Monday, 25 April 2011

Crepe muslining

More muslining !!

I just cut out the fabric for my muslin with my altered pattern. I didn't bother stay stitching as I wanted to try for fit. Plus I didn't want to get the sewing machine on the go when its near to midnight and so I hand basted the pieces together. To be honest, doing it this way was quicker than I thought ! The front looks pretty good, and I am pleased with my adjustments. But the back ! Oh my word the back ! Its absolutely MASSIVE !! Even with all my adjustments. Hmmmm back to the drawing board.....

So I looked in the bible (Fit for real people) and I think I will cut out a smaller pattern so that the back fits and then do a full bust adjustment (FBA) if I need too. So I am going to trace the pattern for a smaller fit, before I cut it out.  I will be adding 2 inches (maybe 3) to the tracing of the pattern before I even cut the fabric as I will need the length.  Ill see how it goes with this one. I think for tonight though I should quit while I am ahead so that I don't give up on this project through sheer frustration !

I'm guessing that this is all part and parcel of learning to make my own clothes. It will take me a while to get used to the sizing of patterns and adjustments that need making.

Ill have another go tomorrow and Ill take some pictures for you.

Off to bed now, cos right now I am sooo over this first stage of dressmaking !!

Good night all

K xxx

Sunday, 24 April 2011

Crepe muslining


I am debating to make my 3rd muslin for the crepe and I must admit that after this one, I am going to make the decision as to whether I should actually cut a smaller size. I have made sooo many changes its not funny. I am conscious of the fact that what I do to the back must be done to the front, and as I have changed the back due to it being too big, I am wondering if the skirt part will now be affected. I guess as this is my first attempt at proper dressmaking I must just 'suck it and see'.

Here are a few pix to show you what I have done. I will admit at this point that I have absolutely NO IDEA as to what I am doing and as such I am just going to go with it and see what it looks like.

You will need to click onto the pictures to make them a little clearer !

So I have made the following changes to my traced pattern. I am finding that due to the curved lines, and wraped back  of this pattern make it pretty hard to make all the changes (in my own view of course).

After adding 2 inches to the bodice length I tried to fix the gaping neckline by adding some tissue there and grading up. You can see that in the below picture. (Sorry my photo presenting skills are not that great with fancy arrows and stuff, but as I am new to this I am not sure how to do all that yet). I then made sure that the back bodice shoulder had some tissue added to make sure that they were still the same width for sewing.

As you can see, I have had alot of 'fun' with the back bodice pieces - believe me its been a mare. As the back sagged so madly, as if I have a narrow back (as I think I cut too large a size) I took a tuck out. Now I am worried that the will be no recognisable wrap effect. But I think if I use this altered tissue to make a new muslin, even if it does not fit I have learnt valuable lessons in relation to changing a pattern tissue. I guess all practice is good practice, right ? And it cant be harming my sewing skills either.

I lowered the bust dart as my apex is lower than the pattern, and I also reduced the waist dart - I shortened both darts by around 1 inch. I'm hoping the fit on this version will be better.

As the centre of the shoulder seam needed to come forward due to my forward sloping shoulders I added 1 cm to the back bodice should and have marked 1cm  on the pattern to reduce the front piece by the same amount. I used a French curve to follow the curvature of the shoulder, and I dont think I have done a bad job.
See, all practice is good practice !

This is the back bodice - with an additional 1 cm added to the shoulder. Check out the line of the wrap - see how many changes I have made ? Wowee - its certainly been a lesson.

I am finding it hard to tissue fit and prefer making a muslin for this project. i hope with more simple patterns I will be able to tissue fit. I really wish I had a dressmaking form as I struggle to pin and fit by myself. Not sure if thats common or just comes with practice ?

So, I am now going to go and cut the fabric to make the 3rd muslin. One thing I am worried about is the fact that I am going to need alot more fashion fabric then I originally thought, and as such I may need to buy some more online - but will it be from the same bolt and exactly match ? Hmmmm probably not eh ?

I shall let you know how I get on ! Wish me luck (I need plenty of it !!)

