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Biscayne blouse with sleeves

29 Oct

The biscayne blouse really has become my favuorite pattern – I have five of them now. But I knew that I’d need to add some sleeves  to turn in into a year round type of pattern. But I wasn’t sure exactly what type of sleeve. I knew what I didn’t want – nothing too big or anything with a serious cuff. I wanted something that would match the simple style of the blouse.

So when Colette released the Claudette pattern and I saw the  design of long fitted sleeves with a continuous lap placket and cuff  I knew I had found exactly what I wanted. I must admit to being rather indifferent to the rest of the dress pattern, but it was on sale  and exactly what I was looking for, so buying the PDF for $11 seemed reasonable enough.

The blouse itself came together easily enough and I’m particularly happy with my welt pocket – it’s my most accurate one yet! The only thing that slightly bugs me, is that I didn’t have any lightweight/fine interfacing and what I did have turned out to a little too heavy so the button placket is sticker than I’d have liked.

The sleeves worked out pretty good (I made size 8) which had 10 cm extra around the armhole so required a bit of gathering. Next time I think I’ll reduce the curve so there won’t be such an obvious gathering. I really like the narrow cuff band, but I’m not terribly impressed with the method for completing the sleeve placket. Obviously I’m not familiar with this method and I could do with some practice but the end results don’t seem too polished. That being said I plan to make myself a lot more of these!


Wacky apron – in photos

13 Oct

It only took me flying around the world to visit my ma, to finally get photos of the wacky apron I made her for her birthday in April. She loves the print and I’m pretty pleased with how it looks on her! Next time though I’d put the neck tie at an angle to keep the front bib from gaping and make the bib a little bigger.

It’s much easier to photograph an apron with a body inside it!



Week 3 #MMM

21 Jun

Third week down of Me-Made-Made and I’m feeling pretty pleased with myself this week. I spent four days away for work and managed to wear at least one #MMM item each day (in fact on some days I wore even more!). This despite the fact that the level of meetings required I look particularly smart (and I wanted to blend in so wasn’t wearing anything printed). As most of the photos were taken on my terrible camera phone and the quality is horrific I shalln’t be posting any large shots. I did however fall short and haven’t worn anything #MMM today. But I learned a few lessons or reinforced my thinking from the previous weeks. Lesson learned: I need more comfortable, slouchy clothes and I need more plain (external meeting quality) garments.

Monday: An old favorite, McCall’s M6124 out of a great flannel!

Tuesday: Perfectly comfortable for traveling, my Colette Clover capris.

Wednesday: First day of fancy pants meeting and I wore my new Colette Sorbetto top which I made forweek two of IPM2015!

Thursday: On Thursday I actually wore my Simplicity 2363 (made into a top) with my new BHL Victoria blazer (which actually got worn most days!) but by the time I got round to taking the photo I had put on a warmer top for going out that evening.

Friday: Travel ready again, in M6078!

Saturday: Ready to gallivant around Walthamstow’s fabric shops, in my Vogue V8597.

Sunday: Zippo, I’m still in my PJs.


Wacky apron – Happy Birthday Ma

27 Apr

While I was in Japan I stumbled across this very very wacky print.  I  thought it was pretty wild and would make an amazing apron (and potholders too). And I immediately thought of my mom – it’s her birthday. Over the years she’s made me quite a few aprons and more potholders than I know what to do with. A girl can ever have too many can she?  (Yes in fact she can, this girl requires no more, please no more). But I’ve never made my mom an apron (and as I’ve made it she’ll have to use it!).

Before we get to the nitty-gritty I wanted to show you the fabric so you can really and truly see just how wacky it is.

I didn’t have a pattern and was roughly working off an old apron that my grandma made my mom (and is now mine) maybe  35 years ago. I was good and didn’t just start cutting willy-nilly. I planned. It looked something like this (no laughing this drawing thing is a new pursuit):

I spent quite a bit of time deciding where to cut out exactly to maximize the use of the print. The essential core of the  print is the four animals which covers approximately 18″ by 11″ and then is repeated.  After a quick iron, I immediately decided that I’d use the selvedge for the neck strap. The purple makes a nice contrast  and its kinda quirky to include the writing.


Once all my pieces were cut my first step was to hem the sides of the ‘skirt’. Is that the right term? Hem? Either way you know what I mean. It seamed easier to do that before gathering it. Because this is for my mom and she’d know the difference, I took great pains to ensure my stitching was oh so straight. I’m pretty proud of these.

Then I put some gathering stitches along the top of the ‘skirt’. Although my piece is 30″ wide (1/2″ seam allowance included) I wanted to gather it to 20″.  I ‘sandwiched’ the skirt between the waist band exterior and interior, so no stitching is visible.  Seam graded then pressed and presto!


IMG_9883Next I turned to the top of the apron. I made the neck strap, by folding my piece of fabric in half length wise and sewing a seam along it. Once turned right side out and pressed, this allowed me to have a half green/half purple strap. Then I sandwiched the neck strap in between the front of the apron bib and the back, sewing up along one side, across the top and down the other side, stopping about 1/2″ from the bottom.

I went to join the bib to the bottom and realised my design flaw. In an attempt to hide most of my seams, I’d forgotten about the top seam of the yoke band.

