Love how an idea can evolve…

I started off with a plan to make another Trapeze top out of this black 5oz dress weight denim from Merchant and mills. Then I thought it might look nice with contrast sleeves. Which means reversing the fabric to show the lovely grey side. So I laid out the fabric and then wondered if I had enough fabric to make a dress with contrast sleeves instead? I didn’t quite have enough, but then I remembered I had some left over from previous makes (I’ve used this fabric quite a lot) and joy of joy I had enough for the sleeves and facing, Yay! I then thought about making it grey with the sleeves in black, so this is what I set out to do.

Once I’d put the dress part together I then thought I’d have a look and see what it might look like with grey sleeves. And I really liked it, i tried it with the black too but in the end decided to go with an all grey dress. And I’m so pleased I did as I think it looks quite smart. The grey side of this fabric is just gorgeous and I think I prefer it to the black. I don’t know if its meant to be reversible but thats the beauty of making your own clothes, you can do whatever you like…

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I’m loving the short sleeves.

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I think it looks pretty good with my necklace too. I have pretty much worn this necklace non-stop since making it :0)

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Not sure if it makes me look pregnant from the side in the pics (I can assure you I’m not), but I don’t think it does in real life.

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I will most probably wear it with jeans for the most part as my legs are not my best feature and they are very pale and pasty. I also think that worn with high heels it would look good for a party or wedding, with the right accessories.

I’m extremely happy with this dress and am also quite amazed at my thought process and how I got from making a black top to making a grey dress.

Being crafty…

I appear to have become allergic to silver necklaces, maybe. My neck is irritated by something and I’m trying to eliminate the things that I think may be causing it. And one of those things is silver necklaces. I miss wearing something round my neck and often a necklace can pull an outfit together. So the other morning before I’d even had my morning coffee I made myself a necklace from a bracelet a friend made me a few years back and I’ve never worn, I love the beads but the bracelet didn’t really fit right. I used leather string to put the beads on, in the hope that it wouldn’t irritate my neck and I’ve worn it quite a lot since making it and so far so good. No sign of irritation.

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I’m really happy with it and love how it pops against a black background. I love the length too. It works very well so far with all my tops.

Crepe Trapeze top…

Loving this crepe fabric, drapes so beautifully. Here it is in a simple black Trapeze top.

Bit of a bugger to work with as it frays like buggery.

The neck facing was a bit of a nightmare too actually. It kept wanting to roll back outside which was a pain in the arse. I gave it some thought and decided to top stitch round the neck and see if that helped.

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It did help but created its own problem. The fabric sort of gathered towards the left shoulder. Seems to look Ok and people don’t appear to notice unless I point it out (which I do). Definitely looks better worn than it does on Gertie.

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And here’s me wearing it for lunch with friends.

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To shorten or not to shorten…

That is the question? I decided to shorten this stripy top the other week, as I just felt it needed it. I felt something was not quite right with it as it was. Below is the before pic.

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And now the after

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I think I prefer it. Goes with two different styles of jeans now. I don’t know though there’s still something I’m not quite sure about with this top.

I pondered yesterday on whether to shorten the sleeves, so took this pic. Below is the pic with the sleeves turned up.

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I immediately thought I loved it, but sensibly took some photos before doing anything about it. And having compared them I think I’ll leave the sleeves longer, for now anyway.

Have you ever made anything that you keep revising? Have you regretted any revisions? I know I have.

Simple black crepe top…

Here’s another simple rectangle top. The fabric was £6 a metre and I bought 3 metres, so I shall be making more black crepe tops, but not necessarily rectangle ones.

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I have again incorporated the selvedge into the top. I think it makes a really nice neck line.

I have again incorporated the selvedge into the top. I think it makes a really nice neck line.

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I love it!

Back to basics…

I’ve gone back to my old tried and tested rectangle top. I have learnt so much since making my first top, that although this is a very basic shape and very easy to make, there has been a lot of thought that has gone into the making of this top.

The fabric is a viscose/crepe type, and its thicker than I imagine it is every time. I always think of it as being quite flimsy and delicate, and its really not. Handles really nicely. I bought this one a year ago but have been too scared to use it. I tried about 8 months ago but when I pinned the pattern to the fabric the fabric just moved all over the place. So I gave up and put it back in my fabric pile.

