Saturday, 6 December 2014

Vogue 1419 ~ Sewalong Coat

DAH DAH!!! So here it is... the unveiling of V1419. The Coat that took up most of my sewing time throughout October and November!

I took on this project as exactly that. A project. This coat was all about learning new techniques and improving my skills. So when The V1419 Sewalong was introduced by Mccalls I knew I had to do this. I won't go into any detail about this as I talked about it on my blog before (twice) but for those who missed it or are reading this and actually want to read that too, you can get the info HERE and HERE

Anyhow, moving on, let's start with the fabric. Boy did I have trouble sourcing fabric for this pattern. I dont think I have sent off for soooo many samples since looking for fabric for my wedding coat. When I finally stumbled across a lovely brocade by pure chance, I wanted it for this coat so badly. But to cut a long story short and so as not to bore you with the details, it wasn't to be.

I think it tuned out for the best anyway as on making my toile (muslin) for this pattern I didn't like the A line on me at all. 

If there was any chance that I was going to wear this afterwards, I had to at least like the look of it on me! So I knew then, I wanted a softer fabric so it would have more drape. I came across this THIS corduroy with corded appliqué, which is smart yet casual. And also a little more practical and wearable for me than brocade.

I kind of went into this project blind, as I had no idea what I was taking on. I had done welt pockets before (once, back in the 80's) but never bound buttonholes or seams finished with binding. The seam finishing turned out to be much easier than I had thought (time consuming but fairly easy). Oh and what a fabulous finish! 
 Sleeve seam
tacking (basting) before topstitching!

Had it not been for all the seam binding this coat probably would have made up in no time at all!

I was so excited to get started on these bound seam finishes. But at the same time also quite anxious as this was another new one on me. I began with great caution determined to get it right. But after mastering the first couple and being rather impressed with myself at how well they turned out; i.e. neater (although not the neatest I'm sure!) than I expected, my confidence grew. I was loving this....err.... for a while...

The instructions went:
Baste seam, attach binding, stitch. Press. Baste Binding. Top Stitch 
Baste seam, attach binding, stitch. Press. Baste Binding. Top Stitch 
Baste seam, attach binding, stitch. Press. Baste Binding. Top Stitch 
Baste seam, attach binding, stitch. Press. Baste Binding. Top Stitch 

Ok, so you get the idea! So the coat was coming together but this was the entire process throughout umpteen amount of steps with nothing else different to do in-between.
Oh. My. God. Boy was I glad when it came to make up the welt pockets! Yes those seams were great but gees I'm not afraid to say I got slightly fed up of the monotony!

Speaking of the Welt Pockets, I have to say, I LOVED making these! And no, not because it was such a relief to get onto a new process (although that helped!). 
I had made welt pockets (once with and once without a flap) many, many years ago and from memory I don't recall finding them hard or having any issues. Same this time. And I even enjoyed finishing the pocket edges off with, yes you've guessed it.... binding!

I mean, check these out for a lovely clean finish. This beats overlocking!!

The instructions say to hand sew the binding down on the folded edge, which I did on the left side, but for the right hand side I stitched in the ditch as recommended by Lladybird Lauren using  my new #5 foot. I did both methods to see which I preferred. I suppose if I'm honest. you can't beat a bit of hidden hand sewing, it's soooo neat. But uhhh, I hate hand sewing. Loved stitching in the ditch with the special foot, but perhaps choosing to use it for the first time on a curved edge wasn't my best idea!

The Buttonholes were one of the very last things to do. Obviously. When Lauren said these were fiddly and time consuming SHE WAS NOT JOKING!! These are my first ever bound buttonholes and if I ever see another one again it will be too soon lol! Hand sewing is not my favourite friend and there was hours of hand sewing on these (10) bad boys! And that's excluding the 4 bar tacks on EACH one, making a total of 40. Arghh

This was my first ever attempt at bound buttonholes and taking that into account they are not that bad. But they are not that good either! I'm pretty sure Patrick and May would throw me off the Sewing Bee for these efforts. But hey, we've all got to do something for the first time and thanks to (Lladybird) Lauren  and Meg from McCalls I achieved everything that I set out to do by making this coat. 

I never made this coat as a wearable item, but as a project. But it's turned out Ok so I suppose you could say that this is my wearable muslin. For now when I see a coat pattern I like and want to make, (in the year dot haha ) I can do so with confidence.
 Those seam finishes are pretty awesome but in all said and done, you can't beat lining!
 But bound buttonholes...? hey bring it on...!

