Curvy Pencil Skirt, Fabric, Sewing, Vogue Sewing Patterns, Wrap Dress

Sewing: Experimenting with different fabrics

IMG_1607I was driving through Kenilworth to a business meeting when I spotted a fabric shop that I had not been in – ooooh the excitement!  I’d make time to pop in on may way back of course.  They have some lovely fabrics, very nicely displayed – it drives me mad if shops have them all piled up and you can’t see what they have, not so at Karen Delahunty – all very nicely displayed and grouped together in fabric types.  My eyes whizzed round looking for bright colours and I found this fabulous piece of cotton spandex.   It has two of my favourite colours within in it – a cool pink and red – it’s slightly orange, but as it is not the main colour it still works for me.  I love the pattern – quite dramatic and abstract – I’m not so keen on definite florals, but I like this one.  Now what to make with it?  I had gone in with the idea of finding something to make a short-sleeved wrap dress, so I was really looking for jersey.  None of their jerseys worked for me, so I wondered whether this fabric might work as a wrap dress.  It has some stretch and it drapes well.  I checked with Karen and she thought it would work too, so I went for it.

As this fabric isn’t as drapey as jersey, I decided to take about an inch out of each side seam as the skirt of the Vogue V8379 has a pretty full skirt.  This cotton spandex fabric is much stiffer so I thought this would work better.

IMG_1630We were off for a weekend away last weekend, so I cut out the fabric and added all of marks for pleats and tailors marks – I used a washable felt-tip for speed, rather than tailors tacks.  I then made up the bodice in a couple of hours one evening and then finished off the skirt, attaching it to the bodice the next evening.  The finishing off isn’t great as I rushed to get it ready to take away with me – I didn’t actually end up wearing it, but I did put it on to show Nige and Gracie and they love it!

Its first outing was to the Cancer Research UK Charity Fashion Show arranged by my friend Ann Ballinger at the gorgeous Mallory Court.  Fashions were provided by Revolve – there were some gorgeous clothes and the models did a great job.  The only thing is, now I am making my own wardrobe, I only covet the complex designs that I don’t yet have the skills to make!  I loved many of the Joseph Ribkoff designs and there were some gorgeous sequinned evening dresses too.

Caroline and Lyn

Here I am with my lovely friend Caroline at the fashion show.

My second rush-job was another curvy pencil skirt.  I really wanted to wear my pussy-bow blouse to the First Impressions consultant’s spring forum.  The first curvy pencil skirt I made is now too warm to wear – it is in a wool mix and quite a heavy fabric.  I decided to make a navy skirt to go with a pair of wedge sandals now that the sun is shining and the temperature has heated up.

I bought some fabric in a tight weave, medium weight navy blue.  I whipped this up in two evenings too.  I cut it out and sewed the darts one evening and finished it off the next.  I didn’t line this one as it doesn’t really need it and of course, in the interest of speed, I didn’t really have time!

My jobs this weekend will be to go back and neaten up some of the seams, otherwise they might fray in the wash!  Sewing Bee speed it wasn’t, but quite quick for me as a novice!

I love the fact that I have pretty much made an entire new wardrobe and I wore something I made every day this week!  My next little challenge to myself is to make enough clothes that I have a total self-made mix and match wardrobe.  The thing that I could really do with adding right now is a light-weight coat – something to add as an extra layer when there is still a chill in the air, but it is not warm enough for a heavy coat.  My gorgeous Desigual mac has seen better days unfortunately, so that is going in the ‘up-cycle’ pile – I am sure I can make something new out of it as I absolutely love the fabric.  If you know of any patterns that would work, please let me know!  I am looking for a simple style that is fitted in at the waist and I will make it in an interesting fabric.

Happy weekend


Pussy-Bow Blouse, Sewing, Vogue Sewing Patterns, Vogue V8772

Sewing: Pussy-Bow Blouse

This blouse took a lot longer than my previous projects,  partly due to spending all last weekend at our daughter’s dance show and partly because this was more complex than anything I have already made, so I took my time to make sure I got it right. IMG_1335 I used Vogue V8772.  I really wanted to get a good fit with this blouse, so I carefully compared my measurements to those on the pattern.  I made a bust adjustment to move the bust dart up one inch and I shortened the length of the bodice so I can wear it  untucked or tucked in, depending upon what I am wearing it with. Other than that, it was as per the pattern. The construction of the bodice and the tie were both pretty simple and I made this up fairly quickly. IMG_1334 IMG_1360 IMG_1339 I knew that the sleeves would be a bit more challenging.  The first tricky bit was understanding what a ‘continuous lap’ is.  I checked out a couple of really helpful videos that showed exactly how to attach it.  It’s effectively a binding that goes around the slit at the cuff.  Here’s a picture of the completed continuous lap. IMG_1359 It’s difficult to see as it is in the same fabric.  I managed to catch some fabric in the piece at the top of the slit, so had to unpick it and re-do that part just once, so not too bad for a first attempt and it looks fairly neat. The next tricky part was the cuff.  It was easy enough to construct, but I must have measured incorrectly, so one of them did not have enough circumference to fasten!  A quick unpick and re-cut and it was soon matching the other cuff. I got to the point where the entire blouse was constructed and I just had the button holes and buttons to finish.  That was a bit scary as I could have ruined the whole project at this point!  I have not attempted button holes for at least 20 years, so the discarded cuff came in as a great piece to practice them on.  After around 10 practice attempts, ensuring that I had the length of the button hole just right to fit the button, I took a deep breath and went for it.  Eleven button holes later, the blouse was almost complete.  I finished sewing on the buttons and was able to wear it with my jeans to my Dad’s 70th birthday dinner. I’m really pleased with the finished project.  As I took my time, it is nice and neat – even on the inside!  It’s such a great feeling wearing something that you have made yourself.  It’s so nice to have such a good fit and I’m really pleased with the fabric colour too – one of my favourite shades.

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Here is the last button just being stitched on and the completed blouse.  I’m off to make a skirt pattern now.  It has been drafted by Kate of FabricKated, so I’ll report back on how that goes.  You can see a glimpse of it here with my blouse – it’s not finished yet – I’ve got to add the lining, but couldn’t wait to try it on!