I’ve been on a great run of therapeutic sewing lately! Getting my head down, pushing out the world and focusing on the task at hand. I had a super productive Christmas break and made a whopping four garments in three days. Three dresses and a blouse. I sewed them all at the same time if that makes sense. Like my own production line. Getting my head down and drowning out the world by sewing is a real stress-buster for me. It’s like I tap into the part of me that’s a freaky zen robot eagle and just focus on executing each step neatly and efficiently.
This pattern came free with Sew Now magazine. Love Sewing’s little sister. There are a few mix and match variations but I chose the button placket with the short sleeves and I opted the length of view B without the dip hem (I just levelled everything off). Happily I lay my block on top of the pattern pieces and they matched the size 8 I only had to move the bust a smidgen and grade out the side seams to a size 14 from the waist to hip.
I laugh when I look at this fabric because I would never had bought it normally. The team at Remnant Kings talked me into it after I attended an event at the Glasgow store. It feels lovely (like a looser than normal lawn weave but not like gauze or anything) and the print is sweet… it’s just that shade of blue that I would have sworn doesn’t suit me. Maybe it doesn’t but who cares. Find it here.
The pearl buttons are pure plastic so I’m waiting for the washing machine to scuff them up. Amazingly after a day of wearing the top there aren’t many creases! Magic. I only wish I had enough fabric for the longer sleeves.
I French seamed the whole garment including the armholes and I used the burrito method for the yoke – pic below of rolled up front sandwiched between the inner and outer yoke ready to sew over the shoulder seam.
My trusty topstitching foot made easy work of the placket. I had a bit of trouble with the buttonholes because my fabric was a bit damp still after pressing. Once I let everything dry properly and finished unpicking for the third time I was able to stop worrying about them. But then like an idiot I sewed the buttons on in slightly the wrong place so the placket doesn’t sit neatly closed!! Gah!
Obligatory back shot time…
Nice little pleats right?
I’m so happy with this make I already started another, but this time I hacked the front to have a full placket. I added hot pink stitching so need to get hot pink buttons now right? Next job on my list.
I thought it was about time for a full round up of my Textile Printing course. This is going to be picture heavy I’m afraid and I’ve not even included all the pictures!
Weeks 1 and 2 we worked with disperse printing using heat set dyes on man made fabrics. Using paper soaked in dye and a giant heatpress, I played with geometric shapes on coloured polyester and crepe.
Week 3 we made paper stencils using scalpels and when taped to mesh screens we could pull binder ink through onto any fabric we liked. Mine was an utter disaster due to poor squeegee technique and rubbish stencil.
Week 4 was about free form painting direct onto a screen using Procion reactive dyes. I printed a splatter print onto cotton lawn and silk.
Weeks 5 and 6 we prepped for future sessions by coating screens in light sensitive emulsion and thanks to a huge light box we exposed imagery onto the mesh. We drew the images in thick black pen to act as positives and when the screen was exposed the black areas washed away creating a negative that would allow ink to pass through in just those areas. I chose pineapples!!
While our screens set we also dyed silk, satin, velvet and cotton in big pans using tiny amounts of dye and lots of hot water. Excitingly I also got to use the digital printers while our fabrics soaked! I printed 1.5m of paper crane print cotton drill and 1.5m of painterly triangle print silk.
Week 7 was the start of my pineapples adventures! We pulled binder ink through our screens onto any fabrics we wanted. I chose to print fluorescent pink ink on white cotton and crepe de chine and black ink on brown polyester.
Week 8 we tried discharge screenprinting where a smelly seaweed-based paste bleaches the colour from dyed fabric. As well as devore printing which removes cellulose fibres leaving the man made fabric base behind – e.g removing the nap from velvet to create a relief. I used my pineapple screen again to discharge print on my dyed cotton and silk. And freestyled a brush painted devore print on my dyed satin and velvet.
Weeks 9 and 10 I decided to expose a new screen with hummingbirds and printed onto some colourful viscose. I printed teal ink on pink and pink ink on purple. Plus I had time for a sneaky little bit more disperse printing.
It was such a wonderful course, I’m actually a little sad I can’t repeat it next term but I’ve already signed up to a pattern drafting course.
Here are the details for Textile Printing: The course I did was a short evening course run by Leeds Art College, over 10 weeks for 2.5hrs. The tutor is Kirstie Williams who also runs independent print courses.
The course costs £185 with all materials provided but you bring extra if you want to print something specific.
I ended up with enough fabric for 3 dresses, 4 tops, and plenty of A2 pieces for tote bags or small garments – silk pineapple knickers perhaps?!
The new term starts in a couple of weeks so I suggest you sign yourself up asap if you’re interested!
Holy Moly! What a weekend!
I’m aching all over but I am busy typing up a summary of the awesome Minerva Crafts meet up event, ready for you later this week.
Now for something quite different.
This is the Berthe shirt from Republique du Chiffon. It’s my third version of the shirt but my first blogged one.
