Yesterday, my friend Carol and I made this dress for her. She, like me used to sew and is now returning to the fold after a long break.
At the start of the day, we didn’t know we would finish it in just a day, albeit a very long one! Carol picked this pattern for a dress to wear to a winter wedding. The fabric she chose was a striking navy blue viscose with swipes of acid green. It has lovely drape, ideal for a wrap dress like the Sequence Dress.
As neither of us had used this pattern house before, and the make was pitched at a skilled level, we decided to make a toile first as the pattern measurements didn’t line up exactly with Carol’s. We used some polyester cotton for this and just cut out the front, back and sleeves. It fitted ok, so we moved on to cut out the lovely fabric.
The pattern instructions weren’t the best I’ve used and were a little confusing in places. We also looked up made up examples on Instagram to give us idea of what it looked like on someone of a normal size, rather than a miniscule size 8 as shown on the pattern. The example looked good and gave us the confidence to continue. We lengthened the front and back by about 4 inches so that it finishes just under her knee.
The pattern instructions were on the same sheet as the pattern pieces, with instructions to make it into a booklet, which seemed a bit of a faff so we didn’t do!
The pattern can be used for a dress or a top, with thick ties or thin ties. We didn’t quite get that it was an either or, thick or thin. The pattern review on the Foldline suggested using the thin ties for the dress, so that is what we did.
We used interfacing for the front facing as suggested in the instructions, but we both agreed that we wouldn’t do this if we made it again with the same fabric, as it was difficult to iron on the fabric and didn’t seem necessary, but I suppose it depends on the fabric you use.
We worked through the instructions and put the front and backs together, followed by the front and backfacing ( a bit fiddly) and then seamed the sides and then set the lovely shaped sleeves. We used the sewing machine for the construction and decided against using the overlocker as it was threaded up with white. We used a zig zag stitch to neaten up the seams.
Finally we hemmed the sleeves, the fronts and the hem.
Carol tried it on and we tied the ties around the front, crossed round the back. Something wasn’t quite right.! We looked again at the made up version and realised we shouldn’t be crossing the ties and tied them at the the side. Voila- it looks great!
I’ve been reading all about overlocker or serger machines. They used them on the Sewing Bee and they are referred to a lot when sewing with stretch fabrics. Buying one had been on my wish list for a while but I was waiting for the right moment. It came when someone on the Sewing Bee Facebook page said that they were on Amazon, as Deal of the Day. I did a quick bit of research and decided to go for it as it had £50 off.
I ordered it on Monday and it arrived on Wednesday. My first impression was – it’s a scary piece of kit. All that thread and all that threading through lots of loops and things!
Well, I’ve watched the DVD and a couple of You Tube videos today and I’ve managed to set it up and have a practice go. So 😛 to you Mark. He was expecting me to cry for help. Being the stubborn old woman I am, I managed to do it without his help. Hooray – I’m not brain dead after all. I was expecting the set up to take all day and be quite frustrated but I was pleasantly surprised.
So now I have to try it out on a sewing project. I decided to thread it with black thread so I need to find something dark coiloured to sew 🤪. I have a lot of the cranberry jersey left that I made the Lark Tee out of so I am going to try a long sleeved version I think.
I’m late to the party but I’ve made a pair of Lander Shorts. The pattern is made by True Bias, a pattern maker I have only just discovered. I have seen and heard loads of mentions for this pattern so I thought I would give it a go. I wasn’t sure if it was suitable for an older person – me – but I looked at the makes on Instagram and there’re were some other mature ladies wearing them so decided I would join the party. The pattern appealed to me as it had Some neat details like a button fly and belt loops. I have never made either of those before.
After reading a few sewing blogs and some comments on Instagram, I decided I would try using a ‘toile’ before I started. In all my years of sewing I have never done this. Basically, it’s making a practice garment out of cheap fabric so that you get the fit right before using your expensive fabric. As I had forked out for some rather nice linen from Guthrie and Ghani I decided this would be a good idea. I used an old cream coloured cotton curtain lining for the toile. I made up a size 16 after measuring all my bits. When I made the basic toile (without the pockets but with the button fly – to practice) it gaped a bit a the back of the waist so I knew I should increase the waist dart sizes on the final garment and that should do it. The rest of it fitted ok.
So I cautiously cut out my fabric – as usual I had far too much! As the linen has stripes I was careful to make sure that they ran the right way. They are very thin strips so I didn’t need to worry about lining up the stripes to match, on this occasion.
I told myself, I would not hurry so that I would not make too many mistakes. My new sewing machine had a variable speed switch so I keep it at slow to slow me down 🤪
The instructions are in a small booklet, with pictures, and they are very clear and understandable. They are much better than the traditional patterns and paper instructions which need folding and flipping repeatedly to find where you are.
