Friday, 20 December 2013

MacFrumpy from Highlands..?

As my previous sneak peek post showed I've jumped the tartan bandwagon this autumn/winter. As mentioned the dress is a mixture of Peony (bodice) and a pattern from a Burda Easy Fashion magazine (the skirt). I thought the pleats on the skirt would be a appropriate for the tartan as they remind me of a kilt, but I'm having major second thoughts now.

Matching two different patterns wasn't quite as horrendous as I would have expected. Hurrah. But I did spend some quality time with a tape measure and when I cut the skirt I left quite a bit of extra fabric to the sides, which was good as I measured the pleats wrong and I would have ran out of fabric, but now it was just a simple thing of moving the side seams further out and cutting the excess fabric away. 

I'm always amazed at how easy setting sleeves is (or maybe it's because I'm not too fussy about it). They seemed to go in like a dream even if the side stitch and sleeve stitch are a bit off, but I figured no one can see them unless I wave my arms like a maniac (and even if I do I suspect people won't have time to stare at the sleeve seams). I also found out that the sleeves on Peony are huge so I took them in quite a bit, but not too much as I still want to be able to do the maniac waving.

Invisible zipper foot

I tried an invisible zipper foot for the first time. My mum brought a new sewing machine a few weeks back and it came with this mythical attachment so I've borrowed hers. I haven't quite made my mind up about it. It's handy, but I still didn't manage the zipper quite as neat as I would have wanted and I did unpick it once. Meh. But it's there now and I'm happy with the result so I'm tempted to "invest" in one.

I moved the zipper to the side on this one so I didn't have to do pattern matching on the back. Lazy or just clever? I'm going to vote for the latter ,D The Burda dress has the zipper on the side so that's where I got the idea from, even though I would love to take all the credit...

And here is the nearly finished product (and sorry for the bad photos I was in a hurry)

Frumpy Tartan dress

I've haven't hemmed the skirt yet mainly as I'm trying to decide what to do with the skirt ie. do I keep it pleated or do I re-do it as normal Peony skirt or do something else with it like a quarter circle skirt.  The dress looks frumpy, there is on two ways about it. I keep thinking it's the pleated skirt doing it as it's so heavy that drags to bodice down. Also the material isn't stiff enough for the pleats so they sag, don't they? And even a huge petticoat wouldnt save this one. I'm somewhat annoyed as I really would love a pleated tartan skirt to wear with my DMs but it looks as if it's not to be, well at least not with this dress.

Advice needed dear readers. To unpick or not?  

Sunday, 1 December 2013

Melkein Marttakerho - sewing with friends

Me and a few friends have started meeting up weekly or bi-weekly to knit, sew, drink tea and gossip. The idea came up one weekend at the end of last summer when we had a games weekend and Jenni wanted to start something as counter-act for the boys' RPG and games nights (though I have to confess I'm part of the boys' RPG group, but shhhh, don't tell anyone ,D)
My pink dice

It's been good fun combining sewing, knitting and being sociable. Also it means I set aside time each week to do something crafty rather than just watching telly and I get to see friends and drink tea. We've started calling our group Marttakerho which refers to a Finnish organization Marttakerho, The real Marttakerho is a women's organization where they teach handy skills like home-sewing and knitting. It isn't exclusively for sewing and crafting though as they also do courses for cooking, mushroom picking, cleaning, jam making and all sorts other things. We're still practising with our own almost Marttakerho, but we might join the real thing one day.

A Martta in the making - Anni with her knitting

We don't do courses at our meetings, but we do try to help each other if and when needed. Our crafting group is very relaxed and we usually do our own projects in the same space. However me and Jenni have started a dress project where we're both making a New Look 6000 together. I'm surprise, surprise making a black one from jersey again so I can eliminate the zip. I've been wanting to make one for a while since Houndstooth dress is one of my faves and I wear it a lot.

Jenni cutting her dress with the furry members of our club Java and Kaapo

So far we've cut the dresses and sewn the darts and the side seams. Next up it'll be tackling the back and neckline. I'm loving how quickly this dress is coming together. I'm still working on the tartan dress as well, it's nearly finished so expect a post about it soon.
Over&out for now dear readers.

Friday, 1 November 2013

Currently on my sewing table ...

