Archive | June, 2014

Prom dress is finally out of my life!

27 Jun

A couple of months ago I mentioned that I was making my sister’s prom dress.

When I first offered it seemed like a nice idea- she could have something handmade, I’d have the chance to work on a big project and do something different. I quickly realised that actually this was a very stupid offer to make.

1. She wanted something made from chiffon. I dislike chiffon.

2. She wanted cut outs on the sides and an open back- 2 things I’ve never done before.

3. She wanted beading-   long.


Actually, the cutting and sewing process was fairly straight forward. Surprisingly, the first fitting was pretty close and I only had to make a couple of tweaks like pulling in the side seams and adjusting the zip.

The major problem came with the fact that my sister is tall. She sent me her height measurement which I set on my dress form and then added a few inches for the kitten heels she said she was wearing.

Everything plodded on, I did all the beading (more on that later) and then got her round to try on the dress with shoes so I could mark the hem.

She wore 6″ wedge heels people.

Who does that?!!!! She did this to me TWO DAYS BEFORE THE PROM!!!!

She also went back to her swimming training so she lost weight round her waist which was impossible to take in since I’d already beaded it and put on muscle on her shoulders so it took us about half an hour to get her in it.

I can honestly say this has been the most stressful week of my life. I had to order more fabric, pray it turned up in time and then attach an extra strip of fabric and hem it in the 2 hours I had between finishing work and her going to prom. It was the worst hem I’ve ever done. Ever. I had planned to take my time and do a rolled hem but that was just an impossibility and since there was 3 metres of hem I couldn’t even pin it before stitching, I just had to fold and stitch all in one go.




She’s pulling a stupid face because she’s annoyed at me for taking 14697465902927 photos of her and her friends had just turned up. I’m just not cool enough…

So a bit about the dress:

I drafted the pattern. I spent ages looking for something similar but there was just nothing so I spent about 3 hours draping on my dress form. The main fabric is a burgundy chiffon from eBay and the lining is a really cheap (£1.45 p/m!) polyester ‘satin’ which felt really gross at first but I washed it in vinegar and tumble-dryed it (I’m getting good at that now!) and it felt lovely and smooth and soft afterwards.

There are 3 different fastenings on this dress: 2 invisible zips down the side and then 3 hooks on the shoulder. I can safely say invisible zips in chiffon are not fun.


I was really excited about doing the beading part-that lasted about 5 minutes. I used silver and burgundy bugle beads, burgundy seed beads and strips of cerise and silver sequins and once I’d got 2 rows down I got fed up. My God that shit is boring.

Knitting is long- it takes me about 40 hours per cardigan- but I can watch tele at the same time. Beading takes all of your concentration and is just so mind-numbingly dull.

For anyone that’s interested; I couched them. That basically means threading a few beads ( I usually did about 5 or 6) and sewing that row down and then threading it back through the last bead. Thank goodness I did that because thanks to her new beefed-up shoulders we did pull some beads off. But only 5 or 6 instead of a whole row because of the way they were sewn on.

I don’t know if she was particularly happy with her dress. I’m not very happy with it to be honest- I’ve told her for her Year 13 prom I’m only doing it if she wants something simple and poofy!



Denim Kelly

22 Jun

Denim skirts have been out of my wardrobe for a long time. Skirts in general were out of my wardrobe for a long time, but with my goal of trying to increase my skirt-robe (that’s skirt+wardrobe don’t ya know) I figured a casual skirt would be necessary and give me a chance to work with denim.



If you’re sick of hearing about the giveaway then look away now. Would you believe that it’s lasted this long? I’ve still got a voucher to spend!!

I got this denim from as part of THE Giveaway. A little bit risky as it was bought unseen but mostly it’s fine. The colour is exactly what I wanted but it’s a bit stretchy which I didn’t know.

It was so stiff though! Like, the stuff didn’t even move, ever. I washed that shit 3 or 4 times in vinegar and then tumble dried it to get some movement in it- I had to follow internet directions for how to vintageify stuff ‘for that washed-out, worn look’. But finally I had a usable fabric!



Sewing with denim is actually not as big a deal as I thought it would be. I used a denim needle and it went through no problem- no breakage here. It’s a little more difficult to press, but that was about the biggest difference.

Everything else I did pretty much the same as my first Kelly except I topstitched all the seams here for that proper denim look. I’m actually pretty pleased with how they turned out, not too much wobbliness going on.





Because denim and zebras go together. Obvs.

(Look at my t-shirt if you don’t believe me. Zebras4life.)

My husband said it was ridiculous having polka dot zebra pockets in a denim skirt. I told him he was ridiculous and did it anyway.

I even used hammer-in denim buttons- and I used lots of them. In my first Kelly I realised that the buttons were spaced too far apart for me. Maybe it’s because I work in a school but I’m always conscious that there’s a gap between the buttons so I added in an extra one or two for this skirt.



