Saturday, 6 February 2016

#VintagePledge - Style 4050 View 4

This is my first make for the #VintagePledge.

As I mentioned in my last post, the pattern is Style 4050, and this is View 4 on the far left.  

Let's talk a bit about the pattern first though.  It's a single sized pattern and was sold as already cut.  When I opened the pattern I was delighted to find that a previous owner had pinned View 3 together, maybe to tissue fit it.  I was stupidly excited about this because it felt like Time Team!  Little amuses the simple, eh!!

Apologies for the rubbish photo, it was taken on my phone.

Also, I love that the stitching lines are marked on the pattern.  I wish modern patterns did this, as it made it so much easier to measure the pattern for fit; but I suppose a multi-sized pattern would get very cluttered if the stitching lines were marked too.

My fabric is what was left over from my Tartan Shirt Dress.  I had 38" x 43" (97cm x 109 cm) of fabric so had to do a bit of pattern Tetris to get it to fit.  I ended up cutting it out on a single layer, and as the waistband folds over on itself, I only needed to cut one.  Apologies for another rubbish phone photo, and ignore the mess in the corner!  

I was delighted that the zip and waistband lined up perfectly on the first go,

and then I found this little buckle, so attached it.


 One side is attached with velcro so I don't have to un-do the buckle.

This skirt was so easy to make, that all but the hem was done in an afternoon! 


I like all the other Views as well, so don't be surprised if I end up making them too.  I recently did a stock-take on my fabric, and found quite a few left-over pieces of fabric that would be perfect.

Hope everybody else's Vintage Pledges are going well.

Have a great weekend,


Thursday, 28 January 2016


I've have enjoyed following the Vintage Pledge for the last two years; it's interesting to see new makes from old patterns, and there is so much sewing inspiration.  I haven't joined in though, because I have so may fitting issues with modern patterns as it isBut this year is different!  So here goes:

"I pledge to make at least two skirts from recently acquired 1970s skirt patterns."


There is a bit of background to this.  Over Christmas I had made a self-drafted skirt, which turned out to be a bit of a disaster.  I'm hoping to be able to rescue it, but at the minute it is having a think about what it's done.  Really, it was my own fault, because I drafted it from the skirt portion of my bodice block, which is a very different beast from a proper skirt block.

Anyway, lesson learnt, I drafted a skirt block.  I used my book from sewing school which is "Metric Pattern Cutting For Women's Wear" by Winifred Aldrich; and, honestly, this was so easy to do.  It took about two hours to draft and make a toile, which is a basic pencil skirt.

Then I had grand plans to draft a 70s style skirt with a pleat at the front, but remembered seeing some blog posts on round-ups for the end of the last Vintage Pledge, which got me thinking about vintage 70s skirt patterns, and how skirts are more forgiving in fit than dresses.  So I spent a happy hour or so lying on the sofa, perusing ebay, and came up with these beauties.

The first one is McCalls 3910, and I got it for £1.99. 


I love a maxi skirt, and what really sold this to me was the detail on the back.  It has two tucks sewn on each side of the centre back seam.

I am very excited about making this, and already have the fabric.  It's some black and white houndstooth suiting.

Apologies if  this photo is making your eye go funny, it's certainly doing it to mine!
The second is Style 4050, and it was £3.99.  This pattern has four skirts, and View 4 (on the far left) was similar to the pleated skirt that I had in mind.

I have already finished it, but just need to get around to taking some photos of it, so stay tuned!


Saturday, 16 January 2016

A-line/shift dress

I'm not sure what to call this dress?  Is it A-Line, is it a shift dress?  Google was no help.

I really should have moved that plant pot!
I'd been wanting to make this style of dress for a while.  I love this dress that I have saved on Pinterest,
and also Betty Stitchup's gorgeous version of Simplicity 3833. Inspiration struck when I saw the fabric on the sale table in The Spinning Wheel in Belfast.  You know how it's rude not to look at the sale table in the fabric shop...  Anyway, it was 60 inches wide, 1 metre 10 centmetres long, and I got it for £7.99.


I've no idea of the exact fabric type, after a burn test I'm guessing a wool mix.  It's double sided, but one side plucked pretty easily.  I'm not sure how easy it is to see, but there is a pluck just above the pin in the photo below.  Also, the pink isn't so pink in real life, it more magenta.  I much preferred the side at the top, which is just as well.

I drafted this using my block, and a book called Metric Pattern Cutting For Women's Wear by Winifred Aldrich.  This is the book I used at my pattern drafting class.

I just about managed to squeeze the pattern onto the fabric; but, oh my goodness, this fabric frayed everywhere!  There were even bits of it stuck to the wall!  I had to get the vacuum cleaner out when I was finished.


I lined my dress with some black viscose so it won't stick to my tights, and can confirm that it works perfectly.  It didn't even stick to the woolly tights I'm wearing in these photos.  I was planning to wear it with some black Agnes tops that I made recently, but was delighted to find that it goes with a purple Agnes that I made in the summer; and that's always a bonus!

In fact, I liked it with the purple top so much that I ordered some more of the purple fabric and made another one this week.

Have a great weekend, 


Friday, 8 January 2016

40s Style Black Dress

Recently I was wearing my first By Hand London Anna dress, and as much as I love it, it has seen better days.  Also the inside is like a dog's dinner.  I've long had a soft spot for 1940s style dresses, and thought it would be a good opportunity to make one.  By the way, I have absolutely no idea what constitutes a 1940s style dress, but I seem to like patterns that say they are that style: I even made a pinterest board.

