Monday, 12 June 2017

Making a dress for Alison from a RTW favourite

Alison asked me to make a dress for her from a much loved dress she already had but which was too short for work. She needed to wear leggings or tights with it, but then found it too warm in summer when that's when she wanted to wear it.
The two dresses together

The dress is a princess seamed skater dress with a filled in sweetheart bodice - I don't know if that's a reasonable description! In the front and back skirt princess seams, there are long godets, nearly the full skirt length

The original dress
I considered simply adding a piece of matching georgette (assuming georgette was the fabric used for the bodice and sleeves) to the hem as a band. This plan was scuppered when I couldn’t find suitable fabric. I had some leeway as the pieces would be separated by the fabric of the rest of the dress but even so, I didn't get close enough.

I therefore decided that I did need to duplicate the dress then make it longer. Alison said that otherwise the dress fitted well. I did ask if it needed a little extra ease as some of the seams were stretched but she said no.

The first part of pricking the pattern out was fairly straightforward.

What I had was:
  • A skirt, joined at a waist seam. The skirt had a front and a back, each with two godets inserted into a princess seam. I traced out the lines.
  • A bodice consisting of several pieces
    • Upper bodice front - round neck and sweetheart shaped bottom
    • Upper bodice back
    • Lower front  bodice central with sweetheart shape at top
    • Lower front bodice sides
    • Lower central back bodice
    • Lower back bodice sides
  • Sleeves
  • A side invisible zip, extending from under the left arm through the waist seam and the skirt.

I traced out all of these pieces and found, of course, that the sides didn’t match. My next step was therefore to true up the pattern. I also had to decide how to lengthen the skirt. The options were really to increase at the hem which would widen the skirt a bit or to cut across and lengthen part way down. This would impact on all pieces and the godets so I elected to go with the former method.

Dan checked my trueing of the pattern

I did have particular difficulty drawing out the sleeves, due to their method of insertion. I hope I have a photo that will show this as I'm not sure how to describe it. If not, I'll try to draw it.

Sleeve underside on hacked dress
I then cut out the toile. The fabric is much thicker, a nice soft almost brushed cotton floral for the patterned elements and a single crepe for the black components (Upper back and front bodices and sleeves)

Front view of hacked dress

Back view of hacked dress
Back view of dresses together; the original has more of a curve I see now 
I constructed the skirt including the godets with no issue. I had a bit more difficulty joining upper and lower front bodices at the sweetheart shape and Dan helped me. Otherwise, the bodice came together okay and attached nicely to the skirt. The invisible zipper went in beautifully.

Out of focus beautiful zip insertion! 
I did have problems with the sleeves, though. Firstly, the sleeve cap is very gathered and I had found that a little difficult to recreate in the pattern and more difficult to sew. I basically set the sleeves in but add I mentioned previously, I found the bottom of the sleeve very difficult and asked Dan to sew rather than just demonstrate! Thankfully, she did that but confirmed that she'd help me modify the pattern to make the process easier.

Original sleeve cap
Then I overlocked the outside edges and created simple turnover hems and edges, which were simply topstitched

None of my inside edges were finished - this is a toile.

When I was taking the photos shown here I noticed that there are marked lines at the armhole, where I was having all the problems. I see they also exist in the original.


I posted the toile and the original dress to Alison (she has  received them) and now I'm waiting to see how it fitted.  I'm not going to make any changes to the pattern until I have clear feedback.

Sunday, 11 June 2017

Merry May MAGAM top

I put my finished Merry May top for MAGAM (only a couple of weeks late!) on Instagram earlier and said I wouldn't be wearing it outside. Why?


I said earlier in the month that I was having massive problems with the darts. They just wouldn't lie nicely. I had them in and out and Lyn helped me fix them as best they could be fixed. There were a couple of problems with them, relating to fabric choice and to pattern. This was the same self drafted pattern I made for my last top, the checked one with the tartan trim. However, this fabric was very slippery and wiggly and I struggled with it (sorry, Rory - I've let you down!). It didn't like the darts, which kept twisting, even in Lyn's hands. This was made worse by the fact that these darts were French darts so very much on the bias. The original darts were folded upwards and this just didn't work in this fabric - they wanted to lie downwards, follow gravity I suppose! When I then let them fall, there was insufficient at the sides to catch in the seam and these were large darts so, on Lyn's recommendation, the dart was trimmed to about 1cm using the overlocker. Lyn did the trimming as I was scared!

