So much going on!!

It’s been a busy week and a bit.  There’s been a lot of sewing and cutting and a little bit of hair pulling thrown in for good measure!  The highlight of this week is definitely the news that I won the Sewing Indie Month’s Dressed to the Nines category!  How excited was I when I got that email?!?!?

I was sooo chuffed, so I have to say a very large thank you to all those who voted for me, and for Daughter No2’s pretty butterfly dress.  There were some fantastic entries from all over the world so it is a huge honour to have been chosen as people’s favourite out of all of them.  A massive thank you also has to go to Mari from Seamster Patterns for organising the whole party and keeping a careful eye over the proceedings.  The sponsors have been superb too, there are so many loverly prizes!!  I had thought of possibly passing a few on, spreading the love, you know.  But first I need to check that that would be allowed.

Over the weekend I also found out I’d won a prize in The Monthly Stitch’s New to Me competition.  That’s where the Carme in Liberty had been submitted, so that’s even more patterns for me! 🙂  So I definitely need to pass on a few, this community is so great I couldn’t keep all these goodies completely to myself.  So stay tuned, there might be something going on in the next week or so.

In the mean time, this is just a little bit of what I’ve been sewing up.  Last week I finally got my butt into gear and cut out the Gabriola from Sewaholic patterns.  I had initially thought to enter the Fan Girl section of The Monthly Stich’s Independent Pattern Month, then I thought I’d probably done enough for competitions lately!  But over the weekend Daughter No2 persuaded me to go for it, after all, I was going to be making it anyway.  The fabric is a pretty bird print chiffon from Croft Mill Fabric.

It was a devil to cut!  Loads of pins were required for cutting and even more for sewing!  Normally I don’t have an issue with chiffon, you take your time, breathe deeply and pin like mad.  This stuff needs GLUE!!  Anyway, things are progressing.  To go with the skirt I’m going to make the Renfrew tee.  Thank you so very much to Caroline from Croft Mill Fabric for finding me the right colour jersey to go with that bird print, and for getting it off in the post after I’d left it to the last minute to decide to have it!  🙂  I love good customer service!!

Gabriola in progress
Gabriola in progress

I have also made progress on my outfit for a wedding Husband and I will be attending in July.  I will go into more detail in a later post, but I’ve done the trousers in a navy cotton sateen from Fabric Godmother, it’s so beautiful!!  I lined the pockets with left overs of the Liberty used for Daughter No2’s Carme, little details!!

Goodies for wedding outfit
Goodies for wedding outfit

The spotty stuff is a slik chiffon that will become the blouse/top.  That’s it for now, I need to get cracking with stuff today.  In the mean time, here’s a look at the internal goings on in the Paris Snowball, as requested.  🙂

Overlocked seams and bound hem, the inner workings of the Paris Snowball
Overlocked seams and bound hem, the inner workings of the Paris Snowball

 

Kaleidoscope

The Honeydew Skirt by Seamster Patterns
The Honeydew Skirt by Seamster Patterns

I have finally found a use for this fabric!  This was what I thought I could use for the Snowball, but the pattern repeat was just too big.  I had just about 2m, but in two separate pieces!  The fabric was not symmetrical down the centre, so to get anything that lined up I had to move the fold so that 30cm was a single layer.  This meant lining patterns and finding suitable patterns was a bit tricky.

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Thank goodness this skirt pattern doesn’t have big pieces to lay on the fabric.  I sort of decided not to line up the pattern properly, I couldn’t have, even if I’d tried, so I tried to make the best of it by picking areas to stand out.

honeydew take 2

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The fabric is a printed cotton canvas that has a pretty good drape, no stiffness and hangs rather well.  I decided as it was to be a quick make to overlock as much of the skirt as I could.  I also kept the same size and waistband options as the test pattern Daughter No1 made for herself.  As she had a problem with the length, I figured that Daughter No2’s shape and the insertion of a zip in the side would keep the skirt sitting higher and therefore make it shorter.  Actually, it’s quite interesting to see the difference in where the waistband sits on this skirt compared to Daughter No1’s make.

