International Anna Party!

Hello!

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Look at me going crazy and doing two posts in a week. There is a very good reason for this though, I made a dress with a deadline. I joined Elle, Ute, and Pip‘s International Anna Party competition to celebrate the marvellous work of By Hand London. I have made two Annas before to a moderate amount of success, but one was too small and the other a bit big. I had graded up and got the bodice right but had never managed to get the skirt pieces to properly match the bodice.

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I had quite a tight deadline for this one, so decided to follow the lead of many other people and use a simple gathered skirt instead of the seven gored Anna skirt. I obviously used the rectangle for the ESP skirt as I like the amount of poofery in it and used the pockets for that too. An Anna with a gathered skirt isn’t quite as dramatic as the original, but if you have a bit of a tummy, it’s a lot easier to wear, and a LOT easier to make.

Swish

Swish

What is exciting about this one is the fabric. I got some lovely gauzy…. errr…. cotton? gauze? stuff? with purple fluffy knobbly bobbles (so technical) from the Knitting and Stitching show earlier in the year. It’s so light and airy and soft, it’s like wearing a mint green dream. It’s lush. It’s a very loose weave and quite see through so I lined it with some hand dyed hot pink cotton batiste. I even hand sewed the lining bits, as this dress was FANCY. I don’t really know what occasions it is suitable for: where can one go and wear a posh frock, but also flash their pink lining to everyone?! It’s very hard not to do loads of twirls and pink flashes in.

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This dress is the softest most comfy party dress known to man. My bust darts are a bit weird, (I ironed them to the side instead of flat) but I don’t mind as I can just swoosh and twirl around all day regardless.

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Did you enter the #internationalannaparty? There were some glorious makes there. Check it out on instagram for some annaspiration!

A nautical ESP and fabric shopping in bonnie Scotland

Hi Chaps!

The sign on the stairs in Glasgow's fabulous Tenement House: can Mrs Toward do miracles??

The sign on the stairs in Glasgow’s fabulous Tenement House: can Mrs Toward do miracles??

I’m back from the BEST week in sunny (well, alright, changeable) Scotland. My husband and I went up on the sleeper train and took in Aberdeen, Edinburgh and Glasgow on our travels. I also managed to do some fabric shopping in Glasgow, and meet up with super lovely fellow sewist Shirley who took me for a little trip to a great place selling super cheap liberty prints (£8 a metre!).

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I took quite a lot of me-made clothes on my holidays, including my latest make which is, unsurprisingly, another ESP.

Here I am looking jaunty on a bridge over the Clyde in Glasgow

Here I am looking jaunty on a bridge over the Clyde in Glasgow

I don’t have much to say about this that is different from my previous E.S.P apart from the fact that I did try to lower the neckline by extending the width at the top of the shoulder piece. However, once I had sewed it up, I realised I hadn’t also enlarged my facings, and being incredibly lazy, I just sewed it back up with a much larger seam allowance so the facings fit, instead of drafting new facings. I am the actual worst. However somewhere along the line some magic happened and the neckline is a little bit lower and more comfortable. I obviously can’t repeat this as it is borne out of bodging, but it makes this dress supremely comfortable.

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It’s made from a lovely quilting cotton from Moda called More Hearty Good Wishes and features line drawings of boats. It was also pointed out to me that from a distance, they look like suspension bridges which is very excellent.

It was very comfy for wearing around GLORIOUS Glasgow and for doing a spot of fabric shopping in. I only went to Fabric Bazaar and Mandors (OMG Mandors is fabric heaven) which I can heartily recommend but there is a great guide to Glasgow fabric shopping by the wonderful Kestrel Makes, here. It seems to me that fabric shopping in Glasgow is a lot better (by which I partly mean cheaper!) than London. Mandors was magic, full of gorgeous discounted Liberty (what is it with Scotland selling Liberty at half the price of, errr, Liberty?!) and other brands. I got some fabulous floral John Kaldor satiny stuff and a couple of Liberty prints for a tenner a metre. Sadly, tragically, the houses one is for a shirt for Robin. It would make the BEST ESP dress yet.

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Luckily, I had already bought myself some Hyderabad Madras Check Liberty for an ESP, so you don’t have to weep for me too much.

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I also bought 4m of this amazing giraffe pattern rayony stuff, probably for a Southport maxi, but maybe for some Alexandria peg trousers and a matching cropped t-shirt. As I’m typing this I think that actually might need to happen.

