So, First thing I want to say is sorry for the massive blackout in posts recently, I have been so busy away from my sewing machine! The big news is that I just got engaged! I’m so excited and just like any creative person would be, I am elbow deep in wedding planning already. For an avid amateur dressmaker the prospect of a wedding means something massive. It means the chance to design and make my wedding dress (I know some people say it’s bad luck but I would hate having to wear a shop bought dress on one of the biggest days of my life).
After browsing some bridal catalogues and getting an idea of what kind of dress I might like I decided that strapless and tea-length were my two key wants in the dress. I also wanted silk because it is going to be a summer wedding and I don’t want to be sweating away in a synthetic fabric dress!
Normally I stick to Vogue patterns because I prefer their fit but I just couldn’t find anything girly enough in their formal range (it was all a bit to sleek) so I am going to start with SImplicity 3878 in view D (the one in the photo).
The colour scheme for our wedding is yellow and purple (blueberries and custard as my mum would say!) so I am wanting to have white dress with a yellow lace overlay but I’m still looking for a good balance between quality and price in terms of lace!
If any readers have ever made a wedding dress I would love to hear their experiences in takling the nicest dress a girl ever gets to wear!
Sorry for the lack of posts for a while I have been away from my sewing machine on holiday! I return with a review of this fabulous pattern Vogue 1248 which I made for the second time shortly before going away.
This pattern is by Andrea Katz and is in my opinion a fabulous balance of eye catching shape and practicality.
The pattern was classified as advanced (the first time I had attempted such a pattern) but it really wasn’t too difficult at all. I made the whole outfit in black linen earlier in the year to wear to give a seminar while on a research visit and just recently I made it again in white cotton as a great summer outfit.
The hardest part of this pattern in my opinion is the collar. It has three layers on top of the base and is also quite high making it quite bulky and hard to do up if you are not a giraffe! I adjusted for this when making it for the second time and removed the interfacing in the collar sections (the thickness of the fabric is enough to keep it in place).
The long pronged snap fastenings on the shirt are a fun feature (I have never had to take a hammer to my sewing before) but they really give it a professional edge.
The skirt is the conversation piece of the outfit. The belt/sash is made to look like the sleeves of a shirt tied round the waist which adds an artistic edgy feel to the look. The way they wrap around the waist several times before tieing at the front or the back are reminiscent of a japanese kimono.
My favourite part of the skirt ar the pockets. Instead of being stitched to the outside of the skirt on completion, they are incorporated as a separate section where first a bag is made and then stitched into the opening left on the side of the skirt. It is a neat construction and leaves a polished finish.
Overall I have to say that this is one of the best patterns I have ever made up and would recommend it to anyone!
Here is a picture of me in the white cotton version of the skirt whilst on holiday this year:
It took time (although not as long as I thought) and perseverance (although not as much as I thought, except the part where I made a mistake and had to unravel 20 rows!) but the dress is finally done! I didn’t put on the collar as I felt it was too fussy and with the yarn I had used I thought I would have great difficulty getting it over my head. I did some rather extensive blocking to stretch the dress into an appropriate size and I still think it is more of a tunic (clearly I am not as bold as a girl from the 60s!)
I think it has come out rather well! It certainly preserves the 60s/70s aesthetic and the colour is bang on trend both for the SS13 and AW13 collections on the catwalk.
Sorry for the long break in posting, I have been moving house and hence have had to contend with the usual switch-over time before getting the phone line up and running!
In the meantime I have been busy sewing and creating and I have completed my pleated top in time for the sun to come out!
I decided to have a one inch pleat about every four inches, although I followed the stripes in the fabric rather than the exact measurements. I decided to line the top with a yellow viscose jersey (very stretchy) to make it secure (very important in a strapless top). I calculated the stretch in the jersey and cut it so that it would fit over my shoulders when completely stretched.
I pressed the pleats into the striped fabric before beginning and then hemmed the bottom by hand and pressed it again.
I attached the lining and top together and added a snap fastening for the striped fabric as it has no stretch to it.
I love the way it turned out although if I were to make this again I would use bigger pleats to give a more flared look!
In April I was going away and so I treated myself to a copy of Vogue to read on the plane. I love leafing through the glossy pages and the UK April edition had some fantastic editorials. I have read that issue so many times now and every time I read it I get more inspiration! Since April I have bought a couple more issues but they are not so beautiful as that edition.
In the editorial entitled “Plain Song”. They explore soft clean white and neutral lines and I fell in love with this top here by “JW Anderson”.
I had recently purchased some striped yellow and black fabric and I think this could be perfect for making a similarly pleated boob-tube.
