Sunday, 27 June 2010

I want to add to my dressmaking knowledge

I am eagerly awaiting this book in the post. I wonder what these secrets will be. Mmmm.
I am also at the stage of needing to learn a little bit more about the dressmaking process. I can just about manage with simple patterns but I would like to move on a bit to the next stage, as it were.

Sewing Secrets from the Fashion Industry: Proven Methods to Help You Sew Like the Pros (Rodale Sewing Book)

Seeing as I am a full time student nurse I simply do not have time to do any courses. There is an amazing course at my local adult education that runs for a year at one evening a week but I just can't commit to it. So I have ordered this:

This four-DVD set is a must for seamsters in search of a perfect-fitting garment.

It was over £50 so I really hope I can get  a lot out of it. Does anyone else have this box set, if so have you found it useful? 

Also I'm getting to the stage of thinking about getting an overlocker. Does anyone have any advise for which to get for a beginner?

Wednesday, 23 June 2010

My Daughter's Burda 104

Hello again everyone! How's sewing going? Isn't it wonderful to be able to sew in peace with the windows and doors open and the sun blazing outside, especially after all that snow at the start of the year. Aah bliss.
Ok, I've managed, by some weird miracle to finish AND photograph this dress.


I really didn't think I would manage to make the dress look so, well, so un-home made. It just looks like a normal dress you might see in a shop, that is unless you looked inside. I don't have an overlocker and I'm still not at the stage of making the wrong side of the garment look neat and tidy. But the outside, that looks fine.

Just wanted to put in this quick post and will post again soon with my next project - something quick and good to take on holiday. Till then.. Oh by the way sorry about the location of my photos, the kitchen isn't that glamorous and certainly the dirty dishes in the sink aren't so appealing, I will try and choose a more scenic location for your viewing pleasure soon.

Monday, 21 June 2010

Catching up

It has been a while since I added anything to this blog. I have been reading everyone else's blogs avidly and with great interest and continue to find new blogs all the time to add to my collection of favourites...I just have to remember how to add them to my list on the side, I'm sure it will come to me.

There is so much amazing stuff being sewn on these blogs that I feel like a real newbie, lets face it I've only been sewing for a few months. However I have managed to make a couple of things during my blogging absence that I will photograph and add in due course, but right now I am making two first Burda patterns ever, at the same time no less. Firstly is this delightful dress;

We have chosen a red stretch sateen for the dress. It needs to be complete by this Friday as it is her prom to celebrate the end of secondary school. . I've been very worried about the whole process of tracing, cutting out and fitting the patterns, but I was courageous and did it. This dress had me sewing my first invisible zip which I had two attempts to get right, but I did get it right and it is as the name suggests - invisible. Pictures to follow

The dress on the model is quite loose I think, I cut out a snug fit on my daughter and have yet to attach the facing and straps. It sounds so simple and quick but everything takes me so long as I am learning with everything I do.

The other thing I'm working on is this lovely looking summery, airy top that I thought would look great with jeans;

It looks so simple, doesn't it and it is to many of you. When I started doing the shirring and bias binding I didn't produce the results I was hoping for, as you can see;

I simply did not realise how neat and precise the markings for the shirring needed to be. Before I did it I could not visualise what the Burda instruction where telling me to do so it was a bit hit and miss. I will rip it and do it again, the same with the bias binding on the neckline...what a disaster that was. Still I will keep learning as I go and maybe one day I will be sewing as some of you are.

A couple of posts ago I mentioned that I was making a Vogue dress. It is finished now and I have worn it several times since, it has proved to be a really convenient style to have in my wardrobe as I think it has a modern edge on the traditional dresses. I have been doing Lighter Life for a month now and have lost a stone in weight since these pictures were taken. I think I look rather large in them, in fact they were taken on the eve of starting my diet. So, I am bearing my soul here somewhat with these pictures but I'm sure soon I will be posting more flattering ones.


I will catch up on taking more photos of finished and unfinished projects and post them very soon. Promise not to leave it so long.


Sunday, 14 March 2010

Long silence

I am sorry I haven't posted for some time. I would love to portray myself as the serene housewife, living effortlessly as a wealthy and glamorous woman indulging in my hobby. Banging out one marvellous project after another. Perhaps even polishing my perfectly formed home every now and again.

Unfortunately my life does not quite follow that dream. My husband and I have had several fallings out since my last post and have agreed on a temporary separation just to sort ourselves out a bit. My boiler has packed up and we have very little hot water and no heating, thank God the weather isn't still freezing. My car also decided to expire, although it has now been fixed. So I have been rather distracted of late.

HOWEVER...I have recently started to rediscover myself a bit. I have enjoyed my own company and have spent some really wonderful times with my lovely girls, who are 13 and 16, just hanging out together and chatting and laughing. Today was mother's day and my daughters made the obligatory fuss of me all day. Also, I have had the pleasure of just hooking up with all my girlfriends and getting to chat with old friends whom I haven't spoken to for years. So, it's certainly not all bad.

BUT...I desperately need some sewing advice about a particular problem. I have almost finished my Vogue dress. It was huge so I have re-cut the pattern pieces to the next size down but for some reason the seam on one arm does not meet at the top by the armpit. I guess my hand must have slipped when cutting that piece and snipped off more at that part than I thought. Can anyone tell me how I can rectify this problem? In short the arm seams are fine until you reach the armpit, by which time they just meet without giving me any seam allowance for about an inch. How can I sew the seam all the way to the top?

