Tuesday, October 21, 2014

Another tablecloth into a skirt.

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Another charity shop tablecloth that caught my eye recently, and was begging to be made into a skirt.Priced at only £2.99 it would have been rude not to buy it.

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Simply a full circle skirt, concealed zip, vintage button on the waistband. Therapy sewing with a satisfying result.

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skirt 3

skirt 2

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Monday, October 20, 2014

where has all the time gone?

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October is whizzing by, and I don't seem to have completed anything much to share on my blog in the past few weeks.
I have made a Jenna Cardi by Muse patterns, and then re made it again, and still not happy with it, but I love this pattern and I will make it work for me! I should say it's not the pattern's fault it isn't working for me, it's my shape that is the problem!

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I've also started a college course!I'm attending a local sixth form college on Wednesday evenings to complete a City&Guilds level 3 in Fashion. I am really looking forward to improving my pattern cutting skills. I studied needlework and dress up to A level, but all my pattern cutting is self taught, I'm certain there are huge gaps in my knowledge.
A few of my friends suggested the rest of the course might bore me, but I don't think it will. I'm enjoying going back to basics in some ways, we all get lazy ( Hence the title of my blog! ) and it's good sometimes to go back and practice skills, especially those I don't use often.
I'm really loving the design side of the course too. I have kept erratic sketchbooks over the years, but having an excuse to start keeping regular sketchbooks again feels like such a luxury. I'm very out of practice, but very happy getting back into the swing of things.

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So, tell me, what have you been up to lately? Anyone else out there started an evening class, or similar?

Saturday, October 04, 2014

Bodice Blocks


Over the summer, my friend and fabric dealer/enabler Mary and I have been meeting up in any bits of spare time to help each other draft and fit basic bodice blocks. (sometimes called slopers) We both struggle to get a perfect fit with standard patterns, both of us are blessed (or cursed!) in the bosom department, but have small backs, and narrow shoulders. Actually we both have remarkably similar measurements, unyet as we discovered both needed very different adjustments to our basic blocks, which only goes to show that standard sizes and styles work differently even on two women with the same main measurements, ie bust and waist.

I discovered I have a more rounded back than I realised, with small sloping shoulders and a sway back...then there is my dowagers hump! I can't say fitting the back was much fun for me. You may or may not have noticed that I almost never post back views on my blog, and that is because I think I look rather odd from the back, and I struggle to get a good fit with commercial patterns in the back bodice.

This photo shows my first fitted bodice block, before moving the shoulder dart.

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This photo shows my first fitted bodice block after moving the shoulder dart to the side bust. Putting even this calico toile on felt amazing!

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I was so pleased with how this toile felt that I had to try making a simple dress using it. I'd been planning to make a sleeveless dress to wear over a long sleeved sweater in the winter, and this seemed the perfect chance to give it a go. So using my newly drafted basic bodice block I cut out a simple sleeveless bodice and self drafted circle skirt. I added pockets in the side seams of the skirt, and cut bias binding from the same fabric to finish the armholes and neck. The resulting dress is simple, but I love it! Far from perfect, I think the front waist darts could come in a little more, and yes the neckline is a little high, but I know this is a dress I will wear lots this Autumn and Winter.

Best of all, is now I have a basic bodice block that fits, the options to make many different designs are huge. I can't wait to get started!

And look a back view!!


Next on the list is drafting a sleeve...

Monday, September 29, 2014

Coco Dress

coco dress

So, urmm, I never thought this would happen! I really didn't like Coco by Tilly and The Buttons, when it was first released, and honestly saw very very few versions I liked. My sewing buddy Jayne, has made a few and I've loved all of hers, but she has a much more toned figure than me, I really didn't want to even consider what Coco might look like on my curves!

coco dress

This weekend though, I received some gorgeous Ponte de Roma from a friend, and found myself wondering about Coco, and if I could make it work for me. I tried to talk myself out of it, but it was no use, that vintage 60's vibe was calling me.

coco dress

I ordered the PDF yesterday afternoon, and within two hours I had taped the pattern together, cut out the dress and finished it!
I decided to cut the back piece to fit my high bust measurements, and the front to fit my full bust measurements. I was going to grade up only at the bust, but I wanted a loose comfy semi fitted look over my tummy and hips.
I wanted a comfy dress I could throw on and still feel put together if I needed to go anywhere. I think I got that.

coco dress

I skipped the patch pockets, but now wish I'd added inseam pockets, because I do love pockets on a dress.
I'm not at all used to wearing so much solid colour, but trim didn't appeal, so I went for a simple vintage brooch at the collar.(actually it is a scarf clip)

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I think there are dresses in my wardrobe that flatter me more than this, but I do like it, and I will wear it. I adore the funnel neck even if Woody keeps making comments about Star Trek. I feel certain my grandmother would have worn a similar style, I'm even convinced I can remember her wearing something very similar in blue.

