Saturday, December 2, 2017

A couple of Reetas!

Hello sewers! It's me, back with TWO Named Reeta Shirt Dresses!

I sewed both these dresses a couple of months ago, before falling into quite the slump, and not making anything since. I think this is due to the onset of winter, the clocks going back and general Novemberness. But taking these pics today has hopefully inspired me to get back to my machine...

I think part of the problem is that I don't particularly love either of the Reetas I made, despite being massively attracted to the pattern the moment I saw it. So they lay near my machine while I considered if there was a way I could make them more appealing to me... and eventually I've decided to move on - hence finally blogging them!

I think the problem may be that I don't love this long collar on me... which could explain why the Sew Over Vintage Shirt Dress, another pattern I made twice and love in concept, hardly gets any wear from me either. 

Anyway! This here version is in a lovely khadi cotton from The Cloth House, with some cactus/random animal embroidery round the top. I made up a straight size 38 for both dresses with no adjustments. I think the back bodice could have done with being a little shorter, but apart from that I think they're a good fit.

This second version is also khadi cotton, cream this time, with a denim collar and lapels. 

Looking at these again, I do suspect different fabric choices would have greatly helped - more drape and pattern if I do venture back this way again...

A little bird tattoo on the arm! Sailor-style.

Bye, Reeta! I gave you a good shot but don't think you're for me. Time for something new!

Thursday, September 21, 2017

It's Button City, and I'm the mayor!

Hello fellow sewers!

This dress continues my pursuit of the perfect button-through! I just love what buttons add to the interest of a dress... This bodice began life as an Anna hack, but the only thing that remains of that design are the darts, and even those have been narrowed a bit. So does this count as self-drafting? Anyway, here it is. The skirt is a Charlotte, with the mods I made to fit me plus a button placket down the front and the rise extended to meet the bodice.

Except it didn't meet the bodice at all - I ended up adding a rectangular strip round the waist about 4" thick to marry the two. Which works fairly well I think! I added ties at the back to help cinch it in a bit too.

I was really inspired by this dress that Jess made. I love the pockets she added to hers, and will no doubt shamelessly rip off that idea in a future version! I prefer her straighter skirt too, and her fabric - but I'll keep going with mine till it's perfect!

The fabric is a cornflower blue shirting cotton from Fabworks Online - I think it's a little lightweight for this pattern and I'll use something heavier next time. Which there will be, soon!

This dress has already had a few outings, and fits well in my wardrobe. Hooray for all the buttons in the world, all panting for homes on home-sewn dresses!

Wednesday, September 6, 2017

Stripes for a wedding

Hello fellow sewers!

I went to an absolutely lovely wedding last weekend in Usk in Wales. The sun shone on the day and it was one of best I can remember attending. Thank you Lynne and Matt!

A wedding is still an excuse for a new dress! I had a sort-of toile I'd been tinkering with for Sally and Dave's wedding in July. This is an Emery Dress bodice with an Anna maxi skirt. I made no alterations to either pattern, except to leave off the Emery sleeves and and lining, finishing the armscyes and neckline with bias binding instead.

 The leftover bits of fabric went to the freestyled ruffled sleeves and a tie for the waist. I was really happy with how the stripes in the tie contrast with the ones in the skirt - a happy accident!

The fabric is an Indian block-print from Indian Stores, the Etsy shop with extra lovely goodies in it at the moment...

I really love this dress! I think it's one of my fave things I've made, even though its maxi-ness might mean it doesn't get tons of outings. I think it might get dirty in London as soon as I step foot out the door.

But it was an excellent wedding outfit. It survived pie-eating, two rounds of ceilidhs, a game of rounders and the resulting blood (clumsy!), having water poured directly onto it from a watering can by a high-spirited younger member of the party, and of course a wedding-sized portion of booze. 

Thank you once again to my unofficial blog photographer Shelley!

Sunday, August 6, 2017

Sapporo Coat

Hello fellow sewers!

I am here to show off my new Sapporo Coat by Papercut Patterns, which I made last weekend.

I made up the size S/XS (they are the same) and I'm really happy with the fit. In fact, I'm just totally thrilled with this coat, and have worn it every day since I finished it. It's perfect for the weather we've been having these past couple of weeks. 

I have nothing really to say about the construction of this coat - it was really easy, with no head-scratching moments for me, apart from one bit about the lining which re-reading demystified! All the pieces lined up so nicely, and the instructions were clear and easy to follow.

You can make out the nice style lines down the back here - they curve round the sides to match up with the pocket lines at the front. 

Both my fabrics are from Fabric World on Goldhawk Road - a speckled brown wool/poly blend for the shell, and a nice blue cotton with tiny checks for the inside. Both washed and pressed really easily, so I won't need to bother dry-cleaning this guy. The suggested fabrics were basically anything woven - there is so much possibility for both winter and summer versions.

WIDE sleeves - slight confusingly (to me) the instructions refer to the sleeves as the cuffs - I guess the sleeves are cut on, and then the added bit are cuffs... cuffs/sleeves, whichever: they're great!

 I have an urge for a bright tartan one next... Also it might be worth having some fun with the lining fabric, as it does peep out quite a bit while being worn.

Hope you're having lovely Sundays, thank you for reading and see you soon!

Sunday, July 30, 2017

Gummy Venus de Milo trousers

Hello sewers!

I think Katie is the biggest sewing influence on me - I love her taste in both fabrics and patterns, and I'm always excited when she posts something new. When I read about her McCalls M7445 I was smitten and ordered the pattern that day. I love the cut of these trousers, the exposed zipper and the lovely square pockets.