After watching the Sewing Bee and Lauren from Guthrie and Ghani’s You Tube videos I have updated my sewing kit a bit.
I have bought a pair of rotary scissors, some glass pins and a metal measuring gauge. I also want some of those weights the Sewing Bee sewists use, instead of pins and have tried out the concept with some magnetic board holders. The pretty weights are quite expensive and you need quite a few, so they will have to wait a while.
I hate doing buttonholes (not quite as much as I hate putting zips in) as I get a bit flustered as to the exact positioning of them. It’s easier with my new machine but it still worries me. It’s not easy unpicking one when it’s wrong! I managed in the end, though and they are not perfect but they are okay and functional.
I lined the pockets with a scrap of material I had leftover from making Nells jumpsuit. I loved doing the belt loops, it makes the whole thing look so professional.
I staggered the making over a few days so I wouldn’t rush it and as usual pressed as I went along. It makes the whole process much easier.
I finally finished them yesterday and I’m really pleased with them and very proud of myself. It’s made me confident to have a go at the trousers now. They are high waisted and a comfortable fit. I can now see what all the chatter was about. I would have added a picture of me wearing them but as it was -1 this morning it will have to wait.
So we are back home from Spain, and I have now put together my Spring capsule wardrobe. I have decided to use navy as my base and used red, teal and mustard as my accent colours. I haven’t had to buy much as I had a few items in my stored clothes. I bought a few t- shirts and I have made a pair of mustard coloured casual trousers. I used the Tilly and the Buttons Marigold pattern and used Dashwood Studios Soirée Ochre Cherry Blossom Viscose Fabric fabric from Guthrie and Ghani
So this what’s in the Spring capsule
Red Jacket – old
Ivory Trench Jacket – old
Navy Blazer – bought second hand on EBay last year
Red fleece gilet – bought last in Autum
Tops -Blouses/T Shirts/Tunics
White long sleeve T – old
White T’s – 1 old and 1 new
Mustard T – New
Light Teal T – New
Navy and White striped long sleeved T – bought last season
Mustard floral top – I made this whilst I was in Spain
White linen top – old
Teal jumper – bought for Winter capsule
Red Jeans – bought for Autumn
Blue Jeans – bought in Autumn
Blue Trousers p- bought last Spring
White Trousers – old
Mustard Trousers – New
Denim Skirt – bought last Spring
Blue leggings – old
Blue, Teal and Red – New made in Spain
Chambray sleeveless dress – made last Summer
Red sling backs – gifted from sister
Blue brogues – old
White plimsoles – New
Blue Slip ons – old
Accessories- bags, belts, scarves, jewellery
Mustard crossover bag – present
Blue, Teak and Mustard scarf – bought in Winter
Jewellery – I went through what I had and found a few matching pieces
This is the 5th apron I have made with this pattern. I bought the pattern at a craft fair in Leicester a couple of years ago. I had been looking for a Japanese style apron pattern for a while and so I spent a hard earned tenner on it. The lady who made it had one she had made on, which I admired. She said she had made it from an Ikea curtain. (Saved!) I duly went and bought a pair of the grey curtains in Ikea and made 2 aprons. They were made from grey linen but the material frayed quite a lot after washing, so not ideal as they get quite a lot of laundering.
The pattern is very easy to put together and there are only 3 pattern pieces. I can whip one up in a morning now.
The next one I made was using some denim material I bought from the Knitting and Stitching Show in October. I made one soon after and saved the rest of the fabric to make another whilst here in Spain.
The aprons are very good, because they cover a lot of you of you and look stylish, as well as keeping your clothes clean, whilst cooking.
The denim one was more of a success and looks pretty smart I think. I have reinforced the pocket edges more this time, as they came undone on the original ones. I also took more time to neaten the edges before I made the apron up. They wash much better.
Using another piece of Seasalt fabric, I made this top to wear over jeans and leggings. The colours go well with my Winter capsule and the red bits match my red jeans.
The fabric is a printed cotton viscose twill (Forest Collage Marine). The pattern is New Look 6871. I carefully read the back of the pattern and the instructions on the back with regards sizing. I didn’t quite understand but by looking at my actual measurements it made me a size 18. My initial hunch was to ignore this and perhaps go with size 16 to account for said boobs. But no, I pressed ahead with the next size up which was a mistake. It does fit my boobs but it’s a bit big on my neckline, so I have had to add a couple of darts. If I use this pattern again, I will use the size 16.
The fabric was a bit of a nightmare to sew, to be honest. The automatic tension didn’t work on the machine so I had to adjust it, to stop the fabric gathering when I sewed. I think it may also have been the thread too. I have found that cheap threads don’t work.
It didn’t take me long to put it together as there are only 5 pieces and no zips or awkward openings. I made it in a couple of mornings.
However, the upshot to all of this is that I don’t like it! I have worn it but will probably just wear it around the house.