Friday, September 26, 2014

I don't really do black.

black skirt

As a teenager I wore a lot of black, I used to have long conversations with my Dad about how black came in so many shades that I didn't need any other colours in my wardrobe! Back then I owned one red dress and every time I wore it my Dad would tell me how much nicer I looked not wearing black.

Those teenage days are long gone and now I find that other than t shirts and cardigans my wardrobe contains almost no black. So, a few weeks ago when I checked my email late at night to find a message from Sam, at Ministry of Craft saying I should wear all black for the Vintage By The Sea event the next morning , I had a mild panic, but compromised with a grey circle skirt, black t shirt and cardigan. Sam later said she knew I wouldn't own any black!

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Today I was again working with  Ministry of Craft at a Macmillan event in Stockport, again the dress code was all black, so I ran up this skirt especially.

I was intrigued by a post I'd recently read over at Petit Main Sauvage about a part circle skirt given more fullness by adding in panels that pleated into the width of the skirt. Using that idea I tried something similar using the same polyester crepe I'd used on my librarian dress.
The result is a very full skirt, with a fabulous swishy drape.

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The skirt is finished with some vintage blue buttons that matched my teal blue tights (I just couldn't quite do all black!)

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I will almost certainly try something like this again, it's a fun way to make a quick skirt that is equally fun to wear.

Thursday, September 25, 2014

Librarian Dress

librarian dress

Several weeks ago I was gifted a few pieces of vintage fabric from a friend clearing out her loft. I really liked the way two of the fabrics looked together and thought they might make a nice bodice and skirt for another Emery dress. The results on the hanger were pretty nice.....

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... On me though, probably the most unflattering dress ever! I was taking a risk using the floral fabric on a skirt, especially since I didn't have enough fabric to ideally place the pattern. The dress looked horrible on me! I did still like the bodice though, despite it's polyester almost overall quality which meant it wouldn't press, and the darts just refuse to lay nice and flat. I was pleased with my collar trim using large ric rac.

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So, I set about unpicking the skirt and planned to replace the skirt with a full circle skirt using some polyester crepe I had bought from Minerva.

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The full circle skirt worked much better, but polyester crepe does not like being pressed either and hemming it was not easy at all. I eventually decided to use bias binding to hem the skirt. I used a bright red printed satin bias from stash. Basically because it was all I had enough of, and I thought it'd be quite fun to have a colourful hem on the inside that only peeked out when I walked.

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There is a lot I like about this dress, but I'm afraid to say there is also a lot I don't like. I don't like way the darts sit on the bodice, and I'm not entirely happy with the general finish. I'm also not really sure it suits me, I feel like it should, but I mostly feel quite fat and frumpy, when my aim was more "retro librarian".

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I will wear it again, it's a comfy everyday kind of dress, and has a lovely swish when I walk, despite all of it's flaws it is still better than anything I might buy on the high street, and polyester crepe doesn't need ironing, it'll drip dry in a flash!

librarian dress 3

Tuesday, September 23, 2014

Starting on the Autumn Stitching

wrap circle skirt

There has been little time for sewing lately. There was the decorating, children going back to school and Ernest starting school, and then this weekend we deposited India at University! The day is one we'll never forget, I'm sure her first day at University would've been memorable enough, but about 10 miles away from Nottingham, our car started to do some very odd things, the dashboard was lighting up with various warnings, and we practically limped the last 5 miles to the campus car park!
Thank heavens for the RAC, who turned up quickly, but couldn't fix the car, so we had to come home in a tow truck with our poor car towed behind. A very bumpy ride home!
All the chaos meant we didn't get the time to thoroughly settle India into her new halls; instead it was a case of hastily unpacking as much as possible before the tow truck arrived.

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India has begun to settle in to her new home, and make friends, it's very quiet here without her, but we are so proud of her and happy for her to be doing the course she really wanted to do, at her first choice of University. She is doing Primary Education at Nottingham Trent.

Yesterday, I finally had some time in my shed to sew! The weather has been lovely lately, but yesterday felt colder than it has in a long while, turning my thoughts to my Autumn wardrobe. I bought this lovely printed viscose a few months ago, with intentions to make a summer dress, but I think the colours transfer nicely into Autumn, with the mustard and grey mixed in with the brighter blues and pinks.

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I decided to make a skirt, I wanted something full and floaty, but something a bit more than a full circle skirt. So I cut out three full circle skirt pieces and made a simple wrap skirt . The viscose is horrible to sew with, and the waist stretched out lots, which worked out ok really, because the skirt wraps around me once and a half, giving lots of fullness and floatyness.
The tie belt has no interfacing and is very long, so it wraps twice around my waist and ties in a lovely big floppy bow.
A very girly skirt. Today I'm wearing it with a t shirt and leggings, but I think it will work just as well with tights,boots and a sweater once the weather cools more.
A quick and mostly satisfying make to take me into Autumn.

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