Sewing and Sanding

so after the last few months of being house obsessed – I now have my workroom nearly back and the house stuff that was stored there is making its way back to the rooms of the house, and I am finding it rather slow to get back sewing again as I am still trying to figure on sanding doors and tables. I have given up on wall painting as my shoulder got rather sore from ceilings so after 3 rooms fully painted and 3 small rooms and hall to finish (they are all primed) we have decided to leave them for a while.

 

I had hand hem finished  a silk top while the renovations were going on. It was a pattern I was gifted and for a raw-silk fishtail skirt, it made a lovely blouse.

The main piece that takes up the most fabric with this piece is the bias collar, and the fishtail was a long bias piece so perfect for the collar. The cut was relatively simple. I had to seam a piece near the shoulder to get the full piece, and it doesn’t detract from the fabric, and there were pieces left over for the now ‘fictitious’ patchwork and applique I have deluded myself into thinking I may actually make!

The fit of the top is rather cute, and I think would make a nice evening piece, but ultimately I was more interested in trying out the pattern so it may not get worn till Christmas.

Its also a shame that these types of wedding/occasion silk and satin skirts end up in the charity shops. They really are a one wear item, so its nice to think they can make up into other more ‘functional’ pieces.

The other pattern I got to try out was a Vogue Blouse. I really liked the cut, the neckline and those sleeves. I made 2, one from some black cotton left-overs to the actual size of the pattern which was a snug fit, and the sleeves about 2 inches shorter. I had a white end piece of fabric, and cut another and gave a more generous seam allowance (rather than grading) and longer sleeves. I did not do the waist darts, as realistically my waist is widening, and it would have been a bit too tailored for a summer blouse.

I love the sleeves of this. There is a bit of drama to them. The blouse needs a fabric with a bit of structure, but this in turn means ironing and making it in white, means more laundering (I seem to attract more stains when I wear anything white…..) so its a high-maintenance piece! but one the first wear it got a few ‘did you make that’ and I think its possibly the quirky cut to the neckline as it does feel unusual. Its a comfortable piece, and if I were to make it again, I would make the sleeves longer again (so in total lengthen by at least 5 inches).

I have not done as much sewing this year with building works and returning to work full time (to pay for said works). I have a few projects in the pipeline which I will get to working on.

My new favourite toy is a hand sander and I managed to sand an old dining room table top (there was a broken dining table in the house for the last few years held together with some bolts and bits) which got sanded back. I have also stripped and sanded some doors here (still to be painted) and got rather ambitious with a chair (still to be finished).

 

 

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Fashion Revolution, Chevron Patch Skirt

It has been rather hectic the past 2 months, sewing, working and home renovations.

Back in January, I had been wondering what to do with my sample sews and had considered taking a stall again at the market. I also wanted to do something for Fashion Revolution week. I find fashion revolution week (when viewed in the context of sewing)  rather poignant as there was a time when sewing and sewing machines represented a type of freedom for women as they got their own machines and worked as home sew-ers, and now these sewing machines ‘enslave’ so many other women ( With fast fashion you trap a generation of young women into poverty. 75 million people are making our clothes today. 80% is made by women who are only 18 – 24 years old. – forbes)

So I thought I would approach one of the shops I frequent, Cope Charity Shop.

Cope Charity Shop is really beautifully presented, and you have to remind yourself you are in a charity shop as it is laid out so well, it really has a boutique-shop feel, and they take great care in the shop with the displays, I always admire how fancy it always looks. They also have a reduced rail (€1 rail) where I buy a lot of clothes from, and I asked if they would like to have these makes and sell them in fashion revolution week.

Luckily, Allison Currah, the manager, liked the idea. I gave her the general idea of what I had (mainly blue and white makes). Allison kindly arranged everything else including the display and the publicity,  and arranged some great photos of the makes. This is one of the press releases here. Cope Charity Shop have also been doing daily tips this week for fashion revolution – which I think is great as I think the fashion revolution message is a rather dour message in the face of so many bright cheap clothes.

Allison had previously offered un-sale-able denims, which I originally was reluctant to take (they were the ‘synthetic’ indigo and cheaper forms), but ended up re-evaluating this, and though using this denim would be a good challenge and also a more realistic upcycle that the choicer pieces in wool that I normally nab at the charity shop.

