rising to new heights: shoulder pads

So, thanks to discovering I made a mistake matching up my notches when adding the front shoulder pieces (it’s been a long week, and I have been very tired) this made my shoulders a) wider and b) accounts for my why my neckline doesn’t look like the pattern envelope. It was too bad I discovered this after grading all of my seams so had no seam allowance left to correct my error.

In order to mitigate the shoulder problem I sought, and received, some advice on possible solutions. The easiest of these being the addition of shoulder pads. I have used them before, but only when making a jacket. Not in a dress.

Normally these wouldn’t be something I would consider, but this pattern does (even with out my mistake) does create the impression of sloping shoulders. Happily the shoulder pads have had the desired effect, reducing the slope, creating more structure and taking up some of the extra space I accidentally created.

I have also added a zip. So I now don’t need my housemate to pin me in! much easier to try on to check the fit. Despite taking another inch off the waist I am still debating if I need to take in more ease. We shall see. In the mean time here is the progress, and you get to enjoy my contortions whilst trying to take photos of myself in a mirror!





calculating squares, triangles and going round in circles

So, I’ve had a chance to get the skirt to fit, attach it roughly to the bodice, and some more fitting. The bit I hate. I wish there was a fast forward button to this. So, some interesting challenges to this pattern. The inset triangles act as both design interest, and like little princess seams. But at a totally different angle than I am used to.

It’s hard to figure out the fit until you have put more of the dress together. The skirt said semi fitted, but on me it was MUCH too big. I have taken in loads from the triangles, and taken an inch off the skirt circumference. I need to still fix the shoulders which are looking too wide. This is an odd experience and one I don’t normally have any issues with.

I think I need to take the waist in a fraction more and then that area is sorted and will look less square like. It’s going to be a pain fixing the shoulders though as I need to take the skirt off and turn everything out again. Still, at least the length proportions look ok and I am happy with the collar. I just need to do some tacking to prevent gapping when I sit down!

Some in progress photos, courtesy of some assistance from the housemate for pinning me in, and taking some photos. Neither of which are half as easy to achieve on your own…

In case you are wondering what an earth I am wearing underneath the dress, its my fitness outfit from which I couldn’t be bothered to get changed from as its really hot here today.




accounting for time

So, you get to finally see what has been taking so much time. In all this dress will apprise of 46 pieces, it’s not often that I make something comprising from so many parts. Interlining the colour blocked areas has of course added to the total.

This is the bodice, which I still need to fit on me (my housemate is required for fitting assistance and she is a busy lady) so my dressmaking dummy is standing in today. It’s not an exact replica of me, but its not looking too bad. I think I may end up fixing the neckline a little bit more securely in order not to show too much of a V.

I’m please with the colour contrast between the red and black. I have spent a lot of time grading all the various seams to ensure they are not too bulky. I deviated a bit from the recommended fabric but I think this should work ok, albeit a slightly more casual version than on the pattern envelope.

All the various previous projects have made me more confident in choosing fabric, although I wouldn’t have chosen anything thicker then this. The collar would have been too bulky.

Here is the first viewing (yes, more pressing needed, this was at the end of yesterday and I was impatient) – I hope you like it too.

odds and ends

So, today you get to see the result of the endings of the scrap fabric I had left over after cutting out my current dress project. This is, nearly, ready to share. I just have to finalise the bodice and then I can take a photo so you can see the progress. Then its just making the skirt which should be quicker.. Hopefully tomorrow! the bodice is made of 30 pieces so quite a lot of prep and sewing.

The following also took some work, but was a lot simpler. I remade Burda 9422 and also a new pattern The Little Geranium Dress by Made by Rae. I made some design changes to both, by removing the cuffs and pocket decoration and replacing this with binding instead for the jacket, and adding a full lining to the dress. I don’t like fiddly bodice only linings for little projects and as this was made from corduroy I thought it made for a nicer finish.

I’m slowly getting over my buttonhole hang up as these projects had a combination of 6 in total and apart from unpicking one they all went ok. This project has been for a friend’s little baby girl and its nice to get it finished as I imagine she is growing quickly and I need to get them posted pronto so they can be worn.

It’s high time these projects were posted

Last weekend (it was a bank holiday – bliss!) I made the most of the opportunity to sew and started 3 projects simultaneously. Ever being sensible about saving fabric (I should have an award for this by now) I eyed up the remaining space and decided I could squeeze some more opportunities.

I was feeling satisfied with my pattern placement and success at cutting everything out when I realised there was one piece I wasn’t seeing. The centre back of the dress I was creating for myself. A quick room to the adjoining room confirmed the worst. I had forgotten to cut it out. There was no fabric scraps big enough to accommodate it. What is a girl to do? Why, view it as a design opportunity.

Happily this worked very well, my new dress will have a colour blocked centre back to match the collar at the front. Phew, a narrow escape. It has been rather slow going progressing through my projects as after a quick totting up of the numbers I think I have had to cut out roughly 100 separate pieces of fabric. No wonder it is taking a while to put together…

In the mean time I have finally got round to posting about some projects I created a while ago which were intended for third parties. A little dress for a friend’s daughter and some Kimono style wrap PJs which are for a charity aimed at helping children with heart conditions who require an operation.

Both New look 6478 and the charity pattern are on paper, pretty simple. Both were made more “interesting”. Firstly  by me attempting to sew jersey on the grain and cross grain together. If you are curious, they have different levels of stretch. I ended up adding some more design interest and stabilisation by sewing bias tape of top of the seams. Call it a 2 in 1 job.

