Archive for November, 2011

(oh okay! not really because you can’t see the whole thing! stop complaining and come round to help me take a picture, will you?)

So here’s the back!

And the front! I’m not planning to wear this T-shirt with it… but now that a customer has demonstrated the power of the leggings and (our) red shoes combo, mayhaps my yellow leggings will get a good airing. I know it will look very nice with my blue shoes, but as it’s election week there is NO WAY I’ll be getting them out. Party vote green shoes!


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I was all rearing to go with fixing the zip on my blue dress (not) when suddenly I had to make some skirts. Because all this sugar-free virtue has done wonders for my waistline. Which, uh, contradictorily, means that all my skirts sit at frumpily bad places on my hips. Because I had set out to make a skirt, I simply had to make a dress instead!

Except that when this fabric was all made up, I felt like it might swallow me. Maybe if the top half had had a little more structure and been a bit further away from my collarbone, and perhaps sleeveless… then yes, maybe as a dress. I cut this out about a year ago though. There was no going back, only forward. We went in for the chop.

Then I measured myself, made a waistband pattern, measured the width of the skirt and calculated a few darts.

I am SO proud of the darts. I feel like a clever person who knows how to make darts.

Then I needed a contrast fabric – incidentally what had kept this fabric unstitched for so long. This fabric pictured here was the OTHER option I had (you will see what I ended up with soon – this print was too modern for the glorious retro). Louis wasn’t so sure of my choice but he was okay with it once it was sewn up (see, the sewer is always right).

Then I… uhhh…. had a few issues with the zip! Again! And because I want this skirt to be a mothertucking skirt, I had to fix it. I wasn’t doing myself any favours with a banana yellow zip in brown fabric. So I unpicked the right side, moved it over, stitched it back in place and covered the hideous zip tag with a pretty button. This also cleverly disguised the fact that the two sides of the wasitband did not match. Buttons solve everything.

Bows also cover a myriad of mistakes. Well, there were just a couple here, and maybe this one doesn’t cover all of them but at least it distracts the eye with its psychedelic patchwork of pattern.

Ahh but what does the skirt look like? You’ll just have to wait for my next post, because this post has had enough photos (it thinks) and won’t let me put the final photos in with the correct orientation. So…

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May those spotty fishnets last forever and ever.

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Butterick 5605, part one

I am making a dress! With a pattern! Friends, I cannot describe how lovely it is to have my hand held by a set of instructions and friendly notches that match up.

ALTHOUGH. Let me take a step back here. I did not have enough of this glorious fabric to make this dress (it was in two hemmed pieces from Bertie). So I economised. I fiddled. I ummed and ahhed. I nipped and I tucked. The above photo is what I managed to get away with. On piece 7 you can see me folding the pleats on the back of the skirt before I cut the fabric. On piece number 6 I am demanding that the front of the skirt be cut on the fold. Because herein lies the problem with this pattern: THERE IS A SEAM DOWN THE FRONT OF THE BODICE. I AM SHOUTING BECAUSE I AM MAD AT THE PATTERN.

I am mad at the pattern because there is no reason for the seam – the two sides of the front bodice are joined after you insert the side panels. Oddly, I twigged that there might be a problem when I refused the seam down the front of the skirt, but had already cut out (and sewn up) the bodice by this time (my toile was not a bold print so I’ll forgive it for not telling me). It was only when I tried the bodice on for size that I noticed how horrible it looked with a seam there. And then I remembered: the seam down the middle of the bodice is dead straight. It is cut on the grain. I could have saved a little bit of fabric if I’d realised this earlier. My dress would have looked a hell of a lot nicer without that seam down the middle, busting up my beautiful fabric. STUPID PATTERN DOING DUMB THINGS FOR NO REASON.

So I decided to make it look intentional. I made a fake placket. I would much rather just not have a seam there, but now I get to choose some pretty buttons so it’s okay. It’s a tricky one, trying to work out what will work with such busy fabric and a (now) seam-heavy front, but I’ll cope. I have been getting the buttons out of their jar every day and sifting through them, AKA therapy.

But other than that infuriating seam, this dress is going well. Knowing that I had only enough blue fabric for the outer, I rifled through the cupboard looking for something to line the dress with. Enter that spotty blue fabric you may remember from here and here. What’s that blue? You match this blue? And red? You too? And fabric weight? Oh yes, it is a marvellous match. Sneaky peeps of lining will be aesthetically bearable.

I had thought I was up to hemming the dress and putting the button in, but something changed when I sewed the lining in and now the bodice gapes a bit at the back. It’s probably a good thing, because I wouldn’t have redone that average zipper job if it hadn’t. Once I have caught up on sleep I will be ever so carefully unpicking the stitches, taking an inch off each side of the zip, sewing it back in and then slipstitching til the cows come home.

Meanwhile, check out Karen‘s post on the same pattern. I had been a little nervous about using a pattern so I googled it, and lo and behold an awesome person had already made it. (A seam down the front is not noticeable with her marvellous floral fabric). She has also pointed me in the direction of some tips for kimono sleeves, but I had already conquered those by the time she emailed me. Thank you marvellous Karen! Yes, kimono sleeves are fiddly, but I did the lining ones first so I was almost sweet with them by the time it came to sewing my blue fabric.

You could also offer your opinion on my button options (or suggest colours I haven’t considered). I’m torn between something that will stand out, something that will match the other colours, or matching blue buttons. My favourites are the creamy white ones on the placket. A warm tan colour might work too, but I haven’t found any in my button jar yet and I can hear my mum saying from the other side of the Tararua Ranges, ‘brown doesn’t go with blue’.

But it does, Mum. I work in a shop with tan shoes and blue shoes and they look very nice together. Sigh. Back to it then.

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