Tag Archives: dressmaking

Outfit Along Outfit Take 2!

4 Aug

Woah, guys, it’s been like a year! I’m not going to do a massive lengthy ‘sorry I’ve been gone’ post- I got a job as a teacher, I think that says it all. I have now quit said teacher job so life can resume as normal! In the year I was teaching I sewed a total of one dress and knitted some socks- that’s it! Teaching is time consuming.

So, on with the show!

This year I entered the Outfit Along again. Here’s last year’s entry (which was only like 3 posts ago!) If you need reminding or are thinking what the bloody hell is an Outfit Along then the idea is to knit a piece and sew a piece which can be worn together-an ‘outfit’ if you will.

I purchased the yarn for an apple green Hetty a long time ago but no knitting was happening so it sat and sat. This seemed like the perfect opportunity to use it. Finding fabric, however, was another kettle of fish. I had almost finished the cardigan by the end of June but still hadn’t ordered any fabric! I found this one on eBay and wasn’t in love with it but had nothing better so ordered it anyway. When it came I liked it even less so I put it off until the deadline day and sewed the whole thing just before cutoff.

Since I hadn’t sewn in ages I returned to the good ole Simplicity 1803. Unfortunately(?) I think I’ve lost a bit of weight since I last sewed it up so the bodice is a bit baggy which means this week will be filled with muslin-y goodness. (Did I really just say muslin-y goodness? Since when has making a muslin been fun?!) Other than that though it’s cotton lawn so it’s lovely and light which is perfect for summer and it floats around my legs nicely. Despite not initially liking the fabric, now it’s been sewn I love it!

Unfortunately I can’t count so I screwed up my button placement and have to redo them but it ain’t happening any time soon- I’ve got too much to catch up on!

Did anyone else join in the OAL?

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Tania Dress

12 Sep

Aaaaaaahhhh! It’s Friday. I’ve just finished a whole week at my new job and I got to come home early. Life is sweeeeeeeet!

And also stressful. New job=stress. But we’ll stick with life being sweet.

Today’s post brings what seems to be the last of my summer makes.

I hadn’t planned it that way- I didn’t think ‘it’s officially Autumn now, no more bright florals’; naturally my crafting seems to have taken me in a different print and colour direction but we’re going out on an absolute sizzler I tell thee.

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Just look how summery it is! Sleeveless, bright yellow and florals to boot. You can’t get more August than that.

‘But doesn’t all that skirt get blown up in the August breeze?’

No.

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!!!

It’s blooming shorts! Well, culottes to be precise.

Yup, these are the Tania culottes from Megan Nielsen, slightly modified from the original of course.

I don’t know about you, and possibly this is TMI, but sweaty thighs are just gross. I do not like the feel of them touching each other and shorts look atrocious on me. Thus far I’ve had to suffer through the summers with leggings or tights on. The first time I met my Brother in Law’s new girlfriend I was wearing tights- it was the second hottest day of the year. * I’m pretty sure she thought I was a mentalist.

So I thought and I thought. And then I remembered that I had a skirt/short thing at Brownies. Now what was that called? Ah yes, culottes. And didn’t Megan Nielsen release a culottes pattern? Yes she did. Available for PDF download? Fantastic. Get on it instantly.

Of course, my first pair of culottes were an absolute disaster. The fabric choice was awful- far too drapey and it made me look like I was wearing a sack.

I had another go with a gorgeous cotton lawn (which was the right amount of drapiness by the way if you’re looking to make these) but I only had 1 metre of 42″ wide fabric and couldn’t get them out long enough. Sure, they’re technically wearable but I don’t like showing off my underbutt.

3rd attempt, no wearable pair of culottes and I decided to make a dress instead.

And thank goodness it paid off.

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So twirly!!

I lengthened these quite a bit. Not only am I not a fan of the underbutt, I don’t like have my thighs out on show either so I added about 6 inches to the length. I thought about adding length at the top of the waist too, to account for the waistband which I’d taken out but when it came to cutting I completely forgot. Luckily, the fabric had quite a bit of give to it so I didn’t look like Miley Cyrus for too long

Yeesh.

The whole thing went together really quickly. The culottes have just 4 pieces that are nearly identical, which I sewed to a bodice of Simplicity 1803 which I’ve made so many times now that it’s a really quick make.

