The Joan Wiggle Dress (Charm Patterns Patreon) Sweetheart Neck: All Sewn Up

After the success of the slash neck version of this dress, I decided what the heck, lets try out some crushed velvet and crack on. It was, after all, nearly my 15th wedding anniversary and I needed something special to wear on my date out with my wonderful other half.

First off, the fabric I bought was perfect but did have some glitter issues (read: gets absolutely everywhere – especially when pre-washing and cutting), but it was just so perfect and sparkly that I thought it was an opportunity not to be missed.

I hadn’t ever sewn anything in stretch velvet before so that was a bit of a learning curve and there were a few new things I learnt when I was making this version of the dress:

  • Stretch lining the bodice: something I hadn’t done before. I have lined  things, yes, but not with stretch lining. I am super glad that I did as I can now be safe in the knowledge that the neck won’t stretch put of shape over time and the added security of the elastic in the neckline keeps it the dress sitting nicely on my shoulders, rather then slipping off. The tutorial video Gertie provided was absolutely perfect for me learning this. (Anyone else a visual learner? This is one of the many reasons I love the Charm Patterns Patreon).
  • Velvet is so effing slippery: l ditched the pins as much as I could and changed to clips after a very frustrating time trying to get my notches lined up.
  • I did learn from my mistake with the sizing from last time though and I made the necessary adjustment to the pattern prior to cutting my fabric, although I did still have to take a further bit off the hips due to the additional stretch in the fabric.

Unfortunately I didn’t get to wear it out as our son wasn’t well, so we didn’t make it out for our anniversary date after all (don’t worry we scoffed a lovely takeaway) but I did get some pics.

I am so pleased with how it turned out, and our night out has been rearranged so I’ll be in it soon enough but for now it’s in my wardrobe in a cover (did I mentioned the glitter getting everywhere?), and it hasn’t put me off sewing with velvet…in fact next up on my sewing table is something I am planning to match with stretch leopard print velvet…

To see my updates as they happen why not follow me on Instagram.

The Joan Wiggle Dress (Charm Patterns Patreon) Slash Neck: All Sewn Up

I was over the moon when I first saw what Gertie had created for us for January’s Patreon release. If you have read my blog previously (over the years that Mad Men seasons were still being released -gah – way, way back in time) then you will know

a. how much I love Joan and

b. how obsessed with Mad Men I was (and to a certain extent still am).

The pattern came with two necklines, one the classic Joan office wear with a slash neck based on her iconic silhouette of the wiggle dress that hugs every curve, and the second a daring sweetheart neckline for those who dare to bare a little more.

Now, I have promised myself that as my sewing room/office is now all done and I am finally moved in that I will sew one garment a month at the minimum (more on that in a later blog) so this seemed like the perfect opportunity to jump right in. So off I went and purchased some pretty on the nose fabric for the slash neck top, because I really loved the way that cutting on the stripes made the chevron pattern on the bodice of the dress.

It didn’t take me long to cut and sew the top although the chevrons did need a little bit of unpicking (hello seam ripper, my old friend) after my first attempt, but holding my breath seemed to somehow magically work for the second attempt and I had some fantastic matching I was very happy with.

The top of the dress was incredibly high on my neck, so there was a certain amount of fiddling about to make sure that it sat in the right place. There was mention of this in both the video and the printed instructions so I was prepared.

The skirt was way too curvy on my hips, something I really should have measured for properly when I cut my pieces, I did feel like I should have graded between sizes but I just ignored the little voice. Thankfully I tried the skirt part on before I attached it to the bodice so I adjusted, took the skirt in, made the curve less prominent and re-sewed the skirt to ensure a better fit.

What I didn’t consider and what I feel like I should have done (can you tell who has had their sewing machine packed away for a year due to renovation?) was the weight of the skirt fabric which was heavier than the weight of the bodice fabric. Thankfully it wasn’t so much that there was additional drag or pull on it when it was all finished, but it’s definitely something I’ll think about in the future. Every sew is a learning possibility.

I was super excited to get it on and feel my inner Joanie – did I mentioned I’ve had a replica of her pen necklace for a good few years now? Nope, well, here it is and me in all its glory.

