Friday, 28 March 2014

She puts on strength and honour: dress 6

Hmmm... Not sure about this next dress.
Like the Russian Romans dress I wanted another dress I could wear through the winter/spring transition so I bought a cheap navy polycotton with a ditsy strawberry print.

 I lined it with what was left of the Worf dress but under stitched in the same dark thread I'd sewn it up with which was perhaps a mistake as it probably should have been white!! (Remember for next time).

I wanted to use the Simplicity 2444 bodice again as it fits up to the back of my neck and is easy to wear long sleeves underneath but I wanted to add a full circle skirt and try out the pockets from the Simplicity pattern. They worked a treat although did require me cutting the skirt front on the fold and then 2 separate back pieces so I had 2 side seams in which to sew the pockets and get a back zip in place!

I'm pleased with the fit and the style of the dress but not overly enamoured with the fabric so I'm naming it the Without Cream dress as I don't think these strawberries deserve any cream- they're just not quite good enough!

Well- the No Cream dress is made, hemmed and zipped but unfortunately is actually too pesking small!!! I've pulled 2 zips open on this dress and even after repositioning and restitching the zip, I have to admit defeat! Pants :(

Clearly too much pattern redrafting went on here. I could be frustrated but I will simply have to look at the simplicity bodice again and start on another....this one had pockets too.....ho hum.....


Tuesday, 25 March 2014

She brings him good not harm: dress 5

Return of Simplicity 2444. Ok, ok I admit it; maybe I was too harsh on Simplicity 2444. I've tried it again and actually got to grips with the bodice at least. I prefer circular skirts and following the success of the Pi dress have now learnt how to make a half circle version so have meshed the Simplicity 2444 bodice to a half circle skirt.

On one of my many trips to the fabric shop I spotted this delightful Russian Dolls fabric Roisin used on the One Good Turn Dress and couldn't resist. 
Russian dolls fabric £5.99 a M
My first few dresses are great but a little too summery for March, even with the delightful bit of sunshine we've been having, so I wanted a fabric that could take me through the transition season!
I had sufficient polka dot fabric leftover from the Rubies dress so have used that to line dress number 5.
I wasn't quite sure what to call this dress but as I was cutting my youngest decided to join me on all fours to draw out a full sized Roman centurion for her homework so we collectively decided to call this one the Russian Romans!!

Having tampered with the bodice of Simplicity 2444 I've actually managed to ensure this dress has the best fit of them all and as the pattern requires a full length back zip it's definitely easier to insert than the Butterick underarm position. The first zip broke after hemming however so I can now add re stitching an invisible zip to my repertoire! I really like the fact that this dress has. Aback bodice that comes up to the neck and could easily see myself making it again in a tartan or heavier fabric and wearing it in the winter with a long sleeved top underneath and boots.

What do you think?

Thursday, 20 March 2014

She sets about her work vigorously: Alterations!

After 4 dresses all with the same neckline issues, my beautiful friend I mentioned in my very first post popped in for coffee and ended up becoming a pattern redrafter extraordinaire! How I love you Jackie!

All of my butterick dresses and my latest simplicity creation (will give details later!) all had rather gaping necklines which was starting to bother me. :(
I'd followed the pattern, cut a little extra on the side seams to allow for some room up front and ended up with a baggy neck. My friend suggested I simply redraft my patterns to remove some of the extra material on the upper chest. I altered the fold line (stuck it down with Washi!) and recut the bodice front! Voila!!
Loving my previous creations as I do I also took some time last Saturday to alter them all and make each one slightly unique.
On the Cudge I simply cut the shoulder seams open and re stitched them higher which pulled the neck/upper chest material tighter. On the Worf I've actually left it as I really think it's almost good enough. 
The Rubies dress was seriously gaping so I too stitched 3 small pleats onto the neckline which has drawn in the excess fabric and made a pretty feature to the front.

The Pi dress neck line was supposed to be a notched neck but after under stitching too far it wasn't a triumph so my very clever friend took it away and top stitched a very clever little front neck feature instead! So although it took my the better part of a Saturday to make the required alterations all my dresses now fit well and I've redrafted both the Butterick B5748 and Simplicity 2444 bodice fronts to avoid such a school boy error in the future! Hoorah!!

I still have absolutely no idea which ones to enter into Sew Dolly Clackett!!!