Now, the boiler, the car, the husband I can stand..but THIS is causing me some concern!

All my love, until next time..with pictures, I promise.

Wednesday, 3 February 2010

Thank you Brian for sharing

I came across Brian's amazing blog ( evening and watched this you tube video with great amusement. I have to admit I found it funny because I can see an element of myself in the song and video. I finally had to admit that I am rather obsessed with this wonderful thing called sewing. Enjoy 'Craft Talk' ladies are something else.

Tuesday, 2 February 2010

Storage in the sewing space

If you have a beautiful large sewing room you are very lucky. Many ladies living in America often show pictures of their lovely roomy sewing rooms and I always feel admiration for their space. It must be great to just leave your work out when you have to stop working and then just shut the door on it, knowing it will be conveniently ready for you to continue upon your return.

I do not have a sewing room but have purloined our dining table for this purpose. However my supplies and fabrics are begining to multiply and spill out of the kitchen tupperware boxes I have found for them. Also because I sew in the conservatory the lighting is awful. New storage and a good light is key, I have my eye on a special day-light bulb light with a magnifying glass

That way when I'm seam ripping I can see what I'm doing.

I am currently doing a little course in 'sewing machine skills' at my local Adult Education Centre. It involves doing a series of samples that teach you how to use your sewing machine to it's full potential. Thought I would include a picture of us and at the centre and a picture of my sewing machine before moving on to pictures of some amazing handmade cupboards I found tucked away in the sewing room.

The Adult Education Centre is such an old building and the sewing room has been established for so long that there are so many really sturdy old pieces of furniture and storage hiding behind all sorts of things.

I would love to convince Steve, my husband, to make a me a cupboard like those, or perhaps to find something similar in a second had shop somewhere. Alternatively I saw on one of the many blogs I read a tall bookcase laying on it's side and used as a table for your sewing machine with plenty of storage underneath. I might be able to pick up a tall bookcase on Freecycle.

Even though I have taken over the dining room I would still like to make it into a nicer place to sew. Improve on the lighting and the storage. What's your sewing space like? What do you like best and what isn't working?

Sunday, 10 January 2010

Vogue 8529

Okay, onwards and upwards...

I bought a nice pattern yesterday, Vogue 8529. Steve, my husband, drove me to town and I had 2 hours to indulge myself in my local sewing supplies shop. I looked through all the patterns and strolled through the fabrics, feeling them and imagining which would suite various styles. I look forward to one day making garments with all of the fabrics I saw. Since I am attempting to sew myself some good basic pieces I thought this Vogue pattern would be a useful one to have, in this mole brown marle jersey fabric

This is a very plain and boring fabric and I think the dress will probably have to be well accessorised. This is something I am not accustomed to doing so while I am sewing it I will be thinking about which colours would go best with it as far as dressing it up goes.

Today was a sewing day. It was snowing and the family were in and out but I was lost in my new project.

My first hurdle was to decide which size to cut. I find this very hard to decifer from the measurements on the instructions sheet. So, to help me make a decision I traced off the front yoke and pinned it together and did a tissue fitting on myself and my dress form to see it is was too small/big.

It looked okay, so I cut a 16. I must admit, one of the best things I have invested in is a rotary cutter and mat, it makes such a difference to the accuracy of the cutting..much better than the hack job I did on the very first dress I cut, I knew straight away that my cutting needed to be improved and the rotary cutter was just the thing. Look at what a good job it does

No matter how good the cutting though, after pinning it all together to double check the sizing I found it was huge. I wondered around the kitchen wearing the pinned together dress which was falling off me and my husband watching me bemused. Well, I thing I will recut the pattern pieces to the next size down but making sure the skirt art of the dress isn't too tight. Here is a parting shot of my pinned together dress, the picture shows it's dark outside and I have the lights on - I've been sewing and pottering around all lovely.

Thursday, 7 January 2010

Hot Patterns 1090 dress DONE!

What do you think of my dress? I love it and can't wait to wear it to work as soon as the snow calms down a bit.

I must confess that the neck band, which is a self rib, was not as easy as all that. I pinned it on but didn't like to look of it, it kind of gathered the fabric and just sat there in an ungainly fashion - it looked awful. I mulled the problem over for a few days, hence the lateness of my post, and decided to take 2cm off it's depth, so that I could manage it easier as I sewed it on. Another reason for doing this is to open the neck up a bit so that I could show off the lovely jewelery my husband gave me for Christmas.

This is a picture of the finished result. The neckband looks good, flat and unobtrusive. I cut a large chunk off it and quartered it as Judy recommends and just sewed it. I figured I could always rip it if it didn't work...but it did work.

I can't believe that I did it!! Once it was pressed it looked great

What a great way to start the year. I have cleared a sewing space in my conservatory which we normally use as a dining room. It was great to spend the entire day listening to the radio and podcasts an simply allow myself to become totally absorbed in the process of making this dress. All the way through I was thinking about how I would style the dress and where I could wear it. I will post some more pictures of me in it. A bonus it that I finally cut a size 16 not 18 and it fits very much better than anything I could buy on the highstreet.

I am hungry for more patterns to continue my wonderful, exciting sewing journey.