Saturday, 1 September 2018

Liberty Silk Dress

I think I bought this silk about a year and a half ago, it's been staring at me from my stash ever since.

It's Liberty silk, and the print is called Sophie Jane Belgravia Silk Satin (this is a different colour to mine).  Liberty Silk is pretty pricey fabric - £49.95 per metre, but I got this for £24.95 a metre from the Liberty website; which still isn't exactly cheap.

I'd ordered 1 metre with the plan to make a top, but got 1.25 metres.  It's 134cm wide, and, with some Olympic standard pattern tetrising, I managed to squeeze a dress out of it!  The front facing was cut from some black cotton lawn - but, come on, a dress from 125cm of a directional print?!  Yey me!!

The bodice back and back facing have a centre back seam.
The reason it took so long to use this fabric was because I was frankly terrified of it!  But, you know what, it wasn't that difficult to handle - I've worked with trickier vicoses.  Here are the things I did to help make it easier to work with:
  • Stablised the fabric with spray starch before cutting.  I'm a big fan of spray starch for slippery fabrics, and use the Dylon spray starch that you can buy in Tescos.
  • Used my walking foot on my machine.  In fairness, I pretty much use this foot all the time.
  • Used silk pins and triangle tailors chalk.  I found the Clover roller chalk pen dragged a bit on the fabric.
  • Used tissue paper under the fabric at the start of each seam.  This helped to start of each row of stitching, and is easy to tear away.

The pattern is self-drafted, I've already made it here, and I used princess seams to shape the bodice instead of pleats.  The bodice has self-fabric buttons to the waist, and it has an A-line skirt and side zip.  I also added the capped sleeves from my Anna Sui dress.


One thing I had trouble with was how to overlock the seams.  I ended up doing some seams as French seams, but wish I'd done as many as I could this way.  I used a 3 thread stitch on my overlocker, but if anybody has any silk overlocking tips, please let me know.  Thanks!!

I'm delighted with how this dress turned out, and I think I'll be able to were it in the autumn and winter with tights and boots.


Have a great weekend,


Wednesday, 8 August 2018

Emmaline Bags Necessary Clutch Wallet: 2018 Make Nine

This is number eight on my 2018 Make Nine, and it's the Emmaline Bags Necessary Clutch Wallet.

This pattern came to my attention on Sian from Kittenish Behaviour's vlog.  Sian has made approximately 3 million of these, so knows this pattern backwards.  She has also made a brilliant sewalong on her youtube channel, which I followed to the letter.

If you're thinking of making this purse, then do yourself a favour, and follow Sian's sewalong.  It's really easy to follow, and completely idiot-proof. The only change from the original pattern is to add two zip pockets instead of one.

My fabric is what was left over from my Exploding Tardis's dress.  I had 111.5cm wide and 53cm long of fabric left, and got everything except the card slots cut from the tardis fabric.  The card slots are some left over (Tardis) blue chambray from my Kelly skirt.

The pattern gives the pieces for the Purse flap and body, and then the measurements for all the other pieces, which are various sizes of rectangle.  I made the different rectangle pieces in pattern paper to make it easier to cut out, and managed to get exploding Tardis's on the outside and inside of the flap, the purse back and the front of the inside.

All the pieces cut out.

Everything except the pocket linings are interfaced with heavy-weight iron-on interfacing - I used Vilene interfacing.  Then the first thing I made was the card slots and wrist strap.

Next was the pockets, and this was probably the trickiest bit.  I found it a difficult to get my head around which bit went where, but this was because all my fabric was the same.  On the sewalong, different fabric is used for the pocket linings, which is much easier to work out.

Totally tried to get Tardis's on the ends of the zips!

Then I made the purse flap, which had the scary bit of cutting into the flap for the turn lock.  I did that with no problem but didn't have any Fray Check to use around the cut edge, so I improvised with nail polish.  The flap and the purse body are stablised with stiffener, I used Vilene S 13.

Outside of flap
Inside of flap with added Thread Lock detail!

I did have Thread Lock to use on the little screws on the turn lock, but stupidly spilt a drop on the inside of the flap.  Luckily the Thread Lock is blue, so it sort of blends in with the colours!

The flap was then attached to the body, and the card slots and pockets attached, but I forgot to take some photos of that.  By then I was sewing through loads of layers of fabric and interfacing, and my sewing machine was an absolute champion.  It's an Elna 680, and it sewed through all those layers like it was two layers of cotton lawn.  Very pleasing!!