So I drafted up a patchwork skirt. I originally planned a few different types but thought in the end to stick to one and make a few.  I adapted a skirt block by moving some darts to make equal size panels and then adding a 45 degree cut. As its denim the bias angle is stable, and I like these skirts made up either as a high contrast sew, or a tonal.

I made 6 extra denim pieces for the event, although I had planned about 12! 4 patch skirts, one Anna Sui Vogue and a Chevron dress. I also was time poor and with builders on the way to renovate our home so in the end.

The pattern for this is on craftsy for free download, with the sewing instructions. I did not get to take many photos of the process but I do hope the ones I have with the directions are clear enough to follow. The pattern does not have seam allowance in it, and have each panel on an A4 sheet so it will be easier to download, size and add seam allowance (I hope).

front and back 1

Its a nice sew (I think) as it was a tidy cut as each piece is small, and it lends itself to being sewn in stages, which is rather handy as I was distracted by all building works

Home Renovations – Not too much to say on this, except someone who lives in this house and is not me, who thought it a good idea to live in a house while builders were in excavating, and putting up steel and tearing out bathrooms and kitchen leaving a fine layer of dust everywhere (including my lungs) . I now feel like Lady Macbeth constantly cleaning my hands any chance I get.

Most of it has been fine but there were a few shockers (bathroom joists were failing fast –  The builder did comment, that it was most unusual, and he never saw one so rotted through, like all the way rotted……, and from his tone, I  don’t believe this was seen as an achievement in any shape or form.)

Now its all coming away, I am distracted by the wallpaper underneath…. and I do hope in 2 weeks time it will be hot and cold water, and no more takeaways…….

 

 

 

so many plans – so many patterns

It is also technically still winter  (Met Eireann/our weather board class December January and February as winter in Ireland) so I also see it as a time of semi-hibernation and taking it easy – January is definitely my tiredest month, probably because if also feels like the darkest one.

So rather than try and make a tonne of stuff (as if) I figured it would be a lot more productive to get all my favourite patterns that I actually own (as opposed to covet on etsy) and make a top ten to sew for the year from comfort of the sofa. So gathered em up, and then whittled down to a few that I have clothes that could be remade this year. (I do also have plans for a few self drafted ones too).

And the top picks werevogue 1

I am not too sure if I will get a make with this one. I love this era of Vogue illustration, and had been thinking of a high neck blouse as an alternative to polo necks. I also have a flimsy chiffon ‘play suit’ which may work if I try a sleeveless version of this? otherwise I am sure there a few other contenders I can try.

hollywood

The hollywood pattern I have a long time. I was full sure I was going to make it straight away when I got it, but no….it has languished. The main attraction was that the top uses little fabric, and I have some of my ‘precious’ silks that can get used here.

vogue 2The Vogue blouse I got before  Christmas. I was also given this stripe skirt by a friend, I am not too sure if I will make the sleeved version from the stripes, so I am also thinking of maybe a plain colour ……..vogue sybi

Sybil Connolly blouse, I have wanted to make a Sybil Connolly pattern sometime. I am a bit fascinated by her (especially after seeing her tweed patchwork full length 1950s skirt) so I am trying this blouse as I have an odd polka dot dress which I have not got a clue what to do with.

coats and jkt

Style Arc – Katherine Daze made this coat, and when I saw her coat I thought the ‘Jimmy Hourihan’ coat I had waiting could be used. I really have not a clue if it will work as I took the coat apart ages ago and its folded away…..

Vogue Moto Jacket – I thought some wool mens jackets could be upcycled with this one.

Simplicity Coat Pattern – I have a navy wool coat which is waiting a long time, and it has similar lines.

blaire

Style Arc Shirt – I only picked up this pattern to save on some postage when I bought the other. I have some cream silk shirts to re-cut, and thought to use them here, and a chance to use up more of the squirreled away silks

vogue 3

I hope to try this vogue pattern with a taffeta bridesmaid dress I was given

advance

I also have a charity shop wedding silk suit…….Its amazing the amount of flouncy-fancy-only worn-once-pieces that are in the charity shops, and I thought this Advance pattern could work here.

simp

The one I am working on (slowly) at the moment is this cute top- The pattern was a gifted trace that I have been meaning to make up for ages. I got this raw silk bridesmaid skirt (I assume) last month. I adored the colour and was rather impressed with the amount of bias in the fish-tail skirt, perfect for the collar.