The fabric is this gorgeous rayon I got from a company on Amazon called IndianBeautifulArt

I don’t work for them, this isn’t an affiliate link or anything like that, I’m just always very happy to share when I’m pleased with something.

The quality of the fabric is brilliant, the price is decent and, considering it’s shipping from India, the shipping is incredible. It came in 4 days over the weekend, from India!!

The patterns can be a bit hit and miss so there’s not always something on there that I like but quite frankly that’s a good thing or else I’d be broke!

Hemming this thing was a pain in the arse. I wanted to wear it that evening to a work’s dinner but the sensible me decided it would be a good idea to let it hang since the hem’s on the bias. I mean, it was a good idea- I had to chop a load of fabric off- but still, I like instant gratification!

Despite that, I’m definitely going to make more. This particular version hasn’t got pockets, but I’m going to add them to future makes and it will be the most practical dress in the Universe.

Oh, and I know I said this was an end of summer dress but look what I discovered

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Turns out it looks fab with tights too. Win win.

*Not factual information but all days feel hot when you’re wearing tights in the summer.

You’ve got it Sweetcakes

11 Aug

In my last post I mentioned that my new job was taking up all my time. That was definitely a factor, however I couldn’t really do any practical sewing because I was making this

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I think I look a little too happy to be an evil sea-witch.

Yup, that’s me dressed as Ursula from Disney’s The Little Mermaid.

I should point out that I didn’t just do this for fun, although it was fun. Mark’s Aunt turned (shhhh, 50) and so had a very grown-up Disney fancy dress party. It was freaking awesome.

She planned it a year in advance but, in true Makesphere style, I didn’t start working on my costume until about a month before the event. It took me about 10 months to figure out who I wanted to be. Have you any idea how many Disney characters there are? So many! And I wanted to be someone cool, I didn’t want to go as Cinderella or something. (For you Cinderella fans- she definitely has her place, she’s just not me!)

Then it finally hit me. As a child, ‘The Little Mermaid’ was one of my favourite films- my Mum and I would always say  ‘You’ve got it sweetcakes’ to each other and going as an evil sea-witch is pretty bad-ass and much cooler than Cinderella (again, sorry! I just want to be bad-ass for once!)

I ordered my wig from eBay but everything else was home made. I didn’t wear any shoes so that’s 100% true!

I kind of wish I took pictures as I went along but I was seriously pressed for time. I was even sewing eel teeth on 3 hours before the party started!

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You guys know how I’m not accurate with stuff so I just eyeballed everything. I did use a combination of Simplicty 1803 and Cambie to create the bodice. I did two of these,  stitched them at the top, flipped it over and then stitched either side of the princess seams to create a channel for my boning. Yes! I used boning for the first time and I reckon it turned out alright. I did two down my boobs and two at the sides and it stayed up all night! Even through some rigorous dancing.

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The skirt was easy- it was just two rectangles that I gathered and stitched together at the sides. As soon as I’d cut my remaining fabric in half I wondered why on Earth I’d bothered- I could have just left it as one rectangle!

The tentacles were a little bit trickier. Again, I eyeballed them. I didn’t even create a pattern so that they all looked the same, such is my disregard for any sewing Gods. I just cut a purple and a black piece rectangle of fabric, placed them right sides together and sort of stitched towards creating a point. Then I stuffed them and put in some garden wire for bendability. I did this so I could curl the tentacles upwards and tack them back on themselves so you could see the nice sucker-y purple ness underneath, except I totally forgot so all of my battle with the garden wire was kind of a waste of time!

Mark and I then had great fun cutting out hundreds of circles for the suckers which I hot glue gunned onto the tentacles before stitching them, the skirt and the bodice altogether. FYI- this thing required nearly 2 kilos of stuffing so you can imagine how heavy it was!

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I decided pretty early on that I absolutely must have a Flotsam and Jetsam. They were pretty simple- again just eyeballed. I concertina-d some fabric for the fins to give that nice frilly, fin-like effect and then embroidered through all the layers to create the mouth. They, again, had wire to hold their shape around me. The eyes, teeth and eyebrows are felt. AND I even stuck true to the film and gave them odd eyes 😀

Finally, I made the shell necklace from salt dough and black yarn. We painted it yellow but it turned purple within about 20 minutes as all my face paint sweated off onto it (ewwwwwww!)

