Sunday, 14 September 2008

Many thanks for your votes!

The votes have been cast in the Mini Wardrobe contest and I gained 31 votes! I am totally amazed by this, especially as it is the first time I have entered a competition. My only other attempt was a full SWAP and I didn't even come close to the finishing line. I think it is a major achievement to complete the four garments and the winner, Adrianne thoroughly deserved to win for her fantastic wardrobe. I particularly like the fact that she had a variety of looks from smart casual to formal from just her four garments. You can see al of the entries at Pattern Review.

I have been able to finish my Vogue 8426 skirt now that the contest is over. I started this at the beginning  of the summer but I put it on hold when I was completing my wardrobe. I based the design on a skirt that I loved in Karen Millen, but at £120.00 I decided to make my own version! The shirt below is Karen Millen though, a girl has to treat herself sometimes!
This is the second time I have made this skirt so I knew that the fit was right. I made View C this time which has 5 pleats at the back:
The pattern goes together superbly well and the instructions are very clear. The only alterations to them were that I used an invisible zipper using my new invisible zipper foot. This enables you to get much closer to the zip and I am pleased with finish I got for a first attempt. I also top-stitched the seams using a zig-zag stitch. I used topstitching thread but it is VERY thick and if I was to do this again, I would just use double thread. My other alteration was to the hem, I took a narrower hem allowance and topstitched the hem on the machine, at the same time, attaching narrow lace that I had pinned from the right side. At the seam allowances, I caught the hem allowance by hand to stop it falling forward.

I wore this skirt for work on Friday and received some really nice comments. I would definitely recommend this pattern to you.

Sunday, 31 August 2008

Mini Wardrobe

I am chuffed to bits that I have finished my wardrobe on time to enter the competition and more importantly that my garments have turned out so well. I have worn my blouse already and I know that I will wear the others when I am back at work.  I also think I have enough of the Donegal tweed to make a waistcoat. As I have chosen simple classic styles, I will wear these garments in loads of other combinations too.

Fourth Wardrobe item: Donegal tweed trousers

This is another version of the brown trousers I made a few weeks ago from Vogue 1035. I made them in a black and white Donegal tweed wool fabric which goes really well with my Chanel Jacket. I think this is the first time I have used a pattern a second time and it certainly gives you confidence knowing a pattern will fit.


Burda World of Fashion 08-2008-121
My initial plan was to make a little black dress to go under my Chanel Jacket but I decided that I have lots of dresses and not many skirts so the plan changed. This skirt is super easy and fit really well with just a slight adjustment on the hip side seam. I know that it looks creased in these pictures  but it does not in real life, I think there was a lighting problem when we took the photos.

The skirt has eight panels in it and I love the shaping at the bottom which fall like godets. The pattern is also lined and I used a soft knit lining which feels great when you wear it.

Oh button where art thou?

Burda World of Fashion 01-2008-108

This is the second piece of my mini-wardrobe. I loved the versions of this blouse that other bloggers had made so wanted to try out the pattern.  I had also seen a blouse in Reiss with a mandarin collar which had a long tie that could be buttoned onto the collar at the back (sorry no picture available). I made the 108 version but added the stand collar from the 107 blouse. I made a tie which was about 2'' wide and the length of the fabric. The tie has a buttonhole in the centre so it can fasten on to the collar.

I love the blouse, which is the first blouse I have ever made. The only adjustments to the pattern were at the shoulder which I narrowed by about 1/2'' and raised by about 1/4''.

As the title of this post suggests, I am missing a button or two. I did not buy enough in the first place, went back to get some more and now I cannot find those ones so it is back to the shop for a third time for me.......

Wednesday, 20 August 2008

A little inspiration

Love the look on the right! Just posting this here so I will remember it. I saw on here. Not sure about the yellow tights but I love the shirt, which I could make from the BWOF I have just used in my mini wardrobe.