I took the top to where I could and sewed up the sides again and overlocked the edges.
In my last top, I didn't manage to apply self fabric bias but in fact the commercial tartan tape was a much better option. In this top, I did manage to make and apply my own bias tape. So that's one positive thing!

The fabric frayed tremendously and this proved to be big problem with all the sewing and ripping out. I ended up having to deepen the front of the neck and the armholes too. There was no seam allowance. In future, I think I would have a seam allowance even if I then cut off, as that would give me a bit of leeway.

But why won't I wear it outside? It's comfortable, doesn't fit too badly BUT see this photo - a pull has occurred from top to the bottom of the fabric on the right side, presumably as the darts were being manipulated. I can't do anything about it, I'm afraid.

Lessons learned
  • ·        My pattern needs some tweaks, as my figure changes a bit
  • ·        Fabric choice is crucial - well I knew that but still haven't put it into practice!! During making, the darts were uneven from side to side despite cutting on one thickness of fabric from a double width pattern.
  • ·        Overworking and mishandling fabric is a disaster - and leads to stretching, excess fraying and to fabric pulls and ultimately an unsatisfactory garment. The bias tape is not lying nicely, either, which is very sad as my last top did lie nicely.



I knew about the pull but decided to finish the top, anyway. I could wear it under a jacket or cardigan provided I didn't take them off! I am making another top (commercial pattern) with the same fabric and I've already had fit issues but my experience here will help, I hope. This second top has bias tape on the inside so I've bought some silky commercial bias tape. I bought navy and red but the navy isn't dark enough so I'll probably use the red. I don't have enough fabric left, I don't think, anyway, to make my own self fabric bias tape.

Over the next few weeks/months (however long it takes) I will be posting about my search for the 'perfect' top (not couture, though). You know this will take a while as I am not one to churn out lots of garments.


Comments are invited, please! Including, please, what fabric do you think would be best for this pattern? TIA.  Hope the rest of your weekend goes well. I'm planning to do a bit of sewing.

MAGAM is the Make a Garment a Month Challenge hosted by Sarah Liz on Facebook and now on Instagram. Thank you for your hard work, Sarah Liz

Sunday, 21 May 2017

A Brief Trip to Liverpool

David went to Liverpool with his Photography Club a few weekends ago (okay - I admit it - back in April!) and I was invited.

We had a relatively casual trip there. We find we can’t do trips in a rush and need a couple of breaks to stretch and have a comfort break. We’re getting rather stiff. We went in my car and shared the driving. I don’t like driving David’s car.

We arrived on Friday afternoon. The hotel was pretty basic but okay. A number of the others had gone on trips within Liverpool during the day but while we had a couple of things planned if we had arrived in time, that didn’t work out.

Friday evening, we had a Turkish meal in a restaurant just a 15 minute walk from the hotel. That was a great meal! Originally, I hadn’t been going to drink as David wanted to take a night photo of the Liverpool skyline but we put that off to the following night as the meal was rather late in the evening so I was able to have some of their lovely Turkish wine. I really want to try to get some of that for home use.

On Saturday, we started the day by going to Crosby beach to see Anthony Gormley's ‘Another Place’ AKA The Iron Men. We wanted to get there as the tide was starting to go out. We spent a couple of hours there (it was very cold and windy! Sand got into all of our equipment - not good). I hadn't realised the statues were so spread out - a hundred over about 5 km I think. I think I got some of his message but probably not all of it.




Then we went in to Liverpool to explore a bit. Because it was so cold and windy, we decided against our Mersey Ferry trip. Years ago, over 40 years ago,  we had a trip across the Mersey and I was photographed wearing a yellow jacket. One of the photography themes for this field trip to Liverpool was ‘a touch of yellow’ and David wanted to try to recreate the photo. Unfortunately, he couldn’t find it before we left so that recreation will have to wait! I'm not sure the comparison will be flattering to my current self!