I am going to have the stripes lying up and down parallel to the pleats and inside I will face the top with some jersey fabric to add a bit of extra fit. I haven’t quite decided on the type of fastening to use at the back but I will probably go for a few large poppers. The fabric should probably be opaque enough to do a single thickness top (as long as it is worn with a bra that is!) but I will have to see. I will experiment with the width of the pleats but currently I am planning on having two inch pleats every four inches around. I’ll keep you posted!
It has been a couple of weeks since I started my “All Tied Up Dress”. I needed to have a big stash clear-out and although a little dress like this doesn’t go far to use up fabric I managed to use some of the fab pieces of fabric I have lying around particularly a great piece of vintage star wars sheets which I used for the back skirt and some of the back ties! At the front I used a red white and blue starry fabric that I bought as a remnant on Etsy a while back (I think maybe this was also from some old sheets). All the bits for which I didn’t have fancy fabrics I filled in with plain pure cotton fabrics that I had lying around (mostly because I always err on the side of caution when buying fabric for shop bought patterns and end up with metres and metres too much).
I didn’t line any of the dress apart from the tie back and front facing to keep it nice and cool for summer and I made it a slightly long mini so it is always easy to wear without tights!
Once I managed to find time to sew, it was quick to make up and I will definitely use the pattern again! The only downside to this dress is it is almost impossible (without acrobat-like flexibility) to reach to tie up all the back yourself!
So, I haven’t posted in a little while so I am going to tell you a little bit about my current favourite piece of clothing. I don’t know how best to describe what kind of clothes it is but I guess I mostly wear it as a vest. The pattern is from a great designer and it is free on ravelry!
It was really quick to knit up and super-easy (only knit,purl,cast on and cast off are used) so if you are just starting out knitting and want to make something to wow your friends I would definitely recommend this pattern. It is in DK so no trouble finding an awesome suitable yarn: I chose Debbie Bliss Rialto DK which is lovely and soft and I used 6 balls.
I could add a million photos of all the different outfits that I wear this with but here is one of my favourites:
I am wearing a purple copy of my bio-hacker top that I made as a test for the real thing and my favourite shoes, Yellow Doc Martens with smiley faces. I love the colour combination of purple and yellow (even if my mum says it looks rhubarb and custard).
In the latest issue of Sew Today (my favourite sewing magazine). There was a lovely suggestion of an organza shift dress made from a simple tunic pattern. Immediately I thought “this is something for me”. I loved the idea of a great 1960’s space age minidress that is stiff as well as sheer with the seams forming art deco lines! Although the shift looks fabulous there is something vaguely sleepwear-ish about it (maybe thats why it seems so alluring). In my mind it would be worn by a beautiful girl travelling through the stars in a cryostasis pod.
I chose a Kwik Sew pattern to form the basis of the tunic:
I lengthened it to minidress length and added a triangular godet down the front to add flare reminiscent of the space age of the 1960’s (think early Star Trek or the Jetsons). I chose a lovely “pewter” coloured organza and bound the seams with grey thread to reinforce the structure of the seam lines and also provide a stiff skeleton for the dress. I used the same method for the hem round the neck, sleeves and bottom as I did to edge the fabric in my “GoodGirlBadGirl” shorts.
The dress is so light it would make an excellent beach cover-up or over a slip for a smart cocktail dress, however I think it looks best over a crop top and leggings so I can show off some flesh whilst still covering up!
My boyfriend took some great photos of the dress down at the beach:
Last week I posted about my 241 skirt, inspired by the concept of two people inhabiting the same body and the conflicts inside. This got by head spinning with ideas of juxtaposition of styles in one garment. I love the idea of merging casual (verging on scruffy) and formal eveningwear fabrics. This led me to rush down to the nearest charity shop to pick up a pair of second hand jeans….
I cropped them into short-shorts by just cutting the legs off and fraying the edges and doing a slight zig-zig stitch round just to stabilise the raw edge.
Ripped jeans….. this is the “Bad Girl” part of the shorts.
The “good girl” part comes from a piece of orange/pink shimmery organza. I wanted to have a floor length overlay on the shorts that would contrast with the ripped denim but also be a cute summery cover-up!
I bound the edges of the organza by rolling and zig-zagging the hem:
I attached the overlay to the shorts using short handstitches. I had to take care since the denim had a slight stretch to it not to make them too tight but they stand up to most wear I think!
Here are some photos of the finished shorts! They were great fun to make and are a summer staple in my opinion!
Martia and Venetia slept in shifts. This meant the mind was always active although the body still needed to rest. They hid out in abandoned warehouses down by the east river waiting for the moment they could slip onto a cargo hauler that would take them away. Away to one of the libertarian states where pluralism was encouraged.