Saturday, 21 November 2015

Woodland Stroll Cape

This is the smug face of someone who has successfully made welt pockets and bound buttonholes!!  The pattern is Oliver + S Woodland Stroll Cape.  I first came across this in May on Sarah from Fabric Tragic's blog, and fell hard for it; then I discovered that Ruth from Nightingale and Dolittle had made a lovely version too.

This cape is shaped under the arms, to form what Andrew called "armlets", and the curve is held in place with a button.  Here's a particularly stupid photo of me demonstrating the shape.
I downloaded the pattern, and taped it together, but realised that it was going to be too long on me.  So I shortened it horizontally across the upper chest and below the bust.  I even made a toile, and was happy with it, but then I was starting my pattern drafting class; and then who wants to make a wool cape during the summer?

Of course, me being me, I couldn't leave the pattern as it was.  Sarah had mentioned in her post about the lack of facing at the buttonholes.  That seemed weird to me too, so I drafted a front facing - which meant re-drafting the lining, so I thought that I may as well draft a hem facing too.  Because, why not?!

I've recently been watching a Craftsy class on jacket tailoring.  It's called The Starlet Suit Jacket with Gretchen from Gertie's Blog For Better Sewing.  I really want to make this jacket and thought I try out some of the technics on this cape,  which is why it has the aforementioned bound buttonholes and welt pockets (after swearing I'd never make welt pockets again...).

I'm delighted with how they turned out.  The bound buttonholes are made using a fabric patch at the back instead of two welts.  This is the same method as in Gertie's Book For Better Sewing. 

This is probably a bit tricky to see in the herringbone fabric, but the front of a buttonhole is on the left, and the back is on the right.  On the right you can see the interfacing on the wrong side of the cape front, and then the fabric patch which forms the buttonhole.

This is the facing attached to the cape front, with the "windows" for the back of the buttonholes.  I used some cotton lawn for these, and they are then hand stitched to the back of the buttonholes.  It's not easy to see, but there is a finished buttonhole on the left in the photo below, and that's part of the hem facing with the button sewn onto it.


I used the Starlet Suit Jacket pocket pieces, and have finally got the hang of what to do the with little triangle bits!  Here's what the back of the finished pocket looks like. 

And here is the finished thing.  Words cannot express how much I love these pockets!


The fabric is some herringbone wool tweed from My Fabrics, and the lining is some peachskin from ebay.  The pattern calls for 1 metre of both, but I bought 1.5 metres of the wool which was enough for the facings, buttonholes and welts.

The lining was a bit of a faff to sew.  It was tricky to get the lining sewed at the underarm buttonholes (hence the puckers), but I'm happy with it. I had attached the facing first to finish the buttonholes, and had also understitched it.  The understitching really helped to get the facing to lay flat.  I tried to photograph it, but it was impossible to see in the fabric.  It seems that herringbone fabric hides a multitude of sins, including five different colours of thread!

And it turns out that capes are all the go this winter.  Who knew?!  I saw a gorgeous one in a shop in Belfast last week, but it was £171!  It was shaped at the shoulders like this one, but curved in an arch down to the hem, which I think would be easy to do with this pattern. In fairness, the fabric was absolutely beautiful and was woven in Ireland, but I think I'll give it a miss!

Have a great week,


Thursday, 12 November 2015

Purple Shirt Dress

This is one of those things that has been in the sewing queue for a while, so I thought I'd make an effort and actually make it!

I'll apologise now for this not so great photo.  It's getting too dark now to take photos outside when I get home from work, and I don't seem to get around to it at the weekend.  So we'll have to make do with these photos with weird shadows taken in my kitchen.  The two-tone wall behind me is from the work I got done in my house in September.  The bottom bit got re-plastered, so let's see how long it takes to get painted...  Feel free to admire my lovely new kitchen floor though!

There's not much to say about it's construction as it's basically the same as my Poppies Shirt Dress and Tartan Shirt Dress (gosh, I love that dress!!).  The skirt is my half circle skirt as on the tartan dress, but I only made the placket to the waist, and put a zip in the side seam.  I used my own how-do on adding a zip with a pocket, and was delighted to find that it made sense!

The fabric is some cotton sateen from Minerva Crafts.  I've also used this in red for my Arielle Skirt and Annalotte Dress.


The buttons are lovely, they have a silvery background and a black flower design on top.  I got them in Sew N Sew in Belfast; I can't remember how much they cost, but they were as cheap as chips, because everything is that shop. 

And that's pretty much it about this dress, but I am very excited about my next make which is all finished except for the buttons.  It's a wool cape, and if you follow me on Instagram you will have seen a few progress photos.  I'm just waiting for the Postie to bring me the buttons, and then I'll be ready to go!


Wednesday, 21 October 2015

Tartan pinafore

This is my second version of this dress, but without sleeves (obviously...).


I've had this fabric for a while, it's from Ditto Fabrics, and was £6.75 per metre. It's a polyester/viscose mix, and is lovely and soft. I got two metres, and still have enough left for a skirt. I bought it without a plan for what to make with it, and didn't know what to do with it for a long time.  Eventually it decided to become a pinafore dress.  