To Read My Sewing Pattern Review CLICK HERE

Thanks for stopping by and taking time to read :)

Happy Sewing!
Dawn :)x

Wednesday, 26 November 2014

McCalls 7026 ~ Leisure and Lace

So this is my November project for the MAGAM Challenge. I adore this top! When I saw the pattern, I knew I was going to make it. Of course here in the UK we often have to wait several weeks later for the new patterns to be available for sale, but when it was out, it was mine!

 Of course it was the ruffle and the back detail that sold it as shown here on the pattern diagram. 

I dithered for a while whether or not to also add the contrast lace to the front yokes and eventually decided to go for it. Good choice! I so love that I did this; it just gives it that extra little something special at the front.

I originally bought some black/red/grey jersey fabric for this top and a red zip. But with the lace overlay, it was just far too busy. So I decided to change tactics and go with a plain knit. But before finding a plain, I spotted This cream and beige stretch lace from Minerva crafts, and it had my attention immediately.

 Like with the pattern, this was mine! I just knew this was the lace for this top. And the Beige Ponte Roma also from Minerva was it's perfect match. Happy Happy Happy! The fabric is gorgeous; probably one of the best quality ponte's I have bought in a while. And just to tempt me, it's also available in 21 fabulous colours, so I will definitely be choosing more colours soon!

But this top did not come without it's problems. Goodness me, the unpicker and I certainly became very acquainted. And not through any fault of the pattern I might add. For starters, I wasn't sure whether I wanted the in seam pockets but decided to do them anyway. 

But once they were in and I tried it on, I didn't like them at all from neither the inside (not a nice enough finish) or out, as the position just didn't feel right for this top on me. 

So out they came!

Cleaner lines and looking much better without

I also decided to insert the zip my own way which caused a few issues when I came to do the hem, and finally when I was gathering up the frill for the lower hem, I noticed I had sewn one of the lace panels on the wrong way so the wrong side was showing. I had done a right side and wrong side together. Fool! Arghh!!

The cuffs were another thing I was unsure whether to do. I only did them because I hadn't made this type before. 

Turns out I rather like them too!

So it was all good in the end. And due to the over estimations of the fabric requirements on the pattern envelope, there was even enough fabric left over to make a matching skirt. I didn't use a pattern for this. But I did use the twin needle technique for the elasticated waistband. Woo hoo no more safety pins or twisting elastic for me. Get me, I am so moving with the times ;)

To Read My Sewing Pattern Review CLICK HERE

Thanks for stopping by and taking time to read :)

Happy Sewing!
Dawn :)x

Thursday, 13 November 2014

Just a mere Slip of a thing....

Don't you just hate that horrid static you get when wearing unlined dresses? Somehow I lost my one and only underskirt (which was originally the netted mermaid underskirt that I wore under my wedding dress, that I later shortened) in our house move, but I think it goes without saying I kind of needed more than one anyway!

So these were a necessity make for me but I so loved doing them! Before I left home as a mere youngster, I used to make underskirts, slips and nighties and sell them. So making these I was feeling  quite nostalgic. I have even used the same tricot fabrics that I used back then. I have metres and metres of this stuff so I know, I know, there was no excuse for previously having only one underskirt!

Un-be-known to me, my lovely Mum kept these fabrics for me over all those years! So when she announced that she still had them, after I began sewing again 2 years ago I was over the moon. (Thanks Mum!) They have come in so handy for lining jersey knit dresses, but for those unlined ones, I needed underskirts....

I made this black one first and used no pattern. I originally just cut a rectangle to the width and length measurements I required, just adding extra on the width for seam allowance and extra on the length for an elasticated casing. But you may have seen me previously mention that I do not like bulk around my middle (waist). AT ALL! Not even an underskirt! So as you may be able to tell I don't have a huge amount of elastic in these. I decided to narrow these at the waist by 3" and the elastic is loose so these will sit below my waistline. (I know, I'm weird!)

For a finishing touch, I just added a lace trim around the hemline and Va Va Voom, you're done!

I've since made this pink one

and this white one

But it's been so wet lately and the light has been so poor for taking photos, that separately, the pink and the white look pretty much the same! Plus my lady in red doesn't help matters!

But they are different... really they are!

Thanks for stopping by and taking time to read :)

Happy Sewing!
Dawn :)x

Friday, 7 November 2014

I'm finally on Bloglovin

Yes , I've finally done it, moved with the times and headed on over to Bloglovin.
Now just to know how it works...?!!

But you can find me  HERE
I think ;)

Monday, 3 November 2014

Blog Hop~Hopin....!

