Hi Everyone. When the world is feeling scary I find comfort in using my hands and focusing on a sewing task. Watching the news this week has definitely been made easier by being able to head upstairs and create. I recently finished this blouse and wanted to share it.
I do enjoy a quick hack. So I took the new Simplicity 9462 floaty lounge dress and made a new hem cutting line. I made it about 37cm aka 15″ from the centre front large circle notch which marks the bottom of that centre front opening. I wasn’t sure I could pull off the dress length but I adore this blouse and think I’ll make another.
It’s such a cool design. The ruffled neckline is elasticated by a channel where the ruffle joins the neckline. The front opening and facing might seem a little intimidating but when you sew it, the finish on the inside is so nice and clean. I made a video sewalong for the Simplicity McCalls UK YouTube channel to show how it comes together.
Yes I’m also sewing raglan sleeves again. Since I’ve rediscovered them, they seem to be on all my favourite patterns. As they continue into the neckline they are gathered at the head by the elastic and then gathered at the cuff by a tiny 6mm elastic hem channel. This creates a beautiful silhouette that is puffy or pouffy but still fit under a cardigan (essential in my life).
I used a Liberty lookalike cotton lawn fabric from Aliexpress. It’s just as soft as Liberty tana lawn but the colours are slightly different. It’s perfect for this blouse as it’s stable enough to construct the various elastic channels and make button loops from. And the sleeves achieve the perfect full balloon effect thanks to that slight stiffness. But it’s floaty enough that it doesn’t stick out from my body when I wear it. Of course being cotton, it does crease a little but I think a busy print helps hide that!
I’ve been wearing it with the top button undone, as I like to see my neck. That way I get the best of both with the ruffle still visible. The elasticated neckline and opening make it super easy to throw on. It’s great with jeans and red lipstick for a slightly dressier look. I might even wear it to a trade show I’m going to on Monday. Let me know if you’re inspired to make this one – as a dress or a top!
You know how you can look back and laugh at how stupid you were. In my last post I was revelling in feeling better after a bout of stomach flu and little did I know I wasn’t better at all… It’s now day 12 and I’m still struggling to perform normal life activities. Thank goodness I finally got to the doctors and should be well enough to go back to work after Easter.
The perfect time for a blog post! This dress has been living in my wardrobe for a while now. I made it for a lovely wedding in a gorgeous barn for two special people. It was up high on a hill in Cumbria surrounded by sheep and rolling hills and was very very windy. It felt extra lovely as we were newlyweds just back from honeymoon and revelling in the beauty of the Seychelles.
I wanted something quite long in skirt length but a breezy shape and quick to make. I’ve made Simplicity 2444 several times and always swap out the skirt. This time I cut a big gathered rectangle so I’m not calling that “drafting a pattern piece” and let out the bodice a little. Of course I added pockets as weddings need tissues.
The fabric is the real star here. It’s a Liberty of London tana lawn called Archive Lilac on the prettiest green teal base that they call turquoise. (It also comes in 3 other colours.) I really want to wear more strong colours so bought this print to achieve this. I’d originally planned a low cut bombshell wrap bodice but it barely showed off the print so went for more coverage.
It’s super swishy, fully lined, and finished with deep hems and an invisible zipper. It was speedy and uneventful to sew which in some ways I’m a little sad about but it’s still a joy to wear. I wore it to the Sewing for Pleasure show and got lovely comments. Plus I wore it to the Sew Over 50 photoshoot and the ladies liked the print too.
After spending a half an hour taking things out of my wardrobe that don’t suit my life anymore, I’m really pleased this is on the rails. So while it wasn’t challenging to sew or filled with interesting details, I know I’ll keep wearing it. Well, when I finally get out of my pyjamas again I will!!
Hello everyone! I’m sharing something slightly different today. I often wonder if you’re all sick of seeing my dresses. Sometimes I even wonder if I like what I’m sewing.
Do you ever get that feeling? Where you finish a garment and you’re not sure why you actually made it… like it was all just to use the fabric up and you didn’t really learn anything or love the finished make? I’m having a bit of a wardrobe crisis as I’ve got so much fabric waiting to be sewn up that doesn’t seem to fit with the clothes I want to wear lately, but I can’t seem to get rid of it. To distract myself I’m seeing what I can use from my disgustingly huge stash to help me practice for my wedding dress.
