True Blue

Sky-blue summer dress

Another day, another dress!

As the Olympics draw nearer, I think we have a winner!

This dress uses the basic shape of the pattern used for the Simply Red dress, but I have eliminated all the panels and cut on the bias to take full advantage of the stripes.

The fabric is a fine cotton sent to me as part of an estate sale haul by a friend who has abandoned me moved to the States.  (Her busband blogs here – an online diary of his aclimatisation) I had to line the dress, this fabric was a trifle too transparent in the light – ok for a shirt, not so good for anything with a skirt!

Plain cotton lining with a blue broiderie anglaise trim

To give it a little more interest I added some blue broiderie anglaise to the hem of the cotton lining, just enough to peek out at the bottom.

A happy Daughter No2 showing off her handywork – a totebag embroidered, beaded and sequined by her own fair hand as a birthday present for a friend

I will be making another panelled dress, I dug out another piece of fabric sent by the same friend, this time a black and blue print that will look just stunning!!

Simply Red

After a 24 mile round trip I have a red invisible zip, and now a completed dress!  I am also definitely ordering a stock of zips from Jaycotts.  I paid £3.90 for a 52cm long invisible zip!  That’s madness!!  Anyway, rant over, here’s the completed dress, and a happy Daughter No2 in the sunshine to show it off.

We love a little contrast, this turquoise belt is great with the red.

The panels work really well, tailoring the bodice to her shape.  The stretch cotton has a tendence to, well, stretch.  So the lining is a stretch cotton poplin, with much less movement to keep the whole thing together.

Why can’t we have more sun? Everything is so much better for it, including these pretty poppies.

The back was kept simple.  There is just one seam, I really don’t think it needed any more than that.

The back is simple, just two panels!

For some extra info, this dress was cut from the 2-piece dress block (from Winnifred Aldrich’s Metric Pattern Cutting) and adapted to the sleeveless block.

Posing!

Next time we’ll have more fabric to play with, and will make a fuller skirt.  For now though, Daughter No2 is very happy with her new dress.  Will the weather gods please let us have some sun so she can wear it??

 

Lack of planning….

This is so completely applicable to today.

Says it all really

What didn’t I plan you ask?  Well, I knew what I wanted to make, knew what fabric from my overflowing stash to use, knew I had loads of thread.  Assumed that in the zip box there would be a long enough red or white invisible zip.  A-HA  therein lies the lack of planning.  I never checked said zip-box.  And no-one in my little rural market town sells invisible zips!

So I have no finished red dress to show.  But I do have a pinned-down-the-back red dress….  Want to see?

Front bodice section

And the pinned back…

The back for now.
Almost….. proper, finished and prettily posed photos soon!!

So the lesson is:  As Husband would say, “Assume makes an ass out of you and me”.  Yup.  I have to get onto Jaycotts and buy zips!!  Am I the only one who gets all excited about making something, only to fall at a simple hurdle, like non-existent zips?

I’m still here – somewhere…

Oh boy, I’ve not been good at updating, have I?  1 000 apologies.  I even missed a milestone!  This little blog was one whole year old on the 27th June!  I missed it.  😦

So here’s what I’m working on for Daughter No2 at the moment.  It’s not a pincushion, or a totebag.  It’s a dress!  YAY!  We’d seen this dress on Modcloth over a year ago, and liked the panels on the bodice, so we pinned it for future reference.  I managed finally to get the pattern cut last weekend, and got to make the toiles this weekend!

Here’s what the bodice section looks like in a plain fabric:

Second toile of the bodice, showing all the panel seams

And here’s the nice stuff all cut out and ready for tailor tacking!  I really hope to get it made up tomorrow, so fingers crossed there are no visitors!  😀  The fabric is a John Kaldor stretch cotton sateen print in red and white that I bought in Derby from Tatler Fabrics.  I only had 1.5m, so the skirt on this dress will just be a simple A-line, rather than anything fuller.  But I have a feeling I might be making more than one version of this, so stick around to see variations on the skirt.

All cut out and nowhere to go!

And a close-up of all those bodice panel pieces….

Five bodice panel pieces. On the front.

 

So I’ll see you tomorrow with the finished garment and someone with a biiig grin on her face!  Let’s just hope it isn’t raining for the photos..

The Perfect Prom Dress

Daughter no2 is doing a Diploma in Catering and Hospitality at Gloucester College alongside her normal school GCSE’s, and part of that course is an Extended Project.  The students can choose anything for their topic, then they research and report.  This is a big project.  So, doing a catering diploma, you’d have thought she’d go for something food related.  Nope.   The title of her project is:

” What is the perfect prom dress for my body shape?”

So to answer that question she has researched body types, we have drawn round her and joined dots so she can recognise her shape.  She has looked up all the do’s and dont’s and on top of that, looked into the colours that suit her, all to make sure she comes up with the perfect dress.  She designed 10 dresses and then whittled them down to one, using the criteria she’d researched.

These two sketches had the main things she liked, the fishtail, the floaty draped fabric and the one shoulder.

