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.

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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

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

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

So starts 2018……

Although we are only 10 days into 2018, so much has been going on in my life with sewing and planning that it feels like I am way behind with the blog.  But not so!

I decided to take on Sarah Welch Gunn’s challenge called RTW Fast 2018.  The concept is easy.  No buying Ready To Wear (RTW) clothes during 2018.  Fabric, patterns etc may be bought but only underwear, accessories, shoes etc may be bought.  That is a real challenge!  I signed up, having assessed what the pinch points in my wardrobe are and having noticed(!) that I have a wedding to attend in July so something will need to be created for that. Sarah has run a previous RTW Fast in 2016 which I followed on her blog Goodbye Valentino.

It has been fascinating seeing how the group of over 1,000 participants have responded.  Some have worked flat out, some have tidied their sewing rooms, some have dabbled a little and I have made a dress for our upcoming holiday.

I wanted to try to create something that was fairly unstructured and easy to wear.  It will be quite warm in South Africa and I always find dresses much cooler than trousers etc. I bought the Makers Atelier pattern called The V-necked Shift Dress.  I used a crepe viscose which I bought from Bloomsbury Square Fabrics and started to make it.

The pattern was not difficult and the sizing was great for me.  I am carrying a lot of weight at the moment and I wanted something flattering.  Despite the great cut and the lovely fabric I still needed to insert a godet under the sleeve to allow for extra movement.  I also hope that if I lose some weight, that the dress will still work for me.

Although I love the shape and it was easy to make, I find it hard to justify paying the amount of money that the Makers Atelier charge for their patterns.  Yes, they are beautifully drafted, yes, the presentation is excellent and yes, you do get a cute little label to put in the back of the dress BUT similar patterns are available from Stylearc at a fraction of the price even if you buy them ready printed as opposed to a pdf.

So………onto my next make.  This is not for me but instead is a man’s shirt for Chris. It is the Thread Theory Fairfield Men’s shirt.  I have never made a man’s shirt before and am already rehearsing my run and fell seams!  I am making it in a pink linen  with a Liberty Fabric used inside the collar stand and cuffs. Wish me luck!  I suspect it may prove a challenge!

Challenges

 

Although I started this a few months ago, my sewing has not been continuous.  How come when we have ideas and thoughts, life seems to conspire against us so that we are taken off course?  Not everything is negative because most of the interruptions have been pleasurable and joyous but nevertheless, taken off course is what I have been!

So it was a real pleasure to spend 2 days at the Midhurst Sewing Rooms with Claire Tyler.  I thought it completely decadent to spend two days enjoying myself when Christmas is looming and especially when I am expecting the whole family to descend for our annual pre-Christmas party only 36 hours later.  Strangely I think I was able to re-charge my batteries through it all.

But it was nearly not so!

I decided to make this dress: Vogue 1401

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It wad designed by Koos Van Den Aaker. I was completely drawn in to the detail on the front, the pretty sleeve and the fact that it seemed to hide a multitude of sins!

Before I make anything, I read a lot about the patterns and styles on www.sewing.patternreview.com and on any blogs I can find.  The general consensus seemed to be that the dress was enormous when it was cut.  So I did what I always do……….. I ignored the sizing and worked to my measurements.  This meant that my size was actually 3 sizes smaller than the one I usual work to.  I still suspect that I might be removing more from the side seams!

What I did not reckon on, was that the pieces needed to be cut from single unfolded fabric.  As I was using 150cm wide linen and 150 cm wide georgette for the sleeves, I was exhausted before I had cut it out with trying to anchor the wretched fabric to the table when actually it wanted to fall off at any moment. Thank goodness for Claire who cut the linen out on the floor while I battled with the georgette.  It took all day to cut it out.

I am using a medium weight red linen and cotton mix by John Kaldor.  I bought it from Minerva Crafts but the pretty georgette I am using for the sleeves came from Marcy Tilton.A5F06FEB-185A-4FBC-ABD0-1FDC4A983CFE.jpg

I decided to use a glazed cotton from Bloomsbury Square Fabrics  for the appliqué bias strips.  Although there is a small difference in the photos here, the top red (the glazed cotton) is more of a tomato hue whereas the linen is a blue red.

The appliqué is what this dress is about so I set about assembling it.  I have made a good start although I seem to have yards and yards of hand-cut bias binding!!

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Let’s see how it all works out!

It’s a wrap!

My first post is about this dress.  It is a Very Easy Vogue pattern: Vogue V8784.

The dress was made for my mum who no longer finds it easy to buy clothes.  She has arthritic shoulders and despite shopping for a new dress, none could be found to suit her.  I decided to make her one which would be able to be fitted to her shape and also address the problem of needing to fasten at the front for ease.

I will post a photo of her wearing it in the fulness of time but it is for a special occasion so will wait until that takes place.

The pattern is a lovely shape.  The fitted pleats/darts at the waist give it a beautifully fitting shape.

Mum chose to have the three-quarter length sleeves and collar with the full skirt.

The fabric is John Kaldor from John Lewis and is a linen and cotton mixture.  The dress is fully lined (as per the pattern) except for the sleeves. I used the standard John Lewis lining and sewed using Gutermann thread.

What size did I make?  I cut a size 16 but added extra to the waist as mum is short waisted and always needs extra added at that point for comfort.

Did I make any major pattern adjustments?  Yes.  I added  an extra 7 cm at the top of the arm.  I adjusted the pattern so that the sleeve-head and cuffs remained the same.

Where there any difficult stages in the making of the dress? No.  It went together very well and I am pleased with the outcome – as is Mum!!!

Any thoughts for next time? Yes. The pattern can be made in a knit and I shall make it again for her in a knit for the winter.

Reasons and Purposes

I decided to start this blog for a few reasons: I love sewing and making and I love sharing those experiences with others.  I also enjoy writing and miss the discipline of marshalling my thoughts to put them in coherent form (hopefully).

I have sewn and made items with fabric since I was 8.  My mother taught me and then I was taught by the wonderful Mrs Mortimer at my school.  I have had (and still have) triumphs and disasters.  I expect you will be the judge on how that works out in the future!  Now I am in my later 60s and blessed with a non-standard size.  I have learnt a few things over the years but still have still have masses to learn.

My purpose is to share my journey with you, giving you information on the fabrics and patterns used, the challenges and successes along the way and would value your responses to all of that.  Nowadays I sew for myself, my family and other special friends. I learn from Claire Tyler at the Midhurst Sewing Rooms and the many blogs which I visit.