It had been a while since I last visited Liverpool and it has changed a lot. David was busy taking photos and we met up in passing with some of the others in the group. I decided I wanted to go to Abakhan Fabrics so walked through Liverpool sightseeing on the way - it was quite a distance and took me past quite a few landmarks. I’m not going into detail as that’s not really the purpose of today’s post.




I first visited another little fabric store on the same street and picked up a couple of metres of fabric suitable for making Joanne some new shorts. Black and floral georgette and plain lining (the shorts have two layers). Very good value.

Abakhan is big. I didn’t really have enough time to fully explore it but I wasn’t intending to buy much of anything for me anyway. I did buy a jacket pattern. The shop has a lot of crafts - I think it must cover anything you can think of! In the downstairs section, fabric is sold by weight and I saw (yes, and bought!) a piece of beautiful lime green microfleece which will be great when I come to make Ben a bigger gilet. Orange would have been nice but there was none of that. The fleece feels lovely.

I had arranged to meet David at 3.30pm so left and chose a different route to get back to our meeting place.

I walked a lot and my step count really increased that day! Over 25k. In the evening, again quite late, we had a Moroccan meal. This was a kind of banquet with lots of different dishes and bring your own wine. This time we really weren’t drinking as I took David through one of the tunnels to the eerily empty Ferry terminal at the other side of the river to allow him to photograph the skyline of Liverpool across the Mersey. The ferries stop running at about 6pm. His photographs came out quite well though were less colourful than he had anticipated - he had seen some photos of the skyline when there was special lighting.

By this time, we were both shattered and didn’t get back to the hotel until after midnight.

The next day was home time but we decided to go via Cheshire Oaks outlet village, yes a few miles out of our way but I had heard it was good. David got a jacket (have I mentioned he absolutely loves jackets and has quite a collection?) and shoes. Long time ago, he had a Jaeger jacket which he loved. It was expensive, even though bought in a sale, and was worn to death. This jacket reminded him of that, though it was a cheaper version. He has asked me to recreate his original jacket as close as I can. Unfortunately, the jacket was long before my sewing days and we don’t have it any more. I’ll see what I can do one day! Oh, and I didn’t buy anything other than a card for Dan for her wedding which was a couple of weeks later - now in the past, it was the bank holiday weekend at the start of May.

The photography club stops from now until September. I was invited again to the end of season presentation of prizes and an interesting talk and presentation of the Lifeboat Project. The photographs we took in Liverpool, because, yes, I took some too, aren’t presented until next year around this time. I did take some but thought I'd lost my camera or had it pinched so was without it for a while - it had been in the car in full view all the time! So most of my photos are snaps on my phone. I’m considering joining the photography club with David as it is nice to have a shared interest and my attempts to interest him in golf or bridge have failed! He’s more involved with my sewing, which is nice, though he still hasn’t used his machine. He's suggesting I buy a better camera but I'm not keen. I'd rather buy an embroidery module for my machine! I'll wait and see if I enjoy the club.

Wednesday, 10 May 2017

Hair advice - please give me your opinion!!

My hair is too long and unruly at present. It’s rather flyaway. I’ve tried new shampoos but they haven’t helped. Grey hair is rather more porous and brittle than hair with natural colour. I'm not happy at all with it.
Today - photo 1

Last week - you can see how flyaway it is - photo 2

Also last week - photo 2

The main thing, though, is that it hasn’t been trimmed for 9 weeks and it grows quite quickly. I’d had it a bit longer than in some of the photos. My hairdresser has been unable to see me and I need to go to a new one. The question is, though - how short do I get it cut?

I’ll include photos of various options on me in real life and I would greatly appreciate your opinion. They're from various dates and not in order


Profile photo - photo3
Photo 4

Photo 5

Photo 6

Photo 7

Photo 8

Photo 9

Photo 10

Photo 11a

photo 11b

Photo 12 - recent


Photo 13
Options are, I think

  • To trim but make no shorter - effectively this is continuing to grow my hair. Advantages are that I can currently tie my hair back for golf. It can look very nice when just washed but quickly looks rather windswept.
  • To make a bit shorter but keep the bob
  • To make a lot shorter
  • Other
I'd be very grateful for your opinion
Thank you

