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.

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.

 

 

 

Worlds most boring Party dress…

But its exactly what I wanted and I love it. I used the Trapeze pattern (again), shortened the sleeves a little, but otherwise its the same as the others.  And instead of doing a proper hem on the bottom I just zigzagged the edge. It was going to be a real pain in the arse to do a proper hem with the fabric I was using, which was a beautiful black crepe from fabric godmother.co.uk.

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Could possibly get away with being shorter, but maybe next year I’ll shorten it.

The fabric turned out to be really nice to sew with, I was pleasantly surprised. My main problem with it is that the facing at the neckline shows through from the underneath. Not a major concern but bugs me a little. Otherwise a lovely stress free make.

PART II

The length was really bothering me. I finished this dress 2 weeks ago and blogged about it pretty much soon after (but hadn’t yet posted it). I mulled over it for a week and finally decided to cut off 1.5 inches. And now its fabulous, in my eyes anyway. Its probably still a little boring in some peoples eyes but its a great backdrop for a statement necklace.

I would like some more of this fabric and would like to try the sleeveless version. Maybe next year…

Love the way its hanging here. The fabric has a lovely weight to it which makes the dress hang beautifully.

Love the way its hanging here. The fabric has a lovely weight to it which makes the dress hang beautifully.

Without necklace...

Without necklace…

With long necklace...

With long necklace…

With vintage beads...

With vintage beads…

Haven’t yet decided which necklace to wear. Probably make that decision two minutes before going out the door!

 I think I like it better without tights.

I think I like it better without tights.

I apologise once again for the quality of the pictures. Black is really hard to photograph well. Also I’m afraid most of the pics were taken in the evening and the ones that weren’t were taken on a really gloomy day. It really does look better in person.

Another Trapeze…

Love love love this one. 8oz washed denim from Merchant and Mills.

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Not much to say, went together beautifully again, just have trouble getting the sleeves in smoothly but still looks good slightly puffy. hangs and drapes wonderfully in the denim, a little softer than the canvas.

Just adding a mod pic for reference. Cropped head out as had major bed head hair! I usually  start sewing before I make myself presentable.

Just adding a mod pic for reference. Cropped head out as had major bed head hair! I usually start sewing before I make myself presentable.

Who doesn’t love a TRAPEZE artist…

Or dress for that matter?

After the disappointment of the Top 64 I decided I was going to make the Merchant & Mills Trapeze dress, properly. I bought this pattern in the pre-cut cardboard, size 10, about 2 years ago, when I first started sewing as I thought it looked nice and easy. And after getting it home and reading the instructions I realised it was far from easy, got scared and put it away. And then I made a simpler version of it (although I don’t think I can remember how I did it).

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Now, more than 2 years later i’m finally ready to give it a proper go. I’m using the cotton canvas I originally bought for the Top 64, I think it might be a little thick for it, but I just have to use it, I have a feeling it will work.

The pattern pieces laid out. I had to put the back on upside down to fit. Yes it does mean the nap on the back runs different to the front but its not too noticeable.

The pattern pieces laid out. I had to put the back on upside down to fit. Yes it does mean the nap on the back runs different to the front but its not too noticeable.

I loved how quickly this came together. I’m making the straight sleeve version, decided not to put the added bit in the sleeve which makes it flared, I think they’re a really lovely shape as it is. So there are only 4 pieces to cut out which is always a bonus. In the instructions they suggest laying out the pieces on the fabric and drawing round them but as I don’t have a large enough hard flat surface I’ve opted to just cut round them, using tins as weights.

Neck facing.

Neck facing.

This came together so quickly, I reckon if I'd started at 9am I'd have had it finished by 5 or 6pm that day.

This came together so quickly, I reckon if I’d started at 9am I’d have had it finished by 5 or 6pm that day.

Looks a bit like a tent at the mo...

Looks a bit like a tent at the mo…

Even more from the side.

Even more so from the side.

The next day I put the sleeves in. They went in beautifully except they are supposed to be smooth and mine didn’t work out quite like that. The thread snapped when I tried to gather in the sleeve head so left me no choice but to make them puffy. But I quite like them like that.

Sleeves in.

Sleeves in.

Next came hemming of sleeves and skirt hem! Sleeves were painless, but the skirt hem was a little trickier, because of the curve and the amount of fabric you have to fold up. I looked up several different methods for doing it neatly, but ended up not using any of them. So whatever you do if you see me wearing this dress don’t look at the underside of the skirt hem, please.

I was a bit worried before I hemmed it that it was looking a bit too voluminous, but once hemmed it looked so much better and hangs beautifully. I love the structured shape the fabric gives it.

Pinned in place.

Pinned in place.

completed.

Finished.

Just look at that lovely neckline.

Just look at that lovely neckline. One of the neatest facings I’ve ever done.

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The fabric looks quite creased here, I have worn and washed it already.

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I really really love the shape of this dress.

I really really love the shape of this dress.

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Happy happy me :0)

Happy happy me :0)

I thoroughly enjoyed making the Trapeze dress, the fabric was a dream to work with (am now thinking the Strand coat in this fabric would be divine) and the pattern was also a joy to put together. I needed a good project after my last disaster and this was perfect. I. Will. Be. Making. More.

Would like to attempt the sleeveless version sometime but that does look a bit complicated believe it or not. And even though M&M say this dress is good for beginners, there is an awful lot of fabric to handle which can be a bit daunting if you are new to sewing. Or maybe thats just me.

 

 

 

The best things come in 3…

So I now have 3 garments in the grey daisy fabric from Merchant & Mills. All based on the same pattern, Tilly and the Buttons “Mathilde”, but all quite different. The latest is the short sleeve top.

Here come the pics

This pic is just cos I like seeing the pins.