I had orginally planned to cut the skirt on the bias, but it turns out that this is an unbalanced check, and I thought it would look a bit mad.

I need to press the zip seam a bit better!
I changed the skirt a bit from the first version, and used the skirt from Tilly And The Buttons Megan dress from Love At First Stitch.  But, me being me, I decided to change it a bit too and added some height above the waist to allow it to finish under the bust.

I'm delighted with my print matching on this, especially on the collar.  I seem to be drawn to fabric that needs the print to be matched!  


I planned to make a long sleeved Agnes top in black to wear underneath it, and when the pinafore was finished, I tried it on with a light brown Agnes that I'd made a few months ago.  I wanted to see if I needed to lower the Agnes neckline before cutting out the black one, and was delighted to find that the pinafore goes well with the brown Agnes too!

The brown fabric was from ebay, and the fabric for the black Agnes is from My Fabrics and is the same as the fabric I used for these short sleeve Bronte tops.  I had ordered 2 metres and have another one cut out. I think this is my first Agnes with out the gathered sleeves and I made them 3/4 length by measuring the sleeve length and dividing by three, then folding the bottom third up.  I tend to end up shoving my sleeves up, so didn't see the point of long sleeves for this.  Then I was delighted to find that I had enough fabric for a short sleeve Bronte top too!  

I'm going to wear this to work tomorrow, I haven't worn it yet because I didn't want to get it wrinkled before taking my photos - does anybody else do that?!

Have a great week,


Monday, 12 October 2015

Deer And Doe Fumeterre Skirt

I fell for this skirt the second I laid eyes on it, then made a valiant attempt at talking myself out of buying it.  I decided it was similar to the Gabriola skirt pattern, (which my sister bought me for my birthday last year, and I still haven't made...) and if I really wanted it, I could ask Santa for it.  Then I saw Kerry's version, thought "who am I kidding?" and clicked on buy, and was glad I did when I saw Lizzie's version too.


I did a bit of mental stash-diving, and remembered some suiting fabric I'd bought on sale from My Fabrics.  It was originally £7.95 per metre, but I got it for £3.65 per metre.  I was initially not taken with it because I didn't really love the colour, but I'm glad I held on to it, because I've really come around to it.


I made Version B with pockets and a fly zip, and made two modifications.  The first was to shorten it considerably as I am small.  As has been mentioned by a few folks who have made this, there is no lengthen/shorten line on the pattern.  I didn't want to lose any of the width in the hem, so drew a line at a right angle to the grainline on each skirt piece to act as a shorten line.  It meant that I had to re-draw the seam lines a bit, but it all worked out.  This meant that I could have still used the hem facing pieces as they are, but I didn't see the point of a hem facing, and just folded the hem under twice and stitched it.  I didn't use the hem facings on any of my Belladone dresses either.

The second mod was to lower the waistband so it would sit at my natural waist.  I hadn't considered this until I read Kerry's post, and it seemed like such a good idea that I thought I'd try it myself.  I measured the waistband pieces, and the length is generous to allow for the elastic at the back, so I tapered the waistband side seams by 1/4" each, and it was grand.


I didn't really love how the waistband is sewn.  The instructions say to attach the inner waistband first, then the outer waistband.  I found it tricky to get a neat edge on the lower edge of the outer waistband, so would do it the other way around next time.  Oh, and I used 3/4" elastic instead of 1" elastic as on the pattern, because that was what I had, and it was fine.  I think I might have struggled to get 1" through the waistband. 

I briefly considered matching the stripes on the fabric, but thankfully I caught myself on.  I did match the stripes on the pockets though. I had planned to make this on my little Featherweight, but the fabric shifted everywhere when I was sewing the pockets; and after much unpicking, I used my own machine and walking foot. 

I love this skirt!  It's so swishy, and the elastic in the waistband makes it comfy to wear.  And doesn't love to twirl around pretending that they're Stevie Nicks? 

Ok, just me then...


Have a great week,


Sunday, 4 October 2015

The Magenta Addams Dress

This dress was finished two weeks' ago, but I'm only getting around to blogging it now due to all the work I was getting done in my house that I mentioned in my last post.  The work is  finished, and is lovely; but, oh my goodness, the mess was unbelievable!  I feel like all I've done this week is clean!  I had the presence of mind to cut out two jersey tops, Bronte and Agnes, and have been working on them on and off.  They got finished yesterday, and you can see them on Instagram here and here.

Anyway, back to the dress.  I have to talk about the fabric first, because I love it.  It's from My Fabrics and is called Bi-Stretch Gabardine.  As it's name suggests, it's gabardine with a bit of stretch because it has some spandex in it.  It's lovely to work with, and also to wear. This colour is called purple, but is definitely more blue.  I also have it in a rust red shade, and I think I'll make a long sleeve Sew Over It Vintage Shirtdress with it.