This pattern is from the book Un été couture and is a boxy sleeveless collared shirt with hi-low hem. I’ve almost nailed the fit now. Just those pesky armholes are still a little tight. I’ve left off the hi-low hem in all my versions.
I used an awesome cotton lawn from Ebay (sold out now but Marie found another colourway in her local fabric shop). I’m not sure if you’ll recognise the print? It’s used on Modcloth’s Tropic the Charts Dress. It’s probably a bit pale for me, but it made me smile!
The body of the shirt does look a bit better in viscose (which my first two versions were made in) but I love how good my collar turned out thanks to the cotton.
The Prym point turner I got from John Lewis was an amazing help to getting a crisp point and a nice round corner on my stand. It’s amazing how you can make do with a chopstick for years and suddenly a bit of carefully shaped plastic can make your sewing so much nicer and stress free!!
So why the ugly pelicans. This fabric has awesome birds BUT in the midst of them there is one ugly as sin pelican.
He makes my skin crawl and makes me think of this Shoebill video clip from Attenborough’s Africa. *SHUDDER!*
Anyway… Along with my beautifully neat collar, this shirt has some of my best topstitching work. It also has hot pink bias binding around the armholes and hem, plus hot pink buttons which both match the lovely pink parrots.
All this makes me very happy.
PS. I’m fairly certain this will be the first and last time you’ll see me in braids hahaha.
I’m not a graceful elegant French woman. And pending some kind of life-transplant, I don’t think I ever will be. But that doesn’t mean I can’t wear chic French patterns and frolic around pretending I am. Anyone else feel like this some times?
Meet Melanie; She’s one of the patterns designed by Géraldine of Republique Du Chiffon, from her book Un été couture (A summer wardrobe), the French pattern book I got for Christmas. Oh yes the irony of buying and making a summer wardrobe during this horrible weather, but hey it’s on the turn isn’t it? This is really a spring frock!
I chose this dress for my March Minerva Blogger Network make. I was optimistically hoping for better weather. Don’t get me started on how wrong I was but I did end up with a sweet little dress. The fabric is a lovely glossy rust coloured cotton lawn.
Melanie is a zip fronted dress with split cap sleeves and waist pleats. She’s cute, rather short but lots of fun to sew. She has a nifty zip facing that keeps everything looking neat and the split sleeves are fully lined which looks nice and tidy.
I really wish this dress suited me a little more. I think the colour is excellent but I don’t think the silhouette is the most flattering. A little too “up and down” for me if that makes sense?
I do love the zip and the finish you get on the inside. Those skirt pleats are very cute and there’s definitely cool factor in the split sleeves.
Maybe I just need to introduce Melanie to some warmer weather and we’ll get along better. What do you think? Would you wear a zip front dress?
Don’t be put off by this pattern book being in French. Everything is understandable using poor high school French mixed with Google translate. Plus the diagrams are pretty good. They double up across the book you see. You look at a pattern and think “hmmpf why am I only getting three diagrams?” but the diagrams to other steps are included in other similar patterns from the book: Very clever and space-saving.
Right. Back to sewing! My other half is on a three-day golf weekend and that means pure indulgent “Amy time”, full of my favourite things — Sewing, silly telly, curry, salmon with pickled beetroot and possibly some gin*.
Have a lovely weekend everyone!!
*Not necessarily in this order.
I’m so happy to post about my new favourite dress!
This is Simplicity 2444; the dress that every man and his dog has made. Well maybe not the dog.
I used an amazingly buttery soft cotton lawn from Textile Express. I really recommend the company. Great prices, they’re very helpful, they send samples and the delivery is super quick!
The aeroplanes are varied in size and the repeat isn’t too obvious meaning no pattern matching to do.
I made a few alterations to the dress.
I did a full lining as you can see. I also took a massive wedge out of the bust which helped as both a small bust adjustment and a petite bodice adjustment, two for one.
As this pattern contains 3 inches of bust ease I think anyone with a bust larger than the rest of their measurements probably won’t need a fba. If I’d been a 34 C instead of a 34 A I’d have been fine.
I tried a lapped zipper for the first time and after a bit of head scratching I suddenly got it! The result was astounding. So professional looking and neat. I love it!
I wore the dress to work last week but no one was fussed.
“Hello!? I’m wearing a plane print dress! What’s wrong with you people?”
But when I wore it to this weekend’s meetup in Birmingham I got a phenomenal response. I was so grateful for everyone’s lovely comments.
You really made me very happy ladies!
The meet up was great fun. I met loads of new sewists, added some new blogs to my reading list and got to chat with lovely familiar faces who were in attendance.
I managed to not spend much (£9 for this metre of Liberty golfer print lawn! Thanks to Barry’s Fabrics giving the meetup group a discount) and I was fortunate with some excellent swaps. More on those later methinks
I hugged everyone goodbye and Claire packed me off to my Megabus with some lovely cookies she’d made.
I arrived home very happy but very tired.
I really do recommend going to meet ups if you’ve never been to one. It’s a great way to make new friends and have a fun day out. Excellent shopping is usually involved too!
Who’s off to the London meet up in early August? I will be if I ever book my train tickets.