This simple looking top was actually a really good challenge PWD – Pre-wedding dress. I wanted to ease myself back into using silk and had been hoarding this piece of Liberty silk satin for years. I used one of those amazing Liberty tokens that has the building embossed on it. Very hard to give up in all honesty.
The print is called Alice Alina C. It’s a photographic winter garden print exposed in a dark room using photo sensitive paper so the leaves and buds have a ghostly feel. The yellow heart shapes in the print are especially gorgeous.
The top is part of a bumper pattern pack from New Look. I originally picked this up to make the jacket (another thing that isn’t a dress to look forward to) but decided to try the top first instead. There are no darts, just neckline gathering as easing for the bust and you can add hem vents if desired.
I used French seams throughout, a super fine needle and cut out with my rotary cutter. I didn’t need tissue paper or gelatine or any other stabiliser which was reassuring. When making the bias I tried my best to have as few joins as possible to avoid those unsightly seam lines showing. This is super skinny 12mm bias which was then folded in half to make 6mm trim. I basted the bias in place before topstitching so I wouldn’t go totally insane.
Aren’t the little yellow leaves adorable? The colour is quite dark for me but feels very luxurious. Focussing so intently on not warping the seams, keeping the fabric on grain and not slipping around as I topstitched the bias was a really nice exercise in calm careful sewing. I’m using duchesse satin as one layer of my wedding dress so I’m definitely going to sew some more slippery silks before it’s time to start just to keep my skills in check. I think I’ll also make another top in polyester or crepe to tuck into skirts. And really, it would make a great pj top too. It’s an all round staple throw on item!
If you have any tips that might help me with my current wardrobe predicament please let me know. Part of the issue is knowing that when I start my wedding dress and potentially the bridesmaid dresses I won’t have much time to sew other things so it puts more pressure on each garment I do choose to make. To-do lists never seem to work but I did start look at each piece of fabric I have, to work out what garment it may become one day. This was an exercise to justify it staying in my stash… I got through one box. EEEK HELP ME!!
Hope your week has been fab. I’ve had a fairly busy one with extra photoshoots at work being scheduled in for the summer, the cat deciding to bring me a live mouse home that managed to escape and live inside a random shoe for a night, and a dramatic near-win at the Odd Bar pub quiz (half a point off winning!) so I’m looking forward to a date with my sewing machine this weekend.
In sewing news I ordered the first bit of fabric for my wedding dress, plus samples for the coordinating fabrics and in a couple of weeks I head off on Alison Smith’s bridal couture 3-day workshop. It’s super exciting!!
Today I’m sharing a juicy dress today made with Liberty tana lawn.
This is Simplicity 1419 by Lisette before they joined up with Butterick. And I know I got this pattern from someone as a gift but it was soooo long ago I really can’t remember exactly who! Was it you Roisin? Or perhaps a swap table? Damn my memory. If you gave me this pattern please know I’m so so happy with this dress (can you tell from my face here).
This Liberty lawn print is Wiltshire but you can’t find this colourway anywhere so it may be either a ‘seconds’ print, copy or super rare. Emma is the only other person I know who’s also used it. I bought mine from Ribbon Circus in Hebden Bridge as a leaving present to myself when I moved jobs to Love Sewing.
I hacked the heck out of the neckline if you couldn’t tell. I made the collar as instructed then ripped it off, lowered the neckline, made red bias binding and a little bow and put everything back together. It did look lovely before I changed it but the collar was a touch too high to swallow comfortably and ended up a little too stiff for my liking. The bow is much sweeter although it has a tendancy to get skewed in the wash – and in these photos it seems too hahah.
The sleeves fit beautifully and I think the skirt is the perfect length (I tried the pleats but they made me a bit hippy so switched to gathers all around. You surely won’t ask me why I added pockets because that’s just silly. My invisible zip is invible too hurrah!
With such a good fit I think I’ll try making this dress again without the keyhole as it’s so hard to find well fitting sleeves! That way I can line the whole thing too and make it more tights friendly (very important to me for an all year round dress).
Also I should let you know that this is my last post with big curls for a while. After a bit of heartache I realised my hair is not compatible with a perm. I need to be able to dye my roots every 4-6 weeks and it seems the hair dye freaked my perm out into a frizzy unhappy mess. Even after some hairdresser recommended moisturising treatments the curls aren’t coming back like they were. Given that it was a free perm in exchange for being a hair model I’m not out of pocket, just disappointed. I can still curl my hair and get an excellent hold but I can’t just wash it and let it dry curly any longer. It was a fabulous few weeks though and I am still a firm lover of curly hairdos.
