Saturday, 30 March 2013

Butterick 5710 - WIP - dress No.4

I have made good progress with dress No.4 today which is Butterick 5710.

Please ignore the unpressed seams and any minor creases, as clipping and pressing is my next job, but not until tomorrow as we have other plans for tonight. Also there is the toil for my dress already on the mannequin adding to the lumps and bumps showing through.

This is a lovely dress pattern, but all pieces are cut on the bias, and despite having a long cutting table, I couldn't just lay out the pattern pieces and cut, so I had to cut part of the pattern, and carefully move it all so I could cut out the next piece.

This dress is for a lady who is 5' 10" tall and has a 36F cup, so this added to my some of my problems, one being getting the length of the pattern pieces for the back on the cross grain, the other being the FBA adjustment.

The dress is designed with quite a long train, but I reduced this down quite a bit and as you can see below, I think it is more than adequate for a bridesmaid dress.

Now I have got one under my belt, the next one should be easier, especially as I don't have an FBA or length adjustments to make for the next dress.

This particular dress will be fitted on Monday, so I haven't sewn any side seams, and tomorrow's job is to cut out the dress for my daughter-in-law who is 2lbs lighter than her pre-pregnancy weight and our darling Sofia is only 5 weeks old today.

That's all for today folks, hopefully more progress updates tomorrow.

Catch you later.............

Friday, 29 March 2013

Dress No.3 - BurdaStyle 02/2012-142

Thank you for all your lovely comments on the first two little dresses. So here is my progress:-

Alana's dress - Done
Ella's dress- Done
Esme's dress - Done (just needs to be fitted).

Here is dress number three to add to the collection BurdaStyle 02/2012-142 for Mike's Niece Esme who will be 11 years old in August.

I wanted to have something similar to the little ones but just that little bit older looking and this little dress fitted the bill perfectly.  As you can  see the dresses are quite similar, however the skirt has not got the same fullness as the little dresses, but still has the benefit of an organza interlining on all pattern pieces and a gathered tulle skirt attached to the waist sandwiched between the interlining and the lining.  The shoulder seams are quite narrow and the neckline is a slight boat shape.

The waist tie for this dress is a simple 2" wide belt, made from the crepe backed satin used for the little dress cummerbunds but I added a jewel encrusted tulle for the centre section to add a little bit of bling.  Unlike the cummerbunds I didn't add any organza because I didn't think Esme would like the large bow, however if at her fitting she would prefer that look, then it will not be a problem to run up another one.

Fingers crossed, that Esme's measurements haven't changed since I measured her a few weeks back and this dress fits her ok, otherwise I'll be doing a lot of unpicking :-(

So here are the three dresses hanging together waiting for a fitting.  We have our first fitting session on Sunday with Alana and Natalie, so Natalie's dress, Butterick 5710 is the next scheduled for the production line.  I am hoping that there will not be quite as much work in this pattern, wishful thinking, but if I can I would like to get another two dresses made by Tuesday which will just leave me with my dress (which is work in progress) and my daughter's dress, which is difficult because her baby is due in the next 7-8 weeks.

That's all for tonight folks.  Production starts first thing in the morning, however we do have a party to attend tomorrow evening.

Catch you later.......................

Wednesday, 27 March 2013

Completed bridesmaid dress - B5705

Yippee I have finished one of the little bridesmaid dresses.  Both little dresses were completed leaving me to make the 2 cummerbunds and press the hem on the other dress.

Here is the completed Butterick 5705 and I am delighted with it.

I made a few changes to the original pattern.  I decided to add an interlining to this and inserted organza to the bodice and skirt pieces.  As you can see from the hem, you don't see any stitches because you catch the interlining and not  the dress.  I also inserted an invisible zipper rather than using a lapped zip.  I decided against making the covered buttons predominately due to the time constraints, I can always revisit if I have time.

The cummerbund is made out of the same fabric that I am using for the adult bridesmaids and compliments the pale gold fabric beautifully.

When I made my first cummerbund I didn't use anything to stiffen the crepe backed satin.  This caused the bows at the back of the dress to, well just flop!!!  I didn't like the effect so added the organza to all the pieces of the cummerbund as well, which once tied allow you to puff out the bow and more or less shape it.

Tomorrow I have booked a day's vacation and the job list includes:-

  1. Complete the 2nd cummerbund,
  2. Press the hem of the 2nd dress and these two little dresses are good to go (phew).
  3. Cut out and make a start on the dress for my 10 year old bridesmaid.
I have the family coming for lunch on both Sunday (my children) and Monday (Mike's children/sister and niece).  My goal is to try and have two more dresses ready for fitting over the weekend - wish me luck.