K xxx

Happy Easter !!


WOW ! Another glorious day - I feel spoilt by the weather of late, its going to be hard when the usual bad weather returns.  :-(

My brother has a country retreat (caravan!) near Bude, Cornwall, and as he was there this weekend with his family, I went to visit both yesterday and today as Mr P and I only live up the road, and Mr P has had to work all weekend. It is mad how fast time flies by as we worked out its over a year since we last saw each other. Terrible, eh, especially as we don't live so far from one another.

It was nice to catch up with them all, and I cant believe how much my young nephews have grown ! I think the weather is having the same effect on their growth as it is having on my garden !  :-))

I took a picture of their mobile home, and mine, for comparison.


Oh how I love camping ! Although more 'glamping' I'd say with theirs !

Mr P and me ordered the mini orchard today and so we can hopefully look forward to enjoying some of these,
and these,

My word, I will feel very lucky indeed if my trees produce any fruits at all, let alone the bountiful crop that has been promised !

I don't think my trees are going to come for a few weeks, but I am keeping my fingers crossed for speedy delivery as I cant wait to get planting and enjoying the fruits of my labours ! (terrible pun, but couldn't resist !). We also ordered a hanging basket cherry tomato, which I am very excited about. Dont tell Mr P, but I made an additional order of a couple of gardenia's. I couldn't resist ! And he will also benefit from the beautiful fragrance they give, non ? Making them a worthy purchase of anyone's money !

So, as I have been busy in the sun this last couple of days, I fully intend to make muslin number 2 tonight from my adjusted pattern tracing. I will post some pics later (but I dont think they came out that well cos of all the adjustments.).

Still very much looking forward to the arrival of my moon chair. Hopefully just in time for a spot of camping for this coming up 4 day bank holiday !

Well, Mr P and I are off for a walk. I hope all of you are enjoying your Easter holidays !!

K xxx

Friday, 22 April 2011

4 day weekend !


4 day weekend eh ? What a treat !! I hope you are all able to enjoy at least some of it !

This last week I have struggled to write a post especially as I feel almost guilty posting without the visual impact of pictures to go alongside ! I feel that in order to capture imagination and keep interest, a page of narrative should be broken up somewhat. Its not that I didn't try to take any pictures, in fact I have had my little camera in my bag all week. I just have not felt inspired. Its been an odd week to be fair, with both highs and lows.

Mr P and I went for a surf last Sunday, which was lovely. And I got an excellent result in my Open University assignment (very proud!)  But I was also told about an old friend who died. And I felt lonely in terms of living so far away from friends and family, I think the sunshine always makes me miss them all more !

The weather has been lush (its not so nice today though - boo !), and Mr P and I did a spot of gardening, and I have planted a herb tub (the herbs were bought in a supermarket and are pretty wilted, but I hope with love and care they will revive). I have visions of being able to grow my own veg in pots, but I am not sure that Mr P is quite with me on that one yet! I can only really plant in pots as we don't really have anywhere to plant in the ground, and I have always been a fan of pots, ever since my first 'own' garden, which was a balcony absolutely rammer jammer with delights !

I rather fancy one of these mini orchards - I will purchase when I get paid !

I can see myself making plum jam, eating crisp apples, making poached pears, and trying to keep the birds away from my cherry tree !

I would love to be able to eat food I have grown and tended myself, no air miles so good for the environment, its also much cheaper than buying at the shops.

I treated myself to a moon chair for the garden, but it has yet to arrive.

 I can already envisage myself sat in it on sunny afternoons.

photo source
Well, the sun finally appears to be making an appearance and as such I will retire to the garden (sans moon chair for now). Happy days.

K xxx

Thursday, 14 April 2011


Hello lovely people,

I worked on my muslin for the crepe last night. It was a nightmare. I cant talk about it right now, I'm over it. (until Saturday anyway !)
So, I decided to show you something pretty instead.

This was the first (and so far only) item of clothing that I ever made. I made it from a 'printed on fabric' pattern from clothkits. Really very good for your first ever attempt at making a dress. Check them out here...

