Crowns for a Queen.

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These have turned out so cute, I have to share them early!  Still have another couple to make, but here is a glimpse at a couple of pretty cushions I have made with inspiration from the Queen’s Diamond Jubilee this year.  The main fabric is Irish linen, which I love.  The crowns are pink batik, free machined onto the linen.  Both measure 30x30cm.  I do hope to sell them quickly so I have space to do the other stuff I need to do!

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One more for your viewing pleasure!  And an update, all 3 cushions have been sold to kate at Ivy Heart in Shipston on Stour.  From the way she reacted to them I seriously doubt they will be in the shop!  They will have found their way to her house by this evening!  😀

Large Crown applique with vermicelli and pebble quilting stitches for colour and texture
Detail of the stitching.

Just like a Stole – Tea for Two

just like a stole
Just Like a Stole

So, another Pattern Magic pattern done, and I like this one!  The name comes from the fabric print, ladies who shop, and ladies who do tea!  I like the neckline, might just need to get used to it, it feels like the shoulders drop back a bit.  It might need a couple of hand stitches just in the front a little to hold it together, but we’ll see.

back
View from the back

I used French Seams throughout with this lightweight cotton.  The buttons were rescued from one of husband’s worn out Red Herring tops, and I used a coral-red thread for sewing them on.  The pattern in the book has the dart into the front seam, not practical for me.  I changed the pattern to have the centre front button opening and moved the darts to their normal position in the front.  But I wanted something interesting there.  I converted the one BIG waist dart into 3 smaller cluster darts.

dart pattern
Front pattern showing dart clusters

Ok, so it’s really messy, but this is the working pattern.  Initially I had the darts narrower, but on the toile I didn’t like it, so made them wider, and then wider again.  When I am finally happy with a pattern, I trace it out so there are no scrappy bits of paper, there’s no magic tape, and only one set of pencil lines!  This is the rest of the front working pattern:

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Like a Stole adaptation - front

I don’t wear high rounded necklines, unless I really want to give the impression of having a mono-boob, so I made a v-neckline, but it is rounded a bit to make it softer.  I also cut a facing to support the front, buttonholes and the neckline.  As the pattern is so opened up the top part of the bodice sits on the bias, which will stretch in a second if you look at it sideways.  I stitched about 5cm along the valley fold line from the end of the neck dart to stop the stretch there.

Admiring my dart clusters..

“So what’s next?” you ask…  weeeeellllll.  I still want to do the flip-turn, the twisted tops, the drape with twist…  You get the picture!  But.  I have been making husband some pattern blocks so I guess the next thing just might be a shirt for him.  Maybe.  😀

Happy with my new Pattern Magic top!

 

 

 

 

Sewing is Therapy

Ok, moving on, rapidly!  So now that I have sewed myself into feeling better with the Renfrew tees and a little vintage number for Daughter no 2 I feel ready to tackle another pattern from Pattern Magic.  I still wanted to play with the “Just Like a Stole” style.

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So out came the paper and rolls of Magic Tape (I still need to get shares in Scotch-tape).  The book has a high neckline which will never work on me, so I have adjusted it to be a sort of rounded v.  I also have a front button fastening, and sleeves.  Not too fancy this time, just pleated 3/4 length.  The dart has been moved, and elaborated!  See the sketches..  Again, the trickiest thing with the pattern is making a Winnie block do what another writer needs. It works though!  Although I’d love to share the photos of the pattern and toile with you, dearest husband has filched the camera.

Instead you get these…

Fashion sketch

The difference between fashion illustration sketches, and reality!  This is a sketch of the blouse I am making, the sketch on the left is done using a template from this book from Morplan, and the next one was done over a photo of moi.  What a difference proportions make!

You can get similar sketches from Fashionary, free downloadable templates, or buy the sketchbooks.

How tempting is it just to keep the template sketch and dump the “real” one?  Very!!  😀

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

reality sketch
Reality check!