Jersey Dress: Simplicity 4076

I know that virtually everybody has made this pattern but here is my version of it. I love the twist dresses that are about this season but do not like the way most of them make you look pregnant so I decided to use this pattern as it does not have gathers in the width of the fabric under your bust which I feel gives the "with child" look. I made this on the second of my workshops with Janet Moville and she really helped me with the fit and gave me lots of tips about sewing knits, which I needed after my less than great success previously. Again, I really recommend her classes.
As you ca see in this shot, I added a back centre seam to improve the fit. Janet also showed me how to add a facing at the front neckline to give a cleaner finish and so you can't see the wrong side when the fabric turns over for the twist. This is really easy to do, simply add 2 inches to the front neckline but taper it to nothing at the point where the twist is, this is then just folded over and caught in the shoulder seam. How good is that! I also moved the point of the twist up so it was a little less revealing. The skirt part was added just by a simple A line at the bottom of the pattern.
I am not sure whether this really works with my Chanel jacket. I think the colours look great together but I am a little concerned that the necklines don't work. 

I am making good progress with my mini-wardrobe.  I just have to sew the buttons on my blouse and hem my skirt. Oh yes, I have changed the LBD to LB Skirt as I already have quite a few dresses but not many skirts. I will post photos soon. That just leaves the trousers....

Thursday, 7 August 2008

Chanel Jacket:

This is the first garment of my Mini Wardrobe. It is a Chanel type jacket made from a tweed from Linton Tweeds. Linton Tweeds made the original fabrics for Coco Chanel and still produce fabrics for Chanel. The fabrics are all woven in Carlisle where they have a fabric shop. This fabric is not one of their Chanel designs (though I did purchase another design that was for £5.00 a metre!) but the quality is absolutely superb and beautiful to sew with. On the one hand it was springy so you cannot see the quilting lines, on the other hand it was really easy to press and manipulate.

I used Vogue 7975 to get the high arm hole and princess seams. I made view C. I knew that I wanted to avoid the boxy jacket look that we had in the 1980's so I altered my muslin to narrow the shoulders and generally made the jacket more fitted. I also made a petite alteration.

I made it using what I would describe as a shortened version of the couture methods. I did not bother with the 2'' seam allowances and basting the stitching lines etc. I just cut the pattern out as normal and quilted the lining to the jacket at 1'' intervals. If you are careful, your fabrics won't move though I would advise stay-stitching to prevent fraying.I was helped by the vertical lines on the fabric which I used as stitching guides. I then sewed the jacket together on the machine and the lining by hand using small stitches. I added black braid 1cm from the edge. Even taking a few shortcuts, this was a very time consuming project and I would only recommend it if you like hand sewing. To get the shape I wanted I haven't used buttons, just one fur closure at the waist to nip it in.

I am not sure whether you can make out the quilting lines, but  they are there! I also thought I would make a special effort with the lining! I now have to decide whether to add patch pockets, the chain on the inside hem and a corsage. I think I will mull these ideas over whilst I am getting on with my second garment: my red blouse.

Wednesday, 30 July 2008

Two new garments

Theses trousers are made from the Vogue pattern 1035. I made them during a sewing course at the Modern Approach Sewing School with Janet Moville. I cannot recommend Janet highly enough. I went on a two day course where you could sew a garment of your choice. I learned so much from Janet, for example how to make welt pockets, sew a fly zip and the best way to hem a straight edge so that it does not show through. The absolute best thing though is the fit of these trousers. Janet fit my toile to me and then showed me how to alter the tissue pattern so I can make them again in the future.  It is hard to get wider leg trousers to look good when you are petite. You can see how good the fit is:

The second garment is a knit dress from Vogue 1027. 

I bought the fabric from Hot Patterns Ebay store. I made the dress size 8 at the top and 10 at the bottom but I should have made a size 6-8 as the pattern comes up very big. I followed Christina's tutorial about sewing the ties double so that you cannot see the wrong side of the fabric. You can see her guidance here

I am pleased with the dress, particularly the way I have used the stripes in different direction, and I like wearing it, but I have realised that I need to learn how to handle knit fabrics properly. I haven't got the grainlines lined up properly (as ou can see on the back view), the neck seam does gape a little ( I have had to put a stitch to hold it) and the hem is wavy. The fabric was generally very difficult to sew because it kept rolling up.

I have made a purchase, therefore!

I have seen a few good reviews of this book. Wendy, as in "Built by Wendy" explains how to sew with Knits. There are also three patens included. Whilst I was on Amazon, her other book using wovens just happened to fall into my shopping basket at the same how did that happen?

I am also investigating overlockers which I have been dreaming of for a long time. This could get expensive!

