Finished Item

I should Coco

I first mentioned that I was planning to make a Tilly and the Buttons Coco dress waaaay back in August last year but have only just got round to it for some reason.

Coco dress
It goes beautifully with my cow print wellies, as you can see.

I say only just but I finished it at the end of October and took these photos at the beginning of November but haven’t got round to blogging. I just don’t seem to have had the oomph, I filmed an October favourites video that I haven’t finished editing yet either. And I have 326 unread blog posts waiting for me in Feedly. It’s my busiest period at work at the moment so I’m a bit drained by the time I get home.

But anyway, I went for a walk in the local Country Park with my mum and Max at the beginning of November and made a point of wearing the dress to get some photos but it’d been raining a lot so wellies were the only appropriate footwear, leading to the super stylish look I’ve got going on here. (I actually quite like it)

This version is a wearable toile/muslin really because I’m not too keen on the fabric – which you can see a bit closer in this video. It’s okay from a distance but when you get close you can see bits of white through it and it looks terrible stretched. Luckily the dress turned out quite loose fit so that’s not a problem. I was expecting the dress to be a bit tighter – I sewed a size 4 despite being closer to a 5 on the size chart because that’s what I’d traced months ago when I was a bit thinner. Because I’m lazy I decided and didn’t want to trace the 5 I just went with it and used a lightly smaller seam allowance (10mm / 3/8″) on the side seams.

tilly-coco-dress
Leaning on an invisible bar

I measured the sleeves before cutting and I thought they were a bit long for where I like 3/4 length sleeves to sit so I took about 3.5″ off the length but I think they’re a tad too short now so I’ll add an inch or 2 back on for my next version. I also ended up sewing a bigger seam allowance (2 cm) on the sleeves because I like a tighter fit. It’s still not quite right for me so I’ll have to fiddle a bit with my next version.

coco-dress-side
I tried to get Max to stare off into the distance too but he was having none of it.

There are quite a few alterations I want to make to the pattern before my next version, as you can probably tell from the photo above I need to do a swayback adjustment as there’s a big ol’ pool of fabric at my lower back. The neckline is too wide too, if I pinch about an inch out of the front it feels much better. Looking at these photos the shoulders sit off my shoulders a bit but fixing the neckline should solve that. I am going to see what a forward shoulder adjustment does though as I think need to start making them on everything.

dancing-in-coco
He’s unimpressed with my dance moves

Overall I’m really happy with my Coco, even though I need to make a fair few fitting adjustments. It hasn’t stopped me wearing it at all. Ooh, I was really pleased with my stripe matching too. Excuse the terrible quality photo I just rushed to take a photo and it’s too dark for decent photos.

20151129_195305
You can see the white bits I was talking about in this one

In terms of construction, I sewed it all on my sewing machine rather than my overlocker as I knew I wanted to experiment with seam allowances. My machine handled it wonderfully, I really do love my walking foot!

Non-Clueless Versions

There are so many lovely versions of the Coco dress all over the internet but I particularly like:

The details

Pattern: Tilly and the Buttons Coco dress

Measurements: 38.5″ (high bust 36″) – 31″ – 41.5″ (Height 5’2″)

Size made: 4

Alterations: Sewed the side seams with a 10mm seam allowance instead of 15mm and a 20mm seam allowance on the sleeves tapering in at the armpit

Fabric used: Around a meter of a thick not very stretchy jersey I got from Minerva crafts over a year ago. (I cut it out all on one layer, which helps use less fabric)

Another version? Definitely. I have the fabric for at least two more.

Any changes next time? Yes. I’m going to narrow the neckline, fiddle with the shoulders, sew the proper seam allowance on the side seams, lengthen the sleeves slightly and take them in a bit more and do a stonking big swayback adjustment.

coco-dress-back

Lots of the Coco dresses I like seem to have contrast panels so I’m toying with trying something like that with one of my next versions. I have some royal blue ponte that I think would look great with a lace yoke like Katie’s but lace terrifies me a bit.

Sewing for myself is very much on the backburner at the moment anyway though what with my Christmas sewing list, last minute house decorating (spare room underway, kitchen hopeful but doubtful) and general lack of oomph. I’ve finished one item from my Christmas sewing plans but have added two more. Not sure that’s how you’re supposed to do it…

Best dress ever?

Let’s examine the evidence, shall we?

