A misty autumnal shell top

I went to the Great British Sewing Bee Live event on Saturday,  and of course I felt the need to wear something that I had made. Something new. That thought didn’t hit me until Thursday, so I reached for one of the Works In Progress, to save myself some time. I’d already cut out a Shell top from the rather pretty cotton I’d bought in France, a month or more back, and now was the perfect time to get down to sewing it.

The colours are perfect for autumn

I was using my trusty Shell Top pattern from Claire-Louise Hardie (the Thrifty Stitcher). I’ve used it before, and I’m always going to love it. I cut the neckline about 5cm lower than usual, to see how it looks, and I’m happy with it.

Unfortunately I am the world’s most rubbish blogger, and I largely failed to take any photos at GBSB Live. It was a brilliant exhibition, and I bumped into loads of lovely people and made some new sewing friends, but I had no pictures that show the new top in action.

So when the Gentleman Friend suggested a walk at Wisley Gardens, I shamelessly pulled the top back on, and asked him to photograph me!

There was a sculpture exhibition on

 

But it was the light in the glasshouse that inspired him the most.

 

The dappled sunlight is quite flattering

And a full length view, with hibiscus, suits my love of a massive floral!

It was the ideal top for the weekend, which was gorgeously sunny and warm, but today everything’s feeling very autumnal, and I suspect that was its last wear of the year. It’ll be time for tights and jumpers now.

Advertisements

A 100 Day Dress

I decided a while ago that I wanted to start a long term project, something that I could do a little at a time, each day. I’ve seen people’s 100 day projects on Instagram, and I liked that as a structure for my project. My first thought, inspired strongly by Tiny*Stitches*Miri, was embroidery on a garment. I thought about upcycling/refashioning, but in the end I settled on an Alabama Chanin inspired new make, though I’m not going to claim it’s proper AC style. I want it to have some embroidery, some appliqué, some reverse appliqué, some beading/sequinning. I don’t imagine for one moment that it will be elegantly stylish, because it’s going to have so many bits of everything, and it will all be a bit random. But hopefully the colour scheme will pull everything together, and it will be interesting to look at.

I’ll be using the pale blue jersey from FC Fabric Studio which I bought in the Spring, and the Shannon dress pattern, as I didn’t want to have to mess about with a new pattern. I’ve bought a number of embroidery silks for this project, but everything else will be from stash (there are a LOT of blue beads in the massive bead/sequin stash).

wp-image-174810145

Blues

This all starts at the weekend, on Saturday. If I’ve done my maths right, the 100 days will be up on 31st December.

I’ve set up a dedicated instagram account for this make, with the idea being to record every day’s progress.

An Accolade!

I just received the news that this blog is one of the Top 40 Plus Size Sewing Blogs on the web! I’m amazed!

Top 40 Plus Size Sewing blogs

I’ll be honest, I hadn’t really thought of this as a Plus Size Sewing Blog, but seeing as I’m doing the sewing for myself, and one of my aims is to make things that look nice on my body, which is plus-size, I guess that’s what it is.

Anyway… Hooray!

This entry was posted on 14 September, 2017. 4 Comments

The Jardin Fleuri dress

If you’ve been keeping track, you’ll remember that I returned from my holiday with three new pieces of fabric, and I was determined to get them sewn up as soon as possible, as they are too pretty to not be wearing. This lovely jersey was top of the list.

wp-image-934406459

Ain’t she purty?

It was a panel, 1m long, and 150cm wide, and in my head it was always going to be a sleeveless sundress. It’s therefore a bit unfortunate that we’ve scarcely seen any sun since I got back from France!

I had had plenty of time to mull over my design ideas, and I’d decided to try a Shannon dress/shell top mash-up. I like the simplicity of the Shannon shape, and it fits well into a short length of jersey like this one. But my attempt to make it sleeveless, with the Hillbilly dress, was not a complete success. I thought the Shell top pattern could sort out the armhole/shoulder shaping more effectively.

I could have done it all by tracing the patterns together, but I was impatient and lazy, and marked the shell pattern straight onto the fabric. In fact I made the neckline a little lower, because this is supposed to be a sundress, right? I needed to blend the underarm a bit, but overall I think it’s turned out ok.

I used a Frixion iron-off pen

I knew I would need to have some binding for the neckline and armholes, but I wanted it to be hidden binding, rather than the on-view binding of a t-shirt, like the Shannons I’ve done so far. I carefully cut the selvedges of the jersey, where there was no printing, to create 2 metres of cream binding. It was about 1½cm wide, which was pretty much what I needed.

It was enough, but only just!

Because I wasn’t using a t-shirt band finish for the neck and armholes, I didn’t need to use the altered construction sequence, the way I had done with my other Shannons, so from here it was a simple case of sewing the shoulder and side seams, then attaching the bindings. I hand stitched them down.

