Tuesday, 16 December 2014

O Christmas Tree

Its been an eventful week and a bit involving a gas leak, fabric melting on to the iron and a blue tit in the loft among other things . But finally our tree is up and I'm basking in its multicoloured glow as I type.
My doll Christmas tree topper is finished! (well almost)

The fabric was the bolero from Vogue 2237 which I cut out in 2003 but never sewed up (I can't believe the pattern's still in print, well I can because its a classic but still it must be well over 15 years old).  I did make the dress, in pink, but it was pre-digital and its since gone to charity. Anyways...it went well with our tree decorations.

I traced the pattern pieces from Vintage Barbie in Paris on to tissue paper from a free pattern that I couldn't see myself ever making which made cutting out and transferring markings easier.  I got a little impatient so the dress is just pinned at the back, but she's not for playing with so I didn't see the point of adding fastenings.  I also didn't bother with the net under the bodice because I couldn't get it to gather evenly at all.  The lapels are meant to fold down but I quite like the pointing up so that's how they are.

I can see myself making her a new outfit for next Christmas...

Sunday, 30 November 2014

Couture Christmas Fairy

Next weekend Mr B and I will be putting up our Christmas tree.  Last year we went without a topper for it as we I couldn't find anything that I liked.  So this year I decided to make a fairy for the top of the tree.  Or at least that was the original plan, now she'll be more of a Parisienne gown wearing model!
I bought a Barbie-esque doll from B&M and then looked for a dowloadable dress pattern and found this...

Pattern: Vintage Barbie 'In Paris' - Doll Clothing

...on Etsy. Vintage Barbie in Paris! Only £1.96 to download.
So I've decided to make View B (the pink one) a 'Dior Taffeta Ball Gown'.
The instructions aren't as perfectly clear as they could be and I don't know how my doll's proportions compare to vintage Barbie's so I have made a trial version.

It isn't finished at all, just pinned down the back, but its given me a good idea of how the fabric layers work.  I can deal with any differences in proportions by taking the dress in at the back.

I didn't transfer the pattern markings so nothing lines up at the front and my fabric was a little too thick for working on such a small scale.
I'm now ready for my tree worthy version using scraps left over from other projects.

Sunday, 23 November 2014

Simplicity 2406 - Again

I have been doing a bit of sewing recently! But this time of year is too dark and gloomy in the evenings and all I want do is stay cosy in front of the fire.
I've completed my second version of Simplicity 2406 a Cynthia Rowley dress, my first was view B this time I went for view C.
I chose a black and white crepe de chine which I underlined except for in the sleeves.

Without the sash it looks very sack like, but much better with.

I reduced the back opening as with my previous version and put a button at the top to close it.
I'd like to say that it went together very easily but I didn't realise dress C had different instructions to the others until I got to the point where the sleeves needed attaching so the facing doesn't lie as nicely as it should do.  I made the sash in three sections as I didn't have quite enough fabric.
I've tidied up my sewing room and have a few projects lined up so I should be busy over the next few weeks.

Sunday, 5 October 2014

Autumn Arrives

'Are you making tartan pants?' inquired Mr B.
'No, what made you think that?' I replied.
This apparently...

I've been having a small rest from sewing after finishing Vogue 1362 and I thought making a new make up bag was the perfect way to get sewing again.
I made a slouchy makeup bag using Flossie Teacakes' slouchy makeup bag pattern earlier in the year for my sister and was really pleased with the results, Florence has thought of everything in her instructions.

That one was made to use up two of the several fat quarters I have bought because they are so enticing but then never done anything with.

In tidying up after my last project I rediscovered a bag of tweed scraps bought for £2 at a craft fair and with Autumn in the air decided to actually do something with them.  Most of the scraps are semi-circular in shape so I sewed three together to make each side.  I didn't want it to look too patchworky so I top-stitched either side of the joining seam and hoped for a more paneled effect .

