Sunday, 15 May 2016

Introducing Lady Mae....

When I started sewing again in 2012, it was to make my Wedding Dress and Coat. I hadn't sewn for many years until then, so due to several house moves and no longer dressmaking, sewing supplies of the larger kind had become very limited. To make and have somewhere to hang my Wedding Dress and Coat, I needed a dressmakers dummy. As hanging was my then only concern, I thought I would only use it for a few months and bought a really cheap second. Little did I realise that when my sewing began, it would rekindle my love for it. 

I have been sewing ever since and "Old Dolly" the out of shape, deformed, flimsy and not to mention red and ugly (who buys red? It goes with nothing and clashes with almost everything I made!) has finally met her maker and fallen completely apart. Its a pity I don't have a photo of her as she really was in a laughable, sorry state! I'm amazed she lasted this long really. These past 12-18 months she has been no good for fitting, one push and she pinged out of shape; so she's just been used for hanging things on during the sewing process.

Two years ago, we moved house and every room needs attention. I have a sewing room but it is waaaay down the list of priorities so I wasn't planning on buying anything new for it until it was time for it's proper makeover. In that makeover included a Dressmakers Dummy. But 2 years on, needs must, I have upgraded now and I have upgraded well!

Let me introduce to you Lady Mae

She is aptly named because she is "Lady Valet" of make from Adjustoform. And any Mr Selfridge fans out there will know that the head of the Dressmaking Department in the British TV series "Mr. Selfridge" was indeed Lady Mae!

I did quite a lot of research before this big purchase and Lady Valet seemed the best one that did it for me. I was hoping on one with collapsable shoulders but this is the only feature that the Lady Valet doesn't have that I would have liked. She is adjustable (always handy) especially as I make clothes for myself and my Mum these days and she is proper good n' sturdy!(That's Lady Mai not Mum! Although the phrase could count for both haha ;) ) 
I read this useful article on Jaycott's Blog (where I purchased Lady Mai from), bought a cover for her also and fitted her out accordingly!

Other new tools that I have added to my collection early are these

Mum kindly got me the tailors ham and sleeve roll for Christmas and the silk organza pressing cloths I purchased some weeks ago from The English Couture Company. One large and one small, which I overlocked in different colours for easier identification. I had forgotten how satisfying pressing is with the right tools. I love pressing now!

And finally my latest addition to the collection is the Point Presser/Clapper

This kinda came in handy for the waistcoat I have just made (to be blogged soon) but here's a sneaky photo of the inside during construction and a brief glimpse of old Dolly...

So despite being determined to "make do" until such time the sewing room gets a makeover, time is pressing on (no pun intended!) and the new purchases have started already. Next on my list is to upgrade my  old Bernina....!!

Sunday, 17 April 2016

Simplicity 8045 ~ Rustic Chevrons from Mood Fabrics (yes!!! I've been to Mood!!)

Way back in January (and I say way back, because it feels like that right now) in the midst of Winter, we sailed all the way across the pond to ever wonderful New York City.
During this visit I was very honoured to be offered a meet up with the lovely Tomasa from SewMuchFashion for a personal guided tour of mood fabrics.

I will never forget this day for as long as I live. It was one of the coldest days I have ever experienced (and I got married in Lapland!). It was icy cold, but clearly it felt exaggerated due to the fact that we had left the hotel at 8am that morning for our 10am slot over to Liberty Island, and other than going up to the Crown of Lady Liberty herself, by the time I met up with  Tomasa at 5pm , I had been outside in sub zero temperatures for 9 hours! And I looked a frightful sight in woolly hat, gloves and thermal trousers by the Tomasa finished work!!

Look at Tomasa looking amazing!

So anyhows, this fabric holds wonderful memories for me, so it feels kinda special. Tomasa was so patient and obliging as I overwhelmingly made my around Mood with no clue whatsoever with what to buy! For me it was like being in a dream. Seeing so much fabric of all natures was too surreal. The only thing I knew was that I wanted something that was like nothing I could get back home. I seemed to wander aimlessly for ages (it was less than an hour I'm sure) and then BAM! This popped out! 
Its an Italian acrylic wool (HERE ) and when asked at Mood Fabrics what I was going to make with it, I had no idea! I just had to have it.

Mood Catalogue Photo

I pondered on it for some weeks and finally decided on a Jumper version of Simplicity 8045. Unfortunately, when I came to cut this out last week, disaster struck! I found 3 holes in it!!!
I could hardly take it back(!) but as this is a loose knit I managed to sew the holes up and use that piece for the underside of the collar. I only had 1.5yards so this was the best I could do. And It turned out good so alls well that ends well.

What struck me about this pattern is the very wide collar. Most off the shoulder of this style are much narrower. With my fabric, the wide collar works well.

I also love the gathering in the side seams and collar. I love gathers and I love anything off the shoulder so this pattern was a good find for such a special fabric

The fabric has no pattern repeat so I made use of the blue edge border for the hem 

and the gold border edge on the opposite side of the fabric for the sleeves

and speaking of sleeves, the pattern features 3/4 length so I lengthened mine just because I love long sleeves!

To read my Sewing Pattern Review Click Here

Thanks for stopping by and taking time to read :)

Happy Sewing!
Dawn :) x

Wednesday, 6 April 2016

Prima Peasant

There is nothing quite like the dawn of a new season to offer fresh, new inspiration. Whilst I have enjoyed my winter months of sewing, Spring offers new colours and new wardrobe pieces. 

For my first Spring make I have kept it simple and let the fabric do the talking with this BoHo style pattern from the Prima Magazine October 15. This is my project for the Moreish Makeover March MAGAM Challenge; simply because I need more tops like this.

