This year I made a New Years Resolutions list! Ive gone years without making even one NY resoultion and here I am with a bucket load!
My main one is learn how to use my Bernina 770s sewing machine, more specifically how to use the button hole function and while Im at it I should also learn how to put a zip in. Why I have such resistance to watching a few minutes on you tube or opening up the manual, I have no idea. Anyway 2020 will see me learning all about my amazing machine and what it can do for me.
Number 2 sewing resolution is to sew in 20 mins blocks: this was something I dabbled with last year and I think its something that could really help me make more items. I often have multiple small blocks of time and I will now plan out my garments in 20 min tasks rather than necessarily following the instructions in order…i will just have to see how this goes.
Number 3 Learn how to make my own jeans.
Number 4 Continue my zero waste knitting and sewing practice and try and extend that to all the crafts I do.
I happened to be showing Little One the christmas lights in oxford street when I realised how close I was to John Lewis, so off we went for a look. I wasn’t going to buy but then I saw these 2 beauties and all was lost. The red one i bought 2 meters and made a long table runner for our dinning room table and the white one (that looks oddly pink in all the photos) with birds and glitter was for our eldest as I wanted to make her a table cloth, for her expanding kitchen table.
As I have mentioned before I have lost my sewjo and decided that “Perfection is the enemy of progress” quite right Mr Churchill so I folded the 2 meters down the centre and just cut, no measuring. Then I joined to the two pieces, end to end to make one very long table runner. I didn’t even hem the side which had the selvage. All very sloppy in my book but it got done and was on the table for the entire christmas period.
Winter Birds (according to the selvage) also was quickly hemed but not the salvage side, and Tada there was a gorgeous table cloth.
Hubbies annual Christmas jumper works Christmas jumper competition was fast approaching and as i lost last year (my jumper was considered an ensemble) I decided in the spirit of recycle and re use i would update the one I made the year before. NOt much to do this time as I just sewed on baubles, as you do, and filled the calendar with chocolates to bribe people in his office to vote for the jumper and hey presto I won again this year.
In all the years that I have been making clothes, sewing and crafting, I have never made myself a party dress. I make an extravagant birthday occasion dress every year for my 5-year-old so I am no stranger to the dramas of working with slippery, fragile and fine fabrics, so I decided it was time for some selfish sewing.
I was inspired by the name of Simple Sew Patterns Veronika Dress and decided she was going to be a red silk beauty. I couldn’t believe luck that the fabulous people at doughtys had exactly the colour I needed, click the link to buy the same gorgeous fabric.
They were very generous and gave me the material to make this dress. The pattern said 2.7 meters was needed but I managed to cut it out of 2m, so will have some over to make The Little One a party dress from the remnants. I aim to practice a zero waste system in my dressmaking, so no scraps will go wasted from this fabric. The larger ones will be used for a dress for my daughter and the small ones go to her old nursery school for crafting and anything left over is made into dolls clothes.
So on to the layout and cutting…it was so lovely to cut into, very satisfying, my favourite part of creating is cutting the fabric, I have no idea why I like it so sew much.
I take ages doing this part as I am trying to aim for zero waste.
First I cut the skirt, look at the fullness of this skirt, so exciting.
Wow this skirt is going to be great for dancing in!
I then cut the front bodice and tacked the bust point (you can just about see the black cotton. I then pinned the darts. I did this so I could try it on again to see if any further adjustments were needed. I did a very brief pattern fit, eg I pinned the darts on the pattern and tried on the bodice front and back to see if the fit was ok before I selected the size I needed.
I know I should pin the other way, ie pins at 90 degrees, but as I mentioned I wanted to try it on for fine tuning the fit.
Heres what she looked liked from the right side
I decided I wanted to use the silk as the lining rather than use cotton or a poly satin. I recently made a dress for the royal wedding sew along and I also used silk dupioni and a cotton lawn for the lining, however, I didn’t like the finish, so decided to self-line this time.
I attached the front and back facings at the shoulders.
Then I pinned the facing to the bodice
Stitching the join
joining the side seams
Attaching the waist band to the bodice.
Loving the V neck shaping, will need to get some bra stays so the bra won’t show.
The exciting bit attaching the bodice to the skirt.
…and here she is Veronika, the red dress, Gorgeous. Still hemming and pressing to go. More photos of her in the wild to follow. I have also ordered a big red petticoat to complete the look.