I am so super pleased with how this fantastic dress has turned out. A million thanks to the Charm Patterns crew and to Gertie for such a wonderful pattern to start the year with. I’ve been a subscriber since the Charm Patterns Patreon first started and I have to say this is hands down my a favourite pattern release. It’s always a special one at the beginning of the year and we get a little extra bang for our buck, and what a gloriously special pattern it is. What I love about it the most is the versatility, I will be wearing it to the office on my return in a couple of weeks and I can equally imagine wearing it out to a dinner date with friends.

To see my updates as they happen why not follow me on Instagram.

Ministry of Craft: Overlocking for Beginners Course

First off Happy New Year! It’s been an eventful 2016 and the reason I haven’t been able to update my blog much in the last six months is currently snoozing in his cot upstairs.

Our lovely little boy has been keeping me very busy since his arrival in June and as much as I thought I would have time to do a little bit of sewing and crafting I have done nothing, apart from the course I’ll be taking about today.

The good news is he’s now sleeping through the night which means I’m waaaay less tired and I’m itching to get back to making something. So I should be back sewing soon!

Anyhoo, getting back to it….

In June I bought an overlocker thanks to the generosity of my husband, family and inlaws which all chipped in in cash and vouchers. I only managed to get it out of the box and have a look and put it back again as I was about a week overdue at that point and had more important things to do, like bounce about on a birthing ball and try not to eat my own weight in ice cream.
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I did, however, sign up to the Ministry of Craft’s Overlocking for Beginners course in Manchester in September. If you’ve read some of my previous blogs you’ll know that I’ve done a couple of courses with MoC now and I really can’t recommend them enough.  If you’re someone like me who needs to be shown something for it to make sense then you’ll find them invaluable. September came around quite quickly and off I went to their city centre base to learn what I was doing. IMG_20160903_114040
The course was two and a half hours in length and gave an overview of overlockers including threading which I ended up doing twice after forgetting to put the foot down the first time and had to start from scratch (good practice though!).

We were told a few handy tips the most useful of which is to keep a record and a swatch every time you use your overlocker so you have it for future reference if you go back and use similar fabric again. That way you’re not starting from scratch.

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We were shown (and practiced) seams, edge finishes and rolled hems, which I was particularly interested in as I still have some gorgeous vintage pink chiffon I brought back from Vegas a couple of years ago that I’ve been too scared to do anything with.

As always the course tutor was fantastic, no question too silly, and she put us all at ease and made certain that everyone’s questions were answered and everyone had the time for a little one to one which she checked that they were on track.

I haven’t been near my overlocker since but I know from the help sheets and notes I have written I won’t have any problem when I do. So a huge thanks to Ministry of Craft for an informative morning and their help.

I would definitely recommend this course for anyone new to the world of overlockers or for those who need a quick brush up if theirs has been sat unused for a year or so.

Simplicity 4579: All Sewn Up – 50s Fringed Skirt

Simplicity 4579

My Step Mum found this pattern for me and I instantly fell in love with it especially the fringe trimmed version of the skirt, who doesn’t like a bit of fringing after all? So when the fine folks at Zazzle.co.uk got in touch with me so see if I would collaborate on a couple of posts it was instantly clear that this pattern would be perfect.

If you haven’t heard of Zazzle.co.uk they’re a fantastic creative customisation website with a whole host of different products but obviously, for me, it’s all about the crafting. I can’t even begin to tell you how wide ranging their fabric options are as it would take a whole post up in itself and I’d never get around to showing you my skirt but I will give you a quick overview.

You can pick from various categories from colour, pattern to theme. I obviously went for retro of course, but there are lots of others to choose from. In those categories you can pick the type of fabric, as its summer here I went for a cotton obviously (and I am glad I did due to the heatwave we’ve had) and then there’s the fun bit of customising the pattern too.

The only tough thing I found about the process was narrowing down my fabric choices as there are so many.

Anyhoo, they are fab and you should check them out.

