Tuesday, 30 June 2015

... Daisy Daisy

After much deliberation and with the benefit of a small windfall I have made the bold step of buying a dressmakers dummy. The idea to have one has been in my head for a while and when I was struggling with the fit on the blue camisole Sandra D suggested this would be helpful.

 I did look into the idea of the famous duct tape DIY bodyform, this blog from offbeatbride has step by step instructions. and there are plenty of others versions on Pinterest.  I read a few and it was  helpful as it highlighted a few things I hadn't thought about, mostly the stability and durability of it, also that duct tape isn't the best thing for sticking pins into.  If your body shape changes then you have to start all over again

Buy Adjustoform Lady Valet Mannequin Online at johnlewis.com

I was originally looking at this model from John Lewis at a cost of £199.00, all the reviews were very positive, however I found the same thing for £149.00 at sewing online via eaby, the only difference being the colour of the wood, which I didn't feel was worth the additional 50 quid.  I now need to make her resemble my shape as much as possible, I read somewhere that you should use an old bra and fill it to make it more lifelike, I must admit that in her current state I would defiantly need a boob job as she is very pert!

I have named her Daisy Daisy as the car I followed out of the retail park  when I picked her up had stickers on the back of two daisies.  She has had a mixed reception at home, hubby thinks she is a little bit creepy and has popped his holiday hat on her as he finds her less "spooky" with it on.

 I have been inspired to write some new words to the classic Daisy Daisy song

Daisy, Daisy help me to make clothes do
I'm half crazy trying to fit things without you
I can't make a stylish dress
In fact its a bit of a mess
But you'll look sweet and very neat when I have fitted my dress to you.

Yeah sorry about that!

I would love to hear if you have had any adventures in making your own body form or if you have any advice on how to get the best out of Daisy.

Tuesday, 23 June 2015

..... Red spot and blue check - New look 6035

I was a very busy bee before my holidays, I wanted to make a sleeveless top to take with me, this was in my sewing wardrobe plan and I had allowed for this when I was working out what clothes to take with me.

Red spot and Blue check

My initial idea was to make the famous Collette Sorbetto top, this a free to download pattern and has been around for a few years so there are plenty of examples out there in internetland, Pinterest is a rich source of reference. People have got very creative with the basic pattern and made some amazing additions and alterations but I was content to just go with the basic model. It was my first downloadable pattern and I must confess that I approached this process with trepidation, however, it was far easier than I had expected and I would have no hesitation to purchase downloadable patterns in the future. I cut it out in the red spotted fabric I brought from Abakhan fabrics a few weeks ago, and did a quick pin and try but I wasn't happy with the fit, I think a full bust adjust is probably needed so I have put it to one side for now. This top calls for bias binding so I had indulged in the necessary kit to make my own so I will have to find another excuse to have a play with that.

Colette Sorbetto download

In my pattern stash I have New Look 6035, I brought this pattern after seeing it on the Great British Sewing Bee, it was used by Lauren of guthrie & ghani  .  The downside of this pattern for me is that the largest size is a 16 and I think an 18 is the right size for me, I have made the skirt from this pattern last summer and just added a bit a couple of centimeters  to it when I cut it out and adjusted the seams allowance to get the right fit.  With the top I cut out the size 16 and sewed a 1cm seam rather than 1.5cm  giving me a little more room. There are no fastenings on this so it is really straightforward, gather the neck at the front, sew the shoulder and side seams, finish the hem and the small splits at the side, the neck and arm openings are self bound.

Red Spot New Look 6035

I used the remaining red spotted fabric as I just love this fabric and I am disappointed that the photographs haven't quite captured the true colour.  I could have completed it in a day if I hadn't been distracted by the family and my need for tea!   It reminds me of a top my Mum had when I was a kid in the 60's but hers was made in seersucker and as I have some blue checked seersucker in my fabric bag it seemed rude not to give it a go.  This time I was sewing after work and it took me just three nights to complete, I think the fit on this top is slightly better than the red spot which I put down to the seersucker being a little softer.  It is my first time working with seersucker and I would definitely  be happy to use it again, however, I would use pinking shears as the fabric is slightly more prone to fraying than the poplin I used.

1967 catalog model

The simplicity of this pattern and the speed which I was able to complete it makes this perfect for a novice sewer like myself, it has given me a bit of confidence that I can produce wearable garments in a timely manner.  Admittedly the fit isn't 100% perfect but I wore the blue top to work a couple of days before I broke up and got a couple of compliments from my colleagues and both were worn on holiday with pride.  I just need some warm weather and I will be wearing them again.

So which do you prefer the look of Red Spot or Blue Check?

Sunday, 21 June 2015

... further adventures with New Look 2373

Round of applause please I have a dress that I made all by myself.  I was able to give over a whole weekend to making this and I am really please with the result, which is a bit of a boost following on from the disappointment of the camisole top,


The familiarity of having already made the pattern gave me quite a bit of confidence and I was much quicker this time round.  I did not spend so much time hanging round in my bedroom looking into the mirror with bits pinned on which probably helped to speed up the process.

