All posts by caroline

The Wedding Guest Outfit

It has been over a week now since I attended the wedding of my husband’s eldest grandson, Michael to his fiancée Lisa.

Since then I have attended a Sewing Retreat day and a Patchwork & Quilting class. It was only today I realised I had not posted a picture of the final outfit that I wore for the wedding.

As you will see from the above photo, the wedding ceremony was held out of doors in a Bluebell Wood. Very romantic!

To get to the location involved a walk up a hill via a couple of fields and a wood. I therefore changed from my Silver stiletto shoes into ‘much more appropriate’ Cerise pink loafers.

The day was lovely and Mike and Lisa make a charming couple.

I shall be wearing my dress and jacket ensemble again in the future but do not foresee many outings for the fascinator!

And finally – an MIU padded wristlet purse

What you may ask is an MIU? It stands for Make It Up (as you go along!)

There was STILL some remnant of this Cerise linen fabric so I had to make just one more item…. a padded wristlet purse seemed like a good idea.

Using the largest piece of remnant fabric for the outer shell plus some strips that had been parallel to the selvedge, I designed and stitched the purse as I went along.

Recently I had bought some sets of hardware and now seemed like a good opportunity to try them out. I referred to a You tube video for instructions on how to put together the wrist strap but it really was intuitive.

The fabric gathered together nicely for the frills and I was able to use yet another zip from my father’s stash for the closure. A small piece of wadding and a scrap of the lining as used for lining the jacket were all the materials required.

The finished purse measures approximately 8 inches x 6¾ inches. Having completed the make, I will note the construction for future iterations.

Now – there will be no more postings about Cerise linen-look as that is the final make from the original fabric purchase!

Cerise Linen Bag – Simplicity 2396

On completing the Cerise Jacket (http://carouselcottagecrafts.com/wedding-guest-outfit-1st-garment/) I still had approximately 1/3 yard of fabric left over. What to make? I know, I will re-visit a favourite bag pattern – Simplicity 2396.

After a search of my pattern stash I located the pattern and also a copy of the workbook that I had prepared when teaching a class for making up this bag. Result!

I cut out the Cerise fabric and having checked my remnant stash decided to use some bold-patterned stretch cotton sateen that was purchased during a visit to Norfolk.

The original dress has long-since been sold (shame as I really liked the fabric) but there was still sufficient to line this bag and maybe make another.

I had some remnant ‘headliner’ wadding (replacement for Bosal ® or Soft & Stable by Annie ®) and decided to ‘trial’ this in the new bag. I used the headliner inside the straps, fastening tab, bag top bands and also the main sections. Conclusion – the wadding is fine, easy to cut and stitch but is more appropriate for a structured bag not a ‘soft’ bag. 

As both the Cerise linen and the cotton sateen lining were fairly ‘robust’ I did not use fusible interfacing.

Construction was straightforward although I did reduce the size of the main body of the bag so that it fit the headliner fabric that I had cut from remnant. I added a loop to hang between the top band and the body.

This can be used for attaching a bag charm or tassel, for now I have added an Art Nouveau-style brooch. The fastening tab which conceals a magnetic snap is my usual addition together with several pockets incorporated into the lining.

This bag sports a zip pocket with two slip pockets behind plus a divided pocket just the right size for a mobile phone.

Finished size is approximately 13 inches deep excluding the straps which are just long enough to go over a shoulder, by 12 inches across. The bag will coordinate well with my outfits and as I frequently wear shades of Pink I think it will have many outings over the coming Summer months.

 

Yet another Deer & Doe Plantain Tunic!

Yes, here is yet another Plantain tunic top!

For the first time I have used a heavyweight Scuba fabric to make up this garment. I purchased Large Scale Print Scuba Stretch Jersey Knit Dress Fabric Cream & Gold (polyester and elastane) at just £4.99 per metre from Minerva Crafts. I bought 3 metres in April 2018 and now there are just a few scraps left.

The Plantain tunic did not use all the fabric, I also cut out a Paolina top for a friend to practice using an overlocker for garment construction. Lizzie took just about two hours to complete the construction and I think is now all set to buy her very own Overlocker. That will be when she has finished buying and playing with Singer Featherweight machines!

Singer Featherweight 221K

Let’s not go down that particular rabbit hole today ….back to my Plantain.

At first I thought the completed tunic would coordinate with my White trousers but in hindsight it does look a little ‘off’. However, it will go well with an alternative pair of Capri pants in a rich Watermelon colour.

As I have now made up this pattern several times it can safely be referred to as a TNT. My usual alterations applied :– raised the centre front neckline by 2 inches and reduced the sleeve length by 4 inches. I added approximately 4 inches to the length of the body whilst taking into account the placement of the design. I have managed to centre up the main features of the design on the neckband, front, back and sleeves of which I am very proud. The hems of the sleeve and the bodice are stitched with a twin-needle.

This particular Scuba has a very silky finish and is easy to wear, although possibly a little too warm for our current ‘heatwave’.