Hello everybody! Thank you to everyone who commented on my last post. I’m now on the hunt for amazing fabric suppliers in the UK and will write a little round up soon about my plans. I’ve just got back from a last minute holiday where I did a lot of plotting for how to share snippets of my diy wedding dress.
I thought it would be nice to share my thoughts on the recent Sewing Weekender hosted by Rachel and Kate of The Foldline and Charlotte of blog English Girl At Home and what I made. There were a limited number of spots so I count myself lucky to have nabbed one. I didn’t think my boss would mind too much if I bunked off for five mins to buy myself one as a birthday treat. To be fair he probably never realised.
When 57 attendees arrived in sunny oCambridge we were met by an amazing sight; goodie bags being handed out as you stepped in with treats from Village Haberdashery, Love Sewing, Remnant Kings and Abakhan, Janome machines set up on large tables with ribbon tied boxes of haberdashery from Adam Ross, swap items stacked high and enough tea and coffee to keep us charged all day.
I sat on a table of four with my friend Ruth who travelled down from Yorkshire to meet new sewing friends (I definitely recommend following her on twitter) and Sarah who I’ve enjoyed following online, who headed over from Suffolk with her mum! I feel like such an idiot but I can’t remember Sarah’s mum’s name. I hate it when that happens but it’s best to just hold your hands up and be honest about these things.
It was like the shirt table as there were two shirts and a shirtdress being sewn, but I bucked the trend by sitting and hand sewing while gossiping. I’d decided to finish my new circle skirt Cambie with matching bias tape which I pieced from 20 scrap bits of my fabric. Thankfully I got everything finished and Ruth kindly snapped some pics for me which I’ll share at the end of the post but here’s a cheeky pic of me and Louise in our Cambies together! (Don’t you love her use of border print cotton from Gertie’s fabric line?).
The Saturday was dedicated to sewing and everyone busied themselves with different projects whilst “Prefects” wandered around offering advice, fitting help and biscuit-based support, there was a fabric and pattern swap, lovely lunchtime walk into Cambridge and for the overnight crew a dinner in town. I stayed with my in-laws to be so we could celebrate the engagement with the whole Scarr family which meant sadly missed out on that last part. It’s so funny but after 6 and a half years dating a Cambridge man I have still never been punting and only a handful of times to the town centre!!
Sunday was structured around lectures that were funny, insightful, thought-provoking and educational. The clever and charming women who spoke were Rachel, Grace, Marilla, Elena, Tilly and Gabby, talking about wardrobe planning, pattern design, small design businesses and vlogging to touch on a few topics. There was no need for sewing as the lectures were thoroughly engaging. One thing that resonated with me was cataloguing my stash for better planning and so I’ve begun adding scraps on a keyring of index cards. I also thought a lot about my wedding dress plans and what I’d like to achieve and learn from the project because it really needs to be a learning experience for me as corny as that may sound.
So I won’t cover what others have said but I would like to heartedly recommend that you get a ticket for the next Sewing Weekender (we’ve totally badgered the girls into considering a repeat) and am honestly in awe of Charlotte, Kate and Rachel’s organisational skills.
Answer? I’m pretty damn happy with it. But I’m also very into circle skirts at the moment. It’s a little bulky around the pockets so maybe should have been omitted but hey, I like pockets. Again I omitted the waistband and used a straight neckline. A 22″ concealed purple zipper for a bit of fun too.
The dress is fully lined in anti-static peach lining which means it’s tights-friendly and the skirt lining adds extra volume. The hem as I mentioned is bias faced and invisibly hand stitched. I only wish I had horsehair braid in my stash to finish the hem with!
I cannot believe I found some Liberty Carline poplin in purple (variations seen here and here by me) at Birmingham Rag Market… I blumming love that place. Spotted during an awesome mini shop with Marie, Kat, Roisin and Helen (guest appearance from Sabs) a few months back. It was £8 per metre because it had a big flaw parallel to a good portion the selvedge about 10cm in but because it’s so wide I just bought some extra material and worked around it! Easy peasy lemon squeezy.
Here’s some silly bonus pics of it in action on holiday! Until next time everyone, drop me comments with your best score on a fabric shopping trip!!