Wednesday, 23 April 2014

Lucky Elisalex - Sew Dolly Clackett

Two posts in three days!  What's that about?  Well, I'll tell you...


I finished a third Sew Dolly Clackett dress.  Like the second one, I hadn't planned for this to be an entry, but last night it was all finished except for the hem, and when I tried it on, I though it had Dolly Clackett stamped all over it.  I couldn't wait to get home from work today to hem it, get some photos taken and get them onto the Flickr group, because the competition closes tonight.  

The pattern is Elisalex from By Hand London.  This is my third version (the other two are here and here).
It was a bit breezy when I was taking my photos!
I'm calling this the Lucky Elisalex because I think the print looks like four-leaf clovers, and also it came together without a hitch.  The fabric is some African Wax cotton that I bought on here on ebay for £4.99 about two weeks' ago.  I thought the stiffer wax cotton would be good for the shape of the skirt, and it turned out I was right!


I underlined the bodice with some cotton lawn and the skirt with some polycotton, and used bias tape as the facing.  I also added pockets using the pocket pattern pieces from good old Simplicity 2444.  I fully expected them to make the skirt sit strangely, and that I would have to cut them out, but they are great!

I've really enjoyed taking part in this sewing challenge, and I've loved seeing all the entries on the Flickr group; there is so much inspiration and new blogs to follow!  Good luck to everybody who has entered; and more importantly, good luck to Roisin and Nic for their up-coming wedding!


Sunday, 20 April 2014

The Musical Differences Peony - Sew Dolly Clackett

Happy Easter everybody!  I hope everyone is enjoying the Easter holidays.  Here in Northern Ireland we get Easter Monday and Tuesday off work, so I don't have to go back to work until Wednesday.  The weather has been lovely all last week, and the forecast is looking good, so it's sewing and gardening for me!


This is my second Sew Dolly Clackett dress.  I hadn't planned to make more than one, but I was half way through making this when I realised it would fit the bill.


The pattern is Colette Peony.  I made this one before Christmas, and had ironed out all the fitting issues, so thought that all I had to do was cut it out and sew it up.  Turned out I was wrong.

I was merrily sewing away, put the zip in and tried it on, and there was a big bulge across the centre of my back.  I didn't think to take a photo of it because I was so cross.  Mr BB calls it The Pendulum Of Crafting, were one minute it's "Look what I made!  I'm a crafting genius!", then the next minute it's "Sweet child of mine, this is biggest, hottest mess in the history of creation!  I couldn't even sew on a button!".

It's not pretty...
 I did do the sensible thing though, and walked away from it for a day; I learnt my lesson on my Pastille dress.  What I really needed to do to fix it was to make a Sway Back Adjustment of 1.5 inches, but I didn't have enough fabric left to cut out two new backs, so I removed a wedge of fabric at the waist at the bodice back.  The photo above shows what I mean.

I'm now wondering if this was caused by this version not having sleeves, because my tartan version does.  I don't know.  Anyway, I didn't want to trim off the extra fabric in case I had to fiddle with it a bit more.  It doesn't look as bad as I thought it would at the back (which says a lot!), but I think the busy print helps.  I've ordered a green belt on ebay, so it should hide the disastrously unmatched seam at the waist. 


I'm calling this the Musical Differences Peony because way back when I was a teenager, there was a music magazine called Smash Hits; my sister and I loved it.  It was full of silly phrases, including for when a band split up.  They would say that it was because of "musical differences" instead of that they had all got too big for their boots, and had fallen out with each other.  Anyway, my sister and I always refer to any falling out of any kind as musical differences.

There are lots of things that I like about this dress though!  The rest of it fits beautifully, I drafted an all-in-one facing which I'm very pleased with, and I love the groovy 60s style fabric.


It's called Paisley Jungle Green, by Kaffe Fasset, and I got it from Fancy Moon.  It was £13 per metre, and I bought 2.5 metres to allow for matching.

I also like the green polka dot ribbon I used on the hem.  I think it clashes with the print in a good way.

