What is your favourite fabric for dressmaking?

I would like to call on all the dressmakers out there to let me know what your favourite type of fabric is to sew with? Especially for this lovely summer weather we are having here in the UK. Do you like the feel of a particular type, drape, easy to sew with, flattering to those curves etc, I would love to know about it.

You will know I am quiet new to this dress making lark and my last three skirts have all been made out of quilting cotton with varying degrees of success (yes, yes I know). Generally the patterns worked out really well, but I think my lack of satisfaction with the items was down to the ‘drape’ of the fabric. Also, the choice of fabrics locally can be a bit sparse, with the only fabric I like the pattern of being a quilting cotton, or a jersey (and we all know how daunting that is for a newbie!). So my source of fabric tends to be the internet, where you can find so many lovely patterns and prints, but can’t feel the fabrics to find out how they will sew up or hang.

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I did recently purchase some lovely cotton lawn from Ebay (it is much more navy blue than the picture) which I am going to use to attempt my own version of Sorbetto. Hopefully with it being a lawn the finished item will hang a lot better than my previous attempts. So please, to anyone out there who has a favourite type of fabric, or a particular one for a particular garment, please do tell! I am also on the lookout for more fabulous sewing blogs to follow, so send me a link as well so I can keep up with what you are up to, and you can hopefully inspire me to make something as wonderful as you do.

Helen

xx

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My version of the ‘Picnic Blanket Skirt’

I know most internet seamstresses have come across Tilly’s fabulous blog, and her ‘Picnic Blanket Skirt‘ tutorial. Well, I wasn’t going to give this one a miss was I!

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I originally thought I might make this up in the out to sea fabric, so went to the local fabric shop for some cheap cotton to make a mock up and check I liked the design. Well, those that know me well will know I cant walk away from the leopard print once I have seen it! So what if I made a mock up with fabric I adore, at least I will get some wear out of it (I think the shoes might be a bit much!).

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This is the first time I have ever EVER sewn buttonholes and I am so proud of myself. I took the extra time to measure them, and did a couple of practice runs first. They came out so pretty and neat, and I love the little wooden buttons to match the brown.

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After also reading Tilly’s post about sewing with cottons I decided to add a lining. Now this is not at all in the instructions for the pattern but it was so easy. I just used an old bit of black synthetic fabric which I had lying around, I have no idea what it is but it worked a treat. It added a nice amount of weight to the cotton without it getting too heavy, and I hate wearing a skirt without tights so it stops the cotton from sticking to them. All in all I am very happy with the way it turned out. It was a great little pattern, and was so simple to follow but very informative at the same time. I think I might have been a little bloated when I took my waist measurements as it is slightly too large now on the waist. I will either sew some belt loops on to the waist band or save this for my winter wardrobe when I will be carrying a few extra pounds!

DSCF5026So what is on my sewing table next? I am trying out the ‘tunic’ pattern from the sewing bee book as the pattern is included. I am aiming to conquer my fear of jersey knit armed with a walking foot and a super easy pattern which doesn’t include any binding on the neckline! Still sewing every stitch with my fingers crossed and my eyes closed.

 

‘Out to Sea’ Skirt

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I should start this post off by saying that I have always wanted to be able to make my own clothes, and have ‘dabbled’ in the past without using patterns and subsequently without having much luck. So earlier this year, as I am sure is the case with a lot of sewers, I got completely and utterly addicted to BBC2’s Sewing Bee. Watching this inspired me, and made me realise ‘you can do this, you just need to go about it properly’. So I started off with some mild adventures in the posts below. I had some success, but on the whole I am not 100% sure how often these will get worked into my wardrobe.

If you have read my posts below you will know I bought the most beautiful Michael Miller/Sarah Jane ‘Out to Sea’ fabric, which I really wanted to make into a skirt to wear to a good friends wedding which was yesterday and was held on the ‘HMS Trincomalee’, a fabulous old Frigate boat equipped with masts and cannons and everything. I was a beautiful wedding, and I couldn’t have been happier for the couple. I was also very pleased at how the project came out (you will have to forgive the terrible photo’s, I really am not the most photogenic person).

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The pattern is actually the pencil skirt from the Sewing Bee book. I bought the book as I loved the show so much, and despite having to print the patterns yourself, where else can you get 28 patterns for such a cheap price! The pattern worked out really well, It was very straightforward, instructions were easy to follow and it came out pretty much as it did in the picture which is nice. I omitted the invisible zip, because I didn’t have a foot, and I added a lining using a very helpful tutorial which I found here: http://blog.tuppencehapenny.co.uk/2012/11/pencil-skirt-sew-along-adding-lining.html.

It did possibly feel a little on the large side around the hips (I do like a hugging pencil skirt) but as it was a non stretchy cotton, I think that the skirt did benefit from being slightly on the larger side to give me a bit of room to move. I would like to do a little review of the book but I think I need to try out a few of the patterns first, as this was my main reason for buying. I think I will try the simple tunic next, as this is the only one which comes with a pre-printed pattern in the book.

