Simplicity 1360: All Sewn Up – 70s Inspired Gold Maternity Gown

For my first sew of the year I decided on adapting this new maternity pattern to make a vintage style outfit.

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That’s correct, if you don’t follow me on Instagram then you might not have seen that I’m preggo, up le duff, got a bun in the oven etc.

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I am not going to go all modern, I have picked up a few vintage patterns and my friends have loaned me some so there will be vintage maternity wear being made at some point but I thought it would be quite interesting to see how they compared against modern ones to make up.

Thinking along the lines of “if I lengthen this dress and make it glitzy it could totally look 70s disco-a-go-go” I opted for buying in a boatload of gold lame, without really thinking of the consequences.

Namely that lame is a bitch to sew.

While I was waiting for it to arrive I finally managed to clear out my lovely little sewing space in our dining room and started to read through the instructions (I also put a load of my spare vintage patterns on ebay if you fancy a look).

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Which made no sense. How confusing is this? (or at least how confusing does my dyslexic brain want it to be).

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I put my faith in the pattern and hoped when I cut the pieces out it would make more sense.

When the lame arrived I fell in LOVE, It is sooooo beautiful and undeterred I set about lengthening the pattern and cutting the extension pieces out (excuse the slippers).

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I ran a few pieces through the machine to see what the fabric was like to sew. This did not go well. Now, I have always been told to use a zig zag stitch for stretch fabrics (I don’t own an overlocker) but this didn’t work.

After a stressful and annoying night I managed to get the front of the dress completed but only after a lot of turning the air blue and wondering why in the hell it wouldn’t sew like it was meant to.

Truth is, I’m still not sure – is it because the weight of the fabric is too heavy, so it’s not your typical stretch? (If anyone does know please tell me!).

The front knot part actually was pretty easy after I had the pieces in front of me – funny, it’s never the thing that you think is going to cause trouble that does, is it?

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I sewed up the two back pieces and put the neck facing in and by this point I had opted to go for a straight stitch as it appeared to be working much better than zig zag and wasn’t making me want to cry. Damn the consequences.

What was the worst that couple happen? I could spend hours unpicking it when it didn’t hang or stretch properly? (yes….yes that is what could happen).

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The sleeves, I decided, would be sewn in the cheat’s way as the fabric was so tricky.

Rather than sew them up then set them in, I sewed them into the arm holes without the sleeve seam sewn up, then sewed the seam of the sleeve at the same time as the side seams of the dress (try saying that quickly!).

I have to say, when they were in, it looked pretty good.

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I tried it on. It looked good, it actually stretched the way it was meant to (thank the sewing Gods) so I could fit it over my ever expanding bosom and tum.

Now all I had to do was hem the sleeves and the dress, which turned out to be not that challenging, With the aid of clips (and pegs) I managed to get the length more or less right the first time. I only needed to adjust it slightly and once sewn up I was ready to go.

So here I am in all my shiny gold disco glory, pretty happy with how it’s turned out, even if I do look like a preggo space babe from the future.

Gold Maternity Dress
Gold Maternity Dress
Gold Maternity Dress

Children’s Raincoat: Robert Kauffman Ann Kelle Chicken Print

And now for something completely different….

A few weeks ago I went off to Birmingham to a sewing show with my Step-Mum. We spent the day mooching about a huge space looking at lots of pretty fabrics and patterns, when this gorgeous laminated cotton caught my eye.

That would be perfect for a kid’s raincoat, thought I, and I had just the loveliest little boy in mind whose birthday was fast approaching.

So I bought my yardage and took it home and maybe was slightly concerned I had bitten off more than I could chew.

I couldn’t find a decent pattern anywhere so I searched the net and came across this tutorial from Riley Blake Designs. I sourced a hoodie for the template and bought my notions.

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I decided to use some of my leftover cotton from different projects to make the lining, which turned out to be a bit of a mish-mash of designs, but I assumed he would look like quite the dandy in his super bright lined coat.

I instantly made a mistake by forgetting to put the seam allowance on my first two pieces, but luckily enough I did have enough extra to make that mistake, only I had to forgo the pockets in the end.

Making it wasn’t too tricky, after I remembered that:

  1. I had to pin in the seam allowance (this is mean to me waterproof after all so not extra pesky holes).
  2. Sewing takes a little more time due to the pressure of not being able to get the seam ripper out and start again.

But I took a deep breath, and started sewing.

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After I had sewing the lining in, I washed the coat on a cold wash and hung it out on a hanger to dry and leave it crease free.

When it came to putting on the closure loops for the buttons I used clamps to hold them in place rather than pins

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All left to do was to wrap the coat and hand it over to N. It was a little big for him but he very much seemed to like it, if all the talk of “chicken” and “cluck, cluck” were anything to go by.

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raincoat

It was a little bit big….but hey, kids grow, right?

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.

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?

 

 

Our New Pad

We’ve been in the new house for a week, and what a week it’s been.

The move was okay but the unpacking took me nearly the full week to get done. Yesterday I changed the curtains and took the last of the boxes and others disposable goods (read – leftover crap) to the tip.

For my troubles I’ve been a bit under the weather. Mostly looking like I’ve been scrapping in the streets of Manchester, with a face swollen with the worst cold sore outbreak I’ve had for years and lumpy glands under my chin.

On the plus side though I have spread my crafting and sewing goods out and am no longer confined to half a bedroom. I’ve set up downstairs in the dining room as we have tonnes of space here and it’s much nicer to use the space as multi purposes, plus no traipsing up and down stairs to get enough room to cut my patterns out now.

I commandeered the 60s teak sideboard we have and filled it with my vintage patterns and other things such as felt, my hair flower supplies and other bits and bobs I used to have piled high, and I can have my sewing books out and close to hand.

My sewing machine is happily sat under the window and is spoilt with all of the light it’s getting. I really can’t wait to get cracking but I have to get better first, Enforced rest it is for the time being.

New House

New House
New House
New House
New House

New House

New House

New House

New House

New House

New House

and here’s our favourite spot, right next to each other in the living room. We always joke that we have to sit so close as we’re not used to having the space, but really it’s just nice to be near each other, isn’t it? 🙂

New House

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.

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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).

Book Review: Fifty Dresses That Changed the World

While I was off on my camping adventures I finally got to have a good read of a book I’d had my eye on for a while an which was gifted to me by a friend as a thanks for embellishing a hen’s dress for her final night of freedom.

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Fifty dresses that Changed the World promises a lot and on the most part it delivers.

Maybe I’m just more attuned to vintage clothes and therefore don’t see that Julia Roberts Oscars dress from 2011 (a 1982 original) really was a dress that changed the world.

People had been wearing vintage for some time by that point and while I accept it thrust vintage into the limelight and made it more acceptable for people to look to the past when considering what to wear, I don’t think it changed the world.
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It is however a really nice little coffee table book and is full of treasures such as the Delphos gown, the Chanel suit, Mary Quant’s mini-dress, the Paco Rabanne disc dress (I really REALLY wanted to wear this in the 90s – even in my teenage years, highly inappropriate) and of course the devastatingly beautiful creations of Ossie Clark and Celia Birtwell.

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We can all learn a little by looking at the beautiful lines of these garments for inspiration and this book it great for a little pick me up to think outside the box when considering where to go next, or when comparing currently lines of fashion houses and which era they may be looking back to.

A great book to flick through, read through and even to learn a few new names to research.

Oh and special mention for them putting Cher in with her 80s Moonstruck Oscars dress (Bob Mackie). The showgirl in me LOVES IT.
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The National Vintage Awards: I’m a Finalist!

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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!