I'm not entirely sure where this Blog hopin thing came about nor do I claim to much about it! But the baton has been passed along from Star's Threads in sunny Cal-i-forn-i-a to little ol' me on the edge of the world in the far west of Cornwall, UK

Question 1~ What am I currently working on?

I've wanted to try my hand at some new skills and improve certain techniques ever since I started sewing again back in 2012. So when the McCall pattern company decided to do a Sewalong using Vogue 1419 (and at a time of year when I am fortunately least busy) this was too good an opportunity miss.

So this is my current project and most likely will be for the next 2 weeks!

It's currently not looking much like a coat and from the outside it doesn't look like I have done a lot since sewing started 2 weeks ago. However if you take a look at how the seams are finished on the inside, you see just where all the time has been spent... seam finishing with binding... and all hand tacked (basted) first too!

Question 2 ~ How does my work differ from others of this Genre?

I don't really think that is does. But I suppose my reason for sewing clothes may differ in a way that I tend to not just sew clothes because I want them, need them or want to even wear some of them. But simply because I want to make them. Ok that's not always the case, but I do do this often! I don't need all the clothes I make but it's all about the making and pleasure I get from sewing. That's the enjoyment for me. Hence the coat I am currently making. It's not my style at all, but I wanted the challenge of making it. I find that this way also means I often step outside of my comfort zone by trying things I wouldn't usually pick for myself to wear. It also helps me to be more brave in colours too.

I think my blog writing differs in that I don't go into a huge amount of construction detail. There are hundreds and hundreds of sites out there that do this, and undoubtedly do it better than I would. I like to keep it simple and an easy read. Plus I review every pattern I make and link this to my blog for anyone interested in any greater detail. I wouldn't want to be repeating myself now would I...? ;)

Question 3 ~ Why do I write/create what I do?

I started sewing at a very young age. My Nan sewed, as did my Great Aunt, and as did my Mum. But its my Mum that I have to thank for introducing this wonderful skill to me as she more or less taught me everything I know.

This is me back in the day using my Mum's Bernina. (before I had my own!) I'd love to know what I was making?!

I stopped sewing in my early 20's as life's priorities took over. But on making my Wedding Dress and Coat in 2012 for our Winter Wonderland Wedding, I re -discovered my passion for sewing and have gradually started to develop more skills.
So I sew for the sheer pleasure of it. I never make clothes for anyone else for that reason. I sew for pleasure, because it is something that I chose to do/make/create. Making clothes for other people doesn't appeal at all. I like to be the one making the choices. I guess I would call myself a selfish sewer!

I write because reading and writing is something I have done a lot of all my life. I was doing both before even starting school. After a long break from sewing I realised a few months after making my Wedding Dress and Coat that I don't have a catalogue of anything I made back in the 80's. A few photos and the odd outfit that I kept, but that's all really. I didn't even keep any of my old patterns. I was more gutted about the latter!

So this time, I decided the best way to keep a catalogue of what I make is to write about it. I love writing and I love sewing so I have a perfect combination. And what better place to keep everything all stored in one tidy place than a blog? And if I can inspire just one other person along the way, then that's even better.

Question 4 ~ How does my writing/creating process work?

That's a hard one. Hmmm...? Well for me writing never comes before the sewing. The sewing and the finished garment are my inspiration for the writing. I walk.... a lot.... and I also often find inspiration for my writing when I walk. It gives me a clear head and focus and ideas. Photos are the bad boy for me. I hate getting the photos done, but without them a blog becomes totally dull lol!

For my sewing, it's nearly always the pattern first. The Fabric comes after. I see a pattern I like or I am interested in making, I buy it. Or if I see something I like or would like to make, then I look for a pattern on how I can incorporate it or do something similar. Therefore, my fabric stash is not that great at all. Most of my stash is made up of remnants from left over projects.

Well anyhow, I hope I haven't bored anyone! I find photos tend to break up the reading but hmmm.., sadly I don't have a huge amount of photographic input for this kind of post.

So as I am all done, I now pass the Blog Hopin Baton over to
Tracy Sews Happy who is more or less as new to Blogging as I am but creates some fabulous amazing things in not just sewing but all things creative... including lending a wonderful helping hand in wedding dress alterations. Now that IS admirable!

Thanks for stopping by and taking time to read :)

Dawn x

Wednesday, 29 October 2014

McCalls 6988 ~ Goodbye Summer, Hello Autumn!