If me and the Peony pattern make friends again (which I hope we do - I don't like fall outs, and I love the skirt on this pattern), I'll maybe try and cobble it together with the back of Simplicity 2444, because it fits me perfectly, with or without sleeves.

Today is it's first outing as I am now off to my Mum and Dad's for some Easter dinner.  Mmm...
Have a great week,


Saturday, 5 April 2014

Coco The Second

As the title suggests, this is my second version of Tilly's Coco pattern.  I was wearing it today with jeans and a leather jacket when I went into Belfast with my sister and our friend.  The leather jacket was a bit of a mistake because it was an unseasonable 16C today - that is warm for Belfast, and I ended up having to take my coat off!  In my defence, it was pouring with rain when I got up this morning.


Anyway, back to the top.  This time I made the top length with the funnel neck collar, 3/4 sleeves and cuffs.

My fabric is Ponte Roma from Plush Addict, it was £9.50 a metre and I bought 1.5 metres.   

I've said it before, but the instructions on this pattern are fantastic, the funnel neck was a breeze to sew.

I made this before Tilly posted her tips on stripe matching, but it I did it the same way.  Would you have a look at how those side seams match!


I did a Sway Back Adjustment of 2 cms, but I could probably take a tiny bit more out.  I didn't realise the collar wasn't sitting properly when I took my photos!

This is such an easy make.  This one probably took a bit longer than my first one, but that was because of matching the stripes.  I think I'm a convert to knit fabrics! 

In other news, my old faithful and beloved iron has finally died.  It was a wedding pressie from my Aunty and Uncle, and it was the best iron ever: it breezed through the creases - can you tell I'm one of those sad people who actually like ironing?!  It was nearly on it's way out a few years ago when the cable got frayed, but my Daddy came to the rescue and put a new cable on it.  Lately it had been taking longer to heat up, and finally gave up last weekend. 

I had been looking at new irons for a while, and settled on a Philips InstantCare (my old iron was Philips too).   It's the kind with a separate water reservoir.  I got it on Amazon, as it was about £50 cheaper that anywhere else.

 I used it earlier on, and it breezed through the creases too!  Although I haven't got the hang of the steam generator yet, but I'm sure I'll sort it out.  The only thing is that the water reservoir is big, so it takes up a lot more storage space than a normal iron, which has just inspired me to clear out the Aladdin's cave of rubbish that is the cupboard under the stairs!

Have a great week,


Sunday, 30 March 2014

Manu Cardigan

This is the Manu Cardigan by Kate Davies.  I've been wanting to knit this for ages; in fact, I think I started it before, but my yarn was too thick and it got frogged.  I'm delighted with how this one turned out though.

The photo above is closest to the real colour, the rest of the photos look deceptively pinkish (I'm still trying to get the hang of my new camera!).  The yarn is Rowan Felted Tweed DK, this colour is called Rage.  I got it from Attica just after Christmas, it was in the sale, but I can't remember how much it was now.  I bought seven skeins, and used six and a bit.  It is gorgeous yarn, it was lovely to knit with, and it has little different coloured flecks through it which you can hopefully see in some of the photos.

In these photos I'm wearing it with my Pastille dress.  I had originally lengthened the skirt, but I wasn't happy with it; I thought the length was a bit frumpy looking, so I added another pleat to shorten it, and am happier with it now.  Anyway, back to the cardigan.


It's knit in one piece from the bottom up.  You start off with a provisional cast-on, and knit up to the underarms, shaping it at the waist.  The sleeves are then knit separately, attached to the body, and the shoulders are worked with wrapless short rows.  Being a visual learner, I had a bit of trouble understanding the short-row instructions, as they are different to the Wrap-and-Turn short rows that I've done before.  But around the time I was getting to the short rows, Ysolda posted this great video on these type of short rows, and it was just what I needed.  It explains them beautifully, and I was short-rowing like nobody's business!  


