Wonderful Winifred!

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I have had the PDF version of this pattern since it came out, I really like the style of it and thought I could make it work for me. The pattern is called Winifred from Blue Ginger Doll. The pattern was easy to put together, but as with all patterns for me, that’s when the scissors came out!! The pattern is made for a D bust but even so, after much frowning, measuring and scratching of the head I still needed a hefty FBA, 5 inches to be precise, which I sort of didn’t believe but I have to believe the tape measure! I was interested to read that u and mii has blogged a beautiful version of this dress but came across the same problem. After doing the FBA I still had to lengthen the bodice by another inch to make the front darts sit in the right place. I added another half inch to the sleeve opening too. Given that I am 5ft 10, the skirt length was always going to be too short, as I’ve said before, I am not inflicting my knees on an unsuspecting public, so I added 10cm, a lot I know but I figured I could always go shorter. I actual fact, it’s pretty spot on. Construction was easy, I overlocked all the pieces to neaten edges my fabric is light and very drapy which meant I interfaced the belt pieces to give it a bit more structure. My only tricky bit was the collar, fitting it onto the back part of the dress, but after a few goes with the good old seam ripper I got there in the end. I am really pleased with the end result – it’s perfect for work, very comfortable but smart at the same time. I have seen lots of versions popping up on the internet, but my favourite so far is Heather’s collarless version, I love it, can be dressed up or down, worn with boots or sandals, I have some blue chambray in my stash, so you know what I’m thinking!! I would thoroughly recommend this pattern – a real go to dress – it’s in my TNT pile.

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Liebster Award!

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Melanie from Seeds of 3 has named me as one of her blogs for the Liebster Award, this is what she has to say:

‘If you are unfamiliar with the Liebster Award, it is a way of getting other bloggers known, shared and generally getting the word out about them. You can only be nominated if you have under 500 followers.

- A few simple rules apply -
1. Thank the blogger who nominated you
2. Answer the 11 questions given to you
3. Nominate 11 other followers with less than 500 followers
4. Post 11 questions for your nominees to answer
5.Tag your nominees & post a comment on their blog to let them know you nominated them’

So here are the questions she asked me…

1.What was the first thing you’ve ever sewn?
I think the first thing I made was a needle case at primary school, it had to have decorative stitching as well, I still use it. The first thing I made to wear was a red and white gingham skirt…I was nine.

2. Did you wear it? Why or why not?
I think I did…but not very much..

3. Do you believe in fate?
Most definitely.

4. What is your earliest memory?
One of my earliest memories is being with my Mum and Auntie having photographs taken and thinking I had to smile properly because they were dressed up and looked beautiful, I think I was about 3.

5. If you drink, what is your favorite cocktail (recipe please!)
I don’t really drink cocktails…sorry, I’m more of a white wine kind of girl.

6. What kinds of books do you like to read?
I like history books and books about France, especially anything to do with Paris!

7. When was the last time you were sick with something other than a common cold? What was it?
I had a major operation last year, that took a lot of getting over.

8. Are you an introvert or an extrovert?
Introvert

9. What sewing tip have you learned that blew your mind?
All of them! I’m still learning loads, every time I read something new I think it’s the best thing!

10. What is your dream sewing machine if money was no object?
One of the big super duper computerised ones, although I have to say I’m pretty happy with the one I’ve got. I treated myself to a new one a few months ago – a Janome DC3050 – and I’m very pleased with it.

11. Do you prefer hot or cold climates? Why?
Hot…but not too hot! I like sunshine and blue skies. I feel loads better in the summertime.

OK, so now my nominees and questions, I have wholly pinched Melanie’s quote for this bit as it sums it up nicely! ‘
With all of he ways you can follow a blog, I am not sure how anyone is supposed to tell if you have less than 500 followers. So, I chose people that I thought may have a smaller number of followers than others. Forgive me if you are blessed with more than 500 :-). Just know I enjoy your blogs and others should too!’ Well said, ma chérie…I got my stats mainly from Bloglovin’ because that’s what I use to read blogs, so apologies if you have tons more followers!!