I appreciate that the poor light makes it difficult to see the details in this photo, but I'm just glad that it wasn't too cold or raining!

I drafted this using my block, and basically just took a look at the styles I liked and came up with something that looked doable.  I liked the shoulder detail on my Sew Over It Vintage Shirtdresses (here and here), so used it; although I made a separate shoulder seam, whereas the Vintage Shirtdress shoulder is part of the back.


I changed the shoulder and waist darts into gathers, and added capped sleeves.  The yoke was a bit tricky to attach to the bodice, so I ended up sewing it in two steps.  I started at the middle point, and sewed out to the sides.  The skirt is shaped to the hips, and then flares out.


The fabric is called "Plain Maypole Polyester Crepe Suiting Dress Fabric Black", and is from Minerva Crafts.  It's lovely fabric; it's thick enough not to need lined, and is easy to work with.



I have to show you the buttons, which are just for decoration.  I got them at a craft fair in Belfast at the start of December, and they are made from silk kimonos from Japan.  The man at the stall was also selling kimonos, which were beautiful.  Did you know that kimono silk is woven on looms that are 13 inches wide (or maybe it was 14 inches!)?  I didn't!

I got seven buttons for £3.50, but I think I'll cut them off when I wash my dress and then sew them back on again.  I would be very sad if they didn't survive the washing machine.  The photos don't do them justice, as they have some yellow, red and blue in them; but they turned out to be hard to photograph.

I'm very pleased with how this dress turned out, and I think it will work with tights and a cardigan for winter, and also by itself in the summer.  Win!! 

Have a great weekend,


Sunday, 27 December 2015

Why I'm going to frog this jumper

I hope everybody had a nice christmas, or whatever you do at this time of year.  Personally I like to use my time to do all the crafting!  I finished a dress yesterday, and made an effort to do some knitting.  According to Ravelry, I cast on my Chuck jumper  on 14th January this year; the yarn is Cascade 220, the colour is Burgundy.  It stalled completely in about February/March with one sleeve and the neckband to do.  There was a reason for this.


I was taught to knit using the "throwing" method, where you hold the working yarn in your right hand, and use your thumb and first finger to wrap the yarn around the needles.  Now, this is an easy way to learn, but turns out to be pretty sore on the arms after a while!  My mum-in-law always boggled when she saw me knitting and showed me her way, which is tensioning the yarn around the fingers on the left hand - this is how I hold my yarn when I'm crocheting.  I just about managed the knit stitch, but couldn't get the hang of purling at all.

Then in March, when I was visiting my friend in England, friend's mum was knitting and tensioning the yarn around the fingers on her right hand.  Well, the scales fell from my eyes people!  This made perfect sense!  I tried it out on a sock I'd brought with me, and it was easy peasy.  So much easier on the arms, and smaller and neater stitches - which left me with a problem.  My basic sock pattern had to be re-worked to get the right fit, but that has been done and new socks have been made.

The bigger problem was my Chuck jumper (I just can't bring myself to call it a sweater!).  With my new knitting technique, my gauge would be different, therefore the second sleeve would be the wrong size.  About two weeks' ago I swatched with different sized needles, and got the gauge I wanted.  After three attempts - all because I had lost the ability to count - I got the sleeve head finished, but now I'm going to frog it. 


It's not too apparent in these photos, but in real life I can see a big difference between the new and old sleeves, and I'm not happy with the looseness of the stitches on the cable on the front.  I left it aside to mull it over, and cast on a sock, and now I know I'll be much happier with it if I start it again.  The yarn and the pattern are too lovely, and I know I'll not be happy with it the way it is now.  

So wish me luck!  I'll need to soak the yarn to get the creases out, but I'm pretty excited about starting this again.

I'll leave you with a photo of the sock I'm working on.  The pattern is called Lace And Cable Socks and is from a book called Socks From The Toe-Up by Wendy D Johnson.  Trust me to pick the pattern with three separate charts to follow!



Friday, 11 December 2015

Sew Over It Vintage Shirt Dress

I loved my first Sew Over It Vintage Shirt Dress so much, that I was already planning a second one as soon as the first was finished.

The curse of winter blog photographs strikes again!  These were taken in the back bedroom, which happily has less shadows than the kitchen.

I liked the idea of the version with sleeves for the winter, and used some stretch gabardine from My Fabrics.  I had some of this in blue/purple which I made this dress with.  


This fabric is lovely to work with, the only problem is that the stretch makes it a bit springy, and it absolutely refused to lie flat around the collar and plackets.  After a bit of head-scratching, I decided to top stitch the collar and plackets, and it made a big different.  Getting an even curve on the lapel was not easy though - let's just say that me and my stitch ripper are best friends...  I also top-stitched the cuff on the sleeves too.

My buttons are some black satin covered buttons from ebay.  I had bought these, and some sparkly buttons, and couldn't decide which I preferred.  I threw it out to Instagram, and the general consensus was black, so that's what I used.  I also put a backwards buttonhole at the waist.


There's not much more to say about the construction, as the pattern instructions are great, and it went together easily.  Except for when I ran out of thread.  One of these days I will remember to buy two spools when making a shirt dress!

I love the pleats on the bodice and skirt, they make a nice change from darts; and also the shape of the skirt.  I wouldn't be a bit surprised if I make another version next summer.

As I went to type this, I noticed that I now have 600 followers.  So thank you to everybody who follows me, and reads my ramblings!

Have a great weekend,



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,