I wasn’t too sure how to use this fabric for a couple of reasons, one being that it was going to be tricky to pin a pattern to and cut it out, and the other being that the stripes didn’t run horizontally from selvedge to selvedge, but ran vertically. I did not want a stripe top with vertical stripes. So the fabric has sat there for best part of a year.

Now that I’ve started my little love affair with stripes I was ready to tackle this fabric again. I really can’t remember how much I bought but I do know it was 150cm wide, I think I only bought a metre but it might have been a metre and a half, and it wasn’t at all expensive. £4 a metre to be exact. I decided to fold it with the raw edge running down ,if that makes sense? So that the stripes would run horizontally. As the fabric has no stretch in it whatsoever this has worked out quite well.

It was much easier to cut out not having an actual pattern to cut round.

It took me a little while to remember exactly how I made these rectangle tops but I got there in the end. I decided to make this one a little wider than the ones I’ve made in the past, as I felt the fabric would probably drape quite nicely.

I aslo incorporated the selvedge into being part of the top and have used as a bit of design feature, I’m really happy with how it looks and think it works very well. And I have once again left the bottom edge un-hemmed and just zigzagged it.

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I had to be really careful with stripe matching at the sides. As this is such a large stripe I think it would have looked so bad if they had been mismatched. It took some time and effort but it paid off.

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So lovely not having a centre back seam to worry about.

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I love how it drapes.

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See what I mean about the selvedge. I particularly love that it ends with the navy colour. What do you think?

 

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This might not be everyones cup of tea, but I’m so happy with it and I love it. In my opinion its a very stylish tunic that will be perfect for evenings out or nice lunches with friends.

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So comfortable  and easy to wear, whats not to love?

I also love that I can make this style of top in just a few hours.

 

 

Definitely a theme here…

Stripes, yep, stripes are definitely my new favourite thing. And look at this gorgeous fabric. I bought it about 9 months ago, along with the stripy fabric from the last top I made. Both came from fabric godmother.co.uk.

Its the same Trapeze top pattern, and once again it was a fairly quick make as no seams to finish. This is why I love jersey. I thought it might be more of a problem than the last one as the fabric is a finer jersey and I thought it might misbehave a bit, but it didn’t. So I’m very happy about that.

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Can’t complain too much about the stripe matching. Always more luck than judgement.

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This side not quite as good.

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Back gone a little off half way up! Don’t know quite what is up with that.

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Quite like how the sleeve stripes line up with the body stripes.

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Lovely.

I’m sorry the modelling pics are so dark, but it was dark when I took them.

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I again just zig zagged the hem to finish.

Another lovely comfortable stripy to wear, me happy :0) This one is a very dark navy and a sort of off white/cream.

Yeah I know…

I said in January that I wasn’t going to make multiples of the same pattern but what can I tell ya? When I like something I like something and I want lots of it! So here comes a stripy Trapeze top in the most wonderful jersey fabric ever.

I remember also, saying back last year that I didn’t like working with jersey so just goes to show you can’t believe a damn thing I say! This jersey though was a dream with. Didn’t slip and slide all over the place and wasn’t floppy. It stayed where I put it and pining and sewing was so easy. I must get some more.

I’m rather pleased I have to say with the pattern matching on this top. Its not perfect by any stretch but is a damn sight better than the tartan.

Here come some pics…

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As you can see, I couldn’t fit the sleeve pattern piece in its entirety on the fabric, so I have shorter sleeves on this top. And I couldn’t fit the neck facing on the fabric either, luckily it wasn’t needed anyway.

Slightly mismatched stripes on this side.

Slightly mismatched stripes on this side.

But better on this side.

But better on this side.

Center back seam not too bad either.

Center back seam not too bad either.

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For the neck, I simply folded the edge over 1.5cm and top stitched down. Works really well. Nice neat finish.

Not so well matched shoulder seam.

Not so well matched shoulder seam.

Beautifully matched shoulder seam.

Beautifully matched shoulder seam.

I also top stitched down the shoulder seam allowances so they would lay flat.

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I zigzagged the hem edge again. This is proving to be quite a successful finishing technique.

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My favourite thing about this top is that it only took me 4 hours to complete. From cutting out the fabric to finishing the hem. And that my friend is the magic of jersey. No seam finishing and no need for neck facings make for a really speedy process. And its satisfying too.

I love this fabric. Its comfortable to wear and doesn’t need ironing after washing. What more can I say? What more can we want?

Just wanted to share my new hair do, and how I wore the top for a day out yesterday to London and afternoon tea.

