Dress · Sewing

Pleasing Plaid or Terrible Tartan?

Maybe it wasn’t such a good idea to make  my favorite and most made dress pattern, McCalls 6696 Shirtdress  in a tartan fabric, with so many pieces to pattern match, cutaway pockets, yoke, bodice, wasitband, sleeves, cuffs, buttonband and gathers and darts to think about (or not in is case).

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McCalls 6696 Shirtdress

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Nearly matched the pockets.

When cutting out I though a lot about matching the pattern across and down, but didn’t take into account the effect the gathers and darts would have on the back of the dress.PENTAX DIGITAL CAMERAI cut the wasitband, yoke, buttonband and cuffs on the bias, mainly to save on the pattern matching!

I altered the sleeves by adding  a simple cuff cut on the bias instead of the wing cuffs.PENTAX DIGITAL CAMERAI feel I should have cut the pattern so the dominant black lines were centralised on the back and more equal  on the front.  I also had a problem with the gathers and darts on the back of the dress as the pattern disappears.PENTAX DIGITAL CAMERAAh and the buttons, these grey ones were  my original choice, but I have lost them, yep lost in the depths of sewing room so I gave up looking for them and used some from my button tin,  I can’t remember where they came from!PENTAX DIGITAL CAMERA

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Overall I am pleased with the finished dress in that I wanted a  cosy winter tartan dress  and that’s what I have but disappointed that I didn’t think it through more, but its a lesson learnt on the great sewing experience!

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The fabric is  a grey and turquoise polyviscose tartan fabric from Oh So Crafty.

And if you are interested  in the difference between tartan and plaid……..

Plaid’s original definition is ‘as a woolen cloth having a checkered or tartan pattern’ It evolved to mean any such checkered or tartan pattern.Tartan’s first definition is a ‘woolen cloth woven in stripes of various colors at right angles to form a rectangular pattern; also, the pattern and design of such a cloth’.

So now you know!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Jacket · Skirt

Just another skirt

Slowly working on reducing my pile of wips – the first one to be finished –  black and white boucle fabric left over from New Look 6028 jacket

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and my much used Butterick 5466 pattern.

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Theres not much to say about this make except I was a little worried about the seams being strong enough, as the fabric frays so much, I cut some strips of  interfacing to help support the stitching on the seams

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Really pleased with the invisible zip.

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Now I have a suit!

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In other news more patterns have arrived in the post, taking advantage of half price McCalls patterns.

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and some vintage mother of pearl buttons for my button tin.

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Sewing · Top

Simplicity 2369 – Wrap Top

This pattern has been in my pattern stash, ignored and unloved since 2011 when it was a free gift with Sew magazine, its been quite a hit with sewing community, and I can understand why, easy to sew and easy to wear.

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I really want to improve  my skill and feel confident sewing with jersey/knits on my sewing machine (I don’t have an overlocker) so this pattern seemed ideal, a wrap top or dress with raglan sleeves.

I used a size 14 for the shoulder area grading out to a 16 for the seams.  I also cut about 3 inches off the bottom.

All sewn up on my sewing machine using a ballpoint needle and a stretch stitch.

Top stitched with a twin ballpoint needle.

While waiting for the twin needle to be delivered, and being impatient I stitched the hem of the wrap section with a fancy stretch stitch, but I wish I had waited for the twin needle, which I feel would have looked better.

Browsing the internet looking for a suitable buckle for this top I couldn’t resist this little lot found on Ebay

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In other news my sofa shopping arrived this week

Two from Fabworks

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And last but not least these gorgeous Liberty Needle cords from Sewbox.

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I really must stop buying fabric!!

 

 

Dress · Jacket

Summer Wedding Guest Dress

I was really excited to receive an invitation to my Nephew’s wedding, the perfect opportunity to sew a special dress, I don’t wear or sew dresses very often, apart from shirt dresses which I love.  After  browsing the internet for patterns and fabric for months, I just could not decide on a pattern.