Wednesday, 3 May 2017

Weekend - including Knitting and Stitching Show in Edinburgh

I was feeling this way last week and technology still has me a bit this way still!
A poor photo of a wonderful recreation of The Scream
I decided pretty much at the last minute to go to the Knitting and Stitching Show in Edinburgh last weekend.  I hadn't intended to - we had been due to go to Cambridge but Joanne was working; there was a craft show at home; David and I are still tired after a bug; one of my sewing friends went to the first Edinburgh show last year and said it was poor with not enough sewing related; and I don't need more fabric. Then it's a bit of a drive. However, we decided to go and planned also to visit my Mum so booked overnight hotel accommodation for Sunday night after the show, intending to visit Mum on Monday and then travel home on Monday evening.

David dropped me off at the show and went on into Edinburgh to go on a photographing and reminiscing journey. We lived in Edinburgh for a few years; we left almost exactly 30 years ago.

As we left home at 7.30 am and hadn't stopped,  I was ready for a comfort  break and a coffee as soon as I got to the show and wanted to see if there were any spaces left on any of the workshops that interested me. There were.

I gently wandered around. The first thing that interested me was the display from Materialistics, a group of knitters and stitchers, which began in 2009 in South Shields where I worked for over 20 years. It's 10 miles from where I live.  They agreed to me taking photos and putting on my blog. The photos sadly haven't come out that well and you can't see the marvellous colours and textures. They have an exhibition on at present and I'll make sure to catch it. I'm less likely to go to their twice weekly meetings. I had a lovely chat about the background to Materialistics with one of the ladies - she created The Eiffel Tower by Robert Delauney
and Sylvette by Picasso.
I confess my favourite two were the Cezanne

A close up detail of the wonderful texture

and the Rennie McIntosh.
Have a look at their website materialistics.info for more information and some more photos.

The exhibition was much smaller than Harrogate or London. It was also much less crowded (good and bad of course!). Yes, I'd go back if only because of the convenience. I'm not going to go to Harrogate or London this autumn but quite fancy the Great British Sewing Bee Live in London in September. I'm not sure about the timing yet. It sounds much ore specifically dressmaking related.

I looked around some of the stalls, bought a Harris Tweed jacket and had lunch before going to my first 1h workshop on bias binding on a neckline with Claire Tyler. I've  been to one of her workshops before and like her style. I completed a sample. My neighbour in the class was on her 4th straight day of the show and on her 7th workshop! My sample wasn't perfect but a decent press would probably sort it. In the real thing, I would tack (baste) first to make sure everything was lying where it should. I do quite a lot of tacking and enjoy it for some reason when other people avoid at all costs..

A short break and then my 2nd 1h class on the lapped zipper. I liked the method taught here and am likely to use it. Again, a nice sample to take home. When I said to Rory that I had taken this class, she said but you know how to do a lapped zipper’ (sha and Dan had taught me). I said that  hadn’t been happy with my technique

There were a couple of things I couldn't attend as they clashed eg Lauren Guthrie demonstrating sewing with knits and the timing of another workshop appeared to have been changed at the last minute and I missed it.  I  enjoyed looking around the other displays.

I finished looking around the other stands. I couldn't get a couple of things on my potential shopping list (wool jersey). I attended a short demo of the Lutterloh system, which I have but have never used. I bought the Cashmerette Turner pattern (at Guthrie and Ghani), a couple  of greatly reduced Simplicity New Look patterns - no doubt there had been a greater selection in the earlier days. I subscribed to Selvedge magazine,  decided against buying Ottobre, bought some woolly nylon for Helen's dress.   Wait for it - I bought yarn and pattern! I also bought a kit which had sold out and is going to be sent to me so you can't see it until it's done. I wasn't  tempted just to buy to add to my yarn stash (yes, I have one of those too despite all the yarn I gave away. Most recently I've been a machine knitter). I'm hoping my hands won't get too sore trying hand knitting again.

By this time David had given up and decided that our plans for nighttime walking and photography from Calton Hill (Edinburgh Castle at night) were off. So he picked me up and we went to the hotel and ate there instead. Nice meal. I phoned my Mum and arranged  to visit - we hadn’t done that earlier incase our plans changed. Had she not been free, we would have spent an extra day in Edinburgh.

