Ooh la la – une robe magnifique!

My current dressmaking kick continues with the Aub├ępine dress by Deer and Doe in a gorgeous purple/blue pinstripe shot cotton with black silk lining. I really wanted this dress to be as well-made as possible, so I actually made a muslin of the bodice. Unbelievable, I know, but (as I may have mentioned before) the ladies are a little on the large side and occasionally need more space than is routinely provided. Luckily in this case the darts were sufficient. I wasn't looking forward to doing my first ever full bust adjustment on a bodice with three horizontal pleats. I would have been more than a little out of my depth.The pattern is marked as intermediate, which I think is fair [Read more...]

I probably should have brushed my hair for this

We're baaaaaaaaaack! What is it about camping holidays that makes them seem simultaneously too long and too short? It's very odd. Anyway, the weather was fab (thank goodness), the chickens were laying (and taunting the tethered puppy with their just-out-of-reachness), and the kids had a marvellous time. I could have done with a bit more in the way of isolation - I had a phone signal the whole time - but never mind.I was very glad to get home to the big pile of fabric I had cut up for dressmaking just before we went away. First up was an Ashland Dress (pattern bought almost a year ago) in Koi. I chose this pattern because it comes in different cup sizes, and I often have a problem [Read more...]

Quick, before the sun goes in!

Even since I saw the first pictures from Quilt Market, I knew that I wanted to make a shirred sundress from the Nordika Whimsicol panel. I love this new line by Jeni Baker - the mix of graphic and floral prints is fab, and the colours are among my absolute favourites.So yesterday I hot-footed it down to Annie's shop, and picked up a metre and a half of fabric and a couple of spools of elastic thread. Two hours later, and thanks to this fantastic tutorial, I had a lovely summery dress. I took about 8 inches off the width of the fabric because of my, shall we say, diminutive size, which meant that I had matching fabric to use for straps. Win. And because I am lazy I didn't [Read more...]

I suggest you put your sunglasses on now

If you follow me on Instagram (over here, if you're interested) you might have seen the slightly scary photos of my shiny-lycra-clad bum the other day. Just to give a bit of context, in case you think that's my usual attire, I was sewing the Bombshell swimsuit, from Closet Case Files. I've always been frustrated when trying to buy a swimsuit because (since I am not exactly blessed in the height department) the torso always comes out way too long, resulting in a saggy crotch. And let me assure you, that is not a good look for anyone. Eeeek. I duly chopped three inches off the bodice length and it came out exactly right. I think this is a fabulous design for those of us who may be [Read more...]

Washi, redux

The other day I popped into The Village Haberdashery to buy some binding clips. The ones that cost a couple of quid. And yet somehow I came out having spent a good deal more than that on all sorts of things including some of this gorgeous print from Center City by Jay McCarroll. Since making my washi dress last summer I have been itching to have a go at the tunic version, and given that the weather is completely freezing just about perfect now for little sleeveless tops it seemed just the right time to make it. That's my story, and I am sticking to it.Let's just pretend I don't look really uncomfortable, ok?After the boob related issues I encountered last time I decided to go a size bigger. [Read more...]

A year well spent

Until I made these mosaics I genuinely felt as though I hadn't done that much sewing this year. It always seems like something else takes precedent, like the kids or work or the dog or eating or sleeping - you know how it is. And then I had a look at my photos and nearly fell over.There were a few bagsSome bee blocks and charity blocksDipping a toe back into dressmakingOne or two things for the houseA couple of mini quiltsAnd some bigger quilts (including the mahoosive bloom)But the highlight of the bloggy year for me was the Pervalong - look at all these amazing quilts! I love them all.Thank you all for your comments and support this year - I've made some great friends (in real life and [Read more...]

A new dress and a quick question

On the last day of the school holidays (for 2/3 of the kids, anyway) I locked the children in a cupboard and made myself a dress. It's the Washi Dress, which turned out to be the most wonderfully written and easy to follow pattern. Brilliant enough to overcome the often irritating "print everything out and tape it all together" issue that you get with PDFs.Thanks to my lovely husband for his photography skillsI made a muslin for the bodice as suggested and decided to go for the small. In retrospect I could have probably done with a medium on the top (I have rather large bosoms), but the shirring in the back makes it quite forgiving, and there's nothing a good boob hoik (see below) won't [Read more...]

First of many, I hope

Today Rachel and I spent the day sewing, together. This was her first foray into dressmaking. It is surprisingly difficult to find patterns for kids her age (12 and over). All the lovely modern kids clothes only go up to age 9 or so, and then there is hardly anything available until adult sizes. After a good deal of rummaging around on websites we settled on Simplicity 2689, made up in this gorgeous fabric. And finally, with the two little ones at camp, we had a day to ourselves.It's been a long time since I made clothes (like, oh, about 20 years) and I was a little rusty, to say the least. The instructions really are written in another language and it felt very strange using such an [Read more...]

I may have said this before

I really hate keeping secrets!The London Fat Quarterly retreat is coming up in June (make time go faster!) and Trash has organised a little sample swap. Basically, people are randomly assigned to groups of five and everyone makes four of the same item to swap with the other members of the group. We won't know who is in our group until the day of the retreat, so there is no stalking to be done. This is both liberating and scary.I've made quilted coasters for people before. I like the way that they are absorbent and don't do that annoying thing where they stick to the bottom of your cup and then fall off with a loud clatter that makes the cat jump off your lap. Anything that prevents the [Read more...]