What do you think I should make with my satin and my green Liberty print?! I have 1.5 metres of each…..

I do promise I will make something other than ESPs soon, maybe, but for now I’ll leave you with another pic of this dreamboat dress.

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The E.S.P wonderdress

HELLOOO

HELLOOO

It’s been a month since I posted here last, huge apologies. I’ve been working all hours on (amongst other things) a majorly exciting project at work crowdsourcing LGBTQ heritage. If you are so inclined, read about it here and (long shot!) if you know of any interesting queer historical places, map them on our interactive map here!

But enough of that, back to sewing. I am now getting back to having some stitching time in the evenings, and I am delighted to say, I have been using it very well indeed. I had been having some instagram chats with the wonderful Decades of Style about the cost of postage to the UK because I so desperately wanted their Given a Chance Dress but at the time shipping was extremely expensive. When they told me they had found a cheaper shipper (is that the right word?!) who could post as many patterns as I wanted at a flat rate of $15 dollars, I ordered the Given a Chance dress, and thought I might as well order the E.S.P pattern too because I had seen Tanya at Mrs Hughes make some really glorious versions and wanted some of that action for myself.

When the patterns arrived I fully intended on making the Given a Chance dress first and had been musing on various different yoke/dress combos and then I met my mum for dinner after work. She had made the classic mistake of having a bit of time to kill, and popping into the haberdashery department of John Lewis. Despite generally being a bit horrified by the size of my fabric stash she found a fabric she couldn’t resist and so kindly bought me 3m of this beauty…..

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You might not be able to see it here but the flowers are actually a very pale pink and it’s gorgeous. I’m not sure what kind of fabric it is, some kind of cotton blend with  both body and drape, and it’s brilliant. I knew it had to be an E.S.P. And so it became this….

Musing

Musing on my stash never getting any smaller

The biggest size was bust 46″ and waist 40″ with little wearing ease. My full bust is 51″ and my waist 45″ so I did the rarest of rare things and made a muslin of the bodice. This told me I needed to add a bit of length to the bodice and a 1 inch FBA. I did not incorporate this into the darts so it also added 2 inches to the waist.I also graded out the waist by another 3 inches at the side seams, and added an inch to each skirt piece. IT WORKED! I cannot believe it!

My final bodice piece and a sneak peek of the fabric I used for ESP number 2

My final bodice piece and a sneak peek of the fabric I used for ESP number 2

The legendary muslin

The legendary muslin

Once muslined, this pattern went together like a dream. It’s really well drafted.

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Nice work me on the zip

Nice work me on the zip and nice work wind on the swoosh

The neck is finished with facings which I don’t really like but are necessary for this nice crisp square neckline and they do go in quite easily. I did slightly over clip my corners though and have to hand stitch a hole up, so don’t be too overzealous!

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The neckline is really high, so if you are bothered about things around your neck you might want to lower it a bit. There is a great tutorial on Gmariesews  who asked the lovely Decades of Style about how to do this. I only found out about it after I had made a VERY bodgy attempt to lower the neckline on the second version, so will use these instructions on E.S.P. number 3. Yes I do like it that much. It’s supremely comfortable, is a really stylish slightly loose but flattering silhouette, and is great for showing off prints and for using quilting cottons with. I think this is definitely my first tried and true pattern and I am SO happy about it! I’ll leave you with a few more pics of me swishing around merrily in it.

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P.S, I obviously didn’t press the bust darts properly before my ‘modelling’, they really aren’t that prominent in real life, I promise!

 

 

 

True Bias Southport Dress (Or the Lytham St Anne’s)

Yes, I'm a styleman and I'm pronto a vestir

Yes, I’m a styleman and I’m pronto a vestir

Hello! Look at me blogging about a recently released pattern. I’m so cutting edge! I’m so pronto a vestir! I’ve just come back from my first wedding anniversary holiday in Portugal which was berilliant. We went to Lisbon and Porto and a bit of seaside in between and it was ace. I took a lot of me made clothes on my holidays and they wore very well. You might recognise this previous make on location in Porto…

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I made a couple of True Bias Southports especially for the holidays. It’s a brilliant pattern that I have blogged about in its maxi dress format over on the Curvy Sewing Collective so I won’t repeat everything I have said again. Do go over and have a look at it there if you have time, as there are some useful comments from others who have made it too.

