Mother bleeping dinosaurs

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It’s probably no surprise that I’m a bit of a fan of dinosaurs (hi there multiple jumpers, multiple necklaces, and an attraction to line drawings featuring dinosaurs). For quite a while I’ve had a dream of making a dinosaur dress, but finding fabric that wasn’t obviously children’s fabric was pretty difficult. I like the Lizzy House fabric  from a few years ago that a couple of people have used before (with a special shout out to Elle’s fabulous skirt but I wanted something that was closer to the natural history style drawings in my dinosaur magazine when I was a kid, the thing that was my main introduction to all things dino.

One day, for no reason other than I wanted a five minute procrastination break, I found myself trawling “dinosaur fabric” on etsy. And there it was. The most perfect, naturalistic styled drawings of dinosaurs, all over a 3 yard chunk of fabric.

IMG_5670Needless to say, I bought it as soon as I could, and squealed with delight when it arrived, throwing it straight into the wash. But then it just sat there. A bit like the Nani Iro fabric, I was too darned scared to cut into it.

Roll around September, and this year’s Sew Brum. I knew I wanted a new dress for the day and I knew I wanted it to be something exciting and special. And just like Jurassic Park, it was time to bring dinosaurs back into existence (although with hopefully fewer negative repercussions and people getting eaten by out of control raptors).

What is it?

A mother bleeping dinosaur dress!

10-img_0762Is it blue?

No, but, frankly, in this case, I don’t care

What’s the fabric and where is it from?

DINOSAUR FABRIC! I found it on Etsy back in April, although the seller at the time doesn’t have any left. It’s 1980s cotton, and if you want to try finding it for yourself, the selvedge says “Hollytex” on it.
15-IMG_5671Not that I’m excited, obviously…

What’s the pattern?

The Mortmain, because I wanted something that I knew I could make without worrying and that wouldn’t disrupt the pattern on the front too much. I put a gathered skirt on it this time, and it’s about time too that this happened, it makes it even swooshier than the box pleats on the standard pattern.

What was good about making this?

Getting to work with dinosaur fabric. Once the dinosaur love is out of the way, I’m really pleased with the pattern matching on this one. The side seams are neat as a button, whilst on the back seam I managed to get the T-rex’s tail to match on either side of zip. Plus, at the waistband, I managed to get the pattern to line across the bodice and the waistband across all three bodice pieces. This felt like a real step forwards in the pattern matching stakes.

I finished the neckline and armholes with satin bias binding, and although I’m still not entirely certain it’s the best finishing method, I’ve definitely got neater (tip: slower is better as far as this is concerned!)

Oh, AND pretending to be various dinosaurs whilst the boy was taking my photo (not seen here: diplodocus. That one is DIFFICULT)

What was bad about making this?

I’m not completely convinced about the zip, but that’s more to do with the actual zip being a bit cheap and being two inches too short as I wanted to get it made and ready for this year’s Sew Brum and I only had one day on which to buy a zip. Whether I can be bothered to go about replacing the zip is a different matter…

Would you make it again?

As far as the Mortmain is concerned, never say never!
x

Good things happen to those who….*

05-img_0720For Christmas this year, amongst the things I bought for the boy was a copy of the Walden shirt pattern Negroni, the thinking being that it could either be something that we made together (if he had any interest in learning to sew) or something that I could make for him as a delayed gratification gift.

Possibly unsurprisingly, he had absolutely no interest in learning to sew, so I made up my mind that I would make him a shirt. We found some fabric he liked, I traced off the pattern and everything was ready.

And then some time passed. And a bit more time. And suddenly it was September, nine months after Christmas, eight months since the fabric arrived, and as part of this year’s #sewphotohop I discovered that the fabric was still sat in my stash box, waiting to be used.

The time for waiting was over.

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Perfecting blue steel….

What is it?

A long sleeved men’s shirt with flat felled seams and a left hand pocket.

Is it blue?

Yes (because he’s a boy after my own heart!)

What’s the fabric and where’s it from?

The fabric is a lovely shirting cotton with tiny purple pansies and blue steering wheels (best description I can think of!) bought from Fabworks Mill.

04-img_0718Super shirt for a super man…

What’s the pattern?

Negroni by Walden, the menswear arm of Colette in version 1 (but with only one pocket).

What was good about making this?

Seeing him wear it. That’s basically the best thing. Once the sappiness is out of the way though, there were a couple of things I enjoyed with this:

  • Pattern matching was an absolute dream, mainly due to the tiny repeat. I’m really pleased with the way that the final shirt has matched up.
  • Although a bit of a nightmare, the self finishing yoke and the placket pieces were really nice visually.
  • I got to use my own labels! These were a birthday present from the boy, so it seemed fitting that the first thing I used them on was something for him.
  • Learning how to do flat felled seams; they’ve got a really neat look to them.
  • The buttonholes came out neat as, well, a button, which is always an added bonus.

