Sunday, May 17, 2015

Oh Maude What took you so long?

Maude is a retro inspired skirt pattern, with integrated pockets, a smooth waistline and concealed side zip. She is fab in Denim as the wonderful Jayne proves so beautifully in these photos.

She's also great in printed cotton....

...And in stripes.....

...and tweed...

...and plaid...

...and so much more...

And she is now available as an instant download PDF pattern from my Etsy shop. 
Click the photo below.

Paper copies coming soon. Thank you to my testers for letting me use these photos, Jayne, Clare, and Vicki. Thank you x

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Saturday, May 16, 2015

Daisy Daisy

washing line

Recently I was asked by a local fabric company Funkifabrics if I'd like to try out some of their wares. Initially I was overwhelmed by their website and the hundreds of fabulous designs, after losing myself in the website for quite some time I made a list of everything that caught my eye and managed eventually to whittle that rather long list to a much shorter one. This Daisy print was a must, and top of my list.
I admit Lycra is not my usual go to choice of fabric, but having been experimenting lately with some underwear designs, I thought this Daisy print might work well.
I bought this Ladie's Panty Girdle pattern a few years ago, but never got around to making it up, so this seemed the perfect opportunity to give it a go.

panty 1

My first attempt, I followed the pattern as closely as possible, using power net in the main body, and velvet (also from Funkifabrics) for the centre panel. (The gusset is lined with 100% cotton ).
The velvet panel was a bugger to insert, and I am left with a rather comical merkin style panty, which I hadn't really noticed until after I had put it on Instagram proudly only for Woody to point it out to me !
When worn, the velvet panel does stretch out and look much less merkin like, I promise you...but don't worry, no modelling of these!

panty 2

For the second pair, I re drafted the waist to be 2cm's higher, and changed the shape of that centre panel. These work well, but I decided I wanted to try eliminate that seam joining the centre panel to the gusset.

panty 3

Another re draft, and this pair are my favourite. I had run out of powernet, so this pair couldn't really be classed as a Panty Girdle, more a High Waist Knicker. The entire centre panel/gusset is lined with 100% cotton, and the body is simply one layer of lycra.
I am very pleased with these. The coverage is fantastic, perfect for under circle skirts on a blowy day, or under short skirts when you want to stay active. ( I often have an issue reaching for high shelves while wearing short skirts and dresses, never mind bending down to see to small children! )
They are also perfect for a bikini bottom....maybe something to work on?

Wednesday, May 06, 2015

Maya Dress

As I mentioned in my last post, I cut out this dress just before I went into hospital. I'd been wanting to try the Maya Dress for a while, but generally this style of dress doesn't work well on my figure. I thought I might get away with it post surgery to cover the swelling of my belly. I was wrong! It totally didn't suit me! I should have gone for a heavier weight fabric, and perhaps chosen the placket version, and I definately should have cut out a size that fitted my upper bust and made adjustments rather than go with my full bust measurements.
All was not lost though, India loves it, and it looks great on her, so she nabbed it!

Monday, May 04, 2015

Back in the land of the living, almost.

I had my gallbladder surgery 6 days ago, it went well, although not completely to plan and I had to spend two nights in hospital instead of coming home straight after the op. Thankfully the ward I was on was expertly run by some very lovely overworked, but steadfastly cheerful nurses, and my ward companions were friendly, supportive and entertaining, which made my stay much more comfortable than it might have been.
If you follow me on Instagram, you'll have been treated to photo updates throughout my stay...I'm generous like that! I've made a little collage of the photos for here too. My Mum gave me a telling off for the "just coming round" photo...oops!

I will spare you the scar photos, and sadly the photos the  consultant surgeon took for me. I had asked if I could have my gall stones, he explained that was not a possibility, but he offered to take photos for me. He brought them to me later that day, and seemed rather bemused by my interest in them. Up until that point, he'd been a bit aloof, but he brightened up considerably when I showed interest in the photos and asked lots of questions. Unfortunately the nurse who had been looking after me all day overheard my excited questions and informed the consultant that it was against hospital protocol to give me photos, and I could only keep them if the consultant wrote in the notes that I could have them. They then both dissapeared taking my notes and the photos and after a discussion, came back to tell me that if I wanted the photos I have to apply through the proper channels and pay for them! I guess I at least got to see them, but yeah I'm still pretty miffed about this.

I have spent the last three days since coming home mostly wearing pyjamas and gently pottering, or lying on the sofa watching Mad Men. Today I decided to get dressed and see if I could make it to the shed to stitch up the Maya Dress by Marilla Walker, I'd cut out before I went into hospital. I managed an hour before I felt too achey to continue, but that was enough time to convince me I am on the mend.

I'll post more details later, India has already claimed this surprises there!

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.

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