Catch you later.

Monday, 25 March 2013

Great British Sewing Bee BBC2 2nd April

Usually all the fun in the sewing world is on the other pond but on 2nd April it is here in the UK namely the Great British Sewing Bee, and the Grand Dame of the Stitchers' Guild Sewing Forum Ann Rowley (far right in pink jumper) is one of the contestants.

The first episode is aired tomorrow night on the British BBC 2 channel  and will feature 8 contestants who are required to show off their needlework skills to eventually be crowned the champion.

Advertisements state that the contestants will cover a range of sewing techniques from tailoring to embroidery and the judges are May Martin from the Women's Institute and Patrick Grant a Designer.

This is what they have to do:-

  • Pattern Challenge
    • Each of the contestants have to follow the same pattern
      • A-line skirt
      • change the neckline on a blouse
      • make a day dress
  • Alteration challenge
  • Make something to fit the model who's been assigned to them.

I am really excited, and of course pass on my good luck wishes to Ann.

I'll let you know how it goes

Catch you later............

Sunday, 24 March 2013

Patchwork & Quilting weekend.

My local sewing shop holds an annual gathering of like-minded people down in East Sussex, to do various quilting or patchwork projects.

My friend Ellen asked that next time one of these sewing weekends was on if she could come, and my D Mike and her husband bought us this weekend for our Christmas present.

Here are some pictures of the event and our finished bags.  We have 3 zipper pockets inside, and I added a little phone pocket to the inside of mine too.  Look how pleased Ellen is with her bag - she has never done any sewing and is just thrilled with her bag.

I haven't neglected my wedding sewing duties, I took the 2nd bridesmaid dress to finish the hem which took me two evening while we all joined in various quizes that Chris the leader of the group organised.

I am back on the 'job' Tuesday evening when I plan on completing the cummerbunds for these two little dresses.

I hope you had a great weekend.  Catch you later..................

Thursday, 21 March 2013

Hem completed on one dress.

I have made some more progress tonight.  Both of the little dresses have had the zipper inserted last night and the bodice lining hand stitched in place.

I have tonight managed to hem one of the little dresses, but let me tell you that there are metres/yds of fabric in each of those skirts and it has taken me approximately 4 hours to hem the lining and the fashion fabric of one little dress.  One of the advantages of the underlining is that all the stitching is invisible from the right side because you only need catch the underlining.

Each dress has a cummerbund, I have made the first one (needs pressing), and need to make the 2nd.  I experimented with the cummerbund and added some of the organza to the inside of the tie part and this gives far more body when a bow is tied, so I shall add this feature for both of them.

These little dresses have had far more work in them than I ever expected, but they look darn cute on the girls, and Alana thinks its her princess dress.

I am off on a quilting weekend tomorrow.  I know I know I don't really have time, but this was a birthday present, all booked and paid for so I am going so my bridesmaid dress sewing will not resume until Wednesday now.

Catch you later.....................

Sunday, 17 March 2013

And more wedding sewing.

Friday my dear friend Viv came and spent the weekend with me to help with the wedding sewing, and more important help me fit my muslin.

We had two very late nights going to bed at midnight on both Friday and Saturday night so we certainly worked hard.

First stop Friday was to go and look at the lace I wanted to purchase.  This wasn't from my beloved Walthamstow Market, and it was very very expensive so I needed someone to support me   1st in confirming my choice of fabric and, 2nd supporting me when I paid over the money, for which dear readers, I am still in shock, but delighted with the fabric.

So one of the first jobs was to make the final decision on the design because we needed to work the design around the lace.  We scrolled through many pictures on the internet, looked at patterns from BurdaStyle and the propriety  brands that I have and a design was born.

Next job was to alter the Butterick pattern  to fit our design and here is Viv doing just that for me (excuse the mess).

My toile was made, and fitted and unpicked to make a pattern.  This was used to cut out both the fashion fabric and lining pieces, which are partly sewn.

The next step was to find a pattern to use with the lace, and we found exactly what we were looking for from the March 2013 issue of BurdaStyle.  Viv kindly measured me, traced off the pattern and cut out the piece in some spare tulle (this was the closest to the lace we could find).  There were a few minor adjustments around the neck edge and another toile was completed.

While Viv was doing all this, I pressed on with the little bridesmaid dresses.