So the toile is in a soft linen (linen sheets from the charity shop!!) to replicate the cotton I will use later.  No fabric purchase necessary, I have dug out a piece from my stash, yay!  Also, there are just about enough buttons from the button box to finish it off.  I cannot profess to be completely good this week though.  When visiting the charity shop looking for toile fabric and some vintage buttons, my eye was caught by a pile of grey houndstooth on a shelf.  Upon closer inspection it turned out to be 2m of a lovely soft wool, for £12!  Needless to say I gave in – no way that was staying in the shop for someone else to have!  So now there is another piece to make up..  😀

Welcome to the Jungle

The dress with draped design is finished, and….  I had some issues with it.

  1. This is not the right sort of fabric for this design.  The georgette is way too slippery and hasn’t enough body to hold the drape at the front.
  2. It’s too long.  I know, the last dress I made I thought was too short, this is just a bit too long.
  3. In the book, Tomoko Nakamichi says that if you don’t want the skirt flopping open in the front, just sew it up.  This doesn’t work, as it twists the “twist” in the front to the wrong side.
  4. Trying to stick to my “don’t buy anyting unless absolutely necessary until Sewing for Pleasure” rule was sorely tested.  I had a turquoise silk satin blouse that I didn’t like and was happy to chop to make a camisole, but I had absolutely nothing for lining the bottom part of the dress.  I bought some crepe de chine from the Fancy Silk Store in Birmingham to make a slip in the end.  Of course, the colours are not the same, so it’s an un-matching set, which is not ideal.  Luckily all the lace and picot elastic was in my stash.
  5. I am not entirely sure this shape works for me, and that is a real shame because I really wanted to make something I’d get lots of wear out of with this fabric.  Maybe it will grow on me.

So this is it with the cami and slip.

Jungle dress.
Jungle Dress and slip

And this is it styled slightly differently, an idea from the mum of a friend of mine.  She said it may look good with a pair of fitted silk trousers…  lightbulbs went off in my head.  I had made a pair of stretch satin trousers from a Burda magazine 12/09, no 104 about 2 years ago, and they are pretty fitted.  So what do we think?  Maybe with the trousers the dress does need to be shorter…

Jungle Dress with Trousers

Or maybe I should just leave it in the “remake this” pile.  Maybe if this dress was made in a different fabric, something with more body, it would be better.  Either that or it needs a body in it with smaller boobs and more of a waist!  I have a very good feeling this style will look fantastic on Daughters 1 & 2!

So to cope with the disappointment of this dress, I have made 4 Renfrew t-shirts and a vintage cotton dress in 3 days.  Sometimes you just need to get it out of your system by making something that someone else has spent time and effort perfecting, and all you need do is cut and sew!  I may feel better by Monday.  🙂

Can you tell what it is yet?

Can you tell what it is yet??

What it is is a lot of paper, magic tape and head scratching!  I have been mucking about with paper and Pattern Magic again, this time working on the “dress with draped design” pattern.  I guess I had a little more working through to do because I am not using the block that comes from the book.  As I am a million miles for the average Japanese woman in size and shape, there is pretty much no point in going there!  So I have my trusty Winnifred Aldrich bodice block to fiddle with instead.  It isn’t a hard pattern to make, just fiddly.

In the beginning

So this is how the front started off, bust dart moved to armhole, and lots of lines to cut up.  The waistline is moved 7cm up (on the back too) and neckline drawn in with a slight dip.  Then the fun started!!  I needed an extra hand and an automatic tape dispenser..  😀

The back was not that tricky and took about 5 – 10 minutes to adapt.  Then there is the sleeve to consider.  I like interesting sleeves, in case you hadn’t noticed by now.  I just wasn’t sure how much fabric I had to play with, same old story!!

Print georgette and crepe de chine

The fabric was sent to my by a very good friend who has relocated to Chicago.  I recon if I make her feel guilty enough about leaving me she’ll send me plenty of care packages with fabric in…  ;p  Anyway, the fabric is a polyester georgette with a fabulous print on it.  The colours are great and I really hope this dress turns out the way I see it in my head because I want to wear it to death in the summer.  The plain crepe de chine is for lining the skirt section.  I didn’t want the linings to be attached, so I am basically going to make a slip with the crepe and make a little cami with some turquoise silk satin I had left over from a previous project.