I have a few more self drafted patterns to test out and share….but for the moment, I am in no rush!

It has been a good way of getting a plan going for the year, as I got to tidy away the pieces and patterns I won’t be working on and have the ones I will work on to the fore….

And I also got to fold my stash of charity shop buys….(a good start is half the job)

sew cupboard

 

pinafore pattern – cut from palazzos

I have been trying for a while to make an easy pattern for upcycling linen trousers. The trousers do make great shift dresses and cute tops (and I will be sharing patterns on these later – but I really wanted to make a pattern that was ‘an easy sew’. My first sews as a teen were this style of sew, and quick and done in a day!

pinafore dress (24)

I also get rather bothered by good quality items like wide leg linen pants,  left on a reduced rail, all because they are not the fashion – it just seems so wasteful. I don’t know if this dress is ‘the fashion’ but its a useful tunic dress, has pockets (bonus) and requires little sewing. It also uses up much of the fabric in the trousers so not bad for one euro. there are not darts and no zips so I also thought it a useful beginners pattern (I don’t think there is a need of buttons/buttonholes as I got this over my head without)

Interestingly I was in Ennis last Saturday week and popped into one or two charity shops. I nipped into the NCBI, and spied some coats. I tried (and bought) one and was talking to one of the ladies who worked there and mentioned I recut clothes. Of course in my evangelical way, I said if she wanted I would send her a link to the patterns. I tried to explain them, and said how one was how to make a dress from a pair of wide leg linen pants, as I keep seeing them unsold in the charity shops. She fully agreed (maybe she was being polite?) – eitherway, she got sent these links and I do hope they get passed around!

I put the sweater blocks up on craftsy also.  They are all just in size 12/medium as this is my general size. I do intend in time to grade them, but currently am more intent on drafting a more patterns for sharing!

The craftsy link to the patterns is here.

 

2 skirts and a red raglan sweater.

Funny how sometimes when you change jobs, your wardrobe seems to alter a bit – maybe it isn’t that unusual but I was still surprised when I started working in my new job, that I started favouring wearing dresses and skirts more instead of trousers as in my last job. (Although, this is due to change this week as the temperatures have dropped to freezing so I will be in wool trews tomorrow morning for sure).

In November I made 2 new skirts. Both were made from discarded pieces in the Community Sew room discard box.

The Brown tweed skirt was made from a short piece – approx 75cm length It has a black line and some orange and yellow flecks so was fine to wear with a black polo.  I used the reliable vogue pattern – and it pretty much sewed itself. The pattern also uses petersham instead of a waistband so useful when there is little fabric.

 The Black skirt was a half made something and it was all black, it may have been a dress cut in half. It would not be my usual choice of fabric, and it also had some strange laundry instructions (ie do not wash) so I tossed it to the machine before I cut and it seemed to survive.  I recut a basic a-line skirt. I put a seam on the front to the side, so I could embroider some detail, originally it was to have a mock pleat, but in the end I just sewed it as a seam. I was going to embroider a geometric pattern in shades of pink and red but could not find a suitable motif so used this ‘spring’ one.

Both skirts work well with a black sweater, but I often find black a bit severe and thought ‘if I could only find a red sweater to recut….’ and sure enough, same day in the charity shop, I did! I got this ‘vintage’ one. It is a fine knit and was an XL. I had thought there was more wool content but it is 35% wool and 65%  somthing else/orlon (I was shopping without my glasses!)

I drafted a raglan knit block and recut the sweater. I had tried to figure a way to incorporate the neckline, but it did not seem feasible. It sits as a v-neck and was not that flattering. I had originally hoped to put the button placket to the back but it could not sit flat. So in the end, I had to cut it out, and sew a small seam in.

I did a wider slight funnel neck so I can wear a base layer underneath (it is not a warm sweater), and finished the neck and cuffs with a twin needle turn over hem.

I am going to do a scan of the raglan block and put it up with the patterns on craftsy as I am find these remade sweaters so useful, and a very quick sew. As well as which its a style of sweater I find difficult to get in RTW as they tend to be straight up-and-down, where as this one has a small bit of waist definition.

