Sunday, 29 December 2013

Measuring up

Well, having blogged last month that I would probably make up this pattern in this fabric, I decided not to wait for spring and cut it out earlier this month. It’s a very quick make and I can see me getting a lot of wear out of this when the weather warms up. I love this fabric, which I bought on the Goldhawk Road back in the summer, it makes me smile whenever I look at it and I have some more in one of the other colourways – I haven’t decided what to use that for yet though.

I cut this as a straight size 12 and followed the pattern exactly except, as before, I just cut two widths of fabric for the skirt. Even with this narrower width fabric (45”) it’s plenty full enough and I got the whole thing from less than 2.5 metres which is a lot less than the envelope suggests is needed. I added fusible interfacing to the fold-back facings because I thought that the print might show through, which would bug me, it’s done the trick!

Looking at the photo of this I think I should probably adjust Myrtle (my dressform) in some way, because although she has the same vital stats as me she definitely looks thinner!

Pink tape measures
Now I have an Anna maxi dress to hem.  Toodle pip.

Friday, 27 December 2013

Check these out

Well, so much for getting a couple more posts in before Christmas.  Time just ran away from me but there is now a lull in the festivities between now and New Year, so time to catch up with the blogging.

I really like gingham but the fabric that I have sewn with so far hasn’t been great, so I’ve realised that actually I really like cotton gingham, and there doesn’t seem to be nearly as much of that around as the polyester & cotton gingham that the next three dresses are made from.

The first one is Vogue 8727 made with ⅛” gingham from Fabricland.  I bought this pattern mainly because I thought it would be a good starting point for recreating the shape of the Limb teadress which I blogged about last month.  I think with the NL6824 narrow skirt option and some self-drafted (should that be self-draughted? Hmm… not sure) cap sleeves it’ll work rather nicely.  This is a pattern which would have completely passed me by if I’d only considered the initial photograph, however, the line drawings showed that it had potential and so I bought it.  For its first outing I cut it according to the pattern and did view D in a size 14.  Which as I now know, turned out to be too big and so I had to do some fiddling around with the side seams to get it to fit.  Next time I’ll cut a size 12.

Vogue 8727

I love the shape of this dress and it can be dressed up (with a smart plain navy jacket) or down (on its own with some wacky jewellery) but is now put away for the winter since I don’t have enough wardrobe space to not have to pack away summer clothes in the winter and winter clothes in the summer.  As an aside, there was a thread on Ravelry which I came across whilst noodling about, asking how many dresses ravellers had.  So I did a quick count this evening – there are currently 26 rtw and 4 handmade dresses hanging in my wardrobe, so I reckon the total count (including summer dresses) is probably quite a bit higher.  I do love me a dress.  In fact I really like the one I’m wearing right now which I got in H&M a couple of weeks ago.  Let me see if I can get a link to it.  No, sorry, not on their website.  It’s black, sleeveless, just above the knee (probably half way up the thighs of a 5’ 10” model), fitted through the waist and bodice and with a flared skirt.  I may take a photo of it at some point, it’s a perfect go-anywhere LBD – I wore it out for lunch today and could just as easily wear it to work or for an evening out.

On to dresses two and three, both made in purple gingham fabric which I bought because 1. gingham and 2. purple.  However, these fabrics are truly unpleasant imo, they’re shiny, full of static and fray like be-atches.  So they have both become trial versions of patterns which I will be making up in better fabric later.  The 1” gingham is Simplicity 2444 (and yes, there is a seam down the bodice front, don’t ask me why I cut down the fold because I truly have no idea), and the ¼” is New Look 6567.

Simplicity 2444

New Look 6567

For both these dresses the sleeves feel a bit skimpily cut, so I might try them with the sleeves from Butterick 5813  which fit fine.  I don’t think I have weightlifters’ arms by any means, but they’re not stick thin either.  I’ll see how I get on, if it’s too much hassle I’ll probably stick to making sleeveless dresses, but as it’s winter I wanted some sleeves.  Or it could just be that the fabric has no give in it at all and cotton, with a bit of widthways stretch, will be fine.  The New Look dress is also surprisingly short.  So far, I’ve either hemmed dresses per the pattern instructions or chopped off between 5” and 7” of the length, but this pattern could do with being a bit longer – not much – just enough for the finished length to be at the cutting line, but it was a bit of a surprise when I tried it on.  It sewed up very quickly but once I put the sleeves in I found that they pulled the shoulders down, so when I make this up with ‘proper’ fabric I’ll probably cut either the square or the sweetheart neckline, because they have more fabric at the shoulders, and I might cut the back neckline a bit higher.