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What I will say is the short version is pretty short and the skirt pieces have considerably less ease than the maxi dress version so whereas I could fit into the biggest size (18) of the maxi dress view with no problems at all despite my measurements being a lot larger than the recommended ones, I probably should have added a couple of inches to the width of each skirt piece of this one, as well as adding about 4 inches to the length. As you can see, if I hadn’t lengthened it it would have been a bit indecent on me!

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I added a couple of inches to the length of the front bodice piece and did a tiny FBA: in this thick quilting cotton I could probably have done with adding a bit more ease. However I do like tight clothes and I like this dress a lot.I sewed down the placket and just sewed buttons on top to avoid a)  any gaping and b) having to sew buttonholes. I’m lazy and I don’t care! Here is a terrible picture of my buttons.

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And here is me sitting in a chair in our hotel room. Fascinating huh? Please excuse the giant bruise on my knee: I fell off a stationary bicycle just before my holiday!

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Here it is ‘on location’…

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Here is a selfie with me wearing a jacket. Don’t say that this dress isn’t versatile. Oh In case you are wondering about the Lytham St Anne’s reference: my mum said the dress should be named after L St A’s instead of Southport as it’s a ‘much nicer area and much more befitting of your dress!’. I’m pretty sure this dress wasn’t named after a small town in Merseyside, but I would like to think it was!

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I used a Cotton and Steel Black and White Collection quilting cotton for the top half and a Kona solid for the bottom. I was a bit peeved that the black in the Cotton and Steel fabric wasn’t nearly as black as the Kona (despite being from a collection whose sole selling point was the joy of black and white) but I don’t think it matters in the finished version.

Ta da! Contrast pockets how I love thee

Ta da! Contrast pockets how I love thee. Also manic faces.

I think it’s a pretty chic little dress that I will wear a lot. I’m planning on making a slightly more graded up and slightly longer version next, plus another tropical print maxi version. It’s a breeze to make and comfy to wear. Also, the straps cover your bra straps. It’s a miracle. Oh and the neck and sleeves are finished with a jazzy yellow bias binding for a pop of colour. Well, I couldn’t be entirely monochrome could I?!

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Anna goes to Camden and Hastings

Hello!

I’ve made some frocks! I finally got round to making the legendary By Hand London Anna dress and did some serious experimenting with pattern grading. I think I had to add about 8 inches on to the bust, waist and hips of the largest size (sigh) and I lengthened the bodice two inches on the second one I made. It must be said this was not entirely successful. Pattern grading is something I am really going to have to get my head round as being 5 foot 10 and large all over, I’m very often bigger than the biggest size in the the indie labels and well, I WANT TO WEAR COOL THINGS DAMMIT.

In a cool thing

In a cool thing

I know that pretty much everyone has to make adjustments to their patterns, but it’s annoying to have to both grade and adjust, and not really be sure how those two things relate. As a beginner I find it hard to know if I have graded every piece correctly and then if I make adjustments on top of that, I often lose track of if what I am creating is anything like the original pattern. However, nuff moaning. These two dresses aren’t perfect, but they still look like Anna dresses don’t they?

Hooray, I'm by the seaside!

Hooray, I’m by the seaside!

I made the nautical print one first in a very cheap polycotton from Chawla’s . As is often the way, I think I like my wearable muslin more than my actual dress. It’s a bit tight round the tummy and bunches up round the bust but it looks awesome, huh? Here I am wearing it for my Dad’s 64th birthday lunch in Camden.

Me and Pops

Me and Pops

I graded up the bodice really well I think, but didn’t add quite enough to each of the pieces of the seven gore skirt, so the skirt was to small to attach to the bodice. Being the idiot that I am, I didn’t unpick and re sew the skirt pieces  with a small seam allowance, but instead took in the waist with some random extra darts. The joys of a busy fabric and under bust pleats mean I can kind of get away with such amateurishness. Well, that and being an amateur!

Bodge darts

Bodge darts

This did however make it too tight, so the bodice rides up constantly. And I can’t breathe so well when it’s pulled down. And I need to pull it down as the bodice is too short anyway. It generally looks kind of empire line when I wear it hitched up under my boobs. But it’s lovely, I love the shape and IT’S MY FIRST EVER FULLY LINED DRESS! I’m so proud. It’s lined with a lovely light cotton batiste which was way more expensive than the ‘fashion fabric’ but means it’s cool, breathable and not see through. I’m happy.