 

Anna Sui Denim Dress, Cynthia Rowley Black Blouse

Blouse and Denim Dress (2)

Cate at Vintage Gal had a wonderful post about Anna Sui in September.  I loved the dress she made from the Anna Sui pattern (vogue 1619).  I have looked (unsucessfully) for this pattern, but did get Vogue 1789.

I have started working full time and decided to make a few pieces of  winter work as this time last year I worked in a store with a ‘uniform’ so made some pieces to fill some gaps.

In all I have made 2 skirts, 2 sweaters, one blouse (this one), and one dress (this one).

Anna Sui Vogue 1789Vogue 1789 is a really useful pattern.  There are 4 different styles of dress and some made for knits, and some for woven.  I made view C and managed to eek it out of just over a metre I think.  The yokes are cut on the bias and the other main detailing is the darts and seams are top-stitched. I went rather ahead of myself when I cut the pockets and decided in my head it was a double welt pocket and then changed to what it should have been after cutting one, and ended up with uneven pockets.  I ended up darning these and turning the pockets to patch pockets and am still pleased with the dress.

The other nice detailing is the zip goes half way up and the yoke is a 3 button close above. I did the buttonholes with the singer buttonholer, this attachment is so worth getting, my husqvarna does nice electronic buttonholes but I find the singer ones as good. Besides making a ‘haimes’ (translates as mess) of the pockets, I am rather pleased with the dress, the cut is very tidy and effective, it sits just right. I hope to try the apron style next.

The other pattern I tried out was the Cynthia Rowley Simplicity 8264.  Its a much simpler pattern and I picked it up on a whim from ebay. The illustration shows a pleated collar and cuff as well as gathered, but the pattern is for a gathered , which I didn’t like as much.  I got the black off-cut in a charity ship for €2.50 and used half of it to cut this blouse.  Not too much to say, it was a quick sew, although I have yet to wear it as the shorter sleeves seem more suited to Spring.  The funny thing is, although I keep thinking I must make more blouses, in truth I rarely wear thing with collars besides base layers or sweaters with polo necks!

My other sewing has been my Christmas sewing and this year I used old denim jeans to make ‘hotties’.  I put it to a photo montage as the local ‘health food’ shop asked how I made them when I popped in to get the wheatgrain.  Funny how things turn over.  15 years ago I was in the same ‘health shop’ trying to figure which grain to use and the store assistant advised me, and fast forward (a bit too fast) and this store assistant last week didn’t realise you could make them with grain and asked could she put it on the stores facebook page, I did a small photo montage and steps for them.  (I sometimes do find it strange when I get these remarks re when you say you make or sew…. but then figure I did something similar when I was 15 and I kept repeatedly saying to my friend’s mother…..’you really made this mayonnaise…..that’s amazing…..’ and I think now with hindsight she must have wondered did I think everything came from a jar.)

This one I showed was rather plain here, but basically I will cut the legs of jeans about 12 inches long and sew one end and half sew the other, half or three-quarter fill with grain and sew up the ends (or lazily top sew it all shut as I do!).  The ones I made as Christmas presents I embroidered with initials so my niece and nephews don’t fight over who’s is who’s.  I use denim as its much harder wearing that the pretty cottons I used use! I use 750 g oat groats/wheat grain per bag, and heat for 2-3 minutes.

heat pack how to

five minute frock and blinged bag

The frock and the bag are not a set, and the only thing they have in common was that I rushed them off before my 5 day work week routine began.  I was a bit frantic trying to ‘finish’ projects before part time work status ended, and I got these two out of the way.

 

The five minute frock was pretty much that! I had found a wallis maxi polyester skirt on the reduced rail (€1) in the charity shop and picked it up with the intent of maybe making another skirt, for the new job.  Some days later I wondered if I cut armholes in it would it make a dress? I did and it was.  I wore it for the day to see if it was comfortable to wear – it was – so shaped the armhole cuts to curves and hemmed them, and sewed down the elastic waistband which gives a slight structured boat-neck collar.  It also can technically be converted back to a maxi skirt later …..should it be needed!

