Monday, 16 July 2012

My pattern wish list

I have finally finished my Liberty dress, and now deliberating what to make next. I am going on holiday to Greece this September and really want to make some nice holiday clothes. These are my current contenders.

Easy Short Sleeved Dress Pattern - Elastic Waist,  Short Kimono Sleeve

Tiny Pocket Tank Shirt : Downloadable Sewing Pattern PDF


Unfortunately with this summer being so cold and wet, i'm probably best moving straight on to this....


Friday, 29 June 2012

Liberty Dress Part 1

Liberty fabrics are clearly a bit of an obsession of mine, so I decided to splurge on this one with the intention of making a dress to wear to a family wedding.

The wedding has long since passed and the dress is still not finished……

It’s based on this Burda pattern and inspired by this gorgeous version I’d seen by Madeinamandine

It has definitely been a project of firsts for me.

I started by making a mock-up of the bodice. After two attempts I realised I really needed to make my first FBA.  I then made another two mock-ups with this alteration as well as altering the armholes, deepening the front darts and lengthening the torso.

 I really didn’t like the bubble skirt so decided to go with a gathered skirt instead. I trawled the internet for advice and then drafted out 3 rectangular pieces. I also wanted it to have pockets so used the pocket pattern pieces from my Beignet skirt.

The bodice is lined with light cotton and originally so was the skirt, but when I finished constructing the dress I realised I’d attached the lining in with the zip. This meant that I then had to hem them both together rather than separately. However, when I did this it made the whole thing too bulky.

I really didn’t want to rip out the concealed zip as I’d spent so much time and effort getting it right in the first place. I decided the best thing was to cut out the lining.

I was extremely nervous about doing this, in case I (once again) cut a hole in the middle of my material. The inside of the dress is no longer as pretty as it once was, but I am still glad I did it.

After numerous attempts at hemming, the dress was finally finished.

It was good and definitely wearable but the waist was just a little baggy.  I knew I really needed to take the front darts in a bit more but to do this I’d need to take the whole thing apart. I decided that instead I’d make a sash belt with the left over material. This worked fine, but I knew it still wasn’t right.

In a moment of madness I unpicked the skirt and the lining. Fingers crossed,  I will not regret this and finally be able to post a finished dress…….


Tuesday, 26 June 2012

New Fabrics

I have fallen in love with Liberty London fabrics and the new autumn winter 2012 collection does not disappoint.

These are my current favourites.

I just wish I was a better dressmaker so I could do them justice….


Thursday, 14 June 2012

Hemming Hell

There are two things that I hate about sewing, hemming and ripping out stitches, and for me they go hand in hand.

I am nearly finished my first dress but have so far attempted to hem it 5 times and once again I’ve ripped it out.

I have tried various types of hems, and after making my Biegnet Skirt my current favourite is the blind hem.

It is a bit fidgety but it looks good and it hides my squinty lines. However, it doesn’t matter what type of hem I make I always seem to struggle. I waste hours trying to finish off my projects when it really should be a simple task. Desperate to improve my hemming skills I started looking for tips online.

I have now came to the conclusion that it’s not my hemming that is at fault but my cutting out!

Every project I’ve made so far I’ve had to shorten, and when I piece it all together there are always parts that are different lengths or not particularly straight. It’s never bothered me before as I always think well it’ll be fine when I hem it.

I really am an idiot sometimes; you would have thought I’d have made the link by now!

I will definitely be investing in a cutting mat and rotary cutter rather than always free-styling it on my kitchen table with my scissors and measuring tape. Fingers crossed this will improve my hems.


Saturday, 9 June 2012

My First Successful Project

This is the blouse that restored my faith in sewing.

I really was on the verge of giving it all up when thanks to the Sewaholic sew-along I finally managed to create this Pendrell Blouse.

My original mock-up had ruffled sleeves but because the sew-along was so easy to follow I decided to go with the pleated version for my actual blouse.

These patterns are drafted for pair shaped ladies, which I am not, so I made the top that fitted my chest size. Unfortunately this meant it was far too big at the waist and hips.