Outside of purse

Inside of purse
I struggled a bit with sewing the purse sides to the pockets, but it turned out my walking foot wasn't the right tool for the job.  I ended up using my zipper foot, moved the needle all the way over to one side, and sewed about 1 cm from the edge of the purse.

This is what the sides look like when they're finished.

I'm delighted with how this has turned out, as it's something a bit different for me and I've wanted to make this for ages.   I finished the zip pulls with these little Tardis charms I got on ebay, and it really is Tardis-like because it's bigger on the inside (or smaller on the outside)!!


And, yeah, I will be making more...


Saturday, 21 July 2018

Anna Sui inspired dress: 2018 Make Nine

One of the many brilliant things about sewing is that when you see a garment you love, you can make your own version.  And that's exactly what I did with this dress!

The inspiration was a gorgeous Anna Sui dress I spotted on the interwebs a while ago.  I had seen some posts about an Anna Sui exhibition in London last year, and the red dress on the far right was definately popular.  I love the 1940s-ness of it, so decided to draft my own version.

There are some close-up photos in this post and this post.

The dress has a shawl collar, button front to the waist and flared skirt.  It looks like the original has a midriff yoke cut on the bias, but I can't work out how to draft that!  If anybody knows of any resources, please let me know.

Instead, I made the skirt and midriff section in one piece using princess seams.  I scribbled some ideas in my Fashionary note book - how I think the original looks is on the left, and what I made is on the right.

The bust is shaped with gathers, and I raised the neckline a bit for reasons of modesty!  Then I made some fabric covered buttons.

The collar is drafted using the Partial Roll Collar from the Craftsy "Pattern Making And Design: Collars And Closures" class.

The bodice back is shaped with darts.

I didn't have enough fabric to make similar sleeves, so I made these little capped sleeves with a bit of elastic in the cuff.  They were a faff to sew, but I love how they turned out.

Talking of fabric, this is some gorgeous viscose from the good old Textile Centre, and it was £3.99 a metre.  I stablised it with some spray starch, which got washed out once the dress was finished. 


I am absolutely delighted with how this turned out, and it is definately one of those "this is my new favourite make" makes.  I'm already planning another verison using this gorgeous Lady McElroy crepe called "Chaffinch Bough".

 And, it's number seven in my 2018 Make Nine!

Have a great weekend,


Saturday, 30 June 2018

Vogue 8280 - The Galaxy Dress

Never one to be rushed or unduly influenced by current trends, I have recently made this Vogue dress which was released about a billion years ago, and is now out of print.

The pattern is Vogue 8280, which is a copy of Roland Mouret’s Galaxy dress, and I was lucky enough to get it from @jos_destash on Instagram a few months ago.  I made View A, but with the straight neckline.

My initial plan was to study the pattern and instuctions, and draft my own version due to my many fitting issues.  But when I was tracing the pattern, I realised that the finished garment sizes for the size 12 were pretty good, so, after shortening the skirt a bit, I made a toile of it.

Low and behold, the fit was amazing!!  The shoulders weren't too wide, and the bust wasn't too tight.  The only issue was the length of the bodice.  The fit was great from the waist up to the top of the bodice, so I took 3cm out across the upper back and shoulder pieces, and it totally worked!!

My fabric is some crepe fabric called "Tales Of The Orient" from Sewisfaction, which is sadly no longer available.  I had 1.5 metres, and as the pattern repeat is about 80 cm, I got a bit fussy about how I cut it.

I knew I'd need some of the red nearer my face, so cut the bodice front with the fish in the centre, and the red at the top.

Then I cut the skirt with the red towards the hem.   The bodice back has the red and yellow at the shoulders to balance it out.

I cut the shoulder pieces separately, and tried to match in the print as best as I could.  So I have the bird on one shoulder (because I liked it) and some yellow on the other shoulder to match in with the bodice.  


The bodice is lined with some black cotton voile, and sewing and lining the shoulder pieces is not without it's challenges!  Where the bottom of the curve joins the bodice, I ended up hand sewing from the inside to get it to lie flat.  But on reading some reviews of this pattern, that seemed to be a common issue.

It looks like the top of the bodice is falling in on itself, but that's just on the dress form.
I love how this dress turned out, even the straight skirt.  As we all know, I'm a big fan of a big skirt, and this pencil skirt was very much in the "I'm not sure" territory.  But it's always good to try something new!

There will definately be another version, I'm thinking green crepe, but it will have a half circle skirt. 

Have a great weekend,