Wednesday, 24 August 2016


Soooo . . . . Happy Bake Off Day!  If like me, you have been looking forward to Bake Off since the end of Sewing Bee . . . I'm not much of a baker myself, but I do like food, and I still think that I am going to adopt Mary Berry as my Grandma.  My current Grandma does look like her so I don't think I would notice the change too much, I'd maybe just get more baked goods . . . 

Anyway, today I am sharing with you my first Sew Over It project - the Rosie Dress.  I bought the pattern the day it was released, as I was on a bit of a downer that day and needed cheering up.  I also bought some Simple Sew patterns that day, but I have yet to sew up any of these.  

It was the skirt part of the Rosie pattern that actually drew me in, and I had just the fabric for it at home - a beautiful roses print cotton, so I downloaded the pattern straight away.  I usually wait for the paper patterns where they are available, especially when I can only print on A4 and then have to stick, but I really needed cheering up.  I then spent my Friday evening educating my husband in the fine art of sellotaping PDF patterns together.  I think he is suitably put off, but at least I now know that he has this skill should I require him to help in the future.

Let me just say - it is a BIG pattern sheet once printed off and stuck together - it took up pretty much the whole of my living room floor.

So, by the time I had stuck it all together, it was quite late, so I put it away for the evening and then picked it up again Saturday morning, tracing off my pattern pieces.  I decided that even though I was going to make the dress, I might as well trace off all my pattern pieces while I was at it, as I had some other fabric I could probably use at a later date for a dress.  After a quick discussing with the husband, I went for view B with the sweetheart neckline and the wider straps.  I measured at a size 16, with an FBA required (nothing new there), so that is the size I traced off.  I was a size 14 on the finished garment measurements, but I wanted a bit of ease room to allow me to eat, so I went with the 16 and did a two inch FBA.  Despite the fact that I always need to do an FBA, I still always doubt myself and look at the instructions.  I find the By Hand London Kim Dress Sew Along the best one for princess seamed patterns.

nearly perfect zip
insertion, and accidental
pattern matching
Anyway, I was glad that I had traced off all my pattern pieces, because after cutting out my skirt pieces I realised I had more than enough left to cut out the bodice pieces, so that is what I did.  I then cut all bodice pieces out again in white cotton to line the dress.  I also lined the skirt, but I waiting until I had pleated, gathered and sewn this before cutting out those pieces, using the sewn piece as a guide to reduce bulk at the waist seam.

So next up was the sewing, which was fairly straight forward.  I have sewn a fair few princess seam dresses up, as I like the fit and style of them, so all was pretty straight forward.  The newish thing to me was the adding of boning, but the instructions are very clear so this was much of a doddle.  I even managed to get a nearly perfect invisible zip insertion (I'm getting better).

Upon trying on before hemming, and this was about two weeks after the original cutting out as I worked on the dress half an hour here and there when I had chance, the dress seemed massive on me.  I had lost more weight in between cutting out and getting to the trying on stage.  I know I probably shouldn't get upset about losing weight, but it isn't something I am particularly trying to do, and it is causing me some sewing problems.  Hardly any of my clothes fit me now and my alter pile is growing, although I think some are beyond the altering stage.  I have a dress on today that fit me lovely about 3-4 weeks ago and is now too big.  Should I be worried?

Anyway, to fix the problem, as I didn't want to cut everything out again, I added a dart to the side of the bust and took in the seams near the waist a little.  The dress is still too big, but copeable now, and if I lose much more weight I will take off the bodice and make into a skirt, as per my original plan.  Skirts are much easier to alter than full dresses.

Despite my sizing problems, I really really like this dress, and I have more planned for my next holiday, which won't be until December 2017, but that gives me plenty of time non?  I'm thinking lots of tropical prints and sewing up view A with the little collar.
I had to share these shoes. . .
they are just so pretty :-)

Looking back at these photos I realise that:

a)  I have a very freckly back, which I never really realised before;
b)  I could probably do with shortening the bodice a little, but I will revisit that once I have the right size.

I had enough fabric left over to make myself a little matching clutch bag, which I lined with white satin and added a diamante button to.  I wore this to a christening a couple of weeks ago with some gorgeous new Ruby Shoo shoes.  Quite possibly my favourite brand as they are tres my style and slightly wider in the fitting, which I definitely need.