I found that I was the lucky recipient of Sigrid’s Knipmode magazine in her giveaway. I've never seen the magazine so look forward to getting it. I enjoy Marianne’s reviews of it. I do have an unsewn Knipmode pattern that I got from their website, with Marianne’s help to negotiate the language barrier.

On Monday we took my Mum out for lunch at a new to us restaurant - Artisan, which serves ‘modern Scottish fare’. A lovely meal and very reasonably priced.  They had a fabulous selection of whisky which David unfortunately couldn't sample as he was driving. We'll go back.

My Mum had worn the top I made for her specially as I was going. Remember I said she told me it fitted well? It doesn't. My mother is becoming very frail and has lost quite a bit of body bulk and the top basically drowns her. My 'dowager's hump' alteration appears to have been insufficient and'/or this style just doesn't work for her. Pity as she s likes a cowl neckline, though this one wasn't quite cowly enough for her she told me.
Mum in the top I made for her

There won't be much sewing this coming week as I have a number of golf-related activities which are quite time consuming. For those of you who don't know, I am the secretary of our County association for senior ladies and while I also play in the competitions where I'm eligible, I have a few committee duties too. The golfing season has started. I still haven't made the golf attire I'd like to. I don't think it will be this year either! I'd prefer  to lose a bit more weight.

I intended to post this earlier, but it’s now Wednesday evening. I was at sewing bee today and took the torso block on to the next stage. It’s very nearly ready for Madame!
Torso block front
Torso block back

Rory had made me up a toile of another pair of trousers and tbh I thought these were the worst yet. She said that she could see why I’ve had wide legged trousers a lot in the past and maybe went as far as to suggest I stuck to those. I don’t want ‘skinnies’ but I would really like a pair of slim legged trousers. Don’t care if they’re stretch or woven. I was at a fitting group a few weeks ago (not blogged) and one of the others has said that she read that some wrinkles are impossible to get rid of for her type of figure (not mine) and that perhaps wide legs are the answer. Oh dear! So how long do I stick at it? I didn’t get around to finishing the little pink rain jacket. Never mind, it’s a sample piece only.

This was my last Wednesday afternoon sewing bee for a while as our Wednesday evening stretch/ knits/ swimwear class starts next week. I’m still not sure whether I’m looking forward to it.

Friday, 28 April 2017

Is it me? You decide! and update Saturday

This should really be a tablet and/or phone - and PC too

I've said before that technology and social media are leaving me behind,  though when I was younger I was pretty computer literate. I even did some computer programming editing a medical dictionary during a holiday job from University. The hospital computer took up a whole room and we had to wear a white coat and shoe protectors and walk over sticky mats.  The computer used punch cards. I can't remember the power of the huge computer but this was 1975/1976 (I graduated 1977), before home computing and it probably wasn't more powerful than we have routinely in our hands (tablets or maybe even phones!) and perhaps much less powerful.


The first home computer in the early 80s in the UK I think had only 1 kilobyte of memory!! Expandable to 16. No power hungry bloatware in those days.


As home computing improved,  so we (that is, David and me) improved our home equipment and extended what we did on them. Spreadsheets,  databases etc. I think email was quite a bit later. At first of course everything was slow as all we had was a dial up connection.


Social Media

I began to use social media just over 3 years ago when I started this blog.


I've never struggled with technology until recently.


Maybe I'm complicating things? (I hope it’s this and not a sign of ageing) I have two email addresses. Maybe I should get rid of one of them.
Bloglovin'
I've just discovered that one of these email addresses has been used to follow some blogs on bloglovin' - that is I accidentally used it to follow without realising. If people link back, they'd find an anonymous profile. So I have two profiles - my proper one with photo etc and a number of followers and the other, with no followers, on which I was following 30 people or blogs - I found that if I linked to a blog via Instagram, it defaulted to this strange account. It has perhaps only appeared since I started Instagram, I’m not sure. Actually, it’s not even that ‘simple’ as both are to the same email address!