I had everything in I needed left over from other projects, I was even lucky to have a purple zip in - I never hoard these away but probably should.  The layers of fabric are pretty thick in places so I missed off the top-stitching by the zip in case I messed in up.
I then spent a happy twenty minutes trying to take better styled photographs...

I think the photo styling needs some work! But the makeup bag is exactly what I was after.  And I've got loads of scraps left.
I'm now ready to get on with more sewing...

Wednesday, 24 September 2014

Vogue 1362 - Part Four (Finished)

Note to self: complicated sewing projects and the beginning of the academic year do not make for smooth sailing!
I did manage to get Vogue 1362 finished in time - hemming done with two days to spare, I even did French tacks for the first time ever
I'm really pleased with the dress, I think it looks very much like the pattern envelope.

The neck line is amazing! My circles didn't match up but it wasn't a problem to sew.
The back looks like it is stretching slightly but its not, its just the zip isn't in perfectly.  The fit ended up being really good.  I loved the sleeves, the armholes are smaller and the sleeves are quite fitted which felt odd to start with but I think made it look more polished

That said I did have a problem with the sleeve lining in that it wasn't anywhere long enough to fit over the armhole seam to catch on to the facing.  I could only stitch it down on the outer half, its loose under the arm.  You can't tell from the outside but if I was doing it again I would cut the lining pieces the same as for the dress and trim the excess away later to give myself more to play with.
I think the side pleats would have worked better if the fabric was a bit more drapey but when you are moving about I don't think this mattered too much.

It was a lovely, if slightly damp, day.
And I was going to take loads more photos - close ups, the insides etc.  But we accidentally left our wedding outfits in the in-law's spare room wardrobe.  Oops!
I might get the dress back at October half term, or Christmas...

Sunday, 7 September 2014

Vogue 1362 - Part Three (half done)

Progress has slowed on my project because of a few tricky steps and going back to work but I was pleasantly surprised to find when I counted up that I've done just over half the steps on the instruction sheet.
Problem number one was that because my grading was not as accurate as it could be the stay pieces didn't fit together exactly.  I had a bit of a problem getting it to lie smoothly.

But I ironed it into submission and nobody will actually see this bit as it is to be sandwiched between the outside and lining layers

Problem number two is a bit more complicated to explain and I'm still not sure if its my fault or a problem with the order of construction.  Everything was going together as stated in the instructions and looking like the little diagrams until steps 17 and 18.  I just can't see how the raw edge from the front fits into the stay.  It is impossible! I undid it, redid it, undid it.  It just doesn't make sense to me. In the end I had to clip the front so I could sandwich most of the seam and as you can just see in the picture below I've turned in the rest of the seam and tacked it down for the moment.  I now just need to sew it down by hand from the back.

Problem number three.  The stay and the dress are meant to be the same length and step 19 tells you to sew them together by hand 2" above the lower edge.  My stay is exactly 2" shorter than my front! I really don't think I could have done this by accident - I'm blaming Vogue.  I've finished off the lower edge of the stay and will just wait to see what happens with this as construction continues.
So I'm not very impressed with the construction just now, however...
Good news! I managed to find to track down a matching zip - described as magenta.  This went in very slowly but not too badly.

Having tried it on for the first time the fit seems good, my generous seams have worked.
Most of the remaining construction steps look straightforward. Ish...
Only one more sewing weekend left, best get on with it.

Thursday, 28 August 2014

Vogue 1362 - Part Two (interfacing)

I've chosen my fabric and bought most of the supplies needed for Vogue 1362.
You can seen below my little interfacing experiment.  The envelope calls for medium weight interfacing, but that's a little subjective for my liking.  I asked for medium weight interfacing in the shop but as soon as I got it home I was beset by doubt, it felt rather papery.
Here are non-interfaced, light interfaced and medium interfaced fabric squares.

The one on the right is already not looking great...

Looking crumpled.  Like scrunched up paper...