The neckline is decreased with these lovely pleats.  They were weren't difficult to knit, but were a bit fiddly, which made them very time consuming.  I had seen on Ravelry that some folks had mirrored their pleats from the centre back, and it looked really well; but I was pretty sure I'd make a horlicks of that, so I did them as on the pattern.  

The pockets are added at the end by picking up stitches from across the top of the garter stitch band.  The two side seams of the pocket are then hand-sewn to the cardigan front.

I had a bit of trouble understanding the instructions for the i-cord edging, so I used this tutorial I found on Craftsy.

The buttonholes are made within the i-cord edging.  I had lovely wooden buttons in my tin that I wanted to use, but I only had three of them; so I got these buttons from Totally Buttons.  I liked the circles on them, I thought they looked a bit like shamrocks. 

I made the smallest size, and used 3.25mm needles for the body.  This is smaller than recommended on the pattern, but seemed to be quite a common thing on a lot of Ravelry projects.  I stalked Ravelry when making this.  Seriously, what would knitters do without that site?!  Here's the link to my Ravelry page for this.  I also used smaller needles for the garter stitch (3mm) and the i-cord edging (3.75mm), I wish I used slightly larger needles for the edging though.  The only mods I made were to shorten the body and the sleeves a bit.

So that's my Manu.  Quite a few Ravelers said they found the stocking stitch a bit boring to knit, but I loved it because it was easy TV knitting.  I'm really pleased with how it turned out, and expect to wear it a lot, as it goes well with quite a few of my dresses. 

And I've already started my next knitting project.  It's a shawl called Whippoorwill.  When I was watching The Great British Sewing Bee a couple of week's ago, Lynda (who I so want to win!) was wearing this beautiful rainbow coloured shawl.  A bit of Twittering lead me to the pattern on Ravelry.

I'll do a proper post on it once it's finished, but I have a question for my knitting readers.  My yarn is superwash Malabrigo Sock Yarn, the purple and yellow in the photo above.  I'm making the main part of the shawl in purple, and the contrast in yellow (the opposite to what's in the pattern photo).  I'm a bit worried about the purple dye running into the yellow when I come to block it.  I'm going to knit a stripey swatch and test-wash it before blocking the real thing, but I'll probably spray the shawl with water, rather that soaking, it when I block it.  I was wondering though if anybody had come across one dye colour running into another, and how/if they fixed it.  I would really appreciate any help.  Thank you!

Have a great week,


Monday, 17 March 2014

Sew Dolly Clackett - The Dolly Mouse Dress

Happy St Patrick's Day everybody!  I hope you're enjoying your day.  I certainly am as I have the day off work.  It meant that I had time to monkey about with a new look to my blog last night.  Good old St P! 


I thought this would be a good day to show you my Sew Dolly Clackett dress. 

Actually, this dress has been in the planning for the best part of a year, Sew Dolly Clackett was the kick in the bum that I needed to make it!  The fabric is red polka dot cotton lawn that I bought last Spring.  It's the same fabric I used for my Colette Crepe dress, I got it on ebay, but can't find it now.

The pattern is a heavily modified version of View A of Butterick B5603I made this last year for my friend's wedding.  Ages ago I stumbled across the gorgeous dress below on the internet.  I pinned it to my Dresses Board on Pinterest,  but unfortunately it doesn't seem to be available any more.  It's from a shop called Dig For Victory.  Their dresses look gorgeous!  The bodice reminded me of B5603, and I loved the pleated skirt, so I thought I'd have a crack at making something similar.
Source - Dig For Victory

Here's how I altered it:

Main bodice

B5603's original bodice has a separate neck band, but I extended the shoulders of the main bodice out to the width of the neck band, and shaped it down to the centre front of the main bodice, as I found the neckline to be a bit high on me on the original pattern.  I also did away with my original bust dart from my full bust adjustment using this tutorial from Lazy Stitching

I extended the main bodice out on the back to the same width as the back neck band so the back is all one piece.  I also changed it so the zip went in the centre back because me and V shaped facings don't get on very well.