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Someone’s been taking hints from my posing…

What was bad about making this?

Apart from the guilt about how long it took to get moving with this, I had a bit of a mare doing the flat felled seams on the armhole and the cuffs did not want to behave, although it was nothing that a bit of rigorous pressing and topstitching couldn’t hide.

Would you make it again?

I would. Maybe not often, but I am pleased with it, and I also see it being quite a useful last minute (ok, last several days) gift in the future!

x

*wait.

One dress to Rue them all

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A while ago, Colette Patterns put a call out for pattern testers. I signed up, assuming that they’d get hundreds of responses and that I didn’t stand a chance. To my surprise, they asked me to take part in testing their newest pattern, the Rue dress.

I was pretty excited if I’m honest, and, when they revealed that it would be released on my birthday I knew what had to be done; it was time to make my birthday dress.

What is it?

A capped sleeved dress, with curved style lines on the bodice and a pleated knee length skirt.

Is it blue?

Yup yup!

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Just out of shot: a champagne saucer filled with prosecco.
Well it was my birthday!

What’s the fabric and where’s it from?

The fabric is an African wax cotton print that I found in the rag market (at the man who sells Liberty’s stall to be precise). The lining material was Monaco anti-static lining from Guthrie and Ghani in a lovely silvery grey.

What’s the pattern?

Why the Colette Rue of course!

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What was good about making this?

Aside from the excitement of getting a sneaky peek at a brand new design, there were a couple of good things about this.

I love the style lines on the bodice and was pleased with the way that I was able to rotate my pieces to make the most of demonstrating this with such a bold print. It felt like it really highlighted the centre point.

I don’t often do full lining, and even when I do a bodice lining I usually use fabrics that are fairly cotton-like (even when they are polyester…). For this dress I used a more traditional shiny lining material and it does give a more professional look to the inside (although that’s not to say I’m a total convert…).

Generally the instructions were really clear, and that made this all the easier; Colette describe the dress as being intermediate level, but it certainly didn’t feel like it!

What was bad about making this?

There was only one bad thing, and that was sewing down the lining on the bodice. My days it was a nightmare.

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Lining nightmare face

The instructions for this step were pretty confusing as I’d not done something like that before, and, although they provided a link to a video that explained the technique, the video showed a sleeveless dress. Which mean it just didn’t work (to my brain at least) when trying to also deal with cap sleeves.

I had three goes at it and not one worked (in fact, one of them ended up sewing the lining to the outside of the dress. I’ve no idea how but it did). The boy had a look and he couldn’t figure it. I ended up saying “sod it” (but in slightly more…fruity… language) and leaving the raw edge sewn but exposed as no-one is going to see up my sleeve anyway!

Would you make it again?

I would. I’d consider not doing a full lining – or indeed any lining – as based on other dresses I’ve made I think this one would get away with it. I’d also like to try a sleeveless variation; I tried this on at the stage where the zipper was in and the sleeves were off and thought “this would work”. The final design idea that I’d like to try would be to add piping to the bodice, something I very nearly did this time but decided against as I thought multi-direction arrows were detail enough!

How about you? Have you had a go at Rue yet? What did you think?

x

Disclaimer: although Colette sent me the pattern for Rue for free, I received no other payment and all the views expressed here are my own. 

The green dress of doom….

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Well it had to happen. Sometimes you have an idea in your head and it’s wonderful and amazing and however hard you try it just doesn’t happen. This is that dress.

The tears.

The anguish.

The general nightmare.

Maybe I’m being over the top. Or maybe I’m not. You decide….

What is it?

A hellish nightmare. Or, if you want to be precise, theoretically a wrap dress with a scooped neck and capped sleeves.

Is it blue?

No.

What’s the fabric and where’s it from?

The most gorgeous, soft green viscose bought from somewhere in the depths of ebay.img_9968

Drowning in viscose. Might have gone mad by this point…

What’s the pattern?

The Colette Crepe wrap dress, something I’ve had my eye on for ages and that I tested out with the fastest wearable toile ever.

What was good about making this?

I liked the colour. And that’s it.

What was bad about making this?

Oh god. Where to begin? There’s a lot of things that were less than fun, so, for ease for everyone I’ll use that old favourite, a bullet point list:

  • Viscose is a lovely fabric. It’s also really slippery making cutting out a pain in the arse.
  • I’d had a few excusable fitting issues with the toile, so figured the best approach would be to take the bodice down a size. It did not help. If anything, the fitting was worse and somehow bigger than the first one? The front had a weird hang, the back, which should be taut against my back was sloppy and loose, and I felt like a sack of potatoes.
  • The facing. Oh god the facing. Flappy and horrible, no amount of anything would make the facing work. Especially not on…
  • The cap sleeves. Which were basically hideous and wrong. I don’t know how they went from “kinda cute” on the toile to “why would you ever do that?” on this version.

img_0565I think my face says it all

Would you make it again?

