeves.

Jayne wdd

I have been inspired by several of my testers for this pattern, and this dress is definately one I'm going to copy. I already have the lace, just need to find some fabric to co ordinate with it.

Jayne also made two tops, (see photo at the top of the page.), they look fantastic on her with a mini skirt. Love this look.

2015-02-24 20.16.15

Clare is next, how fabulous is this animal print version? Clare is a teacher, I hope her students appreciate just how cool she is.
She also made a plain back version in a similar cloque fabric to my yellow dress.


Naomi made this really cute blue marl version with contrast pockets. Naomi is a confident beginner sewer, and said she enjoyed making up the Weekend Doris dress.

Nim collage

Helen, better known to many of you as Justsewtherapeutic made up this totally gorgeous, Mad Men series 3 inspired Doris. I adore this, another one I think I may have to copy. Check out Helen's blog for more fabulous creations.

2015-02-24 16.28.00

Finally, we have Marilla. You can read about Marilla's Weekend Doris here . Marilla has been a huge help to me while I have been working on this design, and I'm so grateful to her. I am also so going to copy her corduroy version...I have the cord downstairs on my dining table and will be cutting out today.

The Weekend Doris is designed as a short (or even very short) dress, but I include instructions with each pattern to lengthen the dress, as I know not everyone likes to wear short dresses. Marilla lengthened her dress, but kept the pockets in the same position. I think this has worked really well, and love the belt too.

So, if these have inspired you to make your own Weekend Doris dress or sweater, just click the image below to go straight to my Etsy shop. The pattern is avaialable as a PDF that you can print at home, but also includes a complete PDF for large scale printing at your local print shop. The paper version includes a master copy to trace your pattern as many times as you like.