I am about to take the plunge!

I really will need to blog about 3 posts at once soon! I am attending a wedding this weekend on a ship! yep, thats right, a ship! so I really need to get the ‘out to sea’ fabric sewn up into something and quick. I finally made up the ‘Picnic Blanket Skirt’ from Tilly’s tutorial. It was such an easy tutorial, and I am actually very pleased with how it came out. I will blog it fully soon but I need to get my sewing on first. However, I have also recently purchased the BBC Sewing Bee book and made a quick mock up of the pencil skirt to check the fit. I actually much prefer this, so now armed with a pattern, and the notions I am braving the anchors and going to make this up. I really hope this is going to work out…. watch this space (eyes closed, and fingers crossed)

I spent a bit too much on fabric this week

So I bought a bit too much fabric this week! but look what I got:

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This absolutely gorgeous Michael Miller pink anchor fabric, I adore this soooooooo much. I bought it to make the Tilly Picnic blanket skirt out of it, but I know, knowing how much this cost, and how precious I am about making things out of fabric which I love so much, that I am going to procrastinate on this A LOT! There is the possibility it may turn into a variation on a pencil skirt yet. But, I have a wedding to attend at the end of June, which is on a boat, so how perfectly themed is this! Then with the leftovers I really fancy a new make up bag out of it as well.

The other fabric I bought was because I saw a dress in topshop which was very similar to the one below, but with a fitted bottom half, and more of a scooped neck, that they didnt have in my size, and now no longer sell at all. I went to my local fabric shop last week just to have a nose around and I found the exact matching fabric, go me. So I obviously bought a couple of meters and now I can make the dress for myself woo hoo.

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The only other thing I have to report is that I went to see my sister today, to discuss ideas for the skirt section of my wedding dress which she will be making for me, and we are basing it on the dress below. How gorgeous is that. It all looks like it is going to be relatively straight forward which is a bonus, so now I just get to hunt down even more fabric to make this with :).

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Oh, and I made no progress on anything else at all! Typical! Here’s hoping next week might be more productive, and less expensive.

A quick backtrack

I just wanted to quickly show a couple of things which I haven’t popped on the internet yet. Firstly, I got a gorgeous cupcake tea pot for Christmas, and what does every teapot need? A cozy of course! So I bought some gorgeous fabric from Emma’s Fabric Studio who always provide such a brilliant service and made this little bad boy:

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I love it! I am very proud of this little item and it was so easy. It is lined with insulated wadding as well so really helps to keep my tea super warm. The pattern was just something I googled and found the basic shape for. You measure the circumference of your teapot in inches, divide this by 2 and then add two inches. You then measure over the teapot, so starting on the table at the bottom middle, measure over the top of the lid and down to the table on the other side. Divide this by 2 and then add 3 inches. You then just need to draw a semi circle using these measurements and you have your pattern. I haven’t really explained this very well, but I got my measurements from this site so you can take a look for yourselves and I am sure it will all become clear: http://www.rustybobbin.com/inklings/sew-teacozy.html

The other thing I would like to show off is some bunting I made for my mum. It is nothing special, but was my first ever attempt at it and I am pleased with the results. I am not 100% sold on the colour scheme, but my mum was chuffed and really liked it. She had already designated it a home 2 seconds after she opened it 🙂

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So next on my list? I have some lovely white and black scissors fabric which I really want to make a ‘prject’ bag out of to carry my projects around in. I have also ordered the most beautiful pink fabric which I want to use to make this skirt: http://www.tillyandthebuttons.com/2012/06/how-to-make-picnic-blanket-skirt-part-1.html, so I am very excited for this turning up. I also want to make a crown for my friends daughter.

New Blog and DIY Tank Dress

I love to craft, and I make so much stuff I really love to have a blog to show it off, and also to collect my pictures, and my thoughts and it acts as a bit of a timeline. The only problem is I am a terrible blogger and can never find the time to make a post. I wanted to create this blog just to be a place to show what I made, collect ideas, keep tutorials and show off pretty pretty things.

Before I backtrack a bit I am going to show off today’s make, a DIY tank dress, based on this lovely tutorial: http://www.sewcaroline.com/2013/04/tank-dress-diy.html, there is also a lovely collection of similar dresses on Pinterest which you can see here: http://pinterest.com/search/pins/?q=diy+tank+dress. But here is my first attempt at a version.

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It is made using a bit of grey sheeting cotton which I had left over from an old quilting project. I added some pockets, because I am a bit of a fan of a skirt with a pocket. I also thought it might be nice to add a bit of pattern interest to something that is otherwise quiet plain. I used my last scrap of Lucien folklore which I bought to make my living room cushions which you can see here: http://monster-magic.co.uk/2008/08/21/my-folklore-cushions/

I am thinking about adding a black lace trim to the hem, but that will have to wait till another trip to the haberdashery.