I've been cutting fabric tonight and I thought I'd share a sneak peek of what I'm currently working on..
Tartan and pleats

I'm hoping to this into a dress in the near future, but we'll see. The pleats might require a bit of tweaking, but I'm pretty pleased with them already. The skirt is cut with a pattern from Burda Easy Fashion magazine (spring/summer 2009). I'm going to use the Peony bodice on it as I'm not too keen on the original bodice and I couldn't get it to sit right when I made a mock-up.   Pleats seem to be my new favourite things so expect to see more of them in the future. So what are your current projects dear readers? 

Thursday, 24 October 2013

Dotty New Look 6808

I made and mentioned this dotty New Look 6808 in the summer but never got around taking photos or blogging about until now, so here it finally is. The fabric is leftover from the Gertie's Bow blouse I made last spring (the one which I'm planning on tweaking one fine day), which in hindsight wasn't the best fabric as it doesn't drape that well. I was inspired by a dotty top from Dorothy Perkins and Susan from Sewin' Steady version of the New Look top where she cleverly pleated the collar.

Dotty 6808

Pleated collar 

The top was easy enough to put together as I've made it before. But I did adjust the lenght this time by taking an inch off the middle as the last version was way too long. I didn't add sleeves to this one (see a theme here?). I had a few hmmmm -moments trying to figure out how to add the pleats and made them even, but with some trial and error I succeeded  (well kinda). I should have probably had a bit more excess material to work with on the collar so the pleats would have been nicer ...

I only had a long, long white zipper in my stash (no idea why or where I've bought it) so I had to shorten it a bit. Luckily I came across this tutorial from threads magazine so I did some hand-stitching and ta-dah a proper length zipper. 

Shortened zipper

Nearly invisible zipper 

I'm pretty pleased with the overall result and I loved the fact that it was such a quick project without hours of tweaking and fitting. Having said that I've subsrcibed to a fitting course called Fast Track Fitting on Apparently you make slopers and then learn how to use them, I'm hoping it will be good. No doubt I'll report the results in the future (or four letter words about making said sloper). Ta-ra for now dear readers.

Tuesday, 15 October 2013

Dotty for Peony.

After quite a bit of contemplation and a few (read many) tweaks to the mock-up I finally was brave enough to cut into my dotty black&blue fabric and do some sewing. And here is the result.

My first Peony! (one of many I suspect)

I ended up taking the front in a teeny bit more so that the collar lies flat when wearing the dress, it was crinkeling a bit on the mock-up. I also did a small sway back adjustment that I contemplated in the last post. I didn't test this on the mock-up so I'm fairly pleased with the result, I suspect I'll be doing this for most patterns from now on. The question is why haven't I realised this earlier? But I suppose better late than never.

What else? I  took in the side seams a bit on the waist (which might explain the slight pulling, but I'm not too sure about this one). I only have to unpick on side of  the zipper once, which might be a new record for me. I'm contemplating getting a invisible zipper foot, it might make life easier. Do you have them and are they worth it?

Surprisingly neat armholes, eh? 

I also used baby hem for the armholes. I was going to use bias binding at first, but I wanted to try something different and came across "baby hem" on I've used it way back when I did sewing as a teenager but not recently, I suspect I will be using it a lot more in the future cause it's dead-easy and the result is fairly neat even if I say so myself.

I didn't make the cummerbund style belt from the pattern, instead I made a bow belt following Tilly's tutorial. I wasn't too sure of the cummerbund belt, especially with the dotty fabric, but I may make one in blue or black in the future. We'll see. I'm not a huge belt person anyway so I suspect I'll be wearing the dress without the belt.

The dress is somewhat summery and we're well into the autumn here in Finland (with rains that seem to last forever) but I'm sure I can wear it with wellies and a cardigan. I'm also planning on making another one in black (quelle surprise) with sleeves. I'm thinking of using a black double knit and maybe eliminating the zipper..? Any thoughts on that dear readers? Over&out for now.

Friday, 20 September 2013

Oh Peony.

Oh Peony, where do I begin? You're supposed to be a beginner pattern but you're causing me a headache. Your darts are in the wrong place, I'm not sure about the sleeves either and what is going on with your neckline?

