Wednesday, 12 November 2014

In the land of grey (leaves) and pink (birds)

Two dresses here, one (the grey one) I actually made in November last year, but have only worn once because of an accident with the pinking shears.  It's a combination of two New Look patterns - 6824 skirt & 6723 bodice and why I decided on that particular combination I really can't remember now.

Grey leaves dress
As I was trimming the back seam I managed to snip the dress - arrrgghhhh!  I decided to fix it with some fusible interfacing - since I hadn't actually cut any of the fabric out of the dress I thought this would be a good way to glue it back together.  Actually, I thought it was a brilliant idea and felt quite smug that I'd thought of it.  And it worked.  No-one would know there had been an accident except me.

Unfortunately... once it had been washed in the machine the interfacing came partially unstuck and took some fabric with it and there was a definite hole in the dress so I put it to one side knowing that it would need a more substantial repair.  And it has stayed put aside for months.  I was really quite pissed off about it because I love this fabric, I bought it ages ago in Ikea and of course they don't sell it now.  I only bought one metre which is why the centre of the bodice is plain grey - there wasn't enough to make the whole dress out of it.  I have got a few offcuts left over and I think I'll have to make a feature patch to sew on top of the offending hole - I haven't thought of any other way of making an invisible repair.  If it had been a gatherered skirt I'd have unpicked it at the waist and just cut the back pieces narrower, but it isn't.  I've ignored it all summer but since it's now definitely grey dress weather I think I need to get creative - maybe I'll cut out one of the leaves and applique it on - the hole is at the top of the back vent so I'm hoping this will look OK.

The second dress is from some fabric that I bought at Ditto in Brighton in the summer.  I nearly bought it in a blue, but then spotted the pink and decided that I preferred that.  This dress is an Elisalex bodice with an Emery skirt although without the pockets because I didn't have enough fabric.  I love it, it's so summery - which means it's now been put away for the winter, but will make me smile when I unpack it next spring.

Pink birds dress

Tuesday, 11 November 2014

Scandinavian birds dress

I've had this fabric for a few years now (it has 2008 on the selvedge) and just couldn't decide what to make with it - since it's 60" wide and I bought three metres of it there were lots of possibilities!  In the end it came down to - you really like it, just make it into a dress woman, look through your pattern stash for a pattern which needs 3 metres of 60" wide fabric.  And the one I settled on was McCalls 5764, from 1961.

McCalls 5764
I did make a few modifications though.  I took the centre seams out of the bodice pieces so as not to break up the print, moved the zip to the side and cut the front neckline straight, without the V cut-out.  I also cut the skirt pieces on the fold, and cut them 5.75" shorter.  I used white lawn for the facings so as not to have print showing through from the wrong side and top-stitched the neckline.  I'm really pleased with how this dress has turned out and I really like the pattern, I'll definitely make more with this one.  Not sure I'd describe it as an "instant" dress though!

Ikea green birds dress

Tuesday, 4 November 2014

My sewing space

I've been meaning to write this post for ages and the instagram challenge organised by bimbleandpimble has spurred me on.  So, on Sunday I spent some time organising my space (well quite a lot of time actually) and taking some photos of it in its pristine tidy state, before I started spreading patterns, fabric, scissors and all the other bits and bobs about and it looked like it usually does - a bit of a higgledy piggledy mess!

This is my sewing table in its usual configuration.  Myrtle the dressform is in the corner and there is a daylight lamp clamped on the edge of the table for evening sewing.  Also lurking in the other corner is my steam generator iron - great for ironing - especially since it switches itself off if not used for 10 minutes, not so great when it comes to descaling it, which frankly is a faff.


Machines - four - well five actually, but four sewing machines.  A Singer which my mother gave me years ago when she bought herself a Bernina.  I usually keep this threaded up with white cotton.
Singer 99k
This was the machine I used in my childhood and I'm very fond of it.  Next the Bernina, which my mother gave me last year when I took up sewing again and asked her advice on machines. 

Bernina 801 Sport - why?  What is sporty about a sewing machine?
The third machine is a Janome which I bought when I took the Singer and Bernina in to be serviced and couldn't be without a machine.  I bought this particular model because it was the one I used at the By Hand London sewalong last year and I'd found it easy to use (except for the presser foot lever not being at the centre back - why? but that is a minor niggle).  It's also easily the most lightweight of my sewing machines.
Janome Sewist 525S

And finally, a Cooper which I bought purely because I love the colour, which is richer than it looks in this photo, and also I suppose because I fancied having a manual machine.
Cooper - don't know the model name, but look at the lovely colour
My fifth machine is an overlocker which I was given recently by a lovely lady in my local knitting group who is moving and hadn't even taken it out of the box.

Husqvarna Huskylock S15
Really Useful Boxes - these live up to their name and I use them for storing patterns,

One of two boxes full of patterns, with a rail of ironing-as-art on the right ;-)
sorted by colour
 and a box each for my mending & alterations, and leftovers.

stuff to be dealt with in these two

Also in the photo above are my kneepads, an essential bit of kit for cutting out on the floor.  It's great not having carpet - easy to either sweep or hoover up all the stray threads, but it is hard on my knees, so these are invaluable.  On top of the boxes is my sleeveboard and also a totally invisible French curve (but I know it's there).

Other storage - this drawer unit is sold by Ryman's as stationery storage, but as you can see that's not what I use it for.  It's really handy to be able to see exactly what's in it!  Top drawer is bias binding, a tape measure, glasses, tracing wheel, pens, needles and various other odds and ends,

 middle drawer is Janome bobbins, presser feet, marker pencils, tailors' chalk and unpickers,

 bottom drawer is for my scissors and pinking shears.

This container I bought a few weeks ago just because I loved the look of it, without any clear idea of what I'd use it for.  Fortunately I already had a yellow bucket which fits nicely inside it, otherwise I'd have had to make a lining for it.  At the moment I'm using it to store thread which I use for tacking (can't bring myself to call it basting - that's what you do to meat).

Here we have my fabric stash cupboard

Fabric organised by metreage - longest lengths on the bottom shelf

and on top

The yellow box is full of cards of buttons, the beige plastic box contains Bernina presser feet, bobbins and other bits and bobs, the miniature Singer machine has Singer bobbins in the wooden storage bit underneath it, and my pressing ham - I wouldn't be without this.  The green stripey tin has all my zips in (and the picture on the lid is my avatar picture), the brown wooden box is full of tapes and ribbons and was my grandmother's, and the floral tin contains all the other odds and ends like hooks and eyes, poppers, safety pins etc.

And finally my thread rack, in all its rainbow-coloured glory.

And I think that's everything!