Testing the pattern lay

So before I got too carried away I placed the pattern pieces I had finished onto the fabric to see just how little I’d be left with…  Not an awful lot to be honest.  So out the window went ideas for a cowl drape elbow length sleeve and in came a shorter, plain sleeve.  The twisted draped front will just have to do!

So the front and back are stitched, French seams throughout on this fabric, and all that is left to do are the sleeves and hem.  And the cami.  And the slip.  In the meantime daughter no 2 needs a pattern for a prom dress she has designed, so I had better get my skates on!

By the way, I have to thank Burdastyle for making my Rise Above This jacket their featured member project of the week!!  I was pretty amazed!  😀

 

 

 

Silver Lining

Silver Lining blouse

Ok, so this post has nothing to do with an actual lining – but it felt right as a name for this next project, and it’s a pretty good song too!  (Silver Lining, by Hurts)  The fabric is a Liberty print cotton voile with what looks like draped fabric printed in shades of grey on white.  I loved it when I saw it in the shop, and loved it even more when I noticed it was only £6.99/m!  Naturally I hadn’t a clue what it was to become, so I played it safe and got 2m.  I am so glad I did, because when I finally made a pattern I had just about enough.  Here’s the sketch again:

Blouse with oversized polo placket

The pintucks were substituted with twin needle tucks as the voile was so soft, the last thing I wanted was wobbly tuck lines!  I have made the yoke a double layer, I just think it looks better that way.  The remainder of the bust dart was incorporated into gathers, and the bodice front was widened 3cm to allow for some draping and fullness.  I also made the back a little wider, basically cutting up the back dart and opening up 3cm there as well.  Originally I had added more width at the centre back, but when I did the toile it was too full, and I didn’t like it.  The yoke at the back also has twin needle tucks.

Silver Lining - blouse

But it’s the sleeves that really catch the attention!  That big poofy bit was cool to make!  I had fun with that.   First, I drew a line 5cm above the elbow line, then another 5cm below the halfway point between the elbow and the wrist.  That was to be the extent of the poof.  To keep that poof, however, you need a stay on the inside.  So I traced that bit of the pattern, adding balance points and grainlines, then divided it into 9 sections, adding 2.5cm between each piece.  This made a very wide section, perfect for lots of poof!  Then I added 8cm at the lower edge for “blousing.  Once it was toiled, I realised the blousing was hiding the cuff completely, so I chopped 3cm off, and now it works quite well.

The three sleeve sections, the top, the "poof", and the stay to hold the poof in place!

I really like this blouse, and am definitely going to use the pattern again to make more!

Poofy sleeve

Pictures are a little dark, I got daughter no 2 to take them after the sewing class today, we were way too busy to do it earlier!  It is amazing how busy a class with 6 people in it can be!  Here’s a peak at the class today:

Working hard today! And yes, that's me on the right at the back.
Yup, we're Burdastyle fans too!

So it is half term this week, Daughter no 1 will be galivanting with friends, except for Thursday when we head into Birmingham for another University interview and possibly a little fabric shopping at the Fancy silk store then straight home!!  Yeah, right!!  Daughter no 2 needs to start work on her prom dress, so guess what I’ll be doing..  playing with paper again!  Yay!  😀

Marching On with photos

Jersey dress, double jersey from Ditto Fabrics

Now I have the photos for this dress I realise I could do with the dress being a tad longer..  Lesson?  Make the pattern before buying fabric?  Make sure there is enough fabric before getting carried away making patterns?  Probably both to be honest, but I seriously doubt either is going to happen anytime soon!  I have a whole stack of fabric begging to be made up, so I will just have to made do!  😀

Flower is a brooch, detachable and changeable!

Oh, and it is Sewing for Pleasure at the N.E.C. at the end of March – if you are going, what are you going to buy?  Do you have favourite stalls to hit first?  I am looking forward to Rosenberg & son, Fabulous Fabric, Fabrics Galore, and of course, Gill Arnold.  I need to replenish my very dwindling interfacing supply.