Procrastinating

I’ve finally hemmed my dress and I wore it to work yesterday.  I hope to get some photos over the weekend as it is pitch black when I get home in the evening.  The mornings are chaos; so whilst the light is gorgeous, getting me and boy out of the door by 7:30 is, erm, interesting!

But that’s not what I’m dragging my heels about.  The scuffing in the carpet leading to my sewing room is all about the P word.  Peony.  Yup, the dress that seems to be the hardest dress to get the fit right on.

I know I’ve already made one version here.  But believe me that the fitting for that was dirty.  I literally graded between two sizes, sewed the thing together and wore it.

There are a number of things that are ‘off’ with it.  The shoulder seam is on the outside of my shoulder rather than on it.  The armscye ends somewhere around the middle of my bust.  The darts are close to being in the right place but are too high. There’s also quite a lot of excess fabric under the girls which needs sorting.

So, Saturday night (in the company of Strictly) I sat on our living room floor and re-traced the pattern.  I traced the correct size according to my high bust measurement and then did a proper FBA.  I tissue fit the bodice, marked my apex and then sorted out the dart placement and shaping.  All my usual fitting adjustments have been made; front, back and sleeve.

The flat pattern adjustments are done.  Finished and finito.

All I have to do is make a toile of the thing.  And that’s where I’m dragging my heels.  I’m scared that I’m going to get stuck in a hideous round of toile after toile after toile of this dress – which is ridiculous really! 

I guess I’m judging the pattern by its reputation rather than trusting it and my adjustments.  Seriously, there are four darts in the front, two in the back, two side seams and two shoulder seams.  I’ll then have a reasonable idea of where its heading.  If it looks OK I can put the sleeves in and then it’s final tweak time.  It’s not a lot of cutting or sewing.  Maybe an hour?  Two at most?  Definitely no more than an evening anyway!

Sheesh, I should just get this done.  I could be cutting wool and lining within 24 hours if I stop procrastinating and even have a dress within 48…  Time to stop dithering and get on with it…

And if you fancy some a stitchy surprise under the tree in December, have a look at the Sew Very Merry Christmas Swap I’m organising – Just under 10 more days to add your name if you fancy it!

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Sewing Plans, Progress and Stuff

Not a poetic blog post title, but there we go!

I’ve started sewing – Simplicity 2588 in the Prince of Wales wool that I’d originally earmarked for New Look 6000.  Until of course that some lovely people pointed out that the plaid wouldn’t be square about the neckline due to the waist dart/pleat things!  On a plaid this size (2″ish) that would be really really noticeable and really really annoy me!

So, I opted to use it for a dress that I can make with no tracing, no fitting and just get on with!  Enter Simplicity 2588 that I made earlier this year.  I went for a circle skirt again as I had enough fabric left.  Although it’s not going to be a true circle as having sewn up one of the seams I was serging the seam allowances and cut a ruddy great hole in one of the panels.  So, it’ll be a nearly circle skirt and there will be no form of matching on the back seam at all.  But I wont have to look at that so I’m not going to stress it (although there was some choice language at the time…).

I need to insert the zip and then let it hang for a while whislt I construct the lining.  Much as I love wool, I don’t want it next to bare skin, so a full lining this will have.  Hopefully by the end of tomorrow, all I’ll need to do is hem…

So that’s the progress!

Now for the plans…  I managed to get a pre-loved copy of Simplicty 2444 from eBay and have also, thanks to Joanne, ordered some lovely fabric at the princely sum of £3.49 a metre.  What I can’t decide is which to use!  Do I go for the birds or the stars?

Fantasia Stars Navy from Fabricland
House Martins Black from Fabricland

Both fabrics are from Fabric Land in Brighton, who have a great selection at a great price.  The website isn’t my cup of tea and you need to ring to order.  I don’t mind the phone call (the person I spoke to was super helpful and really friendly) but I’m not a fan of the site design.  I’m more than willing to overlook it though for £3.49/m fabric – particularly when others are selling the exact same print at the best part of £12/m!

I’ll be going for the simple version of S2444 with short sleeves.  No collar or anything for my first go at the pattern.  If you want some inspiration there are some stunners out there in blog land!  Not only Joanne’s version, but Roisin at Dolly Clacket has made this pattern a number of times and Dibs, DapperDuds, Gemma and ElevenStitches have all made versions.  In fact, just google image search the pattern for a ton of inspiration instantly.

And now to the ‘stuff’!  Having sourced the perfect cotton sateen for my Peony in a gorgeous chocolate brown with a random cream polkadot pattern, I called the shop to order to only be told that someone had come in the day before and bought 9m of it and that there was only a meter left!  Aaarrgggghhhhh!