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The second Anna is also nice, but I’m not actually sure it’s as flattering as my ill fitting cheapo first attempt. Maybe that’s because it doesn’t also function as a corset! This one is made with a lovely poly crepe de chine from Croft Mill. When I say lovely, I mean it looks lovely but frays and presses like a bugger. It was quite hard to work with, but I french seamed everything and it turned out ok, if you don’t look at the shiny bits where I ironed it without a press cloth.  This was unlined with an annoying facing (are facings ever not annoying?!) that was very hard to press properly but that is not the fault of the pattern. I think I just hate facings and want to line everything. I graded up the skirt pieces a bit more (but still not quite enough as the bodice bags out a bit over the waist seam) and added a couple of inches to the bodice length which is much more suitable, but maybe I like the empire line look? Anyway, here it is.

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I think I could do with lowering the under boob pleats half an inch and taking the hem up a good inch or two, but it’s pretty much there. I just need to add about another half inch over the skirt pieces (ah, tiny maths fractions) and I have a workable me sized Anna pattern. I love it as much as everyone else does and I think I will make a lot of these dresses. Next up is a teal maxi dress rayon version. I just hope the fabric is a bit less clingy in the breeze!

 

Not such a winning look

Not such a winning look

I’m very sad that I finally got round to making my first By Hand pattern just as the wonderful women announced they could no longer afford to run their business full time. I was so saddened and shocked by this news, as I thought that if anyone could do it, they certainly could. Their patterns are so fantastic but it’s tough out there, even for the most talented, creative and entrepreneurial. I am really pleased that they are going to continue releasing PDF patterns (inappropriately timed request: please extend your size range a few inches!) and will look forward to their latest designs.  This really is as brilliant a pattern as everyone says, and was a good pattern to practice grading on. It’s simple, chic and stylish and easy to adapt. I’m looking forward to shamelessly copying gorgeous Idle Fancy and making one with a gathered skirt in future.

A tale of two Annas. Also, they look a LOT better on than on the hanger don't they?

A tale of two Annas. Also, they look a LOT better on than on the hanger don’t they?

So which version do you prefer? Have you graded up any patterns? Will I ever be rigorous and accurate enough to do it properly? Or shall I bodge always?!

 

Rosie and Mabel go to work

Lookin awkward

Lookin’ awkward

It’s been so long since I’ve blogged something I made, I have entirely forgotten how to stand in interesting and flattering angles. Not that I was very good at it, but I was making a small amount of progress that is now forgotten. So apologies for the pictures of me looking like a sack of potatoes. The things I am blogging here are actually quite nice. I made some things I can wear to work and look sensible. Obviously I wear everything else I have made to work as well, but this stuff is actually workplace appropriate. I’m shocked!

Still awkward

Still awkward

I have made three Colette Mabels of late: I love a tight stretchy short skirt. They are all weirdly and wildly different. And two of them came up waaaay too big. And the other is very snug. Fabric choice matters folks. This one is made in some lovely embossed scuba from Fabric Godmother which is super comfy and lovely to sew with. Also: it doesn’t need hemming! JOY ALL ROUND.

Scuse knees, look at lack of hemming

Scuse knees, look at lack of hemming

I did something weird with cutting it out (I think I cut half the version with the button placket and the waist band without or something) and so I added an odd waist pleat in an homage to my Imagine Gnats skirt but I quite like it.

Room for expansion

Room for expansion

The Mabel pattern is great and I will make many. The first one I made was a quicky using less than a metre of left over fabric from the cardi I made for my Granny . I really didn’t have quite enough fabric so it is hemmed with the most miniscule hem and has gone all wavy

Wavy

Wavy

Also, it's REALLY short

Also, it’s REALLY short and my shirt has gone see through with the flash and my tights are very shiny

I put the centre strip thing (version 2) on this one, but the pattern is so busy you can’t see it, and I couldn’t be bothered to sew any buttons on because the hem is so wavy, and its really a bit too short to wear to many events. Or at least for being workplace appropriate.

I think my most successful one is my black quilted one. I wear this all the time , and as you can see, the cheap (£2.99 a metre from Minerva crafts) is beginning to pill, but I will wear it until it falls apart. It’s got wooden zebra buttons OH YEAH.

