Monday, 27 June 2011

My recent purchases!

I've run out of fabric to sew!

The blue and white dress worked out so well that I decided to make another from that pattern and order some more fabric from Online Fabrics.

I've bought a white poly cotton with red polka dots. I like fun fabrics and will make option B from the New Look pattern with a halterneck tie, it's the blue one in the middle on the right on the envelope.

Although the weather has been amazing today, it's really been too hot to go out in for a long time, so after a couple of hours out this morning, I've spent the afternoon cutting out the fabric.

I do most of my cutting out here on the lounge floor, it's the largest space I can use. I need to make sure I've got my garden kneeler though, otherwise I get very sort knees! [The black blob on the sofa is the cat. He's very good, sleeps most of the time and knows that he shouldn't tread on anything I'm cutting out!]

So I've got some sewing to do now. Not to mention the other fabrics I got half price in the John Lewis sale. They are Tanya Whelan cottons. I bought some last year, which made a very successful dress (not blogged so far). So I need ideas what to make with the following...

I'm tempted to make Simplicity 2588 I think this would like really nice made up with a full skirt, fitted bodice and the cap sleeves of the green dress on this pattern. I have considered 2591 which I've seen on one of my favourite blogs Did you make that?, but I think I'll get more use out of 2588!

As for this... I'm not really sure. I wated the green with white, but it was sold out and I couldn't let a half price bargain go, so I've got 3 metres to make whatever I like! :-) Any ideas? I'm tempted to make a top and skirt, there's plenty of fabric there - famous last words!!

Monday, 20 June 2011

Off the cuff skirt

I think this is the first thing I've made without really using a pattern. For some reason I haven't really trusted myself until now. I saw this fabric in my local John Lewis (yes I spend quite a bit of time in there!) and just had to have it. Time I'd decided what I wanted to make they had to order the fabric especially from another store. No delivery charge to deliver to home, so I was quite happy. The fabric is a stretchy cotton. It's quite heavy, but hangs brilliantly and sewed like a dream!

I decided that it would work nicely as a pleated skirt with a small basque. I used a pattern to get the size and shape of the basque. [This was a pattern from a magazine which I'd already made and knew fitted.] I think I took about an inch or so from the depth of the basque.

The main section for the skirt was just cut square, with enough length to give a decent hem.

I didn't work out the pleats before cutting out, so worked these out having cut it out and sewn the seams. Fortunately I managed to get the pleats even and they sit well.

Sewing the basque on  worked a whole lot better than I imagined. It has a lining for the basque too, so after attaching the outside piece (as it were) I needed to sew the lining piece, including tape at the waist to help with the shape. The inside lining is then hand stitched to the top of the skirt section.

I decided to be brave and go with another concealed zip. It wasn't brilliant, but I think I'm getting better at sewing these in. Perhaps I could so with a proper concealed zipper foot for my sewing machine for this, since my zipper foot is possibly not completely up to the task!

I think I put about a hem of an inch and an half which makes the skirt hang nicely. I decided to hand sew the hem, as there is no top stitching on the whole skirt and it may have looked strange with such a long hem. I am so pleased with the result though. The skirt fit is brilliant, it's full, but the fabric weight means it doesn't flutter in the slightest of breezes. It actually quite warm, so it will be something cheerful to wear on some of these gloomy spring-like days we're having at the moment. Methinks it'll get quite a bit of wear!

Wednesday, 8 June 2011

Simplicity 2360 - adjusted...

Another item finished in time for my holiday!!

I wanted a white thin blouse with flounces. All the flounced tops are patterned this year, or in a plain colour other than white. I'd already bought a patterned readymade one some time ago. I thought to make a pattern from the blouse, but decided it was too difficult.

Then I saw this pattern... I wasn't sure at first, but it's a pullover dress, so after chatting to one of the helpful staff in my local John Lewis, I decided that it would work as a top.

I used a thin white georgette material. I originally cut the wrong size, so had to cut around my pattern pieces again. I decided I'd try a V-neck front with no sleeves and the flounces across the shoulders. I had a few problems, possibly because the fabric is very thin and quite slippy. I managed to pin things the wrong way round and had to unpick and stitch them again. Something makes me think I was hurrying and not thinking properly.

Originally I lengthened the bodice of the dress to leave the blouse straight so I could tuck it in. After trying it on a couple of times I decided that it didn't really work. The blouse was still quite big and baggy. I took in the side seams and the seams under the flounces on the back. I also added another 2 or 3 inches of material to the bottom to include a casing for elastic.

I'm really pleased with how it's turned out. I took it back into John Lewis and the staff member was really impressed!

The blouse will now fit brilliantly over my purple silk skirt (see earlier post and finished article below). It has the flounces over the arms and the frill at the bottom. I can't wait to wear it. Roll on the holiday!!

Monday, 6 June 2011

New Look 6557

Just finished this dress in time for my holiday next week. :-)

I was looking for a simple sun dress to make. I found this pattern and got the fabric from Online fabrics at a bargin price of £2.25 a metre! It's really lovely to sew with, soft polycotton, so with any luck it won't shrink either!

The pattern is really easy to put together. I'm really pleased with how simple it actually was. I lined the top with just plain white polycotton, instead of using the fabric for the rest of the dress to make sure I didn't get lots of strange layered patterns. I also top-stitched it with a dark blue to match. I spent ages trying to get the tension right on my machine, but it just wasn't having it. Fortunately the strange stitches are on the reverse.

The lapped zip went in really well, although I put it in a bit too low and have quite a gap at the top.

First time I tried it on the dress was too big at the top of the bodice. Not a problem I generally have! So I managed to take in the side seam a bit and unpicked the zip to make it a bit smaller around the back too. The fit is now just about perfect.

One of these days I'll buy a dressmakers dummy to hopefully make this easier, but at the moment it's just me. I have to measure carefully and hope the finished size is right. Hemming is interesting, but I use kirby grips for the hair to estimate the length while I try the dress on. It actually works quite well!!

So my bargain sundress is ironed and ready to go in the suitcase to catch the Gibraltar sun next week! I'm still debating whether to put a line of blue ribbon round the waist or bottom of the hem. Any thoughts?