This pic is just because I like seeing the pins.

I know I've said it before but I can't believe how different it looks once I put the sleeves in. I'm never sure I'll like it at this point.

I know I’ve said it before but I can’t believe how different it looks once I put the sleeves in. I’m never sure I’ll like it at this point.

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Boom!

Boom!

Looks so much better now.

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And now here come the other two garments in the same fabric.

Dress.

Dress.

Long sleeve top.

Long sleeve top.

Loving them all.

Feeling a little blue…

I bought 3.5m of this utterly gorgeous blue indian cotton. I found it at the sewing parlour in St Leonards-on-sea. More of a workshop than a retail shop but they are working on it, and have a gorgeous selection of fabric. I had a chat with a very lovely lady in there about my favourite subject, sewing. She was very friendly and full of good tips and ideas. If you’re ever in the area I strongly advise a visit.

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I have a green and white spotty blouse, that I’ve loved for years, from before I could make my own clothes. And since starting to make my own I’ve been dreaming of making something similar. whilst what I’ve made is a long way from resembling the green blouse due to it having a button fastening down the front and peter pan collar. My version does have short sleeves which are similar and spots. That really is where any similarities end. However I am very very happy with my version.

Usual shot of pattern pieces.

Usual shot of pattern pieces.

I’m trying to get more of an A-line shape to my tops so I’m improvising a bit.

I've angled the pattern piece slightly away from the edge of the fold.

I’ve angled the pattern piece slightly away from the edge of the fold.

Its just a small bit, but it does give a slightly looser fit.

Its just a small bit, but it does give a slightly looser fit.

At some point I’ll do another pattern hack myself and draw it up on paper.

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Its got just the right amount of floatyness for me.

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This really is beautiful fabric. Feels so good to wear. And the blue is a great shade too, goes well with everything. Think this top has become one of my favourites. I have enough fabric left to make a dress, which was my original plan, but I don’t know I might end up making another top. Haven’t made up my mind yet. It would make a lovely dress…

I received a compliment on it from a stranger the first time I wore it. And for once I resisted the urge to say I made it.

Do you always say when you’ve made something when you get a compliment on it?

Daisy daisy…

What can be better than a black and white daisy block print top? I’ll tell you, a black and white daisy block print dress thats what! Fabric from Merchant & Mills. I just love this fabric so much I had to have a dress in it. I think I bought 3 meters of it with the intention of making two short sleeves tops, but then I wondered if I might have enough to make a dress and a top. I don’t think I would have if I’d only had the 3 meters but I had some scrap fabric left over from when I made a previous top. So yippee!

Showing the pattern layout for dress and top.

Showing the pattern layout for dress and top.

Pattern layout for the dress.

Pattern layout for the dress.

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I made it a little bit shorter than the green dotty dress as I just didn’t think it looked right being the same length. I wasn’t happy with it at all. So taking off a about 2cm made all the difference. I think it might have something to do with the colour, something about it being lighter made it look not as good as the green one.

Longer version.

Longer version.

Shorter, only a little bit.

Shorter, only a little bit.

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I said there would be more of these dresses…

Think I might have enough…

For a while at least!

7 lovely blouses.

7 lovely blouses.

This does not include the first 2 I made. So they make 9, and there’s the 2 dresses I’ve made too. Which is a total of 11 garments made from variations on the Mathilde pattern. Although most of them don’t really resemble the Mathilde too much at all anymore.

4 short sleeved blouses.

4 short sleeved blouses.

I do particularly love the short sleeved version.

A wardrobe full of self made tops :0)

A wardrobe full of self made tops :0)

I can’t remember the last time I bought an item of clothing, the only clothing (I’m talking outer clothing, not underwear) I’m likely to buy now are jeans, as I have no intentions of ever making any. For me there are somethings that are best left to the professionals, and jeans are one of them. I might have a go at trousers one day, when I find the right pattern, but not jeans, no sir.

Contrast colour dress…

I really feel like I’ve come a long way from the rectangle tops I was making last year. I still love them, but I’m so happy that I’ve moved on a bit. I know I have a long way to go before I’m anywhere near as talented as half the sewing bloggers out there, but at least I now know I’m not scared of curves and sleeves or facings.

Anyway back to the subject in hand. After making the Liberty fabric dress, I wondered if I had enough of the Merchant & Mills black dress weight denim to make another dress. You might remember that I’ve attempted to make dresses with this fabric twice before, but that was in my rectangle days and they never quite worked out and would end up as tops. I was not daunted by having another go, now knowing the possibilities that the Mathilde pattern opened up for me. I checked my fabric stash and sure enough I had enough fabric to make a dress.

I then had the idea that maybe I would make the bottom section in a contrasting colour. Basically turn the fabric over. The other side of the black denim is a gorgeous light grey. So this is what I did.

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Nice pic of the bust dart.

Nice pic of the bust dart.

After doing that I started having ideas that maybe the sleeves should be in the contrasting colour too. But I was also thinking I could be getting carried away and it might just look horrible. I ran the idea past a friend and drew her a little sketch, and we both agreed it could look really good. So I went for it.

Oh yeah, looking good!

Oh yeah, looking good!

Loving it!

Loving it! Please excuse foot & PJ’s

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Bottom panels don't match up exactly, but I think I can get away with it! May & Patrick wouldn't approve i'm sure...

Bottom panels don’t match up exactly, but I think I can get away with it! May & Patrick wouldn’t approve i’m sure…

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So loving the sleeves.

So loving the sleeves.

Modelling pic.

Modelling pic.

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I am so pleased with this dress. Looks fab with jeans or tights and boots. Love it love it love it! When i first finished it, it didn’t look quite right to me. I felt it was just a bit too long, so I took off about 2cm and now its perfect.

Even looks good on the hanger

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