HELL NO.

I was really gutted with this. It’s something I’d wanted to make for ages, I’d planned to make it for a friend’s wedding, and when it went to pieces, I lost all confidence in it. As much as some people might look at it and think “oh it’s not that bad”, the point was that it felt bad, and I think we can all agree that a fancy dress is not one that you’re meant to feel bad in.

I’ve got some ideas of ways I can salvage it (cut those sleeves off for a start…) which I’d like to do, especially as the fabric is so lovely. But right now, the idea makes me want to cry, so I think I’ll just leave it in my fabric box until I can face it (read: some point in the far future).

THAT SAID: this was, despite the frustration, a good experience as it was a reminder that it doesn’t always go right and that doesn’t matter. I ended up wearing the Nani Iro dress of dreams to the wedding and felt absolutely great in it (and had some lovely compliments to boot). Plus, the next thing I made was about a million times better and made up for all the hurt. Result.

So, was I being over dramatic?

x

 

Spot the new Moneta….

img_0195 How can you not jump for joy in a former Italian abbey?

It’s no secret that I love Moneta, and it’s quickly become a regular sew, especially since I discovered that I can get a dress out of just one metre of fabric with a bit of wiggling. So it was no surprise that when I spotted some polka dot fabric on a trip to the rag market hosted by Rach that I quickly snapped some up ready for a light and breezy summer dress.

What is it?

A sleeveless jersey dress with a fitted bodice and gathered skirt

Is it blue?

Yup yup yup!

What’s the fabric and where’s it from?

A thin lightweight jersey from an outdoor stall at the rag market; it was a bargain too, costing only £1.50!

What’s the pattern?

The Colette Moneta (again!)

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Seriously, the view from this place was amazing!

What was good about making this?

As ever just the speed at which I could get it sewn up was a delight

What was bad about making this?

The fabric was printed ever so slightly squiffy which meant cutting out pieces so that they would line up was a bit of a nightmare. Luckily it’s nothing that couldn’t be sorted with a quick application of some scissors!

Would you make it again?

I wouldn’t say never, although now that we’re moving into autumn I might look to make a few more sleeved versions of the dress. That said, I have a freaking huge list of to-be-mades at the moment so unless it’s a truly truly fabulous print I think it’ll be a while before I make another.

x

A moment to think…

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(This was last autumn but that leaf carpet will be back soon!)

So here we are, September has come around and with it the first bluster of autumn.

I always feel like September heralds a new start (and not just because I’m a September baby), the air rich with the smell of freshly sharpened pencils and new school shoes.

Which is why now feels like a good time to pause, reflect, and think ahead for the coming months.

With that in mind, here’s what you can expect over the next few weeks here on More Blue Fabric:

  • Three new dresses that are already out in the wild
  • One dress that went not quite as planned
  • Some unselfish sewing (I know! Shocker.)
  • My first make for the Simple Sew Blog Team
  • (Hopefully) My first make for the White Tree Fabric Blog team

…And maybe the odd surprise too.

I hope you’ll stick around?

x

The Nani Iro dress of dreams

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(A quick note: As you read this, I’m at one of the weddings I mention below wearing this dress (thank you scheduling!) and in these photos I’m at the other wedding. But that’s not really a story. This is the story….)

So I’ve mentioned before that last summer I was lucky enough to go to Japan, and, as part of that trip, I was allowed one visit to a fabric shop. The prize find of that haul was this piece of Nani Iro fabric, which I hugged almost the entire way around the store, too scared to let it go.

IMG_0607For a very long time I was terrified of even beginning to think about cutting it. Then I found out that I had not one, but two weddings taking place this summer and I knew that this was the perfect opportunity to finally pluck up the nerve.

So, one evening in July, I did a final press, laid out my pattern pieces with extra care and this happened….

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What is it?

A shift dress with a pleated skirt

Is it blue?

The most beautiful sky blue covered in tiny patches of colour, some of which are metallic

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What’s the fabric and where’s it from?

Uber dreamy Nani Iro Birdseye fabric from Tomato in Japan (although you can buy it online if you know where to look)

What’s the pattern?

The Mortmain. Because when making something that has to be exactly right, the obvious answer was to use my most tried and true pattern.

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The dapper couple!

What was good about making this?