I drafted this from my block, and it was inspired by a dress I saw in the internet (which I can't get a link to work to!).  I loved the collar, and the shape of the dress, but it had princess seams, and I wanted to experiment with gathers under the bust.  Also, I loved that it was a bit Wednesday Addams/Magenta from The Rocky Horror Show, hence the name that my sister came up with last night.

The back has darts, and there are shoulder darts underneath the back of the collar.

I think my favourite thing about this dress is the sleeves, because they turned out exactly how they were in my head.

I slashed and spread the sleeve head to make the puffy sleeve head, and also slashed and spread the main part of the sleeve to widen it.  Here's what my sleeve pattern piece looks like, complete with idiot guide instructions for my future self!

The elasticated cuff is created using a 1 1/4 inch hem.  I pressed it up, then turned it in on itself and sewed it, leaving a gap for the elastic.  I was trying to work out how to best do this, and remembered that that is how the sleeves are finished on Megan Nielsen's Darling Ranges dress, so I just copied the instructions off it.

The collar was made from some white peachskin fabric from Minerva Crafts.  I didn't do a great job on pressing the seams, but the fabric was a bit tricky to work with, I can live with it though.  I think a point presser/clapper would have helped because it was tricky to get the iron into the ends of the seam, so I may have to ask Santa for one. 

The neck is faced with some white bias tape.  I thought it would be less bulky than a facing, and the white tape works well with the white collar.


I flipping love this dress, (as you can probably tell!) and am already planning a sleeveless pinafore version.

Have a great week,


Saturday, 19 September 2015

Annalotte Dress

I'm going to start off by saying that this dress is just not as great as I was hoping it would be, but I do like it!  It's a pattern mash of the By Hand London Anna bodice, and the Charlotte skirt.  I've seen loads of lovely versions, and thought it would be a good replacement for this Elisalex dress.  In fairness, I wasn't too thrilled with that dress either (bad fabric), but it didn't stop me wearing it for two winters!


The things I don't like are the bodice darts and the waist.  I had drafted the bodice from my Craftsy drafting class block, and made this Anna-Lou dress with it.  I've never been entirely happy with where the waist sits on that dress; but, of course, I didn't change it on my pattern piece...  Also, I think the top of the bust pleats are too close together.  It's not noticable on the Anna-Lou dress because of the spotty fabric, but I definitely notice it on this red cotton sateen.  This is the same sateen that I used for my Arielle skirt; sadly, it wrinkles like nobody's business.  I can live with it though, and it will be grand with a cardigan, but I shall be going back to the original pattern from now on.



But there is one thing about this dress that I absolutely love, and that is the accordion pleat that I drafted for the back of the skirt - which turned out to be more difficult to photograph than sew! 



I have made one Charlotte skirt as on the pattern, but it has only been worn a handful of times because I keep ripping the split at the back.  It turns out that I am utterly incapable of walking in a pencil skirt!  I drafted the pleat using the Craftsy class "Pattern Making Basics, The Skirt Sloper", and it was really easy to do.  Also, I am now a big fan of spray starch, which I used to press the pleat, and will be using on the rest of it too.

In other news, this morning I had to (brace yourselves...) tidy up the attic/sewing room.  It was neither fun, nor pretty; but it's done.  The reason is that I am getting the bathroom replaced next week, and the workies need access to the water tank in the attic.  The house is going to be upside down, because I am also getting a new kitchen floor and ceiling too.   

Wish me luck!  And have a great week,


Sunday, 6 September 2015

Tartan Shirt Dress

I'm blogging this out of order of making because I have another dress that was finished before this one, but I don't love the photos of it, so the tartan dress is going first.  And, also, because it is the tartan dress of amazingness!

The idea for this dress came from a similar tartan dress I spotted on the interwebs.  The tartan on it was Royal Stewart, and I found this Mini Royal Stewart tartan at UK Fabrics Online.  It was a total bargain at £4.99 a metre and 150cm wide, so I ordered 3 metres, and have enough left for a skirt.

The bodice is the same as my Poppies Shirt Dress, and the skirt is from my Hawthorn dress.  I wanted to try a separate bias cut button placket, and although it gave me a few headaches (I even dreamt about it!), I'm delighted with how it turned out.

I couldn't find anything about drafting separate plackets (bias cut, or otherwise) in any of my drafting books, and the only pattern I had with a separate placket was McCalls 6696.  I couldn't really make sense of the instructions on attaching the placket - although I think it would have made more sense if I actually had the cut out fabric in my hands - so, predictably, I winged it.

I won't bore you with my first idea, it was weird and difficult to explain; my second idea was a bias cut front and a straight grain back, which you can see below.  I interfaced the bias cut placket, and am very please with how it turned out.

I also made a bias cut cuff for the sleeves.

I ended up cutting it all out on a single layer so I could match the stripes; and as time-consuming as it was, I'm glad I did it. 

I really love this dress!  I can see it becoming a big favourite to wear in the winter, but I am still subbornly holding out and wearing my summer dresses.  They, and my sandals, don't get put away until the end of September!

Have a great week,