31 August 2011

Back to school

I haven't been in any formal education for many a year now, but September still feels like the start of a new year. I find it much easier to set goals at this time of year than in January (when I'm usually just too cold and miserable to do much).
But this September, I am actually going back to school! Sort of. I've signed up for a 12-week long clothes-making course at Morley College. Too exciting! Karen has already done this course and her posts on it got me thinking that perhaps I could do with a more structured approach to my learning. I have really enjoyed the self-teaching process, and have learned so much since I started in January. But lately I've felt that I could do with some expert guidance, particularly when it comes to fitting. And I love the idea of a regular three-hour period to concentrate on my project.

School starts on 13 September, but I need to decide on my project before then (or at least have a couple of ideas). I'm thinking Vogue 8028:

I just love shirtdresses, but I've never found the right fit. Last year, I fell in love with and bought the Anthropologie Refined Cord shirtdress:

I wore this dress all autumn and winter long, even though it was a bit too short in the waist (so I was constantly tugging it down to my real waist) and a bit too short in the skirt (I'm an on-the-knee-please gal). I'd love to have a go-to pattern, so that I could whip up a shirtdress for every season! I've even got a little inspiration board on Pinterest. (Pinterest is just too too time-wastingly addictive.)

In addition to the fitting, this pattern offers the following new techniques:
  • button holes
  • shirt collar and collar stand 
  • cuffs

What do you think? Those of you who've done similar courses: does this looks suitably challenging, or should I rethink my choice?

speak soon x

26 August 2011

Newbie knitting

I'm very excited to announce that I'm joining KristenMakes' Newbie and the Knitter knit-along.

I did start on an allegedly easy cardigan a short while ago, but it was scary and confusing, so it's been banished to a drawer until I feel more confident. But this knit-along sounds right up my street!

The pattern is the Cadence pullover:

I'm off yarn shopping this weekend, but I'm not sure whether to go for something nice (but therefore a bit pricey) or something cheap and cheerful, so that I won't be too distraught if I end up with a sack with one arm. What do you think? (Perhaps I've already answered my own question.)

Hurrah for the Bank Holiday weekend - hope you have lovely things planned. I'll be thinking about my autumn sewing plans and might even be so organised as to create a mood board and colour palette! (but let's not get too carried away - I might just snooze the weekend away; it's been a hectic week).

have a lovely weekend and speak soon x

24 August 2011

My Cambridge Blue: Vogue 8511

Yes, yes, Cambridge blue is a lighter shade of blue. But this post has nothing to do with the University sports teams, or the Boat Race. It's all about my blue dress, made during my oh-so-lovely break in Cambridge.
Can I just say, I love this make. I am so pleased with how it turned out. These photos are all taken after work (hence the bad light, slightly crumpled dress and tired looking me), and it was a real hit in the office!

I spent a lot of time fitting this dress. I cut a 10, in both the bodice and skirt, and ended up making a lot of minor adjustments and tweaks to get the bodice to fit right. Including:
  • Removing the standard 1" increase in length. I usually need to lengthen a bodice by at least 1", but it was totally unnecessary for this dress, and I ended up pinching it all out when fitting.
  • Taking about 1" off the top of the back bodice shoulders.
  • Taking in the sides of the bodice by 1/4" on each side.
  • Pinching a few random bits of excess fabric from the front neckline.
It probably could do with some more adjustments. In the photo above, it's a bit wrinkly around the waist - I don't know if this is because I'm twisting around slightly, but I wonder whether the next time I make this, I should start with the size 8 bodice - what do you think?

The bodice is self-lined. The instructions had me all confused about how to do this, but I had an excellent assistant in the shape of Mr Pins & Needles (who came in very handy with the fitting, adjustments and compliments!)

And, I am no longer afraid of zippers! I used Tasia's amazingly clear handpicked zipper tutorial, which made the whole process a delight (especially as I got to finish off the zipper while sitting out in the sunshine).

Wait a minute, that isn't the lovely Liberty fabric you talked about in your last post?!
Yes, I know. But just look at the pleats! I was concerned they might get lost in the busy floral print, and they don't deserve that!

I still have plans for that lovely Liberty fabric - all will be revealed soon! But here's a close-up of the fabric I used for this dress. It's a soft, brushed cotton (£3/m from Classic Textiles, Goldhawk Road):

I really enjoyed making this dress. Having the luxury of a week in which to do it, meant that I could really take my time over each step, and this especially made a difference during the fitting stages. I know that dressmaking isn't a race - it's a hobby, and I have all the time in the world to make these clothes for myself. But with the limited time available during the working week, I usually find myself trying to do too much in too little time. The experience of taking my time with this dress has made me realise that there's no need to rush it and I'll get better results if I go slowly.

And one last thing. A while back, I mentioned a third Sorbetto. Well here it is, and it's ok:
oops - very crumpled!
It's my first ever refashion - I used one of Mr P&N's old shirts. I think if I use little red buttons, it will probably be nicer. It's ok though - but I don't love it.

Back soon with my nearly finished Pendrell!

Speak soon

15 August 2011

Staycation sewcation!

Hurrah for summer hols! 

This summer, we're holidaying at home - or rather, in Cambridge (my in-laws' place).

This is MUCH better than going away somewhere hot and exotic, because I get to bring my sewing machine with me and I don't have to deal with airports. Double hurrah!

So, what do I have lined up for my week-long sewcation?

Vogue 8511

Pendrell blouse
I also brought along some other bits and bobs, just in case I some how whizz through these projects.

Speak soon! x

10 August 2011

How exciting!

No doubt you've all heard about the new Colette book: The Colette Sewing Handbook. How exciting!


It's out in November, but you can take a sneak peak on Amazon. It looks lovely and includes exclusive patterns too!

Too too exciting!

speak soon x

7 August 2011

Sorbetto: second scoop

I present my second Sorbetto:

This time around, I inverted the pleat รก la Casey, for more of a tunic style. I also sized up (my first attempt was a bit snug) and added even more length (in all, 2" at the bottom, 1.5" in the mid-section). I'm really happy with the fit.

I used 0.75m of voile from Anna Maria Horner's Innocent Crush line (on sale at M is for make). This fabric is so lovely - it's soft and buttery and I couldn't stop rubbing it against my cheek when I first bought it. I used every last scrap - I love a project where there's virtually no waste.

I love it! I already have a plan for my next Sorbetto - three is the magic number, afterall.

hurrah for sunny Sundays!

speak soon x