Finally cutting in to the fabric. I pattern matched parts (but not all because I was pretty tight on the fabric front…) of the pattern and was really pleased with how neatly they came together. In fact, in general, the whole thing was a very neat sew.

What was bad about making this?

The only issue was that because it’s such fine double gauze, the needle and pins would leave puncture marks in the fabric. Most of them pressed out, but it was a worry.

Would you make it again?

The Mortmain? Probably. Maybe. I might have overdone it. Although I’m not sure…

The double gauze? I have an absolutely teeny amount left, but I’m thinking about whether I can use it for the yoke of a shirt maybe?

At any rate, you know I’ll share here 🙂

x

Blue flowers? Must be acidic soil…

01-IMG_9759Sometimes you just get a bee in your bonnet, or at least you do if you’re as stubborn as me… 

In this case I decided that I wanted to get my wearable toile of the Colette Crepe ready in time to wear on a weekend trip to my parents. Even though I hadn’t cut out all of the pieces on the Friday evening and didn’t finish work and dinner until gone 8…

Yet amazingly, remarkably, I actually managed to do it (and ok, staying up until 1am probably helped).

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What is it?

A wrap dress with a rounded neckline and back wrap

Is it blue?

The flowers are!

What’s the fabric and where’s it from?

The fabric is a cheapy viscose I picked up in Barry’s fabrics purposely for making a toile with.

What’s the pattern?

The Colette Crepe pattern.

08-IMG_9774(Not the best photo but my usual photographer was a bit …delicate)

What was good about making this?

The speed! I admit I cute a couple of corners, but given this was a toile I didn’t mind too much, and the result was a four hour sew.

What was bad about making this?

The viscose was pretty horrendous to work with. At the time of sewing I’d hoped it was because it was cheap (more on that in a future post…).

The fit wasn’t ideal, it feels far too big around the bodice despite being pulled pretty darned tight. However I cut a straight six so figured I could make alterations on the actual version.

Would you make it again?

This was a wearable toile for a version I wanted to wear to a wedding so in theory yes.

But….

….to be continued….

Shh! Secret cats!

IMG_9216This may look like a polka dot dress, but it harbours a secret. A rather feline secret.

And why’s that?

Because some of the polka dots are secretly cats!

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What is it?

A sweetheart neck, princess seam bodice with a gathered skirt

Is it blue?

I think it definitely counts as on the spectrum. Plus a couple of the polka dots (and secret cats) are blue too

What’s the fabric and where’s it from?

The fabric is a lovely cotton called Happy Pop that I bought when we were in Japan last year.

What’s the pattern?

The By Hand London Kim dress

What was good about making this?

Aside from the secret cats? I made a couple of alterations to this after having made the underground dress, and it’s all the better for it. I could probably still take another centimetre off the straps, but otherwise it’s fitting and looking much better.

I also found the fabric was wonderfully easy to pattern match as the different cats made it easy to know where to lay out the pieces.

Honourable mention should go to the insertion of the invisible zip in this dress, which I expected to be a nightmare but which was near perfect (to my standards!) as you can see above.

What was bad about making this?

Pretty much nothing. It worked really well, I think I just want to take that one additional centimetre off…

Would you make it again?

Quite probably, I love the sit of the neckline on this dress and I have some lovely cotton I bought on ebay that is waiting for something like this….

x

Space dress! Again!

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It’s one of life’s great questions: why have one space dress when you can have two?

As a result of internet ordering and some rather economically cutting when I made the first space dress (thank you a pattern that didn’t need matching!) I had quite a bit more fabric left than I expected. Enough, in fact, to make another Mortmain. It would have been rude not to!

What is it?

A shift dress with a pleated skirt. I altered the neckline to make it a sweetheart neckline rather than the standard round neck.

Is it blue?

As blue as space.

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Playing Sound of Music in our local park…

What’s the fabric and where’s it from?

The constellation fabric from Fabworks Mill, as before.

What’s the pattern?

It started out as the trusty Mortmain by Gather Patterns, before I cut and altered the neck to give it a sweetheart.

What was good about making this?

It was good fun to try my hand at some (very light) pattern drafting by altering the neckline. I also discovered a total cheat’s approach for finishing the neckline when you can’t / don’t want to deal with altering a facing piece. I simply overlocked it at 5/8″, turned the overlocked edge to the inside and stitched in place. Piece of cake.

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What was bad about making this?

The nervousness about whether the alteration would work was the main one. That and the fabric creases a bit more than I’d like, so pressing the pleats in place was a bit of a pain.

Would you make it again?

Probably not with the sweetheart (although maybe I will) but I will probably make the Mortmain again, not only because it’s my go to cotton dress, but also because there’s some super special fabric in my stash that, although now used, at this point in time was waiting to be sewn…

x