Archive | February, 2014

Following the grain.

20 Feb

Aaaah, wasn’t Sewing Bee so good?! I just can’t contain myself to wait for the next one, I’m practically bouncing off the walls here!

Whilst we’re waiting for some more sewing goodness from the profeshs at BBC2, here’s my contribution this week.


Miette take 2!

You guys knew this was happening. I just attend too many dinners/all you can eat buffets to not have at least 2 Miettes in my wardrobe. Infact, it’s my sister’s 16th this weekend so I’m definitely going to be in need of a Miette.

This one was made in a lovely linen from Britex fabrics. I say lovely- it’s linen so obviously it wrinkles like a bitch, but it was nice to work with at least and it has a really nice drape.

Speaking of which, I totally fucked up this skirt to begin with. The front panels are supposed to be cut on the bias, which I did with the first Miette but this time around I forgot to follow the grainlines 😳

Being the person I am and hate having to repeat things I thought eff it, let’s carry on and see what happens.


The end result is terrible- the front of the skirt just stuck out at almost a 90degree angle and gave me a pot belly.

Luckily, I had just enough fabric to recut the front panels. So I had to rip out the whole waistband- oh yeah, I really went the whole hog on this pot belly crusade-, then remove the front from the back which I’d already overlocked and restitch everything back in, basically starting the skirt again.

Knowing I had all of this to do I naturally put the skirt away for a couple of weeks because who wants to face that task?! But when it actually came down to it that all took me 20 minutes. Yeah.

So anyway, back on track with the proper construction, I changed a couple of things the second time around.

1. I graded the back panels down a little bit.

See in version 1 here

the back panel is creeping its way round to the front? I cut the largest size for my largest arse but actually my waist is nothing like that. As it’s a wrap skirt I thought that wouldn’t make too much difference but then the back panel comes too far round. I still wear the skirt, I’m not that bothered by it and it means I probably won’t flash my bits to anyone, but this time I graded it a little so the panel stays more in line.




2. Eliminate all top-stitching. Top-stitching definitely has its place but with such a bright red I really wanted the skirt to stand on its own and not be ‘brought down’ by top-stitching, I just felt it would detract from the skirt as a whole. So I slip/prick-stitched both the ends of the panels and the hem and I’m much happier with it that way.


I also trimmed the waist ties at the ends into little points. No idea why, I just felt like it.

I’d like to mention the grill while I’m here: you may have noticed in the last couple of posts (and in some more to come) there’s a grill behind the bench.

These gale force winds have strewn our barbecue all over the garden. It did have a cover on but of course no cover is going to stand up to something that lifted our umbrella up and out of the table, and so that’s why the grill’s there. I’ve been having to collect pieces of barbecue from all over the place! But evidently I missed the grill.  No sausages for us this summer!


Hetty’s here!

18 Feb

It’s half-term, it hasn’t rained for 6 hours and I’m watching Dexter’s laboratory, what a fantastic day!

To make it even better, The Great British Sewing Bee starts tonight!!!! I’m seriously pumped for it, I might even get in some popcorn!

In other news, since it hasn’t rained for 6 hours I decided to photograph some way overdue projects (as well as some new ones) so I’m happy to present



Yup, I tackled those sleeves like a boss and they’re much more flattering now. The left one is still tighter than the right one so either I have a particularly fat left arm or something went wrong but not so much I feel I need to reknit again again.


I lengthened it slightly: cropped cardigans work great for me because 99% of the time I wear dresses and it’s much more flattering to have one that sits at the waist, but my Agathas are just slightly too short.By the way the pattern was going I figured this would be the same length so I did either 1 or 2 more sets of the pattern (can’t remember because it was so long ago!) and I think it’s the perfect length. It’s not restricted just to dresses now and could equally be worn with skirts or trousers too.

All other construction was fairly straight forward- I’m pretty used to Andi’s patterns now and this one was super easy to remember so I didn’t even have to keep looking at my phone every 2 minutes. (Agatha was a bitch for that man. I remembered it eventually but sheesh. Talk about square eyes.)

I must also mention the buttonholes. My 2 Agathas do not have buttonholes. Both times I forgot to add them in and then could not be arsed to go back and add them. I don’t do cardigans up that often anyway so whatevs. This time  I totally remembered to knit in the buttonholes, all 7 of them, only to discover I only had 5 buttons. 😥


I bought these at Walthamstow, not for this particular project otherwise I definitely would’ve bought 7, but they were just so perfect I couldn’t see any other buttons taking their place. So I had to sew up 3 of the buttonholes and just sew on 4 (for balance due to the already-constructed buttonholes)

I honestly don’t know why I bothered with the buttonholes!

Regular readers will know that I constructed both the dress and the cardigan with the other in mind thanks to a pin on Pinterest. These two were always destined to be together. So imagine my reaction when Mark tells me  “I don’t like the cardigan with that dress. They don’t go.”


The Aurora Dress

8 Feb

Remember when I said I made the Best Dress Ever? Well I take it back. This is the Best Dress Ever. For reals this time.

I mean look at it. It’s super purple which is awesome enough anyway but it’s got freakin’ deer on it!!

