Monday, 5 September 2016

Sewing Saves .........

Rather an ambiguous title for my my most recent scribbling, - apologies for the sparseness of posts, what with working, working out, and life generally, (including fitting in some sewing) the blog seems to have fallen by the wayside somewhat.

Saving money by brewing own tea?
Anyway, back to the saves...................  Sewing saves.. what!  Lives - no that's a bit dramatic;  sewing saves money - not in my case - fabric shops are wallet emptyers.  

No in fact in this case it doesn't save anything.  I was more thinking along the lines of those garments you had such high hopes for and that don't turn out quite the way you had wished....... but then you have an idea whereby you can alter (cos you can sew) and give that destined for the bin, or worse, the UFO pile, a new lease of wearable life.  Are you getting my drift?

It was a usual Saturday afternoon when I stepped into my local fabric shop More Sewing to buy some buttons and lining and spotted one of their new additions.  After querying the price and fainting(!) I ummed and arrred and left with the buttons/lining/non exciting sewing necessity.  Of course two hours later and before closing I hot footed it back to the shop to purchase 3 metres of the stuff at £14.00 per metre (see what I mean about wallet-emptying?)

I originally thought about a twirly girly skirt in my loved vintage style but decided that a straight dress would show off this fabric to its best advantage.

Anyway with the pre-wash done and the fabric airing on the line I picked my way through my patterns to carefully find the most suitable one to showcase this scrummy find.  I decided on a Burda Style bodice from their vintage collection and my self drafted skirt.  The bodice went together pretty well and I don't usually have any trouble with the skirt - I just had to line up the princess seams with the darts.

Dress finished I took it off to a Kent Vintage fair and found this cutest of pups in Clarissa Caravan - owned by the talented Clarissa and Co who makes beautiful shabby chic items.  Of course when you find a pup this cute she just has to be photographed, but, wait........ there's too much leg - and it's not the fur covered variety.  My dress turned out nice, apart from the fact that it's not really a Vintage length -I've not seen too many 1950s dresses "over the knee" if at all!

Being a straight dress with a VERY definite pattern I wondered how I could fix (read SAVE) this garment so that I'd feel inclined to wear it again.

After looking at the remnants left behind after cutting I decided the best course of action would be to add a sneaky extra hem, cut on the bias, so it looks as if it has been designed that way.

  Gosh, no one will ever know I cut it wrong in the first place!  I also have to admit I had to add in a triangular godet of lining so that I could actually walk instead of wiggling - saving again!!!

So there you have it - sewing really does SAVE - and sometimes more than once!!!

Happy Daisy.

Lowdown:  Well I bought three metres (who wouldn't with that print) but still have some left so I may be writing a post about remnanting some time: eyewatering £42.00

Lining - already in my stash (saved again!) about 1.5m


See what you can save..................

Happy sewing


Friday, 22 April 2016

Spiffing Tea Dress

So, last year was a time to discover vintage festivals and events and, as such, there obviously needed to be relevant things to wear to said events.  

The event in question for this blog post was The Chap Olympiad  - a thoroughly silly, err, I mean spiffingly eccentric, British do held in one of London's oldest squares at the height of the English summer.  Everyone attending uses the occasion to show off their best vintage style, from Edwardian ladies to dapper gents with handlebar moustaches and much cream tea and champagne is scoffed and quaffed.

Naturally,  I needed an appropriate outfit, and found it with Burda Style . The design lent itself well to the shape I was looking for, as I was after some kind of 30s style tea dress and, apart from a small sleeve adjustment, which I drafted using the assistance of Metric Pattern Cutting, it was pretty much the pattern as was in the book.

The fabric I used was a floral chiffon I had previously purchased in Athens so it was a stashbust. 

It was easy to alter the straight sleeve - the bottom right pic shows the original sleeve and finished sleeve shapes. I also extended the sleeve to make it longer. I cut the bodice on the straight grain and as I had enough fabric, cut the skirt on the bias to give a more 1930s drape.  

It was a fairly easy make, apart from the  fact that handling chiffon is always a bit of a faff. However with some French seams sorted fraying issues and I soon had the pieces put together and fitting well.

