Speedy spooky sewing

1-green dress 1Ok, so I’ll be honest, I don’t really know what counts as spooky sewing, however this definitely counts as speedy sewing; in under three hours this morning/afternoon I managed to sew up a whole dress!

What is it?

A green shift dress that forms the basis for my Halloween costume next week; I’m going to go as Poison Ivy although I’m going for more of a 50s theme Ivy and a bit less flesh-revealing than the traditional comic book character…. I’ll be cutting a load of ivy down from out garden to wrap around myself and into my hair and making my eyes all green and sparkly to complete the look.

Is it blue?

Nope, green. How many ivy plants have you seen that are blue?

What’s the fabric?

Really nasty cheap polycotton that I bought for a previous costume

What’s the pattern?

The pattern is one I drafted myself in a copy-your-clothes class. The original dress is one of my favourite ever RTW items. What you can’t see in this photo (not least because I haven’t sewn them on yet…) is that there’s a false opening on the back held together by buttons. The only difference I made was to the skirt which is a bit tighter than the original, not least due to the limited amount of fabric I had!

Where’s the fabric from?

I think it was from Fancy Silk?

What was good about making this?

I was really pleased with a couple of things with this. The first was how quickly it came together. I didn’t have any bias binding but managed to figure out a bodge for hemming the neckline which I was chuffed with.

green dress 2Basically, I sewed baste stitches at the 5/8  seam, then used these to help me turn the hem, cutting notches as necessary on any curved lines. I then pressed it all and resewed at 3/8. I was also pleased with the gathers connecting the skirt to the bodice, especially as the back pieces don’t connect so I had to make sure they lined up as neatly as possible without actually joining them (that doesn’t make sense but would if you saw the back)

What was bad about making this?

Despite being a copy of a dress I already have, I don’t like the way the armholes sit when the dress is on, nor do I like where the bust darts are. It also seems tighter than expected, which is a bit of a worry.

Ultimately, although it’s a bit rough around the edges, I’m pleased with the speed that this came together. Besides which, once I’ve dressed it up with ivy and the like (and I’ll share pictures next week after the party) all the bodges and rough bits will be hidden and no-one will know!

How about you? Are you making a costume for the spookiest night of the year (possibly)?

Plotting and planning

This weekend has been one of plotting and planning for my next couple of projects. So, in a cryptic, not so cryptic way, here’s what I’ve been up to…

1) Green thread

3-threadMANY moons ago I measured up my sofa to make a new sofa cover and bought a load of fabric to make the sofa cover. This is what I looked like when I’d just bought all the fabric. To give you an idea of how long ago it was, this wasn’t taken in our old flat, it was taken in my old flat (i.e. over two years ago….).
sofa whoopsAnd since then it’s just sat in a bag. However, yesterday I finally bought some thread that matches the fabric. So maybe, just maybe there’ll be a sofa cover somewhere in the future

2) Orla

1-orlaI fell in love with Orla pretty much as soon as Tilly published it, and I’m pretty convinced it’s going to be perfect for some gorgeous Nani Iro double guaze I picked up in Japan over the summer. In a strange move for me, I’m going to make a muslin this time around.as I’m terrified about cutting into the fabric and want to make sure I have it absolutely right before I make the first scary cut.

3) Super secret secretness

blurryI had a planning brunch about this today. All I can say about this is it’s very secret, I’m excited about making it, and think it will be pretty darned amazing if I manage to pull it off!

4) Toiletry bags

2-filled toiletry bagsSo these are a bit different. A local group has been collecting a whole heap of items to send to those needing aid in Calais, Kos, Lesbos and Syria. Rather than just send the toiletries in huge boxes, they decided to make them into individual packs, each in a reusable drawstring bag containing a message of hope and peace. I volunteered to help make some of the bags, so this afternoon went along to take those I’d made so far and sew up another batch of 14 over the course of a couple of hours. Whilst we were sewing, other people were filling those bags already made and it was amazing at the end of the session to see just how generous people had been with their time and their resources (253 are being sent off this week!).