I’m not 100% happy with it though. I mentioned this issue in my first Kelly post but I think this shape is not a good look for me. It’s funny because somebody I’d never met before actually said to me ‘where did you get your skirt? I love the shape of it’ but I feel a bit conscious in it and I’m always trying to adjust the pleats. I think I would have been happier in a normal A-line skirt.  I do have some denim left over, probably enough to squeeze an A-line skirt from. So even though I’ll have gone from 0-2 denim skirts in a few weeks I might do it, in the name of science.


More coral: enter Saltspring

18 Jun

You’ve already had a sneak peek at this with my Me-Made-May posts but I figure my first toe dip into Sewaholic patterns is worthy of a full on post!


Yep, I’ve finally joined the Sewaholic club. I bought Saltspring, Cambie and Thurlow with a voucher from none other than The Giveaway(!)

but didn’t open them for at least 2 months.

All the ideas I came up with for Saltspring were too Autumnal. I’m definitely going to make them but it seemed silly to spend Spring’s fabric budget on coppers, red and burnt oranges and then not wear it. Usually my clothes are non-seasonal, I wear the same stuff all year round, but something about orange just says Autumn to me and that’s that.

Staying pretty close to the orange theme however, coral is definitely a spring colour! And since I’ve already worked up so much other coral why not add a little more!Actually, the Miette and Saltspring were designed for each other but still- coral frenzy!

Anyway, I ‘bought’ the fabric (another giveaway prize) from Minerva- it’s a lovely tiny floral print polycotton- and immediately thought Saltspring.


Despite never having done an elastic waist or rouleau straps before I found this pretty straight forward. The in-packet directions are clearly illustrated and succinctly explained without skimming over really important parts (like adding a zip, Simplicity!)

Well I say that, I actually found that despite the trouble I took to install a zip in this dress I don’t actually need it! Still, it’s nice to know that Tasia is aware she’s designed a dress with a zip in it and thus has provided instructions for it.

For the couple of bits I wasn’t 100% sure on, and they really were minor, silly things, the sew-along/tutorial was there to hold my hand.


Next time (yes, I do have more planned already!) I’m going to do an FBA. I thought, given the blousiness, I could skip this step but it pulls a little and tries to pull the blousy bit back up which kind of  defeats the magic behind the Saltspring dress! I’ll also shorten the straps (so much flappage!)  and probably won’t bother with a zip.

Overall I’m very happy with this pattern and it inspired me to immediately get cracking on Cambie. I’m putting off the Thurlows a little as I’ve never done trousers before. I know Lauren’s sew along will hold my hand but I’m worried they won’t even resemble an article of clothing, let alone trousers!

Coral Crazy

9 Jun

Disclaimer: this dress is a year old already 😮


I’m sure you guys know that I have difficulty photographing things. 1 is the weather and 2 is my laziness.

I had a post written up and ready to be published for this dress, I was just waiting on the photos. Alas it didn’t happen and now we’re right back round to summer again!

The good thing is, when you write about something you’ve just made you have no idea on its wearability, really. I can tell you that this dress has been worn to death. Through the winter it’s great to liven up a miserable day (who said you should stick to ‘winter colours’ in December?!) and in the summer it’s so breathable and floaty, more than anything else I own, so I just wear it all the time. I think really what I’m saying is I need to make more summer dresses- right?

The fabric is from Fabricland which I bought for £2.50 a metre.  £2.50!! I had no idea what I was going to do with it but I love textured fabric so I just ordered it.

Eventually I decided to go with a bow back dress. I used Simplicity 1803 (again!!) and then just drafted a bow like I did for my Hen Do Dress

I lined the bodice in a peach-y cotton I already had but I didn’t have enough to line the skirt. Big whoopsie- it’s quite see-through. I can’t wear this without tights/leggings which is a shame because it’s quite a summery dress. I’ll have to make myself a slip.

Unfortunately, over time, the bow has become a sad droopy thing. The fabric is quite thin so I should’ve interfaced it really so it retained some of its poof. I’ve still got some of this fabric left so I could, theoretically, make another bow but I really can’t be arsed with that.

The good news is I now own a complete coral outfit.

Too much?


Miette: the Cardigan.

4 Jun

If from this post you guessed that I was knitting Andi Satterlund’s Miette then you were correct!

Regular readers will know that I love, love, love Andi’s patterns. Of all the garments I’ve knitted, only 2 have not been Andi’s. However, I never really considered Miette.

I saw Agatha and started knitting it that day. I even knit Chuck pretty promptly despite not wearing jumpers but Miette just never grabbed my attention. Perhaps it’s because I enjoy things that change constantly (like the cables and lacework in the above patterns) so the idea of knitting an almost solid cardigan seemed kind of dull.

Guys, I was so wrong! I love this cardigan so much!