 

 

Re-fashioning a Basic Tee Shirt

Those of you who are regular readers of my blog will know that I do not enjoy alterations. As far as I am concerned, Re-fashioning also comes under that banner. However, in a moment of weakness I fell for and purchased several guipure lace appliques from eBay with a view to using them when making new tops, tunics and dresses.

Before I use any of the appliques on a garment, I decided to try one out on a very basic (and old) tee shirt. I chose a plain Pink tee and a plain White applique in a simple ‘daisy’ design. The trim has been pinned to the tee shirt for several weeks and today was the day! I threaded up the needle and bobbin on the machine with White thread, set the zig-zag stitch and ‘went for it!’

The stitching took some time to complete. I was glad to be using the knee lift on my machine as it left both hands free at all times to manipulate the fabric and trim whilst I stitched.

The original neckband was removed along with the excess fabric from the outer edge of the trim. This left a stretched back neckline. What to do? I turned under a scant ¼ inch and stitched in place. Still baggy. I threaded a hand sewing needle with double thread and ran a neat row of gathering stitches along the back edge and drew up the neckline to a neater finish. I am pleased with the result and just hope that my hand stitching is robust enough to control the fullness of the back neckline.

Final analysis: If I use any of the other appliques on new dressmaking projects I will have to devise a method for neat finishing of the back necklines. Other than that the use of these trims certainly adds a beautiful decorative finish to plain garments.

Fraser Colour-blocked top by Sewaholic Patterns

As I said in a previous post, I particularly liked the contrast print versions of tops displayed in the Joules store on board ship.

  

The Fraser Sweatshirt top by Sewaholic patterns is new for me, bought especially for the contrast section of yoke and sleeve tops so that I could make my own version of a Joules top.

  

I had already purchased some White with Navy stripe Ponte Roma from an eBay seller – 2 metres for £16.48 plus some pretty floral print Ponte Roma from CheapestFabricsUK another eBay seller, 1 metre for £5.95. So total cost £22.43 which does not compare very favourably with the cost of a ready-made.

  

However, with my fabrics I shall be able to make at least two tops so that brings the cost down by half.

I compared the pattern measurements and finished sizes to my own personal dimensions and cut the size 20 plus an additional ½ inch at side seams. I reduced the sleeve length by 4 inches (I must have extremely short arms!) to give a 7/8th sleeve length. I lengthened the body of the garment by 3 inches as I did not intend to add the hem band. Cutting tops longer is always a good idea – they can be always be shortened if necessary.

Construction was fairly straightforward though it would have been easier if I had not had stripes that needed matching. I think I have achieved a fair result. For continuity, I drafted a back yoke to be cut from the contrast print in addition to the front and sleeve contrasts.

At fitting I discovered that the side seams needed to be taken in by a good 2 inches at each side grading out to the original stitching at the hips and hemline. The sleeves were cut as size 20 at the cap and underarm, grading out to a size 12 at the hem. I took in about 1 inch from the sleeve seams.   The sleeve and body lengths were fine. The over-sizing is probably due to the fact that this top is drafted as a sweatshirt and is therefore more loose-fitting than usual, I should have taken more notice of the amount of ease allowed on the pattern, plus the amount of stretch in my fabric.

The neckband was troublesome. Initially I cut the length according to the pattern piece but this was too long and resulted in a baggy neckband. I cut it off and re-did the neckband. This time I managed to get two little tucks in the garment – right on the front – so again the neckband was removed. Third time lucky! The neckline is now somewhat lower than the original but in fact I prefer this so have adjusted the pattern accordingly.

Hems on the sleeves and body were stitched with a twin needle. As I was on a roll, I then top stitched, again with the twin needle, all along the joining seam of the contrast panels, yokes and shoulder caps.

  

I am very pleased with the resultant garment and will definitely make more tops in this style. Perhaps next time I will make a high low hem as in the Joules top. Not only will I be using these two fabrics but also I will be digging into my stash bucket for remnants.

 

 

 

Wedding Guest Outfit – back up dress

Bearing in mind the vagaries of the Great British weather – I thought it advisable to have a second dress available, to wear in case the temperature drops. Scuba fabric tends to be warm so I decided to use the 3 metres of attractive floral print that I bought from Fabric Styles at a total cost of £19.50.

As the previous iteration of the Lady Skater dress made in Snake print Ponte Roma worked so well I decided to use that pattern again.

          

However, a different fabric with different qualities, produced a very different result. At fitting I discovered that the bodice was much too long in front, the shoulders still too wide and the entire bodice too big overall. I made some adjustments and now the dress fits just fine. I used my TNT method for adding the neckband and again added double thickness 1 inch wide cuffs to the ¾ length sleeves.

I am undecided on how to treat the hem of the circle skirt. Being a Scuba I could just leave it but that is a little ‘bohemian’ for my taste. I shall probably twin needle hem stitch when I have finished the Fraser top that I am currently working on.