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Emanuel Ungaro, if you will…

This is my most expensive fabric so far. Or it would have been if it hadn’t been in a sale. I bought this beautiful fabric online from joelandsonfabrics.com, in their winter sale. It was a bit of an impulse purchase, was either going to be a new bag or fabric, and as I apparently have enough bags (at least according to the Husband) I went for fabric. Cheaper than the bag would have been too. Anyway like I said bit of an impulse purchase and wasn’t too sure why I bought it when I was thinking about it later. Totally not my sort of thing really, floral and a sort of greenish/yellow colour! Sounds disgusting.

As it was the last remnant of a roll it was a fixed amount, luckily that was two metres. And I think about 140cm wide, so I knew I would have enough for a top or dress. Oh and its Emanuel Ungaro!

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It arrived in beautiful branded packaging, I like the nice touches like that.

Just look at that selvedge. Had to keep it as part of the dress.

Just look at that selvedge. Had to keep it as part of the dress.

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When it arrived I was at first a little non-plussed. I had decided I wanted to make a dress with it but then thought it might be a little too thin to work as a dress. I didn’t rush into making anything with it. I did however bung it in the wash so when I was ready I could get on with it.

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The colour in real life looks a little more gold and it’s got an almost metallic sheen to it, I can’t really describe it. The flowers are quite simply beautiful and appear almost photographic, the detail is quite stunning. I’m no expert but think they might be Camellias.

I decided to go for it and make it into another Trapeze dress (I know I know, I said I wasn’t going to keep making the same pattern but I can’t help it, I love the Trapeze and also I didn’t want to risk using a new pattern and possibly ruin the fabric, so there!). I have a wedding reception to go to soon and thought this would make a lovely dress to wear for that.

I nearly had a panic attack when it looked like I might not be able to squeeze the a Trapeze out of the two metres of fabric, don’t think it was quite as wide as I thought it was. However the Husband came in to find me looking quite distraught and came to my rescue and rearranged a couple of the pieces. I would have probably got there in end but you know he saved me from at least an hours worth of anxiety. Sometimes it does help to have another persons perspective.

It is a bit of a tight squeeze, but did fit.

It is a bit of a tight squeeze, but did fit.

I have to say this fabric was dream to work with. It behaved itself so well. And was quite simply delightful to handle. and because of that I nearly had it finished in a day, and I would have done if I hadn’t had to eat, although I suddenly became aware that the fabric was quite expensive and I was getting tired and setting in the sleeves is often where I unpick, and I really didn’t want to unpick. So I knew it was best to stop.

I picked it up again the next day, and as always took me bit longer than I anticipated mainly due to trying to work out how long I wanted the sleeves and the length of the dress. Once I had that sorted it was plain sailing.

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The above picture shows sleeve and dress length as yet undecided. I’m always a bit nervous of shortening, as once its gone its gone. I often end up erring on the side of caution and shortening things twice. However I am learning what length suits me best.

Here's a close up of the gorgeous flower detail.

Here’s a close up of the gorgeous flower detail.

Finished.

Finished.

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In the above picture you can just about see a white line running down the back centre seam. This was due entirely to me wanting to keep the lovely selvedge that said Emanuel Ungaro and have the words Haute Coutoure in something I’m wearing. The pattern has a 1.5 seam allowance and the selvedge was about 2cm wide, tired to accommodate that but as it was a tight fit getting all the pattern pieces to fit anyway well it didn’t work too well. I can live with it, I have too.

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The above picture is a fairly good representation of the colour.

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I have to say that another reason that I love the Trapeze pattern is, that its a nice loose shape and means I can eat and drink what I want without worrying about the bloat.

Very happy with the finished garment I have to say. Feels absolutely gorgeous to wear. Feels a little bit special :0)

I would totally recommend checking out joelandsonfabrics.com, they have some really beautiful fabrics. They even have Chanel Boucle if you fancy making yourself a Chanel jacket, but be warned the cheapest is £1,490 a metre! How terrified would you be to cut into that? Its fun to look around though at all the gorgeous stuff they have and dream.

 

 

 

Merchant & Mills sleeveless Trapeze…

What a F*****g nightmare! I do not exaggerate , I really don’t. Making this was, how shall I put it? Traumatic! I am not one to over dramatise but this really was one of the most mind boggling things I’ve ever made.

