Dance like no one is watching.
Blog like no one is reading.

Thursday, 10 April 2014

Sew For Victory - Finished Dress

I have finished my Sew For Victory dress.   Slightly rushed as I needed to finish it before the Easter holidays - unless I could persuade the kids that watching Mum sew on their Easter break was a really, really exciting way to spend the day!

The dress is Simplicity 1587, a 1940's reproduction pattern.  There were quite a few processes in this pattern (lots of pleats and gathers), and as I was making it I was wondering whether a 1940's seamstress would have considered it the norm to have so many fiddly bits to do, whereas if I come across a pattern with bust AND waist darts I give a little sigh!

I'm afraid I hadn't read Rochelle's post before cutting out the fabric.  It appears polyester was not available in the 1940's and I think this fabric is polyester with a capital P.  I have to say though I have been punished enough by this fabric.  It was like sewing a sponge!  It would not hold a crease, any attempt at ironing seams flat either did nothing or resulted in black marks if I even attempted to turn the iron up a little bit, and I managed to snag the fabric when putting it on my dress form, Merle, due to an errant pin.

Construction photo of the front bodice pleats - no amount of pins was too much for this fabric.

Still, the fabric does drape beautifully!

The button is an odd one found in my charity shop button tin - so I've no idea whether it is modern or vintage but the chances are it is pretty old.

Final bloggy pose showing my attempt at the 1940's hair and makeup.  Think I may tone it down for the school run........!

Tuesday, 8 April 2014

Fabric Distraction

I am supposed to be completing my Sew For Victory dress.   Instead I am distracted by the fact that I still have a bit of fabric leftover from making my friend a top. 

'Doesn't take long to whip up a skirt for my daughter' I think.  Two days later and my dress form 'Merle' is still sporting a pinned together dress which I have not touched.

But it was so much fun to make my own binding to hem the lining of this skirt.  It's so swishy.  How can I convey the swishyness to you?  By throwing the skirt at my camera!

Ok Merle, stop looking at me like that, I'll get to you tomorrow! :)

Friday, 4 April 2014

The Best Things Come In Medium Packages

Or at least I hope so!  This brown paper parcel contains a present I made for my friend.  

The good thing about sewing a present for a friend is that you can go online and order up what feels like a present for yourself first!  One of the most fun things about sewing is choosing the fabric and trim you are going to use and this fabric turned out to be a beauty to sew.

I gave my friend a choice of tops I could make for her and she chose New Look pattern 6705 view E.  The instructions were great and it went together quite easily - although I took a long time to press and tack in the yoke facings as they needed to be caught with the top stitching.  Can be tricky that!

The armholes are just finished with a bias trim and it was a lovely way to add another splash of colour to the top.

It's a really easy top to make as there are no darts for the shaping.

Just these cute pleats in the front bodice.  I really enjoyed making this and I think my friend liked the end result!

Friday, 28 March 2014

Sew For Victory - The Make Do and Mend Mentality

It is Sew For Victory time!  I am joining a group of Forties enthusiasts in sewing an outfit reminiscent of that era.

Whilst my outfit is still in the planning stage, it has got me thinking about how scarce fabric would have been during the rationing years.  As I became a quilter before I became a dressmaker I have always been loathe to throw away even the tiniest scrap of fabric.  Scrap quilts were my first love when I began, tentatively, to sit down with a needle and thread whilst my newborn took a nap, and I love seeing how much I can get out of any fabric that passes my way.

I think I had three metres of blue linen to make my Colette Peony.


With the leftovers I made a skirt as a birthday gift for my daughter's friend.

Now I am really left with scraps!  I still can't bear to throw the pieces out so have made this flower.

The button is from my charity shop button tin.  I'm not sure quite what it will embellish yet.  I think I may try and squuuueeeeze out a small bag from what is left of the linen!

Thank you Rochelle for reminding me of those ladies who perfected the make do and mend ethos. 

