What a welter of work!

I have been busy as you can see.  Partly because of our forthcoming trip to South Africa but also because I shall be doing my Portfolio Course Level 3 with Claire Tyler in April.  It involves making a Moulage following the Kenneth D King method and from there producing a range of advanced level work.  We are required to pattern cut one outfit and to attend 10 workshops on top of our tutorials and create a range of work to be shown at a fashion show in June.

I have a number of events coming up which provide me with opportunities to make so exciting things but I need to up my game and work to couture finishes. I have tried to be very particular in my sewing recently but this will take things to a new level.  The trick with all of this is to use the techniques appropriate to the items being created.  I am hardly going to bring a couture finish to a T shirt but I might to a jacket.

The things I intend to make include:

  • A Classic Blazer
  • Fitted LBD with a devoré and silk evening coat
  • A Marfy pattern dress – more of which later
  • A dress and coat for a wedding
  • A Chanel style jacket for wearing with trousers. (This will probably be made after the course has finished)

It is fair to say that I shall be working very hard as I need to produce a file of samples of different techniques along side the completed work I shall be showing.

I started off this weekend by making a very simple boiled wool swing jacket.  The pattern is by The Makers Atelier and is one which has enormous potential for translating into different types of jackets depending on fabric and interpretation.

I decided to Hong Kong bind all the seams with very pretty Liberty Lawn binding. I was careful not to bind the sleeve seam though as I didn’t want little flowery material to be showing on the outside of the jacket. As the fabric is boiled wool there was no need to hem it.


As you can see it is very simple but the neckline is very attractive and it looks good over a dress as well as trousers. The fabric is very warm as it is 100% wool from Bloomsbury Square Fabrics


I re-shaped the facings so that they would sit better with the jacket given the weight of the wool fabric.


A lovely make which I am itching to make again.  Several more on the to-do list then!!

Cashmerette Concord T Shirt

How often do we buy a T shirt?  The answer is “Frequently”.  We often do not pay much, don’t expect a wonderful fit and are prepared to throw it out when it pulls out of shape. However, I decided to put those days behind me.

I had been seeing quite a few Concord T shirts appearing on-line and noticed that despite the pattern being for a seemingly ordinary T shirt, the variety of outcomes was endless. Making a T shirt should ensure a great fit and exactly the length you require. Mine are never long enough! What is necessary in any dressmaking is spending time getting the measurements right and often making a toile to tweak things a little.

I decided to dispense with a toile.  I wanted to use Art Gallery Fabrics jersey and I knew that a cheap substitute would not behave in the same way as the AGF jersey.  So I spent a lot of time measuring and adjusting the pattern before cutting into my fabric.

I have a Janome overlocker and would not be without it and I suspect that making a T shirt would not be as easy as it is if I didn’t have one.  But I used it to the max with this top.

I am delighted with the outcome. Being a larger lady, the reality of it is that no T shirt fits well.  They are either baggy or too tight. But this is just as I wanted it to be.  I love the rounded ends to the front and back and I messed around with the sleeves (again!) and designed my own cuff to put on the sleeve to achieve the look I wanted.



I think my posture needs looking at, The wretched hip has made me a bit lopsided but the shoulder seams do fit exactly despite these pictures!

Would I make another?  Of course!  The fabric is upstairs waiting to be cut.  I would tack the neck band before stitching to be really sure of a good fit but now that my pattern is ready to go, I can see a load more being made in a variety of jerseys and colours.

Dresses for holidays

I wanted to make some more clothes for my holiday and one of the patterns which I had set my sights on was the Stylearc Patricia Rose dress.  Apart from the fact that it appeared a very comfortable dress, I am always rather intrigued by some of Stylearc’s approaches to things.  They often use a slightly different method of doing things than the traditional way.

Stylearc patterns have very little in the way of instructions and mostly the instructions set out an order of work with detailed instructions only for things done in the “Stylearc manner” or where there is a definitely challenging procedure.  The bit I liked about making this dress is that the band under the bust is not a band at all but rather it is a fold in the fabric in the bodice which is stitched in place once the skirt has been attached.  The “band” is in fact only on the front part and not all the way round.

The sleeves were a little long on this and I decided to do my own thing and not just roll them up.  My fabric was not very attractive on the wrong side and I didn’t want it to show so I took a very large hem up and then folded back the sleeve to make a cuff which was then stitched in place.

All in all I was very happy with it and I can see myself making another one of these in a plain linen which I think would show off the detail of it a little better than the print does.

Here are some photos (taken by my mother!) so please excuse the rather poor quality.



In the Pink

I had always fancied making a man’s shirt and a year or so ago, I saw a lovely shirt being made by Kim, one of my sewing buddies.  She pointed me in the direction of the Fairfield Shirt by Thread Theory, a Canadian indie company.  The beauty of the Fairfield is that it has a variety of collars, cuffs, sleeve lengths and even patterns for the gentlemen who have a bit of a tum!

I bought at that time some beautiful pink linen and had a real desire to put some details on it such as facings and inside cuffs in Liberty Lawn.  There it sat gazing at me for quite some while until I made a decision to just GET ON WITH IT!  My task was made easier by the fact that despite the shirt pattern having some excellent instructions, there is also a “sew along” on Thread Theory”s blog with different pictures and advice.

I bought some proper shirt collar stiffening and set to.  I did some samples of the sleeve placket to ensure that I had it right and I also played around with buttonholes on my machine.

So here is the finished garment.  Photographed on a hanger as the owner is a little camera-shy but it fits beautifully and I am delighted with how the collar has turned out.


Hopefully I shall grab a photo or two of him in it on holiday!BW6c5iHnQkesfy7dKJqhfQ

Here is a photo of the placket and cuff.


And the inside.

Both fabrics came from my favourite supplier: Bloomsbury Square Fabrics

Would I make it again?  I can’t wait.  I love the need for accuracy and the range of different techniques that a shirt asks of you.  A challenge but a really enjoyable one!