The PJ project required careful study after I discovered the shop where I bought the fabric from had cut it totally skewed – although my selvedges had been placed together the print was at an angle. I am a bit obsessed with creating even patterns so spent a lot of time getting everything to match in nice neat rows along every seam. Luckily there was just enough seam allowance to make this possible.

So, here are some photos. Both projects are now in the post to reach their ultimate destinations!

another journey finished

Finally, at last, the skirt is finished. I feel it has achieved the delicate balancing act of being able to get on and off my bicycle without a wardrobe malfunction, whilst also achieving a flattering shape. This is one of the few patterns I am going to put in the bin. I will not inflict this on anyone else. It would not be kind!

A few modifications I added (to the long list already shared previously) to complete the final look. I didn’t create a full duplicate of the shell in the lining, I attached the vent extensions to the outer shell vent as otherwise it would have been a lot of fabric. It now happily hangs in place.

To ensure the vents stayed in place (they had an annoying habit of flipping out) I top stitched the crease where the folds are so they are inclined to stay in place. Though I still need to be careful when sitting down so they don’t crease too much.

I do actually quite like waist band which is a good width. Wearing it for a full day made me wonder if it could do with being a little more snug. But we all have our days when a bit more room is needed so maybe this isn’t a bad thing!

Courtesy of a friend, here are some “in action” photos to show I can cycle in it, and yes I did cycle to my friend’s house as well as to work today in that outfit.

its a blooming miracle!

After about a month and a half of picking this project up and putting it back down again the end is actually in sight. A solid weekend spent focusing on getting the fit sorted and ploughing through the remaining details means apart from hemming the lining and finishing off the lining insertion its actually nearly done!

Suffice to say I will NOT be using this pattern again. I have nearly lost sight of how much I have taken this in by. I actually have generated some shape compared to the cereal box I had before and feel happy about how it looks. But it has taken a LOT of work. I don’t think I will be making any more straight skirts either based on this experience. I think what I have created is more a hybrid between this and a pencil skirt.

I have also finished another little child project today, photos of that to be shared shortly. In addition to that, I have made a cute PJ pattern for a charity for children needing heart operations. I love the fabric (tepees) and its currently drying on a rack.

I’ve cut out a shift style jersey dress for my friend’s little girl which shouldn’t take long to make up as its not lined. All these little projects are good for honing technique and I a lot more confident about using jersey compared to in the past.

So – the latest photos of That Skirt.

lets get this straight – this better fit

It appears I made an error in judgement when purchasing my skirt pattern. Due to the lack of modelled skirt back I naively assumed it would be more fitted. Apparently this style of skirt is more straight up and down. I, when it comes to my back, am not. Suffice to say it has been a learning curve (pun intended) and one I won’t forget!

Counting up the alterations made so far:

  • initially took in the side seams at the upper hips by a quarter inch on each side.
  • pegged in the side seams (tapered) to the hem by an inch and a quarter
  • taken in the back seams by 1.5cm each (tapered) from the mid hip to where the vents start.
  • reduced the curve at the front seams just below the waist band to reduce the excess material in this area. Probably by another quarter inch.

Plus that’s just to the lining. I then have to transfer the last two actions to the skirt itself. Good job I have a sturdy stitch ripper. Then I have to reposition all that lovely piping.

However, the good news is that it is looking a fair bit better in terms of shaping. The back vents are looking a little odd as I need to still hem this and attach it to the main skirt.

pipe down, peg in, raise up – the long awaited skirt

Ah yes, something was mentioned about making a skirt a while ago. Then it all went quiet. Because deep down I knew Simplicity 2475 was going to require some fitting work. I’ve not had much fun in the past getting some projects to fit. So when I know it needs doing I find distractions. Like other projects!

Anyway, having completed my “little” projects (literally in size and scope) there was no putting it off any further. So this evening I sewed the front and back of the skirt together, and did the one alteration I knew wouldn’t be too bad – by pegging the hem in by a total of 2 inches. It instantly looked better.

But, better does not mean finished. Oh no, that would be far too easy. The front is not looking too bad, but a side profile makes me look like a cereal box. A pencil skirt is supposed to be slightly more shapely than this, no?

So, as my housemate has suggested, I may end up taking in the back seams to create a bit more curve. Unfortunately this is the skirt that I chose to add piping to. Which means if I do make any changes I have to sew it all back in again. Any minute now, I’m going to have a small fit – of frustration.

This is why I like A-line skirts. I know what I am doing and the shaping is far easier. Still, you learn by trying. Even if this is turning out to slightly more trying that I had hoped. Wish me luck readers!

The fit so far. With hem pinned up at the front and front waist band seam allowance turned under.



a nautical sidestep

You know when you have plans for some fabric. Then lay everything out. Gazing at your patterns pieces. It dawns on you. This is just not going to work. Because there is no way near enough fabric? well, this was the beginning of this project. Which was going to be turned in to dungarees.

Instead, it got be a little dress. With the cutest striped puffy sleeves with a polka dot lining. This truly was a blend of leftovers. We had the lining from making my corset (yup, I know, it needs to be finished), the fabric from the Colette skirt (need to find some missing pattern pieces), the sleeve lining from a previous little dress, and the rick rack from aforementioned dungarees when I decided it was going to work on it as planned.

Its from Newlook 6236, a project I have made several times before (a great value pattern!) and perfect for the amounts of fabric I had available. With some design modification and tweaking (I bound the sleeve edges with bias binding instead of sewing an exposed shoulder armhole seam) it all came together.

Speaking of which, the dungarees are almost finished (button holes required), as is the matching romper. The skirt I have been working on using Simplicity 2475 has a completed shell and lining, and I need to sew them together, add a zip and hem then this too will be done.

So, some more blog posts to follow shortly!