Work in progress – Brasilia hack

My current work in progress is a rework of the Brasilia dress by House of Pinheiro. Things have been sped up by my new rotary cutter, but I’m still painfully slow at sewing!  I’m making this up in a twill woven mystery fabric from walthamstow market. It has a nice drape, and I’ve added a lining as this will be a dress for work. Because of the ‘no bare shoulders’ dress code I normally layer dresses over long sleeve tees or shirts. 



Made Up initative progress

When donating to the Made Up Initiative (a really worthy cause; I was always reading as a child and it’s a shame to think some children don’t have the chance to enjoy that experience) I pledged to make a start on a pair of Ultimate Trousers. This poor pattern has been languishing for almost a year, and I’ve had some black cotton drill earmarked for about the same length of time. Time to forget the notion that trousers will be way harder to make than dresses! 

Well, I’ve jumped in and made a start. 

I’m one muslin into the process, and already I can tell there needs to be a little fine-tuning on the fit…like the addition of nearly 20cm to the leg length! I’m 5″8 and want these to be a full length pair of trousers. 

So far, I must admit that making trousers isn’t as scary as I thought, and even if I don’t get them finished by the deadline I’m proud of myself for getting on with it and proving that I can make trousers(!!!). 

Have I gone mad? 

At walthamstow the other weekend a fabric caught my eye, and I just couldn’t go home without it.  

 Unusually for me it’s a very loud print, full of bright colours. Almost completely the opposite of the subtle prints or plain colours I normally wear. 

  Luckily the reverse is a bit more toned down, so I’m hoping this will make a wearable Saltbox tank top by Blueprints for Sewing. 

Sewing in the news

I came across an excellent article this morning on the benefits of sewing in the Guardian, by Jenny of the Cashmerette and Curvy Sewing Collective blogs. It’s generating a lot of comments, and happily most of them are fellow sewing enthusiasts or those who wish they could sew. I love to see sewing in the media, I’m hoping it breaks down the myth that it’s specialised and difficult, or something that only old ladies do. 

Read it here

Wishing I was a speedier sewist

I’ve been much more productive than usual in the past few weeks, with two fabrics making it into garments before I’d even owned them a month (my longest stashed item has been languishing for about five years!) I think that’s maybe connected to the fact that one of the reasons I sew is for stress relief and I get married two weeks on Saturday. Two weeks! 

However, I still feel like I’m making slow progress on my linen sundress. This is possibly because I’ve elected to bind the seams, so each seam is taking twice as long as normal to finish. And being lazy, or time-efficient, with things I know I’ll wear infrequently I’ve been known to just leave a wide seam allowance unfinished in the past. I think this is a bad habit I should leave behind, and accept that I’ll just have to practice more if I want to be a speedier sewist! 

Seam finishing

 I’ve not had the best results in the past with pinking seams on garments and I like to be able to throw my clothes in the washing machine without worrying that they’ll fall apart. Normally I finish seams by zigzagging them. 

However, with the linen I bought recently I could see how the loose weave would fray easily, so I wanted to try something different instead. I ordered a couple of different colours of rayon seam binding from Crafty Ribbons. It came really quickly and was quite inexpensive, plus they’d included a sample of their new French cotton lace in a pretty pale blue, so I might end up a repeat customer! 

I’ve tried out the binding tonight on the shoulder seams of my current work in progress. I’m making my white checked linen into a Coffee Date Dress (minus the ruffle). I’m lining this with white viscose, due to the sheerness of the white linen. 

The finish feels secure, it was very easy to do and it doesn’t add much bulk. I’m planning to use it for the skirt and waist seams, and I’m considering using it to hem the dress too. I’m looking forward to seeing this finished. 

 I also love my new ironing board cover, it’s sewing themed! 

Today’s Walthamstow market bargains 

As my best friend has expressed an interest in trying out dressmaking I said I’d go to Walthamstow to pick up some cheap-ish cotton or other beginner-friendly fabric for her to have a go. While I was there I somehow ended up with a few bits for me too! 

Firstly, I spotted this gorgeous elephant print, and the black and white animal print in Classic Textiles (the black and green shop at the end near the bus station). As I’m going to be meeting the elephants at Whipsnade Zoo at the end of July I thought an appropriate top or two might be in order.  In the same shop I also saw this third print, which will hopefully make a top that can be worn year round. I’ve been finding recently that I make and buy a lot of grey, which is uninspiring when getting dressed on a sunny day so these neon pink feathers should liven things up.   In Fabric House, which is one of my favourite in Walthamstow, I picked up this textured blue fabric, and this black fabric. I believe from the feel the blue is a thick cotton, but I have no idea about the black other than it appears to be a twill weave and has a nice drape. Both are destined to become dresses for work. I have a strict dress code at work, and am allowed navy, grey or black skirts, dresses or trousers, and tops/blouses in solid white, cream, pale pink or black, so at least the textured fabric will bring some interest, and it was only £1/m.  

Finally, as I was making my way back to the bus station I stopped at a stall I’d seen earlier to pick up some of this Orla Kiely-esque print for my friend. While I was poking about I noticed this white fabric with a multicolour woven check, which in my head had already become a crisp summer dress and so I had to buy some. It feels smooth and soft but with weight too, and the stall holder told me it was linen.  With the (lack of) speed of my sewing, let’s see how many summers pass before I’m wearing it!  Into the wash with all of these, and then on with my current work in progress, the silk t-shirt pattern from the Great British Sewing Bee Fashion with Fabric book. 

Work in progress

I’ve had the Sewaholic Gabriola pattern since last September, and this lovely floral viscose bought from Walthamstow market for about the same amount of time ready to become a matching set of skirt and sleeveless top. 

  The intention is that theyd be worn together for the maxi dress look, or as separates for more wardrobe versatility. This week I finally started cutting pieces for my Gabriola, though having underestimated quite how much fabric this pattern takes I bought just less than 3.5m of fabric. It may require some creative pattern placement to have enough left for a top!

Reading blogs this week I see that Morgan of crabandbee has had a similar idea, and made up Gabriola and a very elegant cowl neck top in a beautiful blue. I can only hope mine turns out half as nice.