Saturday, 15 March 2014

Bow Tie Scarf

As stated previously, I love to borrow craft books from my local library as it's a great way to explore new techniques, and it also proves to my local council that crafting is alive and well in the county!

My latest loan was 'Creative Makers Simple Knitting' by Ros Badger.  I love the look of this book and the projects inside were just right to use up some of my stash of odd balls of yarn.

I knitted this bow tie scarf (which she calls a silky m uffler - but I have been too scared to type that phrase into a search engine!!!) with two balls of yarn.  I used a fine 4 ply pink yarn which was donated to me by my friend's knitting mum, and the remains of a cone of aran yarn that I bought in a charity shop.  The aran was a little rough, which is why I blended it with the soft pink to try and give it a more gentle hand, and I think it achieved that.

It is knitted in seed stitch (or moss stitch) and it gives it a lovely firm texture which gives the bow aspect a good definition.  I have made it a little bit longer than suggested as I am not keen on wearing scarfs too tightly.

I think that's a happy face! :)

Wednesday, 12 March 2014

You can teach a girl couture... but you can't take her away from Ebay!

Ebay.  Such a guilty pleasure.  I can't resist a blurry photograph of a bin bag full of polyester fabric.  There, I've said it.

There are many lovely fabric shops on Ebay, selling all kinds of quality fabric but they are not my main haunt.  What I like are those mystery bags of scraps that cost more to post than they are probably worth and usually I am the only bidder!

When they arrive though, they are like Christmas to me.  I usually have no firm idea of what is in the package.  I like to buy fabric with some meterage in them but this does not always turn out the way I expected it.  But I just love that I have rescued some - usually quite weird and abstract - fabric.

I do use them, usually to make dress up for the club I work for or for my own kids.  Unusual fabric in fairly small quantities is perfect for the task.

My daughter loves roller skating at our local leisure centre and here I have made her a skater skirt.  It has a silver top layer with a black underlayer - both trimmed with red self-made bias binding.  All the fabric came from Ebay.

My latest 99 pence purchase turned out to be a little life saver.  After avoiding World Book Day for a few years our school decided to have a dress up day again to celebrate it.

I used pretty much every last scrap of this red and black stripe fabric to make a Dennis The Menace top for dress up that day.  The sleeves are three quarter length as there simply was no more fabric available for longer sleeves.

It is buttoned down the back as there was no stretch on this fabric.  Right, I've got to go, I'm sure someone somewhere is photographing a bin bag with my name on it!

Wednesday, 5 March 2014

Pattern Fitting - The Completed Colette Peony

This is quite a picture heavy post - partly because I am a little bit in love with this dress and partly because I got a tripod for my birthday!

So, after battling with it since Christmas, I have finally finished my Colette Peony dress.  All that pattern fitting, all that tweaking, and I'm afraid I still haven't got it quite right.  The bodice and neckline, as you can see, are a little bit big, but the couture techniques and full lining make it a delight to wear - so I will learn from it and love wearing it!

A few details....

The hem lining has a small fold which gives extra room when you sit down.  It should stop the lining from pulling the dress hem up when it is under tension.

The fully lined sleeves also have the same effect.

 I re-drafted the neckline a little to give it a slightly more scooped effect.

My previous Peony has the original neckline which I found was just a little too high for my taste.  This feels much more comfortable.

My dear, non-sewing friends listened patiently when I explained enthusiastically how the fact that my self drafted sleeve dart matched up with the shoulder seam was, in fact, very important. 

I think I lost their attention by the time I was pointing out that my waist darts and the new skirt darts I had also drafted met up.  So I'm showing you!

The good thing about the bodice being roomy (along with my more comfortable redrafted sleeves) is that there is no restrictions in my movement in the dress.  Photo above: Exhibit A.

Finally, to prove that I actually do wear the things I make and bore my friend silly talking about them, here is a picture of me at a recent girl's spa weekend....

Looking contemplative?  Yes, I am probably thinking about my dress!