I am also rather ambivalent about the finished dress, I don’t feel 100% comfortable with the design/fabric print combination. But hey, it is a new dress and I am sure that it will ‘grow’ on me. In the meantime it does look good on the mannequin, paired with the Cerise linen jacket.

Wedding Guest Outfit – The Complete Ensemble

Well, after yet more procrastination, here is the finished dress made up in the fabric choice of the Friday P&Q Sewing House Group. Listed as Stretch Poly/Viscose, I bought 3 metres from CheapestFabricsUK eBay shop at just £4.95 per metre (sadly now out of stock) and used my TNT hack of the Dartmouth top by Cashmerette.

    

This fabric is really fine and drapes beautifully, but is not for those new to stitching jersey fabrics. It slips and slides and is like trying to wrestle mercury! However, I persisted and have to say that I am now very pleased that I did as the dress is so comfortable to wear and looks really ‘classy’.

Most of the stitching was done on the overlocker but there are a few places where I have top-stitched by machine, partly to control the fabric! The gathered skirt was made using two panels cut 29 inches long by the full width of the fabric, so approximately 120 inches of skirt width. Two rows of gathering stitches plus clear elastic helped to control the fabric and ensure even gathers. For the hem, I plan to machine using a twin-needle but at the time of photographing the outfit, I did not have access to my machine (cat asleep on sewing chair!).

Every time that I make up the Dartmouth top, I have used a different jersey fabric. Each and every one has performed differently. On this iteration the crossover of the wrap has come out a little low, I may have to invest in a light lace-trimmed camisole to wear underneath.

Other accessories are a Silver Grey satin clutch bag trimmed with fabric roses and some Silver ‘crocodile’ textured peep-toe shoes. I will also have a pair of Silver-coloured mules to change into when the need arises!

 

Wedding Guest Outfit – 1st Garment

After so much procrastination, at last the first garment of the proposed outfit for the family wedding is completed. I used the KWIK SEW pattern no K3736 with just a couple of minor changes.

For this iteration I used the Cerise ‘linen-look’ fabric that I had purchased from Fabricland at £4.59 per metre.

As I had made the pattern before, see http://carouselcottagecrafts.com/appliqued-denim-jacket-subtle-it-is-not/ and http://carouselcottagecrafts.com/black-linen-look-bolero-jacket-kwik-sew-k3736/ or here http://carouselcottagecrafts.com/kwik-sew-k3736-bolero-style-jacket/

The minor changes were to lengthen by 1 inch, ignore the fold-back cuffs, take in at the side seams by a total of 2 inches and this time I also top-stitched all around the outer edge of the jacket. I used two strands both threaded through a 100 top-stitching needle and straight stitch length 4.

Other than that there is not a great deal to say. Once again I am pleased with the final result which I think will co-ordinate well with either of the two dresses that I plan to make.

The reason for two dresses is the ‘Great British Weather’. I shan’t know until the morning of the day what the temperature is like. In the past I have attended Ladies Day at Royal Ascot which is in June. One year I wore a floaty dress and was very warm, another year a wool suit and was very cold!

Tutorial for Drunken Birds Patchwork Block

This is a great setting design using Drunkard’s Path blocks that I first discovered using Google and pinterest. I used a set of Sissix dies to cut several sets to make co-ordinating pairs of bird blocks. I found that the lozenge piece of scrap when cutting arcs for the wings was ideal to cut in half and use as the head. The block can be stitched either by hand or machine although I found it easiest to applique the head piece by machine using a narrow zig-zag stitch.

Equipment: Sissix dies or card templates, scissors, hand sewing needle and thread or sewing machine and Microtex 70 or 80 needle and thread. Iron.

Materials: background fabric – print 1,  wings and head – print 2 , for shoulders and tail – complimentary print 3 .

Cutting plan:

3 x ¼ circle pieces in background print 1, 

1 x arc piece in background print 1

2 x arc pieces in print 2 for wings

1 x 1/2 lozenge shape in print 2 for head

1 x arc in print 3 for shoulder

1 x ¼ circle in print 3 for tail

Method:

1.Establish centre points of head piece print 2 and one of the 1/4 circles print 1

2.Place headpiece onto ¼ circle, lining up the centre points and raw edges of the curve with the straight edge of the head piece. Applique stitch in place (use zig-zag or blanket stitch).

3.Take the shoulder piece (arc shape) of print 3 and matching centres with the 1/4 circle, pin and stitch taking a ¼ seam.

3.Fold each of the remaining 6 pieces in half to establish the centre points pin and stitch together to make the other 3 portions of the block. I usually stitch the wing arcs print 2 to 1/4 circles print 1 next, and finally the tail arc print 3 to the  1/4 circle print 1

4.If stitching on the machine you can chain piece these together. Press the seam allowances away from the 1/4 circles and towards the arc sections of the block.

5.Stitch the 4 portions of the block together according to the plan to make a complete Bird block. Press the joining seams open and flat.

6. Enjoy your completed block!