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.

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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).

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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.

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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.

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

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and here’s the back

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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.

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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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it was just bound to happen

So, goodbye sensitive wool velvet, hello highly strung prima donna silk cotton. Seriously, if this fabric could be tried in court for entrapment there would be a serious case to answer. Given that I hadn’t even been looking for this type of fabric, and have had nothing but trouble trying to find a workable design to use it since buying it, it should have guilty as sin written all over it.

However, I digress. The good news, my planned slip (am steadily getting more use out of V8888) is slowly progressing. It has, been something of a learning experience. You see, I thought I had the clever idea of using silk organza for the the contrasting panels in the design. I thought it would create a good interlining for my polka dot lace. Silk is always lovely and soft, no? Well yes, apart from in the case of silk organza when it’s cut. Then the edges are really rough and sharp. Surprisingly so.

So where does this leave me? naturally more work, I have had to bind every single dratted seam. It looks pretty. But of course bias silk cotton is not going to hold a crease (I didnt even bother) so it’s not the most neatest job in the world. But it’s done the job of protecting my skin when it comes to wearing it.

No doubt by now you want to see what all the fuss is about. So here goes..

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This is going to be the lace (double layer) which will decorate the bodice section.

it’s time to see the back of this project

Well, although the overskirt is still outstanding (I will at some point find the missing waistband) the dress itself is done. It is rather snug, and after a morning of wearing it to work the following observations can be made…

I’m not running anywhere in this.  I won’t be dashing up the stairs, and I can only just (with the help of the kerb) step on to my bike. My clothing has to be bike friendly as I cycle to work. Today is beautifully sunny (a small interlude before the weather forecast promises more rain) and was the perfect opportunity for some photo taking outside.

I think the only things left to do is maybe increase the length of the back slit to make walking easier.

 

 

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driving me dotty

I’m having a serious organisational set back. My current dress project is nearly finished. But I can’t find the (already interfaced) waistband for the matching skirt. It’s all prepped and ready to go. Somewhere. I swear it’s holed a way in a corner laughing hysterically as I search through bags of fabric looking for it. 

This, given my earlier big clear up/out earlier last year and tidying attempt, should not have happened. Alas, when trying to move on to my next project – a dog coat – happened again as despite having seen the pattern recently it’s gone AWOL too.

But I have not given up! the silver lining of the above Quest for the Lost Patterns has been amalgamating all my fabric scraps (amazing how much three projects creates) in to one big storage box. Locating the perfect lining for the dog coat. Thinking of a new project for the remainder of the lining for said dog coat. Plus reminding myself of how many outstanding projects I still have. 

We now come to my third project, which was shoved (literally) to one side in sheer frustration. Yes, its the return of the polka dot fabric. Regular readers of this blog may remember my impulse purchase where I lost the plot over the dots and then failed to find away of creating matching design to compliment it in lace.

Well, no longer. I have found (start the singing now) polka dot lace. It matches. I have even discovered two of the lace types I bought earlier work together, whilst neither worked on its own. Given the time spent already on trying to get this project off the ground I am a bit relieved! so, here we are, I only have to cut out one more back piece of this blasted fabric (it stretched whilst cutting on the bias coming out too narrow). Then I can start sewing!

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less haste, more speed – why its better to sew in day light

So yesterday it was full steam ahead. This dress was going to get finished. I decided to take in the back side seams a bit to make this area more fitted. I like to check comfort factor so spent a little time afterwards wearing it. I was surprised it was so close fitting, and decided I’d taken in too much of the side seams and to let it out a smidgen.  I should have taken this as a warning sign.

But no, I carried out and tried to apply my self made bias tape to the neck line. Trying to stitch in the ditch was a nightmare, the bias fabric kept flipping out from under the pins and it looked awful. I resolved to redo it all by hand today.

In day light I discovered why the dress had suddenly become more close fitting. Some of the fabric had got caught in the seam, resulting in the sudden loss of ease. Due to the dark colour of the fabric I hadn’t seen it previously. Completing the bias binding by hand was SO much neater and easier, if somewhat more time consuming.

This dress still needs a belt and overskirt, but you can see what it’s like now. This is before I managed to get another press finished as I needed to catch the daylight before darkness fell.

 

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