Adding the binding

I did the tiniest hem I possibly could, and then waited for some sunshine for photography purposes.

Which came along this weekend – hooray! I went for a picnic with the ex gentleman friend, and got a bit of crocheting done (I’m up to 28 squares now). And I made him take some photos for me.

Picnic at Thundry Meadows

We also met these lovely creatures.

They were very friendly and gentle and quite fluffy

Getting up close & personal

What do I love about this dress? It’s so pretty!!!! And it’s making my tan look even stronger. Also, it’s been really low waste. I’ve got one long scrap that’s about 15cm wide, and I’m keeping this to use as a t-shirt neck band for a future refashioning project.

Would I do anything differently next time? Get a time machine, make this dress before my holidays and seriously mess with the space-time continuum.

Holiday projects round-up

I’m back from my holidays, and I thought I’d lump together all my remaining holiday projects in one post – both the finishing-off jobs and the long-running ones.

The watercolour floral top – finished

I went to the summer Sewmance festival in June and one of my purchases there was this gorgeous floral lawn from the Fabric Godmother.

I knew I wanted to make it into a shell top using my now tried and tested pattern from the Thrifty Stitcher, and that’s what I did. This cotton was a dream to sew.  I completed the top quickly (I really know what I’m doing with this pattern now!) apart from the hemming which I left as a holiday job. It took next to no time.

I really love this outfit!

And it works tucked in too

***

The Banksy Hoody – finished

I had a black t-shirt with Banksy’s  Fallen Angel printed on it.  This t-shirt has been adapted to death, and I don’t wear it anymore, but i really didn’t want to lose the stencil.

So I put it on a hoody.

I cut out the printed bit and attached it with a load of cross stitches, because the diagonal stitching keeps a certain amount of stretch in the fabric, so it wouldn’t pull the sweatshirt fabric out of whack. You can’t really see the cross stitching here because it’s all in black, you’ll have to trust me!

I put it low down on the back, to be sure the hood wouldn’t obscure it.

My sister said I look like a Pink Lady! 

***

Granny Squares Crocheted Blanket – started, very much not finished

I took a load of yarn with me, thinking I might  try knitting a jumper but i really don’t enjoy knitting –  it’s too slow for me! I felt the urge to start crocheting again though. Being in Bretignolles reminded me of my mum and my mamie (my French grandmother), and my aunts and great-aunts, because this is where we have all been holidaying since I was a baby, well since mum was a baby, and earlier! I’ve got family all around me here. Sitting in front of the house with my sister, crocheting, I realised I was doing exactly what my mum did 50 years ago, sitting with her sister, crocheting (and probably Mamie and her sisters 80 years ago). Mum made a massive red white and navy granny squares bedspread for here, and although I’m trying to avoid creating long-term projects that take up storage space in my little flat, I wanted to try and make one for myself.

I’ve done the maths and I need 285 squares. I’ve got 20 so far! I said this was a long-term project, didn’t I?! I’m also making sure I sew in all the ends as I’m going along, because I don’t want to get to the “end” of the crocheting, only to have to sew a million ends in. I want to be able to finish the last treble stitch and think “Done!”

***

Beading a t-shirt – started 

Actually I started this project a few weeks ago, as a bit of train sewing, on the trip to Walthamstow, it must have been. I started with some biggish beads ganked from a Primark bracelet. I couldn’t find the rest of the bracelet beads to bring with me so I brought my pot of black seed beads.

As soon as I got started I knew it was going to take forever! I’m treating this as a long-term project too. I can do an inch or two here and there and it might be done by Christmas!

caviar beading

***

And finally…

Fabric Shopping

I found Tissus du Renard in le Chateau d’Olonne, which is a big out of town store.

On the route de Talmont, just past Lidl, if I remember correctly

I was a bit amazed at the size of it – I’m used to tiny little fabric shops where everything is piled up to the rafters! This was spacious, airy, well-lit and well laid out. It also has a big furnishing fabric section and wools, embroidery and general craft supplies. Once I’d found my way around and sussed out how they’d organised it, I was able to have a good hunt for my sort of fabrics. I hit peak floral!

On the left, it’s a beautiful lightweight cotton lawn, destined to be another shell top. In the middle it’s a jersey floral panel (I think it’s my favourite out of these three, and I’m going to make it into a dress as soon as I get home). On the right, a soft viscose poppy print.

I admit this is a total fail on my No Buying More Fabric goal, but I’m trying to think of these as souvenirs rather than Stash. I’m pretty much determined to get two of them sewn up this week, at least.

 

A very long-standing toile sees the light of day

As I have previously mentioned, my ongoing attempts to declutter my flat have resulted in things reappearing that I’d totally forgotten about, or thought I had thrown away.

This toile was made back in 2013 for the Jif Lemon Dress. It’s a Simplicity Retro Jiffy Dress pattern, 1609.