Simplicity 4579

To start the skirt is a 28 waist and 38 hip. Due to the lovely weather we’re having here in the UK, recently not being in the best of sorts and my love of dairy I am now sporting 40 inch hips. So I had to adjust the pattern.

Simplicity 4579

I started by tracing the pattern onto some Swedish sewing paper and marking it up, then I made the hip adjustment by cutting out a perpendicular section from the hip line to the hem line and fitting and extra half an inch in.

Simplicity 4579

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Simplicity 4579

I sewed up the darts and joined the sides and all went swimmingly. I put the zip in as instructed, even though it’s not the normal way I’d do the zip but it worked out okay if not a little fiddly. You don’t get anything from not trying though, right? Even if that something you do get is a little frustrated.

Simplicity 4579

Then it was on to the hem and the decision of what I should do about the fringing. For all intents and purposes the instructions said to leave a length of fabric under the fringing but after trying out all options I decided not to do this. It just looked a bit odd.

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So I took the skirt up a little extra and removed the split. Then I started sewing the fringing in. I have a little experience of sewing in fringing due to my previous burlesque dancing ways but I had only ever done it by hand. I did use the sewing machine this time and took a steady pace with it. No problems, no seam ripping, just a very happy me by the end of it.

Simplicity 4579

All that was left was hemming to do which, as usual, went without a hitch. So ladies and jellyspoons  here is my finished, sewn up skirt. What do you think? I;m super happy with how it turned out and it’ll look great for a work as well as a Sunday mooching round the vintage shops.

Simplicity

Simplicity

Disclosure: Fabric supplied by Zazzle.co.uk but all thoughts on their services are honest and my own.

Simplicity 7702: All Sewn Up – 60s Shift Dress

simplicty 7702 www.staceystitch.com

My first sew of 2015. A few weeks ago I put a blog up for advice, after I scored some gorgeous vintage style fabric from John Lewis in the sale, asking what your opinions were on the pattern to pick.

simplicty 7702 www.staceystitch.com

In the end the simplicity won out. I wanted to try something different, something with a sixties silhouette different from the more tailored sews I’d done previously. The fabric seemed more suited to that. I decided to sew up a toile with some left over cotton that I had as I am a 34 in the bust but I have junk in my trunk, way more than is allowed for on the pattern.

I am so, so glad that I decided to do this because the toile was far too tight on the hips and it was throwing everything off shape wise. So I got out the Swedish tracing paper, made some adjustments and came up with a much more pleasing and better fitting toile.

simplicty 7702 www.staceystitch.com

I used this to cut the fabric and with gritted teeth marked it all out to ensure that I matched the pattern at the back of the dress, which turned out very well even if I do say so myself, first time almost perfect, I decided to leave it at that. It was only a tiny bit out of sync and I wasn’t about to tempt fate by taking the zip out again and seeing it all back in only for it to not match at all.

simplicty 7702 www.staceystitch.com

This is the first time that I’ve ever sewn up a pattern putting the zip in the back before sewing the sides in. Easier x one million. I don’t even know why I haven’t considered doing it before. I think I’m just a stickler for the instructions. I must do what they say. I might remedy that in the future.

simplicty 7702 www.staceystitch.com

I tried the bodice on and had a bit of a worry when the centre back wasn’t lying flat against my skin, until I realised I was wearing the shoulders a little high and they should have been sat a little further down.

simplicty 7702 www.staceystitch.com

I then had the sleeve quandary. Knowing how much I dread setting in sleeves I considered the flat method for a while BUT I decided just to knuckle down and get on with it in the end and sewed the side seams before setting in the sleeves traditionally.

simplicty 7702 www.staceystitch.com

They went in like a dream. I pinned and pinned and I ensured I sewed in slowly and carefully easing them in as I went and sewing from inside the sleeve side rather than the bodice side if that makes sense. After a good old pressing they looked great.

simplicty 7702 www.staceystitch.com

I took three inches off the bottom for the hem allowance rather than the two and three quarter as specified on the pattern, and voila I was done.

So here I am in my new dress.

Simplicity 7702Simplicity 7702

Simplicity 7702

There are a couple of things to consider:

I have started going running. A lot. Which means my hips are now smaller than they were, hopefully I don’t look like I’m wearing a tent.