Triming the seam ready for "frenching"

If I have any minor complaint/future amend for this pattern it would be that I would slightly alter the front where the neckline meets the bodice as it gaped slightly, but nothing I couldn't fix with a brooch. 

I was pleased with the finished result though and , thanks to the British weather, it was perfect for the scorching hot day.  

So there's my tea dress dress attempt. Teamed with a vintage feather hat I felt suitably vintage enough.  Now here's a couple of pics of the silliness......

The Olympiad Stadium

Even more silliness.

Drinking champagne and being silly is very tiring.

So there you have it.  A very vintage dress for a very British day..

Why don't you make a vintage dress and book your place at the Chap Olympiad? This year's Chap is on 16 July so there's still time if you get sewing.

Details.  I used about 1.5m of 160 wide chiffon georgette.

Cost: really can't remember but it's bound to have been an Athens bargain.

Happy sewing

Linda xx


Monday, 4 April 2016

Fabric and Vintage Style Ready - Check

Sometimes find a bargain and other times you find a real bargain.  I'm sure you've guessed by now that this is what happened to me and you'd be exactly right. 

Well the vintage style is almost always ready but this time the fabric was ready for a long time before I decided what to do with it.

The fabric in question is a black yellow and white madras check lightweight taffeta purchased from one of my fave fabric bargain shops, somewhere on Kalamiotou, Athens.  It was a last minute purchase and and on at the princely sum of 2 euros per metre - so I took 3 metres.

It sat for many months in the stash until I realised I needed a new dress for The Pinup Picnic in the Park,  a wonderfully English summer occasion organised by the The British Belles last June. 

As I'd been going full steam ahead on my self drafted strapless bodice I decided to use the taffeta in the same style with a full skirt for a vintage halter neck swing dress.  

It's a good job this fabric came in at a bargain, not because I fouled up, but cos it was a mare to sew, with a high  frayage factor. Add to this the tissue weight lightness and it wasn't the easiest of makes.  

Being the sewing soldier that I am, I trundled on and it was a good job I'd had experience with my pattern which meant there were no nasty surprises.

I think the end result looks pretty passable, even if I didn't line up those little checky guys!

So off I went on a flaming hot day in June up to Marble Arch where I met up with a gaggle of vintage goodness including the delightful Miss Amy May of Miss Amy May  pinup fashion and style expert. Lots of me mades there. We had such a wonderful picnic.

I met some fabulously wonderful vintage loving ladies and we were so lucky with the sunshine, I'm it was the hottest day of the year and most of us ended up trying to find some shade.

As you can see, everyone got in the party  mood. 

I'm not sure how many times I'll get to wear this dress, however, at 6 euros, I'm not counting the cost per wear.  It was just nice to do another version of my self draft in a different fabric.  

So, what to take from my post .......

You can take one pattern and make it in many different fabrics and you'll truly get a different garment every time.  So..... Give it a go.... Self draft or ready made pattern, one way or another you'll get some success. 


Fabric:  3 metres of 150cm wide taffeta at 2 euros per metre from Athens. 

1/2 metre lining


Get going.... 

Happy sewing 

Linda xx


Sunday, 28 February 2016

First 2016 Sewing Resolution, Ticked Off

I do love an online sewing challenge, when I have time to take part,  so when House of Pinheiro threw down the gauntlet on Instagram for Sewvember  it gave me a kick in my proverbial design butt to put a coat on my project list for 2016.

This is NOT the coat I made, sigh, but the coat I was inspired by.  As luck would have it, my local fabric atelier More Sewing had the perfect coat fabric in one of my favourite shades at a bargain price - some knitted boucle slightly stretch knit in a fabulous sage colour.  The sewing gods were sprinkling their stardust on me.

I'd already pre-picked the garment pattern from my Patrones stash in issue 272, pattern number 42 - a vintage style fit and flare knee length coat with lapels, pockets and cuff detail. Not wanting to overspend in case of non wearability I dug out some dark lining from the loft (my other secret stash place) and set to work with my Christmas prezzie - aka my new Fiskars dressmaking shears .  The design is straightforward; 2 X centre back pieces, 2 X side panels and 2 X front pieces. Add to that lapel collar, facings, pockets and cuff trim, oh and 2 piece sleeves.

