bags of scrap

I have been thinking about what to do with my bags of scrap fabric. It is always growing. So I thought I could make little bags out of the scrap! Here is my first attempt, using bias tape for a draw string.

The fabric is left over from a dressing gown I was asked to make for my neighbour. It is a very stretchy cotton jersey which was not the easiest to work with. But it does create quite a nice bag.

P1030897

picking up the (beading) threads of the course

I’ve now tried beading for the first time. The good news, it is easier than embroidery and I feel I have of a chance of success. It is also quicker (hurray!) and I think something I am more likely to put in to practice in my own sewing work.

One problem though. Threading a beading needle. Murder. I gave up and had to get my tutor to do it twice. The eye is tiny and I think I need to invest in to a needle threader! The same below is done with a normal needle, but I cant fit it through the smaller beads.

Anyway, this is my attempt at a new look style dress. I don’t know if it works, but I think it looks quite pretty.

I am such a scrooge when it comes to fabric

the recent spell of wintry weather, rain, wind and buckets of gloomy skies, has made me reconsider my sewing schedule. The cotton flannel PJ set I had planned is looking more attractive by the minute.

So this evening has been spent cutting most of it out. Just a little bit left to do. I’ve made the pattern before for my sister so it shouldnt be too bad. Anyway, that’s not the main focus of this post (but more details to follow).

This fabric is from the stitch and knitting show in London I visited earlier in the year. I fell in love with this thick cotton flannel. It loved my wallet too and took a happy bite out of it before it parted company with the roll. But I hadn’t seen anything else like it previously.

All of which meant I eyed up the gaps either side of some of the pattern pieces (at 1.12 meters wide inevitable) and was convinced I could do something more to reduce wastage.

Cue my good friend Helen, who has asked me for a stocking as a christmas present. Out came a large wool sock from the sock draw. A few snips and stitches later we have not one, but two socks. The other is for my good friend Odile. A good pair of friends, and what will hopefully be considered a good pair of christmas stockings!

yet to be bewitched – but at least I can say I’ve stitched

ok, I have bitten the bullet and tried my hand at embroidery for the first time. No doubt it will amuse you dear readers that it was the thought of being able to publish a photo of the finished sample which helped motivate to finish it.

Be kind, this has taken several hours to finish. It includes satin stitch, fly stitch, extended fly stitch, blanket stitch, raised stem, stem stitch, an attempt at overcast stem, feather stitch, french knot, back stitch and running stitch.

dress(ed) and belt(ed)

ok, the dress is now done! Hem and sleeves are all finished. My nice neighbour has taken my photo of me and I’ve found a matching belt. Much better than the one recommended by the pattern, but who knows I might find something even nicer later.

My mother has made tutting noises over the thickness of the fabric due to the interlining. What she doesn’t get is that this is intended as a cold weather winter dress. I don’t just want to live in trousers when it is icy!

I am wearing a fine wool long sleeves top underneath as otherwise the tweed would itch my arms. The only problems with this type of dress are getting in and out of it (despite a 60 inch zip this requires some wriggling) and also of course when you get up you need to give the skirt a quick tug to get things straight again. Otherwise another happy addition to my wardrobe!

Excuse the wrinkles, I had just been having a cup of tea and didn’t realise they were there.

grading the project

the collar is now finally permanently attached. This has required multiple basting, the assistance of many pins and copious amounts of scissor work. Because of course an interlined and interfaced collar seam is a tad bulky.

Remembering my previous reading, I carefully graded the multiple layers to achieve something which could be pressed in to submission. Despite this, and understitching the facing was still intent on floating upwards like a hot air balloon straining at the leash. Happily with the addition of a sturdy line of slip stitching (another great thing about interlining, this does not show from the outside) it is now firmly staying put.

The sleeves have been stitched and now await the final step of joining the dress. The hemming still awaits me, but this shouldn’t take too long.

So I feel it is not too early to give some initial judgements seeing as this is now nearly complete. The pattern is rated as very easy by Vogue. Personally I dont think the amount of easing and pinning required at the collar is necessarily a great idea for a complete beginner. But if you have done a collar before you should be ok.

I’m really looking forward to wearing this to work and it keeping me nice and warm!

a pain in the neck

so…we get to the statement section of this dress. The collar. It should have dawned on me far earlier than now that this was a large piece, and would therefore need some easing in.

It took an entire episode of tv watching and ad breaks before I finally figured how to get the silly thing attached. Having said that, it looks quite smart indeed, and just how I envisaged. This is my first attempt at using different fabrics (the collar is from a firm cotton). It appears to have worked quite well!

Tomorrow I’ll be able to make some more progress and attach the neck facing and hopefully the sleeves.

can I underline – just how much I love this fabric, pattern and the fit!

ok, after my previous grumblings about how slow everything was going I am happy to report it has all been worth it. I’m really happy! the front and back are now sewn together, the zip is installed and the collar has been sewn up (but still to be added).

After taking in the back (which was to be expected) it now fits beautifully. The silk/wool mix is a doddle to work with and presses wonderfully. Anyway, you will be wanting to see pictures so here we go..

I know it needs more pressing. I promise hand on heart it has been pressed repeatedly, but the zip and side seam still need to see an iron and I am off to bed now. The next photos will be smarter!

pinning all my hopes on it being all worth while

I hope to see the light at the end of the tunnel soon….

I’m currently in a less exciting stage in both my current dress project and dress making course. Funnily enough, the issues are pretty similar. The issue of how to get through the less fun bits. There’s always going to be the less enjoyable stages, and right now I’m experiencing a reminder of this.

In the world of the vogue, this is self inflicted. I have chosen to interline my lovely wool/silk blend fabric to give it more body, warmth and structure. This meant an extra evening cutting out everything in duplicate and then sat in front of the tv (the only way to make it bearable!) and basting 8 sets of fabric together. I am now on my last piece. I am finally going to actually start doing some sewing this Sunday. My pins have been dancing through lots of holes. Hopefully all this preparation will result in the outcome I am looking for, a nice warm winter dress.

I have also been discovering in more detail about what is in store for me on my course. In short – lace, embroidery and beading will be dominating quite a few hours until christmas. I am not a massive fan of hand sewing. It has its place. It does not give me warm fuzzy thoughts. Guess what I wont be able to avoid for the next 6 weeks?….

Still, try something at least once is something I aspire to always do. However, I cant see me being converted to creating decorative cushion cover cross stitching any time soon. Dresses will always win! My sister has been more enthused than me when I shared the news. She intends to make her own wedding dress and lace and beads will both feature in the design. I think if I had an upcoming project which heavily incorporated one of the above I would get more excited, alas the only related thing I can think of is another half slip I intend to make for my mother which will have a lace hem.

Any inspiring comments to help motivate me are very welcome…..