All posts by caroline

House Mouse Dress

This is my hack of the Dartmouth Wrap top by Cashmerette into a dress witha variety of skirt options. I shall call this my ‘Gerry’ pattern and this particular iteration is the ‘House Mouse’.

The colour and print is so not my usual style. This is a muted floral print on a dusty Burgundy background. I don’t know the construction of the jersey but it does have a tiny loop wrong side that is a sort of taupe colour. Also don’t exactly know if it was from Abakhan or a gift from my sister – either way it definitely counts as stash so that’s 4 projects made. Now I can justify buying something new.

I used the Dartmouth wrap top for the bodice and a simple gathered skirt. Wished that I had put in pockets! The back panel of the skirt is patched as I did not do a very good job of calculating the skirt length and width. Still it is at the back and fairly well disguised by the gathers. Long sleeves have narrow hem band and skirt hem is finished with twin needle stitching. Mostly sewn on my Juki overlocker.

House Mouse Dress

The addition of the wide elasticated belt helps to improve the look of the dress but I will never wear it outside the house!

Completed 20th January 2020

‘Mona’ tee shirt

My sister gifted me several lengths of fabric when I visited her back in August last year. One of the lengths was this pretty jersey of unknown origin and construction. Unfortunately there were myriad tiny pin holes all over the fabric so I knew that whatever I made would have to be a ‘wearable muslin’.

I have made the Moneta dress by Colette patterns a couple of times before and since then the pattern has been loitering at the bottom of the box of pdf patterns.

As the bodice is more fitted than the usual boxy tees I decided to give it a whirl and hack into a tee shirt that I have called ‘MONA’.

There was not a great deal of yardage (approximately 1 metre) and combined with the pin holes meant that a deal of pattern tetris had to be undertaken. I managed to cut the front bodice with no holes, but there are quite a few in the back. But who looks at the back when wearing a garment? The sleeves had to be cut very short but this was resolved by addind a folded hem band. I repeated the technique for the bodice to provide an additional couple of inches of length there.

The neckband stitched on like a dream and the resultant tee shirt fulfils the requirement of a wearable muslin. In fact, despite the cold and wintry weather outside, our house is cosy and warm so I am wearing the tee today!

completed 17th January 2020

Pussy Bow Blouse

When I visited my sister in August last year, she very kindly gave me several lengths of fabric. I fell in love with this very bold printed polyester crepe de chine and knew that it would make a lovely pussy bow blouse.

Bold print Polyester Crepe de Chine

I drafted a pattern so that the bow would come at the point where a rever would normally turn back, a shaped hemline to the bodice and long sleeves into a button cuff.

When I laid out the fabric I found that I had insufficient for the long sleeves so cut at elbow length and planned to have a narrow elasticated channel at the hem.

The fabric was extremely slippery and I used french seams throughout for the construction. I cut two pieces of fabric 5 inches wide x the width of the fabric (42 inches) for the bow tie. This fitted perfectly into the neckline. I could have made the tie slightly wider – say 6 inches and slightly shorter and have therefore made a note for the next iteration.

I completed the entire construction of the bodice using some pretty buttons from my stash then turned my attention to the sleeves. I pin basted in one sleeve before turning to Instagram® for comments on whether or not to continue with the sleeves or to make the blouse sleeveless.

General consensus was to make sleeveless. I used one of the sleeves to make a long length of bias binding 1¾ inches wide which was pressed in half. After attaching the the wrong side of the armholes, the seam was trimmed and the binding top stitched to the right side of the bodice.

Sleeveless Pussy Bow Blouse

The blouse fits well and the tie is great. I can wear the blouse on its own or under a cardigan or sweater. I count this as a success and now plan to make another with long sleeves to wear under pinafore dresses.

15th January 2020

Burgundy Shirtwaist Dress

Many years ago I had a Burgundy needlecord shirt dress and this dress is a re-imagining of something that I loved back in the 1970’s.

I used a King Size Duvet cover from Dunelm Mill in a Burgundy jacquard cotton/polyester blend to make a wearable toile.

