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.

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.

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.

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.

Amazing what you can do when you’ve decided you don’t care…

I bought two metres of scuba fabric a couple of months ago. And  when it arrived I was like, WTF am I going to do with this? I really hadn’t got a clue. It appeared to be a lot thicker and more structured than I was hoping for. So it went on my stash pile to be pondered over while I worked on other things. I liked the idea that it wouldn’t fray and so I wouldn’t need to finish the seams, which helps to make any project that bit quicker. So I was a little disappointed after washing it to see that the grey side was starting to fray a bit and coming  away from the foamy bit in the middle. I had thought I might have a go at making another Strand coat but after seeing the fraying I really didn’t feel like going through all the effort to finish the seams,  so I scrapped that idea.

I eventually settled on making it into a Trapeze top, I thought it would make a fairly good one and might be nice and warm for the winter. So I cut out the fabric.

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I didn’t cut out the neck facing in the end as decided it wasn’t needed. I put the back together and then attached the front to the back, tried it on to see how it was looking so far and hated it. The front was sticking out down the middle and looked really weird. There was a possibility that it would lay better once I’d put the sleeves in but I wasn’t overly convinced. So I left it for that day and thought about it a lot. What was I going to do?

I got up next morning, tried it on again thinking maybe I’d been wrong and it didn’t look that bad, but no, I was right it looked horrible. I took it off hung it up and decided I’d put it down to experience and bad judgement and just scrap it.

Then something inside me said if you don’t care about it you might as well experiment with it. I tried it on back to front and it sat a lot better on me like that. Was sticking out at the back now but didn’t look as bad like that. So I decided to attempt to turn it into a jacket/cardi.

I unpicked the centre back seam, stitched the seam allowance down to make the edge look nice. Put the sleeves in, tried it on again, yep think I can get away with it. I turned the neck in on itself to neaten the edges, that worked quite well and then did the same with the hem and the sleeve hems.

And BINGO, there was a jacket/cardi thing!

There will now follow lots of pictures, as I’m really really happy with this.

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Hem looks uneven here but its not. Have thought about adding pockets, but for now I’ll leave it alone. Thats another thing I love about making my own stuff, I can evolve it as I see fit, whenever I like.

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The back, that was the front.

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I stitched the shoulder seams down so they would lay flat. Quite like how it looks.

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Not the best pictures, but here’s me wearing it.

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Its so comfortable to wear, I love the sponginess of the fabric, makes it feel light but its also warm.

My Husband said it was elegant in its simplicity. And the edge to edge styling of it does give it a somewhat smart and elegant feel. I think it can be smart or casual myself depending on what else I wear it with.

And I’m so glad I didn’t scrap it and just throw away the £36 I spent on the fabric. So all in all feeling a little smug with myself right now.

I do love tartan…

I didn’t properly blog about the first tartan Trapeze top, so I’ll make up for it by blogging about the second.

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First thing I’ll say is, pattern matching tartan is a BITCH! Really really is. I thought I’d been so careful to get my edges to meet up so that the centre back seam would at least match. But when I looked at it after sewing the centre back seam I was greeted by this…

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Just ever so slightly off. Now I am not always a perfectionist when it comes to my sewing, but I did contemplate unpicking and doing it again ( I know some people out there would not be able to tolerate this at all ). However I looked at the fabric and the stitches and well I just had a feeling that the fabric wouldn’t stand up to the unpicking. It does have a tendency to fray. So I left it as it was. All I can say is thank goodness I can’t see it when I’m wearing it. I will say that the first one was a bit better at the back as it matched at the bottom, but went off kilter half way up, which was weird.

The sides didn’t fair much better either.

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So close with this side! However they do look much better once the sleeves are attached.

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I have at least got the red stripe running down the centre of the sleeve, on both sides too.

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When its on the stripes look pretty good running across the sleeves and the bodice, so I’m quite happy with that.

I zigzagged the bottom rather than do a hem, as its not so easy on this shape. And luckily it seems to work really well.

So all in all, I’m very happy with this top. Its my first make of the New Year, so off to a good start.

 

Lovely new things…

I’d like to share with you the lovely goodies that I got for Christmas.

First up is this gorgeous M&M mug, which I’ve wanted for so long now. Not that I think I’m an actual Seamstress, but its nice to dream.

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As you can see its sitting on top of the M&M Workbook. And as others have said it is a beautiful book full of beautiful clothes. Now whilst I might not be capable of making all of them yet, I definitely have my eye on some of the projects. Watch this space.

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A friend bought me some items from there too. I just love the packaging.

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I was very surprised to receive the second Great British Sewing Bee book. This is my fave series so far. Some great looking projects inside too.  And very excited to have the Clothkits pattern. Can’t wait to give that a go, however I suspect it won’t be as easy as it looks.

Lots of new and exciting things for me to try, I wonder how many I will complete. I must try and do new things this year and not to make too many multiples of one pattern. Yeah right!