Is wearing it like wearing pyjamas?

Yes, it is stretchy and squishy and lovely.

Does it have dinosaurs on?

YES!

dinosaur-dixie-diy-ballet-dress
Such a happy face

So clearly, yes, it is the best dress ever. I could have led with “does it have dinosaurs on?” really because any dress with dinosaurs on kicks the butt of a dress without dinosaurs on. Though, this dress with hunky elves on was pretty awesome and did previously hold the title. It’s just not as comfy though and I can’t wear it all year round. Though I am excitedly looking forward to being able to wear it again soon (ish).

dinosaur print cotton jersey
A close up of the dinosaurs

I was about to say that there’s not a lot to say about the construction of this dress and then I remembered that that would be a giant LIE. My brain trying to block out the trauma perhaps? I massively messed up when I was cutting out (tired) and thought I’d already folded the fabric along the grainline but it was just still folded crosswise from how I’d taken it off the line. So I cut the first skirt piece out that way and then realised what I’d done and had a meltdown.

ballet-dress-dinosaurs

I was really worried I wasn’t going to be able to fit the rest of the pattern pieces on the fabric that I had left but with some creativity I managed it but one of my skirt pieces isn’t as flared as the other, I was using my slashed and spread skirt piece from my balletmono so I had to remove some of the spread bits to get it to fit. Oh gosh, I just realised I haven’t even told you what pattern it is! *facepalm* It is another Dixie DIY Ballet dress.

dinosaur-ballet-dress-catch
My dismal attempt at a leaf throwing photo

I was really worried about the skirt bit that I’d cut wrong making the dress a disaster because I love love love this fabric (you can see me wiggling it about in my video here) and it’s sold out so if this try didn’t work I would never have a dinosaur dress of awesomeness (or ROARsomeness if you will, hahaha – so proud of myself right now). But it seems to be fine, I used it for the back of the skirt because I am quite juicy of booty so it just made sense to me.

I shortened the bodice slightly (just over a cm) because I thought the weight of the skirt might stretch it a bit like with my balletmono. I also did a small swayback adjustment, which I think worked out quite well. The back looks like a better fit than my last ballet dress.

dinosaur-ballet-dress-back

I constructed it all on my overlocker and hemmed it using a twin needle on my sewing machine. I tried out stabilising the hems with wundaweb / hemming tape and that worked really well so I’ll carry on doing that for future knit hems. I messed up a bit when I was sewing the neckband (had a hole and had to redo a bit) and you might be able to spot a bit of iffiness in some of the photos but that doesn’t override the fact that it’s a dress with dinosaurs on.

Dixie DIY Ballet Dress and raptor hands
I couldn’t make a dress with dinosaurs on and not do Bimble and Pimble’s Amanda style raptor claws. I don’t know what’s happening with my face.

Speaking of the photos, I was trying to do my Better Pictures Project homework of capturing movement. Which is why they’re all out of focus…. Yeah I didn’t do so well. My skin is also glowing white, I didn’t realise I was that pale! I have sort of decided that I’m going to buy myself a DSLR with any money I get for Christmas and my stash of £2 coins that I’ve been collected for the last few years but I’m worried it won’t help that much. If you’re not very good at taking pictures how much will a fancy camera actually help?

Non-clueless versions

There are a bajillion Dixie DIY ballet dresses out there but I particularly like Amy’s horse and geometric versions.

Zoe has made lots of lovely versions but I really like this polka dot version.

But to be perfectly honest, I haven’t seen a version I don’t like!

The details

I want to try to be more helpful and put more practical information in my posts, rather than just waffle that you’d have to wade through to find out things you might actually want to know.

Pattern: Dixie DIY Ballet dress

My current measurements (they fluctuate A LOT): 38.5″ (high bust 36″) – 31″ – 39″ at hip bones, 41.5″ around butt (Height 5’2″)

Size cut: M

Adjustments made: Took about 12mm out of the bodice length and a small swayback adjustment – I eyeballed it but it was probably about 1cm.

Fabric used: 2m of 150cm wide DINOSAUR PRINT cotton jersey (97% cotton, 3% spandex) from myfabrics.

In conclusion, I love this dress and am probably going to make eleventy three Ballet Dresses before I get bored. I might try a gathered skirt variation next.