I have another gingham dress cut out waiting for me to sew it up which will also be a test version because it has several small flaws in it.  Not sure that anyone else would notice them, but I know they are there so it is a trial run for Simplicity 3673.  I’ve got some 1” gingham for the final version – I thought this pattern would be good for a version of the Peggy Olson check dress which has popped up on various blogs as part of Julia Bobbin’s Mad Men challenge – but that won’t get made up until next year.

Well that’s all for now, I hope to be back tomorrow.

Wednesday, 11 December 2013

Everything's coming up roses

Or more accurately roses, pansies and a mixed bouquet (aka I'm not sure what they are, other than flowers).

So, three floral dresses in today’s post.  The first one is Butterick 5748, a vintage reprint from c1960.  I really like the cut of this dress and will definitely be making more.  I started out cutting a size 14, but once I’d sewed it up, attached the skirt and put the zip in I tried it on and it was too big, so I unpicked it all and recut the bodice to a size 12.  I sewed the side seams up at ½” rather than ⅝” and took in more fabric on the waist darts.  I think I might have also taken the shoulder seams up as well.  I bought the fabric from A One on Goldhawk Road and could have just got this dress out of 3 metres except for the fact that I was picky about the pattern placement on the front bodice – but for a plain fabric, or one with a small all-over pattern 3m would be enough.

B5748 red roses

Dress number two is a New Look pattern 6723.  Again I cut a size 14 and had to cut it down to a 12.  I’ve done this a few times now, Partly because I’d rather cut too big and then take in, than cut too small and end up with a dress that I can’t wear.  Also, I think I had in my mind that because the Elisalex in size 14 was such a good fit, that is the size I should cut for everything.  But now that I’ve made a few dresses I feel more confident that, as long as there is enough wearing ease, a 12 will be fine, at least with the patterns from the big pattern companies.  The small independents don’t seem to follow the same sizing schemes so I’ll cut whichever size I think will be the best fit for those patterns.

Pink pansies

I didn’t bother to interface the neckline on this dress and I also fully lined it and made the sleeves a bit longer.  The fabric was a 3 metre coupon (not sure what the English word for this is – a 3m cut length) from Classic Textiles on Goldhawk Road.

Dress number three is another vintage reprint pattern, this time from 1946 – Vogue 8728.  And made with another 3m coupon from Classic Textiles.  I made the skirt 5” shorter than the pattern and actually cut this as a size 12.  It’s a reasonably good fit although the neckline is quite wide, so I need to either wear a bandeau bra under it, or go out and buy one that has transparent shoulder straps.  I’ll probably make this again because I like the design, but I might try it with a size 8 neckband next time to avoid the bra strap issue.  I also might line the midriff section another time.

V 8728 yellow floral

Tuesday, 10 December 2013

Hello again dear blog

Well, I don’t know where this month has gone so far, but I would like to get all the dresses I’ve made this year blogged about before 2014 so I guess I need to get a wiggle on and post more frequently  :-).  I’ll start with Elisalex from By Hand London.

I made two of these one after the other back in August.  I love this pattern, it is such a flattering style.  I’ve since made another one and got the fabric ready to cut out for a fourth but they will be for another blogpost.

Both are a straight size 14 and fit really rather nicely thank you.  Sewing the princess seams was a bit of a faff if I’m honest, but once they’re done it’s downhill all the way with the rest of the sewing.  I also cut them 7” shorter than the pattern which meant that I needed less than 2 metres of fabric.

The first one is made from fabric which I bought in Fabricland.  Their website is really not a joy to behold, but they do have a good selection, it’s reasonably priced and the shops are well worth a visit if you happen to be in the vicinity.


The fabric for the second one I spotted in Fabricland months ago, before I had started sewing again.  I’d gone into the shop to get some buttons, or something, and it was on a stand at the front of the shop and caught my eye.  I did fleetingly think, hmm, I could make a skirt out of that, but having had to wean myself from buying yarn because it’s just. so. lovely. and then once I’ve got it home and stopped petting it wondering what I’d actually make with it, I didn’t want to fall into the same trap with fabric, so it stayed on the roll.  Of course, once I’d made my first Elisalex, and also by this time seen a dress made up in this fabric in Brighton for over a £100, I decided I should really go and buy a couple of metres.  Well obviously because I hadn’t bought it when I first saw it, when I went back to buy some they had sold out so that was the end of that idea.  Until… I spotted the end of a roll in Toni’s on the Goldhawk Road in London.  More expensive (actually it would be fairer to say less cheap) than Fabricland, but still nowhere near £100 for a dress, and in fact enough for two dresses.  Cue big smile and a purchase.  So, here is Elisalex number two.  I haven't decided what to make with the remaining fabric yet though, but that's a lack of decision that I can live with.


That’s it for this evening folks - if there are any folks reading this of course ;-).  Will aim to back again tomorrow.