The bust darts are amazing. I did an extra repeat of the section before the dart so it was a little bigger and it fits perfectly. I knit the 42″ bust and it didn’t take that long to knit, even in DK- I think a few weeks? Despite me thinking it would be boring to knit all of that plain section it really wasn’t, there’s always something going on or to look forward to because there’s at least lace work at each end and often shaping in the middle too.

I used James C Brett’s Top Value DK on 5mm needles to knit this. I bought 3 balls but only needed 1.5 so with buttons included (which were on sale!) this cardigan cost me about £4. I told you I wasn’t a yarn snob- this cardigan is soft and cosy and fits perfectly. It’s also made entirely from acrylic so it’s hardwearing too!

The simple lace design around the edges is beautiful. I’m adjusting myself in this photo but I think you can see the detail!

The more observant among you may have noticed  large flaw- I am missing the top button. I could’ve sworn the pattern needed 7 buttons so I happily asked for 7 at the counter only to find I had 8 buttonholes when I got home. I’m going to go back and see if I can get another but if not then I’ll leave it. I love the buttons too much and I never do cardigans up anyway- just why did this have to happen again?!

In my baby cardigan post I mentioned a style of knitting I hadn’t come across before by provisionally knitting the sleeves and top all in one and then putting the sleeve stitches on hold. I thoroughly enjoyed knitting in that style and just by chance this pattern used the same method! It’s a very comfortable fit, (almost) cured the second sleeve syndrome and didn’t require picking up a certain number of stitches in the armhole (which I can never seem to get right 1st time- is there some magic math to this?!)

I’ve definitely got plans for more of these- I need a red cardigan so even though I’d totally be copying Andi’s I’ll probably do it…



Me-Made-May weeks 3 & 4

1 Jun

It’s been tough the last couple of weeks. I just came back from holiday and in my endeavour to wear ALL of my clothes on holiday I wore barely any the week before. Me-made that is, I still wore clothes.

Plus, taking pictures of myself is getting SUPER BORING. I figured for the week I was on holiday I’d have loads of pictures of myself but turns out the weather was pretty pants so I lived in my rain mac all week.


Sunday 18/5/14


Dress: Green Cambie (unblogged)

I swear, I do actually enjoy knitting.


Wednesday 21/5/14


Dress: Stripey Knit Dress

Belt: Primark


Thursday 22/5/14


Top: Primark

Skirt: Denim Kelly (unblogged)


Sunday 25/5/14


Jacket: New Look

Dress: Green Cambie

Belt: Primark

Monday 26/5/14


Dress: Coral Simplicity 1803 (unblogged)

You may be wondering what on Earth I’m doing.

Well this was the first day of holiday- we went to Great Yarmouth and on the way there stopped off in Norwich for a bit of sight-seeing.

We found a yarn fair!!!!



There was pretty much every type of wool from sheep, to Alpaca to pony, camel and even dog hair wool!IMG_7342


The best part was I got to have a go at spinning my own yarn!


(Don’t worry- she did actually have a head but I didn’t tell her I was going to put a picture of her on my blog so I rubbed it out 😉 )

So the first picture was me demonstrating my yarn- which was quite terribly spun and had thick and thin parts. But I’m still dead proud!

Tuesday 27/5/14


Dress: Polka Dot Skater (unblogged)

Belt: Primark


Wednesday 28/5/14


Difficult to see but it’s pretty much the same combo as Thursday 22nd

Skirt: Denim Kelly

Top: Primark

Cardigan: Primark

Shoes: Wellington Bowl

Thursday 29/5/14


The milkshakes in Great Yarmouth are absolutely bloody amazing. This one is chocolate hobnob flavour. Probably the worst one but look how epic it still is.

Dress: Aurora Dress

Cardigan: Primark

Belt: Primark

Friday 30/5/14


Best day ever!

Dress: Saltspring (unblogged)

Cardigan: Primark

We went to Banham Zoo which is absolutely fantastic. I got to feed some goats and they went a bit cray



Me-Made-May has been harder than I thought!

Wearing me-made clothes is not the challenge. The main challenge was taking photographs of myself every day. The other thing is trying not to repeat clothing too much- it’s pretty boring for you guys to look at the same photos for a month.

However, it’s taught me a lot about gaps in my wardrobe and the way I dress. I definitely need to make more tops, I knew this already but I don’t even own many tops so I wear the same ones constantly. I also need to make more in the way of accessories- knitted belts could add texture too but I don’t think it would be too hard to make some leather ones either.

I also need more cardigans (I’m always working on that one!) and since I pretty much lived in my mac for the week I’ve decided to have a go at Sewaholic’s Robson at some point.


I’m glad I took part because I have much clearer sewing goals now but I’m also glad to be done with photographing myself!

Did you succeed in your MMM14 challenge?

chinelo bally

Dressmaker| Author| Blogger| Freehand cutter

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