Second Chances

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On the allotment

Hellooo, lovely patient people!  I have a load of gorgeous clothes to show off, if you follow me on Instagram, you’ll have an idea of what I have to catch up on!  The first will be a dress I made at the end of April for Daughter no 2, the last project for April’s Burda Challenge 2018.

denim dress 2

The pattern is #132 from April 2011, the dress in the magazine is made from leather, but we have a lovely piece of warm blue denim.  I’d bought the fabric from Rosenberg and Sons at the NEC about 3-4 years ago to make a little pair of dungarees for a child, but never got round to it…   Time to make something different!  There was only 1m, but it was just enough for the main dress pieces.  As the original dress was made in leather, there weren’t any facing pieces for the neckline and armholes, and no hem.  Cue lots of bias binding!

denim dress 4
Dress #132 Burda April 2011

I traced the 38, which is the smallest size this pattern comes in.  I only toiled the bodice, and this showed we needed a paper dart in the back armhole, and to take in the side seams under the arm by 1.5-2cm.  In order to fit all the pattern pieces on the fabric, I omitted the hem allowance and used a piece of wide bias binding to make a false hem.

denim dress 3

denim dress 1

The pockets in the front seams are cool, topstitched on, but could probably do with being a slightly different shape, deeper would be more practical.  The denim is perfect for the dress, the shape is held really well but the denim is soft, so it feels really nice.  The length is also just right, daughter no 2 doesn’t like skirts too short.  It was quick and easy to make, and I recon it would work really well in a heavier fabric for the winter – to wear with a long sleeved tee or thin jumper underneath.

collage denim dress 2

We had fun taking pictures of the dress, I needed to water the new plants on the allotment so planned to take photos there, but we found a fluffy friend!  She was very happy to be the photobomber.

collage denim dress 1

That was the last project for April, May started off badly – productivity wise – but ended on a high!  Of course, there was Me-Made-May going on in the background, which has been great this year.  I’ve been inspired!

A Hot Weather Dress

My sewing machine has been working overtime during the last week and a bit, quickly trying to make the last few things for Daughter No 1.  The departure for her planned travel to Asia, Australia & America has finally come.  Amongst the things I made for her (which I will cover in another post) was this dress.  She wanted something that would just hang, not cling, and be cool to wear in the tropical humidity of Thailand, something suitable for cocktails on the beach in Fiji & totally wearable when exploring Rodeo Drive.  It needed to have fullness, but not be a tent.  She didn’t want extra fullness in the front, hanging from the bust.  She drew me a sketch of what she had in mind, then left me to it.

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A sketch of the dress Daughter No1 wanted for her travels

I started with her close fitting bodice block, drawing a one piece dress block and then converting it to the lingerie block.  This involves reducing ease and doubling the size of the bust dart.  For the dress pattern the bust dart was moved to the underarm position.  I added a section to the side, from the waist to make the fullness.  The double darts in front and back were eliminated, but the back dart was effectively transferred into the centre back, making the back shaped and fitted.  I also needed a swayback adjustment of about 2cm.  I intended to use an invisible zip in the centre back, French seams throughout and self bias for the top edges and straps.

Collage Handkerchief Dress Toile
The toile in cotton. The swayback adjustment hadn’t been done.

The toile revealed that I needed a swayback adjustment, and that I needed to alter the fit of the top.  Daughter No1 wanted it a little looser.   I was concerned about the hang of the handkerchief section, but hoped that in the silk that we’d chosen that it would look a lot better.

Collage handerchief dress
Dress in progress, silk definitely drapes better than cotton! And the swayback adjustment worked a treat.

The silk was given to me by a friend, it’s got the most beautiful sheen and drape, but for me, it was just a little too bold.  However, Daughter No1 loved it!  The bands are a red and white hatched pattern, while the blue is actually purple and black.  I only had two metres and it was pretty narrow but we had just enough to squeeze the dress out.  I was worried that there wouldn’t be enough for the bias strips.  Thankfully that wasn’t the case in the end, I didn’t really need that much bias.  But please remind me that working with narrow bias in silk really isn’t easy, and tries the patience of anyone, especially when you’re up against the clock.

Collage zip
Putting an invisible zip into a french seam, reinforcing the area with fine interfacing.

I made the pattern on Saturday night, toiled it midday Sunday, made the adjustments and got cracking immediately.  It had to be finished by 11am on Monday morning!!  Needless to say I was still handstitching bias at 11am so we left a little late for the airport, but all was good, she loved the dress and stuffed it into the rucksack straight away!  I am hoping to see photos of it in far of exotic places on Instagram soon!  Here it is on Betty, my vintage mannequin.

