Monday, 20 October 2014

The Hepburn Skirt From Audrey and Me Patterns

Charlie asked me to try out her latest pattern before she released it back in August, but I was a bad tester and didn't manage to in the time frame needed- Bad Freya! 

Charlie started Audrey and Me patterns this year, and this is her second (and third, including the Hepburn Dress) pattern, the first, The Fairy Tail Cape, I also got to test.  


I finally managed to get round to making this skirt this last week- it took me so long for a couple of reasons, one of which was that it took me ages to decide the fabric.  I didn't really have a clear idea what I wanted, but I kept searching for inspiration.  I found the perfect fabric on the Minerva crafts website, a stretch cotton which simply struck a cord.  

The pattern is a beautiful panelled skirt, which is really simple to put together and comes in two lengths.  Charlie has made some lovely versions with colour blocking, which it lends itself nicely to.  I cut a straight size 16, based on my waist measurements, which fits perfectly.  I also cit the shorter length due to my petit stature, is the mini version, and falls just a couple of inches above me knee.  The longer length would fall further past my knee than would suit, so if I'd ever make the longer version at knee length I'll need to make a small adjustment.


I bought some fuse and fold waistband interfacing to try, which I really liked using because it saves cutting regular interfacing in to long stripes, which always end up wonky when I do it.  Although using the fuse and fold made interfacing the waist a lot easier, after just one wear i can feel the interfacing coming away from the waistband.  I'm going to try ironing in on again, and see how it lasts.  

The stretch cotton is perfect for this make, it's so comfortable to wear.  And dark florals are so in this season! 

This pattern is available to buy as a PDF download for just €7, and will prove to be a valuable inclusion in to your handmade wardrobe!


Tuesday, 14 October 2014

After A Little Tweaking...

I have a dress which fits me perfectly- or it would if I hadn't made a small mistake. I'll tell you how later. OK, so this dress fits me almost perfectly!

Last week in my dressmaking class I sewed together my second muslin of the Ruby Dress, and got it approved by my teacher, and on my day of this Friday I sat down to make it properly out of my fashion fabric!



I wasn't sure what fabric I wanted to use, so I went with grey and white polkadots, because,well, you can't go wrong with a good old polkadot! 

For the first time I can talk you you about my standard alterations- I'm so excited! We took in an inch of the front bodice, along the fold line, tapering to 0" towards the waist to remove the excess fabric where it hung oddly at my neck. We cut a size 16, base on my waist measurements and then took in a 1/2 inch off the front and back seams under each arm.  We shortened the bust dart by 1/2" and took up the back hem by another 1/2inch, tapering down to meet the front bodice hem at either side.



You can see that I haven't got proportions completely different from the 'standard' that pattern designers use, which is why it's taken me so long to really get round to looking at fitting issues.  Everything I've made is close enough that it hasn't been a priority until now. My next plan in the six week course is to try the same alterations on a different style of dress/bodice- and see how they differ.  I'm able to cut out and sew up the next muslin before the class, so when I get there I can just use the time to pick my teachers brain and just get the most out of it all as possible.



So, where I went wrong- i made a mistake cutting out the skirt pieces, making them an inch to small around the waist, either side! To work with this, I trimmed the same amount from the back bodice, effectively removing the majority of the ease.  It still just fits, thank God, but it certainly isn't a dress to eat a big lunch in.  You can also see it pulling a little around my waist at the front.  I'll obviously learn from this little error for next time, doh!

I'm wearing my finished dress to class this week, and I have worn it once already!  I was in a fashion show this Saturday, modelling Fairly Traded clothes from lines such as Braintree and other fair trade brands for the Just Shop, here in Leicester. I find model this dress, but I wore it through rehursals. I'm really happy with how it turned out and am excited to practice using what I've leant on my next project.


Thursday, 9 October 2014

So Today I Made A Quilt

It's true, today, in fact, before lunch I made David a quilt I've been promising him for a little while (well, two years, but who's counting).


I was gifted around 12-15 lengths of fabric by a family friend back when I started sewing a lot.  Some where fat quarters, some half meters, all in different patterns of tartan/plaid/flannel.  I wish I knew where they were from originally, as I would be there in a flash and stocking up on enough to make all the shirts.  I knew immediately that they would be destined for a 'Man Quilt' for David and began cutting out stripes of some of the lengths with a Log Cabin design in mind.  Except, I was brand shiny new to sewing and quilting, and it took ages, and I wasn't very good at cutting accurately (Still not that good, but totally improved).  All this meant that I got distracted and left the pieces and the uncut lengths aside until today.  I stand by the statement that this quilt has been waiting around to be finished for the longest time, but this one is pretty close.

It took such little time to turn those cut out pieces and fat quarters in to a quilt in just a morning because I did take some short cuts.  The piecing together all the pre cut pieces took the longest, stitching 6 together to make a rough square then trimming those into equal sizes.  I knew I wasn't going to bother cutting out any more, so the rest of the quilt had to be large squares, equal in size to the patched ones.  Easy.  


I wanted some to add some further interest, so changed the direction of the patched squares on each row.

Then I was lucky.  I only have one piece of wadding in my stash, as I don't exactly quilt a lot, (she said, having made 5 quilt tops in the last month, unblogged, naturally) which was exactly the right size.  I'm talking a quick trim of the rough edges and it was meant to be.


