Simplicity 2217 or The Juicey Juice Dress

I was among the host of lucky bloggers Simplicity contacted wondering if I’d like to choose a pattern to review and also hold a give away with.  After talking it though with a rather lovely blogger who’s got more experience of these sorts of posts, I gratefully and somewhat gleefully accepted.  This was back in June.  I owe Hannah a massive apology for the length of time it has taken for me to get the dress sewn and also get the post up.  Hannah, I’m so so sorry.

One of the most enjoyable parts of this whole process was trying to come up with a short list from Simplicity‘s massive catalogue.  I was intrigued by the Amazing Fit concept having seen Karen’s version of 1882.  I was also intrigued as to whether the concept would work for me as I have a 6″ difference between my high bust and full bust measurements.  I chose S2217 to try out and I’m rather pleased with the results!

Simplicity

In a nut shell, Simplicity have taken a lot of the flat pattern fitting adjustments out of the equation for you.  THere are different sized bodice pieces to fit your bust and different sizes at the hip for those with more (or less) curves.

Here’s how I selected my pattern pieces:
My upper bust is 38″ so I started with a size 16.  For each cup size the pattern increases by 1/2″ and an A cup was 40″ (this includes wearing ease) up to a D cup at 41 1/2″.  I needed 42″ but for the sake of science decided to go with the pattern piece for a D cup with no further adjustments.

At the hip the options were for a slim fit at 43 1/2″ (again this includes wearing ease), 44″ for an average fit or 44 1/2″ for someone with a little more curve.  I chose the curvy fit.  And to make fitting even easier the side seams are sewn last and have 1″ seam allowances to make those final tweaks!

And you know what, to get this information I didn’t have to measure a single pattern piece.  It’s all printed on the back of the envelope.  This is a big deal for me as I can’t remember the last time I used any of the big four’s patterns and had this information so easily accessible.  I’ve always had to measure the tissue to work out the ease so not having to do that extra piece of work to ensure a good fit was lovely.

I was really trying to talk myself into using some fabric from the stash but I’d seen this stretch sateen on the Minerva Crafts website and it was just calling to me.  I prevaricated and sought the opinion of Twitter.  A certain Australian gave me the final push I needed; Lizzy you were right (as always!).  I love the combination of this fabric with this pattern!  Some of you may have also noticed that the rather wonderful Dibs used the same fabric for her Minerva Blogging Network dress.

Construction wise this was really straight forward.  It’s an unlined dress and with the stretch of the fabric I chose I was happy to forgo the lining.  If I want to wear tights (and as it’s decidedly autumn now I will be!) I’ll just wear a half slip with it.  If you did want to line it Sew It Anyway has a really thorough post on how she lined hers here.  She wore it to the Goldhawk Road meet up and it’s a divine dress!

Simplicity Detail

There were three variations I made to the construction of the dress;

The first was to put a box pleat in the skirt.  I just could not understand what the instructions were asking me to do and the pattern envelope illustrations and photo suggested a box pleat so that is what I went with.

The second was to use bias tape instead of facings.  I really hate facings and avoid them where ever I can and this was no exception.  It meant a ton of hand stitching to secure it on the inside but I think it was worth it.

The third was to cut the wrap portions of the bodice on the bias.  The pattern instructs you to cut on the straight grain but I wanted to play with the direction of the pattern on the fabric so bias it was. I’m really pleased with the effect.

Inside is finished with the aforementioned bias tape and serged seams allowances.  The waist panel is self lined and gives some gorgeous structure to that area; it was supposed to be interfaced but as the fabric has quite a bit of body I didn’t bother.

This isn’t an every day dress for me, it’s a bit too vavavoom for the office but for an evening out its perfect!  And the name?  I’m drinking a home made juice as I write and the colours of the fruit and veg that went into it remind me of this dress:

2 apples (red & green)
1/2 lemon (yellow)
2 carrots (orange)
1 beetroot (pink / purple)

Simplicity Giveaway

So, if you’re keen to give this dress a go I have a give away for you, thanks to the lovely people at Simplicity!  A copy of S2217 or if the dress isn’t your thing I also have a copy of S3688 a gorgeous vintage inspired top and trouser set that Debbie at My Happy Sewing Place has made.

I have each pattern in both size ranges so four prizes!  All you have to do is leave me a comment below letting me know which Simplicity pattern is your favourite and which of the patterns you would like to win and the size range you need by midnight on Sunday 22 September (that’s the midnight just before Monday, I always find that a little confusing!) BST (GMT+1) .  I’m happy to post internationally. 

**This give away is now closed **

Thank you again Simplicity for the wonderful opportunity to try the pattern and also for the chance to give away patterns to my readers!!

Wendy’s Travelling Pattern Stash

I’ve got to apologise to both Wendy and Zoe for not saying thank you earlier (although I did via email!).  Back in early January Zoe wrote a post about Wendy’s collection of patterns;

‘Today I’ve been rethinking my future sewing plans and have cleared out my small pattern stash.  I have thirteen patterns (most used, some not) that I know I will never use, they are all women’s clothing.  Sadly here in Luxembourg we have no charity shops to which I can donate them and I have no sewing community either.’