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I love the drape at the sides, and the slight drop of the handkerchief hem.  I really do hope it sees lots of wear in the next 6 months!

Twenty Six Dresses

Daughter No2 cleaned out her wardrobe yesterday, and found she has 26 dresses, one more and she could have her own movie….  This is Dress no 26, using the multi-panelled bodice from the Simply Red dress and the 4-gored skirt from the True Blue dress, but this time not cut on the bias.

Dress #26!

The fabric is a black and turquoise print that was sent to me by a friend in America, one of her bargain buys from an estate sale.  Why don’t we have those in the UK??  The print has a real Eighties feel, so I’m calling this dress her “Footloose Dress”!

I love the way the skirt is so different from the Simply Red dress, just by changing the grainline and cutting the skirt in panels.

Another success!  The bodice on this and the previous two dresses is essentially the same, only the True Blue Dress has no panels, but it is in the skirts that all the difference really appears.  The Simply Red dress skirt was cut with the grainline parallel to the centre front and back, the True Blue Dress has a 4 panel skirt, the grain is on the bias.  For this dress I used the same pattern pieces for the skirt, but the grainline runs down the centre of each skirt panel, making it much more fluid.

Magic!

Do you play with grainlines too??

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??

 

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!  😀

 

 

 

Marching On

Brr, it’s been a cold week!  Snow last night falling on unmelted snow from last weekend has made for a pretty countryside.  But, not good for going outside to take photos of finished work!  On top of the cold, it has also been a different week.  Our most beloved kitty cat passed away on Saturday after being quite unwell, and I cannot get used to the emptyness of the house now that he has gone.  I am without his company as I sew, even if his idea of the best sleeping places wasn’t quite what I would have had in mind!

The best place for a cat to sleep - on my fabric and patterns!

Anyway, life for the rest of us goes on, and we definitely plan to have another fluffy family member soon!  In the meantime I have got on with another couple of projects.  I had some fabulous double jersey from Ditto in Brighton – these guys have some fab fabric, and have very nearly been the cause of me breaking a New Year’s resolution.  I had no idea what I was going to make with it when I bought it, I just had to get it while it was still available, and I figured inspiration would come later.

The fabric is great, but quite bulky, so many of the ideas were quashed.  It doesn’t do multiple pleats or tucks, definitely no gathers either.  So I thought something pared down with a detail in a contrast fabric would do quite nicely.

Jersey Dress

I ran up a toile for a two piece dress, and then coverted it for stretch fabric.  This means taking out a lot of the ease, which is not needed in stretch garments.  Toiling the stretch pattern was pretty simple, but as I didn’t have a fabric to toile in that was similar in weight to the jersey it was a bit of a flyer!  There were a few adjustments to make, but on the whole I had figured the fitting would have to be done on the garment itself.  So out came the fabric and on went the pattern pieces.  Well – some of the pattern pieces.

I had purchased 1.5m – plenty, I thought.  Nope!  Although the pattern was pretty simple, the sleeve is a bell shape and needed some space, and the fabric wasn’t as wide as I was counting on so, not enough!  AArgh!!  Thank goodness Ditto are quick off the mark with their first class postage!  And double thank goodness that there was still some of the jersey in stock!  I ordered online and only had to wait one day for an extra 70cm to arrive so I could cut the back skirt.  Thank you Ditto Fabric!!  😀

I used my overlocker on this project.  It went together like a dream, the only issue I had was the ruffle contrast.  I had started off with a black silk chiffon but it wouldn’t play ball.  As the ruffle got narrower it stood up on end, not quite the look I was going for!  So off it came and I rumaged around in my boxes for something else.  I discovered some light-weight black jersey that has done the job much better.  I used a rolled hem on all the edges, pulling slightly to get a more ruffled look, which disappeared the first time I ironed them.  :s

For fitting I ended up taking in quite a bit more on the sides, and shaping the back seam much more than I had expected to.  I do like the finished article, it is quite warm (needs a long-sleeved t-shirt in this cold though) and my favourite parts are the sleeves.  Definitely doing them again!  The only time I used my sewing machine was for the twin needle hems.

The flower is one I made using this tutorial from Wise Craft, it is such a fabulous little thing, I have made loads over the last few years.   So, photos.  I will get some done this weekend, and hopefully have the next project finished too!  Here’s a sneak peek…

Blouse with oversized polo placket