I love that it’s not fitted because I feel free! I love wearing more structured garments but there is something so gloriously comfortable about this shift dress while still looking super smart.

What do you think? Have you made anything similar? I;d love to see your version – link me up!

Help me choose a pattern (aka being indecisive sucks)

Well as you know we’re in the new house, all is unpacked and yesterday we had our nearest and dearest over for a housewarming. So lovely to have our friends over and the next generation ( not star trek – just our mates awesome kids).

Now the dust has settled I’m in the mood to SEW!

I took a little trip out to my local John Lewis last week and picket up this gorgeous fabric for half price but now I’m stuck on what to make with it.

A dress? Yes, but which one?

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These are the three I have to choose from:

Simplicity 7702

 

(View 1)

Butterick 2604

 

(also considering making the coat in the heavy gold satin I brought back from Vegas)

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(with sleeves)


I’m favouring the Simplicity or Vogue at the moment, the Butterick is gorgeous but it’s quite a similar shape to other dresses I’ve made in the last year and I’d like to try something different.

Any feedback/help in making my mind up will be appreciated. What would you make?

 

 

Simplicity 2602: The Christmas Edition

Christmas eve is almost upon us and here I have a festive feast for your eyes.

The Simplicity 2602 all made up and worn for my work Christmas party (and soon to be seen on Christmas Day!).

Christmas dress and fabric 2015

I know I’ve been a bit slack on the stitching over the recent months but I have fantastic news to share, I’ve been making changes to my life and will be starting a new post in my current job in the new year. It’s the perfect way to round of what has been a wonderful year.

That’s the main reason for the lack of updates and besides that I decided to literally work my butt off after I  found myself in a position where I couldn’t fit into my beautiful pink boned dress that I made back in June. I’ve been working out day and night and haven’t been in this good shape for years, but enough of that, lets get on with this fantastically festive frock!

I have to confess that I made the choice based on something quick to whip up (relatively speaking) and the lack of messing about with sleeves when I knew how busy I’d be in the weeks running up to the date I needed to finish by.

I picked a medium weight cotton from Benartex (Let It Snow) available from Plush Addict. I went for a good 4 metres and I was very happy in the end that I did.

Simplicity 2602 Christmas Edition

I pinned out the pattern and up came a quandary, mainly that the pattern doesn’t repeat itself often enough.

It meant a lot of pinning and re-pinning before cutting and I had to deal with the sides seams not matching (I decided the back was much more important due to the side closure and the split).

So after holding my breath and cutting while crossing my fingers and every available part of me (I don’t often sewing with patterned fabric!) it was done.

Simplicity 2602 Christmas Edition

I pinned the darts and pinned to my dressform and was already very happy before I even started to sew it up. Sewing was relatively easy apart from the back, which I had managed to get a tiny bit out of sync.

Yet again my seam ripper became my best friend and I opted to sewing on the fold down the back rather than try (for the umpteenth time) to match the seam.

I don’t think you could obviously see it due to the pattern but decided even if you could I’d give myself a break and not give too much of a monkeys.

So on I went, and the rest was relatively easy, the split was a breeze and the side zip went in with ease. It seems that a break away for a while has done me some good. Eight and a half hours later and I was done, pressed and ready to go.

I wore at the office party, looking way more dressed up than everyone there BUT it’s Christmas and if you can’t wear a lovely sparkly dress for a party what can you wear it for? Here it is in all it’as glory!

Simplicity 2602 Christmas Edition

Simplicity 2602 Christmas Edition

Simplicity 2602 Christmas Edition

Simplicity 2602 Christmas Edition

Simplicity 2602 Christmas Edition

Better photos to follow after Christmas day – wait until you see my hand embroidered napkins and table cloth!

Wishing you all a fantastic festive season, a wonderful Christmas Day and much love and happiness with your friends and family. I’m off to ice my ridiculously boozy cake!

Merry Christmas!

Christmas Sewing, Embroidery and a Double Craft Book Giveaway!

Hello there!

