A little better maybe

Sunday, 18 November 2012

Dresses and hams and rolls and courses............

Hi lovely blog-visitors,
I'm back after months of pure laziness and time-wasting, as well as on line course studying and fabric pottering around with-ing!

Remember the lace wedding bolero?

She looks so lovely!

I have no idea how this picture got itself onto my phone since I wasn't at the wedding but I'm glad it's there. Shows something I made that I can be proud of at last.

This is a Blog of mistakes as well as successes, so, I tell you, I made a (mistake) lilac jacket for a friend which I'm reluctant to show close-up, even though the friend makes it look elegant. I did not like the result for many reasons.  I rushed to finish it for a certain day, I used the wrong interfacing and I made a bad decision about the lining based on the (what the heck was he thinking?) advice of a very good tailor.
 When I'd finished, even though everybody thinks the colour is 'very her', I just don't think I did a good job of it.  In fact I think it looks - well - amateur :(  

Here it is before I put buttonholes on it.

This is as close as we're gonna get!
So I licked the wounds of my damaged creativity and made myself a ham and a roll and a dress and watched some online courses that I bought and was too busy to watch.
One course was the Starlet jacket by Gretchen from Gertie's New Blog for better sewing one was The couture dress with Susan Kaljie on Craftsy.com. and the third is The Tailored shirt with Pam Howard.
also joines Threads Insiders and have looked at many techniques that can make a simple garment look a lot more professional.  I've been forced to up my game a little.

I used this Burda pattern

I'll have to look up the month and year

And made the 17-Y-O

This dress,

using a spare piece of what looks like thin crepe and some silk organza that I bought from the Bay of E that I intended to use as a pressing cloth.
"How do you know it's real silk organza"? I don't hear you all asking. 
Well I don't.  But I do know that when you put fabric strands into a flame, you get a smell of burnt hair and the burnt fabric is reduced to a powder, (natural fabrics) or  you get melted strands with very dark bubbles that you don't want to touch because they are very hot. Very. And they burn your fingers and leave blisters that are painful. Very. 
I got burnt hair that flaked like soot/charcoal. I've convinced myself it is silk and in any case, synthetic organza has a gleamy sheen and sets my teeth on edge and this did not.


I found this collar in Silkhance in Tooting, SW London.  I think it really dresses up a plain dress.

Easy elastic waistband
the binding I attempted

I'll be putting on the collar properly using mini snaps when I get round to it.

 I hand stitched the lining onto the yoke seams.  
17 Y O said I should make myself a dress like this but in a plain black.  I just might happen!
Trouble is, now she wants me to make her many variations on the theme.  It could happen.

Loud Smiley

I took the badly hand stitched lining and zip out of this coat that I made years ago and re attached them using the 'bag your jacket lining' from Threads insider techniques.

 More coat pics

I'm learning that it is not the sewing that's too difficult for me.
What I find really hard is being patient.  I want to make it all NOW! Or at least this week. But,
when I copied the french binding technique from Threads Insider, it took me hours! Well about an hour and a half, because I really wanted a more professional look. It was so worth e time and effort. I think I nearly got it.  It stands up to close inspection.
17 Y O is hoping to wear the dress in 3 weeks time so, I hope I can remember to get pics of her all gussied up! 

I made this over sized ham and undersized sleeve roll set to help me with my pressing during tailoring whenever I get round to it.  I put 'DIY tailors ham' into the search engine and took my pick from a plethora of pages.
It's already proved useful for helping me with pressing.

I used four pieces of fabric, two calico for the lining, one colourful cotton on one out side and wool for the other grey side. 
This is what it looks like being stuffed.

The pieces cut out

These are my dress, ham and courses.

I am currently trying a duffle that I downloaded and printed the pattern from Burdastyle. 

This is the Burda version.

Thursday, 13 September 2012

Peter pan collar

I kept thinking, 'Peter Pan collar, Peter Pan collar'   So I took a blouse that the 22-Y-O gave to the 17-Y-O
Pinned one half of the PP collar to tracing paper,

Pinned and traced,  it's not your eyes, the pics are blurred

Pinned and traced more

Add 1cm seam to outside edge

Found spare cotton which I should have looked for before hand.

Cut 4 pieces
same with lightweight interfacing, 2 pieces.  Made two seperate collar pieces.

sewed, trimmed, turned, ironed, added binding (wot I made myself), to join the two halves of collar; 

fit to her neck.....

Very pleased with myself.

Showed 17-Y-O.

 'Too plain! Can't you embroider it or something?'

I suggest buttons and tiny dainty pearls

17-Y-O snorts.


'Buttons Mum?  Don't want buttons!'

Peter Pan!  Never liked that stupid story anyway!

She suggests chain.  So I hand stitch chain onto PP collar

 and we finally get something we both love!