One of the designs, this with the draping fabric from the shoulder and the fishtail.
Off the shoulder, waist defined, long skirt.

Here is the final sketch, not the one for the project, this was done quickly by her at the fabric shop, because in our wisdom we’d left the “real” one at home that day…  The proper one is in her sketch book, safe and sound!

A quick sketch done in the shop, with some fabric samples and peacock feathers to show the colour influences.
Front view of first toile, it’s not as fitted as it could be

Once she was happy with her design, I set about making the pattern.  Using the one piece dress block I adapted it to the lingerie block to get rid of excess ease.  We went for a panelled dress so we could add as much volume to the hemline as possible.  The fullness comes from the knee.  After the first toile there were only minor alterations to do, one was for a sway-back.  Also the dress needed to be tighter from the hip to the knee.  There was a certain amount of excess in the top edge which needed to be removed too.

first toile back view, too loose over hips
All the fluffy things are my tailor’s tacks. There was some excess in the armhole on this side.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

This is the final toile.  I made it up in a navy and black shot polyester taffeta so she’d get a real sense of how the final dress would look.  I put her in some proper shoes and got her to prance around the garden in her pinned-together dress!

Finished toile, more fitted.
Looks almost good enough to be the real thing!
And lastly, a side view

The final dress will be in a crepe backed satin, in a teal or blue/green sort of colour, possibly with a purple chiffon or georgette drape from the shoulder to waist, caught in a belt and flowing to the floor.  The crepe backed satin will have some body so it will hold the shape of the skirt well, and I might need to re-inforce it with some horse-hair braid.  You’ll have to look again next June to see the final outcome!  😀

Pyjama Party!!

Here we are, “P-Day”!!  I got all garments finished last night, and all have been well received!  So here they are, in no particular order…

Daughter No 2:

Blue and white cotton shorts and baby-doll top

I used a turquoise and white floral print cotton and some vintage white lace with a heart design for the shorts, pattern cut from the trouser block.  I used Ann Hagar this time, as I hadn’t used a block form her book yet.  It was interesting…  I have drafted so many trouser blocks from Winnifred Aldrich, and Ms Hagar does hers so completely differently!  The top is drafted from the close-fitting bodice block, fullness added at the centre front and back and darts left un-sewn, naturally.  The fabric is white cotton poplin, again with the vintage lace.  To identify the fronts and back, I sewed on a small length of white ribbon to the front of the shorts to tie in a little bow.  The top has a grouping of sequins and beads.

Sequin and bead detail to mark the front of the babydoll top

Daughter no 2 is presently re-re-re-reading the Twilight series, and is halfway through Breaking Dawn.  The whole series has been very popular with her and her sister.

Nighty-night all!!

Daughter no 1:

Black jersey top with crochet trim & print cotton shorts

For these pyjamas I used black cotton jersey for the top, with a length of black crochet trim from my ribbon box.  The pattern was drafted from the close fitting bodice block again, with pleats added to the front neckline at 2cm intervals to add fullness.  On reflection, I could make these wider than the 2cm I used, bit for now they’re fine.  This top took a while to get right, as the trim needed much manipulation to take the various curves!!  She is so pleased with it she’d like more – to wear out!  In public!  😀

Neckline and strap using crochet trim

The shorts are made from a black, white and red cotton print left over from lining a handbag…  The black lace with little circles matched the print quite nicely, and is also from my stash, and is a piece of vintage stuff I got from the Ironbridge Victorian Village a few years ago.  Leave it to me to find the teeny tiny sewing shop!!

Daughter isn’t reading fiction at the moment.  It’s crunch time for finishing A-level coursework and projects, so her reading material is for her Art coursework and her Extended Project Qualification.

Daughter no 2's reading material

And me….  I used a black and white paisley print cotton I liberated from a student at a fabric swap we had at our Sewing Sunday at the beginning of April for the trousers, and black cotton jersey for the top.  I haven’t added any lace or other trims.  The trousers were adapted from the trouser block from Winnie Aldrich, but for the top I had to use a Burda pattern.  Just not enough time!  I used Style no 113/4 from Burda 12/2008.

Black jersey and paisley print trousers
Picot edge to jersey hems

The top has pleats on the curved front neckline and raglan sleeves.  Because I had no trim I used the overlock stitch on my sewing machine to make a little “picot” edge on all the jersey hems.

Pleats on the top. It's so hard to capture detail on black jersey!

The pleats on the top make it really comfortable, and not too full.  10/10!  Thanks Burda!

My reading list is Natalie Bray’s “More Dress Pattern Designing” and “Paper, Metal & Stitch” by Maggie Grey & Jane Wild.  I picked it up for just £7 at a 2nd hand booksale.

My reading at the moment

Natalie Bray is on the list because I want a new jacket pattern and I fancy a Kimono sleeve.  She has the best instructions!  Paper, Metal & Stitch is just to get some creative juices flowing..  I never have any time to actually play with this stuff!  Hope you all have a fabulous pyjama party, and thanks to Karen for being such a great hostess!!