the last stretch to the finish line (and seam)

Burda 7043 is something of an odd beast. It claims to be a cocktail dress, but required taking in at the waist by 6cm and redrafting of the hip curve. Also the armholes were too tight at the under arms. After shaving off 7mm at the lowest point they are now more comfortable – but has left me puzzled. Whoever drafted this pattern was using a rather different shape compared to most people!

Thank goodness for lovely stretch cotton, which helped make this dress a more mobile and user friendly creation. Just to demonstrate the level of stretch here’s an example:


and now some more sensible and sober photos:

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All in all, very different in design than what I already have in my wardrobe, and hopefully a good “run around” dress for the summer. All lined in a lovely stretch cotton brown. A snip at £2.95 a meter!

uncovered: quilts and knitting (Bath continued)

I would describe myself as more of a dressmaker than a quilter. Having made two quilts I highly respect the work and time that go in to a quilt. So the work on display at the American museum in Bath was more than impressive. There were so many on display I can’t describe them all. But some of them are more than a hundred years old. Truly antique! The fabric used ranges from cotton through to silk. I can say hand on heart my confidence will never be enough to attempt many of the designs as they are so complicated.

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see how tiny the hand stitching is!

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Kaffe Fassett – focus 

I have never heard of this artist (please don’t wince too much, as I dont knit I hadn’t seen his work) but must say I am impressed at his confidence in putting colours together. It’s a different approach to cross stitch and embroidery from what I am used to, very modern! I think my favourite out of them all is the lamp post, so very British.

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love this cardigan, the peplum is so pretty

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and finally some of his quilts:



Bath(ed) in fashion and colour

The last 3 days have been spent in a whirlwind of fabric, design and colour. I have been on a long weekend to Bath with my local costume and textile association. I’ve been to the Bath fashion museum, three fabric shops (who could resist), The American museum, and to polish off this list the Kaffe Fassett 2014 exhibition.

By the end of the many steps taken round the various exhibits, displays and guides my camera was bleeping in distress. The  memory card was full. A bit like my head! They say a photo says a thousand words. So I’ll spare you a thousand photos (and no, I didnt take that many). So let’s get started.

The following will be split in to two sections to help make sense of it all (fashion for post one, quilts and Kaffe for post two). Let me start with the Bath fashion museum. A brief intro is required. This museum has focused on clothing from the 17th century onwards.


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I loved the fact these dresses could be easily adjusted for different sizes as they were fitted over corsets. They were regularly reused for new wearers or recut  and shaped to make them lat longer. Clearly disposal fashion was a concept far away in the distant future.Image Image 

from royal court dress to modern day interpretation of. I think the latter is ever so much more practical.Image

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hello Jane Austen beauties……..did you know it took 6-7 yards of fabric to make these pretty things?

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princess Diana wore these clothes. My favourite is the blue cardigan.

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the last photo in this row supposedly was the best dress of 2012. Paired up with those trousers and cut off at the hips? its spoilt the whole look in my opinion!                                               

and the menswear………

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to be honest, it’s hard to get as excited about these suits compared to the dresses, as they just don’t have the colour I love. But, given a choice I like the more fitted tailoring with a crisp finish. Baggy does not look half as formal.


So, we now exit this building and move on to the American museum. Given I have not visited America and have not visited any previous museum specialising in the history of this vast area the contents were always going to be entirely a novelty. The building itself is very lovely, set in rolling countryside and features period rooms rescued from various original American homes all over the country (before they got demolished).

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shaker sister sewing boxes. Beautifully crafted and made.


I hope you can make out that this is a shaker sister sewing room, all the furniture was very simply made, with no decoration.

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the story behind these two amazing dresses is so sad. The lady who was to wear them went on a tour of Europe before she was going to get married. She died of flu before she got back and they were never worn. The first dress is particular took my breath away, it has daffodils embroidered all over it. The second dress was intended to be worn as court.

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examples of American Indian work and beading. The moccasins didnt come out very clear through the glass but you can see the colours. The waist coats were so cute, and must have taken hours of work.

Finally (second post of quilting work will be saved for later when I have more energy) a view of Bath…..




Moroccan musings……

I’ve spent the last week in Morocco enjoying culinary, cultural and good company experiences on a tour of the country. Now, this blog is dedicated to all things sewing. So how, may you wonder, does this trip relate? One surprising fact is that there are plenty of industrial sewing machines to be spotted amongst the market workshops producing clothing for the local people. Women as a whole don’t work within them so you get to see the unusual sight (at least from my english eyes) of men busy sewing, either by machine or by hand.

Here’s a picture to demonstrate the kind of set up I saw:


The guy seemed a little surprised at my wanting to take a photo – but for me it’s just as interesting as the other things I saw. Alas, the fabric choice was not quite what I had hoped. I dont think I could make the sequinned embroidered fabric work for me, unless it was for a costume. But I do have a lovely hand woven throw made out of wool and cotton to remind me of the workmanship of the country. It’s very cheap to buy there, the width of a double bed and less than £25. 

