Cheers Dad. And a review of V8723

Little Fro graduates for the first time. Second time soon to follow

I’ve been a bad daughter. I’ve failed to say thank you to my Dad! Given what his Sunday mornings now entail he’s holding up admirably.

Here he is at my Brother’s graduation looking dapper in a suit. I won’t bother pointing out which one is Mum.

It SHOULD be obvious. She’s also looking glam.

Dad does like car booting  a lot. He wouldn’t call it “thrifting”. He’s not after “vintage” items. To him it’s bargain hunting and a good morning walk. And now he’s a man with a mission to find sewing bargains!

He doesn’t really know what everything is used for, not like Mum who knows her way around a sewing machine, but he’s been paying attention and it’s paid off.

Dad assisted with the biggest and best haul of sewing gear from the car boot yet!

This pic reminds me a little of Dita von Teese

I won’t detail all the items I got as I’m sure you’re sick of hearing about it but one highlight was 2 x 20m reels of boning. One black, one white. Both marked up with price stickers reading £13.50….. negotiated down to under a fiver! Awesome.

I’ve got my eye on this little beauty — Vogue 1174. Have I gone crazy? Is this a big jump in my skills?

Probably but hell, I’ve got to learn right!? Unless someone can suggest something a bit more in my skill zone?

mmm cake

Now onto dress news!

I wore my Ikea scribbly print dress to work and then to the supermarket today. I felt a little  overdressed but think that was just me being silly. Here I am larking about in the baking aisle.

I added blue ribbon piping on the top front panel to create more contrast with my pasty skin and added a mustard-coloured zipper for fun in the back. I finished off the hem with blue top stitching in the same shade as the ribbon and dark blue scribbles!

I love the full twirly skirt. For those you don’t know, this is Vogue 8723 which I’ve been banging on about here and here.

I wore it with silver ballet flats, a purple cardigan and my awesome turquoise ring that I got in Spain a few years ago for  €2!

“Very easy”…. what a floozy

Review:

The envelope boldly bragged “I’m soooo very easy”.... cheap hussy.

I guess it would have been if I hadn’t made such a pigs ear of it. I cut a cup size A bust but let out the waist a little from my standard 12 size. I seem to have been eating plenty of cake lately.

Negatives:

I picked a super slippy lining fabric and didn’t really think about making the adjustment to the top front until quite late. As previously mentioned the top front came up to my larynx! Eeek!

Positives:

But I do like the general dress shape and the full skirt. And every girl loves a dress with pockets. I like how these are hidden between the lining and the shell fabric. So few patterns encourage you to line the skirt and this really helped with the full bell shape of the skirt.

Would I make it again? And what would you do differently?

I’d use a darker colour. I knew when I started light colours don’t suit me best but ignored the little voice because I loved the fabric. Don’t think I’d risk using a polyester as you need something quite sturdy to stop the top front sagging but a nice cotton sateen or maaaaaybe a lightweight wool?

I’d also lower my waist a smidge as it’s just a touch too high. Only like a cm or two though. And I’d try and perfect the zipper as it passes the waist by not gathering as closely at the centre back. I don’t mind too much if the mustard pops through a little to show off the zip but it’s not properly out of sight. I might even use a concealed/invisible zipper next time!

All in all a success. Now I’m trying to redo the little green UFO dress I also mentioned in the post here so I can wear it to work Thursday. We’re off out for a work do straight after and it would be nice to wear this one. See, I’m creating motivation for myself!!

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Three reasons to smile this week…..

It’s been a looooong week. Feels like a month! I’ve been so busy at work that I’ve been getting home late and sleepy most days. And then being all run down lead to another cold! Very unfair if you ask me.

There have been some highlights though….

Easy as ett, två, tre…. (1, 2, 3…)

High on the list is getting some awesome fabric from Ikea courtesy of my little bro (aka little fro due to his awesomely big hair).

Leeds wasn’t stocking it but WAHEY Manchester was!!

And I love how bargainous the cotton is. Very good prices for quirky prints and hard-wearing.

Not sure what to make with it. I’m going to hold onto it until the perfect project comes along. I saw on one blog a girl planned to use her metre of this fabric to line a Minora jacket.

“I thought she was the most gorgeous creature I ever met. . . . She was so entirely unaffected, completely without vanity.”

