Well hello. It’s been a while since I posted! For those of you who follow me on Instagram you’ll have had an insight into why life is a little crazy right now.
After nearly 5 wonderful years, I will be stepping down as Love Sewing magazine Editor in January. I’ve collaborated and worked with many incredible people, I’ve learnt so much and achieved things I’ll cherish even when I’m a little old lady.
With 13 years in the publishing industry it’s always hard giving up a title you love, but it is time for a fresh start and new challenges… but I’m still going to be here sewing furiously you won’t have to miss me!
Ok!! So it’s December and I’m so happy to be sharing a Christmas make. I love the festive season. There are parties and great food and a sense of excitement in the air. I make so many social plans and then binge watch seasonal movies… soon I’ve run out of any sewing time. I know there are worst problems to have!
It’s funny because we plan and photograph our festive issues of Love Sewing during the summer so I sort of have two Christmases! We’re wrestling trees and baubles around in the hot weather and planning party dresses months before party season. It can drive people a little crazy. But back to my latest dress… you might have seen it already on the Minerva Blogger Network but I thought it deserved a closer look here.
This dress is going to be a great staple this year as it’s that magical combination of toasty and fancy. AND SPARKLY!
It’s the fabric that makes it so wonderful with subtle silver metallic threads and white sequins woven into the jersey. There is a great texture to the fabric too that makes it feel like a sweater knit you’d find in ready to wear clothes. I wish I had more of it for a jumper.
I used a mixture of the Dixie DIY ballet dress bodice with Vogue 9000’s skirt which I cut on the fold and adjusted at the side seams to fit the bodice. The sleeves fit so well, I love the scoop neckline and you can’t beat a swishy skirt. I made a slim waist belt in the same fabric but also like it with my black patent belt. I should have made thread belt loops to help stop the belt sliding down! Still time to add those now it’s done.
The fabric cuts and sews very easy as the sequins aren’t too densely spread over the fabric. I used a rotary cutter and mat then finished everything on an overlocker. The hems are just turned under and zigzag topstitched. I used a universal needle and narrow zigzag for all the construction. Easy peasy!
When using a woven pattern with a knit fabric you might want to size down to compensate for the stretch but I don’t mind the skirt a little loose as it leaves room for dinner.
My finished dress is a little sheer but as you can see with a slip underneath I have perfect coverage. The glittery fabric gave me a good excuse to break out my wedding jewellery again. I feel so sparkly and merry!!
Merry Christmas, happy festive season and a wonderful winter to everyone!
Have you joined the Simplicity Hack-along? This great initiative raises money for charity while letting your creativity shine! With every pattern bought in the UK you’ll be helping support a wonderful cause as Simplicity will be donating a portion of the sales to their chosen charity. The Eve Appeal is the only UK national charity funding research and raising awareness into the five gynaecological cancers – womb, ovarian, cervical, vulval and vaginal.
To inspire you to take part in the challenge I’m joining lots of other bloggers to show you how you can hack a pattern with amazing results. Read on to see my make and learn more about how you can win great prizes by entering the competition!!
I love vintage styles and as you know I mostly stick to 50s and 60s designs. BUT something about the 70s tiered skirt trend has been calling out to me!! I decided to turn Simplicity 8929 into a flowy gathered skirt in a bold colour.
I’m not the greatest at maths but I worked out if I raised the frill to hip height and then added an even larger rectangle for the final tier I’d get a pretty good amount of swish. The basic pattern is pretty rectangular so I cut the size extra large but graded to the medium at the waist to accommodate my pear shaped figure.
I used the extra tissue that you get inside every hacking pattern to sketch out the extra piece as it’s printed with helpful guidelines! The second tier ended up measuring 120 x 39cm (one piece per front and back, seamed at the side) and the lower tier was 152 x 35cm (again one per front and back, seamed at the side). The bottom layer is the full width of my fabric.
The fabric really helps create a dramatic effect and although I had to use 3m to make this skirt, the price could not be beaten. It’s a bold polyester in the colour Jade from Minerva Crafts which you can get here. The rich colour is even lovelier in person!! The drape and weight is perfect for gathering and swishing. Plus its totally opaque so I didn’t need a lining.
Want to join the fun?? Use any of the nine patterns in the curated list from the Simplicity Pattern Hacking range and join the WORLD-WIDE SIMPLICITY PATTERN HACK-ALONG!
Choose your pattern(s), decide which category is right for your finished garment and then share your hack on social media using the category hashtag:
UNIQUE VINTAGE: #HACKALONGVINTAGE
You can email your entries (don’t forget to include pattern number and category) to firstname.lastname@example.org There’s the chance to WIN Sewing or Coverstitch Machines from Janome and Goody Bags from Simplicity and their sister brands. Find more info on the rules and the pattern list on the SewDirect website.
Another week flies by and the clocks are about to go back!! I’m trying my best to get ready for winter but feeling rather unprepared. I need more jumpers, thicker tights, snow proof shoes. But first lets tackle Autumn…
I made this Tilly and The Buttons Indigo dress as the perfect thing to wear with tights and oxford shoes. It’s a gorgeously simple pattern with modern seam lines and just the right amount of ease to be boxy but not overwhelming. I chose to omit the sleeve and waist ruffles and added 5cm to the length. I’m 5ft5 and modest so wanted good coverage.
