I BLOODY LOVE POLKA DOTS

Small ones, medium ones, giant ones.

So it’s not surprising I bought 5 types of polka dot fabric at the Birmingham meet up!

This is what I did with my three metres of black and white large polka dot satin fabric.

First up I wanted to make a Colette Truffle dress. I made FOUR toiles trying to get the fit right.

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I got the bodice fitted after two toiles because I used a TNT pattern to get the sizing and darts placement right.

I just could not for the life of me, get the skirt to fit. So I gave up.

I desperately wanted the flounce but settled for a gathered skirt that I drafted myself.

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I teamed the dress with gold glittery shoes and a black glitter headband.

I’m pleased with the fit in the back. I usually have a lot of gaping around the upper back but nailed it this time and my zipper is pretty neat.

There is a little bit of gaping around the neckline but think that’s because it’s a touch too low for me combined with such a drapey fabric. Also I normally love gathered waist dresses but after a few too many cakes lately I’m not sure it’s as flattering as it could have been. I’m too ashamed of my handstitching to show you inside I’m afraid.

And then because I didn’t need the extra fabric I’d bought for the flounce I made I had a metre left over!

Hello New Look 6808!

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The best bit about making another one of these tops is that I knew I could fix the sleeves. I did this in two ways. I altered my pattern pieces to lower the bottom of the armhole on both pieces but increase the armhole curve on the back piece by a few millimetres.

Then I sewed the sleeves in flat! This was a revelation!!

I knew you could sew sleeves into jersey tops/dresses in flat but I wasn’t sure about woven garments.

A quick rummage around my google reader unearthed Sunni’s confirmation that you can!

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I made the gathers a bit more pleat like on this version. Though it’s hard to see in this photo.

The top fits like a dream with room for a big fat dinner.

I’m soooo making 50 more of these.

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Refashioning to the max-i

I call this the Promaballoona project.

If you don’t know about Oona and her “recent” Promaballoona you’re missing out. I wanted to go but had my own deadlines to work to and couldn’t whip up a dress in time (or sort the minor matter of flights out).

Watching with jealousy as everyone else got ready, attended and had a kick-ass time made me think of my own “prom” gown. I use air quotes because I’m talking about my graduation ball from University instead.

I was such a silly girl. I bought a vintage 70s dress that made me feel like a Bond-girl in the casino…

…problem was my kick ass dress didn’t help me have a kick ass night. There was no James Bond to liven things up!

I barely had any friends in my year, and the ones I did have weren’t attending. I got some nasty comments on my dress. And I had a pretty lame night overall.

I cringe when I look back on it.

Errr and for the record NO, I’m not putting any pictures on here as I’m cringing all over again at the thought! *Shudder*

It’s all okay though because I gate-crashed my friends’ ball the next year while I was doing my MA and we had an amaaazing time.

Ahem, anywhoo I still loved the dress and had wild ideas every now and then to chop it up and refashion it.

I’m not really a maxi dress girl being so tiny. And the huge flouncy sleeves just swamped me really.

But check out that gorgeous flower detail. That had to stay.

The dress is pure acrylic, which is partly why I think it photographed so incredibly badly with flash and without. But it looks good in person trust me.

First I unpicked the sleeves and sewed the arm holes as if the dress was always strapless. A little fiddly since I didn’t unpick the whole back bodice so had to turn the seam allowance inside and topstitch into place.

Then I removed the skirt and lining completely. The skirt is a lot tighter than my uni days since my derriere is now more pronounced!

So I made a new skirt pattern that was more gathered and swishy then the maxi column skirt and cut the lining and fabric out.

I then sewed it all up and made sure I added pockets to the skirt. Because who doesn’t love pockets!

The zip was a bit tricky. The dress had a lapped centre back zipper.

Due to my unpicking and altering work I had to upick the whole thing and turn it in to a centre back zipper. It actually came out rather neatly!

I finished the whole thing in about 7 hours (split over a series of nights) and wore it out on Saturday to a lovely dinner in Harrogate.

Dinner was for my Mum’s and Brother’s joint birthday celebrations. We went to the amazing William and Victoria Restaurant in Harrogate.

I still think I made it a touch too long. I wanted it at knee level but it’s just over my knees so still makes me feel a bit titchy! I’m going to take up the hem a couple of inches to raise the va va voom.

I’m really pleased that I now have a dress I can still wear and can hopefully create some happier memories to associate with the dress.

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I love Bunnies

Bunnies are awesome.

I doubt you’re going to disagree with me but I’m going to say why anyway.

I used to have a bunny called Honey. Yep that’s right, Honey Bunny. And I used to push him around in a replica of a silver cross pram. Only the best for my baby! (errr, I should point out that this was decades ago when I was like 9 or 10 and not last year).

He was awesome and I thought we’d be buddies forever. But Bunnies can’t last forever and Honey died of pneumonia. I was heartbroken and couldn’t bring myself to replace him.

Now Polly is an awesome rabbit that I’ve been impressed with from afar. I say “afar” because she’s a Swedish rabbit who lives with Ida (check out her sewing blog too).

I mean wowzers, a show jumping bunny? I’ve never heard of such a thing!

Cat’s are generally a seamstress’ best friend but Polly makes a good case for a bunny being a kick ass sewing companion too.

Finally the reason for this post is that a fluffy cutie bunny actually helped me win a competition!

