Monday, 30 June 2014

be careful what you wish for!

I spent a frustrating weekend making muslins of dress bodices in an attempt - several attempts - to make them fit me. You see, I'm blessed/cursed with large "frontage" - be careful what you wish for as a skinny, flat-chested teenager, it might come back and bite you on the bum when you're in your 50s!!

Anyway, I was trying to make Simplicity 2444 (sleevelesss version) fit me.

First I did it the "measure your upper bust then pivot out to your real size" method. Did. Not. Work. The resulting top was tight across the frontage and way too short - darts are supposed to point to boobs, not enclose them. Here it is on Diana the dummy. It's even too tight on her and she doesn't have the same "frontage" as I have. Nor does she need to breathe! Luckily for her!

My next attempt involved the next size up, enlarged to take the frontage, lengthened to sort the enclosing problem. Did. Not. Work. To say I was disheartened is an understatement. I've been sewing for over 50 years and I cannot get this dress to work for me. :o(

Okay, I decided. Let's not drag this out any longer. Pack the pattern into the envelope and move on. So, what did I do next? Tried to get the bodice of Butterick 5748 to fit me.

Did it work? Nope! Let's just say that 5748 is now packed away in its envelope too. Tomorrow's sewing will not involve dresses of any kind. A wise move if only for my own sanity!

Moving swiftly onwards. Let me show you some bunting which I made last Wednesday. I actually gave myself a bad back trying to get this made in time for Douglas to take it over to his niece on Thursday. I think it was worth it!

Here it is in the making:

And here it is hung in the kitchen. Lucy's:

And Emme's:

Thankfully, Lucy and Emme's mum liked the bunting. I haven't heard if the girls liked it or not - I hope they did!

And finally. It was raining at walk time this evening so Tilly Facetimed me to tell me she wouldn't be along. :oD

Tuesday, 24 June 2014

the afternoon blouse - messing with the pattern

I made another Afternoon Blouse yesterday but first I wanted to make some changes to the pattern. In the first version ...

... I made the pattern exactly as it was meant to be other than lengthening it by an inch. I love it but, if I'm honest, it's just a smidge tight over the bust.

For my second version ...

... I had added a FBA to the pattern - full bust adjustment.

Now, whilst the blouse fits me and I love it, it's not perfect. It has way too much fabric between the sleeves and the neckline which makes it bunch up when I'm wearing it. Also, the bust dart (second attempt) didn't end up where it should - it's a bit low and not quite pointing in the correct direction. (The first dart I drew in was going to end up in the sleeve so at least it's better than that!)

Here's the pattern piece for the front after doing the FBA (twice) and adding bits in here to adjust for the dart being there. It's almost hardly surprising it didn't quite work out right! LOL

So, yesterday, I decided to go back to the original pattern, add in the 1" on the length as before but this time I'd drop the armhole by 1" and then grade it out down the side seams by ½" as if I was doing the next size up.

I should say here that the size 20 on the pattern - my size - says it's to fit a 114cm bust - my size exactly. It also says the blouse is "loose" so I thought - as you would - it'll be fine. Well, I measured the first version across the bust and it has a finished measurement of 116cm. I'm sorry, but 2cm ease isn't "loose" in my book. Anyway, no matter, because number 3 has worked beautifully. I'm really happy with it and it fits beautifully. Yay!!

Here's my attempt to take a photo of myself in the mirror in the sewing room. Believe me, this was the best of a bad bunch! LOL

Here's another attempt at the bottom of the stairs - not much better.

And here's the "I wonder if this one will show the button and fabric nicely?" close up.

I love all 3 versions of the Afternoon blouse and will wear them all. I have no doubt I'll make it again - probably soon! I'm a great believer in using a pattern as many times as you can to get your money's worth out of it! :oD

Sunday, 22 June 2014

blouses and skirts

I've had a very enjoyable week of dressmaking this week. First of all I made myself a top which is called the "Afternoon Blouse". I got it here. I used some button fabric which I had in my stash. I LOVE it!

I thought the button - from my stash - was very appropriate!

Then I made a couple of skirts. They were both made from the skirt pattern I made way back in February 2012 from this book:

I had to take it in a wee bit - yay!! - but, other than that, everything else was the same. First I made a red one.

Then I made a blue one. They've both been worn several times since I made them.

And you might have noticed my second version of the afternoon blouse there. I love this fabric too. I got it last week in Asda's. No, Asda isn't selling fabric now - more's the pity! - but it does sell duvet covers. The fabric is polycotton and, as long as front and back are the same, you get 4 metres of fabric (54" wide) out of a single duvet cover. It cost me a tenner. Can't beat that!

I wish I'd thought of the placement of the birds on the centre front seam but, I didn't think about it and the teeny bits of birds heads I've managed to decapitate (woops!) won't stop me wearing the blouse so it's all good.