If you’re in the Birmingham area and would like to help, this is the group I’m helping with: https://www.facebook.com/groups/Kingsheathcollects/
Rosie (who is co-ordinating the work) may be able to help you find a collection nearer to you if you aren’t able to make it to the Kings Heath area

If you’re in the wider world and would like to help, I’d recommend using facebook as a way to find a grassroots collection near you, or alternatively take a look at the website of any of the many charities and organisations working in these areas, including the UN Refugee Agency, Save the Children and Oxfam

Operation Leopard Print

OperationleopardprintIt’s finished! Or rather, it’s not finished if you read the pattern, but it is if you want to wear it out to dinner on a Saturday night….

Theoretically I should still be adding double breasted buttons on to the cape, but I’m not sure whether I actually want to have buttons on it. They seemed like a really good idea at the time, but now that I’ve discovered the buttons I’ve bought are too big for my one-step buttonholer I’m not so sure (surprise surprise….), especially when I realised I could use a fab brooch instead. I might change my mind and go back to it, but for now I’m going to revel in it in all it’s swooshiness*. That and figure out what to do with half a metre of leopard print fur. Maybe trim a wiggle dress for the ultimate fifties look?

What is it?

A LEOPARD PRINT CAPE! Boom! Operation Leopard Print is a success!

Is it blue?

No. It’s leopard print fur. Just too awesome.

What’s the fabric?

Leopard print faux fur.

What’s the pattern?

Papercut Pattern’s Milano Cape

Where’s the fabric from?

Barry’s Fabrics in Birmingham

What was good about making this?

Aside from getting to swoosh about and wear leopard print, the cape itself came together really quickly. I also got to learn to make welt pockets which was a bit of an experience and one I’m pretty proud of.

What was bad about making this?

Well there were a couple of things, but the biggest issue was the neckline. I have no idea if I cut the cape pieces too big or misread the seam allowance or what but it ended up being about two inches shorter than the facing and the collar. I managed to bodge it a bit, and thankfully, because it’s a shiny material and is meant to hang you can’t see unless you look closely but that wasn’t great. I even went so far as to get the collar paper piece back out again because I was convinced I must have cut the wrong size. It was also pretty dull to sew together as whilst it was fast it was a lot of long straight lines and the fabric got pretty heavy once it was all connected.

Would you make it again?

Hmm. See, I bought the leopard print to test this out before buying some ludicrously expensive coating material. Except, actually, now I’m not so sure I want one that’s made from coat material. I fancy making one in some sheer guazey fabric for the next time I go to a wedding or posh do (which is not that often if I’m honest) as an alternative to the obligatory pashmina, and I think I’ll probably make one in sequin fabric for next year’s festival season. But a cape in coat material? That will almost certainly be a block colour? Probably navy? It just doesn’t seem fun enough for this pattern. We shall see.

*Speaking of swooshiness, of course I had to test out how swooshy it was as soon as the cape pieces were together. And then I had to make a gif of it. Because gifs.

This way madness lies….

So a while ago I was in Guthrie and Ghani and spotted something that caught my eye. It was a new indie pattern designer I’d not come across before and there was a host of interesting designs.

There was however one pattern above the others that stood out to me. It wasn’t the most practical of items, but, none the less, it was intriguing.

I ummed and ahhhed about it for the best part of a month; would I be able to make it? Could I justify buying nearly 4m of fabric for something I might not wear? Especially as I’d need particularly expensive fabric.

Then, one evening, the boy asked a seemingly innocuous question that got my brain whirring.

And so, this weekend, I’ve begun on what can only be a foolish road. I’m code naming it “operation leopard print cape” because, well, I’ve decided to make Papercut Pattern’s Milano cape using fake leopard print fur.

Wish me luck, I’m going to need it….
fabric and pattern