Sunday, 24 May 2015

Cross-stitch Rose Belladone Dress


Morning friends, how are you? I'm going to a wedding today wearing this very dress, which I was inspired to make when Sara asked me to join her Dress Up Party! It didn't take me long to settle on Deer and Doe's Belladone Dress, because I'm a sucker for back detail and minimalist skirts that can still accommodate my junk. Truth be told, I can't believe I waited this long to whip up a Belladone...I'm delighted with the result!  



The gorgeous stretch cotton was an impulse buy from Barry's in Birmingham when I was out with stitching friends. I cut out a 36 across the neckline, armholes and back, grading to a 38 everywhere else. I always find it a bit tricky to choose a size when finished measurements aren't provided, but my choice worked out well for me, though I suspect I may have needed to grade up for a fabric with less stretch.



Predictably, my favourite part of this dress is the lovely crossover back detail. The edges are finished with bias binding, as are the neckline and armholes, lending this pattern to a whole load of fun with contrasting binding. There are so many fun Belladones out there, but I wanted to keep my version streamlined so I turned my bias binding under and topstitched.


The other thing I love about this pattern is the pleated skirt front. The two big pleats add enough volume to the A-line skirt, without adding unnecessary bulk to the waistline. For extra brownie points, there's pockets too!



Unusually, Belladone comes with a hem facing reminiscent of vintage patterns and rarely seen in contemporary patterns. The finish is fantastic, especially if you hand-pick the raw edge of the facing to the skirt, which I happily took the time to do. Given this luxurious detail, I found it slightly disappointing that the pattern doesn't come with some kind of waistline facing for a tidier finish inside. I know it's simple enough to draft your own, but that's not really the point.


I really, really wanted to add a skirt lining for layering up with tights in colder weather, but I made a silly mistake that I didn't have enough time or fabric to rectify. If you want to successfully add in a lining, then remember that the skirt front piece is shaped around the pocket facing. So you'll need to overlap the two pieces and trace in the full skirt front shape.


Overall, I give the Belladone Dress a HUGE thumbs up! It's pretty and versatile, coming together easily thanks to a clear set of instructions and diagrams. I can't wait to make it again and again, and to try give the other Deer and Doe patterns in my stash a go!

Friday, 22 May 2015

Fabric Friday #2: Pindot Windmills


TGIF, right? Not just because the weekend is fast approaching of course, but because it's #FabricFriday! Hehe! Thank you for your enthusiasm when I 'launched' this regular feature last week, especially all your fab pattern suggestions...we're totally on the same wavelength!




Today, I'm sharing another vintage corker that's been in my stash for around 3.5 years. The pindot windmills and vibrant shades of red and green make me so happy! I really, really love this fabric, but the print is pretty big and I usually shy away from lighter coloured backgrounds.

I'm at a bit of a loss as to what to make with this medium-weight cotton, but I think it should be a dress as I have 3.4m and it's 90cm wide. Perhaps a simple dress that won't break up the print? I'd love to hear your ideas!

Tuesday, 19 May 2015

Match Up Your Waistline Either Side Of A Zip


I have a chequered past with zips. I don't attempt regular zips and I used to mess up invisible ones every single time...until I recently realised I was using the wrong foot for my machine. Once I rectified that, invisible zips became a pleasant revelation, so fast and easy to insert. 

Despite this, I never quite mastered matching up my waistline, leaving my inner perfectionist most displeased! Until I came across this post from By Hand London, that is. The girls share an impossibly simple tip for a perfectly aligned waistline, that I seriously kicked myself for not thinking about it before!

Once you sew the first side of your zip on, zip it up and stick a pin(s) on the un-stitched side of the zip tape to mark the waistline (see my image above of BHL's post). When pinning the second side on to sew, start with the pin(s) you used to mark the waistline. As you can see below, the result is pure perfection!


Have you discovered any ridiculously simple, yet life-changing stitching tricks lately? What about any handy tips for sewing zips? I'd love to hear them!

Sunday, 17 May 2015

1920s Kimono Robe for #vintagepledge


Glamorous 1920s robe or Joseph's Amazing Technicolour Dreamcoat? I thought I was making the former, but the boyfriend assures me it looks more like the latter. Either way though, I'm pretty smitten with my second Vintage Sewing Pattern Pledge make. Despite the fabric being a £1 p/m polyester from the Birmingham Rag Market (which Amy, Helen and Roisin splurged on too), I find the print and feel of it so luxurious! With only just 2 metres to play around with, I wanted a pattern that would show off the unusual border print, so enter this 1920s robe pattern from Mrs Depew Vintage.




The neck and sleeve bands show off the border print brilliantly, whilst the unbroken shape of the robe is the perfect canvas for the delightful floral print. I love the colours so much!



I treated my £1 p/m polyester like the most exquisite silk, French seaming everything and hand stitching the raw edges of the neck and sleeve bands, as well as the hem. This was no mean feat, as polyester is so tricky to press! But Amy's wise words to press polyester long and hard on a cool setting got me through. 


