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Sunday, 18 June 2017

Happy Father's Day - a dad-style retro Hawaiian shirt

With Father's Day coming up, I struggled to think of something to make for Dad. My inspiration came from Gareth when I was sorting through my fabric stash and he saw some of the fabric I bought on my trip to Manila back in January. He commented that it was really retro and would make an awesome shirt. I remembered this and decided to use it to make a Hawaiian style Negroni shirt for him. Dad spends a lot of time on holiday and already has a few Hawaiian shirts that he takes with him, so this seemed like an excellent idea. 

I only just managed to cut the shirt out because the fabric has a border print and I didn't have much. I had to make the inside back yoke in a contrasting fabric. I also cut it out a size larger than I would normally do, as I think that style of shirt should be worn bigger. When I made a Negroni for Gareth earlier in the year, it took ages and I was worried about finishing this on time. However, the short-sleeved version is so much quicker - I hadn't taken into account just how fiddly it is doing the cuffs and openings on the long-sleeved one. This went pretty much without a hitch, or so I thought. When Dad tried it on, he struggled to do up the buttons because I had sewn them on the wrong side  out of habit!  It still looks pretty awesome though - Happy Father's Day Dad, hope you had a great day xxx 


Saturday, 17 June 2017

You shall go to the ball... Burda 6518

I keep thinking back to just over a month ago when I went to the amazing Dressmakers Ball run by Crafty Sew&so in Leicester. I've been meaning to blog about it ever since, but life kept getting in the way!  

As soon as I saw another blogger mention buying tickets to this event, I knew I had to go!  Mum and Liz were both up for it as well so we made plans. Being super organised, Mum made her dress months before the ball - a fabulous 50s style tea dress in Frida Kahlo fabric by Alexander Henry. Liz and I are a bit more last-minute, so both ended up sewing right up to the wire!

I knew I wanted a 70s style maxi dress and searched everywhere for the right pattern, dismissing loads along the way because I was unhappy with the neckline or sleeves. I eventually settled on Burda 6518, which was more contemporary than I had planned. I decided to make the long sleeveless version, and bought metres and metres of fabric from myfabrics to make it - I've never made a dress with so much fabric!  I chose a navy floral georgette for the main fabric with a navy lining.  

The bodice took ages, mainly down to having 3 layers of fabric. I was really pleased with the look of it and my fabric choice. The skirt was straightforward to sew but again it was time-consuming due to the sheer volume of fabric involved. I had a few disasters along the way, including accidentally throwing away my first zip, then taking four attempts to get the second one in only to snip the end off it rendering it unusable. I was millimetres away from throwing the whole thing away at that point! Thankfully, it was third time lucky for zips. 

I only had to make a few adjustments to the shoulder seams before attaching the lining, in order for it to hang right. Following the instructions to the letter, I attached the lining at the neckline but not the armholes, despite this going against my instincts. The pattern calls for arm facings and cuffs, yet the instructions on attaching these left me bamboozled. I tried every possible way I could think of and eventually got them in. However, the seam allowances meant that the armholes cut away far too much and I felt uncomfortable with the look of the bodice. I decided on a last minute change to add in the cap sleeves from the short version. This solved the problem and also gave the dress a bit more of the vintage look I was after. 

With two days to spare I finished. Liz finished hers the night before - a ruby dress in beautiful navy fabric from Guthrie and Ghani. We all had a fabulous time at the ball, with the best part being able to talk non-stop about sewing all night without anyone getting bored!  Can't wait for next year's ball - I'm thinking about what I will make already. 

Here is my finished dress:

And here is a pic of the three of us:


Tuesday, 6 June 2017

Holiday Maxi - Butterick B6051

I have been incredibly lax at blogging recently. This has been down to starting a new job, birthdays, weekends away and a holiday. I've actually sewn tons of stuff since I last blogged, just not got round to writing about it. I will catch up soon, including the fab dressmakers ball and a number of dresses for work. In the meantime, I wanted to write a quick post about my latest make, a maxi dress for my holiday. 

I bought some fabulous hot pink and black chevron jersey from Girl Charlee when they had a flash chevron sale. I knew it would be perfect for a maxi dress, even though I didn't have a pattern at the time, so I got 3m to ensure I would have enough. I have been searching on and off for a jersey maxi dress pattern for ages as two of my favourite pre-sewing Summer dresses were knit maxis. I spotted Butterick B6051 in a pic in my Instagram feed, as part of a photo of loads of different patterns then searched for it and found I could make it with jersey so ordered the pattern. 

As with all best-laid sewing plans, I totally ran out of time to make this before my holiday and had decided to make it for when I got back instead. However, I had a last minute change of heart and decided that I NEEDED this dress to take to Tenerife and started making it the evening before I went away. As usual, if there is a way to make my life more difficult, I can be guaranteed to take it. 

This was a relatively quick and easy sew, but the sheer volume of fabric involved meant that cutting out took ages. The bodice had a turned under neck seam and I ended up stitching this with my normal machine rather than my coverstitch because I was making it in such a rush and the coverstitch machine was away in the cupboard!  I would have got a more professional finish using the other machine, but needs must. The elastic either side of the waistband ended up adding a bit of bulk with the seam allowance, something I would definitely try to remedy if I make this again. 

In retrospect, the fabric is probably a bit too fine for the pattern and it would work better in a thicker knit or even in a fine woven (although that wouldn't have the benefit of being crease-free in a suitcase). The weight of the fabric in the skirt does make it feel as though the bodice if being pulled down, although I don't think this is all that noticeable when wearing it. I'm still in love with this fabric, and pleased I saved it for a maxi. 

I didn't get too many pics, but here I am ready to go out for tapas: