Sunday, 29 May 2016

Me Made May dress number 2 - Anna La Paloma

This was another dress that I saw on someone else and wanted to make my own version - Deborah, one of the contestants on last year's Great British Sewing Bee.

Google image search is really handy when it comes to tracking down fabrics which have been around for a little while and are therefore not the latest newest thing - and an etsy seller came up trumps.  I absolutely love the colours in it, I love the print and think it's a really happy fabric that just makes me smile!
Anna la paloma

It took a while to cut out though since I did try to vaguely pattern match along the skirt side seams.  There was a point at which I thought I'd cut out two skirt side back panels the same (rather than as mirror images), but they both looked OK and on-grain so I decided to chance it and sew them up rather than cut another panel.  I think they're fine - I was writing on each skirt panel as I cut them - I've found this helps when I'm not following the cutting layout for this pattern (which is not for one-way-print fabrics) and I suspect I just wrote the wrong thing.
Back view

Since this is not the first time I've sewn this pattern (others are here, here, here and here) this came together pretty quickly once it had been cut out and marked up.  I used the v-back alteration which I'd done for my Tropicanna, but with the bateau neckline at the front.  My Tropicanna dress is fine if I'm standing up, but has a tendency to slip off my shoulders if I sit down - not helpful!  Fortunately I have some spare fabric leftover from this dress and have now cut out a bateau neck front bodice, unpicked the original v-necked one and will be putting it back together again in the next few days.  The back bodice pattern piece which comes with the pattern gapes at the centre back on me (it could do with some shoulder darts to fit it properly), but the v-neck eliminates this, which is handy.
v-back neckline
This is cut as a size 12, except the front skirt which is a size 14 so that it lines up with the bust pleats - I've found the size 12 pleats come up too high and the size 14 ones are just right.

And now I have another Anna to sew up, and one more to alter.  Toodlepip.

Friday, 27 May 2016

Me Made May 2016 - dress no 1

Well... long time no see!  I can't believe it's nearly the end of May - this year seems to be flying by.

Inspired by Me Made May (the brainchild of Zoe Edwards), and the latest series of the Great British Sewing Bee, I've dusted off my sewing machine and started making dresses again.  I hadn't really lost my sewing mojo, it's more that the knitting mojo had been in overdrive since, hmm... September last year probably.  That and the fact that we haven't really had much warm weather yet this year (and it's nearly June for heaven's sake).  Also, knitting is much more portable and I've done a fair bit of travelling so far this year and it's much easier to pack a bag of knitting than sewing.

When I looked back through my sewing notebook I realised that I hadn't sewn a single garment since August last year.  I have done a fair bit of mending and alterations in that time though, mostly for other people, and also knitted three jumpers and seven cardigans for myself and three baby / toddler items.  It's not as if I haven't been making things, they've just been from sticks and string rather than fabric.  So I have a fair few blog posts to write - I'll catch up soon I hope.

Enough with the waffle, here is my first dress of the year.  When Roisin posted about her Rural Juror dress I knew I had to track down the fabric and make a dress from it for myself - I think it's an absolutely gorgeous print.  I'm sure I've seen other versions online too, but I can't remember where now.  I bought the fabric some time last year and have only this month got around to making it up.  Because it's a border print I cut the bodice slightly larger at the side seams to allow for the total lack of widthways stretch.  And as I had enough fabric to add sleeves, I did.
Version 1, with sleeves

However... I got as far as tacking the bodice lining in to place to take the photo above before I tried it on.  I've made two Emery dresses with sleeves which fit fine, so I wasn't concerned to try it on before this - I thought increasing the side seam allowance on the bodice would be enough to allow for ease of movement.  But it wasn't.  I could hardly move my arms in it at all because it had no give.  So I unpicked the armhole seam and took the sleeves out.  When it came to sewing the bodice and lining back together at the armholes I figured I'd do the turning it inside out on itself thing.  But that didn't work because I'd already attached the skirt and there was no way I was going to unpick that.  So instead the armholes are topstitched and I now have a dress which I can wave comfortably in.  Or remove things from high shelves.  Or anything else that requires arm movement.
Final version - sleeveless

I didn't have enough fabric to pattern match the back, but since I can't see it I'm not worried about it.

The back view

Now that it's finished I'm happy with it, but I do wish there hadn't been as much unpicking involved!