So off to buy what I would call lightweight interfacing instead. Interestingly on the roll it said lightweight but I've just noticed on the receipt it says medium.  Go figure!
In case you are still reading its Vilene F220, which is wider than the pattern calls for so no need to piece any of the interfacing pieces - hurrah!
Anyway, its going together well at the moment.  I've made the front already. And it sort of looks like its supposed to.

Some lovely people at pattern review suggested that perhaps my muslin looked a little big.
The problem is I'll have a lot of sitting down to do during the day, I've experience a dress that looks lovely when standing but is too tight when sitting before and it rather spoils things.  So I've cut it out as I planned but I think I'll take generous 5/8" seam allowances to reduce it a smidge.

I need to cut the lining pieces out now...
Oh and I nearly forgot, I can't find a zip to match.
'Why don't you just put a turquoise one in?' suggested Mr B.
Could this crazy idea work?

Saturday, 23 August 2014

Vogue 1362 - Part One (of many)

I've been back from my holidays for a few days now and thought I should get going on a new sewing project.
We've got a family wedding to attend on 20th September so that should be plenty of time to make Vogue 1362? Shouldn't it?

Vogue Patterns Misses' Dress 1362

I can't find anyone else on the internet that's made it yet so I don't know how it might work out, however nothing ventured nothing gained as they say!
I've started out by making a kind of toile to check the fit (I probably should have made a complete version but that might take some of the fun out of things).
I used pattern pieces 12, 13, 14, 15 and 16 to put the lining together, cutting an 8 at the bust, 12 at the waist and 14 at the hip.  I've graded out to the 14 much lower than the marked hip line which I think has solved the shape problems I've had with some of my previous makes.

I've never seen a horizontal dart at the bust before and I'm relieved that the fit is good.

 I need to learn to stand up straight though and note to self the hemline slit comes up indecently high on me!
So I need to find some fabric pronto!  The colour on the original is quite nice maybe?
"Just as long as it doesn't make you as mardy as that lady" says Mr B.

Do you know anyone that has made this dress yet?  Are you planning to sew it yourself?

Sunday, 3 August 2014

Vintage Pattern - Simplicity 4826

I've treated myself to a 'new' pattern to add to my collection.

This beautiful 1960s dress has a bateau neckline and smocking at the upper edge of the front. 

I'm hoping to make this in the future, maybe as a tunic top. I've never done smocking before but I think that it's an unusual feature and it would be a nice skill to learn.

I love just reading through the instructions for sewing patterns, that's not weird is it? My mother does the same thing with cookery books.

Wednesday, 30 July 2014

Butterick 5314

A while ago I came across this dress on pinterest.

Simply Broderie Anglaise dress with subtle colour belt
Boden.co.uk via Pinterest
Its not a current season dress (at least I can't find it) and being white its totally impractical (at least for me) and I never buy full price clothes from expensive brands but I really like it.
I knew I had a similar pattern somewhere.  After a very enjoyable half hour rummage through my pattern stash - I really need to get organised - I found the one I was looking for (and a number of others I'd forgotten about!).


Butterick 5314 (which I think is out of print now), view C without the V. I think I bought this about 5 years ago but only used the bodice from view A/B - I don't remember what attracted me to it in the first place.
I purchased some navy broderie anglais from ebay and other supplies from Boyes and off I went.
I wouldn't say it was "fast" but it was definitely straight forward and I slowed myself down by having to underline my fabric.
I didn't really alter the pattern at all, apart from omitting the V (again) at the neck, I'm really not convinced that this would look good on me.  I cut an 8 at the shoulders, a 10 bust, 12 waist and 14 hip and I'm pretty pleased with the fit.  It is a little strange at the hip which I think might be because the widest part of my hips seems to be a lot lower than the hip line on patterns so I think I'm grading out too fast, maybe? I think that's something that only I will notice though (hopefully). Any advice on this would be welcomed.
So here it is.

I think its a good copy.

My fabric didn't have a nice border so I just turned under a tiny hem.