As you can tell I've started my struggle with the Colette Peony dress pattern. Luckily I did do a bit of research before embarking on this adventure and nearly everyone said do a mock-or three (I've done two so far). In the process I did find some fab sewing blogs and saw some brilliant finishes so I'm still hopeful that I will end up with a dress that I can wear, but we'll see.

The first mock-up

  So the first mock-up revealed that the neckline was far too high, it was choking me so that had to be lowered (its already lowered in the pics).Also the bodice is too wide, the shoulders are way off as the picture tells. Good job I've been reading Gertie's book for better sewing for adjusting patterns. The bust darts didn't cause me as much trouble as they have for some people, but I did move the bottom front darts a centimetre towards the sides as they were too close together. 

The second mock-up

The second mock-up looks  better, but I suspect the neckline needs more attention. It's doesn't look quite so crinkled when I'm not lifting my arms, but still ... I aslo think I will have to move the back darts back towards the centre as they are a bit pointy at the moment. I added the skirt to the bodice and it looks as if the waist needs to go half an inch higher and sway back adjustment is in the cards as well. And I'm still undecided on the sleeves. I always, always wear cardigans so leaving it sleeveless might be a sensible option (and easier!)

Re-hashed pattern pieces

I'm still not sure if I should go ahead and cut my real fabric or just continue with the mock-ups til kingdom come. I've read some people have done 5 mock-ups for their Peonys, I'm not sure I have the patience for that.  I'm thinking I could do the sway back adjustment maybe without a new mock-up, right?  Any advice dear readers? Over&out for now.

Thursday, 15 August 2013

Dots, cherries and more dots!

I've mentioned doing stash busting in a few earlier posts and in the last four projects I've been good and used up what is lying my dotty fabric boxes. But it was only a matter of time when I would 'accidentally' end up  buying/ordering new fabrics and that happened beginning of the month. Ooops.

New dotty fabrics 

Who could say no to dots and cherries? I'm trying to introduce a bit of colour to wardrobe (we'll see how that one goes) and it seems that blues and turquoises don't scare me as much as say yellows or neon. I think none of you will be surprised if I say I'm planning on turning these into summer dresses, but then the summer is over or at least it feels like it here in Finlantd. But then I could always wear summer dresses with cardigans and thick tights in the autumn. I just need to decide what patterns to use, suggestions welcome though I may have accidentally ordered the pattern for Colette Peony dress so I might give that a go so watch this space.

Over&our for now dear readers.

Wednesday, 24 July 2013

The bats have left the bell tower ...

... Bela Lugosi's dead - undead, undead, undead. I was listening to Bauhaus in my head while working on the dress, something to with the bats on the fabric me thinks ,D

Anyhow here it finally is the finished bat print Cambie!

 Cambie bats 

Neat lining

And the neatest zipper I've put in so far

I made the tweaks to the pattern I mentioned in the last post ie. taking the bodice up a bit and making the skirt smaller before cutting my precious bat fabric. After the tweaks the sewing was a breeze, even the zipper didn't cause me a headache like usual. Though I will say I was a bit baffled with the attaching the lining to begin, but after reading Tasia from Sewabolic's blog post on how to attach the lining it made more sense. I did the pinning it all in as she advised to get my head around it. I have to say I'm in love with this lining method now, easy and neat and makes me think why haven't I done this before? Better late than never, I suppose.

So after all that I noticed that the skirt was still a tad too big for me so I had to tweak it a bit more as the skirt was too big from te back. Luckily my trusted Vogue had a few suggestion as to what to do, the tweaks I ended up looking for were for a flat behind, who would have thunk. I lengthened the skirt back seams to go all the way down  and it seemed to sort out the problem a bit. Next time (which will probably be soon as I heart my Cambie) I will try to sort this before putting the whole dress together, idea welcome. 

Cambie bats has already seen its first outing and I can report that the dress was comfy and worked well. Alas no compliments on how brill the dress is (biased opinion here?) but my friend commented about how ace the fabric is, she admitted to having visions of a batman logo style bat dress when I was telling her about bat dress I was making.

Over&out for now.