I had originally intended the dress to be worn on Christmas Day. Unfortunately the construction was delayed and I thought ‘OK never mind, I will wear the dress on New Year’s Eve’. The Eve and New Year’s Day came and went, then due to illness it was not until 10th January 2020 that I finally completed the dress.

To paraphrase a western movie, the construction has been a tale of ‘The Good, the Bad and the Ouch!’

The good – brilliant pattern matching on the bodice,

The bad – uneven revers on the collar,

Pattern matching on the collar at back

The Ouch! – I left a glass headed pin inside the collar and stitched it closed.

All that was on 29th December and the thought of unpicking combined with a raging headache meant that the dress was put aside until I could face the unpicking and re-stitching.

I had also originally planned to make the dress button through the bodice and skirt, although the buttons from my stash were a perfect match, there was not enough so I had to fix the opening at the waistline seam.

The skirt is the full width of the duvet cover gathered into the waistline seam and there are concealed pockets at the side seams.

I also drafted long sleeves into a button cuff (similar to the original inspiration) but on completion found that I had been over-zealous in shortening the sleeve length so even with the addition of a 2 inch wide cuff, they are just short of my wrists. With a big sigh – I could remove the cuffs and make new wider ones but with all the previous problems, I don’t think I can face another alteration to the dress.

Completed Dress

I do have sufficient fabric to be able to send to Harlequin for a matching belt but I was pleased to find that one of my wide elasticated belts co-ordinates well with the colour of the dress and that is how I plan to wear in the future.

I have retained the modified pattern for this dress and have several other lengths of fabric that I plan to use to make more in this style. I even have some needlecord….. hmm watch this space.

10th January 2020

Companion Carpet Bag

I have now made three versions of the Companion Carpet Bag using the 8inch frame, this will be the fourth and possibly last, at least for a while!

Now that we are in the throes of Winter weather, cold, wet, and windy I decided that I needed a more ‘neutral’ handbag.

For this version I used some furnishing weight linen that was gifted to me together with some faux snakeskin vinyl that I bought back in August from Thimbles Fabrics and Crafts at the Festival of Quilts held at Birmingham National Exhibition Centre. For the lining I raided my stash of fat quarters from New Threads Quilt Shop and the zip for the internal pocket came from the stash that was supplied by my father from when he was an Engineer at Optilon zip factory. The fabrics were stabilised with heavyweight fusible interfacing plus Bosal ® foam wadding.

As I have made the bag before, the construction was pretty straightforward. Unfortunately I did not have sufficient of the Grey colourway of linen but was able to use some co-ordinating print linen for the bag frame channel. Some wrestling of the fabric was involved as I turned the bag right side out as all that stabilising, wadding and faux snakeskin made the outer very substantial.

I had found the fabulous plastic and nickel finish bag handles in my bag-making stash and attached them to the bag with rivetted tabs of faux snakeskin. I particularly like this method and it will be appearing on future bag makes. I attached a flap closure using two pieces of faux snakeskin with a concealed magnetic snap.

Inside showing zip internal pocket with tassel trim

The finishing touches were pretty little tassels on the zip pull of the internal pocket and a faux leather ‘handmade’ label attached to the plain outer side of the bag.

My new favourite Companion Carpet Bag

I am just so pleased and proud of this bag that it makes me smile every time I use it.

18th December 2019

75% NCW

Since attending the NCW workshop in October I have been ‘hooked’ on this pattern. I have already made several versions with the pattern scaled up by 25% and have lately re-printed at 150% scale. This purse is made at 75% scale.

I used a couple of Fat Quarters from New Threads Quilt Shop to make the outer and flap with the insides also made from sugar skull print plus another fat quarter of pink floral print.

In the process of construction I soon realised that there would not be sufficient space inside to make the usual double zip pockets and therefore this version is restricted to two sets of cards slots, 3 slip sections and just one zip pocket.

Card slots inserted

I used my regular heavyweight fusible interfacing and standard 30mm wide twist lock in nickel for the closure.

Card slots and zip pocket now completed
Finished 75% NCW Purse

I am really pleased with the finished result but feel it is just a little too small. I plan to re-print the pattern at 80% and that additional 5% may be all the extra that I need to make the perfect purse.