 

 

The blinged bag was a whim.  I had picked the bag up for €3 in a reduced bin.  I figure it was reduced as the lining was shredded and the bag, while being a functional black, was also a vinyl bag.  I had been rather inspired by Kate’s cross stitching (at our knitty-stitchy group that meet up in Carrolls pub, Dominick St Wednesdays if anyone is in Galway and wants to pop in!) and Lulu Guinness Handbags when I planned this bag.  What I had not realised is that Kate makes cross stitch look easy, which it is not.  I had trialed a few cross stitch hearts and they were disastrous…..so resorted to a few hours on the embroidery machine and did this one!

 

I used a screwdriver to loosen the bag, and made a new lining.  I then embroidered the vinyl, and then got the gutterman glue, put it together again and hoped I did it right.  I get a bit frantic towards the end of fixing the bag into the clasp again as i am always convinced it will fall out or I will have missed a bit, but this is the second one ever I have done and both have been fine.

 

The motif I downloaded for free (and edited it to make the single smaller hearts) and when I find the link I used, I will post it here!

 

 

 

embroidered wool coat

I don’t know if this is a general habit for others, but often if I am working on a long/boring/difficult project I start to plan a nice/interesting project in my head and this project becomes the treat that I can look forward to.  So while I was plodding away with the Irish dance costume, wondering when it would all end….. I was planning to embroider this coat on the left below.

embroidered red coat

The coat is a nice quality wool, and in its day, it would have been a mid-range coat with a basic (ie not satin) lining, although the wool by contemporary standards is excellent.  It had the 80s shoulders (big), a generous cut in all (I think everyone wore big jumpers in the 80s too).  It didn’t sell for €20 didn’t sell for €10 and I bought it at €2.  I was never too sure on the colour as it was a dull rust red so I left it for a while until I figured what pattern to use for it.

I used simpliciy pattern 6733.   The cut is similar to the one I drafted last year, but the simplicity pattern has no darts, and a bit more generous in the cut, and I managed to squeeze it in.  The cut was quick enough – centre front and buttonholes and pockets carefully lined up and cut (and useful to have them all done) – back equally easy to line up.  The sleeves were a squeeze and I find this each time I recut a coat, so as long as I got 2cm past hem line, I could do a faced hem!  The collar was part cut from collar and I cut as short as I could so I would have sufficient fabric for a hood.

I dithered over the design.  Originally I was going to go with one colour only and do a grid of this motif, but it did look and feel a bit bland – a friend of mine suggested the scale of the design was insignificant got me thinking a bit more and I went searching for a another motif so with some other tiny scraps I did another test using this new motif, and loved it as the red and pink seemed to lift the colour and I could do some borders also.  I used motifs from embroideryonline.com.   Originally I was going to try and do a tiled design but once I did the finished the large motifs and placed the half motif I figured it looked a bit busy so left it.  The coat  has 2 borders – one in red, and the other in brown, and there are 8 large motifs around.  The sleeves just have the borders, and I used standard sewing thread for the embroidery.

embroidery  samples

final motifs for embroidered coat

Out of the left over fabric, I recut some back and side facings, and reused the lining, and also cut a hood.  I did not re-cut the lining as the cut was so similar to the coat itself, I just took it in a bit at sleeve head and sides.  I did use some gross-grain ribbon on the hem to give a make a bigger hem, and I like the way the ribbon looks on the inside – I also put my label on the lining with the original! (these are school labels – and I am finding them useful especially for knits so I know the back and front!).  The hang loop was reused.

 

 

The hood was a tighter cut, and I had tried to make it more dramatic originally, but when I tried it on I did not like the bigger hood at all, and as the idea of the hood for me is practical, the bigger hood has less weight and would probably blow off occasionally so I trimmed it and had to use some embroidered scraps in the edging.  I put poppers along so its not detachable.

embroidered coat with hood and without

Verdict- so delighted with the coat and wearing it loads.  This red, despite my original misgivings,  is a perfect shade, and the embroidery seems to ‘lift’ it.   It nicely replaced last years red coat which I did not wear that much as the red was a bit overwhelming for me.

I did a stall at a local market and sold some makes and last years red coat was sold.  It a great shade but too bright for me.   The stall was a bit of an experiment as sometimes donating back makes to the charity shop potentially increases their workload, and it could be interesting to find out what people think of the remakes directly.  I priced the makes at secondhand clothes prices – as charging labour time would have been unrealistic,and I wanted to clear the excess makes.  I see these makes as sample sews and considering doing a stall occasionally in the future as I like the making but sometimes I make more than I wear and and sometimes, I make for an experiment.