I made the dress for my best friends daughter. I didn't have a child to measure, nor any idea of how big a 3 year old is in terms of sizing, as such its a little big on her. But she looks a doll ! I must say that a child's dress is certainly much easier to make than the crepe dress I am making now ! No alterations and mainly straight  sewing ! Here are some pictures of the finished article.

 This was the finished dress, not perfect, but I was pretty pleased for it to be my first proper 'make'.  :-))

The button holes I did by sewing machine. I think I can also sew the buttons on with my machine, but I am not really sure how ? The holes were not spaced perfectly. I had marked them out, but I should have done a few more practice runs first !

Oh how I love the lining !! Its a liberty fabric and goes perfectly with the dress, I thought. I love the way the lining looks in the dress, and around the seams. Makes it look so neat !

The buttons, hand sewn. My first ever attempt, but quite happy with them.

Only half lined, and again, not a perfect job, in either stitching or matching up the lengths of the lining. Oh well, lessons learned for next time. (and I still love it, even with all of its flaws !)

Overall I was very happy with this dress, and sad to see it go ! To be perfectly honest, if it would have fitted me I would have kept it ! How selfish ! I hung it on a coat hanger in Mr P's and my bedroom so I could look at it, and feel it, and look at it, for DAYS. Eventually I had to give her up, and presented her to a very happy little girl. :-) A gift made with love. Who doesn't want one of those ?

Well, that's me for today. I will get some photos up at the weekend. If anyone has any suggestions as to how to alter a pattern for a baggy back, (massively baggy around the shoulder blades !) I would love to hear them !!

Good night all, sleep sweet.


Wednesday, 13 April 2011

Hump day !


So its hump day today ! Yippeeee  we are halfway to the weekend now. I hope your week so far is going well.

I am back from work early as every 4th Wednesday I sit on the local county court desk helping people defend mortgaged and rented properties from repossession. This morning I stopped a pensioners home from being repossessed, and I must admit that makes me feel great. Although I am always very scared when I have about 10 minutes to meet a client, agree a strategy, and then talk in front of the judge, I get such a good feeling when its done, it really does make me feel that what I do can make a difference (and therefore worthy of a very heavily iced Belgian bun on the way home).

As I am all geared up and feeling positive, I am going to make the most of this unexpected bonus of free time by working on my muslin for the crepe dress. Hopefully I will be able to post some pictures of my efforts later this afternoon.

After I finished in the courts, I went to a local fabric store to look for inspiration for coordinating sash fabric for my crepe dress. I was thinking of a pink or mustard fabric to go with my slate grey crepe dress fabric. Alas ! I didn't take a swatch of my fashion fabric and looked around aimlessly, wishing that I had. So I ended up leaving empty handed, knowing as soon as I got home I was going to cut a swatch of my fabric to pop in my purse so that an opportunity such as this could not be missed again. I should explain at this point that my local fabric store is 20 miles away, and I only really get to go to the town that it is in once a month. Boo ! 

And so to work !

k xxx

Tuesday, 12 April 2011

Book club

Hola beautiful people !

And its yet ANOTHER super gorgeous sunny day here in Devon. Its such a shock as it usually just chucks down here (didn't you ever wonder why Devon was so green and lush ?)

So, I am going to share a  booky wook with you all. Its my bible. I read great things about it, and then thought I need to get me a copy of that.

So I did, on Amazon, second hand for like a fiver. Best fiver I ever spent.

Here is a link - just in case you needed it !

Link to amazon UK.

I pretty much devoured the book in one sitting.

The book is called "Fit for real people".

So, the clothes are not to my own taste, but the technical know how ! WOW !  I must say I can't big this book up enough ! Readers (none as yet I know, but still) if you were ever thinking about getting this book. DO IT. You wont regret a thing, I promise !!

Ciao ciao

k xxx

Monday, 11 April 2011

New Project - Colette Crepe dress


So here are some pictures (I hope) of my efforts so far. I was inspired to make this dress by taking part (albeit rather late) in Gerties sew along. You can  join in too by following this link:

I have taken a few pix so that I can share mine with you....