Pattern wise I sewed up the shorter length in a medium and the size is spot on. The only changes I made were minor. I took a little length off the sleeves and I had to half the width of the belt. I was looking forward to the wider, more authentic-looking belt, but the medium size barely wrapped around me, let alone tied up. Due to my limited fabric length, I joined the top and bottom of the belt to make one longer piece and folded into half before stitching. Let me tell you, turning out such a long and skinny belt was a nightmare! 



I think it's because I've never owned a floaty robe before, but I really love this 1920s number with it's super roomy sleeves! It makes me feel so feminine and I daydream of donning it to do my hair and make-up for a glamorous night out, or to simply saunter around the house in. The boyfriend helpfully pointed out that being polyester, it will probably make my sweat. Probably true, but meh!

What are your thoughts on my robe? 

Don't forget to check out the #vintagepledge Pinterest board to see what delightful projects people are contributing!

Friday, 15 May 2015

Fabric Friday #1: 1950s floral


Ironically, the day after Kerry shared her thoughts on fabric, ethics and consumption, I decide to launch my first ever weekly feature: Fabric Friday! Not hugely original I know, but everyone loves alliteration, right?

Kerry's post is very thought-provoking and it definitely brought to the forefront my feelings of guilt regarding the size of my stash. My initial excitement about discovering a new hobby led to copious amounts of impulse buying and needless 'social shopping' when in the company of fellow stitchers. Both enjoyable, but unnecessary. Thankfully I've slowed down a lot lately, but the proverbial 'damage' has been done resulting in a sewing room that better resembles a hoarder's room. I can't bring myself to share photos, but maybe an overdue tidy-up will inspire me to do so soon.

I'm not bragging about my stash, if anything I'm pretty ashamed of it. However, I'm excited about my Fabric Friday feature for two reasons:
  1. Selfless reason: I promise that Fabric Friday will provide you with weekly eye candy!
  2. Selfish reason: The process of browsing and photographing my stash will re-acquaint me with what I have and get me excited again about forgotten treasures. What doesn't excite me anymore will be gifted or sold, thus helping me to de-stash. I'm also really looking forward to your thoughts on and vision for my fabrics, as more often than not, I have no firm plans for them.



If you made it through that preamble, today's treasure is an unusual 1950s floral print with a lovely drape. I think its synthetic (must look up and try out the burn test) and it cost me £10 for 1.5m (length) x 90cm (wide). The beautiful colours and size of the print, combined with the limited amount, are screaming out a 1940s blouse to me.

What would you make with this beauty? Got any suggestions for me?

Tuesday, 12 May 2015

WeaverDee.com: New Online Sewing & Crafting Super Store


Hello friends, how are you? The eagle-eyed among you will have clocked the new sponsor in my sidebar, WeaverDee.com! The brand-new sewing and crafting super store launched yesterday with a bit of a bang online, offering generous introductory discounts on patterns, supplies and sewing machines, as well as free UK delivery until 18 May. You can also enter their prize draw by 31 May for a chance to win a Bernina 330 or runner-up vouchers!

Not yet a one-stop shop for fabric, what WeaverDee.com does boast is an extensive selection of sewing machines (overlockers and embroidery machines too) and accessories, all manner of tools, and supplies for making the likes of lingeriebags and so much more.

Do you like what you see? If so, make sure you stay up to date with WeaverDee.com news and offers on Twitter and Facebook!

Sunday, 10 May 2015

1950s Inspiration - #vintagepledge


You guys! Thanks so much for all your comments and advice on rotary cutters...you've given me lots of food for thought! In return, here's the next instalment of pattern inspiration for the Vintage Sewing Pattern Pledge...the 1950s!

Following the end of World War II, the 1950s kicked off with a feeling of optimism and euphoria, which was also reflected in the fashion industry. After years of hardship, drudgery and utilitarian work garments, women were ready to dress up in luxurious and feminine clothes again. Since the launch of Dior’s New Look in 1947, his designs dominated the 50s, oozing confidence and prosperity. But times had changed and not everyone was thrilled. The war had also been a time of liberation and equality for many young women, who were freed from domesticity and worked as land girls, driving ambulances or in munitions factories. The idea of fashion reverting to a romantic and restrictive notion of femininity was something many were not prepared for.


The 1950s are marked by two contrasting silhouettes - despite a number of alternative shapes flourishing briefly before disappearing - the great full skirt and the slim pencil skirt. This is also evidenced in the sewing patterns of the time, which usually offered two skirt variations per design. The quintessential silhouette pioneered by Dior was all about the waspish waist and full skirts were worn with crinolines/petticoats for an exaggerated shape. 


Other iconic designs included oversized detailing, the full swing coat, twinsets, fitted jackets with peplums and slim pencil skirt suits.


Shirtdresses, or shirtwaist dresses, were also made fashionable by Dior's New Look couture designs in the 1950s. They often featured a notched collar, and elbow-length sleeves with cuffs. Less formal versions of the shirtdress, made of cotton, became a staple part of many women's wardrobes during the 1950s.


In fact, other designers were embracing a more relaxed attitude to cater for emerging lifestyle changes requiring less formal clothing and freedom of movement.


Personally, I have a bit of a thing for 1950s blouse patterns! I find them so elegant and I adore the interesting details like pintucks, scalloped yokes, collars and the like. What's your favourite element of 1950s patterns?

Don't forget to check out the #vintagepledge Pinterest board to have your mind blown!