 

irish dance dress – the long way round

The making of this dress was epic and not in any good way.  I hadn’t realised how lucky I got with the last dress until I was in the thick of this one,

Last June, red was the chosen colour and I tried out some threads on it. The original motifs looked stronger in white (agapanthus leaf) however  Donna (niece/dancer) seemed to like the idea of a celtic motif and I got this one from Embroidery Library.  I had trouble with it from the start and could not get the outlines to work but as it was ‘voted’ a favourite with the outlines, I had to go with it. I tweaked it a bit to get it to fit in.  I figured I could make a simple collar out of ovals and crystal bling-stones could be set into them.  I was not overly enamoured with the whites as I tried out some more samples – then changed to some yellows oranges and reds and it all looked so much better, and it was the last week of August!  I was confident in the pattern as the dress I had made last time still fitted well so I could use the same pattern – my niece however had grown 5 inches!!!! and is no longer 5’3″ but nearer 5’8″,

1 embroidery testing

a mix of embroidery sampling – the lower LHS has a yellow outline on white in the middle  as a trial….

So once the colours were figured, I raced on ahead and the bulk of the embroidery took 7 days – except for the neckline which I ‘designed’ on the Sierra Software – which turned out to be easier this time than the last time as they had a software update.  However the skirt didn’t work like I had anticipated.   Donna had wanted a stiff stand out skirt and I was unsure on how the ‘classic’ one was constructured and the way I figured I would do it didn’t work – and I never did a ‘toile’ so was working on the real fabric all along.

And then after sending some pictures of the embroidery front –  Lisa/dance teacher asked for some changes to the centre front embroideries after I sent on some rough photos – she (rightly) felt the centre front needed definition and could I do an outline in lemon….after the lower bodice was cut

Irish Dance Dress Construction

initial pinnings

I was flumoxed and took a few days to figure what to do and took a break.

The Skirt – I did locate a pattern called guna rince and it seemed like the answer – which it was in part.  It had a pattern and instruction for the underskirt and corresponding overskirt.  I ordered it.  The pattern was what I needed but as the fashion here is for a shorter skirt longer bodice I adapted it a bit by shortening the skirt, and also had to tweak it so it would accommodate the cut skirt I had done.  I used Vilene S80 on the stiff underskirt, and basted interlining of sew-in heavier vilene M12 to the back and a double layer of vilene M12 on the front skirt.

3 construction Irish Dance Dress

The top LHS is the right panel of the back of the dress – the ‘fashion’ here now is no cape/braith at the back but to heavily embroider it in an ‘unexpected’ colour with less bling

The additional embroidery – The issue with the outline was that its not easy to fit in another embroidery after the fact and I did digitize a line on the Sierra software and kinda lined it up.  The difficulty for me is that the hoop on my machine is 150x230cm so the centre front motif took 3 hoopings originally and the outline took 4 and the fabric was pretty stressed by the time, I also figured covering the spaces with some bling would conceal.

The long way and the wrong way

So in all it took 5-8 weeks – the first 2 weeks of August I was only dabbling, and the last week of August I did most of the embroidery. Most of the dress construction was done in the last 2 weeks of September.  It was all rather stressful, as for a while it seemed everything that could go wrong did,   The bobbin tension of the machine was not great throughout, and I had to keep an eye on it.  I am still not sure what went wrong but it got half fixed with changing threads, dusting after each embroidery, and John in the Singer Centre Waterford posted up a new case (which still has not fixed it but helped a lot).  I bought the machine off him originally and cannot recommend him highly enough.  They really offer a great service there, and just plain lovely to deal with

I was also running out of embroidery thread a lot faster than I thought (there were over 600,000 stitches) so had to get WM Trimmings in Dublin  to post extra down from Dublin – They really are a wonderful shop – and both times I phoned lunchtime, and the thread arrived in the post the following morning! (local fabric shop does not carry the shades or the larger spools of thread).

Hindsight

should have made a toile – are these the ‘not so famous last words’?  as I hadn’t realised that the new fashion amongst Irish dancers here is a much shorter skirt (about 4 or 5″ from centre V)   and longer bodice – and I should have added 1.5″ more to the bodice length- my skirt length is 6″.  The dress pictures Donna had sent that she liked had a mix of skirt lengths and she never pointed out specifically till the end about the length.  It was not a deal breaker as the main request was a stiffer skirt.