1. French Seams and Pipe Dreams
2. Sew Exhausted
3. Little Stone Cottage
4.Jo Sews
5.Reves Mecaniques
6. Rue des Renards
7.Almond Rock
8. Jam a History
9. Another Little Crafty Creation
10. The Girl Who Makes Things
11. Sally Bee Makes

Here are my questions…
1. What are you working on at the moment?

2. Do you sew to relax or to get motivated?

3. What is your favourite type of sewing project?

4. Who taught you to sew?

5. What is your favourite colour / fabric to sew with?

6. What do you do to relax if you are not sewing?

7. Where are you from?

8. What aspect of sewing gets on your nerves? (I hate cutting out…)

9. What makes you happy?

10. What makes you sad?

11. What is your dream job?

Hope these are OK Melanie! Thanks again!

Loco for Coco

Indeed, that should be ‘Loca’ but let’s not be pedantic and anyway it would ruin my rhyme. This week I have made my version of Coco the latest pattern from Tilly and the Buttons. There are already lots of versions out there, so I thought I would join in! The pattern has a boat neck version as well as a funnel neck version with cuffs and it can be made into a top or a dress with or without patch pockets. It’s a very versatile pattern and a very quick make, I LOVE the shape of the funnel neck and will be making lots more. I bought the PDF. version which was easily put together and the instructions are really clear, it’s a winner of a pattern, the sort of wardrobe staple every woman should have. I have the dilemma (always) of which size to choose and recently I seem to have been getting it wrong. I err on the side of large when I’m cutting out, then find the shoulders / neck / armhole don’t sit well. I know I should use my high bust measurement for the pattern size but somehow I don’t believe it and go for a bigger one, which then doesn’t fit. Anyway, I thought I’d bite the bullet with this pattern and choose the right size for my high bust which was the 6. Immediately, my brain said ‘No! Too small!’ But I persevered… My issue is that there is a 5 inch difference between my high bust and my full bust (hence the feeling of needing to be bigger…) so an FBA is inevitable. I am still doing lots of trial and error with this, looking at other sites like Lazy Stitching where Alana has a whole section on FBAs (essential reading) and also other bloggers who have tried and tested FBAs on specific patterns. In this case I was working with knit fabric, in most cases (from my excessive reading) an FBA results in a dart being enlarged / added to a pattern to create enough *ahem* room. With a t-shirt design this is not really desirable, I wanted the extra to be built in without having to sew in a dart. The Renfrew Top is another wardrobe staple with a lovely drapy neckline or scoop neck which I would like to make, in looking for FBAs for this design I found this from Vicki Kate on her blog, explaining how she had done an FBA for this pattern. Also the Maria Denmark site has great advice for knitted tops (and lovely patterns!) Anyway after reading EVERYTHING, I cheated…I thought I’d try just grading out under the arm, so I traced a size 6 for neck / shoulder then blended the armhole right out to the size 8. I did this for the back piece as well as the front and cut size 8 sleeves. It worked. Well just. There is a little pulling across the bust but I’m talking a very little. Enough to make me do a full FBA? No. Next time I make it I may sew a smaller seam allowance on the side seams, that’s how picky I’m being. But do you know what? I’m chuffed to bits with it as it FITS all around the shoulder / neck / armhole area so has really boosted my confidence and made me believe the tape measure!! Anyone else done FBAs on knit garments?

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Spring Clean…

I’ve been to London today, I went to the Knitting and Stitching Show at Olympia, there was much quilting, knitting and stitching going on. I was hoping for more garment sewing, the fabric stalls that were there selling dress fabrics were incredibly busy, so sewing is definitely very popular! I liked the exhibited garments made by students, some really creative designs, I love seeing things like that, some of the detail was amazing.

Anyway, I think I was walking around London in the hottest day so far, but it was beautiful, trees in blossom and real warmth in the sun. It made me think about a summer wardrobe! I’ve had a spring clean of the fabrics I have and I have decided to give one away, this one to be precise…

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Do you know when you buy something because it’s really lovely, you admire it, but in actual fact it won’t suit you?? This is my dilemma, I fell in love with this fabric when I saw it made up into the Date Night Dress by April Rhodes, bought it from M is for Make fully intending to make it up into a dress because it is gorgeous. But… I know I will procrastinate about wearing it because it is bold and colourful, I’m more of a block colour neutral kind of girl (boring) but hey, you have to feel comfortable in what you wear. So that’s it, it’s 142cm wide and there is 2.8m of it, I would much rather give it to someone who will make something fabulous and love wearing it, because it deserves to be worn!! Leave a comment and I will pick one at random on the 4th April, then I will post it to you ASAP!!