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It has a snazzy contrast facing at the waist which I made no attempt to get to sit inside as its snazzy and I wanted it to peek out. As you can also see it has a bit of blue jersey binding at the hem as this fabric frayed loads but was also bulky so I didn’t want to double fold it. This is a bit less stretchy than would be ideal, but looks a bit flash.

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This is a much better length and I like it a LOT. I bought loads of this quilted stuff in burgundy and black, and though it is disgusting to work with (it frays, its sticky and feels more like melted plastic than fabric) I’m going to make a matching raglan sleeve sweatshirt in it. It’s lovely warm and stretchy and looks ace.

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The top I am wearing with the blue Mabel is the Style Arc Rosie. Well I had to make a pattern with my name all over it didn’t I? Also I really like the style. It’s simple but interesting. As usual, the instructions are basically non existent, but this is quite simple and easy to work out. I definitely didn’t do the shoulder and neck facings quite right as they stick up and have too much fabric in both the versions I made: I think I should have done a lot more grading. Or at least some grading. Oh well.

Bum bustle

Bum bustle

It has a neat little inverted pleat at the back which I like a lot. I love this top: they are ideal for work. Smart but comfortable and not too traditional. The white on actually has very tiny flowers printed on it in a slightly whiter white than the fabric, but you can’t really see it in these photos.

Can you see it here?

Can you see it here? Not really!

I also made a version in some turquoise kona cotton I had bought before I realised quilting cotton was for quilting. D’oh. This actually works well for this type of simple top (apart from the bulky shoulders) but I think I look like I am wearing scrubs!

Doctor in the House

Doctor in the House

Oh and the neck has a pretty little button fastening.

Ain't that cute?

Ain’t that cute? Me being me, I had to use a contrast orange polka dot ribbon instead of the recommended self fabric.

So there we are. I made lots of clothes that I can wear for work with a cardi and look pretty smart. Maybe not my most interesting makes, but it can’t all be gold lame dresses sadly.

Have you made a work wardrobe?

Happy Christmas! (Yes I am this far behind with my blogging)

HAPPY CHRISTMAS!

HAPPY CHRISTMAS!

So Zo What Do You Know has a very strict rule about not apologising for not blogging for a while. She is quite right about this, as blogging is not a job, I’m not paid, and it’s supposed to be a fun and enjoyable hobby, not a chore. However, me being me, I feel bad. I know no one is hanging on to my every word, it’s not that, it’s just I started off so strong with lots of blogging and now I have stalled. It’s frustrating. But life really does get in the way, and I have been sooooo busy at work and at play. A Dry January didn’t slow me down one bit. And having little spare time, I have chosen to sew rather than blog. I have made lots and lots of things, and I will blog about them soon. I just need to get my husbandtographer to take some pictures in the two hours of daylight we get at weekends. And then sit down and write some accompanying twaddle.

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In short, I have made a baby romper, a terrible second Blue Ginger Doll Violet that looks like a nightie, two Style Arc Rosie tops, 3 Colette Mabels, and I am working on some awesome Thread Theory Jedediahs for my husband. But the thing I did longest ago was to make my friend Anna a dress to wear to a winter wedding. Anna is an amazingly creative person who did all the decorations for our wedding.

Anna's decorations at our wedding. Photo by http://www.simondewey.co.uk/

Anna’s decorations at our wedding. Photo by http://www.simondewey.co.uk/

Anna was doing some more decorations for another friend’s wedding just before Christmas and asked me to make her a suitably festive dress to wear to it. I usually say no to requests like these as I don’t want to become a tailor, but I was very happy to give it a go for Anna. I warned her I was by no means pro yet, and she was happy with whatever I made. So much faith in me did she have that she asked me to have another go at making the Madonnatits dress.

Swit swoo

Swit swoo

Anna chose the fabrics and we did a fitting in muslin first and nipped it in at the waist and lowered the neckline. Oh and lowered the extremely indecent slit at the back. I managed to avoid the awful dart placements, and I think it turned out pretty damn ok.

A decent derriere

A decent derriere

Posin'

Posin’

As you can see (through the blurriness, sorry, this is what happens when I take the pictures instead of Robin!) it was made in quilting cotton so is pretty prone to creasing, but the golden snowflakes can’t be resisted.

Festive

Festive

I was so nervous making this, as it was FORMAL WEAR and really concentrated on sewing precisely and carefully. It as really good discipline for me and I was really pleased with the results. So was Anna, who got lots of compliments at the wedding. HOORAY!