I don't know what's in my sewing plans for this week - we'll just have to wait and see what jumps on to the cutting table tomorrow. :o)

Monday, 16 June 2014

pink zig zag quilt - finished

I finished sewing the binding of the pink zig zag quilt yesterday afternoon whilst watching the tennis from Queen's. Joanna kindly held it up for me to take a photo of it. Love it! Love. Love. Love it!!

But what's this? A certain small dog was sitting watching wondering why she wasn't getting her photo taken!

I know! I'll bomb this photo by jumping up on the quilt! good save, Joanna! :oD

We managed to get Tilly to sit on the chair by promising that she would be in this photo. Isn't she sweet? Butter wouldn't melt and all that! :oD

Quilt details:
Finished measurements: approx 46" x 46" /116 cm x 116 cm
All cotton fabrics on the front.
Bright pink polyester fleece on the back.
Binding: a stripy pink and white cotton from my stash which matches the fleece (unbelievably) perfectly.
Verdict: I love it. I will be making another as soon as possible in blues or blues & greens or blues & purples or a mixture of all of those!

Friday, 13 June 2014

pink zig zag quilt - getting there

I did the quilting on the zig zag quilt on Tuesday. For the quilting, I stitched ¼" away from the seamlines on only the white parts using pink thread.

I didn't think I would have enough of the pink thread to use in the bobbin so I decided to use white thread. I actually think the white looks great on the pink fleece on the back. It shows up but it doesn't shout out at you.

I then cut up some pink and white stripey fabric for the binding. It came from my stash and it's almost a perfect match for the pink fleece! Amazing!

This shows the binding already sewn on the front (by machine) and pinned on the back ready for me to hand-sew it down.

I started that this afternoon whilst watching the tennis on the telly. I'm halfway round now so, hopefully, I'll get it finished tomorrow.

Wednesday, 11 June 2014

my week according to my camera

I was transferring the photos from my camera this morning and, when I looked at the photos, I was amazed. I thought "Oh, that's what I was doing this week!". Let me show you.

A pencil case for Joanna. She wanted one which had lots of room in it.

Another orphan ear-ring used for the zip pull.

The ends aren't quite right but I managed to stop myself from unpicking them to sort them ... just!

Spotty innards.

Then I started drawing up plans for a pegbag. One of Debbie's customers had asked about them so I thought I'd see what I could come up with.

Here's the result. I'm going to re-make it with a smaller hole. I think the pegs would all fall out of this one!

I made the custom order for 2 bags from a previous Etsy customer. She has e-mailed me to say she is thrilled with them. I do love a happy customer!

The choir I sing in had its last concert of the season last Friday. It was a complete surprise to me that I was presented with a bouquet. I have just stepped down as Chairman of the choir after 7 years and they wanted to show their appreciation of all I had done in the last 7 years. I was delighted to get them! This is them when I first got home.

Then in the morning.

And on the sideboard in our dining room so I can see them as I sit here.

Joanna had started sewing some culottes. I finished them off for her. Sorry about the FPS - fuzzy photo syndrome.

I had bought a top a good few weeks ago but hadn't worn it because I felt it was just a smidge too low for me so I added some lace to it.

And I finally made myself pin the zigzag quilt ready for quilting it. I wonder if I'll get it done today? Only time will tell.

Tuesday, 3 June 2014

a bag, more bags and the rhodi

Another week gone by with no blog posts from me. I can't even tell you what I've been doing since the last time I was here - not because it's a secret, but because I have no idea! I do remember sitting outside in the sunshine with a notebook and pen and making great plans but those plans mostly involved things like "tidy out kitchen cupboards", "tidy out all drawers in the bedroom". Have I done any of that - no, of course not! :oD

Since I can't remember what I did last week, let me show you what I made yesterday and today. It's another version of the "For Pleats' Sake" bag from Lisa Lam, found here. (It's free).

This is the inside fabric. Don't you just love it? I do!

I decided to make my own handles this time using the same fabric as the outside of the bag and some round metal rings I had in my stash. I'm very happy with the way they've turned out.

Next on the agenda is more shopping bags. Debbie's shop is running short of them - yay! - and I've got a special request for 2 more from a previous customer from my Etsy shop - yay, again! As you can see from those piles of fabric, I have lots of bags to cut out before I can get on and get them sewn.

The eagle-eyed among you might have spotted that my ironing board and cutting table have changed places in my sewing room. This was because I always seemed to be standing in my own light at the cutting table so I've put it right in the middle of the room. It's actually given me more room to work as I can now get to all four sides of the table instead of just the one side.

My last photo is our rhododendron. I don't think it's ever had so many flowers on it. Isn't it fabulous? :o)