gone and legged it

After all my work on my corset toile, I was most frustrated to discover I could no longer locate the pattern pieces. Somewhere I have put them away but they are not to be found. Grrrr….hopefully they will turn up soon!

Happily I have had something to console myself (can’t have my hands too idle). Here’s the rest of the pattern I made earlier (Newlook 6236). Nice practical items, and another chance to practice my knit sewing skills. So, leggings and a bolero. The cotton knit I chose was very nice to work with cheap too at £5.50 a meter.

This project was a perfect example of why you should take pattern fabric requirements with a pinch of salt. According to measurements this would require 80cm for the bolero. With 90cm I made both bolero and leggings. 

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adding to the armoury

You may have noticed a delay in the corset making project. A combination of being ill, going on holiday, a new housemate moving in and a vital missing piece of equipment all contributed towards a lull.

I now however, am the slightly bemused owner of a bolt cutter. Something I never, ever, envisaged the need to buy. After eyeing up the effect of trying to use some snips on my sturdy steel boning I decided something more substantial was required.

The result was one of my more bizarre dressmaking sessions. Sitting in a chair with the bolt cutter on the floor (little bits of metal can fly up) chopping down to size the long coiled sections of spiral boning I had bought. It was harder work than I had imagined and I felt more like I was embarking on an engineering project than my usual dressmaking!

I am way too lazy to add all of the channels required to my toile version, so the following photo isn’t the full picture, but I have added boning to each of the seams. The good news, its now looking much sturdier. Of course the final version won’t have the stretch this basic cotton has.

Photo on 11-08-2014 at 22.49


One final footnote, I used up the scraps left over from the last little dress to make an even more little dress (tunic length). This is from Newlook 236.

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and the final petals and stitches fall in to place

Well, I got over my usual button hole phobia and bit the bullet by finishing the 4 button holes (ok, we all have our fears, this is one of mine) needed to complete this project. 

Funnily enough it was actually trying to pose this dress that presented more of a challenge. You see, the little lady due to wear this creation is 5 1/2 hours train journey away and not exactly available for a quick pose. Careful use of cushions has created hopefully an idea of what it looks like when worn.

I am really pleased with the silk lining, which is gives it that something extra. I literally had just enough in terms of length. Still, its meant that very little has been wasted. This fabric actually has “elvis” written on it interspaced with little guitars. Very cute rock and roll. I used it for a jacket I made a few years back and thought it would be such a shame not to make more use of the left overs.

I’ve added mother of pearl buttons purchased on my recent holiday to Croatia, I think they match really well.

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yes, it’s another blooming dress!

I’m just back from holiday, and you can guess the first thing on my mind after the usual unpacking – you’ve guessed it, I missed my sewing machine. Today has been spent doing not much, bar the occasional bit of work on a dress which is now (almost there) nearly finished.

It’s another one of the vintage ones I blogged about earlier, Simplicity 4878 – from the 1960’s. It still needs a bit of final work (buttons and button holes, plus the back belt) but it’s looking pretty good. I chose a cotton Cath Kidson fabric to give it a more vintage feel and will be using some lovely mother of pearl buttons I picked up on my holiday (perfect excuse to do some shopping).

I’ve added a silk lining to this which I’ll show off later. A few key changes, I’ve lengthened it by about 10cm and reduce the hem to 6.5cm instead of the instructed 11cm.


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of corset will fit!

OK, the moment of truth, after carefully cutting, stitching, punching and lacing my fabric we get to see if this toile actually fits. Thanks to the kind assistance of one good friend (how else are you going to lace it up?) you finally get to see what it looks like on me!

I have been a bit naughty making this toile, I have literally used a seam ripper to expose the areas where the busk needed to peek through. Still, it did the job nice and quickly. I’m hoping the boning will also help with the shaping, it’s hard to tell what the effect will be at the moment though.