Some contenders were: three in row

I finally made a decision  and ordered the fabric and zip, lining and thread with only 2 weeks before the wedding!!

Fabric arrived!

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Cotton Poplin in a pale blue blossom print from Ebay and Habotai lining from Minerva.  I have never used Habotai before but it gave the dress a lovely luxurious feeling.

Changed my mind, again, and used  a completely different pattern, the Classic Empire Line Dress (sleeveless version)  from  a book called  Dressmaking – The complete step-by-step guide by Alison Smith.

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The pattern can be downloaded in PDF format from a website address given in the book.  There was quite a lot of printing and sticking involved, but as the book only cost £6.99 from The Works, its a bit of a bargain.

I  adjusted the pattern with a narrow shoulder adjustment, I have discovered this is something that I always need and made up a toile.  The bodice was too tight across the bust but with gaping around the armholes.

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With or without sleeves?

After quite a lot of head scratching and trying to void a FBA (full bust adjustment) I bit the bullet and altered the pattern with a 1 inch FBA and eureka it worked, no more armhole gaping.

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Looking very creased after wearing to the wedding and long car journey back.

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As British summer weather can be very unpredictable, I made a matching jacket, New Look 6028, view with 3/4 sleeves.

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And what is really needed here is a picture of me wearing the dress at the wedding, but lots of  Pimms,  Pink Champagne and generally enjoying the wedding, caused me  to forgot all about taking photos of my self!!

But I did mange this to take this photo of my sisters family.

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A beautiful wedding, with the reception held in the Brides parents garden.

Gardens · Trousers

Three Gardens and a Seaside

I have really lost my interest in blogging  lately, I haven’t blogged or kept up with the blogs I follow for 2 months. Sometimes life just gets in the way, busy job, a holiday in France and elderly parents.

I have had a week off work and feel I have got things sorted, the house as had a good clean and de-clutter and best of all my sewing room has had a good tidy and been re-organised.  I have a new table for sewing, an old teachers desk, which great for cutting out as well as for the sewing machine……

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and a new set of filing drawers, for all my patterns

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I made New Look 6354, View A, View B and View E.

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View E   The skirt is a bit short, so I made bias binding for the hem,  think this skirt will only be worn in the garden or on holiday.

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.View A    These trousers are so comfortable, its like wearing your Pj’s out in public.

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Here they are at Charlcote Park near Stratford on Avon looking a bit windswept, my husband is a very reluctant photographer.

Fallow deer in the park

and here at Hidcote Manor Gardens near Chipping Campden, Gloucestershire.

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And photos of Hidcote Gardens just because its so pretty!

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View B  Crop trousers, in small blue and white check, without the ties at the hem and with pockets added to the side seams.

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Tintinhull Gardens in Somerset, looking very creased after travelling.

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And after visiting all those gardens it’s time for a relaxing Pimms at my favorite seaside resort Sidmouth in Devon.

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Its been a busy and fun week, and I haven’t even mentioned the wedding yet, that deserves a post all of its own.

Cardigan

Scarf Neck Cardigan

While browsing the Swoon website for bag patterns I came across this Scarf Neck Cardigan pattern, a free PDF download,

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The pattern was a bit fiddly to put together all 32 pages!  but its free! so that’s no big deal.

I did differ from the pattern instructions in one way which was to put the sleeves in flat and then sew the arm and side seams up.  I have never done this before and  it worked really well.    I don’t have an overlocker so used the stretch stitch on my sewing machine.  Also the sleeves are very long, or perhaps I have short arms!

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The fabric is a cotton stretch jersey reduced in the sale from Minerva.

So its not the most glamorous cardigan in the world, but its so comfortable, great for pottering about at home.