15th December 2019

Sora Sweater Mk II

Whilst looking for something different to sew that could also be stitched using the current thread colour on the overlocker, I rediscovered the Sora Sweater pattern by Blank Slate Patterns and some colourful jacquard Ponte Roma in my stash.

According to the website the Sora Sweater will take you from winter snuggles to summer evenings! This versatile pattern offers a variety of stylish layers for your wardrobe. Choose either cardigan or pullover with short or long sleeves, with all views featuring a beautiful shawl collar. Sora is perfect for sweater knit, jersey, french terry, and more.

Sora Sweater by Blank Slate Patterns

I made my first version in February 2019 using a low stretch Chocolate embossed ponte roma from The Textile Centre but unfortunately it finished up too small and had to be donated. Some time has passed since then but I omitted making any notes on the pattern so once again this version is not a perfect fit. However, I love the collar and in this fabric it has proved to be a slightly better fit. Again, there is minimal stretch in the fabric and I could do with a little more room over the tummy and hips, plus the sleeves are also a very slim fit. This time I will make notes and adjust the pattern so that next time, and there will definitely be a next time, I can expect a perfect fit.

Ponte RomaSora Sweater

As I intend to ‘finesse’ the pattern it may be that I hack the collar onto one of my TNT knit bodice blocks. Whilst I quite like the godets in the Sora I am not addicted to them, they may well not make it to the hacked version. If I use my TNT bodice block I will also be able to redraw the armscye and sleeves to my preferred shoulder height and sleeve width.

15th December 2019

Grey Luna Lapin

Whilst on a roll of gift-making I thought I would make another Luna Lapin. This time I used some Pale Grey felt plus some spare pieces of quilting weight cotton print from a charm pack for the insides of the ears and soles of the feet.

The Luna came together very quickly and despite the fact that I always avoid hand stitching as much as possible, actually enjoyed the process.

Having completed Luna, I took the time to add a fluffy tail to her and the previous iteration using a pom-pom maker. I have never used this item before and it certainly made pom poms very quick and easy to produce. I still have to make clothes so both ‘girls’ are currently naked.

Grey Luna Lapin

I later changed my mind about giving this Luna as a gift, in the meantime she shares a place on the pillow of the spare bed with the first Luna and my ancient Teddy Bear!

completed 4th December 2019

Alteration to Shift Dress

Regular readers will be aware that I dislike alterations but I have in my wardrobe a shift dress that I made when first exploring jersey sewing and it was in need of some radical alteration.

The dress was originally made according to a Prima pattern APRIL 1997 designed for woven and having been washed and worn over the years was now too big. The dress bore the styling of the the eighties including shoulder pads and was very long. I have never liked the faced neckline which was a little too high and also the shoulders were too wide for current fashion.

To start the alteration I first removed the facing and re-cut a lower neckline. I removed the sleeves and shoulder pads before restitching the shoulder seam. Then I stitched new side seams, taking off approximately 1 inch from each side seam. The sleeves were then re-inserted.

I cut about 4 inches from the length of the dress and used some of that to make a neckband. I re-hemmed the dress with a 1 inch turning.

Altered dress

The dress is now much more flattering although it could still do with some skimming down at the hips. I will wait and see if I lose any more weight to make it worthwhile altering the dress further.

I plan to revisit this pattern in 2020 and try this different silhouette as a change from my numerous shirt dresses!

completed 28th November 2019

Purple Dartmouth & Infinity Scarf

In the midst of gift-making I came across some 100% cotton jersey in a pretty purple shade. I don’t know where the fabric came from or when it was bought but it was a lucky find at just the right time for me to run up a new top.

I used my TNT Dartmouth Wrap Top by Cashmerette pattern. This time, instead of having ¾ length sleeves I added deep double cuffs to make long sleeves. I had added to the length of the bodice pieces but found they were too long. I turned up a deep hem and twin-needle stitched in place. The construction took just over an hour and I am delighted with the finished result.

Dartmouth Wrap Top by Cashmerette
Purple Cotton Jersey Dartmouth Top

Just by chance I also found a fine jersey fabric that I had been using to make infinity scarves as gifts, coordinated perfectly with my new top. I made a third scarf just for me!

Infinity Scarf

completed 5th December 2019