Speaking of which, that face paint soaked into my skin! For days after people kept telling me I’d caught the sun 😳

That was a bit of bonding with the Sister-in-law too as she painted my armpit. Never, ever thought my sister-in-law would paint my armpit purple.

 

Incase you’re wondering, Mark went as Lampwick from Pinocchio. You know, the guy that turned into a donkey? The guy that looks like this?

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(That’s me, trying my very best to do an evil face but on the very verge of peeing myself laughing)

And finally, who ever though Ursula was originally from the West?

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(Nearly) everyone’s costumes were fantastic. Everyone put in a ton of effort (except for the one family that didn’t dress up at all. WTF?!) and there were characters from all kinds of Disney films. My sister-in-law looked fantastic as Russell from UP!, we had Peter Pan, Robin Hood (the fox version!), Winnie the Pooh, Aladdin, Anna from Frozen, Buzz Lightyear, Quasimodo….. the list could go on.

Next up, we have a 70s fancy dress to go to. Silver glitter and afros here we come!

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.

 

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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.

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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!

 

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!

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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.

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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.

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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 😮

Whoops.

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?

 

Hollywood Sewalong- part 3

13 May

I’m extremely sorry I didn’t manage to post for the actual reveal date- I did think death was upon me.

I know I should have been more organised but read through the whole post and then you’ll see why this didn’t happen!

So, if we recap, my original plan was going to be based on the purple dress

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I went for Butterick B5030, a wrap dress and I chose a purple silk-backed crepe to make it from.

Worst. Decision. Ever.

 

Which one? All of them.

This whole thing has been a headache from start to finish. Really I should’ve scrapped the plan ages ago instead of pushing on through. If I’m honest, I would definitely have chucked this in the bin if I didn’t have the sew along to make me persevere.

Why was it such a ball ache?

I cut the largest size which should have been big enough to cover my boobs. The skirt should have been more than big enough but a little extra coverage wouldn’t have mattered so I didn’t do any grading.

The largest size did not fit and neither did the skirt. Seeing as my waist is 32″ and it was designed for 34″ and commercial patterns usually give plenty of ease I don’t know what the fuck happened there. I could get it round my waist, sure, but the result was something akin to Iggy Azalea

 

Not exactly the look I was going for.

I redrafted the bodice with an FBA, cut this out of the skirt pieces from the first draft and ordered more fabric for a new skirt.

Cut out the whole thing again

 

and the bodice was too big.

 

WHAT THE ACTUAL FUCK?!!!

The skirt actually was fine so out of my remaining scraps I cut out the bodice again just slightly bigger than the original pattern.

Then I had a huge gape at the front.

I decided that was acceptable at this stage and I could add another closure to take out some of the gape so I carried on.

Stitched the skirt to the bodice, fine and then lost the sleeves.

I had very, very, little fabric left and didn’t want to waste another penny on this piece of shit. I cut some sleeves out of old bodice variations (good job I don’t empty my bin often!!) and sewed them in.

So far, it was looking like this might shape up to be ok after all.

Then I came to hemming it. That was a bloody nightmare. The bottom of the skirt is bigger than the bit above it so I had to gather the skirt up to hem it. That’s kind of fine I guess, not ideal but I’ve done it in a couple of other skirts, except I had to gather this one so much you can see it through the other side and it looks awful. In addition to that, even though I measure from the waistline all the way round, the front edges hang slightly lower than the rest so you can see the underlay through the bottom.

Hemming the sleeves also incurred the same problem.

At this point I want to burn it.

I took pictures because I feel like you deserve to see this monstrosity but it’s not finished- 1 sleeve is unfinished, there’s no neck facing, I didn’t bother adding closures (pinned for photos) and the hem looks like crap but here we go:

 

FYI, that’s a forced smile. I hate this dress. So much. I might give it to the rats as bedding.

 

Luckily, the other participants have made some lovely things, and they posted on time, so go check them out!

Amy at SewsnBows

Charlie at This Blog is Not for You

Hannah at Made With Hugs and Kisses

If you took part in the sew along please leave your blog address or  link to your pictures- I’d love to see what people have achieved 😀

 

 

chinelo bally

Dressmaker| Author| Blogger| Freehand cutter

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