Stitching up was relatively easy with no awkward darts to consider - just some nice princess seams.  The fabric looks like boucle but is in fact a medium weight boucle lookalike knit - hurrah - no fraying seams and not even any need to overlock. It turned out to be the perfect coat material (well almost, but more on that next).  Note to self - ask Mrs. More Sewing what this fabric is, it's a dream to sew.  

So, I started on the stitching up , then ...... Disaster!!  The centre front on one side was cut from fabric that had faded.  There was no covering this up and I knew it had to be recut from a fresh piece of fabric so I hotfooted it back to the shop, where a replacement piece was supplied with no hesitation.  Obviously this was a supplier /manufacturer fault as the fabric had been correctly stored by both myself and the store.  Great service by More Sewing and to be thoroughly recommended.

Minor glitch sorted I ploughed on with the project and I'm happy to say the garment sewed up beautifully, and that included the lapels which I thought might give me trouble as the fabric is a bit thick when working in layers.  

The next conundrum was the pockets - patch in this case - how to attach them to the coat.  Not being keen to top stitch them on - the stitch line most likely goes wonky with thick fabric - I consulted my IG sewing friends and decided to go for hand stitching, very neat hand stitching that is.  This worked well and I think the plushness of the fabric helped to hide the stitches.  I also attached pocket flaps and, not being keen to throw a wobbly buttonhole, went for a snap fastener with button decor in the relevant place.  All good. 

After a full lining and hand stitching of the hem, all done prior to starting my new job and at a snail's pace due to attention being diverted by Everbody Loves Raymond and Frasier (perils of morning sewing) the final detail was added. I think these little cuff details really add something to the coat, after all, how many times have you heard: it's all in the detail?

The lining was an easy addition; such a relief as previous jacket makes have had that problem where sleeve and lining don't completely match - practice must be paying dividends. 

I pondered a while over buttons and even ventured out to my local thrift shop to buy some "suitable" fastenings. However, in the end I decided to go for three large vintage buttons I already had on my habby stash; I was so pleased with the finished effect, I almost want to make something else so I can vintage button mix again. 

Finally, I ran up a furry scarf from a small piece of faux fur to add some warmth and a little glamour to my new coat. 

It even withstands strong winds

All in all I figured I've had coat success in one of my 2016 projects and can now give myself a great big fat tick on the list.

As fierce details - suffice to say I can't remember the exact price of the fabric , maybe somewhere in the region of £10. It's 150cm wide and took 2.5 metres. 

The coat came in around £30 and I've already got loads of wear out of it, so, bargain!!!

Well, what ya waitin for? Get sewing a new coat before the cold weather comes to an end. 

Happy sewing. 

Linda xx

Tuesday, 9 February 2016

Flutter By in Yellow

Sometimes you just find the perfect fabric.  Then you realise it's not gong to be that easy to work with. What's a seamstress to do?

Well this fabric find was from my local and l loved it so much that, after buying it in yellow, I went back for more and bought a length in fuschia.  It even got its own feature in Issue 18 of Love Sewing magazine.

So, nuts and bolts - the pattern I used.......

After some not insignificant amount of time spent thumbing through my vast pile of Burdas and Patrones I settled on Burda January 2014 pattern 108. 

The light to medium weight of this manmade fabric, coupled with the drapeyness, called for something that would show off its qualities. 

The most interesting aspect of this pattern is the shape of the pieces whereby the back folded around towards the front to form a batwing sleeve. I'd never worked with this pattern shape before and it was fine whilst I could play around with the fabric on the floor - the challenge was when I picked it up to sew the folds together.  Think draped origami and you get the picture.

After a not inconsiderable amount of folding, unfolding and re-folding I managed to get the pieces in alignment.  I actually did this inside out, i.e. right side to right side, as the fabric has a "high frayage" factor so I wanted to french seam them - indeed, I love a sewing challenge.

The main body of the top complete, it was time to attach the hem band and, joy of joys, no hemming of this seriously slippery fabric as the band is folded in half - more origami - and then slip stitched to the main body.