There's a small pocket of time from mid September to the end of October that is my absolute favourite time of year. How I love Autumn! I don't know about you but when I step outside, the feeling of freshness hits me. It's often sunny but just enough chill to warrant another layer.

In the case of this pattern, McCalls 6988 the extra layer being a roll neck jumper, making this flirty little number into an autumn staple

 And for an Autumn staple, I couldn't resist this Autumnal check double jersey fabric available HERE from good ol' faithful fabric suppliers Minerva Crafts!

This dress is also my project for the October MAGAM challenge. The theme this month was Sew and Shine (interpreted to make something vibrant and bright) so this colour fabric really fitted in with both this theme and (my favourite!) season

How I adore this pattern! This is just so very ME . Fitted jersey dresses with flirty little hems are my favourite thing to both make and wear.

I made View A shown on the pattern envelope worn as a dress. Personally Im not keen on sleeveless dresses (or anything sleeveless!) but you can't possibly cover up a great pattern like this with a cardigan (heaven forbid!) so the only thing for it of course was to put the layer underneath :)

Check out the pattern diagrams though... oh they have Dawn colour blocking written all over them! Yaay for me!

This is yet another pattern from The Big 4 that calls for a centre back zip in a stretch jersey fabric. There was no way I was putting a zip in this little beauty and so tried to be clever and cut the centre back on the fold. Big mistake! The neckline was huge for starters (cutting on the fold meant I was unable to alter it where it needed to be) and it also lost it's shaping down to the waistline making it quite boxy. So I ended up cutting the back panels in half, taking a good 3" off the neckline grading out again on the waist and back in again over the hips and all the way down. I then had the perfect fit. And it still didnt need a zip!

Of course the other fun thing about making this dress was playing about with the checks.

Overall, this has to be one of my favourite makes so far. Fabric for the next one, already ordered and arrived!

 I am now currently busy participating in the Vogue 1419 Sewalong which is extremely time consuming due to all the bound seam finishes, so it doesnt look like there will be much else getting a look in on my sewing table for a couple of weeks yet!

See you all soon.... hopefully!! :)

To Read My Sewing Pattern Review CLICK HERE

Thanks for stopping by and taking time to read :)

Happy Sewing!

Dawn :)x

Tuesday, 14 October 2014

Vogue 8929 ~ Camouflage and Khaki

These trousers have totally restored my sewing mojo! I think I am pretty safe to say that over the past few weeks it was kind of flagging. The few things I have made of late just didn't give me the buzz that I usually get from making something new. And after my lack of interest part way through pjyama making last time, I was starting to get a little worried I was losing it completely!
 NOT SO...
(breathes a sigh of relief)

I love combining fabrics and colours. And when these 2 beauties arrived I just couldn't wait to get stuck in. For the first time in ages I felt excited about making something. Ooooh and that feels soooo good! Yaay...Give a warm welcome back to my sewing mojo....!!

I bought Vogue 8929 as soon as it came out, which could possibly be months and months ago by now? Totally drawn to the detail on these trousers they had colour blocking written all over them. 

I finally got around to buying fabrics a few weeks ago and made View B shown on the pattern envelope made in stripes

And shown here by moi made in Bottle Green Ponte Roma and a Green Camouflage Jersey Print both from Minerva Crafts. I was totally impressed with both these fabrics. They were wonderful to work with.

The pattern called for the main pieces to be cut opposite to the grain line. I'm assuming this was to get the effect with stripes. I cut mine on the straight grain and  used the camouflage as the contrast for the side panels. I wasn't quite sure if I wanted to do the top stitching so I did a practise piece first to see what it looked like. Loved it! So here's a close up of the real deal

and the lower leg... 
The top stitching actually finishes it off rather nicely, me thinks :)

I love everything about these trousers, especially the pockets and the contrast side panels. What a great detail!
For fitting I had to take in about 1" in from the centre front and back seams. I took it from there so I didn't lose any detail from the sides. Taking in the back wasn't as necessary with it being elasticated but I did it as a personal preference so there was less bulk in the waistband.
These sit below waistline and the front waistband is flat. Perfect for someone like me who doesn't like bulk around the middle!

I'm hoping that these won't "bag" on the knees as I can foresee me wearing these loads. I love making jersey dresses but these have matched that pleasure, and these are so much more practical and will get worn a lot more for sure. Even hubby was impressed..... "when did you buy those?" was the opening question.
Compliment accepted! :)

To Read My Full Sewing Pattern Review CLICK HERE

Thanks for stopping by and taking time to read :)

Happy Sewing!
Dawn :)x