So I gave up on the interwebs and went to my local bricks and mortar store as I needed lining anyway.  For once my luck was in – they were having one of their completely unpredictable and unadvertised stock clearances where random (to me) bolts are reduced and sample lengths are sold.  I scored a beautiful milk chocolate wool with a duck egg blue stripe for £10/m rather than the £15/m it was before being put on sale.  I’ll admit that this is the top end of my price range, but it is gorgeous (and was the same price after discount as the sateen would have been)!

Nom Nom – Milk Chocolate Wool!

I also got other necessities such as 22″ invisible zips (how can they vary from £1.59 to £1.99 for a zip that is in effect identical apart from the colour?!), thread and lining for Simplicity 2588 that I’m currently making and more to match the duck egg blue stripes in the wool for the Peony.  I have enough lining fabric in my collection for the other wools I already posess (well apart from the grey wool for the Vogue 8280 – I want to line that in hot pink, but I’d spent enough for this month!).

I Love the Cadbury’s Purple and rich chocolate combination

I also got this gorgeous cotton print for £7/m.  I love the aubergine with the latte colour back ground.  It’s my idea of autumn!  I think I’ll use that on New Look 6070.  Which means the teal plaid will probably get used on New Look 6968New Look 6000 is going to be made from a beautiful navy wool that Annabelle swapped with me, if I can eak it out!

Pattern Mash-Up: Taffy Jasmine

This top has an uncertain pedigree.  Part Colette Sewing Handbook, part Colette Patterns and part Farbenfreude.

Taffy Jasmine

The sleeves are from the Taffy blouse in the Colette Sewing Handbook.  I wasn’t keen on the bodice of the top as it stood and ties on the back plus a mischievous two year old do not make a happy combination!

I’d already sorted the fit of the Jasmine and liked the bodice which is cut on the bias like the Taffy.  I also like the open shape of the neckline.

Finally there is Farbenfreude’s sewing plans post which put the whole mishmash into my head!  As you can see though I have omitted the collar detail on my version and stuck with the sheer fabric and french seams of the taffy along with the bias bound finish on the neck and sleeves.

I traced my altered Jasmine bodice and the sleeve and armscye of Taffy and then spliced the two together.  I started trying to work the maths out and draft the armscye myself and then had the realisation that splicing the two patterns together would be about a billion times easier!

I love the colours in this!

The fabric is an ombre dyed sari my Mum brought back from India years and years ago on one of her journeys out there to help inoculate street children and children in the slums (she’s a nurse and quite incredible in a lot of ways).  I think she told me it was silk, but a burn test proved that she may have been had…  It’s synthetic and burns extremely well.  It also hurts like you wouldn’t believe if a blob of said burning fabric lands on your skin.  I’m gonna have a scar to commemorate this top!

The sari has the ombre effect along both edges and then the hand done block printing starts along one edge before being added to the second edge.  Finally there’s a solid panel of printing at the other end of the sari.  The front was cut from the area with no printing and the back where only one edge was printed.  The sleeves were cut from the solid block of printing.

It was a complete nightmare to work with as it shifted about as soon as you looked at it!  Once I remembered the tip about spray starch though everything became somewhat more manageable (I can’t remember if that came from a Colette Snippets email or the Sewing Handbook).  In effect you spray the fabric with the starch and then press it which crisps the hand up making it much easier to work with.  I used Dylon Spray Starch as that’s what I could lay my hands on here in the UK!

Hand Printed pattern on the back of the bodice

Once that was done the construction was straightforward (apart from the usual mind meld effect that french seams always have on me).  I was going to use self bias to finish the edges but even with liberal amounts of starch, it wasn’t going to happen so I used purchased purple bias instead.  I also used bias at the hem instead of turning and stitching it as per the instructions for Taffy and Jasmine!

I'm really pleased with how neat the bias binding is at the V of the neckline!

This is definitely an evening top with a cami or vest style t underneath as its soooo sheer!  White (the only colour I have in the above mentioned garments) does not work!  It needs to be dark blue or black – something that closely matches the colour of whatever you’re wearing on your bottom half otherwise there’s a sudden change of tone and it just looks weird.  Hence no photos of it being modelled!  This will also be hand washed rather than chucked in the machine as I don’t think the printing would survive and the fabric is so delicate it would snag very easily.

Adjustments for this version:
Same as my Jasmine

Adjustments for future versions:
Maybe reduce the length a little?

Make again?
Maybe.  It would have to be an opaque fabric so I could get the wear out of it as unfortunately I have little occasion to wear such a flirty number these days!

A Rather Revealing Post!

Sorry, I couldn’t help myself there – you’ve got to love Carry on double entendre humour!