I had already done a lot of work on the dresses and one of the jobs was to insert the zipper in the back.  Viv suggested that I use the method used by Sherry from the blog Pattern Scissor Cloth giving a really professional finish to an invisible zipper with no hand sewing involved.

I put my hand up to confess there was a bit of head scratching going on, but once we did it, it was quite easy (once you know how) and boy does it give a professional finish (I'll post a photo later) and a big thanks to Sherry who posted instructions on how to do this.  In her example she inserts the zipper in a skirt, but the same application can be used for a dress.

Just to show you the success of the organza interlining and tulle petticoat look at how the little dress can stand up on its own.  Alana loves her "princess dress" and doesn't want to take it off.

These are very close to finished now.  Zipper in the back of one, zipper partially inserted into the back of the 2nd.  The fit is perfect on both little girls.  I now just need to hem the dresses and make the 2nd cummerbund (first one is made) and these can be ticked off the list.

My 11 year old bridesmaid will be wearing the same colour as these little ones but a slightly more grown up dress.  I am using a BurdaStyle pattern from their February 2012 issue and will trace that off during the week.

Viv left at lunchtime to head back home, a 3 hour plus car ride, and I can't tell you how grateful I was for all her help.  It would have been almost impossible for me to take such accurate measurements on my own.  She very kindly took my bodice top to sew up for me and some fabric to cover 20+ tiny buttons in the fashion fabric.  This is the sort of job I hate and am even more grateful for her help.

BIG BIG THANK YOU VIV this has taken such a load off my mind.

Catch you later..................

Wednesday, 13 March 2013

More ruffles than a can can skirt

My Ruffles have been gathered, and thankfully none of my gathering thread broke during the process.  Next stage was to attach them to the skirt lining, remembering to attach it to the wrong side of the skirt lining (on my test one I did it the wrong way round) this way the inside of the dress is nice.

I am really pleased with the softer tulle and glad I didn't use the rather stiff white net I used first time round, and as you can see the skirt is able to stand up entirely on its own, which is mainly due to the organza.  The other benefit of this softer tulle is that it wasn't so rough to handle, and should be nicer for the little ones to wear.

As you can see from the picture of the wonderful can can dancers, there are nearly as many ruffles in these little bridesmaid dresses as they have ha ha.

I didn't spend as much time sewing tonight because I thought I had better bite the bullet and tidy up my sewing room a little.  My lovely friend Viv is coming on Friday to help me fit my dress muslin, so I figured I had better make some room up in the sewing den before she arrives.

Catch you later...................

Tuesday, 12 March 2013

Skirt lining and ruffles

I don't normally have the luxury of sewing during the week, but the snow means that I have been housebound so have been working from home, and this means that I am taking full advantage of being able to pop upstairs and sew at 6:30-7pm each evening.

Tonight I worked on the skirt lining and the ruffles.  The lining was a breeze, 3 pieces just sewn together.  The ruffles were another story.  Now you remember that I am sewing these little dresses for a 2 year old and a 3 year old but because they are similar in size, I have cut out the age 2 years for both girls. There is so much fabric in the skirts as you could see in yesterday's post with all the big pleats, but the ruffles seem to go on for ever.

When I made up my test dress I used a stiffer tulle, but the lemon tulle you see below is much softer and I think nicer for the girls to wear, plus in the first dress I didn't have the interlining which is also adding some stiffness to the skirts.

Can you see you little diamantes on the tulle.  Alana was with me when I purchased this fabric, and she is a real girly girl and she loved these, so I hope it makes her feel a little special.  I did have to take extra care when sewing this fabric, just in case my needle hit one of the stones.

That is me done for the evening.  Tomorrow I'll add the tulle to the skirt lining, and I can now see all the elements of these little dresses coming together.  My aim is to finish Alana's by Sunday and have Ella's ready for her first fitting on Sunday too.  It is surprising how much work is in such a small dress.

I am getting closer.  Catch you later.....................

Spring is on its way (I hope)

Last week I was riding my little bike in the most glorious sunshine.  Sunday evening the weather started to turn cold and then yesterday and today, temperatures plummeted to -3c.  Here is a picture of part of my garden this morning.

Spring officially arrives on the 21st March, it certainly can't come quickly enough for us.

Hope its warmer where you are!!

Catch you later...................

Monday, 11 March 2013

Bridesmaid progress 2

First let me tell you about my little fox cubs.  Having tried to get hold of someone who could give me some advice (local wildlife hospital) I went out to check on them and found that mum had moved them.  She was clearly upset with us opening the door (twice) and moved them to somewhere she considered safer.  This is good news for me and I wish this little family well in their new home.