I’ve got a few scraps of dinosaur fabric leftover that I was hoping to get a t’shirt out of for my pseudo nephew (my favourite cousin’s son) because he loves dinosaurs too but I have no idea where to even start looking for a good pattern. Any suggestions?

New Look 6217 T’Shirt

Aka my new favourite t’shirt. There’s not really a lot to say about it so instead I seem to have a bajillion photos with very little difference between them.

new-look-6217-tshirt

Side note: New hair! It’s way shorter than I’d planned but I like it. Well I like it curly anyway, I took these photos yesterday after having it cut and I’ve since washed it myself and with it straight but not straightened apparently I look like I should be in an Enid Blyton novel going on an adventure.

But back to sewing, New Look 6217 is one of those New Look/Simplicity patterns that come with pretty much a whole outfit. There’s the t’shirt, a kimono, a skirt AND trousers. The t’shirt is super simple with just two pattern pieces and no darts. There is supposed to be a small opening at the back neckline and a button but I left it off as the neckline is super wide so it serves very little actual purpose.

nl6217-back

I’ve been test driving a new (to me) fitting book (review forthcoming once I finish the Emery dress I’m using it to fit) and based on that I took some length out between the shoulder and the bust point. Unfortunately I forgot to add the length back onto the bottom of the armhole so they’re a little snugger than they should be but it’s still okay. I also did the neckline differently to the instructions. It’s supposed to be finished with an exposed bias binding but I turned mine to the inside. Which makes the already wide neckline slightly wider. So for future versions I may bring the neckline in slightly but I actually quite like a wide neckline so I might not.

nl6217-tee

It’s also a teeny bit too short so I’ll lengthen it an inch or two for my next version and I’m pretty sure there will be a load more versions. My green Scout tee is one of my most worn self made garments so I have got more t’shirts on the to be sewn list.

new-look-6217-tee
I like it untucked and tucked in

The fabric is some viscose I had left over from my Sewaholic Gabriola skirt and I think it’s perfect for this pattern but I am planning a version with some slightly crisper fabric too so we’ll see how that looks. I used French seams throughout and I seemed to be in a very bias bind-y kinda mood. As well as the neckline I bound the sleeve hems and actual hem. I toyed with adding cuffs but decided against it, though I do think they’d look good so I might add them to a future version.

nl6217-close-up

Non-clueless versions

I really like it when bloggers put links to other people’s versions of a pattern they’ve made so I thought I’d start doing it too. Such a copycat.

It was on OhSewPretty‘s blog that I first saw New Look 6217 and it’s her version of the t’shirt and kimono that made me buy it.

How gorgeous is Mags’ Silk and Lace version? Talk about elevating a simple pattern to something special with fancy fabric.

I also love Thimberlina’s versions, especially the border print one. That fabric is sooo pretty and I love the contrast of the binding.

I found Twinkle’s two gorgeous floral and anchor print versions by accident when I was actually looking up Lottie blouses. I really like the look of the button fastening on hers so I might make my next one properly.

Another Fabric Haul Video

And finishing on something completely different. I mentioned at the end of my last post that I was hoping to get in a bit of fabric shopping while I was in London and huzzah, I managed it. So I made another video of me wiggling fabric at you. I also talk about being a wimp and being scared of real life fabric shops. I can’t be the only one. Any of you guys scared of real life fabric shops or is it just me?

Anyway, that’s it from me. I’m going to do some slobbing on the sofa with my Manfriend and maybe watch something trashy. I hope you’ve all had a great weekend.

Kirsten Kimono Dress Hack aka Balletmono

In the spirit of Gillian’s Better Pictures Project the Manfriend and I took advantage of the nice evening on Saturday and went for a walk to try to get some more interesting photos of my latest dress. The result was a bunch of over and under exposed photos – sometimes in the same photo. So that needs some work…

I took a few in the garden once we got home, which typically came out the best of the lot so I can still share my dress. After my successful kirsten kimono tee and floral ballet dress I decided to mash the two patterns together and see what happened. I’m calling the resulting kirsten kimono dress a balletmono.

kirsten-kimono-dress-sosban
This one isn’t in my garden, obviously. This is a fancy restaurant in an old pump house. Absolutely beautiful building.