It was always intended to be a wearable toile because I loved the teal sateen I was using. But I was in a rush to get started on the lemon dress and I put it to one side and got on with the “real” make, and then lost track of the toile.

Having re-discovered it and tried it on, I realised there was very little work required to finish it off. I’d already pinned the alterations that were needed, so all I had to do was sew them up and I would have a nice summer dress ready for my holiday.

So that’s what I did. I completed the seams that I’d marked up, and overlocked everything for neatness. I hadn’t done any facings, so I sewed on some contrast bias binding around the neckline and armholes, also at the hem, but I left the hand stitching of these as another holiday project. I knew it wouldn’t take me long.

Sewing in the sunshine!

And Bob was very much my uncle!

Selfie!

It’s always fun to recreate pattern envelope poses

Back when I first started this dress, I’d had ideas about embellishing it with appliqué flowers, and having now finished it, I debated with myself as to whether to titivate it in some way, maybe with some embroidery. But actually I like it how it is, and I don’t think it needs anything more right now.  It’s got secret purple inside, and that’s enough. Maybe one day I’ll revisit this decision, but I’m calling this UFO officially finished.

My Holiday Shannon Collection

I went a bit bonkers on the Simple Sew Shannon collection for my summer holiday wardrobe. It was just perfect for what I wanted, namely some quick and easy lightweight throw-on tops and dresses. It really was a no-brainer.

I was shopping my stash and since I seem to have developed a craving for more blue in my wardrobe this year, I wanted to use the remainder of the royal blue jersey I’d got from FC Fabric Studio (and used for this skirt). However before proceeding with the dress, I wanted to try it out with the t-shirt version first and hopefully have a wearable toile for the hols. The blue grey jersey I had bought at the same time as the royal blue had the same amount of stretch and it tied in perfectly with my holiday wardrobe plans so I went ahead with the that first.

I made the t-shirt using the largest size and trusted that the elastane in the Jersey would be sufficiently forgiving. And yippee – it was! I also lengthened it by about 5 inches or so.

I did change the order of construction so that I could insert the bands at the neckline and sleeves in the flat. My post on the Simple Sew Blog sets this out more fully. I really wanted to make sure the bands were sufficiently stretched so that they wouldn’t gape, and I feel I have more control over this when I’m inserting them flat. I left the hemming to be done on holiday and moved swiftly on to the dress.

Here’s the t-shirt in its holiday environment, once I’d herringboned the hem to keep it good and stretchy.

shannon tee 1

Goes brilliantly with the Paisley Leftovers skirt

And also the Grey Birds skirt

Having worked on the T-shirt as a toile, I knew exactly what I was doing and I was able to make the dress up quickly. I lowered the front neckline so that it would be more sun-dress-y, and used the same construction as I’d done for the top.

The main feature was the Lace border at the bottom. I’d had this lace in my stash for a while, having bought it at Tiger (because it was so cheap it was rude not to). I hadn’t had any ideas about how to use it until now. Once I put these two stash items together it really was a match made in Heaven. The colours popped like popcorn! I really love it! I’ll be wearing this dress for the rest of the summer (whether or not there’s any more actual summer in England!).

Here’s the dress, though you’ve seen it before…

This is my sister’s house

shannon lace 1

Whoops! This is the messy view!

 

I’m a firm believer in making the patterns that work for you, *really* work for you, so I made one more Shannon dress using this denim/lace patchwork print jersey from my costume-making stash. I originally bought this at Fabricland, a few years ago and I wasn’t sure about the elastane content but it seemed close enough to what I’d been working with, though its a bit thinner.

I altered the armscye to make it sleeveless and the neckline to be slightly more boaty, sewed it up and again left the hemming as a holiday sewing project.

Here’s the denim and lace Shannon dress, or as I’m now thinking of it, the Hillbilly Dress in its first incarnation.

hb1

Not quite right

 

 

However, I wasn’t 100% happy with how I’d shaped the shoulder and the armscye, there was too much fabric in front of my armpit. I thought it needed re-cutting and re-banding, to bring the curve in more. I figured I’d do something about it when I got back home. But I wanted to be able to wear it in France – after all that was the whole point of this dress, its raison d’etre, if you will. So I needed a quick hand-sewable fix. I gathered the shoulder seams to narrow them, making sure I didn’t catch the neck or sleeve bands, and hey presto! Fixed!

hb2

 

I’ll be honest, I should perhaps have considered pattern placement more thoroughly. While it was laid out flat it seemed OK, but this jersey is very stretchy, so this dress is not quite as flattering as I could wish for, but I’m happy enough to to wear it for holidays. I won’t be wearing this one to work like the lace dress, though. 

I’ve got one more Shannon dress planned for when I get home*. Although technically not a holiday dress, it will be from fabric bought on holiday so it will still be part of the collection!

* Because I’m posting this on rather dodgy data roaming direct from my holidays. The time it’s taken to upload these photos, you wouldn’t believe!