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It all started off innocently enough. All was going to plan. Cut out the fabric, put the front and back together.  Constructed the facing, attached it to the neck. Was thinking, I might have this finished today. And then BAM! I hit a major brick wall. The armholes OMG the armholes, more to the point the armholes facing. WTF!

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I started off OK, I pulled the facing outside and turned it over so right sides were facing each other. Started to pin in place pulling the inside out as I went, got to about half way up the armhole when it all started getting messy. And it was at this point that I decided that the good people of Merchant & Mills had lost their minds and missed out an entire section of instructions. It didn’t seem to matter what I did I could not get my garment to look like their illustration.

I can tell you now people, the air was pretty blue around me at this point, I was frustrated beyond belief. The Husband hearing my moans of despair came up to see what was wrong and when I explained, he had a look and tired to help. He couldn’t figure it out either. We were both convinced something was missing.

So I had to put it aside for a couple of days and wait till I could get to Rye and go see M&M in person. Which I did on the Monday. They were very helpful and assured me that they hadn’t missed anything out and that it was very common for people to get confused at this point. So that made me feel a bit better. Anyway the lovely lady pinned one half of the armhole for me and I watched intently as she did so. She said it really feels wrong and twisted whilst you’re doing it but it all works out in the end.

I couldn’t do anything till the next day. So finally I sat down to have another go. I stitched the side that was already pinned. And that takes some working out too. How best to place this deformed piece of cloth under the sewing machine? Once I figured out the best way for me to do it I started sewing. And let me tell you it still was not simple. I finished that half (oh and by the way I tacked it before sewing proper, just in case) and took a bash at pinning the other half. Trying to remember how she did it. Mine looked almost like hers. I tacked that side and then turned the facing to the inside. Hmmm, not quite right, nearly but not quite. It gets a bit messy at the shoulder seam. So I unpicked and had another go. Still not right. So I decide to have a go at the other armhole.

I will try and explain how its done.

What you do is, start by puling the bottom of the facing to the outside of  the garment and matching the seams so right side is facing right side, and then pin, then keep pulling the facing to the outside keeping the edges together and pin as you go. You do one half at a time. Now as you get to about half way up the arm hole things start to get very messy but persevere, keeping hold of the edge of the armhole facing and the armhole you just keep pinning and the garment gets more and more twisted, as you approach the shoulder seam you almost turn it inside out, but just at the shoulder keep pinning until you meet the seam. Now attempt to stitch, once you’ve done one half you do the next half in the same way. working up from the side seam to the shoulder seam. Apparently once done you turn it back through to the inside and voila a perfect armhole facing. At least thats how it should happen. Good luck!

There will  now follow some pictures in the hope that you get the gist of how horrible it is.

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You can’t really tell whats going on here, and I can’t really explain it.

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The bit sticking up is the shoulder seam.

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Thats a bit more shoulder seam. Clear as mud eh?

Once again The shoulder seam beat me. I just couldn’t get it to lay flat, looked horrible. In the end I unpicked about 3inches of the top of the shoulder and top stitched it down, very close to the edge.

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I think it works quite well and stopped me from completely giving up. I shan’t wear it when I go shopping in M&M as they might disapprove of my method.

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I’ve put the above picture in just to show what a difference a really good press makes to a finished garment. I am truly amazed that the armhole ended up looking so good. And it was all down to the magic of the iron. Above picture is pre-ironing, and below is after ironing.

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Ta dah!

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Looks all lovely and innocent now, but it truly was a monster!

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This is the inside of the garment. Look how well I’ve pattern matched it, right where nobody will ever see it…

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One of the main reasons I made the sleeveless version was to have something that would go under my scuba cardi/jacket thing. The sleeves are quite snug on it so sleeveless is best for it really. And it does fit under it beautifully.

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You can’t see it, but its there. Fitting very comfortably.

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Have to say I’m not overly keen on the sleeveless look on me. My arms are not very toned anymore and look a bit stubby I feel, but needs must and I’m going to wear it. It was a challenge I have to say and I nearly gave up. So glad I didn’t. And even though I didn’t end up doing it exactly as I was supposed to, it still works and looks good. I partly blame the fabric, it frayed terribly and was quite difficult to manipulate. So there!

I have to add and this is quite important, might be obvious but I didn’t work it out I was told. Do not attempt to do the armhole facings with the garment on a dressmakers dummy. Can’t be done, end of!

Will I make another, yes, but a dress next time. And I’ll try and find more appropriate fabric.