Tuesday, 29 April 2014

Hello Flower - Are You A Catwalk Inspiration?

Trying to broaden my sewing challenges slightly I decided that one of my sewing projects should be a mix of various fabrics and wondered what it would be like to integrate not two, but three fabric types into my next make.  I'm happy to say it worked........

Inspiration struck whilst perusing Pinterest (like I need it with the gazillion patterns I already own by Burda and Patrones) and I thought this little number had something about it Christopher Kane SS14 Flower Dress.  I think it was the writing that struck me originally but the flowers look good too....

Christopher Kane SS14

So, after a quick jog round the net I found this lovely foxglove fabric from Fancy Moon Fabrics , a tad over my usual spend limit at £13.00 per metre plus postage but I loved the colours and I do have a largish piece left for a future make so it's not so expensive really.  Next came some black cotton satin and black mesh from good old Ebay. 

The pattern used was a trusty Burda -  November 2013 no 128.  There's only 3 pieces to it so it was easy to cut the top half of the bodice and shorten the sleeves.

The headscratching part was when I had to source the letters for the writing.  Another web search turned up nothing easy in terms of free downloadable letter templates so in the end I just used Word and made the letters to the size and font I wanted them, then blocked them and traced them right off the screen.  Not even the necessity to set up the printer!!

Once I had the greaseproof  paper letters I cut out them out  in fabric - FIDDLY - and then pinned and stitched them using the smallest zig zag stitch.

Coo, sunny in the garden

There were some minor amends to the pattern, including a bit of shaping where front darts would normally be,  cutting the front neckline wider to make a more flattering boat neck and adding some small darts to the top of the shoulders as there's no seams on these set in sleeves.  Minded by my Mad Men Make I added some piping at the join on the bodice.

To finish the neckline I made bias binding from the mesh fabric - also fiddly as it's just sooo soft.  To make it neater I sewed the bias on the inside first before pinning and sewing it from the right side to finish.

One minor amend I still need to make is on the mesh on the bodice where there's small gather due to the mesh being rather stretchy but this is an easy fix. Thought I'd leave that in as we all make the odd mistake here and there!!

I added a beaded zipper pull as the zip is in a position that's not so easy to reach and I like the way the crystal and pearl beads add a little of the colour on the dress front.

Ease factor:  pretty straightforward with a few pattern tweaks.
Cost:  £15.00 for foxglove fabric (inc postage) plus 1 metre cotton satin and 1 metre mesh at about £6.00 each so total £27 but in terms of fabric usage, roughly £14.00 plus some beads from my stash. 

I'd love to know if you've created something that has been inspired by a catwalk collection.  Maybe you could leave a link in the comments so I can eyeball it!

Happy sewing

Linda x

Thursday, 24 April 2014

Me Made May Challenge - I'm In

Well, I've never entered a challenge or sew-a-long before so when I realised I wasn't out of time for this one I was delighted that I still had time to be a part of it!

The Me Made May challenge is about not just making, but wearing clothes that you have made and you already have in your wardrobe and integrating them into your everyday wear for the whole of  May.  I must admit I have a few things that haven't seen an airing for a while, so it got me to thinking - could I dig them out and see how they fit into my current wearing style?

This sewing event is organised by Zoe of sozowhatdoyouknow and is who's just down the road from me in Brighton and it looks like there'll be heap of talent to spot from all over the globe.

Watch out for photos via blogs and Pinterest which has been set up by Jennifer of Jennifer Lauren Vintage   There's also a Flickr page too.  Shown here is a little taster from me ............
Not sure when I created these two or the patterns I used as they were made quite some years ago......

So if you want to get in on the action, hop over to Zoe's blog on the link above and sign up.  I'm really looking forward to seeing all the outfits and getting  a ton of inspiration for future makes.

Happy sewing

Linda x

Sunday, 20 April 2014

My (Slightly) Mad Men Dress - PATRONES 272 Number 34

Well I totally missed the deadline for  Julia Bobbin's Mad Men Challenge but, nevertheless, decided to add my take on it to my blog anyway.  I'd been eyeing up the Pattern from Patrones no 272, pattern no 34 from 2008 for some time and when I saw the Mad Men Dress Challenge I decided now was the time.  Click on the link above to see the wonderful creations of the sewing community that did manage to get their offerings submitted in time.