I wanted to keep the fitted waist and flared skirt look so I traced around the bodice pieces for the kirsten kimono and then overlaid the ballet dress bodice pieces lining up the top of the shoulders and the centre line then traced around that and blended the lines where they met. I also slashed and spread the skirt piece in three places to make it fuller, which I love.

Swooosh
Swooosh

The fabric I used is a cotton jersey from Calico Laine (that might not be the same one, I bought mine towards the end of last year) and I’m not really a fan. It was mega curly at the edges and it seems to crease easily and iron badly – a winning combination.

balletmono-green
Windy

I accidentally cut out a neckband with the ballet dress pattern piece before I remembered that I was meant to draft one and I don’t know if that’s to blame but the neckline is a bit rubbish. It’s not puckered as such but there are loads of little pulls from it, which you can sort of see in the photo above. So I don’t know what’s to blame there as I thought I’d sewn it quite well. Could it be too short or too long?

kirsten-kimono-dress-garden

I was thinking about leaving the hems raw as I quite like that but looking at these photos I think I will hem them. I think I need to fiddle with the fit again before making another kirsten kimono dress there seems to be a bit too much fabric above my bust, especially there at the armpit. The bodice itself is a tiny bit too long too, not sure if that’s due to the weight of the fuller skirt pulling it down or something that happened during my shoddy hack.

kirsten-kimono-dress-sulking
Sulk

You can’t really see the detail of my face in this one but I am pulling a full on bottom lip out sulky face in it because none of the photos were going right. It tickled me when I saw it so I had to include it. I don’t really have much more to say about the dress really. It’s alright. I’m not in love with it but I’ll probably try again with different fabric, a new neckband and a few tweaks to the pattern.

I’m on my way to London for a course at the moment and I’m hoping to get a chance to pay the fabric shops of Goldhawk Road a visit while I’m there. It will be a flying one if I do but fingers crossed. I have a list of things I want (knits, interesting neutral wovens and some chambray) so I’ll be a woman on a mission. Wish me luck!

OAL2015: Ballet Dress and Vianne Cardigan

Dixie DIY Ballet dress in blue and purple floral jersey
Dixie DIY Ballet Dress

Those of you who remember my original post about OAL plans might be a bit disappointed not to see a fabulous dinosaur print Sewaholic Cambie. I’m sorry. As the Outfit Along deadline grew closer and I still hadn’t started my toile I decided that a change of plan was probably necessary. I really didn’t want to rush and end up wasting such brilliant fabric. I’d had the Dixie DIY Ballet dress pattern and the fabric to make one with in my stash since the end of last year and as the colours went with my cardigan and it would take less fitting I went with it.

This is my second attempt at photos. I tried on Sunday with my proper but old (ish) bridge camera but they all came out grainy and rubbish. It did the same thing on my photos of my Simplicity 1418 but it just seems wrong that my phone can take better photos. Though my new phone does have 6 more mega pixies so I should just accept it and always use my phone for photos. Anyway, I’m wandering off topic.

dixie diy ballet dress

I had the day off work yesterday because my Nan is down visiting my mum and my mum has the week off work so I thought it would be nice to take a day off to spend with them. We had a lovely day in St David’s, which is one of my favourite places in Wales because there is an ice cream shop there called The Bench, who sell ice cream tapas.

Ice Cream Tapas
We went for: Salted Caramel, Strawberries and Cream, Rum and Raisin, Malteser and Death By Chocolate

But before we went I got my mum to snap a few photos for me as her garden is so much better for light and photos taken there quite often come with a photobombing Max, which I enjoy.

I’m really, really pleased with my first Ballet Dress and I think it’s the beginning of a passionate love affair with knits. (I already have 4 more planned.) I sewed a size M and the only change I made was to shorten the sleeves. I sewed everything but the hems on my overlocker and used a twin needle on my sewing machine for the hems. The neckband went much better than on my kirsten kimono tee and I only had a teeny bit of puckering on the back and my hair will cover that so who cares.

ballet dress neckline

I bought the fabric on eBay from the Textile Centre but the listing doesn’t say what sort of fabric it is other than jersey and it’s closed now so I can’t check the detail but it’s lovely and soft and swishy. I still have about a metre or so left, which I’ll probably make a t’shirt out of.