Thursday, 11 July 2013

Pink Cambie mock-up

As I've mentioned in several previous posts I've been working on the sewaholic Cambie dress recently. I was really excited to finally get the pattern as I've seen lovely versions all over the blogosphere in the last year or so, it seems to be the pattern to make and I'm all for jumping the band-wagon!

So I started with studying the measurements on the pattern package and finding out I was somewhere between three different sizes, yikes! So mock-up was the next logical step. I drew the pattern loosely connecting the three different sizes where I could, but it still seemed a bit messy. I finished the mock-up fairly quickly and here is the result.

 Pink mock-up pre-changes

It didn't look very flattering on Donna nor me. I felt a bit disheartened by the fit, but figured I might be able to be sort it out if all went well. My first point of attention was the waist which seemed to be too low. I've ran into this problem before, I seem to have a short torso as most patterns are too long for me so I should probably shortened them an inch for the mock-up to begin with. Anyhow taking the waist up an inch seemed to do the trick on the mock-up for the torso problem. I also took the side seams of the skirt part in a bit more so it wouldn't look too, too wide.

Pink mock-up post-changes

The mock-up looked better on me than it did on Donna, but alas I have no pics of that. Anyhow after these tweaks it seemed like a good idea to start with the bat fabric, but more of that later once I get the dress finished and pics taken. Over and out for now dear readers.

Thursday, 27 June 2013

Miette skirt with pockets!

Having made the Cambie dress mock-up I kinda ran out of steam with that project or rather wanted to contemplate the changes I have to make rather than just rushing in. So I wanted to take my mind of the dress and make something else in the mean time. I started with another New Look 6808 top which I mentioned in the previous post but that still needs a zipper as the place where I usually get my zippers from were all out of the invisible zips in the right length so that is still a work in progress. But not to worry I started on yet another project to keep me distracted (I'm noticing a pattern for possible UFOs here).

I've been an avid reader of the Tilly and the Buttons -blog for a while now. She makes the cutest skirts and dresses, doesn't she?  And the talented Tilly has made some amazing patterns for cute a skirt and some blouses which are available from her website. I order the Miette skirt beginning of May and I've been wanting to try it out ever since and now seemed like a good time.

I'm still attempting to do some stash busting before running off to buy more fabrics, so I found some leftover black cotton from my stash.  I obviously didn't read the fabric requirements for the Beignet skirt correctly before Christmas as there was loads left over, but that's ok as it's now been used. I ran out of fabric with the pockets so I used some red and white stripey cotton for the lining, but I like the little peek of colour that you can see at the top edge of the pockets, I think it adds a nice detail. So here is my finished version of the Miette skirt as modeled by Donna.

Donna loves Miette 

Pocket detail

The skirt was lovely and quick to put to together, the instructions were clear and Tilly has posted a sew along on her blog in case you get stuck. I love the shape of the skirt and it has pockets! I'm sure I will make another one  in the near future if I get over my fear of colour  as I'm not sure how many of the same black skirt a girl needs... But for now I'm back to working with the Cambie dress and the bat fabric. Results will hopefully appear here soon.

Over&out for now.

Thursday, 30 May 2013

Houndstooth photos and Donna!

As promised in the last post here are a few more pics of the howling houndstooth dress I finished some time ago. I've been busy soaking up the sun and sitting in various parks with friends. Though the weather has reminded me that I need more summer clothing, I already have a few projects in mind I just hope I have the time and motivation to finish the.

Houndstooth and silly poses 

Also meet Donna 

She's my new and shiny tailor's dummy. I've been meaning to get one for zonks and finally decided that it was. I'm hoping this will make fitting a bit less painful and I won't need to bother friends for fun with needles. Written that down that sounds a bit wrong, but I'm sure you know what I mean. 

My Cambie dress is on hold, but I have started on another dotty New Look 6808 in the mean time. It's nearly finished so pics coming up soon. Over&out til then. 

Thursday, 25 April 2013

Howling Houndstooth and the New Look 6000

I bought this lovely grey and black houndstooth knit well over a year ago with good intentions of turning it into a dress, but alas the fabric was left somewhere amongst the several boxes of fabric I seem to have accummulated in last few years ... ooops. Then I came across a lovely grey and black houndstooth dress on the Modcloth website a few months back and I was reminded of said fabric. I'd also ordered the New Look 6000 dress pattern a while back, but never got around making it until now! 