Secondly, I’ve just finished reading High Society: The Life of Grace Kelly. I was watching the Monaco Grand-Prix with Jimi and realised I’d love to learn more about Grace Kelly’s life. I have a lot of old Hollywood movie star biographies on my shelves so picked this one up off eBay for a surprising £1.25.

I read it in only FOUR days! Gosh it was good. She was so lovely and had amazing patience and decorum. She always tried to bite her tongue and not let anger or frustration take over.

Her life wasn’t the fairy tale everyone imagined it was and she struggled having to give up acting and move so far away when she became a princess.

Spato is a little bit too eager to flaunt how Grace loved him and wanted him to tell her story. But I can sort of believe him as he treats her with lots of respect even when handling the more unseemly parts of her life. He’s reverent of her memory but still tells what seems to be the truth.

CoLette not CoLLette silly.

Also making me happy this week is finally getting The Colette Sewing Handbook.

(I always have to fight the urge to put two Ls in Colette!)

I know I’m like the last person to buy this book. I feel like I’ll be in a better position now as I can look at everyone’s blogs for help on the patterns and sizing.

I’m super eager to try the scallops though I doubt my skirt will look like the one in the book.

Reading the part about patience and inner calm in sewing struck a chord with me. I’m always desperate to finish and rush things.

I’m going to try taking things slower, having a plan and hopefully ending up with finished garments I love and will last.

That’s all for now. I need sleep and I’ve spent the past few hours finishing a muslin for a new dress and pinning and cutting the real fabric. I’m seeing stars!! No, really, it’s the green star print fabric I bought ho ho ho.

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Got to be sewing something….

In sewing related news, I have yet to  finish my red polka dot skirt. I had to try finishing by carrying the machine through to the bedroom with a little table to work on while Jimi had his friend’s round for boy’s night but failed.

Beryl loves it!

I have also figured out why my Ikea scribbly dot print dress just doesn’t seem right.

1) The neckline was way too high… hitting my throat high! I’m lowering it with crafty tactics to what you see on the mannequin. Much more flattering!

2) I need a haircut. Can’t look nice in a prim dress if you have scraggly ratty hair.

3) I have a stinking cold. Trying the dress on highlights how pasty and tired I am which is never going to help me like the dress.

So there you have it! THREE legitimate reasons to leave the dress alone in order to like it more.

By the way I’ve got a new addiction… in addition to sewing, I am also now addicted to singing songs where I change the lyrics to be about sewing. I may be turning a little deranged.

Terrible, I know, but super fun! You should try it. Adam and Joe call it “A-pop-riation” (instead of Appropriation) on their radio show, where you sing the menial tasks of the day.

You may remember I posted about changing the Prince song to “Little Red Lace Dress”. Lately I’ve been altering Michael Jackson’s “Got to be starting something” to “Got to be sewing something” as that pretty much is my default state lately.

I’ve also been shouting in the style of Basement Jaxx when things are missing “WHERE’S MY PIN’S AT, AT, AT….”  which is more fun than saying “Where’s your head at”.

And finally singing “Hold me closer tiny serger” when using my baby Singer overlocker. Sure Elton wouldn’t mind.

Oh and I’ve nicknamed the overlocker “Sergei”… Let’s not worry too much about that.

That means my mannequin has a name: Beryl, Sergei the Singer is taken care of, but my machine is yet to be named! Sure I’ll come up with something.

I’ve also been spending a lot of time day dreaming/planning…

She sells sea shells by the sea shore….
Fake lace georgette! Love it
Simple and sweet
Stars in their eyes… Tonight Matthew, I’m going to be B4443!
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What happened to all the dresses?

hmmmm…

When I first started sewing I thought it would be the perfect way to indulge my addiction to dresses. Somewhere along the way I ended up making a lot of tops, a few dresses and not much else! So where did all the dresses go? And all the other plans I had?!

This revelation struck me as I was ironing my nice white fabric with red polka dots ready to make another top. Firstly, I stopped because it seemed the washing machine hadn’t gotten it very clean… hmm where are these dirty marks from?! And secondly, once I had stopped I did some thinking about skirts.