Dress

The Autumn of 1000 Shirtdresses: The Evening Shirtdress

1000Shirtdresses -- 250

Back in November  I finally  joined a sewing challenge, The Autumn of 1000 Shirtdresses hosted by Mary over at Idle Fancy,  I have fallen in love with shirtdresses and have already made 2 versions of McCalls 6696, which you can see here.  

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Inspired by this 1970’s book that suggests a shirt dress for evening wear. I  decided to make view D again but with long sleeves, a sheer version with a slip to go underneath.

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 I bought the fabric from a little shop in Ryde on the Isle of Wight a couple of years ago and since then it’s been languishing in my stash, it was described in the shop as Crepe de Chine and I think £5 a metre.  It’s very delicate, and sheer fabric.

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The photos really don’t do justice to the fabric but it’s so hard to take photos at this time of year when the light is so bad.   I have really struggled to get decent photos, but there was no way I was going to venture outside with the camera, it’s far too cold!

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There is a lot of work involved in this dress, a lot of hand sewing and all the seams are French, thank goodness the deadline was postponed, twice!

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The shirtdress truly is a dress for any occasion.

Jacket

The Little French Jacket

The Little French jacket is not really a French jacket at all, if you have made a French Chanel style jacket or read the many blogs about making one you will know that there is a lot of work involved, many hours, tailoring and quilting not to mention the chain in the bottom.  This a much easier option with just a hint of the Chanel style jacket.

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I used New Look 6028, this is a very easy jacket to make, the fabric  was half price from John Lewis  and a nice spotty lining sourced from the internet.   The fabric frayed like mad,  as I don’t have an overlocker, but I used the overedge foot on my Janome to secure  the seam edges.  

jacket

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If you have never made a lined jacket I can recommend this pattern.  Its a nice little jacket to wear with jeans or a little back skirt.

Blouse

Vintage Blouse Pattern

I found this vintage pattern a couple of months ago in a charity shop in Malvern, Worcestershire, the envelope was torn and battered and I wasn’t sure all the pattern pieces would be inside, but at only 20p it was worth the risk. 

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The instructions were brief ………………..

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and sometimes a bit confusing, but it is a very simple pattern, once I got my head around the way the back facing is constructed.

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 The fabric is a cotton lawn, in the sale at John Lewis.

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looking a little creased, at Osbourne House, Cowes, Isle of Wight, holiday home of Queen Victoria

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Dress

McCalls 6696 – Shirt Dress

I have not had much time to sew lately but by squeezing in an hour here and there I have managed  to sew two versions of McCalls  6696, the first as a wearable muslin,  I made no alterations to the pattern.  The only  thing I am not happy about is the neck, which is too big, when taking  body measurements I never thought about measuring my neck, turns out my neck is 4 cm smaller than my dress forms smallest size!

 

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 For version two I reduced the neck but its still a little too big, so if I make this again I will reduce the neck a little more.  Many bloggers have mentioned the “poofy”  back of the bodice,  for the second version I reduced the amount of fabric to be gathered to eliminate a lot of the poofyness, but keeping the essence of the design.  

Dress number 2 went together reasonably well until I attempted a buttonhole, I have made quite a few  shirts recently  and dress number 1 with no buttonhole issues at all.    As I always do I tested the buttonhole on a scraps of fabric, two layers and and the interfacing and the button holes were fine.  As soon as I started on the dress the machine would stitch the left had side of the button hole and just continue to stitch in the same place and not make the right hand side of the buttonhole, unpicking a button hole is a nightmare, apart from the damage to the fabric.   After a lot of swearing, moaning and more swearing  I went to bed in a very bad mood.

Having given it some thought the only thing I could think was maybe it was the thickness of the band was causing a problem, although it didn’t feel bulky.  So after some unpicking, trimming, layering and restitching I was ready to try again.    With some trepidation  I attempted to make the first buttonhole, at last success!!    

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Fabric used: Blue chambray  –  John Lewis 

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I love this pattern and  the result is an easy to wear, versatile dress.

Think I am going to have a rest from collars and buttonholes for a while!