And I don't have to wear a belt because I've actually matched the darts up perfectly for once.

Mr B thinks the number of navy dresses I own is a bit excessive but I think its a very flattering colour!
Hopefully it will be perfect for our up coming holiday!

Wednesday, 23 July 2014

Vogue 1303 - Finished

Well, I got distracted by the World Cup and then work got busy and so suddenly I was in a rush to get Vogue 1303 finished!
I completed it a whole day before it was needed for my trip to the theatre with Mr B.

Fortunately it was really straight forward to sew!  I'm really pleased with the finished product, unfortunately it was a bit dark for photos when we went out so I've taken some more on dolly this afternoon.

As you can see I omitted the V in the front neckline because I wasn't sure how it would lie but I did make the zip tag (which took much longer than I expected to turn right side out).

I wish I had stay-stitched the neck and arm holes as they have gone out of shape very slightly.  I hand picked the zip rather than machine sewing as you can see in the picture of the lining, you can just about see as well that I ended up taking quite a lot of fabric in at the back waist seam.

Its not very easy to see the pleating with the patterned fabric but it does look nice and after making Vogue 1287 it seemed simple to do.

I even managed to get the back vent to work (unlike with Vogue 1271)!

I think I've cut the dress out so as to leave enough fabric to make a top (fingers crossed) which I'm pleased about because I love the print so much!

Wednesday, 25 June 2014

Vogue 1303 - Lining

My Vogue 1303 is coming along nicely. I decided to make the lining first so that I could check I'd made the correct adjustments from my toile.
It's a very much improved fit. 

So I'm ready to cut my Liberty Lawn with a bit more confidence.
Just for the record I have finished all the lining seams by pinking them. For two reasons. It totally speeds up the sewing process. And I actually quite like the look of it. 

Being realistic I think the finished dress will be beautiful (fingers crossed) but sadly not for everyday wear so I don't think it needs to be finished off so completely. 
I'll be interested to see how it wears...

Sunday, 15 June 2014

Vogue 1303 Toile

After finishing my previous project I found that I couldn't decide what to do next.  I'm always full of ideas and never have enough time or resources to get them all done.  So instead of getting on with something I avoided making decisions by reading some murder mysteries.  Then a chance comment from Mr B - "You could wear a dress when we go to the theatre" made the way forward clear.
So I've started making Vogue 1303 out of some lovely Liberty Tana Lawn (I love that stuff sooo much).


I bought two metres of Alexandra purely because it shares my name - who can resist something like that.

Hopefully this sewing pattern will let the jewel print sparkle (ha ha).
I've made three Kay Unger patterns before and had severe fit issues with the first one and made a bit of an assembly error with the second.  Both dresses are lovely though (even if I do say so myself).  The third went together more smoothly but I think this is because of the fuller skirt.
On the left V1241, centre V1271 (now out of print) and left V1353.


So I'm not leaving anything to chance as I can't find this fabric online anymore (I do keep looking because I kind of wish I'd bought other colour ways as well).
According to the size chart I'm a 10 bust, 12 waist and somewhere between a 14 and 16 hip - I'm completely over ridiculous Vogue sizing that isn't even consistent from pattern to pattern.
Checking the finished garment measurements I reckoned more like 8, 12, 16 (which at least is a nice arithmetic sequence but a bit extreme).  So I cut the lining pieces out of an old sheet, sewed it together and tried it on.
I'm not showing photos of this.  No one needs to see. But here is Dolly modelling.

With a little bit of pinning help from Mr B I found that the bust is a tiny bit big but can be fixed by taking in the very top of the side seams.  The waist is perfect.  The hip area was weirdly shaped because of my inept grading and needed taking in to about the size 14 and smoothing out.
I think the dress will go together really quickly, the toile only took about half an hour to put together.
Next job I think will be to make the lining to the new measurements - just in case more major adjustments are needed.
Oh and I need to make it about 4" longer as I'm becoming more and more uncomfortable about showing my knees!