I was hesitant at first to order the fabric (Michael Miller, Norwegian Woods if you’re wondering)- I loved it instantly but I wondered if it was a bit full on to make a whole dress from. I asked literally everybody I know what they thought and then said eff it and ordered it anyway. Maybe it is a bit much but I bloody love it!

The pattern is another adaptation of Simplicity 1803 (see here, here and here for other versions) I just can’t get enough! Despite the bastards trying to tell me I’m a size 20 and then make me bring it in by like 4 inches and the pockets which are designed to sit at the front (seriously, I say WTF to that every single time I make this dress) I do love the pattern.

I made my usual adjustments which were raise the scoop on the back neckline, put the pockets on the side and cut the front skirt as one piece as well as making a round neckline in which to add a collar!

I self-drafted the collar. I probably could have found a free collar pattern online easily but my Mac was dead and the charger was downstairs so obviously this was the easier alternative.

Mark and I just recently cleared out our bedroom- old clothes and stuff, and found a load of bedding from our old double bed. Of course I kept the sheets and that’s what I made the collar from! I think the colour is a perfect match, both for the dress and for …

…the ric-rac trim!

When I bought the sheets like 2 years ago I definitely didn’t consider the colour based on how well it would match the ric-rac on a future dress but it worked out perfectly!

Here’s the zip:

Is that ‘where?!’ I hear you cry?!

Exactly! The zip took me 1.25 episodes of Silent Witness to insert but I think it was totally worth it. I used the hand-picked zip method thanks to Tasia’s tutorial which is now becoming my method of choice. Looks neat, no faffing with the machine and easier to control.

A close up of the tiny prick stitches

And from the front

I tried really hard to make this dress look beautiful everywhere, with tiny little details so I did absolutely no top-stitching anywhere.

I tacked down the neck facing with tiny prick stitches on the outside and a slip-stitch through the facing. I did the same with the hem and the bias binding on the armholes. I think it’s made all the difference and just makes the whole thing look more polished.

It’s so comfortable. I feel like a superstar or something walking round in it because it sort of floats about and the fit is perfect for me. I’ve had issues before with the sleeves being too tight but I fixed it this time and there’s enough movement without bagginess.

Mark took these photos for me as I thought a proper dress deserved proper photos. We took them whilst we were dog-sitting for his Aunt and the sun finally decided to grace us with its presence. Of course the dogs wanted in on the action, so I feel they deserve a mention.

Miette take one.

2 Feb

Yep, I’m pre-empting. You’re probably aware that I’m not one for skirts. I quite like the idea of them, indeed they look lovely on other people, but they never really suited me.

I was tempted by Tilly’s Miette, but I was equally worried that I’d make it and never wear it. Then I won the pattern and a good fabric to make it from in the Stitcher’s Dream giveaway and decided to take the plunge.

I’m so glad I did!!!

Granted, it might make my hips look a bit bigger, something I really don’t need any more of, but it’s so comfortable, easy, versatile and even better, adjustable! This makes it the perfect skirt for wearing around Christmas, out to dinner, all you can eat buffets…. I’m sure Tilly didn’t create the skirt with all you can eat buffets in mind but it’s another selling point I think she should consider.

As I mentioned, it’s super easy! I think the whole thing took me a couple of hours, maybe 3 at a push, which included hand stitching the waistband.

Another awesome thing is that the back panel overlaps a lot. Very useful with these gales we’ve been having!

I think you can probably tell that I’m completely sold on this pattern! I’ve got two more Miettes planned, one of which the fabric is on order for (eeeee!) and will be whipped up as soon as it arrives 😀

This particular one is made from a cotton/linen blend from Backstitch in Amparo. My next version is going to be red linen. I’ve not worked with linen before- don’t like the idea of wrinkles- but the blend made it look less 80 years old and more 40 or 50. I can deal with middle age linen.

chinelo bally

Dressmaker| Author| Blogger| Freehand cutter

Sybil Q knits

going wherever yarn goes...

knit the hell out

More obsessed with each passing stitch.

The Sew Convert

This is my blessed life. Family. Sewing. Travel. A simple blog by a sewing convert.

Sew Busy Lizzy

she sews by the seashore...

Tanit-Isis Sews

because my fingers itch...

male pattern boldness

A blog about sewing, knitting and whatever else comes to mind

A Makeup & Beauty Blog - Lipglossiping

One girl's rants, reviews and ramblings on eclectic cosmetic discoveries and high-street hunting.

Handmade Jane

A blog about sewing, knitting and whatever else comes to mind

Rittles and Bittles

A blog about sewing, knitting and whatever else comes to mind

Frocks & Frou Frou

A blog about sewing, knitting and whatever else comes to mind

The Dressmaking Diaries

A blog about sewing, knitting and whatever else comes to mind

Gertie's New Blog for Better Sewing

A blog about sewing, knitting and whatever else comes to mind

Vixen Vintage

A blog about sewing, knitting and whatever else comes to mind

Tilly and the Buttons

A blog about sewing, knitting and whatever else comes to mind

Did You Make That?

Leading UK sewing blog where we believe creativity is contagious