I was given this pattern by my pattern cutting lecturer at Morley College last year and I like the fact that it is was a simple style, and wanted to make it up but was waiting for the right occasion. My Little One is now 5 and I made most of her clothes far too big (as in the early days I was worried I would not finish them before she outgrew them! My worst nightmare) Consequently she has loads of summer dresses she had hardly worn.
So when I heard my cousin was having a baby I fished out the dress pattern to make for her little one. It’s particularly good for smaller children as it doesn’t have a zip or buttons or hooks. Also, the bows on the shoulder mean that it will go up and down a size or two. I also wondered what it would be like made up in party fabric. I asked my cousin what her favourite colours were and then I was off to one of my happy places Sewing and Craft superstore
And here she is all finished. I was really happy with the way she came out. I would make her again for sure. The only thing I did differently to the instructions was cut the bodice twice (i wanted the lilac and pink to show in the bows and stitched them together and then bagged out the bodice. Then I cut the skirt twice, once in satin and once in organza.
Perfect for a 1-year-old Princess. And fast and easy as Butterick claim.
My latest make for https://www.simplesewpatterns.com is the Raglan Dress. This dress was themed for the DressMakers Ball in Leicester, which I couldn’t go to but I know I will get loads of wear out of this dress, especially at Christmas!
This dress can be made in jersey or woven and I chose woven, as I decide I wanted to make a statement with the sleeves. I have this amazing fabric in my stash from http://www.craftysewer.com Its silk, cut into small pieces and stitched in rows on to the base fabric. I love it but was sturuggling to find the right pattern for it but this one was perfect. Here the link to it on Simple Sew Patterns Website https://www.simplesewpatterns.com/products/the-raglan-dress
I bought the black crepe from https://www.fabricsgalore.co.uk
I love the zero waste challenge when cutting out so had a few goes at positioning the pattern peices
Next up was to mark the darts, first I pinned, then used chalk pen to drawn them on the fabric before I tacked them.
Drawing the darts, they do look a lot wonkier than they actually were in this photo!
Here I have tacked the darts – sorry for the poor photo, black is really hard to photograph!!
Bust and front of dress darts tacked.
Cutting the sleeves out was a slow process as the silk chiffon was not that easy to work with as it was really mobile. I found it easier when I used my weights and silk pins (longer and thinner than normal ones)
I then pinned the sleeves together…and I can’t wait to see what it looks like so ….
Had to pin it on my dummy Flossie to have a sneak peek, does anyone else do that?
Only stitched at the shoulders
So back off Flossie and now time to cut the facing for the neck. I used a light weight interfacing and joined the 2 parts to make a circle.
Next I pinned the sides from hem to cuff and pinned the facing around the neck (leave the facing off if you are using jersey material)
Back on to Flossie and I am really happy with how its looking…in need of a good press now
I left the fabric to drop over night before I pinned the hem.
Here she is, rather hard to photograph, so used my selfie stick for the first time!
I took out the darts on the front and back as the fabric hung better that way and I think it needs to be taken in a bit, but am really happy with it.
my Little One loves her My Little Ponies, so when I saw this fabric at the Knitting and stitching show I knew she would love it. Only problem was I was on a self inflicted fabric ban as I am trying to sew my fabric stash. I decided to buy only half a metre and see if I could find a childs dress pattern that only need this amount of fabric.
luckily I did find one from http://www.simplicitynewlook.com/simplicity-patterns new season. I made a design decision to replace the frill with pompoms and just managed to cut the whole dress from the half metre. The only bit I have over is going to make pockets so I do feel very happy I met my Zero waste fashion brief this time.
The dress is nearly finished just needs some straps to finish it off. I did end up making it bigger than My Little One normally wears as I couldn’t face wasting the fabric…photo to follow
I had been after this pattern which came free with an issue of Love Sewing Magazine, for so long! Its from SewGirl and I finally managed to get it second hand on ebay much to my excitement!
While I was in the process of laying it our for cutting I read a fascinating article on Zero Waste and how commercial sewing patterns create a shocking 46% WASTE of fabric!!! The article was by the owner of Story Book Patterns, Cassandra Macinedoe generic actos. It really got me thinking about what I could do to reduce my waste as a Seamstress and in life in general.
So I made blocks for my Little One so that when I am cutting out, my clothes I automatically cut out something for her to help achieve the holy grail of zero waste.
Im not totally happy with my tunic. Im 5ft 2 and a size 8-10 so the sleeves totally drowned me. I have cut off the extra section of sleeves and it looks much better on and the extra I removed, I turned the top into a dress. I will post more photos of these two when I am finished.