The dress was sooo quick and easy to sew, it only took me a couple of hours from start to finish. Seriously, I love knits! I didn’t follow the instructions and just did my own thing, sewing the sleeves in flat and then sewing the side seams and sleeve seam all in one. I found it a bit challenging to sew the clear elastic at the waist seam and I’m also terrible at hemming knits. My stitching line wobbles all over the place but no one will exactly be inspecting it.

Dixie DIY Ballet dress back

Looking at this picture of the back makes me think I might need a small swayback adjustment or it could just be rumpled because of sitting down before the photos were taken. But then I do have quite the plumptious butt so I don’t know why I’m doubting the need for adjustments in the rear – wishful thinking methinks.

vianne cardigan open
Andi Satterlund Vianne cardigan

And now for Vianne. I did finish knitting it just about in time for the OAL (I finished on the 30th July) but I didn’t have time to block it and take photos to upload to the Ravelry thread unfortunately. I am terrible with deadlines and always procrastinate right until the very last minute. I’ve always been the same so joining crafting challenges is probably a bit daft.

vianne and max
Not entirely sure what’s going on here but there’s a Max so I had to choose this one

I’m not really all that happy with how the cardigan fits me. Because I’m short the arms are nearly full length on me, which looks a bit daft but when I push them up I get a lot of bunched fabric on the arms. It just generally feels a little too big but then it fits fine on the waist and the button is even pulling a little bit there. My first button seems higher than on other people’s cardigans I’ve seen online too, so I’m not sure what I did there.

vianne cardigan and max
Attack of the killer growing out fringe

I really like the style of the cardigan and I do plan to knit another one but I’m not really sure how to go about making one that fits me better. Can anyone point me in the direction of some resources on fitting knitting garments please? I was sort of thinking of maybe sizing down but then not knitting all of the waist decreases. Or sod it, just size down and stretch the hell out of the waist when I block it. Or corsetry.

the mesh back of the vianne cardigan
I love that little hellhound

The back is so pretty and I really enjoyed knitting it but I can’t see myself wearing it when I’m so not happy with the way it fits. Though to be honest, from about half way through the first sleeve the idea of giving it to my mum had popped into my head. Mainly because every time she’d seen me knitting it or pictures of it online she’d gone on and on about how much she likes the colour and how purple is her very favourite colour ever etc.

When I got to her house yesterday I’d left it on the breakfast bar in the kitchen while I popped to the loo and by the time I came back she was wearing it. So I just sighed at her – in the long suffering way of adult children everywhere at role reversal stage –  and said, “Wait for me to give it to you, will you?” It fits her better than me because she’s taller and bustier so at least it’s going to have a good home.

Anyone else spent two months knitting something for yourself only to end up giving it away?

Maria Denmark Kirsten Kimono Tee

As I think I mentioned in a previous post, Manfriend’s lovely mum recently gave me her overlocker. It sat in my sewing room glaring at me intimidatingly for quite a few weeks before I worked up the nerve to even attempt to thread it.

Toyota overlocker
Menacing

But it turns out if you just read the instructions and follow the coloured dots it’s really not that difficult. I did it in the wrong order the first time but the second time went fine. Chuff knows if I have the tension right but the stitching looks fairly balanced to me.

I decided that the Maria Denmark Kirsten Kimono tee – which is a free pattern by the way – would be a good one for my first knit project as it doesn’t have sleeves to worry about.

Kirsten Kimono tee

I went on a bit of a knit fabric sending spree on Minerva and used this diagonal striped jersey. It’s very slinky and I think it would make a lovely drapey dress. Normally I trace my patterns but I seem to have started just cutting out pdf patterns. I suppose because I can just print them out again if the fit is wrong, though it would mean taping the pesky things together again and I’m not sure what’s worse, taping or tracing.

I use a rotary cutter for cutting out my fabric so cutting out was no more difficult than cutting out woven fabric and this wasn’t a particularly curly fabric so I think I had a fairly easy go at it for my first knit garment. I cut a straight size medium but I sort of wish I’d graded out at the hips.

Kirsten kimono tee back

For some reason I expected it to fit more like the Deer and Doe Plantain. No idea why as none of the photos I’ve seen of other people’s versions do. But for my for my next version I will grade out a couple of sizes at the hips for more of a floaty look. Or maybe slash and spread somehow to avoid reprinting and taping the pattern.

I didn’t bother stabilising the shoulder seams (can’t remember why) and it all went together really quickly. I struggled with sewing the neckband and it’s a bit of a puckered mess but it doesn’t really bother me too much. I’m sure I’ll get better with practice.