I entered the giveaway by Fabric Godmother to win the book DIY Couture How to make a gathered dress by the lovely Rosie Martin.

And this is how my name was picked….

[youtube http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=IRq0blwOHiI?feature=player_detailpage&w=640&h=360]

Unbelievable awesomeness right?! And check out that ace bunny cushion!

Many thanks to Josie from Fabric Godmother for organising this giveaway.

The book take a simple idea, clearly lays out the steps and expands on different variations you can do. It’s well photographed and presented, is slim and well produced and is already sat with the rest of me sewing books!

In closing I’ll say that the hint I gave in my last post about bunny related sewing is in progress and more to follow on that. Woop!

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uh oh!

Something unthinkable has happened…

I’m not digging my fishy dress anymore.

I still LOVE the fabric to death but I feel like I’m letting it down with how I’m using it.

Is this a crisis of faith?

I was too smug wasn’t I. Not posting pictures and dancing with glee about it. And now I look at what I’m making properly and I’m not sure I’ll want to wear it when I’m done!

Or is this just a result of my awful day?

It has been a stinker. If I’m honest I don’t feel the bestest either. I have a headache and feel slightly nauseous and grimly. Maybe that’s skewing my perception?!

I haven’t put the waist band in yet so it looks like a giant tent. Generally my sewing is up to standard apart from a ropey bit of hem that I want to redo.

I think it’s just coming off mumsy if that’s even possible. The necklines not low enough or high enough and the hem is looking far too long.

Gah.

I’ve given up for the night. Not sure if I’ll be feeling the love again in time to finish it for dinner Saturday but I could alter my time frame and aim for next Saturday by which point maybe I’ll be loving it again.

Or have come up with a way to fix it.

🙁

I’m doing the right thing aren’t I? Sleeping on it and evaluating over the weekend?

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Bookended by Burda

This post starts and ends with Burda.

First I want to shout “I bought a Burda Magazine”!! I finally got the courage up to buy one. I know it’s only £4.75 but I’ve never seen more than one pattern in there to make it worth buying and the lack of seam allowance/crap instructions scared me off. But this one is chock full of patterns I’m eager to make!

Mmmm lush red cape, long-sleeved skater dress and sweet little cap sleeve/gathered skirt dress. I’ll kick ass when autumn comes around

All to be picked up AFTER a couple of current projects.

I’m trying a new zen approach to sewing. I do a little bit at a time and stop when I start to get irate or stressed!

So my fishy dress is progressing slowly and surely.

I tried to put pleats in the front. I swear I did. But they just would not go in straight or neat or even sized or anything. Blerrrrgh. So I ditched them.

I’ve also been deliberating the best way to attach my collar and performing little trials is helping me learn.

All this work and NO photos. Well I put a sneak peek on Instagram the other day but I want a big reveal!! I was a bit gutted my reveal wasn’t yesterday to coincide with Oona’s promaballoona. But I’d rather reveal it next weekend instead than have it be out in the world too early.

It’s my precious and I’ll reveal it when I want to!!

In other bratty news…

Have you seen the subject of this year’s Tessuti Awards? I only saw it thanks to Julia Bobbin but in a way I wish I hadn’t! This is like my dream competition!! A spots and/or stripes dress contest with an unbelievable cash prize that I could use to get back to Oz!! I love Australia and want to go back desperately. 

The thing that is getting to me (and it’s a perfectly reasonable thing for Tessuti to ask) is that you can only use Tessuti fabric. But it’ll take 10 days to deliver worldwide and cost $30 just to ship the fabric!

With the deadline of Sept 19th and me going away the 7th – 14th of Sept, I’ll end up with no time to sew if I have to wait 10 days for delivery!

OH WHY DIDN’T I SPOT THIS EARLIER!?!?

(even the pun hasn’t perked me up)

Finally a bit more Burda….

I’ve been downloading the free Friday patterns from Burda Style. Rather impressed a major company like them would give away patterns, though obviously it’s not every Friday. Is there a pattern to their giveaways? No pun intended, the word I need is ” pattern”!

I got the Sadie pattern and thought ooh this looks simply and sweet and a great trial into the world of Burda. I also smiled because I have a friend called Sadie.

I’d not been very successful with jersey in the past. I tried to reproduce this Modcloth dress months ago by mis-aligning the stripes and using red top-stitching. Lets just say my finished product was super sloppy.

Sexy Sadie

It was my first attempt though and the jersey was £1 a metre from my favourite place that I’m sure you’re all sick of me mentioning.

 I hacked up my efforts for Sadie but kept the misalignment of stripes and top-stitching down the centre front and back.

I used the same jersey to make sleeve binding but attached it a) in the wrong order and b) with the wrong technique so it sticks out a bit more than anticipated.

I kind of like it though. It’s like I rolled up the sleeves when I put it on.

I attached my neck facing correctly thank goodness.

I then realised it was rather short for my tastes hence the weird regular stripes at the bottom that creates that big black wedge on one side and the top-stitching stops abruptly.

Sigh…

I’m proud of the top-stitching though. And I’m not going to be afraid of jersey in the future (Sergei the serger handled it well). Plus I’m going to make a Sadie again but definitely add a few inches to the bottom of the pattern.

Is it worth uploading to My Projects on Burda style though? I think not.

Maybe when I make my awesome red cape I’ll upload that instead!!

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