A reminder, I’m 36A bust and 31″ waist at the minute. I made a size 4 but had to move the bust dart up by 3cm and adjust for my narrow shoulders. I shortened the shoulder seam on the front and back, moving the neckline position and extending it to meet at the fold lines.
The last thing I did was actually a small mistake. I removed some width by cutting off 1 cm from the centre front and back fold lines in the final minutes as I was worried the dress would hang off my shoulders. This made it a smidge tight in the end, but not unwearable thankfully. Something to remember for next time!
I’m utterly in love with this fabric. It’s from my recent Paris trip and was a cheeky bargain for Sacres Coupons in Monmarte. It was a cut piece measuring 1.8m and features pretty paisley shapes in pink, orange and purple. Almost like hearts!
I was so happy when I found it. My trusty fabric assistant (husband) kept hold of it for me until I was done rummaging. It’s a washed silk type polyester. As thin as crepe de chine but opaque, soft and silky, perfect for this pattern.
The dress slips on over your head, is roomy enough for a decent dinner (aka bring on the buffet) and sews up super quick. I overlocked everything with orange thread and added one of my last few labels. Little touches to make a simple make extra special.
Here’s a back view so you get to see it all around. Not much to report about the back I must confess! But I know you like looking at my butt.
Happily I’ve had quite a few compliments on how on trend I am with this silhouette and no one thinks it looks like a psychedelic ’70s sack on me so perhaps it’s a winner! Definitely making another one of these, almost exactly the same but with that extra width. And maybe a hem ruffle just like Kathy! Maybe in another of my Dashwood rayons??
Hi everyone. A slightly different topic on the blog today but hopefully one that resonates with you. I’m talking about how ceramics is making me feel excited to create in a totally different way!
When I think back to how long it took me to start sewing, well into my 20s when I’d been dreaming about it for such a long time it seems ridiculous that I waited. So recently I decided if I wanted to try another skill, I best get on with it. After going on a Hey Clay free taster session last year I finally booked onto a proper course. In a act of risk minimization I went for decorative techniques at Leeds’ Sunken Studios… thinking how bad could that be? We made three dishes using two techniques.
The two coloured ones used a sgraffito technique and show my ropey artistic skills and the third has red glaze as an inlay in the grooves! That was trickier I must say. They were fired once to seal the under glaze, then a clear glaze goes on before a final trip to the kiln. I picked these up in late September. It was a short but informative session with a group of lovely ladies, and a kind helpful teacher in Rebecca.
Being creatively fulfilled is something I’ve been talking a bit about at work recently. It gets so mixed up with being good at something creative when it’s really about having an outlet for your ideas and how you can turn them into reality. I am very lucky that I’ve picked up sewing so quickly; in 10 years I’ve made many difficult garments and used tricky fabric and mastered a lot of techniques but there’s still lots to learn and challenge myself with.
But I missed being a beginner. That fear of trying something new, the risk of being rubbish but not really caring and also being proud of yourself for having a go! There’s a thrill at the beginning of a new project where you don’t exactly know how things will end up and you don’t know if you’re ready for the task.
It’s so easy to talk yourself out of doing something and either you start to believe you never could do it or you live with regret that you didnt have a go. There are plenty of other things on my dream list that I hope I do one day but I’m happy in the knowledge that I am being creatively challenged.
I’ve now booked myself a throwing workshop at Sunken Studio so I can have a proper go on a potter’s wheel and live out my Demi Moore fantasies!
Hello my loveliest ones!! I am hating humanity after a hellish time on public transport and the motorway but you’re all exempt. You wouldn’t leave giant cases in the aisles and blare music without speakers would you?? I hope not. And you wouldn’t try and drive me off the road in your a supermarket delivery van right???
I’ve been doing a little less sewing than normal lately but wanted to experiment with the latest pattern from Love Sewing magazine. This pattern is included with issue 73 on sale October 3rd. That’s tomorrow! As you know I don’t often have time to make the magazine patterns but I just loved this neckline!
Isn’t Lis’s version below so gorgeous? I knew I couldnt pull off the shift style so I wanted to see if I could hack the dress to a more retro silhouette. To do this I used the waistline mark on the front and back bodice pieces. I marked lines across the pattern pieces 1.5cm below the waistline point. This was the cutting line.
I then worked out the finished waist measurement and measurements for the front and back and adjusted slightly so my skirt pattern would match at the side seams. The skirt here is actually my wedding dress skirt pattern! It makes it very swishy.
I made view D of the pattern with its lovely sweetheart neckline and no sleeves. This stretch spot cotton sateen is amazing quality and gives the dress a lot of structure. It took 3m to get all the pieces of this dress on the fabric even at 60″ wide. It’s a pretty huge skirt!!
I finished the hem with red bias tape; my preferred method for a circle skirt. There’s an invisible zipper in the back. And of course I added pockets. SO MUCH FUN!!