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Funnily enough, it doesn’t seem to be that much shorter – but it is a length Daughter No2 is perfectly happy to wear.  She likes swirling in it too!  The zip in the left side seam meant I sacrificed a pocket.  One will do though, it’s one better than none!  I can see this skirt being worn loads, both as a properly casual weekend item, and to school with a neat jackets & heels.

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This is my second entry for Sewing Indie Month, this time an entry for the Everyday Casual category.  Thank you so much to everyone who commented on the Snowball dress, I’ve been pretty blown away by the love for that dress – and the fabric! 🙂  There have been quite a few HBL Anna dresses submitted in the Dress to the Nines category, so I hope my Summer Snowball doesn’t get lost in the crowd!  I’ve enjoyed browsing all the entries for the overall contest, so many new blogs to read!

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A Snowball for the Summer – with Butterflies

The Snowball dress by Waffle Patterns
The Snowball dress by Waffle Patterns

UPDATE

Voting has been re-opened for the Dressed to the Nines category following some unusual voting activity.  You can vote for me on Seamster Patterns Blog until midnight CST on Friday 20th June.

With very few days left until the end of May (what – how the heck did May disappear so fast??) here’s my entry for Sewing Indie Month.  Well, one of them at any rate! It all depends on how quickly I can run up the other patterns..

I browsed through all of the designers on the list – most of whom were complelely unknown to me, looking for something I could make and that would be worn, either by me or one of the girls.  I had other criteria – not too expensive, not too many pages to print if it was a PDF & it had to be something I wasn’t going to (or couldn’t) draft myself.  I also had to think about the categories that stuff has to be submitted in.

First on my list was this dress by Waffle Patterns.  I loved the 60s look of it & I can see it being made in fabrics suitable for all seasons – and occasions.  It went into the basket & was printed by Husband at work. Interestingly, you can chose to just print the size you want, makes it easier to trace, but I went for all of them, then I can trace from one size to the next if necessary.  The instructions & illustrations are great, actually the whole dress makes up really easily – depending on your finishing choices…

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We had a Dickens of a time finding the right fabric.  Daughter No2 eventually chose this butterfly print heavyweight cotton (like a twill but without the twill weave) with a cream ground.  We were going to use a printed cotton canvas from the stash but discounted it because of the large print.  What followed then was a fair bit of fabric shopping, mostly just looking because nothing we saw felt right for the dress – until she spotted the butterflies.  We got it in a shop in Leamington Spa, but I notice Ditto Fabrics stocks the same stuff.

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Making the dress was pretty straight forward, once I got my head round the unusual 1.2cm seam allowance.  My machine has a mark for 1cm & 1.5cm – I used a piece of masking tape to show where I was supposed to be, no way I wanted to make a mistake.  I added 3cm to the hem, my only adjustment.  Daughter No2 is – as said before – pretty tall & the dress as toiled without turning up the 3cm hem was the perfect length for her.  I made no other alterations, cutting the 36.  Although if I use a sturdy fabric like this again, I will grade from the 36 at the shoulders to a 34 at the waist.  I think it could have done with being taken in a little there.

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I decided to finish the seams of the skirt with a pale blue bias, this finish was repeated on the hem edge and the edge of the facing pieces in the bodice.  I didn’t use it on the bodice seams because when you use Hong Kong finish on seams you add structure.  This fabric has enough structure to be getting on with – and the bodice did not need any more!  the hem was handstitched into place using herringbone stitch.  It’s a stitch I use a lot on hems, quick to do and holds in place well.

Pretty on the inside too!
Pretty on the inside too!