This is the fabric I will make it from, its grey polka dot batik, I am looking for a contrasting fabric for the ties.... I am thinking either mustard yellow (to go with some well nice shoes, but wont go with much else) or really bright pink. Any suggestions ?

And this is the pattern that I am using. It is from an American company called Collette Patterns. Its a cute dress that wraps around the back. You can get yours here:

You can double click on any of the photos to make them bigger. Just in case you need to see any details.

I am making version 2, which has a sweetheart neckline and a contrasting sash.

Here is a picture of my first muslin, which I made direct from the pattern supplied.

I wrote directly onto the fabric, very satisfying ! It is important to label both the pattern pieces and and muslins, to remember which pattern pieces the muslin relates too.

I read that you should make changes to the length first. So that is what I did. I traced the original pattern. and then cut across the front and back pieces, and added 2 inches in length. Next time I need to do that, rather than mess about with measuring, I am going to use this pattern paper to make the adjustments. Mucho more simples !

Already measured lines, brilliant eh ?

After that excitement I redrew the dart lines and grain lines. Then I cut out fabric for the second muslin. I will need to change darts and shoulder seams, but I have not got round to that yet. I will use the traced pattern that I made to make the changes I need, keeping the original pattern intact.

Here is a picture of the made up second muslin, the only change so far being the length. Then I hand basted the pieces together, ready for further fitting (which I have not yet done !).

Well, that's as far as I got. I am hoping to have made the changes and a new muslin by the weekend.

Thirsty work !  So I am off to get me some vimto, and then head up the wooden stairs to bedfordshire.

k xxx


Hey there

So last night I created my second muslin for the crepe dress. I need to download the pictures onto my computer, once I have done that I will post some pictures.

For my muslin I am using cheap mid weight cotton, that I bought on-line (without seeing !) for £2.09 per meter. I bought 15 meters so that I would have plenty to muslin with. Its quite hideous but is totally fit for purpose. Going forward I am going to try and use old sheets and stuff bought from charity shops as I don't think it matters what fabrics you use, just so long as it is a similar weight to your fashion fabric.

So, the muslin was made from the tracing (I traced using dressmakers paper - but have decided to look for cheaper, supermarket options !) of the pattern that I made, with the addition of 2 inches added in length, which I added around halfway down the length of the dart. I then stay stitched all the way around to both add strength and also show my stitching lines. And then hand basted the muslin together using a different colour thread (I never would normally hand sew but felt bad for Mr P having to put up with the drone from the sewing machine for the best part of 2 hours !)

I then tried it on, and I feel that all the bodice darts need to be shortened from the original pattern by around 1 inch. I also have forward sloping shoulders and as such I need to lengthen the back shoulder seam by around an inch and also shorten the front shoulder seam by the same amount.

The back of the bodice, oh the back ! I literally don't know where to start and its quite difficult due to the cross over design of the dress, and so I will be working on that tonight. I think once the back issues are resolved, I will mock up one more muslin for the bodice, and make one for the skirt part of the dress. As its my first ever proper attempt at dressmaking I really want to do it perfectly. Plus I hate the thought of wasting the fashion fabric I have purchased to make the crepe. I think I need to see the whole thing made up before I feel brave enough to cut into the fabric.

So lovely people, I am going to leave it there for now, but hope to get some simple pictures up later on to show my progress so far. 

If anyone wants to leave feedback on muslins that they have made, they would be very gratefully received   :-


k xxx

Sunday, 10 April 2011

Busy !

Hello !

Can you believe the weather we have been having this last week ? I live in North Devon and its been beautiful here ! I hope this is an indication of the summer that we can expect, wouldn't that be lovely ?

It is beautiful here, and we are very lucky to be able to live in such a pretty area.

So, how have your weeks been ? I have been super busy, hence the lack of posts as I had a university assignment that I needed to complete and submit last week, and so no free time to do anything else. Except a session on my new longboard after work last Wednesday. My skills are lacking, but it was serious fun ! I must admit, with a 5 mm wettie, gloves and boots, I didn't notice the cold of the Atlantic, and am raring for another dip ASAP !!