So Wendy and Zoe decided to hold a give away and guess which lucky girl won?!

IMG_6415

I’ve decided to keep three patterns I know I’ll use in the near future:

Wendy's Patterns - Keep

I promised in my entry that I’d pass on any patterns I wouldn’t use, so yep I have some patterns to pass on!

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These descriptions are the same as provided in Zoe’s post and I haven’t checked the envelopes – I’ve taken Wendy at her word:

Burda 8361 size 6-18; cut to 18
Burda 7293 size 10-20; cut to 18
McCalls 4769 size 12-18; uncut
New Look 6945 size 8-18; uncut
New Look 6104 size 10-22; cut to 16/18
New Look 6669 size 8-18; skirt cut to 18
New Look 6937 size 10-22; view E cut 16/18
Style Arc Samantha Top; cut to 16
Vogue 7837 size L/XL; uncut
Vogue 8634 size L/XL; cut

Wendys Patterns Giveaway

I’ll post anywhere in the world and I all I ask is that if there are any patterns you don’t think you’ll use that you do the same and pass them on to somebody who will use them.

This give away is open until midnight GMT on Monday 25 February 2013 and then I’ll use the random number generator to pick a winner!  Just let me know in the comments below if you’d like to put your name in the hat.

Give Away and my Final Fashion Sewing For Everyone Post

Happy Leap Day Everybody!

This is my final post in my short series about the Adele P Margolis book; Fashion Sewing for Everyone.  I need to apologise first of all though as the images aren’t as clear as the previous two posts – my scanner has started to make some really hideous noises and refusing to work so I’ve had to photograph the pages I wanted to share with you instead.  This means that the text isn’t quite so clear and the images not so straight.  I hope you still enjoy them though?

As I mentioned last time, the vast majority of my post-its are in the tailoring section.  As I have come to expect, there’s a large amount of information on pressing as this is a hallmark of tailoring.

“On of the hallmarks of fine tailoring is the pressing.  One cannot thing of great tailoring without also thinking of those crisp edges, the flat seams and that subtly blocked-to-shape sculptured form.  As important as pressing is to dressmaking, in tailoring it is raised to a fine art.”

She also describes the ingredients for pressing: Heat, Moisture, Pressure and Protection.

She uses analogies for the heat settings – high heat for vegetable fibres (cotton, linen) as “You can boil vegetables”!  And a moderate heat for the animal fibres (silk, wool) as “Any gal can tell you that moderate heat is a beauty aid – setting your hair, getting a tan – but high heat can scorch hair and skin.”  Erm, I see the point but this is about the only instance (other than some of the illustrations) that date the book – we now understand much more about tanning and its effects.

There’s also a section on pressing aids:

She includes instructions on how to make each of them, and that “others can be made by your father, bother, husband or favourite beau”.  I’ll eventually be shelling out cold hard cash as I have no hope of persuading my husband to make a clapper or point press for me!

She also goes into details on pressing more delicate fabrics.  The section on velvet immediately made me think of Debi at My Happy Sewing Place and the Scarlet O’Hara velvet dress she made.

And finally, for Peter over at Male Pattern Boldness, who has recently undertaken a coat in fake fur for his cousin Cathy,there’s a whole chapter:

There is so much in this book I wish I could share.  As I’ve mentioned previously I’ve found it fascinating reading and it’s helped me out already.  There are tips on lining which I’ll use when finishing off my Minoru.  A chapter on sheers that I’ve already employed in my Taffy Jasmine (which has made no further progress as yet…  The whole sew-life-work-Mother balance is a whole other think!) as well as tons of information on hair canvas, collars, buttons and their placement, seam construction for unlined jackets that will come in useful for future projects!  But I don’t want to bore you all silly with it, or risk infringing copyright.

So as a solution, I’ve bought a second copy of the book!  I’ll happily give it away to one of you lovely readers, anywhere in the world!  All you need to do is:

  • Comment below and if you’d like, let me know your new favourite sewing resource.  Text or web, or some of you may even have a real-life person you can turn to who is always a fount of knowledge?  I’d love to hear about the resources you’ve discovered and that have proven really helpful!
  • By Midnight GMT on Wednesday 14 March 2012

Please make sure that you leave some way that I can contact you if you win so I can find out your shipping address!

Thank you for reading and Good Luck!

Sew Grateful Give Away (I’m a bit Late!)

So, here’s the post I should have put up yesterday!  It all went a bit wrong though what with one thing and another so please accept my apologies…  So lets get down to the fun stuff shall we?!

I have three prizes up for grabs:

First up is a hand made snood by Arthelia’s Attic.  It’s in a gorgeous purple colour and the grosgrain ribbon is held on with a safety pin so can be removed if that’s not your aesthetic and used as a brooch or anything else your heart desires!

