Saturday, June 27, 2015

Weekend Doris goes to Prom

Eden Prom 2

Eden knew exactly what kind of dress she wanted for prom, a short retro styled shift dress with bishop sleeves, so that is what she got!
I lengthened, then slashed and spread the sleeve pattern of the Weekend Doris to get a full sleeve, which was gathered at the wrist with elastic. The neck edge and hem were finished with tiny rolled hems.French seams were used throughout.
The gorgeous teal coloured silk chiffon Eden chose is beautiful, not easy to sew with, but having a simple pattern helped there.
I made an equally simple silk slip to wear under the dress for modesty.
Simple, but I hope you agree beautiful.

Eden Prom 3

Of course, she very nearly ended up at Prom wearing only the slip after she got deodorant on the dress which wouldn't wipe away. Cue Mummy washing the entire dress by hand, and then blow drying it with the hairdryer just in the nick of time!

I have forgiven her though. Amazed that my scrappy little limpet baby who wouldn't let me put her down for two whole years has turned into a beautiful young woman.

Eden Prom 8

(Oh and look I got a hair cut!)
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Tuesday, June 09, 2015

New Classes at Ministry of Craft


Clone Your Closet 

My regular readers will know that I am a tutor at Ministry of Craft in Manchester.I love teaching there, and am very pleased to announce two new classes I will be teaching starting September 2015.
Clone Your Closet is the class for you if you've got that one perfect item of clothing in your wardrobe that you wish you had ten of. Bring it along and I will show you how to copy it using the "rub off " method. You'll go home with a complete pattern of your favourite garment ready to sew up as many times as you like. You'll have to be quick though, this class is selling fast!

The second class I'm teaching is the Weekend Doris . Come along with your choice of fabric and I''ll guide you through making your own Doris dress or sweater. 
Doris is such a versatile stretch dress that can easily take you from lounging at home to wherever you want take her. Take a look at all the versions on Instagram #weekenddorisdress for inspiration.

Stretch Yourself: Sew a Doris Dress or Sweater 

Have a look at all the other great classes on offer too.There are so many to choose from, all taught by friendly, experienced and helpful tutors who want you to enjoy yourself and learn a new skill.
The classrooms are situated in the basement of Fred Aldous right in the heart of the Northern Quarter. You even get a discount to spend in Fred Aldous...I defy you not to spend it!

Saturday, June 06, 2015

Hilary's Craft Competition

Hilary's 1

A few weeks ago I had an email inviting me to take part in a craft competition run by Hilary's Blinds. I was given a choice of four of the fab prints they have in their very extensive range, and I chose Rayna Apple. I was sent one square metre of fabric very promptly and began planning. (And double checking that I could use a co ordinating fabric alongside the Rayna Apple.)
So, with an idea of what I wanted to do I started work drafting a pattern. Initially I wanted to make a dress, using my co ordinating fabric as the bodice. So using my personal bodice block I drafted a scoop slightly gathered neck bodice with button front fastening...I was clearly feeling brave because button fronts on my boobs rarely works well!


I bound the neck line, sleeve edge and hem in self made bias binding, and included a little bow at the centre front.
Sometime during this process I decided what I actually wanted to make was a two piece dress. I had already cut out my skirt pieces, but pre washing had shrunk the fabric, so I added a deep 'hem' of the bodice fabric, and some pretty lace trim.
The skirt is fastened with a concealed side zip and the waist is cleanly finished with petersham. the pleats give fullness, and the belt loops are the finishing touch.




I thoroughly enjoyed the opportunity to work on something I might not have otherwise, I often use furnishing fabrics to make clothing as any of my regular readers will know, but to be given a piece of fabric to work with gave me a chance to play with new designs and ideas. Some I might explore further.

Hilary's 9

Hilary's 6

As a final flourish, and because I hate waste, I used the very last scraps of the Rayna Apple fabric to make a little shabby rose brooch too.

 Hilary's 10

Thanks Hilary's Blinds! I had fun!

Monday, June 01, 2015

Me Made May 2015 Round Up

I look forward to Me Made May, I wear me made almost every day anyway, but Me Made May makes me take a fresh look at my wardrobe as a whole.
I started off the month in recovery from surgery and was in pyjamas most days, and I've missed a few days here and there where I was either having a lazy pyjama day or I just didn't feel like sharing a photo.
One thing I have discovered this month is that since my gallbladder surgery I have lost 3 inches off my waist, which means I can fit into all of my spring/summer dresses from last year. This makes me very happy! (Although my new found post surgery love of food may jeapordise that new waist measurement!)
Taking part in previous years I have tried to identify holes in my wardrobe, but this year I've been less bothered by that. I realise that actually I'm not that bothered about wearing some RTW clothing. There is a certain high street store that sells the perfect stretch t shirt for me, and another that sells the kind of fine knit cardigan I like, and of course despite my new found love of bra making and rediscovered love of lingerie sewing I still am a sucker for good quality lingerie, especially bras. Never underestimate what a good foundation can do for you, and especially for the look of outerwear.
Why would anyone spend time and effort making a dress (or buying one), to put it on over shabby illfitting undies?
And speaking of undies, these are my new favourite me made knickers.

Velvet knickers! Honestly these are the most comfy, most flattering knickers I have ever worn! The pattern is the same one I adapted to make my Daisy Knickers, the stretch velvet is from Funkifabrics and is the best quality stretch velvet I have ever worked with. As my friend Jayne pointed out there may be some issues with the nap under certain pieces of clothing, but since I usually wear dresses with a slip underneath, I should be ok. I'll be making lots more knickers in this design that's for sure. I might even put up my re drafted pattern as a freebie if there is enough interest?

So there we have it, I'm beginning June wanting to make more lingerie, but not stressing too much about buying basic tops and cardigans. I call that a result!

Tuesday, May 26, 2015

Daisies everywhere!

bra set 3

I love daisies, at this time of year lawns are full of them, and they really make me smile. I couldn't resist using up the last scraps of this gorgeous daisy print from Funkifabrics to whip up some more undies. This time a bra and girdle/suspender belt. Both experiments, but I must say for first drafts I'm pretty pleased with them.

The suspender/girdle is based on the high waisted knicker pattern I adapted from the girdle pattern I used for my last underwear experiments, with suspenders attached.

bra set 4

The bra is a copy of one of my bras that I know already fits me well. I'm really pleased with the way it has sewn together, I thoroughly enjoyed the process. Sadly the fit is not perfect, but for a first draft I certainly didn't expect much if I'm honest.
The daisy fabric really needed a non stretch lining to stabilise the cups, and the central gore is too wide, both modifications I can easily make next time, and there will most definately be a next time.

bra set5

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

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?