I am very happy with the result.  So very happy!  I had looked online for other versions of the dress to see what other people had done, but couldn’t find anything.  Has no-one else used this pattern??  Really?  Same!  It’s fab, and I’m definitely making more..  I have a feeling that grey & black wool houndstooth I wanted to make the 1935 cropped jacket in will be fabulous in this for the winter.  I can see it with a black long sleeved t-shirt underneath & a madly coloured pair of tights & long boots.  This is the shape of dress that suits Daughter No2 down to the ground!

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I didn’t spend a huge amount of time on trying to match the pattern.  It was not symmetrical, being a half drop meant that I’d have spent a lot of time on my hands & knees cutting out one layer at a time.  Instead I tried to get some sort of continuation.  The front bodice has a clump of butterflies near the waist seam on the left, another in the centre and more on the right shoulder.  For the skirt I tried to place the centre front panel where the pattern was best & fullest and let the rest land where they did!  It worked out ok in the end – I think!

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Happy with her choice!
Happy with her choice!

Now to pick a category for Sewing Indie.  I’m going to take a chance and enter it in the “Dressed to the Nines” category.  It’s a dress afterall, & who says this isn’t fancy??

Pattern Testing – The Honeydew Skirt

Honeydew Skirt from Seamster Patterns
Honeydew Skirt from Seamster Patterns

About a month ago, Mari from Seamster Patterns was looking for beginner sewists in small sizes to test her new skirt pattern.  I immediately offered up Daughters 1 & 2 for the job.  The size Mari needed to be tested was perfect for Daughter No1, so she got the job over the Easter holidays.  We rumaged through the stash and found a piece I’d bought about 3 years or so ago – perfect.

DSC07987-1The skirt has an A-Line shape, consisting of a single front panel cut on the fold & 3 panels in the back, fuller and longer than the front.  It also has in-seam pockets.  I love fullness in the back of a skirt, it’s really feminine.  There are a choice of 3 waistbands, and the skirt can be worn on the hip or the natural waist, depending on which waistband you choose.  Daughter No1 likes to wear things low, so she chose option C with the overlapping font waistband.

DSC07986-1The pattern was easy to trace out, and the instructions great for a beginner to follow.  I hovered over her shoulder to help out where needed, but Daughter No1 did ok. We made no changes to the patern, apart from the hem.  With this crisp fabric and the width of the hem, it was not going to be a neat finish, so I suggested cutting off all but 1cm and attaching a wide bias binding.  We turned the binding to the inside and I hemmed it with herringbone stitch.  This means that with the slight drop at the back that you get a glimpse now and then of the dark blue bias, which we rather like.

I like the finished skirt, it looks fantastic & I also like seeing her in a slightly longer skirt than she normally wears!  However, she would have prefered it to have been about 15 to 20cm shorter.  Not that she won’t ever wear it like this, it just makes her feel “too mature”.  I think that means – old.  Ha!  She’s in her 20s now, she’d better get used to that feeling!  🙂

I love the fullness in the back panels.
I love the fullness in the back panels.

She has said it would be perfect for going out with Boyfriend & his family, or for a summer barbeque where most of the attendees would be older than her.  Daughter No2 of course, loves it and would happily have grabbed it for herself – but it doesn’t fit!  Now one thing about fabric choice with this skirt.  You must choose something with stretch.  This stretch cotton was fine, but for Daughter No2 to steal it we’d have had to put a zip in the side seam, it just will not go over her hips.  Another factor to consider is the drape of the fabric.  The cotton we dug out of the stash was rather crisp and didn’t drape as well as it could have in the back.

DSC07995-1So would I recommend this pattern?  YES!  It is called the Honeydew Skirt & is available as a PDF in a large scale format so you don’t need to paste together all those pesky A4s, or, if you’re a sucker for punishment, that option is still available.  There is also a paper pattern in the works, see Seamster Pattern‘s website for more details.  Thanks Mari, for letting us test another of your patterns,

I’d like to make this pattern myself, one for Daughter No2 and another for Daughter No1, but shorter, and see if she’s happier with it.  Now, I wonder if I can claim this as an entry for #SewingIndieMonth??