Lower bodice

I'm really pleased with how this worked out!  There are four skirt pieces, and I merged them into two - one front, and one back.  The waist line is marked on some of the skirt pieces, and it's easy to see on the others as it's where the skirt flares out.  I drew in the seam allowances, and on the front pieces, I overlapped the seam allowances, drew along the waist line, and added a seam allowance at the bottom.  I did the same on the back, but also eliminated the back dart.  I made a toile of the bodice, and it fitted first time!



Now, you'd think a pleated skirt would be an easy thing to make, especially after all the complicated alterations to the bodice.  You'd be wrong: this took me about four times longer, and it was all down to my appalling maths.  My fabric is 60 inches wide, and I wanted to use one width for the front, and two half widths for the back.  I calculated for about half an hour one lunchtime last week, then an hour and half that night.  It was all wrong because I had managed to multiply my half bodice pattern measurements by four instead of two.  I could have wept!  But it did explain why I couldn't get the big pleats I wanted.  Some more calculating the next day at lunchtime, and it eventually worked.  



I drafted these all-in-one facings, and I think they're pretty snazzy, even if I say so myself!  I'm also pleased with my interfacing.  I used this technique from Vicki Kate, (scroll about half way down)  it's genius!

So that's my Sew Dolly Clackett dress.  I'm calling it the Dolly Mouse dress because this bodice will now be the Dolly bodice (there will be more!), and the red polka dots are the same as Minnie Mouse's dress.

Don't let that sunshine fool you, it was freezing!
In true Roisin style I took my photos on my front door step, and you can see all the entries in the Flickr group here.  I'm looking forward to seeing what everybody makes.

Have a great week!


Sunday, 9 March 2014

The two-for-one post

I thought I'd combine both these makes into one post, as I've made other versions of both quite recently.

The first one is the Deer and Doe Airelle blouse (version one is here).


I made this with some chiffon type fabric that I bought in The Spinning Wheel in Belfast.  It was £12 per metre, but I got in the sale for £6 per metre.  It's gorgeous; but friends, let me tell you the definition of madness - making a Peter Pan collar from chiffon.  It was a nightmare!  I'm please with how it turned out though.


I pre-treated the fabric first using a technique I read about on Sew Buzy Lizzie's blog (which had come from Lena at The Sewing Space).  It involves soaking the fabric in a gelatin solution, which is then washed out once you've finished sewing.  Click on the the links for all the details. 

I found the gelatin trick worked really well, my fabric wasn't like cardboard, but it was definitely easier to cut and sew.  I would recommend using a rotary cutter to cut it though - I wish I had done it!  I dread to think how that collar would have turned out if I hadn't used gelatin!


I had a bit of trouble understanding the instructions for the neckband facing - I used bias tape on the first version.  I ended up sewing the two short ends together as in the above photo.  Apologies for the rubbish photo (I took it on my phone) but this worked for me, and I thought it may help someone else.

I underlined the front and back with white cotton lawn, I left the sleeves unlined and sewed a french seam on them.  The only alteration I made from the first version was to make a Full Bust Adjustment of 2cm.

My second make is the Sassy Librarian Blouse from Craftsy.  My first version is here

This fabric was also from The Spinning Wheel, it's called Peachskin, it's 100% polyester and was £7.50 per metre.  It looks quite pink in the photos, but it's more purple in real life.  I love this fabric!  They also had it in red, so I might have to buy it next time I'm in.  I used the gelatin trick on this, and it worked beautifully, and I also cut it with my rotary cutter. 


By the way, I didn't make this skirt.  I bought it in TK Maxx years ago, and I would say it's my favourite skirt.  I love it's 70s "Oh, my retinas!!" print; and if it looks a bit creased in the above photo it's because it's linen, and I was wearing it to work the day I took these.

I raised the back of the neckline, after having lowered it on my first one; and I think you can see the pleats and darts more clearly on this plain fabric.  I love my buttons, they were from Sew N Sew in Belfast, and I think they were about 4p each - you can't say fairer than that!

Have a great week!