I'd seen some wonderful creations from this pattern over at  Scruffy Badger's blog  She's hosted two sew alongs for the pattern, maybe I'll be able to take part in the next one. I also found a super helpful tip on her site about leaving the zip out if making this dress from a double knit so no fighting against zips hurrah!

I was going to add pockets to the dress (as they are my fave thing) and I did to begin with, but somehow they didn't look right  (I suspect I added them too low) so I ended up taking them out.

Quality time with the BFF

I made the skirt part a bit more A-line than in the pattern and added small dart to the neckline in the back so that it would lie flat. Thanks Vogue sewing handbook for solving that one for me, I'll use this for a few other patterns in the future.

All in the all the dress came together surprisingly swiftly and I'm liking the fit. The only thing I had a bit of waffle were the sleeves. There were huge, for a while I thuoght I'd cut the wrong size for them, but having taken another look at the model on the pattern package I realised they we're meant to be like that. I took them in to make it look a bit more streamline. If (and when) I make the pattern again I will probably shorten the back an inch or so to as the back is a tiny bit too long, but nothing major and it's probably only me who notices it (or that's what I'm hoping anyway).

The finished dress  

The boyfriend is coming over at the weekend so I will get him to take some better pictures of the dress. You can't really see the detail in these.

I may have accidentally order Sewaholic's Cambie dress pattern so you probably have a fair idea of what I'm going to be working on next. Over&out for now. 

Tuesday, 9 April 2013

Did someone mention cupcakes?

Turns out my next project wasn't a dress after all, quelly surprise, but it was fun. I’ve been wanting to make an apron for a while now, I have no idea why, but I just have. It might have started with the cute pink cupcake fabric I saw in EuroKangas or it might have been something else that triggered it ...

Yummy cupcakes

So I started looking out for ideas, I must admit I was a bit startled by the amount of apron patterns and books there are out there. Seriously why would you need a book with 25 different apron patterns? But each to their own and I must admit I did get a few apron books from the library to leaf through and they had some quite nice ideas, but none of the patterns spoke to me as such. I also came across this website that had some lovely vintage apron patterns that you can download.

Finally after some ‘research’ (I use the word loosely here) I had a pretty clear vision of what I wanted the finished product to look like so I just cut the fabric and hoped of the best. I used a pleated skirt pattern (EasyBurda rockabilly dress which I might make one day) for the bottom as I wanted some fullness to it, but I didn’t have enough material for a circle skirt bottom. The top of the apron was done with the good old close your eyes, cut fabric and hope for the best –method and after some tiny adjusting it turned out ok.

Draping cakes

My friend is a baking enthusiast and she yummy cake so this seemed to perfect for her. She has also been talking about starting a blog about making cakes from around the wolrd so I made the apron for her so she can do silly poses with the apron and cakes (and hopefully she'll be insprired to bake me some cake too!). I'll link the blog or post some pictures of her and the apron once I get some until then you'll have to do with the one of me and the apron. 

Cupcake anyone?

Ta-ra for now. 

Friday, 1 March 2013

Dotty top for a dot mad girl

As I hinted in the previous post I was close to fnished the dotty bow tied blouse from GNBBS I started back in January. The blouse was a breeze to make and I didn't run into huge disaster while piecing it together. The patterns pieces were clearly marked, the instructions easy to follow, though I misread step F but that's what you get for doing things late at night. And even the little mishap didn't affect the result so win.

I did skip the bound button holes that the pattern suggest as I wanted to finally test out the automatic button feature on my Singer 160th edition. (I seem to be more of a zipper kinda gal) Anyhow I'm pleased to report the automatic button feature works fine. You just pop the button into holder the and the machine does all the work which suits me fine, and the result is nice and neat. 

