Just in time for number 3? BHL Flora Dolly Clackett style

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It’s been a good week.  I was off work so managed to get some sewing done, and I won Katy Sleek Silhouette’s skirt pattern and fabric giveaway! Go and check out what she made – we are going to be skirt twins!

This is what I managed to finish.  I’m not sure if I made it in time for the deadline but here is Sew Dolly Clackett dress number 3,  (here are numbers one and two) and my first attempt at the By Hand London Flora dress. I wish I was clever at naming my dresses but I’m not, so I will go for the obvious and call it my Seaside Flora. ‘Cos look:

P1220570This picture shows the print off best, it came from the market in Birmingham when I went on the meet up last year.  Unfortunately we had to abandon our outdoors photo shoot due to next door’s son gurning at me in a particularly disturbing way as I was posing. Very off putting. What this dress really needs is a proper English seaside back drop, with ice cream and sand castles, but I only had about five minutes to grab the photos so no time to head to the beach.

This is my first attempt at Flora.  Even with the addition of some fake piping on the bodice (I realised after the shops closed that I had run out of cord, so I just folded over my bias binding tape and used it the same way I would proper piping) it was a quick and easy make.  However it definitely needs tweaking. I cut a UK size 14 all over, which is larger than I would normally make but I have put on a few pounds and it seemed to be the right size for my measurements according to the packet.  Unfortunately the bodice came up way too big and the darts were off. I also had to add a couple of upper back darts to sort out gaping and take a chunk out of the centre back.  I know I should have muslined it first but I was desperate to make it and the fabric was only cheap.  I would have been better off sticking with a 12 for the bodice, and have done for Flora number two, I have already started as I am dying to try this pattern again.   I also found that the front skirt came up really short.  I am only 5 foot two with stubby legs so be aware of this if you are making the high low hemline version. There is quite a dramatic difference between the length of the front and back, which is the whole point of a high low hem, I guess:

P1220641Excuse the bruised legs – a hazard of chasing small children over pebble beaches.

Oh, and I almost forgot to show you my amazing rayon seam binding bound seams:

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Not quite perfect but I’m pretty bloody proud of them.

Anyway I used bias binding tape instead of a hem to avoid losing any more length, and I took the side seams in and while it is by no means perfect it is definitely wearable.  And wearing this print makes me really happy, like summer is on it’s way.  That and the amazing twirl factor of this skirt and it’s got to be worth a dance:

P1220627P1220612Don’t you just love that when you move in one direction and your boobs move the opposite way?

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After the initial disappointment with the fit this dress is definitely growing on me, I may even love it a little bit and it will get worn this summer.  Maybe not as much as the last two dresses I made, because of the short front, but it will be perfect for summer evening beach barbecues.  And I have already cut out my second Flora. I am a bit gutted not to have finished it yet, because the fabric is totally Dolly Clackett and I think it will be perfect, but I really wanted to sort out the fitting issues before using such amazing fabric. So watch this space, I may even get it finished this weekend.

 

Sew Dolly Clackett No. 2 – Eiffel Tower Simplicity 1610

P1220540A very quick post because, well, I have sewing to do.  This is Sew Dolly Clackett dress number two, and I have at least two more lined up while I still officially have permission to rip off Roisin’s style.  I am totally turning into scarey stalker woman here.  I am also ignoring a large bag of work that I brought home to do over Easter, but it will have to be tackled eventually. After the sewing though.

This is Simplicity 1610, first attempted here, then here, and it is easily becoming one of my favourite patterns.  Check out the V back:

P1220544and pockets:

P1220534The pockets are really clever, you use a yoke piece that sews in then folds back on itself, if that makes sense. It is really easy and looks pretty professional. The sleeves are really cool too, with little pleats at the top.  I didn’t get any close up photos of them this time but there are some on the pictures of the last time I made it. P1220568I used the same measurements as last time but couldn’t be bothered to line it, instead I used bias binding tape folded under. That might be why the bodice came up a little bit bigger this time, but not so much that I won’t wear it.  I would rather this than too tight, as you know I need room to move:

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P1220562I’m sure you recognise the fabric - Micheal Miller’s Eiffel tower print, much used by Dolly Clackett herself – for example here, here and here.  I got mine from Fabric Inspirations.  It was a bit more expensive than I am used to but it is really good quality.