This was the point when I should have paused, had a cup of tea and maybe put my project away for the day. And then come back and unsticked the skirt from the waist band. Instead I forged, brashly ahead. Visibly attaching the bib to the yoke. It was down hill from there. Having not stopped and taken the time to undo one seam, I continued to make ever so slight, just off, mistakes. Joining the ties to the body wasn’t quite right and they pucker a little. The hem, despite all my careful measurements is totally off balance!  Mostly these things are just frustrating because I was so happy with the earlier work.

Then I put it to the side and pouted. I didn’t post it though and week later came back to it and untouched the hem, and all the seams joining the bib to the yoke, the yoke to the skirt, the ties to the yoke etc. I then ironed it all out and started again. This time I sandwiched the bib and and ties into the top and sides of the yoke and sewed. The I redid the gathering stitch on the skirt and attached it to the front piece of the yoke, before hand stitching the yoke lining (so no stitching was visible). Ie I went and made it good.

And good it is I have to say! Here’s the final deal (hopefully my ma will grace us with some photos soon):

Although I made the apron at the beginning of the month, I waited until today to post about it.

Happy Birthday moma.




Fashion Tape Measure

27 Dec

I got this fantastic Fashion Tape Measure from a friend for Christmas depicting the fashions for each decade from 1700-1990. How cute is this?

I’m back!

3 Nov

So its been a while since I posted here, but I’m back and have been reunited with my sewing machine. I brought back a considerable amount of fabric including some lovely silks, silk-cotton blends, linen and a whole bunch of randoms. As a result my new sewing cupboard is chock full and I have set myself a little rule – no new fabric for six months (that expires at the end of January). But I didn’t put any rules down about new patterns (I’m sneaky that way) and though I haven’t been sewing for the last year, I’ve still been reading oh so many blogs and have a pattern wish list a mile long.

I also have quite a considerable hoard of fabric I bought a few years ago while my mom was visiting my in London. I had bought some gorgeous cotton-wool blends, perfect for winter. So for the first time in my sewing life, I am sewing for the season!

To start with I decided to use a fabric I got even longer ago in Fabricana in Vancouver years ago. According to the salvage (is that the right term?) it says its called Juggling Summer by BrigitteHeitland for ZEN CHIC for moda but it has a definite autumnal feeling. Because it’s such a loud print, I wanted to use a very simple dress design – and in the end went for Version 1 of Colette’s Laurel.


I quite like the pattern but when I when to try it on half way along (after putting in darts and doing the side seems I noticed that the darts seemed a wee bit high. About 2 inches to be precise. I had a little grump and went off to investigate my other Colette creations. And found a disturbing trend. On most of them the darts are too high. Now there are two possibilities – in the last year my nipples have made a run for it, travelling 2 inches down. Or (more plausible I know) I have been very slack in my fittings – on some it is less visible and I suspect I’ve been lazy.

So I unpicked the top of the side seams, picked out the darts and just lowered them about 1.5 inches. I didn’t shorten them however, cause I have itsy-bitys boobs, and although the dart placement is now I think where the size 14 or 16 might be I still wanted the point further inwards. Technical huh? The result is pretty good, and I’ve decided that I really should go back to some of my other Colette creations and redo the dart.

I also attempted to make my own bias tape for the first time, using the Colette tutorial. I’ll admit it took me a dam few times to get it right  but I’ll spare you the idiosyncrasy of that process. Suffice to say, I have now got myself a bias tape maker and a square rulers.

I’ll put some pictures up in the next few days of the final result, but as I’ve got the day off to sew (hurrah!) I best get a move on with my next project.

Fabrics Galore

4 Oct

I had the most mind blowing afternoon today – exploring Manek Chowk market’s fabric vendors, in Ahmedabad, India.

My colleague helped me navigate the chaos and we explored a range of shops. The main one though that was selling fabric by the meter versus fabric for specific ‘suits’  that I ended up going a little over board in was Salman’s. It was quite the experience. As it was quite a crowded shop and most customers were Muslim, I didn’t really feel comfortable taking photos – but I did get this one of the plain cotton section.


Unlike any fabric shop I have ever been, a shop assistant followed us around this huge shop – stacked floor to ceiling with fabrics (organized by type) pulling out fabrics to suggest to me. I initially felt like batting him away – to me choosing fabric is such a personal thing. The likelihood that a stranger, and a man at that is going to suggest a fabric that I actually like, is quite rare lets be honest. But anyway he would pull them out with a flourish and before I could exclaim – lovely, horrid or anything – he would have unfurled a bit across the counter for me to examine. It all felt quite dramatic. In the end it just made me giggle and to be honest I could have spent hours in the shop. But it was soo bloody hot (I meant its been steady 35 degrees this week (going down to a balmy 29 at night). In the end I ‘narrowed it down’ to a few choices.

Now if you’re read my posts before, you’ll notice I’ve drastically departed from the normal type of prints and colors I would choose.  And while I was drawn here to the outrageous, bold extravaganza of prints – they look just plain silly on a white girl.  I’m getting them all made into various types of kurtas by a tailor down the road tomorrow.

This first lot are the ones that will be made into kurta tops  – one or two also came with fabric for the ‘suit’ trousers and scarf – but I’m not yet sure if I am going to be able to pull off such bold prints top and bottom. I may just go for some plain bottoms (I already got one lovely dark blue cotton for trousers).

Need I mention that I spent less than 20 Euros on all this (approx 16 metres of fabric)  and my other random fabric purchase – and it feels just lovely.


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