It’s nearly summer and I don’t have many skirts. Very few for work especially. So how about a polka dot skirt? I have a prima pattern for an A-line skirt saved up for the task and from what I hear they’re simple enough to make. So I’ve re-washed my fabric ready to start this very soon.

I also made a promise to myself to figure out why I have a lot of fabric, and a lot of dress patterns, but very few FINISHED dresses! “Finished” is the core issue as I have FOUR partially completed lying in my sewing corner and plenty more that I’ve plotted but not started.

One of my UFOs (Unfinished Objects) is a lovely pale green dress using a quilting fabric from The Skep – Knitting and Quilting shop in Farsley and a pattern from the book Famous Frocks by Sara Alm and Hannah McDevitt.

Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis dress

I’m so close with this dress. I just need to power on. The pockets need refitting before I can sew the skirt to the top. Then I can wear it to work!

Anna Maria Horner, innocent crush voile in “Shattered”

Another is made from Anna Maria Horner fabric, the “Shattered” voile from the Innocent Crush line.

I bought the fabric very early on in my sewing career and immediately started sewing a Butterick 4443. WHY?! I should have held onto this fabric until I knew what I was doing and made something better than 4443 out of it?! Chuh. Now I look at it and think is there a way to turn this into a different dress?! I don’t think there is but I keep looking.

I should just finish it and hope I like the outcome.

The “why haven’t I finished you?” green striped dress

Third there is a green striped number which I finished poorly and it started to unravel before I’d even worn it! So I unpicked it to redo the waist seam using my overlocker. But then I never actually rebuilt it!

The reason is that it has an elastic waist casing and I doing HATE elastic casings even though they fit me great. I always make them about 1mm too small and work up a sweat trying to thread the stupid safety pin through. But I do love this fabric and the dress would be so easy to wear to work or during relaxing times so I should get my butt into gear and finish it!

Finally I have my Vogue 8723 Ikea dress to finish. It’s mocking me even now while pinned to my mannequin. But something is throwing me off. I can’t tell if the fit is off or is it the slightly too dark lining fabric or possibly the fact I didn’t understitch the seams properly? Well whatever it is I want to get back into this dress soon!!

All very shameful I know. I need to remedy this problem asap. I have so many other things I want to sew I’m getting so tormented about what to work on!! I need some organisation in my sewing life and to stop being seduced by new projects.

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MMM12: Successful? And a load of other waffle

Wooo I survived my first me-made-month. I did pretty well. 10 items worn collectively about 22 times. I used my ink blot tote bag so much and my red polka dress got worn quite a few times! I’m sure that the next time I attempt something similar it will go even better.

Kate, Kate and err Kate

Now for the rest of the excitement! I’ve been partying it up during my long weekend and there’s still more to come. Friday night was a work Jubilee party. Here is me and my friend Natalie with Kate Middleton. We’ve been told we look like sisters…. you decide hahah.

On the Saturday I did some sewing and screaming before we went to see Prometheus at the cinema. Not sure how I slept that night but it was a really good film. The screaming was for a red lace party dress I’ve been working on for a week. I don’t know what was going on but lace and I were NOT getting along. It also didn’t help that a) I kept sewing my lace the wrong side up and not noticing and b) I kept changing the style of the dress.

Sunday I picked up the dress again and with the power of Prince (me singing “Little Red Lace Dress” instead of “Corvette”) I powered through the last stages of the dress ready to wear to my second Jubilee party of the weekend.

Lady in Red

The dress started life as a big gathered skirt with an elastic waist hidden in a casing. I wanted to do a revealing back too as I thought that would be cool.

I soon corrected my thinking.

Open back? What about a bra Amy? Big gathered skirt? Won’t that make you look like you have a crazy red lace frou frou dress on? Elastic in a casing? Isn’t the dress just screaming red if you don’t have a waistband? So this is what I finally ended up with.

A shift dress with a visible elastic band waist and regular back panel. Possibly suitable for work too?!

Prince would be so proud

If you’re curious about the drink it’s Singapore Sling! We had lovely teapot cocktails which we drank from delightful teacups!

We also pranced around in various Royal Family masks, played giant Jenga and had a humongous fireworks display!! Great night.

What’s next you cry?! Well tonight I’m hoping to whizz through New Look 6808 in red polka dots with red satin bias trim! Then I can take it on holiday with me tomorrow yippee!! More on that when I return…

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