Mr P and I went for dinner with his family on Friday night to a place called the Fishermans Cot in Tiverton, my word the setting of the place was lovely. Right on the banks of a weir, a super tranquil setting ! I would recommend !

I will be playing around a bit with this blog, as its a standard template and I don't really like it, so I plan to fiddle around a little until I am happy with how it looks. I also fully intend to add some photos in postings, but this will all come in good time. I need to feel that I own the blog and see my own stamp on it, as I am not keen on the generic look that it has right now.

I have today cut out the pieces for my second muslin of the Collette patterns crepe dress. I will take some pictures and let you know what alterations I have made. Using my bible 'Fit for real people' I have already lengthened the bodice by 2 inches, as the original pattern was a little short. The bible recommends making any length adjustments first and then making further adjustments once the length is good. So, that is what I have been doing. I also know I will want to drop the neckline by a couple of .inches, and depending on the fit of this second muslin, I think the back needs some work too.

As I am totally new to all this, I will document my changes and then keep my fingers crossed they work OK. The collette pattern is a dream, but there is no line on the pattern pieces to cut if you want to add length, so I made my cut where I thought best. Not sure how well that will work yet ! I also made the same alteration to the back piece as I made to the front.

I know the darts will need to be re-jigged also, but I will look more closely at that when fitting this second muslin.

I will take pictures as I am doing the changes so that we can all see how I get along. One thing I have already learned is that it is easier to make changes to the tissue pattern using a grid marked paper, rather than a plain. I was busy measuring away on the plain, then saw the gridded paper for sale. My word, what a revelation !

People ! I have managed to fit in time to find some more helpful sewing blogs for you, and will post them soon. I also want to share with you some books that I find invaluable in my quest to produce the most amazing, home sewn clothes.

Well, that's me for now. I am going to go take pictures of the muslin and get started on sewing the fitting the second one. I will post pictures for you to see.

Wish me luck !!

K xxx

Saturday, 2 April 2011

Happy Saturday !!

Hello there,

This morning I am going to share with you just a few of my staple fabric shops. I live in (relatively) rural Devon and find that I need to buy most of my fabrics on-line, and these are the sites that I find really useful.

I have other favourite fabric stores where I really love the fabrics, but they are expensive (charging by the 'fat' quarter ) and therefore not that great for learning to make clothes. I will share those with you some other time.

So, here are my staples .......  brilliant for liberty fabrics, almost half the price of the Liberty fabric store.  excellent for cheaper fabrics, I buy muslin making fabrics here for around £2 per meter for a cotton. I bought a slate grey polka dot batik for my crepe dress, it was like £7 per meter. Bob on.  this is brilliant for fabric, but the notions, ahhhh the notions....  (plus if its good enough for Gok, its good enough for me !)   this site is not based in the UK, but they sell lovely designer fabrics by the yard, sometimes not too expensive. And they deliver to the UK.

I hope you find this useful, I really found it a struggle to find good on-line fabric stores, so I wanted to share this with you.

K xxx

Friday, 1 April 2011

A few of my favourite things (blogs!)


First and foremost it is Friday - a HUGE ching ching to that !

Well, lets make a start ! The following are some of my favourite crafty blogs. As I am new to this I am not sure of the etiquette in terms of detailing blog addresses....   hmmmm, I cant see the harm in it, but if anyone knows any different then please let me know !

Anyway, drumroll please........

Introducing my absolute favourite blog....

I absolutely LOVE Gertie ! And her crepe sew along has inspired me to start making my own clothes. Also, as she kindly did a 'sew along' I can look back over the tips and tutorials, even though I am too late to join in ! How cool is that ?! Gertie - You are my sewing legend !!

And these are other blogs I love almost as much, in no particular order....   (Mr P's gorgeous sister !!)

Well that's all I have time for right now, as time to pour myself a large one (it is Friday after all!), but why not get yourself a glass of Vimto, and join these other lovely ladies for an hour or 2. I don't think you would regret it.

happy yourself a merry little weekend,

K xxx