I made them up in a denim from A-One Fabrics on Goldhawk Road, which was £7.50 per metre for 150cm wide. A-One has a nice denim selection, and they mostly have a bit of stretch, like this one did.

I sewed up a size 12 which is one smaller than my measurements, but going by the Big 4 oversize rule, 12 has worked for me in the past. I basted them, and then took 1cm wedge out of both side seams, and about 1" out of centre back seam. This meant I somehow bodged up the facing, so I had to re-draft that. I didn't bother interfacing my facing, and it's been fine and comfortable so far. I also took them up a bit further at the hems for swingy goodness.

Then... while I was dreaming about making these trousers one evening, inspiration (?) hit!! For months now, I have been holding onto a brilliant patch that my sister bought me in Brighton. It's a patch of the gummi Venus de Milo from the Simpsons episode, Homer Badman - a great classic! For anyone needing a refresher:

La Venus de jalea! I could only find this clip in Spanish but I think Homer's drool noise is even better here. Anyway, once I knew I was making blue jean trousers, how could I not put the gummi V de M on the bum! Of course I made sure it was on the correct side, for true Simpsons authenticity:

I've worn these out a few times and have been waiting for someone to gasp at my genius idea! So far, no dice - does this mean people are not looking at my bum?? Woeful news.

Gimme some of that sweet sweet can!

Friday, July 21, 2017

Second Vintage Shirt Dress

Hello sewers!

After my last Sew Over It Vintage Shirt Dress, I went almost straight on to this one! It's in a navy khadi cotton from The Cloth House - I think it was £6.50 a metre, so pretty bargainous for their prices. I LOVE everything in that shop, but it doesn't come cheap... Anyway this cotton is lovely; it has imperfections in the weave but I think they add to the charm.

I didn't make further changes from the last time, apart from lengthening and narrowing the skirt on the pattern. And I went for covered buttons this time, which I really like.

I also added the tie at the back again, just to cinch it in a little further.

And a brooch of my mum's! Vintage-tacular. I think this will be a nice dress for autumn.

Until soon!

Wedding special!

Hello sewers!

In my last post I mentioned doing some toile-making for my friend's wedding, at which I was a bridesmaid. I went through three different toiles before going back to an old tried-and-trusted - Simplicity 1880. I've now made this dress five times, including my bridesmaid's dress. It's a winner for me! 

Our brief was pretty broad, but basically fellow bridesmaid Elfie and I wanted to match each other and of course match Sally the bride. So we went for cream-based fabrics, both from Shaukat. Mine is a Liberty tana lawn, which was every bit as nice to sew with as imagined. I'd never been to Shaukat before - holy treasure trove!!

I sewed it up as with my last ones, but extended the skirt to make a maxi to match Sally and Elfie. The skirt is just a simple A-line cut on the straight-grain. When it was finished I felt it needed something more, so I added ruffles by attaching them on my dummy - does this count as draping?? It felt like it to me, or at least the closest I've got so far! They are just a long piece cut on the bias and blind-stitched round the hem. I hand stitched them to the neckline too, as it seemed safest.

The dress on the day!

With Sally the bride, watching guests arrive...

Sally and Elfie, sisters! And here is Elfie's beautiful dress! This is the Eva Dress 1930 Evening Gown E30-6573, which she made with chiffon from Shaukat. Much more adventurous in the fabric department - I couldn't quite face sewing with chiffon!! 

Congratulations Sally and Dave!!

Wednesday, June 14, 2017


 Hello sewers!

My friend is getting married in July, and my fellow bridesmaid and I are making our dresses. In preparation, I've been finishing up old projects and making toiles of the By Hand London Anna Dress. This is a hack of that bodice, with sleeves from the Emery Dress and a bodge-self-drafted A-line skirt.

I'm really happy with the fit of this, mostly - I think the armscyes could be a little bigger and lower next time. But I made an error with the zip, and put in a 7" side zip (the buttons are sewn-on, no button holes) - it doesn't really leave comfortable space for getting it on and off. So next time I'll go with the 22" back zipper as instructed in the Anna pattern.

The fabric is a block printed cotton from indianstores on Etsy, and the buttons are stash. Thanks to Shelley for taking the pics!

Until soon!

Monday, June 5, 2017

Sew Over It Vintage Shirt Dress

Hello Sewers!

Last year I took the Vintage Shirt Dress course at Sew Over It in Islington. I loved the last class I took there, and the fact that their lovely teacher Julie was once more taking this class made me even keener. The three-evening course was great, and I left with my dress finished apart from the buttons. Then... queue it languishing in a bag for the next several months. When I tried it on I loved the bodice, but the skirt was too short and full for my liking.

Finally last weekend I took some volume out of the skirt, and added some panels in a slightly haphazard way to lengthen it. Mismatching green stash buttons and lo! The dress is done. I also added some tie tabs at the back to cinch it in a little.

I really love the fit of this dress now. I think it's kind of 80s-meets-40s - which was pretty much just the 80s anyway. The fabric is from Goldhawk Road, and was only about £4 a metre - bargain dress!

Until sooner next time, I hope! This dress took waaaay too long!!

Tuesday, April 11, 2017

Rosari Skirt

Hello spring sewers!

I've finished what I think will be the first of a few Pauline Alice Rosari Skirts! This is in a lovely dark cornflower denim from the Cloth Shop. The yellow buttons came from there too in fact. 

I made up the midi skirt in a size 38 and it fits pretty well straight off. The denim I used is very un-stretchy, and so this skirt feels a bit tighter as the day goes on; perhaps next time I'll use 1/2" seam allowances instead to add a bit more give.

Hmmm, appears this denim is prone to wrinkling!

But I really love this skirt! Thanks to Shelley for the alley photographs - nice to have a change of backdrop!