SEE YA!

SEE YA!

April Rhodes Staple Dress: Nailed.

Are you suffering from Januaryitis? I know I am. I feel like shell of my normal self. All I want to do is sleeeeeeeeeep. I should be making myself pyjamas and bed jackets, but instead I have been steadily making lots of summer clothes in the depths of winter. I made these dresses just before Christmas and wore the chevron one on Christmas day: I actually find a light cotton dress with shirring round the tummy is ideal for being stuffed with food and drinking sherry. I have promised myself to make more seasonally appropriate clothes from now on. At least I will do when I have the energy to sew something. This is terrible. I think I must be ill if I can’t muster up enthusiasm for sewing.

So in my current state of extreme laziness I will just post up loads of pictures. It’s a great pattern. I recommend it. Also, I did my first shirring and it’s REALLY FUN.

Under a railway bridge in Birmingham. Perfect modelling location.

Under a railway bridge in Birmingham. Perfect modelling location.

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Here I am modelling the frock (and freezing my tits off) on a dodgy side road in Elephant and Castle. I’m not sure why it looks so pointy round the boob area: despite the cold those really aren’t my nipples, and there are no darts. I think I just didn’t pull it down properly.

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I don’t know why I look so unimpressed here: look how excellent this dress is! (It’s in Michael Miller quilting cotton: Chic Chevron).

Three whole lines of super fun shirring!

Three whole lines of super fun shirring!

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I added a couple of inches of width into the biggest size in this version (I made the floral polycotton one above first, and it was a bit tight around the bum when I put my hands in my pockets) and a couple more inches of length into the bodice.

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It works with or without a belt though I think with three lines of shirring I prefer it with a belt. I only did one line on the polycotton below as it was already a bit short and the shirring was pulling up length. I think that version looks better beltless.

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Can we just take a moment to appreciate my amazing cardi? My mum knitted it for me for Christmas from a vintage pattern she found in a charity shop (she has a plain burgundy one for herself too) and it is the best. I have only taken it off since I got it for washing. I love it, and it goes very nicely with this dress. I love my mum ❤

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Thanks Mum!

The pattern is great and goes together easily. I will definitely be making more next summer.  It does look nice with a thin long sleeve t-shirt underneath for coldr weather, in an awesome kind of 90s indie way which I wholeheartedly embrace. I will however try and make some clothes that are more suitable for winter from now on. Or at least I will when I am cured of Januaryitis. But for now back to bed……… zzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzz

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zzzzzzzzz

zzz

Nautical Imagine Gnats Alder Skirt and a made up top

Jaunty

Jaunty

What’s an alder? Loads of patterns seem to be called alder. I don’t think anything is called alder in the UK.

Nautical!

Nautical!

Anyway, I made an awesome if slightly unflattering skirt from boat print fabric. I used the Imagine Gnats alder pattern and some lovely chambray and a bit of some handwoven cotton for the contrast fabric. I made it with the bulging pockets because I was fascinated by them.

I can put EVERYTHING IN THESE!

I can put EVERYTHING IN THESE!

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They do make your waist look smaller, but they also make you generally wider, and my mum kept thinking I was wearing an apron. I don’t mind that, but I think next time I make it, and I will make it again, I will make the flat pocket version. I like the triangular inverted pleat at the front: there is a version you can make without it, but I think it’s a cute detail.

awkward selfie to show off pleat

awkward selfie to show off pleat

When I make it next, I will also cut a size smaller: it comes up HUGE! I used a much smaller piece of elastic at the back and gathered the fabric a lot more than I was supposed to but it was still massive! I did secretly like being too small for something though 😉

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I will also make it about three inches longer. The pattern has options for doing this, but despite being tall I ignored this. It came up a bit short (even with me adding decorative contrast binding round the bottom which isn’t part of the pattern but which I like) so I will make it a bit smaller and longer.

All the topstitching

All the topstitching, neat in places, not in others…..

All the seams are topstitched which I think is super nice. It’s a really cool pattern: hooray for Imagine Gnats. I like how the patterns have ample opportunity for playing with patterns and colours, and am looking forward to making the Bess top soon.I also like the large size range (the skirt goes up to 22 which is what this is) and the fact the sizes come up large. I reckon size 24 to 26 could fit in this with the elastic at the waist.

