bound to get to the finish line – eventually

It’s been a busy time since Christmas. Having a new job takes up a lot of brain power and energy. Plus having an uncooperative project with regards fit does demotivate you a bit. After a concerted effort to push through, I finally feel like my tapestry jacket is going to get finished.

I’ve added a full facing, which included drafting my own neckline facing. I’m also going to use bias binding to finish all the raw edges. Neater, less bulky, allows me to eek out a bit more length as it is on the short side and also adds a decorative touch.

I am looking forwards to being able to start a new project! I’m not making this jacket again. After taking it in at the side seams further to improve the fit I have lost count as to how many inches I have had to remove. Anyway, here’s an in progress look at the bias binding being applied.

pinning down the time

I have been working on my outstanding projects in fits and starts. It’s now mid January and I have finally been able to cross some things off the list. The previously mentioned travel bag and skirt have now been finished. I have also made a pin sharpening pin cushion for my sister.

The latter is made by taking fine steel wire wool, wrapping it in wadding and then using a silk shell for the outside layer. Add a button in the middle and voila, done! a very nice quick project.

The skirt, after under stitching, then more top stitching (at the waist, as the lining was still rolling) has now become a well behaved piece of clothing. I will warn you though, if you work with tapestry if will ravel very badly.

Not very exciting, but also done, is the travel bag lining. Which was a bit tricky to add as it kept getting stuck in the zipper teeth until I top stitched that as well. If you are ever working with really thick fabric and lots of layers I recommend getting a jean needle. I kept breaking my size 16 needles until I did this, as all the seams needed top stitching as you can’t really press them well given the amount of interfacing I had added and curves.


Moving on, I hope to get the matching jacket finished soon. I am going to be adding bound button holes shortly so I can double check the final fit. I’m going to extend the facing around the neckline after a pattern review member who had made the jacket recommended doing this. I also need to finish the back slit on that colour blocked dress so I can cross that off the list too. Given the current temperatures here it will be a while before I can wear it though!

it’s in the bag

Since the last time I posted there have been a few distractions. A weekend away, Christmas, and a new job! the last has taken up a lot of my energy, time and attention. Still, I have not been entirely idle. I have been attempting to tackle The Stash. Not entirely with success as some new fabric has since been purchased. But this is a big piece of fabric, in both length and thickness. So it’s nice to see it finally being used.

I bought this some time ago with the plan to make a coat. Until some more experienced sewers pointed out matching all the lovely zig zags would be nigh on impossible. So in to the stash it went. Until my recent high waisted Butterick skirt success. When it occurred to me that it could also be used with more bulky fabric if I was careful.

Whilst I was at it, why not make the matching jacket? why I maybe shouldn’t have made the jacket is because the fit was nowhere near as good. Nearly 10 inches worth of ease at the waist. With a tapestry type fabric this was never going to be a flattering look. After a fair bit of modifying (dropped waist down by 2 sizes), taking in the darts at the back, splitting the front waist dart in two to create better shaping and interfacing both skirt and jacket fabric I am approaching a more positive end product. I’ve also had to alter the arm scythe and sleeve head a bit as well using my sloper as a guide.

There may be a bit more fitting left to do in the jacket but it’s getting there. But I still had fabric left over. What to do? I opted for a travel bag for a friend. Burda 7119 was duly purchased. I like the design but don’t think much of the instructions, as there wasn’t any guidance on adding structure. I interfaced everything and added an extra layer of cardboard thickness interfacing for the back, front and bottom. The photos as you can see are “in progress” but give you an idea how the projects are shaping up.

I still need to add the lining and finish top stitching the seams (to help ensure a neat finish). The straps look a bit better after I added bias binding. The instructions were again really poor, advising to stitch at the edge of the cut fabric where of course it will fray!

Finally, wishing everyone a happy new year. WordPress has advised I have been writing this blog for 5 years. Where has the time gone?

sew little progress

October has not been a productive sewing month. That might have something to do with the fact I have had two holidays, been ill, applied for a new job and had lots of social stuff. Apart from one little baby dress (will try and get a photo of that later) I feel like my poor sewing machine has been thoroughly neglected.

If we were at a couples counselling session it would start with, we need to talk, I haven’t see you in ages. Are you seeing someone else? I have taken myself to task and got the simpler of my two projects finished. Which in some ways makes no sense as it is a summer skirt which I can’t even wear at the moment as I would freeze as soon as I stepped out of the door. But sometimes fabric just begs to be made up, and this one got its claws in to me well and truly.

Butterick 6332’s skirt is finally done, and I have also inserted a lining which the original pattern didn’t have. When my housemate returns from holiday I will get her to take a photo of me wearing it. My attempts at self portrait taking at night time have been a dismal failure due to the poor lighting at my home so I’m not going to subject you to the results.

So, here is my dress dummy modelling the results. I’m quite pleased with how the multiple waist darts spread the pattern distortion to a minimum. The cotton/silk lining feels lovely and I am glad I used a firm interfacing as its created nice shaping for them and facing. It didnt require much in way of alterations apart from the usual lengthening, and I took a smudge out of the upper hip area to better contour my shape as I am not an hour glass, more a pear.

I will try and crack on with the corduroy dress and then can look forwards to my next project!

an eas(e)y project?

So, the 48 piece dress rumbles on. Courtesy of some help from a friend with regards fit (it is pretty hard to stick pins in your upper side seams when wearing an item with good results) I took both the bodice and skirt side seams in. I cannot believe how much ease this dress has! I’ve taken 2 inches off the skirt in total, and over 2 1/2 inches off the bodice circumference.

It now, finally, has some more shaping but still allows me to walk comfortably. This means, drumroll please, I can actually add the remainder of the lining and sort out the hemming. Then it will actually be finished. I will be steering clear of such a multi pieced pattern for at least a little bit.

Speaking of which, the next project has already been started. Oh yes, such a surprise to those who know me well to see I already have moved on before even finishing what I am working on already! Butterick 6332 came in to my possession after discovering this adorable fabric. Now, don’t you just love the print? I don’t often gush, but I on the spot decided this fabric was somehow going home and being made in to something.  That something is a high waisted skirt, a style I have never worn before.

It’s going pretty well, after slicing off a small amount of the curve on the upper hips (my curve is more at the back then the side) I have got a pretty decent fit. I am going to add a lining from a lovely silk/cotton blend. So here it is…..


There was only one minor problem with this skirt. It resulted in leftover fabric. Being far too cute to abandon I immediately devised a rescue plan. Which meant it is now a pair of newborn trousers (free pattern from Made by Rae):



I didn’t pay attention when cutting out the fabric at the direction of the print. But as its slightly mixed up hopefully its not too noticeable. More photos of afore mentioned projects coming up soon…..

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!