Apologies for the silence the last couple of months but my work load has been off the charts both in my full time job and my copy writing freelancing, but the good news is I am now free to sew and craft!

First off, I have picked the gorgeous fabric for my dress and riffled through my vintage patterns to find this stunning late 50s dress.

I’ll be making the pencil dress version, I would love to make the overskirt but I think it’s a little too fussy for the works christmas do.

The fabric is a gorgeous retro christmas pattern and the gold is metallic so shines beautifully under the light.

Only worry is matching the pattern but I have a good 4 metres so fingers crossed it wont be too much trouble, any advice gratefully received though – please comment below!

Christmas dress and fabric 2015

Secondly, I purchased the fabulous Doodle Stitching: The Holiday Motif Collection, which is just AMAZING. I can’t recommend enough to any Christmas crafters out there!

I have already traced some patterns for the tablecloth and napkins I’m working on for Christmas day. Updates to follow soon!

doodle stitching

Thirdly, and finally, I am giving away two Christmas craft books this year:

Fa la la la Felt  and Make Me, I’m Yours: Christmas – to enter simply comment below, or retweet the below tweet.

The winner will be announced on 1st December, giveaway closes on the 30th November midday (UK time)!

fa la la la felt cover

make me I'm yours christmas

All Sewn Up: Butterick B6031 Patterns By Gertie: The Slip

I thought it was time I pushed myself away from the cotton and towards something a little slinkier, so when I saw Gertie was starting a slip sew along back in February I thought I’d give it a go. The massively underestimated my time so I only got around to it this week.

yellow slip 1

I opted for purchasing one of Gerties slip packs from Etsy as I thought it would save me a lot of traipsing about or online searching for the little bits and bobs and of course I went for yellow.

Yellow is my favourite colour because it’s the colour of sunshine, how can you NOT like yellow?

The main material is micro jersey fabric (poly/spandex blend) and the lace is stretch. I decided that I’d go for a contrasting yellow cotton while sewing as I like the effect it has on it, give it a little cheat style decoration. I missed the bows off because I didn’t really like them all that much, and much prefer the slip all plain Jane.

 yellow slip 2

So off I set. The pattern was relatively easy to sew up and I was surprised at how easy it was considering all of the stretch in all of the fabrics. This would have taken me a day to complete if I’d had a whole day but it took me several nights and half a day in the end and I am very pleased with the result.

yellow slip 4

yellow slip 6

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The only problems I had were with:

Double sewing the dart on the bust. One side, if you look really close up, doesn’t look as neat as the other, I had a bit of an incident with the slippy fabric but trying to go as slow as possible on the other side was fine. So less speed required from me in future.

The straps; it took my dyslexic brain a while to figure out which way round the straps were sewn once the extending fastening pieces were threaded through, I got there in the end though and this is the finished result.

Next up on my sewing table are the pants (we say that up north, rather than knickers, or panties across the pond).

The National Vintage Awards: I’m a Finalist!

website-badge-Finalist

 

In all of my excitement, sewing every god given hour and running off to Vegas I think I may have forgotten to post that I am a a finalist in the blog category for the National Vintage Awards.

I would like to say an absolutely HUGE thank you to everyone who voted for me and help me to get there.

I am off to the awards on Thursday with Timothy and I plan on wearing my most recently made dress, as it seems quite fitting for an event so glamorous.

I’m in the final alongside the wonderful Mancunian Vintage and Norton of Morton, meaning an all Manchester final. Proof that those residing here really are the best at blogging EVER (wink wink).

I am so ridiculously thrilled to even be standing by those two other wonderful bloggers. I’ve been reading theirs for a while so knowing that my blog in it’s first year is even close to being grouped with these beauties is an achievement in itself.

As some of you may or may not know I left a glittering burlesque performing career behind at the end of last year after 6 years of performing success to concentrate on the things I love more, sewing being one of them, and it has given me such a boost to know what I’m doing is valued by others. So please, here, have a virtual hug.

You’ve made me feel like I am on the right path and it’s added weight to my decision to stop treading he boards.

Cross your fingers for me on Thursday folks!