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Wednesday, 30 November 2016

Out to lunch with the Pussy Bow Blouse

This is my last week at work, I will be leaving on Friday (after 9 years) to start a new job next week. Between all the mixed emotions and handovers, I have been focusing on sewing in the evenings.  I've been stitching a new work wardrobe for starting my new job, more of that to follow. For now, I want to focus on my last week here, and a lunch date with my fantastic colleagues (and friends) to say goodbye. 

I bought the Pussy Bow Blouse pattern and some lightweight crepe to make it in from the Sew Over It stand at the Handmade Fair (yes, still working my way through that stash!). I had originally planned it as a smart work blouse to wear with a pencil skirt. However, my new job is casual dress, so I'll be wearing it with jeans instead!  It's a pretty versatile pattern which can be dressed up or down. 

The Blouse is relatively simple to construct. I chose to make version 1, with a high bow. The fabric was quite slippery, which made it harder to work with, but feels like the right fabric for this type of blouse. The hardest part of the whole project was the rouleau loops for the button fastenings at the cuffs. I truly hate turning out rouleau loops, so invested in a tool to do it. It was still almost impossible and so frustrating! Then, after I finally managed it, I sewed them too close to the cuff and didn't leave enough loop to go round the button. In the end, I stitched the loop to the edge of the other cuff to give the impression on a button fastening instead. 

The Blouse is a lovely fit, and a nice way to dress up jeans. Now, off to my lunch (and I'll try to hold back the tears!) x


Tuesday, 22 November 2016

Back in action with the Cleo Dress

If you follow me on Instagram (@adventuresinfabric), you will have seen that I have been out of action for a while following surgery on my right hand. While it was nice to binge watch 'The Crown' (OMG the outfits!!), I was dying to get stitching again. I'm pleased to say that my recovery was quick and I was able to start sewing again after less than a week. 

First on my list was the latest pattern from Tilly and the Buttons - the Cleo Dress. I had been really excited about this pattern from the teasers I had seen, but was less enamoured when I saw the full pics the pattern was released with. It was only when I saw other bloggers sharing photos of their versions that I decided to buy the pattern. I think it was the pink version that put me off, which was silly of me as I should be able to see beyond fabric choice to the pattern itself!

Although I have a mountain of a fabric stash, there was nothing there that I felt was right for this project. The style of the dress lends itself to corduroy and I found some olive green corduroy on My Fabrics for £2.80 a metre - bargain! I bought the dungaree clips from Tilly at the same time as buying the pattern. 

There aren't many pattern pieces to this dress, so it's relatively quick to make. The centre seams use the mock-felled seam method (also used on the Rosa shirt by Tilly, not yet blogged), which gives a really nice finish. The main challenge with this project is the sheer amount of topstitching. I was pretty nervous that any uneven or wobbly lines would show up, but I actually enjoyed doing it, and am beyond chuffed with my neat lines of stitching, shown here on the front pocket:


I ended up making the shoulder straps too short at first and the dress was ridiculously short, so I adjusted these and am really pleased with the final result:

Here is the back view:


I know I will get loads of wear out of this dress. I'm planning a red corduroy version next (might be because Polly has one similar....)

Sunday, 6 November 2016

Wedding guest outfit - the Loretta dress

When a wedding invite landed on our doormat a while ago, (unsurprisingly) my first thoughts were of what I could make to wear. The Loretta jewel neckline dress came with issue 20 of Love Sewing magazine last November. I loved the pattern, but I had already planned my Christmas party dress at that point. I've been waiting for an occasion to make it for ever since. 

I decided on the pattern before my trip to the handmade fair and was on the lookout for fabric. I struggled to find something until just before we were due to go home and I found the perfect fabric at the Eternal Maker stall. It is a very thick black cotton with amazing gold design. From a distance it has the look of a traditional brocade style, but close up you can see skulls, rhinos, insects and other creatures in the intricate gold pattern. The thickness of the fabric is perfect for this dress as it needs something with a good structure. 

I cut out the size 10 and decided to decrease the size of the darts and also reduce the seam allowance at the waist to accommodate my tum. I went for the version with 3/4 length sleeves so I didn't have to wear a jacket as well. The pattern only gives sizing measurements, not the finished garment measurements. I should have measured the pattern but I went ahead and made the adjustments based on my experience of other patterns. It was far too big, especially over the hips. I ended up taking it in by at least 4cm on each side over the hips, re-stitching the darts as originally intended, increasing the seam allowance to about 2.5cm for most the the bodice and skirt and taking it up quite a bit at the shoulders so it wasn't too low-cut. I made more alterations to this to get a good fit than I have had to make on any other project. 

The fabric really makes this project and I was delighted to get a few compliments when I wore it:


Here is another pic

What a fabulous wedding it was! Congratulations Harry and Emma and thank you for inviting us to be part of your special day x