I have missed sewing and am happy to be back in front of my machine once more. This will shortly result in another completed garment – just got to finish the hem and side seams of the lining and a dress will soon appear – watch out for another post soon!

this fabric is being put to bed: bye bye polka dots!

As regular readers will remember, I am a sucker for leftover fabric. I hate wasting it. So instead of being a sensible and practical person and getting cracking with the needed (but in contrast not very exciting) pile of ready to be sewn up knickers I’ve side tracked.

Remember that slip I recently made with the silk/cotton polka dots? well, it’s now finally all gone. To a good cause I hasten to add. It will now be spending its nights doing a very important job. Keeping sensitive skin soothed and comfortable. This outfit (Newlook 6170) is for a child with eczema. To take this in to account everything has had the french seam finish treatment and I have top stitched the crotch seam down flat. It has taken a little while longer than usual to do because of this.

I have also learned the perils of cutting out fabric late at night. Proudly considering the pile of pieces ready to be sewn up my eye alighted on the notches for the arm holes. One problem. No sleeves cut out. Which meant I had to go and buy MORE fabric after trying to get rid of existing fabric! Habotai silk (which I made the sleeves out of) remains an unhelpfully flighty fabric. I will continue to steer clear of it for any large projects.

A few minor alterations. Top stitching added for decoration. Made a size three (one size up than required) so she can grow in it. Added elastic at the bottom of the trouser hems so she wont trip. Folded bias binding instead of turning over as instructed for a neater finish.




it’s time for this dress to take a bow

I am not normally one for fripperies, bows and ruffles. I know I would look less than dignified in them. However there is one age group that can happily carry the whole lot off with panache. I speak of toddlers. They who can look cute and adorable and who (much to the delight of my wallet) cost a fraction of the price to create an outfit for.

Which is why, for the first time in my sewing experience I have myself making bows.  It will no doubt amuse you to read having created the ties for a bow, I had no idea how to create an elegant version of a one and had to ask for advice. Mini bows are somewhat easier. However, I do caution anyone considering using canvas that trying to turn out a small tube of this fabric is something of a task. Best left to softer fabrics in future.

This little outfit uses entirely scrap fabric (hooray, apart from the pattern it cost me nothing) and reminds me of some of the victorian little dresses I have seen with their full skirts. The canvas band I added to the hem has created a nice stiffening effect and help the skirt have a fuller shape. It’s been a lot of fun to make and I have learned lots. Like you use top stitching thread it is SO much easier to have this in the bobbin case rather than trying to thread it through a needle eye.

So here we are, two bows, lots of gathering, loads of trimming (canvas seams are not the most comfy) and the whole thing is even washable by machine. One (very cute if I may say so myself) dress.






small paws: little projects

Every once in a while it’s nice to sew something which does not require fitting adjustments, the kind of thing you can sew straight from the envelope. This (being realistic) will never happen if sewing for myself. I am not going to find a tall, pear shaped pattern producing company any time soon. 

However, there ARE ways I can experience the enjoyment of just getting on with sewing, without all the tiresome adjustments. It’s called kids and pets. So why not do both? because this is the sewwherenext blog and why should a girl force herself to choose when you can enjoy two projects at once?

So, we have Newlook 2695 and a little dog coat for one of my friends. Seriously cute, and also very economical (£6 for fabric, this does not happen when paying for my dresses).





The upper section is made from a lovely tartan wool, and interlined with wool batting. The lining is a very sturdy canvas which required a size 16 needle. It made a real punching noise when going through all the layers.

I am very pleased at how well everything matches up and due to the canvas it didnt need any interfacing at all.

Now on to Simplicity 6879. Because when you’re little it’s fun to dress up and look really cute. When you’re two years old that is. This is all made from spare fabric. Muslin cotton, some excess silk organza and (of all things) canvas for the bodice. It should really hold it’s shape. There’s still some work to do but here’s a sneak preview of the work in progress.




dotty details

I am not normally one to dwell on the insides of a project, but given the amount of time spent on making the inside as beautiful as the outside I thought a few photos were in order. It’s also now hemmed.


It’s surprisingly flattering with the bias cut fabric, it skims over you rather than hanging down.


and here’s the back







one last baby (hem) step

Well, the good news is that the slip is at last finished! it’s now the end of the day and not good lighting conditions for showing off the finished article. However, I considered this in advance and can share pictures in good daylight, with everything done minus the hemming. Further photos to follow of the proper completed project tomorrow but I could not wait to share! (am sounding very proud I know). 

I am very pleased with the finished result and think waiting to find the polka dot lace was worth it all.







dot to dot

This evening has been spent doing something I have reluctantly accepted is part of dressmaking. In short, the needle shall not always be attached to your machine and there will be times you must wield it yourself, by hand. 

When applying lace to get the level of control over (in my case particularly fussy) fabric a machine is not going to have as much finesse. The tension could be skewed. So on went the TV, the curtains firmly shut against the lashings of rain and wind and a determined session chez needle and moi has concluded the necessary task.

The front is now (hooray!) finished, and I’ve ready to turn my attentions to the back, which should be a lot easier than the front.





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