Tuesday, 29 July 2008

Pattern Review Mini Wardrobe Competition

After failing to complete the full 11 garment SWAP Timmel Fabrics competition what with getting engaged and starting a new job etc, I have decided to have a go at this one. I was so impressed with all the Chanel Jackets that people have made that I really wanted to complete one and the fabric is a gorgeous tweed from Linton Tweeds in Carlisle which still supply Chanel and many others with fabric. I am currently trying to fit my muslin of Vogue 7975 because I want it to be quite fitted rather than boxy. To go with it, I am going to make some charcoal grey trousers (more about this pattern later!) and an LBD. I really love this Burda blouse as made by Christina and Laura. My only concern with the blouse is that it won't work under the jacket so this might get changed for another one.

Thursday, 10 July 2008

Autumn 2008 Patterns: a few thoughts

I am disappointed in the collection from McCalls. Haven't we seen most of these things before? I for one am fed up with all the smock designs. Just move them all into the maternity section please and bring back clothes that enhance women's figures rather than shrouding them in tents. Just two patterns make the cut for me and to be honest even these aren't particularly original.

M5075 even though the dress on the model looks like Versace on acid, if you look at the sketches I think this is a cute dress. I still like bell sleeves and the fact that this design has a defined waist.  I envision one of these in a nice jewel coloured fine wool crepe / poly blend. Check out the fabric requirements though, it is too early in the morning to get my head around that lot!

M5711: I think this is a great jacket with just the right amount of swing! A very modern shape but not the sort of thing that is going to hang off you. Nice details in the pockets and the sleeve cuffs.

Tuesday, 8 July 2008

Let the holidays....and the sewing begin!

Well, after I tried to complete the SWAP contest, I ran out of time, I believe I have suitable excuses though. I applied for and got a new job, and I have got engaged. So all in all, very little sewing has been done.

I have abandoned the swap but I am currently in the process of completing a UFO  (V1027) that I was working on at the time of the interruptions.

I will post pictures when I have completed it. Just the hem and a few bits and bobs to finish now.

I will break up for the summer tomorrow and I have loads of sewing planned for my summer holidays. My goal is to take my time over each garment and really improve the quality of my sewing and the fit of my garments. To help I have ordered Vogue Sewing as a much needed reference book:

I am also trying to book myself on some courses, which I should know about soon.

Wednesday, 16 January 2008

Garments Three and Four Completed

First of all: the photo is not a good one (of me or the clothes). Note to self: I must work on my posing and pouting abilities.

Black Pencil Skirt (Simplicity 3631). The fabric is a black wool suiting with a touch of stretch in it. I made a size 10 and I didn't have to make any adjustments for fit. I did raise the waistband using the article in Sew Stylish which used this wardrobe pattern. I added 3 inches top skirt edge by flipping over the skirt pattern, this was fairly easy to do but I have to say making a facing was rather a hit and miss affair. I also aded some sew-in boning to the side seams of the facing to ensure the skirt dosen't wrinkle. I will make this skirt again but with the regular waist. If I want to make a high waisted skirt, I will get a specific pattern.

White embellished top (Simplicity 3835) This is the same pattern I used for my Christmas dress so I was sure of the fit. Again, I made a size 10 and didn't have to make any alterations. I lowerd the neckline a little and I added a placket which is about 3'' by 5''. I then decorated this with black velvet ric-rac and vintage buttons. The fabric is a fancy woven cotton mix. I can also wear this top as a tunic over trousers.

When I am not sewing, I walk, fell walking that is. Here are a couple of pics from last weekend's walk in the Peak District:

It looks fantastic weather in the photograph but there was a bitterly cold wind and it was VERY boogy. Ten miles later......

Thursday, 3 January 2008

Second Garment complete: Denim Skirt

The skirt pattern is Vogue8426 view A. I made a size 10 and I am really pleased with the fit, especially as this was rather a pot luck affair because the waist/hip measurements were not given with the pattern (why oh why???). Fortunately it fits really well and I didn't have to make any adjustments. The pattern went together really well and the instructions were very easy to follow.

I am not sure that it is very clear from this photo but the seams are curved which give a great fitted shape. I used one pleat in the back because I thought the denim might be a bit thick for three but I definitely want to make another of these skirts with three pleats in a wool suiting fabric. You can see the back skirt construction more clearly here.

I would totally recommend this pattern. For a little more effort than a simple pencil skirt you get a very stylish, sexy and well-cut skirt. I love everything about this skirt. and to be honest, my photos don't do it justice.