I have deleted the 30 people/blogs I was following via the ‘wrong’ account - some I was already following on my proper account and the others, I’ll try to follow on my normal profile.  I’m not sure how to do that but I think that I can follow on my proper account via my PC - can't find how to do it on my tablet (Android). I don’t think the stranger account has been deleted though as when I clicked on a follow, it took me back into this, though it now said ‘follow one other blog to continue’, which I didn’t do. Then I hope I can delete the other. Obviously, I also somehow need to make sure any follows I click are linked into my proper account - I do use the bloglovin' app by the way.

I'm sorry if you are one of the people I have deleted - I will try to re-follow!


Maybe it's time to get rid of one of the email addresses though that's a huge task!

Pinterest
I seem to remember that something similar happened with a secret wedding dress Pinterest account my daughter and I set up. She used the wrong email address to invite me to share in hers. We got that sorted. I do struggle a bit with Pinterest - I initially had problems trying to print out.


Instagram
A couple of times I've needed to edit after publication but can't find out how to do it. I know it must be possible as others have done it. Please tell me if you know!!
I still can't repost but can take a screenshot and edit it in lieu of that. To repost I think I need an additional app and would prefer to avoid if poss. I'm just not on top of it at all.
Android v IOS
Talking about an Android tablet - I have considered getting an iPad as I can't download Craftsy classes onto Android for offline watching but you can with IOS. There are a few annoyances like that. My phone is also Android.


So,  I can use these but not well.


Linking
I link my phone, PC,  tablet for calendar etc but now also photos. Trying to get a photo from my PC (originally from camera) onto Instagram was a nightmare and it was also difficult to get a Google photos photo saved on my PC.  I'm not sure I've sorted this - I installed an additional piece of software as recommended which did complete the task in hand but seems to have taken on a much bigger remit than I wanted it to!


I find the learning curve very steep. These days of course there is no instruction book. I can find most of what I'm after online - but you have to know the right terms to use!

So please excuse my inadequacies.

Update

  • I've found how to edit in Instagram. How come I hadn't managed that before?
  • I've added most of the blogs I followed using the wrong account to the correct bloglovin account. I haven't added the people.
  • I haven't been able to delete the wrong bloglovin account though I changed its name to reflect that 'this doesn't exist'
  • Unfortunately my tablet still links to this wrong account so I can't follow blogs that way
  • My PC links properly. As I don't use Instagram on my PC this makes me feel that it is Instagram which is the issue.
  • I'm no further forward with my photos or re-posting
  • Still, I think I've managed a fair bit. I've certainly wasted some sewing time. I'm now off to complete the alterations to 2 pairs of trousers (too big!) as I want to wear them this weekend. 



Thursday, 20 April 2017

100!

I had an email early this morning to say my blog now has 100 followers via Bloglovin’. Even since starting this post, I've had several additional followers. Oh happy day!
Thank you every single one of you!
A very big welcome to my new and recent followers.
Thank you too to Kate and Rhonda both of whom mentioned my blog this week and  this very clearly contributed to an upturn in numbers of views

I think this is great especially when there seems to be a downturn in the number of blog posts. At least, with the blogs I follow - which are quite a few!

I'm using Instagram now, too. I find it useful and get more or as much feedback via that than I do via my blog. However, I'm not a photo person, I'm more of a word person (word auto-corrected to weird and maybe that's true too!). I haven't been doing so well recently - life gets in the way! - but my blog was to document what I made, how I made it, the difficulties I had, lessons learned for next time - and of course,  to celebrate success! So it's really a personal journal though its original remit has expanded a bit and become a bit diluted in the process. I'm happy though. My blog is not in any way commercial.

I'm trying to improve the photos in the blog posts but sometimes I just want it done and a phone snap, in class or wherever, will fit the bill. These snaps are so useful for fitting, of course. I'm lucky that I can get fitting help. Not everyone can, of course, but these photos do go a long way to help.

I have too many projects planned or on the go. I did get rid of quite a few UFOs either by finishing them or by deciding to abandon. Thank you Ruth for coming up with the term AUFO (abandoned unfinished object) My plan is not to start anything completely new until I get more under control. I did say completely new. I plan to blog garments in progress and when completed.

On my in progress bundle are:
  • The biggy - the xth toile for trousers. Say no more. Though this will feature at a later point. I have an epic post in progress - it just needs the ending of a wearable pair of pants!