Anyway, off to prepare for Bake-Off now.  I've been up to lots of sewing, so will share some more projects soon.

Happy Crafting!


Tuesday, 9 August 2016

Lessons in Sewing

Sooooo,  today I would like to share with you a dress that has taught me a couple of lessons.

This is my second version of McCalls 6696, the first version of which can be found here.

This is made from a viscose print which I bought from Boyes last year, and then it sat in my stash box for a while while I figured out what I wanted to do with it.  Then, a couple of weeks before my holiday in December, when I was suffering insomnia, I decided one night that I would like to make it into a shirt dress for my holidays.  Sooo, I cut it out.  I wanted short sleeves, but I didn't have quite enough fabric so decided to do without.  In hindsight, I should have cut the narrow skirt and then I would have had the fabric for the sleeves, but we live and learn don't we.

Anyway, after cutting it out, I then ran out of time to actually sew the dress before my holidays, and as it was winter and cold when we got back, it stayed in my to sew pile for quite some time . . . . 

I did pick it up now and again.  I think in about March I interfaced the relevant areas, and then I got distracted again and it sat in the to sew pile again for a while.  I finally picked it up again a couple of weeks ago, after I had finished the girls' dresses (which can be found here and here), it being the first time in aaaaages  I had had the time to sew something for myself.

However, in the meantime (since cutting out to sewing) I had lost some weight - five inches around my waist, two off my basoomas and two off my hips - and obviously, the dress was now humongous.  

So, Lesson 1 - don't leave it so long between cutting and sewing, and if you do don't lose weight in that time - it causes problems.  I took the dress in at the armsyces but couldn't be bothered to do the same anywhere else, so it is quite loose fitting, but that is probably good on warm days.

And Lesson 2 - don't cut when you're tired.  You end up with wonky pattern pieces and no fabric left to re-cut.  In this instance I had to make the best of a bad job, and my waistband is certainly wonky.  Other seams may be too but I've decided not to look too closely.

Lesson 3 - bright ideas are not usually a good idea.  On this occasion, I decided that I had learned from my previous make of this dress and wasn't too happy with the large amount of hand sewing involved.  So, I decided this time to top stitch where hand sewing would usually have been involved and call it a design feature.  This did not work out as planned - My topstitching, as careful and neat as I was being, did not always catch the other side (this could be due to Lesson 2), so I still ended up hand stitch to secure these areas.

Lesson 4 - refer to previous blog posts.  Once again, I had issues with the collar band on this one.  I was putting this down to my dodgy cutting (See Lesson 2), but then I re-read my last post and realised I had the same problem then.  Must remember this for next time.

Not so much a lesson but worth a note is that when I was sewing the fabric, I noticed little tiny patches of pink.  Barely noticeable to someone who does not notice these things generally, but I figured I might have left the fabric next to some pink fabric for too long and the colour had leaked somehow.  Anyway, after a wash or too, when I was ironing the dress (and it does need ironing, much to my annoyance), I noticed more pink.  I have therefore concluded that the navy on the fabric has leaked a little and although looks blue, is made from a pinkish pigment (not unheard of).  To be fair, not much I could have done about this, as I pre-wash all my fabric, and it will just be one of those things, but worth considering on this type of fabric maybe?

Positives about this dress:
  1. despite all the negatives above, I still love it
  2. have you seen the colour match on those buttons . . . . inspired, particularly as I didn't have the fabric with me when I purchased the buttons.  I also seem to have twice the number of buttons I'm sure I paid for, so I have loads left they may be going towards a button down blouse.  I'm thinking plain white with the teal buttons for a pop of colour.  I think I have found the pattern I want to use, but all suggestions (and for the fabric too) greatly appreciated.
  3. it is a nice coolish dress on warm days.  I should maybe have put weights in the hem though, it has been so windy round here of late.
  4. tropical print . . . 'nuff said
  5. I may actually pay attention to the lessons outlined in this post now.
Looking back at these photos, I now realise that I could take a bit of length off the bodice.  It does seem to sit a lot lower than my waist, but it doesn't feel like that when I wear it.  Hmmm....

Anyway, I am now on with the new Sew Over It Rosie dress for a Christening and a Wedding I have coming up this month.  It is nearly finished, so I will (hopefully) share that with you next week.  I am also on with some knitting projects which I will share with you when finished, but they seem to take me loads more time that sewing does.

In the meantime . . . .

Happy Crafting!

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