I have managed to move on to the next few stages of my little bridesmaid dresses.  I underlined all the skirt pieces (5 in total), stitched the side seams and then did the dreadful task of following all the arrows to pleat the skirts.  Having painstakingly marked all the skirt pieces with a marker, in the end, I found it easier to lay the pattern piece over the sewn skirt pieces, mark with a pin and then fold the pleats as directed.  Once both skirts had been pleated I used a long running stitch on my machine to hold them in place.

I can already see that the skirts are standing out more with the organza underskirt, in fact they can almost (not quite) stand up on their own.  I didn't wash the organza because I wanted it to retain its stiffness and its unlikely that these dresses will be washed.

Here are the two little dresses (WIP) unpressed,  and I clearly spent more time arranging the skirt on the left than I did on the right.

It feels good to have moved on a few steps and depending on how the week evolves, I may be able to get both dresses  90% finished by the weekend, leaving smaller changes after fitting Ella DGD No.2 (I have already fitted Alana DGD No.1 so know this is a good size for her).

Phew, it will be fantastic to say 2 down 5 to go............ pressure, what pressure.

Catch you later..................

Sunday, 10 March 2013

Interlining Novice

Well here it is, in all the years I have been sewing I have never sewn an interlining, and if I have it must have been many many years ago, and I just don't remember doing it.

I mentioned that I had run up a sample dress for Alana my DGD, one of the two little toddlers who will be wearing B5705 as one of the bridesmaid dress designs, and while it was ok, it wasn't quite right, that being that I didn't follow all the instructions, and in my enthusiasm to get something done, I left out the interlining.

Yesterday I did manage to purchase the fabric for B5710 which I am using for my older bridesmaids and while I was there I purchased some organza to interline the little dresses too.

So to make two interlined and lined bodices I had to cut out :-

  • 2 bodice fronts (fashion fabric)
  • 2 bodice fronts (lining)
  • 2 bodice fronts (interlining) = 6 pieces, then the same for the bodice backs too.

There is no denying that there is a lot of extra work involved here and just to get to this stage, I had to:-

  1. tack interlining to wrong side of fashion fabric pieces
  2. replace pattern pieces over the new double fabric piece and mark up darts etc.
  3. sew in the darts (through both fabric pieces) - press
  4. sew front to back pieces at shoulder edges - press
  5. sew darts in lining pieces - press
  6. attach back to front at shoulder edges - press
  7. right sides together attach lining to fashion fabric sewing neck and armscyes.
  8. trim seams, clip where necessary - press
  9. understich were possible
  10. press again
When I compare the interlined bodice with the first one which only had lining there is a huge difference and I am so pleased I decided to do this again.

I now have to repeat the process for the skirt pieces - they are cut out and ready to go.  Typing this blog entry is just giving me a little break before I start sewing again.

Just before I go, my DD and I popped into a bridal boutique yesterday and I took a peak at some of the dresses and looked inside and out.  I was horrified to see a very simple dress, with the same bodice as the one I am making for my little ones, but a much smaller skirt (in terms of volume) and they wanted £140 for it.  It was marked up for ''age 4", and the finish on the whole garment was really rough.

Many of us are our own worst critics when it comes to sewing, but I figure whatever the quality of the job I make on my bridesmaid dresses, it will still be better than the one I saw yesterday, and I would encourage any of you reading this who is thinking about doing some sewing for a wedding, you should have the courage of your convictions and give it a go. (That was my little soapbox moment) finished now lol.

Hope you have had a successful sewing weekend.  Catch you later....................

Look what I found this morning!!!!!!

Hi this is a very quick post but I wanted to share it.  A couple of weeks ago my D Mike said there was a fox in our garage, it jumped out of the broken window at the back of the garage.

As you know we were in Paris last weekend, so this was the first chance to do something about it.  Having seen her jump out last night I said we must sort out the window and block it off.

This morning we opened the back door to go in and sort out the window and this is what we found - 4 baby fox cubs that can only be a day or so old because their eyes are not open yet by the look of it.

The mother has had the babies in an old washing basket that had a few bit and pieces in......Oh dear what do I do now.

Well I'll call the RSPCA tomorrow and take their advice, but I guess I can't do much until they are older.

Catch you later...............

Friday, 8 March 2013

Wedding Update

For any new readers who are reading my blog (forgive me if you have heard this before) I am due to get married to my D Mike on the 18th May this year.  That my dear readers is only 10 weeks tomorrow......................