To alter it I simply increased the seam allowance at the sides. Luckily this didn't alter the middle seams too much.

It has since become a wardrobe staple.

With such success I decided to make another version, this time with the ruffled sleeves, but true to form I burnt the back and accidently snipped a whole in the front panel with my pinking shears!

Once step forward two steps back…….


Sunday, 3 June 2012

A Lesson Learned

I know it has been a while since I’ve posted here… However, in that time I have been working away and I have finally finished my Beignet skirt with Liberty buttons.

I even wore it to a Django Django gig, and after much dancing and jumping around it didn't fall apart!!!  I did take a needle, thread and extra safety pins just in case, but luckily they weren’t needed at all.

I spent a lot of time constructing it, and there was a point where I was convinced it wasn’t going to fit.  I persevered and after altering the lining and sewing on all the buttons it somehow came together.

Now, I have read on many occasions the importance of pre-washing your fabric, and I really should have learned by now not to cut corners, but as you can guess this is something that I have never bothered to do.

Surprise Surprise, the first time I washed my skirt it shrunk!!!!

This time the sewing gods must have taken pity on me, as it now fits even better than before. I can’t believe how lucky I’ve been. I will definitely pre-wash my fabric in the future.


Sunday, 1 April 2012

Birthday Delights

It was my birthday a few weeks ago and I was delighted with my new pinking shears. Ok, so they may not be an overlocker, but they're a lot quicker than zigzag stitching and use a lot less thread!

However, I wasn’t expecting the belated birthday treat I received last night!!
I love Liberty of London fabrics but think I need to improve my sewing a bit more before I dare to make something from them. So imagine my glee when I received my very own Liberty sewing box, buttons and pin cushion.

I love them and they include the perfect buttons for the Beignet skirt I plan to make very soon.


Thursday, 29 March 2012

That Red Dress!!!

Having attempted and failed to make myself a simple pair of pyjamas, I decided the best plan of action was to sign up for a dressmaking class at the local college. I took along an “easy” McCalls dress pattern that didn’t look too complicated. There were only a few pattern pieces, it had simple sleeves, a couple of darts, and a basic zip. So I was keen to get started, however, progress was slow...

Starting with a mock up, I struggled with the sleeves, and sewed all my seams 0.5cm smaller than I should have, but eventually it came together. My tutor had suggested putting in an invisible zip rather than the basic one and keen to learn a new skill this is how I decided to progress.

Feeling more confident and being frustrated at how slowly I was progressing, I decided to continue at home with the real thing. I cut out the pattern again, this time with the sizing alterations we’d made, sewed all my darts and fused all my interfacing. Now this is probably where I should have stopped since I hadn't sewn a zip before, never mind an invisible zip. I had seen a fantastic tutorial on Colette Patterns and was convinced that I could follow it.

To be honest I did alright, although the zip was probably a bit higher than it should have been. The main issue was that in my haste, I accidently increased the temperature of my iron and singed the entire back panel!!!!!

The moral of the story – I really should have waited until I was back in my class or at the very least have attempted it on something other than my final fabric first, especially when the shop no longer stocked it.


Thursday, 22 March 2012

Getting Started......


I am as new to blogging as I am to sewing, but the idea is to track my progress, successful and unsuccessful…

At the moment, I’m definitely leaning more towards the unsuccessful. As they say “practise makes perfect” so I’ll struggle on although at the moment I would be happy with wearable!!

I hadn’t sewn anything other than replacing the odd button since I was at school and I think the most I managed then was a pin cushion and a pencil case. I’ve had my sewing machine now for three months and up until recently I had made; 2 pairs of pyjama shorts, one of which are in the bin while the other have a hole in them, 1 pyjama top, the less said about that the better, 1 red dress that I haven’t completely finished, however, I have managed to burn the back while trying to put in an invisible zip, and about a dozen envelope cushion covers. Not the best start I know, even if my family and friends appreciate the onslaught of cushions.

However, my faith in sewing has been restored! Thanks to the wonderful sew-along on the Sewaholic blog I have managed to create and alter my very own Pendrell Blouse!!
I shall post some pictures very soon. :)

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