Said it before; a great story, Peter Pan......
Am making more of these, one black with silver chain and some others but without chain.

The 17-Y-O, I kid you not!


Teacher: You aren't paying attention to me. Are you having trouble hearing ?Pupil: No, teacher I'm having trouble listening !

Friday, 31 August 2012

September Prima 2012

I wanted to use this latest September Prima Pattern

September Prima 2012

 to make a dress out of this jersey fabric.

and I really like the result

I did say that I would like to make a colour block one but, I think I'm going to buy black stretch fabric instead.  This will be my one and only LBD. 

It was a very easy make and turned out better than expected.  I would make it again in black, longer and with a long tied sash instead of the front band.
 I think, considering how I'm usually turned out, it's quite smart on me.  I can see me wearing it with a long, black sleeveless waterfall cardi and boots during colder seasons and doing lunch with the girls. 

  As if!

I am also in the process of making a simple, print fabric pencil skirt for the 17-Y-O who is interested in all fabric African at the moment.She really wants an African print blazer too. 

 As if!!

I am doing a muslin for her to check the fit for a dress. She likes dresses. I am using the Surefit Designs system and hopefully I can make whatever designs she can dream up in her clever arty brain  so long as it's simple. (LOL).

Did you ever hear the story of the peacock?
It's a beautiful tail!

Sunday, 26 August 2012

I got my sewing confidence back.  I lost it after making stuff that was ill fitting or unsuitable or just plain wrong and then I made a Surefit design dress and pair of trousers, and a bolero for a young girl's wedding and they turned out very well  and now it's back!
I'm going to go ahead and make this

using this jersey print that I bought from Tooting Broadway market

and if it works out, I'm thinking it would look OK in block colour style-e.

It feels good to be back!

Boy sez:  " 'Scuse me Mista, is this the other side of the road?"
Sir  sez:   "No it's over there!"
Boy sez:  "That's odd, that man over there said it was over here!"

Thursday, 23 August 2012

Lace wedding bolero

Mum used to say 'Yuh too farse'. She was Jamaican. Still is! I was at a little gathering on Saturday and someone said she wanted to order a bolero from Amazon but it would not arrive in time for the wedding this Saturday.  So I piped up 'I made a bolero for a wedding a few years back' something like that. Next thing I know, I'm advising Silkhance Fabrics in Tooting to buy lace and she's coming to my house to try on a calico.......

 Next time, I'll keep my big mouth SHUT! I already made two of these, here's one in this link.  5 rows down

I sent a picture of the real thing but ...............I don't think she likes it!  No reply so far; her disapointment is palpable even over the miles.

I like it!

I would have added a scalloped edge to the back neck edge before sewing the shoulder seam if I'd thought about it but I told you Mum used to say 'Yuh too farse'!
I must not poke my nose into other people's business
I must not poke my nose into other people's business
I must not poke my nose into other people's business
I must not poke my nose into other people's business
I must not poke my nose into other people's business
I must not poke my nose into other people's business

This is the original pattern


That's it for now,  I'm going to spend a few days under my duvet with some tissues and the cider that Carlie bought me.   I know!!!

Monday, 20 August 2012

Blueprint patterns and tatty bags

I used the Sure Fit Designs system to make myself a bodice and skirt blueprint pattern for my awkward shape. 
(Awkward is such an awkward word to type)

I think it's kind of space nurse
I know it's not perfect but I am so happy with the fit!  Of course, the sewing is pants but I was eager  to try the fit because I wanted to go to sleep!
It's something I can work with.  I am looking to make another twist front dress using a pattern I am going to try drafting  myself.  It will involve moving darts and centre front bodice grain line......

I also spent a little time making a trouser blueprint

and then made a pair, from an old queen size flat sheet, (lol) they are pictured here

 They are very comfortable  even for sitting in. I  shall make a pair soon, using some wool-mix fabric I picked up when I went to Posh Junk in Mitcham, London.

It was practically free, so I think I can afford to make mistakes.  If I do get it wrong though, I shall be cross because of the time and effort put forth so, I suppose I'll have to be careful.

I also want to make the 17-Y-O a satchel.  She always looks very neat, groomed almost.  Then you look at her handbag!

Tatty pap!

So I made a mock up in this Ikea canvas.  

I've been given a black leather jacket and it's going to be a satchel bag by the end of the holiday.
I'll be using instructions from The Bag Making Bible by Lisa Lam

and the OCD Blog here.

I've been collecting magnetic fasteners and metal bits and bobs from old bags.  My old Singer 201K can handle leather. I know this 'cause I mended the 17-Y-O's nice leather bag, from River Island.

The Joke Latest

1st boy: My cat likes to drink lemon juice.

2nd boy: Wow! He must be a sourpuss!