I have managed to purchase the bridesmaid fabric you see below for the little ones and I am using the pretty BurdaStyle 02/2012 pattern for my 10.5yr old bridesmaid, and Butterick 5705 for the little ones ages - nearly 2yrs and nearly 3yrs old.  I have selected this lovely gold for the cummerbund, and this will be the colour scheme for my older bridesmaids.

I have already made up the Butterick 5705 as my test garment in this fabric, and my D Alana thinks its her princess dress.  I didn't underline the dress as instructed and feel it would look better if I did, so I am going to make it again.  Now that I have made it up once, it will be quicker to sew the next two dresses, which I intend to sew in tandem.

I have cut out the two little dresses last night, together with the lining, and tomorrow I am going to purchase my underlining and the fabric for the big dresses.

So what about your dress I hear you say.  Well I pretty much know what patterns I will need to mix and match to achieve the style that I want, and I have a special friend who is coming up next weekend to help me fit my muslin so I am hoping that I will then be able to start sewing my dress soon to.  I have seen the fabric I like, and once I get the muslin made up, I will purchase that too (I am waiting just in case the muslin presents any issues).

Now my daughter-in-law has had her baby (the lovely Sofia) 2 weeks ago, and can you believe that she is back to her pre-pregnancy weight, I will take her measurements Sunday when they all come to visit for Mothers day.  Sadly my daughter is getting larger, as her baby is due in the next 9-11 weeks (they said it may come early) so I am still not sure how I am going to cope with her expanding or shrinking frame.

I am going to write myself a little project plan tonight because I really need to stick to my dates as much as possible to achieve what I have to do.

Just in case you all think I am totally crazy (well I am a little) I am going to be off work from the 3rd May through to the wedding, and I have wrapped two days around the Easter holidays too, so I am sure this will help.

As normal I'll keep you posted.  Catch you later......................

Sunday, 3 March 2013

Viktor & Rolf Paris 2013 Runway show

When I was in Houston last week, my D Mike sent me an email to say that his work colleague had managed to get hold of two tickets for us to go and see the Viktor and Rolf Fashion Show in Paris.

You recall that at the end of last year Sigrid and I went to visit their amazing studio, well Lisa one of the key designers for the V&R brand managed to get us tickets to see the live show.

We took the Eurostar out from London on Friday evening, and found a hotel close to the Champs Lysees so that we were close to the Jardin Des Tuileries where the event was to be staged.

The Venue was a huge marquee in the Jardin Des Tuileries and when we arrived there were crowds of people, that grew and grew as we got closer to the entrance time.  As this was the first time we had ever been to an event like this, we were a little unsure what was happening, but every now and again all the many photographers clustered into groups and were frantically taking photographs and while we didn't necessarily recognise everyone, some were famous models or actresses such as Jessica Chastain who caused a mad flurry, or people like Nina Garcia (Project Runway) and Yolanda Sacristan, the editor-in-chief of Spanish vogue.

There were many people dressed in all sorts of weird or wonderful clothes - I guess some of these people were characters in their own right, but sadly we didn't know them as well as the photographers seemed to as this was our first foray, but hopefully not the last into the world of fashion.

Here are some shots we took while we were waiting to go into the show, which incidentally was over and done with in approximately 10-15 minutes!!!!!

I took a video of the finale but click here for some much better close-ups of the fashions we saw.  Some of the beautiful white shirts, Sigrid and I saw at the end of last year as work in progress,  made it to the runway, so it was wonderful to see them in their final form.

In the photo collection above, you can see a copy of our entrance tickets, and Nina Garcia's seat tag, which I picked up before it was put in the bin with all the others.................

This was a really frantic time for Lisa, but she came out and saw us briefly after the show, and informed us that they had been working all through the night until 6am on the day of the show, and that she had only had 1 hour's sleep before heading back to the prepare for the show.  Mike and I  were with her fiancee Anthony, which is how we were so fortunate to get this invite in the first place.

Lisa was one of the key people for this collection, and was eager to see the reviews for the show, which I am delighted to say were all very positive.

Congratulations Lisa, and good luck for future collections and Mike and I will be delighted to attend again we had a great weekend, a real treat.

We are back in London now, and back to reality - work tomorrow, however we did go wedding ring shopping.  I have chosen my ring, but they need to make it, and we have bought Mike's ring so that is another job off the list.

Hope you have all had a good week.  Catch you later...........................