Anyone else having these teach-yourself-to-sew-teething-issues or is it just me?


Sunday, 16 March 2014

She considers a field and buys it: dress 4

Hello lovelies- dress number 4 was a total fail! I tried the renown Simplicity 2444 and I HATE it! Sorry to all you fans of it but I really couldn't get on with it at all and after much time and fabric have decided to scratch it from the record such was the measure of disaster. It was too small in the bodice- which surprised me having read many a blog describing it as too big! The pleats in the skirt were ok but the attaching part seemed so complicated compared to my faithful Butterick B5748. Maybe it's just me but let's just say I was glad I'd only used £2 per metre fabric!....

So anyway, like all good growth mindset people I moved on.... To Butterick B5748 again! This time I set myself the challenge of drafting my own half circle skirt pattern. A simple mathematical equation to all you hardened sewers but interesting for me! So, the dress has been named the 'Pi' dress, for obvious reasons.

I'd also only made the plain jewel necked bodice before so for this make I chose to include the notch in the neck. One edge is a little too rounded due to over excited under stitching but all in all I quite like it.
I also inserted an invisible zip, in the right place this time, and am still struggling with the top end but as it's hidden away and tucked into the bodice lining I thought I might get away with it.
took some photos of my tailor tacking too, a skill I learnt from a variety of you tube clips and one I really like for ensuring darts get placed correctly. I adapted the method to mark out the neck- notch stitching line too. I've found it most helpful to use a different coloured thread for the tailor tacks so they're easy to see against a patterned fabric.

Isn't this fabric stunning- I can't wait to wear this dress out with a little cardi on my shoulders and some wedge heels while schlurping on a '99!!!

I'm still waiting for my order of New Look 6886 and another Retro butterick B5603 from Jaycotts- taking an age due to pattern sales and the Sewing Bee apparently! Let's hope I like those better than Simplicity 2444. I've no problem having 4 very similar dresses in my wardrobe but would like to try something else now. I'm so pleased I worked out the half circle pattern too- much less fabric needed!

How many can we enter for Sew Dolly Clackett?!?


Thursday, 13 March 2014

All of them are dressed in the finest clothes: dress 3

Hello lovelies. I probably should warn you that I'm still on Butterick B5748- it's a classic 'me' dress!

This time for dress number 3 I thought I'd have a play around with the zipper location.
On the pattern envelope the zip is located about 4" from the armpit and extends through the waist of the dress and into the skirt. On my first dress, The Cudge, I too stitched a regular zipper to the left hand side having never made a dress before! On dress 2, The Worf, I attached an invisible zipper to the right hand side (seemed more logical on that side?!?) I've always struggled with ends of zips and wasn't completely happy with either zip on the first two so for dress 3 I thought I'd move the zip to the back. Hmmm.... Great idea in principle but in reality it's changed the fit of the bodice (is this normal?) so that if I do it again I've made a note to taper the armhole seam allowance so there's less of it at the armpit.

I'm probably the only one who really notices and as the dress is now easier to get on and off I may try it again, I may not.
Anyway, here you go.

There's still a full circle skirt but it's not quite as long as the Cudge dress. The spot fabric is a gorgeous poly cotton blend at a bargainous price of £2.00 a metre so definitely the cheapest dress so far!

I've called this dress the Rubies dress as I dreamt up this blog while creating it!

One of my lovely assistants took some photos outside as the sun actually appeared for a split second- here I am sitting on a cold hard bench with the rather stark looking plant life behind me which is probably weeks away from flowering!

It shows off the pretty skirt though- which I actually managed to hem without fluting it once! (First time!!) I should probably photograph the lining too as I used an old pink gingham duvet! It's very cute. I shall be picking over your bed sheets next to see if I can use them as linings, just wait.

I've ordered a couple of new patterns now I have a taste for it so we shall see if it's me or B5748 that's any good won't we.

What do you think?


Wednesday, 12 March 2014

She is busy all the time: dress 2

Well after the success of my first attempt at dressmaking I had definitely caught the bug! Dress number 2 was cut, pinned and sewn in half the time of dress 1, which may have had a little something to do with the copious amounts of Star Trek, The Next Generation I watched on Netflix while sewing!

Hence dress number 2 is called 'The Worf' dress!!