First, up apologies for the absence around these parts lately.  I’m quite relieved though that it’s not just me (lladybird, Ginger, Farbenfreude…)

Anyway, you may remember that I mentioned that I’d actually managed to complete a few garments before I dropped off the face of the earth.  All I had to do was take some photographs and then it rained.  For three days.  Then it was freezing – I had to defrost the car to get to work!  Day five was Friday but it was the end of the working week and I couldn’t face organising (read as making myself look vaguely presentable) photos that evening.  Yesterday was a lovely day but involved another Husband drama – now it’s too much work and not enough hours in the day!  (Yep, I know…)

So, today is one of those perfect spring days, warm and sunny.  So whilst Boy and Husband played with duplo downstairs, the camera and I reacquainted ourselves to photograph 4, yes FOUR! finished items.  Wanna see?

All three are new additions to my wardrobe and the Meringue of Wisdom is something you didn’t even know I’d finished!  I’ve got some more in-depth posts already written on each item as when I wrote it all out it was one loooooong post and I didn’t want to bore you all to tears…

Here’s a quick summary though:  Shall we start from the outside?

The jacket is, of course, The Minoru Jacket by Sewaholic Patterns.  The jacket I have been planning and withering on about since the pattern was released last year.

The top is The Jasmine Blouse by Colette Patterns.  Lets just say for now that I love it, wear it to death and the futzing with the fit was seriously worth it.

The skirt is The Meringue Skirt from The Colette Sewing Handbook.  This is the quick make I wanted after completing my Minoru.  Due to my own stupidity it wasn’t quite so quick and easy as I had to complicate it…

Finally there’s my yet to be modelled Taffy Jasmine (inspired by Alessa’s post here) which is a mash up of the above Jasmine pattern and the Taffy Blouse from The Colette Sewing Handbook.  I need a cami to go under this and all my vest tops didn’t work with the neck line or were the wrong colour (white does NOT work under this!).

So, it looks like I’ll be going from a week of near silence to a week of back to back posts! Next up on my sewing table will be a Renfrew and I’ll photograph the dartless FBA that I’ve worked out for it, just in case its useful for anyone else…

PS – don’t forget to enter my give away for an Adele P Margolis book here…

In Progress…

This is what I’m working on at the moment (in between finishing my Minoru, trying to get photos of my finished Starry Jasmine…). It’s a mash up of the Colette Handbook Taffy and the Colette Jasmine pattern.

I used the pattern pieces from Jasmin for the bodice and spliced the armscye from Taffy onto it.  This saved me a lot of maths in trying to make the stitching lines on the armscye and sleeves the same.  I started it and then thought, why not just add the armscye that fits the sleeve!

I’ve used french seams throughout including the darts using this tutorial.  It’s made from a sari that my Mum brought back from India.  It’s sheer but I love the handprinted pattern on the edges and the ombre dye effect where it tones from blue grey to deep purple.

I was going to use self bias tape but it was a nightmare.  I just couldn’t cut it straight as the fabric is so fluid!  I had to spray-starch the fabric to make it workable (thanks Colette Snippets for that tip!) and gave up on the bias tape.  So it’s bought tape and it’s pinned round the neck and sleeve edges, I just need to sew it on and also do the hem, which I’m going to bind with bias tape as well, rather than turn and stitch it.

Jasmine and Fitting

I’ve finished my Jasmine muslin! It fits OK apart from the fact I can’t comfortably reach my arms forward. They’ll go but it’s tight across my back when I do, and it’s enough to make it a grade A pain in the rear, unwearable pain in the rear!

So I’ve done some research on the whole issue and as there are no fitting issues when I’m just stood there, none of the standard fixes looked like they were going to cut it. Enter the wonderful Sunni of A Fashionable Stitch and this adjustment post she did when she was making her naughty secretary dress (Simplicity 2724).

As you can see the method to gauge how much to add does involve taking scissors to the top, but as it’s not really wearable, I guess I’ll get over it… So I’ll slash, reach forward and see how much I need to add then follow her steps for altering the pattern. Thank goodness I made a Toile/muslin!

Once this final alteration is done I can finally get on with the starry version!

Sencha Muslin / Toile

Huzzah!  I have muslined / toiled my Sencha.  I cut a 16 with an FBA.  I’ve also widened and lowered the neck line as the original felt like it was strangling me (a common issue, it seems).

Please forgive the tracky-dacks and the hideous fabric.  The fabric is old, I suspect late 80s early 90s poly cotton curtains from a caravan awning, or tent!  Least ways, something I’m more than happy to hack into!

So, is there anything glaring that I’ve missed?  It does up all the way along the back, no problem.  I think I’ll shorten how far into the sleeve I sew by 1/2″ as it feels a little restrictive around the arms if I stretch forwards.  I may also lengthen it a little, as I hadn’t turned under the hem at the bottom and I actually like this length and don’t think I’d want it any shorter…  Other than that I’m really happy as I did have some major doubts about how well this design would work for me!

So next question is, which fabric should I use?  Some cotton with cherry blossom dotted over it, another cotton with smaller cherry blossom attached to branches, the subtle fireworks or some gorgeous satin printed with butterflies (or they may be moths?)…

Which would you choose?