Kirsten kimono tee neckline
Pucker up!

I got this far and the t’shirt sat, unhemmed and unworn, waiting for me to figure out my sewing machine walking foot and twin needle. Which my sewing machine was having NONE of. I broke two twin needles and when I tried using a zig zag stitch that wouldn’t work either. But I recently upgraded my sewing machine and it handled the twin needle easy as pie. In fact, since having my new machine I’ve started to wonder if my original one was just a bit broken all along.

Anyway that’s all I really have to say. I wore it last night to go see Avenue Q in Swansea with Manfriend and a friend from work and her husband. Avenue Q is brilliant by the way and if this touring version of it is going anywhere near your town you should definitely go and see it as it’s hilarious. Puppets with no bottom half having sex is one of the funniest things I’ve ever seen. And I’ve seen Better Off Ted.

Here’s one last creepy picture Manfriend took of us after taking these photos. He had his phone on beauty mode so we look bizarre and blurry faced.

Creeeeepy
Creeeeepy

By Hand London Flora

By Hand London Flora montage

I may as well get it out of the way up front and tell you that I kind of hate this dress.

I made it to wear to a good friend’s wedding a couple of weeks ago – By Hand London Flora is practically made for wearing to weddings after all – and I enjoyed wearing it, the skirt has a lovely swish to it and the fabric is cool and soft but when I look at these pictures of me I cringe. The fit is just so so bad.

I sort of made a half arsed notquiteatoile but it clearly didn’t really help.

My measurements fall exactly half way between the (UK) 14 and 16 so I decided that I would start with the 14 first and just sew the side seams with a smaller seam allowance (10mm / 3/8″) which would have given me roughly an extra inch, which I thought would be plenty.

By Hand London Flora dress
The only photo taken at the wedding.

I was trying out using lightweight sew-in interfacing as Swedish tracing paper, so I traced the 14 on to that, sewed it all together and tried it on. It looked way off fitting. The centre back and front didn’t both want to be at my centre back and front at anywhere near the same time.

So I traced the 16 onto normal tracing paper and used it to cut out my lining. I then used the lining as sort of a working toile/muslin. It was too big. Quite a bit too big but I soldiered on with that size and just made some adjustments, which I suspect was my dress ruining mistake and I should have gone back to the 14.

flora-laughing
I clearly thoroughly enjoyed taking these pictures.

I took the side seams in by 5mm at the top, grading out to nothing at the waist and I curved the waist darts to take in some of the excess fabric under my bust. I also shortened the straps slightly, roughly a cm I think. The lining then looked like quite a good fit so I adjusted my paper pattern and cut out my main fabric and went ahead with the dress. It was only when I put the zip in that I saw how badly it actually fit. So I unpicked it and sewed it again with a much bigger seam allowance.

But as you can see there are still fit issues. The bodice is too long, there are saggy lumps of fabric at my bust and the front of the armscye could possibly do with tightening up.

flora
Urgh, the wrinkles

I don’t seem to have much luck with By Hand London patterns and the fit process is such a pain that it puts me off buying any more of their patterns, despite how pretty I find them. That’s not to say I won’t make another Flora as I probably will, I just need to put some work into the fit first.

I did my first ever bias bound hem, which I love. It gives the skirt a lovely flute and a bit of weight. Of course that didn’t stop it flying up at the teensiest bit of wind. The fabric I used was a Javanaise Viscose from Abakhan and it’s ever so lovely. I’m tempted to buy some of all the Javanaise Viscose they have. Soft and silky and just gorgeous. I was lucky enough to get the bride’s second dance at the wedding because it was I’ve had the Time of my Life from Dirty Dancing and that’s Our Song. (Well we generally prefer the Dirty Dancing megamix but we’ll take the big number.) During our dance she twirled me around and my skirt flew right up so I flashed my (fortunately pretty) knickers at everyone who was watching.

flora-marilyn
Nearly happened again.

I tried really hard to pattern match across the back and I did an okay job but that got messed up when I had to move the zip. One flower still sort of matches though so that’s good.

flora-back-closeup

 

I did think about remaking the bodice for this as I love the skirt part and I have enough fabric but basically I just can’t be arsed. I guess I’ll just have to chalk this one up as a fail and allow more time for proper toiles in future. Especially for By Hand London dresses.