I was worried that there is still a bit of gapping at the side and I think I should have made the straps slightly shorter but having worn it these are minor problems that only I was aware of. I am thrilled with the way it has turned out, it is exactly what I envisioned.


The fabric was nice to work with although it was quite difficult to tell which was the right side ( it had a little sticker on it when it came from Abakhan fabrics) but I figured if I had got it wrong anywhere and couldn't tell then no one else is going to notice either.  It washes and irons really nicely and I just need some nice weather so that I can get some wear again now I am back from my holidays. The photos are courtesy of lovely husband taken in Lanzarote.

A quick update on the beleaguered camisole top, I used the colour run rescue pack and it did get rid of the loose dye, however, it also faded the ric-rac colour and the fabric has shrunk slightly making the fit a little snug.  I will wear it around the house and garden  but it just seems that this garment was not fated to be successful.

Are you sewing anything for your holidays?

Thursday, 11 June 2015

Lavender and Bees

I thought I had mastered the art of setting this up to post while I was on holiday oops it didn't work! enjoy anyway :)

It was a glorious day on Sunday and I made the most of by getting plenty of washing done, there is nothing like the smell of line dried laundry, some how it brings the sunshine in doors. However, I was distracted from my chores by the number of bees that were buzzing round the lavender up on the patio, I just had to get my camera to try and capture it. 

Bee in flight

 Well if you ever have half an hour to spare on a sunny day try photographing bees, as soon as you line up the perfect shot the little beggars decide to fly off,  that half an hour soon became 45 minutes that ends up being closer to an hour oops and the perfect shot is still going to be the next one 

Elusive bees hiding from the camera

Bee searching for nectar

Bee and bunny eared lavender

Spot the Bee

White bottomed bee on lavender
As you can tell I was easily distracted and it was a lovely way to chill out in the sun.

So what distracts you on a sunny day?  Do you grow lavender in your garden?

Sunday, 7 June 2015

... recycling Bonne Maman jars

I do love everyday items that are both useful and have a decorative look to them,  I think the Bonne Maman jam jar is an excellent example of this. A well designed jar that is full of delicious jam and is pleasing to the eye.

Bonne Maman jan jars

Bonne Maman jam jars

 But being a jam jar once the jam has gone and it becomes just a jar and then you can use it for all sorts of different things.

Empty Bonne Maman jars

I keep my herbal tea bags in one, it helps Hubby to find them when he makes me tea :)

Bonne Maman - herbal tea bags

Full to the brim with black peppercorns, I buy a big bag from the local Asian supermarket as they are considerably cheaper than the big supermarkets.

Bonne Maman - blackpeppers

Not restricted to just food items, they are handy for trying to corral hair bobbles, they seem to have a life force of their own with a will to pop up all over the house.

Bonne Maman - hair bobbles

I am the mother of a stationery queen and a little of it has rubbed of on me

Bonne Maman - stationery queen

And inevitably one with all those things that don't seem to have a home or are in transit

Bonne Maman jar - useful items

Monday, 1 June 2015

...finishing New Look 2373 camisole top

 I finished the camisole top I started at the end of my dressmaking course, the idea for this was that it was a practice for making the dress from this pattern and hopefully a wearable garment as well.  I trimmed it with some vintage royal blue ric-rac that I brought from e-bay and I was very pleased with the vintage feel this gave to the top.  Sadly when I washed it the colour ran out of the ric-rac and ruined the top, I now know to look for colour fast on any vintage trims that I buy in the future and also to give them a little wash test before I sew them on.

I am glad that I made this as a practice as I made a number of errors.  Firstly I cut out a size 20 as my bust size fell between an 18 and a 20 so I went for the larger size, when I make the dress I will cut it at size 18,   I took at least a couple of inches out of the bodice while making it up but there are fitting issues and I had to bodge a little dart under the arm to try and bring in the top band and stop it gaping at the side.  I didn't follow the pattern at the beginning as I left my instructions at home and should have paid more attention as I feel the ill-fit could be due to me not having picked up on something early on.

On a more positive note I was pleased with the way the zip went in but I was a bit mean with the seam allowance so it was very slightly exposed when it was on and I am happy to report that I did not suffer with zip fear, I did have this page of my blog open to refer to and that was a great help.  It was my first go at making straps and I was happy with the way the came together, it was certainly a wearable garment.

I was lucky to get plenty of time to sew in the last couple of weeks but I don't feel that I put it to best use, I spent far too much time pinning on the next pieces and standing in front of my bedroom mirror to see how it looked.  I need to stop second guessing and just follow the instructions given and to just get on with it.

My next sewing project is going to be the same pattern but as a dress, this time I am going to take heed of all the markings on the pattern to avoid any underarm bodges, there will be less time spent  in front of the mirror and more time in front of my sewing machine!

What are you sewing at the moment? are you making anything for your holidays? Have you got any horrors stories of trims that have ruined your finished garments?