So there you have it. Another Sew Dolly Clackett dress. The fit isn’t quite as good as my last one but I have already worn it loads and I absolutely love it.  Right, back to the sewing room….

 

 

Is my Nautical Emery Dolly Clackett enough?

photo 4 (2)Bloody Hell, why didn’t I just listen to all of you and make up my Christine Haynes Emery pattern as soon as I got it?  I am now cursing myself for all the time I wasted when I could have been making Emerys.

It took the Sew Dolly Clackett! challenge to finally persuade me to make it.   I’ve been short of time and sanity recently but this was one challenge I was not going to miss. I mean, sod the prizes.  You are offering me the chance to gratuitously copy any of Roisin’s dresses without looking like a stalker – of course I’m bloody doing it!

This is my first attempt, a tribute to her many nautical dresses.  For example this, this and of course this one from the same print as I am using, but in red.  It  had to be an Emery.  Roisin has made loads and I can totally see why.  This was supposed to be a wearable muslin so I didn’t actually expect to get a good fit but it is pretty bloody close straight out of the packet!  For me this is the holy grail of dress patterns – something that I can just cut out and sew, no faffing about, safe in the knowledge that it the fit will be good, if not perfect.  Okay, not quite, I had to take it in about an inch at the top centre back before I put the zipper in. A minor tweak though.  Apart from that this dress felt effortless to make and fits better than any other dress I have made.

photo 3 (2)I was a bit concerned about the fabric, even for a wearable muslin. It came from the stash and I’m not sure where I bought it but it feels kind of crispy.  I was worried that it wouldn’t hang right but actually it has just the right amount of body. I even managed to set the sleeves in with no puckers first time round.photo 5 (2)Lapped zipper, it could do with a press, and absolutely no attempt at pattern matching because I couldn’t be arsed.

photo 1 (2)Silly face.

photo 1Whitstable Brewery Bar, we did the photos outside.  If you ever get a chance try their Oyster Stout, do. They do it on draft but you can also buy it in bottles. I am bloody addicted to the stuff, it’s like a pint of cold dark chocolate in alcoholic form.  Okay, that probably doesn’t make it sound that nice but it really is delicious. Highly recommended if you get a chance to try it

photo 4One tanned leg.

My photographer gets bored easily:

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Anyway, back to the sewing.  Emery is everything that I hoped that Simplicity 2444 and Colette’s Peony would be.  I love both those patterns on other people but there were just too many fitting problems for me. Emery, however, captures the style I was after and is pretty much hassle free.  Because there are no fitting issues I can knock one together in a few hours, it doesn’t take stupid amounts of fabric, it is modest enough for work and I have loads more planned.  I bloody love it.

(and no apologies for the excessive use of ‘bloody’ in this post. Needs must…)

So the winner of the Simplicity 2369 pattern is……….

Simplicity 2369

The trouble with doing giveaways is that I always feel really mean to the people who have made the effort to write lovely comments but haven’t won.  I’m sorry that I can’t give all of you a prize.  However the winner of the Simplicity pattern is ….

drum roll…..

Number 3 !   Drawn at random by my youngest child.
Comment number three was from Karen, who already has the perfect butterfly fabric for this dress.  If you email me with your address, Karen, I will stick it in the post for you.

I have decided to go with the the floral fabric for my version. Now I just need some sewing time to get started on it.

 

Simplicity GBSB Pattern Giveaway!

Firstly, thank you so much for all your comments congratulating me on my writing success, you are all so lovely and it really does mean a lot.
Secondly, look what I got!

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Yes, I’m going to attempt wrap style dress number two, courtesy of Simplicity.  I know I am not alone in having been glued to the Great British Sewing Bee over the last few weeks, and after my attempts at a wrap dress I was really pleased to see the contestants tackling one.  So when Simplicity offered me a pattern to sew a GBSB inspired garment I jumped at the chance to try one of their wrap dresses. They very generously sent me two copies of Simplicity 2369, the pattern that David made, so I am offering one of you the size 16 – 24 copy.  To enter leave me a comment below, I’m happy to send it anywhere, and I will pick a winner at random next Thursday, the 20th of March.

Now I just need to decide which fabric to use.

Animal Laurel on the beach

photo 4 (2)Has it really been that long since I posted something?