 

Sewaholic Gabriola Skirt

How did it get to be Friday again? I can’t believe it’s been two weeks since I got back from my holiday. It feels like ages and no time at all. I’ve come down with a stinking cold since I’ve been home and I’ve spent most of this week feeling thoroughly sorry for myself, doing lots of lounging around, rewatching Brooklyn Nine-Nine and a bit of knitting. I’m making quite good progress on my Vianne cardigan for the Outfit Along and I’m hoping to start on my dress at some point this weekend.

But for now I have a Sewaholic Gabriola to share with you.

gabriola-balcony
Oh to be back here…

I mentioned in my last post that I had sneaky selfish plans for this black and white viscose if my nan didn’t choose it for her dress and I’m really pleased with how they turned out. I love maxi dresses and skirts in the summer and have no doubt that I’ll get lots of wear out of it. It’s so swooshy and fun to wear.

I have a few photos but they’re not very varied. We were off out for dinner and I asked my mum to take a few photos of me before we went and I was starting to feel a bit divaish when she kept trying to give the camera back and I kept declining and asking for more photos.

gabriola skirt rock
And then I got some more photos stood on some rocks.

I made the skirt in a size 10 but redrafted the waistband to be curved, using this tutorial. I’m glad I did as I think it fits much better than it would have otherwise. Though I would have had more room for meze…

I’m a bit confused by the finished measurements given on the pattern envelope as they are quite a bit smaller than what I measured the pattern pieces as when I was deciding how much to reduce the top edge of the waistband by. (I went with 5/8″ in two places and the waistband is then cut on the fold so I took 2.5 inches out in total.) The only explanations I can think of are that the skirt is actually supposed to sit on the hips, so the finished waist measurement is theoretical or I actually cut a size 12.

gabriola balcony 2
I really should have ironed it

I used a mixture of seam finishes on the insides, some French seams, some turned and stitched seams and I even broke out the overlocker for the back seam and the front yoke seam. I’m a lot less terrified of it now.

Oh speaking of new toys, my manfriend found me a dressform in a local charity shop a few months ago and it (she?) was really helpful for levelling the hem after the bias dropped. I know it doesn’t look particularly straight in any of these photos but that’s because I apparently refuse to stand straight. I took about 3 inches off the bottom too, as I’m a shorty at 5’2″. It’s now a good length for me to wear with a low-mid heel but I did wear it with flip-flops too after the heels I started out in tried to chew my toes off.

sewaholic gabriola
I’ve never looked so much like a blogger

I love maxi skirts and dresses and I’m really happy with how this skirt turned out. I can see more in my future, maybe a solid cobalt blue one. Though I have lots of other things on the to be sewn pile to get through first. Including lots of new to me patterns, so this weekend shall be the weekend of toiles/muslins. I’m thinking of getting myself some Swedish tracing paper to try out. Has anyone used it? Would you recommend it?

Nan’s New Look (6096)

Some time last summer my nan saw me in my New Look 6096 maxi dress and told me how much she liked it. I must have been in a good mood because something made me say, “would you like one for Christmas?” even though I’m very much a selfish sewer. I bought the fabric, took her measurements and then got so caught up in all the other things I was making over Christmas (I made foody hampers) and with moving house and trying to make it nice for Christmas that time got away from me and Christmas eve sneaked up and I still hadn’t made her dress.

Fortunately my nan didn’t mind me being such a rubbish granddaughter and said she didn’t mind waiting for it. Though I’m not sure she was expecting to wait quite so long. I finally got round to it the week before we went on holiday so that she’d get to wear it out while we were away.

We stayed in a lovely villa in the middle of a fruit farm in Coral Bay in Cyprus, which gave this lovely backdrop for a couple of quick snaps of my nan in her dress.

nanny6096

 

It’s a New Look 6096 with a few little alterations. The neckline on my version is quite wide and I knew my nan wouldn’t feel comfortable in that so I took about an inch off the centre front and back and added it back in again under the sleeves (and widened them to match). I also raised the front neckline by about an inch and lengthened the sleeves slightly. I cut the skirt at the length my nan said that she likes best when I measured her, so it’s a bit longer than the short skirt version.