Singer 160th edition made button holes

Finished bow-tied blouse (photos courtesy of lil bro)

I think the waist might look better if it was an inch higher (or an inch bigger, but I'm currently in size denial, but I've taken up jogging so I live in hope...). Also the collar looks a bit tight, so I might re-do that if and when I have the energy. But all in all I'm pleased with how this turned out, I think. And I also think this one might grow on me and I'll wear it a lot, or it will stay in the cupboard never to worn, it's not a in the middle kind of top.In hindsight a mock-up might have been good to iron out aforementioned problems but then I can treat this as a trial piece, can't I?  The thinner summery fabric worked and the blouse looks pretty good with a black cardi on top so perfect for the summer (I'm always, always cold hence the cardi must)

And with a cardi 

There is just one little (major) but with the finished blouse and that has nothing to do with the pattern or the instructions but moi. This wouldn't be one of my projects if it wasn't flirting with disaster ... I discovered crayon type dress makers chalk while in NYC last summer. We don't have these in Finland, I was and still am stupidly excited by them, no more horrible white powder everywhere or pens that don't work,  I pretty soon discovered that this marvellous stuff comes off fabric when you iron it, it's magic I tell you, until now. I didn't bother doing a test piece (this is what being lazy gets you!) and now it seems that the lovely bright yellow won't come off the fabric. I've not washed the top yet so I haven't given up all hope.

We heart yellow..?

I'll report back what happens. If the yellow doesn't come off it's defo going in the mock-up pile. Which reminds me what do you lovely readers do with mock-ups? I've stored some of mine for a about 6months and then throw them away cause I can't come up with a good use for them. It seems like such a waste but until I stop being in size denial I don't think I can work without them. 

Enough babbling from me. Over&out for now. 

Tuesday, 19 February 2013

Stylish Patterns

Sorry dear readers, I haven't forgotten about you. I've been busy with open uni essays recently. I even had to have my mother confiscate my sewing machine so I would get things done instead of doing accidental sewing. Good news is I only have one essay to go so I thought I could take a break and share these delightful vintage patterns I was lucky enough to get my mitts on. My dear friend Jen came across the patterns when she'd been sorting through her Nan's stuff and she thought I might like to have a look at them. Needless to say I was teensy bit excited when she brought them over all the way from England. 

The patterns

Two of the patterns are by a British company Style Patterns Ltd and the last one is a Sunday People Pattern. Unfortunately the envelopes don't have years on them, but from the patterns I would say they're form the 1940's and 1950s, the Sunday People Pattern maybe even from the 60s. T'internet is failing me when looking for other information on the company which is a shame as it would be interesting to know more. I'm sure I've read something about the history of some of the English pattern companies in a blog, but I can't for the life of me remember who's blog it was, I'll let you know if it comes back to me.

Pattern pieces with holes on them!

Singer Advert

The patterns are in excellent condition and the actual pattern pieces don't have any markings on them, but instead they have the holes for doing tailor's tacks, how twee is that? The instructions sheets cute too and the advert for the Touch&Sew Singer admist the sewing instruction is just adorable. And the best bit is that all the patterns are in a size 40 bust which means I'll need to tweak it a bit, but much, hurrah! I can't wait to try one them out, but I suspect I need to finish a few other projects first ... Talking of which the dotty top you saw a sneak peak of in the last post is coming along fine. I just need to hem it and its done, but more about that in the next post. I'm going to go stroke the vintage patterns.  Ta-ra for now.

Monday, 21 January 2013

Dotty sneak peek

So new year, new projects! I'm somewhat excited about this particular one as I've finally get to test out Gertie's New Book for Better Sewing (from here on GNBBS) which I got back in September. I've been wanting to try out pretty much all the patterns since I got the book, but the bow tied blouse ended up as the winner as it didn't seem like a project that would take forever to complete and it looked like something my wardrobe lacked.

What I'm currently working on.

I suspect the bow tied blouse is a tad on the summery side for the -15C temperatures outside, but I couldn't resist the dotty fabric and I promised myself I would use up some of the fabrics from my stash before buying new ones, we'll see how long I managed with that promise before being lead astray. The fabric is a cotton poplin so it's a bit lighter than the recommended fabric, but I'm hoping the pattern will still work. 

I've also dabbled at covering buttons, I know its suppose to be one of the last stages of the project but it was a easy little task that I could take with me to Helsinki. The covering was much fun, even if it works out more expensive doing it yourself than taking the fabric to the little button shop in town. I might have a look on eBay if I could find cheaper coverable buttons as I seem to be using them for every project at the moment. 

Some hand covered buttons 

I'm off to do some sewing now. Have a dotty day y'all!