It wasn't until that point that I realised that this could be a project I would actually finish the same day I had started it.  I was a little worried that I would have to put it on hold while I found the right backing fabric, but low and behold, in my fabric stash, I had the perfect vintage bedding set.  The colours were ideal, the size was larger than needed and it wasn't floral, like the majority of my collection.  Paisley is totally a guy friendly pattern.

So I used my kimble gun to secure the layers together, bound the edges with the backing fabric, and bound it off under my machine.  To do the actual quilting, I used a tried, true and easy technique, sewing little knots at the centre of each block square.  And that's it.  I know it might totally be called cheating, but I love it.  I'm so pleased with the result, and so is Dave!  I debated saving it for a Christmas present, but he wanted it today and I was too pleased with my self to argue.   


Truly, a fantastic way to spend a morning.


Monday, 6 October 2014

Sewing Classes and Muslin Making

I am very lucky, because I live right around the corner from a lovely lady who teaches sewing classes.      Julia runs Bobbins and Buttons, so I emailed her about a month ago, to ask if there she was running a class that looked at more advanced dressmaking skills, and particularly at fit.  I've joined her Thursday evening class, which is aimed at sewers of all abilities.  


In the first lesson the four of us cut out and began working on our first muslin of the patterns.  I took along the free pattern from Love Sewing magazine- the Simple Sew Ruby Dress.  The dress is exactly up my street, style wise, but it's nice to try out different patterns now and again.  

I whipped up the muslin in calico fabric, and Julia helped me make the necessary adjustments.  Next week we'll look at translating them to pattern alternations, so I can make up the dress and so it'll will fit perfectly.  I'm so excited!

It's a six week course, so over that time I hope to figure out the fit on a range of different patterns features, like princess seams, and improve the fit on some of my previous makes, like my Doctor Who dress.  

I'm really glad to have this opportunity to learn from someone so much more skilled than I am, and I'm going to make the most of the classes and take a lot away from it to use in all my future makes :D



(Now, I don't pride my self on my amazing photography skills, but really, I'm sorry for this one, the lighting was terrible and I ran out of time to take photos)

Thursday, 2 October 2014

Blog Love #2

Hey guys,  can I ask you a question?  Is it just me or does everyone who has long left school still get New Year Fever in September?  I don't have any need for new stationary, diaries or whatnot, but I will browse the relevant section in any shop I'm in, nonetheless.  Maybe it's the promise of new starts that September brings.  Maybe its the changes in the weather making me nostalgic.  Maybe I've just always been a geek and somethings will never change.  Dave is back at work, in a new job this year- he's teaching younger kids (age 9-13) science, and is finding that the change takes some getting used to.  New starts are always hard, but we can only preserver until the new becomes routine and we start feeling like we know what we are doing.  Fake it 'till you make it, eh?

Blog Love posts are my way of sharing with you some of my recent favourite blogs, with the hope I can maybe introduce you to some new faces and share some of the work of seamstresses that I find really inspirational and encouraging.



Shannon is only 17, but has been sewing since she was 6!  Her experience show through in her gorgeous makes, and she really encourages me to work on my finishing of garments.  Just check out her graduation dress- it's to totally stunning.  As well as dressmaking, Shannon knits and has a 'thing' for vintage style.

2. Mary at Idle Fancy




Idle Fancy is one of the newer blogs that I've started to follow- and it's one of the few I've spent time digging through the archives of.  Mary also has a thing for vintage style, and makes so, so many beautiful dresses.  I find this blog inspiring because Mary knows what she likes and is puts a lot of care in to make beautiful dresses which always look amazing.  


3. Dixie at Dixie DIY




Dixie is a independent pattern maker, historical seamstress and brilliant blogger- I always enjoy reading  her posts, whether they be about her regency era dress or the latest Cynthia Rowley pattern.  In terms of her modern style, I really take a lot of inspiration from Dixie's makes, and I'm also inspired to have a go at some costuming at some point too.


Wednesday, 1 October 2014

Life Lately #3

Reading
I'm taking a class to improve my fitting skills this week, and have been reading up on pattern designing.  I'm really aiming to push forward my skills this year and this has been really interesting reading.


Cooking
Well, cooking isn't an accurate term, but I've made cheats I've cream! Yummy:) it's  'cheats' because it's got (quite a lot of) booze in. The alcohol means that it doesn't freeze fully, so it doesn't need churning- easy and tasty.

I ended up making quite a lot by accident, unsure how far the ingredients would go.  There are three batches in my freezer- Bailies, Whiskey and Honey and Lemonchello. The Whiskey one is my favourite!


Adopting
My little sister has gone to uni, leaving behind her lovely boy cat.  He has moved in with us, much to Nala's annoyance. She hasn't much liked having is new house mate. 

We did have a scary couple of weeks when he escaped the house before he had settled in properly, and we didnt see him for a while.  He was out, stealing food from other houses and making general mischief.   We got him back eventually, and it's so nice to have him with us. 


Sewing 
My friend Fran came and spent the day doing science with Dave (towards her bio a-level) and sewing with me!  We made her a patchwork cushion cover with my Cath Kidston scaps- I really loved spending time with my bestie making pretty stuff.



Buying
A stack of new dress patterns from work in the sale! 


Watching
Dave and I have just stormed through the first season of Orphan Black- it's amazing! We need toget our hands on season two ASAP! 

I'm also re watching Charmed, coz, you know, it's classic.


Picking 
The last of our gorgeous sunflowers from the garden.


Celebrating 
Our four year anaversary with a steak night and champagne.


Growing 
17.5kgs of tomatoes. Yep, 17.5kg.  They are slowly being turned in to chutney- yummy



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