  • Rory is fitting a close-fitting torso block ready for David and me to modify a dressmaking model for me. I'm about to cut out and sew up what will hopefully be the final toile. Rory is draping the sleeve in our next session.  This is an exciting project. Those of you who have followed me for a while will know that I modified a dressmaking model 'Missy' to fit my youngest daughter as I had to fit her wedding dress at a distance.  This was only partially successful. This is for me.

The next fitting will be next to the skin - I have a vest on here

Rory had to stretch a bit!

Not easy to see - the changes drawn in

The pieces cut apart - ie turned into princess seams with seam allowances


  • A tank top - this was tissue fitted - it's cut out and darts sewn. I need to check fit before moving on. It should be a simple job. Okay, I've said that before! This isn't from my own pattern - I think it's a McCall's. If it doesn't work, I'll do another of my own pattern


  • Two jackets - a Morris blazer and a McCall's blazer. I haven't touched either for ages. They are leftover from post jacket class sewing. Ran out of time as usual. Both in toile stage. With both, next stage is a fashion fabric. I guess I should check fit first though. My weight loss has stalled and I have a busy food-filled fortnight ahead of me but then...



  • Child's raspberry waterproof jacket. This is our second outerwear class project. The class has finished.  The jacket is nearly finished but Rory wasn't there in the sewing bee this week to help Nicky and me finish


  • Cashmerette Concord tee shirt. I was fitted and modifications made to tee. I've still to transfer modifications to pattern. It's pretty easy to make up after that. I have some suitable fabric
I need to alter the shoulder line on the tee. I haven't shown the sleeve and bodice next to sleeve changes required.


  • I've got the pattern and the fabric ready to try the proper red silk dress for Helen. She didn't want me to start it until I'd put her wedding dress back together (dismantled to clean and repair).


Recently finished
  • Yes, I finished repairing Helen's dismantled wedding dress and returned it to her over the Easter weekend. Yay! The relief! Hopefully it's now safely stored away in Helen's flat. (There are a few bits of the silk crepe left and I'm wondering if I could make a tank for her. I think I need something with lots of seams as there is no big chunk with selvedge. This is way down my list though. As is the red silk dress as I gave her a different Christmas present.)
  • Checked skirt. Previously blogged. I'm not going to alter. For discard. That's a AUFO!
  • Orange gilet. Previously blogged.
  • Checked tank. Previously blogged.
    This one is a success.

  • Shortened legs on new RTW trousers!! I've never/rarely had to shorten before. I think it's because I wear flat shoes and lots of people wear higher heels with wide legs like these. Usually I have to lengthen and add a false hem when there isn't enough fabric to let down. 


Planned over the next year
  • I agreed to hack or somehow lengthen a dress for Alison.  She loves it but it's too short for work. This is a more complex task.
  • Shirt for younger grandson - provided he hasn't grown too  big for me to be able to use the fabric leftover from shirt for older grandson.
  • I will be fitting in jackets and trousers and tops for me! Well, they're really at toile stage. Provided I get good fitting toiles.
  • Shirt and jeans for David. He's not difficult to fit. He has said he's happy to wait - he wants me to do something for me first, before anything else.
  • The third term of my level 3 sewing class starts in May. Stretch wear inc swimsuit. I may restrict this to class.
  • Helen's red silk dress, silk camisole and tartan skirt are all currently on the back burner. Her birthday is in November so probably the red dress for then.
  • A kimono for Joanne. Not a big task- it's just fitting it in. I have the fabric. Her birthday is in August.
Joanne is on the left. She's wearing the shorts in this photo but very hard to see.


  • Joanne will need new shorts as she's rapidly losing weight. I'll need to get more of the nice fabric I bought for the first pair of shorts. She read my Instagram (she doesn't follow my blog) where I said I'd prefer to make a different colour and has suggested a black or a white floral but not purple which was an option I offered.  She also asked about changing up the lace or missing out but I think it needs the weight. Once she gets to her target weight, I'll modify the pattern.

So that's me and my blog. Please do comment!!

Making a dress for Alison from a RTW favourite

Alison asked me to make a dress for her from a much loved dress she already had but which was too short for work. She needed to wear leggin...