Having lined my first dress with its own fabric (and getting it inside out), I decided to line all of this dress with white cotton sheeting, which at £2 a metre was perfectly acceptable.

Apart from not being able to buy my style 'off the peg', the fact that I can create a vintage style frock over over 3 metres of fabric for under £12 has got to be a major motivator for me. In the past I've spent an awful lot on vintage reproduction dresses, which truth be told are often badly made, unlined and ill-fitting. That's why I think I'm experiencing a double whammy of joy when sewing- I get a custom made vintage style dress and it's cheap!!! Although when I'm proficient enough I do intend to make myself something in Alexander Henry's fabric 'home sewing is easy'- how could you not?!

Unlike my first dress, the Worf has an invisible zip which I most definitely prefer. It took me a while of you tubing and consulting my sewing notes to remember exactly how to do it but I'm pleased with the result.
The floral fabric is extremely summery so I'm not sure Worf will get out much for a few weeks but I do love it! I altered the armhole seams and increased the lower bodice darts to nip in the waist a little more than previously. It's a good fit all told.
I've only lined the bodice so will definitely need my petticoats on- bring on the heat wave!
What do you think?!


Monday, 10 March 2014

She gets up while it is still dark: Dress 1 in technicolor

Hello lovelies- here are the promised photos of yesterday's first outing of the Cudge dress.
Unfortunately my cardigan had to stay on as the bodice on this dress is a little too big unless I stand bolt upright! I thought I'd pair the dress with my beautiful Miss L Fire boots which I've had for an age but never seem to wear. The belt was a charity (thrift) shop buy and helped with some required synching!

For my next trick I think I'd like to try making this bodice with a half circle skirt; what do you think? Might it work?!?


Saturday, 8 March 2014

Her lamp doesn't go out at night: dress 1

Well folks, here it is! My first ever hand made dress.
Posing face
And I'm really rather pleased with myself!!
I bought too much of this fabric as I knew it was my first attempt and as it was only £2.50 a metre I could afford to splash out a bit!
What do you think?
Gorgeous necklace was a surprise treat from my lovely hubby and it matches the dress perfectly.
I just adore full circle skirts and am wearing my petticoat underneath to boost the va va voom!

You can't tell I've top stitched the zip as it's underneath the arm so for my very first attempt I'm a happy bunny!!
Obligatory black and white for dramatic effect.

I'm going to wear The Cudge tomorrow as it's forecasting 17 degrees tomorrow. Maybe a few more photos?...


Thursday, 6 March 2014

She laughs at the days to come: dressmaking, a first

Hello lovelies! Thank you for joining me on my vintage style adventures in cyberspace.
I've been wanting to get back into blogging for a while and my new found love of sewing has provided me with the perfect opportunity so here you are.

A beautiful friend of mine introduced me to the circle skirt pattern a few months ago and I'm afraid I've caught the bug. I've now made 5 full circle skirts for myself and one for my littlest- it's all very exciting!

I then decided to teach myself to sew a dress! I'm so pleased I was born in the cyberspace generation as YouTube and other sewing blogs have been an invaluable resource. My inspiration has also come from the lovely Roisin at Dolly Clackett-  (so much so I've blatantly and completely stolen her blog idea with the 'Home Sewing Is Easy' fabric from Alexander Henry!)

I've been amazed and delighted with her handmade wardrobe so when the Sew Dolly Clackett challenge appeared it was all the push I needed to crack on and employ my new growth mindset & make my own vintage style dresses.

On Roisins advice, I've started with Butterick B5748, a retro mid century pattern.

I was amazed at how much you need to know before you can even understand the pattern envelope but I perservered, watch a LOT of YouTube clips and have successfully taught myself to tailor tack my darts, clip and trim, staystitch and understitch. (All these terms were complete gobbledygook about a month ago!) Who knew you stared by ironing the pattern??!! I also shamelessly used and abused my gorgeous friend Sam from The House of Webb who is a beautifully patient sewing Goddess.

In Dolly Clackett style I have chosen to name my dresses. This is the first one. 'The Cudge Dress'
I used a regular zip (bad idea- had to guess how to insert it so ended up top stitching it) but I'm delighted with the result. I only lined the bodice as I tend to wear circle skirts with a voluminous petticoat anyway. I do hate ironing and hemming a full circle skirt though.

Pictures of the first Sew Dolly Clackett entrant up soon, promise!