Verdict 

I was so relieved when Donna tried it on.   when I saw her moving/walking around in it the hang and movement of it was good – and she seemed to move well/confidently in it – although I could swear she grew another inch since the beginning of the summer.  Lisa (Dance Teacher) has given her seal of approval so all good.

 

The Bling

My Sister, Eithne, is brilliant with the bling – I really don’t know where to start – or end.  She tells me it’s because she goes to so many feis’s (competitions) but I really think its more than that.  Luckily she will bling it – and hopefully I will have a competition dress photo soon!

meanwhile – here are some photos from when we were trying out different stones

4 bling

The Cost

The cost of dresses can run into about €2200 and the costs of this dress without bling ran to about €250 which included – I bought 5m of fabric and I have 1 m left over.  I could have bought less originally but I did need some to sample and am happier to have 1m left as this wa

  1. Fabric and lining – 80
  2. embroidery designs approx – 30
  3. threads approx –  approx 60-80 (yes really!!! )
  4. vilenes and stabelizer  – 40 (I did get too much
  5. machine needles – 5
  6. zip and bias binding – 10
  7. pattern – 40

The bling will cost about €150-200

What now

I am going to toile the Guna Rince pattern as when I compared the two – mine has a higher armhole and different darts so I am curious to the fit – and I also want to get a better pattern for the next dress and figure the shorter skirt long bodice.  I happen to have a cream fabric here that could work as an alternative and work on it slowly over the next few months – but as cream is not a good stage colour I will see if it mixes well with jade? but as one dress is done, there is less pressure now.

I am also keeping the embroidery machine out for the moment – as in order to keep my sanity with the dance dress, I started a side project of another coat so half way through that – and seems to be going to plan…….seems to be

The Finished Dress 

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Shirt Blouse Pattern

When I first started this pet project / blog, my mini-ambition was also to develop a set of patterns suitable for upcycling clothes, and it seemed to keep falling by the wayside.  I did up one last year….and its still on rough paper (but I hope to get that drafted and tested in the next month)

Two months ago, I changed jobs – I went back temping –  and wanted to make up some new ‘work’ tops.  When I used temp years ago, I would wear skirts more, whereas this year I have pretty much been wearing cigarette pants all summer, and wanted to make up a few ‘prepier’ looking shirts/tops to go with them.  One was this butterick shirt, which I made from a pale blue linen.  The one think I hadn’t thought of, was to cut the front up-side-down on the men’s shirt as the buttons go the wrong way!

butterick shirt upcycle

Anyway – while it has been a useful addition, I wanted a top with no collar, but still ‘crisp’ looking.  I had a white dress shirt from the sewing room in the cupboard and ran this one up.  I was very pleased with it, as I managed to get the whole top out of the shirt (and still have some usable scraps left – cuffs and collar).  I took off the pique panels and used them for the yokes and incorporated the button holes as a ‘feature’, and did a slash opening at the back.

I was very happy with the construction – its a lined yoke, and slash opening back, and sleeves are sewn in flat, and there are a small amount of gathers at the cuff of the sleeve.

white shirt upcycle

I then wondered how adaptable the pattern would be, and as I had a few stripe shirts in the workroom, so I started to experiment with some mix and match there (I had planned to use these with the teens in the sew summer camp) so started taking them apart and sampled up a few – tweaking as I went along, the main tweak really was adding shoulder darts.  I am rather pleased with the patchwork-ed ones and am now foisting some of the makes on friends, as I got carried away with the making…..

shirt blouse - upcycle shirt

 

So-with the making of the new Irish Dancing Dress looming I spent last weekend drafting and had it scanned yesterday.  I put it on craftsy and its free, and hope to have an A4 version up by the weekend.  I am hoping the explanations of each step is sufficiently informative without being too simplistic.  I have found in the sewing room – that I tend to assume that ‘everyone’ knows this – but then remember or am reminded that not everyone learned to sew in school etc.  So if you have any comments tips on the instructions and pattern if you wish to download/read/use, I would be delighted to hear them.

Originally I was to grade it also, but I was running out of time, and if my niece (irish dance dress) finds out I am doing extra-curricular activities – I thought it best to finish what I had, and get onto that!