Saturday, 29 October 2016

My First Vintage Pattern Make

I love vintage but had never sewn a truly vintage pattern before!  I bought this one on eBay, actually rather cheaply and was keen to try it!

My first lovely surprise was when I realised that it was all perfectly cut out!!  Result!!!

Then I realised that a size 12 wasn't really a size 12 by my standards- so some upsizing was required. I decided I needed to add 1.5cm to all the seams on the width, but keeping the length the same.   I had this beautiful Liberty snowdrop print that my mum bought me that I wanted to use -it has a bit of a vintage vibe and I think it will be a perfect winter shirt dress!  As usual with Tana Lawn though I plan to line the skirt as it is a bit lightweight.   This sew was a long one by my standards- weeks long!!!!  Mainly because I made quite some errors on the way that I needed to correct (grrrrrr).

First up was cutting out.  I thought I had TONNES of fabric, but wow that skirt needs a lot of fabric- and wanting the pattern to all be at least facing the right way etc - meant I needed a lot.  The only thing which really puzzled me was the skirt that is a circle type - in 2 parts, joining centre front & back. So if the pattern is the right way up at the front, its on its side on the back - but what else can I do?!

I was getting on just fine, until I did the waistband.  Well it was a good 8cm from meeting in the middle!! Even though I d already made it 4cm bigger than the pattern.... I had enough fabric for a second one... JUST.  Luckily the bodice fitted fine- it has gathered fabric pretty much on all sides so I could just gather it slightly less than the pattern intended.   Oh and I made it doubly complicated by putting in some piping.  Sewing piping along with gathered fabric and a lining is not fun (its only the second time I did piping so clearly I need some practice.  I didn't get it perfectly even, I re-did some sections but decided this was good enough.

Then the fun started.  I couldn't for the life of me work out the instructions for part of the front centre bands (where the buttons go).  Having made 2 previous shirt dresses, I just relied on instinct.  And I don't know what happened but the top side ended up about 4cm smaller than the other side.  They started off identical and   I have NO IDEA what I did wrong!!   I didn't have enough fabric to re-do it so I had to unpick, cut it off straight and patch it with another piece.   I had to pass on the v bottom, and just sewed it straight.  I was worried I had re-worked the fabric too much so I sewed through a square (like on denim) to re-enforce it. The join & the square bottom is on the pic below:

And then I sewed a button hole in the wrong place.  ggrrrrrr.   Unpicking a button hole in this fabric was not fun - I was really worried that I would put a hole through it, but I did manage it.  Lucky the fabric is so patterned as it doesn't show (I wouldn't have gotten away with it on a plain fabric.)

I then had fun & games with the hem.  How on earth do you end up with a straight hem with so much fabric ?  I never have an issue getting a hem straight when there isn't much fabric but  with such full fabric I had an issue.  I got it looking even on the hanger, but then it was totally off when I put it on....   I got it ok in the end & finished with bias tape, but there must be a method for this - tips please?   Last time I did a full skirt I made no changes to the length so  I just took it up equally all the way round.  

I'm making this sound like a disaster.... it isn't .  I actually adore it!!  But it took a lot of effort and I learnt some new stuff too.  I really like some of the details on this dress- the front buttons, the waistband that sits just above the hips, the full skirt and all the gathered sections on the bodice- its super comfortable but really quite elegant- well by my standards!!  Here are a few pics

Sunday, 16 October 2016

My Autumn - Winter Wardrobe Planning

I am a random sewer.  I buy a vast amount of fabric with a stash growing probably 5x faster than I can sew.  I do the same with patterns.  Then I just make what I feel like at that moment.   Often forgetting what I even have!  Biggest issue- lots of single items and things that don’t match!!  Here is my pile of fabric  Ive selected for the season...

SOOOO I decided to get organised and PLAN what I’m going to make for this season!.  Thereby actually using some of the lovely patterns and fabrics in my stash, and making OUTFITS that go together for the season – not singular pieces. Plus a few extra special things that will keep me on my toes. Here is my game plan - and progress so far

 I hate sewing plains, but I ve learnt that once I ve made them, they can be the most worn, as I need some plains to be able to wear all my prints ;).  So  I ve got a fab selection of patterned skirts and a common thread is they all look good with black tops.  I ve got 2 routes here.

 First up, making a batch of black tops in different styles.  I m thinking one jersey, one vintage long sleeve, one short sleeve using my block. My second route is I buy a RTW shirt (yes I know, I just typed BUY) and customise it.  Honestly- making a shirt is a lot of effort.  I often buy the ones from Uniqlo, which are reasonably priced, wash like a dream and fit me perfectly.  I then customise- often with new buttons.  A simple shirt with a few Liberty covered buttons can look really special.  Here is one with ombre buttons!  (ok so yes, I can't really do plain as I even make a plain thing less plain)


So  here I allow myself to indulge in some glorious colour & pattern from my stash (and ok I admit it I bought some new stuff recently 'cause, you know, I can't resist a pattern ;).  I ‘ve got a very colourful jacquard that I just finished as a Sew Over It Tulip Skirt and also a  burgundy/red wool that I’ll be making up that I bought from Fabric Godmother. Probably into an  A line with a front pleat.  I then went a bit crazy at a House of Hackney sample sale and bought some rather patterned, dreamy fabric.  That will now also be added to my 'skirts to make list'.    My rule  on these skirts being – they must match the black tops!


This one is driven by a love of a fabric and a pattern in my stash.  Sadly they don’t work together, so 2 coats it is then!

Clare Coat in Avoca wool: I bought this fabric and promised to make myself a coat with it.  I ve decided the Clare coat by Closet Case will be a good option, plain enough for the design to work and I like the shape (plus reviews say its got brilliant instructions which I need for a coat).   I just need to snap up some lining fabric and I ll be started on it!

Watson cape coat:  I bought this pattern last winter and I m itching to make it.  This year it will get sewn.  Hunt on for the perfect fabric- open to suggestions!!!  I m thinking a pink/grey type of tweed with maybe contrast collar/buttons…..  But I’m committed to having this one finished before the end of winter.


I love wearing dresses – a lot of what I made over the last year though are not really everyday dresses….. given most of my life is running around after a toddler, ‘dressed up’ is not a common theme for me these days.  So on with some practical numbers, using lovely fabric in my stash already- with a rule they must match the jackets & accessories I already own.

These will be some shirt dresses (already in progress), including my first ever proper vintage pattern make and dresses with some Liberty twill that I have- which is possibly my favourite thing to sew as its got the colour & vibrancy I love, but with a strong weight and bit of stretch.  I find it to be hard wearing, doesn’t need lining and practical between seasons.  I made one already whilst I was working on this post!

my vintage pattern

my completed shirt dress!


This will be my ultimate indulgence…I ‘ve been lusting after a Missoni dress for years but with the price point, I ve never succumbed.  I was ecstatic when Fabric Godmother stocked this Missoni fabric and I bought 2 colourways- so I need to master how to sew it and find some appropriate patterns.  Any recommendations?  One I m thinking more of a cowl neck, another more fit & flare.


Not something I ve sewn a lot of but I need some new ones and I ve got 2 lovely patterns (and fabric to go with) that I bought last year which I should make for winter time.  Again, going to force myself to go plain navy/charcoal with these.


GIFTS:  And last up – I want to do a bit more unselfish sewing for Christmas.

GULP – I just counted and that makes 18 different makes!! Is that possible?  Lets see how I get on.
Any other recommendations that you think I would like?  What are you planning this season?
Messy Essy Makes