The dress was made from a piece of wool remnant that I picked up from Leicester Market recently and I only just managed to squeeze out the pattern from the amount that I had.  Consequently the fabric pattern doesn't match as well as I would have liked, but I did manage to match up the lines on some parts.


After initial construction the armholes seemed a bit large compared to the picture and I had to take in quite a bit of the side seams in order not to have my undergarments on show!!  The collar also stood out at the back but a couple of press studs fixed this minor amendment quickly.

Although not in the pattern I decided to add some piping to the seam between bodice and waist as it set off the black in the fabric and added a bit of interest.  It also matches the inside of the pockets where I used some cotton satin as I discovered after cutting out I didn't have enough original fabric to line the pockets.  Sewing the dress was fairly easy. After pocket construction the skirt was made of 6 panels and the front bodice gathered at top and bottom.  The collar was interfaced and attached after zip insertion - it was just the armhole alternation that took a little extra thinking about.

The original image from Patrones 
The hem was finished with bias binding and hand sewn.  Now all I needed was an excuse to wear it.  Easter saturday provided some welcome sunshine and a trip to Walthamstow gave me the opportunity.  Being a tad chilly I opted for a long sleeved layer and finished it off with a vintage brooch.  By there way, as well as fabric finds in Walthamstow Market there's some very lovely restaurants in Walthamstow Village about 15 minutes walk from High Street.

I even managed to bag a selection of fabric in the market - a bargain at just over £20 for five pieces.

So that's it.  Mad Men project done and dusted.

Ease factor - fairly straightforward.
Cost - £6 remnant + zip and bias binding (about £1.50).

Now to my Patrones collection for ideas for the new purchases.

Happy sewing.

Linda x

Monday, 7 April 2014

A Feminine Wardrobe - Part 1

Further to my last post when I showed off my fabric haul I decided to use one of my purchases for a creation from Japanese pattern book The Feminine Wardrobe by Jinko Matsumoto.  I first heard of this book via a lovely blog called The Sew Convert and decided to purchase it as it was a little different from my usual Burda and Patrones patterns. 

The fabric used was a a medium weight cotton with a slightly satin finish for the dress and some raw silk for the belt.  It originally intended that I use the pieces as a two part dress but I loved the design of the sleeveless design with bow sash so much I decided to use it for that one instead. There's always another piece of fabric for your next design anyway!!

The style of the dress is quite full so in hindsight I'm thinking maybe a cotton lawn would have been a better choice to enable it to hang more freely.  I used the sizing as specified which is a little smaller to fit Japanese figures but it still came out rather large on me.  Maybe I'm just used to more fitted dresses, but with a good amount of tweaking I don't think it looks too bad. 

The dress is a six panel design so I was able to take it in from the side and centre to side seams.  I left the bottom of the front side seams slightly open as I liked how it looked, kind of like a pleat which suits the slightly thick-ish fabric.

Sewing up was easy and the satin cotton was a dressmaker's dream to handle. My major test came when sewing the neck and armhole facing.  Neck - tres simple.  Armholes - took me a period of head-scratching until I figured out how to pull the back of the shoulder through the front of the facing whilst being able to sew all the seams on the inside.  I kind of had to double fold the shoulder over itself and sew with the wrong sides together and then sew halfway around the armhole on one side.  This allowed me to pull the shoulder out from underneath the facing.  I then turned the facing inside out again to sew the other half of the armhole. Now, if I was reading this i wouldn't be able to visualise it, so maybe I'll do a tutorial on my next sleeveless make.

I used a white cotton for the facing and dug out some matching satin cord for the button loops.

The buttons are vintage glass buttons given to me by a friend from a stash she inherited from her nan.  I thought they suited the slightly vintage look of the dress.

This vintage buckle was a find at a flea market and I had hoped to use it on the belt as it's such a good match but it has a weird kind of fastening and it's quite heavy and would suit a more robust belt such as leather. However,  I'm thinking I could make it into a brooch.

Ease of sewing:  pretty easy
Cost:  Patterned fabric 1 metre x £8.00 and raw silk 0.5 metre at £5.00.   Facing - from my stash, buttons - from a friend's stash.   Total £13.00

I'm happy with it and as well as loving the fabric I think the dress if very spring like.  Now all I need is a bit of sunshine.

Happy sewing.

Linda x