A small update on my original posting. Please do not laugh too much at my expense. I apparently have managed to try this on upside down. Yes, I am a fool!

photo 2

photo 5

steeling myself for the work ahead

The last few days (apart from the little dress I reviewed yesterday) have been spent cutting out the multiple pattern pieces involved in making a corset, then working out how to fit the dratted things together.

You see, unlike most dressmaking pieces there is no automatic “up or down”. It’s like a big jig saw puzzle. Even when following the Simplicity 9769 pattern instructions it involved careful attentive glances to ensure I was on track.

My sister (who is one completed corset ahead of my newbie status) has strongly recommended making a toile. So, despite my normal aversion to the time required in making one I have decided to invest this time round. I still have tried to skip (ok, I am a bit lazy!) as many parts as possible.

How far I can get away with things I am unsure, as without adding grommets its going to be rather hard to lace up. I have this mad idea of using a hole punch as a quick and dirty alternative.

Anyway, here’s what it looks like so far. Of course my dress dummy has no “give” at the waist so the poor thing is looking a bit strained. At least, from what I can see, it’s not going to be too big! I’ve made my usual size 12 at the top, and graded out to a size 16 further down.



twit twoo – bringing the latest project to you


So I walked in to my lovely local fabric shop and was supposed to buy just some fabric for a friend. Then I saw this lovely design and the rest as they say, was history.

I used one of the vintage patterns I mentioned in a previous post (this one is from 1985 Mccalls 9630 view E) and it was extremely quick to sew up. I actually spent about as much time wiring out the best pattern placement (I wanted to leave the owls whole and not overly cut in two too often).

At the top we have mummy and daddy, plus baby owl (humour me..) and I even got the facings to match. I know, I doubt anyone will ever notice. But I know its there, and its good practice!

spot the pattern

Notice a theme going on here? yes, these are all children’s patterns. Yours truly has very happily enlarged her collection of patterns courtesy of a very nice new acquaintance who had saved these all from when she was sewing for her now grown up children. Now, this all relies on my friend’s little girl continuing to like what I sew (fingers double crossed) but I am hoping to get the chance to make some of these up. My favourites are these:




and I also have these (some of them are for older children):



I love vintage patterns and am looking forward to trying some of these out in future. Wish me luck!

is it green to go?

Happily I can announce that the pillow cover trial is complete, the actual making of taught me a lot about what a full size quilt version would involve. So well worth doing. It was quite interesting the amount of zipper foot three point turns were required to get to the finish line. All those sharp little corners to navigate. 

Thank goodness this is not a dress. Somewhere with the cutting out things didn’t go perfectly according to plan so on the inside the seam allowances are really not even. Fortunately from the outside this isn’t an issue!

I like how the design has turned out, but am a little unsure of the colour mixture, any feedback would be appreciated, I do like the colour contrast between the light and dark bias tape, it gives the design a lot more punch. Rather different from what I have worked on so far…..


a glimpse through the window (of a sewing devotee)

Well, after all the recent sewing of fabric I have created some more storage space. Naturally the perfect excuse to shop for more to fill the gap. I imagine the staff at my usual shop were quite pleased at the quantity (of fabric) that exited the store and the amount (of money) that stayed behind.

I’ve got two new projects in mind, and I am exited about both. One is for a corset  (simplicity 9769) which I have been meaning to make, but has stayed in my dream box for quite a while. The up coming pattern stash contest on pattern review has helped encourage me to dust it off. As the rules state I can’t actually start on cutting anything out (sigh) until the first of July you are going to have to wait for more details! suffice to say, I am in love with the silk with a small amount of cotton blend I have purchased for it.

My second project has also been a long time in waiting, Vogue 8648. I bought it as part of a craftsy course (couture dress) which has been sadly neglected. I found some great fabric, but am now wondering if my proposed idea will work. I had thought to make view F, but am now wondering if view C might be better. Thoughts anyone?


can you spot the windows?...

can you spot the windows?…

Then of course, just to throw something else in the mix I am still busy with the pillow cover. Its taken some carefully prepping to get all the bias tape lined up, but at least the sewing of it all isn’t too bad. I’m about half way through it so far!





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