If you want an excuse I can actually offer a good one this time – I got some really exciting non-sewing related news a couple of weeks ago.  I was shortlisted for the Telegraph Harvill Secker Crime Writing Competition, .  I didn’t win, but despite that suddenly everything seems to be moving very quickly.  People are interested in my stuff!  I’m not saying that I’m going to be the next Agatha Christie or anything, but to know that there are people out there who think people will want to read what I write is pretty amazing, and has spurred me on to start taking my writing more seriously and make more time for it.

The downside is that there are only 24 hours in a day. I still have a day job and a family who require my attention, so I have done less sewing (and sleeping) than I would like. When I have been able to sew I have been sticking to quick, easy, TNT patterns to make things that I know I will wear.  This is another Laurel.  I actually finished this dress the day before Tilly released her Coco pattern, and as soon as I saw it I did a big ‘duh’, because I remembered that I had promised myself I would get it as soon as it was released.  It must have been at the back of my mind when I made this dress because they are pretty similar, and unfortunately I’m not sure now if I can justify getting the new pattern.  I don’t need it, but would it be wrong to get Coco so I can do a proper comparison?

I used a leopard print knit from Minerva Crafts. I spent a few hours on their website at the beginning of the year ordering way more fabric than I should have and could have bought so much more. If it wasn’t for lack of time I would be hassling them every day to let me be in their bloggers network.

Not much to say about construction that I haven’t already said here, and here.  I made the skirt a little more A line, bound the neck with black bias binding and added patch pockets, which caused much swearing because the edges wouldn’t press under, but I got there eventually.  Eventually I managed to finish it in about three hours and have barely taken it off since.

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photo 3Over half term I bribed my daughter to take photos in exchange for chips on the beach, which was a win win situation because who doesn’t love chips on the beach?

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Almost the Ultimate Wrap Dress – attempt no. 1

P1220517I have been wanting to make a decent, well fitting wrap dress forever. I love the idea in principle and I used to own a couple of RTW ones that were okay but it is a tricky garment to get right.  Maybe it’s just my body shape, but I have struggled to find one that doesn’t flap open or gape, and at my age there is only so much cleavage or thigh that you can expose without looking like mutton dressed as lamb.

When I saw the Sew Over It Ultimate Wrap Dress pattern I had to buy it. I mean, the Ultimate Wrap Dress – this had to be the answer.  It sewed up pretty quickly with no major problems, the cotton knit fabric came from eBay but I can’t find it on there now. However I am going to have to treat this one as a not quite wearable muslin for a number of reasons.

Firstly I don’t think the fabric does anything for me.  I am not a beige person. I was convinced there was more red in there but once I’d made it up it was predominantly this plastic doll skin colour that does not flatter me.  Actually the photos make it look better than it is in real life, which is a first.

Secondly the shoulders are too wide.  Easy to fix on my next attempt, but not worth doing on this one.

P1220514P1220504I think once I fix the shoulders the arms will be a better length, but at the moment they are too long. All I need to do on this dress is hem them shorter, but can I be bothered?

The ties and the hole to thread the ties through also need to be higher.  I’m not sure whether to just attach them higher (easy) or try and shorten the whole bodice part of the dress.  The bodice and skirt parts are all one piece so I would have get my head around where to shorten and what would need lengthening to compensate, and of course remember to do the back as well as the front.  Easy for most of you, I’m sure, but as someone who usually bodges the fitting stuff in favour of a quick fix it seems like a lot of work.  However I think it will sort out some of the gaping. And if I don’t sort out the gaping I will have a lot more of these moments:

P1220519P1220520And possibly get done for indecent exposure.

For the sake of decency I have put a couple of stitches in the front to keep it together, but now it pulls where the stitches are so it is not an ideal solution.  I’m going to have to do it properly, aren’t I.

The other issue I have with this pattern at the moment is the facings, which attach all the way around.  I think I made my feelings about facings pretty clear in my last post.  I’m not sure how I can make this pattern without them because of the way the ties are attached so I will need to find a way to stop them flopping out (yes, I do mean the facings) by stitching them down securely, as top stitching wasn’t enough.

I realise that all this makes it sound like I hate this pattern but I really don’t.  It was so easy to sew up and I don’t think it will be too difficult to get it to match the picture in my head. Anyway how many people actually fit a pattern straight out of the packet? That’s why we sew muslins first (or should do, I know).  Making this dress has still been a worthwhile experience. In fact now I know what I need to do I am determined to fix all the problems and make it again. I shall have my ultimate wrap dress, hopefully using this pattern. Unfortunately this particular version isn’t it.

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