The other prize up for grabs is for those sock knitting fiends.  I have a skein of hand dyed  Fleece Artist Sea Wool up for grabs.  Its 70% Merino and 30% Seacell and 350m/112g.  The label recommends 3mm needles to give 26sts to 4″ and it’s machine washable!  It’s in gorgeous shades of greens and blues.

And finally, for those who just like to sew, I’d like to offer you the Burda pattern of your choice!  It could be something as classic as the Jenny Pencil Skirt or one of their new Boudoir patterns…  What ever your heart desires!

The Jenny Pencil Skirt

5/2011 Dress with Peter Pan Collar

Bella Trousers

To enter, please leave a comment below letting me know which prize you’d like to win by 23:59 on Sunday 12 February 2012.  I’ll draw the winners name using the random.org thingy on Monday.  This is open to everyone, everywhere as long as you’ve got a postal address!  Good Luck!

Sew Grateful

Debi at My Happy Sewing Place is organising her second Sew Grateful week.  Yesterday was the give away posts (her blog has a round up…) and today is the day for thankful posts.  As I’m somewhat tardy, it’s two for the price of one here today!  I’ll have a(nother) give away post up shortly…

Sew Thankful.  The long and the short of it is that I’m thankful for all of you.  The support and knowledge you all so freely give and share has kept me going.  It’s increased my skill as a sewist, inspired me and has helped me out.  You’re all so generous in your time and skills, it’s incredible to be part of this community.  The community has added another dimension to the time I spend at my sewing machine and for that I’ll forever be thankful.

I am also thankful to my family.  Whilst Husband may not understand and certainly enjoys poking a little fun at me from time to time, he doesn’t winge that often!  Boy just finds it all fascinating and loves those enormous sheets of Burda tracing paper…  My parents are so supportive (as they always have been) they helped fund my sewing machine as a joint birthday and Christmas present back in 2010 and this year bought me my amazing Gingher shears and the Fabric Swatch book.  The first has made my least favourite bit of sewing more pleasurable whilst the second has increased my knowledge and understanding of the materials I work with.

So, here’s to the future and the continuing friendships I hope to keep building and making, with the common thread (Da Dum!) of sewing!

And now, to the giveaway:  Debi hopes that it’ll be tutorials and patterns galore today.  I can’t do much in the lines of a tutorial for you all today, so instead I offer this:

This is one of my vintage patterns; Simplicity 3829.  I think it’s late 50s early 60s but I’m not really sure!  I bought it because of the cute collar of view 1 but realistically I’m never going to make it so I’d love it to go to a new home where it will be used!

The pieces are all there as best as I can tell but it has been used and some of the pieces are cut out.  Along with the pattern I offer some bias tape made from this 100% cotton shirting that I also happen to be making my Jasmine blouse from.

The original owner has marked the yardage she needed!

If you’d like the pattern and bias tape, please leave a comment by 23:59 on Sunday 12 February 2012!  This is open to everyone, everywhere as long as you’ve got a postal address!  I’ll draw a winner using the random.org thing on Monday.  Good Luck x

3 Decades, 3 Prizes!

Sorry, this giveaway is now closed!

In ten days time, it’ll be my birthday.  My 30th birthday.  So to celebrate this milestone I thought I would do a giveaway, one for each decade – so I’ve got three prizes up for grabs!  I’m really pleased with the little packages that I’ve put together and really hope that you will like them too.

Prize Number 1

My first un-birthday present to you all is in the colour Teal!  A handmade baguette style purse (made by me) lined in a self-strip cream cotton, closed with a silver coloured frame.  There’s also 10 yards of teal rayon seam binding and a bamboo point turner.  Last, but by no means least is your choice of Sewaholic pattern!

Prize Number 2

My second un-birthday present to you all is in the colour Navy!  A handmade baguette style purse (made by me) lined in a self-strip cream cotton, closed with a silver coloured frame.  There’s also 10 yards of dark navy rayon seam binding and a bamboo point turner.  Last, but by no means least is your choice of A Fashionable Stitch belt kit and an eyelet setting tool to give your kit the perfect finish!

Prize Number 3

My final un-birthday present to you all is in the colour Purple!  A handmade baguette style purse (made by me) lined in a self-strip cream cotton, closed with a silver coloured frame.  There’s also 10 yards of plum rayon seam binding and a bamboo point turner.  Last, but by no means least is a copy of the new Colette Sewing Handbook!

I hope you like these little bundles as much as I’ve enjoyed putting them together!  I can’t thank Tasia of Sewaholic and Sunni of a Fashionable Stitch enough for helping me put this all together!

So, to win an un-birthday present, here’s what you need to do:

Leave a comment here, telling me which present you’d like; 1, 2 or 3 (or teal, navy or plum!)

For an extra entry blog about the giveaway, tweet or Facebook it

For a possible third entry, if you’d like, you can become a follower!  If you follow me already, please mention it in your comment telling me whether it’s via email, wordpress or RSS!

I will gladly post these internationally, so everyone can enter!  The draw will close at 19:40 / 7:40pm GMT on the 24 November 2011.  Why that time – according to my Mother, it was the time I was born!  And the date, well, it’s my birthday!