Thursday, 14 November 2013

Another Blouse

I bought this fabric years ago, I think it must have been all of 10 to 15 years.  I originally made it up into a gypsy style blouse with a gathered waist and neckline, as below.

I hated it, haven't a clue why though.  But it ended  in the box on top of my wardrobe.  Last month I was rummaging through said box and spied it again.  After losing all my excess weight, I have been on a jeans buying spree and still need more blouses to go with them.  This fabric is a lovely smudgy patterned viscose in all the colours that I love. I decided to adapt the pattern as below, by making it more fitted, adding 2 buttons at the back

and a tie band at the waist. It worked and I now have a lovely new blouse that pairs with so many of my jeans it will be in danger of being worn out.  The picture makes it look a lot baggier than it actually is.

Saturday, 7 September 2013


Its a truth universally acknowledged that a girl will always need more blouses, tops and hell! clothes than she already has.  So, my task for this autumn is to make more blouses and tops.  I have quite a lot of skirts, but tops and blouses are a bit lacking in my wardrobe . So the next make was this.

Since losing weight I have found that I like my clothes to be quite fitted, and this pattern suited the bill perfectly.  It is an empire line, fitted under the bust  with ever so slightly puffed sleeves. I decided to try to give it a more 40's 'make do and mend' vibe by adding collar band, self covered buttons, and sleeve band in a contrasting fabric from my stash as though I had combined two blouses to make one new one.



The pattern is one I bought quite a long time ago and starts at a size 14, I cut out a size 14 but it was a little large on me and I had to make the top quite a bit smaller and put in extra darts at the bust line, but I think it works ok.  The pattern is quite 'busy' so the darts don't really notice to most people (at least that is what I like to think).  Also, you can't see in the photos, but when putting the interfacing in the sleeve bands I stupidly used the printed edge of the interfacing completely disregarding the fact that the print would probably be visible through the dress fabric. Duh! Stupid Zora. I don't think it is too bad and if I position my arms carefully as above, most people won't notice, but at some stage in the future will have to be rectified because I can see it and remaining in this position for any length of time is quite wearing.

The blouse is just what I wanted.  Smart enough for work, but also suitable for a more casual event. with jeans or a skirt. I think I will probably make this pattern again.  Maybe with longer sleeves for the autumn and winter.

Wednesday, 28 August 2013

New patterns

Look what was waiting for me when I got home from work this evening.



Simplicity are having one of their sales.  It feels like Christmas.  I need a load more blouses and tops, so these patterns will go some way to help out. I like Simplicity Patterns, I grew up with them so the instructions feels like a friend telling me what to do.  My next project is another dress, which I hope I will be able to introduce a vintage vibe into.  I am going to use some of the fabric I bought in Birmingham Rag Market.

I am hoping this will tide me over into the Autumn, worn with shoes and tights rather than bare legs and sandals.

Sunday, 18 August 2013

Summer dresses

What a summer, most of the time the weather has been glorious, and the summer dresses have been out in force.  I have had this pattern a number of years and first made it up several years ago.  I love the empire line, I think it is very flattering.  As I have previously said, I have lost a bit of weight this year.  Luckily, I tried the original dress on and found it to be too big so I decided to make this version a size smaller. I have several lengths of bright poly cotton in my stash and thought that I would make another summer dress.  Although theoretically, it is coming to the end of the summer , I am hoping that we get a few more weeks of warm sunny weather enough for me to wear this dress.

Anyway here is the pattern


I had some grey/blue Broderie Anglaise left over from a previous project that picked up the colours in the fabric perfectly.  So I made my own bias binding to go around the neckline.

Here is the dress at the halfway stage before the addition of the lining and finishing off.

and here is the finished article, with me looking a bit bemused about it all.  I love the dress though it is so easy to wear.

Sunday, 11 August 2013

Goldhawk Road

A bit late I know but this week has been so busy.  The Goldhawk Road meet up, well what can I say that has not already been said.  I love it here, but it is a fabric shoppers paradise so that is a forgone conclusion.  The Goldhawk Road area is under threat of demolition, so if you can join their facebook page please do as it would be such a shame to lose this area of London to the developers.

I have only been going to Goldhawk Road for a year or two, didn't realise it existed until I 'googled' fabric shopping in london, then I found out about the on line sewing community and that was it, I had to go.  What a revelation, such beautiful fabrics and so reasonably priced, all in such close proximity to each other.