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The top is sort of self drafted, ok it isn’t. I copied an RTW vest I liked and then attached the Moneta sleeves to it. The joys of knit when you can just bodge things into place. The sleeves didn’t quite fit so I added a couple of pleats at the shoulders to poof them up a bit and give me the shoulders I wasn’t born with! It’s made from the same fabric as my first successful Moneta, and it very snug and very useful.

'Drafting' LOLZ

‘Drafting’ LOLZ

And there we are: a jaunty summer outfit just as it starts to get really cold. PERFECT!

Doing the polka with Violet

IMG_1740Hello!

I made a BlueGingerDoll Violet to go back to work in. I thought, if I’m not exactly feeling dotty about going back to work after two weeks off, I can at least look dotty. Here she is!

All the dots

All the dots

And here am I modelling her in a stairwell…

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Pretty awesome hey? I used some super cheap super interesting double border print knit stuff that is as light as candy floss and sticks to everything with any kind of rough texture. It’s kind of like the soft bit on velcro. I found this out when I got it stuck to the scratchy bit of a piece of velcro. Boy did this stuff grip on. As you can imagine it was pretty horrible to sew with, though not as horrible as I feared. I guess I’m used to sewing with cheap floppy slippy knits now! As per the very good instructions I reinforced shoulder and some other seams with stay tape, though I used clear plastic elastic instead of he recommended unstretchy tape for the waist band seam: a girl’s got to be able to eat lunch you know. I cut size 20 at the shoulders grading to size 24 at the waist and hip which was good. The waist is actually about 5 inches too small technically, but I like a snug fit! I didn’t lengthen the bodice piece which was silly seeing as I am 5 foot ten with a long torso and big boobs that the fabric has to travel over, so I ended up adding in a three inch piece of black ribbing at the bottom of the bodice piece. I like this, it’s like a belt without a buckle and looks quite slimming. When I make this dress again, I would add about 3-4 inches into the bodice piece.

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As you can see I had a lot of fun playing around with the double border print fabric using its shrinking and growing dots to a pretty ‘jazzy’ effect! The Violet has lots of different pieces (i.e two yoke pieces, a bodice piece and a skirt piece on the front) which allow you to colour or pattern block like crazy. I used different size dots for different pieces using the smallest ones at the middle to hopefully optimistically create a sort of  slimming effect. One thing that I found very off about this fabric was that it stretched lengthways instead of horizontally, so there is very little ease/movement in it when sewed up using the dots as I did. It would look odd to have the dots getting smaller or larger horizontally wouldn’t it? It works though, and hasn’t stretched downwards yet.

Deformed shoulders pose

Deformed shoulders pose

I combined the back yoke and back bodice piece to make one piece at the back, so it wasn’t too fussy. (Ha you say, are you kidding yourself? It’s got aaalll the dots all over the place!).I did a ribbing t-shirt style collar binding to match my tummy ribbing, though you can use the main material. My neckline had stretched out rather a lot in the handling of it so I would definitely recommend stay stitching it at the beginning, especially if you are using a light weight fabric. I didn’t actually bother doing the signature ruching at the bust because I thought it would make the neckline too low for work. I will do it in the next version but I will make the neckline slightly higher and cut a slightly thicker bit of ribbing for the neckline binding.

Twin needling on this fabric was pretty horrid, especially because I didn’t want the skirt to be too short so used a tiny hem allowance. The hem is a bit wobbly in places….

Please avert your eyes

Please avert your eyes

But the fabric is busy enough to let me get away with it. I really like this pattern and will definitely make another. I have one MAJOR problem with it though. It comes with different sleeve lengths and a pencil as well as full skirt option (this is the full skirt, long sleeves option, obvs). I was surprised to see that even with full sleeves and full skirt, this pattern was said to only need 1.6 metres of 150cm wide fabric. I had this in a different ikat style jersey print, and folded this on a double fold as the pattern recommended, and there was NO WAY my pattern pieces would fit on it. The skirt piece would not fit on at all, let alone have room to spare as the layout suggested. I ended up using about 2- 2.5m (hard to tell as I cut it up weirdly due to pattern placement). Has anyone else had this problem??

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Otherwise, I think the Violet is a grand pattern. I feel very smart in the dress, and it is super comfy. If you haven’t already….Make one! And tell me about it!

Oh, can we just take a moment to appreciate my pretty new shoes….

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Thanks bye!