darting to the finish line

Having had some able assistant from my pin wielding housemate I was able to confirm that adding some waist darts to my shift dress was going to help overcome the excess fabric ripples at the side and add some definition to the waist. Its one thing not to emphasise one’s tummy. Its another to add a significant expansion to it through lack of fit alone. What’s the point of working so hard to make customised clothing otherwise?

Given I had no photographer today (aforementioned housemate is not yet back) and wanting to make use of some natural daylight, here of some quick photos of the darts. I still need to adjust them a bit (with me wearing the dress (just wait tiil that housemate comes back!) but you can see a big improvement. It still retains the triangle pear shape I am looking for but with more shaping.

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and yes, they still need pressing. Am off to one of my unfortunately regular exercise classes tonight so haven’t got much time.

saving the pennies, but not the hours

So, having discovered my current dress in progress requires some fitting work, I of course head straight towards another project I had already cut out (from leftovers from the same fabric) as after several long days at work (and no fitting buddy to hand) I just wanted something simple to work on.

Long term readers of this blog may recognise the pattern, New look 6879. Upon seeing how much of the border printer was left over (my dress required only one side to be used and not the full width) I could not resist finding another project. After some careful piecing together, not quite as the pattern pieces instruct for the skirt, it’s shaping up nicely. This is very much a work in progress photo, but it will give you an idea. Hemming the scalloped edge was a pain but it looks very pretty now.

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piling on the pounds

So, in my last post I mentioned fabric shopping. The following occurred right at the end of my trip, which I knew was a risk having spent three weeks travelling round China. It’s not like I could go back anywhere and have another look! But, according to my trusty guide book, Shanghai was the place to shop, and their fabric market did no disappoint. Imagine three whole floors of fabric stalls. Bliss.

But also strangely hell. Because I only had a few hours in one afternoon and there was just SO MUCH. Think kid in a sweet shop with a blank cheque. So I was very focused and worked on getting different fabric types and being practical about what to do with it. Nothing quite like finding something beautiful, then without a pattern to hand, deciding how many meters you need. I managed to increase my backpack by 50% on the return journey home compared to the weight on the outbound flight!

Due to a flight cancellation I ended up with an extra shopping day (might as well make the most of it) and picked up some extra silk at the Beijing pearl market. They only had a few fabric stalls there but it was still nice stuff. But, what you no doubt wish to see by now is some actual pictures. So let me share the delights I found…

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These are two cottons

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Lightweight silk

P1050684                                                               Double sided cashmere and a very thick silk

The cottons will most likely be used for dresses, likewise the silks. I plan to use the cashmere in a reversible jacket.

Lastly, some fabric/costume related photos of my trip to give you a little feel of China.

this is what the local people wore in the mountains

this is what the local people wore in the mountains

I found this really funny, a lady in a beautiful wedding dress getting out of a transit van

I found this really funny, a lady in a beautiful wedding dress getting out of a transit van

embroidered silk

embroidered silk

embroidered silk

embroidered silk

embroidered silk (took 10 years to make)

embroidered silk (took 10 years to make)

silk worms

silk worms

traditional dress

traditional dress

shifting fabric

You may have noticed the lack of recent posts. I have been elsewhere, rather literally half way round the world. I spent three weeks in China and apart from packing some gorgeous fabrics in to my back pack on the return trip (photos to follow) I also have a head stuffed full of memories.

I can’t say its an easy country to visit (they have a very different diet, safety approach and culture) but I’m very glad I went and I learned a lot. Having returned to the world of brown bread, muesli and soft beds (all three were sadly missing during my adventures) I have been getting over the jet lag and reunited with my sewing machine.

Before I left I had started a sixties retro shift dress, which is from a lovely embroidery anglaise fabric. It took some time to figure out the best layout. I am still fretting about the fit as its not a style I am used to (when making my  previous shift dresses they were more fitted around the bust). So, here are some pictures…. P1050677 P1050678 P1050679 It will be lined later so its looking a little unfinished at the moment. It does have some rather odd pattern markings for the side seam, as illustrated here:

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