I’m biased – but I think it looks really nice!

I’ve got the tedious hand sewing bit out of the way, and the bias tape has been carefully added to the armholes and neckline. My hemming foot has done a lovely job of finishing the hem too.

Rewind the clock two years back, when I made this dress for the first time. I finished the hem by hand (it took forever, and I think the hemming foot is neater), I didn’t really know my way around bias tape either. Whilst the end result if very pretty, and the differences might only be noticed by a fellow sewer, I can really see how much I have learned by making the same project again now.

So, lessons learned. Stick with invisible zips, only hand stitch hems if necessary and enjoy the benefits of an overlocker (which I used to finish all of the seams).


I wish it was invisible…

I’m making a dress for a friend. The dress in question is Vogue 8509. A tried and trusted favourite, I’ve made it twice previously. So this shouldn’t be too hard, right? All was going well (apart from being absent minded and sewing the two back pieces together the wrong way round, soon remedied) until I got to the zip. Now, I must confess to being a firm devotee of the invisible zipper. I know some people look at this  zip in terror, but it is my absolute favourite. It is in fact the only one I ever use.

My sewing class introduced me to the fly zip. Lets say it took me a while to take off, and I spent quite some time flapping around until I mastered (kind of) it. So, back to this dress. I discover to my dismay that I managed to select by accident a standard zip instead of an invisible zip at the shop. No problem, I shall just follow the instructions, it can’t be that bad.

A good half hour later I am busily unpicking various bits because the dratted thing doesn’t open. It is now done, it is not my most neatest work. I vow to go back to the invisible zip. You are my Best Friend in the zip world. Still to do, add bias tape around neck and armholes. Then on to hemming.









all has now run its course

so what does a year long sewing course look like?

Yesterday was a bit of a mad scramble to get my folders (3 in total for course notes, designer research and samples)  sorted for my very last class. My sewing course has now come to an end! I rather optimistically thought having done a quick press at home my blouse and trousers would not be too time consuming to finish. Wrong. I thought I could do the last 3 samples without many problems. Also wrong.

But, all my designer work (all 100 plus pages!) in their very own folder, and all my notes, and all but 2 samples have been handed in. Plus the blouse and trousers. I’m still going to try and get the last 2 samples done, but overall I’m feeling pretty proud and relieved.

There is something to be said for the phrase “ignorance is bliss” when it comes to knowing in advance how much work something will be. If someone told you – that’s going to take you 19 hours to make – would you still do it? that’s how long my course trousers took to complete. I had to add up the hours as part of the assessment.

I’ve done so much on the course it is hard encompass it all. I’m certainly a much more rounded person in terms of sewing skills, and hopefully ability. I find out how I did later in the summer. Wish me luck readers! I hope I do well.


But don’t worry, my sewing tales are not yet over. I have signed up for the level 3 city and guilds course. I start in September. Leaving me some time to sew some of the many things waiting for my attention.

not out of the woods yet – I’m still busy chopping down trees


and there was light, at the end of the tunnel…..


On Friday I rejoice, my sixth designer researched and all typed up. Not much left now, just some last samples to do, and print everything off. How hard can that be? Be warned, you don’t just use fabric on a sewing course (all those samples), you also use an awful lot of paper. You see, apart from printing off the papers for all of the designers, I hadn’t really printed much in the way of photos to go with them. 

Yesterday after a quick chat with my tutor, who encouraged me to use lots of illustrations, I got started. Four hours later I decided it was time for bed. I’d printed 85 sheets of paper (I counted them). This morning (with a noted lack of enthusiasm) I returned. I do not want to hear the sound of my printer again for a good long while. Combined with this morning’s printing (say another 15 pages), and the 30 photos I had printed (from my V&A museum research trip) my green conscience is feeling seriously guilty.

However, light is at the end of the tunnel (or is that all the misprints in a bonfire burning?) with just the pressing (will leave that til I get to class tomorrow evening), the smocking (can I say once more, I DONT like it!) and the costings of both projects to calculate.

Much as I have enjoyed this course I am now chomping on the bit to get it finished, so I can a) celebrate) and b) return to all of the other sewing projects waiting for my attention. So then I will truly be able to say, sew where next…..



squaring up to a whimsy

I haven’t got much experience of working with checkered fabric. I intend to make a dress and matching jacket out of some beautiful tartan wool I have in my stash (which keeps muttering at me). So, why not somewhere simple?

For a while I have been unhappy with the very white and boring plain white pillow cover for my V shaped pillow. I love this pillow, and it has been a firm favourite for many years. Perfect for when you want to read in bed.

So, I bought some pretty blue and white lawn which is lovely and soft. This was ever so quick and easy to put together compared to dress making! I just took the existing pillow case, lined it up against the edge of fabric, and made sure I cut a 1.5cm seam allowance round everything.  You just cut out two, and sew together, keeping one end open of course. My old pillow case had a large hem on the open end, which I copied.

I’m very pleased, it looks lovely, and I really liked how the squares are lined up.




I must confess, this is a piece of escapism from the remaining coursework. Don’t tell my tutor….


the last steps (or stitches)

the final steps

I’ve been doing all the bits I didn’t really want to do. I’ve nearly finished typing up my course notes (my handwriting is best described as “messy”) in to some form of neatness. I’ve finished the dreaded trouser button holes – only one to unpick out of two. It could have been worse.

The samples that remain to be done can now be described as only “a couple”. There is one designer left to research, thank goodness. A part of me is itching for the course to finish in 2 weeks time so I can let myself loose on all the projects which have been silently begging me to give them some attention. I have side tracked a little, given that I have managed to catch up a fair bit. Which means circle skirt 2 (same fabric, but with no lace) hangs half finished on a chair for a friend. The jersey dressing gown has been hemmed and now only needs sleeves to finish it.

I indulged in an ultra quick project, and made a draft excluder out of left over quilt blocks (fabulous way to use up scraps). The whole thing including ironing time took only a leisurely 20 minutes.

I have signed up to level 3 dress making city and guilds course, so my posts of glee and frustration will continue for another year – I start the new course in September. Wish me luck, I have pattern blocks and a whole dress to design to tackle amongst other things!

a pile of work – reduced

if only my pile of work looked like this, alas it does not…..

Today has been dedicated to catching up on the more cerebral parts of my dressmaking course. I have been putting this off. But, with the course finishing in literally a few weeks time I no longer have that luxury.

So, I have knuckled under (well, at least curved the fingers over the keyboard) and busily typed away today. I now have completed my fifth designer (hooray), almost finished the evaluations of both blouse and trousers, and on Friday finished a further 3 samples.

Still to go, some more samples (lock stitching anyone?) and the final (I dont want to see another one for a long long LONG time) 2 button holes on my trousers before they too are finished. I also need to work out how much each project cost. This will mean searching through various plastic bags for receipts. They are somewhere, I just have to reunite them with my fingers. This task however, will be left to another day!