All in all, not an over long make, and and I felt well worth it to have something a little more unusual in my wardrobe.  It also turned out to be a useful travel wardrobe addition - not only because of the non crease fabric but also because it's so light and airy to wear typically in a hot climate, as evidenced below during a fabric shopping spree in Italy. 

Now to find a further suitable pattern for the pink variation of this cloth that I bought.

I love to style this garment in an oriental fashion, hence  the hair chopsticks, and it's also versatile enough to dress up or down, feeling equally at  home with a pencil skirt or jeans.

You can also read a write up of this pattern in issue 19 of Love Sewing Magazine as it was one of my Pattern Picks.

If you fancy something a little different, give it a go.  The pattern is available for download from the Burda website.

Difficulty rating - you need some sewing experience and patience to figure the folding. 

1 metre of 150cm width fabric, the drapier the better.

Happy sewing.

Linda x

Tuesday, 2 February 2016

Love Sewing? You should with this pattern

As any of you who follow my posts will know,  most of my makes come from patterns in my stash of Burdas and Patrones.  So,  I took a little diversion when I found an ultra glam and versatile pattern from UK sewing magazine Love Sewing .  So special was this pattern I decided to use some saved fabric in my fabric pile and make this dress for my birthday outing.  Now, you know you have to have a special dress for your birthday.

The pattern in question was the Bardot Pattern, a freebie with Love Sewing issue 14 and which I was fortunate to get on back order.

It had all the perfect ingredients for the dress I had in mind;  off the shoulder neckline; 3/4 fitted sleeves; fitted bodice.  The pattern came as a full pleated skirt design, and this was the part I altered so I could have full circle skirt in order to wear a vintage style petticoat underneath, although on the day, I wore it without a petticoat as it may have got in the way, so to speak, but it's nice to have the option for wearability.

The pattern itself was an easy make.  Back boddice x 2, front bodice on a fold and 2 x sleeves, oh and a full circle skirt.  The fabric was a medium weight cotton sateen in white with mauve, pink and green floral design - a purchase from Athens during last years fabric shopping spree.   Once the bodice was made up and fitted to my liking, I added a bright purple satin lining.  Just cos you  don't see the insides of your make, doesn't mean they don't have to be nice - and a lining makes the garment feel lovely when wearing it. 

I felt a bit like the queen with my handbag and posh dress having my photo taken at the other worldly toilet pods in Sketch.

The dress continued to take me through my special day and was worthy of the art deco interior of the Park Lane Hotel and the ultimate vintageness of the Savoy where it held its own with the opulent decor.

Well that was the day of the Bardot Dress but....... I wasn't finished with this versatile pattern yet!

I loved this little bodice so much I had to dive again into my stash and out came some leopard print cotton jersey with elastane - perfect for an off the shoulder top in true vintage style.

I made up the bodice the same as for the dress, but this time omitting the zipper as there was clearly enough stretch in the garment to leave this out.

The other two amendments I made to this perfectly hackable pattern was to add some thin 1/2 inch elastic into a casing at the neckline as the jersey was super soft which made it comfy to wear but lacking the body to  sit firmly off the shoulder, and add in a self drafted peplum, a detail I love whether on tops or dresses as it adds a very feminine feel to a garment and is a great vintage style detail.

For anyone interested in drafting a peplum you simply measure around the hem of where you want your peplum added. That will be the circumference of your circle.  You then work out the radius by that old maths chestnut 2 pi R (there's a tutorial on my Melon Yellow post) and draw your circle from said radius.  The depth of the circle from your initial circumference will be the depth of your peplum.  DONT FORGET to add seam allowance where it joins together if you have a join in your peplum that is.

So, there it is - two of the options available for for this versatile pattern. If you've made the Bardot Dress yourself I'd love to see it either through a link here or on Instagram.  Check out DaisyCreatesIn Sussex to see more or copy me in so I can check out your makes and be inspired even more.

I used about 3m of 150 cm wide for the dress but this was for a circular skirt and I had a bit left over, plus a zip and some lining.
The top took about 1.3 metres (I can't remember exactly!!) plus a length of elastic.

Happy sewing

Linda xx