Quick, quick, quick…slow

I haven’t posted for ages! Feels like it anyway, I’ve had a sllloowww project on the go so I decided to make some quick ones for a bit of motivation! The loooonnnngggg project is the prom dress I am making, I’m still doing the muslin, it’s taking some serious fitting and when it’s not for you, it’s not easy to try it on when you feel like it, so planning in sewing and fitting times hasn’t been easy. I’ve done the lining with the boning, and put it into the dress

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But it still does not fit well, I spent ages last week looking on the web, it’s almost like a bustier in design but the fitting in the cup is not right, I’ve been looking at bra making and all sorts! Anyway I’ve redrafted the top bodice, I will fit that piece tomorrow and if THAT doesn’t work, I will have to try draping the fabric to get the perfect shape!

Needless to say, with all that going on I needed a quick project or two to keep me going! I’m seriously into sewing with knits now, I was a bit daunted at first but after making my Red Velvet, I wanted to try more. I had also seen the custom made leggings tutorial by So Sew Easy, so I gave it a go. Leggings are a bit of a nightmare for me, they’re often no where near long enough either in the leg or the body, not without paying lots of money for them anyway!! This tutorial is so comprehensive you cannot go wrong, there is even a spreadsheet to calculate your measurements! The pattern you end up with is just one piece. Sewing them up takes no time at all and now I have my custom made pattern I will be making lots more. To go with my new leggings I thought I’d make a top. I ended up making the pattern up from a t-shirt I own already. The resulting top is very baggy, boxy in shape with a boat neck and long enough to cover my bum when wearing my very comfy leggings!

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It’s made from a very soft knit which lovely to wear. Feeling chuffed with this outfit of knits, I made another top!! I got some medium weight knit fabric with stripes, it did occur to me when I was slicing through it this morning that it would be perfect for Tilly’s Coco pattern, so I will have to buy more…
I put sleeves in made from the same fabric as my leggings. I managed to match all the stripes (that’ll be a first then…) so then I got a bit adventurous and started messing around with scraps to make a pocket

20140301-210622.jpg I’m pretty happy! I’m wearing it right now (with my leggings obvs) and I’m very happy with the way it’s turned out, cue scary photo by husband who didn’t have glasses on and couldn’t even see which button to press, so I had to chop most of me off *sigh* anyway you get the idea…

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So 3 quick makes done, time to buckle down to this dress…

Treasure Trove

I have made an exciting discovery, well to be fair my friend made an exciting discovery and I went to investigate. I live in Gloucestershire, finding fabric shops with a good choice is not easy, until now! I had not visited World of Fabric on Albion Street in Cheltenham until my friend had said she had been, looking for fabric for her daughters ‘prom’ dress (which I am making). I went to have a little look round yesterday…

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Oh. My. Word.
This place is jammed to the rafters with fabric of every sort imaginable. And it goes on and on, just when you think you’ve reached the end of the shop you turn a corner and there’s another huge room. You seriously need a week in this place to see everything. Did I buy anything? Silly question…

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The camel coloured fabric is a heavy knit which I will probably make a cardi/coat, the blue one is actually sheer, but I had Archer in my head when I bought it, the animal print is going to be a Hawthorn, well that’s what I think now, I will probably change my mind!! Good value too, the blue and animal print were £4.99 a metre, the blue one was near the end of the roll so I got an extra metre for £2.00! The knitted fabric was £10, a bit pricier I know but it’s really nice.
So yesterday I was buying fabric today I’ve been sewing! I’m making a strapless dress for my friend’s daughter, I’m using the bodice from Vogue 1174 but she wanted more of a wiggle skirt, so I have drafted that separately moving darts to line up with those in the bodice

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The fabric I am using here is for a wearable muslin as I want to get the fit spot on. Here’s the bodice…

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And here it is with skirt attached!

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The next stage is to fit it then make the lining, this has interfaced pieces and boning which will give it more shape! It’s ages since I’ve made a dress like this and I’m really enjoying the process. Anyone else like this sort of project?