nan-back-6096

My nan loves monochrome prints and I hunted for aaaages to find one I thought she’d like but all the ones I liked the look of seemed to be on knit fabric. I found this poly crepe de chine on eBay and thought it was pretty and that she might like it even though it’s beige and black and not black and white. It’s lovely and slinky. I also bought some of the black and white viscose Katie used on her Sew Bossy swap with Amy and let my nan choose which one she wanted. I was glad she chose this one as I had sneaky selfish plans for the black and white one if she didn’t choose it.

mum and nan
My mum and my nan

I think this is a good dress to have used for unselfish sewing as the fit is probably quite forgiving because of the elastic. I don’t think I really went into much detail about how the dress is constructed the last time I made it. It’s nice and simple, for the arms and the neckline you just press the edges under 1/4 inch, then 1/2 inch and then top stitch close the fold to make a channel for the elastic. For the channel under the bust you use the bodice seam and press it down towards the skirt and top stitch. I French seamed everywhere for a nice finish inside (and because I’m still scared of my overlocker, though I have nearly made a Maria Denmark Kirsten Kimono tee – just hemming to go but my sewing machine is fighting me).

Looking at these photographs while sat in my room with many names (dancing room, breakfast room, brunchatorium) is making me miss the sunshine very much. I love Cyprus, I lived there for two years while I was growing up as my dad was in the army and I’ve been back there on holiday three times now. You can’t beat somewhere where a man will sell you avocados in a pub and the ice cream man gives you a free bag of quails eggs. He also offered us a kilo of halloumi, which we probably should have bought as we got through quite a lot of it.

How about you? Ever bought food from somewhere unusual?

 

Miette cardigan and other wooly achievements

Hello! Remember me? I used to sew things and then write about them here. Well I still don’t actually have a sewn garment to show you as I have spent precisely zero minutes at my sewing machine so far this year but I do have a handmade garment.

miette cardigan
Ta dah!

I knit a cardigan. I am ridiculously proud of managing to knit myself something wearable. I’m not particularly good at knitting. I’m slow and awkward. A work friend tried to teach me how to cast on once and I’m pretty sure she was getting so frustrated she wanted to hit me. (I still can’t – and won’t – do it the way with two needles)

I took the Knit Lab Craftsy course toward the end of last year and got a lot more capable and confident. You knit a lacy scarf along with the class to teach you different stitches and techniques. If you don’t knit and would like to, I really recommend it as Stefanie Japel is adorable and it gives a really thorough grounding in the basics. After finishing the scarf I moved on to these lovely fingerless mitten things to practice the techniques I knew I’d need for my end goal, which was always a Miette having seen loads of versions of it all over the Internet. (I originally asked my nan if she’d knit me one but she just laughed at me – apparently she’s not good enough, but she’s a nan, I don’t understand this. So I had no choice but to learn.)

Andi Satterlund fingerless mittens
Mitts are basically just tiny one armed jumpers for your hands, right?

After the mittens I knit a cabled scarf as a Christmas present for a friend – I do like to throw myself into things – but I don’t have any photos of that. I then bit the bullet and bought some cascade 220 and cast on my Miette.

I knit the 38″ size and I think I knit it faaaar too tight as I used a whole skein and a half less wool than the pattern says you need. Of course I didn’t do anything as sensible as knit a gauge swatch before starting. After blocking it fits everywhere but the cuffs, where I cast off too tight. It fits there but it’s not that comfortable. I have seen some mentions of “stretchy bind off” online that I should probably look into a bit further and learn how to do it.

Pratting about trying poses
Pratting about trying poses, I am so awkward in front of the camera

The knitting went okay, I messed up a few things and there were places where my stitch count had wandered but instead of going back and finding the mistake I tended to just do some sneaky increases or decreases under the arms.

Please excuse the terrible quality photos, apparently there is no good light in my garden. These were actually taken back in March before me and Manfriend went out to watch the rugby for one of his friend’s birthday so they were a bit rushed. I will try harder and maybe find somewhere more interesting for my next finished garment. Which I’m hoping will be soon as I’m going on holiday with my family two weeks and I’m going to try to get a couple of things made to take with me. I have a Sewaholic Gabriola skirt cut out and I have plans for some tops. I’ve also started work on a dress I promised my nan before Christmas so hopefully I’ll have a bronzed pensioner in a slinky dress to show you the next time I post. Helloooo, weird search term traffic!