I love this style of blouse. I used to wear it a lot back in the day (gypsy tops I think they were called then?) and I have a purchased one that I have almost worn to death.  
Mum dropped this pattern on me to make a blouse for her (which you can see HERE) and I loved it instantly! Had a few issues with Mum's due to the fabric, and low and behold I stumbled across fabric issues again with this one!

Not sure what sort of woven this is but whatever, it was seriously off-grain! Grrr. Made cutting a pain I can tell you, especially as this has an horizontal pattern. It didn't help that I didn't like the pattern horizontal either (the big rectangular-like shapes you see C/F and C/B were meant to be going across not down). For this top I felt that it would look much better vertical, so after a bit of pulling and tugging I then cut it cross grain. It's turned out OK and also the fullness of this top helps to disguise that the pattern is still a little wonky. But at least its on the grain so won't go out of shape!

I picked the fabric up from Birmingham Rag Market last November and was just drawn to the colours immediately. Had no idea  what I would make with it until Mum sent this pattern. Then I just knew that these two were a match.

The drawstring neckline was finished off with black and orange beads, purchased from a Hobbycraft store near to Mum

To read my Sewing Pattern Review CLICK HERE

Thanks for stopping by and taking time to read :)

Happy Sewing!
Dawn :) x

Thursday, 24 March 2016

Boho Peasant Top for Mum

Feeling pretty snug about this one as it almost didn't make it! 
Mum picked the fabric on a trip to Birmingham Rag Market in March of last year (my goodness, where did that year got to?!). I think we originally planned to make a skirt with it. But a year on, Mum had forgotten which fabrics she had left so I sent her some swatches. No sooner had she been reminded of this concertina pleated fabric, she came up with this free pattern from October 2015 Prima Magazine.

Well that was a pleasant surprise for me because a pattern like this wasn't what I was expecting at all! Having never worked with this fabric before and not able to find much, if anything online on how to work with it, this pattern was perfect. With the drawstring neckline and elasticating the sleeves, should those pleats flatten themselves out, no-one would know.

As it turned out, keeping the pleats in wasn't the problem. I used wonder tape to keep them together and this worked a treat. The issues I did have however, was stitching the actual fabric. I tried all sorts of various needles but none of them liked it. Talk about skipped stitches. The microtex needle which I thought would be the best one for this fabric turned out to be the worst! There were no stitches at all. I tried that many, I can't even recall which one worked the best now. I just know it wasn't the microtex or  the ballpoint!

The drawstring ties you see in these photos, aren't actually the ones in the finished article. These were just temporary until our trip last week to the Birmingham Rag Market again, where we were able to find a suitable replacement

As shown here with silver cording 

and complete with beads!

I have to say that perseverance certainly paid off with this one. Until I got the hang of it, this fabric was a pain to work with. But just look how it turned out. The top I thought I was going to like the least, I like the most! Despite the initial issues with stitching, this has come up trumps. And it suits my Mum to a tee :)

Definitely a thumbs up from me for this one!

To Read my Sewing Pattern Review CLICK HERE 

Thanks for stopping by and taking time to read :)

Happy Sewing!
Dawn :) x

Tuesday, 15 March 2016

Sewing For Mum

I haven't been sewing for myself quite as much as I usually do of late. But I have been busy sewing for my Mum. She is getting quite a collection of new clothes! These makes I have been sewing over the past few months (with some of my own in-between). But as these are Mum's, I thought I would do a collective all-in-one post.

First up, using a jersey knit purchased from Birmingham Rag Market last year, is the ever popular  McCalls 6844. View A

We had no idea what to make with this fabric when we bought it, but on looking through patterns that I already had, I knew this was the one. I loved lining up those stripes!

Next up is (discontinued) Butterick 4132

This was made using a remnant piece left over from A Skirt I made for Mum last year

And here is Mum, wearing it with said skirt
Suddenly she has a dress!

This next one is a Butterick See and Sew pattern 6079

Extended the shoulder and added some sleeves for Mum's preference but overall, I'm a little disappointed with this one.

Both the front and back neck edge is gathered and the waist is elasticated. It's a lovely design but I just don't think this one is for Mum.

Finally for this post is McCalls 6966 View A 

You can't really see the lovely shaped yoke but believe me, it is there! I also added a few inches to the length

So that just about wraps it up for now. There are a couple more but I have saved those as I think they warrant their own posts.

More soon!
Thanks for stopping by  and taking time to read :)

Happy Sewing
Dawn :)x

Saturday, 5 March 2016

McCalls 7047 ~ Red Velvet

This dress was my project for the January MAGAM Challenge. I made it all in good time but mid-January we sailed across to NYC on the QM2,
taking this dress with me, so I didn't get chance to log it on here. Of course the holiday came and went and it was only the other day when I was looking for an evening gown to wear for a family party, that I realised I hadn't done this post!

I loved this pattern so much first time around that I made it again. It was made for me! I loved making it, loved wearing it and its my favourite pattern so it was inevitable that I would make it again. Just didn't think it would be quite so soon!

  The pattern is McCalls 7047 which I made last year in Black and white. It's a complete replica to my Black and White Sparkle one,  but without the train (because, well basically  it was totally annoying!)

The fabric I have also used before for My Vogue 1475 dress which was green and black. It's a burn out velvet and looks just as amazing in the red and black.(available HERE)

I think this version slightly has the edge on my black and white one as the cowl drapes more freely and it sits across the shoulders

Not much more for me to say about this. I blew this patterns trumpet last time around! I'll let the pictures do the rest of the talking...

Thanks for stopping by and taking time to read :)

Happy Sewing!
Dawn :) x