Anyway, the meet up.  First decision,  fretted about all week, what to wear?.  The weather had been really kind all week, and I had been on annual leave.  I had just about finished this dress,

but it was not certain we would be able to find a lunchtime venue and we may have been able to have a picnic.  I love picnics, but this dress is actually quite fitted and was not sure it would hold up to lazing around on grass, and it has a white background. So after uuming and aahing for a few days, I decided to make another dress.

I had some left over lightweight cotton, in a Pucci inspired print that I bought as an end of roll at Walthamstow Market years ago and I thought it would be perfect for a more casual lunch and possible lazing on grass, and it is a blue/green background.

The pattern is another old one, a gypsy style that is loose with a elasticated, shirred waist for a bit of fit.  Another bonus with this pattern is that the design of the fabric is not disturbed in any way.

This was such an easy make, very little fitting, just a bit of decision to be made regarding the placement of the casing for the waist elastic.  I have learnt from past experience of  making in this this style to place the casing just a touch lower than my natural waist to account for natural movement, perfect for a picnic.

I had a fabulous day in Goldhawk Road,  thanks to Claire  We had a lovely lunch at Liz's cafe in the end and much swapping was done.  Photos, already covered elsewhere in the blogosphere. 

As I said I was very restrained, I try to limit my fabric buying now,  as I have quite a stash.  Although after reading some of the posts from 'diary of a sewing fanatic' and seeing her pictures, I realise my stash is small fry really.  I evenutually bought a length of fabric for a bag.  It is a light weight cotton and will have to be backed with some calico, but I could not resist it, look it has pictures of cotton reels,thimbles and pairs of scissors.

and two lengths of dress fabric.


 I have just read Katie's latest post and I really fancy a gathered jersey pencil skirt, and I think this fabric would be perfect, so am going to wait for her tutorial.

  I also paid a visit to the market, I have a few cushions that need an inside cover so bought quite a bit of lining fabric for them and some polycotton to line summer dresses. Then home when all the shops had closed happy and exhausted at the end of a wonderful day.

Tuesday, 30 July 2013

Holiday sewing

I am on annual leave this week, and I resolved to catch up on some dressmaking.    This is yet more fabric I bought at Walthamstow Market.  I think it came from Saeed's.  It is a crisp  poly cotton and perfect for summer dresses for the gorgeous weather we have been having here in the UK.

I first made it up several years ago, to take on holiday with me, now I have been sewing long enough to know that a crisp poly cotton is never going to drape and hang well in soft gathers, but I still went ahead and made a softly draped pattern.  Did it look good and well made, of course not!  So into the clothing to be altered at a later date the garment went.   The later date came and went last year in our non existent summer.  But this year well what a contrast.  Out of the alterations box it came.

I did not actually use one single pattern for this garment, it is a mash up of several patterns.  The skirt is an A line pattern that must be all of 10 years old and has been used so many times it is held together with sellotape. The bodice is part of another dress, and the midriff is just a strip of material I cut and pieced together to join the bodice and skirt together.   I copied an idea I have noticed other bloggers taking  and used an old sheet to line the skirt.  It adds a nice weight to the dress.

I put a side seam in, I have trouble with side seams they never seem to 'hang' properly, to my satisfaction.  I may just go revert to using to back seam zippers, I just feel happier with them.  Anyway this is the completed dress

although I am still not entirely happy with the side zip, I am infinitely happier with this version of the dress than its previous incarnation. 

Tuesday, 23 July 2013

Another week of glorious sunshine

And so it goes on.  last week was a beautiful week weatherwise, a bit to hot really to do much gardening.  I don't get much shade in my garden, but I am not going to complain I love hot sunny weather.

Anyway, back to the garden.  I know I have said it before, but really I am so glad that I used water retaining granules and slow release fertilizer.  With the amount of pots I have and working full time, it would be very difficult and tiring to keep on top of the watering with the heat we have been having.  Look at these pots, I am so pleased with them.

Not so sure about the Sweet Peas, They all seem to be blue tones, and whilst I love the deep blue painted effect I had wanted a variety of colours. Still they smell divine and look lovely as well.

The Pelargoniums just keep on giving from mid may until the first frosts.  I love them, I take cuttings every August and overwinter them.

Photo of the weekend.  The pots are really coming into their own now, and all I need to do whilst we are having this glorious weather is keep them watered, deadheaded every day and a little tomato/rose food once a week to supplement the slow release fertilizer I added at planting.

Addendum: This post was written before the spectacular electrical storm and torrential rain we had in South East Britain Last Night. Although, It is still muggy and warm.